The Big Apple! Brought to you by the Southside Stomp (and friends)! March 10th and 17th

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2012 by Bill Speidel

The Big Apple is a popular circle and partnered jazz dance originating in South Carolina in the beginning of the 20th century and immortalized by Frankie Manning and Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers in the 1939 film Keep Punching. It looks like this…

Just how BIG is the Big Apple?

So big, we couldn’t fit it all into one Southside Stomp, so we’ve invited all our Virginia lindy hop friends to join the fun!
Richmond’s 2nd Saturday Swing (Saturday, March 10th)
Richmond’s RASS and Usual Lindy Suspects start the party off at 6 pm when Trey Gomes and Valerie Hargis teach the 1st half of the routine before their monthly Second Saturday Swing.

Norfolk’s Southside Stomp
(Saturday March 17th)

6 – 8 pm We’re proud to welcome back Swing Cville’s Michael Herring to teach the second half.

8 – 9 pm Our beginner’s introductory class. No parter or experience necessary.

9 – 1 am DJ’ed social dancing at Hampton Roads monthly swinging lindy hop social… featuring DJ’s Andy Nishida and Valerie Hargis.

$12 gets you both lessons and the dance / $10 with student or military ID

What’s that? You can only make one class? Well heck, half a Big Apple is still WAY more fun than no Big Apple. Come on down and dance twice as awesome to the part you can learn. – A Digital Tool for the Lindy Hop Community

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2012 by Bill Speidel

It’s a Wednesday night and I’m sitting in my living room listening to DJ’s Michael Gamble, Mike Thibault, Rob Moreland, Kristy Milliken and Nick Olinger and talking with Michael Quisao, Yossef Mendelson and 30 other lindy hoppers and DJ’s from across the country about what makes the music lame or awesome.

Welcome to’s Swing Music For Dancers, an easy to use musical resource that allows lindy hoppers to listen to music DJ’s find swinging, explore an online collection of music to DJ themselves, upload songs from their own collections and talk with other dancers about what makes them want to dance or not dance. Endless thanks to someone I know only as an icon named “Hounddog” and their bot sidekick “Houndbot”, for slapping together our digital ballroom and giving us music geeks a place to hang out.

Why is such a great new tool?

– DJ Rob Moreland pointed out a fair amount of the great music others are playing is buried and forgotten in his own collection somewhere, or the version he has isn’t as good as the one he’s hearing.
Score one for experienced DJ’s rediscovering lost gems and “upgrading” to better recordings.

– After scoring straight lames for Brian Setzer and Go Daddyo an aspiring DJ asks, “these songs kill back home in my remote college scene, why aren’t they awesome here?” Similarly, another DJ asks why the 8 minute live version of “In the Mood” and Manhattan Transfer’s version of “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” also isn’t killing it.
Score one for aspiring DJ’s having real time multi-media interaction with experienced and highly respected DJ’s and a medium to anonymously experiment and get instant feedback on what the play.

– “Isn’t this the J.C. Higginbotham on trombone?” and “That was such a Ben Webster lick on the saxophone right there.”
Score one for music geeks having a place to hang out.

– A DJ I hadn’t heard asked to play for Southside Stomp so I invited her into and she spent an hour and a quarter seemlessly spinning hard swinging tunes alongside balboa DJ Kyle Smith and Denver’s Daniel Newsome. Similarly, I’m now a “fan” of DJ Jesse Hanus, who I look forward to hearing spin, and my computer gives me a little message to let me know when she’s playing.
Score one for giving new DJ’s a place to set themselves apart and get a following.

– DJ Ali Connell got snowed in this week and couldn’t get to the weekly dance at MIT she was supposed to DJ so she arranged a video feed of the dance floor and DJ’ed the dance from her place using turntable… even letting me sit to play 2 tunes remotely from Norfolk.
Score one for not having to cancel a dance or find a last minute replacement to plug in an Ipod.

