May 1999
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Congratulations !  Ray Jahn and Kelly Bennett get married

An email sent to me :

Thanks to SSQQ for playing the role of matchmaker for us. We met during Sharon Crawford’s wonderful western waltz classes in the fall. One thing led to another and we were married May 28, 1999.

Ray and Kelly (Bennett) Jahn

I might add, guys, that this Western Waltz stuff is serious business. Women love to Twostep, but they go nuts when you Waltz with them. That special rhythm has a hypnotic effect. They are rendered nearly helpless. I might add, however, that if you can't keep the tempo, they regain their composure. Either Waltz well or don't bother.

Wilson Says Hi

Wilson SooHoo was a student at SSQQ in the early 90's. He was also the city's biggest Aeros fan. He emails to say hi and to congratulate Houston's Aeros on winning their ice hockey championship recently. He can be reached at   Thanks for checking in !

posted 06-06-99

Lip Sync Party

On Saturday, May 22, SSQQ held its second Lip Sync Show. To my complete surprise, the second show was as good as the first. 

Right before the Lip Sync Show we got to see Susie Allen's Western Swing team "the Heartbeats" do a terrific Western dance performance. I doubt I can remember everyone's name who performed, but I will try. For the ladies, Anita Williams, Janet Wukman, Suzanne Hegemeier, Jill Banta, Karen Day, Kelly Baehr, and Susie Allen. For the men, Ben Liles, Ray Meyer, Martin Anderson, Randy Goshorn, Marty Shea, Chris (last name ?), Tony Catalano, and Dan Carr. The highlight of the act for me was when the men stepped to Lip Sync the lyrics to a song, "I'm a Cowboy". The sight of these incredible hunks strutting their stuff was irresistible. Especially good was Ben Liles. The ladies were terrific too to the Shania Twain song that starts "Go, Girls". In all the performance was very entertaining. Much credit should go to Susie and her brave performers. They sure brought us a lot of smiles !

Starting off the Show was Becky Stockinger with an unusual act to a folk song by Paula Cole (I think) called "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone ?". Of course we weren't expecting the act to be about the recent miseries of the Dallas Cowboys. This surprise and Becky's flash cards made for an interesting trip down memory lane.

Act II was the fabulous Beach Boys including Jeff Morton, Matthew Tyson, me, Dennis Taupo, and Paul Foltyn singing "Kokomo".   Jeff got the job of lead singer because he was the only one who knew the words.   Performing as well were the backup dancers Amanda Keiser, Teresa, Kathleen Alexander,  and Stacey Norris. Unfortunately, the dancers distracted the Beach Boys just a little bit more than they should. If I remember correctly, Paul was the only Beach Boy still manning his post at the end of the act.

Act III was Russell Rice as Elvis singing "Heartbreak Hotel". As I was busy changing, I only got a glimpse, but it was obvious Russell was a much better Elvis than I was back in November. But I forgive him.

Act IV was Anita and me as Sonny and Cher singing "I Got You, Babe".  As Anita and I rehearsed the day before, I decided Sonny and Cher got further in show business with less talent than any other act in history. Cher may have had some talent... even that has been debated... but Sonny was awful !  He couldn't sing a lick.  I was Cher, Anita was Sonny. I was a little mad at Anita since she appeared to know the words to this song, making Cher look like an airhead for not knowing the words. Hmmmph. As Cher, I misbehaved and flirted with the audience a bit too much for Sonny's taste, so he had me tied me to a chair and sang to me, "I Got You, Babe".  What is so sad is I was having such a good time vamping as Cher that when Marty, Ben, and Timm attacked me from behind to tie me to the chair, I completely forgot it was coming !  I was just as shocked as Cher would have been !  These Lip Sync shows are too much fun !

The surprise hit of the show was Sharon Crawford as Dolly Parton singing "9 to 5". Included in the act were two boobs. You had to see it. People were screaming it was so funny !

Act VI was Daryl Armstrong singing "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife...".  Included in the act were two real-life beauties, Gillian Tilbury (yes, walking again !) and Joanne Armstrong. It was clear to me Daryl didn't have the sense to follow his own advice. Nevertheless included in this very entertaining act were the Greek Chorus including Dennis Taupo, Timm Chavez, and Ray Villareal. The Ugly Wife turned out to be a fabulous Randy Goshorn whose blond wig almost scraped the ceiling. Randy was just perfect as the ugly wife who sews, mops, sweeps, cooks, and does it all !

