In the new film “Rise”, DJ Tommie Sunshine, clad in a Misfits t-shirt, describes techno as “the free-form nature of jazz infused with a 4/4 drumbeat.” In fact, the popularity of techno as dance music has given rise to the rave scene, where young club kids dance, get high and make DJs into veritable rock stars. “Rise” is a documentary about the rave underground in New Orleans and profiles some of the participants in this mysterious, nocturnal world.
Among them is Amber, a former stripper and street person who now manages a hotel by day and prowls the rave parties by night. As well as Disco Donnie, a DJ on the scene who the youngsters have bestowed a sort of rockstar-like status upon — based on his flashy style of dress, flamboyant persona and killer way with turntables.
Also explored are some the sub-species of the scene. One of the hip, teenage geeks describes “candy ravers” who suck on pacifiers and sport such accessories as fairy wings, glitter, glow sticks and “furry animal” backpacks and espouse the acronym “P.L.U.R.” (peace, love, unity, respect).
The raves come across as just another freakish element of the French Quarter of New Orleans where debauchery, drag queens and Jesus Freaks co-exist already. “Rise” is a slick, yet often gritty, ride through the New Orleans techno underground.