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Rave party == crackhouse, says US Attorney

By YellowBook in News
Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 02:48:45 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

Today's Morning Edition reports that a U.S. Attorney has decided to prosecute the organizers of events at the State Palace Theatre in New Orleans, where raves are sometimes held, under a law designed to shut down crack houses. There is a RealAudio clip of the story on their website.

Apparently, this was reported over a month ago in the Times-Picayune, but I can't find the article on their site. A copy of it is posted here, but I can't personally vouch for the accuracy of the reposting.

The State Palace Theatre is a grand old theatre on Canal St. in New Orleans. Today it's something like a cross between a theatre and a nightclub: they host many different sorts of concerts and have regular (weekly) dance events with different styles of music on different nights. Sometimes they have raves. Some of the ravers use MDMA, or Ecstasy. It's safe to assume that you can also find people buying or selling Ecstasy there, too. Here's where it gets tricky -- the government wants to hold the rave organizers responsible for the use and sale of MDMA at the club.

It's weird -- you can almost understand what the government is getting at, so it seems like just a combination of an overzealous US Attorney and the (possibly government-subsidized) appearance of MDMA in the media as a "dangerous drug." But then they start getting into specifics, and you realize that the party organizers really haven't done anything wrong. They're not selling the drug; they're not promoting its use (unless you consider techno concerts to be intrinsically promoting Ecstasy).

The closest they come to a real accusation of wrongdoing is accusing the theater of selling paraphernalia -- but then you realize that the paraphernalia in question are light sticks, pacifiers, and bottled water. Yes, bottled water now counts as drug paraphernalia. Better check those refrigerators at work.


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This indictment is an example of:
o An important step to protect our youth from a dangerous drug. 2%
o A law-enforcement professional doing his duty and enforcing the law. 1%
o blatant prosecutorial abuse 5%
o the absurd lengths to which the "drug war" has been taken in the US 61%
o a conspiracy to frighten the American people and keep them under control 5%
o a conspiracy to take away our bottled water, forcing us to drink tap water and pollute our Purity of Essence. 18%
o none of the above. 4%

Votes: 152
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Morning Edition
o State Palace Theatre
o the Times-Picayune
o Also by YellowBook

Display: Sort:
Rave party == crackhouse, says US Attorney | 56 comments (46 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
ACLU's reaction (3.91 / 12) (#2)
by fuzzrock on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 12:37:42 PM EST

The ACLU, somewhat predictably, thinks this prosecution is a Really Bad Idea (TM).
"Holding club owners and promoters of raves criminally liable for what some people may do at these events is no different from arresting the stadium owners and promoters of a Rolling Stones concert or a rap show because some concertgoers may be smoking or selling marijuana," said Graham Boyd, Director of the ACLU's Drug Policy Litigation Project.
Full article is available here

ACLU reaction misleading? (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by davros on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 08:53:15 PM EST

I'm having some trouble locating the actual "crackhouse" law to confirm, but if it really targets buildings where drugs are manufactured, distributed, or sold then the ACLU Director you quote is being misleading when he compares rave activity to "smoking or selling" marijuana.

To me, it's one thing if someone who attends an event on your property happens to bring and use his own drugs, but if it's well known that the event is a place where drugs can be bought, that's another matter. The story's author admits "It's safe to assume that you can also find people buying or selling Ecstasy there." If that's the case, then it seems like the crackhouse law is being applied appropriately. Whether the law itself is a good thing is another argument.

[ Parent ]

not really... (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by Danse on Fri Mar 16, 2001 at 02:41:56 AM EST

From what I've read so far, it doesn't seem to me that the DEA even has to show that the venue owners knew about or participated in the drug sales. That alone makes either the law itself or this application of it extremely unjust in my opinion.

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Sounds like the problem is a bad law on the books (3.57 / 7) (#5)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 12:49:12 PM EST

From the linked Times-Picayune article:
The so-called federal "crackhouse law," which has been on the books for years, makes it illegal for anyone to manage or make a building available for drug sales.
It seems to me that if this law can be used to prosecute the promoters of a Rave that it is sufficiently vague to prosecute a tremendous variety of people whom the law was not intended to be used against. I don't think that this is that different than the Operation Rescue folks getting prosecuted under RICO legistlation aimed at organized crime. It seems to me that the US Congress has an incredible propensity to not think through the logical conclusions of much of the legislation that gets passed.

This also doesn't seem all that different than non-Christian religious folks applying for federal subsidies under GWB's faith-based charity program. The religious right seemed to approve very much of the idea until Hindis, Buddhists, Scientologists and Wiccans started applying for tax dollars to share their respective faiths.

I believe that this phenomena is commonly known as the law of unintended consequences. When a actions is undertaken with a specific intended effect, the further effects of the action are frequently overlooked. Sometimes the other effects are non-obvious or even unpredictable, but IMHO most of the time they are completely predictable if people would sit down to think before they act.