Act VII was the fabulous Village People. Marty Shea was the hardhat, Martin Anderson the GI, Patrick Steerman was the Cowboy, Timm Chavez was the Indian, and Ben Liles was the Biker. These guys were terrific !   Adding several shall we say kinky twists to their act, they brought the house down !  I can't say one was better than the other... each one of these guys was great !

Many of the acts were formed at the last minute. At one point in Room Four the Village People were rehearsing, in Room 6 the Happy for the Rest of your Life group was rehearsing, and in Room 3 the Beach Boys were rehearsing. No stage jitters for our performers... most of them were drafted the night of the party. Lip Sync Acts are so silly anyway that the worse you are, sometimes the funnier you are. Daryl Armstrong said it the best when he told me he feared his group might have over-rehearsed. I think they practiced a total of many 20 minutes.

At any rate, if any of you spectators are now inspired to join us, get your act ready... we do it again in November !
For pictures of the Lip Sync Show, click here  (Note it may be till June 11 for this link to work)

The New Floor

The new dance is finished. We covered all of Rooms 3, 4, and 5. Personally, the floor is just beautiful !

The floor was delivered on Friday, April 30. Marty Shea and Anthony Bernabeo were nice enough to volunteer their time to help me carry it in.

On Sunday, May 23, we took down many mirrors and tore down the walls between Rooms 3 and 4 and between Rooms 4 and 5. This was an entire afternoon's work. The next day Monday, May 24, we put down half the floor, then finished the job on Tuesday, May 25. For pictures and details of the project, click here.

We tested the new floor twice, first at Memorial Day Swing Benefit, then again Friday Night, June 4, for our regular Friday Night Whip Dance. I may be biased, but I think you will be pleased at how terrific the changes are. For one thing, we take down the wall between Room 3 and Room 4 to triple the size of the dance floor. I installed four new speakers as well. The extra room permits tables and chairs to be set up for viewing purposes, a much-complimented change. Soon we will add more track lighting and the room will be perfect.

There are a few kinks to still be worked out, but by and large the new floor will likely become a much-loved addition to the studio by creating not one, but two excellent dance floors at parties.

The Memorial Day Volleyball Game

Well, the Party itself was a terrific success, but the SSQQ Staff was annihilated by the Studio All-Stars in the big grudge match. Ain't no sunshine when we lose. There was a tall, handsome man named John. I do not know his last name, but it may be Mudd. John was not only a terrific spiker, but he was an excellent defensive player as well. Many times the SSQQ Staff would hit a bullet over only to see John Mudd calmly keep the ball in play. Phooey.

Other Studio AllStars included Reza Taherian, his friend Hamid, a young lady named Donna, Judy Walsh, Steve Frolich, John, and one other. Give me a day or two and I remember more names. (Maybe someone could email me the missing names !)  The Staff Team included Mo Hendrix, Jill Banta, Paul Foltyn, Tom Easley, Timm Chavez, Marty Shea, and me. If I had played better, we might have had a better chance. But I doubt it. The AllStars were good !

The truth is the day was just a blur for me. I got up at 7:30 to sweep the water off the volleyball court so it would be dry by 1 pm, then I went over to the studio at 9 am to finish putting up the speakers for the Swing Benefit later that night, and then I got back to my house at 12:45 pm to see two volleyball players waiting for the doors to open. Since it had rained both Saturday and Sunday, I wasn't able to prepare ahead of time so I spent the next hour and a half scrambling to find everything. I moved plants around, put up the net, brought out speakers, brought out chairs, put the music on, etc. I was one pooped puppy ! 

However the Party was great !  I estimate we had 100 visit at one time or another. Using our two decks, everyone found a place to sit and get comfy. Using 4 fans and the shade of the trees, most people were able to stay reasonably cool. The food was great, but I forgot to add a screen door, so flies were a problem. Yuck.

We will play again on Sunday, July the 4th. Maybe the Staff will play better. They might want to fire the Coach !

