Welcome to my life on the ballroom D - list

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ohio Star Ball 2015

This year's Ohio Star Ball was an enjoyable one. It's always fun to be part of the largest dance event in the country. I attended this year with Erica DeJoannis.

This year's event was aired on the Dance Network.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

NYE 2015-2016

For the end of 2015, I spent New Year's Eve at the Kennedy Center. It was a nice way to wrap up the year. After some thought, I would describe 2015 as a quiet year, one with plenty of time for reflection.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Maureen O'Hara

So sad to hear that we've lost another star from the Golden Age.

I remember when my grandmother was inspired by Maureen's role in Cab to Canada, so she took us ( Pye, my brother & I ) to Victoria for tea. Maybe it's especially sad that she's gone because Doris Walker's belief in Santa speaks to everyone's power of imagination.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Charles Epting visits Mr. Henry's

This afternoon I was delighted to have lunch with Charles Epting. He is the editor of Silent Film quarterly, the only print magazine dedicated to silent film. This week Charles is in DC to conduct research at the Library of Congress. He is visiting the library for research on Bebe Daniels. 

With Mr. Henry's being located across the street from the library, it was only natural for Charles to join us for lunch today. In honor of his arrival, one of our regular customers donated a Henry Clive rendition of Bebe Daniels for display in the dining room.
During his visit, we asked Charles for help in identifying some of the artwork on the walls. Mr. Henry collected variety of pieces for display in the pub. 
The wall of artwork has not changed in years, yet following Henry's death, many items are left unidentified. The wall displays a variety of burlesque artwork. Many prints of silent film stars also appear on the wall.

We just recently identified this print as "The Mystery of Egypt", also by Henry Clive. The woman who appears in the print is still unknown to us.

We were seated for lunch under the photos of Julian Eltinge.

It was great to hear about the latest news with Silent Film Quarterly, and how this film community overlaps with the world of vintage dance enthusiasts

Before leaving, Charles also took time to pose for this photo as a tribute to Alicia Mayer, host of the Hollywood Time Machine with Will Mckinely.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Atlantic City's Silent Films, canceled by hurricane

 This weekend I visited Atlantic City to see the Silent Films at Boardwalk Hall. This year's showing was canceled at the last minute, due to weather.

Unfortunately, many who were going were not notified in time, and were stuck with existing hotel reservations and travel plans that could not be rescheduled.
Despite the gloomy forecast, the weather was quite nice upon our arrival. It's obvious that many travelers stayed away. I heard there were only five rooms occupied at the Claridge hotel when I checked in.

 Lyn Van Noy was also traveling up for the Silent Films this weekend, so he and I met up for breakfast at the 1920's themed resturant on the 6th floor, appropriately named "The Twenties".
It was a quiet weekend in AC with little to no entertainment options. 

Luckily we got tickets to one of the only running shows in town, Steven Scott at the Borgota.

There were several DC travelers who made the trip for the movie, including patrons of the arts: Mark Vendemia and Helen Fiori, who were generous enough to provide us tickets.

It was also fun spending the day on the Boardwalk, and touring the historic 2nd floor of the Resorts, where a few hints of the hotel's original architecture still glimmer.
My good friend, Bruce, has a long time connection to this building, as his family owned the property during its heyday, back when it operated as the Chfonte-Haddon Hall. Much of the Resorts Casino has been modernized after the 1970's but if one looks closely,
Vintage corridors can be spotted here and there.

It was fun touring Haddon Hall at the Resorts, but it was even nicer to stay at the Calridge, which is experiencing. complete retro-renovation to bring back its 1920's reputation for elegance. Rebecca Gentry and I had a swell time playing "Hollywood" at this location last year. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Roberta Flack visits Mr. Henrys DC

On the heels of live Jazz being revived at Mr. Henrys by Herbet Scott  and Aaron L. Meyers, The one and only Roberta Flack paid visit on Saturday.

A photo of Roberta Flack's visit on Saturday, September 26, 2015. This may be the only photo that was taken. For those who may not know: Mr. Henry started her career in the upstairs Jazz room . She was hired in 1968 by Henry Yaffe.

Mr. Henry was an openly gay Jewish man who was a veteran of WW2 in the Army Air Corps. The pub he opened has been a welcoming place to people in the arts for over 48 years.

The atmosphere in Mr. Henry’s was welcoming and the pub turned into a showcase for the young music teacher, Roberta. Her voice mesmerized locals and word spread. A-list entertainers who were appearing in town would come in late at night to hear her sing (frequent visitors included Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Ramsey Lewis, Liberace, and others).

As Yaffe recalled, “She told me if I could give her work there three nights a week, she would quit teaching.” He did and she did..

