can't even begin to synthesize anything coherent about this year's DEMF. i'll just post some highlights.
- friday hang out with Stos at the house gallery party and confirm that seeing each other once a year really is not enough. so proud of him for being elected secretary of the treasury of the michigan AFLCIO! he'll be mayor of Detroit one day, just wait.
- saturday festival proceeds as usual -- bouncing around, seeing old friends, rendezvous with the new york crew, antics antics antics. richie hawtin closes festival as plastikman while i trip balls on an amazing hit of blotter Sneak threw my way while i stood at Forans mulling the fate of Me and Psychedelics. fucking outstanding light setup, a giant cage of LEDs, very well executed. hawtin can still put on a good show, apparently. which he needed after that silly M-NUS cube debacle. aka BOXY METHOXY, W0rd?
run into seth troxler ben parris and posse up, highlights include our cab driver blasting ALLEYS OF YOUR MIND by cybotron and everyone absolutely losing their shit (tripping Catherine climbs across the seat to scream into the cabbie's face, YOU KNOW BOUT THIS CYBBBOTRONNN SHITTTT?!! tomas is his name, he becomes our official chauffeur for the night.
(thank you Seth for saving me $30 on cover.)
Sunday morning, head back to the hotel around 7 a.m. thinking i'd rest a bit before heading to ShxtShow, only to realize i forgot my xanax script in brooklyn. lay in bed overheating and trying to sleep until 2 p.m., which is when i pass out until 8 p.m., thereby missing Abbott's party (and my roommates' gig) entirely. SAD FACE
mosey on over to the festival in time to see Inner City close out with Buena Vida / Good Life. afterwards, posse up with Vicky and friends, chill in their hotel room (great conversation was had) before heading to No Way Back -- arguably THE legitimating party behind Detroit's yearly RAVE MERIT badge, which we have all proudly worn since time immemorial (it's always the same new york / detroit degenerati throwing / playing / closing out the party. and the same ever dilating circle for the last 10+ years) lots of oldsk00lers made appearances. gabe real, fucking Dean from Syst3m, our very own Ken on Fire (1/2 of Analogue Productions, i used to blow SO much money on nitrous at his fucking parties, boy totes needs to reimburse me for that shit.) PLUR in full effect! good to see doyle, bethany, and blunk too for a few crazy cracked out minutes. and Natalie and Vyeto and Rebecca/Amy/Colby/Alena/J/B/M/K et al. please note that while i have no idea what words came out of my mouth from about 6 a.m. onward, i trust i was conversant in very weighty topics such as the oil spill.
around 9 a.m. christos drives me back to the hotel (courtyard marriott) where i pass out until 3 p.m. Debate on whether to drag my ass out to Old Miami, but my aging bones couldn't manage it. head to the festival around 6 p.m. instead to catch Kenny Larkin and Model 500, as well as a very boring Chris Liebing, whom i used to worship back in 2001 when i had no taste.
afterward consider chasing the rave to the majestic, where my old nemesis Matt Dear is playing a free show (he does not know of this antagonism, lulz. we have not spoken since undergrad, i just find his post-rave days superstar dj ego distasteful, and at odds with the detroit homegrown community-oriented ethos) also briefly flirt with going to see Hawtin, even though his work as Richie Hawkings has not been interesting for like, ten years. decide i simply don't have enough rave rocket fuel in my body to get me through another night of afterparties, so i throw on an episode of law and order and fall asleep, thus bringing an end to my 11th year at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, and marking more than a decade of sound decision making.
oh right, other minor highlights include
- running into theakston, who calls me fat, thus making it clear i need to get in shape
- realizing i am old, and many many years have elapsed since i lived in Michigan
- seeing everyone
- not having to pay cover all weekend, w00t! except for the festival, b00 ($70!!! next year i'm getting a fucking press pass, fuck that noise.)
- kenny larkin closing with knights of the jaguar (i cried like a sissy girl, the weight of time and memory just hit me like a fucking train, my life has been so fucked up this year everything has gone to shit and deep down i am more scared and lost and alone than i know what to do with, and more adrift than i ever thought possible at this age, which is terrifying in its own right, and in some ways going back to detroit is like going back to the home i never really had, back to the womb or cradle or something, back to the maternal introject, and just being there, enveloped in a throbbing city whose cold iron arms will always hold you and whose name you've screamed a thousand times to a thousand insistent beats in time, the city - dead husk of modernization and big industry, monumental signifier of civilization's failure and the betrayal of Eros - gives you a chance to feel the otherness of the quiet desperation that bubbles up inside you, the desperation the monotony of middle-class life and downward mobility forces you to deny as you attempt to project unto those around you a vision of growth and tranquility, and you know without a doubt that you are alive precisely because you can experience this great existential terror, you are alive, just as this gorgeous felled city lives and breathes and maneuvers its macabre lumbering hulk despite an ever growing expanse of decay and rubble, poor planning and bad politicking and the absence of faith and commitment and public memory, and it occurs to you as you look back at your journey downstream through academia, more academia, dead-end job after dead-end job, failed relationships, failed attempts to succeed at the sanitized neoliberal ideal of suburban life, your countless failed stops and starts clicking like the turning of a key in an ignition that has bled to death, you realize that Detroit is more a part of you than you can ever fully explain, ever fully know, in the sense that it will always be your final destination, a spectral presence tracing the contours of all the possibilities you will encounter in your life, all the hands you will bite, all the bridges you will unwittingly burn, it is the place where you will someday have your ashes scattered, a spoonful over mound and outer drive, another over the firehouse, another over the bridge space, and the rest of you over the ungodly remains of the packard automotive plant and all its crumpled devastated lots, which is where the 19 year old you discovered something outside of the world you were in, and where you probably left your last pair of soot-covered phat pants anyway, if not literally then figurally, phat pants by now long caked with grime and covered in rave boogers borne of ash and broken glass a half century old, molded by the wind into a tent of denim strong enough to weather the few decades you have left)