Monday
February 24th 2014
Weekly Note # 84
Naming the Monopoly
Quote of the Week
Fraud is the daughter of greed.
-Jonathan Gash

Rearview Mirror: 
MJ or Coke?

I wrote a substantial Rearview Mirror for last weeks Weekly Note, and it can be found just after the "Naming the Monopoly" article below.

If you didn't catch last week's Note you can catch it here: 


Your feedback helped me write some excellent clarifications for you down below, so be sure to catch the article. 

There's also some nitty-gritty stuff in there for the Deep Water people I know, so if you and I go way back, or if you've been in Swing longer than most were even born, and dealt in the political side of things, there might be some helpful insights for you there too.

See you there. xo, K

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Dear Reader,


I love the road. I love snow and I love ice too. I just didn't know they'd come all at once. For some reason Nick and I have hit every storm possible on this road trip, and encountered snow in every state, included Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. I've never seen palm trees frozen in traps of ice. Who knew!

But with such storms comes strange beauty - even in the angled power lines, cracked trees and creaking silver forests that stretch their fans out for miles... we feel lucky to have seen such rarities in places where they are truly rare.

I hope you are finding rarities in your own lives to enjoy. I find the cold crisp morning air wakes one up - keeps one alert and alive... California has very few of these mornings, and I wonder if swing does either, holed up in it's hotels, bars and venues. So today I wish you a morning of crisp awakenings, of new perspectives and of cracking breaking shackles at your feet and in your mind.

With love,
Katherine

PS. 
You still have no power over me. 
Naming the Monopoly


monopoly-men
Unveiling the identities of the men called Bill, Ethan, Mason and Jacob
 

Last Fall I released a very powerful Audio Expos called The Monopoly. It contained three large and in-depth stories of my time and interactions with people of various statures in the West Coast Swing competitive community.

The first story is about a well-played game of chess for the US Open teaching slots from the early 2000's. 

The second story (the bulk of the recording) is a detailed description of a major WCS monopoly - one which created incredibly large changes in both the local community, and the global community too. WCS died in their kitchen.

And finally, there is the story of an event director and the silly promises they made - none of which are even possible today.
 
As I say in the original piece, I had been wanting to share these stories with you for a long time, but couldn't quite figure out how exactly to do it - especially in a Weekly Note format. I'm so glad I found a way. 

But this week I am going to give you a special treat... I am going to name the names. For what good is any kind of Expos, when no one is actually - well - exposed?

Wounds cannot heal unless found. So let us find them.
 
Gone are Bill, Ethan and Mason... in are Jack, Ben and Doug. Oh, what tangled webs they've weaved. How many have struggled upon their webs - wriggled and woven in, the death of West Coast Swing in its very birthplace lies quite squarely in each of their arms.
  
May this Note give you freedom... may this Note grant you peace... may this Note break the power of their spell.
 
Read on...

THE MONOPOLY
 
FIRST NOTE: 

The following is the written version of the original audio recording. The original audio link can be found here: The Monopoly.

Also, please note that this written text varies from the original recording in that it uses the real names of those in the stories. It also contains minor differences in diction and punctuation in order to accommodate a smooth transition from the spoken word to the written one.
 
And finally - this text will be very different from normal writing styles. That's because it's a translation of my speaking style. My style of speaking is very different from my style of writing - as is the case for most of us.

So what you are about to read is not only my spoken word - but my improvised word as well. I told the story of The Monopoly without any notes, outlines or help. I am a natural storyteller. I love telling stories every day. So t's a format I'm used to. So I used it here. 

So please forgive the relaxed flavor of the text and most especially, the rough edges! 

Thank You! On with (the real) story:
___


This is the story of four men and a city. 
 
Let's start with Bill (Jack Smith). Jack is a DJ and has been a DJ for a long, long time. He has been teaching for a long time. Ethan (Ben Morris) was a Lindy hopper as was both Mason (Doug Silton) and Jacob (Pete Green). They are also Lindy hoppers as well. 
 
Bill, Ethan, Mason and Jacob, (really Jack, Ben, Doug and Pete) - none of them are the same age. Some of them are similar in age but most them aren't. This is the story of Jack and how he trusted his friends and these friends were actually just keeping him close so that they could get things from him and in the meantime build up their own businesses.

So I'll go ahead and start with Doug Silton. Doug is my embarrassing story, to be honest. This is something I'm not happy about because I see what it did in the long run. I just wasn't aware at the time - I was very... I don't know if I can say immature... I was very... naive. Oh, I was so, so naive.

