Tag Archives: dance culture

CODA: REUNION or “There Comes a Time in Every Raver’s Life…”

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L. to r. Jeff, Ed and Frankenräver

L. to r: Jeff, Ed and Frankenräver

It was great seeing my former rave champion bud Ed after an 8 year absence. And the ol skool crew: Uncle Steve, Jeff and Turtle. The reunion took place at CODA, 1 of Toronto’s few remaining nightclubs. Guy Gerber headlined alongside Jeff Button, Gera and Jonathan Rosa. Only the prospect of seeing Ed could convince me to part with $35 for the “reduced guestlist” – a feat I don’t plan to repeat. Come to think of it, 3 + 5 = 8; looks like I was destined to be overcharged! Fortunately, Fate sent Frankenräver a hefty rebate in the form of money bills scattered on the floor in random places.

I could complain about the ridiculous overuse of dry ice but when the Universe gifts you crisp, beautiful moola, why bother?

Ironcially, CODA was memorable as an interesting exercise in the evolutionary curve of a raver’s life. Back in the 90’s, most of the crew were single and living at home with a fair amount of disposable income to burn. We would party every weekend at the drop of a dime. Peeps would bring their boyfriends and girlfriends. As ravers mature, priorities shift. Decadent party life becomes a thing of the past, something to wax nostalgic over a glass of wine or a YouTube playlist. People establish careers (hopefully), get married, have kids, divorce (often), and grow disenchanted, relegating all remnants of Rave to the back of the broom closet.

The couple that plays together stays together. Ricky and Lisa

The couple that plays together stays together. Ricky and Lisa

Some manage to retain a certain spark with the knowledge that life is different but not in a bad way. Now you party with people’s spouses. Someone’s wife is expecting a baby yet she is there on the dancefloor. Pretty impressive. You notice stuff…folks have gained weight, lost some, acquired a few laugh lines here and there. It’s a mental readjustment but thankfully, one that’s not too painful to make. All that’s required is a good dose of common sense (hi-5ives are OK, impromptu massages on your married friends DEFINITELY NOT!).

Mandy, Ed's wife bought me a drink. “Ed's friend is my friend,” she said. Respect!

Mandy, Ed’s wife bought me a drink. “Ed’s friend is my friend,” she said. Respect!

For others, it can be tough letting go of the past. As you age, your once nubile body can no longer tolerate the abuse you dished out week after week, ingesting all manner of pharmaceuticals, intoxicants and combinations thereof outlandish and simultaneously reckless. The urge to recapture those fleeting carefree days of yore can prove to be an irresistible temptation. It comes at a price not just to one’s physical health. In the push to prolong an experience that cannot be relived, some mature ravers can put themselves in danger of a dysfunctional life, stuck in limbo between a tenuous yesterday and a precarious now. The only way to strike a healthy balance is to accept the 90’s are gone and focus on building a healthy productive life. Be kind to your body but above all, be kind to yourself! Aging is a part of the human experience; it is what you make of it, nothing more. You will need to either reduce recreational drug use, cut it out altogether or find a more body friendly alternative. That is, if you wish to avoid looking haggard and bloated by the time you hit 40. Party when you need to. Celebrate your friends and cherish every moment shared, even on Facebook. Start a blog, write a book (does any of this sound familiar?

Turtle gains perspective in a sea of dry ice

Turtle gains some perspective in a sea of dry ice

Ok, enough of the generalisms. This is where I stand. I’m meeting my friend and his wife with my single self. That means I need to forget about wearing that neon fishnet navelbreaker or risk looking like a tramp to raver wives. Skip G and stick with booze or potentially wind up twitching on a sofa like my fellow mature raver. Last but not least, marriage life ain’t so bad, judging from the happy couples at CODA. Just hook up with a like-minded, positively attuned party lover and everything should be fine.

Ed, it was a pleasure seeing you again! And meeting your adorable wife. Hang in there bud, we’re going to Ibiza! One day. By the way, did you notice that pot-bellied juicemonkey who looked like he was wondering where the fuck the party went? Down south most likely.

