Tragedy struck the the Electric Zoo last year. The second day of the annual Randall’s Island dance music festival was canceled after two concertgoers died, reportedly after taking MDMA. Though the city pushed for the festival’s cancellation last year, the concert returns this Labor Day weekend.
This year, though, concert promoters are looking to be more proactive. In the wake of last year’s overdoses — and, the two deaths at the Mad Decent Block Party in Baltimore last week — the Electric Zoo has launched a program called “Come to Life,” which attempts to discourage drug use. “Come To Life – or CTL – is about rolling life, not face,” the website reads (emphasis theirs).
“Avoiding drug use is the only way to completely avoid drug-related risks,” the site continues. “You don’t need drugs anyway when world class music is all around you.” The Electric Zoo is attempting to turn concertgoers away from drugs with a message similar to the government’s Above the Influence ad campaign.
That’s not all. The festival is planning to make all concertgoers watch a short PSA before attending. It was created by James Manos Jr., who won an Emmy for writing a Sopranos episode and later developed the TV show adaptation of Dexter. He did the PSA with input from his 19-year-old daughter Ellie.
“Ellie represents the target audience and she’s been to EDM concerts and seen the behavior of her peers on molly,” Manos told Pollstar. “She was the perfect partner to help me write the spot.” The spot is called, naturally, “The Molly.”
It’s unclear if anti-drug public service announcement campaigns actually do anything. There’s some evidence it might actually encourage drug use among teenagers. This ad avoids the over-the-top quality of many government drug ads, but it’s unclear if it will stop anyone from doing ecstasy.
Will this one keep people off drugs at Electric Zoo? We’ll let you decide for yourself. And if you’re too lazy to watch the video, you can follow along in animated GIF format.
Yes, this actually opens with an on-screen note saying it’s a dramatization. No shit. Two people at a dance concert have never had (a) that much room or (b) found each other that easily.
This awkward kiss, however is exactly how you’d greet a friend at a show. No wonder this dude won an Emmy.
Is this the “in” way for the kids to take their drugs now? When I was at Iggy Azalea/Calvin Harris/Diplo earlier this year — for a story, people — people were just popping pills. Seems like that’s more convenient. Dude in this PSA looks like he’s checking his teeth for food that’s stuck.
We do then get a nice bit on what it’s like to be a dude at a concert who is an asshole when he’s on uppers. Yeah, ecstasy is supposed to make you love everyone, but a lot of times it only makes you think you’re loving everyone. It’s like that old Bill Cosby joke: “I said to a guy, ‘Tell me, what is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful,’ and he said, ‘Because it intensifies your personality.’ I said, ‘Yes, but what if you’re an asshole?'”
As such, here’s our molly-addled actor spinning around this poor woman.
And also playing with her hair. She does have nice hair, to be honest.
But, clearly, he’s feeling the effects. Though he’s supposed to be in pain, I could see people getting into this.
But his drug use is not enough to distract from the highlight of this entire PSA — the overacting, ridiculously-dressed dancing extra in the back.
And how’s this for a PSA? If your friend takes too much ecstasy, ask him once if he needs to go somewhere to calm down. If he says no and he’s being an asshole, just leave him. Remember, safety first!
Warning: Using MDMA could send you into a black nothingness and you might miss the concert event of the year.
This isn’t too bad of a PSA — and our molly-taking friend isn’t too over-the-top of an actor — but it’s certainly plausible Electric Zoo attendees will spend the weekend making fun of it by spinning each other around and grabbing each other’s hair. Stay safe out there, kids.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 7, 2014