The Memorial Day Swing Benefit

Memorial Day Monday night we held a benefit dance in honor of Casa de Esperanza, a facility for children in crisis. This evening was a nice opportunity to do some good in the universe. Ordinarily we would have been closed, but with the new dance floor and an open evening, it seemed like a good time to have a dance !  About two months ago a dance student named Katie had approached Judy about donating a crash course as something to auction for their fund raiser. As they talked, Judy thought this was an organization that deserved all the help it could get, so she planned this event.

We had attendance right around 200 people. I received many nice compliments on the new dance floor in Room 4 as I alternated the music between Western and Whip. Unfortunately the track lighting isn't up yet, so it was a little dark, but people were good sports. They definitely liked the tables and chairs !

On Tuesday, June 1, my daughter Sam and I drove over to the Casa Headquarters. We thoroughly enjoyed handing them $1,477. Including an earlier donation of $125, SSQQ was able to raise a total of $1,600 for this worthy cause. I am grateful to the many SSQQ students who participated. Thank you very much !

SSQQ Attacks City Streets !
story submitted by Shane Kidwell

On Friday, May 28, during the week break from classes several SSQQ students met at City Streets for a big night of Western dancing.

Shane, Theresa, Tim, Becky, Diana, Linda, Angelia, Ray, Theresa, Tom, Dave, Sherry, Craig, Nancy, Joan, Woody, Michelle, Dino, Robert, Karen, Pattie, Carl, Rich, Jill, Kathy, Linda, Shannon, Judy, Pat, Tom, Gary, Betty, Melinda (Mo), Lisa, Maurice, Katheryn, Alyssa, and many many more came out to City Streets for this event.

Thank you to Mo and Jill for putting this together. The turnout was overwhelming. I would guess there were 50-60 different people in our group at one time or another throughout the evening. And how about that buffet? I especially enjoyed dancing from about 9-10:00 or so. The Happy Hour crowd had cleared out yet the late night group hadn’t arrived. We had the whole dance floor to ourselves.

Personally I would enjoy doing more weekend stuff together. For me, it’ll have to wait until a weekend day clears out --- probably in July.

posted 05-15-99

Sylvia and Jeff are gettin' Hitched

On Saturday, June 26, Sylvia Key and Jeffrey Tucker are getting  married. They intend to dress western, but they specifically said no clothes were necessary. Such an informal twosome !

I have known Sylvia for a year and a half. Tony Catalano (who is much recovered from a two month bout with a form of mononucleosis) introduced Sylvia to the studio at the Halloween 97 party. Our special form of madness appealed to her, so she started classes in January, 98. Like most of us, dancing was not instantly easy for Sylvia. It is not a simple matter to overcome an intelligent, analytical mind without chemical assistance, but Sylvia did just that thru practice, practice, practice.  My kind of girl !

You may not know, but Sylvia was a major inspiration for the SSQQ Web Page. She and David Schroeder strongly encouraged me to develop a web site long before I was ready or interested. Her persistence was instrumental in convincing me of the value of the web site. In fact, Sylvia basically ran the SSQQ Web Site for its first five months till I was able to acquire enough skills to take over. My recent problems with my web site show that maybe she handed over the reins too soon, but she mentioned something about needing to get a job. Funny how that eats into your time.

Sylvia knew Jeff before her dancing days. When they started dating, Sylvia mentioned that dancing was pretty important. Smart guy that he is (I believe that he is an entomologist, but I could be wrong), Jeff took the bludgeon-level hint and started classes. Now he is ready for Ghost Town !

So don't be surprised to see some fast Circle Turns and Double Turns from these guys in the next few weeks !  They are tuning up a great dance act and pretty soon they will be Waltzing down t*he Wedding Aisle !

posted 05-16-99
We are getting a new dance floor ! 

On Friday, April 30, our second new dance floor was delivered successfully. Unfortunately I nearly had a heart attack in the process. Our first floor was no problem. I had three days warning and plenty of time to prepare. I might they delivered the first floor when they said they would.

Apparently my truck driver, a guy named Chris, was between phone companies. This meant he waited till a stop instead the Texas border to give me a call. I got the call at 2 pm Thursday. He wanted to unload at 7 am Friday. Oh S_ _ t ! Talk about your proverbial sneak attack ! I had told the floor company I wanted the floor in the first or second week of May. I was just shocked ! This was 9,000 pounds of 12 foot wood planks. At 2 pm I had me and my schizophrenic personality lined up to unload.