Still a long way from the retirement home

Still a long way from the retirement home!

Copyright © 2015 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

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Life After Clubland

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denisbe benson article

Veteran local DJ and author Denise Benson dishes on the state of Toronto’s nightlife in this article for MetroNews dated September 24th 2015. The famed “Clubland” district on Richmond and Adelaide streets is now a bland, sanitized smorgasbord with no hint of its semi-seedy past. It’s a crying shame, one that for all intents and purposes Toronto is proudly living up to. Benson is bang on when she states, “The closing of a number of venues in the early to mid-2000s, to me, signals a serious change that we haven’t entirely recovered from.” Well, that’s putting it nicely!

Actually, the death knell for the city’s clubscene has been sounding for quite some time, most notably in a revealing article by TorStar journalist Shawn Micallef in 2013. Gone is the bleeding ear dynamics of System Soundbar (I was there on opening night). Or giggling when you find out Jerry got kicked out of The Guvernment for doing coke in the bathroom. Or developing a mild crush on a jet-lagged Joey Beltram spinning at Turbo. What gives? Like I said before in a previous article, it’s time for suburbia to open up a can of kickass. Heck, even other provinces can pony up a slice of dance music pie – it’s up for grabs really. If pow wow step as popularized by A Tribe Called Red can come out of Ottawa, who knows what could emerge from Kingston? Foxstep maybe. Or reverbia in Cornwall. How about rattlecore from Rexdale? Only time will tell.

Copyright © 2015 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

A Tribe Called Red Stirs Things Up

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tribecalledred decks

For many years, the Indigenous people of (the stolen land known as) Canada remained under the mainstream cultural radar. They simply didn’t seem to exist anywhere; in magazines, radio, newsprint or television. They were spoken of in whispers and when I did see them, they kept very much to themselves. In the back of my mind I found this disparity rather disquieting but had no idea what was wrong. I had yet to know anything about the horrific legacy of residential schools and the effects of post-colonialism.

Along came Idle No More and changed all that. Suddenly First Nations and Aboriginals were in the spotlight, standing up for environmental issues and shaking things up. The pendulum was finally swinging in the other direction. And the time was right for A Tribe Called Red to enter the spotlight.

After the release of their eponymous album as a free download in 2012, things gained considerable momentum for the trio of DJ’s from Ottawa, namely Tim “2oolman” Hill, Bear Witness and Ian “DJ NDN” Campeau. Glowing reviews in NOW magazine tagged them as a group to watch. The plaintive tribal wail of Electric Pow Wow Drum fused with infectious dubby rhythms made millions of heads bop and take notice. Technically their music can be described as pow wow music married with electronica and hip-hop elements. On a deeper level, their aforementioned signature track is a protest song; the singers’ visceral war like cry contrasts sharply with the playfully condescending voiceover of a white American comedian making off the cuff remarks about “Indians.” In an unobtrusive manner, A Tribe Called Red brings deep seated racism to the forefront while making you shake a leg. Which is no small accomplishment, given how uncomfortable a subject matter this is for so many.

At the end of the day, their music is essentially geared to make you forget all your troubles and dance your ass off. Which they managed to do successfully during Panamania at Nathan Phillips Square on August 12th. It was immensely gratifying to see my taxpaying dollars do something useful for a change! Though at times I sensed they needed to stretch themselves artistically, (as if they’d become a wee bit bored with playing certain songs) they were a definite crowd pleaser. It was pretty dope to see the athletically gifted hoop dancer interpret a remix of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Award Tour.”

Anyone who’s ever attended a pow wow can attest to the raw power of traditional chanting with men screaming at the top of their lungs as they whack a huge drum in syncopation while dancers dressed in fine regalia move in a slow circle around the drummers. Big ups to A Tribe Called Red for bringing traditional music to the masses in an easy to digest format. It can only get better from here on out.

