SLAM, FLIRT, AND RUMBLE : GARY BECK @ RISE CLUB 07.20.13

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^ Gary Beck : two hands on the wheels

Facing a dance floor so crowded that almost every dance move required shoving, techno hot-shot Gary Beck, making his first RISE appearance, dropped one of the most passionate techno sets this writer has ever attended. Using Traktor with two CDs and one mix-board, Beck imposed his excitations on almost every minute of the music. He mixed with both hands, all the time, often impelled by his body action. Many DJs dance for dancing’s sake at the mix board; Beck made mix moves of his dance moves.

He played mostly his own works; and as he has more than plenty of tracks to his credit, he nowhere near exhausted his crate. His sound is a seductive thing, flaunting ghouls’ smiles and glints of flirt talk. These pop in and out of, or ride alongside, a bottom ramble that has more flesh on its bones than one hears in almost any other techno. At RISE it played out lasciviously : the well-known hit “Diva”; the sentimental glimmer of “Vaag”; the clamor and rapture of “Before the Crash”; and — peak moment — lots of “in your face” girl talk atop the bristling bottoms of “Video Siren.” Plus many more Beck tracks put onto fans since he first came to world-wide attention about five years ago.

Heft and heave are Beck’s action. Set to classic train-ride rhythm narratives — of roll and chug, saunter and strut, his muscle tracks carried the RISE dancers’ bodies along with them. Beck made it feel pleasurable to just move, move, and move; and as he inserted barely a handful of pause breaks into his trip of continuity, the dancers had few opportunities to stop moving. Not that they wanted any.

Beck’s basic DJ move is the quick-cut, a mix  technique first devised back in the disco years, whereby the performer jumps from one track to another without warning — no overlaying, no dissolve, just a leap of faith. Beck’s quick cuts slammed one track’s lift off against the next track’s stride — using the jump mix to ramp up the power of his music. Again and again he quick-cutted beat to voice, voice to beat, and beat to bigger beat. After getting slammed by such an energy burst, the RISE dancers found Beck’s runs of rumble — themselves as heated as most DJs’ mix bursts — almost easy to ride.

Thus it was that Beck’s three hours of slam, flirt, and rumble raised his set from mere music to a peak of body, soul, and spirit; a party so non-stop that few who exercised in it will soon forget. No wonder that the crowd included many local connoisseurs of techno, DJs included. Their being on hand was no mistake.

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^ Camilo Serna at the RISE mix-board

Almost as fascinating a performance was Camilo Serna’s set of crunch and rumble. This was Colombian Inependence Day, and many at RISE were there to celebrate with their fellow Colombian as much as to see Beck. Serna wore a studious look, the face and delicate body of a nerd. Twenty years ago, guys who look like Serna would be seen jamming in an indie-rock band. Today they are DJs like Serna, all business at the RISE mixboard, an expression of absolute concentration on his face as he dropped a tangle of ferocious soulful beats.

—- Deedee Freedeberg / Feeling the Music

MEEK AT THE MOVIES —- The Hunt (2.5 STARS)

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If you’ve seen Sam Peckinpah’s masterfully macabre “Straw Dogs” (let’s all please agree to forget the far inferior recent remake) then you’re already up to speed on what happens in “The Hunt” : quiet European hamlet; a mindful and reserved intellect with a complex past; slow constant simmer; sexual tension; strong reactions based on false assumptions; and a gentlemanly hunt in the woods serving as a ruse for a deeper more perverse game at hand.

Though the arc, ambiance and elements of the two films bear many acute similarities, the context and articulation could not be further apart. Mads Mikkelsen — whom most US viewers know as Hannibal in the self-titled NBC TV series, or as the European bad-ass who bashed in Bond’s balls in “Casino Royale” — plays Lucas, a quiet man trying to gain some degree of custody of his teen son in the aftermath of a bitter divorce. As a caregiver/instructor at a nursery school, he’s pretty well liked and respected by his peers and his charges — by some, perhaps a little too much. Tow-headed Klara (Annika Wedderkopp) takes his kindness for something more and, after a failed furtive kiss, which Lucas quickly and sternly rebuffs, she becomes angry and tells her parents (who happen to be Lucas’s best friends) and the school head, in vague terms, that Lucas did something to her. Then later, after Klara catches a glimpse of smut on her brother’s iPad and the adults try to further educe from her what exactly transpired, it only takes a few dark slanted inferences for the toxic charge of pedophilia to erupt.