I sent out an email to my staff. Fortunately Marty Shea and Anthony (Vinnie) Bernabeo (my heroes !) were able to help. I got one more friend who had a truck to offer his help and now at least Friday morning we had a fighting chance.

However my cleverest idea was to rent a forklift. Sure enough, Aztec Rentals down the street had one. I was prepared to try to operate one when I found out my truck driver Chris could operate one. I checked my ego and graciously said it was okay if he off-loaded my floor instead. That's me, a real team player. After we got the three bundles on the sidewalk, it was fairly easy for the four of us to carry the rest into the studio.

We will install the floor while the studio is closed from Sunday, May 23, through Monday, May 31. There will definitely be a Tom Sawyer Day in there some evening where I invite the whole studio to bring me gifts in return for the chance to help put the floor down. Sounds like a great idea to me. For the record, the area the new floor will cover will stretch all the way to the street. Old-time SSQQ dancers remember there used to be a long dark hallway that served as the old entrance to SSQQ before we added Room 6. Margie Saibara, now a Texas State Whip Champion, stopped right at the entrance to that hallway about 17 years ago. She says she had to think long and hard before walking down that intimidating walkway. Margie adds that in retrospect she is glad she did, but adds she almost didn't. Those were the days when SSQQ looked pretty much like a dump.

Hopefully when we are done we will have a moveable wall between Room 2 (TV room) and Room 3 (Drink Room) as well as one between Rooms 3 and 4 (Mirror Room) that will come down for Whip Dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. It would almost make SSQQ a classy place if it weren't for all those gangs like the Bad Girls (read the Sleazy Bar Whip Writeup below).

The SSQQ Volleyball team may be in trouble on Memorial Day !

Every year we have a huge Volleyball Picnic here at my house in the Heights on Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day. Sometimes we get over 100 people ! It is a big all-day potluck picnic. People bring their kids, lots of food, cute outfits, and some people even come to play Volleyball (although they are in the minority)

The highlight of these afternoon events is a grudge match between the SSQQ Staff and the AllStars (consisting of the best volleyball players in attendance that I haven't had time to hire yet). Last season the Staff actually won a best 2 out 3 match for the first time in years. After that I canceled all the other parties so we could remain undefeated.

This year's first party is just a month away (for the record Monday, May 31). However now with Heidi expecting, Gillian hurt, and Joanne hobbled, three of our best players are out of action. Things are looking bad for the SSQQ Staff team. It might be time to go on a hiring spree.

SSQQ, One of Houston's leading Houses of Ill Repute

Well, in a nutshell, SSQQ for five days was almost listed as one of Houston's leading houses of ill repute. It is an interesting story caused by a couple of the jokes that were sent to me.

Here is what happened. On Sunday, May 9, I was putting the finishing touches on the Joke Page to name the winner's of the April joke contest plus the updates for the May contest. I decided this certain very clever joke from Hieronymous Anonymous definitely should be included. Unfortunately it involved the Church, drug use, and sex.  But it was funny. In fact, it was very funny.

Now my daughter Sam has been reading the joke page for some time. To print or not to print. So I decided to print a secret page. Easier said than done. Finally I found a way to hide a page in a secret place, but in order to really disguise it, I had to make a change to the very top to get of the final link.

Without even a clue as to the consequences, I erased everything up top (e.g. where this page says "scuttlebutt" plus two bubbles) and named my secret joke page "The Blue Side of Town". Then I hit "Save". I wondered why my computer took 3 minutes for a two-second save. Then to my horror I discovered the answer. All of my web site's 100 pages had been renamed "The Blue Side of Town". Oh great. Marvin Zindler, Eyewitness News !  Tonight's lead story..."a well known Houston dance studio revealed today the real reasons behind its phenomenal success..."

No big deal. I will switch it back. No go. This thing will not reverse. I spent an hour looking through the manual and the help page. I cannot redo it. So I called David Schroeder, the man who designed my web site (click here for David's business page in our Affiliates section). After 10 minutes on the phone, still no luck reversing the problem. Then I bring my computer to the studio on Monday night. Still no luck; David can't fix it. So on Tuesday, I take my computer to his house.

