In going through the archives for this new site, we across this write up from 2006, just 4 years into what is now a 20 year run. We muse on how relevant this write up from 16 years ago still is.
by Syd Gris
The new year hearkens one to take stock and look around, to evaluate what’s behind and what’s ahead, to assess and ponder. So it is. I started throwing parties as a passion and a purpose. There I was dancing the night away at many a Nikita and thinking about how to harness the incredible energy around me to do some good, to be of service, to mean more than just a great night out. That in and of itself was not enough, not for me. Never has been, still isn’t. The first idea was to throw a party that would benefit the group home I worked for, a home for severely emotionally disturbed (i.e. damaged) San Francisco pissed off teenagers…
(Read on below)
They were societies recipes for disaster, an amalgamation of what can go wrong in urban America. Drugs, sexual abuse, neglect, poverty, mental illness, racism, etc. It was our task to care for them and try to put them back together, and of course this noble calling was under funded cause our priorities never lie with the worst off of us, but in weapons and commerce and the like. I thought a benefit might do a small part, and it did.
Meanwhile I wanted to channel what I felt was the heart opening experience of a proper party to bring people together at a higher focused frequency than many were already feeling chemically back when people were still partying. I had the idea of doing a ceremony at a dance event, not knowing I was not the first to think of such an idea, just probably the most naive in trying to do my first one at a huge rave in Fresno. I even had a sign made, it read Syd Gris: Spiritual Pioneer. So presumptious it makes me laugh. I almost got booed off the stage but I held it together and tried to make it work. I never go down easy. Then I found the Radiance party and found a home for my silly ideals. After joining that team and really putting to work some fanciful notions it was time for a solo project, and thus Opel was born.
The idea was as it is now – using a platform of entertainment like a Trojan Horse of consciousness. To reach people in a subtle fashion (OK sometimes not so subtle) with a message of awakening, and peace, and of course love, and certainly hope while dancing our asses off surrounded by friendly freaks. It’s so easy to feel like the machine is too big for us to ever have an effect. But if we are resigned to that outlook, sorry but we are dead! We are the socially aware and educated economically advantaged Bay Area Gen X’ers (in more ways than one)…. If we don’t lead the charge to change our world who will? And so we built it, one party at a time, trying to make it quality and reach new people at the same time. Trying to establish relationships with all the right people and build the respect of the finicky underground without staying there in sonic mental masterbation. Must keep pushing forward. Take it to Burning Man and the desert. Take it to the streets of San Francisco and Love Parade. Diversify, grow, challenge ourselves and our audience. We simply don’t have the luxury of just throwing a good party – it’s not enough, not for me. Not when the world is burning.
How to keep reaching? Does any of it matter I ask myself at times? Am I just another fucking promoter throwing a good party and simply using a meassage as a marketing ploy instead of bimbos and hoochies? Does anybody care? In some ways I have no idea. But I can say this with a true heart – we are trying. No promoter anywhere is trying to do what we are trying. It’s not always pretty, it will never please everyone, but we are trying. Some people hate ceremonies, others think we’ve lost touch with our ‘intentional party’ roots, that it doesn’t feel the same as it used to. We are trying to balance the overall mission with not turning people off, very tricky indeed. We are trying to grow it and not just preach to the chior. I take a long term perspective on the enterprise, and believe me, we’re not done pushing. People love to hate, and to tear down others who are trying to create and DO. If they have something constructive to offer the mission, I am all ears, fire away! If you’re just hating, well fuck off. Not to be harsh, but I don’t have time to waste on haters. Give me some real juice, even if it tastes bitter and I will taste it all. Thank God I have a day job as a psychologist still giving direct service to the most needy families so I feel like I’m doing something good with more tangible results…
We are still losing the battle if you think about it, to keep the nation free and tolerant and out of the hands of butchers and mad men. To be moving collectively towards consciousness and the realizations the Sages of the ages have laid down for all us to hear and know. There is always more to do, and all we can do is to assert our skills and energy in the domains and in the communities before us. To do our duty and try not to be attached to the outcome – the central teaching of the Bhagavad Gita.
I feel like if I am to give full voice to my passions and potentials there has to be further means to reach more people than just a party.
There lies the future….