Documentary edc edc 2010 EDC Las Vegas 2012 EDC Los Angeles 2010 EDCLA 2010 EDCLV 2012 Games Harm Reduction la coliseum le liu the last dance

‘The Last Dance’ is an Expansive New Harm Reduction Documentary

'The Last Dance' is an Expansive New Harm Reduction Documentary
Photograph Credit score: Cesar Sebastian

Targeted on the industry-shaking 2010 EDC in Los Angeles and containing almost twenty years of footage, The Final Dance is an exhaustively researched documentary. 

The Final Dance is nothing if not formidable. Narrated by director Le Liu, the documentary weaves a private story of his personal rising involvement with hurt discount into the bigger tapestry of the notorious 2010 EDC on the L.A. Coliseum and its fallout. It tackles an enormous vary of subjects, from DanceSafe’s affect on public coverage and bunk MDMA research to media witch-hunts and authorities crackdowns. Scores of interviews give perception on each degree, from the pageant attendee all the best way as much as the federal government bureaucrat.

But, regardless of the absurd quantity of analysis, the documentary struggles to discover a compelling argument. It may possibly’t fairly determine what precisely EDC 2010 modified, apart from every thing. Test it out under and skim on for my tackle what this documentary did properly and the place it missed the mark.

Watch The Final Dance on Vimeo:

First, let’s speak concerning the good.

There are a number of chunks which might be must-sees for anybody within the historical past of both the rave scene or hurt discount, spanning the primary 40 or so minutes of the documentary. Whereas it skimps on offering the context behind the scenes, the in depth footage from over 20 years of raving within the US is often fascinating.

Early footage of the primary few EDCs, held within the Shrine Auditorium and different venues throughout California, charts the early days of the pageant, the place crowds as small as 5,000 have been thought-about regular. Different movies from long-forgotten festivals like Collectively As One (Insomniac’s collaborative NYE occasion) and shut-down venues like Residence Base. Footage of ravers from all many years create an unmistakable connection, carrying the eerie feeling that they might have been taken yesterday.

The US hurt discount scene is given comparable care. Liu’s deep connection to the group DanceSafe is among the centerpieces of the documentary’s narrative, as he joins the group proper as hurt discount breaks into the mainstream. Based on the precept that offering drug schooling that wasn’t being taught in faculties was the easiest way to maintain individuals protected, DanceSafe shortly discovered itself thrust onto the nationwide stage when these controversial concepts have been picked up by the native media crew. Their rise, which takes some sudden, constructive turns, is among the strongest narratives within the film.

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EDC 1999

” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ class=”size-full wp-image-15382″ src=”″ alt=”EDC 1999″ width=”500″ peak=”327″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ pagespeed_url_hash=”3469202115″ onload=”pagespeed.CriticalImages.checkImageForCriticality(this);”/>Ravers at EDC 1999 in Lake Dolores Waterpark

One of many documentary’s biggest strengths (and largest weak spot) is the breadth of subjects mentioned.

Inside the first 40 minutes, Liu covers the underground rave scene, catastrophe response at EDC Las Vegas 2012, what it means to be a raver, D.A.R.E., DanceSafe, a historical past of ecstasy use in America, media demonization of rave tradition, killer tablets, the R.A.V.E. act, and the parable that MDMA punches holes in your mind. And that is all earlier than correctly discussing the primary occasion, EDC Los Angeles 2010.

That grab-bag of subjects is nice for somebody like me who already has a familiarity with every of them, however might be greater than slightly complicated for people who don’t. Liu by no means dives too deep into every matter, and pings round between them with out drawing strong connections. Whereas all of them are part of the puzzle explaining how EDC LA 2010 fell aside, Liu provides the viewer no hints on how they could all ultimately match collectively. Most of the particulars are introduced with out dates, too, which makes the entire timeline extraordinarily complicated.

As soon as we lastly attain EDC Los Angeles 2010, the documentary begins to decelerate and take its time with its topic, however nonetheless refuses to attract conclusions.

Anchored by an interview with a 2010 attendee, the center part of the movie goes about explaining simply what occurred at and across the final EDC on the L.A. Coliseum. Nevertheless, the interview, like all interviews within the movie concerning the occasion, isn’t involved with making an attempt to tie to a better thesis or conclusion concerning the occasion and easy play out as a document of expertise. Okay, so everybody who went thought it was superior; what does that inform us?

