Tag Archives: raves

All Gender Bathrooms At Raves

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Gender neutral bathrooms are a hot topic. In recent times they have been popping up in public and private facilities and their popularity is increasing. Laws were recently passed in America allowing school children and people to use the washroom that corresponds to their gender as opposed to their sex. These tentative steps toward gender parity are now in danger of being overturned by a regressive administration intent on fostering division and discord instead of peace and unity.

In the midst of all this chaos, it’s refreshing to know that in the 90’s rave era, washrooms (women’s in particular) became gender neutral during peak periods. For argument’s sake, let’s call this spontaneous occurrence AGBAR – this blogpost title in acronym form. When there are thousands of people rushing all at once and they need to pee (sometimes ALL at once), it truly doesn’t matter which friggin bathroom you decide to use. It was not unusual to see guys and trannies traipsing into the girl’s washroom and vice versa. Men actually preferred ours because they said it was cleaner. “Girls are so lucky! You don’t know what we have to put up with!”, a male raver once CONfessed as he washed his hands next to yours truly. Let me emphasize that at no time did I ever feel unsafe when men and transgendered folks needed to use the ladies’ washroom at a rave. Security was well aware of the situation but I never saw them intervene. AGBAR was in full effect, and although there may have been unpleasant incidents, neither myself nor anyone I knew ever heard of or witnessed them. Ecstasy is reputed to have a neutralizing effect on baser instincts that lead to violence. With everyone feeling all loved up and rushy-rushy, I’m sure the number 1 concern for ravers of all genders using the toilet was to make sure their pants or skirt was really down so as not to piss or crap all over it. Lord knows I’ve had a couple of close calls – can you say ECSTAPEE OH YEAHHHH!!!!

World renowned dance club Fabric London had gender neutral toilets that were conspicuously monitored by security personnel. Hilarious conversations would transpire around the circular sink fountain as guys and girls washed their hands together in peace, all gung ho for AGBAR and the great spirit of togetherness fostered by that overwhelming need to relieve that plagues all genders, all sexes, all nations! And we behaved like civilized beings.

For a dance culture movement that has been much maligned by politicians and mainstream media, it’s funny that ravers helped pioneer a successful social experiment in gender inclusivity, well ahead of the curve. Outside of that peace loving party atmosphere, the reality of rape culture society sets in, making the scenario outlined in the previous paragraph unthinkable in everyday circumstance. Despite the fact that ravers in the 90’s were often perceived as dirty, drug addled degenerates, I was never sexually assaulted at a rave. Not even when I wandered for hours in a sea of Ecstaticans after being separated from my friends. People were so kind, respectful, and they looked out for you. Hopefully one day, stone cold sober society will catch up to where we were. And remember to wash up on the way out.

Copyright © 2017 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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OM Reunion Dazzles with Utopian Bliss

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OM Reunion Project is a gamechanger. Seriously. I don’t even know where to begin. It was absolutely fantastic! Without a doubt, ORP was one of the most beautiful festivals I have ever attended. Big ups to Tom for twisting my arm (read: non violent friendly persuasion) to come after I turned skittish and changed my mind at the last minute.

We spent one blissful week camping out in gorgeous Collingwood, Ontario, from June 19th to the 25th, in celebration of the summer solstice. I’d heard great things about OM, but refused to get my hopes up. “It’s like Club Med for hippies,” Tom postulated. Really now…I was a wee bit suspicious of hippie gatherings in the woods. After all, they might run out of food or something, right? I really didn’t think this was my kind of scene but decided to give it a whirl after it became apparent that two thirds of Kensington cool would disappear for a week.

After a scenic drive on a hot, sunny afternoon, we arrived at OM. As we pulled into the driveway, I spotted some rainbow children fresh from a swim, strolling about, smiling peacefully, while a naked bum flashed straight ahead to my left as its owner stepped into his pants. “Welcome to Om,” that act of casual nudity seemed to say. Indeed, nakedness was a natural state of being in these earthy surroundings. People were free to just let it all hang out without fear of reprisal or molestation. Though nudity was encouraged and embraced by the community at large, modesty prevailed throughout the festival. Why make things easier for the mosquitoes, eh?

With the help of our neighbours, Tom and I erected Chateau Bleu while rain threatened, thunder rolled, and bloodsuckers bled us in earnest. There appeared to be a few dozen tents with more to come on the weekend. Many had clever themes, such as “The Cozy Cactus.” Some revelers pimped their canvas to the max with handmade signs and coloured lights. One crew even built a treehouse for their tent, which made it easy to find ours from the main path. “Yeah, just turn right at the treehouse and you’ll see a huge blue tent with a ginormous tarp – can’t miss it!”

