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MAKING THE SCENE
By Rick Nathanson, Staff Writer, Albuquerque Journal, January 22, 1992

Albuquerque teen-agers are being offered something new this winter: a series of under-21 dances in a nightclub atmosphere, minus the alcohol and cigarette smoke in fact, minus the nightclub.

David Valdez, a former disc jockey at an Albuquerque top-40 radio station, has teamed up with young DJs to produce the first dance this Saturday night.

"The main reason I want to do this is because there really isn't anything for kids in this town to do except go out on the West Mesa and party and drink and get into trouble," said Valdez, who just turned 21 himself, "People want a place to go dancing. They want to experience the music. Music influences people. What I intend to do is create a club atmosphere here in town without having to actually open up a club."

His Hollywood Haze Production company – named for the personality he assumed while on the air with KKSS-FM (Kiss 97.3) – is staging the first dance at a Northeast Heights dance studio, Let's Dance. Valdez is calling the event "Dance'n Saturday Night."






If the dance is successful, he hopes to produce one every month, or even as frequently as every two weeks.

He got the idea for the rotating dance club by watching the music scene in his native Los Angeles, where teen dances got off to a pretty rough start during the 1980s. Groups of teens would break into warehouses or abandoned buildings and throw parties, complete with alcohol and an assortment of illegal drugs. Fights frequently broke out, and the police were kept busy shutting down the illegal gatherings.

Some of the organizers eventually realized that throwing legal parties must be profitable, Valdez said. The events took on an underground flavor, highlighting the hottest new DJs and live bands. There were also steep cover charges, often as much as $25.

For his first dance, he plans a cover of $7. He takes it as a given that.the crowd he is trying to attract does not have much money. But he also knows they have limited choices with regard to dance clubs.

Even before the first of his guest DJs spins a disc this Saturday, Valdez will have paid about $1,000 up front to get the dance off the ground. For each dance, he must get an owner's permission to use the property for
"Dance'n Saturday Night," an under-21 dance, will be held this Saturday from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Let's Dance, 4200 Wyoming NE. There is a $7 cover charge, but a $2 discount will be given tbe the first 300 people entering before 9:30 p.m. For further information call the 24-hour party hotline, 293-2445.

free or for a moderate rental fee, and apply to the city for all the necessary permits He then pays for liability insurance, in-house security, the cost of providing DJs or live bands, and arranges for soft drinks and refreshments.

Valdez recognizes that Albuquerque is not Los Angeles. The teen population is not as large, and there is far less money to be made here. But money, he said, is not the primary objective right now.

"What I'm trying to create here is a place to go every month or every two weeks, and at different locations to make it more exciting and to attract people from different parts of town," Valdez said.

"I want it to be a place where kids can come and dance and socialize with their friends. I want them to know that there is an alternative to hanging out on the mesa and drinking."


Warehouse party attracts underground crowd.
by Mavona Madama, New Mexico Daily Lobo, March 5, 1992

UNM students had a new alternative to the Albu- querque club scene recently. Techno-Phyllia, a Los Angeles style underground warehouse or rave party, attracted more than 650 people of all ages.

Hollywood Haze Productions, founded by David Valdez, presented the rave party that also collected more than 700 canned goods to benefit needy families. KUNM's Street Beat program promoted the rave through ticket giveaways.

Rave party attendees were asked to sign on a mailing list that will be used as the primary source of advertising for future events.

"It will be a true underground," Valdez said. "Every- one on the mailing list will receive a notice of the upcoming event location and date.

"This was, in every sense of the word, a true LA underground party, except for the drugs and alcohol. We put on a clean show with no violence and no vandalism." Local musician and artist Gary Graves said the rave party represented a wide cross-section of people in Albuquerque.

"The atmosphere was positive and peaceful, even with all the different types of people in one place," he said.
UNM student Kristin Cunnar said she had a good time. "The music was really hot. it inspired people to dance," she said "David Valdez has given Albuquerque the chance to show that they can have a good time, warehouse style," Cunnar said.