Four hours later we still have not fixed the problem. In the meantime though I can not publish any updates or my entire studio will become the Blue Side. Not the Dark Side. Not the Far Side. Just the Blue Side of Town.

Wednesday I have a brain storm. Why not reinsert from a zip disk some files from a month back that were not corrupted, then transfer my new data where necessary ? This process led to another discovery that solved the problem.

But after all the work trying to solve the problem, I ended up splitting my web page into three separate parts : Current Information, Background Information, and Archives. So for a while many of the hyperlinks will be fuzzy till I have a chance to clean things up.

And that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

This enormous headache forced me to redo the entire web page. For a while, many of the links will be a complete mess till I can clean everything up.

I might add that one week after my original mistake that forced me to split the web site into three locations, I erased one third of my web site completely on Saturday, May 15.  I spent all day Saturday and Sunday correcting it, but I think my patch job turned out okay for the most part. I am however certain there are some loose ends.

Feel free to report any missing links and we ain't talking abominable snowmen either.

The Sleazy Bar Whip Party

The Sleazy Bar Whip Party on April 24 was a smashing success. We turned the lights down very low and everyone had a ball dancing Whip to an entire night of get-down-and-dirty Rhythm and Blues music.

We had a wonderful Jack Benard sighting. Jack has been as hard to spot lately as a UFO. He is busy getting his new career as a hypnotherapist started and has had cut back his dancing for a while.

Jack and SSQQ's Joanne Spuck certainly did their job in the annual Sleazy Bar Whip Workshop preceding the party. I have never seen so much Dirty Dancing in the history of the studio as I did at the party later on. Everywhere I looked there was another couple dancing in fashion that could be described as "provocative". I of course was appalled because I am very clean cut, but I must say they looked like they were having fun.

I must say of all the dancers, Debbie Awad, Carole Armand, and Sandy Vera were the naughtiest. Apparently they have formed a gang called the "Bad Girls". In order to attract new members, they behaved very badly. Tsk.

When I interviewed each of them, however, they all fingered each other as the ring leaders. Even worse, they all blamed each other for leading them astray. Debbie added she would prefer if some guy would lead her astray instead. To make things worse, each said sub rosa that the other two women in reality were much badder. I should have spanked them all, especially Carol since it was her birthday, but for these miscreants, that would have been too close to pleasure. Tsk Tsk.

Rick makes a Big Faux Pas !

Letitia Taitte and Jordan Kossack are officially going to be married December 19, 1999.
However, thanks to me, the world believed the wedding was set for May 1, 1999. In fact I know
one person who bought them a wedding present (I did...)

So how does a college graduate like yours truly get so confused ? Well, it isn't that difficult, really.

Here's the story. Letitia and Jordan told me they were engaged about two months ago. Letitia said she wanted to finish her masters program at Rice first sometime in May, but hoped to have the wedding soon after that.

In early April, Letitia and Jordan stopped me at the studio to get my mailing address. The words I remember were, "We would like to invite you to the wedding". Okay !

Soon after I received an email from Letitia's lovely mom, Tish Clark, regarding a wedding party on May 1. She said she was looking for a band to play. I was starting to make assumptions and assumed this was the wedding reception. I gave her a couple email addresses of bands. The trap was set.

Then about two weeks ago as I ran out the door late as usual to pick up my daughter Sam from school, I noticed a very attractive invitation sitting next to my wife Judy as she worked at her computer. I asked her who it was from. She said someone named Jordan and Letitia had sent it, something about a wedding. I asked when the event was. Judy said May 1, then I sprinted out the door.

A couple days later, I triumphantly emailed Ruth Ann Manison the wedding announcement. Poor Ruth Ann then was quickly corrected by our much-surprised engagement couple. Mortified, Ruth Ann emailed me to get my facts straight in the future.

So here goes : I apologize to Letitia, Jordan, Tish, and Ruth Ann for my stupidity. If any good is to come from this, maybe at least now when I tell my Grapevine readers I make up most of the nonsense I print, some of you will believe me.

Linda Cook Goes Latin Dancing (and drags Timm with her !)

The following is an email from Linda Cook dated 04-28.

I don’t know if you heard but my Cumbia class, though small, were thrilled with their lessons and wanted to test them out. So we all decided last day of class we would all go to Tequila Town. I decided not getting to Latin dance much I would spread the word to my Merengue classes, and the Salsa people who had been in previous classes with me.