– 40+ dancers are listening to music and joking about all the money they’ll be spending for the cool stuff they want to buy to listen to or DJ.
Score one for good music being infectious.

There’s a lot to like on Definitely check it out if you get a chance.

(Screen capture by Nick Olinger)

The Southside Stomp – Valentines and Violins

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 12, 2012 by Bill Speidel

Saturday, February 18th

Al Capone’s Valentine’s Day gift for rival Prohibition gangster Bugsy Moran may have been less than loving in 1929, but that won’t stop us from throwing another swinging dance party!
Southside Stomp presents Valentines and Violins
an evening of swinging Lindy Hop!

Mambo Room, Salsa Latin Dance Studio in Ghent
2200 Colonial Ave., Norfolk, VA 23517

$12 for lessons and dance / $10 with student or military ID
A beginners swing Lindy Hop Lesson – No partner or dance experience necessary.

Instructors Aaron Loehr and Neve Fletcher will have you ready to the dance floor having fun in just an hour. Come out and discover a world of good times and stick around for some great dancing.
Lindy hoppers who are in the know should come out early to get your Geek Love on with Mia Bahagry and Alex Edwards as they teach an edited version of “The Lindy Chorus” routine. We’ll be filming a run through at the end of class and submitting the footage to some Lindy Hoppers (along with 2 dozen other dance scenes around the world) to visually demonstrate Quantum Physics at the TED Conference in SF next month.

Get a preview here:

Project Q — Lindy Hop and science


Richmond flapper girl DJ Erica Vess and Southside Stomp’s own birthday boy Bill Speidel will be spinning swinging music designed to keep you on the floor having fun!
Midnight-2 a.m. AFTER PARTY

Mum’s the word, but afterwards, we’re off to Still Wordly Eclectic Tapas in Portsmouth for their annual St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Party. Two words for you… Bathtub gin!

“Just when you thought it was safe to put your flapper dress and tommy guns away… come celebrate this killer holiday party with Still. Food and drink specials, prizes for best outfits and more. Invite your friends, invite your enemies, after all, this party is going to be killer…”

For more information or to make a reservation call Still at: (757) 332-7222

Benefit for Wounded Warrior and dancer Jeannette Tarqueno

Posted in Uncategorized on January 31, 2012 by Bill Speidel

On December 4, 2011, while serving our country in the Persian Gulf, US Navy Gunners Mate First Class Petty Officer Jeannette Tarqueno was injured. 30 lbs of metal struck her on the left side of the head. She suffers from TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).

Her everyday life has been affected…with difficulties in speaking, walking and balance. After spending time (until January 11, 2012) in San Diego for medical care, she was sent back to her home port of Pearl Harbor. Her treatment continues with a hopeful prognosis. It is believed that she will make a full recovery with the help of her family. The medical professionals have asked that the family stay with her while her treatment continues. They believe that this is a part of the recovery process. Wounded Warriors are helping in the financial need for the family. Unfortunately, due to the economic times, funding is limited. They are unable to help the family completely.

The goal of this fundraiser is to make sure that US Navy Gunners Mate First Class Petty Officer Jeannette Tarqueno, gets the help needed for her recovery, by allowing the family to be with her. Jeannette’s goal is to continue serving our country, as she has for the last 10 years. She has never asked for anything, she has only given to all of us. Please join us to help raise funds to make her recovery a success!

Any extra funds that are raised will be donated to the “Wounded Warriors” to help other families care for their loved ones that were injured while serving our country.

Benefit for Wounded Warrior Jeannette Tarqueno
March 31, 2012 7pm – Midnight
VFW 17147 S. Oak Park Ave.
Tinley Park, IL 60477
$20.00 per person includes food, beer, wine, and soda
For more information check out:

If you are unable to attend the benefit but would still care to make a contribution, please contact Rebecca Lee at Espresso Express (312) 618-1983.

