Snowmaggedon? Dance distractions from the white stuff.

SNOWMAGGEDON?

Will the snow end? Will Boston be forever plunged under a blanket of white? Will I ever find my car in the snowbanks?

These questions dominate my mind on a snowy Saturday so I’m distracting myself by writing you, gentle folk, to remind you that there is life beyond the snowbanks. Here are some events to brighten the grey days:

I hope that you’re faring well this wintery day and more I hope to see you on the dancefloor.– Bob “da prez” Sweeney

Would ya be mine... for a swing around the dance floor? February 21

GFP Queer Country Social Dance

Would ya be mine… fer a swing around the dance floor?
Won’t you leave the snowbound house and join me for a night of two-step, west coast, waltz, and more to contemporary country, R&B, and pop music? No partner necessary! There be a plenty of willin’ folk fer ya to kick ya heels up. It’s a regular hootinanny. Here be the particulars:

GFP Stomp! Spring is around the corner, I swear!

Mark your calendars! Friday-Sunday, April 24-26, 2015, Provincetown, MA. A weekend of dancing, instruction, and more. I’m working with Ruth to take over the planning: It will be the same as last year once I get the deposits in for Sage Inn for Friday night dance and Saturday workshops and Town Hall for the Saturday night dance. Volunteers needed to take shifts at the door, sell raffle tickets at both dances, and help set up/break down Saturday’s dance.

The Montreal Hoedown 4th of July weekend

Join a bunch of us as we head to IAGLCWDC’s Annual Hoedown this year being held in Montreal, Candada! Almost a week of activities are planned, but the essence is Thursday-Sunday, July 2-5 2015. A bar crawl, seemingly hundreds of lessons on Friday and Saturday, Dances galore, Competitions, exhibitions (including our own ReneGAYdes and Big Apple Ranch’s Manhattan Prairie Dogs). Hundreds of fellow dancers, and a great time to be held by all. Ask anyone who goes, it’s both amazing, tiring, fun, and a hoot.

Boston Open Dancesport in P-town this fall!

Boston Open Dancesport will host the 2015 North American Same-Sex Championship in Provincetown September 18-19. Looks to be pretty cool. Start yer training. Last year, a bunch of us did the line dance competition (Beth getting first place ribbons in everything and the rest of us doing okay) and the Renegaydes did a group routine (first place — well, we were the only group). This year should be better with being in p-town.

Upcoming:

I put the following and more in our Google calendar — access it on either GFP’s main or calendar pages. You can also include the calendar in your ical or Google calendar (calendar id: gfpdancing@gmail.com).

  • Americana Mondays
    Mondays, 8-11 pm • no cover.
    PA’s Lounge, Somerville Avenue, Somerville, MA. (PA’s facebook page)
    A fun night of live country, blues, and R&B hosted by Greg Klyma and his band and friends (it’s a blast to see the band swell from three to many by the end of the night). Some two-step, lots of blues, and a few waltzes make for a fun night. No cover, but donations for the band appreciated. First Mondays have a basic dance lesson.
  • Dirty Water Saloon
    Tuesdays, 7-10 pm • $10 cover (includes lessons).
    Milky Way Lounge in Bella Luna Restaurant, 284 Amory Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
    Two-step, West-coast swing, line dancing, and more to contemporary country, R&B, pop, and more.
  • LGBT Gender Neutral American Style Tango (the class isn’t posted yet but will be soon)
    Wednesdays, March 11-April 15, 2015 • $80 per person for the 6 week class
    Taught by Suzanne Hamby and Dick Gould
    Hamby Ballroom Dance Studio • 25 Harvard St (Temple Beth Israel), Waltham, MA 02453 • 508 380-4647
    Beth, Ian, and Bill have been going to this and have had a lot of fun.
    Here’s an exerpt from their flyer:
    New opportunity for the LGBT community and friends: Advanced Beginner American Style Tango group class specifically for people with some experience in gender neutral American Style Tango. This class started in September with a group of LGBT friends who wanted to form their own class to learn American Style Tango, we have had so much fun, we are expanding. Some experience in American Style Tango recommended. If you are interested in joining this class but have no prior Tango experience, you could take a private lesson or two to become familiar with some of the basic steps. The group has monthly practices in another location. The class will have two teachers and technique will be stressed.

