My DEMF Weekend Initiation
It was DEMF weekend in 2002. At Hart Plaza late in the day, sometime between Chaos playing the underground stage and Parliament Funkadelic assembling elsewhere, my friend nudged me and said, "It's time." We needed to head to "the Richie Party" if we had any shot at entering. By 2002, Richie Hawtin's notoriety had surged. Plastikman tattoos were beginning to fade and it was the shaved head, Decks Efx, minimalistic Richie that was coming into vogue. We headed to the party, Control II at City Club. After waiting in line for three hours, we got in.
The night before this, I saw Juan, Derrick and Kevin play and yet, at the time, I could not tell you even five techno tracks by name. All of it was new. Richie had assembled a quadraphonic soundsystem that had supposedly belonged to Pink Floyd. I took the beating from the pumping bassbin in shifts, often replacing the toilet paper in my ears. Whenever I get close to speakers it still takes me back to that first true rave experience. The sound waves never left.
It would take some years to appreciate the impact of that night, primarily because I felt like I would never fit in there. Slowly but surely, I would be able to put on Decks, Efx & 909 and remember the dark void, the bright flashes, and the pummelling issued by a tower of speakers. Even now, with maybe 20 live Richie sets under my belt, there was nothing like that first one. Adam, Detroit / Washington D.C.
A Portal Into The Self
Daria, Mazzy and I are on stage dancing as the portal opens. An unknown track pulses through the room. Around us, a mesh of queer and trans bodies move in the fog. It's late May; outside, the Kansas City air still smells like spring, like renewal. But night two of Transfiguration, UN/TUCK’s two-day festival, is drawing to its end along with a year of hard work, planning and communal growth.
What started as an idea in the mind of UN/TUCK's founders became one of the biggest DIY events the city had ever seen. Some 500 people attended—most of them queer and trans. Built around the vision of collectively opening a portal to our truest selves, we scheduled Transfiguration on Pride Weekend. Our intention was to create a haven from the corporatized madness of the city's festivities; a place to celebrate ourselves, our communities, our past and our future. We were blessed to fly in two artists and friends as headliners, أدب (adab) and Bored Lord. Their sets delivered the fundamental message of the evening: let go, trust your body and open the portal with us.
A year later, I am still dumbfounded by it all. I yearn for the freedom those nights gave us. I yearn for that feeling of deep creative fulfilment and the camaraderie of working together to build portals. Of connections formed and communities strengthened. Most of all, I miss the dance floor. But I know, if Transfiguration promised anything, we'll find each other again soon. Zoey, Kansas City