The Soapbox Archives:
If you get a chance to get up to Canada, try this:
Buy an Oh Henry! chocolate bar up there and bring it back to the states. Then buy a local Oh Henry! bar and do a taste comparison test with both chocolate bars. Tell me if you agree with me that the Canadian chocolate bar tastes better. Hmmm....Oh, I get it now. They're actually made by different companies. That makes sense. Nestlé makes them in the US and Hershey makes them in Canada.
Ever wondered if you should or should not recycle that box that your pizza came in? It's always confusing because you want to be a good citizen and recycle the cardboard box, but it also has food stuff smeared all over it. Well, from the Town of Belmont, here is the official word of what you should do with that pizza box.
And don't throw your old flourescent bulbs in the regular trash. They're bad for the environment....poisonous, even.
And this Saturday...!
The high level of energy given off by the band keeps me on the dance floor longer than any other band that plays for a swing dance in Boston. Why the hell am I dancing a cha cha? I don't even know the cha cha..but the music says, get your butt off the chair and go find someone to dance with! Watch the band up close when they play. They're sweating after a couple of songs in. They play their hearts out and they get energized by the throngs of dancers they see dancing before them. If you run a band and want to hired to play at the BSDN dance, come out and check out *this* band.
Did you know...?
There's also going to be a dance contest! Yes, probably like the others that were held last year. And..."dress in the 1940s style" in a salute to Veterans Day.
In this particular case, the organizer sent in an email, a PDF flyer, and a picture on a Sunday night and the workshop was the upcoming Saturday. The note itself never mentioned the instructor's name. I saw the name of the teacher in the filename of the attached picture so I missed looking at the name of the instructor in the flyer; they weren't the same name. If you leave open the possibility of a mistake on my part, don't be surprised if I take it.
I feel better these days about the swing dance environment than I have in a long time. As a matter of fact, I'll come out and state that I haven't felt this good about the swing dance community in about 16 years, since the days of the Boston Swing Dance Society (when I ran the organization), when a group of dance venues decided to band together to promote swing dancing to the rest of the world.
A small group of swing dance venues recently got together and decided that they needed to work together to improve the numbers (and dance skills) of the people walking in through their doors.
What some venues have figured out is that the hardcore dancers have decided which venues suited their needs the best. Those dancers, for whatever reason, be it music, dance style, price, or just the clique they want to hang out with, have concluded that they want to attend a limited number of venues, or even one specific venue, to the total exclusion of the other venues. To the other venues, those dancers are forever "lost" and they'll never recover those dancers. Unfortunately, the dance crowd has a limited size (though not a limited capacity) and everyone wants to go after the same pool of dancers.
What these venues have in common are the walk-in customers who come in with no pre-conceived notions about any of venues. Those are the people want to go dancing and they're open-minded. Several venues, including the Boston Swing Dance Network, Uptown Swing, Boston Swing Central, and Blues Café, have banded together to welcome those new dancers and encourage them to both take dance classes and to check out the other venues. They even put together a list of "frequently asked questions" for the new dancers.
What about the other venues who aren't in this group at this time? I suspect that some of them want to remain separate from the rest of the swing dance community, particularly those who are into "blues dancing". Others might have their own ideas about how to further their venue in the current economic environment. I imagine that there are some venues who just don't "play well with others".
This group of swing dance venues is cooperating to support each other. They're starting with just four venues as an experiment to see if their plan works and I hope they invite others to join them. There are other untapped sources of dance customers and I hope these dance venues will work together to go after those new dancers. Those other venues who are not currently part of this cooperative need to ask themselves if they want to be a part of this group effort, to participate in this group marketing of their venues to new customers. Those venues also then need to ask themselves what they need to do to get invited.
Regardless, just agreeing to work together and to support each other is a major step. Already, I'm seeing deliberate efforts at the fore-mentioned venues to announce and promote the other dance venues at their respective dances, just like they did in the "old days".
PS: It annoys me to have to look up minor things like area codes just because someone was lazy and it wastes my time.
We spotted what I hope is not a new trend.
Years ago, people were dumping baby powder on dance floors in order to make it easier to slide. It was quickly discovered that not all dancers appreciated that gesture. People who weren't expecting the powder could slip on it and fall (and hurt themselves). New dancers who haven't quite figured out the strategy of keeping their weight over their feet are not going to be able to deal with a slippery spots on the dance floor. And then there's the big issue of the fact that it's incredibly rude to dump something on someone else's floor without their permission.
Most dance venues have banned this activity, if not for liability reasons, in order to maintain the dance floor and for the simple fact that the people who put the powder down *never* clean it up afterwards.
This week at the end of the evening of Uptown Swing, we found a chunk of wax with pieces flaked off. Obviously someone was rubbing the wax onto the bottoms of their shoes to make their shoes slippier. How clueless does someone have to be to think that it doesn't affect other people? Wax is like graphite (the "lead" in pencils): it works by rubbing off onto a surface so you can slide smoothly across the surface. It leaves a residue for others to find as they try to dance across that spot.
Please save the dance organizers the effort to ban the use of wax on dance shoes. It would be a service to the other dancers to keep the dance floor clean and safe. Note that the dance venues using Brookline Tai Chi have been asked about the possibility of replacing the floor. The answer has been unanimously "No!". It's a good floor so leave it alone; just fix any damaged sections.
The bottom line is, would *you* like it if someone came into your house and dumped stuff on the floor without your permission?