Dancing Activities On Hiatus

There has been some growing support among dance organizations to cancel events through the use of “social distancing” to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus amongst participants. The decision to put our own square dance events on hold has been made for us, due to the closing of PS3 to outside organizations for the remainder of March. This news will be a relief to some, and a disappointment to others. Although we can’t satisfy everyone, we can do our best to keep everyone safe.

Please watch for announcements of new and re-scheduled events for the coming months.

Connecting our Club through “Distant Socializing”

Tue 31 Mar 6:30pm – 9:00pm
“Distant Socializing” via Zoom


In an effort to bring some connection between us, a video group chat is being hosted, via Zoon, so we can see each other and hear our stories of what’s happening in our seclusion. If you have not used Zoom yet, there are a few ways to participate in the video conference.

You can download Zoom to your computer or laptop: http://zoom.us/ On the right side of that page you can click “Sign In” to create a basic account.
You can also download the Zoom app on your phone from the App Store or the Google Play Store. After that, it’s easy to use. Whenever you want to join a Zoom meeting, you click on the meeting link.
Our Tuesday “socializing” link is https://us04web.zoom.us/j/708840728  

You can also join by landline phone if you aren’t able to use a computer by dialing: 646.558.8656
When prompted for the meeting ID, enter 708 840 728 followed by the # symbol When prompted for the participant ID, just enter the # symbol

You can watch a useful Youtube tutorial video here.

Two points:

  • please mute your microphone when not speaking to minimize the echo effect, which is really distracting
  • the meeting is limited to 100 attendees, but anyone reading this is welcome to stop by and say hi

“Pride of Callers” by Alain Buzzard reprinted from the June 2003 issue of Times Squared

We really should be grateful for all the wonderful callers who have called for us over the years. And remember that it wasn’t always like this!

How things have changed for the better in the last twenty years! “In the olden days,” Times Squares only enjoyed national callers by playing their tapes and records. Homophobia and/or fear of the unknown prevented the Bid Cats from calling for us. The came Betsy Gotta!

Following in the tradition of social responsibility set by her father (one of the first callers to actively encourage Jewish couples to join the dance, breaking the unwritten code of anti-Semitism rampant in the nation), Betsy started calling regularly for us. In recognition for her support of Gay Square Dancing, Betsy was the recipient of last year’s GOLDEN BOOT award at the IAGSDC convention.

And once the door was opened, other callers worked up the courage to start calling for same sex couples. Don’t forget: those were the days when straight couples usually wore “twin-look” western garb, making it a lot easier for callers to recognize who was whose partner. To suddenly be confronted with a floor of same gendered couples, many of whom kept change “roles” during the evening, presented a significant new challenge for callers.

Praises be: homophobia is no longer sanctioned in the larger square dance community and we regularly have some of the best callers in the word at our dances.

For example, did you know that Mike Jacobs is the Chairman of the Board for Callerlab, the largest and most influential association of square dance caller in the word. Todd Fellegy, Anne Ueberlacker, Saundra Bryant, Ben Rubright, John Marshall, Ron Libby, Lee Kopman, Vick Ceder, Barry Clasper, Deborah Parnell Carroll, Lloyd Sparks, Ed Foote, and … and … and … – are among the international callers who have shaped the word of square dancing as we know and love it – and called for us.

Among the big cats, not to forget our own home-grown cubs – Nick Martellacci, Howard Richman and Geo Jedlicka – who qualify as international callers too.

Geo, regularly calling at the highest levels for those clubs here and I Europe who can field C-4 dancers; Howard, on stage at The Met; and then there is Nick.

Many of you who started dancing under Nick’s tutelage may not yet appreciate how incredibly gifted he is – not only as a teacher, but as a choreographer and performer. We have every right to be proud of our pride of Kings and Queens.


“Dress Code” reprinted from the September 1988 issue of Times Squared

This is the last in our series on drag in Times Squares. View previous article.

A dress code has been adopted by the Board of Directors, with input from interested members of the club. On behalf of those who cross dress, Antonio reported that they will not wear drag where the Club is being represented publicly, including the Gay Pride parade and the Grand march at the annual convention. They would like to wear drag at regular club meetings and Club socials. The Board unanimously agreed.

“What’s Up Dude?” by Pete Rivera reprinted from the August 1988 issue of Times Squared

This is the fourth in our series on drag in Times Squares. View previous or next article.

I’m not into wearing drag. And so, I don’t do it. But there are a few of our club members that (thank goodness) do. So often they are ridiculed for it and I guess that’s the price they pay for being outrageous. Still, their outrageousness ignites a spark of gaiety in our bunch of squares. It’s my thought that we gay men and women could benefit from encouraging and supporting those who share their harmless fun of dressing up.

As much as I would like lesbians in our club (so other women will feel more comfortable) I feel that that is their choice to make. (Editor’s note: Pete is referring to the lesbian organization that was looking into joining our club, but decided against it when they saw some members in drag at the parade.) If they accept us for what we are – GREAT! If they don’t – who needs them anyway? We don’t need militant dykes that love to fag bash. Then there is this creep who for whatever reason was going to donate some money to our cause, but the poor thing had a change of heart because one of our muscle-bound girls was mentioned in a city newspaper.