Unintended consequences (4.25 / 4) (#10)
by Ludwig on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 01:11:48 PM EST

From the linked Times-Picayune article:
The so-called federal "crackhouse law," which has been on the books for years, makes it illegal for anyone to manage or make a building available for drug sales.
It seems to me that if this law can be used to prosecute the promoters of a Rave that it is sufficiently vague to prosecute a tremendous variety of people whom the law was not intended to be used against.

For instance, it's well known that drug use is rampant among prison inmates...

[ Parent ]
Drug Sales (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by tpv on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 10:43:49 PM EST

I think it only applies to drug sales
You're probably safe if you give them away.
'I would therefore like to posit that computing's central challenge, viz. "How not to make a mess of it", has not been met.'
Edsger Dijkstra (1930-2002) EWD1304
[ Parent ]
Dangerous precident. (3.30 / 10) (#6)
by Signal 11 on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 01:03:37 PM EST

I'd like to point out that unless they can prove that the event organizers knew beyond reasonable doubt that ecstacy was being sold, who was selling it, AND where exactly it was being sold, the government really doesn't have a case. If all of those things could be proven, they event organizer(s) could be nailed as accomplices to the crime. However, that's exceptionally difficult to prove. Infact, I'm not aware of any major cases in the past few years where this was even attempted...

If you're asking me, this smells more of politics than of a genuine regard for public safety - old people (such as those who are typically elected into office) really enjoy making young people suffer by closing off all their avenues of entertainment and then claiming it "makes the community better". Yeah, right. But that's what I suspect is really happening here - entertainment establishments have always been under scrutiny in communities which have an aging population in them.

I would humbly suggest that these ravers do a write-in campaign to the local newspaper and dig up some precidents from the city to demonstrate the connection. Oh yes, and then follow it up with a discrimination suit. :^) Play the legal game, win a prize, you know?

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Re: dangerous precedent (4.66 / 3) (#16)
by YellowBook on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 01:28:33 PM EST

I'd like to point out that unless they can prove that the event organizers knew beyond reasonable doubt that ecstacy was being sold, who was selling it, AND where exactly it was being sold, the government really doesn't have a case.

That would be true if it weren't for the federal anti-crackhouse law that they were being indicted under. I can't seem to find the text of the law (none of the news articles cited an official name for it), but from the news coverage, it seems to be sufficiently vague that they government might not have to prove all of those things in order to find them guilty under this law.

One thing that the NPR story points out is that the event organizers had been cooperating with a combined local/DEA program to have an undercover police presence at raves. However, instead of arresting individual drug dealers (as the event organizers were assuming they would do), the DEA was gathering evidence to use against the event organizers, and leaving the people actually selling drugs alone.

I agree with your opinion that this prosecution is political, but I'm not sure it's local politics like you suggest. After all, this is in New Orleans. While there's a lot of conservative law-and-order @&#* there, there's not really much antipathy to entertainment establishments; entertainment is NOLA's main industry.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm (4.33 / 3) (#18)
by Signal 11 on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 01:42:05 PM EST

I wish I could say that the constitution prevents this, but it doesn't. I think it's morally wrong to have someone who was cooperating with the police tried for a crime when the police asked them for help and they gave it. It seems an abuse of power, at the least.

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

They don't have to convict them (4.66 / 3) (#21)
by MrSpey on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 04:35:27 PM EST

I don't think the government's primary concern here is actually putting people in jail / fining them. I would think it's more along the lines of shutting down the club / theatre for a year or two. By then the people running it will have run out of money and probably just shut it down anyway. I can certainly see how the government can gather enough evidence to at least charge the club owners legitimately, even if they probably won't get any convictions.

Mr. Spey
Cover your butt. Bernard is watching.

[ Parent ]
Possibly not as hard as that (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by Delirium on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 07:06:31 PM EST

I'd like to point out that unless they can prove that the event organizers knew beyond reasonable doubt that ecstacy was being sold, who was selling it, AND where exactly it was being sold, the government really doesn't have a case.

As I can't seem to find a text of the law anywhere I can't be entirely sure, but from the news reports of the law they're being indicted under, it seems that only proving the first point is required. Apparently operating a regular event at which you know drugs are being sold (even if you aren't selling them) is illegal. And I think the government would have a pretty good case in proving that rave organizers do know beyond a reasonable doubt that drugs are being sold at their raves on a regular basis.

[ Parent ]

Innocent party organizers (3.25 / 8) (#7)
by The Cunctator on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 01:04:39 PM EST

I think the attacks on MDMA are overwrought and dangerous to a free society, but give me a break. Nightclub owners and party organizers aren't innocent of the drug goings on; never have been, never will be. It's part of the scene.

Somehow I don't think kids would pop for $5-$7 bottles of water with such alacrity if they weren't undergoing X-induced dehydration. But maybe I just underestimate the attraction of the aqua.

