April 1999
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posted 05-02-99

The SSQQ Swing Team is ready to celebrate the Orchestra X "Salute to Swing"

Over the May 15, 16, 17 weekend, the SSQQ Swing Team is ready to help Orchestra X with their huge 3-day "Salute to Swing" event at the Crystal Ballroom in Rice Hotel downtown ( 909 Texas Avenue). This event consists of a concert of famous Swing tunes performed by John Axelrod's Orchestra X (as in Gen X as opposed to X Files). Mr Axelrod is playing a cross-section of Swing music all the way from the Big Band Era right up to the present.

After each of the 3 concerts, SSQQ will be conducting a Swing workshop for concert attendees followed by a huge Swing dance afterwards. The SSQQ Swing team in all likelihood will be performing as well.

If you love Swing music and Swing dancing, this is a very elegant setting for all you SSQQ hotshots you show off your dance skills !

For tickets and further information, call 713 - 225 - 6729. Tickets in Advance are $18, at the door $22.50. With a student ID, the cost drops to $10. Check the posters at SSQQ for more information.

posted 04-21-99

Hey SSQQ Dancers, Want to be in a cool show ? Here's your big chance :

The Strand Theatre in Galveston’s Historical District is having open auditions for the USO Radio Show, a swingin’ revue on the forties and World War II radio broadcasts. Triple-threat actors needed! Must be good singers that can act and dance. Dancers that can act are also needed. The USO Radio Show will pay $15 per performance, guest artist contracts possible. Auditions will be April 25th at 6 PM and April 26th at 7 PM. Bring: 1 or 2 - one minute audition pieces, song and sheet music, picture and resume. Call 409-763-4591 for appointment. Or email Terry Arnold for more information at terry123@pdq.net Also check out their web site : strandtheatre@galveston.com

Hello from Nell in Alabama

Nell Adkins was a big part of our studio for some time. She was in all the Death Valley and Twilight Zone classes. We were terribly unhappy to see her leave to take a new position in Birmingham, Alabama, although we did enjoy teasing her unmercifully with "Deliverance"-type jokes about Alabama. Here is part of her note :

Just a hello from Nell Adkins in Birmingham. Sure am missing SSQQ in a big way, but I’m enjoying keeping up with ya’ll from afar via the
webpage (which looks great, btw).Sounds like everyone is making good use of that new floor - pictures don’t do it justice, I’m sure, but based
on the ones that you posted on the webpage, it looks fantastic. Talked with Jack Benard about 3 weeks ago, and he told me that the new floor was, indeed, a wonderful thing.

Have been working like a dog, and thus not dancing very much, since moving to Birmingham, unfortunately. Hoping that will change soon. Also am planning a trip back to Houston for some R&R before too long. I look forward to seeing that new floor for myself! Please say hello to
everyone for me - especially Ted & Margie (really missing their class), Sharon, and Susie. Miss ya’ll!

You can contact her at nadkins@www.business.uab.edu    Come back and see us soon !

posted 04-18-99

The Sleazy Bar Whip Party is coming !

With the legendary Sleaze himself, Ben Liles, off to Europe, the mantel of the King of Sleaze has been bequeathed unto Jack Benard. On April 24, SSQQ has its once-a-year Sleazy Bar Whip Party, a throwback to the dives and honky-tonk era of the 40's, 50's, and 60's when Whip was better known as the "Dirty Whip."

Those were the days when the Whip existed mostly as a pickup dance back when drinking was still cool, smoking was still cool, and no one worried about catching things from strangers. My, how the times have changed. The ladies put on too much lipstick and skin-tight clothes and the men wear lots of leather and don't bother much with shirts. Tattoos and Wigs are everywhere. Most of the fun is pretty much tongue in cheek, but don't kid yourself...some people can't wait to misbehave !

Jack Benard is the man taking center stage this night. He has scoured the planet in search of the naughtiest moves imaginable to teach at the Sleazy Bar Whip Workshop taught the same night. Ben has taught him some moves, but Jack is pretty slick... I've seen him in some very provocative positions out on the dance floor lately. You ladies need to remember to wear at least 3 layers of clothes to this workshop. Jack has a routine where one item of clothing is removed per move. Three layers should leave at least a couple body parts still covered.

Speaking of the Sleazy Bar Whip Party... if you would like to read an interesting story on the History of the SSQQ Sleazy Bar Whip Party,

click here )

SSQQ Volleyball on Saturday, April 17, is fun !

