As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
This is going to be interesting. Friday night swing dancing starts this week at Yesterday's Bar & Grille, the new incarnation of the Roxy's Friday Night Swing. I wish Big Daddy and Top Cat (the funny looking guy with the leopard smoking jacket and the cat painted on his van) the best of luck. I never like the venue at the Roxy and I hope Big Daddy and Top Cat have more freedom to cater to the swing dancers. In return I hope the swing dancers support their business by supporting the bar.
What will be interesting is whether or not the community is large enough to support both Yesterday's and Swing City which just switched to Lindy on Friday nights. Yesterday's stands a good chance against Swing City because now Big Daddy has more control over the music that's played and Top Cat's downstairs spinning will give people a change of tempo if they want a break. I hope swing dancers in Boston will support both venues and keep them both active. There's nothing like competition to make the dance businesses remember that you, the customer, are the most important person in the world.
And the same to Laura Palermo who abandoned the winters of New England the swing scene in San Francisco, but returns to this soapbox to rag on us. And hi to Jill Saberman, too.
Sharon Porter in Taos, NM. Teri Calderone in Pasadena. Emily Belt in San Diego. And Jim Calderone, who might have left for Norway already. Many others. Did Richard Badau complete his annual Boston in Summer/Raleigh in Winter migration?
And when we see them on the dance scene, whether on their turf or ours or elsewhere, we pick up again on the dancing as if we saw them at a dance last night. Dancing gives us a bond that wouldn't have existed otherwise. For me, dancing has introduced me to a large number of people I would never have been able to meet otherwise. It's shortened the introduction period and accelerated acquaintances to friends quickly. That's a big bonus for something that's fun and good exercise; I wish I had done this 10 years earlier.
PS: Hello to Martha Dimes in North Carolina, Margaret Batiuchok in NYC, Paula Dub in Philly, and all the cool people in San Francisco, including The Three Amigos (Ken, Chad, & Victor), and Mike, and Suzy (Santa Cruz), and Suzanne, and Jennifer, and so on... :-)
Well, I had a fun time this past Saturday. I went out to a swing dance at Brandeis University in Waltham. Their two-year-old swing club offers live music with local bands and it's open to the public! Get this: admission for non-students is only $5. The dances are held in the Levin Ballroom on the campus and there's tons of parking (amazing!). The room itself has a great hardwood floor and there was a good crowd there. I think this has got to be one of the best-kept local swing secrets. Live swing dance music for only $5? What a deal!
I talked to Giovanni and Karina, two of their co-presidents, and gave them a list of bands that I thought they should hire. Those of you who know me know which bands I like to dance to. Imagine getting to dance to those bands on a good floor for only $5. What we didn't have, though, are the Boston regulars. I suspect that will change in the future once the word gets out that this is a good place to go dancing. I know that I'll be back there.
Perhaps the Swing Fad is over, but I think the popularity of the dance is still up there. I think that we're going to see a better quality of dance customer out there. How do I know that? I took a quick look at the number of hits and downloads for this website and it reached an all-time high for both the number of hits and download volume. September, as I said last week, is the beginning of the dance season and perhaps there is a lot of pent-up dance energy and the veterans are anxious to get out and dance, but this is a good sign that the local dance environment is still very healthy. At least I'm not getting kicked on the dance floor anymore.
I wasn't prepared to eat at the restaurant, but I did take a look at the menu. The prices were very reasonable and it would make sense to have dinner and drinks there before heading upstairs to dance. I think I'll do that next time. It seems to be a nice place to get away from the music for a drink and quieter conversation. The combination of the restaurant and dance club seems to be a nice one-stop combo for dinner and dancing (a date place).
There are three bars in the dance area, two on the second floor and one on the third. While loud, the third floor area is quieter than the rest of the place for those who need a break. I heard Top Cat disconnected the speakers over the chairs so the music is only over the dance floor (quite a considerate guy, dontchathink?)
The dance floor is about...12'x40'? and it's a hardwood floor, so it's worth bringing your dance shoes. Big Daddy and Top Cat do a good job of running the music, playing the main stream swing music but also throwing in newer swingable music that we might not normally hear.
Downsides: Smoke. Well, it is a bar, and there is alcohol. Normally, there's no smoking on the third level, but it depends on whether or not anyone else is up there. On the other hand, I did get some comments from customers that this is the kind of club atmosphere that they wanted. "Club'ing" means, to them drinking, smoking, and dancing, except that it's to swing music instead of techno.
Seeing as it was downtown, there wasn't much parking (and I believe there was a bit of construction going on in the area). I think the best bet for parking is the Boston Common Garage (it was $7.00 for the evening, quite reasonable), though it's a little walk to get there.
Yesterday's Bar & Grill is a nice little cozy bar worth checking out for those of you who don't like dancing in a church or hall, those of you who also want decor and atmosphere and not just dancing.
One of the purposes of this website is to help dance promoters plan their events and avoid conflicting dates whenever possible. Some venues, like the BSDN, will give me their dance dates months in advance. This helps other venues plan their events so that they can try to avoid setting up a competing event on the same day. You can help me do this by letting me know about your events as early as possible so I can put the word out to other people who might be planning on holding their own dance or workshop.
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