DCLX+BMJB=TCB

This is a little project I did because I recently bought a new camera, and now I am basically teaching myself how to use it in addition to learning photography and videography from scratch. It’s been something that I’ve been wanting to get into for awhile now, and just decided to jump to it.

Other than being an unabashed fan of the Boilermaker Jazz Band, I did this mostly as an exercise in learning how to cut between multiple video angles. Btw, thanks to David Soltysik for letting me play with the original files of his recordings from that night. You can see his footage on his site.

I know it’s not close to perfect, but it was a good learning experience. Looking back, I may have been too much of a slave to include certain shots simply because I like looking at them. It was a great opportunity to catch the Boilermakers in rare form as they were on fire for most of that night as evidenced by your best set in the house shot of Rich tearing apart his drum set.  Plus there was the energy of the DCLX crowd and the dancers in the circle.

Everything is in chronological order, other than two short shots, and starts with the end of the second encore song: the theme from Sanford & Son. This was a compromise from showing the whole thing, and I wanted some time to acknowledge the band and show off the fun little bits that happened in between the two songs. David cut out at the end of the song, and I was about to pack it in myself, but I kept rolling on a hunch—really a hope that they would play again and they did not disappoint.

In case you’re wondering, the camera next to the drummer, Rich is the new camera: a Panasonic Lumix GH2. I was on the opposite side of the stage recording with an old point and shoot camera, a Sony Cybershot W350. That one was an impromptu decision earlier in the evening when I realized that I had it with me and decided that if I’m going to do this, then I’m just going over the top with it. David is recording with his hand held video camera in the middle of the crowd.

For those of you trying to decide on your next camera purchase, this is actually a good opportunity to compare video between a point & shoot, a dedicated video cam, and an almost DSLR. Although, it should be noted that despite the fact that the Cybershot shoots in HD widescreen, the rendering settings I used to create the final video was not kind to that camera’s footage and made it worse than it was.

Enjoy this little love letter from me to the Boilermakers and everyone at DCLX. Comments and critiques would be appreciated.

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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?).

The Proletariat’s Favorite Videos of 2011

This list is different from the Most Popular Lindy Hop Videos of 2011 post from last week in that it is a compilation of videos that were popular with the visitors of the Wandering & Pondering Facebook Page.

In putting this list together, I ran into the same problems as I did in selecting blog posts to feature in the Wandering & Pondering’s Lindy Blogging Highlights of 2011. It’s a bit difficult trying to determine what was more popular than others based on all the different data available, both objective and anecdotal. In the end I just took everything that got pretty good numbers in one category or another, but didn’t do any sort of ranking other than selecting the main video out of each category to highlight at the beginning of each category.

The other thing I noticed is how something like this is at the mercy of what I decide to post. I realized this after noticing that this list is short on ILHC entries, and that’s when I remembered that I actually didn’t post many videos from that event because I saw everyone else was posting them on Facebook, on their blogs, and other places.

One of the purposes of the FB page is to drop the hidden gems I find without going through the trouble of formatting them for presentation here on this blog. In the process, I deliberately eschew stuff I figure most people already know is out there. Part of that is because I feel that the kind of person that follows this blog is past the casual beginner stage, and is a bit more discriminating in their tastes. I think that’s reflected in the videos you guys ended up favoring over others.

Yeah, I just realized that I just described you and my blog as the hipster part of the Lindy scene. I apologize.

But check out the first video below featuring Marie N’diaye & Anders Sihlberg which was the overwhelming favorite on this list.  It has a pretty good view count of over 3200+ views, but is well short of the videos from the most popular list. The Harlem 2011 Solo Jazz Contest clip is the same way, but there was still over lap with the first list as The Harlem Hot Shots at Herrang, and Slow Club’s Two Cousins were also pretty heavily favored.*

I’m not sure what that says about you guys, but I do like your taste in videos.

Couple Routines

“Denim Moves / Marie and Anders / Lindy Hop”

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Random DCenes: Just Beat It

You won’t find Malcolm X Park on any map of DC. Only long time locals call Meridian Hill Park that. And it’s on Sundays where you’ll find the legendary drum circle.

On really nice days in the summer, you’ll find dozens of drummers playing to hundreds of onlookers including a number of dedicated African dancers.

On a chillier late winter day like last Sunday, only the die hards are out. You can count them all on your two gloved hands.

It’s easy to get caught up in the thunder of up to 50 drummers playing at a time, but with more intimate numbers, you can enjoy the interplay between the musicians. What they lack in people they make up in enthusiasm.

On this particular day I catch the leader of the group in an especially whimsical mood, yelling and jawing over the din of the rhythmic rumble. He playfully riffs on familiar songs despite or maybe because he doesn’t quite know all the words to them.

This song starts off with some James Brown. Then into Stevie Wonder. We hear the end of “Do I Do” right before he launches into a mini-Michael Jackson medley.

Unfortunately, my camera battery dies before his Sesame Street tribute.

Check out the Facebook page for this blog for daily updates of fun and interesting video and blog links.

