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

GFP Marches Forward: Dances, Hoedown, and More!

March forward

A “quick” update for this Saturday’s GFP Queer Country Social dance, Dirty Water Saloon, Spring Stomp (online ticketing!), Bob O’Donnell Remembrance, and Americana Mondays ending at the end of the month.

Next GFP Dance: Saturday, March 19, 2016

with special guests, the Manhattan Prairie Dogs and Ruth DJing!
GFP’s Queer (folk) Country Social
1st Church of JP • 6 Eliot Street • Jamaica Plain, MA
Lessons: 6:30-8 pm, Social dancing: 8-11 pm.
I’m excited that we’re having the Big Apple Ranch’s performance dance troupe The Manhattan Prairie Dongs visit and perform for us at this weekend’s dance. If you’ve not seen them, they are a very impressive, fun, and saucy group. Beth Aufiero will be teaching the basic two step lesson and Art Sullivan will be doing the beyond the basic lesson and line dance lesson (I “think” American Kids). Ruth Ewing will be serving up the music for the social part of the evening. It should be a hoot!

Spring Stomp! Get yer tickets online!

April 22-24, Provincetown, MA
I updated information on the website about Spring Stomp, April 22-24, in Provincetown. This is our annual hoedown in P-town featuring a weekend of dancin’, socializin’, and learnin’. This year’s line up are: Friday night dance will have Bob Sweeney (that’s me) DJing, Saturday dance workshops Simone Assboeck from NYC to teach two step, west coast swing, and cha-cha workshops. Something new this year, we have Art Sullivan teaching two line dance workshops (he’s looking over the IAGLCWDC competition line dances and choosing from them) along with his usual basic two step workshop. Ruth Ewing will be DJing the Saturday night dance at Provincetown Town Hall and the Boston Renegaydes will be performing a fun routine choreographed by our own Beth Aufiero during the social part. New! Buy your tickets online! You can buy your Weekend Pass or any combo of dance/workshops online via EventBright! Or you can purchase the weekend pass at the GFP dances or Dirty Water Saloon, or at the door at Sage Inn and Lounge Friday night.

Dirty Water Saloon

Tuesdays, Bella Luna Restaurant (Milky Way Lounge) in the Brewery Complex, 284 Amory St, Jamaica Plain, MA (Orange Line: Stoney Brook)
Partner dance lessons: 7-7:45, Line dance lesson: 7:45-8:15, social dancing 8:15-10 pm
GFP has taken over running of Dirty Water Saloon with the help of a committee made up of Sam, Kendra, Alia, Bucky, Jim, Ian, Dayna, and myself. We are trying some new things while we transition, but you can be sure that the format will still be the same. Here’s what’s tentatively scheduled for the next few weeks:

  • Tuesday, March 22, Sam will be DJing, the partner dance will be two step (I’ll get more details soon), Kendra will go over “Timber”.
  • Tuesday, March 29, Bucky is set to DJ a Retro Night (80’s music)
  • In April Ron will be teaching west coast swing.

More details to come and I’ll update the GFP website with more information soon.

Bob O'Donnell photoBob O’Donnell Remembrance

Long time dancer Bob O’Donnell passed November 7. There will be a Remembrance ceremony in his honor April 5, 2016 at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, Ma from 5-7 pm. Come for coffee, tea, and to sample some of Bob’s famous desert treats made from recipes passed down to his nephews. To RSVP and find out more, visit saratogaareas.com/Bobsrememberance.html.

Going… Going…

Americana Mondays will be no more after March. Come to PA’s Lounge on Somerville Ave the last two Monday’s in March to experience the magic that is Americana Mondays with Live music by Greg Klyma. These dances should be fun, with lots of friends joining him on stage and filling the dance floor. He plays old style country, a bit of blue grass, a bit of rockabilly, and just is a great showman. You can ask the contingent of folks like Julie, Harper, myself, Jay, and Ted how wonderful the night is and how we will miss our Mondays with Greg. He starts at 8 pm and runs to 11 pm. PA’s Lounge: 345 Somerville Avenue, Somerville, MA 02143.

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!

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
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.