Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Cap'n's Cabaret #90: Dancin' in Charleston!

They're doing it in Manhattan, they're doing it in Paris, they're doing it in Shanghai...care to do it with me?  Hike up your skirts, ladies and kick up those heels, 'cause here we go!


What am I talking about, folks?  Why that new dance craze that's sweeping the world: the Charleston! [image from sydneyswingkatz.com.au]

 Yes, the product of composers Cecil Mack and James P. Johnson for their Broadway breakout Runnin' Wild and adapted from the songs of the Charleston, South Carolina dockworkers, the dance has caught on like the Spanish Flu!  You can hardly walk down the street without seeing someone shuffling their feet and kicking up their heels.  They do it on the street corner and they do it in the station.  In London they're doing it on the roofs of taxi cabs.  Some crazy fool even did it on top of a flagpole!

So hop up and join us, folks!  Don't be a fuddy-duddy.  It's simple: toes in, knees together, kick out your left ankle, kick out your right.  Got that down?  Now improvise!  Kick it in now, kick it forward.  Step up, step back, jump up, do a flip.  Run wild!

Sing it with me, folks:

Charleston, charleston
Made in Carolina
Some dance, some prance
I'll say better than finer
Than the charleston, charleston
Boy, how you can shuffle
Every step you do
Leads to something new
Man, I'm telling you
It's a lopazoo
Buck dance, wing dance
Will be a back number
But the charleston
The new charleston
That dance is surely a comer
You'll dance it one time
That dance called the Charleston
Made in South Caroline

Buck dance, wing dance
Will be a back number
But the charleston
The new charleston
That dance is surely a comer
You'll dance it one time
That dance called the charleston
Made in South Caroline

Swell, folks!  Swell!

Now, to celebrate this wild new craze we went right back to the beginning.  Not Boradway. Before that, even.  Charleston, South Carolina, the Holy City, birthplace of rebellion, the jewell of the Palmetto State!  And we're on the docks with the original workers themselves.  Boss, our bassist, hails from here himself.  And good thing, too, because we need a translator: they speak a different language down south!  And I mean literally: talk to some of the "Geechies" from out on the islands.  It's like visiting the Caribbean rather than the American coast, I tell you!  They even game me a nickname: "da Big Buckrah".  I don't know what it means, but Boss tells me it's a good fit for me! 


Now, let us retire to a nice place near the market for a drink.  Boss knows one of the few places this far south where you can "mix laundry", though even here in relatively liberal Charleston you need to keep it quiet.  Even here in the city where things run a little bit looser you can still find yourself hangin' out at the local Live Oak if you cath my drift.  Out in the countryside?  Well, let's just say they get really good at getting ash stains out of their white laundry and leave it at that.

But let's move past such unfortunate aspects of our American character and move up the stairs past a nondescript door and have a completely legal libation, and absolutely not a Gin Rickey.


Gin Rickey Cocktail:

[image from istockimg.com]

  • 2 oz Bathtub Gin
  • Juice of 1/2 Lime
  • Club Soda

Fill a Highball glass with ice.  Add Gin and lime.  Stir.  Top with Soda.  Garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.

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