Well, we finished class Saturday on April 24, went to eat at Jack’s, then headed to dance. I was very pleased with the turnout. About 30-35 people showed. T-Town has 5 dance floors (that’s why I thought it was perfect, we’d all be able to dance). We did, but no one mixed. I spent a lot of my time running to each group so they wouldn’t feel neglected and poor Timm managed to keep up with me. Plus everybody was a stranger to him because he doesn’t come on Tuesdays.

We all had a great time and most of the people stayed till 2:00 am. Anyway the new people to our SSQQ group, Omar (the quiet one), Daniel (the wild one), Micky (the other one) were three wild and crazy guys. Nichole (the one who can keep up with the wild one) and Toni (the tiny one) were the ladies of the Cumbia class. They all think SSQQ is great and we should be seeing lots more of them, if only to give me a hard time in class. Anyway this is what the people who didn’t make it to your party that night were doing.

We plan to get together like this more often, as soon as I teach Timm a little more Latin. Anyway, just keeping you up dated.

(Mr. Grapevine's note : One big reason SSQQ is such a nice place is because we have instructors like Linda and Timm who go out of their way to help ! Thank you very much !)

Shannon joins the team ! Julie gets Promoted ! When is Ben coming back ?
or... (see alternative Title below)

Ben Liles had the nerve to take a vacation and it has taken about seven people to replace him.
He and Diane went to visit England. They left on Thursday, April 15. No one has heard a word
from them, so I assume one of them is still evading Taxes. Or Texas. Or maybe both. At any rate,
any time I see an instructor at the studio on the wrong night, I just say, "Hi Ben". They grin and say,
"How did you know ?" The truth is Ben did a good job of lining up his substitutes.

In the meantime while the cat was away, the mice did play. The reins to Ben's Whip class on
Thursday were taken by Julie Downey, my longtime Whip assistant. Although it wasn't supposed
to work this way, the students fell in love with Julie. Part of it was the natural response to being
deserted by their Father Figure, but my hunch is Julie is good enough to win love all by herself.

At any rate, a couple students asked if Julie could stay even when Ben came back. Once I thought
about it, I said yes. Julie is ready to step up out of what she calls my prodigious shadow. (what
exactly does "Prodigious" mean ?). She is ready to be Chief Julie, not Squaw Julie as I refer to
her. So hopefully soon we will have Squire Ben and Squaw Julie, oops, Chief Julie, working some
Whip magic together.

To take Julie's place, Shannon Iles agreed to join the SSQQ Whip Staff on Thursdays starting this
month. Shannon is an excellent Whip dancer. However since she is relatively new to the dance,
she wondered if I didn't want to ask some other ladies before asking her. I told her not to worry, I
was hiring her for her ability, not just because she had the most perfect name in history to finish
one of my Goofy stories
... Liles hits Isles; Smiles greet Iles !

Renee and BJ get Married !

SSQQ's Renee Risinger married BJ Downs on April 23. When SSQQ took its Caribbean Cruise last summer, BJ and Renee had recently become engaged. They were just a joy to be around the entire time. So now they have made it official ! In an email to me late last week, Renee writes :

BJ and I were married on 4-23-99 at the J.P. office. My sister & mom were out of town at Granny & Grandad’s and I called her on Tuesday & told them to come home ! Sabrina (Renee's sister, I believe) worked miracles. I had not even thought about flowers,camera etc, but Sabrina did. She was great !!

Mom, Dad, Sabrina & her 3 little people were only ones there. Things have been so busy on our weekends with BJ working overtime and getting ready for final exams at school that March & April were flying by. I decided if we didn’t do it now then it would be end of June because he will be finishing school in mid May and then be studying for & taking the state & city license tests in mid June. On top of that his mom is having surgery & he is going to be staying with them in Splendora for several days at the end of May.

So, it was a very sudden decision on Tuesday at 8:30am. Anyway, probably way more than you wanted to know, but there it is.  Oh by the way, BJ has put wood floors down like you have to put in rooms 3,4,5, and he said if you need him, he has his rubber hammer & will travel. He is working the next two Saturdays but in the afternoon he could come by or on Sundays. Sometimes on Fridays he gets off at noon. He was sorry he could not help you unload the truck but he works in Sugarland & his boss is not there today. Let me know if you would like him to come by.

