Film & the Rave Scene

Danny Tenaglia & Stereo After-Hours

Montreal is one of the best cities that hosts Raves, also known to others as all night long dancing events. There are massive raves and small ones. Within the massive raves we have the white party at the Palais Des Congress that takes place every year during Easter weekend and the Black and Blue Festival, which takes place during the month of October.

In a couple of words, what is exactly a rave? A rave, just by the word itself can be define as: “someone or something with great enthusiasm or admiration” and for the purpose of the event I attended to, it can be described with an  informal reference as: “a lively party or gathering involving dancing.”

Raves originated back in the late 1980’s in empty warehouse and abandoned churches mostly in the west coast of the United States, after a few years these artistic movement expanded world wide. Back then you were given a map with the location and you were supposed to find the place on your own. Raves involve a new wave of thinkers, critics, mind expanders, mind controllers, people in fields like: Cinema, Journalism, Music, Arts, Business and Entertainment. The participants are normally under the influence of a mind altering substance, like LSD, Mushrooms or MDMA. Is is more common now days to see people at raves on MDMA or Ecstasy tablets. Anyone that has an unusual and critical way of thinking and a desire to succeed in life and ambition is more likely welcome to a rave.

I recently attended a Rave at Stereo After-hours. Stereo is perhaps one of the best venues for underground Dance, Progressive Trance and Techno music in North America and is also known for mind expansion and self-expression. The venue is located in the heart of the gay village in Montreal, on Sainte. Catherine right across Circus, another after hours venue. It took place on Sunday September 5th, 2015 at 2 a.m and it lasted until 1 p.m on the same Sunday, basically all night long.

DJ Danny Tenaglia, a local DJ from New York City was the master behind the turn tables, his has a way of spinning vinyl on stage that sets him apart from mainstream international Disc Jockeys  like: Tiesto, Paul Oakenfold, Sasha, George Acosta and Armin Van Bureen. He still remains well known, but very underground and that is what makes him different. Since Stereo is an underground venue, Tenaglia, the light-shows, the vibe, the energy, the crowd and the big screens  full of animated virtual 3D graphics gave the audience and myself an experience to never forget. As I walked in , I was amazed to see the mind-blowing animations that were taking place on the dance-floor, just picture two massive screens, each one on every side of the venue. The screens are about the size of the screens we have in class in the course of expanded cinema. The graphics projected colours of 3D animated characters that transformed into an animated film that repeats itself and gives the audience a feeling of excitement, euphoria, connection with the film, the sound and the community. Watching these animated graphics under the influence of psychedelics will open up your mind to a higher level of consciousness since it plays with your serotonin and it alters your ideas and thoughts. In other words, you think in a different state.


Stereo uses state of the art technology for all the events that are held every weekend. They provide high quality light-shows and massive screens with digital graphics that take you to a different state of mind while you rave to the music and interact with the community.

Tenaglia provided the vibe for the masses, a rave is not a rave without a DJ, who becomes like a director of a movie scene for that night while he plays mad music that enters your brain and shoots your vitals to higher ground. Ravers were dancing and showing of new moves on the dance floor, everything from break-dancing, ticking, raving, was taking place. At one point I needed to take a break from dancing and went to the back of the venue to get some air, as I walked outside, I met other ravers and we engaged right away in conversations that some people will find irrational, but to me are perfectly normal.  We were talking about our new ideas, ways to improve the world, jobs, projects and of course how many of them including myself have used our minds to acquire new abilities and take control of our lives and not let others take control of us. I just have one statement to say and that will be the following: “mind control equals world control.”

The connection of the event with expansion and one reading in particular from class was the one from the “Visual Music Culture” article. In the article I was able to discover how the artist who did the sketches for the animated film from 1939, “Fantasia,” Oskar Fishinger; created a collage of images that were combined with sound that led to this classic animated film from Disney. Having a combination of sound, movement and images, similar to an animated musical was groundbreaking for that time, even though the film was not a huge box office blockbuster, it has become a legendary classic throughout the years and a must seeing feature. The same happened when I attended the event at Stereo. Looking at the animated abstract graphics with the different mix of sounds and digital waves from the DJ, took my mind and my body into a whole new experience as a person, artist, student and future filmmaker. It felt like I was walking into a movie theatre surrounded by moving images everywhere I looked, moving images of weird spiral shapes that were getting bigger and smaller and giving birth to other shapes and characters, plus a very intergalactic sound, I actually felt like my mind was spinning so fast and travelling at the speed of light. I got the feeling that I was in a virtual museum or digital art gallery. Everyone was hypnotized by the amazing artwork that was created by the well known animated company, “The Moment Factory,” which have also created graphics for other mega shows like: Madonna’s MDNA world Tour, U2, Cirque du Soleil and other famous performers.

Stereo After – Hours

Another reading that was very similar to the experience I had at this event was “Art and the Moving Image,” after reading the article twice, I felt a connection with my experience at the event. Most of the descriptions from the article just made sense in my head. One of the headings from the article, titled: “Getting Framed” has a statement by Robert Smithson that reads; “Everything that’s of any importance takes outside the room. But the room reminds us of the limitations of our conditions.” I can explain and breakdown this statement by saying what he means is that any ideas we may have outside this venue which we can call a movie theatre for example, theses ideas or thoughts are subjective and strictly explored and studied inside the room. What I am trying to say is that me as Film Student or anyone else in the field, we will come up with new ideas for an experimental film, animated film, narrative film or any other type.

