This mightn't be the best time to post about an article I've written about the massacre that took place at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando earlier this summer. It's already been a monumentally tough week, hasn't it? But the article was published by Dancecult earlier today and I can't not mention it.
I spent half of my summer holiday preparing for book launch events and the other half writing this article, sneaking in an hour or two at the beach when I reached my limit. By the end of the holiday I was shattered. What can I say? There was no way I could step back from the book events and I felt as though "Life and Death on the Pulse Dance Floor" needed to be written.
The article questions some widely accepted assumptions about the massacre, highlights the importance of focusing on the specificity of the Latinx queer dancers who were murdered, and argues that the response to the massacre suggests a wider need to recognise the contribution of the queer Latinx community, including in writing about dance music culture.
The Loft gets several mentions, as does the Paradise Garage, because both attracted a significant number of queer Latinx dancers. In DJing terms I draw out the contribution of figures such as David Rodriguez and Richie Rivera. The music spans Babe Ruth’s “The Mexican”, Barrabas’s “Wild Safari” / “Woman”, Joe Bataan’s “Latin Strut”, Chakachas’s “Jungle Fever”, Chicago Transit Authority’s “I’m a Man”, Gil Scott Heron’s “The Bottle”, WAR’s “City, Country, City”, Patti Jo’s “Make Me Believe In You”, Vicki Sue Robinson's “Turn the Beat Around”, Karen Young's “Hot Shot” the Walter Gibbons mix of Salsoul Orchestra’s “Salsoul 3001”, the Richie Rivera mix of Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell”--and that's just to mention music released during the 1970s.
The register of the writing is a little more formal than the writing in my books but my hope is that it makes its points clearly. Many thanks in particular to Graham St John, the ever-dedicated editor at Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture for supporting the effort.