Be My Jazz Baby Gets Some Good Press!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 30, 2012 by Bill Speidel

Our good friends Alt-Daily and the Lindy Shopper were in attendance for our Be My Jazz Baby weekend and were kind enough to write flattering pieces about our little soiree!

Click on their logos below to read Jaime Simpson’s article, “This Ballerina is Learning How to Swing Dance!” and The Lindy Shopper’s “Be My Jazz Baby 2012 Vendors“.

The Lindy Blogger

Be My Jazz Baby Class Overview

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2012 by Bill Speidel

Be My Jazz Baby features 2 days of dance courses with instructors…
Michael Gamble and Jaya Dorf
Adam Speen and Abigail Browning

Saturday’s classes at Dancesport offers a choice between 2 intimate tracks divided by focus (not skill level)
Track 1: “Less is more”
This track focuses on perfecting the look and feel of essential lindy hop basics. English textile designer William Morris once said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” In these classes the instructors will help you master the theories, physics, and execution behind core skills to help make yours look consistently beautiful every time you use them.

1:00-2:15 Swing High, Swing Low, Swing Fast, Swing Slow… Swing Out! – Adam and Abigail

2:15 – 3:30 Synchronized Rhythms – Michael and Jaya

3:30 – 4:45 Dancer as Musician (aka Shiny Happy Fun Musicality Time by Blammo!) – Adam and Abigail

Track 2: “The Devil is in the Details”
Looking for a little variation to allow you to develop your own personal style? Billie Holliday once said, “I hate straight singing. I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it. That’s all I know.” That’s what this track is all about… changing up some of the details to give you new ways to move and new concepts to think about.

1:00-2:15 Explode Your Rhythm – Michael and Jaya

2:15 – 3:30 Improving your Creativity through Rewiring your Defaults – Adam and Abigail

3:30 – 4:45 Rhythm + Turns = Awesome – Michael and Jaya
Sunday’s classes at Shall We Dance Studio are all taught by Michael and Jaya.

1:15 – 2:15 Ad-Lib Improv Kickstarter

2:20 – 3:20 Decrypting Partner Charleston Patterns & Transitions

3:30 – 4:30 Spotlight on the Student – Strategies for Self Improvement

An Interview with Be My Jazz Baby’s Vintage Stylist, Liv Lethal

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15, 2012 by Bill Speidel

One of the many things we’re excited about for Jazz Baby , is having our own vintage stylist, Liv Lethal and her team, on hand to help gals get glamourized for Saturday night’s Jazz Baby Ball and the photobooth. We sat down with Liv this week to chat about what inspires her.

Welcome Liv. Please tell us about your background as a stylist. How did you become interested in vintage hair and makeup?

My love for all things vintage began when I was 6. My mother has always said that I’m an old soul trapped in the wrong time. While most little girls were playing with dolls, I was listening to my parents’ old ’45s and learning how to jitterbug and go-go dance in the living room. It was around that time when I also started experimenting with my grandmother’s Merle Norman Cosmetics hand-me-downs. From the first whiff of talc, I was hooked!

I come from a long line of women who won’t open the curtains until their make-up is applied and their hair is perfectly styled for fear that someone (god forbid a man!) might walk past the window and see them unkempt. So that concept of being perfectly put together was instilled in me at a young age. As I grew older, I began watching old movies and I became enamored with the women in those films. I started searching for any old photos I could find and began practicing re-creating those looks. And the rest is history!

Do you have a favorite time period or style to work in?

I love the 1920s through the 1940s. So many key elements of hair and make-up change about every 10 years, even now, so it’s incredibly challenging to pick one favorite decade. I love the smoky-eyed, rosy cheek look of the 1920s because it was both mysterious and angelic. I love the glamorous fingerwaved hairstyles of the 1930s. Just looking at photographs from the ’30s makes my heart flutter. But I also love the fresh face and the architectural hairstyles of the 1940s. Reverse rolls are as sexy as they are awe-inspiring.

