December 2003

Newsletter of Western Star Dancers, a Contemporary American Square Dance Club primarily serving the San Francisco gay and lesbian community. International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs member. Address: PMB 480, 584 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA 94114-2588. Visit our site:



Steve Scott

Dan Smith


Jim Dewsnap


Dance Coordinator

Kip Mackey

he new Western Star Dancers Board of Directors was elected and commissioned at the Membership Meeting on Wednesday evening, November 19. Full Board member photos and contact information is listed on the left. All candidates received votes on all the ballots, with no write-in candidates recorded. The by-laws allow for seven board members; volunteers to fill the final seat are encouraged. A special thanks and recognition went out to the retiring board members: Alvin Bennett, Gordon Levitt, and Tom Ophardt. Their dedication and hard work helped to forge the strong club we have today. The Financial Report delivered by Treasurer Jim Dewsnap was positive and upbeat. He was delighted to report that the checkbook was balanced, and the club has a checking account balance of nearly $1450 as well as a certificate of deposit worth $2044. Current Administrator Steve Scott noted that the most significant development for the club in the past year was relocating from Eureka Valley Recreation Center (closed for renovation) to the present location at Mission Playground. This dance space is similar in size and relatively near the Castro area. The transition has been successful!. Class night continues to be Mondays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., and Club Nights are on the third Wednesday of each month from 7:3 to 9:30 p.m. Last year Steve was Membership Coordinator. He had inherited a poorly organized club roll. The roster of dues-paying members is now up-to-date. Including those in the Green Mainstream class, there are now 64 dancers in the club. Daryl Daniels is now maintaining the list. A club directory will be published in the near future. Members are encouraged to email any changes in your contact information to Gratitude to webmaster Rich Reel for updating our website Kip Mackey proposed that we set up some sort of system for carpools for out-of-town dances. He spoke of how he has wanted to go to a dance, but didn’t want to drive alone. There was considerable assent that it would be a good idea. Further developments are pending. The next Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Saturday, December 27 at 1:30 p.m. at the home of Jim Dewsnap. If you are interested in attending, please call ahead in case of postponement due to the holidays.

Board of Directors elected at Membership Meeting

Class Coordinator

Joe Iser

Newsletter Editor

Daryl Daniels

My name is Richard Reel. I’ll be teaching the Green Mainstream class. I’ve been calling since 1998 and dancing since 95. That year I went to a Nudist gathering and all the good looking guys were square dancers. I said, “What’s up with that? Well OK. I want something interesting to do!” My New Year’s resolution that year was to take a Mainstream class. Now I dance at the C3 level.

Our Class Caller: Rich Reel

I went to Caller’s school here in San Francisco in 1996 but didn’t do anything with Calling at that time because I was learning 3D and wanted to concentrate on Challenge Dancing. I really learned to call while studying by myself, although I did step in on the famous Jill Sybalsky Callers School. I call regularly on Tuesday and Wednesday for the El Camino Reelers. I do an A2 warm up. I occasionally call for other groups when someone asks. One of my rules is I never ask to call; it’s only by request. I’m a non-pushy Caller. One night at Diablo Dancers I had what every Caller dreams of, a perfect night. It was almost spiritual because while I was calling everybody was laughing and having a totally good time. The energy was bouncing off the wall. All the music and singing figures were good. I felt like if I died then or if I quit calling all together I would have achieved everything in calling that any Caller would ever want. Right now I sight call using a memorized set. I have a web site,, where I teach how to call. I created it because I was learning it myself and wanted to write everything down while it was fresh. I figured that once I got good, if that should ever come I wouldn’t remember all the little pieces. If you go to my site you’ll find a link called “Make-up your own singing call figure.” If you look at that one page it basically shows you how I do the singing calls. Basically it’s little pieces and you put one piece of ‘this’ and one piece of ‘those’ and one of ‘those’ and you snap them together and it makes a singing call figure. I can mix and match the pieces. And I can look at the floor and change it. That’s singing calls. That’s sort of modular. But when I’m calling on the floor I make it up on the fly. I usually don’t know more then three or four calls in advance. I put two-piece calls together, like a Right and Left Through flows nicely into a Flutter Wheel. So I know all kinds of combinations. After the Flutter Wheel since they’re going to the right I may have them do a Right and Left Through after that and turn them back, then maybe a Touch a Quarter. If they’re going to left I may try to get them to go to the right. Actually I have a list on my web site of all the things that make up good calling, things I think about when I’m calling.

I comfortably call through Plus and maybe you could say I’m comfortable at Advanced. I’ve been calling Advanced for almost a year. I can pretty much make a very nice flowing dance at Advanced. I’m not convention-level but close. Like I say I’m almost good. I called for my very first convention this past year. I did the Tall Tip, the Red Wood Tip, for people over 6 feet tall. That was my convention debut. I’m trying very hard to relax while calling. That’s the most important thing. My equipment is home made. It’s all wired so that I don’t have to do any set-up and takedown. I can just pick-up, flop and call. I’m using MP3 format to record and edit my records. I make sure there are no scratches; they are balanced and sound real nice. In digital form it’s easy to pick the songs that I want to do.

