‘Sensation’-al European Dance Music Event to Debut in America This Year

Written by: Kristiina Yang

Dazzling European audiences for 12 years and running, Dutch entertainment group ID&T announced on May 31 that it would finally be bringing its popular dance music event ‘Sensation White’ to the United States in October 2012.

The event, which will be called Sensation America, is slated to make its debut in Brooklyn, New York at the city’s brand new Barclays Center, a sports arena that will open just one month before Sensation arrives. Due to anticipated high demand, the event will take place on two back-to-back dates, Oct. 26 and 27.

What makes this event particularly unique is that all of its attendees are asked to wear all white clothing, creating a sense of unity amongst the crowd. Sensation has marketed itself upon the slogan, “Be Part of the Night- Dress in White!” and has consistently sold out its tickets with each event hosting approximately 40,000 to 45,000 attendees, with a similar number expected to be seen donning white outfits at Sensation America.

Sensation Amsterdam

Sensation America is expected to draw a massive crowd all dressed in white, just like this past Sensation Amsterdam '11. (Photo: Sensation.com)

Sensation is one of the foremost electronic music events, beginning in Amsterdam in 2000 and spreading across major European cities and for the first time this year to locations around the world in the United States, South America and Asia. Less known about the event is that Sensation contributes a small portion of its ticket sales to its exclusive charity, dance4life, a worldwide youth empowerment organization.

What has made Sensation so popular and successful is the high production value of the event and the organizer’s ability to recruit talented and upcoming electronic music artists. Sensation has always occurred in indoor spaces with ID&T carefully crafting a unique atmosphere with its enticing decor, lighting design and spatial layouts, greatly contributing to the audiences’ experience at the event.

Further, the spread of Sensation from Europe to America follows the rising popularity of electronic dance music, with greater presence of this type of music on radio airwaves and at various festivals around the world. While in the past, these artists were limited to smaller venues and nightclubs, massive events, such as Sensation, demonstrate their new prominence in today’s popular culture. The artists for Sensation America have not been announced yet, but are sure to be those well-known in the electronic music world.

Some are skeptical, however, about the success of Sensation in catering to American crowds, with thoughts on the event being shared on numerous electronic music websites and blogs upon its announcement. Such skeptics feel that electronic music itself is more appreciated in Europe than in the US and that people may attend the event without having the sense of camaraderie that exists amongst fans of any type of music, rather attending for Sensation’s showiness.

Regardless, October’s Sensation America will prove to be a unique, groundbreaking event bringing a cornerstone of contemporary electronic music to the United States.  For those ages 21 and up, ticket sales begin on Friday, June 8, 2012 on Sensation’s website, where further information can also be found.

Rise Above Famous Street Artist Shepard Fairey Doin Dallas

By: Allison Hibbs

For the first time in 10 years, Shepard Fairey is in Dallas! Invited by the non-profit art forum, Dallas Contemporary, as part of their Citywide Street Project, he is leaving his signature mark on buildings around the city. A graphic artist and old-school skateboarder, Fairey is probably best known in the mainstream for his 2008 poster depicting a stylized version of then-presidential candidate, Barack Obama, along with the single word: Hope.

Among those familiar with the street art movement, however, Fairey – with his Andre the Giant logo featuring the word ‘Obey’ – has long been iconic of the pioneering work that he and others have done to legitimize the subculture as an accepted, if often politically subversive and irreverent, art form. Along with Basquiat in the 80s and later artists such as world-famous anonymous prankster, Bansky, street artists like Fairey have elevated graffiti into a meaningful form of expression, rebellion and catharsis in the United States, across Europe and in Australia.

Movies such as “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” a documentary made by the elusive Banksy and featuring work by Fairey, chronicle the progression, techniques and motivations behind this growing movement. (Although many consider the film to be another one of Bansky’s pranks, Fairey and the film’s central character, Thierry Guetta, deny all such accusations.)  Put simply, the goal of these artists is two-fold: to make use of and beautify unused, often unsightly, urban spaces, and to make people stop and think as they go about the usual business of their days. Many dedicated street artists work uncompromisingly (and often under the cover of night) to realize these goals. Of course, they also seem to have a good deal of fun in the process.