Everyone back then will tell you I was naive. I just believed in everyone and everyone believed in me, etc etc. Anyway, I was the good girl. You can ask them all - I was one leading the Bible studies and everything.  So anyway, let's just say that the community had just started to change in this city (Long Beach, Orange County & LA basin),and all of a sudden Doug came you in from another part America.

And Doug came in as a Lindy hopper - you know - I thought he was just testing out the West Coast Swing waters like, coming to see West Coast Swing. And I had actually heard already, even though I didn't have super great ties to the lindy community, but I already heard that they were pissed at this guy Doug, because he came into town, took a workshop with a lindy couple and then taught workshop - the next night! 

The same pattern he had just learned, he taught it the next day. And everyone knew it! The lindy community is that tight knit that they knew- there's a new guy in town - and if he takes a group lesson with you he will teach it elsewhere in town...

Which, let's go ahead and admit it, that's not necessarily illegal, you know, not in the United States. But! in a community that has partner dancing- everything is built on trust. You have to trust the people that you dance with, because you have to dance with each other. 

You have to live with each other. You are a community. We get closer together than most people. You know, if people are in hobbies and they do things like knitting... they're not holding each other's hands and they're not driving for hours and hours on end to a convention or to a workshop or to a good place to dance that you've heard about.

So, anyway, I went ahead and this guy befriended me, this guy Doug befriended me, and I actually - um - did him the favor of kind of talking about everything that I knew! I knew so, so much and he played it really, really well. He just played dumb and he wanted to know and since I didn't think he was seriously starting in West Coast Swing - I knew he was a lindy hopper - I just shared stuff.

I shared everything that I knew and as you are finding out, or you already knew, I... I know a lot. I know a lot of people. I wasn't aware of just how much I knew or how many people I was friends with at the time, but mostly I only knew how much of it was supposed to be kept quiet. 

One time we did a really, really long car drive, just the two of us, to an event. It was around six or eight hours all together. And during that time, I just said a ton of things... I gave him history and everything - everything! And I thought I was also warning Doug - like "watch out - these people will bite you and these people won't," and on and on and on. I'd go on and on and share so many things as time went on.

But as time went on in the relationship, too, I'd started noticing some things. For example he would buy a cell phone and then all of a sudden, on social networks, he would say, "I have a cell phone to sell..." whether it was on rec.arts.dance or whatever we the WCS community would be using at the time. 

He'd say, "I have such and such to sell for 150 bucks," and I'd stop and say, "I thought you just bought that?" And Doug would say, "Oh no- I get insurance on it, then I report it stolen, and then I sell the second new cell phone." And I would think, "well, isn't that... wrong?" 
 
It was...
 fraud
Straight up. 
It was fraud

Anyhow, he'd always file insurance and then he'd always sell it to another dancer for 150 bucks so that he could get, you know, "his money's worth." He always said very clearly: "that's what it's for," 'it' being the insurance. It was totally fraudulent activity and he did that with so many other things. (Oh, the stories I could tell!)

I remember when I started my studio. Since I thought Doug's business had picked up so quickly in what I thought was lindy hop, I was like "let' s go to lunch and I'll totally find out business things from you. I want to pick your brain about doing a business."

And he said "great" and picked out this place where it was a hundred bucks for lunch. We sat down and I said, "So! I'd like to know, first, how to get started on a business license," (pre-Google days, of course), and things like that. And Doug suddenly turned totally white and said, "uh oh."

I asked, "what?"

Doug replied...

"Well, it's all off the books. I don't report any of it. I don't have a business license... I do this- I do that or this..." And he completely shared with me how he has all this money hidden from the government! I remember... it was just... wow. 

I remember being shocked and thinking, "what the heck am I paying a hundred bucks for?" I mean, he gave me a lot of tips on how to do things illegally and unethically, but pretty much it was a huge,
huge! waste of my money and my time and honestly - a relationship investment.

So that's a little bit on my story of Doug. The reason I brought up Doug is because he's also friends with Ben and Pete. Doug would still call me when I had the studio. He would still call and ask for advice.
 
Looking back on history, I realized that he had really used all the information I gave him to kind of crack the system and really make a lot of money off of it and, well, he just had some great angles that I provided him with, you know? But he had some friends - Ben and Pete that also came along and...