The beauty about spending a week at OM is you get the opportunity to explore acres of arable land, and bond with a community comprised of healers, teachers, massage therapists, ORP staff, psytrancers, hippies and ravers. All like minded souls seeking to transcend mundane reality through music, dance and psychedelics. As ORP’s welcome sign stated, “You Belong,” so I truly felt like I belonged to this colourful tribe of daytrippers. Seeing all the familiar faces from Kensington Market and the psytrance crew in this picturesque setting was like coming home. Pregnant mothers, children, families were all welcome. Different tribes from across the universe had all gathered here for this Lovefest. I left my cell phone in the car and never took it out again ‘til my camera ran out of juice. Time truly became irrelevant as seven daze and nights were compressed into one continuous stream of consciousness, ebbing and flowing to create one dynamic experience. Revelations became a part of my daily diet in addition to the vegan fare from OM’s kitchen. Although I’m not crazy about veganism, the food supply was adequate and I never went hungry. On the other hand, our carnivorous friends had to make the occasional trip into town for a steak as OM’s cuisine was seriously lean on protein. So for all you meat lovers considering a trip to ORP next year, make sure you bring along some beef jerky!

Ommmm the memories…of narrowly avoiding getting leeched in a murky pond, seeing the little bloodsucker swimming enthusiastically towards my leg as I bolted out, witnessing said bloodsucker flopping about on the mudbank, those rambunctious midnight drum circles, naked swimmers on a raft in sweltering 35 degree heat, river dipping with Sylvanna, Ian, Amy and Phil, getting drenched in a thunderous downpour while OMies hooted with joy and a naked hippie raced through the rain with a pack of delighted dogs, rusty orange skippers flitting through an early morning meadow, starting the day with a J and a brewsky watching the sun come up, the tantalizing taste of wild strawberries, strolling through superwarm woods at night without a jacket while music echoed in the distance. True, some nights were cold and challenging. Stumbling through the woods, stoned, with no flashlight is akin to begging for a blind date with a rock. True to form, I strayed away from the beaten path (illuminated with fairy lights, to boot) and took the road less traveled. Which meant I often found myself in a patch of inhospitable pine, batting away vindictive branches, wondering where the hell is my tent (by the way, those mini flashlights from Canadian Tire were a lifesaver – thanks Tom!). But nothing beats the sunrise viewed from a curtainless kybo overlooking the fields. Ahhhthe many blessings of OM. From the convivial generosity of joy dispensers to the carelessness of cavorting ravers, dropping goodies all over the ground, finding $20 was more than a stroke of luck. I considered it a just reward for all the hugs and smiles and good vibes shared with my fellow OMies. Hmmm…I could use it to buy one of Evil Wizard’s hellacious concoctions of dubious origin…. Actually, it went towards the purchase of, shall we say, medicinal mind medicine. Everyone unanimously agreed there was magic here in abundance. As a matter of fact, my volunteer shift date and time, which was inked on my wristband mysteriously vanished without a trace after my shift ended. So did Tom’s air mattress after a blissful afternoon by the pond…

Unexplained disappearances aside, OM is one of the safest, kindest festivals you will ever experience. It attracts an international audience, though the majority are based in Canada and the United States. Theft is rare as OMies sense instant karma wafting insidiously through the atmosphere. Don’t wanna mess with that. Stuff doesn’t really get stolen…just moved around, misplaced, borrowed, misappropriated. Wherever you come from, be prepared to lose something at OM, whether it be your wallet, inhibitions, or attachment to material possessions. Smiles are free and distributed copiously. Everyone smiles here. As a matter of fact, I smiled so much my face hurt. The beauty of the land and its gorgeous inhabitants provides plenty of room for the inward gaze. There is wisdom to be found in silence, especially at night. Anyone who’s been to the meadow and seen the fireflies winking in a fantastic display of bioluminescence can attest to that.

“If this is a dream, I don’t ever want to wake up,” I said to myself on Day 2. I thought one week was plenty of time to soak it all up, but Utopia soon came to an end in the blink of an eye. How could I keep this feeling alive in my heart? This feeling of peace, love and oneness with my surroundings? “Hold onto that feeling and don’t let go. Take OM with you and make it a reality,” said a wise comrade. If it’s one thing that OM Reunion Project has taught me, it’s that it is possible to create heaven on earth. Time to tune out the negativity and focus on creating sustainable communities based on harmonious balance with the environment. With just over 1,000 attendees, ORP embodies a gentle approach towards partying in the forest – eco-raving, if you will. This could easily be a much bigger event, but the cap on attendance ensures an intimate vibe is maintained throughout the festival.

