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The Alternatives

A day to shake your body politic

May 29, 2003|Steve Baltin | Special to The Times

IT'S a beautiful L.A. Saturday afternoon in late May and you're looking for something to do. There's the beach, maybe you're one of the few people who hasn't seen "The Matrix Reloaded" yet, the Dodgers are home (even if it is only against the Milwaukee Brewers).

A political rally with the presidential election more than a year away and the war in Iraq over probably ranks up there with visiting the in-laws or cleaning out the garage on the list of potential activities.

But what if the rally featured a who's-who of local DJs, including Power 106's Richard "Humpty" Vission, DJ Motiv8 of the popular hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas, and KCRW's Liza Richardson, promising to turn the lawn of the Federal Building into a mini-rave?

What if nearly 1,500 people got together to party under the hot L.A. sun to a cornucopia of dance genres, from house (Steve Loria) to trance (Deepsky)?

Freedom to Dance 2: Show Our Strength is not your normal political rally, and that's what organizers are hoping will bring fans out Saturday to the Federal Building in Westwood. DJs and speakers, such as former mayoral candidate Francis DellaVecchia and Rock the Vote Executive Director Jehmu Greene, will gather to protest recent passage of the RAVE Act, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s (D-Del.) bill that amends a 16-year-old federal "crack house" law to allow prosecution of promoters of one-time events and outdoor gatherings where ecstasy and other drugs are used. The dance music community has argued that it is unfair because it targets promoters rather than drug dealers or users.

"We want to show the government that the electronic community is organized and politically aware .... It really is a show of strength," says Susan Mainzer, a Los Angeles-area publicist who specializes in dance music and is a member of a recently formed electronic music activist group, the Dance and Nightlife Coalition of Electronic Music.

The Southern California group put together the L.A. event and helped coordinate simultaneous demonstrations taking place Saturday in Seattle, New York and Washington, D.C.

Organizers are hopeful of adding new members to their cause. "We just hope people come away with a feeling of excitement about being part of the electronic music community and the activism that is available there," Mainzer says.

The main goal is to return attention to the music and show the dance community in a positive light.

That's what got Vission involved. "We have a drum and bass DJ, a hip-hop DJ. We have the whole culture of electronic music within the realm," says Vission, a veteran of the local dance community. "And I think people are going to come out and realize, 'Wow, this is really some good music.' At the end of the day that's all I want people to realize -- this is good music."


Freedom to Dance 2: Show Our Strength

When: Saturday, 1 to 8 p.m.

Where: Lawn adjacent to the Federal Building, 11000 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood

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