2012 Blog highlights and the List O’Blogs

Note: This post compliments my previous compilations of dance blogs done in 2009 and 2011.

I know a lot of people who don’t like blogs on principle. I have quite a few friends who don’t like dance blogs in particular. I usually just nod and smile because I don’t need to ask them why. After all, I see most of them on a daily basis. Notice I don’t say “read.” There are a ton of them not counting my non-dancing related reading, and there just isn’t enough time in the day to keep up with them all.

Still, culling this year’s list of active to semi active blogs was a little sad because of the number of blogs that have fallen by the wayside within the last year. However, without doing any statistical comparisons, I think it’s about typical for the average lifespan of any blog, dance related or not.

I think criticisms of blogs are the same reasons why I enjoy them, which is basically that anyone can have one. It’s not hard to garner a following if you blog enough and sound like you know what you’re talking about. I’m a perfect example of that. Who the hell am I? I had a solid year of constant blogging, and despite my severe drop off in productivity here, this site still gets an average of 100 hits a day. My friends like to make fun of me for being well known in a dance for reasons not related to my dancing.

The really funny thing is that what irks people is not the criticism, which is few and far between, but actually what gets praised and passed around. Once you get to a certain level or age, you pretty much know what you like or what you look for in certain things. So it annoys people when the masses get enthralled by a performance or dancer that they think, for a lack of a better term, is bullshit.

Sometimes it’s about skills and fundamentals. Other times it’s about substance. Julius Yang has a nice description of the issue dance-wise. (This is why I like blogs, or at least the ones that articulate ideas so I don’t have to). I think debating is a good analogy. I suppose that one can theoretically present a cogent defense of the Holocaust and win an argument based on rhetorical skills. That still wouldn’t keep me from beating you with a flaming barbed wire baseball bat in the back parking lot afterwards.

Fortunately, we don’t have to deal with anything nearly as severe. That some people like what I would consider a crappy dance or blog is a small price to pay for being able to connect a relatively small community across the world.  Here are a few good examples from the past year.

Royalty

Firstly, it’s hard to miss a person that dubs their own blog as “The Queen of Swing.” At least she has the cred to get away with it in our scene. This is such an interesting development; for someone from the original generation to be talking online like this. I hope she’s able to keep up with it because she can be brutally honest in person sometimes. She just lets it all hang out as you can read in her last post on her visit to Harlem. What starts out as a reminiscence of the old days turns into a melancholic realization that those days are gone.

Perspective

On the other end of the spectrum, as I noted last year, a younger set of Lindy Hoppers is connecting through Tumblr, and you can find them uniting in Voltron like fashion under Tumblr Hoppers. We also have voices from the neo-Swing era, with Mamazilla talking about all the instructors that passed the flame to us in the late 90’s.  Bobby White got to have a super interesting interview with one of them, Paul Overton. Paul, also followed up the multitude of comments with this nugget of wisdom.

Challenge and Community

Paul brought that up as a response to the many conflicts we periodically find ourselves embroiled in simply because this dance attracts different people for different reasons. Rebecca Brightly talked about the inherent challenge of learning while Cari Westbrook emphasized the community appeal of the dance. Summer Solstice Girl was able to illustrate how those two aspects can complement each other in dance competitions.

Cat Foley took that to another level by documenting her preparation for her rookie performance at this year’s European Swing Dance Championships, and in the process, rallied the European continent behind her and her partner Alex Parker.

Climbing the Ladder

Getting to that point is not easy. Cheryl Crow posted a very popular blog about teaching beginners utilizing her occupational therapy background. While Julius Yang talked about some of the subtleties of getting to that next level.

Fusing

Meanwhile an anonymous blogger told an amusing story of how applying your other interests to dance can go awesomely wrong. It doesn’t always have to be that way as an artist demonstrates in the blog Lines where the blogger offers to do a hand drawing of dance pictures submitted to them. If I gave out an award for most novel dance related blog, this blog would get it.

