The Kindness (and the cuddliness) of Strangers.

We left San Diego at 1:oo p.m. on Friday and arrived at our hotel in San Francisco at 11:59 p.m. After an eleven hour drive to the party it was about time to catch a break, which we were about to...

At 10:15 on Saturday, minutes after eating Thai food on Polk Street, we were still in our hotel room, but by 10:45 we were inside Regency hall, which was the venue for this years ETD LOVE. How could we possible go from hotel room to main room in less time than it takes to have a pizza delivered?

First off, our hotel room was only a mile away from the venue, thus a short cab ride away. Second, and more importantly, a group of young guys let us get in line in front of them to help out Ravers Digest in our never ending quest to produce even more rave coverage.

This saved us at least an hour of being in line, but seeing as it took us eleven hours to get from San Diego to San Francisco, it seemed fair for us to save some time somewhere.

So, here we are and right away I can tell that tonight is going to be epic. The crowd was friendly ad beautiful. The sound was loud and clear, if not perfect and possibly even a bit harsh in some spots. Each room was decorated to match the music that would be played there.

The main area was packed with lasers featured a colorful stage, a second level balcony, and a colorful crowd with some glowing accessories.

The downstairs room, where I heard Happy Hardcore and then mere moments later, Jungle, was described by some as “Bonkers! Bonkers! Bonkers!”

Upstairs, the House room was appropriately dark, with sudden and sporadic bursts of bright lights.

All the tunes and all the mixing that night was great, but what stood out the most was the set by D:FUSE, who mixed multiple sources while banging away on an electronic drum, infusing an improvised congo beat into the music. It was impressive technically, but more importantly, the execution was flawless, as you can see in the videos on For extra credit, the GoGo dancers were all scorching hot!

While I firmly believe that the best elements of a party are the most interactive, such as dancing or meeting someone new, watching the GoGo dancers move while the DJ played was a highlight for me. What made the setting so intimate was that the talent was only inches away.

While the party was almost perfect objectively, I still felt like something was missing until we met Jules, who was outrageously sexy yet unbelievably cute, all in one cuddly package.

We dance, we laughed, we played, we did the things children do and we did them for the same reason, that they were were good. A deep breath, a sudden urge and a return to the innocence of youth. A brief moment, thinly sliced out of such a long life, when nothing can be inappropriate because there are no secrets. They say that feelings are never wrong, but I wondered if that is true or if feelings are bent and formed to fit a certain shape that is more convenient, after all, how can so many different reactions all point in the same direction?

“Pick me up !!!”

Like a kid, I did, and I spun her through the air and nothing mattered, and that was the best I could possibly ever feel.

The moment had waited an eternity for us to choose it.

It was a perfect moment in a less than perfect year, the crowd in San Francisco was so friendly, so down to earth, and so on point. The music was great, I was surrounded by beautiful girls, even the GoGo dancers were nice !! (By the way, you did great, Whitney!!)

The SoCal scene is huge and powerful and can grow to massive proportions, but the downfall of the SoCal scene also stems from the amount of turnover. Many in the SF scene are long time veterans, so the culture there has had time to grow, and the principles of raving have been passed on from one generation to the next. Some values are critical to the identity of the rave scene, and a delicate balance must be maintained. The freedom to get crazy must be limited by respect for others. The inherent love of music and the joy of dancing are only fully realized when understanding and skill advance beyond the novice level. And while it is great to feel like the whole massive revolves around you and only you, and that everyone and everything is only there for your amusement, which on one hand is true, it is critical that everyone should always act as if the only reason for ever going to a party is to make it the best possible party for everyone else. To give a little back for once in your life. In some ways, raving is a sport, but you don't have to keep score or be concerned with your position. Here it is OK to fall behind and let the world pass you by, in a way, that is the point.