Arguing against the laws and the prosecution is reasonable; arguing that party organizers don't have anything to do with the drug use at their parties is either naive or rude.

not the issue (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by alprazolam on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 01:13:34 PM EST

how much would they pay for non x-induced dehydration? should all raves be shut down just because some people who go to them use mdma? can we ban driving, because some people drive drunk? anyway it was an interesting story to hear on npr but i'm voting 0 don't care because its just a tiny glimpse into the madness of the law in the u.s. and there's really nothing that anybody's going to do about it so why waste time thinking about it.

[ Parent ]
The sweet joy of monopoly.... (4.50 / 2) (#24)
by bph on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 09:03:08 PM EST

You have obviously never been to a sporting event or a themepark. It is amazing what people will pay if they are thirsty and can't/don't want to leave.

[ Parent ]
Duh. (2.35 / 17) (#14)
by Seumas on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 01:17:34 PM EST

Raves are just mobile crack parties. Duh. This is as much a revelation as "Hemp propoenants just wanna smoke weed, not made handbags out of alternative textiles".

On the contrary, Grateful Dead concerts were just mobile marijuana-cities and nobody shut them down. The police need to either do their job (prosecute and stop the flow of drugs instead of stopping the venues where some people sell and do the drugs) or back the fuck off.

Let's shut down raves to prevent some people from selling and using drugs is similar to saying some people drink and drive, so let's outlaw driving to keep all the drinkers from getting in a moving vehical.
I just read K5 for the articles.

not everyone (4.00 / 11) (#19)
by Snugboy on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 02:28:47 PM EST

I am an avid party kid, and it is unfair to paint everyone with the drug paintbrush. To compare a party to a crackhouse is ridiculous. When some one goes to a crackhouse, they go for one reason, crack. When someone goes to a show like this, they go because of the tribal mentality, the Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect that forms the basis of the rave mantra PLUR. Some people use drugs. That is ineviatable. But do not punish all those who go to raves just because a section of the population uses drugs. It has been said before, that at concerts of ANY kind there is the posibility of drug use.

So why pick on the rave scene? Because it scares most people who are not familiar with it. People dress funny, they dance funny, and they behave in a odd fashion. (that is to say they follow the afformentioned PLUR, try finding that anywhere in the REAL world..) People fear the unknown and the government uses this fear to drive its ill-advised war on drugs. Try for a minute to imagine that LAN parties got associated with Crystal Meth. The public now fears that Billy is going to get in with the wrong Quake crowd. They fear the parties because, kids act different, they use caffinne. They say wierd things like "ping" and "latency". Some people use drugs at the parties, but most do not. Then all of a sudden these LAN parties are busted up and the cops tell you that this is officially a "crackhouse". This is exactly what is happening. Is that right? The bottom line is the people who lose here are the people who want to go because of the music and the scene. People who use drungs do so at thier own legal risk, but don't destroy something wonderful to get at these people.

Re: not everyone (4.50 / 2) (#37)
by eLuddite on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 11:53:25 PM EST

So why pick on the rave scene? Because it scares most people who are not familiar with it.

True, but you would be naive if you thought that rave organizers are out of the drug loop. They're very much paper tigers for whatever gang is pushing product in that part of town. All these levels of indirection (the rave, the guy directing requests to the patsy with the goods, security, etc) makes it very hard to prove anything - sorta the whole point, of course.

How did you expect any money to be made without alcohol?

God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

I agree (4.00 / 1) (#41)
by Snugboy on Sun Mar 11, 2001 at 01:59:52 PM EST

The area that I am in the organizers have had problems with the police in the past, and I know the organizers personally, and know that they are not involved in drug sales. They don't go out of their way to curb it though, and take that at it face value. The amount that we pay at the door covers thier costs, and its a shame that just because these folks are trying to bring the rave scene to my area, they are thought of as drug dealers. I agree that some promoters can't help the allure of quick bucks from drugs, but again, should we attempt to shut down all raves because of a few cases?

[ Parent ]
Real Story (4.50 / 12) (#25)
by euclid on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 09:12:11 PM EST

I'm posting this comment as someone that is local to the scene in New Orleans, and as a local DJ and producer. Although they only posted this part of the information in initial DEA reports after the bust of Phuture Phat Hong Kong Phooey on Aug 26, the promotor of the party (and a large portion of the parties in New Orleans), Donnie, _was_ selling the drugs that were going on at his parties (mainly trafficing cocaine and MDMA or whatever passed off for it in a pill). He sold in the VIP room, and had people on the floor. There is video tape evidence of this that one of his friends made of him doing the entire operation. He probably deserves what he gets, but that probably won't stop him from continuing his business at more legitimate venues (for those of you that don't know what the State Palace is like, it really does resemble a crackhouse) while in jail. So yes, in this case, the party organizers HAVE done something wrong as far as the DEA and US government is concerned.

So have they been indicted for that? (none / 0) (#33)
by YellowBook on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 09:46:55 AM EST

I wouldn't be surprised, really, but if the DEA has evidence of the promoter actually selling drugs, why hasn't he been indicted for that (or has he)? If there was news coverage in the Times-Pic it should be possible to find that, shouldn't it?

