Thursday, June 28, 2012

ripley & Thanu at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit!

  Thanu and I are...Detroit Bound: Allied Media Conference

This weekend, we’re in Detroit for the Allied Media Conference, a networking conference for youth organizations, anti-violence organizers, technologists, educators, media reform advocates, alternative economists, musicians, DJs, artists, and others who come together to develop new ideas and expand upon the relationships between media and justice, and explore community approaches to social change. 

There’s been a slew of discussions bubbling up online and off that involve politics, music and nightlife. It’s funny to us that these discussions often start with the assumption that politics and nightlife are different, because we have never experienced those worlds as separate, and neither do most of the communities we care about and live with. So we decided to start here from the assumption that there are already politics on the dancefloor and the questions is – how do we deal with it?

We wanted to share and start conversations around work that is meaningful to us as deejays, event planners, and organizers by discussing the relationship between activism and music– and how to explore dancefloors as sites of and for activism. What are the possibilities of challenging dominant social orders through the creation of dance space? How are certain spaces (gay ballrooms, queer dance parties, Jamaican street dances, for example) sites of resistance and how are they simultaneously valued, idealized & misused by those inside of those subcultures?  
If you’re around the AMC the next few days, stop by our session on Friday at 4pm.
Here’s a short blurb (for a more thorough descript click here): 

Radical Organizing from the Dancefloor
"You’re an activist? But you party so much!" Political activism and dancefloors – the languages don’t always overlap, neither do the people – but nightlife is key to survival and sanity for many marginalized communities. We will come up with tools to discuss nightlife with activists, the impact that cultural spaces can have, and how to embody activism on the dancefloor. Come share your favorite stories of political pleasure, failure or success on the dancefloor, and we will strategize responses to them, and other scenarios we have encountered as DJs and event planners. Location: Hilberry A (Student Center)
PRESENTERS: Larisa Mann, Surya Dub; Thanu Yakupitiyage, iBomba, Dutty Artz | #AMC2012 #raddances

You can check out all conference workshops in the program here.

We’ll keep you up to date from AMC, so stay tuned for more and follow us on Twitter: @ty_ushka and @laripley

Friday, June 08, 2012


I'm writing this in Gothenburg, Sweden. Very much enjoying the summer-in-Northern-Europe phenomenon of sunset at 11:30 pm. And tonight I'm djing with mi compa Filastine, on the first night of the Clandestino festival on their 10-year anniversary! Here's the poster you can see all over town.

I will also be giving a talk tomorrow: "Exile, resistance, occupation, music" which I am very excited about, because it's the first time I am being invited specifically to draw together the musical, political-organizing, and scholarly parts of my life. I don't live those things as separate, I see them as all the same work, but when I am asked to speak publicly it's usually only about one or two of those things in combination. But Clandestino is badass, here's the self-description:

"The festival reaches beyond multiculturalism and takes up struggle against the current variations of racism. This exists in the center of migration and diversity, and  against prevailing images of cultural difference. The project in its entirety inspires thinking about difference between groups of people radically, beyond exoticism, victimization and the demonisation of representations.
Through a genre-bending electronic intifada, posing of known and future legends, underground university talks and tantalizing imagery, Clandestino Festival has provided the possibility of another sort of heart beat."

Another sort of heart beat - this is a parallel description of my own work, if you scroll down to the bottom of this very page. Or here, saving you the trouble:

"I mix music to highlight difference rather than seamlessness. Cracking open assumptions about what people relate to – pulling out familiar songs and sounds from people’s childhood or community, and layering them with foreign, distant sounds in ways that make the familiar strange and the strange familiar. Music exists because it crosses borders, literally and figuratively. Physical borders: eardrums, walls, and legal borders: nations, zones. The best musical experiences often occur outside legal frameworks of ownership and licenses (breaking zoning laws, squatted buildings, pirate radio, hinterlands, borderlands). Although I am not always in official control of the venues in which I perform, I put myself and the audience in undeniable literal control of the space, to the point of creating a kind of solidarity of pleasure across social boundaries. My main goal is challenge the assumption that difference breeds division and distrust – instead, difference, rupture, foreign-ness is a site of conscious, open-eyed and physical pleasure."

So, you know, it's family here.
And Saturday, Filastine and Nova and I will play in Copenhagen, at Global. Come out come out?

Sadly, I couldn't line up any gigs in the Berlin area, but I do have a 3-hour layover in the clinging-to-life Tegel airport, I should be there between 9 am and 12pm if you want to meet me for breakfast, I'm rallying some troops. If anyone brings me Kurbiskernbrötchen with cheese on top  I will be about as happy as you've ever seen me.