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Notes from Underground: Anomalous at the Atrium

lights in the cornerTonight’s the Atrium’s official opening night, with DJ Anomaly headlining.  The venue’s really taken shape over the last few months and it’s been great to be a part of it.   There’s so much to like about it, including the way the lighting makes everybody look good.  Four friends drove up from California, reminding us of other good times with friends coming to town for shows.  The weather’s great in Seattle this weekend, too, so it should be a great night.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, working on qweries‘ next prototype, cleaning up around the house, and looking forward to Startup Weekend.   It’s mostly been good, despite a lot of fighting with buggy software and even some hardware.  Thanks to Insinkerator’s Disposer Doctor, though, I was able to unclog the disposal — I felt like such a guy!

The next several weekends will be pretty crazy, so this seems like a good time to step back.  Almost halfway through the year, how am I doing?  Pretty well, I think — although of course there’s certainly room for improvement.

Looking at my New Year’s resolutions, I’m doing well on almost all of them.  Have more art, beauty, and fun in our lives?  Check.  Listen to new music?  Check.  Hang out more with friends?  Check.  And the list goes on.  I’m even making progress on “get more sleep, work out, meditate regularly, and do the other things i know i should be doing to reduce stress” — and conveniently enough, thanks to qweries next prototype I’ve met some amazing women who have mad skills at helping people make these kinds of lifestyle changes.   So with any luck at all, progress will really accelerate over the rest of the year.

And at the risk of sounding like a mid-year review, I’ve also made great progress on three of my five goalsqweries, family, and activism.  g0ddesses.net is harder to calibrate; I’m really happy with the re-outlining I’m doing, but it’s taken a lot longer than expected and I’m not sure how much time I’ll have during the second half of the year for revising it.   We shall see.  Still, I’m very pleased with where I am overall; and once again, looking forward to things accelerating — especially with qweries, where co-founders and partners will be a big help.

All in all it’s been a great first half of the year, plenty of wonderful time (although never enough) with my closest friends, and the 25th anniversary of our first date.  Oooh!  So I’m in a great mood, and am looking forward to turning my mind off and enjoying the weekend.  This afternoon, I’ll go for a walk and enjoy the sun.  And then tonight at the Atrium, getting into the music, and falling through the limitations of intelligence into pure and simple creativity.

Who knows what DJ Anomaly will be up to but I’m sure it’ll be amazing.   To commemorate it I’m working on some new poems, remixes, and a collection, tentatively titled The anomaly at the atrium.  Stay tuned for more!

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Notes from Underground: Retox, the Nexus Fire Ball at Space 550, and DJ Anomaly at ‘Beyond Rapture’

lights at The Atrium

So between activism, NWEN, and qweries, I’ve been working hard but not killing myself — and still taking lots of time to have fun, hang out with friends, and get sleep. And the universe has been aligning. Life is good.

— from DJ Anomaly and the Mysterious Voice of Ra

Life has continued to be good in my month-long road trip since DJ Anomaly’s last gig at the Atrium.  First I spent three and a half days taking the train across the country, then a week in Folly Beach South Carolina with my Mom.  Next it was out to LA with her and hanging out there with her, Greg, and her family for a week, and then driving up to Hollister for lunch with D’s family.

Nexus presents: The Fire BallBy the time we got to San Francisco last Friday, I was very ready to dance, and the fates obliged: Alchemy “pre-party” at Retox, the Nexus Fire Ball at Space 550, Death Guild at DNA.   Yay!  It was a real flashback weekend, back to the days of 2003/2004 when rationality wasn’t looking so good and we spent a lot of time at Space 550 and DNA.

Alas, some aspects of rationality still aren’t looking so good: if it hadn’t been for Save the Rave’s activism, Friday and Saturday nights would have been illegal, and I would have had to go through a metal detector and ID scanner in order to go a goth club.  And surprise surprise, the government lies: it seems like the PATRIOT Act will once again getting extended without a real debate.  Sigh.

On the whole, though, I’m in a much better space these days — and looking forward to the future even more than I was back then.

