I REMEMBER
The Sugar Palm
December 31, 1997 thru April 3, 1999

Chapter Three by Frank Katzenmeyer

     Taylor (Barbara and Bob's Daughter) was now coming in as the Manager. And Manage she did. It was a full time job for her and she did it well.

-Taylor-

     A strict dress code went into effect. No tank tops, shorts, sandals, tennis shoes, or ragged jeans. She purchased thrift store men's coats, dresses, shoes for men and women. If people appeared and not dressed properly they were welcome to exchange their clothes and get their own on the way out. They would be escorted to the dressing room and then go upstairs. Most of them did not mind. Some people would turn away, and there was lost revenue, but to be a first class Club this had to be enforced. The clothes were cleaned on a regular basis.

     Security was always up and downstairs. Walkie Talkies were used and constantly in touch with management. Nothing got out of hand. A couple of times smoking was tried in the ballroom. They were escorted out promptly.

     During the month of February things were coming into place. The Count Basie Band was performing. The idea was to have a top swing band every Friday and Saturday. Thursdays and later Sundays would be DJ's.

     Dan Electro and the Silvertones, came in April and would become the House Band, performing about once a month. They were well received. Dan fronted the band, singing, and playing the harmonica. Sometimes jumping off the stage to dance. He had standup bass, guitar, sax, trumpet, trombone, and drums. The guitar player Greg, bass player JP, and drummer Art are now The Ventures, a talented group with years of experience from Sarasota. Most of the other bands came from NYC, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Orlando. Taylor hired the best.

-Dan Electro and the Silvertones-

     During the early months of '98 several guys and girls started to be a fixture and coming into their own personalities, which would become very positive for the club.

-Angel-

-Chris and Paul-

-Jimmy-

-Elizabeth and Josh-

     Connie asked two male friends (Roxie and Mack) to join her with the dance instructions. They proved to be an asset with their sound, lightning, and carpentry skills. Jimmy and Angel became a dance duo, along with Josh and Elizabeth performing their aerials.  Steve was the back bar supply man and talented to do other things as well. He lent his vintage cars when needed, as he still does. Tim and Paul came in with no dance experience, but developed their own very good styles.

     Liz, a beautiful young redhead, was the Martini Bar Lady, and became one of my best and favorite dance partners. Holly, Jolee, and Rosemary were valuable with their "Vintage" clothes experience coming from the La France and Busch Gardens.

     Super Joe with his antics and dance ability was a joy to have around. There were others that came from Gainesville, Orlando, Atlanta, and Sarasota that were good dancers

      Tiffany proved to be a true personality for the club. She was definitely an actress, dancer, and singer doing Marilyn Monroe to perfection and used in publicity photos; some with Larry (Taylor's husband)

     Some of us would arrive early around seven. I was always downstairs at the door greeting people and getting to know some well. Super Joe and I became a team of comedy and dance on the sidewalk, hoping to have the crowd in a great mood even before going upstairs. On Saturday night the line would be a block or more long on 15th Street. Close to nine Taylor would call down to ask me to come up and dance with the many unescorted ladies. Sometimes Barbara and Bob had friends come. Some husbands did not dance, so I became the wives dance partner.

     The object at band intermission was to have two or three couples do a dance routine. Most of them were very good.

                                                                          To be continued
 

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