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Letters to the editor

Tuesday, October 03, 2000

It's music, not drugs, that sets rave parties apart

As a member and producer of rave events, I found the article "Police Out to Crash Drug-Laced 'Rave' Parties" (Sept. 26) by Johnna A. Pro highly one-sided and inaccurate. The article, like many others, fails to touch on what sets raves apart from other entertainment activities, that being the electronic music. You can find drugs and violence at any concert, including at your own sponsored Post-Gazette Pavilion.

What makes our rave scene in Pittsburgh fantastic is the plethora of local music producers, DJs, light, laser and video crews that perform locally and nationally every weekend. We aim to be on the cutting edge of entertainment while retaining our local flavor.

Your misguided, one-sided article is a huge slap in the face to the many young artists involved in making Pittsburgh a vibrant place to live today without the need for expensive tax- or corporate-funded projects. It's no wonder why so many young people leave Pittsburgh with articles like that.


Editor's note: The writer is the owner and operator of ravevisuals, a company specializing in the set-up of large-screen visual displays.

Nonprogressive portrayals

I am 28 years old. I am a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh's English Department. I work as an interior design assistant. I am not a thug. Most of my college friends, high school friends and "cool/going places in the world" friends have moved away from Pittsburgh.

I've considered leaving, like so many young people, but stayed and carved a place for myself in the Pittsburgh club/rave scene. I am not a drug dealer. I am not a "club kid." I am not a "candy raver." So, please, why don't you tell me where I fit into the rave model presented in your Sept. 26 feature ("Police Out to Crash Drug-Laced 'Rave' Parties")?

I am proud of my part in the electronic dance movement and I am disgusted by the portrayal of my peers as drug dealers and "thugs." Perhaps the writer should have found a better source of information than sometime drug dealer "Mr. Z."

The article fails to mention that the dance music scene has inspired fashion on college campuses in Pittsburgh and around the country. It fails to mention that house music is represented on TV commercials every night, prime time.

It fails to mention the local record stores (Hypervinyl, Future Sounds), clothing stores (Avalon), DJs (DJ Kevin, Bagel, Ryan Matthew, 7UP) and record producers (Shawn Rudiman, Joshua Ryan) that have put Pittsburgh on the map worldwide within the dance music community. It fails to mention that the Pittsburgh rave scene has given birth to one of the top "drum and bass" DJs in the world, Damian Higgins, a k a "Dieselboy."

You fail to realize that your sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters are dancing in clubs and at raves every weekend. The Carnegie Science Center even hosted a "rave" as part of its grand opening. There have been dance music parties in Pittsburgh for the last nine years and in Europe for years and years prior. Here no one has died from an overdose. Can you say that local bars have the same track record? Can you say that you'd rather have your daughter attend Woodstock 2001?

The article greatly reinforced what all of my since-moved college friends told me about Pittsburgh. This nonprogressive line of thinking will keep the young people from staying here and keep us from ever being recognized as a true cultural hub. Are "Stiller" fans enough for you?


Into the music

Upon reading the article on the renewed police interest in "rave" parties ( "Police Out to Crash Drug-Laced 'Rave' Parties" Sept. 26), I find that it neglects a lot of things that people don't see by reading the article. The article itself promotes a very biased view of anyone involved with the music.

In the scene itself, there is a faction of people (all over this country and Europe) that do not condone drug use. We are into the music. We are the producers of records, owners of record labels, DJs who play the records, record store owners and legitimate club promoters who love the music. We are here in Pittsburgh.

We have legitimate business and real full-time jobs (along with music-related ones) and are from age 21 to 40 (and unlike "Z" 's profile are not Eastern European or manufacturing/selling or using drugs). We sell music. We live music. We promote music and run our lives around its business.

Although much of the article has truth to it, press of this sort only destroys any credibility or positive work we have achieved due to the fact that no other side is presented.