Musicwise, it was a feast for the ears. During the week, there were drum circles and sporadic performances. I once spent several hours listening to some campers hopped up on shrooms giggling non-stop every minute (ear plugs are essential!). And then there was the “Untalent Show,” featuring a stellar line-up of, shall we say, untalented performers titillating the audience with bombastic displays of untalentness. Who could forget the off-key antics of the Ukeladies? Or the guy getting his pubes shaved (not to mention the dude who had a mankini skillfully sheared from his chesthair). And of course, the Shakespearean who made up for his “talented” recital by dropping his kilt upon request from the audience. What laid beneath was, like….super-talented. “You guys are a tough crowd!,” he exclaimed as the audience cheered its approval. A plethora of electronic sub-genres and live bands meant there was never a dull moment from Friday night onwards. Everything from dub, bass, techno, tech house, breaks, psytrance and more, ensured different tastes were all catered to. Outstanding sets by the likes of Brendan Lawless, Tom Kuo, Rollin’ Cash, Hadiman, Sara Dopstar, Transisco, Kadmon, d Boom, Soren Nordstrom, Gavin the Bass and more, made the weekend memorable. Catching Snappy Home Fry playing with an acoustic band at The Hive while I rolled around in the hay was sheer bliss. If you plan on attending ORP next year, I strongly suggest you go for a week (or longer) to get the full experience. You won’t regret it! When it comes to eco-raving,OM is where the heart is.  

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.  

DJ Blend Takes YouTube by Storm

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If you don’t know who DJ Blend is by now, you definitely will after watching this video. So far, this clip has racked up over 56 million views on YouTube – a staggering success for a rising star. This uber-young upstart is changing the game in a huge way. Said to be originally from Texas and of Mexican descent (rumour has it he might be British), Blend is taking DJ’ing to another level. His jaw-dropping mixes combine ol skool acid house with dubstep, synth pop, hip-hop and electro to create hugely entertaining sets. Not to mention, his energetic dancing in a Chucky style dolly mask in a variety of settings. There are clips of him mixing in a bedroom and kitchen, obviously enjoying the hell out of himself. Simple concept, brilliant marketing strategy.

Love him or hate him, you have to give the man props for innovation. DJ Blend apparently took matters into his own hands after being shunned by clubs when he tried to get some exposure as a 15 year old. Since then, he started streaming his sets online, and the rest as they say is history.  In this interview excerpt taken from http://www.theindiechannel.com, Blend states, “I’d get one to four viewers per day. It was kind of sad, but I was happy for my four viewers. I started watching YouTube videos to improve my skills, but I noticed they would just focus on the turntables and hands, and the videos weren’t  that entertaining. So I found this mask – I wanted to be as crazy as I wanted without people knowing my identity.” It’s a strategy that’s working in his favour; think Daft Punk and Deadmau5. Notice how Blend was not discouraged by the small number of views he started off with; he was grateful for what he got. Therein lies the key to success – an attitude of gratitude. The fact that Blend is mixing vinyl in this video is commendable in this age where laptop DJ’s have become the norm. I can easily envision a stadium filled with tens of thousands of ravers throwing their hands up to Blend’s stimulating sets. Anytime this guy decides to swing by Toronto, I AM SO THERE >>>

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.

 

Raver of the Month: MC Mimic

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MC Mimic

Former candykid MC Mimic, drops some tasty tidbits about his experiences during the 90’s. As you can see, dude’s all grown up now. Fortunately, Mimic has not lost touch with his inner child, unlike your average Wall Street banker. Peeps like him should occupy more boardrooms that’s for certain. Though the colourful bracelets are long gone, he’s still a sweetheart on the inside – where it counts 🙂

F: How old were you when you attended your first rave?  

MM: That’s a good question…I was probably raving from like mid to late ‘90’s so  I was probably 15.  

F: Were you ever turned away from a party because you were underaged? 

MM: No, there was never any issues. I remember one time that we were at The Docks and there was a group of us and security was really tight and there was a swarm of cops and they’re like, “If you have anything on you we’d recommend that you go back and leave it in the car,” and we were like, “Let’s confer over here,” (laughter) and we still came in with a shitload of pills but yeah, that was the only time we had to hesitate. Turned away for age – no.  

F: What inspired you to become a candy raver?  

MM: Again, a good question. I think it was just kinda completely young, in high school whatever. I wanted to experiment with different mind altering substances and whatnot, cuz it was really big back then and I think since then it’s really fallen off quite a bit. I mean there’s still parties going on, but I think it was the thing to do cuz we couldn’t go to bars and drink, so (we’d)  just go to a party, stay up all night, do some drugs and have fun. 

