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Watch Digital Dance Nation, a long lost documentary about the Toronto rave scene

A student film on Toronto's rave scene and its place in the global community has finally turned up.

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- Jul 21, 2014

Started in the salad days of Toronto's rave explosion, The Communic8r began as a bi-monthly zine distributed at parties. It lasted a year before lack of revenue forced its closure, and now exists as a "blogumentary," a semi-regular stream of artifacts from a globally-revered chapter in Toronto's cultural history.

Video footage has been rare, and since 2009 they've been searching for a short documentary called Digital Dance Nation, a half hour film on raving by Ryerson University students. Last week, a VHS copy finally turned up in DJ Marc Houle's parent's closet. He's digitized the tape and posted the entire thing on YouTube, watchable below.

It's a comprehensive watch, and bittersweet. The focus on local promoters and DJs from around the world ensures the behind-the-scenes concerns and passions of the day are constantly in the frame. But there's also a good deal of foreshadowing on the different factors that led to the end of the movement, from the media's alarmism to regulatory pitfalls and even a lack of creative risks (at one point Juan Atkins, one of techno's godfathers, notes that Toronto is "conservative" and "ain't no cutting edge.")

For more, check out Then & NowDenise Benson's 46-part profile of Toronto's nightlife in The Grid (RIP).
Digital Dance Nation

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