Which actress had the best look?

When it comes to overall style, it’s definitely Marilyn. Of course, as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, I’m more than a little biased! Marilyn was really in tune with her body and what cuts of clothing worked best for her shape, so she always looked sexy and still classy. She was also a make-up fanatic like myself and often did her own make-up for movies. Now, if we’re talking about best hair then I would say Betty Grable, hands down. She always had rolls and swoops that defied the law of physics.

Where do you get your inspirations for your designs?

Old photographs and books, mainly. Occasionally old films, but it’s harder to study a person when they’re moving on screen. The Internet has really opened the creative doors with the amount of images out there. But you’ll still find me digging through old boxes of photographs at the junk store looking for that one girl whose style really speaks to me.

How does the hair and makeup differ between, say, a 20’s flapper girl look and 40’s pin up?

History and the changing times greatly affected the styles of both periods. In the 1920s, the troops were just coming home from World War I. It was a time of celebration and prosperity and the fashion of the decade was greatly influenced by this. America was leaving behind the image of the conservative, fresh faced Gibson girl with her long curly tresses piled atop her head and starting to embrace international fashion culture. Young women started to wear heavier make-up and rebel against society. They darkened their eyes, rouged their cheeks and worked on perfecting the perfect Cupid’s Bow lip. Many cut off their locks in favor of a short bob style. Make-up was still in its early stages of development, so women often concocted their own beauty products such as mascara – which contributed to the more primitive, less polished look.

By 1941, America was at war again and women left the high glamor of the 1930s behind and began rolling up their sleeves to enter the factories and do their part. Because of this, women started to embrace a more natural make-up look, with red lips of course! Also, because of the dangers of working on heavy machinery, women began to style their long hair into pulled back rolls and thus the fad of reverse and victory rolls was born. It’s also because of the war that we have this emergence of the “pin-up girl” who truly embraces the style of this time.

You’ve also had some exposure to dance and lindy hop in your past. Does that give you some insight into helping someone select a style more suitable for dancing as opposed to still photography?

Yes. More bobby pins and more hairspray!

Do modern tools make it easier to capture vintage looks?

Modern tools definitely make the hair styling process much faster, but they never fully capture a true vintage look. They come pretty close, but a Marcel iron will never create the perfect finger wave. There are just some things you have to do the old fashioned way.

What services will you be offering at Be My Jazz Baby? How much time will a session take and what’s the best way for someone to make a reservation with you?

For Be My Jazz Baby we are offering three types of make-up and hair styles. For make-up, we’re offering looks from some of my favorite time periods. We have the 1920s vampy flapper, the fresh-faced 1940s pin-up and the glamorous 1950s starlet. For hair, we’ll be offering a modern twist on the 1930s finger waves. Since true vintage finger waves are done on wet hair and can take hours, this is a modified dry-set version. It will still take a little longer to achieve than our other style offerings.

We also are offering those famous 1940s reverse rolls as well as a classic curl set. We will be taking walk-ins only on a first come, first served basis. So stop by when you’re ready to transform into a classic beauty and we’ll transport you back in time!

Thanks Liv! We’re very excited to have you and your team down with us for the weekend!


Appointment signups will start during classes on Saturday afternoon.

You can find out more about Liv on her website

Why I Travel to Dance and Be With My Dance Family on New Years

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2012 by Bill Speidel

We love to display flyers for dance events in other cities and encourage locals to travel, meet new friends and share great dance experiences. We were thrilled that many Southside Stomp regulars were amongst the 800 dancers in Asheville this past week for their 10th annual Lindy Focus dance camp.

The highlight of every Lindy Focus is their elegant New Year’s Eve dance; this year with a wonderful show choreographed by NYC’s Evita Arce and dancing to the Boilermaker Jazz Band and Jonathon Stout and his Orchestra. In my tuxedo, custom-made lapel pin and 100 year old vintage top hat, I had the great privilege of unlocking the front door and being the first face that welcomed the crowd of people, some of whom had spent months searching for just the right gown, suit, purse or hat or learning to tie a bow tie, into the ballroom. The excitement and celebration in the air was magical.