Copyright © 2015 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

3 Years of Frankenräver

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supernova

Today marks the 3 year anniversary of Frankenräver. At that age, I was a screaming mass of raw energy; temperamental, curious and testing the boundaries of my parent’s patience. Although I haven’t posted anything in months, it doesn’t mean that I’ve given up. Au contraire, I’ve been quietly, constantly evolving and so my point of view on a number of subjects has shifted drastically.

After much consideration, I’ve concluded that there’s nothing about Toronto’s party scene that holds much appeal for me anymore. Raving as I knew it in the 90’s is dead, done over – ain’t never coming back. Tough shit. Sorry to dash the hopes of all you ol skoolers still striving to “bring back” that flavour with your sentimental little bashes. The truth is, many are far too self-centred, distracted, emotionally obtuse in this society to invoke the spirit of PLUR on a grand scale, but that’s not to say it’s still not happening. Just not in Toronto.

Call it maturity (or even ennuie), but I feel the energy calling me somewhere else. I can’t say much right now, except to say that I’m pretty excited about it. Instead of clinging to the past and false hopes of long lost glory, I’ve opened myself to new horizons, broadening my scope on a fantastic scene that has spread around the globe. In 2013, Frankenräver garnered hits from 114 countries from some pretty surprising places including Qatar, Benin, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, Algeria, Venezuela, Estonia, Peru, Vietnam and Egypt. I’m happy to know that rave culture has touched so many lives on this planet and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Thanks to all of you for your support and readership. Stay tuned for new and interesting developments to come in the near future.

Raving is like a retrovirus. It never truly left me and I don’t think it ever will. Beats herpes anyday!

PLUR,
Frankenräver

😀

Copyright © 2014 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Toronto’s Nightlife Crisis

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Afterhours legend The Comfort Zone is under threat of eradication by developers

Afterhours legend The Comfort Zone is under threat of eradication by developers

In recent times, Toronto has gained more notoriety for its scandal plagued mayor than its colourful nightlife (are we really supposed to believe that alleged crack video somehow disappeared down some random dude’s a-hole?).To those of us who still love to go out and shake a leg to some quality music (and by quality, I don’t mean Top 40 commercial cheese), this is a disturbing development. Just like those hideous condos that keep popping up like a plague all over the goddamn city. Toronto is in the midst of an identity crisis that it must come to terms with, if it is to remain on par with other world class cities. A healthy nightlife scene is the definitive barometer by which a thriving metropolis, such as T-Dot aspires to be, is measured. Lately though, the pulse rate appears to be seriously flagging. Just ask Shawn Micallef, Toronto Star journalist who wrote an eye opener titled, “With Clubs Disappearing, where will Toronto Dance?” last April (I had saved the original, but it’s MIA and presumably got tossed out with the spring cleaning).

 

http://www.thestar.com/life/2013/04/11/with_its_clubs_disappearing_where_will_toronto_dance.html

 

In said article, Shawn sounds the alarm for Toronto’s rapidly shrinking dance music scene, bemoaning the loss of nightlife heavyweights such as Industry, which has been replaced by –  Gasp! Horror! – Shopper’s Drugmart. Like we really need another one of these…

 

“Stand on the corner of Richmond and Peter Streets, the former epicenter of Clubland. Once there were clubs on all four corners, now there are none. Other big club spaces around town are giving way to residences. The huge Guvernment (formerly RPM) site at Queens Quay and Jarvis was recently sold to a developer and Fly, the last remaining big gay club in the Gaybourhood, may be going condo soon too. Do we need to start worrying about where people can dance to loud music?”