Now, my respect for NPR has really dropped in the last year (bad election coverage, pandering to the right so that Congress won't cut what little funding they have left), but it's not like them to miss such a big part of the story. So, what's up?

[ Parent ]
Definitions of raves that piss me off (2.44 / 9) (#27)
by artsygeek on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 10:57:55 PM EST

"A rave is an all-night dance party with electronic music and excessive use of drugs"...this definition is VERY commonly used in the media....but, this is not the case....in essence, a rave is a Temporary Autonomous Zone (if you want info on it, just type that phrase into google....nuff said) in which an ideology of peace love unity and respect are at the very core. Yes, there are posers who use the scene as an excuse to use drugs and that's all they go for. But, defining raves as being about drugs is like defining a Tori Amos concert as being about smoking pot. And finally, as a side note, i love that "purity of essence" part of the poll....Dr Strangelove is my FAVORITE movie

PLUR (2.75 / 4) (#31)
by 0xdeadbeef on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 12:36:33 AM EST

Someone needs a good mocking. :-)

[ Parent ]
Why? (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by artsygeek on Tue Mar 20, 2001 at 01:47:52 AM EST

Why does someone need mocking? ::slaps forehead:: oh....right...because they are in a different culture than you. you can call goths a bunch of snot-nosed, whiney brats....and you may be right for some of them...but you would be wrong with the majority. That's what leads to groups to start to split up....raves are doing that now, because many styles are emerging and splintering off. That's sort of similar to goth culture splintering from punk culture...and then industrial to splinter from goth. Almost every subculture gets made fun of by the mainstream....why? because it's soooooo easy to do that to anyone who is remotely different. Strangely, mainstream culture has a dichotomy, between pandering to people in the subcultures and making fun of them. One GREAT example is geek culture...it gets harshly lampooned by EVERYONE, yet also gets head-scratchingly pandered to in commercials....The point is very simple...there are people who violate the basic tenets of a subculture...just look at the hippies, you had people who went along with them, just to be cool... or people who went along with them, just for drugs...needless to say...defining any group, by a small sample is not only dangerous and unfair, but unbalanced and biased.... Peace, Josh btw, i sign things 'peace' because of my religious beliefs...which is a whole other post to explain

[ Parent ]
Bad for harm reduction... (4.00 / 5) (#28)
by driph on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 11:02:40 PM EST

It's decisions such as this that prevent other club owners/promoters from allowing harm reduction organizations such as DanceSafe into their venues. By allowing the harm reduction group to set up a table within the club, it shows that the organizer is at least aware of drug use within the party.

That's unfortunate, as these groups do a lot of good for the club scene.

Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
The law in question... (3.66 / 6) (#29)
by a hollow voice on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 11:28:09 PM EST

Standard warning - IANAL.

I think the law being discussed here is 21 USC Sec. 856, which can be read here courtesy of trac.syr.edu.

Short and sweet, it says:

(a) Except as authorized by this subchapter, it shall be unlawful to -
  1. knowingly open or maintain any place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using any controlled substance;
  2. manage or control any building, room, or enclosure, either as an owner, lessee, agent, employee, or mortgagee, and knowingly and intentionally rent, lease, or make available for use, with or without compensation, the building, room, or enclosure for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing, or using a controlled substance.
(b) Any person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than 20 years or a fine of not more than $500,000, or both, or a fine of $2,000,000 for a person other than an individual.

hint (3.50 / 2) (#43)
by esonik on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 01:25:59 PM EST

note the words "for the purpose of" in both paragraphs (a) and (b)

[ Parent ]
technicality (4.00 / 1) (#45)
by eudas on Fri Mar 16, 2001 at 06:10:54 PM EST

(a)(1) states that they must KNOWINGLY open or maintain any place FOR THE PURPOSE OF manufacturing, etc.

if they don't know the client is doing that, or the client lies to them and says they're using the space for some other (legitimate) activity, then the accused has an out.

(a)(2) states that they must KNOWINGLY AND INTENTIONALLY rent, lease, etc FOR THE PURPOSE OF etc.

again they have to know about it and go ahead anyway, and if they didn't know or have been lied to, they have an out.

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]
Drugs, Freaks, Rave, Party.... (2.22 / 9) (#30)
by rawg on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 12:03:30 AM EST

You guys are crying about, "we dont do drugs", and, "not everyone uses drugs at the parties".

I don't think that the drug usage has anything to do with it. I think that its the noise problem. I've moved three times to get away from these, "parties". Its crazy. They start at about 1am and last all night till 6am or so. All night, all I hear is base. I can't hear the music because its so far away, but the base... It will go a long ways. At one place I lived, I complained to the police every night. My wife was going crazy from it.

What I think is that the US Attorney is using the drug usage as an excuse to get rid of the noise problem from the "parties".

Anti-noise Laws Already Established (3.00 / 3) (#34)
by ca5e on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 11:08:07 AM EST

"What I think is that the US Attorney is using the drug usage as an excuse to get rid of the noise problem from the 'parties'."

