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We made it to Milwaukee!
Got to BWI two hours early, parked the car, waited almost 20 minutes for the shuttle to the terminal, lugged my big pink suitcase and little green suitcase and GB’s two suitcases up the elevator but couldn’t find the Midwest counter. I (not Genieboy) finally asked someone (men don’t like to ask, they like to figure things out for themselves) and the guy said Midwest? That airline doesn’t fly out of here. OOPS wrong airport! Oh no-o-o-o! So we FLEW back down the escalator, grabbed a taxi back to the extended parking area, FLEW down highway 195, then highway 295, then highway 395 now on an empty tank of gas, called Midwest wildly begging them to wait wait please wait, rolled stopping and starting into a gas station buying $5 of gas to make it down the GW Parkway, parked in a wild sweaty frenzy in daily parking what the hell just get us out of this truck, took the elevator to the wrong floor of the parking garage, ran around confused dragging and crashing suitcases between cars looking for the way out, took the elevator back down again, RAN huffing and puffing the mile to the Midwest terminal, made it through security and got to the gate AS THEY WERE BOARDING THE PLANE.
We like Midwest. Big fat leather seats, tons of legroom, hot chocolate-chip cookies.
You have to rent a car to get to this hotel – it’s an hour’s drive from the airport, in a resort area of the state. I think. I think it’s a resort area, that’s what they said, anyway. It was pitch black.
The sheets don’t go to the bottom of the bed. Either your feet or your face have to be on the mattress. It’s warm here! Today is a gorgeous 80-something and sunny. But the thermostat doesn’t go below 80, so it’s rawther stifling in the room. You can have heat if you want, but you can’t have air-conditioning. They don’t turn that on until June. One soap in the bathroom – guess they figure you can carry it back and forth between the sink and the shower, why waste two soaps – a problem I remedied this morning by taking 10 soaps off the housekeeping cart.
On the plus side – we have a balcony with a lovely view of the lake and fountains and it is breezy, sunny, and beautiful out today. The bell-boy (you have to have a bell-boy with a dolly cause there are no elevators and the rooms are up steps and several miles away, through corridors and halls and interesting 60′s-style split-level landings) told us that this place was built by Hugh Hefner as a Playboy Club, in the early 60′s. Kinda feels like it, although the indoor and outdoor pools which used to be filled with bouncing Bunnies and jet-setters have now all been replaced by ballrooms.
Last night at the bar (where we waited for two full hours to get GB three mini-hamburgers, the kind you take from the freezer and put in the microwave) we saw a bunch of Houston people (including Angel, Victor, Terry, Peggy (BUT NO HEATHER WAAA where’s my Heather) and the cute Stefano’s. There was dancing but by the time we got the three mini-burgers we were ready to just hang it up, unpack after our harrowing day and go to bed.
This morning I kept wondering why everyone in the restaurant was yelling instead of talking, laughing so much and so loudly, and all complaining about the food. Until I noticed on the menu “lox and bagels, with cream cheese, a slice of tomato, and a thick slab of onion,” and thought, ohhh, I get it and I looked around and saw that every single table in the place was old Jews. I’m thinking this area must be like the Catskills, a 60′s-era Wisconsin Borscht Belt. Cause otherwise the menu would have said “smoked salmon” not lox, and it would have been served on white bread. With mayonnaise. And the place would have been QUIETER.
Now we are off to Piggly Wiggly. That is a supermarket, not a porn shop.
Tonight is Strictly’s.
We missed Reno last weekend, but heard it was GREAT. Kelly says it is now her favorite comp.
Strictly’s were last night!
Results (names I could catch):
2nd Kelly Strouse and Michelle Haynes
5th Jimmy Torres and Peggy Polk (who has delightful armpits – Terry Roseborough got his thumb stuck in one and spent all Friday night sticking his thumb out for everyone to have a smell)
4th Cindy Dionne
2nd Jeff Tran and Natalie
5th Carlos and Nancy Tuzzolino
4th Fred Price and Angie
3rd Nino and Tina Price
2nd Angel and Debbie
1st Joe and Stephanie
5th Albert Corrozato and Donise
4th Jimmy Torres and Peggy Polk (who has, in addition to delightful armpits, giNORMOUS boobs. But only when she stuffs her bra).
3rd Kelly Strouse and Lasonya
2nd Ken Negley and Carrie Richards
1st Sebastien and Veranne (here again from France!)
5th Our Rob!! with adorable Dallas! (the Texas adorable Dallas, who is even adorabler than our DC adorable Dallas)
4th Our Connie!! with Benjamin Plante
3rd Our Whitney!!!! with Victor
2nd Nino and Colleen McDonald
1st Jake and Laura Christopherson
And the funniest part of the evening … a Dancing With The Stars kind of auction thing, where you bid auction-style (Robert Royston was the auctioneer and this man has another calling, in addition to dancing, choreographing, and making movies (and by the way Love ‘N Dancing has opened in the UK and US in some cities – oh and also by the way he just choreographed Taylor Swifts tour) and he sounds like he’s been doing auctions all his life) on pro’s and then have a half-hour to prepare a routine to perform right after. Ben Morris and Brent Key both went for about $200, Royston beat his last year’s $500 bid and went for almost $600!!, and Kellese and Melina decided to be bid on as a single unit – Kelly Strouse won them for about $250).
The winners of that competition were tied – Kelly with the Melinalleese Duo, and Beverly Salazzo with Michael Norris (in a shag routine that was so adorable I got all choked up).
It’s raining today and much cooler. So no sitting on the balcony in the sun. But on the plus side the room is no longer stiflingly hot (the ballroom has also been hot – no AC there, either).
JJ’s start in an hour and tonight is routines. Yippee I love Saturdays!
Yesterday at the Piggly Wiggly (once upon a time a guy decided to start a grocery-store chain and as he sat in his armchair deep in thought he suddenly had a flash of inspiration: I will call it Piggly Wiggly!) we decided that since we are here in the land of cheese-heads we really ought to buy a hunk of cheese and found something called Wisconsin Brick Cheese that looked kinda bland, like muenster or havarti. We asked the girl at the check-out counter what it was and she said huh yeah I think kinda creamy, but also sort of crumbly, hmm well it’s not exactly like cheddar, sort of like swiss but not really, okay I have no idea I’m from Chicago. So we said SOLD! and bought it. Last night at 5am we opened the cheese as our bed-time snack. Oy yoy yoy. This is the stinkiest stink cheese that ever stank. It’s like Limburger. But stinkier. It is so astonishingly stinky that you have to hold a wet towel so you can instantly wipe your hands to get the stink off. Fortunately we have a deck so we leave it outdoors – otherwise people walking through the hall would wonder why stink fumes were wafting out of our room.
I LOVE this cheese! I sat on the deck with my wet towel and ate hunk after stinky hunk, washing it down with my favoritest wine: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, watching the light show and warm breezes blow the fountains in the lake.
It’s Sunday night, 10:15pm, and after wildly trying to photograph the judges’ sheets so we could tear out of the hotel to drive through the rain to the airport (which I checked seven times to make sure it’s the right airport) here we still are: Genieboy, Joe Arasin and I, still waiting for a flight which has been delayed first an hour, then another hour, then a half hour, waiting to hear the next increment. Our plane can’t get out of the Minneapolis airport – thunderstorms here and all over the midwest. Joe has already finished his first book (a quick read – 700 pages), gone on a long hunt for a serious (his word) ice cream shop (the gelatto shop exactly right here at this very exact gate where we’re sitting is not serious enough) and it has to be chocolate; and he has just returned, looking kind of spacey, settling for gelatto with chocolate chips which he is standing here eating in my face while trying to decide whether to go to Swing Diego or Easterns and explaining why he doesn’t have a phone that does anything but dial phone numbers and is about to start in on his second huge fat book which I hope he won’t get the time to finish waiting for our plane to make it out of Indiana.
JJ Finalists announced Saturday night:
Adorable Texas Dallas
Becky Brodie – 1st Alt
Jamie Callahan – 2nd Alt
Peggy of the Delicious Armpits
Our Faith (that sounds like a church)
Our very own, and very psycho since the moment his name was announced, Wayne Scott Pulling, whom we affectionately refer to as Scott #3 (we collect Scotts in DC).
1st Place: Kellese and Michael Norris, in yet another brand new routine (is this her 20th brand new routine in one year? Okay, maybe just her 10th brand new routine), danced to a classical/jazz/ violin something (which sounded familiar for some reason). Wait – now the whole routine seems familiar. Maybe this was not a new one after all?
2nd Ben and Melina (SO clean! so so so so SUPER DUPER fast! Such power! Such funk! I LOVE this routine!)
3rd Jake and Talitha (Soul Man)
4th DON AND WHITNEY!!!!!!!!! YAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!! Is that AWESOME or WHAT?!?!? Oh I am SO PROUD OF THEM!!!!!!!! They WON! Sort of!
5th Sheli and Mike
6th Sebastien and Blandine
7th Jesse and Stacey
(I think there were 12 couples but I don’t seem to have the last five here in my notes. I took pictures of the judges’ sheets, though, so I’ll send the rest of the list later)
Rising Star Results
Little bit of confusion here because Joy and Todd, who won in Chicago last week (wait. the week before. No oops that was Boston. The week before THAT. Anyway, they just won in Chicago), again all received 1′s from the judges (lot of the same judges since Chicago is an hour and a half’s drive from here – Carmen Passi, Yvonne Antonacci, Nino DiGiulio, Debbie Figueroa, Kara Przbyla, and Chief Judge Mike Topol), but despite this they came in 4th out of 4. I was told by a student of Todd’s that the judges did in fact all put them first, but that they were subsequently disqualified for You-Know-What.*
At any rate, here’s what was posted:
1st Michelle and Joel (She is so ADORABLE I just want to squeeze her! And GB says she is a total blast to dance with, just laughs the whole time)
2nd Jody and Connie
3rd Willow and Dave Damon – first time on the floor with their new routine, danced to a sort of Southerrn Rock meets Punk Rock song, in black, which Willow was still hemming an hour before they went on the floor, and which doesn’t have any rhinestones yet but will soon be totally smothered in them
4th Joy and Todd
Midwesterners are fraaandly! We noticed this laaast year, too. Naat just the daaance community, but people in the Piggly Wiggly, the staaaaff at the hotel – everyone’s smiley and helpful and kind. Just nice to you for no reason. The problem is that they talk funny so while they’re being nice I’m trying to be nice back and not burst out laughing at their accent, which wouldn’t be nice at all. The highways here talk funny, too. The roads don’t have normal wordy names like “Interstate 495″ or “Route 70″ but instead are straightforward and unwasteful: “BB,” “NNN,” and “SS.” We used my portable GPS Navigon which has a mechanical voice not a real person voice and will not say vowels if there are no vowels written, which means that when it said “at the ramp turn left on FF and follow for 7 M to HHH” we said WHAT?!? thinking maybe Wisconsin made it blow a fuse.
Sunday Results!!! (people I know and managed to wildly write down while at the same time running back and forth to the front of the room to juggle wads of cash and trophies for the rest of the DC crowd who left early)
5 Karen Leiker
4 Genieboy and Janice Samon
2 Michael Stephens and Beverly Salazzo
1 Chip DiStefano and Cindy Dionne
2nd Kelly Strouse
1st Jamie Callahan
3 Shoshana Scheid
1st Peggy of the Delightful Armpits and Delicious Boobs
3rd Fred and Tina Price (they drew each other)
2nd Fred Price (again) and Angie
1st Angel and Dawn Lara
5th Scottish Neal and Peggy
4th Randy Sloane and Veranne (more on Veranne later – I love that girl)
3rd Kelly Strouse and FAYFEE PANGILININININ!! (it was at this point during Awards that I started to have a hard time holding trophies and bundles of cash, AND writing things down)
2nd Ken and Kelsey
1st Sebastien and Melissa Spencer
5th CONNIE!!! and PJ
4th Chip DiStefano and Texas Dallas
3rd Michelle and Benjamin Plante
2nd Jody! and oops I forget who
1st ROB!!! AGAIN!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA with Cindy Dionne
The problem was that the prize money was cash, small bills, one envelope per couple. And I had my arms filled with trophies, and I was trying to write in my little weeny notebook and I had to be counting bills so the other person could get their half, and meanwhile they were already announcing the next winner who ALSO I had to get THEIR trophy and their envelope and also write that down too.
5th Michael Stephens and Sheli
4th Fred and Laura Christopherson
3rd Solemon and Angie
2nd Nino and Colleen
1st HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! DONNIE!!!!! with the very extremely marvelous Taletha!
Crossover (wcs and hustle – funniest was Brent doing hustle. Everything that hustle is, Brent is the opposite of. So he just kept jabbing his hands up in the air, walking very far away from his partner, and trying desperately to count. Robert Royston said what do you call a dance that is the blend of Swing, Hustle, and Shag? And Kellese said you call it “Hag.”)
3rd Melina and Robert Royston
2nd Ben and Debbie Figueroa
1st Terry Roseborough and Angie
More later – plane has arrived on the strip! So we should be home round ’bout 2:30 ish.
*Swing Content. Lack of it.