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Sinless City

Woodstock goes electric.

Under the Electric Sky: Brought to you by Wise-brand potato chips
Under the Electric Sky: Brought to you by Wise-brand potato chips

As an ad for the Electric Daisy Carnival — an annual electronic dance music festival — Under the Electric Sky is pretty good. The gigantic animatronic owl whose nest serves as the event’s main stage is flat-out fun to watch: those opening wings! That bobbling head! Those expressive eyes! I mean, it might get old after, say, three days and nights in the Las Vegas heat, but it works for an 85-minute feature. And it’s not like it’s working alone: there’s all sorts of other eye-candy on parade, much of it lit from within and brightly colored. Plus, there’s lots of music and dancing (mostly of the “Pretty Young Things holding their arms aloft and jumping up and down” variety).

The founders at Insomniac Events have taken the rave out of the warehouse, cleaned it up (mostly), brought in some production values, and generally transformed it into something not unlike that other Happiest Place on Earth. Las Vegas’ usual brand of fantasy has gotten it labeled Sin City, but the lovefest that packs over 300,000 fans into the Las Vegas Speed Bowl is something closer to Sinless City. Everything at EDC is love, unity, peace, and respect. Everyone is accepted for who they are. Just ask them, or don’t — they’ll tell you anyway.

Movie

Under the Electric Sky **

thumbnail

As an ad for the annual electronic dance music festival The Electric Daisy Carnival, <em>Under the Electric Sky</em> is pretty good. The gigantic animatronic owl whose nest serves as the event's main stage is flat-out fun to watch, and there's lots of music and dancing. The founders at Insomniac Events have taken the rave out of the warehouse, cleaned it up (mostly), brought in some production values, and generally transformed it into something not unlike that <em>other</em> Happiest Place on Earth. But where the filmreally shines is as a generational portrait. If the Boomers had Woodstock and the Xers had Lollapalooza(?), then here's Gen Y's version, complete with Upworthy inspirational stories. It's a proper pilgrimage; commenting on the event's enormity, one attendee says it does what cathedrals were designed to do: make people feel small and spiritually alive. As fantasies go, it's on the sweet and harmless side.

Find showtimes

And that’s where Under the Electric Sky really shines: as a generational portrait. If the Boomers had Woodstock and the Xers had Lollapalooza(?), then here’s Gen Y’s version, complete with Upworthy inspirational stories. A young man whose severe scoliosis has put him in a wheelchair, a socially anxious Texas girl, a bunch of polyamorous Peter Pans, a couple separated by jobs on opposite sides of the globe, and even the Wolfpack — a group of bros who have recently lost one of their own — all make the journey to Vegas to be in the moment and take it to the next level. It’s a proper pilgrimage; commenting on the event’s enormity, one attendee says it does what cathedrals were designed to do: make people feel small and spiritually alive.

“Feel” is very much the operative word here. There is lots of talk about the EDC’s felt significance, but it’s hard to see what’s meant by that, beyond the mutual feeling provided by the music’s build and drop, by the number of fellow fans, by the electrified spectacle of it all. Attendees learn that they’re part of something bigger than themselves, and that thing is the Electric Daisy Carnival. The DJs tell the fans that they’re the real headliners, and as fantasies go, it’s sweet and harmless. And who wouldn’t thrill to the sight of a wheelchair-bound fan held aloft above the throng? But it is perhaps telling that when the film’s token oldsters decide to get married on the final night of the event, they have to bring in their own minister instead of using the onsite “marriage official.” As they put it, “We wanted a real wedding.”

Or maybe I’m just old.

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Under the Electric Sky: Brought to you by Wise-brand potato chips
Under the Electric Sky: Brought to you by Wise-brand potato chips

As an ad for the Electric Daisy Carnival — an annual electronic dance music festival — Under the Electric Sky is pretty good. The gigantic animatronic owl whose nest serves as the event’s main stage is flat-out fun to watch: those opening wings! That bobbling head! Those expressive eyes! I mean, it might get old after, say, three days and nights in the Las Vegas heat, but it works for an 85-minute feature. And it’s not like it’s working alone: there’s all sorts of other eye-candy on parade, much of it lit from within and brightly colored. Plus, there’s lots of music and dancing (mostly of the “Pretty Young Things holding their arms aloft and jumping up and down” variety).

The founders at Insomniac Events have taken the rave out of the warehouse, cleaned it up (mostly), brought in some production values, and generally transformed it into something not unlike that other Happiest Place on Earth. Las Vegas’ usual brand of fantasy has gotten it labeled Sin City, but the lovefest that packs over 300,000 fans into the Las Vegas Speed Bowl is something closer to Sinless City. Everything at EDC is love, unity, peace, and respect. Everyone is accepted for who they are. Just ask them, or don’t — they’ll tell you anyway.

Movie

Under the Electric Sky **

thumbnail

As an ad for the annual electronic dance music festival The Electric Daisy Carnival, <em>Under the Electric Sky</em> is pretty good. The gigantic animatronic owl whose nest serves as the event's main stage is flat-out fun to watch, and there's lots of music and dancing. The founders at Insomniac Events have taken the rave out of the warehouse, cleaned it up (mostly), brought in some production values, and generally transformed it into something not unlike that <em>other</em> Happiest Place on Earth. But where the filmreally shines is as a generational portrait. If the Boomers had Woodstock and the Xers had Lollapalooza(?), then here's Gen Y's version, complete with Upworthy inspirational stories. It's a proper pilgrimage; commenting on the event's enormity, one attendee says it does what cathedrals were designed to do: make people feel small and spiritually alive. As fantasies go, it's on the sweet and harmless side.

Find showtimes

And that’s where Under the Electric Sky really shines: as a generational portrait. If the Boomers had Woodstock and the Xers had Lollapalooza(?), then here’s Gen Y’s version, complete with Upworthy inspirational stories. A young man whose severe scoliosis has put him in a wheelchair, a socially anxious Texas girl, a bunch of polyamorous Peter Pans, a couple separated by jobs on opposite sides of the globe, and even the Wolfpack — a group of bros who have recently lost one of their own — all make the journey to Vegas to be in the moment and take it to the next level. It’s a proper pilgrimage; commenting on the event’s enormity, one attendee says it does what cathedrals were designed to do: make people feel small and spiritually alive.

“Feel” is very much the operative word here. There is lots of talk about the EDC’s felt significance, but it’s hard to see what’s meant by that, beyond the mutual feeling provided by the music’s build and drop, by the number of fellow fans, by the electrified spectacle of it all. Attendees learn that they’re part of something bigger than themselves, and that thing is the Electric Daisy Carnival. The DJs tell the fans that they’re the real headliners, and as fantasies go, it’s sweet and harmless. And who wouldn’t thrill to the sight of a wheelchair-bound fan held aloft above the throng? But it is perhaps telling that when the film’s token oldsters decide to get married on the final night of the event, they have to bring in their own minister instead of using the onsite “marriage official.” As they put it, “We wanted a real wedding.”

Or maybe I’m just old.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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