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Saturday 10 October 2009

Gay parties 101: Full production?

Posted in: Events
By Karl Moser - 1st October 2009

Experienced gay DJ Karl Moser is glad to hear there's plenty of LGBT events announced for 2010 - but hopes there'll be a commitment to decent production values. Here's his open letter to future party promoters.



Note to event planners in the future of New Zealand's LGBT community: Shoving some DJs in a corner, lit by some moving lights, with a laser centrepiece does not qualify as 'full production'!

After all these years of working in the industry I'm not actually sure what the term "full production" actually means, maybe it's a marketing term... but I haven't seen outstanding production at a dance party in a long while now.

I'm hoping there will be a return and commitment to decent production values as we head into 2010. There is more than enough expertise in our communities, and it comes down to forward planning and inclusion of the people that know how to do proper production, not money so much, although a realistic budget is a necessity.

Shows that have narrative take a long time to structure and produce. I in the past have spent 30, 40, even 50 hours in the recording studio producing special versions of tracks for shows, because if I'm gonna spend 50, 60, 70 or even 80 dollars for a ticket, I don't want to see someone badly lipsynching a radio edit as purchased at the warehouse, or downloaded, with no narrative, no lighting design, and no thought as to the party as a whole entity, and how the show fits into it.

Proper lighting design takes time. It doesn't happen on the day or the day before. And the guy from the company that you hired the lights from may or may not be a designer. Probably not. Most of the show lighting I have seen in the last few years could best be described as 'functional'. And I'm being nice there.

Each DJ has a different style, and as such they should be chosen and programmed with a great deal of thought given to flow, and again narrative. It's one of the most important decisions of the production really... just because they have great abs doesn't mean they are a great DJ, or the right one for the particular gig.

All of this stuff is 101 for queer parties. And well achievable in Auckland. But it involves bringing on board specialists in their respective fields and empowering them to do what they do best, and giving them enough time and budget to do it. Then resist the temptation to micro manage... there is a reason they are specialist at what they do and you aren't (sorry that is a personal hate of mine!).

I hear a lot of people are disillusioned with dance parties in general, and from where I stand promoters have done this to themselves. If there is nothing at a dance party to differentiate it from a Friday or Saturday at Family then why would anyone want to pay hard earned money to go. Answer: Provide something tangibly different and better. Break some new ground. Experiment. Invent. Provide actual value for money.

We in New Zealand have a distant history of invention and innovation with our dance parties, one that has mostly been lost. And the dance and queer scenes in my opinion are way worse off for that.

Karl Moser - 1st October 2009

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