Garage hopping with ravers of Athens
“Why the f**k am I up right now?” I thought to myself as I forced my freezing ass to wake up at 6 a.m. Oct. 1. Honestly, I was curious. A morning rave? Will there be drugs and hippies? I first heard about Athenian Vision when school started. I was told it was a media collective that met at the graffiti wall by Siegfried once a week. A media collective? Whatever that means. So I went to these meetings and saw some students with bare feet and dreads, fire spinners and kids who poi (a performance art where the individual swings a tethered rope in rhythmic and geometric patterns) along with people writing and drawing in their journals. I was still completely puzzled, what is Athenian Vision? It was then clarified: a group of people brought together by Cas Galiszewski, a senior sculpture major, who wanted to organize them into a, “cohesive collaborative force with the intent of spreading a more balanced and sustainable culture from Athens outward through large scale music, art and cultural experiences.” I was impressed with the ambition, yet unsure about what it would actually become.
When I heard that Athenian Vision was having an event called the Early Bird Rave that went from 6 to 10 a.m., I decided to skip my usual wake-up-at-ten-maybe schedule and head to the roof of the parking garage next to Chase Bank on Washington St. where it was held. The fog was heavy and air was crisp with changing leaves. The first day of a new month, a good day to start something new, I thought to myself. I walked by on my way to the dorm to grab my camera, hearing the faint sounds of Papadosio and seeing a cop car pull into the garage. I swear to God if this gets shut down before I even get to see this thing go down I will be seriously angry. When I finally got back to the garage, I couldn’t hear the music anymore, but I kept on my way to the rave. In the dingy, concrete, fluorescent-lit parking lot I saw a middle-aged woman walking to her car and I had to laugh at the idea that as this normal lady is on her way to another day of work there is a possibility that there is a 100 EDM ravers rolling on some-sort-of-something right above her. Amusing mental images aside, I really had no idea what to expect. The six flights of stairs to the top smelled like piss.
I opened the door, still irritated by the early morning hours. At least my curiosity was soon to be answered. I must say I was pleasantly surprised–the skyline was breathtaking. Church steeples rested against the sky that was masked in a haze of soft grays, pinks and purples. There was a small gathering of 20-30 people doing things completely unexpected. There was a massage table, henna, Tarot cards, art being sold and a genuinely happy spirit dancing atop the roof.
It wasn’t just all dreadlocked hippies, either. Shoes are always a pretty good indicator of the type of person someone is. Let me break down the shoe scene: no shoes, tennis shoes, Keds, combat boots, the cookie-monster-on-acid-in-a-good-way boots, moccasins and Vans. I saw familiar faces from classes, Student Senate meetings and Siegfried Hall.
I spotted Galiszewski, wearing a beige waffle sweater and basketball shorts, standing in front of the disc jockey table watching over the event with satisfaction resting in his eyes. My first question was “so what about the cops?” According to Cas, they had obtained a permit that allowed them to be up there. The only rule: keep the music down until 7 a.m. They followed the rule, and waited to turn up the EDM. At 8 a.m. the cops came again with complaints from Cantoner Hall and the RTV building. This still didn’t stop them.
The next question tearing at me, “where did the idea for a morning rave come from?” Galiszewski said that he read an article about a company based out of London called Morning Glory Experiences. According to their website the concept is described as “conscious clubbing at its very best,” and it is a way to start your morning right with dancing and good vibes. I could see the similarities in Athenian Vision’s morning rave.
It started at 6 a.m. when 20 people were doing yoga, then the drum circle came and was accompanied by group chanting, at 8 a.m. the music started and so did the dancing. From what I saw it was less of a dance party and more of a festival. It included massages by Castle Frame, Caleb’s Coffee, young artists selling their work and couple more artists actually making it.
I have to applaud Galiszewski for the perseverance. The idea for Athenian Vision burst forth last spring, but not the time or effort. Things started turning around as this new school year started.
“This fall there was just more and more people that I would run into that explosively wanted to start something and they had been thinking about starting something themselves, but just hadn’t yet.” In his eyes the morning rave was a success.
But Galiszewski was not the only one that felt pleased with the results. In the Athenian Vision event critique posted on Facebook, Nigel Wilson, a senior studying math education and the Ecohouse garden caretaker at Ohio University’s Office of Sustainability, said the event was a positive experience and that he enjoyed the variety of things to do.
Josh Lewis, a DJ at the event, commented that the music was “on point,” the attendance was diverse and the location was great.
The only problem was publicity. Galiszewski said it was mainly publicized via word of mouth and Facebook. Wilson wrote on the Google Doc event critique, “I have talked to several people already who intended to go but forgot. I think it will continue to improve as a monthly-ish event as it builds a reputation, so EVERYONE TALK ABOUT IT,” said Wilson.
Galiszewski is confident about growth. Judging by the diversity of the crowd and the amount of young people who actually forced themselves out of bed before sunrise, I would have to agree.
“We have the people now, we have the core group that is going to come out and it’s just going to grow.”
And grow it should. We now have a collective of individuals on campus who get together and share in their creativity in art, music and dance. Not to mention the type of people who do things like produce their own coffee, give therapeutic massage, focus in environmental sustainability. During the event I heard the sharing of ideas and excited expressions like, “expand your creative mind.” I think Athenian Vision is a beautiful thing to have on campus because there is now a group of bright-eyed young people whose collective goal is to create a more balanced, conscious lifestyle and creative process. Galiszewski is now collecting the resources so people can be pushed to their full potential. With a mindset like this, Athenian Vision is bound to get bigger. These kids are working on making Athenian Vision something worthwhile. I see them every Sunday getting together at Siegfried, they are constantly buzzing on Facebook about collecting materials, getting venues, and critiquing events. There seems to be a lot of steam on this train and it looks like they just might pull out of the station.
I asked Galiszewski where he saw this project going in the next year.
“Within the next year, keep the focus on these large scale events that can’t be done by individuals and that can’t even be conceived by individuals. It’s a group process of both thinking about it and coming up with the concepts for these things.”
You can join in and experience this by liking Athenian Vision on Facebook and by making it out to their next morning rave on November 5th.