A Swing Dancer’s Bucket List

Camp Hollywood 2013

Here is a bucket list for LA/OC Swing dancers. No, I haven’t done all of these, but I figure it’s a good list to strive for. How many have you done? Check the boxes and see your percentage below! You can check off a few of these items this weekend at Camp Hollywood! 1. Take a private lesson 2. Make a video of yourself dancing (watching it will be painful, believe me) 3. Dance in a jam circle 4. Attend a Lindy exchange 5. Do Herrang 6. Enter a Swing dance contest and make it to the finals 7. Learn…

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My Top 10 Swing Dance Date Ideas in Los Angeles

Dustbowl Revival at MacArthur Park

Swing dancing is a great social activity when you’re single, but it can also be a really fun and classy date idea. Here are my top ten Swing dance date venues in the Los Angeles/Orange County area, starting with my all-time top pick: The Cicada Club! 1. The Cicada Club The Cicada Club is at the pinnacle of vintage charm and class in downtown Los Angeles. You’ll step back in time when you enter this amazing art-deco space, built in 1928 (and which has been used in so many movies). Be sure to make dinner reservations so you’ll have a table the…

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Don the Beachcomber

Don the Beachcomber

Unfortunately, Don the Beachcomber has closed as of April 15, 2018, due to high rents. We’ll miss this venue! Original Article Don the Beachcomber is a huge Tiki-themed restaurant and bar in Huntington Beach with three stages. The promoters at B&B’s Musical Thrills want to make this a premiere Swing and Rockabilly dance destination, booking some of the finest bands like Petunia and the Vipers, Deke Dickerson, Dave Stuckey, and Big Sandy. As you enter Don the Beachcomber, make a left but go past the small room with bar and stage. That’s not where the Swing dancing usually happens. Proceed through a hall on the…

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A New Revival of Western Swing?

Sage from the Lucky Stars

I went to a few events recently that made me think about the popularity of Western Swing, and how the dance crowds seem to be getting bigger for bands of this genre compared to previous years. The first band I’m thinking of is Petunia and the Vipers. Although labeling Petunia as purely “Western Swing” would not be doing them justice, they definitely encompass some of that genre. Take a look at this photo of their performance at El Cid one year ago, in June 2014.  There are a good number of folks dancing: But when I went last Thursday, June 25th…

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The Onyx Lounge

The Onyx Lounge

UPDATE: There is no longer any dancing here unfortunately (from the California Feetwarmers FB Page): We will not be at the Onyx Lounge in downtown this Thursday, nor will we be there for the foreseeable future. Due to permit constraints and silly city regulations, bands and dancing aren’t allowed at the Onyx. Big thanks to everyone who came out on a Thursday night these past few months and to the staff/ownership at Onyx. Downright decent people all around! This is a pretty cool restaurant/bar in downtown LA where the California Feetwarmers hold court every Thursday night (or at least, most…

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Dave Stuckey Plays to a Packed House at the New Lindy Loft!

Dave Stuckey and the Hot House Gang

On Friday, February 27th, the floor at Dax and Sarah’s Lindy Loft was crammed with dancers enjoying the sounds of Dave Stuckey and the Hot House Gang. I would describe the crowd as a mix of beginner/intermediate-level twenty-somethings, a few downtown L.A. hipsters, and a pretty large contingent of veteran Swing dancers who came to see Dave.  Some dancers came up from Orange County.  The crowd was quite friendly, and I danced with of new folks as well as old friends that I usually see at Joe’s Bar and other Swing venues. Dave Stuckey and the Hot House Gang is…

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What Happened to LA Lindy Hop?

LA Lindy Hop.com is now SwingDance.LA!  As much as I hate to mess with things, I had several reasons for the change. The main problem was that very few beginners and people off the street had the slightest clue what “Lindy Hop” was.  When I would tell non-Swing dancers about the site, they would often ask, “LA Lindy-what??” “SwingDance.LA”, although more generic, is much easier to remember (at least for those not already accustomed to “LA Lindy Hop.com”).  “swingdance.la” is also a lot more readable in written form than “lalindyhop.com”. LA Lindy Hop.com was already #1 in Google searches for “los…

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What Shoes Should I Wear to Go Swing Dancing?