It would make very little sense for the authorities to try club owners as crack dealers simply to stop noise pollution.

Example: Almost all drinking parties, whether over or under the drinking age, are broken up by the cops when the police station recieves calls along the lines of "My wife can't get to sleep because there are a bunch of people at my neighbors house playing loud music". I think legally it falls somewhere under or around disturbing the peace. Maybe since this involves residiential areas in suburbs, it won't apply to night clubs, but I doubt the US Attorney is attacking noise pollution here. I could see them attacking the drug problem by using noise pollution laws, but certainly not the other way around.
[ Parent ]
Not to nit....but... (1.66 / 3) (#35)
by rabbit on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 04:39:52 PM EST

All your BASE are belong to us.

The thing you're bitching about is spelled "bass".

It helps your argument when you can spell the problem.
-- I have desires that are not in accord with the status quo.
[ Parent ]
Err where you live? Warehouse district? (2.75 / 4) (#36)
by dr3 on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 05:35:48 PM EST

Normally noise ordinances are stricter in certain zoning areas. Which basically moves almost all rave activity to areas where noise restrictions are generally lighter. (Industrial areas, warehouse areas, areas where noise is already present in the environment) To blindly state that the US attorney is trying to get rid of a noise problem by using laws to rid the earth of crack dealers is...well dumb. And as stated before me Base is normally a fortification of some sort or a central point. What you are referring to is BASS. Not to be an ass (or well to much of an ass) but to allude to the fact that everyone is crying about people using drugs at these parties and what not. I think you need to recheck your perspective on this issue and attempt to overcome whatever bias you have towards it before making such general comments with such gross errors in them.

BTW if you can not tell I am a staunch supporter of the RAVE scene. (had to declare my bias)
As Confused as a toddler in a topless bar.
[ Parent ]
Nope... (3.00 / 1) (#39)
by rawg on Sat Mar 10, 2001 at 01:06:39 AM EST

In Sacramento, I guess they dont care about noise. They do care about drugs. I lived off of Watt in an apartment complex behind a "all night" bowling alley. They had rooms for rent that the "party" people would put on "rave/techno/house" type parties. The cops once said that they could not afford the noise testing equipment to test the noise level. They would not do anything most of the time. And it really got bad when the "gangsta's" would cruse the parking lot with their "rap" playing. It was more loud than the "rave".

[ Parent ]
Miss-spelling of Bass, but... (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by rawg on Sat Mar 10, 2001 at 01:00:19 AM EST

Bass Bass, n. F. basse, fr. bas low. See Base, a.
1. A bass, or deep, sound or tone.

2. (Mus.)
(a) The lowest part in a musical composition.
(b) One who sings, or the instrument which plays, bass.
Written also base.

Thorough bass. See Thorough bass.

Base Base (b=as), a. OE. bass, F. bas, low, fr. LL. bassus
thick, fat, short, humble; cf. L. Bassus, a proper name, and
W. bas shallow. Cf. Bass a part in music.

2. Low in place or position. Obs. --Shak.

9. Deep or grave in sound; as, the base tone of a violin. In
this sense, commonly written bass.

Although not common, but correct.

[ Parent ]
Experience (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by SwampGas on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 12:01:00 PM EST

I'm a DJ at a night club...we've gotten several citations about noise.

Our permit says we can play music 7p-1a Mon-Sat and 7p-Mid on Sun. If we violate that, they revoke the license and we shut down. When these people you speak of play music from 1p-6a, they are more than likely violating noise ordinances and can easily be shut down. Quit moving and fight back. Check to see if there is a noise ordinance in your township. Check to see if there's an entertainment limit. Check to see how close the place is to residential areas...to schools, etc.

Perhaps even educate the DJ. Any REAL sound engineer knows that as the night goes on, your ears shut down to protect themselves so the music seems softer. As more people come, their bodies muffle the sound and blanket it--but the opposite is true for when they leave....less people on the floor = more the sound projects. The jock needs to monitor his levels...tell him to turn the DJ booth monitor up if he's obsessed with going deaf. Club patrons like hearing music louder than usual, but they also want to talk amongst themselves.

[ Parent ]

Sacramento (none / 0) (#56)
by rawg on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 11:19:59 PM EST

We tried to fight it. The police told us that they did not have the equipment to test the level of the sound so I was SOL.

Sacramento, CA is a shithole.

[ Parent ]
Noise Pollution (none / 0) (#49)
by dave.oflynn on Tue Mar 20, 2001 at 12:54:10 PM EST

Problems with noise pollution are a fair point. Bass carries a long, long way, and because of the long wavelength goes through walls etc. quite easily.

However, parties like this are usually shut down quite quickly under existing noise pollution laws. Raves tend to be much bigger (multiple thousand people), and held in warehouses etc, precisely so people aren't disturbed. It's not out of concern for their fellow man... it's just that the police *will* act very, very quickly upon receipt of noise complaints, and will shut down the event. Which is a bit of a downer when you've spent months organising the thing ;-).

