The Swinger 

Meet the Lindy Hop man

FRI 1/16

Frankie Manning doesn't kick up his heels quite as high as he did in Harlem's Savoy Ballroom back in the '30s, but he still lives and breathes the original swing dance he helped popularize around the world: the Lindy Hop. The 89-year-old dancer and choreographer brings his memories and historical film clips to re-create the heyday of swing dancing in a free presentation Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley's Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center, followed at 9:30 by one of the Bay's leaders in current East Coast Swing, Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers. The live band dance costs $13, and is also a CD release party for Smith's alto saxophonist Bill Stewart's new album, Blues, Ballads & Bebop. Far from retiring, Manning , hailed as the Ambassador of Lindy Hop, continues to collect honors and awards, including the Tony Award for Choreography in 1989 for Black & Blue, and the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship in 2000. He has been featured in movies and documentaries such as PBS-TV's Ken Burns' Jazz, and magazines, including an interview piece in the December 1998 issue of GQ.

While big-band swing music lives on in countless CD reissues, and East Coast swing went through a wild revival in the '80s and '90s, being able to see footage of the dancing in its heyday is a rarity, especially when hosted by one of its creators. Born in the Harlem Renaissance of the late '20s, before swing (as played by the big bands from Ellington to Goodman) became America's popular music, the Lindy Hop was the original swing dance form. Both East Coast swing (Jitterbug) and West Coast swing have their roots in Lindy Hop. Manning took the dance from Harlem's Savoy Ballroom across three continents while touring with Whitey's Lindy Hoppers in the '30s and '40s, and again in swing's '80s revival. The music, then and now, was meant for audience participation, not passive listening.

His Ashkenaz date is part of the 2004 Frankie Manning Weekend organized by the Northern California Lindy Society that continues with all-day dance classes and workshops under his direction on Saturday and Sunday at Oakland's Lake Merritt Dance Center (200 Grand Ave.), as well as Saturday night's second annual Shiny Stockings Swing Ball dance, featuring singer Mary Stallings. For information on Friday's concert (1317 San Pablo Ave.), visit Ashkenaz.com or call 510-525-5054. For details of the Saturday-Sunday events and ball, visit the Northern California Lindy Society's Web site at NCLS.com -- Larry Kelp

TUE 1/20

Tuesdaze

Space out at the Stork

If Tuesday seems like a fine night to get spacey, saucy, and stoned, then the Stork Club (2330 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) is the place for you. That's the night that Sacramento's Low Flying Owls swoop in, a swoop so low and luscious, in fact, it's more of a swagger. The band trafficks in hazy heaviosity, á la Spiritualized, T. Rex, and the Jesus and Mary Chain, and tonight it opens for the Bay Area's own chamber-punk trio Bonfire Madigan, whose new live disc will be available at the show. $5 cover, 9:30 p.m. (or so), 21 and up. Info: 510-444-6174. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 1/17

Touch of Green

Since 1991, there have been at least forty Grateful Dead-related tribute albums released, spanning styles from reggae to swing and back again. Perhaps the most comfortable fit would be the two albums by the Bay Area's own Wake the Dead , a septet that respectfully blends the music of Ireland with that of Jerry Garcia's Original White Phish. While fans of traditional Celtic music may squawk in fear, it should be no surprise to Deadheads that "Jack the Lad" makes a decent reel, and many more make hella fine jigs. Wake the Dead plays the Oakland Metro at 9 p.m. 21 and up, $15 cover. Info: 510-763-1146. -- Stefanie Kalem

WED 1/14

Merlot 'n' Warhol

When sussing out modern art, sometimes a little wine comes in handy. That's the thinking behind Bedford Gallery's Art and Wine parties. This evening (5:30 to 7 p.m.), Carin Kuoni of Independent Curators International in New York City, co-curator of current exhibition "Thin Skin," will discuss the show and conduct a walk-through focusing on specific works -- such as Andy Warhol's floating silver Mylar pillows. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served. The "Art and Wine" evening is free with admission to the "Thin Skin" exhibition: $3 general. The show continues through February 15. Bedford Gallery is in Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Info: 925-295-1417 or BedfordGallery.org -- Kelly Vance

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Culture

  • How to Party Properly on New Year's Eve

    Whether you want to dance till morning or be in bed by midnight, we've got the rundown on the best events happening this year.
    • Dec 19, 2012
  • The Year of the Lounge

    Oakland's new nightspots incorporate a homey feel.
    • Dec 22, 2010
  • World of Punch Lines

    Comedy is the new way to diversify your hipster portfolio.
    • Dec 22, 2010
  • More »

Author Archives

Author Archives

  • Chilefornia Music

    Rafael Manriquez and Duamuxa
    • Oct 3, 2007
  • Critic's Choice for the week of October 3, 2007

    Our picks: Bryan Adams & George Thorogood, Sterling James benefit, The New Trust, Kev Choice, B'Nai Rebelfront, Rafael Manriquez, Duamuxa, Turn of the Screw and Girlyman
    • Oct 3, 2007
  • More»

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

Holiday Guide 2016

A guide to this holiday season's gifts, outings, eats, and more.

Taste, Fall 2016

Everything you need to know about dining in and out in the East Bay.

© 2016 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation