Friday, August 13, 2010

Free Radio Las Vegas benefit at Sunset Park 4/99

    The decision to sell my video camera reminded me I've got a huge box of old miniDV videos I shot which I haven't even watched yet.  
    I move from one project to the next without much regard for screening or presenting what I've got.  Cause I don't give a shit.  Because of that attitude I guess I lose track.   I'm making excuses for being scatterbrained but really there's no excuse for having so many unlabeled or mislabeled cassettes sitting around.  It's fucking stupid.  In any event expect some surprises in the next few video posts.  I know I've been surprised to see some of this stuff.

    Free Radio Las Vegas.  
    I'm not sure where to start when describing the triumph and tragedy of that loose concept and collective of people who tried unsuccessfully to apply for a Low Power FM licence legitimately through the FCC back in 1999.  

    There were so many times I thought we were close to making it happen but I have to come clean and admit I thought the idea was a bust from the beginning.  It seemed like an impossible feat and so for me it became less about accomplishing the radio station and more about having some sort of unifying reason to do things and get people together.  

    I figured in the end we'd at least make some noise and have some sort of amplification of community voices.   There was a tiny spark of hope that maybe the whole community of Las Vegas would come to understand the importance of our efforts and maybe the community would rise up in support to force the FCC to make it happen.  Well you gotta believe in something right?  It's easy to get caught up in the excitement when you know you are in the right.  Like maybe if you yell the loudest your point will become clear to those outside.  The scales always seem to be close to tipping but it's hard to see from our angle.  Or any angle I suppose.  

    At least we had some entertaining shows.  This was one of at least three benefits I remembered being a part of.  This one was hosted at beautiful Sunset Park on Eastern and Sunset.

    Some backstory is appropriate here.  Around 1998-99 the FCC got the idea that it might be beneficial to the communities across the US to allow certain groups to hold a license for Low Power FM radio.  This coincided with recent format changes at KUNV "community" radio station wherein all underground rock and independent music was taken off the airwaves in the Las Vegas valley.  It was like a bad spinoff of the movie Footloose.   

    At the time there was also the ever increasing phenomenon of pirate radio.  There was even a pirate radio convention in Las Vegas the previous year!  I think it was a fairly romantic notion that we could operate a pirate radio station but honestly with the gear we had you could only hear the signal for a few hundred feet.  You can see them setting up the anttena in the video footage with Civic Minded 5.   At our weekly meetings we would often bounce around deciding to either spend the money raised on more gear to perpetuate the pirate station or to try and chase down a legitimate license.  

   It was an emotional rollercoaster and it pisses me off because I knew from the beginning the chances were slim.  It's important to keep trying even in the face of the insurmountable.  Eventually the money we raised was used to start a non profit organization.  And so Free Radio Las Vegas later became the corny acronym Nevadans Organized To Better Address Diversity (NOTBAD)  Thankfully the voice found an outlet somewhere.  NOTBAD's work still continues today through the free weekly film series which happens almost every tuesday at the Clark County Library on Flamingo and Maryland.  In the end the most important aspect of what FRLV was about took shape in the programs NOTBAD still promotes to this day.  Diversity.  And you got diversity from this show as well.  At least musically speaking.  I mean the only black guy there was the guy from scumbag punk group Fang right?  Once again punk is over represented.  

   Years ago they were speculating that radio will soon be irrelevant.  I think the digital revolution will also be a bust.  Only analog gear gear will be reliable when the internet goes down in emergencies.  Aren't we thinking ahead?  Well it's hard to think ahead or think at all when we can watch any TV show ever produced at the push of a button right now.         

   So this vid features: Civic Minded Five, DrumSome, an acoustic set by an attractive activist lady connected with the Shundahai Network, Orale (featuring Checko Salgado), HP Lori, Faded Grey, The Nines, and a few other performers.  There's a band on here I couldn't identify.  I've posted them below.  I think they were a band from Arizona on tour or something.  If you can identify them get in touch.  I also can't identify the electronic band posted here either.

    It's not the greatest camerawork I've done but it does the job.  Some of the performances were cut short on the video including appearances by HPLori and David Figler.  I have no explanation for this.  I think I had just gotten this camera a few days before this show.  You will notice me messing with the bad camera effects for the more psychedelic moments of the benefit.  There are also some rousing speeches given by Susie from the Shundahai Network and strangely enough a speech from Chris the old bass player from Berekley's FANG who I've already mentioned.

   In the end no radio station materialized but we did get to make some noises.  Hopefully people will still be hearing those echos over time.  One would hope.  The compression youtube adds to videos is UGLY.  If you want to see a clearer picture download the files below.  These vids are unedited from my camera straight to the internet.

Download Free Radio Las Vegas clips below.

Download Mark prints FRLV
Download Civic Minded Five play FRLV
Download ORALE plays FRLV
Kris and Susie talk free radio 
HP Lori, Faded Grey, David Figler play FRLV
Drum Some play FRLV
The Nines play FRLV
Acoustic moment -FRLV
Unknown Band ???????


1 comment:

  1. The electronic band was Corrupt Data. Fun show in the park.