Look at your partner


“During the whole time, I’m lookin at my partner. You know like, you dancin on the floor with a young lady, for all night long, you be dancing. You don’t wanna be lookin all around. There’s a young lady in front of you. Pay attention to her. Look at her. You know, you’re dancing. Hey baby. You know, one of those things like that. You wanna get down with that.”

Yes, it’s heavily gendered and cishet brotalk. But this is _social_ dancing. Here, Frankie is talking about connecting with his partner as a human being, someone he’s interested in. Whether you want a cup of coffee with your partner, or you just want to make contact with another human, treat them like a real, live person. LOOK at them.

Too many white lindy hoppers today care more about long dead black musicians and dancers than they do about the real, living black people in their own neighbourhoods. They care more about the idea of these black people – a myth of black jazz – than they do about actual real people.

A small gesture of great worth

Big dates this week:
27 May: 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum.
90.77% of the votes were cast in favour of including aboriginal Australians in the census. That means that on Saturday it will only be fifty years that aboriginal Australians (who’d been here for > 40 000 years) have been counted as Australians.

26 May: Sorry Day.
This is an important one. On this day we remember and commemorate the mistreatment of Aboriginal Australians. One the 26th May 1997 the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in government. This report officially described and recorded facts of the Stolen Generation. Where aboriginal children were taken from their families by white governments, and placed in orphanages (to later work in domestic slavery), or with white families.

We need to remember these stories because aboriginal kids are still being removed from aboriginal families by white governments.

I always feel that Sorry Day is an important one for me, as a white Australian. I wasn’t born here, and I became a citizen in the 90s. I chose to become Australian. Sorry Day gives me a chance to properly express my sadness and just how sorry I am about Australia’s history. I like the gesture of an apology. You don’t have to take responsibility for past actions (though some of us should). You just say to someone, “I care about your people and our history. And I want to tell you I regret the past, and I want to do better, now.”

One of my favourite symbols is the handful of dirt Whitlam gave Lingiari in 1966. And Paul Kelly’s song From Little Things always make me tear up:

There’s something about a small gesture that gives someone something of great worth. That’s why I like Sorry Day. You can give someone an apology, and they don’t owe you anything in return, you just let them know. You speak up, tell people where you stand.

Shit that gives me the shits

  • Male DJs mansplaining jazz history and wanking on and on about shellac and vinyl, but being shit at reading a crowd;
  • All safe space and OH&S workers on events and in dance organisations being women;
  • Male dance teachers’ names being listed first in event PR;
  • Dance classes for ‘follows’ being all about how to do swivels;
  • ‘Musicality’ classes being a special class, not just EVERY DANCE CLASS;
  • Lindy hop teachers who don’t talk about OGs like Frankie Manning because they don’t know anything about Frankie Manning (and then brag about it);
  • Mansplaining international teachers who drop into discussions between local teachers like they’re the fucking pope, then proceed to mansplain inclusivity in local teaching practice. Even though they haven’t taught locally for years;
  • Teachers who don’t play actual swinging jazz in their classes;
  • Swing DJs who don’t play actual swinging jazz in their sets;
  • Musicians who drink too much on the job and so suck at their job;

feminist fika: weeks 4 and 5 in Herrang

Still on-going.
Usually meet 1pm in the Bar. If there isn’t a note up on the folklets hus noticeboard, add your own – there are plenty of people who are enjoying turning up to chat.
Feminists, friends of feminists, and feminist-curious peeps are all welcome. Assumption is that you are down with feminist values and be a dick. ie, this is a chance for peeps to meet and be nice to each other, not a chance for you to start arguments with women.

ave Jane La Scala

I’m not sure if people realise, but Jane La Scala passed away recently. She used to keep the blog Jazz Ramble http://www.jazzramble.com/

Australian jazz _seems_ male dominated, but there are plenty of women involved in lots of different ways beside standing on stage. I’ve found it difficult to find women jazz journos and writers, so it was very nice to come across Jane’s blog. I never met her, and we didn’t correspond, but it was nice to know she was out there.

Sad to report the passing of Jane La Scala on March 23rd after a long illness. Jane was editor of “Jazz Rambles” and the VJC Newsletter for many years. Her funeral will be held on Friday April the 1st at Le Pines Ivanhoe at 2.30 pm.( dogpossumPosted on Categories UncategorizedLeave a comment on ave Jane La Scala

While we’re thinking ballrooms…

This plan of the ballroom was posted by Felix Berghäll on his wall recently, and I noticed that the band stage was on the long wall of a rectangular room. This is pretty much the opposite of the way we set up rooms for concerts usually. But it makes much better sense if you want to be sure a room can see the band, from the dance floor or tables.
Looking at photos of the Cloudland ballroom, it also has the stage on the long wall.
I use a fair few ballrooms and dance halls around the place, from square ones (the lovely Annandale Town Hall) to round ones (the gorgeous Famous Spiegeltent). My preference as a DJ is a round room, or to have the DJ/band on the long wall of a rectangular room, so that it’s right in the ‘middle’ of things. It’s also better for sound, because the speakers don’t have to ‘throw’ down a loooong room. They can radiate from the middle of the room.
This is an issue for me at the moment, as I’m thinking about the dance we’re holding on the Saturday of the Little Big Weekend 13-15 May 2016 . It’s in the Glebe Town Hall, which is pretty much perfect. But it’s long and narrow, with a teeny-tiny (and wholly inadequate) stage in one corner.
So I was thinking we’d put the band on the long wall (opposite a large double door).
Question: will this leave us room to have a competition in front of the band? Asking for a friend*.
*Myself. I am my own friend.