I really feel like Liu actually needs to hammer residence that the media blew EDC LA out of proportion, however wanting from the surface in it’s exhausting to look previous the flagrant violations to well being and security that plagued the occasion. Even worse, the few sources they interview fail to elucidate why that EDC was so unforgettable, so irreplaceable. In comparison with future editions of EDC, it seemed like hell: crammed shoulder to shoulder with little room to breathe, dashing barricades simply to get to pals, dying of thirst, reeking of shit and piss as everybody did their enterprise wherever they might. Judging from the photographs, the entire occasion was a deathtrap.

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EDC LA 2010 Area View

” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ class=”size-full wp-image-86384″ src=”″ alt=”EDC LA 2010 Area View” width=”696″ peak=”464″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ pagespeed_url_hash=”855370447″ onload=”pagespeed.CriticalImages.checkImageForCriticality(this);”/>Photograph Credit score: RUKES

The second half of the movie is damaged up into two overlong segments: the media fallout from EDC LA 2010, and the hurt discount response. 

After the demise of a fifteen-year-old woman at EDC LA 2010, calls to ban raves have been commonplace amongst the media and the federal government at giant. Liu covers largely the raver’s response to those accusations, by no means actually digging any deeper than ‘they have been blown out of proportion.’ It will have been good to attract specific connections to the subjects launched earlier, reminiscent of early ecstasy deaths and media moralizing, to assist perceive why the media latched on to it the best way it did.

As such, I discovered it troublesome to purchase totally into the ‘witch hunt’ angle. Insomniac has made so many sensible strikes within the years since 2010 that make every version of Electrical Daisy Carnival extra protected, accessible, and simply plain enjoyable. It feels bizarre that the documentary spends a lot time defending an EDC the place somebody died as a result of correct security options weren’t carried out.

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EDC LA 2010 Dad or mum Protest

” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ class=”size-full wp-image-86385″ src=”″ alt=”EDC LA 2010 Mother or father Protest” width=”696″ peak=”435″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ pagespeed_url_hash=”3096120558″ onload=”pagespeed.CriticalImages.checkImageForCriticality(this);”/>A lone father or mother protests EDCs on the L.A. Coliseum. Photograph Credit score: Le Liu

One of many stronger elements of this phase, nevertheless, is about attending to the underside of what occurred to the woman who handed away.

Whereas the media branded it as an MDMA overdose, the precise content material of MDMA in her blood was far under the overdose restrict. As an alternative, the actual trigger was hyponatremia, a basic reason for dying for ladies in MDMA-related situations. Hyponatremia happens when somebody consumes an excessive amount of water, too quick, often brought on by the physique heating up from taking MDMA.

Right here is the place Liu makes his level completely. If there had been hurt discount providers on the occasion, or hurt discount schooling out there on the planet at giant, then maybe the woman would have internalized DanceSafe‘s well-known saying: ‘Drink water, however not an excessive amount of water’. Right here, drug schooling might have immediately prevented a demise (Liu doesn’t get into what else would have helped: environment friendly emergency providers, corresponding to Floor Management and EMTs, which might have reached the woman shortly and minimized the injury).

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LA County Rave Activity Pressure Tips

” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ class=”size-full wp-image-86386″ src=”″ alt=”LA County Rave Process Drive Tips ” width=”696″ peak=”532″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ pagespeed_url_hash=”1761529793″ onload=”pagespeed.CriticalImages.checkImageForCriticality(this);”/>L.A. County Tips for security at raves and EDM occasions. By no means carried out, however Insomniac clearly adopted lots of its tenants. Photograph Credit score: County of Los Angeles Public Well being

The documentary then strikes to the aftermath and the federal government’s progressive response that nearly feels too good to be true.

As an alternative of banning raves altogether, the L.A. Metropolis Council determined to work immediately with members within the hurt discount group to create a activity pressure to implement instructional providers all through raves within the metropolis. This included handing out government-sponsored, non-judgemental flyers on the information about numerous medicine and an inventory of well being and security rules that each one future. Nevertheless, EDC ultimately will get kicked out of the town, and the initiative dropped. However for a quick, fleeting second, our authorities truly appeared to be taking the right strategy.

This part, past lasting for about twenty minutes too lengthy, misses an essential level that I might have beloved to see highlighted.