After recovering for a few days and then making our way up from SF to Seattle, I’m once again very ready to dance … and once again the fates are obliging!  DJ Anomaly’s kicking off another residency at the Atrium with “Beyond Rapture”.  [Speaking of which, the world did not in fact end at 6 p.m. today.  Whew.]  Somewhat incredibly, we got a special sneak preview last night: DJ Anomaly texted D around dinner time saying she was thinking of heading up to Seattle from Portland, D offered her our spare bedroom in case she wanted a place to crash, and then next thing you know we were listening to new “anomalous tracks”.  How cool is that?

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Save the Rave: Stop Surveillance in San Francisco

Save the Rave: Come down to City Hall TOMORROW night

Hot on the heels of last month’s joint San Francisco Youth and Entertainment Commission’s hearing on electronic dance music, we’re back with a sequel.   Now, in what Jim Harper of Cato calls a “jaw-dropping attack on privacy and free assembly“, the San Francisco Police Department has proposed onerous new conditions for permitting for all venues with more than 100 people.  For example:

3. All occupants of the premises shall be ID Scanned (including patrons, promoters, and performers, etc.). ID scanning data shall be maintained on a data storage system for no less than 15 days and shall be made available to local law enforcement upon request.

4. High visibility cameras shall be located at each entrance and exit point of the premises. Said cameras shall maintain a recorded data base for no less than fifteen (15 days) and made available to local law enforcement upon request.

Yikes!   As Deborah Pierce of Privacy Activism says, “We go to clubs to relax and spend time with friends. Knowing that all of your interactions are being recorded and that those images may be matched to your driver’s license information and handed over to the police at any time chills all manner of speech and association.” Yeah really.   And there are issues from the business perspective as well; on his Facebook profile, Save the Rave organizer Liam Shy summed it up as “Increased unnecessary burden/right to privacy conerns = fewer events, fewer folks attending events.”  Indeed.

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Notes from Underground: DJ Anomaly and the Mysterious Voice of Ra at The Atrium

Special event tonight at The Atrium

Wow!  We were bumming about missing last night’s PULSE in San Francisco with the legendary Green Nuns of the Revolution and Dutch.  But then we discovered that DJ Anomaly’s in the Seattle area tonight at one of our favorite venues.  I heart psytrance.

candles and glowsticks

After spending almost a month in SF, we were both glad to get back to Washington.  Our life is so different here: walks in the park and relaxing evenings with just the two of us at home as opposed to the fast-paced city life, socializing, and going out multiple times a week in the Bay Area.  It’s a great balance …

It’s a pretty special weekend for us: 25 years since our first date.  Who would have predicted?  And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it just keeps getting better and better.  Tonight should be wonderful, and then we’ve got a scrumptious dinner planned for tomorrow.  Can’t wait!

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Notes from Underground: April Fool’s Day

April Fools RaveIt’s been a hectic few weeks.   It started with cleaning out our SF apartment, creating more space in the apartment — and attacking the storeroom from Hades in the garage.   We had put some stuff in there in 1991 when we moved into the apartment and then more in 1999 and then our Burning Man stuff in 2006 … and it turns out there were a dozen boxes or so from a former three-doors-down neighbor who had moved away years ago and asked to leave them there temporarily.  Several trips to various recycling centers and the Community Thrift Store later, it was virtually empty so we could start to refill it with our other Burning Man stuff to create space in the apartment, and it went from there … with plenty of carrying stuff up and down stairs.

In the middle of it I testified at City Hall in a meeting sparked by the Save the Rave; am working BORDC, EFF, Demand Progress, and so many othersto get the word out at #privchat on Twitter and Facbook for PATRIOT Act activism.  Yay for grassroots social network activism!