Well, there you have it, BJ, you've been married three days and your lovely wife is already volunteering you for stuff to do ! Welcome to married life !

All my teasing aside, I am very happy for both of these very special people !

Ron and Kathleen get married !

Ron Moore married Kathleen Wood on April 9 in Paris, France. Yes, that Paris as in Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Seine, the Bastille, Quasimodo, Esmerelda, gypsies, artists, intellectuals, Left Bank, and lots of other people and places I have only read about. I am getting sick of the entire studio popping over to Europe lately. Maybe we don't charge enough. Anyway I guess I am drifting. What was I writing about ? Raising prices ? Paris ? Oh, Ron and Kathleen !

It's a good thing I can read my own typing ! Ron and Kathleen met here at SSQQ what seems like at least two, maybe even three (or four or Moore) years ago. They were regulars in Sharon Crawford's Death Valley class for some time. Best wishes to this lovely couple !

Rick's letter to the Bellaire Police Department gets reprinted !
(Regarding the January's Towing incident and the Parking Lot Thief)

The Village and Southwest News, also known as the Bellaire local newspaper, printed my recent letter to Bellaire Police that praised their help in catching the SSQQ Parking Lot Thief and defusing the angry January's towing vendetta.

Gillian Walks !

Gillian Tilbury ruptered her Achilles tendon playing volleyball at my house on Saturday, March 6. She emails to write she will be getting her walking cast off shortly and return to her usual glamorous self any day now. Gillian says she will be back to helping me teach Beginning Twostep on Sundays in June. Several men who are in Ghost Town plan to feign amnesia just so they can take Beginning Twostep with her again. After looking at their footwork, I told them not to bother pretending...

Come back soon, Gillian ! I miss you ! The men miss you ! A couple of the women miss you !

posted 04-06-99

Mark and Connie Wells send greetings from Bloomington, Illinois.

Mark and Connie were a big part of my Martian Whip class in 1997 and 1998. The two of them had an unusual marriage. Connie decided to go back to graduate school in a highly specialized field of graphics design  (it was so specialized that I stupidly thought it was music school from the words she used to describe it). The school that accepted her was in Brooklyn. So off to the Big Apple she went while poor Mark stayed behind... I believe he was a professor at Rice (engineering ? architecture ? ... probably architecture). They had to take out loans just to pay for the long-distance bills from what I understand.

This long-distance stuff went on for a long time !   Two, maybe even three years. Every time Connie would come into town, they would arrange a Whip private lesson with me. However it was obvious to me they were happy to see each other they had a little  trouble concentrating on the dancing sometimes. It was fun to be with both of them.

Well, when Connie finally graduated I assumed things would be back to normal. I should have known better. There are only a few colleges in the country that offer her specialty in their curriculum. She was asked to join the faculty at a college in Bloomington, Illinois (our teacher Beth Bowman is from Illinois...maybe she can tell you what it's like... probably a lot of gangs, huh ?).  So poor Mark gets left again ! 

This time however it only took about 6 months for him to sell their Houston home and finish up his school year at Rice. Talk about an unusual life style. I know rich people do it, but I am sure Mark and Connie weren't rich. But they pulled it off. Nice going, guys !

If any of you would like to write or email's the address :

Mark  Wells                                    E-mail:
313 S Vale St
Bloominhgton, IL 61701

posted 04-02-99

Susan Schroeder is healing

Susan and her husband David helped design the SSQQ Web Page, but the experience was too much for Susan as she was forced to undergo foot surgery to correct the pyschosomatic stress. Get better soon !

Tracy Gets a New Job !

Tracy King is my assistant for Western classes on Wednesday night. She is also the winner of the first week SSQQ Joke Contest with her entry on Randy, the Chicken Stud (click here).   Tracy is slightly embarrassed at her victory because as a rule she is on the quiet side. My suggestion she tell her Randy joke to the class last week nearly caused a nervous breakdown. I am sure I will corrupt her eventually.

She also got an exciting new job as the Controller of The Westfall Group, Inc. It is a construction management,/contracting company. The company has been around for 15 years, and has stayed small (15 employees) on purpose. Here's guessing they won't stay small much longer now that Tracy is around.