 

And now, legendary afterhours dive Comfort Zone is under threat of extinction by real estate developers, who’ve decided to erect a tower block for college students (aptly, if unimaginatively named “The College”) at the corner of College and Spadina. I guess they decided it would be a perfect complement to the spanking new brand of banal, Rexall Drugstore, across the way. (now where the hell are all those souped up students supposed to get their afterhours fix, huh?). The majority of the party populace won’t miss The Waverley Hotel, which is a different shade of sketch altogether. There’s even talk of preserving the Silver Dollar sign, another landmark spot on the same spot. However, the loss of Comfort Zone would spell the end of a major era in Toronto’s nightlife. Apart from bloated electronic music festivals sponsored by companies that wouldn’t have been caught dead near a candykid in the 90’s and other shallow pretenders to the throne, what remains to fill the void? More condos? I bet the movers and shakers behind these deals and the sheeple that buy into them have never seen Cloverfield. I know where I want to be if  alien baddies invade the city with intergalactic fleas and it won’t be in one of those overpriced deathtraps. 

 

As Micallef eloquently puts it, “A city where you can’t dance is a city not worth living in.” One might argue there are still bars / clubs where you can get your groove on in the T-Dot and they would be right. However, when it comes to getting down to some filthy underground music that demands total dancefloor honesty, there are less venues to facilitate this gritty in-yo-face experience. Which begs the question: where do we go from here? Honestly, I don’t think anyone from the 90’s expects those dizzy days to make a comeback anytime soon. What’s disturbing though, is the lack of vision inherent in city planning, mainly by developers and politicians who seem far too motivated by profit margins than preserving any portion of Toronto’s flavourful character. A healthy dose of underground with a dash of semi-grimy underbelly is necessary to keep any First World city’s economy going; a gross oversight on the part of money hungry investors. These aspects spell trouble for any hopes of Toronto becoming a major hotspot for underground talent to flourish. As local Toronto DJ, Denise Benson states, “Clubs are another artist space when done right. Toronto is crawling with DJs and performers who travel around the world but have no place to play here.”

 

So does that mean the T-Dot is doomed to become an infinitesimal blip on the nightlife radar map? That likelihood is highly probable. Yes, there are still quality internationals that breeze by on occasion, but that pales in comparison to the mecca Toronto was for DJ megastars touching down every weekend during the rave era. At that time, the “Clubland Stretch” was in full effect, with places like Turbo and System Soundbar pumping hardcore tunes. There were more warehouses instead of condos and you could get sketched out at Industry while listening to the likes of Armand Van Helden or Lil Louis Vega. Now, “Clubland” is virtually non-existent, replaced by a sterile wasteland of glass and steel aka “Condoland”…and more Shoppers Drugmarts. WTF >>>

 

What’s left for Toronto’s nightlife future? Well, life is cyclical and what we’re seeing is simply the end of a cycle. In other words, Toronto’s glory days as an underground dance magnet is finished. Once Comfort Zone closes, it will be the official nail in the coffin. Sad but not surprising. I tend to agree with Micallef in the sense that a “Revenge of The ‘Burbs” scenario might play out, where something new and exciting might spring forth from an unlikely candidate for supercool, like Scarborough. Maybe even Kitchener, though I doubt peeps might want to drive that far. In my opinion, only one hope currently remains for salvaging what’s left of Toronto’s underground reputation. But I’m saving that for another article 😉

 

 Copyright © 2013 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

 

BREAKING NEWS

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Dance is an integral part of rave culture. There is no limit to the way people can express themselves, especially when under the influence of Ecstasy. From spasmodic limb floppery to pristine choreography, everyone has something to offer. To that end, breaking has had a major influence on how dance developed within the scene. The first time I went to a rave, I was amazed to see kids popping and locking. And of course, there were a few B-boy brothas keeping it real. Granted, there are differences between breaking and the aforementioned styles. I’m not here to get into semantics or to give anyone a history lesson on technicalities. You can find plenty of sites catering to this. I’m simply here to reflect on how far breaking has come, contrary to popular belief that it would become extinct in its heyday.

