Friday, January 2, 2009

Together As One. A New Years Story.

This Dec. 31st I wanted to spend my New Years cozied up on my couch sipping some spiced egg nog, watching the ball drop on the boob tube, and bringing in the New Year consciously focusing on my resolutions (possibly with an adorable boy next to me). I’ve had this plan for the past 4 years since I decided to attempt being a business woman/adultesque. Yet every damn year I get hypnotized by crazed teenagers to “do something wilder.” For 2009, wild transformed to extreme. I left my little Venetian hobbit home by the sea, and trekked through the Los Angeles outback to the downtown sports arena to join 60,000 furry platform boot wearing, glow stick ridden, pacifier sucking, candied out, more than half naked ravers to dance the year away to a 9 hour set by Armin Van Buuren. I’ll be honest, I don’t really fancy techno, I enjoy dancing to the robotically electronic music only outside of my living room, and the ADD in me finds most of it long drawn out and repetitive. Still, I end up buying tickets to massives every time I can. “Together As One” or “TAO” (although not at all related to Taoism) turned out to be an interesting study for me into a sub-cultural phenomenon that pulses throughout our country. Once underground and now monopolized by large rave franchises making millions of dollars on each event.
This time, I fit into the 3% of sober folks inside the stadium. I tried to lead my friends through the obstacle course of sweaty bodies as every one in my group found themselves called to different directions as their consciousness swayed and spun. All around us young adolescents ungulate to the same loud beats as their raver peers. I watched as invisible lines were drawn pulling groups together to hug and caress. The ocean of people glowing red and green, every individual part of the mass dancing machine, literally “together as one,” the sea rolling fluidly from a birds eye view. Ecstasy pumping through young minds bringing a newfound idea of acceptance and unity to the mainstream. This was not my first rave, yet my first not heavily influenced. What I discovered from this experience was that there is a large part of my generation lost. This group has found collective exile in raves; a space of free expression and freedom to experiment within the realms of sexuality, mind expansion, movement, convergence, the list goes on…. The rave offers that feeling of belonging and purpose that the outside world hasn’t. I personally love going to raves because I love to dance, and I love to look at shiny things and shiny costumes, but I have never found raving to be anything more than that. After spending my New Years contemplating ways to help teenagers find that same unity doing things that help the world instead of self-indulgence I came up with nothing…. Yet. Being inside a stadium with 60,000 people dancing together for the good of the night made me long to see this amazing power be directed towards working together for the good of the world. We don’t have the time or the resources right now to just have fun for the sake of having fun, this is a period of urgency, Have fun, please, fun is always vital to life, but have fun while being a positive helping force in the world.
Right now in the US, we are growing up so privileged compared to the rest of the world, living in the moment is a beautiful thing, and I don’t want to downsize the importance of that, but there is a world outside of the golden states and it’s time for our generation to get inspired to help others and leave self indulgence and apathy in the past, and then we can dance literally “together as one.”

Here's video from my little digital camera of the event:

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