A Word on Swing #2

Presenting the wildly anticipated second episode of A Word on Swing.

This has been a pretty fun project for us. As you’ll see, it’s still a little rough around the edges (and a little bit on the inside). What you see here, is the sum total of my video editing experience as I’m treating this video blog as a learning opportunity. Same with Bobby who put together our first episode.

This particular episode snowballed very quickly from the fact that we were going to be at the same weekend dance for the first time in awhile. If that sounds familiar, that’s because that was the premise of our first show.

In this case it was a dance that The Jam Cellar was hosting at the historic Glen Echo Park with The Blue Crescent Syncopators. Bobby came up with the idea of interviewing the band leader, Craig Gildner, the night before. Even with the short notice, and the fact that we were conducting this interview during the band sound check (another running theme), Craig was able to give us a wealth of information about the history of jazz guitar and relate it in a way that would be easy to understand by people with not a lot of technical musical knowledge. Like swing dancers.

From there we came up with a bunch of other ideas to build a bridge to the other related theme we were discussing at the time, but you’ll have to watch the show to find out what that was.

A technical note: I know the video doesn’t quite fit the regular YouTube screen. I’ve been having issues finding the right setting to get the editing program, Vegas Movie Studio HD 10, to spit out a  final video file that’s a reasonable size for upload. I have a relatively slow internet connection, so it can’t be huge. The program only has a certain number of pre-set ways to generate movies, and the best one I can find so far is a setting for iphone videos, which is why the video is cropped the way it is. I’m still finding my way around the program, and hoping to find a better setting other than forking over the extra cash for the platinum version of the program.

Thanks to everyone who gave us feedback while we put this together. We hope you enjoy this show. We already have plans for our next one which we’ll be recording this weekend live at The Boston Tea Party where we’ll be talking to a super secret boom time guest(s?).

Wandering & Pondering’s Lindy Blogging Highlights of 2011

Because there really wasn’t much happening on this blog. Fortunately, the lindy blogging community exploded like a hippo after a trip to a state fair chili cook off.

I talked about this extraordinary growth earlier this year on this blog, and it’s been good to see it continue. I mentioned in my first year anniversary post that I started this blog mostly because I wasn’t seeing much in depth conversation about dancing. I like to pretend that my lack of production is reflected in the fact that so many other people are posting interesting stuff.

I wanted to do the same sort of thing for blog posts as I did for the most popular Lindy Hop videos, but I quickly discovered how hard that would be since there is no one place like YouTube where I can reliably check who has had the most hits over the past year. At first I went through my handy dandy Facebook page for this blog and compiled the posts that got the most “likes” and comments. As I went further back, I realized the problem with this approach since I only started FB page in February, so obviously items posted earlier this year got fewer responses. Facebook does provide “Insight” numbers (number of impressions, views, clicks, responses, and virality which sounds slightly obscene) for posts on the page, but they only go back to July 19, 2011. The other problem I noticed is that really popular posts like stuff by Bobby White or Rebecca Brightly were re-posted by other people which would garner responses I wouldn’t necessarily notice, and would subsequently lessen the likelihood of people liking or commenting on my page. I thought about alternate ways to factor this in, but there really isn’t a good way to do it, especially with my short attention span.

Ultimately, I compiled this list based on a combination of the available data, my terrible memory, and arbitrary bias. If you think of a really cool post that isn’t included here, feel free to post it to the comments. Read the rest of this entry »

Jam Cellar: The Musical

A couple weeks ago I referenced the guest DJ show The Jam Cellar did for Yehoodi Radio a couple of years ago.  In addition to 10 of our only best DJ’s contributing their favorite songs to play at the Jam Cellar, the executive producer, Jesse Miner encouraged us to be as creative as possible with the program.

We didn’t need that much prodding.  Since a number of the Jam Cellar crew at the time were pretty musical, we decided to write and record our own theme song for the show.  Here it is in two parts.

The Opening Theme

For those of you who want to sing along at home here are the lyircs as written by Luke Albao and Naomi Uyama. Read the rest of this entry »

Billie Holiday Inspiration

Social networking.  It works bitches.  Especially when you’re friends with people who really know their stuff.

Case in point, Rob Moreland, a Lindy DJ from North Carolina, posted one of my favorite Billie Holiday songs, “No Regrets” on his Facebook profile.  Rob said he heard it from Michael Gamble, a fellow southern DJ.  I first heard it played by Mike Marcotte here at a dance in DC.

I just think it’s a lovely, bittersweet tune which if you know anything about her life, seems to be Billie’s emotional default.

Rayned Wiles then inspired a few other fellow DJ’s to post their favorite Billie songs by offering this lovely gem, “Stars Fell on Alabama.”

I don’t think Billie Holiday really got that much play when I started dancing.  I’m not sure why that’s so because there is quite a bit out there that can be played at a dance.   It’s easy to overlook the earliest parts of her career especially compared to the quality and volume of everything that followed.  even the author of linear notes in the first CD I ever picked up of her debut work was not shy in his derision of this period.  But as you can hear, there’s a reason why she got noticed.

After Rayned posted his response, I took this as a challenge to post my favorite Billie song. It reminded of the times I used to DJ with Rayned, Mike, and others at the old K2 Dance Studios.  We would rotate in and out, sometimes alternating sets that lasted between an hour and sometimes as little as two songs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Greatest Hits Pt. 2: The Hits Strike Back

This is why I don’t post off the cuff that often, because I forgot a whole section of thoughts I wanted to include in my last post.  I talked about why DJ’s can and have to play lots of unfamiliar stuff.*  Simply because if they don’t then everyone stagnates.  The dancing, the music, your breath, your mom’s breath etc.

However, I’ve come to realize that it’s easy to forget that most people that come to a dance very rarely listen to this music outside of the dance floor.  Many don’t listen to it at all.  The few that do probably just have those well worn hits that they really like, and they get excited to dance to those same tunes when good dance partners are around. Read the rest of this entry »