Cha Cha, Charleston, and Cheer

This Saturday, December 16, come learn cha cha, the line dance “cowboy Charleston”, and dance to a selection of holiday and non holiday music.

The Skinny:

Gays for Patsy’s Queer Country Social Holiday Party


Time:
 7-11 pm
Location:
 1st UU Church of JP, 6 Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
Info: gaysforpatsy.org/queer-country-social/

Lessons:
7:00-7:30 pm Cha Cha lesson with Patrick Piazza and Beth Aufiero
7:30-8:00 pm Cowboy Charleston (beginner) Line dance with Beth Aufiero
(demo • step sheet)

The Dancin’
8:00-11:00 pm DJ Bob Sweeney will be playing a selection of holiday and non-holiday music that you can two-step, lindy hom/east coast swing, cha cha, west coast swing, line dance galore, and more.

Who’s coming? you, I hope. Open to all genders, sexual orientations, races, and exprience. We just like to have fun, hope you do too and you’ll be dancing a whole bunch.

No experience? Don’t you fret none, we’ll learn ya.
No Partner? 
They’ll be lots to go around.

Just come on down and have a fun time.

This venue is non-alcoholic (it’s part of the church rules).

Volunteers needed at 6:30 and 11 to deck the halls and de-deck them after.

Taking chances and finding joy

What a great opening night for our Queer Country Social dance. We had roughly 20 people show up for the beginner lesson. Most were a meetup group event and a few from a south shore group.
It was amazing to see these people come out and do something they never done before. Most had not danced anything like social dancing since they were in grade school.
I was the basic two step teacher and I’m amazed they all picked up the basic two step pattern and go through a line dance lesson that was not easy. They rocked.
I’m sure they didn’t feel that way, I know I didn’t when I first came to a dance back in 2003. It took me many months to work up the nerve to step through that door. The only dance experience I had was on the club scene. I was looking for something a bit better than a bar to find someone. I didn’t expect to find a community. That first dance, Bucky came up to say hello and asked me to dance. How daunting! I sucked — toes were stepped on, I think I hit Ruth with my elbow, and my turns were all over the place (sorry Jim). There were so many people infinitely better than I was — I felt so clumsy and awkward. But Bucky reminded me that I never did this before and encouraged me to keep at it. I did. So much so that I’m president of the club and help DJ, teach, organize, and am part of the performance group. While I didn’t find a partner, I found a bunch of friends and my life is richer for it.
Social dancing is challenging but fun. A 2003 New England Medical Journal article “Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly“, showed that out of 18 activities, social dancing was significantly more effective at keeping your faculties as you grow older. I believe it’s the combination of being hyper aware of your surroundings while socializing and moving to the rythm of music.
You just don’t get that in a gym.
I love this group for their mix of ages, genders, and ability levels — the most refreshing is that we mix it up. We don’t care what role you dance, who you love, what color your skin. We just like to dance and hope you do too.
Gays for Patsy hosts three events:
I also love going to Americana Sundays in Somerville on Sundays from 8-10 at Thunder Road on Somerville Ave. that features a live band lead by Greg Klyma – a queer friendly guy who took his date to one of our dances and loved it. Though not a queer venue, we end up taking over the dance floor more than not. It is a small venue and quite not intimidating at all.
I hope to find you on the dance floor. Ask me to dance.
Bob “da prez” Sweeney
Gays for Patsy

Happy Fourth, July 1 deadlines, and HELP!

Happy Fourth

Gays for Pasty wishes you a safe and fun Fourth of July.

As a reminder, Dirty Water Saloon will not be having a dance on Tuesday, July 4 as Bella Luna will be closed.

Be sure to join us at Dirty Water Saloon on Tuesday, July 11, when we resume with Sam DJing, I’ll be teaching a new line dance by Micheal Metzger, “Feelin’ Good” and we’re figuring out what the couples lesson and will have that on the website/facebook soon.

Also Americana Sundays happens at Thunder Road in Somerville on Sundays

The Queer Country Social calendar is online.

Today’s deadlines

Today is the last day to sign up for a discounted price for:

  • DC OUT over Labor Day. If it is anything like last year, it’s going to be a blast. Great teachers, fun line dances, and the Renegaydes, Prairie Dogs, and other groups will be performing.
  • Provincetown Dance Trophy event. Competing in the single dance portion of the September 30, 2017 event. The Renegaydes will be competing/exhibiting. This is part of the ballroom event and is a hoot to watch and participate in.

I’ll be posting about discounted Stomp tickets (April 27-29, 2017) in the next month or so once I check with Sage and Provincetown Town Hall to make sure we have the venues. Both Alan and Simone are on board.

Gays for Patsy’s Lackluster Season

2016-17 season was a depressed year for Gays for Patsy. Dance attendance was low and we ended in the red. While I hear that other organizations are going through similar problems as I can assume it Drumpf-effect malaise that pushed our usual winter doldrums into high gear. We made a slight profit for Stomp (thanks to a sponsorship from Cape Air) and Dirty Water Saloon is pretty much holding it’s own with a modest deficit. We are not in danger of going away but this is a good wake up call for us to be more active in our dance. 