I’m trying very hard to relax while calling. That’s the most important thing.

Music is something that I work extremely hard at and that probably doesn’t show because I’m trying to find alternative music and it’s been very difficult to find. They have a square dance music service where you can go online or mail order and get the records that are published for square dancing. Usually the record has a side with no caller on it, which you are going to call from, and a side with a Caller on it where you can practice with it. For Alternative music I go and find like Karaoke music or instrumental music or things like that that are commercially available. I can go into any CD store if I know what I want and can find it on a certain album. Then I would try to adapt it—speed it up, slow it down, add a little bit of beat to it, rebalance it, those sorts of things—with a music editing program to make it suitable for square dance. When I go to dances, I carry a little voice recorder around so that I can make notes to myself. So if I ever go to a dance and hear a song that I like I write it down or make a voice note of it and when I get home I record it. I also collect music. I started doing downloading in the days when it was only questionably legal and I’ve now legalized all the music that I have now. I’ve gotten a subscription service and have gone through the list and legalized all the music that I had downloaded illegally. From that music I’ve built up a vocabulary of music to work with. Some of those songs filter out to be square dancing. To be honest with you, it’s really hard to find just the right song for square dancing. I may cull though a hundred songs or even several hundred songs even to get one song of alternative music. One of my ambitions is to write or actually compose the music or arrange the music. After I hear a song I like and with a synthesizer I want to set up and edit or produce the music for square dancing. I mean put the light, happy, fluttery little things in it that make it nice but it’s a melody that I can hear somewhere else.

Green Mainstream Class in Session
The Green Mainstream Class of 2004 squared up with an enthusiastic class of eleven. Rich Reel is the caller/instructor and Joe Iser is the Class Archangel The class, pictured on the right, include (back row) Kevin Larson (a former member back in the fold), Josh Lacayo, David Murphy, Matt Thomson, Tacks Feliciano, Instructor Rich Reel, Craig Mahaffey, (front row) Josef Prochnow, Daryl Daniels, Archangel Joe Iser, Ammon Corl, and Louis Troga. Grey Todd who was out of town is also in the class. Welcome, class, to the Western Star Dancers. We’re happy to have you join us.

December 6 December 7 December 10 December 12 December 17 December 25 December 27 December 31 January 1, 2004 January 4 January 5 January 10 January 16-18 January 21 January 23 January 24 January 25 January 31 February 7 February 12 February 13-15 February 18 February 25

Diablo Dancers Relay the Reindeer. Pat Carnathan calling Jewish Community Center, 2071 Tice Valley Boulevard, Walnut Creek Happy Birthday Fabian Alvarado Happy Birthday Randy Laroche Happy Birthday Richard Reel Club Night & Christmas Party with White Elephant Gift Exchange Peggy Shumway calling Mission Playground 7:30-9:30 p.m. See Page 3 Merry Christmas Happy Birthday Saloma Clarence Happy Birthday Nick Carlson H app y N e w Y e ar Happy Birthday Bert Swerer Happy Birthday David Murphy El Camino Reelers Swap Around the Clock (P, A, C1 Tip) St. Andrew’s Methodist Church, 4111 Alma Street, Palo Alto Hotlanta Squares Promenade Down Peachtree III Email Club Night Caller TBA Happy Birthday Angelo Prosperi Capital City Squares New Year’s Ball (M, P, A1 Tip) Jefferson Elementary School, 2001 Pebblewood Drive, Sacramento Happy Birthday Leon DuBois Happy Birthday Alvin Bennett Foggy City Dancers Valentine’s Dance Detail TBA Happy Birthday Joe Iser D.C. Lambda Squares ACDC V, East Coast Gay A & C Weekend Email C lu b N i g ht C a ll er T B A Happy Birthday Nobu Yamaji 21st Annual IAGSDC Convention Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, AZ

July 1-5

September 2003
Newsletter of Western Star Dancers, a Contemporary American Square Dance Club primarily serving the San Francisco gay and lesbian community. International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs member. Address: PMB 480, 584 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA 94114-2588. Email:

Sept 27 7:30-10:30 pm SF Friends Meeting

Leather & Lace

Marty Dee
Caller from Southern California

65-9th Street

Please bring food to share!

