Now that I have been exposed to the deep, dark underground that is Swing Exchanges, I will admit that I have become addicted. On Feb 14-17th, I danced and partied my arse off in New Orleans for their first exchange, Lindy Gras.
I was hesitant to make the 8 hour drive there, since I waited too long to get tickets at a reasonable price, but Greg and I later decided that we’d make the hike together. We finally arrived at our David’s (our host for the weekend) very shag-a-riffic house around 7PM. Equipped with a dry sauna, pool, and a Jacuzzi, I knew that this should would be perfect for crashing after the 1-5AM after hours dance parties. At this point the party was Gene, Dan, Craig, Greg, Helen, David, Jeff, and myself. Needless to say, Helen enjoyed the ratio. But we had a problem. We were hungry.
David, once again, had the great hookup because there was NO WAY we were going to find a restaurant with a decent wait time on V-Day…on a Friday night. So, we went to a club with a live band and some home cooked jambalaya for a $7 cover charge. I was in heaven. Let the dancing begin.
With full stomachs we headed out to the Registration/V-day dance not too far from my Alma Mater, Tulane. Met some people. Danced some dance. The generous people of New Orleans even put on a “Dating Game” skit for our amusement.
But then the real dance fever came out…at the after-hours Pajama dance. I was in my comfortable “Suga’ Daddy” regalia while others donned more fitting nightware. Oh yeah, watch out for the Killer Frogs. Not all were able to hang in till the bitter end, but some tried.
The following morning, David took us out to Jaegers on the Lake, for some good eatings. It had been too long since I’ve had boiled crawfish, so I was quite content. Thankfully, we didn’t get into too much trouble since Jeff was harassing our waitress and she swore that we just let him loose out of a Psychiatric Institution.
But my food craving were not to be completely satiated until I got my beignets. Man, I miss Café du Monde. Back in college when I had the only car, I would be my friends’ beignet/car pimp. If they needed a ride, they would have to feed me. Café du Monde was the standard payment. Strolling around New Orleans, we felt the urge to visit Coyote Ugly. Who knew that we’d find so much good clean fun? (Complete with the down home hospitality.) Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves quite a bit. Even Helen and Jeff. Thankfully, Jeff didn’t mind us sticking him in the trunk since we didn’t have much room in the van by then.
Back to dancing! We arrived just in time to watch them crown the King and Queen of Lindy Gras. Lo and behold, the Queen was Dallas’ own Jamie!
But before heading out to the After Hours party for some more 1-5 dancing, Andre, Greg and I decided to be boys and visit Bourbon Street for some sights. Believe it nor not, my favorite was the disproportionately sized truck.
Timing was apparently on our side, because right as we got back Andre jumped into a Birthday Jam for him and a few other Lindy Gras’ers. But not everyone knew that it was Andre’s Birthday. J Afterwards, Jeff and Atalanta did a good job of stealing the show. (FOCUS, Jeff!)
My mom and sister (on left) were in town, so I went to the Olive Garden and had lunch with them. Let’s hear it for free food! J I then drove like a demon to Lindy in the Park.
Here’s where I’m going to get all sentimental on ya, so just brace yourselves:
Growing up, I was always the social outcast. Everyone poked fun at me, and I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere, except with the other outcasts. Even then, it didn’t always feel right. When I went to college, I didn’t really do much. I stayed inside, played on my computer, rarely partied, and only drank once or twice. Needless to say, I’m making up for it now. So, when I was dancing in Audobon Park, right across from Tulane, it was a truly spiritual experience for me. It was a testament to how far I’ve come. How much I’m enjoying life. How rich of a life, I now have. And how very grateful I am.
I’m really happy with how some of the Park pictures turned out. But then again, some of the best pics are done with the cooperation of Mother Nature. Good dancing too, next to a lake. Just had to make sure that I didn’t fall in, or do a swing out and find my partner all dripping wet. (And not in a good way.) This was the “say goodbye” dance for lots of people.
Nap time. Then the last dance of the schedule: Rock and Bowl. Take an old fashioned bowling alley, add some very tired, but party hardy swing dancers, and a DJ, and you’ve got Rock and Bowl. (Plus a little celebrity endorsement.) A brief, but fun finale to the scheduled dances…
And that’s when the cat’s got let out of the proverbial bag…
Bourbon Street. World renowned for it’s drunken fests, parties, good music, great picture ops and dancing. Now add people who know how to get drunk, get their party on, deal only in the best of music, love attention and traveled hundreds of miles to dance…that might give you some small sense of the intensity of the night. I could write an entire journal entry just on Sunday night, but I’ll only give highlights.
Needless to say, this was one of the grandest times of my life. It’s two days later and I’m still trying to catch up on all of my sleep.
Some of the more memorable quotes of the weekend were:
- “What better way to say someone you love than with beer?””Say it with a lager.”
- (After the lights came on at 5AM and people were screaming and running away) “We’re like roaches!”
- “Munbah netch kha””You read my thoughts!”
- “Full contact Lindy Body Shots”
- Insight: “Demons are spawned from (chocolate) Jeff’s loins.”
- On a church outside sign: “Stop Drop and Roll doesn’t work in Hell.”
- “Hey Baby, wanna go out?””Save your breath for your inflatable date.”
- In reference to Jeff’s loins:”Bring the Devil out.”
”Is that what you call it?”
- Heard from someone who needed to talk to a fellow Lindy Hopper that was driving away:”Stop the wedding!!!”
- “There will always be auta’s, shoulda’s and woulda’s”
- Count the boobs: “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them both.”
- Spoken by the lead singer of the Blues band after mentioning that it was his birthday:Murmur from the crowd.
“I’m a pussy?! Oh, a pieces.”
- On kissing: “Have y’all kissed yet?””Not officially.”
- “Don’t hate the player…hate the game.”
- “Sometimes, it’s good to be the bitch.”
- “This weekend raised the bar. But then again, the bar is now at lesbian booty.”
- Passing by a cop from Venus, TX: “I’ll be damned. There is a guy from Venus.”
I wish I had a more profound ending to this story, but all I can come up with now is:
Thank you, New Orleans.
Now I’ve just gotta get myself ready for my own “Food and Spirits” party this Saturday and practice giving Penalty Shots. Then, another possible trip back to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Phew. It’s a good and busy life. Gotta love it.
And when I got back, my new toy was waiting for my at my doorstep. I’m so happy.
You can see all of the pics here, and the best of the pics here.