Sermons on The Mount (of Doom)

As part of their multi-prong plan for world domination, the Mobtown Ballroom spawned a blog penned under the pseudonym of Michael Seguin, which roughly translates into “Satan’s Nipple, The Devourer of Souls.” Using his advanced degree in dead languages, Seguin talked about all these subjects and more, bestowing nuggets such as “In this glorious year 2012 AD, the average beginner improves 3 times as fast, largely because they have access to multiple different instructors and because the internet (which I will consider a form of witchcraft until the day I die) can deliver you free footage of some seriously hairy shit”

With the blog, Seguin is able to whip the cult of Mobtown into a frenzy for events and also tell the world what they’re about. Writing about their first year of glory:

“This place is not about the cool people. Any establishment that intends to stay alive must gird up its loins and fight against coolness, and here we try particularly hard to mix people up. We have dentists, doctors, and lawyers; we have students, dropouts, and unemployed artists. We even have some employed artists. Everyone deserves a good time, and everyone who walks through our doors and behaves with a modicum of decency, deserves to be given a fair shake. Our regulars are responsible for Baltimore’s friendly, goofy, and charming reputation. Don’t sit on your laurels — help us keep it that way.”

The Destroyer of Worlds

Finally, Mr. Mario Bros. Routine himself, Morgan Day, threw his hat into the blogging ring and graced us with a list of the best of the worst things that we can’t unsee.

The List, 2012 Style

This next part is a listing of the interesting and active sites as of this week. If I missed anything, let me know. Similarly, if you want your blog off this list, do the same.

My Personal Online Empire

My stuff which has it’s own category because 1) this is my backyard, and 2) I forgot to include them when compiling the other lists. True story.

Resources

Stuff you should keep booked marked for future reference.

The Regulars

A reliable stream of commentary on swing related stuff.

Keep an Eye on These Blogs

Stuff to watch

Music

Music stuff. Includes blogs by musicians, DJs, and the only active old school message boards.

Dance Event Videos

Video stuff by recorded by dancers for dancers. Where you at Lindy Library?

Fashion

Words about stuff to wear.

Dance Venues and Organizations

Some of the more interesting blogs by people who run regular local dances and big national events. They mostly want you to come to their stuff, but they’ll also post the odd, interesting, or entertaining as well. The ones denoted with countries after them are not in English, but will regularly post videos or pictures.

The Lindy-verse Blog-o-sphere

Stuff by dancers who don’t always talk about dance.

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8 Comments

  1. carimoves said,

    November 30, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Many kudos, Jerry, for compiling this exhaustive list (as far as I can tell). It’s great to learn about blogs I’d never seen before! Thanks so much!

  2. November 30, 2012 at 12:56 am

    As usual, great insights and stuff to think about.

    Oh, yeah, and thank you kindly for the mention! 🙂

  3. Beth said,

    November 30, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Thanks for mentioning my blog! I should get back to talking about dancing sometime, not just the clothes! And for thanks making this long list – I read some of these, there are some new ones to me.

  4. Veit said,

    November 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Great list, thanks for compiling it! Also thanks for mentioning my fairly new blog in this list of established ones.

  5. December 4, 2012 at 12:59 am

    […] where I compile my favorite videos from the past year. I already got the blogs out of the way with the last post.  I’m discovering that the dance videos is going to be a bit more problematic since there were […]

  6. December 18, 2012 at 12:53 am

    […] is the big list. You’ve already seen highlights in music, blogs, and news. I broke off a separate post for two over achievers last week, and I’ll do two more for […]

  7. December 20, 2012 at 2:54 am

    […] had so many favorites this year that I had to spread them out over several posts, (music, news, blogs, video notes, videos, videos and one more) but this last one is reserved my personal favorites and […]

  8. February 14, 2013 at 12:02 am

    uh. duuuur. when i read this post last year…. i completely missed that you mentioned me & my post. please accept my very belated (and embarrassed) thank you/gratitude for the mention, jerry!


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