EV Rec Center Closing
Eureka Valley Recreation Center (EVRC), the location for many years of Western Star Dancers (WSD) classes and club nights, will close for remodeling on 9/30/03. WSD Board of Directors was informed of this closing date in late August, 2003. This closure will also impact Midnight Squares, who use EVRC for their club nights twice monthly. While this remodeling has been anticipated for quite some time, the Board had been repeatedly been reassured by the recently retired EVRC director that an alternative space would be provided. An article in the 8/28/03 issue of The Bay Area Reporter mentions that the project is expected to take 18 months. Elizabeth Goldstein, Recreation and Park Dept. Director, is quoted as saying that efforts will be made to relocate programs and clubs to other nearby city and school buildings. As of this writing, no new site has been offered. Regretfully, the Mainstream class scheduled to square up in October with Rich Reel as caller/ instructor, has been postponed until a dance area can be located. The Board hopes to stay in the Castro but is open to exploring other areas of the city. WSD classes have traditionally been held on Mondays, but other nights will be considered. Suggestions and comments should be directed to a Board member (See contact information below).

Plus Class Completion Party
Join Western Star Dancers in celebrating the completion of the Plus Class of 2003 on September 29, 2003 at the Eureka Valley Recreation Center. Not only are we celebrating class completion, but also having a final blowout in the place that has been home to WSD for more years than any of us care to remember. Please join us for this special event! This Plus class, under the instruction of Ron Masker, has been particularly hard working. The class consists of:

Congratulations upon your completion. Now get out there on the dance floor and show us your stuff!

Ammon Corl Abbi Courselle Daryl Daniels Jim Dewsnap Josef Prochnow Jake Romero Nobu Yamaji

Western Star Dancers Board of Directors
Alvin Bennett, Administrator 415.292.6158 Gordon Levitt, Board member Jim Dewsnap, Treasurer 415.864.5447 Tom Ophadt, Secretary Steve Scott, Membership Coordinator 415.861.1447

Kip Mackey, Dance Coordinator 415.479.4759

A Fistful of Callers
By Dan Smith

We all like to dance But being square dancers We do not dance alone. Eight of us are in a flow Our feet, hips and hands A ninth commands the show
e are lucky to have so many thriving lesbian and gay square dance clubs in the Bay Area. The voice of a caller coupled with music can be heard on most days somewhere within an easy drive. With a myriad of classes, club nights, dances, fly-ins, peel-offs, and pool parties, we’re never far removed from our art and recreation. We couldn’t do it without the immensely talented pool of callers we have. Think what a treasure we have in such voices. Below we have taken interviews done separately with three callers and simulated a conversation among them. Ron Masker: How long have you been calling Michael? Michael Levy: It depends on what you mean by ‘Calling’. Six years total but most of the time it was one tip every few months. With any regularity I’ve been calling for about three years. How Michael Levy about you Andy? Andy Shore: I’ve been calling since 1989 so this would be my 14th year. At first I called for a performance group in San Francisco doing singing calls only. Then I did a couple of single tips at Record Nights for Foggy City Dancers and El Camino Reelers. I’ve been teaching for Foggy City since the late summer of 1992. I also do a few fly-ins a year as well as a few singles dances. Ron Masker: I’ve been teaching for twenty years. I just finished teaching a


Western Star Dancers Mainstream class and now I’m teaching the Plus class that began in July. In my early 30’s I called for SAGE (Senior Action in a Gay Environment). Then I quickly jumped into an all men’s outdoor group, Sundance. I also helped start the Time Squares. I’ve called at dozens of clubs throughout the U. S. and at many organizations, for instance California Men’s Gathering (CMG), nudist gatherings, and church gatherings, etc. Michael Levy: Of course none of us are callers until people think we’re good enough to be Callers! I started by listening to the call side of a record and repeated what I heard. Then I trained at GCA (Gay Callers Association). It hosts a three-day school right before Convention. There three professionals help both the experienced and the beginner develop and enhance new skills. Andy Shore: The GCA started in 1989. It’s usually an abbreviated school without a full curriculum. Most schools that cover the full CALLERLAB curriculum are from 5 to 7 days. Ours is only about 3 days but it gives you a feeling for the basics of chorography, how to move dancers around and resolve squares, how to get people back to corners or Andy Shore partners. It gives you some idea of what to work on and study as well as how to continue progressing.

There’s also an organization of callers named CALLERLAB, which has a suggested Caller School curriculum. Caller School was formed in the 70’s I think. There are CALLERLAB accredited caller coaches who pass certain requirements to receive accreditation. Ron Masker: It’s interesting the different approaches callers use to move dancers around. Some callers sight call; they work without written material. They Ron Masker watch and extemporaneously move the dancers around. Other callers use modular calling; they memorize a variety of short dance routines that they can combine in different ways. In the third kind of calling they use cards or notes that have written routines. Most callers who have been calling for a long time use all three approaches. Andy Shore: Up through Plus I call extemporaneously just watching the floor and calling from what I see. At Advanced I use a mixture of that and written material. When I call C1 I only pretty much use written material. On my computer I have about 600 records. When I digitized I went ahead and transferred them even though I don’t use them all. In learning singing calls it takes time to get the metering right and know the music. I don’t spend as much time practicing with my new music as I should, sometimes I just wing it. To be Continued

