Public Squares

The country's gayest dancers do-si-do at the Renaissance. And they want you to watch.

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Stan Kawecki considers this weekend's Touch a Quarter Century square-dancing convention a chance to hang with 1,000 of his closest buddies again. It's better still that the Denver-based International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs has handpicked Cleveland for its 25th annual hootenanny. "A lot of it is just to socialize, so it's more like getting to see your own friends," says Kawecki, who's helped organize the reunion. "Every year, my vacation depends on where the convention is going to be."The conference is expected to attract two-steppers from as far as Denmark and Japan to perform a series of 17 dances, or "tips." Today's roster ranges from the Munchkin Tip for dancers shorter than 5 foot 6 inches to the Pacific Rim Tip for conventioneers from the Far East. Tomorrow, the schedule includes the Medallion Tip for dancers who've attended all 25 conventions. And Sunday's LiveJournal Tip is for users of an online chat room for gay square dancers. Club members will also squeeze in "The Magical, Mystical, Shoo-Bop-a-Doo-Bop, Disco Inferno, Girls Just Want to Have Fun" tour on Sunday morning, when they hop on a bus to Edgewater State Park, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Playhouse Square. At each stop, they'll square dance for passersby. "It's not the traditional dancing you did in elementary school. We put a gay twist on it. Instead of rounding corners, we do fancy turns," says Kawecki. "Camping it up would be the word for it." Dancing is from 8:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. today, 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. tomorrow, and 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday at the Renaissance Hotel Cleveland, 24 Public Square. Admission is free. Visit for a complete schedule.
Fri., July 4, 8:30 & 11 a.m.; Sat., July 5, 11 a.m.; Sun., July 6, 7:30 a.m., 2008
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