News

A Northern Country Boy’s Dilemma

Bob Sweeney "da prez" Gays for Patsy
Bob Sweeney “da prez” Gays for Patsy

Last night I woke from a dream where I was in a NY-esque subway where a cluster of families in ethnic garb were trying to get to the safe house. It looked like a wedding party — joy and fear were around. People were jeering at them. In the dream I helped create a safe passage and asked the jeering crowd, “who here is not a descendant of illegal aliens?” I think this dream came by a combo of St. Patrick’s Day and looking at the news before bed. Both sets of my great grandparents came from different parts of Ireland to escape famine and persecution. I think of the Jewish who escaped genocide and the Africans who were brought here without consent. How our “great” American forebearers killed indigenous cultures in our settling of this nation. And that we have the gall to single out people because they want to come here to make a life or have a different view?

In the dream I tried to help but in my everyday life, what is it I do to help?

When I became president of Gays for Patsy — a lgbtqa+s* country western dance club — a few years back, I didn’t know a thing about running a group or the dances: I just liked to dance. As I became the de-facto spokesperson (a challenge for an introvert, I’ll tell ya), I’ve been slowly trying to learn more about the dance, being a host, and making people feel welcomed. When I started DJing I had a steep learning curve that I’m still struggling with (as when my software redid my beats per minute and I played last night a polka that no one could possibly dance to – it’s been deleted from my playlist). I previewed my share of red pickup, bad boy, daisy duke, and acting bad country songs — I played a few songs where someone quietly told me it was really a song about abuse and/or hanging. The things you learn. Now it’s more important than ever to be aware of what you say and it’s impact since our leaders don’t seem to have that ability.

With this current climate, we face a number of issues for our group and the greater queer community: fear, anger, and shame are just a few. These are the weapons that can be used against us — in the media, in the churches, in our politics. We’ve seen it throughout history, it’s not new. I find I’m so bitter at seeing all the progress that has been made in the past few decades being threatened. I know this winter I battled my own disbelief, shame, embarrassment, and anger at my fellow Americans, the political process, and the media that aided and abetted this farce.

I am struggling this year. I know I drank a lot of that toxic soup and turned inward, isolated, and hid (well, part of that was just winter in New England). But now as “spring” is here, I’m trying to turn that out. Little things like organizing Spring Stomp: A Hoedown in P-town is helping. I’m trying to be a bit more vocal about the importance to kind to each other and accepting. Looking for music that is danceable that echoes that theme. Trying to cope by turning that anger and frustration into action, even a little helps me feel less isolated.

What are ways that you cope?
I cope with dancing and listening to music. It’s become a lifeline for me.

What inspires you?
I know the women’s march in January was A-MAZ-ING to me and heartened me that I was not alone in saying WTF? and helped show that showing that anger and frustration need not be violent. I think of how strong women are and maybe that is why men are so afraid of them. Suffragettes, mothers standing in a line in front of police to protect their children, hell, even childbirth. men can’t hack that shit.

Just know, you’re not alone.
The women’s march was heartneing in so many ways. Get out and do things with people, come dance, have a game night, invite a few friends to watch TV, find a group that helps organize (like Meetup — there’s resist groups out there.

March in Pride
I’m about to fill out an application for the Boston Pride march. We’ve not marched for a few years, but this year Gays for Patsy will be a place to dance and have fun without fear. (I wrote “gays for pastry” now that’s a line I can stand by). If you don’t march, come watch. Be part of something.

Come out to a dance.
You’ll be guaranteed a hug and a friendly smile from me (unless I’m DJing and am frantically trying to figure out what’s coming next).
Ask me to dance. I’m fun.
And embrace your two left feet, you can ask some of our veterans, we all started stumbling around the dance floor.

Bob Sweeney
“da prez”, Gays for Patsy

* LGBTQA+S = lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, asexual, and straight – I know I forgot some but what it really means it don’t matter who you love, what your gender, skin, or politics are. That’s why I go with “queer” for our dances, for queer country boston meetup and I identify as such. I’d much rather be different in this day and age.

Dancing galore in August and September

Learn West Coast Swing with Alan Gaskell
Learn West Coast Swing with Alan Gaskell at Dirty Water Saloon August 23 and 30, 2017

I realized I wrote a novella. So for those like me who hate to read:

In this email (just the facts mam):

  • IAGLCWDC Annual Convention in Miami Memorial Day Weekend – Early bird deadline Aug 30 – register now and book hotel if you’re going!
  • Opening GFP Queer Country Social dance SUNDAY September 11 from 3-7 pm. Featuring new line dance “So just Dance! Dance! Dance! and a performance by our award winning dance troupe, The Boston ReneGAYdes.
  • Alan Gaskell to teach West Coast workshop at Dirty Water Saloon, Tuesday, August 23 and 30! Also a special 90s theme night 8/30.
  • Gays for Patsy is Growing — a primer on what is GFP and what we offer
  • Out and About: American Sundays; Waltz with Merinda’s Hearth; Smokies; and Shopping!

