By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
Most people don't get a going-away bash that rages for almost 24 hours, with Richie Hawtin spinning a surprise set. But then, most people aren't Dinky, the sweet and lovely local techno DJ-producer. The DJ's raucous party last Saturday night at 59 Canal Street found her and co-host Magda playing till five in the morning at the Chinatown karaoke bar. The crazed festivities continued at fellow DJ Troy's Williamsburg loft, where Hawtin blessed the lucky 30 or so revelers with more tunes until the next afternoon. "It got a little crazy," giggled the lady of honor.
Dinky's departure is sudden and sad. The DJ is originally from Chile and had been living in the U.S. for the past six years thanks to an artist visa. But when she applied for a renewal in 2002, she was denied, and thanks to what she says was incompetent counsel, Dinky (real name Alejandra Iglesias) did not realize that her departure date had to be swiftsix months after receiving notice of the denial.
Post-9-11, visas are particularly hard to come by thanks to the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act, which since the attack has detrimentally affected many foreign artistsparticularly those from nations on the government's watch list, like Cuba and Iranwho have been denied entry for performances. (Dinky's in good company: 22 Cuban musicians scheduled to appear at last fall's Latin Grammys also had visa problems, including acclaimed pianist Chucho Valdes.)
The timing for Dinky is impeccably bad. Her debut artist album, Black Cabaret, on local label Carpark, is due to hit stores this week, and her four-week North American tour with Stewart Walker and Greg Shiffhad to be canceled (though Walker and Shiff are going it alone).
In the last six months, Dinky got married to her longtime beau, who she has dated for several years. "I don't believe in marriage," she said just before she left, "but this sort of pushed us." Plus, she sighed, "I'm in love." Curiously, being married to an American citizen hurts her cause, rather than helps it. She would have to stay in the country for two years waiting for paperwork to clear, which would make touring overseas in support of her new album, not to mention visiting her parents and grandparents in Chile, impossible.
In the meantime, the DJ will be spreading her brand of experimental techno around the world. She's got dates set up in South America and will appear this June at the Sonar Festival in Barcelona with Carpark labelmate (and owner) Todd Hyman. Ciao, but only for nowwe hope.
A RAVE Act under any other name is . . . exactly the same. Once again, our hard-working politicians are busting their chops to keep raves under wraps with the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, a variation of the RAVE Act (Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy). In January, a slew of Democrats sneakily inserted into the recent domestic security bill (S. 22) an update to the 1986 Crack House Statute containing language to prosecute promoters of events where drugs are found.
And last week, Democratic senator Joseph Biden, one of the politicians behind the original RAVE Act, introduced the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act. The revised version would apply to "single event" and outdoor activities, greatly expanding the feds' current jurisdiction under the Crack House Statute. In his statement before Congress, Biden claimed, "The reason that I introduced this bill was not to ban dancing, kill the 'rave scene,' or silence electronic music, all things of which I have been accused."
But while he and Republican senator Charles Grassley repeatedly singled out rave organizers as "rogue promoters" in their remarks on the floor, Biden said, "Let me be clear. Neither current law nor my bill seeks to punish a promoter for the behavior of their patrons."
But Biden and the government seem to be deciding who is legit and who's not. One wonders if the next step is state-sponsored concerts. Will the government decide which cultural and musical events should also be considered legitimate, too? Apparently so. While the first incarnation of Biden's bill set many big music-industry heads afire, they seem to have been appeased. It's not them we're after, the government told groups like the Coalition of Licensed Beverage Associations (COLBA), who wrote in a letter to the senator, "There was a misconception in the industry that the bill would hold the owners and the promoters of non-rave events responsible for the actions of the patrons."
In other words, Madison Square Garden's owners don't have to worry their pretty little heads if somebody smokes some pot at the OutKast concert. That's legitimate. But if somebody pops a pill unbeknownst to a promoter like Matt E. Silverwho regularly throws large-scale electronic music events at the Hammerstein Ballroomhe is obviously a "rogue promoter" whose events aren't musically "legitimate."
Additional reporting: Daniel King