And also: helped D submit her novel (!) to a publisher.  Strategized with my brother Greg on his Kickstarter campaign “Spread the Word!”.  Drove a friend to work for her first day on her new job and hung out with her in SF for the first time.   Went barrel tasting — and discovered a bunch of wine from the 1990s we had left in our neighbor’s cellar, most of which is remarkably drinkable.  Went to a fashion show and a fabulous dinner party.  Had dinner and drinks with friends and enjoyed Brubars.  Bought tickets to take the train across the country (I’m minimizing flying because of the f—ing TSA).  Started work on a bilingual (although not yet beautiful) qweries prototype,  Danced till four a.m. two nights in a row.

Life is good.

And no wonder I’m tired.

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Save the Rave: AB74 improves, SFPD asks for ID Scans and Surveillance Cameras

BILL NUMBER: AB 74 AMENDEDThis act shall be known and may be cited as the Raves Safety Act

Two days after the San Francisco Youth and Entertainment Commission’s hearing on electronic dance music at San Francisco City Hall, Hillary posted the amended language of AB74 in the Save the Rave Facebook group.  It’s a huge change.  Instead of criminalizing all electronic dance music events over 3 1/2 hours long the way the original bill did, it’s now focused on ensuring that promoters have a safety plan — and it only applies to events with more than 1000 people on state properties.  And a lot of the specific requirements are very sensible, for example the health and safety section should cover “whether the promoter should provide free water, whether the promoter should prohibit any person under 18 years of age from attending the event, adequacy of ventilation, attendance capacity, and exit signs.”

Hmm … where have I heard that before?

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Save the Rave at City Hall: Next Stop Sacramento?

save the rave at city hallIn my 12+ years in the scene – if I ever questioned how diverse we all really are, it was certainly very apparent tonight.

— Samantha Marie, on Facebook

It was a huge success for the electronic dance music community. With the diversity of attendance and the overwhelming support for Supervisor Scott Wiener’s resolution supporting electronic dance, it’s a harbinger of how we’ll work together in the battle over AB74.

— Save the Rave co-chair Matt Haze Kaftor

Over 400 people turned out on a rainy Tuesday night for the San Francisco Youth and Entertainment Commission’s special joint hearing. Several hundred of us were in the overflow room, watching on video until we were called to speak, and cheers erupted again and again as dozens of people spoke beautifully.  We heard from teens, students, teachers, parents, business owners, promoters, lawyers, harm reduction experts, an astrophysicist — and somebody from the San Francisco police department, who described it as the most professional hearing he had heard on the subject.   If you missed it, Trance Family SF has posted the video and mp3 audio.*  I’m so proud to be a member of this community.

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Tonight: Save the Rave — live at City Hall!

“We’re dealing with the most difficult-to-motivate generation ever. People today feel so powerless, like they can’t have an impact on anything that matters. But you can! So one of the things I’m trying to share with the community is that when you come together, we can make a difference. ”

– Save the Rave organizer Liam Shy

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Notes from Underground: Transformation, Intersections, and the Road to Ultra

sf road to ultra flyer

With qw3ries and the intersection between writing, activism, entrepreneurship, psytrance, and transformation (and in so many other ways), I’m not just rejecting choices but finding ways to synthesize and combine them.

— from DJ Anomaly at the party without a name

Indeed!  It’s looking like my startup qw3ries‘ first forays into helping everybody get answers and find information may include an ebook about pitch competitions, questions and answers about Patriot Act activism, partnerships with startups specializing in transformation — and who knows, maybe even psytrance.   Meanwhile the re-enegerized #snubor was a hit at SXSW just as politicians including McCain, Kerry, and Obama are calling for an online bill of rights.  And starting next month I’ll be serializing revising my novel about the diversity-friendly social network site g0ddesses.net.  About those intersections …

It’s a banner weekend for electronic dance music in San Francisco.  Tonight John Digweed’s at Ruby Skye, Paul van Dyk’s at 1015, and the Road to Ultra at Mighty including Saturnia, Christine, Helios, David Christophere of Rabbit in the Moon, and more.  Tomorrow it’s Tall Sasha at SupperClub — or Pisces with Kode IV, Michael Liu, and an early (!) set by Witchdokta and Spook.  I heart SF.  I heart psytrance.