Weekly Video Highlights: The Manzari Brothers

A little something different this week as I’m trying to find time to sort all the awesome Lindy videos from the past couple of months.

The Washington Post recently did a wonderful spotlight on up and coming DC tap talent, John and Leo Manzari.

The two brothers are both in high school but are currently in a local production of Sophisticated Ladies, a musical based on the music of another DC native, Duke Ellington.  The show is headlined by Maurice Hines, the brother of the late great tapper Gregory Hines.  Here is is talking about discovering the two brothers.

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Weekly Video Highlights: The Ninjammerz Invade Asia

The Ninjammerz hit up Japan and Korea last month brought lots of new material with them, and were greeted with an equal amount of creativity.

Thanks to these YouTube users for posting these videos

Annie Trudeau & Max Pitruzella

Sarah Breck & Dax Hock

Sarah is the newest addition to the team.  Check out the sick hand and foot sequence at 2:00. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend Video Review: The Harlem Hot Shots Go Old School

Sometimes falling behind pays off.  My next video update was going to be videos from this year’s Swing/Jazz Dancing Music-Video Contest sponsored by the Seattle Vintage Jazz Dance Society.  Fortunately, new blogger, Jazzpirations is on the case.  This is the same contest that produced the moving “Why I Dance” video I posted previously and also the Clayzapoppin video that’s been making the rounds on people’s Facebook walls.  Check out the rest of those innovative videos on Jazzpirations.

This frees me up to talk about the Harlem Hot Shots’ huge week.  Last weekend they performed in the show “The Last Bounce” which is supposed to be the last show featuring the Stockholm based dance company Bounce.  As you’ll see from the video, it was a huge arena sized show in front of thousands of people.  According to the website they did five shows in front of a total of 54,000 people!

The reason the Hot Shots were part of it is probably because one of the founding members of Bounce  is David Dalmo who was also a member of the Rhythm Hot Shots, the predecessor to the Harlem Hot Shots.

Old school Lindy Hoppers used to refer to David as the Lindy equivalent to Jesus back in the day.  He’s a multi-time Swedish Lindy Hop Champion and one of the first World Lindy Hop Champions.  Although he went on to bigger things with Bounce, you can still find him teaching at Herrang Dance Camp most summers.

Then on April 29th, the Hot Shots went head to head with hip hop crew, Streets ‘R’ Us at an event called the Oldschool Battle 2010 Round #2.  This is a follow up to a similar event that was held last year.  I posted one of the videos from that in my 2009 review.

The concept is pretty straight forward.  Lindy Hop vs. Hip Hop.  Winner takes all.

I’m only posting highlights here.  There are over 20 videos from this event at http://www.youtube.com/user/susannedr.  Also, if you can. Check out these great pictures on Facebook.

So who won?  See the last video. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend Video Update

What do you call a one man flash mob?  Canadian.

Relax.  It’s the weekend.

Bonus:  Check out this sweet routine from an event called Shuffle The House from a few weeks ago in, I think, Switzerland.

Bonus 2:  A nice two woman Charleston routine from Portugal by Diana Rocha and Abeth Farag.  According to an earlier version of this routine, it was partially choreographed by Nina Gilkenson.

Weekly Video Highlights: SEAjam 2010

I realize I’m a bit behind on these things, but I’ve been busy and there’s a lot of Lindy Awesome out there. This week’s videos come all the way from Singapore at SEAJam 2010 run by Sing Lim.  Sing Lim is a dancer that I think more people need to know about.  Ask people like Nina and Naomi and they’ll go on and on about her. In my opinion, she ranks up there with modern Lindy Hop legends like Steven Mitchell, Sylvia Sykes, and Ryan Francois. In fact here’s a video of her performing with Ryan in 1993.

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Weekly Video Highlights: Savoy Swing Jam 2010

Our friends over in Seattle had a neat event a couple weeks ago called Savoy Swing Jam to showcase their awesome local scene.  I spotlighted the J & J finals in a post last week and thought I’d put up the rest to complete the set.

In addition to your standard partnered and solo competitions, Savoy Swing Jam also featured a Short Showcase which allowed contestants to perform a 30-60 second routine.  A few other place have done something similar in the past including us over at The Jam Cellar.  The time limit makes it a little easier for new performers to give it a go without having the pressure of choreographing and performing a whole song.  As you’ll see below, a wide variety of pieces were submitted from Katie McLaughlin & Jared Luxemberg’s clever use of Mess Around variations to Michael “Dargoff” Darigol & Carolyn Palma’s staright forward attempt at swinging out to a song that I think clocks in under 340 bpm’s.   At a certain point, it just becomes a little impossible to measure such things.  Check ’em all out below.  It won’t take long 😉

The weekend also featured a video presentation which I may or may not have helped with.  Either way, I eagerly await its posting online.

Thanks to YouTube-ites retrogenesis and captainoshiri22 for posting these videos.  Be sure to check out their YouTube pages for more videos from the weekend.

Tranky for Frankie

Swing-amajig

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