Saturday morning about 14 SSQQ athletes squared off for some serious competition. The Old-timers included Mo Hendrix, Jill (the Thrill) Banta, Smarty Marty Shea, Paul (Too Tall) Foltyn, Jerry Bumbalough, Timm Chavez, and me. Returning from a long absence was SSQQ Professor Emeritus Peter Shores whose serve was as devastating as ever (and his wife Leslie is expecting their second son). Another blast from the past was fabulous VBall player Keith Jones and his lovely friend Deborah.

Newcomers to the SSQQ VBall Experience were Anita Williams, who cleverly started out as pathetic as possible and improved immeasurably as the day wore on. Her serves resembled Scud missiles - I hid behind the oak tree whenever she served. Nevertheless, Anita could be a Player ! She certainly is aggressive enough.

Other first-timers were Paul, Lupe, and Gloria. They were all in a Beginning Swing class. We don't list second names until they come again. They weren't bad for rookies.

Keith was the best. He left undefeated and yawning. Mo was the best lady. She won just about whenever I wasn't on her team. Jerry ran off about 12 points on one serve, almost singlehandedly winning the best match of the day.

The highlight for many of us was carving up a delicious cold watermelon and making fools of ourselves. The cool April weather, beautiful sky, and gorgeous trees with their new leaves made it so pleasant. Next big game : the Memorial Day Grudge Match.

So What about the Swing Extravaganza II ?

The Swing Extravaganza on Saturday, April 10, was very successful. We had all 13 workshops make. I would estimate attendance at well over 100 people. The three Lindy classes did well, Ms Crista's Tap classes had people begging for more, and Yvonne put together a terrific Charleston routine. I am trying to talk her into making it a line dance it is so cute.

Later that night at our Swing Party the Blue Monks did a great job entertaining us with many hits from the 30's and the 90's as well. I really like their band. Unfortunately I had a headache from keeping careful vigilance over the parking lot earlier in the day, so I was keeping a low key.

The highlight of the Dance Party was a Swing Jam performed by Judy Archer's Swing Skirts and Mugz Swing Dance Team. Four guys got out there : (Anthony, Brian, Daniel, and Ed) and danced the lights out. For emphasis, Ed Bullwinkle, a former gymnast, and Anthony Bernabeo hooked up for a great cartwheel. I think the ladies on the Swing team need to come up with a response and fast.
Advantage : Mugz.

As many of you remember from the first Extravaganza back in January, SSQQ made quite a few Bissonnet Shopping Center owners pretty mad by filling the entire parking lot with cars. I took extra steps to warn Ex visitors to avoid the Front Row parking strip this time : You all got a perfect score !  Not one SSQQ person was seen parking in the front row the entire day. Our shopping center owners just marveled at your cooperation.  Thank you so much !

So Which Incredible SSQQ Hunk is also an accomplished seamstress ?

A source on Susie Allen's Western Swing dance team, the Heartbeat, has leaked some juicy gossip. The best seamstress of the whole bunch is a guy !

And not just any guy, but a real big Macho guy, the huskiest man of them all in a whole bunch of big beefy boys on the team, none other than Mr. Randy Goshorn...(Randy shoulders are so wide I always call him "Mister Randy" whenever I see him). My anonymous source refused to be identified; the entire team is under a gag order not to reveal this secret. I was told that Randy is a fabulous seamstress ! When I heard this, I didn't smile, I didn't giggle, and I responded that all the Real Men I know respect guys who can sew a lot, especially me. After all I too can sew. Why just the other day I put a button back on my shirt singlehandedly. It was taking quite a while till Judy mentioned I might try using the other hand too. So I am no amateur when it comes to discussing sewing.

Here is the scoop. Susie's team is getting ready to perform and none of the women can sew a lick except Anita Williams, except that she has been neglecting her sewing to work on her Volleyball game. At least one staff member thinks what the Boss wants is more important than anything else. So Randy stepped up to the PFAFF (the sewing equivalent of stepping up to the plate) and took his licks at lines, hems, and ruffles. In all, Randy sewed for over 4 hours making all of the hems for the white ruffles on the new team skirts !

And get this... there are pictures ! Our secret agentI took pictures of him sewing at his PFAFF machine. Yes, Girls, Randy has his very own PFAFF. For you guys, a PFAFF is the sewing equivalent of a John Deere Tractor. It is one of the most expensive top of the line machines you can buy. I am telling you, this boy can sew !