When that article is summarized, it says to the average person that Pittsburgh's "rave" scene (and music involved) is nothing but one giant drug party. I find that personally and professionally insulting. We work hard to give kids a positive idea.

We show them that drugs aren't needed and are a bad idea. I myself have personally been through it all and the love of the music took me higher and further than any substance could. This, along with positive, clean people "higher up" on the industry scale than myself, took me away from the negative and possibly harmful attributes of that scene.

We work to do this here, in our city, every time we play live, every time we DJ, every time we hold an event or record release party and every time we release a new record. We build a positive image that maybe can help these kids see things better. Please don't destroy what we work for.


Editor's note: The writer is co-owner of Technoir records. This letter is on behalf of the staff of Technoir as well.

Applaud the Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America should be applauded for their willingness to stand up for their principles and take their case to the Supreme Court.

It would have been much less trouble and easier for them to yield to the clamor of the press and to those who would chip away at the principles in which they believe. Would that more organizations and private citizens be willing to hold onto their beliefs.

Now it would appear from Sally Kalson's column ("For Some Scouts, It's Time to Take A Hike," Sept. 20) that they are to be punished. She writes that the Scouts now face a problem of having troops secede from their organization, and that some schools, churches and corporate organizations are no longer supporting them.

Further, money is to be used to force the Scouts to change their principles. Some local United Way chapters decided to withhold funding from the Boy Scouts so that they will change their ways and kowtow to those who control the coffers and know what is good for the Scouts.

It's true -- the United Way is big money. Millions of dollars are controlled by their executives. Such huge sums exert considerable force. Let us hope that the leadership of the Scouts does not yield to this insidious pressure of the United Way and others.

Those who resent this pressure should pay close attention to their local United Way. If their local chapter of the United Way chooses to withdraw its support, then those supporters of the Scouts should no longer contribute to the United Way but send their normal contribution directly to the Boy Scouts. It's time for those who believe in scouting and its principles to stand up and be ready to support them.


Another question

With reference to the Sept. 25 letter, "The Essence of Scouting" the less-than-provocative question posed by the writer might also be, "If she had a son, would she want him to go hiking and camping with, and otherwise closely associate with, a Scout leader who openly espoused or perhaps bragged about his heterosexual orientation and activity?" Of course she wouldn't. Sexual preference has nothing to do with deviant behavior. Examples abound and most thinking people can cite them.


Women's best interests

I strongly disagree with Dianne Augustine's Sept. 25 letter ("Yes, Beware -- Of Gore") in which she states that "Gore does not represent the best interests of women." There is no way that making abortion illegal can represent women's best interests. Yes, it may be in the best interest of pro-life supporters, but please don't say it's the best for women.

Vice President Al Gore and Joe Lieberman's pro-choice stance protects women's reproductive rights. Being pro-choice does not mean that the best solution for an unwanted pregnancy is abortion. Pro-choice means that, given a woman's particular circumstances about which others know nothing, her decision will be respected. And it will be respected whether she chooses to continue or terminate a pregnancy.

The "best interests of women" will certainly be ignored if ownership of reproductive rights is given to the United States government, as Gov. Bush wants to do if elected president by getting Roe vs. Wade reversed.

Mt. Washington

Gore can spearhead change on energy

I am writing in regard to the article "Gore Lashes Out Against 'Big Oil' " (Sept. 23). As an environmentally minded citizen and a Democrat, I have always known that oil and utility companies run the government, not the other way around.

Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's sunshine, not an electric bulb. Not that I think Al Gore can change things radically in one or two terms; it will take a while. But maybe he can get the citizenry to shift gears.

The power is in our hands to insist on clean air and water, to recycle and reuse, to use all the wonderful technology developed to reach these ends and to begin electing officials who are like-minded and won't back down or become the pawns of the energy czars.

Let's elect a smart guy, not some good ol' boy. It's time to vote for the future and a change in attitude.

A chicken in every pot and a windmill in every yard! Walk softly and carry a big solar panel.

Bethel Park

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