Flashback to 1983. Michael Jackson electrifies the world when he moonwalks across the stage at Motown’s 25th Anniversary. I will never forget that moment. I was sitting in front of the TV, mouth open wide thinking, “Wow…what was that?” Jackson had people talking for weeks, wondering how did he manage to glide backwards effortlessly. Hilarious episodes of peeps trying to moonwalk on the sidewalk quickly followed. “Flashdance” (1983) was a massive hit, but not without Crazy Legs executing Alex’s infamous spin at her dance academy audition. “Breakdance fever” (as mainstream media coined it then) had officially swept the nation. Some newscaster actually devoted a segment advising people that breakdancing was not a substitute for eating. Competitions on talent shows were broadcast live, with tutorials on how to do The Windmill and The Worm. Such a tutorial could have helped my cousin avoid banging his balls on the ground. But anyways, “fever” was no exaggeration. Guys with ghettoblasters on one shoulder could be seen strutting around my block. Hell, I even had a scarlet beauty with chrome accents sitting on my dresser.  If you didn’t have a boombox back then, you were square. B-boys would break anytime, anywhere, much to the delight of onlookers.

At that time, breaking was a “guy thing.” I never saw girls participate (except to cheer on from the sidelines) and the general consensus was it was “not proper.” Personally, I was happy to let the boys do all the work. They would get all sweaty and stinky afterwards. Baggy tracksuits, furry Kangols, and Adidas with big laces were all the rage, courtesy of Run DMC. It was such an exciting time. Already, there was talk in mainstream media about “breakdancing” being a fad that would die out soon. I didn’t believe them. Hearing rap and electro going off on somebody’s boombox outside my window everyday as the breakers practiced was something I’d grown accustomed to. There seemed to be no end in sight for this phenomenon.

Screw i.d. It's all-ages up in here. Now where's my gin & tonic?

Screw the frickin i.d. It’s all-ages up in here! Now where’s my gin & tonic?

Flashforward to 1985, Brooklyn, New York. Here I was, visiting the place where it all began. By this time, breaking had begun to die out, but the atmosphere was still electric. It was something you could actually feel in the air. Much like contagion, you could “catch it” just by walking around and watching all the action unfold on street corners and inner city parks. Watching graffiti emblazoned trains with messy tags and bodacious burners rumble by my uncle’s apartment daily was quite an experience. Sometimes I even saw punks riding between cars, their spiked hair and chains visible even from a distance. Black and Puerto Rican kids could be seen breaking and double-dutching.  Although I was too young to hit the  clubs, I soaked up some illicit glee from hanging with older kids. The kind that had boyfriends and whispered about taking “the Pill.” The fashions were mindblowing. The music was evolving too. Rap was beginning to sound more like pop with an RnB flavour. Garage was going mainstream, with Gwen Guthrie’s “Padlock” lighting up the airwaves. Being exposed to all this excitement as a little kid in The Big Apple was a gamechanger. New York was the city of dreams, a place where anything was possible. I returned from my vacation, head turned inside-out. And then, the bubble burst. Just like that, breaking died. The B-boys vanished and ghettoblasters were banished to closet space. No-one even talked about breaking anymore. It was as if it had never existed. I forgot about it and moved on to bigger things, like popping pimples and rocking acid wash jeans. Life was starting to get pretty complicated. Those fun times were like half-forgotten dreams, lost in a dusty corner of yesteryear, never to return.

Flashforward  to Toronto, Canada, 1990’s. Raving rears its noisy, colourful head. Once again, I am caught up in something electric, fresh and exciting. I witness ravers executing classic moves I saw on the streets during my childhood. Girls are breaking and it’s no big deal. The naysayers from yesteryear were wrong. Breaking is NOT a craze, it is an artform, born out of inner city resistance and struggle. It speaks volumes to millions of youth around the world, and will continue to do so for generations. Like everything else, it is cyclical. After all, didn’t acidwash make a comeback like two years ago? Within less than a year, I was ashamed to even wear my jacket, that’s how fierce trends were back in the 80’s. Although some diehards will say capoeira did not influence breaking, there is a definite correlation between the two. Brazilian martial arts evolved from African slaves’ resistance to oppression. African Americans invented breaking. How could there be no relation? It’s in the blood. Give it up to The Motherland for enriching the lives of millions across the globe. Breaking will never die.