With 31 teachers, 4 bands, and 7 contests over 4+ days, Lindy Focus throws the most swinging New Year’s Eve bash in North America. Still there are plenty of lindy hoppers in the world who also love spending their New Year’s at Stockholm, Sweden’s annual Snowball with their 26 teachers, 5 bands, and 5 competitions over the same number of days.

This year, Lindy Focus’s playful MC, Andrew Thigpen, decided to send Happy New Year greetings from Lindy Focus to Sweden. On the first day of camp he returned from The Dollar Store with colored paper, crayons and markers and dancers sat on the carpet in the hotel lobby and hand drew cute Happy New Year cards, which Andrew overnighted to Sweden. The following afternoon, Lindy Focus camp organizers received Happy New Years wishes back from Sweden in the form of this youtube video, which they broadcast onto the large screen for the full camp to see…

Andrew and the Lindy Focus camp then responded back on December 30th by sending this video, which was shared with their full dance camp in Sweden…

I was so thrilled to be amongst my global lindy hop family on New Year’s Eve and I wish all of you find similar joy in your dancing and lives over the coming year.

An Interview with Be My Jazz Baby vendor, Sharon Crawford, of Creations by Crawford

Posted in Uncategorized on December 22, 2011 by Bill Speidel

One of the things the organizers of the Be My Jazz Baby weekend are most excited about is our Vintage Vendor area at the Jazz Baby Ball on Saturday, January 21, 2012. I had the good fortune to be able to talk with Sharon Crawford, of Creations by Crawford, about the custom and hand crafted fascinators and men’s lapel pieces she’ll be exhibiting for us.

Welcome Sharon. I want to start off by asking how long you’ve been making vintage accessories and custom fascinators?
I’ve been producing custom fashion accessories since 2002. I started while studying jewelry design in college and began creating custom fascinators for swing dancers in 2010.

How did you get into it?
The same type of self-expression that I find in dancing drove me to create unique vintage-inspired fashion accessories for myself to wear at dances. Those were noticed for their distinctive style and people began asking me to make pieces for them. Before long, event organizers began inviting me to help promote a more fashionable atmosphere by vending at their events.

How would you describe your style?
Fashionably, I think my pieces tend to stay in the realm of vintage with a modern twist, but really my style is eclectic and individually unique. Like a diamond, I’m multi-faceted, so versatility is really key to me. One day I might feel shabby chic, the next day vintage, and the next punk.

I like to cater to my changing moods and be able to create for everyone with no limitations by any one style.

How much work goes into a typical piece?
Each accessory I create is one of a kind, so unless I’m making a custom piece, I’m faced with a blank canvas. Sometimes ideas and inspiration come relatively quickly, but it usually takes at least 2 hours and can take up to several hours to compose and construct a piece that I feel is complete enough.

I consider custom pieces to be collaborative art. When it comes to creating them, I strive to understand the wants, needs, and personality of the wearer. You might think that having some parameters might make my job easier as a designer, but it usually takes that much more time to make sure all of the components capture the essence of the wearer.

Since most of what I do is custom work, the time frame varies greatly. I had a bridal customer that wanted me to create a bridal veil for her using her grandmother’s wedding headdress and the netting that was used for her mother’s 15ft. long train on her wedding veil. I spent several hours with her exploring the elements that she found important and hashing out ideas that came to my mind. I spent several more hours scrupulously hand sewing pearls, crystals, and tiny seed-beads around the perimeter of a 5 ft. long train. From start to finish it took me 26 hours to create a piece that she adored. On the flip side of that, I created a custom fascinator for her maid of honor that only took 3.5 hours from start to finish.