In the wake of chaos caused by Wall Street in 2007, Banksy pieces started showing up around New York City depicting his iconic rat (an anagram for ‘art’), which showed the artist’s obvious distain for the moral bankruptcy of those who were the architects of the financial disaster.

Obama poster notwithstanding, much of Fairey’s work tends to be less overtly political – necessitating individual thought and introspection – although several are obvious admonishments against war and global warming. Lately, he has even come out in support of the nationwide movement known as Occupy with an image of Guy Fawkes that plays off of his ’08 Hope poster. What, according to Fairey, began as a fun project to entertain college friends has evolved into an art form aimed at shaking people out of their passive acceptance of societal norms.

Working with the local street art collective, Sour Grapes, Fairey had completed four murals as of Feb. 3 in two locations in West Dallas. Dallas Contemporary has indicated that he will do at least eight more before he leaves, at least one of which is to be located in the area known as Deep Ellum. Three of the murals are located at 331 and 340 Singleton Blvd., near I-30 and I-35E in West Dallas. Another adorns the side of Dallas Contemporary, at 161 Glass Street, where Fairey has also been invited to guest DJ at a sold-out  “neon-inspired dance party” on the night of Saturday, Feb. 4. If these murals have a theme, he told the Dallas Observer, “It’s peace and harmony.” The woman in two of the murals, he says, is his wife.

A bus tour been organized for Saturday, Feb. 11, which is to include stops at the murals and a studio visit with Sour Grapes, as well as visits to exhibits at Dallas Contemporary featuring Rob Pruitt, David Jablonowski and Failure. Tickets are limited and can be purchased online.

Enjoy New Year’s Eve in Times Square without Standing for Hours

Written by: Tamar Auber

1 Times Square on New Year's Eve showing 2012 sign

1 Times Square on New Year's Eve morning before crowds arrive

Every New Year’s Eve, over a million revelers gather into Times Square to watch the iconic ball drop. Wish you could be one of the packed masses counting down in the crossroads of the world next year? If long waits, fickle weather and massive throngs are not your cup of tea, you can still join in the festivities of one of the biggest New Year’s parties on the planet in 2013.

For New Year’s 2012, the audience holding pens opened up at 3 pm EST, meaning the persons closest to the action waited nearly nine hours, without access to a bathroom, to watch the ball take its plunge. Yet savvy New Yorker’s gathered much earlier, noon on December 30th, to be exact, to watch the crystal ball make its practice run. While it lacked the atmosphere of New Year’s Eve, the practice run drop is still quite an impressive site and required none of the unpleasant waiting or holding pens that greet the intrepid  million on New Year’s Eve.

In fact, ball crazy tourists, have a number of ways to see the New Year’s ball. The Times Square Visitor Center offers an exhibit featuring the history of Times Square New Year’s and a replica ball, allowing a close-up viewing. The Walgreen’s at 1 Times Square where the ball makes its descent also offers a picture with the Times Square ball in the days around New Year’s.

Another way to experience Times Square is to come early, the morning of New Year’s Eve, to mill about the crowds and explore the bright lights and New Year’s displays readied for the evenings festivities. This year’s early birds were treated to product samples, hats and a good view of the 2012 sign atop 1 Times Square. An alternative is to show up on New Year’s Day, when the year sign will be aglow and most revelers will still be in bed after their long night.

Finally, if you have your heart set on being in Times Square when the clock strikes midnight, consider forking out the cash for a restaurant seat. While pricy, restaurants offer a chance to bypass the crowds, relax in the hours before the big event. Then just as midnight is about to strike, you can step out into the electric atmosphere of Times Square to watch the show and confetti drop.

Whether or not you brave the weather and the holding pens to see the ball drop live  or celebrate New Year’s  in Times Square in your own way, the excitement of  Times Square at New Year’s is a bucket list experience not to be missed.