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Desert Hearts Tackle Homelessness, Substance Abuse with Tech House

Last week, the West Coast house music label put a positive spin on their Halloween party.
By Soodyod Photos

By Soodyod Photos

Revelers descended on the Belasco Theatre Wednesday evening in a melee of tech house and costumed debauchery - with two exceptions. 

First, the Downtown LA celebration organized a canned food drive for the homeless. Second, the Desert Hearts crew were wrapping up a low-key, albeit public, Sober October. For one of the rowdiest crews on the West Coast festival circuit on one of the most beloved party nights of the year, the initiatives point to a plan for local impacts with the movement-compelling power of tech house.

By Soodyod Photos

By Soodyod Photos

The night's festivities were set to the score of dark side space techno legend Damian Lazarus with the full cast of the Desert Hearts crew, who brought the fan-favorite stage experience from their iconic festival. On the roof, the inferno-taming ghouls of West Coast Eclectic Arts kept the balcony toasty with routine fire performances. Inside the popular venue, the stage was transformed by builders at Symbiotic Creations and Funkworks, who delivered audio for the evening on Funktion-One systems. If music created the vibe, the people are what gave it purpose.

Andrés ‘Flow Mamba’ Treviño works the rope-dart for a crowd at the Belasco. 

The canned food drive was initiated by Helping Hearts, the philanthropic endeavor created by Desert Hearts with a mission to support localized community engagement for those in need. The food drive estimated about fifty grocery bags and more than one hundred cans were collected over the span of the six-hour event, all of which is bound for Midnight Mission, a charitable organization that has been feeding the homeless in Los Angeles’ impoverished Skid Row area.

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Success of the canned food drive was hot on the tongue of attendees outside - but inside, Sober October was the main buzz. In a public Facebook post, top hat-sporting label boss and ‘love conductor’ Mikey Lion had made a low-key pledge to join his crew in sober solidarity with the hashtags #SoberOctober and #SoberHearts. 

Of the choice to go sober, Mikey Lion told

“The idea of Sober October started because recently we've all been on a pretty awesome health kick and we wanted to gain some clarity. The effects of sobriety had such a profound impact on our productivity that we thought we'd share the experience with our Desert Hearts community. The health and the dance communities don't typically cross paths so this was a huge breath of fresh air and I can't tell you how many people across the world reached out about the positive impact of their sobriety.”

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Already enjoying a new life of sobriety over the prior two months, Lion expressed a desire to support anyone willing to make the same commitment. As a challenging topic of discussion for those most affected by it, the message was a refreshing example of how music can play a positive role in the wellbeing of those who celebrate it.

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