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Walter's Random Musings

List of English Country Dance Groups in Southern California

ImageThanks to Sparky Sotcher for compiling this list
Information as of July 4 2012

Video of the November 2011 Victorian Grand Ball

This is a 5 minute video of the November 26th Social Daunce Irregulars Victorian Grand Ball. Purists beware. The last dance is not any dance in particular, but a pastiche of three different set dances, done to a completely unrelated piece of music.

Persistent PowerPoint Presentation Problems

ImageI have provided A/V support to a wide variety of programs and have done countless of my own simple and complex presentations over the years and I think it might be useful to set down in writing some of the issues that come over and over again. Perhaps, if I document them, people might be less likely to repeat the errors of the past.

I will focus here on technical issues. Stylistic issues like not burying your head in your notes and reading in a monotone or in that odd, artificial sing-song style many people take on when presenting; or not filling your slides with text; or not reading your slides verbatim; I address that here.

All of these technical problems, by the way, are preventable if you just do a run through on the equipment that will be used in the presentation. If you attend to these issues before hand there will be less last minute fixing required -- or horror of horrors; less likelihood of a presentation being wrecked and sunk on the rocks of technology.

Lanterman Ukulele Rendezvous - An Experiment in Event Non-management

On Sunday, May 29th 2011, we will premiere what I hope will be the first of many "Lanterman Summer Whites Picnic and Ukulele Rendezvous" annual events.

This event is a bit of a departure for me. My previous productions have been characterized by structure, scheduling and organization. A certain amount of latitude was provided for creative people to be creative, but we always knew whose job it was to do what, when. That is not the case here. This event is deliberately unstructured, and is intended to be more like a party - where the guests are not passive observers but ARE the show.

Drupal Basics - Computers in Libraries Presentation

Attached are my PowerPoint slides for the presentation I gave on the basics of Drupal at the Computers in Libraries conference on March 22nd 2011 in Washington DC.

Southern California Vintage Dance Facebook Groups

ImageThe following are some suggested Facebook groups you can join to stay better connected to the particular sorts of historical dance that interest you.

Speaking at Computers in Libraries 2011

ImageA note to my library peeps. I will be speaking at "Computers in Libraries 2011", March 21-23 at the Hilton Washington in Washington DC. I will be discussing the installation and use of the Drupal Open Source content management system.

Walter Nelson

Useful Waltz Tunes for a Beginners' Dance Class

In presenting a waltz class, it's often difficult to know what to play. A waltz recording for a class, especially a beginners' class, needs a few basic attributes.

  • A clear, unambiguous beat -- especially a nice strong downbeat. Your beginners shouldn't have to search for the beat.
  • A stable tempo without a lot of changes. I am not a devotee of the ballroom dance "Strict tempo" mindset, but your beginner students really need something reliable.
  • A moderate tempo. With beginners, you don't want a crazy fast tempo.

Edwardian Farm Reality Show

ImageThe BBC have hit upon the novel idea of doing a historical reality show populated with people who have a passion for the period and academic knowledge that they are keen on turning into practical experience.

There seem to be two of these in this series: the Victorian Farm and the Edwardian Farm.

In Defense of Ragtime Dancing

ImageAs an organizer of vintage dance events, I have found something quite puzzling: Victorian, Regency, Roaring '20s and Swing Era themed dances have a lot of "traction", and if properly promoted and executed, do quite well but "Ragtime era" dances don't.

Granted, there is a strong and very devoted Ragtime dance community, but it is a small community that tends to skew to the older end of the demographic spectrum (I include myself in that demographic), and is not enough to support large scale events on the scale of the Social Daunce Irregulars, or Jane Austen Evening or Avalon Ball.

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