"People need to give the club a chance," said Damond Berg, a UNM student. "The music was fabulous and there was plenty of room to dance." "I was expecting, from the advertising, that there would be more alternative music," said UNM student Tamara Nicholl. "They played mostly house music from eight to 10 while the crowd was three-quarters alternative."

A common reaction to the club from UNM students was that the crowd was primarily high school-aged. "There were kids that looked about 12 there," Valdez said, "but after midnight everyone under 18 was asked to leave due to Albuquerque law."

Valdez said the next rave party will be March 14. "I have obtained a license and intend on keeping the ' underground in Albuquerque for a long time," he said.

Anyone interested in upcoming events can call the party line at 293-2445 for more information on upcoming events.


BREAK IT DOWN.
By GENE GRANT Special to The Albuquerque Tribune, April 3, 1992

They're not spontaneous, illegal or on the cutting edge of music. Now Albuquerque has its own version of the L.A. dance trend it's almost as hip.
The LA. rave scene has been scrubbed up and toned down and has danced its way to New Mexico.

These underground warehouse parties, usually spur-of-the-location events that get going well after midnight (and sometimes start via sledgehammer and pry-bar entry), are staples of the LA. hard-core dance scene.
Shawn Parker, a 19-year-old DJ at Maxwell's in Albuquerque, recently spun at a San Diego warehouse rave. "It blew my mind," he said. "Everybody was going off. Hands waving in the air, glow sticks swinging, whistles blowing. It was incredible." He described a popular rave move of sticking your head in the sound system's "bass box" and bobbing around. "I tried it for around 10 seconds," he said. "I couldn't take it, the bass was so loud."

How big is the rave concept in California? Parker says there were three other raves in San Diego that weekend, and at least five that he knew of about 90 minutes north in Los Angeles.
All on the same weekend.

The LA. scene is in stark contrast to the early evening, highly visible Sunshine Theater, where two weeks ago Dave Valdez put together an Albuquerque version of a rave.

Dubbed "The Twilight Zone: Dimension of Sight, Sound and Mind," it was geared to the musically alternative European "techno" dance sound staging in big metros across the nation.
Technically, it wasn't quite a rave. It was planned in advance, and no warehouse was broken into for a night of dangerous dancing.

Albuquerque's pseudo-raves started in January with "D.S.N., Dancin' Saturday Night," (Top 40-oriented music) and continued in February with "Techno-Phillia," a mixture of both Top 40 and techno sounds. The February version drew more than 600 (both raves were all ages). While it may not have lived up to the radio advertis- ing hype, the latest rave showed promise in helping fill a void for the under-21 crowd in Albuquerque.

The Smith's "How Soon is Now" plays to 50 or so early arrivals.
The gathering crowd hanging outside sets the tone for - the evening. Young and dressed down in the latest "off ', the Goodwill Industries fashion rack," the ravers are split every female to male. The look would prove to be a liability as the evening moved along.

After a successful night in February mixing both Top 40 and alternative music, Valdez played a hunch and advertised heavily on hit-oriented KISS (and a lesser amount on more alternative-leaning KBAC) for this event.
The result is a conflict of musical interests.

"The Top 40 crowd is driving by and not stopping," says Valdez, surveying the scene outside the Sunshine. ' "They're tripped out by the alternative look."
As he stamps a hand, a customer offers a thought on the turnout. "You should stick to warehouses man, the .' Sunshine has a rep." Valdez nods and thanks him "for giving us a shot."

As far as the "new dimensions of sight, sound and ,mind" are concerned, it seems some old dimensions find their way in, A '70s-style disco ball spins relentlessly, a bank of colored lights flash onto the dance floor and three con- tinuously looped images (each lasting about 20 seconds) of metallic dinosaurs, weaving sprockets and Monterey Pop Festival-era giant bubbles play out on the three screens.
It gets old. Quickly.

