Acid, Dance, Unity: What Happened to the ’90s Bay Area Rave Scene?


Remembering a different time in San Francisco.

My first rave was called Eon. It started in a donut shop on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. My friend found out about the donut shop, a.k.a. the Map Point, by calling a phone number listed on the flyer for the rave. I was 16, and it was January 1996.

My acid was kicking in when we stumbled into the donut shop, the fluorescent lights frightening, the rainbow sprinkles fascinating. We handed our five dollars to two guys resembling an ostrich and a bear sitting in a corner with a cash box. They handed over a piece of paper with handwritten directions on it.

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Raver Princess Excerpt Published In Literary Journal, The Noyo Review

A published chapter from my working memoir, Raver Princess. Chapter titled, Supergirl. Page 61!

Clayton was wearing a big goofy smile when he plopped into my white '76 VW Beetle.

“Hi doll face,” he said, leaning in for a kiss. He tasted more like cigarettes than weed this afternoon.

“Hi! So, are you going to tell me where we're going? And what my second birthday present is?”

“We're going to my friend Dave's place. He wants to be a tattoo artist. We've talked about getting tattoos, and I really want you to be there when I get my first one. And if you want one, it's my treat.”

That morning I woke up more nervous for him than me. His first gift was a hand-drawn graffiti piece with my name in a bubble-letter style. All weekend I'd been admiring “Samantha” on thick, fancy paper alive in red, silver, and purple colored pencil. The art was polished, and the gift was thoughtful—I could tell it took him hours to create, and I was planning on framing it. It would be hard to up himself with another (affordable) present; he didn't have the money for the new pair of Adidas kicks I wanted, and Clayton's idea of dining out was a trip to Taco Bell.

“Oh really?” I said, gripping my furry zebra print steering wheel. I stared at the street ahead of us, unsure I wanted to move forward.

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Beauty Lessons From a '90s Raver Princess

I remember my first rave beauty look vividly: silver Make Up For Ever glitter, mascara, burgundy lipstick and high pigtail ringlets fastened with those plastic-ball hair bands. It was 1996, and I’d been rocking bleached skunk-stripe highlights in my brown hair—an edgy look popular at the time, though I was the only girl at my high school who dared. By the end of the evening (technically, early the next morning) the glitter went from eyes to everywhere, and my pigtails unraveled. But I was blissed out, having just experienced the most thrilling night of my life.

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