The film directed by Dane Thomas Vinterberg (“The Celebration”), a Dogme 95 compatriot of Lars con Trier, leverages its remote Danish townlet setting where justice is administered by elected elders and enforcement, when needed, comes from somewhere afar, so as the rumor billows and emotions flare. There’s a heated call for immediate action–one that will not wait for outside mitigation– as slices of vigilante retribution begin to rain on the accused. Lucas’s son stands by him, as does his new girlfriend, an immigrant cafeteria worker who’s fearful of losing her job and being deported; but in the end Lucas must stand alone against the amassing throng, and boldly so, not unlike Dustin Hoffman’s nebbish in Peckinpah’s bloody classic.

The niggling to “The Hunt” can’t be put onto Mikkelsen or any of the actors, who are sharp and heartfelt in their roles. Mikkelsen’s rendering of internal turmoil, malaise and depressed entrapment, dutifully echoed by the grim, washed-out primal atmosphere etched by Vinterberg, drives the film with purpose. Still, the logic and the obvious questions not asked by normally rational minds both undermine the overall effort. The premise of a town turned inward by accusation and mob justice is a piquant one, it’s just too bad Vinterberg didn’t bring a more spirited dog to the fight.

—- Tom Meek / Meek at the Movies

AFTER THE TRAYVON MARTIN CASE : GUEST COMMENTS BY RON WYNN OF NASHVILLE, TN

Here and Sphere note —- as aftermath to the Zimmerman case and to President Obama’s dramatic speech, a conversation and then some has begun in America’s Black communities and among commentators. High on our list of cutting edge commentators is Ron Wynn, of Nashville, TN, who speaks out on Being Black in America with an insistence that reminds us of Bill Press speaking out on progressive politics. we at here and Sphere highly esteem both men, but especially Ron Wynn, whom we are honored to call personal friend.

Being Black in America — and the raw topic of black on black violence that is part of the general conversation — are talks that every American of good will should at least listen closely to, maybe even join. Thus the following Guest Editorial shall serve to begin that conversation at Here and Sphere.

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^ news commentator Ron Wynn of Nashville, TN

Wynn : “The current issue of Ebony magazine has the third in a continuing series on crime and violence in the Black community, this one focusing on Chicago. Time’s array of articles on race and the Martin verdict include a lengthy column by Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter on the need for less talk and more action in regards to killings and crime in Black neighborhoods. These on top of a series of columns, essays, and articles I’ve seen on  Black websites ranging from Black Voices and Black America com. to The Root and Black Agenda Report. I mention this only because I still see people saying that no one’s talking about nor cares about crime in Black neighborhoods, and in particular Blacks who kill other Blacks. If you want to believe that, fine, but there’s ample evidence that shows you are incorrect making that statement.me in Black neighborhoods. These on top of a series of columns, essays, and articles I’ve seen

A friend of Wynn’s then commented thus : “This should also serve as a reminder to folks (or a revelation) that Ebony Magazine has dealt with the Black-On-Black crime matter as far back as 1979. I remember and still have this copy of the publication.

WYNN : “There are a few (just a few) truly concerned people in the Black community who honestly haven’t seen these articles or know about the ongoing battles against crime that many have been fighting for years. But much of this rhetoric is standard right-wing deflection stuff, designed to try and quell the anger over the unjust Martin verdict. The people at National Review or on the Wall Street Journal editorial board could care less how many Black people died in Chicago on any weekend.

Wynn also attended a Nashville area protest of the Trayvon Martin / Zimmerman verdict. Here is his report  :

“Incredible experience this afternoon at the Federal courthouse. For almost two hours (actually close to three since I got there 45 minutes early) a diverse crowd that truly represented the spectrum of Nashville got together to hear words of wisdom, inspiration, information and education at the prayer vigil for Trayvon Martin. But it was much more that just a vigil. Speaker after speaker urged all of us to do more than just show up today and go home. Voter registration, community advocacy and citizen participation were repeatedly emphasized, and a host of viewpoints were represented during the event. I was thrilled to see so many of my friends and others I didn’t know by name, but were delighted to see. A truly memorable event.”:

You can (and should) connect to Ron Wynn at Facebook. Meanwhile, Here and Sphere shall be reposting his Facebook reports on Being black in America from time to time as we go forward.