Yvonne has 45 people in a Saturday Afternoon Advanced Swing class !

Yvonne Evrard (pronounced Eeee vonne, not Why Vonne as in Why isn't Why vonne spelled Ee vonne instead of Why vonne ?) had 45 people in her Advanced Swing class on a Saturday afternoon on Easter Weekend. This number absolutely astounds me. When we decided to offer Saturday afternoon classes, the prediction was we would be lucky to get 45 people total in 6 classes.  Yvonne should be given a trophy ! This is an astounding number.

Mind you this is the person I told back in January she could not teach a Beginning Swing class as a last-minute substitute because there were too many people there for a Rookie teacher. The truth is I  couldn't get 45 people to take my Advanced Swing class on a Saturday even if I paid them. Therefore I have decided to bestow the  The Rick Archer "I am not Worthy" award to Ms Evrard. Nice work !

Heidi is going to be a Mom !

Heidi Moynihan is expecting. She and her husband John met at here SSQQ last year and were married out in Lake Tahoe last October, 1998. The good news is Heidi is obviously elated, the bad news is SSQQ is losing her as an Assistant on Sundays. Plus she is a dynamite volleyball player. The Staff V-Ball team will miss her !

Gillian is hurt !

Gillian Tilbury ruptured her Achilles tendon playing volleyball at Rick's house on Saturday, March 6. She had just joined us after a morning of kick boxing at the gym. Gillian turned very sharply to chase a ball over her head and twisted her ankle. She heard a sickening pop and was certain she had hurt herself badly. We hoped she was wrong, but sadly her worst fears proved correct when she got the X-Rays.

The good news is she can drive her car and is able to move around now. She threatens to join us for Twostep any day now. Gillian has always been incredibly active and this injury was very frustrating.

Joanne has foot surgery !

Joanne Armstrong and Gillian Tilbury are joined at the hip. They are still infamous for their matching Monica outfits at last year's Halloween Party and their picture with the cigars is still floating around in Cyberspace somewhere as instant blackmail the moment Joanne or Gillian finally decide to become respectable (although I am not holding my breath).

The moment Joanne heard that her friend Gillian was hurt, she immediately scheduled foot surgery just so Gillian couldn't hog all the sympathy !  Talk about competitive !

Ben and Diane are off to Europe !

Towards the end of April, Ben Liles and Diana Beasley are gallivanting off to Europe to have fun.
Am I glad ? No, I am envious as hell. And they better bring back a stupid tee-shirt for me if they expect to ever hear anything nice said about them again in this important column.

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

Over the May 15 weekend, the SSQQ Swing Team is ready to help Orchestra X with their huge 3-day "Salute to Swing" event at the Rice Ballroom downtown. This event consists of a concert by the Orchestra X of famous Swing tunes, then a huge Swing dance afterwards.
We will keep you posted !

Engagement Announcement !

Mario Ballesteros and Linda Chalk are planning to be married in May. Best wishes !

Engagement Announcement !

Letitia Taitte and Jordan Kossack recently announced their engagement. I believe the wedding is sometime this summer. However at the moment Letitia is concerned about graduating from her Masters program in Business over at Rice. She will worry about the other kind of Rice later.

I might add both couples met here at the studio. Congratulations !

Linda Cook gets a computer !

Linda Cook has joined the computer revolution. Gary Richardson over at the Floppy Wizard Computer Store made it for her. She had the nerve to get one faster than mine. Really now.

Naturally anything that could go wrong did go wrong. Her mouse pad was too sensitive, a mouse
connection broke off in its portal, her email didn't work...(but the advertising sure did...very distracting !), her tarantulas wouldn't show up in her paint program, and the picture was slowly slipping off the monitor screen last time we checked. Plus all the stuff that worked at Gary's no longer worked at home.  I've heard that before !  Then to top it off, Gary decided the mother board was defective.

Welcome to the wonderful world of computers, Linda !

Followup : after replacing the mother board, Linda's computer still did not work. So Gary reinstalled every one of her programs one by one. This time it worked. The point is, Gary stayed with it till the thing worked. Not all stores or people would try that hard. Nice job, Gary !   Rick Archer, SSQQ Dance Studio



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