Monthly Archives: April 2011
It’s that time of year again. Well, I guess if you live in San Francisco that time is about every 2 months or so. But this Sunday, May 1st, is the date for the 12th annual How Weird Street Faire in downtown San Francisco.
Many San Francisco residents are familiar with the crazy, electro-inspired festivals and parades that call San Francisco home every year – events like Gay Pride, LoveFest, Pop, etc. But I feel like How Weird doesn’t get as much publicity as the others. Maybe that’s because it isn’t as crazy as those, and hasn’t been labeled as a danger to society….yet.
How Weird kicks off San Francisco’s street fair season that goes into October, so it has to be good. But How Weird isn’t just a dance party like LoveFest or, for people not apart of the gay community, an excuse to run around naked like Pride. It showcases the city’s art and diverse culture, as well as its fondness for electronic music. Electronica, Dubstep, Electro, House, Techno, Drum & Bass, are among the many different types of music that will be performed live at the event.
The stages are setup by local music organizations, many of which put on events throughout the city, such as Temple, Groove Garden, Symbiosis, and Rebel Bass Collective, just to name a few. It’s electronic music in all its sub-genre glory. Click here to see the full lineup!
While the music is the main reason I would go, it definitely isn’t the only. How Weird has to have gotten it’s name for a reason. Along with the subculture of electronic music that will be present, how weird celebrates everyone’s inner weirdness, encouraging people to dress up, lose inhibitions, and have a good time while taking a break from the real world outside of Howard and 2nd Street. How weird attempts to create a different realm of reality – a place where people can come together and make it a “place where our differences and unique perspectives are appreciated as things of beauty, rather than causes for conflict.”
The How Weird Street Faire is a fundraiser for the local nonprofit World Peace Through Technology Organization, and states that it “uses music to bring many different kinds of people together and create a common bond. We have found that dancing knows no boundaries or political affiliation. Music, more than any other form of communication, is able to transcend differences between people. It is through music and art that peace is always possible.”
So this Sunday, May 1st from 12pm to 8pm, get out, get downtown, and get weird.
YouTube video by Temple Television
I have posted a lot about different artists, events, and electronic music in general over the past couple of months. What I have been meaning to post and discuss are a couple of things that are associated with electronic music culture. Well the time is now to discuss those things. Whether you see them as good or bad is up to you.
In the 80s through the 90s, the uprising of the club kids created an entire trend of club culture. With that brought a lot of drugs into the mix, and a lot of younger people were introduced to drugs for the first time. Today, it is definitely easier and seemingly more acceptable to take drugs while either at raves or nightclubs or just listening to electronic music. to I’m not here to criticize or even say that I’m all for drugs. I choose to not take a side but know that you don’t need drugs to enjoy electronic music. What I am here to talk about is how to dance safe.
There is a nonprofit organization called DanceSafe that was created in 1999 to help people who were going to do drugs know what they were actually taking and ensuring that it was ‘safe.’ While the organization knows that you are not completely safe unless you don’t take drugs, they also state that most people don’t know what they are taking, or they only think they know. As quoted from their website, DanceSafe is a harm reduction organization promoting health and safety within the rave and nightclub community.
But DanceSafe isn’t only about drugs. “Our volunteers staff harm reduction booths at raves, nightclubs and other dance events where they provide information on drugs, safer sex, and other health and safety issues concerning the electronic dance community, like driving home safely and protecting one’s hearing.”
Their philosophy is simple: to create successful, peer-based educational programs to reduce drug abuse and empower young people to make healthy, informed lifestyle choices. The organization goes on to say that while drug resistance programs are good and somewhat preventative for some adolescents and children, DanceSafe believes that trying to scare them away from experimenting with drugs often has the opposite effect. Adolescents and adults will ultimately do what they want, even if they are aware of the consequences of their decisions. That’s where DanceSafe comes in. They aren’t here to judge or tell you that you are wrong, but to help make sure that you are fully educated and know what is being done to your body, and then leaving the final decision up to you.
The organization operates through young volunteers who have experienced or been directly involved in dance culture. DanceSafe states that, “while many organizations exist that provide services to drug-dependent individuals, few groups address the needs of the majority of non-addicted, recreational users. We hope to fill this gap. When needed, we will always refer people to appropriate treatment programs.”
With the 2011 EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) coming up in June, DanceSafe is concerned about people being safe and responsible with their bodies. A documentary called After EDC is being released the summer of 2011 about the 2010 Electric Daisy Carnival – which had the most number of people in attendance than any other past EDC or electronic music festival in North America, and also had the most injuries, drug-related medical emergencies, and the death of a 15-year-old girl from an alleged ecstasy overdose. The film is being released by White Lotus Media, who is comprised of the writing, editing, directing, and producing talents of former San Francisco State University film student Le Sheng Liu, and shows how festivals like EDC are fun and can bring people together, but that people also need to be careful and responsible while partying. Watch the trailer below!
YouTube video by White Lotus Media
Going along with DanceSafe and White Lotus Media’s philosophy’s, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health collaborated with DJs such as Kaskade, Steve Aoki, and A-Trak (just to name a few) and released a Public Service Announcement about taking ecstasy and being safe if you do decide to take it.
YouTube video by White Lotus Media
So there is nothing wrong with partying and having a good time, as long as the good time doesn’t end dangerously. Remember to Dance Safe!
It seems like the electronic/rock duo Phantogram has been popping up everywhere.
The two who hail from Saratoga Springs, New York created their band in 2007, but have just started to take notice after performing at this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas. Phantogram is interesting because they could be considered alternative rock, or they could be considered electronic. I like them because they combine both, which are my favorite genres of music, and even if you don’t like electronic music you can get into them with some of their songs.
YouTube video by BBE Music
They consist of Josh Carter on guitar and vocals and Sarah Barthel on keyboard and vocals. They released their first EP, Phantogram, in March 2009, their second EP, Running From the Cops, in May 2009, and finally released their debut album, Eyelid Movies, in February 2010, which features songs from both EPs.
I feel like Phantogram is the perfect band for people that want to get into electronic music, but are a little afraid to dive in or don’t really know what is good or what to listen to. If you aren’t already submerged into the electronic music scene, I admit it can be a little intimidating to find the style you like and then find all of the artists that you can really get into.
YouTube video by Barsuk Records
Michael Fiebach, previous merchandising manager for DJ Shadow and creator of new company, Fame House, that helps artists, labels, and managers build, manage and market their online assets, saw Phantogram at SXSW and was instantly one of his favorites. “Phantogram brings a unique sound and presence to electronic music with live musicianship, and a woman lead singer,” says Fiebach. Which may seem similar to other bands like Crystal Castles, but they have a more funk and soul feel to them, while still incorporating the synthesized beats of electronic music.
In a recent interview published by BBE Music, Phantogram describes their music saying in terms of what happens and how you feel when you are dreaming. “We ran across a description of dreams somewhere that used the phrase ‘eyelid movies’ – and it really struck us both as something that fit our music,” says the duo. “Daydreams, the spots you see moving around when your eyes are closed tight, and even the shapes you see in the world all surface when you feel your way through a Phantogram song.”
Be sure to check out Phantogram’s music and to look out for when they come to your town. Their April 15 show at the Independent in San Francisco is already sold out. 🙂
Also thanks to Michael Fiebach of Fame House for a quick interview.