F: As a candy raver, what kind of gear could I expect to find in your wardrobe? 

MM: Oh geez! (Laughter). First of all, I had bracelets halfway up my arm and of course the soother necklace and I had locks at the time. And I had this – you know “The Cat in the Hat” hat? I had one of those…a Finnish girl that was an exchange student that was dating one of my brothers, she actually made it for me, so what I would do is I would take the Cat in the  Hat hat and stick my locks up in it and so it would stand up stiff like… 

F: (Laughter) Oh my God… 

MM: It was actually pretty sweet cuz a couple of us used to work at Domino’s pizza. 

F: Yes. 

MM: And so we would print out our own nametags and whatever and there were like 3 or 4 of us that would go to parties in our Snug pants and the Domino’s shirt… 

F: (More laughter) Oh my God… 

MM: And that was primarily to look cool yes, but also so that we could find each other cuz you know how it goes; you’d dose a little bit and fucking wander around and talk to everybody and then, “Oh shit, where’s my friends?” Then always, “Have you seen another guy in a Domino’s shirt, looks like me?” -“Oh yeah yeah yeah! He’s over there.” Great. Now I’ve found my buddies. That was part of it but yeah, like bracelets up to there, and of course the soother and the hat and my Snugs were my favourite. I had 11 pockets in those pants. 

F: Sweet! 

MM: And I remember there was a store in Square One; it’s not there anymore, but there was a sign in the change room that said, “If it doesn’t cover every lace, it doesn’t belong on your waist.” 

F: (Laughter) That’s pretty snappy! 

MM: That’s pretty dope. I like that. That’s pretty cool. 

F: As a person of colour, did you ever experience any racism in the scene? 

MM: Oh not at all. In other venues yes, but as a raver, no, not at all. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the DJ C-Rat? 

F: No. 

MM: Like ol skool jungle, it’s like ragga jungle. We actually had a radio show at York University every Thursday; it was a junglist radio show; he was the DJ, I was the MC. 

F: Wicked! 

MM: And it was pretty cool. I had them all recorded on cassette tapes which are long gone at this point but actually, you know, I still have his number somewhere but maybe like a year ago, I was standing on Queen St. and he was just walking by and I hadn’t seen the cat in like…fuck, years, cuz I was living in New York for a while. But yeah, he’s walking around and the craziest thing about him is he had like CP or something, so one of his arms is non-functional, but his whole mixing – one arm. Just with one hand and he was pretty damn good, but I saw him walking by and I’m like, “Wait a minute I know that guy.” I’m like, “Yo C-Rat!” and he’s like, “Yo Duppy?” (Laughter). I’m like “Yeah!” Actually my MC name was MC Mimic…yeah, so maybe like a year ago we went out to a jungle party on…shit, what’s that place? Not the Hide Out. It’s on Bathurst on the west side just south of Queen? It’s got like a black front…anyways man, it was dope. I think Caddy Cad was MC’ing. Caddy Cad and I had played a couple of parties together. 

F: Caddy Cad is awesome. He’s still rhyming, still MC-ing… 

MM: And he’s like 40 something, maybe 50, I don’t even know. I wasn’t doing any drugs a year ago or whatever but I was like “It’s good, it’s good,” blah blah blah, and I’m shooting the shit for a sec and I’m like, “Yo I’m totally in the zone right now, like yo, let me just spit 16’s,” (he’s) like “No, you can’t do it,” and I’m like “Fuck – c’mon bro. Really!” (Laughter). Like, “C’mon! I’m in the zone! Just let me holla for a second – I don’t want money or fucking anything.” He’s like, “No, I can’t do it,” and I’m like “Aight.” Yeah so, I guess that was the last party I went to. 

F:  Were you into gabber when you were a raver? 

MM: I am not familiar with it. 

F: Hardcore, happy hardcore… 

MM: Oh happycore. Yeah, yeah. It was like my main two were happycore and ragga jungle. 

F: Happy hardcore did not appeal to a lot of people that I knew, including myself, so I’m just curious as to what was it about happycore that you found stimulating. 

MM: I would say a combination of the completely legal drugs that I wasn’t doing (laughter), cuz back in the days when I was partying, it was like PLUR, PLUR all the way. Peace love unity respect man. Everybody was your best friend and…shit what was that one song? (Sings) First you say yes, and then you say no, tell me to stop, and then you say go. What kind of fool are you looking for? That’s one that sticks out in my mind but it was just…the name of the music – like happy hardcore, just strong, quick beats but like nice vibes, and the people too you know, even more than the music. A good combination but I’d say more than the music, cuz everybody was kinda like, in the same zone and you know everybody’s just there to be nice to each other. 

