MARDI GRAS: DJs bring fanfare to nightlife downtown

by Sydnee Brooker

Performing artists such as DJ Rap and The Crystal Method will be performing at tonight’s celebration, MCT Campus
Performing artists such as DJ Rap and The Crystal Method will be performing at tonight’s celebration, MCT Campus

Tonight will not be a standard evening downtown. It will be a fat one. World famous disc jockeys, fairies on stilts and more than 100,000 people decorated in bright beads will be flooding Fifth Avenue from 6 p.m. to midnight.

The Gaslamp Quarter Association will be throwing the 17th annual Mardi Gras celebration. Marisa Luque, the public relations specialist handling the event, said this year will have more of a rave feel and extend farther down Fifth Avenue.

Fairy go-go dancers, giant pixie puppets and female performers, including Playboy Magazine’s 50th Anniversary Playmate DJ Colleen Shannon, will entertain at the Fairyland Stage stretching from E Street to Market Street.

One female performer should not be missed. Charissa Saverio, also known as DJ Rap, is a woman with talent. She works with various electronic styles including drum and bass, and has garnered more than 2 million worldwide sales in her 15-year career.

DJ Rap “has been the undisputed queen of the turntables and voted the #1 female DJ in the world by Shejay,” according to discogs.com. Her latest album, “Synthesis,” came out last year and was called a fusion of beauty, rock and electronic by discogs.com and described as a mix of synthetic textures and organic moods on her personal website.

“My fans always know it’s going to be an exciting set,” she said. “Musically, they never really know what to expect. (It) all depends on the promoters, the show, what is going on in my head five minutes before I go on and most importantly the crowd and the vibe I am getting from them.”

Just south of Fairyland, the Urban House stage will host house DJs including Las Vegas’ DJ Scotty Boy and DJ Risk One.

Heading farther down Fifth Avenue, partiers will hit the Technovale Main Stage from J to L Streets. This stage will have illuminated platforms, black lights and dancers in white as well as the world-famous pair, The Crystal Method. Allmusic.com calls them a dance-based electro duo with strong roots in hip-hop, rock, soul and pop. In 1993, after moving from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and living the L.A. rave scene lifestyle, Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland became a pair and three years later, with the help of Outpost Recordings, put out their first full album, “Vegas.” Their latest album, “Divided by the Night,” was released in 2009 and was the first work they recorded in their new studio, Crystalwerks. The album also had a 2009 Grammy Nomination for “Best Electronic / Dance Album.”

But this Mardi Gras celebration is not just about beats. At 9:30 p.m., a parade featuring the Navy Brass Band, hip-hop dancers Krucial Element and Middle Earth belly dancers will strut down the main street.

Those who need a night of indulgence were able to buy tickets online in advance for $20 or at the main entrance, but tickets will be $25 today. People who wish to coddle themselves with food can pay $10 more for a dinner package. This includes entrance fee and a $20 food-only voucher valid at a variety of Gaslamp restaurants including The Melting Pot, Blue Point Coastal Cuisine and Dick’s Last Resort.

This loud and colorful pre-Lent party is an excuse for anyone to have a good time, even if they are not planning a 40-day fast. Put on some beads and put off giving something up for one more day.