Albuquerque lays in complete and utter ruins today. The buildings leveled; the streets buckled and unusable. No one is around. There’s no sound except a slight breeze rustling through the rubble and the trash that litters the landscape now. All because the Albuquerque Lindy Exchange was the bomb that destroyed it all.
It. Was. The. Bomb.
Here are some of the highlights:
This year we had a new venue for our main dances: The North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center, a brand new facility that’s soon to cover nearly a mile’s worth of land with parks, swimming pools, tennis courts, and more. The social hall had an entire wall of acordian glass doors that opened out onto a patio, so not only did it stay cool in the dance hall, but we got to be half inside, half outside. Plus, they provided drinks and snacks for everyone (most of which were free), and with comfortable seating inside and outside. We couldn’t have asked for a better venue.
Oh. My. God. Gordon killed it Friday! The band was super energetic and tight and completely blew everyone away. He had a 3 song encore, wherein he played a blues song as his last song. I almost cried. It was beautiful. Not to mention that everyone in the room was still dancing or gawking in awe at the musicians. Plus, Aurora Nealand, the singer/soprano sax, was one of the most beautiful sounding musicians I’ve ever heard in my life. I seriously forgot I was dancing with someone when I started to hear her play.
Our ABQLX tradition for Saturday afternoons is to have a lindy bomb in a hardwood floored gazebo in Old Town, the original settlement in Albuquerque, built circa 1779. The gazebo sits in the middle of the plaza, with restaurants, churches, and shops surrounding it. It’s a hub of culture, tourism, and festivities. Old Town was also having their Harvest Festival that day, so there were extra people out and about getting ready for the evening’s events. The weather was perfect, and the gazebo was packed the entire afternoon. Afterwards, a large group of us went to a restaurant across the way where we sat on the patio and were served free margaritas from a giant pitcher. Thanks to our waiter, Ruben, for being so nice and joining us in celebrating.
Saturday Main Dance:
Here’s a clip of our Jack & Jill finals.
Saturday Late Night:
This was probably my favorite moment of the entire event. We had a Jedi Jack & Jill Competition (Oh, it’s going to become a thing) in which there were two hats: one was to pull the type of music the competitors would dance to, the second was the task that they had to perform.
The Ultimate Task: Dodgeball Lindy Hop. Ping pong balls were flying everywhere, and dancers were, well, trying to dance. It was the most organized chaos I’ve ever seen in my life.
It doesn’t end there. We get down to our last two couples, battling it out to “You And Me And The Bottle Makes Three,” when we declare a winner. Mike Faltesek immediately sat down with his guitar, began strumming the song where it left off, and one by one, just like in Hellzapoppin’, the rest of The Careless Lovers join in to create a fabulous rendition of “You And Me And The Bottle Makes Three”. It was the perfect segue back into the social dancing.
The Careless Lovers:
I love them. They’re fun, careless (zing!) and have a great down-home, casual feel. Plus, Falty and Freddie Dickinson are great guys, and were a huge asset to have this year.
Sunday was perfect. We BBQed with the Route 66 Malt Shop next door to Rhythm, hung out outside on their patio, and there was a little dancing. The day was really all about hanging out together, eating some food, and having a good time.
A few side notes that helped our event so much this year:
Our volunteers this year were rock stars. Not only did they go well beyond their regular duties, but we didn’t even need to ask them to do something for us most of the time. They just did it. Volunteering for an event can often be thankless work. It was really great to see how much our volunteers cared about making the event the best it could possibly be, and I’m really thankful for that. The volunteers are the backbone of events; events couldn’t run without them.
The great thing about smaller events is that you see every single person at the event. No one goes unnoticed. Everyone who came this year brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm with them. People were super friendly and laid back.
ABQLX isn’t the biggest event, nor does it have the most badass dancers in the world or world class competitions, but it’s always a great time. This was our best year yet. Believe me, you’re going to want to come next year.