Nocturnal Wonderland

highlights and review by Brett Barbaro


Four Areas:

Raymond Roker

Barry Weaver
Simply Jeff

Ron D. Core
Oscar Da Grouch

Sean Perry
Mike Messex
White Folks





First of all, it was a bitch getting tickets for this event - I heard that people were coming from hundreds of miles away to get them. They certainly sold a lot - but even so, the crowd was dwarfed by the size of the venue. It was at the Orange Show Convention Center in San Bernadino, which sports, among other things, a huge geodesic dome. Unfortunately, the dome was the home of Ron D. Core and his hardcore posse for most of the evening.

The theme of the party was Alice in Wonderland - and they put it out. To begin with, the entry was dwarfed by a huge inflatable rabbit with an insane grin - a great way to start out. There were projectors everywhere running tape loops of different parts of the animated film - I guess they took one film and chopped it up real good. These were projected on walls, buildings, and spheres hanging from the ceiling. There were also copious lasers, lights and smoke machines. The strobes in the dome room flashed brilliantly against the curved ceiling. There was also a concourse with vendors and carnival-type exhibits, including an inflated jump-a-round castle. The main room was so big that they partitioned off nearly a third of it, but they nevertheless were able to put out good sound. There was a mix of sounds there - some good, some not so. There were moments of rapture in the dome room, after Ron left, and the main room was always hopping. One of the areas was playing like funkadelic stuff and disco. At about 6AM they started playing Marvin Gaye. It was funny watching how quickly people started to leave. I didn't spend much time in the jungle zone. Lots of glitz and ravey people. All in all a pretty dope gig.

But the highlight of the event was a group called Rabbit in the Moon - two guys, actually - one doing live techno in the back of the stage (you could hardly see him, but you could certainly hear what he was thinking) and a dancer. When I entered the room, the dancer was swinging a 3-foot-diameter flourescent ball and chain above his head. He was thrashing about wildly, and the music was great. After a while he disappeared, only to emerge again in one of the most outrageous suits I've ever seen - he was completely covered in rainbow-colored glow sticks. The thin, pliable kind that you make bracelets out of. He looked like an alien straw man. Then he took huge handfuls of the sticks out of a box and splayed them out over the crowd like a fountain. Great effect. The finale for this number was a stage dive into the crowd, where the sticks were torn from his body by the happily thrashing crowd.

He returned with a flamethrower which he waved dangerously close to the front row. This part of the show reminded me a bit of that group that makes those nasty machines over in the Netherlands. This freak was waving the flames lower and lower over the heads of the people in the front row. They must have been feeling the heat big time. And he looked really insane - eyes wide, yelling, dreadlocked blonde hair sticking straight up on his head. A real madman.

I hadn't seen anything yet.

At this point, my story takes a turn from the exotic to the surreal. First, however, let me note that the dancer and the musician were completely in synch, and the dancer was very in tune with the crowd; the music reflected what was happening in the room, and vice versa, through the dancer. For this one moment in time, that room and everything in it was a single organism, pulsing and throbbing, and the dancer was the medulla oblongata.

The stage went dark, and fog rolled out from the back. Then the silhouette of the dancer appeared, holding an object in his hand. A mask. A featureless steel mask. He held it away from his body like it contained some terrible power, then slowly waved it over the audience, raised it over his head, and put it on. It had no holes in it for eyes or mouth. It was meant only to protect his face. As the music stirred and swelled, he raised another object over his head. A grinder. An electric fucking grinder. The tension in the room was unbelievable. Then, on the downbeat, he dropped the grinder onto his face. A corona of red-white sparks flew from his head like a pinwheel, and lasers shot out from behind him. It was nuts. Everyone went nuts. The music went nuts. I didn't know what to think. I could hardly think at all. My mind had been blown.

It got better.

He took off the mask after pounding on his head with the grinder for about two minutes, and started grabbing at the hands of the people in the front row. An audience member was pulled onstage. He was a large raver, and competely intoxicated by the scene and god knows what else. He turned to the crowd and raised his arms, triumphant - our representative. We all cheered him on Ecstatically. Then, at a whisper from the dancer, he fell to his knees, arms still raised. The mask was raised and put in place. And on the downbeat of an even more dramatic musical swell, an impossible, insane moment in time, the grinder fell on his face. All of our faces. It was a moment of almost terrifying beauty, both of them bathed in red light and fog, with sparks and lasers flying everywhere in an aesthetically pleasing and enigmatic tableau of modern life. Like my friend said - I'm not sure what they're saying, but it's DEEP.

They could only keep this up for so long. The orgasm completed, the climax past, the mask was removed and our champion brought to his feet. He turned to the dancer and embraced him. And he didn't let go. I expected him to let go, but he didn't. The two men held each other in a long embrace, and the crowd just sat and watched. There was a moment of silence as we all tried to understand - what was going on? Is this OK? Can these two people really be doing this in front of a room of strangers? And as we watched the two men, connected by some magical bond, the answer came out - YES. YES!! The silence broke, and the crowd flew into one of the most ecstatic states I've ever seen. Everyone was yelling and screaming their heads off. The tone of the room was one of total abandon. YES!!!! This is good. This is what it's all about. WE LOVE YOU!!! WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH! THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING! And the music went on. The two broke their embrace, nodded once to each other, turned, and dove off the stage hand in hand.

There was a ritual performed in the ancient Mayan civilization, where the head of the greatest hero would be chopped off before the entire city and hurled from the temple over the heads as they cheered wildly. The warrior's last vision would be of flying over the city like an angel or a bird, as thousands of adoring eyes looked up at him. The last thing he heard was them chanting his name.

Rabbit in the Moon!

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Updated 22 October 1996
Steve Hoey, Chief Safety Inspector