Ramifications:

  • Queer Country Social
    • No Sunday dances. We decided that Sunday dances were not worth it — in spite of people requesting them, they were poorly attended and largely contributed to the deficit we have.
    • No mid June Saturday dance. We also decided to not have a third Saturday dance in June to allow us to participant in RI pride.
    • Peer taught lessons. We will no longer be doing a beyond the basic lesson, and will revert to the 7 pm couples dance lesson and 7:30 line dance lesson. These will mostly likely be peer taught as a cost-saving measure.
  • Dirty Water Saloon
    • There will be little change of Dirty Water Saloon as it is mostly volunteer run. We may use this dance to feed the line dances/couples dance lessons for Queer Country Social.
  • Stomp
    • I’m going to apply for a few sponsorships and pray we get some. One sponsorship would go to marketing if we get it. I’ll keep you posted.
    • I also hope to have an early bird registration that will seed money to pay for the event earlier and have cash on hand to pay the instructors (live and learn… online registration is great but waiting for two weeks after the event for the check was not ideal)

I need your help

One of the reasons I come to GFP dances and am president is the community. I never met a better bunch of people in a queer setting. We dance, socialize, and have fun together. This winter/spring, I just wanted to hibernate but being president of this organization and being so involved got me out of the freakin’ house. It was a lifesaver for me, really. So i want the same for you.

I need you to be more involved.

We have been around for almost 30 years but we may not always be here. I have seen our Randolf dance go away from lack of active involvement in both running and promoting it — it was the driving force of my doing social media, website, and ultimately the presidency. Granted that was a bit more on mismanagement of that club vs. us but still, we assumed it would always be there and were blindsided when it was taken away from us. We can’t sit on our butts and expect the dance to be there.

Don’t take your dance for granted.

This may mean simply going out of your comfort zone and asking new people to dance or taking a shift at the door. But I also need to relieve some of our regular volunteers before they burn out. I also need people to go one step further and help with the running of the dances. Here’s some places you can help that I can think of off the top of my head.

Easy ways to help

  • Say hello and dance with newcomers.
    We do a good job of this but it is good to be reminded.
  • Capture names and emails of people to make sure they are connected.
    I’ll be better about having a clipboard with a sign-up sheet.
  • Become a GFP member or donate to GFP if you can.
    I’ll make this very easy by doing an online purchase in the next month, it allows us to have money up front at the beginning of the season to help pay the church. I am working with the board to see what we can do to make this more inviting and now that we have Dirty Water Saloon, how does being a member work for them and stomp.
  • Take a 15-minute shift at the door. At all our dances, we need people help out for 15 minute sifts to give our regular volunteers a chance to dance and get away from check-in. This involves greeting people, answering questions about the dance, and taking money.
  • Join our social media groups and indicate you’re going to our events, share with friends or in groups you might be in, post about your experiences, insights, and photos. I created a bunch of facebook pages for our dances to get word out. Please join/like them and feel free to post, comment, stalk. I especially want to talk up the opening queer country social dance in September.

Moderately easy (i.e., not quite easy but not hard).

  • Help with updates to website and social media.
    I’ve got a few generic events for queer country social, dirty water saloon, and others in the wings but it would be nice to have help with the newsletter. I’m horrible about getting it out.
  • Help Beth (or take over) Opening and Closing dances.
    Opening and closing a dance is not hard, usually there are lots of people to help. It involves setting up the dance (sweeping, organizing, moving chairs, etc. Some heavy lifting but we can pair people so if that’s an issue we can figure it out). Setting up the check-in. Closing involves the reverse of closing along with tallying the numbers and counting money to give to Beth or the DJ.
  • Helping with scheduling.
    This involves getting on people’s asses about organizing DWS and Queer Country Social line dances and couples dance lessons. This will help both Beth and Kendra immensely. I’m hoping that we can roughly plan out the year and figure out specifics on a quarterly basis.
  • Help with outreach, advertising, and visibility.
    I would like to reach out to LGBT organizations, especially trans as I see them as a particular vulnerable part of our queer community. Could you recommend (and if possible find out contact info) of an likely organization and be willing to act as an ambassador of our organization?
  • Reach out to past members for our 30th year.
    If you know someone who used to dance with GFP, ask them to come to a dance next year. Especially ask them to partake in the AIDs Walk with us in June. It’s where we started.
  • Help plan/promote our 30th anniversary dance.
    Help pick a date and spread the word. I may approach Greg Klyma to do a live music night and see if the Prairie Dogs can come up for the dance. Both of these have drawn a good crowd.

Finally, don’t let little (or big) issues stew. Let me know!
This is your dance as much as mine or the board’s — that said, we can only adjust or deal with issues or problems that we know about. I say this as I recently had someone tell me they were not returning to a the Saturday Queer Country Social dances. They had a complaint (too many line dances in a row) that would have been easily addressed (and ironically was addressed at that dance) but that individual sat upon their grip for a whole year before mentioning it to me. By that time, nothing I could say or do would change their mind. It was an unfortunate situation that could have been avoided by a quick comment to me early on. My mom always said little things can grow to be big far too easy.

I love this community — and it is that: a community. It is more than just one person, it’s everyone contributing to make it special. We do that well, but there is room for improvement.

Thanks in advance for YOUR help and see you on the dance floor.

Happy Summer!

Bob ‘da prez’ Sweeney,
Gays for Patsy