[ Parent ]

UK/US comparisons (3.66 / 6) (#32)
by spiralx on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 05:58:43 AM EST

This sort of thing happened here in the UK with the 1994 Criminal Justice Act, which defined a rave as a gathering of 100 or more people with amplified music "wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats" (I love that definition) is played in the open air at night. Whilst it did manage to pretty much kill off the illegal rave scene, all it did was fuel the nascent club scene, which exploded into the multi-billion pound industry it is today.

And most surveys show that despite licensed premises, security and so on, drug use has increased since the days of the rave scene. People are doing more drugs, more combinations of drugs and going out more. So much for cutting down on drug use.

Nowadays it seems as though the widespread use of drugs in clubs is pretty much ignored by police here. With half a million people going clubbing regularly, and at least half of those taking ecstacy the "problem" has gotten well past the point at which police could hope to make any progress.

The fact that there's so much money in it, and the fact that our club industry is a major tourist attraction of course has nothing to do with the lack of real efforts against it :)

But unfortunately in America things are a lot more spread out, and gaining the critical momentum that turned an underground phenomenon into such a huge culture will be a lot harder, because the authorities are cracking down a lot harder earlier. It remains to be seen as to whether they will go after official, licensed premises with enough vigour to kill any club explosion.

One thing to ask - do they really turn cold water taps off at USian raves? That's really stupid - it just means that people are more likely to dehydrate, suffer problems which will guarantee the club will be shut down hard. I can't remember more than one place I've been to that did that, and I never went there again...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

Well... (3.00 / 4) (#40)
by NovaHeat on Sat Mar 10, 2001 at 07:58:43 PM EST

Although I think the 'rave scene' and a huge portion of the music associated with that scene is absolutely retarded, busting up raves under the pretext of shutting down crackhouses is ludicrous. It's just the government trying to 'protect the children' and 'crack down' on the drug use that is 'threatening family values in America today.' Would I be glad to see raves disappear? Yes. Would I be glad to see them disappear in this fashion? Not on your life.


Rose clouds of flies.

Raves and Flavors of American Justice (4.50 / 2) (#46)
by Phoebe on Mon Mar 19, 2001 at 10:32:21 AM EST

I used to be one of those kids labeled a "raver".

I wore extra-wide legged jeans, tank tops, glitter on by face and arms. I would leave my house at midnight or later and I would return tired, sweaty, and reeking of cigarette smoke. I could be found at old warehouses turned into a dance club for one night. Or at a gym that had been legally rented out for one night of music and dancing. I danced to pounding base and flashing lights.

Drugs were there, no doubt. I will never deny their presence at a rave. But as far as the abundance of them, I cannot say. Sure you weren't constantly looking at people dropping acid, smoking pot, or selling ecstacy every time you turned around, but at the same time, you knew that that guy who just walked by with Micky Mouse gloves on could be selling, buying, or ignoring the underflow for some of the people there.

I know this is the same argument that has been cast into the pool many a time, but not all raves focus around drugs. Every rave I have ever been to has had security guards checking people at the door for any type of drug or it's accomplices.

A young girl was not allowed in because they found a pipe in her pocket. She did not have drugs on her (or at least they did not find any), but they did not let her into the rave. Many raves say that no drugs are to be brought into the premises. This is not to say that drugs stay out, but that there *is* some concern from those hosting the gathering.

Recently in my neck of the woods, a law was passed that any DJ caught at a rave would be fined anywhere from five to ten thousand dollars. Not for disturbing the peace, not for breaking and entering, but for being an accomplice to the drug market. The law decided that if you play music for raves, you are guilty of helping, allowing, and even providing materials for the purpose of promoting and distributing illegal substances.

Another law (I cannot remember what state or city this was in) was being reviewed to stop the sale of wide leg jeans and pants, for it was too easy to conceal illegal material and substances in them, and it promoted inappropriate activities such as "raves".

To me, both of these are absurd. I understand completely the need to rid drugs from our society, to keep people from getting hurt or even killed from overdoses of illegal substances, but I feel that it is being taken too far. A rave is not designed for dealers to sell and push their wares. It is a place to dance, to make friends, and to have fun.

Restriction is one thing. But banning the source of entertainment for some is another. Just as free speech about religion, society, or lifestyle is one thing, but slandering a person, cause, or group is another.

--I dream of a wolf, shrouded in the mist. Looking at me with Amber Eyes--
UK Situation (3.00 / 1) (#48)
by dave.oflynn on Tue Mar 20, 2001 at 12:47:16 PM EST

In the UK, a club can be shut down if drug dealing is endemic and the club are making no effort to stop it.

Once the club is making reasonable efforts to stop dealers (searching people on entry, patrolling bouncers, turning caught dealers over to police, etc.) then they're reasonably safe.

It's almost impossible to stop all drug use. After all, you can't strip-search everyone upon entry, can you? And it's easy to inconspicuously swallow a pill in a darkened room...

