City of Angels 2013 – Update #11

Mario-o-o-o-o-o-o!  What a treat to have Mario emcee! I love his wit! I love his voice!


“Good news! Alcohol in the ballroom folks! Alcohol IN! THE! BALLROOM!”

“Is it just me or does anyone else think Michael Kiehm should be on the cover of a men’s wear magazine?”

“Ladies rotate four leaders to your right. [Louis plays Led Zepplin] Okay stop, stop. Make that a two-step. Ladies two-step four leaders to your right. [Louis plays a two-step] Okay stop! Please! Stop! That was bad, very bad. Let’s try a waltz. Ladies waltz four leaders to your right. And you are being judged for this. [Louis plays a waltz] STOP! STOP WALTZING! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE STOP WALTZING! JUST STAY THERE! STAND STILL!”

“Louis you’re playing “When I’m 64″ for a Masters rotation? Subtle Louis, real subtle.”

“Louis you’re playing “Black or White” for Nick and Sarah? That’s profiling Louis and profiling is bad.”

“Louis you’re playing KISS! You’re a beast Louis. Who knows that was KISS? Who was a member of the KISS Rock and Roll Army? Put your hands up! Come on, put your hands up!


“KISS!!! ROCK AND ROLL ARMY!!!!  [fist pumps]  YEAH!!!  KISS!!!! [more fist pumps] …  Never mind. I don’t care what you people think. It really doesn’t matter to me.”

“Sir, give me a number between one and five. Three? That’s a three, right? I wasn’t sure. I thought maybe you flipped me the bird. Hey he held up three fingers! I thought he was flipping me the bird.”

“Hey don’t make fun of me. I just saw you dance.”

” ‘Just Got Paid’ – great song Louis! Anyone remember when Kyle got that song for every Jack and Jill for three years? Pretty funny.”

“You know the scariest part with Louis? Not KISS, Zepplin, or The Wizard of Oz. The scariest part is what else Louis has on that hard drive.”

“Dancers are you ready?

“Let’s hear it folks – are you READY?!



“Then for the love of God … LET’S DANCE!”



For you home-town DJ’s who want to stay current and for you competitors and music collectors here’s what’s being played at the Bigs:

(I get many requests for these lists of songs, by the way. People come up to thank me.  They say, “Thank you for the lists of songs. I skip right to those lists! I wasn’t reading your thing at all then I heard about the lists.  I don’t bother with the rest of it but I do like those lists.”)

Novice Strictly Prelims
1. “Feeling Single”
2. “Baby What You Want Me To Do” by Etta James
3. “Love You Like A Love Song” by Selena Gomez

Novice Strictly Finals
1. “Black Coffee and Cigarettes” by Mighty Mo Rodgers
2. “Show Me” by Usher

Novice JJ Prelims
1. “My Baby” by Kaci Brown
2. “Boom Sh-Boom” by Martin Sexton
3. “Take It Off”

Novice JJ Finals
1. “Black Coffee and Cigarettes” by Mighty Mo Rodgers
2. “Freak-A-Leak” by Petery Pablo
3. “Do It Cause I Said So” by Ne-Yo

Intermediate JJ Prelims (Ruby)
(heat 1)
1. “Crossroad” by John Mayer
2. “Redbone Girl” by Eric Benet
3. “Helluva Night” by Madcon
(heat 2)
1. “Come When I Call” by John Mayer
2. “Mad” by Anthony Hamilton
3. “Tonight Is The Night” by Outtasight

Intermediate JJ Finals (Victor)
1. “All Around The World” by Lou Rawls
2. “No Diggity” by Blackstreet
3. “Turn Around” by Flo Rida

Masters Strictly Prelims
1. “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”
2. “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” by Sara Bareilles
3. “Me U And The Music” by Lemar

Masters Strictly Finals
1. “Wild Turkey 101 Proof” by Kenny Blues Boss Wayne
2. “Let’s Stay Together” by Ledisi
3. “Do It Cause I Said So”

Masters JJ Prelims (Ruby)
(heat 1)
1. “Why I Drink So Much” by Mike Goudreau
2. “Butterfly” by Lokz
3. “Please Don’t Go” by Mike Posner
(heat 2)
1. “Flaming Mamie” by Koko Taylor
2. “Disease”
3. “Show Me” by Usher