These ideas could be a simple sketch of a scene, a draft for a final script, a position of the camera or even a five minute dialogue between two character and let’s say they all take place outside the room or the movie theatre. As soon as we go inside the room, all these ideas are put to work and we are able to create and expand our knowledge and creativity, which is a key factor on expanded cinema. I encountered the same relationship at the event. When I entered the venue and taking into consideration that my mind is always working and I can not stop thinking about my performance at school, work and life; well I was able to connect with the energy from the animated graphics, the amazing crowd and great sounds from the turntables.

Very simple, do you see the relationship?

The venue, became the movie theatre and the DJ became the film director, the screens with the animated features were the boost to my own mind expansion and the rave community became the moviegoers. It all made sense at that point.

The article also mentions the feeling of  a viewer when they enter an art gallery. A similar feeling I had wen I entered the rave. The flashing 3D animated screen becomes the artwork and the DJ turns into the guide who helps you achieve a better understanding of “who we are” and “what is our mission here.” The sounds of the underground music open up your mind and you are able to see yourself in a dynamic illusion of a designated space that it’s stimulated by the waves of sound and the imagery around you.

Unlike in a movie theatre were there is almost no talking among the crowd; in a rave everyone talks to each other. People you most likely do not know become very open and are willing to share their ideas with you and are excited to hear your thoughts. Everyone is on a higher state of mind, therefore they are aware of what is going on inside and outside the room. A feeling of empathy is felt all over the venue, you can feel people’s energy and relate to a movement that is so artistic that explores your mind like no one can.

In general I can conclude both the events as well as the readings compared in this research paper show media, art and innovation. Media will be the screens and technology used at the event. The animated graphics will fall into the art category and innovation will be the entire event, including the design and architecture of the venue with all the gigantic disco and light balls hanging from the ceiling, the DJ stage and the overall concept.

Restrooms at Stereo After-Hours

At the event I was able to come up with new ideas for my blog, felsite.net. I was getting ideas on how to come up with new subjects in order to entertain my audience and followers on different topics related to cinema, music, graphic design and web design. I also had new ideas on designs I was trying to work on for the website from different softwares like Audition, Flash, Illustrator and Photoshop; but somehow were incomplete within my thoughts. I got a better understanding of myself and were I am at this point in life, plus all the struggled I have had to fight in order to attend university and it has finally paid off. Without a doubt I was able to explore my hidden mind and had so many revelations I was snot expecting to see. I will definitely must say I had an spiritual experience and was able to expand my mind to higher level. Picture expanding your mind while watching an animated film and listening to sounds you have never heard before, surrounding by incredible energy from moving bodies and open minds.

The sound provided at the events was one of a kind. Imagine a great DJ, spinning Progressive European waves on vinyl that just goes into your brain and makes you think and creates a bubble of energy all over your body. At one point it seemed as if I could look into someone’s eyes and I knew what they were thinking. Sounds of thrilling massive hysteria triggered my emotions to higher advanced levels of consciousness.

Danny tenaglia

It was not a shocker to see ninety percent of the crowd on MDMA, which stands for methylene-dioxy-meth-amphetamine and it is a stimulant substance with some effects similar to hallucinogens. This substance triggers feelings of euphoria, energy, empathy, openness, mind expansion and well-being. It has been stated by many users as of one of the best mind expansion substances ever designed. The way it works when it is taking orally, after about an hour it raises and releases the serotonin twice as much on the human brain and it alters our senses and feelings, everything from touch, taste, vision, happiness, the way we think, our perspective of life and mind over matter is taking to a higher level. It is easy to determined at at rave who is and who is not on another level.

This event relates to expansion in the best possible way anyone can think of. I mean, let’s face it, one of the best ways to expand your mind, your thoughts, ideas, emotions, can take place by going to a rave. True, you do not have to take any substances to do so. Technically speaking as humans we are supposed to expand our minds to higher levels on our own, without the use of any psychedelics. At this event by getting involved with the graphics and the technology used, the viewer can get in touch with himself.

Great Vibe - Stereo After-hours
Great Vibe – Stereo After-hours

I can also compare the experience I had at Stereo with the clip we watched in class about “the acid test” and “light-shows,” just exactly what the hippies did in those clips back in the 1970’s is what is taking place now days with the rave culture; minus the acid of course. there seems to be a similar mentality, a bit more open I guess. People gathering together in order to experiment with mind altering substances in a safe environment. When I say safe, I mean the atmosphere; this one has to be comfortable and if you are using any substance that night, just be aware of the effects and the aftermath or any new possible revelations you may have.

I know modern raves do not have what old school raves used to offer. Old school raves provided an experience ten times better than this new mainstream innovated medium. Old school raves are very hard to find and are rare now days, but they offered a venue in a remote location surrounded most likely by nature, therefore the participants were able to connect in a deeper way with the world. This could be one argument that I would like to see and experiment in the future, since I believe expanding your ideas surrounded by an environment like nature could be exceptional and unforgettable. The organization of the venue was great, however there is some distraction and a bit of a disconnect, since there is security walking around making sure no one is taking pictures and they do search your wallet and pockets before getting in. Actions like these will never be the case if the event would have taking place near a beach or in the mountains instead of a club.

Written by Felipe Medina for the “Expanded Cinema” course at Concordia University in Montreal.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s