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Now that ravers have grown up and their music has gotten on the radar, the scene appears to have splintered. Parties that used to be held in abandoned buildings or graffiti'd industrial warehouses are now situated in licensed, commercial venues where drugged-out seventeen-year-old techno fans must mingle with the well-heeled. The demographic and vibe of these above-ground parties is often nothing like the underground rave utopias of the mid-to-late '90s that Le and Michelle remember.
On the night DJ Talla performs at 1015, the club seems conspicuously meat-market-ish and largely reflects a Top 40 sensibility that Le says he reviles. People floss their midriffs and bling jewelry; the women try to look sexy while the guys front like ballers or mack daddies. The trance devotees are relegated to a small pocket in the basement, where attendance is sparse throughout the night. Meanwhile, most patrons gather upstairs on the ground level, where they are treated to a numbing hip-hop and reggaetón soundtrack that could have been ripped directly from Wild 94.9.
A little past 1 a.m., when DJ Talla is just picking up steam, a fight breaks out in the back of the room. The DJ tries to ignore it, even after a small army of security guards is dispatched to tear the guys off each other. Though he manages to look pretty oblivious, Talla isn't able to stave off a creepy feeling that's beginning to percolate through the room. Some of Javier's cohorts see the melee and are more transfixed by it than by the trance DJ himself. Pablo turns to the girl next to him and whispers, "Hey, if anyone messes with you, tell me. I'll kick their ass."
She grins and elbows him in response: "I'm feeling myself," she says. "Are you feeling yourself, too?"
"Yeah," he says, quoting Mac Dre, hip-hop's most famous Ecstasy enthusiast. "I'm in the building."
Meanwhile, DJ Talla's fans tiptoe toward the stage, perhaps thinking that by huddling close together they'll seal themselves off from the outside world.
A few weeks later, a 29-year-old man will be shot to death at the very same club.
Twelve hours after leaving "Jeans and High Heels," Brittany was still thizzin', but no longer wanted to be. She sat at home smoking blunts and watching TV, letting the hours vaporize. "I just wanna know if this is actually crack or something," she said.
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