Rave Blog

By: Ali Benz

I said I’d never go to the rave again, but then I definitely went to the rave again. And again. Strictly for research purposes, though. Music festivals are a dangerous place. Luckily, I was brave enough to go and can reveal my findings. All I can think about is how similar ravers are to therapists. I know that sounds weird af, but it’s true. Both are in my life and both are sending me love and light. I don’t really know what that means but I love to receive things, so send it.

First of all, can we talk about crystals? I mentioned that my neck was hurting and someone told me to just “throw some agate on it.” WTF does that mean? Apparently doctors aren’t a thing anymore. I don’t know who loves stones and crystals more, my therapist or everyone at Burning Man. Want good vibes? Here’s a crystal. Need a new car? Here’s a crystal. Want to murder your ex? Here’s a crystal! It’s amazing. The crystal industry is booming. Remind me to invest in Swarovski.

These festivals can also get very spiritual. People are always “realizing things”. Isn’t that the point of therapy, though? To discover yourself and have breakthroughs and sh*t? Pass the Ayahuaska . The only difference is psychologists deal with real Shaman whereas you probably met a guy in a headdress who calls himself “Starlight” and tried to sell you an Adderall. Tragic.

Both parties also have this fascination with dance. I’ve seen therapists do this energy/movement dancing. It kind of looks like a mating call but I dig it. The moves are proven to have huge mental benefits if you can get past looking like a tribal dancer at a human sacrifice. Don’t knock it before you try it. At least you’re not a shuffler at an Insomniac event. Don’t get me wrong, I think shuffling is cool and I’ve maybe done it by accident before (for research purposes). I just don’t like shufflers that are cocky. Like I get it you can stomp the ground hard in your Sketchers but like don’t be a dick about it.

If you don’t know what shuffling is, it’s this thing that was cool in 2012 that gave white kids the opportunity to break-dance to House music without having to appear in a Missy Elliot music video. Nowadays, it’s become another YouTube phenomenon where anyone can profit from recording themselves in their step-mom’s backyard on an iPhone4. People around the world literally post themselves shuffling and get more sponsors than a child-star on Ellen. These “shufflers” get so competitive with their stomping and such and then try to sell me pre-workout. This is not Crossfit. Please leave me alone. Just sell your Bang energy drinks and move on. At least all my therapist tries to sell me is her e-Book.

I know I’m acting salty. I swear I’m not mad. It’s just that I don’t know what costs more, a night at the Brooklyn Mirage or an hour with my shrink. This stuff should all be free. At either event, I receive unsolicited advice and a hug at the end. Maybe some tears, who knows. Music festivals can be an amazing experience, as long as you don’t get mono from sharing everyone’s Camelback. Therapy is also a great release. I just feel like, with all the wild/exciting stories I tell mine, she should be paying me. But this is America, so I will continue to pay $200/hour to tell someone about how I went crowd-surfing at a Diplo set and got in a fight with the man in the Halal truck at 4 am. Tragic.

Taylor Swift is Kind of a Big Deal

By: Ali Benz

There is no tougher security in the world than the ladies of the JCC front desk. I have literally snuck into clubs by telling bouncers I was already inside, but these women at the J are relentless. I could’ve known some of them since birth and they still wouldn’t let me in without ID. I’d have a better chance sneaking a guy into 1Oak by saying he’s my gay cousin.

Men are so quick to shame women of power because they’re intimidated. They troll them for being unladylike when they are fierce, brilliant, and courageous. No matter the position, women need to continue to stand their ground and fight, not letting misogynistic labels fear us into weakness. That’s why Irene at the Jewish Community Center is my hero, no matter how many times she kicks me out. Apparently, you need an actual membership, not proof of Bat-Mitzvah.

Whether you’re a female CEO, athlete, drug-dealer, whatever; you deserve equal rights. Growing up in a family of therapists was a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because I was able to learn empathy. My siblings and I were encouraged to pursue our dreams, regardless of gender barriers—though I do wish someone stopped me from wearing basketball jerseys in every school picture. It was a curse because I was constantly being analyzed. If I was crying, my mom would always hit me with the “what’s this really about” line. I’d think I was crying because I fell off my pogo-stick again, but she’d help me realize I was acting out because I carry the burden of my great-grandfather who suffered through The Depression or something. I love therapy.

I am blessed to have my mom as a role model. She went back to school to get her psychology degree while we were growing up. In a time and place where she was expected to be a stay-at-home mom, my mother decided to get her Masters and begin a fulfilling career (not that raising me wasn’t fulfilling enough). It’s amazing to see more and more women become entrepreneurs and embody positions of power. However, we still need a steady number of housewives so that we don’t lose Bravo.

Seeing the way my mom runs her business and has evolved into a highly-respected psychologist has been incredible—especially because I have the best therapists in the city at my fingertips. I only wish she’d gone into a slightly less holistic field. I can’t tell you how many rocks and shells I’ve received as gifts that have a “spiritual meaning.” I appreciate the effort Cheryl, but I’d rather have a scarf, not this stone from your Healing Garden.

Regardless of current political outcomes, women cannot back down and need to be heard. Don’t let insecure, frat boys scare you from sharing your truth. Who knew Taylor Swift was capable of more than making us cringe at award shows? Ever since T-Swizzle got candid about her opposition to sexist candidates, voting registration rose by 65,000—ironically the same value of assets Bart O’Kavanaugh claims to have. Taylor Swift, a female, has a net worth of $280 million. Just saying.

Unfortunately, Trump is now only 75% a Swiftie, so I doubt he’ll be attending her Reputation Tour. Maybe he can use that time to hit happy hour with the Pope. They can discuss how much they love rape but hate abortion. Always nice to find common ground with a new friend. Tragic.