Liza May

SinCity 2014 Update #4 – 10 Stories and A Suspicious Guy

Saturday Night opened with this gorgeous version of this gorgeous song:

Tara emceed Saturday night! Her first time trying this out. She was good!

She warned me I’d better say good things about her.

I’m a little afraid of Tara. She seems like she might punch a person if they don’t do what she says.

Tara was really, really good on the mic! So good! Really good!

The truth is she actually was good.

I was worried, because it’s hard for a woman to be good as emcee. For a lot of reasons. Your voice is higher and softer, you can’t crack the same jokes guys get away with, your appearance is terribly obvious, and you don’t get no respect. Especially if, like Tara, you’re young. And pint-sized.

But Tara had confidence (without that your doomed) and a quirky, “Let’s go Sports Fans!” rousing, Jock-Meets-Dork-Historian kind of humor.

(One very funny moment: At one point she had to fill time and launched an astonishing 350 bpm rapid-fire recitation of historical facts about our precise date in history and our precise location. You have never heard a longer or more RESOUNDING silence. Which in itself was very funny except no one was laughing. I am telling you, there was not a sound. Not even from Tara – she shocked herself I think. The flies on the wall froze, staring dumbly into space. We experienced a full-ballroom pause-button mutual brain-freeze, for 60 seconds. Then came back to life as if nothing had happened. Would have made a classic sitcom moment.)

It was fun having Tara on the mic. She seemed like she felt among friends, completely at home up there, relaxed enough to let go and just be herself, and best of all to be genuinely having fun. So Tara was great on Saturday night, perfect again on Sunday (both times during rounds of the Champions Royal Flush which included Jordan.)

I’m looking forward to more Tara on the mic. A history degree may be useful for something after all.

The music this weekend was FANTASTIC!

Louis and Lindo all weekend long. Fabulous music, the kind you cannot sit still for and cannot tear yourself away from.

Comps and especially social dancing – great music! I was in heaven, music heaven. And judging from all the comments public and private, so was everyone else.

(Speaking of social dancing Wow! Off the charts. Friday and Saturday nights in the ballroom, Thursday and Sunday nights the amazing scene in the crowded Lobby Bar. Louis high above in an 80′s-inspired deejay “throne,” the dancing right there in between everybody crammed in along the bar stools, others dancing and partying down at the far end or up on the platforms below and behind Louis, everywhere people dancing and partying. And no extra fee to get in – the bar opens into the hotel (you could hear our music in the elevators from three floors above) and anyone was welcomed to enter, including hotel guests (only a few of those ventured into what appeared to be a family party where all the extended relations were exceptionally good dancers,) and behind the bartender the doors to the pools, gardens, and grand terrazza, so that anyone could go in an out all night. An open, free-flowing dance party in a chic space, with Louis at the helm.)

Some of the comp music:

Champion Royal Flush Round II

Benji and Melissa, “Fly Me To The Moon”

Jordan and Jessica, “Heartbreak Hotel”

Lindo and Sarah, “Baby I Love You”

Maxime and Jen, “Me and Mrs. Jones”

Kielbasa and Szekeleley, “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head”

Kyle and Torri, “For Once In My Life” (they danced to Michael Buble, but here’s the classic)

Ben and Tatiana, “That’s Life”

And the All-Skate to “Fever”

Here’s an almost-lost Library of Congress recording of Peggy Lee:

Here’s Elvis (the version most often heard in our world)

And here’s what’s rolling on the screen behind our eyes whenever we hear this song …

Allstar JJ Finals

Kristin and Clint, “Call It Magic” (Coldplay)

Samantha and Peter, “Get Lucky” (Naughty Boy)

Tara and Brett, “400 Lux” (Lorde)

Kara and Matt

(hahahaha yes, they drew each other! and they were SICK!)

