Beneath the disco ball, we will dance

On Saturday night at Strange Allure, Ge-ology performed one of the most powerful and grounded sets I have seen. His track selection and execution was meticulous. He provided an evening that spoke volumes to where we stand on both a united and disenfranchised front, all the while working those turntables with an undeniable precision and rhythm. 

The whole evening was a blur and went by far too quickly. But I must say the disco ball was shining harder than usual that night. And beneath it, we danced.

We danced for those that we have lost. We danced for the never ending fight. We danced for the hope to gain ground. That we can for one second catch a break. We recognized the unfairness of it all. Why this? What now? Who? Okay. 

On a daily basis we are pummeled with anxious twits and fiddles as we make our way along. We hope to find resolve. In some places we do. Like Saturday night, on that black and white checkered dance floor.

For several hours some of us don’t touch our phones once. Completely wrapped up in the moment we are not bottoming out into self-consciousness and drowning ourselves in the falsehoods of social media. We let our nerves work themselves out, sweat ourselves clean and breathe easy.

This mess of a year has left us rattled and torn but we continue to spot one another. We check in to see if each other is OK, taken care of, and comfortable. We make sure that if someone is in need, we help. We protect one another. We love.

So yes on that dance floor we pushed straight forward through the vortex and the gunky build up of where we’re at right now. The tired days and long nights and inability to find work. Accepting submission because on a structural level, we have to. Dealing with the pressure to go to college followed by crippling anxiety that we now have thousands of dollars indebted to our name with a degree that doesn’t get us much. The apartment we leased that’s falling apart. The flags that represent what we are being stolen from our porches and burned. The violence was strong this year and for some reason society started believing false news sources instead of seeking reliability. It’s all tearing us apart. 

Our anxiety and panic is growing stronger but authorities tell us that those issues make us incapable and unacceptable, and doctors push pills on us to heal. Many of us have forgotten how to heal ourselves. Slowly we continue to numb ourselves. We indulge in our vices to keep ourselves afloat, or we slowly inch our way to the edge and consider the leap. But no one talks about that because perhaps we’ll be committed, maybe someone will confirm that we’re just insane. Suicide rates are high, but why do we ignore that and push it off into the dark when someone is feeling isolated. When the feelings bring us to drugs and maybe those substances start to hold an unrelenting clutch on our lives, feeding off of our hopelessness. We have seen each other lost to the fray, and so we will throw on black dresses and shirts and tend to our empathetic hearts at funerals and wakes. 

Many still do not understand that sexuality is on a spectrum and gender is not binary. Spaces like this, beneath that disco ball, we create with a purpose. We build these places from nothingness to fill with music and art and freaky people. It’s a space to remind us that we are not wrong, we are not alone, we are wonderful the way we are.

We, the Women, are still embedded with fear as we walk the streets alone. We keep our rape secret. We hide our tears because if we don’t we may not be taken seriously. Some of us may not have been born this way but maybe we identify as women and that puts us in a dangerous zone where discrimination is life threatening. Our fellow female and female-identified peers are still dealing with our long history of oppression.

We as Men are emotional beings but must maintain our masculinity otherwise we fear we’ll fade into a void and stand for nothing. Do this, do that. Some of us are unaware of the pure terror of embracing femininity, so we overcompensate with masculine aggression. We forget it is okay to cry, but tear ducts remain backed up and if someone else shows their emotion and vulnerability we push it off. Yet, we somehow forget that society has groomed us this way. 

As young students we were taught about racial segregation and although much has changed since then the discrimination is evermore prevalent. Maybe there aren’t separate water fountains anymore but our news stories and human interactions show that balance has not yet been achieved. We all have our own heritage. And we make our dance floor special because each of us stays present in our own unique way.

We now live in a country being run by a reality TV star. Our environment is on a disastrous path. Our rights are being questioned and in some cases taken away. Borders seem to be a constant theme. We watched white supremacy bubble back up to the surface and for days at a time, we would weep in the arms of our loved ones. Swastikas were found emblazoned on public surfaces and terrifying hate messages were being spread. We didn’t want to leave the house.

I hear some of my favorite lyrics ring through my mind – “he pulls out a stack of books. And I said, ‘excuse me brother, you said you were gonna arm me.’ And he says, ‘excuse me young brother, I just did’.” Those words resonate so strongly with me lately as I see my fellow brothers and sisters uniting now more than ever. Educating themselves. Fighting with love. Pushing forward.

This is why we do what we do. We find comfort and home on the dance floor. Through movement we shift that energy that’s stuck inside of us and we feel it vibrate. We teach one another. We hug and love and smile and cry. We push our bodies. We don’t stop.

Looking back and celebrating one year of Strange Allure parties in Buffalo we can see how Western New York house and techno has grown. We are not a big city scene with plenty of resources available at our fingertips. We are born from rust, growing after collapse and must embrace the DIY attitude. In the past year we can see the ways we have become stronger as individuals and the changes that have brought us to this place in time and to this space.

I found myself bathed in rainbow light and then Ge-ology put on this one record that started to burrow it’s way into that hidden part of my heart. It didn’t bring me down per say, but it drew reality closer and opened me up. This is the world we live in. This is a true American dance floor. I separate from the sparkling light just briefly and find myself dancing alone toward the corner in front of the left speaker and as my pent up frustration with it all bubbles up I want to cry. For the people we’ve lost and the pain we all feel. For the stupidity that I see everyday. Knowing that regardless of all the progress we have made there are still so many people – those in power – who have not shifted their perception in decades. But then I look around me on that floor and I see those familiar faces and I remember: we’re all doing this together. Feeling it. Living it. Being it. This is why we’re under this disco ball tonight. And then, with that thought, I find myself smiling.

As the world seems to be crashing down around us, we will dance. As the light reflects off the mirrored ball as do bits of ourselves refracted among one another. We’re grooving through it. We’re striving toward it, but inherently by coming together as a group with an intention for a better tomorrow, we achieve just that. 

We did it. And we will continue to do so.