R.I.P. FROSTY FREEZE. YOU WERE ONE OF THE GREATEST!

frostyfreeze

Special shoutouts to The Rocksteady Crew whose pioneering efforts helped bring breaking into public awareness.  If you look closely, you will spot Crazy Legs and Frosty Freeze in the video. Enjoy 😉

Copyright © 2013 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

DJ Damage Mixtape Archive

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Ol skool audophile DJ Brian Damage has amassed an impressive collection of mixtapes from Toronto’s musically checkered past. Beginning from the early 90’s all the way up to 2002, Damage has ripped a truckload of celluloid spanning a variety of genres. Everything from breaks, tech-house, ragga jungle, gabber and more, Brian’s got all the bases covered. I even discovered sub-genres I’d never heard of previously – old skool chilly jungle, happy gabber and trance-piano. My personal faves: Marcus, Everfresh and Prime on Prophecy, Dr. Trance’s radio show on 100.7 FM and Adam Beyer’s retro brand of psychedelic techno. The files download instantaneously which is great news for those of you with ADD.

In addition, Brian provides detailed descriptions which turn out to be brief historical accounts of all the players involved in that particular mix. Track listings are actually provided in some cases, either courtesy of Brian himself or an enthusiastic commenter.  Pop over to http://mixtapes.demodulated.com and be prepared to journey back in time when life was a heckuvalot simpler. Kudos to DJ Damage for preserving a portion of rave’s musical past, sharing and educating listeners for years to come.

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Promise Rave with Frankie Bones

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Footage and photography: Frankenräver. Additional photos courtesy Jason Clarke.

Promise’s 12 year anniversary party was like a high school reunion for Toronto’s raving community. It was amazing to see all the old headz come out that night to celebrate in style. Indeed, the Promise crew took raving back to its roots by hosting the event at Zero Gravity’s training studio; a gorgeous warehouse in the west end. The authenticity was evident everywhere; from the classic coatcheck set-up to the funky décor complete with chill-out spaces. I really liked the fact that Promise recognized we’re responsible people – they didn’t bother checking our bags; just like da good ol’ days!  

 

NYC legend Frankie Bones at Promise

Ali Black warmed things up nicely in the main room, ahead of NY’s Big Apple appearance. I must say the acoustics creamed Footwork’s puny sound system which was a relief. Frankie Bones came on surprisingly early at 1, and dropped some of the nastiest remixes I’ve ever heard, combining classic hard house with Technotronics “Pump up the Jam” and Snap’s “I’ve Got the Power.” Bones was focused, intense and on point. The Empire State beaming in the background was a  clever tribute. But I was somewhat disappointed to see the hardcore veteran using cd’s instead of vinyl. And his set was super short too; just under an hour. Oh well…Lee Osborne made up for it with a pumping set of proper house that got everyone moving.

Cee Cee Cox and Koen initially got off to a good start, but then the bass cut out and they started playing some loopy tracks that just killed the whole vibe. Any underground DJ worth his salt knows that you have to keep that groove pounding, right ‘til the very end; not mellow things out when peeps are still peaking. And then, just like that it was over. At least it ended one hour later than Footwork at 5 a.m. Truth be told, for the kind of party this was, the place should’ve been rammed out. It never really got packed which was rather disappointing. I’m not sure whether to attribute that to sign o’ the times or inadequate promotion. However, receiving a warm handshake from Irving as I exited the venue reminded me of how much Promise has done to keep the true spirit of raving alive in Toronto. It’s obvious these guys put their hearts into what they do, and for that they are to be commended. After all, these are the folks who bring us the Cherry Blossom Party, Om, Cherry Beach and more, year after year. Big ups to the Promise crew for keeping it real >>>

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

EDM Lounge Kicks Ass

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EDM Lounge recently followed yours truly on Twitter so I decided to check ’em out. What I found blew me away. These folks run a blog devoted to electronic dance music based in the States. They’ve got their finger on the pulse of what’s new and exciting in the underground scene, giving exposure to rising stars and established acts such as  Crizzly, Noisia, Big Chocolate, Weekend Wolves, Skrillex and more. For the latest on what’s happening down south in the Land of Rave, visit http://www.edmlounge.com/

