Quash the Ravin’

A new study shows that women suffer more brain damage from taking Ecstasy than men do. This is alarming, because if they’re taking Ecstasy, that means they’re not very smart to begin with.

Ecstasy is a common “rave drug,” which means the critics are “raving” about it. (“Ecstasy is the feel-good hit of the summer!” says Roger Ebert. “It’s what I was taking when I gave ‘Final Fantasy’ 3 1/2 stars!”)

You’ll have to pardon me; sometimes I joke. Ecstasy is known as a “rave drug” because it’s often present at raves. From what I understand — and bear in mind, I’m way out of my element here, as “my element” consists only of my house and Wal-Mart — raves are big loud parties held in abandoned warehouses, chosen for their famous good acoustics and ample restroom facilities. Word spreads through e-mail and other unreliable channels that a rave is to be held, and soon everyone who’s anyone who’s a slacker is gathering there. Raves don’t start until very late at night, and there are usually drugs there. So it’s like a midnight screening at Movies 8.

What I’m curious about is where the kids find all these abandoned warehouses. Do they live in Action Movie Land? That place is full of abandoned warehouses, with machinery that still works, so the bad guys can get killed at the end.

Anyway, Provo is currently rave-free, thanks to the highly effective, well-thought-out, non-oppressive, not-at-all-stupid Dance Hall Ordinance passed by the Provo City Council earlier this year. You’ll no doubt recall that prior to the passing of this ordinance, Provo was practically overrun by raves. Every night of the week, there were raves being held in every abandoned warehouse on Main Street. Sometimes, the teens would commandeer a non-abandoned facility, such as Los Hermanos, clear out the furniture, and hold a rave there. Thousands were killed.

I’m lying, of course; Provo doesn’t even HAVE a Main Street. The only “raves” here were at Club Omni, and to my mind, if a rave is officially sponsored by a dance club, it’s not a rave anymore. Approval from grownups de-raves it.

But Provo wanted to combat the non-existent problem, so the city council passed an ordinance saying dances have to end by 1 a.m. (1:30 on Fridays!) and have surveillance cameras, metal detectors and security guards. Government, school and church dances are exempt.

Raves, if there had ever been any, would continue unabated, since underground operations don’t usually abide by city ordinances. That’s one of the quirks that makes underground operations so lovable.

So the only institution directly affected by the ordinance is Club Omni — which some believe was the actual target of the ordinance anyway. That sort of makes sense. Not that I want Club Omni shut down — actually, not that I care one way or the other — but at least Club Omni exists, unlike the raves that were the alleged target.

Club Omni’s status as a relative non-nuisance seems to have been lost on the city, though. When a Daily Herald reporter told a city councilman that Club Omni is a veritable merry old land of Oz compared to the depravity that goes on in the Salt Lake clubs, the councilman told her, “You shouldn’t be going to clubs anyway. You should just go to church dances.”

Yes, it’s amazing that a city councilman would say such a ridiculous thing. But it’s less amazing when you consider he’s never seen “Footloose” and is therefore unaware of the irony that drips from him and his fellow councilors like so much flop sweat.

(The joke’s on him in regards to church dances, anyway, as this particular reporter is a member of the Church of Satan.)

In summary: Ecstasy is bad, raves are not a problem in Provo, the city council is full of fusty old sticks-in-the-mud, and “Final Fantasy” was boring. Any questions?

The lead for this column came out of me during one of our daily news meetings, when we heard about the new Ecstasy report. I made the remark but then didn't know what to do with it, so I let my mind go the natural course: Ecstasy, which is a rave drug, so I should explain what raves are, and is there a local connection? Yes, there is, with the Dance Hall Ordinance, which should be easy to make fun of. There you go, instant column, in the bag. Anyone can do it!

Movies 8 is a "dollar theater" in Provo that I mention often as being a run-down place that is very, very popular among Provo's poor (i.e., high school students and BYU freshmen). It is part of the Cinemark chain, which is ironic, since Cinemark also owns Provo's best theater (at Provo Towne Centre).