Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dancing in South Carolina

Coming from the Chicago area, I had never heard of the shag. Once we relocated to North Carolina, only seven miles from the South Carolina border, I learned that the shag is a dance. Not only a dance, but the official dance of South Carolina. Some say it is also the official dance of North Carolina but that state splits the honor between clogging and the shag.

Anyone interested in learning about this dance can pick up "Save the Last Dance for Me" by Phil Sawyer and Tom Poland. The book is basically a history of this specific dance. It even tells how the name, a slang term, as those who saw Austin Powers movies know, came to be.

 The authors admit that specific times, dates and places are sketchy, but traces of the shag began around the mid 1940s, possibly in Virginia Beach, Va., and traveled down the coast to Carolina Beach, N.C. What is known is that Ocean Drive, OD or O.D. to the shagging crowd, in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. has become the ultimate destination for shaggers.

Today nearly 100 shag clubs exist, dance competitions thrive and thousands of people lose themselves in the sound of beach music and steps of the shag. No wonder the subtitle to the book is “The Love Story of the Shag and the Society of Stranders.”

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Hitless Wonder, A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll"

I've been reviewing a lot of books lately, and I want to mention some of them that might be overlooked in the mainstream media. One of them is "Hitless Wonder, A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll" by Joe Oestreich.

The book is basically a metaphor about succeeding in life. It doesn't matter which field a person wants to pursue, whether it's business, medicine, motherhood or like Oestreich, music, all people want to succeed no matter what fate befalls them.
There are hills and valleys. Few people ever sail smoothly from birth to heaven, but it's the fight in each person that determines success. Oestreich tells of the treks through blizzards to reach a club on time. He relates the mechanical problems with the aging Econoline packed with the band and their equipment. He recounts the dashed hopes and promises that were never fulfilled, and the months in Manhattan when they “almost made it big” with Epic records.

All people have setbacks and difficulties they have to overcome, or at least try to overcome. It's the personal satisfaction that determines success.