Men's and women's vintage-styled shoes at Remix

Whenever I invite my non-Swing friends to go Swing dancing, one of the most common questions they ask is, “what kind of shoes should I wear?”  I’ve interviewed my Swing dancing friends and drawn from personal experience and observations to provide some answers here. Using Your Existing Shoes If you’re going Swing dancing for the first time or just starting out, maybe you don’t want to buy new shoes just for Swing dancing just yet.  Here are some guidelines on choosing the best shoes to dance in from your existing shoe collection. For Women Avoid high heels or spikey heels. Pick a shoe…

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A Tragic Situation – What Should We Do?

On January 22nd, 2015, a woman in the Lindy Hop community on the East Coast (not in Los Angeles), created a blog which had only one entry. In it, she detailed how she was sexually assaulted by a prominent, nationally-known Swing dance instructor (who has taught and performed in LA before). She was only 18 at the time of the incident, and the instructor was much older. She wrote with much eloquence and honesty. Although she was not raped, it was heartbreaking to read. Shortly after she posted her story, two other women came forward with very similar stories of…

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The Best 2014 New Year’s Eve Swing Dance Events in Los Angeles/Orange County (UPDATED!)

For a while, it looked like slim pickins’ for 2014 New Year’s Eve Swing dancing. Due to the awkward timing of New Year’s Eve this year, falling on a Wednesday, the Santa Swing organizers in Santa Barbara decided to cancel their event, which drew a good number of dancers last year. Many other venues are not having Swing events for various reasons, or are not having any Swing bands this year, like the Queen Mary. But fear not, some new events have appeared and more are undoubtedly coming. And, if you are willing to celebrate New Year’s Eve a day…

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The Swing Times December 2014: Gorbals Closing, Swing in West Hollywood!

Gorbals at the Alexandria Hotel

Insane how Thanksgiving is upon us already and the year is almost over! But, not to worry, there are still some great Swing dance events left in 2014! Last Gigs at the Gorbals The Gorbals restaurant in downtown LA is closing after five years at the historic Alexandria Hotel. The California Feetwarmers have only TWO Thursday night gigs left there, so you may want to check them out before this place is gone. They’re off over Thanksgiving, but playing on Thursday December 4th and 11th. The Gorbals’ website says they are closing on December 14th, but promises a future location.…

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The L.A. Swing Dance Community Loses a Talented Singer, Bandleader, Promoter, and Friend

Mark Tortorici

On the early morning of Friday, October 31st, popular L.A. singer, band leader, promoter, Swing dancer, and friend, Mark Tortorici tragically passed away in a car accident. Here are the details from ktva.com news: Thousand Oaks Man Killed In Solo Vehicle Crash KVTA News Friday October 31, 2014 Updated–Deputies are investigating a fatal crash in Thousand Oaks overnight. It was reported shortly after 2:30 AM Friday in the 1300 block of Sunset Hills Boulevard. Deputies say it involved a solo vehicle into a tree. The driver, the only occupant of the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. He’s been…

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Review: Dustbowl Revival Brings the House Down at the Edison Again!

Dustbowl Revival at The Edison

The Edison is one of my favorite venues in Los Angeles. Built in the remains of a 1910 electrical generator station, this is one of the most unique bars I have ever been to! And unbelievably, there is no cover charge! So, I was pretty excited when I found out that one of my favorite bands, The Dustbowl Revival was scheduled to play there on Thursday, October 9th, 2014. LA Weekly named them “the best live band in LA in 2013”. Not just best live Swing or Jazz or Blues band, but “best live band”, period! That means they beat…

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The Best LA/OC Halloween Swing Dance Events in 2014 – More Events Added!