And they all kind of moved into the West Coast Swing side of things. The worst part was I mean Doug was a little bit more covert about it. He was more outlandish in some ways, but made more of a sleazy transition into West Coast Swing. I don't even know how to really say it all, because I soon went off and started my studio and did my thing.

So Ben Morris came in. (Moved into Southern California/ Orange County) I first met Ben somewhere else in another part of the United States and - like I said, he's a lindy dancer, so my very first memory of Ben is  - we were dancing - it was a late night bar in the heart of New York City, New York...
___
 
And that is all for now my friends - you can listen to the ENTIRE story, along with the two other stories I mention, at the public and free video below from last Fall - I hope you get a whole lot more out of it now that everybody knows the names!
 

 xoxo,
Katherine

Rearview Mirror
MJ or Coke?

note-83
Rearview Mirror:
#83: MJ or Coke?
I hope the last Weekly Note (#83: MJ or Coke?helped you. I really do.

 

It was a scary thing to write, of course, but once I was done... I couldn't believe how light I felt. I floated like a feather for a full day.

 

The weight of my unspoken knowledge must have weighed much more greatly upon me then I could have ever realized.

 

I want to share a few things with you that, in hindsight, I think could bring some more clarity to the 
Note.

 

Number One

 

Please, please, please please! Watch a documentary on cocaine. Please. People are finding them to be insanely helpful! It will be like you've woken up for the first time ever. Do it, do it, do it! You'll be so glad you did!

 

Number Two 

 

When I said, "you have no power over me," some of you assumed I was talking of those who were later mentioned in the Note, like Sarah or Deborah. This is completely false.

 

I was talking to the Kelly Casanova's, the Mario Robau Jr.'s and John Festa's of the world. 

 

Now

 

The rest of this is all little factors, forgotten knowledge from back in the day or just little known knowledge from back in the day. Either way, if you're not into the little bits and grits of HISTORY - then you can sign off now. A lot of this will require a lot of brain power for just a few final puzzle pieces you might not even understand in the end.  

 

Deep water people will probably understand how these all fit better in the end. Fair warning...

___

 

Number three - you have probably wondered why Deborah, having once been so powerful, isn't even in The Ten today. This is not by choice. Two things played a great factor:

 

a) Deborah body had a difficult time with all the travel after a few years. Her and Robert Cordoba, who somewhat 'pushed' Deborah upon us all (her first partner was Steve Neeren), first started splitting assignments. Instead of working event on one weekend together, they split and taught at two separate events on the same weekend.

 

It was a heavy blow to her body, once reported to have both hips and both knees replaced due to her ballet training in NYC (though I never heard the fact confirmed in the family). Since the extensive travel did not go well on her body, she had to slow down - and slow down significantly.

 

b) The more central reason is actually connected to Jordan and Tatiana. For some reason, which I still do not understand to this day, Jordan and Tatiana did not want to wait until they were old enough to dance in the adult divisions. Jordan was (okay - is) highly competitive and somehow had Jack and Annie, who had just institutionalized Points, pushing the event directors and head judges to let J&T dance "up."

 

Now, this was incredibly unusual. WCS was known for its rules and all of us who came before had to wait our turns. Well... 

 

This all happened at the exact moment that Sarah & Deborah had cemented their reign. The champions division had been fully expelled of any unruly or independent thinkers or dancers and closed off to any new and upcoming hopefuls.... which, as I said before, is why J&T were shoved up into the throne.

 

Now. Sarah is smarter and much less impulsive, on the whole, than Deborah, as those of you who have worked with them know. While Deborah was running about telling everyone "Just let them come up - I dare them to even try and and beat us!" - Sarah was quiet. 

 

Oh, she plotted away with Deborah as usual, but she didn't attack J&T - she waited. And when the winner was declared - J&T won the open over her and Kyle in their first adult division and Benji & Heidi beat Robert & Deborah the very same year and also for their very first adult division.... well. Sarah had her answer.

 

Deborah faded away, having placed all her chips on one bet, and Sarah lived on... weaving her web right out, around and through J&T - until the new "besties" they became. I mean - guess who boycotted Mario's judging alongside Jordan & Tatiana... aaaahhhh.... are things coming into focus now??? Mmmmm...

 

Until next week - buy my book!!! (or books!) Just click on them below!

xoxoxo!

Katherine 

 

PS - January posted record sales! Thank you everyone across the world. I am so, so! blessed!



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