Lucent L’amour Valentine Street Festival
Armed with only a long white PVC pipe and some red lipstick I headed downtown to the Lucent L’Amour party last night, put on by The Do LaB which is the same crew who throws the Lightning in a Bottle festival outside of Santa Barbara, of which I have heard more than once is “better than Burning Man.”
Why the PVC pipe? Ah yes, I was only asked this a zillion times last night. For twirling, of course, DUH. I was afraid my actual fire staff might not pass security and did not want to have to abandon it, so I brought my trusty practice pipe. I shouldn’t have worried- I walked right in with an open beverage and no one batted an eye.
A fat big section of downtown LA was blocked off and decked out in all manner of rich and frivolous eye-candy, spinning colors and twirling lights- and THEN there was the decor. Revelers wore decadent attire of all sorts from red velvet heart patches to feathered fuschia top hats, white tutus on the ladies and purple corduroy vests for the men. The festival had an old school, almost Victorian feel, which pared nicely with the clean and shiny electronic beats they were spitting out on three stages.
Right past the entrance was the Boom Wow stage whose DJ booth was a giant brown onion dome, surrounded and topped by glowing orange teardrops whose slow strobes gave the impression of fire. Snarled pieces of rope and twisted vines of leaves dripped off the decks and the whole effect was strangely cosy and welcoming. I SO wanted to go in the back door of the DJ booth and chill out inside or maybe even live in my new onion home.
Out on the rough street-and-curb dance floor I felt like I had been bizarrely belittled- literally. We were all tiny people from outer space, dancing in our petticoats, shiny zoot suits, striped stockings, ruffly umbrellas, sequined pink boots, and polka-dot knickers. I love festivals of any sort because the freaks always come out, and it is so inspiring to see what humans will do and who they will be when the rules fall off. I will tell you who they will be: happy, smiling, dancing people who are in love with the world and each other, and it is a beautiful thing.
I ran into a friend from Seattle, reminding me although I may roll solo-style, I am never alone, for I am a member of the international electronic music community. Our home is the dance floor and I will always meet my friends right down front no matter where in the world I am.
A DJ by the name of Imagika held down the Boom Wow stage for several hours; I am always on the lookout for talented and unique females on the decks and I found one last night. Imagika’s track selection bent towards the earthy and exotic and was very powerfully feminine, like her set was laid out by an ancient near-Eastern goddess with bedroom eyes and slamming bass. Very dance floor friendly, lots of fun, and some of the best music of the night.
Down the street from the Speaker Garden stage was just that- a stage blooming with speakers of every shape and size, some straight from the 70’s and others from the back of your car. What a dope idea! This cool stage drew me as the beats spilled through the crowd, and I danced in the warm glow that is tech house.
Right across from this was the main L’Amour stage which was made out of pallets that looked like they had been stapled to the sky, the stage, and everywhere in between. When I arrived Helios Jive was doing their thing, which involved quite a number of instruments from a ukelele to a saxophone to a hand-held keyboard guitar-thing which I’m sure has a better name than hand-held keyboard guitar-thing.
My first impression was that of a theatrical performance, as this troupe on stage was big, quite expressive, and included hammed-up dancers who would prance around and play out come-hither story lines across their palleted world. The pageantry went very well with the music, jumpy and hot with a slap of Big Band- perfect on the cool Los Angeles evening.
The visual art on display at Lucent L’amour was absolutely unbelieveable, and what had to be some of the city’s finest artists were out painting and creating soul-soaked pieces for all to enjoy. Maybe I am just used to Seattle where it seems that many of the music and art combo shows just book whatever friend they have whom also paints; with these artists often the only thing shorter than their talents are their skirts. Not so in LA- these artists were simply spectacular and I was greatly inspired and awed by their works.
About a dozen artists were painting live, with their finished pieces going to a silent auction there in the streets. I did wish they had some sort of artist guide so I could remember who did what and where, instead of it being a big mish-mash of color and drips and shadow and texture in my mind. Although that’s a pretty picture too.
Mixed in with the revelry was the whipped-cream topping of love and good feelings; the free esprit de corps was one of One Love, full of smiling faces and friends. At the Hug Deli you could get a big bear hug for the price of two compliments, and there was a foot washing station where a lovely boy would wash your tootsies in warm soapy water. All down the streets were flamboyant decorations which just barely held in the swirling partygoers and their happy, loving energy.
What a great night! Jammed full of jams and aesthetic inspiration from the music to the decor to the people themselves. Play is SO important in this world, and it looks like the Do Lab is doing it right. I can’t wait for Lightning in a Bottle!