F: True dat. 

MM: Which is what really built them in. 

F: Did you ever eat the candy off your bracelets? 

MM: I never actually had a candy bracelet but I knew people that did that shared. 

F: Name some of your favourite DJ’s from that time. 

MM: Awwh geez…Medicine Muffin, Drip, Flow, MC’s like Skibadee and Caddy Cad like I was saying…yeah, Capital J! 

F: Yeah! 

MM: And oh of course my DJ, C-Rat. 

F: What were your most memorable parties or experiences? 

MM: You know, I was thinking about that actually earlier while I was sitting here, and it was one of the most memorable lifetimes in an instant. Meaning I was walking I don’t know where, maybe to the bathroom or something but I passed this girl and we just made eye contact and in just that moment, it was an entire lifetime together. And I could tell that just from the eye contact that it was exactly the same way, and that actually is still with me 10 years later, so I would say that was the one that sticks out most in my mind. 

F: Did you ever get the opportunity to check out the rave scene elsewhere, in other cities or down south? 

MM: I never partied in the States; primarily Toronto. I remember Noose, The Docks. We went to Guelph a lot. What’s the university out there? 

F: Guelph University. 

MM: Okay! (Laughter). I guess that makes sense. We went to Guelph a lot cuz this buddy of mine was dating a girl out there, so we went to a lot of parties inGuelph, but it was primarily Toronto and Guelph. 

F: Do you think raving has a future?” 

MM: I would like to see it come back. At this point I’m not too up to date on parties. Actually no – I went to a party probably like 8 months ago at The Guvernment actually, with another buddy of mine. One of his boys, MC Zee, he’s an MC. We went to check him out and that was pretty cool. So to answer your question, I would say it’s still alive. Is it coming back? I don’t know. I would like to see cuz I love raving, but if it does come back strong, I would like to see PLUR come back, cuz once crystal meth started coming into it, people got kind of mean and then like drum and bass got too electronic and whatnot. It kind of took the sail out of it for me so like if it could go back to the day, go back to how it was back then I would love that. 

F: On a final note, how would you say raving has changed your life. 

MM: Oh, totally. It opened my mind to openness I suppose, actually cuz I’m fairly open and I like to share in general, but definitely through the experiences that I had while raving, it’s definitely opened me up and made me more accepting of people, more understanding I suppose? And I guess maybe more confident like just, how we met, like I was just passing by the park and then I saw people and I’m like, “Shit, hey these guys look cool so I might as well come and sit down.” So I think I definitely gained that kind of aspect from raving because you know when I was at parties like I was saying, you go around and everybody’s your best friend; just talk to anybody. “Hey, how you doing?” – “I’m feeling nice. How are you?” – “I’m nice too!” (Laughter). So I think that definitely carried over to my general M.O. 

F: Wonderful! Thanks for sharing Duppy x

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.

Tuned In, Mashed Out: Halloween Rave of ’98

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 The following is an excerpt from my e-book on Toronto’s rave scene. More excerpts can be found in the December and January archives on this blog. Like what you’ve read? Remember to click on the Facebook “Like” button at the bottom of this post 🙂

TUNED IN, MASHED OUT: Confessions of a Rave Junkie

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved.

Griff & co. rolled out in a raucous spliff smoking, candy chomping convoy of 3 automobiles. We touched down at the Automotive Building shortly after 9:30 p.m. The line-up was already starting to get hectic, but we got in after a 10 minute wait which was pretty damn good considering there must have been at least 300 people waiting outside. The AB’s interior was divided into 2 ENORMOUS rooms crowned with ridiculously high ceilings. Hard house boomed away in 1 while drum & bass rumbled in the other. The sheer magnitude of the space resulted in audio overlap which was kind of annoying. In its entirety, the AB was roughly the size of a few football fields put together. Holy shit….Dose & Syrous really outdid themselves this time! And it was still early, judging from all the empty space we had to explore. Already, there were a few hundred ravers milling around inside. Our posse consisted of Da Underground Crew: Griff, Tonya, Blaine, Christine, Renée, Chris, Tara, Jake, Ryan & myself. Reese, Anna, Deb, Pete, Tippa & his girlfriend evened out the score. And of course, we all had friends & others we expected to meet, rolling with their individual crews. We screamed and hi-5’ed each other for having made it inside & some1 took group shots with a camera. Next, we picked a sweet spot in the house room at a perfect distance from the speakers. This was our designated chill-out / meeting place for the night. Griff, Jake & Ryan gleefully inflated their bubble chairs with an air pump. WIKKED!!! Oh my God…I could hardly fucking wait!!! Multi-colored lasers were going full tilt & funky visuals played out on giant screens. Us girls started dancing & chatting, chilling out for the time being cuz we had a long fucking night ahead of us. I checked out T.R.I.P. & scored a couple of condoms. There was a bar available (not that we were gonna be drinking since we’d be dosing) & a coat-check which Tippa & his girl decided to use. Can you imagine the line-up for jackets at the end of the night? They’re out of their fucking minds. The rest of the gang stashed our coats into garbage bags (which we marked with fluorescent tape) & knapsacks. 

