RTTS Blows the Roof (and Expectations) offfa NYC House!

A special report by Significance Invocation Technician Mark Kelsey on

Return To The Source

September 21, 1996 - Fall Equinox
Liberty Science Center, New Jersey

A single note,
an idea,
a smile,
a handshake,

These are (some of) the things that sparked man's consciousness in the dim smoky past of our human awakenings, and the origins of the dance/party/rave movement in England in the 1980's.

In England and elsewhere, techno has become hugely popular, almost mainstream, and people have moved on. Here in the States, the movement splintered way too quickly (it seems that some people who enjoy cliques and being ahead of everyone ­rather than part of them­ liked that). Some parts of the country are currently in the middle of a real underground movement (here in the Northeast, I think). While in other states, notably California, the tribe is kind of floundering, being driven first out into the desert and now persecuted there by the authorities.

Here in New York, it has been hampered by shady promoters and the strangling effect of house music driving other kinds of sounds and energies out. Return To The Source was brought to us by British people who clearly have fucking x-perience... It was a watershed that left a mark on the US scene.

What kind of mark? Write the date of Return To The Source in your calendar, it's the day they blew the roof offa da house....

Goa is a spiritual spark, part of the Indian continent's shore, a deliberate invocation of certain religious and spiritual ideas and powers which really worked for the mature (i.e.. post high school) people who really danced on the main floor. People who have a clue used that energy to the full. As I witnessed, the club kids just bounced off of the main floor after about 2.5 seconds and huddled in packs upstairs to glower and posture and smoke cigarettes at each other, which is fine. I want to emphasize that we are all part of the tribe. What fire circle warms you and provides for your needs on the particular trip you're on is up to you.

Using positive energies like this, being up front and clear about them, is a rather new concept at events. That should be explored by future events.

The video on the main (lowest floor) goa/European floor by Matthew Hupert's NeuroNautic Institute put the viewer right into goa land. It featured live and taped images using a video toaster and Panasonic video mixer, a lot of well edited Indian religious images. The lighting by Excel Lighting was really powerful, by a group who's done something like 200 events (including that one in the cave in upstate New York last month). Rick Ferrara and his lighting crew are great people. There was a problem with the overall light level, which was still too high, but that was dictated by the Liberty Science Center administration and maintenance people.

The four level space with huge central atrium allowed the many people who like to wander and see and be seen to go through many spaces and still feel connected to the overall vibe.

Some of the many other good things that haven't been commented on: The excellent and patient staff at the Liberty Science Center. It's really a wonderful space, and the staff I talked to were really psyched to try this for the very first time. It's quite a breakthrough and a credit to the RTTS organizers. I plan to send Liberty Science Center a thank you note -- and I fervently urge many other people do too if you want to come back to this space! Although I will mention that I think only Chris Dekker and the RttS people have what it takes to put on an event in that space. It certainly brought a lot of kids in to explore the science of their heads!

The huge black light images by the Japanese group as well as their animations mixed in the video with the NeuroNautic video also set the main dance floor atmosphere apart.

But the most important single thing, for me, was: NO SMOKING INSIDE! YEAH! What an incredible fucking relief! Again, the LSC staff handled the majority of children really well, because that's what they do during the day, too. Yeah, I think cigarette smoking is a curse by spirits of native Americans to poison and kill off all stupid white people who don't deserve to be on this wonderful land called turtle island. May I say that NO SMOKING and a real ventilation system was one of the main reasons it felt good and not toxic?

The European DJs and performers were so nice and giving.

The lack of shady promoters and typical city types in charge also helped.

The American DJs on the top floor (in the middle of this weird space with these car parts) were great. The lighting was also incredible.

The chill room was actually quite an amazing sound that could put you into another head space faster than any of the other music (which is saying quite a lot!).

The guy in the Elvis outfit who brought his 10 station brain machine to the chill room. He was there the whole night, let everyone try it, was patient and welcoming and just a great guy.

A few problems, as well, to bear in mind:

It was a late start, because of the problems getting people into the space and the thorough but heavy security (which is quite understandable, as this is New York).

Another problem was all the people tripping their brains out being thrown into the night of Jersey City at 5 AM and waiting a long time for busses. Once you got to the PATH trains it was another long, painful wait, too.

I am told that over 3,000 people were turned away because of occupancy at LSC. Wow.... Hope you come early next time!

CONCLUSION OF LABORATORY OBSERVATION: I think it's time to first of all realize that WE are all part of a vital, significant movement. We have a certain amount of spiritual and magickal core values we wish to grow and share. It is also a time to move forward, to bring in and welcome people over the ages of 13-21.

But, it was all good! Or, maybe it was all God(dess)!

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Updated 22 October 1996
Steve Hoey, Chief Safety Inspector