News Briefs From Yesteryear
I recently went back through some of my old Jam Cellar email writings and came up with some news briefs I did about the Lindy Hop scene. Most of them from a few years ago, I will be posting them here over the next few months. Looking back, I’m surprised at how negative some of them sound (though I guess it’s a common trait of satire/parody) , but am happy that this is a sign I’m focusing on much more positive things in the swing world. So, um, please remember that they are from a different time–and a different me.
Nina Gilkenson actually 87-year-old woman
Dorry Segev, a Johns Hopkins scientist, has recently proven that swing dancer Nina Gilkenson is not actually the young woman in her twenties previously believed, but is in fact an 87-year-old landlady who lives with cats.
“It makes sense,” says roommate Stephanie Nolan. “She knits, wears funny glasses, and binges on casino slots.”
Her dance partner, Andy Reid, agreed with the findings. “I think it’s the reason she’s such a natural dancer, you know? She grew up with that music, in the depression.”
Gilkenson was not available for comment, as she was out playing bingo. However, her daughter, Lori, gave us a tour of Gilkenson’s 1910 row-house, warning us against sitting in any of the antique chairs.
“If one broke, she would, like, totally flip out and I’d be in deep [expletive.]” she said.
Even those closest to Nina were not shocked by the news.
“What can I say, I dig older women,” says boyfriend Michael. “Antiquam Feminam Amo.”
Two guys totally take jam circle to the next level by dancing together
A jam at this year’s Mid-East Lindy Feast was totally taken to the next level when two guys decided to come out into the jam, rather than the expected boy/girl couple.
“Well, you see, Ron and Deb had just done their Pancake Snatch,” explained dancer Chris Stevens, who was one of the males who danced together. “And, like, that just can’t be topped, you know? But then I saw Ben, and he had that look in his eyes, and I knew it was on. He was wanting to do a shake-the-change.”
“Yeah, we had practiced doing [the aerial] one afternoon for a few minutes,” said, fellow Lindy Hopper Ben Scales. “So I felt good about doing it. We knew it was going to be hilarious.”
Witnesses report that after several awkward basic moves, the two males totally busted out the move, which inspired a loud burst of applause when both survived the attempt. The jam reached an anti-climax, however, when two girls then came out and simply did five swing-outs.
Inspirational Old-Timer Dancer actually Dirty Old Man
After a long two-hour conversation with Billy “Legsy” Walters, 89, an original jitterbug in the 1930s, aspiring dancer Jeff McCauley, 24, realized that the inspirational dancer was “not much more than a dirty old man.”
McAuley met Legsy at the Friday night dance at this year’s Western National Lindy Fest, where Legsy was an honorary guest.
“Sure, I expected him to be a little uncouth,” McCauley said. “I mean, he was a sailor in World War II, afterall. But when I asked him what his greatest memory was of dancing back in the day, he just smiled and said it was the time he was shooting a film and got to dance with Rita Hayworth.”
“After the camera moved away,” Legsy was reported as saying, “I planted one right on lips her before she had a chance to get away. Boy, I tell you, she had legs up to her neck. I had to take three cold showers after that.”
“I didn’t understand,” McCauley told reporters. “I mean, this guy invented thirty or forty dance steps. He traveled the world and performed for kings and queens. He grew up in the renaissance of Jazz. How could his greatest memory be molesting a celebrity?”
The elderly man showed even more of his tactless personality when Tiffany Jackson, 25, asked Legsy for a dance.
“He asked if we could do Balboa,” Jackson said, “and I agreed. Halfway through the dance he stops and tells me that if I’m going to do bal right, I have to be pushed against him so hard that onlookers should see two bumps pop out of his back.”
“I’m never dancing with an old timer again.” she added.
Once Legsy had rejoined McCauley on the side lines, he reportedly told the young dancer that Jackson “moves pretty good for a big girl.” Tiffany Jackson is 137 pounds.
Witnesses say McCauley changed the subject form a rather awkward racial slant by asking the old-timer by asking Legsy which modern dancer most resembled his style. Legsy quickly named Andy Reid.
“The way he dances, he could be my son. In fact, he is my son, but don’t him that.” Legsy reportedly said. Witnesses say he then slapped McCauleys leg and laughed heartily.
“I think he drinks whiskey for breakfast.” McAuley concluded.
Dancer who wants to be Skye 1/25 there
Five-year veteran swing dancer Robert Cowles of Connecticut is now 1/25 on the way to dancing exactly like Skye Humphries after two years of hard work.
In August of 2006, Cowles was feeling like he had no identity in his dancing when he saw Skye and Frida compete at ULHS. At that moment Cowles decided he would gear his dancing towards the passionate and unique Humphries, arguably one of the best modern Lindy Hoppers in the world.
“I thought it was pretty sad,” says peer dancer and friend George-Michael Bluth. “Until he beat me at the North East Jam Championships. Then I realized I’m the sad one if a guy dancing badly like Skye is a better dancer than me dancing like me. I’ve got a lot of work to do.”
However, many in the scene think that Cowles’ hopes are harmless. “I think George-Michael is just bitter. Robert [Cowles] doesn’t look like Skye at all; he just looks like himself with wiggling.”