[Dixielandjazz] Astute observation of reality

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Tue Mar 1 21:03:07 PST 2005

Hi Folks:

I attended an event last week that hired an OKOM band on a Thursday night no 

The interesting thing that I observed was that it was apparently being 
operated by an Asian Couple, Hello !  Hello !  the lights went on brightly,  there 
was a substantial preponderance of Asian Males in attendance learning to swing 
dance and they had come early for lessons.

I only counted fifty to sixty people in attendance at $8.00 per head 
admission, including me and I went stag and just to hear the band and hang out.  No 
bar was available as this crowd did not drink alcohol apparently, damn, wish the 
band had told me so I could have brought my own bottle, ( The band could have 
used a snort or two as well) well at least a couple of them could have that 
were not designated drivers.  I can't believe I sat through two sets of OKOM 
with only a Coke to drink.  Gave me the Erie feeling of being in a Church social 
or USO Club dance operated by the perpetual sisters of temperance.

Although it was more than likely the only live music in the city of Oakland 
that night, unless you count the music of the police and ambulance and fire 
engine sirens which is often a symphony in itself.

What was interesting and that came to me only tonight after digesting what I 
had experienced, is that there is a totally new untapped market in the Asian 
Community all over America that could constitute a new revival in OKOM if we go 
out and cultivate it.

Why?  Because the Asians like to simulate Western Culture, and they also love 
to dance and learn new things.  Don't believe me, go to any Latin club or 
Disco and count the number of Asians in the place.  Japanese are also infatuated 
with learning about Jazz and especially in learning to play it.  There are 
also several Million of them living in the USA, and their culture teaches them 
above all things to make money! make money, especially the Yankee Dollah.   

I recalled going to China Town in San Francisco about fifteen years ago with 
a very close Chinese Friend of mine to a Chinese restaurant that featured a 
nightclub in the basement after 8:00 p.m.  It was packed with Chinese folks 
every night, about 300 to 350 each night who paid a cover charge of about $5.00 
each and bought drinks after having dinner upstairs.

All of the men wore Khaki pants and shirts like the US Army guys wore in 
W.W.II, there were a few Fedoras on the dance floor as well, and the ladies were 
dressed up very pretty in colorful dresses, and a few of them had pant suits on 
circa 1945 and the hairdos to match.  ALA the Andrew Sisters.  Hello!  Dress 
up and go out on the town.

The band was from Singapore and all girls pretty every one of them and very 
talented too, playing all the hot tunes of the 30s 40s perfectly including the 
vocals so good you would have thought they were the original Andrew Sisters.

The fun part came later when I tried to congratulate them and tell them how 
good they were and how much I enjoyed their show.  Not a one of them spoke or 
understood ONE WORD of ENGLISH and my friend laughed his ass off at me trying 
to talk to them while they just kept smiling and nodding their heads like the 
little dolls in the back windows of the 1948 Oldsmobiles.  :))

Now the cut to the chase of my story folks, If you have a China Town or 
Vietnamese village near you Run do not walk there and get yourself a gig at a big 
capacity Restaurant nightclub to play OKOM and watch what happens in less than 
a month when the word gets out that you are there to play good dance music for 
those folks.

You will no doubt find a welcoming and warm audience who will embrace your 
music very quickly and be totally nonjudgmental about it since they have nothing 
to compare it with in 
their community.  Don't forget to negotiate a great Chinese meal with your 
pay for everyone in the band, now go get em and keep spreading OKOM to the 
unwashed and willing masses.  Now those of you who are hung up on Pizza just ignore 
this ridiculous rambling.


Tom  "Chow Fung" Wiggins

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