IAGLCWDC 2017 Convention Early Bird Registration Ending August 30

Save $100 by registering now
Scheduled to be Memorial Day Weekend, May 25–29, 2017, the next IAGLCWDC convention is in conjunction with World Outgames and, as such, the price, registration, and hotels are going to be going fast and furious. Early Bird Registration ($150) ends August 30, after which it will start to go up to $250.

Registration is through the Out Games but please read through the registration information on the IAGLCWDC site (https://outhoedown.com/2017/miami/) especially the section on directions. If you plan to compete the price will be charged separately. The competitions for this are medal events. Consider competing. You may come home with a gold bronze or silver. 🙂

Hotels Out Games has booked all the hotel rooms in Miami so if you haven’t already done so, do it through their site (link on the registration page). A number of us booked into the DoubleTree by Hilton Miami Airport & Convention Center after the Columbus hoedown to secure a room in advance. We will be sharing the hotel with Dancesport Ballroom and it will fill up quickly.

Opening GFP Queer Country Social Dance, SUNDAY, September 11

We decided to have our opening dance on Sunday this year as our usual Saturday slot is taken up by Open Studios. I’m excited that we are bringing back Sunday dances. It is a great time frame to both dance your butt off and still be ready for work and for those traveling from outside Boston, it also allows people to be home at reasonable time. We are keeping it simple the first time out, with just a basic two step at 3 pm with Beth followed by the line dance “So Just Dance! Dance! Dance! at 3:30 pm (teacher tbd — probably Kendra or myself). Then the DJ (tbd) will play from 4-7. Followed by ice cream at JP licks. If you loved Sundaydances, then here’s your opportunity to make sure they get reinstated next year. Ask your friends, talk it up on face book, etc. We have slated four spring Sundays that we hope to offer workshops for the lesson part.

Alan Gaskell to teach West Coast at Dirty Water Saloon Tuesday, August 23 and 30

Join us as Alan Gaskell teaches West Coast Swing lessons from 7-7:45. Followed by a line dance lesson from 7:45-8:15 (8/23: So Just Dance! Dance! Dance! with Kendra; 8:30 “Back Street Attitude” with Alia). From 8:15-10 Bucky will be DJing 8/23 and Sam will DJing 8/30. Sam’s playlist on 8/30 is a special “Back to the 90’s” playlist that should be a lot of fun. Hope to see you there.

Gays for Patsy is Growing

Earlier this year we took over Dirty Water Saloon. I started to think about our dances and how they differ and how we should look at them. I think of Gays for Patsy as a parent with four children: Dirty Water Saloon, Queer Country Socials, Spring Stomp: a Hoedown in P-town!, and the ReneGAYdes. In all our dance venues, we offer country western dance instruction mostly focusing on two step, line dancing, west coast swing, and waltz. I hope to bring more styles into play like east coast, and more polka (at the IAGLCWDC convention in July, I learned a smoother less energetic way than the King and I version i learned growing up). The music we play will be contemporary country, pop, and r&b and be flavored by the DJ interests. The dance venues have their own personality though.

  • Queer Country Socials (QCS) I started calling the Saturday/Sunday dances “Queer Country Socials” a few years back (rather than the obscure official name “Lambda Ranch.”) I think QCS self describes the dance and is more likely to be picked up on search engines and social media than Lambda Ranch or even Gays for Patsy. Because it’s only run once (or twice) a month, the learning rate bit slower and it is a bit more country flavored than the other venues. We hope to reintroduce workshops in the spring adding it to the Sunday dances (tentatively a two step, a west coast swing (or two), and a line dance boot camp). These will replace the usual lessons on those days and require pre registration for them to run. We are working out the details for these still and should have more by the end of the fall to announce in the spring.
  • Dirty Water Saloon (DWS) is a weekly Tuesday night dance at Bella Luna Restaurant in JP. It features a little more funky music, a lot of line dances, and has a restaurant at hand to have food and adult beverages if one should so choose. They are more likely to play with the music choices and experiment with line dances than the Queer Country Social. Mostly this is do to the weekly nature. If you really want to up your two stepping and learn some line dance, this is where you should go.
  • Spring Stomp: A Hoedown in P-town! will be hosting our 25th year in 2017! We are planning stage right (targeting April 28-30) now but we are looking at the format and may expand it’s offerings a bit. We are exploring the additional costs of having two dance tracks for Saturday (beginners and intermediate), an additional Sundaymorning/early afternoon dance, and private lesson opportunities. If you would like to help explore these with me, please let me know. I hope to get numbers soon and set prices/deadlines by end of September.
  • The Boston ReneGAYdes have always been a part of Gays for Patsy and are starting to do more performances outside of our own dances. Beth’s last choreography was very well received in Columbus. We will be performing for the opening dance on September 11, please come and watch. Upcoming we’re planning performing in P-town this October, at the Big Apple Ranch in November. We are also looking for gigs too. A bit thank you to Beth for keeping us organized and for polishing our routines. If you think you’d like to join the Renegaydes, this would be a great time as we’re just discussing the next routine. A sign-up sheet will be at the Sept 11 dance and Dirty Water Saloon.

