The Blog of the Jerusalem Open House

Drag Queens and Swing Dancing

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This week was a very busy one for me at the Jerusalem Open House. Not only did I spend most of Sunday at the community center, working on the newsletter and the database with Dalit and the other interns/volunteers; I also attended two big events, the opening of the Hakafot café on Tuesday and my own event, the English Speaker’s Group swing dance night (“Swinging Queerly”), on Saturday.

While the café’s grand opening was advertised as an English-friendly event, I was disappointed to see the only English-speakers there were Ahuva and myself. This made the first hour or so rather boring, since we were isolated among a bunch of Hebrew-speakers who already knew each other. I did, however, get to consume some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (Cookies & Cream, 7NIS) and pie (apple, 10NIS). I would have just gone for the pie, but it wasn’t out at first so I didn’t know about it.

And then the drag monarchs came out—two drag kings and two drag queens, regular performers at HaKatze. I am happy to say that my videos from Open House came out pretty good:

The event was also advertised as an open mic night, but there was no open mic about it. Once the drag monarchs (yes, I know I’m making up this phrase), the night was basically over. I don’t know how much café-related items JOH actually sold, but the drag drew a nice crowd.

Between Tuesday night and Saturday night I had my longest stretch of time away from the Open House in a long time—or maybe it just seems that way because I was there almost every other day for a week and a half prior. Saturday night, however, was our first English Speakers Group event of November, “Swinging Queerly,” in which we invited Shirley of the Tel Aviv Swing Club to teach a lesson in East Coast. It was really interesting to watch her teach because she didn’t teach it as East Coast, she taught it as six-count Lindy Hop, which actually makes a difference. I didn’t even realize before now that East Coast starts on a step-step, whereas Lindy (six-count or eight-count, whatever) starts on a rock-step. The moves also had different names; the inside-turn was a “window,” for some odd reason. I have no idea.

I spent a lot of the event running around—figuring out how to turn on the fan, finding tape so someone could tape her flip-flops to her shoes, helping Shirley, etc. I guess that’s why I lost track of time and the lesson went an hour and a half before Shirley realized people were getting tired and it was time to stop. We were supposed to have open dancing after the lesson, but that failed. People were just too tired. I think they had fun, though. They look like they were having fun:

Yes, I also spent a decent amount of time taking video–and stealing follows when Shirley was working with their leads (or vice versa). That’s how I got to dance once we had an odd number. (Before the last person came, I was just in the line.)

And that was that. When things ended I went to get malawach for the first time with Ahuva and Alexis, and then I went home. Game over.


Author: Dev Singer

Dev is a study abroad student at Hebrew University 2009-2010. She is also an intern at the Jerusalem Open House and one of the coordinators of the Engish Speakers Group.

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