Happy New Year and January’s Dance

I had a little time between the holidays, so I thought I’d do a proper novella, uh, I mean post this round — I promise I won’t keep this trend up in 2015.

In this post:

Winter Wonderland Dance Graphic

Howdy! from “da prez”

Bittersweet 2014. With 2014 in the rear view mirror, it has been a bittersweet year for many of us. Some of the bitter notes include: loosing of loved ones (Michael and Judith loosing their mom’s, and news of Richard Barry passing), people dealing with crazy folk (and luckily getting past it), work woes for many of us (I came close to being laid off in June), physical ailments putting some in the hospital (luckily on one severe case it seems full recovery will be had) and more. There are some great highlights though, sorting through estates, location and buying of a house (Ruth and Jen in Western Mass?!?!), special events, and more — I listed a few in the GFP Year in Review. I can honestly say that some of my best memories of 2014 were with y’all.

Calorie burning opportunities. While I’m personally looking forward to having 2014 in my rear view mirror, I realize, my rear view has gotten large from the holiday snacking and I’m really jonesing for ways to get rid of the excess poundage in a fun way (as in: not on a treadmill). I’ve included a few other dances and one dance lesson(s) and I’ll strive on updating the Other Dance Opportunities on our website soon (email me with any I’m missing). Also let me know of any other events that might be of interest and I’ll add them to the Queer Country Meetup group I started last fall (80+ members so far!) and usually get one or two folks to different dances, so a worthy experiment. If you’ve not joined our Facebook group or liked our page (see links in the footer of this email), do so (I’m much better at updating those pages than emailing).

Thank ya kindly! Some folks say I’m doing a great job but honestly it’s the support I get from y’all that makes the dance go (I’m just building off the legacy and the systems put in place before me). I especially would like to thank the board (Michael, Bucky, Beth, Alison, and Dana) for helping out and decision making and planning; Ruth, Bucky, and Art for DJing (and Bucky for coordinating); Michael for donating the snacks, decorations, and setting up the lighting; Beth, Julie, and Art teaching (and Beth for coordinating); the Renegades for providing occasional entertainment; Julie for fundraising for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless during the holiday season (we raised close to $500 dollars in one dance!) and the AIDs Walk in June; Robin Fox for raising funds during stomp for the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Hotline; and all the volunteers who sit at the check-in and help open and close (Jim, Laureen, Jen, Ian, Kendra and Sam, and many more). For all of you for showing up at the dance and making it the great thing it is. Thank you many times over.

Speaking of thankfulness. I’m grateful to have Gays for Pasty as part of my life. I can’t tell you how much y’all mean to me (but let me go on to try). When I first tried Gays for Pasty, I came from the bar scene with it’s cliques and craziness. It was refreshing to be welcomed (thanks Bucky), carry on a conversation, and meet folks from all the queer side of things. I love that I can talk to the full spectrum of queer folk (LGBTS) at our dances. I got a little heat from someone who objected to using queer when I describe our social dances. My response is that I’d rather be queer than “normal” and (at least around this area) it seems it’s almost a badge of honor (echoes of “We’re hear, we’re queer, get used to it!” come to mind. And damn, if it doesn’t seem that people are getting used to it. Same sex marriage passing in Utah? More than half our states have some sort of same-sex marriage laws on the books and other bans being struck down? It seems encouraging (but we’ll see with the new congress). Not only gay youth groups but trans and bi (I can’t imagine coming out in high school, good for them!). You just have to look at Ellen DeGeneres and her career to see the progress. Even country stars like Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman coming out this year join the ranks of Cheryl Wright, KD lang, and others. It’s amazing.

