Frankie 95 and Camp Jitterbug Double Whammy Pt. 1

Part 1

On May 21 I started my incredible adventure. It would be impossible to capture the inspiration, feeling, heart, craziness, addiction, and overwhelming community spirit this experience has brought to life, not only with me, but with anyone who attended these events. So I will just review some of the highlights, with maybe a few video clips…

Frankie 95 – May 21-25 2009


Incredible, incredible experience. I cannot believe people who chose to do anything else with the spare 200 (plus travel, hotel, and food monies)  they had. I didn’t even have the money and I somehow found a way to be there. Shame on you.  More on that later.

Single handedly the most memorable, in all aspects, event at Frankie 95 was the Memorial on Friday (May 22). The memorial began with a service at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. When we came into the church we saw (and heard) Benny Powell, Frank Wess, and Yvette Glover (and more) playing the most swinging rendition of ‘Shiny Stockings’. These people are the giants of jazz.

The jam continued until the service started with a wonderful and delightful welcome and prayer.

[Video coming soon…]

The service continued with remembrances and tributes from Mercedes Ellington (Duke Ellington’s grand-daughter), Cynthia Millman (who helped Frankie Write his book), Ryan François, Judy Pritchett, Debrah Manning (Frankie’s daughter-in-law), Lennart Westerlund, Larry Schulz (co-owner, I think, of the Sandra Cameron Dance Studio in New York where Frankie taught weekly classes), George Avakian (incredible music producer, the first jazz music producer actually, and all around funnyman!), Dawn Hampton, Manu Smith, Chazz Young, Norma Miller, etc.

The entire service was so amazing it even made both the reverends get up and dance in the pulpit! Heck yes!

I have to say, I am not religious AT ALL, and I’ve never felt comfortable inside a church until that fateful Friday morning.

Then the second line processional to Central Park:

The rest of Frankie 95 was just a crazy amount of dancing and performances which I’m sure you can find on You Tube. The Silver Shadows preformed ‘Shiny Stockings’ but finished it off with ‘Jumping at the Woodside’. I almost wish they just danced to ‘Shiny Stockings’ the whole time and actually finished the song.

Bethany and Stefan’s performance blew me away, as always:

I think there are a lot of people who forget how rich the history of Lindy Hop is. I think most of the new generation is not concerned about Frankie Manning or the Savoy ballroom. Those are the people that chose to spend money to go to Camp Jitterbug instead of Frankie 95. That really upsets me. I think we all need to bring back the history into Lindy Hop. We need to remember Frankie Manning. We need to honor it before pursuing our own interests in this community (such as going to Camp Jitterbug in order to compete and gain status). Because without Frankie we would not have this amazing community to be part of.

What are your thoughts?

Part 2 will be Camp Jitterbug highlights and future plans. And for you not to get too excited I’ll be posting that on Wednesday.


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