“World Looking In” (Morcheeba)

Mackenzie and Edson

(she in her gymnastics competition outfit, he in his football clothes)

“Obedear” (Purity Ring)

Janelle and Brad,

OMGAWD THIS DANCE! Okay, I like that there is no video at SinCity. Cause then what happens in Vegas stays there without worry you’ll be caught pantomiming the punch line to a dirty joke. I love that there are no videos. Except – when dances like this happen and are lost forever. The musicality! Brad’s choreography! The follows holy mackerel Janelle is a force! Their understanding and communication with each other! It was one of “those” dances.

“Gimme Your Love” (Morcheeba)

Rome and Bella

(This year Rome didn’t undress. Well, he sort of didn’t undress. And Bella, who had been wearing the all-time sexiest booty-baring cheer-leading outfit ever (I was SO ready with my camera. I was loaded for bare bear. Butt But to my disappointment she’d gone all NASDE on us and had changed into a little black dress slacks.)

“Night Call” (Kavinsky)

Lisa and Cameron, “Do What You Want With My Body” (Lady Gaga)

And the All-Skate to “Hotel Room Service” (Pitbull)

Stories That Made It Out Of Vegas

The Wedding Story

On July 10th I’m checking out of my room at The Camelback, scroll through Facebook on my phone, and I see this picture:

And I think,

“Oh how wonderful! Such nice people! They’ve gotten married, I love that! Looks like a lovely setti- “WAIT! WHAT? WHAT ARE THEY DOI- THAT BALCONY! BUT IT’S NOT- WHAT? WHAT!?!”

I facebooked them,


[Well nah duh Liza of course they knew a dance event was going to happen in that hotel. Hello airhead.]

They knew, and they planned their secret wedding – they eloped! – to take place on the first day of the event! Followed by four days dancing and celebrating at SinCity!

What a funny, romantic, and perfectly appropriate way for two funny, romantic dancers to start their life together.

A Vegas wedding!

Kept totally secret from all but the close friends and family who flew in early for the ceremony. People were surprised, to put it mildly.

They hired the “Las Vegas Wedding Wagon” to handle all the details, had a quick ceremony in their hotel room (immediately after room service surprises them with a tray of chocolate-covered strawberries, compliments of the hotel, and a bottle of champagne from Tom’s boss,) sneaked around the resort for pictures (dodging hotel security in order to avoid exorbitant “ground use” fees (imagine trying to tiptoe away from security guards in a wedding dress and heels, a wedding party trying to blend in and look like random guests out for a stroll,) went back up to the room to eat and make champagne toasts, then changed into swimsuits and jumped into the pool!

Followed by dinner at The Rio and dancing the night away in the Lobby Bar!

And finally ending their beautiful wedding day by … sharing a bed with Jon. Tom’s brother. Not exactly in the plans, but the hotel had only King rooms. So for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, they got to share the first four nights of their married life with Jon.

(Jon appears to be a Falletta theme. He took seriously “dress code is informal” showing up for family wedding pictures in jeans and a T-shirt – that’s him in the photos trying to hide behind his brother.)

Mr. and Mrs. Falletta were congratulated and celebrated all weekend, on the mic and off, and surrounded by dance family they love which they say, “meant all the world to us.”

Short Stories

A certain friend of mine – we’ll call her Harold to protect her anonymity – owns a contraption called “The Cellulite Sucker.” When SinCity rolls around she gets serious with The Cellulite Sucker. I heard all about The Cellulite Sucker last year at SinCity. I heard about it again this year, and, fortunately for me, this year she brought the device with her so I got to watch the Cellulite Sucker in action. It has rollers and, for lack of a more polite word, a sucker. You wheel the appliance up and down the “problem areas” and the motor makes a happy whirring sound – kind of like “mmm, nom, nom, nom, yum” – as it rolls cheerfully along sucking in hunks of your body and spitting them out again. With less cellulite, one hopes.

Another friend – we’ll call her Stephanie Mattos Arrues – looked beautiful on Friday for White Night, in sexy white slacks and an angelic puffy-sleeved lace blouse that was adorable even with the ticket and laundering instructions showing because oops she was wearing it inside-out.

