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How to Dance Safe to Electronica

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.

Photo copyright DanceSafe

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.

Photo copyright DanceSafe

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.

Photo copyright DanceSafe

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!

Photo copyright DanceSafe

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Electro spins into Disney’s California Adventure with the help of TRON

A couple weeks ago in one of my earlier posts I said that I wanted to write about electronic music and culture because it seems like it’s becoming some type of trend lately. Well with Disney’s new installment in Hollywood Pictures Backlot at California Adventure, it kind of affirms my suspicions….in an awesome way.

I’ve always loved Disneyland since I was little, and took my boyfriend there last Easter. He is from Portland, Maine and had never been so I was excited to show him around. But after our trip he said it was a little lackluster for him – things looked old or he thought it would be me interesting than it really was. I kind of agreed that there isn’t very much to do for people over 21, but now I think there is.

Disney’s California Adventure has always been more modern than the original Magic Kingdom (well, because it’s newer), but it still tried to gravitate towards people that are over the age of 15. With the help of the new TRON movie that debuted in theaters December 17, 2010, Disney created a whole other electronic experience in their park. It’s called elecTRONica. Good name, I think, because while it is about the movie TRON, at night it also has DJs spinning techno and dance music, as well as one of the only places in Disneyland that serves alcohol. It has a whole club vibe, which definitely attracts a 21+ crowd.

elecTRONica concept art, copyright Disney

I asked someone who works in the elecTRONica section how it’s been going so far, and what he thinks of it. Patrick O’Rourke, who works in a few of the elecTRONica stores, describes the scene as a rave without the drugs. Disney-friendly rave. “They kick off this event by giving the back story to the first Tron movie and do a little dance to go with it,” he says. “They also brought over Flynn’s Arcade over from Comic-Con and theyre all old school video games from the 80s that all cost 1 token. I would say that its very popular with people 21 and over cause I think of this as a club atmosphere only its outside. They even serve alcohol.”

copyright Jeremiah Daws, Disney

He says that overall, the response to the club-vibe area of the park has been positive, although he has noticed a few drunk people walking around. He recalls a time after elecTRONica first opened when he first noticed it. “I was working in Flynn’s Arcade and this family walked up to me and they asked where Soaring Over California is so I told them and they didnt hear me so I told them again and thats when I realized they were drunk,” he says. “At one point while im talking to the parents one of the kids brings me closer to him and says ‘i think theyre drunk.’ After that happened it made me think that some parents probably don’t care about the club atmosphere as long as they get to drink. California Adventure is the only place at disneyland that serves alcohol so anyone 21 and over really take advantage of it.”

Video by: Asianjma123, YouTube

This section of the park opened in October 2010, before the movie was in theaters, but has started to take off and become more popular since the release of the movie. Some of the music I’ve heard the DJs playing are remixes of Daft Punk, Swedish House Mafia, and Deadmau5. I’m sure there’s more big names that they’re putting out there every night.

Designer Drugs Take Over the Bay

I know I talk a lot about BlowUp, but it seems like it really is one of the best places for people of all ages to go and have fun, without needing to worry about passing security. All 18+ people rejoice.

I, however, just celebrated my 21st birthday. I may or may not have been attending 21+ shows for the past 2 years, but a giant weight has definitely been lifted off of my shoulders not having to worry if I will be able to get in or not and potentially lose the money I spent on my ticket. But with that said, I know I will keep going back to BlowUp. Maybe it’s nostalgia, or maybe they actually have some amazing DJs at a college-student price.

This weekend, March 11, Designer Drugs will be headlining the BlowUp stage. I saw them one other time when BlowUp was at Rickshaw, and another time at Live 105’s 2009 Subsonic Spookfest. They always put on a good show, get the crowd involved, and make everyone have an effortlessly good time.

Designer Drugs are two guys, Patrick Nelson and Theodore Nelson, that hail from New York but have travelled all over the world to promote their music and get people to dance. They are known for their countless number of remixes and mashups, but on February 22nd, 2011, released their debut album HARDCORE/SOFTCORE.

The album has dance-pop tunes with vocals like Crazy For You, and other harder stuff like Face Melter.

Video By: clemlToulousian, YouTube

On top of their BlowUp performance at DNA Lounge, the electronic duo will also be performing at the ASI Rhythms Music Festival at San Francisco State University, on Friday, March 18th. It takes place in the Cesar Chavez student center, starting and ending different times each day. The festival goes from the 16th to the 18th and has other headliners such as Del the Funky Homosapien, who performs Thursday, March 17th.

Here is another taste of a Designer Drugs hit. Enjoy!

Designer Drugs – Drop Down

Spring is Electro Season

If summer is the time for festivals around the United States, then it appears that spring is the time for electronic music. Between now and the end of April, the Bay Area has an influx of amazing performers, both well known and unknown.

BlowUp had its grand opening at the DNA Lounge this past Friday, February 11 with music by local residents The Tenderlions and guests Midnight Conspiracy blasting the speakers.

Blow Up w/Jeffrey Paradise, Tenderlions & Midnight Conspiracy from Motion Eccentricá on Vimeo.

The line was down around the block for advance ticket holders, forcing people who didn’t previously buy tickets to wait until 12 AM in the cold on 11th St. to be let in.

As for the rest of February, Nebakaneza (dubstep), who hails from Oakland, will be at Ritual Dubstep at Temple (Ritual is always free and goes until 3 AM!) this thursday February 17. I HIGHLY recommend checking out Nebakaneza’s blog if you are just getting into Bay Area dub or are looking for other dubstep artists/blogs to follow.
Chromeo (electro-funk) will be promoting their new album Business Casual with a sold out show at the Fox on Friday the 18th, and for all those Jersey Shore lovers, DJ Pauly D will be at union square club Ruby Skye on Saturday.

Crystal Castles (electropop) starts off the month of March with a show at the Warfield, and HARDfest kicks off their year with their spring tour of Fake Blood (electro/grindcore) and Destructo (techno) at the Fox in Oakland on March 11, the same day that Designer Drugs (electro/house) dirties up the DNA Lounge at BlowUp. The next day, March 12, Axwell from Swedish House Mafia (dance) will be at Ruby Skye. Also Excision (dub/drum & bass) will be at the Regency Ballroom the same night.

For all the people that want some new, raw, local dubstep, I know of an event put on by Akashic Records SF on March 5. More info to come.

Again at Ruby Skye, Kaskade (dance/house/trace) begins April with a performance on the 2nd, and The Crystal Method (electro/dance) will also be there on April 8th.
Rusko (dubstep), who originally got beef for reportedly producing Britney Spears’ new single Hold It Against Me, kicks off his 2011 tour at the Fox in Oakland on April 14.

Another third of the three-man group Swedish House Mafia appears at Ruby Skye on April 14. This time the appearance will be made by Steve Angello! If you want to learn a little more about Swedish House Mafia, check out this documentary about these guys, called Take One.
The next day, Grammy winner Afrojack (dance) also spins into Ruby Skye.

All of these artists are kind of blowing my mind a little bit. With all of this happening, I have just enough time to turn 21 right in the middle of it, which I am ridiculously excited about. I think the biggest problem I have is choosing which shows to go to!