All this is to say is that you have choices and I’m humbled and proud that you come to our dances and spend your increasingly squeezed spare time to dance a few rounds, kick up yer heels in a line dance, and generally have a good time with real live people. If you love this dance half as much as I do, invite a friend (or seven). Don’t be afraid to talk about it to your friends, coworkers, family. Join me at some of the other dances. Ask me to dance, you know I’m shy and all (I actually am, believe it or not). Join some of us after the dance for ice cream. I can’t thank you enough.

I hope your holidays were great, the New Year marvelous, and most of all: hope to see you all soon on the dance floor!

Cheers,
Bob “da prez” Sweeney

GFP 2014 in review.

As I look at 2014 in my rear view mirror, GFP had a great year. Attendance is up (averaging 30-50 folks and rising (the live music night was especially successful where we had enough to pay the musicians, DJ, instructors and the hall rental! I’m talking to Greg Klyma to do another one in the spring — keep you posted). A bunch of us went to the IAGLCWDC (International Association of Gay/Lesbian Country Western Dance Clubs) in Denver in the spring. While we didn’t compete we did do exhibition dance with the Renegaydes and went to a bunch of workshops, dances, and even participated in a few flash mob tour (the next convention is in Montreal, July 2-5, 2015 — book now. Our Annual Spring Stomp had a new venue, Sage Inn and Lounge, where the dance floor didn’t have poles, the owners (old GFPers) were friendly and even danced with us! We’ll be having it there again this spring. Kudos to Ruth and Jen did an amazing job organizing it (with them moving to Western Mass we’ll need volunteers to take up their place). We had a several people compete in the Boston Open Dancesport (New England Same-Sex Ballroom Dance Competition) in August (Beth killing us all with first place on all the line dance competitions, first time competitors Alison and myself getting participation and second place ribbons, and the Renegaydes getting a first place ribbon for their group number). They will be held in Provincetown September 18-19, 2015. Art was able to do a few benefit DJ gigs (coral allegro and one for the Massachusetts Imperial Court (drag fundraiser). We have a new sound system and lights. God, it’s like we’re professional and stuff.

Next dance

Gays for Patsy’s “Winter Wonderland” Queer Country Social Dance
Saturday, January 17 • 6:30-11 pm
1st UU church of JP, 6 Eliot St, Jamaica Plain, MA
This venue is such a sweet one (but then I’m partial since I’m president of GFP). The hall is a beauty thing to dance on. No partner or experience necessary (we’ll learn ya and there’ll be plenty of dance partners to be sure to dance your feet off). Music: contemporary country, pop, and r&b. Dancing: two step, line, west (and east) coast swing, waltz, and more. $12 cover (including lessons). I’ll update our website when I hear from Bucky and Beth on who’s DJing and teaching.

Volunteers – General and STOMP!.

I’m looking for help to open and close dances. Specifically I need someone to help close the January dance as I have a commitment that will prevent me staying the full dance. I will also be needing help with folks to organize and run STOMP this year as all the usual veterans are unable to do so this year. email me if you’re interested in helping out with set up, ticket taking/check in, raffle prize solicitation, and what not.

Other dances

Here is a partial list of queer friendly country western dances I know about off hand.

Americana Mondays
Ongoing Mondays • 8-11 pm
PA’s Lounge, Sommerville Ave
PA’s websitefacebook event page
Live music, straight but definitely queer friendly. Range of ages from 20’s to 70’s.
Greg Klyma does this great live music night over at PA’s Lounge in Somerville. Some of you may have heard him when he did a live music night at November’s GFP dances and he was AMAZING. He plays a variety of country, folk, and blues music usually starting with two other musicians and who knows how many will grace the stage by the end (singers, musicians, scrub board, even a blue trombone player shows up now and then). Dancing consists of blues, two step, waltz, a polka or two. No cover but donations gratefully accepted and buy a drink (alcoholic or non) or two from the bar to keep the night going and the bar happy. This Monday, Jan 5, is Greg’s B-day bash and should be “An EVENT.” I’ll even be teaching something at 7:30 (I’m torn between waltz and a two step). No partner necessary.

