I’m thrilled that I’ve been asked to serve as head Balboa DJ at this year’s Lindyfest and the Lone Star Championships in Houston, Texas. It will be my first time attending an event in Texas and this particular event has been on my bucket list for some time, due to the alchemy that occurs in their competitions. It must be something in the water, or just that it’s Texas, because the grand performances that come from this event are a highlight of my YouTube dance video viewing for the year. I have also heard that I may be DJ’ing a tea dance, which sounds adorable. I’ll leave you with this video, one of my favorites from the 2012 Lonestar Championships – see you soon, Texas!
On the heels of Lindy Focus, I will be making another appearance with Los Angeles’ own Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five at the Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout in Denver, Colorado, for two nights of performances, February 21 and 22, 2014. I have enjoyed DJ’ing this event in the past and am excited to return as a part of the live music for the weekend. Denver is such a fun place to visit – looking forward to dancing, singing, and dinner and cocktails at Steuben’s.
The Mint Julep Jazz Band‘s first gig was on February 23, 2012 at an RDU Rent Party swing dance, which we decided to live stream primarily because one of our friends was in the hospital and requested it. It was a great idea and, not only was our friend able to tune in, 79 other people did, as well!
We are excited that the band has seen success over the past two years and to commemorate our second anniversary we will live stream our February 1, 2014 show at the Triangle Swing Dance Society swing dance in Durham, NC!
To tune in, visit our UStream channel on February 1 any time from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mint-julep-jazz-band
A couple of years ago I read about Voices of the Jazz Era Ballroom, a “web-based oral history project devoted to preserving and passing along the memory of dance in the Jazz Era through the lives and words of everyday people.” Anyone could contribute a video or audio recording of anyone who lived and danced in the 1920′s through the 1950′s. I knew immediately that I wanted to capture my grandmother’s stories and this project was the impetus to do it. Since I started swing dancing over 15 years ago, my grandmother, Alice Windley, would relay stories of her own dance history and I loved it, all the little tidbits of her life and how dancing was a part of it. It gave me the feeling that I had carried forward the legacy of the family jitterbug to the third generation (the second generation having adopted Carolina shag).
My grandmother grew up in eastern North Carolina, living a mostly rural life, but with the onset of World War II and her proximity to a military base, I believe she was exposed to much more music and swing dancing in her early years of social dancing than might otherwise would have occurred in this part of the country. But I’ll let her tell you all the stories, via YouTube.
Lindy Focus was such a tidal wave of positive energy this year – even though I didn’t have a lot of down time, all that energy kept me going and going! I got to work with some of the most amazing musicians and dancers, and even spin some tunes in the Balboa room. It was an honor to be invited to be in the New Year’s Eve show, done to live music for the first time, and to work with Evita Arce, who is the creative genius who put together the show from scratch. It was a pleasure to perform with Jonathan Stout and his all-star band of musicians – the energy from the band performances was immense and infectious!
I’ve posted below my contributions to the New Year’s Eve show – a recreation of the Duke Ellington Short “Bli Blip” with whiz kid Jon Tigert and a performance of “Sunny Side of the Street” featuring tapper extraordinare Mike Herring – and a version of “Me Myself and I” performed with Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five. Campus Five first:
I’m excited to announce that I will be DJ’ing and singing at Lindy Focus this year! I’ll resume my spot, along with DJ Kristy Milliken, at the Avalon Balboa Dance Party, the late night Balboa room at Lindy Focus. I’ll be joining Jonathan Stout‘s bands on vocals for three nights, singing with Campus Five, the Rhythm Busters, and the Jonathan Stout Orchestra on New Year’s Eve! To say that I am excited would be an understatement – looking forward to it and all the dancing, as well!
The Mint Julep Jazz Band is performing at Housing for New Hope‘s inaugural Rent Party on November 23, 2013 at The Cookery in Durham – this is a fundraiser for an organization that actually helps people pay their rent to help prevent homelessness, among other services to help people in need of housing and prevent homelessness in Durham. There will be dancing, food, an open bar, and the chance to help people in our community, all with a rent party/jazz age theme. Come help us raise the rent for the fine people of Durham!
Tickets and information available at http://durhamcookery.com/rent-party.
To sweeten the deal, the Mint Julep Jazz Band has been invited to appear on WUNC’s The State of Things, hosted by Frank Stasio, on November 22, 2013 to help promote Housing for New Hope‘s inaugural Rent Party on November 23, 2013 at The Cookery in Durham (see post below). Tune in from noon to 1:00 p.m. to hear an interview and live music from the band!