However, the worst possible response would be to restrict the selling of water. You need water to survive if you're dancing all night, drugs or no drugs. Restricting the availability of water would make any high-energy event (game of soccer anyone?) too dangerous. Especially given the documented effects of ecstasy....

Let's be realistic about this (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by Keslin on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 02:18:48 AM EST

Okay, let's be realistic and come to grips with something simple: raves are a place to do drugs. If you want to challenge generalizations by pointing out the two guys out of 2000 that are not rolling at a rave, that's cool. For the vast majority of the people attending a rave, though, the whole point of the thing is the drugs. Nearly everybody at a rave is rolling on Ecstasy, and a good number of those people are also lit up on coke, trolling on acid, wonked on GHB or GBL, chasing moths on ketamine, stoned, lurping on DXM, eating magic truffles, hyped on crank, trailing on 2CB, or doing something that you have never even heard of. That's just how it works. That's why people go. When you are at a rave and you come down from your roll, what do you do? You blow it back up again. When you can't blow it back up again and you feel sobriety gripping you, what do you do? You go home, that's what you do. Without MDMA, a rave would just be a bar mitzvah with louder music.

Look at it this way, you could probably find somebody at your local college bar at 2:00 AM on a Saturday night that is not drunk, but the point of the bar is still to drink alchohol. You can come up with counterexamples all day and point to the guy that just likes to socialize and "doesn't need to be drinking", but to the huge majority of the people at the bar, it's all about drinking.

The music at raves exists for pretty much one purpose: to resonate with the drugs. You only have to be rolling while you're listening to a Sasha & Digweed album one time to realize that. There is simply no doubt about it. You can enjoy trance or drum & bass or whatever if you are sober, but that just isn't what it's for. Same for the lasers and glow sticks. People that have never rolled before try to say that the lights are still fun if you aren't on drugs. Drop a roll, wait 45 minutes, crack a glow stick and look at it, and then get back to me on that one. You'll understand what the bottled water and the pacifiers are for at that point, too. The whole point of the entire environment is to resonate with the drugs, that's the point of the parties, and to encourage it is the job of the promoters.

Given all of that, if the drugs are illegal, then the parties should be illegal too. Don't get me wrong, I'm there at raves rolling with the rest of them, in New Orleans even. I just don't have any illusions that what I'm doing is 'right' or that it should be legal. The simple fact is that a rave promoter is directly endorsing drug use. If you're opposed to drug use, then you must be opposed to raves. If the drugs are illegal, then law enforcement is justified in trying to shut down raves. I personally don't want to see rave culture crushed because I enjoy it so much, but we have to be fair to law enforcement here, they really are just doing their jobs.

-Keslin, the naked nerd girl.

No (none / 0) (#51)
by spiralx on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 07:02:58 AM EST

The point of going clubbing is not to take drugs, it's to have a good time. I can and do take drugs at home and enjoy myself. Hell, it's a lot easier and cheaper than going clubbing is. If the point of going out is to take drugs, you're missing the point. Exactly the same goes with pubs and alcohol.

Sure, almost everyone is taking something or other, it's part and parcel of the dance scene and always has been. But it's something to enhance the night, not the point of the night.

But drugs aren't for everyone, and I've met plenty of people over the last five years who don't drop anything and get off on the "natural high". Labelling all clubbers as drug users isn't true. And what about people who go clubbing and only drink? There are plenty of clubs in London where most people drink and only a few drop (although I try and avoid them :), should they still be classified as drug dens and closed down?

P.S. "trolling on acid"? ROFL, I've actually done that on /. once when my housemates were arguing... fun, if a little disjointed. Still got some biters though :)

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Trolling, and diversions (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by Keslin on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 11:58:26 AM EST

Haha, well "trolling" in this case means "tripping and rolling", very different than the online meaning. LSD and MDMA at the same time, a glorious combination. I'm sure that you know that already sprialx, but it occurs to me that not all K5ers reading this will. But I digress...

I certainly do see your point, and I do agree that it's really better to just stay at home if drugging is your point. My favorite place to roll by far is at home, with the lights out and the disco ball on, flopping around the floor sweaty naked with my boyfriend in front of a marathon of porn DVDs. That's just what I prefer. Private parties are good too, but those of us that like doing it at home or at private parties are older. I'm in my twenties, I own a house, I can stick glow-in-the-dark stars all over my living room ceiling, turn on the blacklights, and groove to Rabbit in the Moon for a few hours. Or, I can go to a friend's house, we can hire a DJ, and we can have a friendly little micro-rave. If you're 18, though, then you probably don't have that option. You don't want Mom & Dad to see you while you're rolling.

Enter the rave, which is all about having a comfortable and encouraging place to get into your trance and stay there. Like I said in my first comment, I really feel that it's a diversion to point out those two guys out of 2000 at a rave that are sober and are just getting off on the music. Even those two guys have probably opened the door by memory and walked back into a roll, just from the environment. I do that sometimes when I'm at a rave for kicks and wary of LEA, which is a big issue here right now.