Masters JJ Finals (Victor)
1. “I Ain’t Jammin I’m Jivin” by Leon Huff
2. “Come Together” by MJ
3. “More” by Usher

Advanced JJ Prelims (Victor)
(heat 1)
1. Spankin Leroy
2. “Things Are Changin'” by Gary Clark Jr.
3. “Turn Around” by Conor Maynard
(heat 2)
1. Spankin Leroy
2. “Reign”
3. “I Can Only Imagine” by David Guetta

Champions JJ Prelims (Louis)
(heat 1)
1. “Shake Your Groove Thing” by Peaches and Herb
2. “Diamonds Adorn” by Travis Garland
3. “Get Down Get Funky” by Teddy Pendergrass
(heat 2)
1. “Baby Work Out” by George Benson
2. “Valerie” by cool acoustic cover guy
3. “All Night” by Nelue

Champions Strictly Finals

Here are Louis’ covers for classic Michael Jackson songs, each song carefully chosen by Louis from the plethora of covers out there.

Just a glimpse into what makes a great DJ great: compiling this list of 12 songs represents about three months’ work.

It’s like everything – in every endeavor the best people are always the ones who work the hardest.

1. “Billy Jean” by The Civil Wars (for Brent and Tessa)

2. “Rock With You” by Trijntje Oosterhuis (for Gary and Patty)

3.  “Remember The Time” by Duwende (Jason and Yvonne)

4. “Man in the Mirror” by James Morrison (for Ryan and Samantha)

5. “Bad” by AcoustiKitty (Benji and Kellese)

6. “Baby Be Mine” by Trijntje Oosterhuis (for Matt and Laureen)

7. “I Want You Back” by Trijntje Oosterhuis (for Chris and Torri)

8. “Dirty Diana” by Acoustic Tribute Band (for BenJen)

9. “Black or White” by a band Louis refers to as “some no-name guys on youtube” (for Nick and Sarah)

10. “Human Nature” (for Ben McHenry and Mackenzie) by Trijntje Oosterhuis

11. “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Kurt Hunter (for Kyle and Melissa)

And for the final All-Skate a mix created by Louis of “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Bad.”

As I said before, great GREAT music, all weekend long, for comps as well as social dancing.

Lots LOTS more to tell about this new premiere event — next update. It was a special weekend.

There is something different – some quality, outlook, vibe – which makes the California/Arizona dance scene totally different, better, than the east coast. I catch flak for saying this but it’s true. I’d like to have what they have if I could figure out what “it” is.  I know that turf wars and rivalries are endemic to the community (or have been for as long as I’ve been around, anyway) and California/Arizona have plenty enough of those to spare. So it’s not that.

Out there it just feels … less … “adult.” Yeah, that’s it. It feels less grownup. I don’t mean less serious. They’re *more* serious, actually.  It feels both more serious and less grownup at the same time. They have more juniors – maybe it’s just that simple. We don’t produce juniors couples here in DC or in Boston and we don’t have juniors who show up to dance, who are core members of the community, rising superstars, with new movements, styles, ambition, and youthful exuberance. Maybe it’s that?

But there are other differences too. There’s some way we don’t respect/reward/take care of what we *do* have a lot of: long-time community members. We tend to push away and alienate our best dancers, our teachers and competitors, our hard-core central members, the ones who cast their lot with the west coast swing community. We don’t put our leaders on a pedestal, or revere them, or reward them for their commitment. Instead we almost denigrate them for their investment.

A social scientist would probably recognize the group psychology. I’m sure we’re no different than any other sub-culture, especially in the arts.

I don’t know what the “feel” is in the new communities outside of the US but I hear they’re doing a lot of things right. They’ve visited the US and have learned from our mistakes I guess.

How to change the dynamics out here? No clue. I’d love to know how to make the east coast feel as fun as California. Not to outdo them but to improve the community as a whole.

And now I’m going to hit “send” and be killed for writing these last few paragraphs.

But I’ve been killed before and have lived through it.


4 responses to “City of Angels 2013 – Update #11

  1. You are the best, Liza. I can’t believe how much you capture during an event – the names, the songs, the special moments….all of it. I enjoy your candid comments too – always respectful yet accurate. You keep writing – I’ll keep reading!

    • Oh Wayne, you are always SO supportive and encouraging! THANK YOUUUUUUUU!!! It means a lot to me. Especially coming from you, a writer. Thank you.

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