I had the opportunity to go Las Vegas and work in a motel lounge that was at that time across from the Hacienda. Sorry, I can’t recall the name, but there I met Antoine Hage. He was an excellent Oud player originally from Lebanon. After a few short months I went to San Diego with him and met his beautiful family. I worked there another few short months and returned to Detroit. Not long after I went back to Minnesota and went brain dead again and got married. I worked “George’s in Fridley” Greek night club every winter for 5 years and “Nicholas” for a year. There I gained a life long friend and dancer MaryKaye Piazza.
1977-Divorced, back on the road to Chicago, Detroit, Denver, San Diego (where I worked with Antoine again).
Denver, I met a really good dancer named Valerie and in back again in Detroit another great dancer, Rheema. And finally, San Francisco, CA. which was the nightmare of my entire career that I will pass on telling. What I will tell you is that one beautiful thing did come out of that miserable time a year later back in Detroit. Aida approached me at a party I was doing. She remembered me and we talked about what happened and still joke about it. Just a note, she had nothing to do with the event. Since, we have become life long friends. Her talents never cease to amaze me. She sings in Arabic, sings opera, has a masters on piano, plays any reed instrument, her ability to play different cymbal patterns are incredible and, as a dancer she is a master technician with all the “Chutzpah” to go with it. She is an encyclopedia of information and a loving caring giving person. If you ever have a chance to study with her, you would be blessed.
Enjoy the best Greek food in Dallas and Dallas’ favorite Belly Dancers, Neenah, Aliki and Aicha. The belly dancers and Stratos are great for every celebration. It is totally fun and festive. Every Friday and Saturday is great belly dancing entertainment with Neenah, Aliki and Aicha and every Thursday night, the Harem Jewels will make your evening a memorable one for your special event. Join us at Stratos and learn to Greek Folkdance and belly dance with the beautiful belly dancers of Dallas, Texas.
Greek nightclubs were popping up all over the country and experienced dancers were in demand. John Angelou told me they needed a dancer in Cleveland and they were paying $40 dollars a night. A lot of dancers from the Ave. started coming back and forth from other cities and I thought I’d give it a shot.
“The Forty Thieves” was the first club I worked. Funny, I was in Cleveland but the club was on Detroit Ave. Karma? Fate? Who was the star there? OZEL TURKBAS! The very first dancer I had ever seen and she was so nice and pleasant to work with and a true pro. They did not have a drummer and she loved solo’s so thanks to Sabah and my experience’s in New York I was able to play for her show and give her a half ass ed solo. I then moved to the “Grecian Gardens” where I found out that I had to be a member of AGVA, American Guild of Variety Artists or, I could not work there, I joined. From there I went to “The Athenian”. When that job finished I got another offer to work another supper club called “Mr. Grapevines” but they were not AGVA. I needed the work, AGVA came in and told me I would be black balled if I took one step on the stage, I was black balled. After that I worked a number of American clubs, “The Red Carpet Inn” “The Thunderbird Lounge” and a few other places. Ever hear the expression “Break A Leg?” That comes from AGVA, because it was the only thing they paid for. They still exist!
One morning I got a call from Eddy Kochak. He wanted to know if I was available to work in Puerto Rico, the pay was $50 a night, free room in the hotel and half off anything I ate or drank. I was packed and on the next plane. A year in Cleveland
was enough. In this article they spelled Ozel and Zeyna wrong but hey, it was the
first time I was “in the news”
Before I leave my story and move on to Cleveland, I have to give note to another dancer that I worked with on 8th Ave. before and during my time there. Yildiz and I were friends and probably the sweetest of them all and a strong dancer.