            After the chairs were inflated, I plopped down next to Jake. It was a pretty tight squeeze but it was alright. Besides, Jake’s kind of cute too in his cyber gear complete with loose fitting shirt & tie, colorful beads & polychromatic hair. He’s half Filipino, half Italian. We shared a bag of jellybeans while speculating how great this party was going to be. “Hey, I really like your costume,” he mused as he touched the knobs of my antennae. A formidable charge was already building in the atmosphere. My skin was tingling & I hadn’t even dosed yet! Across the way, Griff was chatting with 1 of his friends. He was dressed in a super colorful, kaleidoscopic looking outfit. His bells were completely covered in stuffed animals & plush toys, while glo necklaces illuminated his fluorescent orange & purple psychedelic tee surmounted by loops of multi-colored beads. A luminescent rod glowed inside of his mouth while he spoke and that spiked, green hair added a couple of inches to his 6′ 4″ frame to make him look even taller & freakier but in a good way. Way to go Griff! Blaine & Christine shared another chair as they rocked back & forth as if riding a wave. I swear if they popped that fucking chair I was gonna burst out laughing. What a night this was going to be…

            By 1:30, the place was absolutely rammed. You could not see the floor for the trees, Freakin’ in full swing if you please. Thousands upon thousands of ravers of every possible shape, size & description were hyping shit up like I’d never seen before. Every1 was reprazenting: from candys to cybers, gravers to gays, ginos, trannies, originals & of course, costume freaks. I’d already dosed a Superman & was waiting for it to kick in, hopefully soon. Tonya, Jake, Christine & I decided to take a walk, hoping to find Joi & the dance crew. It was so fucking loud that we had to scream to make ourselves heard above the ruckus. We waded through an ocean of optical mindbuggery as ravers tripped one another out in crazy, colorful costumes. Vamps, witches, werewolves, fairies, comic book heroes, cartoon characters, manga maniacs & freakazoids decorated in fluorescent tubes & glo-stix were in order. A girl wearing a bodysuit covered in candy rings giggled as a guy proceeded to munch some off her chest. Nice…. Meanwhile, I kept my eyes peeled for Shastri & any1 from his crew but to no avail. If I spotted them in the midst of all this madness it would be a major stroke of luck. Carlos was supposed to be here with his friends as well. Soon we were caught in a traffic jam halfway between the house & the jungle room, right where the sound was bleeding. It was a muddy jumble of scrambled beats which proved highly disconcerting to my increasingly heightened senses. Not to mention, steaming HOT. It was pure hell as we waited for our compacted bodies to get going. Christine was so lucky she had 1 of those little toy fans. My wig began to feel horribly scratchy & it was all I could do to prevent myself from ripping it right the fuck off. Christine, all dolled up as Snow White, suddenly decided she was a real princess after all & shoved the dinosaur dude standing idly in front of me. “What the fuck are you waiting for Barney, GET MOVING!” she snapped. Barney took 1 look at this snarling, Asian Snow White & decided it was best to follow orders. Tonya & I cracked up as we instantly progressed forward. It always helps to have at least 1 pushy person in your crew, especially at a megarave. 

            As we got closer to the jungle room, I started rushing really, really hard. Holy shit…Eric wasn’t joking – this stuff was strong. My heart raced like mad as my body tingled all over & I began to feel tremendously pukey. I hoped to God that I wasn’t gonna hurl right here, right now, in the middle of a fucking crowd. And if so, Barney would be the 1st to get it. I swallowed desperately as I struggled to keep my upchuck down. A pair of Jedi warriors engaged in mock combat brandished their swords ahead of me. I was seriously tripping out on their light sabres as they wiggled before my eyes. An ecstatic fever swept over me as I broke out in a sweat. Penetrating basslines from that monstrosity of a sound system were beating in sync with my heart. Doof doof doof doof…. My entire being pulsated in time to the music. Even my gums were vibrating. Suddenly I became distinctly aware of this amazing, uptempo house track with a bouncy groove & wobbly sub-low resonating through the atmosphere, tripping me out even further as I heard this vocal loop cresting above acid horns like a happy surfer :

            “When you feel that rhythm, moving thru your system… feel that rhythm, moving thru your system…”

                        Apparently other ravers thought it was amazing too judging from the massive screaming, head bopping, whistle blowing session which ensued. I turned around & said, “Guys, I’m fucking rushing!” I put my arms around Christine & Tonya who were behind me. Jake joined in for a group hug as we danced on the spot. I heard him singing along as the happy feeling spread like wildfire through the crowd. Even Christine got caught up in contact high delirium as she screamed with excitement.