LindyGroove Halloween 2013

The LA/OC Halloween Swing dances are among the funnest events of the year.  So, I recommend that you come up with a kickass costume and make it to as many of these Halloween Swing events in Los Angeles and Orange County as you can! Here’s a listing of all of the ones that I know about. Do Something Blue’s Costume and Pajama Party (Friday, October 24) Kicking off the festivities is Do Something Blue, with their annual Costume and Pajama party on Friday, October 24th.  Strictly speaking, this is not a Swing dance event, but a Blues dance event, but a lot of…

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What’s With the New Look?

LA Lindy Hop Indiana Jones theme

You may be surprised to find a completely new front-end design to LA Lindy Hop. Well, I wanted to try out a new WordPress framework, and LA Lindy Hop was a convenient guinea pig for me to try it out on. But aside from that, I had several other goals for the re-design. Goodbye Indiana Jones The “Indiana Jones” theme originated from my first personal home page, which eventually became LA Lindy Hop. I kept it because I figured that the Indiana Jones movies took place in the late 30’s, but that was the only real connection. Mostly, I didn’t have…

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Review: California Feetwarmers at Union Station – The Best Reason to Leave Work Early!

The California Feetwarmers at Union Station

SPECIAL NOTE: The California Feetwarmers and New Recesionaires are playing on Friday May 3rd, 2019 starting at 1:30PM for the Union Station 80th anniversary celebration! Come out and dance! More info and schedule at the Union Station website. On Friday, August 8th, 2017, the California Feetwarmers played a special gig at the Los Angeles Downtown Union Station to a completely packed dance floor! When first I heard about this event, put on by Metro Presents, I figured only a few dancers would show up. After all, it was during work hours, from 4-6PM on a weekday. Boy, was I wrong! By the…

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Twenty Tips to Maximize Your Fun at Camp Hollywood

Camp Hollywood 2012

Camp Hollywood, the largest Swing dance weekend in Southern California, is coming on Friday, August 30th, 2019 to the LAX Marriott Hotel!  All of the veteran Swing dancers will be there, but if you’re a beginner and you want to get better fast, this is the way to do it. There will be four days of classes, social dances, contests, and after-hour shenanigans that will take your dancing to the next level. If you can’t spare the whole holiday weekend, you can also attend just the nighttime social dances. Now that you know what Camp Hollywood is, here are the…

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Review: Honky Tonk Hacienda at El Cid Featuring Petunia and the Vipers

Honky Tonk Hacienda at El Cid

Last Thursday I finally had an opportunity to check out Honky Tonk Hacienda at El Cid restaurant. This is one of two nights of Swing-danceable music put on each week by Suzanne O’Keeffe (the other night being The Moonrise Club on Tuesdays at the same venue). I had heard good things about this joint so I was eager to visit! Here’s my report for y’all.

The Swing Times June 2014 – UPDATED

There have been a lot of interesting developments with L.A. Swing venues lately. Here’s a rundown. No More Joe’s on Tuesdays? – UPDATE! You have probably heard that Mark Tortorici is no longer promoting Swing bands at Joe’s Great American Bar and Grill on Tuesday nights, due to a dispute with the owner. He is searching for other venues. I am looking forward to seeing what he comes up with! Happily, Lorenzo’s popular Happy Feet Mondays are not affected and will still be at Joe’s on Monday nights, to the relief of many Swing dancers I talked to.  However, the danceatjoes…

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Learn Balboa from the Best on Saturday May 3rd!

Balboa has always been big in the Southern California Swing scene, but now it’s hotter than ever. It is perfectly suited for the fast tempos of the 20’s and 30’s bands that are so popular right now. On Saturday, May 3rd, two of the country’s finest Balboa instructors, Jeremy Otth and Laura Keat, are putting on a one-day workshop, called the Balboa Blast, with classes for beginner/intermediate dancers who want to improve their Balboa, and well as classes for advanced folks! Personally, I’m really psyched about this because my own Bal has kind of stagnated over the years! To Beginner/Intermediate Bal Dancers…

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