While you’re hiding from the cold this weekend, Australia is partying in the heat at Stereosonic, the continent’s largest dance music festival. For a second year in a row, DANCE (RED) has partnered with Stereosonic to fight the spread of AIDS in Africa. It all goes down over World AIDS Day weekend, November 30 and December 1, and will feature sets from some of the biggest names in dance music, including David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Sebastian Ingrosso, Empire of the Sun, Armin van Buuren, and more.
But don’t fret. Even if you can’t travel to Australia in the next 48 hours, you can still check out the show. VICE has partnered with DANCE (RED) to bring you a livestream of the concert’s two main stages over the next two days. While watching the livestream, you can donate to DANCE (RED), the organization encouraging ravers to help fight AIDS in Africa. Here’s how you can donate:
Important Questions Raised by Miley Cyrus’s New Video, “We Can’t Stop”
Making fun of Miley Cyrus is low-hanging fruit. Completely justified fruit, but low-hanging nonetheless. Because I’m occasionally clever (but mostly just mean), friends and coworkers have been sending me Miles’ new video, “We Can’t Stop,” with an eager “What do you think of this???” all day. But other than being akin to scrolling through your Tumblr dashboard while waiting for the semi-suicidal PCP comedown to subside, this video is so goddamn brain-busting that I cannot even begin to parse together an opinion on it. I only have questions. SO MANY QUESTIONS. Maybe you can help me answer some of them.
I understand and appreciate the rise of EDM and DJ culture. I see how it brings people together, allows for personal expression, and gives you a great excuse to do tons of molly and “accidentally” rub up against women in a club. I get it. And yet, I do not accept that DJs belong everywhere. DJs should not be at mundane events like baby showers, Christmas-tree lightings, sentencing hearings, art-gallery openings, dog shows, rollerblading competitons, political rallies, traffic accidents, Chinese New Year, or the Super Bowl. Not everything needs to have dancing. Actually, most public gatherings are awkward, especially when the event is one in which the host is trying to sell you something.
I went to the E3 video-game trade show this past week, and like every other convention or industry gathering in our modern era, DJs were shoehorned into the proceedings. I don’t need the “bass to drop” while I’m waiting in line to see the new XBox or to use the bathroom, thank you very much.
I decided to take a stroll around and see if anyone was actually getting down to the music the many, many E3 DJs were playing.
First she came for the milk. Then she came for the mines. Then she ran out of things to come for, so she went after the soccer fans and acid house.
It might sound unlikely in an age where there are a pair of TV screens showing Sky Sports in every pub in the UK, but if you wanted to go toe-to-toe with the establishment at the tail end of the Thatcher years, the fast track to getting a beat down from the police was to watch soccer or listen to a series of repetitive records with the intention of dancing.
If you were looking for a measure of how the country has adjusted since Thatcher’s reign, you could do worse than consider how two constants of the modern mainstream—soccer and electronic music—were once painted as folk devils by a regime fast running out of new things to point its police horses at.
Granted, soccer fans had been under few illusions about where they stood in the perceived scheme of things since the 70s, and anyone with industrial or union connections would have been aware of Tory policy well before Thatcher came to power in ‘79. But for young people, the harshness of the establishment’s war on the twin evils of soccer and dance music came as something of a surprise.
Photo by Gavin Watson
It wasn’t till I fled a party in Dalston in 1989 that I felt it firsthand. The motivation for my hasty departure was the sudden entrance of a group of cops based at Stoke Newington Police Station who were notorious in the area for their thuggery. They’d come in, take the numbers off their uniforms, and break things up about as violently as they could without firearms, swinging at male and female ravers alike. Say what you like about violence—and this is what the state often forgets when it chooses to apply it—but it sure focuses the mind. If you were looking for a way to galvanise some of the last non-pissed off people in the country (white, middle-class men on euphoric drugs, in my case) then sending the Territorial Support Group onto the dance floor was an efficient way to go about it.
However, until the boys in blue actually turned up to do the truncheon dance, you’d be hard-pressed to find many ravers in attendance who genuinely cared about the government’s policies towards dance music (there’s little time to talk about politics when there’s sweating and jerking to get done). The photographer Gavin Watson—whose book Raving ‘89 documented acid-house raves in the late 80s and early 90s—agreed, telling me, “Politics became superfluous during rave. All of the bullshit that Thatcher was coming out with started to fall on deaf ears, because we were so wrapped up in the culture that we just didn’t have time to care about politics.”
After being invited by Benjamin Millepied to a rehearsal for the L.A Dance Project’s premiere performance, Oscar-nominated director Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Biutiful (2010), Babel (2006)) was inspired to make a video-exercise that documents movement and dance in an experimental way, with a stream of consciousness narrative. The result is NARAN JA (One Act Orange Dance).
The film, produced by The Amoveo Company, was shot outside of L.A. and features excerpts of the new choreography Benjamin Millepied crafted for Moving Parts. The story takes place in a secluded, dusty space and centers around LADP dancer Julia Eichten who seems to be on an eternal search… for herself.