From The Trenches: Mohawk The Educator

(I have been waiting to do this interview for years now. Mohawk is a luminary in the NYC underground scene, my boss at New York DanceSafe , a spectacular dancer & a generally all around stupendous person. She’s throwing a party that you need to go to, and I’ll be giving two tickets away, so you have no excuse. But before you do, kick back and enjoy this long-form conversation with someone who is fielding a tactical force to keep your sorry butt alive if you’re partying in the Tri-State area.)

Mohawk, Harm Reduction Coordinator Extraordinaire.

1. How is the party coming along? Any new surprises to announce, or should we just show up and find out? The party is pretty much ready to go and we’re in our last week of ramped up promotion. I wouldn’t say there are true “surprises”, however I’m sure many people are hearing about the party through different sources, so beyond the musical talent we’ll have on board, the additional performers, vendors, and workshops might come as a surprise to many. We’ve been making announcements a few times a week, highlighting some of what’s to come. We don’t expect everyone to keep up with these announcements, but we definitely want to showcase all that we have in store. It’s getting pretty late in the game and we still have people wanting to take part in the festivities. Don’t bank on this type of event happening again–we host events with specific objectives and move forward from there. It’s a “launch party” of sorts, so come find out for yourself and see what it’s all about!

2. You’ve been doing harm reduction for a long time, have you seen any changes in the work/scene that you’d see as positive? Any worrying trends you are trying to sound the alarm about? I’d like to preface this answer first: I really only have visibility of what’s happening in NYC. In doing this work with a nationally represented organization, a lot of people assume that we all see the same things or face the same problems. This is not necessarily the case, so I’ve chosen to take the New York chapter in different directions based on what we learn each year. The good news is, people overall are becoming more “hip” to testing. People want kits! The worrying thing about this is that, people forget that drug use comes with risks beyond just the potential of ingesting the “wrong” drugs by accident. An obvious worrisome trend is how much do we need to fear fentanyl popping up in drugs, especially non-opioids? This is one with a lot of hysteria around it right now. It takes a lot of work to keep the most accurate information in circulation and weed out the sensationalism and myths.

Continue reading

Advertisements

From The Trenches: Laura Sanfiorenzo, DiSORIENT’s Cat Herder

(I was honored to sit down with one of the majordomos in DiSORIENT, NYC’s premier Burner camp & underground party cohort. If you’ve enjoyed yourself at a DiSORIENT event in the last couple of years, you probably have Lady S. to thank for it. Been a fan of their work since 2006 when I hung out in their party dome, while searching for the DiS art car in the deep playa. They’ll be making Glamtech happen again, and as I’ve said before, this is not a party to miss. See everyone on the 13th!)

Laura S.1. What is your favorite thing about the NYC underground/burner dance music culture? What is your least favorite thing about it? The unspoken and unconsummated relationships. No matter the kind of parties fit your taste in NYC, you will always see the same people. These are the people that love the same music as you and are in it with you for every show and every set. You may not know them or their names or their stories, but you know their faces and you see them every time you are out. You share with them a nod, a smile, a wink, something to let them know that you know they are there and that you are there for the same reasons. That moment, those relationships, that is my favorite thing.

My least favorite would be the posers, the people in it for the money and nothing pure, but parading themselves around as something more. Underground culture was developed to get away from that. I find it a shame to see so many production companies using that culture and what we have created to line their pockets.2. How do you juggle your day-time responsibilities with the “bad bitch corralling Burners” night-time persona that you’re known for? Ha, I didn’t know that I had a persona I was known for, but I can dig it. The short answer is coffee, a lot of it. But in reality, I really have no idea, none of us do. I spend most, if not all of my time, multi-tasking and working as a unit with the rest of our production crew (for Burning Man and parties) to make sure it all gets done.

Most, if not all, of what I do and what Disorient does could not be done without all of us working together, even if it looks like only one or two people are doing things. Disorient is volunteer run, which means that we are all doing this for the party and for that indescribable Disorient feeling. That’s not a big motivator for some, but it is for us, and somehow we all find a way to make it all work, just for that feeling. But, ask any of us how we do it and all we can say is, “I don’t know, we just do.” Continue reading