The "I Charleston" phenomenon is one of my favorite swing memes, if I can call it that. Started by some Frenchy lindy hoppers, basically any swing scene in the world can create an "I Charleston" video showing their local dancers charlestoning and doing solo jazz in notables spots in their city and put it online for the world to enjoy. It's really blossomed over the past year to include such far flung places as Tel Aviv, Minsk and Hong Kong!
If you thought you had seen it all, check out Nashville's very impressive contribution to the series. It's got an incredibly catchy song (C2C's "Happy"), awesome dancing (choregraphed by Jon Tigert), beautiful cinematography, and very scenic locales.
The organizers of the Santa Swing weekend have put up a bunch of swell pics and videos from the event. It's always great when an event has trained photographers and videographers on site, so I don't have to stress about documenting the thing. My friends Katie and Jim were on hand for photo and video duties, respectively, and did a great job!
Here's some video from the Jack and Jill Competition that I competed in, and won, with Gina Quan. It's always awkward for me to watch myself dancing. That said, I think we did the best in the third heat shown here.
You can see all the finals of the Open Jack and Jill here.
I had a fantastic time at the Santa Swing swing dance weekend with my friends old and new in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. So many great dances, kick ass live music, yummy meals, and silliness. Can't think of a better way to ring in the new year.
I really enjoyed all three bands that performed at Santa Swing: the Icy Hot Club, local faves the Ulysses Jasz Band, and the always awesome Jonathan Stout & Campus Five featuring Hillary Alexander! Each of them brought a different feel to the floor -- from hot jazz to standards to modern fusions -- but all of it fun and dance-able. In between there was some great DJed music, including an awesome soul music party DJed by Dave Frutos.
Special high fives to my dance partner Gina Quan for being awesome in the Open Jack & Jill! We had four super fun dances during the prelims (our first four dances ever, I think), and then rocked it during the finals to clinch first place! I have no idea what I did during the competition, so I will be curious to see the video later.
I was a last minute addition to the Open Jack and Jill comp, since they had too many followers. Which is probably why I wasn't as nervous as I typically am, since I wasn't even supposed to be competing!
Of course the best part was getting to hang out with awesome people, both local to the Bay Area and from parts all over Cali and beyond. I don't travel much for dancing, so it's a good reminder about why I should make more time for it.
For the next five days, I'll be in Columbus, Ohio for the annual conference of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, or ASTC for short. ASTC gathers nearly 2,000 professionals from science centers and museums from around the world.
I'm looking forward to learning about all of the work being done by science centers and museums from all over, and networking with people running these projects. Looks like the Bay Area museum and science center community will be well represented: I've already met a couple on the plane ride over here.
Meanwhile, I've never been to Columbus before. Any recommendations of what to see, do or eat?
Here's one of my favorite routines from the 2012 International Lindy Hop Championships: my friends Ann Mony and Ryan Calloway doing a super fun choreographed dance in the "Classic Lindy" division. I love the tempo and mood changes and how seemingly effortlessly Ann and Ryan accent the music with their bodies. My favorite part is the swingout at the 2:50 mark that starts slow, then Ann hits that weird scat break, and then they go back to a slow swingout. So great!
The song is "Put the Sun Back in the Sky" by the Boswell Sisters.
From the numbers of people who tuned in this weekend and the feedback we've received online, we think we can conclude that this experiment was an unqualified success. We had anywhere from 175 to 350 viewers watching the live stream at all times -- perhaps many more since we know that there were dozens of viewing parties happening in houses and dances all over. Our dedicated page was hit over 17,000 times over the course of the weekend!
Here's Todd Yannacone and Ramona Staffeld of the US doing a ridiculous Classic routine at ILHC. This will definitely be an iconic performance from the 2012 International Lindy Hop Championships, for sure. The social networks are already blowing up from it.
Apparently "Atamon" is a Danish product that is used in jellies and pickles to preserve the freshness of the food for longer. It was apparently quite useful during WWII. Which does not explain the stereotypical "Chinaman" on the front.
Now a year later, Michael Larsen on Denmark gives me a lot more background:
I read you blog, see your questian abount the "Chineseman" on the product, and started researching for the fun of it....
The manufacture Valdemar Tørsleff & Co were founded in 1923, when merchant Valdemar Tørsleff and Victor B. Strand established an wholesale company in Århus. The Company imported from the start the, cacao and Vanila. Later the range were enlarged with a long number of products for the pickling, baking and canning, including Vanilla, Atamon and Melatin.
The design on Vanila and Atamon was made by the Århus artist Henrik Hansen, a design that to this day, still is used on the product. (A Chinise cook, because in the consciousness of consumers at that time, this was identified with good cooking.) [emphasis mine]
Thanks so much Michael for running this down for me! Interesting that in Denmark a Chinese person was associated with good cooking. I wonder how that stereotype started? Perhaps Chinese people were setting up restaurants in Denmark in the 1920s and became known for their excellent cooking techniques? Any Danish people want to comment?
Michael even provides his sources ( not that I can check them):