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Jesco! (Dancing Outlaw)


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  • Jesco! (Dancing Outlaw)

    Well, I must not have been cultured enough...I'd never heard of this, and it's been making the rounds since 1991!

    While at Firearms Instructor School, I began hearing the guys from the eastern part of North Carolina calling each other "Jesco" (in a VERY derogatory manner.)

    I finally asked what “Jesco” meant, and they all lost it trying to tell me about this story, Jesco, “DeeRay”, Mamie, 52 steps (?), “huffing” gas, and this videotape. Since a number of other officers in the class were also ignorant of this, the others arranged a 10:00PM showing of “Dancing Outlaw” for all after a few hours of night firing.

    Well…NOW I know! [Eek!] The tape shows Jesco dancing across a swinging bridge, on top of a piece of plywood atop his dog’s house, and on the same piece of plywood on the side of a river bank! His portrayal of all the jokes and stereotypes of West Virginia is full and complete!

    OHMYGOD! [Eek!]

    I actually didn’t laugh (much) as being from the mountains, myself and another officer actually know some people that are almost as bad as the White’s! But boy, those guys from big cities and down East ROLLED for the entire thirty minutes!

    For those who are likewise unaware of this guy Jesco, let me set it up for you:

    A documentary filmmaker (and West-By-God Virginia native) named Jacob Young went to the deepest, darkest environs of his home state to do a documentary on “mountain dancing”-a dance that incorporates tap dancing and “clogging” (at least in my estimation.)

    His subject was going to be one D.Ray White of Boone County West Virginia, but upon arriving in Boone County, found that “DeeRay” had recently died in a domestic disturbance that resulted in shots fired. However, several locals told him to look up Jesse “Jesco” White who was D. Ray’s oldest son. He was allegedly taking up where his dad left off.

    The rest is history!

    He found Jesco (who never understood that this was a documentary-he thought it was a “video” for his dancing) who has a history of sniffing gas, misdemeanor assaults, B & Es, etc, but who has been “reformed” now to take over his father’s place as the best mountain dancer in the country.

    Young interviewed Jesco at length, as well as his much older wife (you HAVE to see her hair to believe it) [Eek!] his sister Mamie, after she spins an old beat up pickup truck for about 2 minutes in a huge mud sling in the White front yard, his semi-blind brother Dorsey who was the intended target of the shooting that killed their father, and Jesco’s mother, who claims Jesco knows 52 steps more than “DeeRay”.

    The resulting half-hour film became a segment of the 13-part Different Drummer series that he made in conjunction with West Virginia public television and the BBC. It won the American Film Institute's Best Documentary award in 1993, screened at the Museum of Modern Art, and was named best public television program in '92. WNPB-TV in Morgantown could barely handle the tape requests.

    Then it became something of a cult classic, circulating through the Hollywood party circuit! It’s STILL making the rounds!

    If you haven’t seen this, you need to try to educate yourself!

    A follow up link for any Jesco fans already out there!
    People have more fun than anybody.

  • #2
    Originally posted by SGT Dave:
    The resulting half-hour film became a segment of the 13-part Different Drummer series that he made in conjunction with West Virginia public television and the BBC.

    Aren't we talking about opposite ends of the cultural scale here?


    • #3
      SGT Dave did you really have to do that. Not everyone from WV is like Jesco. There are a good many people like that in the southern part of the state, but up in the eastern panhandle, we are normal everyday people.

      Oh well if it makes people laugh, then I guess it is ok. It actually made me laugh when I read this. I have never seen the tape either. I would be funny to watch.

      Anyway, I just wanted everyone to know that not everyone from WV is a Jesco.


      • #4
        Every state and region has its stereotypes. I can't tell you how many visitors to the Baltimore area have asked me why I don't say "hon" when waiting on their table (and I only worked at serving for two months before the place closed).


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