Tuned In, Mashed Out – On Sale Now for only $0.99 on Amazon! (£0.75 for the UK massive).

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*Check out the original Freakin 98 Flyer in the Vintage Rave Flyer Gallery under November archives*

PLUR >>>>> Frankenräver

Swedish Techno Chef Adam Beyer

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Are you in the mood for something meaty? Well look no further. Here’s a hard, banging techno smorgasbord served up in style by chef extraordinaire Adam Beyer. Originating from Sweden, Adam played drums in his teens before discovering the joy of vinyl in the mid 90’s. He’s also a producer, owns a slew of labels including Drumcode Records and Madeye Recordings, toured around the world and performed alongside Jeff Mills. Beyer recently breezed through Toronto with Ida Engberg on February 4th at Footworks.  Mmmm….I do like me some Swedish meatballs. Smaklig måltid!

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.

Comfort Zone 1998

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Comfort Zone's Flyer Wall

Well well…judging from the number of hits my review on The Comfort Zone has been getting, many of you just can’t seem to get enough of that infernal den of iniquity. Yes, it’s a sleazy little dive but let’s face it – CZ is one of a kind and has definitely earned its place as an afterhours legend.

As a special treat for all you CZ lovers out there, I’ve included an excerpt from my e-book, ‘Tuned In Mashed Out,” where adventure raver G-Fly, heads down to The Comfort Zone with her compadres after a rambunctious house party. It’s 1998, Toronto’s rave scene is kicking up a storm and CZ is still reasonably priced at around $7, long before the era of extortionary cover charges kicked in….

TUNED IN, MASHED OUT: Confessions of a Rave Junkie

by Frankie Diamond

Carlos interrupted my Planet Synth excursion to say goodbye. I gave him a hug & promised to call him later. I was still wired. There’s no way I could go home now. About a dozen people were left, dancing in the living room. I needed to find Griff & those guys so I went to the kitchen. Beercans & bottles were scattered everywhere. An E’d out couple sat at the kitchen table with their arms around each other. I asked them if they’d seen Griff & they said no. I checked the backyard. No-1 there either so I went to the basement where I found Griff, T-Rex, Karen, Tippa & others chilling out, playing video games. Reese sparked an L & waxed poetic on how great the night was. And it was far from over. There was talk of going to the afterparty at Comfort Zone. Apparently DJ Sneak was supposed to be spinning. Turned out every1 down here was too fucked up to go home, courtesy of Craven’s fruit punch. Griffin was the only 1 who hadn’t tried it, but he’d dropped an E & was rushing large. I asked Griff how he ended up being friends with someone like Craven & he smiled mysteriously. “Craven’s not your average gino,” he said. “We go back a long way.” Turned out Griff & Craven’s dad had known each other for years through business ties. Griff’s dad owned a Greek restaurant & happened to be good friends with Craven’s dad who ran an autoshop. Craven got his nickname cuz he craved drugs so damn much it was a wonder he hadn’t keeled over yet. “I keep telling him to slow down but he won’t listen,” he said. “One day he’s gonna find out the hard way.”

Griff finally pulled the plug around 4. The sparse group of hard core ravers remaining clapped & showed their appreciation b4 bouncing. Griffin’s long departed guests showed theirs by leaving a huge mess behind. Empty beercans, bottles, roaches, chips & glo-stix littered the floor. Griff didn’t seem to mind. “I’ll deal with that later,” he said as we drove to the afterparty, blazing up on the way down. Eight of us made it down to Comfort Zone, which was strangely comforting in all its grimy glory. The perfect haven for those who couldn’t go home….or didn’t want to. CZ won’t judge you. I could still see my name etched into the peeling, plastic upholstery of the couch where I’d inked it on in a drunken stupor last summer. Welcome back Gemma! Some unknown guy was spinning progressive. Where the hell was Sneak? At least 50 people were here, with more to come. Still early. Griff brought Tonya & I bottled water & we proceeded to dance. Sneak finally snuck on & threw down some deep house. Which was fine but I would’ve preferred something harder. It was getting busier & a tad hot so I went out for a smoke with the fellas. Moments later, I was rushing like a frigging express train. The weed brought me right back up. Fuccckkk…my eyes were rolling like mad so I donned my shades & zoned right the fuck out. Black light action was going on up in here too. I could see my fucking teeth glowing fluorescent green in the mirrors. God I looked like a freak – but so did every1 in here. We’re all freaks to be here in the 1st place at 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning, when decent God fearing folk were either still in their beds or getting ready for church. We were in The House of Ecstasy, which is as close as we’ll come to God (for now anyway). Plus I saw a good number of people from Griff’s house party down here too.