What’s up dude – are you jealous?

Our number of dress-ups are minimal. So many homosexuals lose their jobs or seek less paying jobs just to be free to be who they are. Are we to sell ourselves dead city to please some jerk with big bucks because he doesn’t enjoy associating himself with drags? How far will this go? Will some heterosexual sponsor OUR GAY CLUB as long as we don’t do-sa-do with the same sex? I feel sick! My stomach turns at the thought that money would override our right to be. Why don’t we all just join a straight square dance club where we can be assured that those who dress up are biological women?

I heard tell that less than a hand count showed up to march with us in female attire and were criticized for doing so. I’m shocked that even a hint of negative thought was judged against them on the day that was supposedly our proudest day of all. And I though t fish was stinky.

Where is the BOARD in their duties of protecting these MEMBERS IN GOOD STANDING’S dignity? Why don’t I hear them sneering at those who would stomp all over us? It is so difficult for many of us to come out of our closets – and finally when we do, some along with their sister’s high heels and their mother’s bag and pearls … are we to abandon them?

To our ladies of the mustache persuasion – I’ll defend your honor. I hope I’m not alone. If the world sees you belles as an exact representation of us – so be it. We know we don’t all dress up, but the ignorance of the world at large doesn’t have to be ours.

Luv Ya Gals!

“From the Mouse” reprinted from the August 1988 issue of Times Squared

This is the third in our series on drag in Times Squares. View previous or next article. Third in a series of articles about drag in Times Squares. View the previous or next article.

In lieu of Gay Pride, while parading

Some members preferred masquerading.

            In The Times, they expressed

            That they weren’t overdressed.

But to others, it seemed quite degrading.


An Unsurpassed Force of Nature at Rest : Emily Doyaga

Emily Doyaga passed away Feb 12, 2020 after a long battle with Alzheimer disease. Mark Doyaga, Emily’s son, announced her passing and the following arrangements:

Wake will be held Friday February 14, 3-8pm
Dahill Funeral Home
2525 65th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11204

Funeral will be held Saturday February 15, 11:30am
St. John Cemetery
80-01 Metropolitan Avenue
Middle Village, NY 11379

In lieu of flowers please donate to the Alzheimer’s Association

Emily was an active member of Times Squares during the 1990s to the bewilderment of Mark, joining the club in 1993. She even attended the 1997 IAGSDC convention in Las Vegas. But we all loved her enthusiasm and fun-loving nature. We miss Emily very much and may she rest in peace.

“From Joe DiSabato” reprinted from the August 1988 issue of Times Squared

This is the second in our series on drag in Times Squares. View previous or next article.

This issue of the newsletter is full of commentary about the issue of drag within the Times Squares. Since my profession is advertising and public relations, I thought a few of my thoughts on the subject might be appropriate.

The Gay Pride Parade is our community’s single most visible public relations display to the world at large each year. The media loves to show pictures of men dressed as women, or as butterflies, or as anything other than what appears to be “normal” people; these images are more colorful, provoking and in general make for much better press than reporting that, for the 19th year in a row, 100,000 “normal-looking” people, who happen to be gay, went marching down Fifth Avenue to show that they are everywhere and want to be accepted by society for what they are – normal, productive, valuable human beings with a right to their place in society without fear of hatred, prejudice, violence or death on account of their sexual orientation. And let’s not lose sight of the goals of the ”gay liberation movement”. The gay movement is a movement looking to achieve acceptance for our community by society regardless of our sexual orientation, not to reinforce society’s rejection of us.

From a public relations point of view, those who appear in women’s drag, leather drag, or any other ‘outrageous” form of costume play in the desire of the media to portray our community as a bunch of “freaks’ and ‘queers”. Does this mean that no one should appear in the parade in this fashion? As much as the public relations man in me wants to say “yes.” The civil rights activist in me says “no”. Who are we, who have suffered so much as a result of trying to make our true natures conform to the constraints of “straight” society, to demand that our brothers and sisters in the gay community now conform to a dress code so as not to offend the sensibilities of that same society?

On the other hand, my perception is that none of our members is clinically a “transvestite,” which calls into question whether or not we are truly dealing with a “civil rights” issue in this situation. Drag is used in our club for laughs and for a good time at our own affairs. What we must address here are two issues: 1) assuming that we are not defending the civil rights of any clinical transvestite to live out his (or her) true nature shouldn’t those of our members who dress is drag “for a laugh” be more conscious of the appropriate times and places for these laughs and be more sensitive to the possible media and image repercussions of drag when at such a public media circus as the Gay Pride Parade, and 2) does the Times Squares as an organization have any right whatsoever to determine its own public image – both within and outside of our own community – or is the organization ‘s image always to be determined by the whims of any individual member at any time regardless of the desires of the majority of its members?

Many of our members have strongly objected to drag at public functions in the aftermath of this year’s parade. Should those of our members who wish to march in drag be told that the club does not wish to project this image to the community at large, and that if they wish to appear in drag in the parade, there are other places in the line of march where such attire would be more welcome? I don’t claim to know what the desires of the club’s majority is, but perhaps the board should put the question of drag at public functions to a vote of the entire membership just to ascertain the feeling of the club members about these two central questions.