Another friend – we’ll call her Stanley – had lunch with friends at a great Mexican restaurant, followed by massages in the luxurious resort spa. But “Stanley” had unfortunately ordered bean burritos for lunch. So the massage, instead of relaxing, was an hour-long exercise in forceful clutching and restraining of bodily functions.

Another friend – we’ll call her “Sarah” because Jordan said he could tell this story about “Sarah” as long as “Sarah” wasn’t in the room – Saturday night, “Sarah” reaches into her pocketbook and thinking she’s grabbing her lipstick scrawls black eyeliner all over her mouth. And walks around that way, oblivious, until someone compliments her on the new Goth-Meets-3-Year-Old fashion sense.

Another friend – NOT A FRIEND OF MINE! – No friend of ANYONE we know! - possibly not a friend of anyone living – did a bad thing in the pool. No, not THAT thing. A different thing. A thing which closed down the entire complex of interconnected pools and waterfalls for the wee hours of “Saturday morning” (what we dancers call “Friday night”.) Fortunately it didn’t affect us since we were all dancing when it happened and by the time we limped out to our Pool Party the hotel had already brought in a Bio-Hazard team to clean “it” up and escorted the “42-year-old female” off the premises. Not much talk about the incident, we were too busy having fun. Other than every now and then a mixture of puzzlement, amusement, and horror would cross someone’s face and they’d wonder aloud how, exactly, this thing went down.

Another friend – whom we’ll call Pat-or-Chris – lost a cell phone – no, even better, a camera! – at the bottom of the pool. It was handed to Jordan on the mic who immediately started looking through pictures and describing them for us, and then passed the phone to the ballroom so we could each scroll through the pictures ourselves. They were interesting. The owner still had not been identified on Sunday at Awards. The owner of that camera will never be identified, I’m guessing.

The Shay Story

(That’s Shay Patel, in case you haven’t met him yet.)

Let’s just say Shay offered to buy drinks for everyone at the pool, for which he received a $3,700 tab. Which he signed for. With the name “Ben Dover.”

For details of this story, of which there are lots – including its continuation into the casino and then over to the Cosmopolitan for three days after the event – ask Shay.

Note: If you’re planning on attending any events where Shay is (a relative newcomer to the community the man is suddenly everywhere. Just look for a Buddha. If the Buddha was a large, Indian, Don Corleone. Wearing shades.) you might consider charging your hotel fees to Shay’s tab.

The Jordan Story

This is the story Jordan told us on Sunday, just before Awards.

It really happened!

Maybe not exactly like this. But almost.




(Jordan and Jessica are have just settled into their seats on a plane, ready for the long flight home from a faraway land.)

(They reach cruising altitude and the “recline your seat-back onto the lap of the guy behind you” sign goes on)

(A flight attendant appears, asking Jordan if she might have a word with him in the galley.)

(Jordan follows her to the galley.)

FLIGHT ATTENDANT. Sir I don’t mean to alarm you, but there’s someone on the plane we’re concerned about.

We first noticed him because he didn’t have any luggage or bags.

He bought a ticket in coach but seated himself in First Class. We moved him back to his seat as soon as this came to our attention; but then noticed that he was gradually moving himself closer and closer to the front of the plane, jumping a few rows forward each time, looking for an empty seat where he would remain until the person with that ticket appeared. Just before take-off he moved himself back into First Class.

And, well, Sir, he’s in the seat behind you.

We think we might have a situation, Sir.

We’d like to ask for your help.

If he appears to be getting up, and tries to pass by you, we would like to ask you to please tackle him.

(JORDAN somewhat dazed, returns to his seat beside JESSICA)

JESSICA. Jordan where have you been?

JORDAN. In the kitchen with the stewardess. She asked me to tackle a terrorist.

JESSICA. JordanJordanJordanJordanJordanJordan



(scrunching way down low in her in seat, hisses without moving her lips:)

Okay Jordan, here’s how it’s gonna work. When I do the signal – you’re gonna JUMP UP and tackle him.

