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one nation, underground, invisible
party kids rave against the dying of the light
by michael d. driscoll
8.21.00
pop culture

Not every trip to a rave is in a Volkswagen Bug. Not every party kid wears bright Gap colors, and they certainly don't dance like Jennifer Lopez waiting for tonight. Get real. Raves are typically held in well-known venues, and I have yet to go to one where you need to know the secret knock or handshake. It's all in whom you know, and getting closer to the ones you don't.

proof is not always in the celluloid
Few raves are worth filming. Hollywood has taken care of that by seizing the marketability of raves and transforming them into drug-overdosed and gun-toting models of everything that could go wrong in one night. Raves, according to Hollywood, are more tragic than a pandemic disease.

A failed attempt to bring the rave lifestyle into our minds was the movie "Go" released over a year ago. A friend of mine worked on the movie, and I constantly gave him hell for the movie's lack of authenticity. Raves in and of themselves are not news, in that they don't change the viewer, only the participant. Raves are the modern day marathon, where you weigh your body
down and spend the rest of the night picking yourself back up. "Go" missed the point and made the rave scene more vicious than tantalizing. And it is, my friends, tantalizing.

The latest celluloid rave mock-up is called "Groove," playing at independent theatres around the country. Fortunately for me there were no acne or tampon induced moments that might cause my spleen to break. There were scenes that captured some emotional authenticity like the scruffy punk holding an enormous glitter ball in his lap on the subway. It's not that a scene like that is commonplace, but it's the anticipation and preparation for another sleepless night characterized in the party kid's smile. This film is the closest you can get to a rave at the movies thus far. It possesses the raw sense of community, a rave for rave's sake. Top it off with a John Digweed cameo that proves again that God is a DJ.

But don't take it from me that Hollyweird has a rave agenda. Greg Harrison, the writer and director of "Groove," said in an interview that people in Hollywood who read the script wanted to add what he called "the more Hollywood elements" and then resolve the night with a moral message.

A rave with morals is like a politician with morals. It only happens in the movies.

state of the infusion
Regardless of the new calibration of raves carrying a Hollywood infusion, the rave scene is strong. DJs are more visible, their music is reaching further than ever before, and Web sites promoting the scene have doubled what they were 2 years ago. Clothing and accessory shops are becoming a vehicle for spreading the word, as with Wish in Little Five Points in
Atlanta. The owner invites ambitious DJs to perform in the store while you peruse trippy fashions or just catch up with friends.

Type in the word "raves" into the right search engine and you'll be able to check out parties going on all over the country. If you're lucky they'll have a copy of the flyer, which makes for a downright beautiful desktop picture. My desktop this week has a flyer from Amnesia that reads: Phillips Milk of Amnesia for people who can't remember shit.

the aging raver, a personal tragedy
Since relocating to North Carolina, I've yet to make it to a rave. Ah, but Atlanta held its own. They have DJs revolving through the Georgia pines quite regularly. When last was there I met up with friends who threw out names of parties and DJs I've never heard before. I'm losing touch. I was once so involved that I've now looped around to becoming the new kid all over again. It's rather cool in that I get to rediscover something I love. The same thing happens when I try new toothpaste, so don't be too happy for me.

For those of you only exposed to the Hollywood rave scene, the typical pre-rave scenario for a Saturday goes something like this: You wake up, you go to work if you're not lucky (or unlucky) enough to be a nine-to-fiver, you start figuring out whose going to the rave that night, you make a plan to meet there or before, you stop eating heavy foods about 2-3 hours before, you get dressed, you pick up a friend or two, and you go to the rave. Oh, and you may pick up a libation from a sketchy guy named "Ralph" who owns his own van down by the river. Remember to stay away from his hairy cat, and that's not a cat.

The hours before a rave are in constant anticipation of going home tired, sweaty, and with a sense of victory at 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning. The great raves start well before the first speaker is connected. Anticipation, anticipation, anticipation: the best parties are the ones you think will never come soon enough.


ABOUT MICHAEL D. DRISCOLL

Curious about everything, Michael plans to do it all. A ruffian by day and a lover by night he's managed to go where no one else has gone. His slight forgetfulness means he is curious about everything and plans to do it all. A ruffian by day and a lover by night he's managed...

more about michael d. driscoll

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COMMENTS

jeffrey walker
8.28.00 @ 10:34a

answer me this... Most of the "raves" I heard of were alcohol free. I mean, in most places you can't get beer of alcohol after 2 am anyway... but still. I can't go see a rock band without drinking. How can they expect me to listen to a DJ for hours without a beer? I think the popularity would increase with beer. Unlike the "straight edge" movement, I believe alcohol brings all people together.

michael driscoll
8.28.00 @ 5:32p

Beer at a rave? That's like...like...the smell of ass during a church service--SO outta place. There are candy ravers, however, but no beer ravers. Who wants to be bloated and twirling glow sticks? Not me.

kimberley d
8.30.00 @ 7:19p

i don't consider events held in well-known venues to be raves. i know that in many cities, there is no underground and i think that sucks. :(

as far as alcohol goes, 'rave' by philosophy is about breaking away from the mainstream.. and to many people, alcohol represents the mainstream. its effects on the mind/body are to relax, but not to cause anything to unusual to happen.

also, alcohol mixes poorly with staying up all night dancing. alcohol makes you hot and tired.. staying up all night dancing makes you hot and tired. i think that's one reason clubs close at two - the alcohol decreases people's stamina.


michael driscoll
8.30.00 @ 11:22p

Oh, I certainly consider well-known venues like the International Ballroom and Nike Pavillion in Atlanta as GREAT places for raves. I'm not proud. Besides, Digweed spins at Twilo in NYC, Caulderone is at Roxy, and Monk has played...at the Nike Pavillion. So, I guess its who you want to see spin that ultimately determines where you go. So, take my word for it, raves happen in large (= well-known) venues. Stop being a purist and DANCE!

jack bradley
8.31.00 @ 6:48a

Okay, Driscoll...now you're on my territory..Victor's last name is spelled Calderone, and there's no way in heck you can call his music "rave" music. Plus, if you go to Roxy on any given Saturday night, and then continue on to Twilo the next morning (screw Digweed, gimme Junior anyday) (as you are meant to do)...I doubt that you'll see much of anything called "mainstream," nor will you find many alcohol drinkers. Oops, I'm being a purist, aren't I? Oh, well...at least I still dance.

michael driscoll
8.31.00 @ 7:58a

Um...Jack...you could have given me the mispelling of Victor's name since your private e-mail to me was addressed to "Matt". Um-kay?

I admit Calderone isn't a rave DJ, he spins bomb-ass house. But still, my point is proved that well-known venues can, and will continue, to host raves. And, Dorothy in OZ, Junior is old and tired...not even Madonna calls him from Miami, anymore.


lila snow
9.2.00 @ 4:47a

When I was a girl, we didn't NEED any raves. We stayed up all night smoking reefers and having sex with multiple partners. We didn't dance and we didn't pay admission, either. And we LIKED it that way.

michael driscoll
9.4.00 @ 10:57p

Lila, my dear, you know what else you didn't have all those nights smoking reffer, having sex with multiple partners, not dancing or paying admission to raves? The Internet. You've adapted well. So, I'm not giving up hope you'll be in line at a rave with baggy jeans and a lolly sticking out of your mouth. Rave on elder tramp, rave on.



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