Where do you get your inspiration?
The little details inspire me. It could be a feather, a button, a piece of vintage jewelry, a scrap of fabric or flowers in a field. People also inspire me. I love to create pieces based on what I know of someone and what I think they might wear.

Do you have a favorite piece… one you had a hard time letting go of when it was finished?
I usually work a piece until I love it. With that being said, I have a lot of favorite pieces and parting is such sweet sorrow.

It seems like you’ve created custom pieces at a good number of shows now; does that mean the dance community has been good to you?
Art is really subjective, so it’s been very fulfilling that so many people in the dance community connect to my work and continue to be very supportive of it.

Care to tell us about any favorite moments?
Well, the expression on the face of international blues dance instructor Heidi Fite when she first saw her fascinator was pretty awesome. She then approached me about vending at the nation’s largest Blues dance workshop and competition weekend, BluesSHOUT! and that felt pretty phenomenal.

Another very touching moment happened as I was showing a bride the fascinators that she wanted made out of her heirloom jewelry for her bridesmaids. She opened the box and she just began crying. I wasn’t sure if she liked them or thought that they were a disaster. I always get nervous giving people their custom orders, because you’re never sure if you have captured what they envisioned until you see the smile on their face. It took her several minutes to compose herself, then she told me that she loved them and was so happy that she had me create something so special. I felt very touched, but more than that, relieved! In all honesty, these moments have been very special to me, but anytime someone sees their piece for the first time, or I’m asked to create something special for someone or vend at an event, or someone wears a creation that I made, all of these have been and will be favorite moments for me.

You’ve also recently branched out into pieces for men; can you tell us about that?
To be honest, I have been inspired to create items for men because of the dapper gentlemen that I see somewhat frequently at dance events, such as you (Bill Speidel), Victor Celania, Michael Quisao, and others. I mean, who doesn’t love a well-dressed man?

I feel that dressing up, at dance events in particular, adds to the ambiance of the evening and men deserve to have a little fun with swank in their wardrobe too!

I’m super excited about the new line of men’s fashion accessories that I’ve been producing. I have designed pins that can be worn on the lapel, vest, or hat, but what I’m most excited about is the pocket accessories that I have been producing. The creations are designed to replace the pocket square, but keep the classic feel of it while showcasing the wearer’s distinctive style.

Are there any tips or suggestions you could share to help people pick out the right piece for themselves?
As with all of my creations, the materials used for custom pieces would depend more on the collaborator, but most of my current inventory is made with feathers, fabric and other accent items.

I say find something that you simply fall in love with or expresses your personal style.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Sharon. We look forward to seeing you at Lindy Focus and then our Be My Jazz Baby.

Southside Stomp’s Sleigh Bells Swing Holiday Party – Saturday, Dec. 17th

Posted in Uncategorized on December 16, 2011 by Bill Speidel


The holiday season is upon us and Southside Stomp is busy decking the halls and spiking the nog in anticipation of Hampton Roads annual holiday swinging Jingle Ball!
Saturday, December 17th
The Mambo Room Latin Dance Studio
2200 Colonial Avenue, Norfolk, VA
Admission: $12 for lessons and dance / $10 with student or military ID
6:30-8 pm Intermediate lesson: “Triple-stepping by the power of Grayskull!”

Instructors Matt Pait and Valerie Hargis!

They’ll be teaching different approaches to posture, body movement, and techniques to get you moving efficiently and smoothly so your excitement and enjoyment of the dance will increase as tempo’s quicken.

8 – 9 pm Beginner lesson with Mike Lopez and Neve Fletcher

9 – midnight DJ’ed social dancing to Swing DJ’s Kait Mahar and Bill Speidel

After party at Still in Portsmouth.

Also featuring:
– a gaudy Christmas sweater competition
– a holiday fruitcake rescue box; because no holiday fruitcake should be unloved during this joyous season (just drop it off guilt-free and walk away, no questions asked).