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ron Bennett: past and present

RON BENNETT PAST & PRESENT: This is Ron Bennet's first ever selfie, with "old timer" dancer, Terry Chasteen. Ron appeared in the 1950's TV program, Arthur Murray Dance Party. Ron Bennett is still active and coaching, Happy Saturday, Ron. Here's a link to Ron in the old days: http://ballroomdlist.blogspot.com/2012/08/ron-bennett.html?m=1

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Chloe Arnold visits the Jazz Jam

Wednesday nights  at #MrHenrysDC have been jumpin'. Here's yet another reason to visit the Jazz Jam, held every Wednesday from 8-11pm.

Had a great night at work last night. Our upstairs stage hosted dancers! Herbert Scott hosted for the Capitol Hill Jazz Jam as we welcomed International Tap Star Chloe Arnold with a Solo Tap performance, followed by a  jam session fand Tap Cuttin Contest. Musicians and dancers from around the area attended.
Here I am with Chloe before the night started, as the band set up.
Chloe Arnold is a choreographer, director, and producer. She is best known as a tap dancer and was recently seen on Season 11 of FOX's So You Think You Can Dance with her company, Chloe Arnold's Syncopated Ladies.

One of Chloe's recent credits was a recurring role on HBO's hit series Boardwalk Empire as one of the Onyx Girls.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Galaxy DanceSport

It was around this time last year that Sophia D'Angelo & I attended Galaxy Dancepsort. This was the last event that we attended alone together, before I was replaced by Ilya Reyzin. 

We attended this event to supplement our absence from USDC that year. Galaxy was a relatively new event, hosted by Sam Sadano, John DePalma, Marianne Nicole, and Linda Dean. 

The event was held at the Arizona Biltmore, nicknamed the "Jewel of the Desert", and rightfully so. The hotel is a beautiful art deco structure with a maze of gardens and swimming pools.  The Arizona Biltmore's architect was Albert Chase McArthur, yet it is often mistakenly attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright, owing to Wright's on-site consulting during construction.

When the hotel was renovated in the 1970's, additional features were installed as tribute to Wright, including the stained glass window in the Lobby.

I must admit that out of all the events we attended that year, this event still remains as one of my favorites.

When we arrived to Phoenix, we were greeted by the pounding heat that the region still experiences in early September. The event was on the small side, but packed with power. The judges and event organizers seemed more up close and personal at Galaxy, which gave the event a more intimate feel.

Between evening sessions at this event, we spent a lot of time with Martin Crawston, and his students, JoAnn Demoss and Judy Karlsen. We enjoyed spending time with this group as Martin held court with his engaging sense of humor. 

Our pro/am rounds at this event went reasonably well. The dancing was stress free, it was the opposite  experience of USDC, where there was so much pressure to win.

Outside of dancing, we enjoyed time at the Arizona Biltmore's poolside resort 

During my alone time, I got to walk through some of the hotel's many amazing gardens.
At the center courtyard of the hotel,
Are the statues of FLW's Midway Sprites. I don't know if these statues were replicas or in fact the originals from the Chicago Midway Gardens, but in any case they were on display as a tribute to Wright, which further fuels the debate as to the true architect of the hotel.

Before wrapping up this event,
We also danced in Galaxy's Country Western division.

While we were in town, we also made a
trip to visit Forrest Vance, who lives nearby.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Photos from Empire Dancesport Championships 2015

The Chrysler Turbine Car

On the heels of watching the Recent Disney movie, Tomorrowland, I've found some pictures of my mom in the mysterious Chrysler Turbo car that appeared in the World's Fair.
My mom, along with my aunt and uncles, were entered in a raffle to ride in this famous car, which was on exhibit at the fair.  The Chrysler Turbine Car was an automobile powered by a gas turbine engine that Chrysler made from 1962-1964. Bodies for the Chrysler Turbine were made by Ghia in Turin, Italy, with final assembly taking place in a small plant in Detroit, Michigan, USA. After a period of testing, the vehicles were reclaimed by Chrysler; all but nine were destroyed. 

When I was just a kid, I remember seeing this car on display in the Smithsonian, and my mom recalled the story of her riding in it very clearly.

 It was fun watching the movie , Tomorrowland, with the World's Fair Pavillion so accurately recreated.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Proud Lion

The Proud Lion, that has long graced the entrance to our famous playhouse at #Mr.HenrysDC was taken down this week.

Receiving his namesake from former Universal Contract player, Rudi Apple, the  Proud Lion is said to have graced the entrance since the days of the 601 Club, when Patsy Cline and the Frontier Boys played in the 50's.

So many celebrities have passed under the Proud Lion on their way to the upstairs stage, from Roberta Flack to Liberace. This list of celebrities is too long to count.

Our boss, Mark Steele, had him removed on Friday, but fear not, the Proud Lion has been removed for historic preservation and will hopefully return soon!
Up close, he's in a sad state of decay, having a crack from his head to his nose. The last restoration of the Proud Lion took place in the 1970's, when a staff member from the Phillips Collection repainted him. 
Here's to hoping he'll return soon.