(long silence)

JORDAN. If I tackle him and break something – and he’s just a regular guy that has to go to the bathroom – am I gonna get in trouble?

(Hours pass. Jordan falls asleep.)

(The suspicious guy shifts in his seat.)


JordanJordanJordanJordanJordan! He moved! He’s moving!

(They both stare forward, motionless, listening to the sounds of sleeping passengers. No more movement from the suspicious guy.)

(JORDAN falls asleep again.)

(FLIGHT ATTENDANT appears, shakes Jordan on the shoulder to wake him up.)

(The Captain makes announcement to get ready for landing.

(The suspicious guy in the seat behind them stands up:)


Sir sit down and buckle your seat-belt. SIR! I said please SIT DOWN and buckle your seat belt.

(The suspicious guy starts to move forward:)

FLIGHT ATTENDANT. (shouting from her seat in the galley:) SIR RETURN TO YOUR SEAT! NOW! RETURN TO YOUR SEAT!

(She stands and begins to advance towards him:)


(Jabbing her finger at the air:)


(The plane is landing – the suspicious guy half-poised between his seat and the aisle, ready to sprint, as the plane hits ground.)

(Immediately the doors are thrust open. A full S.W.A.T. team in helmets, body armor, and ballistic shields rushes in, within seconds surrounding and removing the suspicious guy from the plane.)*

(JORDAN and JESSICA exit without speaking, making their way down to baggage claim. A group of cops are gathered, holding the suspicious guy’s picture)

JORDAN. (wheeling his roller-bag over to a cop:) Just so you know, I’m working with the staff on this.

COP. Sir?

JORDAN. I was the one who was going to detain the guy if there was any trouble.

COP. Sir …

JORDAN. They asked me to tackle him.

COP. Sir we’re going to have to pull you into questioning if you say anything else.

* that definitely didn’t happen. I totally made that part up.


Closing Stories and Lingering Images

The Swedes entering the Lobby Bar Sunday night, glittering in formal Black Tie and Evening Gown, speechless, even in Swedish, having just returned from a Shania Twain concert on the strip. Their only comment spoken “åh! åh! åh! åh!”

The Idea of The Ballroom:

(Parker: “I made the idea up in my head. Wasn’t even sure if it would work. Nate and Earl couldn’t understand what I wanted to do, so I grabbed a ruler and marker and drew up this picture, in my kitchen, and sent it to them to try to explain.”)

Louis at 8am, playing the final song of the night.

Texting, facebook messaging, snapchatting pictures, AND talking on the phone. To the same person. All at the same time.

Sunday evening, the ballroom floor already gone, vendors packing up their gear and wheeling it out to trucks, Earl and Nathan on cherry pickers dismantling the drapes and strings of lights

Ksenia Sheina slumps by, draped forlornly on the arm of Wayne Powell.

It’s been two hours since the last Awards were announced, the final thank you’s and goodbyes; and in two more hours Ksenia will leave on her long flight home to St. Petersburg, Russia.

Ksenia is a tall wide-eyed beauty with a mop of red curls, and an expression of irrepressible delight and wonder that never leaves her face. She’s like a child seeing Disneyland for the first time – even now, as tears come to her big blue eyes.

She’s been teaching herself west coast swing and English at the same time without any instruction in either, stumbling along at both at breakneck speed; this her first visit to the United States and the tantalizing world of US dance events.

She is brokenhearted. She doesn’t want to say goodbye.

“So much nice people! So much new good friends! So much beautiful dances! I am so sad to leave this beautiful time!”

Wayne too, returning home to Poland (an English transplant), saying he is so sad, so very sad, to leave. He made Advanced! The previous weekend, in Phoenix! Never in a million years dreaming that would happen. So many new friendships, deep friendships, he’s made these past few weeks in the States.

The two of them clutching each other tight, holding onto each other and every last bit of every moment – before it all becomes a blur and fades into memory.

Filed Under: SinCity

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