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Notes from Underground: DJ Anomaly at the party without a name

pink lava lampIt was so underground that there weren’t any flyers and it didn’t even have a Facebook group.  A tiny venue with headliners who we’ve seen at DNA Lounge and Barnevald, with DJ Anomaly opening and closing.  The music was fantastic, amazing visuals, incredible depth, great colors.  I heart psytrance.

lavender fingernails in the black lightI was in a great mood and totally had the “I’ve earned this” feeling.  The latest skirmish in the fight to restore our civil liberties worked out far better than anybody had hoped.  Twitter and blogs and CSPAN callers agree, Americans across the political spectrum hate the PATRIOT Act.   Yeah, who knows what’ll happen next: we’ve got three months to organize, and oh gee, there’s also wiretapping back doors (CALEA 2.0), the internet kill switch, COICA, domain name seizures, Wikileaks, and the TSA.  For now, though, time for some well-deserved celebration.

So we enjoyed the lava lamps and the glowsticks and the candles and the depth and the music and danced all night.

At 6 a.m., D read my cards in the atrium.

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Notes from Underground: I’m noticing a pattern here …

synchronizeHey, guess what?  Civil liberties activism and psytrance!

Back in 2008, It’s the Fourth of July and we’re fighting for our civil liberties was written the day after Senator Obama responded to Get FISA Right’s open letter.  It was a great moment in grassroots civil liberties activism, and the bonds we formed then have remained.  It’s Goa Gil’s birthdy, and we’re *still* fighting for our civil liberties is from October 2009, in the midst of the battle over Patriot Act renewal.  Hail Eris!  All Hail Discordia! is from December 2010, featuring wikileaks and anti-TSA activism.  Hey wait a second.  I’m noticing a pattern here …

Tonight we’re in the middle of another Patriot Act battle; trying to building on an unexpected victory with grassroots activism.  As always the odds are stacked against us … hey, if changing the world were easy, everybody would do it!  With Tunisia and Egypt leading the way, 2011 is shaping up to be the year where social network activism breaks through internationally.  Will it happen here?

synchronizeBut the Patriot Act isn’t the only civil liberties battle that matters.  The TSA is still clinging to its scanning/groping policy, insisting that the only way to keep us safe is to touch the breasts and genitals of 2% of travellers (including all Sikhs, women wearing saris, and other “anomalies”).  And here in California, Save the Rave is taking the lead in standing for our right to peacefully assemble and fighting back against the war on fun.   When worlds collide …

So after spending the last week hunched over a computer dealing with the bizarreness of legislative process (“S.249 is also S.289 is likely to make it to the floor, while S.193 aka S.290 may get marked up by the SJC, but how to reconcile with HR 514?”), it was great to go out tonight to Synchronize, San Francisco’s Wednesday night psytrance weekly.  As usual, there were few dozen people there, and the DJs tonight were great.  I got there at 11:30 and danced until 1:55, when it closed.

Tomorrow’s back to work, and I’ll be hurting in the morning. But it’s worth it.

I heart psytrance.

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Notes from Underground: Vibration spanning the decades (New Years Weekend 2010/2011)

2010/11Last New Year’s Eve, the card for the “final outcome” in my Tarot reading was Temperance, which represents vibration.*   And what a coincidence: guess what tonight’s psytrance party is called?

It’s been a long decade.  Ten years ago, things were spiralling down: the dot-com crash, a stolen presidential election, with Enron and 9/11 fast approaching.   The ten years since then have been pretty depressing, watching our economy and civil liberties go down the drain as the rich white guys in charge struggle to keep everybody else down and the plutocracy gets greedier and greedier.  I’m sooooo ready to put the Awful Aughts to rest and start moving forward.

First though, let’s take a few moments to remember that there was plenty of good stuff over the last decade too.

At the societal level, the last couple of years have included the emergence of social networks, choosing hope over fear (at least partially),  reenergized womanist, mujerist, feminist, and anti-racist activists, Wikileaks, and an emerging coalition that’s neocons’ worst nightmare and the future of civil liberties.    So the trend is positive — and momentum is building.

And at the personal level, all I can say is … wow.

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