Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Our Last Night in the Block Party!

The Block Party. It's a loft-like space in Potrero Hill, just around the corner from the Metronome's main ballroom. There are benches along three walls, a fully mirrored fourth wall, and a high, slanting ceiling with exposed rafters and a disco ball. The deejay booth sits in the back left corner. Just beyond it, there's a kitchenette, and beyond that, there's a staircase leading up to a mezzanine that overlooks the main floor. The color scheme? Purple and turquoise. Dance-related art on the walls? Yes.

Diane Jarmolow opened the doors to the Block Party in 1995 for Paul and Sharon at the start of the swing renaissance. Many teachers have followed in their footsteps, including our beloved Autumn LaVarta.

Just think of all the dancing feet--night after night, year after year--that boogied on the smooth Block Party floor. Think of all the swingouts, the inside turns and Frankie kicks, all the snowballs and birthday jams. Think of the rush you felt when your favorite swing song came on, or when you checked yourself out in the mirror mid-dance and thought you looked pretty damned good. Think of all the friendships that were made and the couples who met (or re-met) in this very room. Think of what this space has meant to you.

We're excited about our new location, but we're sad to see the Block Party go, and it deserves a farewell befitting our warm memories. This Friday is the last night of dancing this floor will ever see, so come out this Friday and help us tear it apart with our swing shoes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Change in Store for Friday Night Swing

You may have heard it through the grapevine. You may have heard it on the evening news. You may even have heard it from Autumn himself. Yes, a big change is on the horizon for Friday Night Swing!

The details remain unconfirmed, but we do know that Friday Night Swing will be moving to a new location in the next few weeks. Don't worry -- we won't be moving far. In fact, you could probably stand at the entrance to the Block Party, throw a rock, and hit the new location. This is not recommended, however.

Of course, we'll be having a grand celebration on the last Friday Night Swing at the Block Party, and a grand celebration on the first Friday Night Swing in the new location. Stay tuned for the latest information on the move. But for now, we will see you tonight at the usual time and place!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Piglet with Heart-Shaped Marking To Crash Friday Night Swing!

Mark your calendars for a Friday Night Swing you won't soon forget! This Friday, February 15th, we'll be celebrating the day after Valentine's Day with a dance-stravaganza.

Valentine's Day decorations procured at half price -- pink and red balloons and crepe-paper streamers, heart-shaped confetti on the tables, cupid cutouts on the walls -- will set the mood for a spectacular evening of swing dancing. Plus, there'll be special music from Autumn's vast collection, and a table full of mouth-watering delectables -- including Elise's world-famous pineapple upside-down cake.

And as if that weren't enough to tempt you away from your couch and remote control, there will also be a surprise appearance from Valentine, the adorable piglet with a heart-shaped marking, at midnight on the nose.

Want to volunteer to bring additional treats for this special occasion? Of course you do! Email

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Frankie Manning Weekend Nearly Here!

Guys, get out your suspenders and newsboy caps. Gals, put on your shiny stockings. As we recently reported, legendary lindy hopper Frankie Manning is returning to Oakland for the Frankie Manning 2008 Workshop Weekend. For the first time, there will be three nights of live music: Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers on Friday, the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra on Saturday, and the Tipsy Gypsy Trio on Sunday.

As always, there are two full days of workshops -- and you know you want to tell your family and friends that Frankie Manning taught you how to lindy hop. The last day to register online is February 13.

Please note that we suggest foregoing the Friday night dance in favor of attending Friday Night Swing. Stay tuned for details about our post-Valentine's-Day dance-stravaganza!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Roof Raised at Friday Night Swing

Raising a roof is not easy. Even the simplest ridged roof consists of inclined rafters, the top ends of which must meet at the horizontal ridge beam, with horizontal purlins fixed to them in order to support the roof covering. Ceiling joists are connected between the lower ends of opposite rafters to prevent them from spreading and forcing the walls apart. Then, you need collar ties, and really, it's just a whole lot of hard work.

Fortunately, the swing dancers at last night's party raised the proverbial roof -- which is easier and more fun. Winnie, a lindy hopper visiting all the way from Beijing, joined in the fun as we celebrated Nick's birthday with a spectacular jam and a mouth-watering Boston cream cake. The joint was jumping until the wee hours.

If you stayed home and watched the Bob Saget-hosted game show 1 vs. 100, you really shouldn't have -- for so many reasons. We expect to see you at the next Friday Night Swing!