Nor was Randy the only sensitive man on the Heartbeat. Mr Tony Catalano was described as "quite helpful". He participated by gathering the ruffles as Randy got them sewn. Isn't that sweet ? And these men can Dance, Too ! 

The Heartbeat is performing this coming weekend Saturday, April 17, at two events. They will be at the Houston International Festival Parade of Dancers in the afternoon, then at the Doubletree Hotel downtown Saturday evening for a small convention . Then to top it all off, they are threatening to come to Sleazy Bar Whip party afterwards (Oh great, just what we need, a bunch of ruffles at our biker party).

Getting back to Randy, it seems that Randy's Mom owned a sewing business. She taught Randy to sew at an early age. He has been sewing his entire life. All my teasing aside, I think it's cool ! Furthermore, the next time Susie's Heartbeat performs here at SSQQ, if Randy is half the man I think he is, those skirts will split open halfway through the pattern and make this a performance all the men will cherish.

January tows SSQQ vehicles

On Thursday night, April 8, 5 cars were towed from in the front of the unoccupied Januarys store on the corner of Bissonnet and First Street.

The store is out of business. No warning was given. In 20 years, there has never been a car towed from this spot. (For the record, I do not recall a car towed from any spot in 20 years. Amity Pest Control threatened recently, but gave us warning.)

Mr. January may have had the legal right to tow, but why he felt this reprehensible action was necessary is beyond our understanding. I phoned Mr. January on Friday to ask, but his number had been disconnected. I deeply regret this incident.

Letter from Rick Archer to the Owners of the Bissonnet Shopping Center (my landlords, Mr and Mrs Alan Kwan)

Just so you are informed, at least six people had their cars towed from the Januarys parking lot last night (Thursday, April 8).  When we went out to check, we saw three signs posted threatening such with the "Januarys" name hand-written in. It was so dark, the small signs were only noticeable if you were looking for them. The cost was $97 to retrieve their car.

I was ashamed at the cowardly nature of this unprovoked attack. We received no warning and no complaints. I visited the Bellaire Police Station. They said it was a legal tow. It may have been legal, but it was also immoral. All they had to do was tell me and we would have warned everyone not to park there.

I unfortunately do not know where this sort of cruelty will end. Certainly I am bitter towards Larry January. I do not know how to retaliate against meanness of this nature, so I am forced to bide my time.

I do not know if you are aware, but in February Mr. January approached me via phone to intercede with you on his behalf. He wanted to put a restaurant in and needed to use parking spaces in your center. I said at the time I couldn’t imagine with Charlies always struggling to make ends meet why the owners would encourage direct competition. I recommended he find a business that was not in direct competition with any of the stores in our center. I pointed out that his previous tenants – the appliance store – used your parking lot freely and frequently, but since they did not "compete", no one minded very much.

He then attempted to involve me in a plan to persuade you otherwise despite my common sense approach. First he suggested I find a way to break my lease and consider his location instead (laughing out loud). Then he went into a racial diatribe about how "people of color" are taking over and people like us (apparently including me in his Aryan Brotherhood) need to band together. I replied that the owners of our shopping center were educated and reasonable people. I added that you had the foresight to leave Hong Kong before the Chinese takeover and that our country would be fortunate to have more people like you. I said all he had to do was find an area of common ground and then he would be more likely to find cooperation.

He hung up in disgust. I suppose the attack last night was a retaliation of some sort in his mind. I am sorry for him. If you have any suggestions or other knowledge, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio

Bellaire Police tell Doodlebug Towing to take a Hike !
April 12, 1999 : Letter from Rick Archer to the Bellaire Police Dept.

Bellaire Police Department
5110 Jessamine
Bellaire, TX, 77401

I would like to thank your department and several of your officers in particular for their excellent work recently. Police undoubtedly do many things that deserve credit, but remain unnoticed by the public. I realize you do not require a pat on the back for all the things that go on, however surely you won’t mind if I take the time to compliment your Department for its help in two recent incidents that involved my business.

Last week on Friday, April 9, Officer Colleen Herman was instrumental in defusing a potentially angry situation. Here is the story.

I run a dance studio called SSQQ. I have been at this location since 1980. We have dance classes practically every night of the week. I am fortunate in that we are a successful business, but one problem we have is that sometimes we have more students than parking places.

On Thursday, April 8, five cars belonging to students of my business had their cars towed from the parking lot of the out-of-business Januarys store on the corner of First Street and Bissonnet. No warning was given. Upon inspection, we saw "no parking signs" posted with the name "Januarys" hand-written in. I visited your station the same evening and I was told the event was considered a legal private tow.