Dirty Water Saloon
Ongoing Tuesdays • 7-10 pm
Bella Luna Restaurant in the The Brewery Complex • 284 Amory Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
websitefacebook page
DJ dances. LBGTS (queer) dance.
The weekly two step, west (and east) coast, line dance, and more starts the new year at 7 pm with a four week progressive series of lessons on nightclub two step by Alan Gaskell followed by a 7:45 line dance lesson (Sick of Me Jan 6 and 13, and Chill Factor Jan 20 and 27). Music is contemporary country, r&b, and pop. a LGBTS (queer) dance. Held in the back of Bella Luna Restaurant in their Milky Way space. $10 cover includes lesson. Food and drink available via the bar. No partner or experience necessary.

Dance Lessons

Out to Dance
website
Out to Dance will be starting a series of LGBTS lessons on Sundays starting Jan 25. Salsa, ballroom, etc. No partner necessary. Check their website for prices and classes.

May 17: Queer Country Social Dance

A night of dancin’ and socializin’ to contemporary country, r&b, and pop music. Two step, line dance, west (and some east) coast swing, waltz, and more (we even take requests!). This is a nonalcoholic venue (’cause it’s a church, y’all).

No partner necessary! Just come on by and there’ll be lots of partners to swing (or be swung) by.

Don’t know how to dance? Don’t you fret none, we’ got basic two step lessons at the beginning of the night and a whole bunch of folks that will help you. We all began with two left feet. Take a chance, have fun, and I think you’ll be hooked.

Fundraiser! Julie will be passing the hat to raise funds for the AIDS Walk, Boston. Bring in some extra cash to help this worthy cause.

Dance in a nut shell:

Date: Saturday, May 17, 6:30-11 pm
Local: First Church of Jamaica Plain, 6 Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain, MA (side entrance of church across from The Footlight Club).
Cost: All for a low cover: $10 (includes the lesson).

  • Lessons: 6:30-8 pm
    • 6:30-7 pm basic two step lesson
    • 7-7:30 pm: beyond the basics two step lesson
    • 7:30-8 pm: Line dance lesson
  • Social dancing: 8-11 pm

#queercounty #linedance #twostep #country #LGBTS

Upcoming:

  • Pride Dance: Friday, June 13
    Friday night Gays for Pasty’s Social Dance! Should be a big one, put it on your calendar!
  • Pride Parade: Saturday, June 14
    We’ll be marching with the folks from other dance groups! Join us!
  • June Queer Social Dance: Saturday, June 21
    Yep, the next one will be the “last” dance of the season (maybe… I’m working on a DJ training potentially in July (most likely August) and hoping to have a few dances then in an air conditioned space if I can manage it. More details soon!
  • Americana Mondays
    Mondays, 8-11 pm, no cover.
    PAs Lounge, Somerville Avenue, Somerville, MA.
    A fun night of live country, blues, and R&B hosted by Greg Klyma and his band and friends (it’s a blast to see the band swell from three to many by the end of the night). Some two-step, lots of blues, and a few waltzes make for a fun night. No cover, but donations for the band appreciated.
  • Dirty Water Saloon
    Tuesdays, 7-10 pm, $5 cover (includes lessons). Milky Way Lounge in Bella Luna Restaurant, 284 Amory Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
    Two-step, West-coast swing, line dancing, and more to contemporary country, R&B, pop, and more.
  • Mile High Hoedown
    May 22-25, 2014.
    IAGLCWDC Annual Convention will be in Denver this Memorial Day. Early Registration ends March 22. Lessons, dances, competitions, sightseeing, and more. A bunch of us go every year and come back bursting to try new line dances, moves, and full of energy. Renegaydes will be performing exhibition dance — amazing dancers, performers, and you can literally dance your boots off (I did a couple years ago). It’s a great time.
  • LGBT Country/Swing Dance Cruise from NYC to Bahamas
    August 24-30, 2014.
    A LGBTS cruise featuring instructors John Lindo (an amazing west coast swing instructor), Susanna Stein (from Big Apple Ranch, NY), Sara Hilbrich (DC Roleplay), and Micheal Metzger (line dance instructor and chorographer from San Francisco). With our very own, Bucky Chappell DJing. Reserve your room soon, limited capacity. Contact Bucky for more information.