Johnnie Hobbs and the Internal Dictations
You’re probably here for comics/drawings/nerdy things. Well, that’s not what’s happening right now.
We’re talking about tap dancing.
Last night I attended a tap dancing party/workshop/dance battle/tap-stomp-the-yard thing. This is just one of the million reasons that I love living in Los Angeles. You work all day. You’re about to call it a night and go to sleep like an old person and someone calls you and says, ‘Hey, do you want to come to a (insert weird cultural activity that you have had little or no contact with) party tonight?” And of course you say, “Fuck yes!” because you’re not old and going to sleep is morally reprehensible in that situation.
Last night, my director buddy Johnnie Hobbs, my partner Sarah, and I went to ‘Monday Night Tap’.
Now, just for some background, Johnnie is a tap dancer. So, it’s not that strange that he was attending a tap party/class/dance battle/whateverthefuckhaveyou.
Johnnie’s a stellar dude. He made a movie with Dule Hill titled Nostalgia that you can see more about here. There’s really no earthly way to describe Mr Hobbs. He’s a massive ball of energy. Let me give you an example. Johnnie and I don’t really talk on the phone. We text… OR SING.
That’s right. Johnnie, a grown ass man, and I sing R & B style songs into our iPhone voice memo apps, and then send them to each other. To say that we’re both sickeningly childlike is a gross understatement. The only reason Johnnie can get away with it is because he has a million dollar smile. Look at that shit:
So, now you’re all caught up. Johnnie plus Sarah plus Me = going to a tap party/dance/shindig
Needless to say, I’m not a tap dancer. I don’t really know anything about it other than Sammy Davis Jr is rad and that kid from Sesame Street was cool when I was 9. Johnnie, on the other hand, is a virtual cornicopia of tap knowledge. On the ride there Johnnie schooled us on Bring Da Noise, Bring Da Funk, Savion Glover, and and the history of Tap.
Let’s digress for a moment. Los Angeles has an image problem. People all over the world think that L.A. is just overly-plastic-surgeried, blond haired, blue eyed, trust fund assholes. Yes, those people exist here. But there’s so much more to Los Angeles than that. People in L.A. are all trying to make something. They’re all trying to establish something. They’re all trying to create things. You can’t say the same for everywhere else.
The reason I wanted to get that out there is because this Tap event we went to was in the back of someone’s house. That’s right. It wasn’t in a studio. It was someone’s living room that they’d re-modled to be a tap studio. It was insane.
When we arrived, there was a class going on. Sarah Reich, the woman who owned the house, was leading a class of 30 or so dancers. It was awesome. There’s something about the percussive nature of tap that really connects with you on a guttural level.
After the class, the dancers formed a circle and started stomping their feet in unison. They were making a beat. Then, each dancer would step into the center of the circle and riff off of baseline that the group was establishing. You Got Served can jump off a cliff. Stomp The Yard can take a nap. This tap-battle-jam-session-whatever was amazing. The level of talent on display was jaw dropping.
It was such a positive experience. Dancers of all ages and skill levels would have their time in the spotlight while everyone would encourage them. The dancer’s skill level ranged from Dule Hill, one of the original cast members from Bring Da Noise, Bring Da Funk and West Wing, to a 12 or 13 year old boy.
Often times in large cities you lose a human connection with those around you. The people next to you morph into a massive horde of Other. People stop being people. They start being Not You. That was not the case last night. Each dancer was acknowledge as being a separate, skilled individual by the group. It was almost overwhelming how undiluted everyone’s positivity was. Regardless of your skill level, you were encouraged. Period. That’s an attitude that more people, especially in creative fields, should adopt. Life shouldn’t be a competition. It should be a party. Everyone should be having fun. The will and drive to better one’s self shouldn’t be an external mandate. It should be an internal dictation.
More lettered pages are coming in. I wish I could show you, but I feel like I’ve already shown almost the entire first issue both here and on the Facebook fan page. We should be rolling out the page next week or so. I’m just being overly cautious. I don’t want to have the pages stop and start. You understand.
Comics, man. They take forever.
The title is from my favorite musical. Five points.
Until Next Time,
Hollywood, Ca 2013