Western Star Dancers Club Roster
As of August 31, 2003

Merle Adams Fabian Alvarado Alvin Bennett Carlos Borrico Bob Brundage Becky Campbell Scott Carey Nick Carlson Saloma Clarence John Conley Ammon Corl Abbi Coursolle Alana Crary Anna Damiani Daryl Daniels Jim Dewsnap Leon DuBois Felix Fomino Dan Goldes Erik Hsieh Pat Immekus Joe Iser Mark Scott Johnson Russ King Randy Laroche David Laudon Kip Mackey Ed Mah

Ron Masker Miriam Mueller Rod Odgers Thomas Ophardt Josef Prochnow Angelo Proserpi David Rachleff Richard Reel Jake Romero III Joe Sain Steve Scott (SF Steve) Steve Scott (Concord Steve) Peggy Shumway Creig Smith Dan Smith Patricia Smith Freeman Stamper Michael Stokes Bert Swerer Fen Tamanaha Matt Thomson Mario Torrigino Alan Turpen Jeff Weik Dino Wright Nobu Yamaji Gary Young

The World's Longest Square Dance Call?
STARTING FROM A SQUARED SET: Heads start a left spin a windmill in and everyone roll and in the middle start a left split square chain thru but interrupt all the arm turns after every quarter with whichever you can either split circulate twice but trade the wave after each one or swing and mix and circle all the way and the outsides roll at the end but interrupt after every quarter with scoot and plenty but turn each star as many quarters as you’ve swung and mixed and circled but interrupt after the second scoot and plenty with ping pong circulate and interrupt again before the last scoot and plenty with all eight counter-rotate and interrupt each plenty after the star if your square has a David or a Paul in it with trade circulate twice but same sexes trade after each one. Allemande left?
From the Western Square Dancing Web page.

From Stewart Kramer <> (This was created at the request of BJ Dyer for use as a fund-raising T-shirt for the Drop In to Denver A&C Fly-in that wound up in Portland.)

Upcoming Events
September 13 7-10 pm September 17 September 27 7:30-10:30 pm September 29 October 11 7:30-10:30 October 15 October 17 October 23 7:30-9:30 October 29 October 31 November 1 7-10 pm November 6 November 8 7:30-10:30 November 12 Midnight Squares Plus/Advanced Dance, Anne Uebelacker calling; $8 Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 678 Portola Drive, San Francisco Club Night, Michael Levy calling Leather & Lace. Marty Dee calling. $8 WSD/$10 Non-members San Francisco Friends Meeting, 65-9th Street, San Francisca Happy Birthday Kip Mackey Diablo Dancers Spin Chain & Exchange the Seasons Marty Dee calling Jewish Community Center, 2071 Tice Valley Boulevard, Walnut Creek

Club Night
Happy Birthday Michael Stokes Foggy City Dancers Halloween Dance Details to be announced Happy Birthday Rod Odgers Happy Birthday Jim Dewsnap El Camino Reelers. Trade by Fall St. Andrews Methodist Church, 411 Alma Street, Palo Alto Happy Birthday Dan Goldes Foggy City Dancers Anniversary Dance Most Holy Redeemer Church, 100 Diamond Street, San Francisco Happy Birthday Bob Brundage Prime 8’s & Capital City Squares. Afternoon Dancing & Anniversary Dance. Michael Kellogg calling 2:30-5 pm A1/A2, w/ Floor Level tip $9 5:30-6:30 pm Dinner $5 7-10 pm MS, P, A1 Star Tip $9 Jefferson Elementary School, 2001 Pebblewood Drive, Sacramento Full day dancing and dinner $20 Soft sole shoes

November 15

November 19 November 23 November 27 November 29 December 6 December 7 December 10 December 17 December 25 December 27 December 31 January 1, 2004

Club Night
Happy Birthday Jeff Weik Happy Thanksgiving Santa Clara County Square Dancers Association. (Gay friendly) Inaugural Ball Details to be announced Diablo Dancers Relay the Reindeer. Pat Carnathan calling Jewish Community Center, 2071 Tice Valley Boulevard, Walnut Creek Happy Birthday Fabian Alvarado Happy Birthday Randy Laroche

Club Night & Christmas Party
Merry Christmas Happy Birthday Saloma Clarence Happy Birthday Nick Carlson Happy New Year

The Western Star
Official Organ of The Western Star Dancers

All Western Star Dancers club members Are welcome to attend the public Board of Directors meetings. Please contact one of the current Board members listed on Page 1 of this newsletter for meeting time and location.

Newsletter Staff
Daryl Daniels Dan Smith

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful