Liza May

City of Angels 2014 Update #7 – Campfire Stories

This weekend here at City of Angels.

So many tender moments.

Sunday Night at the Pool.

Wine around the fire pit;

Tired, happy, dancers snuggling on the couches and in the dark cabanas;

Heaters burning in a row along the pool;

Falling lights flickering from a canopy of branches overhead;

Silhouettes floating up and back under the moonlit palm trees to soft Gary Clark Jr and John Mayer;

Tears and laughter;

Wine, Tall Tales, stories.

So many stories.

Returned to my room late last night thinking about one story …

A young girl, college student, difficult breakup, mother suddenly hospitalized with a serious illness, finding herself out of school with no money or place to live –

Dancers opening their homes to her, insisting on financial help, providing medical information, resources, help wading through insurance issues; taking this person into their homes and their hearts, quietly without fanfare or announcements. Just real help with te hard parts of life.

Real world support. Out of love, just love, period, nothing fancier than that. Not expecting a thing in return.

Because the community is family – chosen family.

Constant reminders this weekend that after all the “drama,” the griping and moaning, petty jealousies, turf wars, sniping, cattiness – all the stuff that’s fun to gossip about and not so fun to navigate -

All that negative drama is nothing compared to the quiet, behind-the-scenes, coming through for people in the real ways.

The good in this community has always vastly, hugely, overshadowed the bad.

How many times over the years have people said that the community – the lifelong relationships begun here – has changed their lives utterly. The community is their lives.

Not a metaphor to say that the dance community is family. It’s home.


I incorrectly reported that Mike Gadberry – Event Director of Desert City and generous benefactor – donated $32,000 this weekend to Brad Whelan to provide free Brad Whelan Pictures for all City of Angels attendees.

That figure is incorrect – I omitted a zero. Mike actually donated $320,000.

Brad wants me to make clear to event directors interested in hiring him for future events: Please be aware that Brad’s rates have gone up and $320,000 is his current fee for a weekend of photography.

City of Angels attendees: Pictures of the weekend are not right-click copy protected. Go to and right-click on any picture to download to your computer.

I also forgot to include results of Pro-Ams.


  1. Jonah Deitz (with Melissa)
  2. Jim Slusher (with Kara)
  3. Arthur Lahm (with Sarah)
  4. Joshua Baime (Melissa)
  5. Gerentt Chan (with Yenni)
  6. Steven Spellman (with Carrie Lucas)
  7. Bruce Gombrelli (with Nicki Silton)


  1. Karen Barrett (with PJ Turner)
  2. Marylou Star (with Donnie Carl)
  3. Deb McCreary (with Robert Royston)
  4. Michelle Beltran (with John Piper)
  5. Marlynn Lane (with Miguel DeSousa)
  6. Kate Sibley (Donnie)
  7. Clarise Okwach (Doug Silton)
  8. Morgan Margo (Robert Campos)
  9. Tina Slusher (Miguel)
  10. Sylvia Berman (Carlus Reed)


  1. Joshua Messina (with Carrie Lucas)
  2. Kwilanza Crawford (with Jade Ruiz)
  3. Lance Armstrong (with Kristen Humphrey)
  4. Andrew Tai (Melissa)
  5. Benson Malto (Carrie)
  6. Babak Shakeri (Delanie Lewis)
  7. Jesse Ferguson (Carrie)
  8. Jonathan Howard (Liza Hillman)
  9. Trent Thacker (Kara)
  10. Jon Sheehan (Carrie)
  11. Ryan Hargrove (Liza Hillman)


  1. D’Leene Peet (with Marcus Sterling)
  2. Sandy Fisbeck (with Carlus Reed)
  3. Michele Fisher (Robert Royston)
  4. Deana Nickerson (Donnie Carl)
  5. Magdalene Sakadelis (David Walkup)
  6. Emi Hlwatari (Martin Parker)
  7. Lynn Henry (Miguel DeSousa)
  8. Christina Chambers (Doug Silton)
  9. Gina Marie (Donnie)
  10. Pamela Meade (Sean Mckeever)
  11. Stephanie Gombrelli (Doug Silton)
  12. Rebecca Cooney (Miguel)
  13. Joelene Trenholm (John Piper)
  14. Betsy Snyder (Doug)
  15. Cynthia Aaronson (Carlus)
  16. Dana Hasten (Mike Carringer)

Something special just kind of happened late Saturday night, in the open area between the ballroom and the lobby.

A spell-binding, organic, magic moment …

No one can stop talking about it.

Filed Under: City of Angels

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