The Electric Daisy Carnival Extravaganza

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The Electric Daisy Carnival is the biggest electronic music festival outside of Europe. Dubbed the “American Ibiza,” EDC kicked off in 1997 at the Shrine Expo Hall, and has morphed into a massively successful enterprise of epic proportions. Some purists might argue that it is nothing more than a commercial rave solely geared towards maximizing profit, but I say that’s a natural consequence of its ginormous popularity. Bottom line is promoters, organizers and artistes need to get paid. EDC’s creators are smart enough to monetize various aspects of their brand, thereby ensuring they will continue to attract the biggest names in electronica as well as huge crowds. 2011’s stellar line-up included Skrillex, Infected Mushroom, Green Velvet, Tiesto, Paul Oakenfold, Steve Aoki, David Guetta and more. The inclusion of carnival rides, fireworks, performance artists and stunning visuals means there’s never a dull moment at this 3 day extravaganza. The fact that this is an in-your-face rave occurring in prestigious venues such as the Los Angeles Coliseum and Texas State Fair Grounds, speaks volumes about the progression of rave culture in the U.S. of A.

            However, EDC is not all flowers and unicorns. In 2010, the death of 15 year old raver Sasha Rodriguez, resulted in negative press, a wrongful death lawsuit and a subsequent investigation by the Los Angeles Times into Insomniac Inc.’s event management protocol. Mind you, this was 1 fatality at a rave of approximately 250,000 people. Though of course this incident is regrettable, statistically speaking those are very good odds considering the scale of this event. To put this in perspective, EDC provides on-site medical personnel and emergency services to deal with the influx of revelers suffering from heat exhaustion, alcohol intoxication, drug overdose and injuries related to crowd control (trampling etc.). All of these occurrences are commonplace at large carnivals throughout the world, including those of Trinidad and Brazil. It appears substantial efforts are being made by the EDC to ensure the safety of partygoers, so they are being vilified unfairly by what amounts to media histrionics and straight up playa hating. Realistically speaking, there is always the risk of death or injury at any event involving humongous crowds (think holy festivals in India and Toronto’s Caribana), so the media needs to get off their high horse. One positive outcome from the  fallout is EDC has been forced to improve their safety standards. Some implementations are an 18 years and over age restriction and the hiring of Investigative Advisory Group (IAG), to improve operating procedures and security.

Free spirited fashions rule at EDC
Source: dankrauss.blogspot.com

The arrest of EDC’s CEO, Pasquale Rotella, on corruption charges in March, throws the festival’s future into the spotlight once again. According to Spin, Rotella could face up to 13 years and 8 months in prison. Rolling Stone reported, “Rotella is one of six individuals charged in a colossal corruption case concerning Los Angeles’ historic stadium, the Coliseum, where the EDC has been held many times. According to L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley, more than $2.5 million of Coliseum money was rerouted to the personal accounts of Coliseum Events Manager Todd DeStefano and General Manager Patrick Lynch via back-room deals.” No kidding. Greasing the skids is (shock, horror!) standard procedure in the business world, so in all likelihood these accusations might have some credulity. If this was some bigwig mafia don, I’m sure investigators would look the other way in a jiffy, but because this involves the retention of  the hallowed Coliseum for a rave (read: a traditionally illegal youth event), it’s a big effing deal. The magic pony predicts Pasquale will  pay a fat ass fine and skip stir altogether. Either way, somebody is going to make a ton of moolah…

            This minor hiccup is unlikely to prevent the mammoth festival from moving forward. If Rotella’s Facebook page is any indication, he’s got major support from the dance community, many of whom consider his potential sentencing to be excessively stringent. With events slated for New York in May and Vegas in June, the EDC shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It’s obvious that this massively colourful machine of hedonistic mayhem will continue chugging along, despite the protests of angry moms and a biased mainstream media. 

For more info, visit  http://electricdaisycarnival.com

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.