Personally speaking, it may have been legal, but it was also an unusually cruel action considering a simple note or telephone call would have solved the problem without having to hurt people needlessly. Five people were now $100 poorer and left with a feeling described to me by one as similar to someone who has just been mugged.

On Friday evening, April 9, I felt the need to stand in the parking lot to warn people not to park in the lot. We have used those parking spaces for twenty years (and customers from their business have used our spaces as well back when they were still open) without a problem. Even when a stop sign goes up for the first time, it may take a while for regular drivers to notice it. Certainly the January signs were nowhere near as obvious as a new stop sign.

As I stood there waving off two people who had just parked in the now illegal spots, I noticed a tow truck driving by for the second time. At 7:15 pm I waved to them and engaged the "Doodlebug Towing Service" in an animated conversation. They were quite proud to explain they had been hired by Mr Larry January to keep his vacant parking lot clear of the disturbing vehicles. It became obvious to me that they were literally driving up and down First Street waiting for the first possible opportunity to tow yet another car.

I went back inside to organize a parking lot Watch Patrol. I believe in the time it would take a customer to park their car at Januarys and walk to my business to see the warning signs, their car would have been towed.

At 7:45 pm that evening Officer Colleen Herman came into my business to explain that she had intervened in the situation. She said she had heard there had been problems the night before and decided to come check on the current status. She took the time to show me exactly what parts of the parking lot were off limits. Officer Herman also said she did not expect further problems that night.

After she left, I was later told by two individuals who were part of the "Watch Patrol" that Officer Herman had engaged the Doodlebug Towing Service in a conversation as well. From what I was told, she asked them to stop the towing. They immediately replied that what they were doing was legal and they intended to continue. Officer Herman said, "I don’t care if you think it’s legal or not, I expect you to give these people some warning and 15 minutes to move their car before you tow them."

Officer Herman’s action completely defused the tension. At this time, Saturday and Sunday have passed. To my knowledge, not one more car has been towed. I want to add that she took the initiative to show up. This was a head’s up play on her part. Since I had been told what the towing operators was doing was considered "legal", it never dawned on me to request police assistance. I want to add that when the people inside our building heard what she had done, they cheered as loud as if the Astros had won the World Series.

Bellaire Police catch the Bad Guy !

The second story took place on Tuesday, March 9. Back in February and early March, at least six and possibly as many as twelve vehicles were vandalized at our parking lot during the evening business hours. As a rule, we have perhaps one incident a year. Now it seemed like every other night I stood by watching as one customer after another gave their theft and damage report to a Bellaire Policeman.

Feeling helpless since attacks of this nature are quick and quite random, I was strongly considering organizing a Parking Lot Patrol to walk the parking lot at night. I wasn’t thrilled with this idea because it could conceivably involve unarmed citizens encountering a potentially dangerous criminal in the act of committing a crime. In other words, I wasn’t sure how safe my plan was, but I did not have a better idea.

Then to my surprise, I found out a suspect had been apprehended by the Bellaire Police on the night of Tuesday, March 9. I was not at my business that night so I had to call your Records Department for the names of the officers involved. I was told that Officers Chris Delk and Colleen Herman (yes, the same !), Corporal Brad Olds, and Detective Oglesby using his bloodhound were given credit for the arrest. Although I may not have my facts absolutely correct, this is what I was told by an eyewitness:

Due to the unusual number of break-in reports stemming from our location, the various officers who took the reports had promised to keep a closer eye on our parking lot.

During a regular drive-through on Tuesday, March 9, Officer Chris Delk noticed a man wandering around among the cars. Apparently his actions raised suspicions, so Officer Delk stopped him and asked some questions. (Note: I believe there was another officer assisting Officer Delk, but my call to your Records Dept did not list his or her name). They also ran his name through the computer system to see if he had any warrants out. The computer check revealed he did some time for organized crime "car theft" with four other people. Since the officers did not have anything else on him at that time, they let him go. However moments later a message came over the radio that someone calling from my business had just reported another car break-in. Apparently when the officers detained the man the first time, he had already robbed one car and was in the process of searching the parking lot for another target. Now alerted by this report, the officers quickly called for backup, found where he had gone, and arrested him.

One month later there has not been a single break-in.

I am very grateful to your officers and your department. So are the many people who appreciate the protection you have given them.

Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio
Monday, April 12, 1999


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