August 23, 2008

Rollicking Fun on Sundays



Outside, the pool is filled with bikini-clad women and tattooed men. They're playing volleyball and sipping Bud Light Lime under cabanas while DJs spin house music.

Inside, seniors do the swim and other retro dance moves to songs performed by Bob Kay ("The Singing Drummer DJ"). They dance cheek- to-cheek to Frank Sinatra's "Summer Wind" and move in unison to the "Electric Slide."

It's young meets old.

It's techno meets crooner.

It's grinding meets swinging.

And it's all happening at the Doubletree Hotel on South Alvernon Way.

In July, the hotel began hosting Liquid Sunday pool parties, which are modeled after the Las Vegas-based Hard Rock Hotel and Casino's Rehab parties. About a month ago, they started hosting Kay's dance events.

On a recent Sunday, a girl in a black bikini attempts to serve a volleyball over a net strung across the hotel's pool. She swings and misses and, after a quick tutorial, finally makes contact.

James Huffman, 34, is sitting poolside. He's wearing a blue bandana, dark shades and has studs in his lower lip and pecs. He says he first learned about the Liquid Sunday parties through the social networking Web site MySpace.

"Tucson doesn't have many places that have dance, electronica, techno, etc.," he says. "Especially in the middle of the afternoon."

Faith Torres, 21, is a massage therapy student. She says she likes to hang out at Pearl on the weekends, and that the Liquid Sunday parties are not all about meeting boys.

"They're a chill thing to do," she says. "I like to come here with my brother and our friends."

Meanwhile, in the hotel lobby, the party involves a little more clothing and lots more swing.

John Wise, 85, is a veteran of the Tucson swing dance scene who has danced professionally in movies, in Europe, and at New York's Lincoln Center. He's well-known locally as a guy who is apt to toss his dance partner over his head.

Wise says he's been going to dances organized by Kay for years.

"I've never dropped anyone," he says. "I love throwing those women around and putting them through my legs, mopping the floor with their hair."

During a recent Sunday afternoon dance event, Sergio DePinto sings Frank Sinatra's "The Lady is a Tramp." He says he's been singing at Kay's dances for two years now.

"It started at karaoke," DePinto says. "Bob heard me sing and asked me if I'd like to sing a couple of Sinatra songs at his dances. So I said sure."

"I try to play a variety of what I call oldies but goodies music," he says. "I guess my crowd is probably 55-85 years old."

Liquid Sundays

* What: A pool party.

* Where: Doubletree Hotel, 445 S. Alvernon Way.

* When: Noon-6 p.m. Sundays through at least Sept. 14.

* Cost: $5 for ladies, $10 for men.

* And don't forget: Bob Kay's senior dance party is also on Sundays at the Doubletree, from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is $2.


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