Craft

Rose Marshak and Rick Valentin with their clothes dryer-begat magnum opus.

Pantagraph file photo

There'll be dancing in the streets Saturday in Normal.

With the mute button punched.

Welcome to the, shhh!, quiet world of silent discos, silent raves and silent dance parties.

As part of the Make Music Normal event previewed above in today's GO! section, a brand new component has been added to the always note-worthy festivities.

For the anti-amperage crowd, it might be considered a godsend.

For others, it promises to offer a rare and literally heady spectacle, for both the dancers and those observing them.

Dubbed the Uptown Lounge, the tented stage area is one of the festival's designated performance sites ... in this case a daylong (noon-10 p.m.) silent party, curated by B-N's FatFunk Production and packing around 14 DJs, who'll be spinning away non-stop for 10 hours straight (among them, Chicago club stars Troy Dillard and T Mixwell, the party's headliners).

Although silent discos/raves/dance parties are relatively common spectacles in metropolitan areas, they are relatively rare around here, but not entirely unknown.

As Make Music Normal spokesman Adam Fox notes in the story above, a similar event was a hit on the ISU quad recently.

This will be the first time the phenomenon has gone mainstream locally in such a public forum, agrees Chris Thompson, co-owner of FatFunk, a company that specializes in DJ services and and assorted other audio-visual creativity.

"This has all become popular within the last 3 to 4 years with the advance in Bluetooth technology," notes Thompson.

For the uninitiated, he says, there will be a demo booth near the stage showing how the event works for those wanting to participate.

If you do, you'll grab one of around 100 special wireless headphones rented for the occasion and featuring two channels, each of which can access the music of two DJs working simultaneously.

The music is for the dancers' ears only, notes Thompson, with spectators privy to their moves and nothing else.

"There will be two DJs working at any given time ... basically a continuous performance with little down time, maybe 10 to 30 seconds as they change tables from one mixer to another."

The DJs will be able to observe which channel has been selected by the dancers via color-coded lights that are activated, triggering what might be considered a "friendly rivalry" among the DJs ... as in, who has scored the most lit channels on the dance floor.

"It's a friendly competition in all respects," says Thompson. "The DJ community here is very open and gets along fine ... there is not a lot of stepping on toes."

At the end of the day, he adds, it's all about how the dancers are responding to the beats and maximizing their engagement with the music.

Speaking of maximizing: the beats will go on, sans headphones, as the FatFunk crew migrates to an officially sanctioned Make Music Normal After Party from 11 p.m. to close at downtown Bloomington's Jazz UpFront. 

Season of lint: If you were thinking the names Rick Valentin and Rose Marshack sounded vaguely familiar to you, outside their rock world renown as two of the Poster Children (see story above), consider this.

Around three years ago, the Bloomington couple was profiled right here in The Pantagraph for something far afield of the music for which the are known.

The occasion: a Sunday Life section feature story on their latest work of art, created from ... clothes dryer lint.

The result was 26 feet of canvas adorned with geometric patches of clothes dryer lint ... in fact, every last mote of lint collected in the family's clothes dryer from Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2013.

Bagged, tagged and dated after each laundry load. And, eventually, transformed into a work of art that lived and breathed as what they called an organic “data visualization."

The piece, “A Year of Dryer Lint — Normal Family of Four,” was on display that year in ISU's University Galleries as part of the Faculty Biennial exhibit.

"People who saw the lint piece (during the ISU exhibit) really liked it, and one of the reasons for that," said Valentin, "is because it resonates on more than just a conceptual data level. There's also that family connection, as well as the one to an everyday mundane task we all do ... a link to a shared experience."

Craft is Pantagraph arts and entertainment editor. He can be reach at 309-820-3259 or via email at dcraft@pantagraph.com.

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