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.