Out and About

  • Americana Sundays at Thunder Road in Somerville. 7-10 pm, $5 cover. Just a shout out to those of you who loved Americana Mondays with Greg Klyma. Greg has a new night and venue! Thunder Road is a new restaurant/bar that rose from the ashes of Radio. The place is very clean, with a modest dance floor that we can expand as needed, the bar food is “okay” (definitely eatable but not gourmet), and the bar is well stocked. The crowd is mixed (ie, straight and queer) and no one blinks an eye at same sex couples dancing. I’m going to miss the next few due to renegaydes practice but you’ll see familiar faces there. Greg is a showman that I thoroughly enjoy.
  • Waltzing Night with Miranda’s Hearth at the Democracy Center in Harvard Square on the 4th Sunday of the Month (August 28) from 6:30-11 pm. Jay and Ted have been going to this the past few months. It’s pretty cool from what they say.
  • Julie and Art go to Smokey’s (a dance at the Moose Lodge in North Reading. It’s mostly line dances. I’ll get more info out soon or on the website. It’s a straight suburban venue that I’ve gone to a couple times, nice people.

Whew! That was a novella fer sure.

Hope to see you on the dance floor!

Bob “da prez” Sweeney

Dancing Galore in April

Dancin’ Learnin’ and Socializin’

In the next three weeks you have the opportunity to go to 5 dances, 14 lessons/workshops, and an insane amount of socializing with our Queer Country Social, Dirty Water Saloon, and P-town Spring Stomp. I hope to see you on the dance floor
— Bob ”da prez” Sweeney

Queer Country Social

PDF of April's dance flyer
PDF of April’s dance flyer

gfp.org • Saturday, April 16 • 6:30-11 pm • $12 cover (includes lessons)/$8 for GFP members
1st Church of JP • 6 Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
Music: contemporary country, r&b, and pop music to two step, line dance, west (and east) coast swing, waltz, cha cha and more.
Julie Kinnett will be doing the teaching starting with a beginner two step at 6:30 pm, an intermediate pattern at 7 pm, and the line dance “Country Slide” at 7:30 pm
Art Sullivan will be twirling the digital music from 8-11 pm.

Dirty Water Saloon

gfp.org/dirty-water-saloon • Tuesdays • 7-10 pm • $10 cover (includes lessons)
Bella Luna Restaurant (Milky Way Lounge) at the Brewery Complex • 284 Amory St, Jamaica Plain, MA
featuring music by contemporary country, r&b, and pop music to two step, west (and east) coast swing, line dance galore, waltz, and more. Food, drinks, and fun.

Tuesday, April 19
Two step lesson 7 pm (instructor tbd) • “Walk the Line” line dance 7:45 pm • Bucky DJing

Tuesday, April 26
Two step lesson from 7-7:45 (instructor tbd). Kendra or Bob will teach “Walk the Line” at 7:45 pm, and Bob DJing.

P-town Spring Stomp

pdf flyer for Stomp
pdf flyer for Stomp

gfp.org/stomp • Friday-Sunday, April 22-23 • Provincetown, MA
Pay individually or get a Weekend Pass for $60 and save mulah!
Sage Inn & Lounge and Town Hall, Provincetown, MA
Friday Night Opening Dance at Sage Inn & Lounge
Music: contemporary country, r&b, and pop music to two step, line dance, west (and east) coast swing, waltz, cha cha and more.
8:30-11 pm • $10 cover (includes lesson)
Beginner two step lesson with Beth at 8:30 pm • Bob DJing from 9-11 pm

Saturday workshops at Sage Inn & Lounge
10 am–4 pm •  $15 per workshop
Six workshops taught by Simone Assboeck and Art Sullivan featuring Beginner and Intermediate Two Step, Cha Cha, West Coast Swing and Line dances (Counting Stars, Bittersweet Memories, and 50 Ways). See website for full details and line up and step sheets/demos.

Saturday Night Fundraising Dance at Town Hall
Music: contemporary country, r&b, and pop music to two step, line dance, west (and east) coast swing, waltz, cha cha and more.
7-11 pm • $20 cover (includes lesson)
2 Line dance (tbd) lesson with Bob, 7-8 pm, Ruth DJing 8-11 pm, performance by the “fabulous” Boston ReneGaydes around 9 pm.