The sound system, however, has promise loud enough to fight the echo of the big hall and with enough bass kick to cut right to the bone. The music is a mix of industrial/techno-dance and more radio-oriented bands such as Depeche Mode and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
The stage is set up for the Orbiters, who will play three 15-minute sets during the eve- ning. And DJs from Maxwell's, Beyond Ordinary and KUNM spin from stage left.
A security guard is at each door at the side of the stage and another strolls casually. A fourth mans the lobby. They stay in the background and don't seem par- ticularly concerned at the possibility of trouble.
A youthful looking guard takes it all in. "I've worked all of them (raves) and there's no trouble," he says. "You see all types, from new wave to rap style, but it's really cool They just wanna dance."
He's also hip to the problems of there not being much to do if you're a teen in Albuquerque. "There's not much to do in this town if you're 24," he says with a sigh.

"James Brown is Dead," by LA. Style thumps in the back- ground.
Hair farmers in ripped jeans, bottle redheads in miniskirts, homies with hooded sweatshirts. Caps spun backwards, and prep kids in full Gap regalia mix it up on the floor. No one style dominates in clothing, dance mov'es or national origin.
The large dance floor is about half full with couples, groups and singles dancing close to the stage.

On stage, "D J. Leo" looks over his choices. "We're trying to get the techno out," he says. "It's real aggressive, real ener- getic. We're taking it one step at a time." Nona, a platinum blonde with dark red lipstick that contrasts sharply with her nightclub-pale complexion, is helping her boy- friend ("The Bullf'rog") get his coming set together.
"The young crowd is kind of scared of new music," she says, shouting above the music. "If it's three years old and they know it, they'll dance to it. Stuff we started playing three months ago is just catching on."
On the floor, "Break," by Turntable Terror is getting some attention.
The industrial, metallic rhythm track is interspersed with a female voice calling out, "2-3, break!" The dancers start to respond to the grinding groove.
But, wait. It's actually a remix, and the music suddenly drops into the mumbling, low bass opening of Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" The dance floor stops stone cold. Confused.
"Break" kicks back in after the gloved one's "Ooooh!" and, so do the dancers, only to be dive-bombed again. Olivia Newton-John and "Lets Get Physical"
This time it's more amusing than confusing and some start doing jumping jacks, aping the video.
The guitar riff from AC/DC's "Back in Black" crunches in next. The young security officer steps close and yells, "That's more like it!" Boys air guitar.
"Break" returns but the danc- ing is lackluster. They know something is coming now. It's Nirvana and the anthem of the moment, "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

There's a scream and a frenzy of bodies strike out in the middle of the floor. A group of guys start slam-dancing, hurling them- selves against each other with playful abandon. For a moment it looks as if it's 1981 again. All that's missing is Jello Biafra, lead singer for the Dead Kennedys (circa 1980), throwing himself into the crowd from the stage.
The moment passes, but it's the best action of the night.

By 10 p.m., it's clear the anticipated turnout of 800 is not going to happen. "I needed about 450 to break even; we'll probably do around 350," says organizer Valdez. He seems unconcerned.
The 21-year-old native of Los Angeles moved to Albuquerque one year ago. He worked the overnight on-air shift at KISS-FM for a while before deciding to try the rave concept here.
Laid-back casual in black leather jacket, white T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, his disarmingly youthful appearance makes you look around the lobby for a chaperone, an "adult" actually running things.

In LA., raves have been associated with drugs, particularly Ecstasy, commonly known among users as X. It's also not unusual to see enterprising souls strolling the floor with handfuls of nitrus-filled balloons, for sale at $5 a pop. The lure is the rush of sucking nitrus while hyper- ventilating on the dance floor.

Valdez acknowledges that the spirit of a rave is his goal, stressing his desire to keep it positive and drug-free here. He has no interest in selling alcohol, despite the obvious financial pains. He says he has witnessed what alcohol consumption can do.
Word has it at least three other would-be promoters are ready to unleash their own raves soon. He doesn't see the additional parties as competition, but as help in getting the idea off the ground.

Valdez has plans for another rave in April, and then hopes to put them on monthly through summer. By his estimates there are roughly 24,000 high school-age kids in Albuquerque. More when you add in middle school.
All with not much to do.

"I'm still experimenting," he says. "By my fifth one, there should be a scene."

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