Today is the first full day of the always-amazing (or so I’m told, since it’s my first time, but holds true so far) Allied Media Conference in Detroit – in it’s 13th year. I’m here with an incredible crew from D.C., local DJs and folks from Radio CPR. The conference exists to “cultivate strategies for a more just and creative world. We come together to share tools and tactics for transforming our communities through media-based organizing.” And they do this in a way that’s different form most conferences I’ve been too – with a really solid grounding in their local community and context. In addition to workshops on media and organizing, there are tours of Detroit with various emphases like musical history or labor struggles.
For years my fellow compañeras from Anthology of Booty and other media types have been trying to get me to come, so I finally made it, along with like two dozen folks from our community. Ten of us are presenting tomorrow (Saturday) as an extension of a project we’ve been doing for the past year that we have dubbed “DJ Geekout.” We come together irregularly for food and drink in someone’s living room to share music we are passionate about, to share our relationship with it, its history, connections between musical genres and places/people, and so on. Here’s our workshop description (its at 2:10 on Saturday if you’re at #amc2011):
DJs bent, Junebullet, K La Rock, Mothershiester, Pinstriped Rebel, Precolumbian, Prism, rAt, Trash, & Zombie. Our Geekout Collective reps many DJ Projects: Anthology of Booty, First Ladies, Radio CPR, Girls Rock DC, She.Rex, and Maracuyeah.com, in DC and Philly.
This session will invite participants into a DJ collaboration/movement that exploded out of AMC2010, and has continued to grow, twist and turn with transformative power throughout the past year. About 20 of us, all D.C./Detroit/Philly underground DJs, have been doing living-room jams that include pecha kuchas, vinyl sharing, and storytelling. We are visioning & discovering together how we live the art of djing – as the power & responsibility to create, spark and sustain spaces, make community connections, and create change that there’s little language for. Here, we share our mini-movement in a matinee party with live DJ sets, geek video projections, pop-up video style captions, a DJ101 How-To corner, an interactive Twitter screen & other ways for you to jump in!
I am so psyched for this – folks will be touching on how D.C.’s go-go music takes pop hits and makes them “suitable for the streets,” electro-clash and the disembodied female voice, racial politics expressed through ‘80s RnB, and much more.
My part of the session will explore my personal experience of the evolution of “dembow” from Jamaica through Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and beyond. “No Me Uses” by 2 Sweet (from Playero 38) will be in the mix, and we’re hoping to upload somewhere some (or all?!) of the songs from this geeked-out presentation so everyone can enjoy.