I'm also very grudgingly willing to accept that some genres of dance music really are all about the music. Jungle, for instance, you can groove on without drugs. Maybe hardcore techno if you are a very high-strung person or something. Stuff like Orbital, or maybe Moby, I could see that. There are genres of 'our' music though, that it's just not possible to rationalize that they are NOT all about drugs. Trance music is about rolling, and you will never convince me otherwise. Sasha can't spin sober. He just can't. A lot of other DJ's almost never spin sober, Carl Cox (who plays at private parties in my neck of the woods a lot, next weekend included), Josh Wink, any of the Rabbit in the Moon guys, etc. Trance is about rolling. Likewise, mushroom trance is about shrooms. Who listens to mushroom trance sober? Nobody, that's who. It's like trying to listen to Pink Floyd's "Meddle" or "Wish You Were Here" without being stoned. You just don't do it. Sure, there are two guys out there that will pop up and go, <voice type="Millhouse">"Hey, I listen to those Pink Floyd albums and I don't smoke that marijoowanah stuff!"</voice> Well, yes, you exist, but raves are still about drugs. Let's just be realistic about that.

-Keslin, the naked nerd girl.

[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#53)
by spiralx on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 12:34:31 PM EST

Actually the term I've always heard used for taking acid and pills at the same time is "candyflipping" which sounds cooler IMHO. The best way to do it is debatable, but doing the acid first is usually the way to go, as I find anything other than speed tends to blunt the effects of the acid.


My favorite place to roll by far is at home, with the lights out and the disco ball on, flopping around the floor sweaty naked with my boyfriend in front of a marathon of porn DVDs.

What a glorious image :)

Private parties are good too, but those of us that like doing it at home or at private parties are older. I'm in my twenties, I own a house, I can stick glow-in-the-dark stars all over my living room ceiling, turn on the blacklights, and groove to Rabbit in the Moon for a few hours. Or, I can go to a friend's house, we can hire a DJ, and we can have a friendly little micro-rave. If you're 18, though, then you probably don't have that option. You don't want Mom & Dad to see you while you're rolling.

Thankfully I'm also in my 20s, and almost everyone I know, certainly everyone I know well, has their own place now. It'd be a pain otherwise... no huge morning after chillout sessions lasting all weekend ;)

But I've been doing it a lot at home recently with a few friends. I'm not usually too keen on doing it at home - I tend to get the thing where you get all stretchy and restless (please tell me you know what I mean :) a lot, especially with the quality of pills I've been getting recently. However I find that just doing halves, sticking on some relaxing music (anything on Platipus Records is great for that mood) and chatting is excellent, especially with people you're close enough to to hug, massage and so on.

And several of my friends are DJs so if we're round their place we get live music... :)

I'm also very grudgingly willing to accept that some genres of dance music really are all about the music. Jungle, for instance, you can groove on without drugs. Maybe hardcore techno if you are a very high-strung person or something. Stuff like Orbital, or maybe Moby, I could see that.

Don't forget the evil, evil stench that is UK garage (well, you probably don't get it over there you lucky, lucky person :). It's seemingly designed for wankers to wear expensive clothes too, and tends to attract only drinkers, but I will grudgingly include it in the dance music genre. But God I hate it.

There are genres of 'our' music though, that it's just not possible to rationalize that they are NOT all about drugs.

Proper psychedlic trance being one of them. I've recently gotten into the underground/squat party scene here in London, and psy trance is big there. It sounds crap when you're not into it, but when you get into it... there's that slow, pondorous drum beat that begins to sound like God walking down a long corridor and the chugging basslines that never stop... all too easy to loose the hours :)

But other forms of music can go well with or without - hard house (e.g. Nucleuz Records), acid techno, Detroit techno - and I'll enjoy them when I'm just sitting at home reading.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Seeing God in the music (none / 0) (#54)
by Keslin on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 12:56:11 PM EST

Heh, the very fact that you invoke God in a description of listening to a bass line means that you DO know that I'm talking about. I'll just rest my case on that...

And yes, your house parties are exactly like twentysomethings all over the world are discovering, myself included. Four people is the perfect number for me, small enough to be intimate, but enough people that you don't feel lonely at any point. Also a good number if it should turn into an orgy, which is always good. Having enough people around prevents the stretchy, restless thing that I know all too well.

-Keslin, the naked nerd girl.

[ Parent ]

Sex and pills (none / 0) (#55)
by spiralx on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 04:17:27 PM EST

Orgies? Heh, a bit further than I've gone with my friends I have to say... But when I'm just with my girlfriend then yeah, I know what you mean.

I find it totally different at a club though. If I've taken a pill then sex becomes sort of an abstract... I'm surrounded by some truly beautiful women who are dressed in some great outfits and dancing, and yet sex is something that only enters my mind as an afterthought. Which is why I think that you find (in this country at least) more women than men go clubbing and they go more often. It's the freedom from the whole sexual advance thing that goes with alcohol...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Rave party == crackhouse, says US Attorney | 56 comments (46 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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