I got my wish when another DJ took over & dropped some hard fucking house. YEAH!!! THAT’s what I’m talking bout! Holy…now the party’s getting started. Griff, T-Rex, myself & every1 else are all stepping like mad. I’ve stripped down to my tank-top, with my sweater tied around my waist. Man, this is the shit! Steve Venom on the decks. Bite me! Later I dropped half an E, blissed right out & finally sat down what seemed like half a lifetime later. Reese had passed out on the couch. He was not alone. About a dozen whacked out ravers were crashed out right beside him. I planned on joining the slumber party soon so I sipped some water & just nodded to the beat which gently vibrated my bottom. Some dodgy looking guy asked me for water. He looked like he might have some kind of disease, so I asked him not to touch the rim with his lips. He looked offended but I didn’t give a fuck. Guy must’ve been really thirsty or really broke cuz after giving me a weird look, he took the bottle grudgingly while following my instructions. Afterwards, I made sure to put it into my pouch for safekeeping.

Next thing I know, T-Rex is shaking me. “G-Fly, let’s go.” It’s after 3 in the afternoon. Can’t complain. We said our goodbyes to some of Griff’s friends who decided to stay, & went out for breakfast. I finally got home around 6. Thankfully mom wasn’t there. She’d have something to say for sure. She really has no clue what I’m up to these daze. Whenever I go to raves, I just tell her that I’m going to an all night party & I won’t be back ’til the next day so she’s kind of used to it now, though she kicks up a fuss every now & then. 

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.

 Like what you’ve read? Check out more excerpts from Tuned In, Mashed Out under the December and January archives!
 
 Tuned In, Mashed Out – available now on Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/frankiediamond
 

The Incomparable Miss Honey Dijon

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AFRICAN HISTORY’S DJ OF THE WEEK – MISS HONEY DIJON

 

Honey Dijon

In the predominantly male world of disc jockeys, Miss Honey Dijon is a striking anomaly. During the 90’s rave scene, only a handful of female DJ’s were making the rounds and I most certainly never saw any black women behind the decks. So Miss Dijon is a happy compromise. She is the first black, transgendered DJ I know of that has gained prominence and respect for her abilities on the decks. Rumour has it that she is one of Derrick Carter’s favourites. And that’s no small accomplishment. Arguably, it could be said that as a transgendered artist, Miss Dijon would not have achieved the same degree of success in the commercial arena as she did within rave culture. Which just goes to show how this underground movement embraces diversity of all shades and genders.

So what motivated this flamboyant Chicago native to join dance culture resistance? Great music of course. Classic pioneers of house such as Frankie Knuckles, Mark Farina and Ron Hardy captured Miss Dijon’s discerning ear during her youth. In the 1990’s, she moved to New York where she befriended Danny Tenaglia, who encouraged her to become a DJ and the rest, as they say, is history. Miss Dijon has blazed a scintillating career path across the globe; from spinning at raves to entertaining prominent fashion noteworthies at events hosted by couture giants Hermes, Visionaire and Givenchy. Dijon also spiced things up at legendary venues such as London’s Ministry of Sound and Pacha in Ibiza. Her style can best be described as an eclectic mix of house, electro, tech-house, tribal, funk and disco. She cleverly adapts her set according to the vibe transmitted from her audience. Part psychic intuition, part osmosis, the end result is always the same – fantastic! My fondest memory of  Honey Dijon was when she rocked the I-Dance rally  at Nathan Phillips Square back in 2000. Her set injected a glimmer of hope on a bittersweet night as thousands of ravers united in an attempt to preserve the legitimacy of dance culture in the face of overwhelming political opposition. 

In addition to gigs across Asia and Europe, Honey now has a weekly residency at the Hiro Ballroom in Chelsea’s lower West side. It’s amazing to see this itinerant disc jockette still in action after more than a decade of dance culture. I applaud Miss Dijon – not only for her vinyl popping skills, but for the courage to be herself in a discriminatory world and succeed despite the odds stacked against her. Respect. 

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.