Whereas the L.A. activity pressure died in 2010, the listing of rules went on to turn out to be the inspiration of occasions hosted by Insomniac sooner or later. Issues just like the over-18 age restrict and free water stations have turn out to be normal at Insomniac exhibits. It represents a one-to-one connection to the insurance policies that Insomniac now implement in any respect of their festivals, however Liu by no means ties them collectively. He simply lets it cling within the air, after which strikes on to a unique matter.

This pertains to the documentary’s largest drawback: its lack of a satisfying conclusion.

Because the documentary speeds to its finish, it fails to tie collectively all of the parallel threads which were operating by means of it because the starting. It by no means explicitly states what EDC 2010 modified: was it the general public’s notion of raves? The codifying of hurt discount rules into mainstream occasion manufacturing? Is it the altering nature of raves within the post-coliseum, post-Huge-Room-boom period? The documentary asks all these questions however by no means explicitly connects them with the proof beforehand introduced. I know they exist, as a result of I’ve seen them occur within the scene myself, however anybody who’s an off-the-cuff rave fan may really feel misplaced. It makes an aimless film much more scattered.

Right here’s an instance. Within the very starting, Liu talks about attending EDC Las Vegas 2012, his first within the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He arrives there late, and after a couple of hours, they start to close down the venue because of aggressive winds. Initially nervous, he’s impressed by Insomniac’s response, an environment friendly and arranged evacuation that manages to get everyone out of the hazard zone safely.

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EDC Las Vegas 2012 Evacuate

” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ class=”size-full wp-image-86387″ src=”″ alt=”EDC Las Vegas 2012 Evacuates” width=”696″ peak=”435″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ pagespeed_url_hash=”844187462″ onload=”pagespeed.CriticalImages.checkImageForCriticality(this);”/>An evacuation in progress at EDC Las Vegas 2012 because of harmful winds. | Photograph Credit score: Le Liu

The apparent connection right here is the distinction in preparation between the 2010 and 2012 EDCs.

In 2010, chaos reigned. Individuals barreled previous safety guards and parkoured their method throughout the coliseum. Lil Jon pleaded fence jumpers to cease within the identify of affection and lightweight, they usually simply stored leaping. There was only one entrance into mainstage — one!! — and it took three hours to get during it.

However in 2012, after two years of intense media scrutiny and governmental strain, Insomniac had their shit collectively. Every part went easily; there have been no individuals leaping fences, trampling different attendees, or caught someplace the place they couldn’t entry water.

That’s the story there, an apparent connection of how the disastrous response of the 2010 EDC led to an unimaginable response simply two years later.

EDC went from a wolf-pit, an every-person-for-themselves catastrophe ready to occur to an occasion so well-organized that they might safely evacuate 100,000 in a couple of hours time. What a narrative that might be, tracing what went improper at 2010 and the way it motivated Insomniac to drastically change for the higher.

However Liu doesn’t go there. He pivots to a totally totally different matter, speaking to 2012 attendees concerning the unfavorable media notion surrounding the 2010 occasion and…it’s gone. Forgotten. Outmoded by one other concept that appears disconnected from what we simply noticed and heard. It’s irritating.

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LA Coliseum Ravers

” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ class=”size-full wp-image-86389″ src=”″ alt=”LA Coliseum Ravers” width=”696″ peak=”435″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ pagespeed_url_hash=”3055309524″ onload=”pagespeed.CriticalImages.checkImageForCriticality(this);”/>Ravers able to get together on the L.A. Coliseum. | Photograph Credit score: Le Liu

That’s how I felt all through the entire documentary: annoyed.

There’s a lot great things right here, so many nice interviews with nice individuals about doing nice issues. There’s a lot footage that transports you to a unique time and place that also feels prefer it might have been yesterday. On prime of that, the quantity of debunking and myth-busting paired with concrete knowledge that you would be able to present to individuals and say, ‘right here, what I like to do isn’t as scary or harmful because it’s been portrayed’ is very large.

However all that good is tangled in a string of concepts that by no means come collectively. They by no means join. They weave out and in of one another, popping up for one second earlier than disappearing for an hour, by no means correctly constructing to a satisfying argument. By the top, when Liu closes with a press release from Insomniac wistfully vowing to return to the Coliseum someday, I threw up my palms in frustration. The previous rave tradition is lifeless, Liu appears to say, it died with EDCLA 2010. However I really feel he did not correctly inform us why…

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