Lawmakers Targeting the Ecstasy of Raves
Dawn was approaching when the underground wizard stepped center stage at the State Palace Theatre to survey his electronic wonderland. Laser lights strafed the grand old chandeliers overhead, and deafening machine music rattled the opera boxes. The floor was packed with young, sweaty dancers.
“Great crowd,” J. Donnie Estopinal said. And then, with a boyish smile, he added: “I wonder which ones are the cops.”
The gangly 32-year-old hefted a chugging smoke machine and aimed it toward the audience of more than 3,300. If there were any undercover drug agents in the Canal Street theater–and there almost certainly were–Estopinal was suddenly gone before their eyes, vanished in a billowing white cloud. It was a rare moment of low visibility for the promoter whose parties have been ground zero for a federal excursion into the rave world.
The newest front in that campaign is a U.S. Senate bill that has wide support on Capitol Hill. The legislation has a catchy name–the RAVE Act, which stands for “Reducing America’s Vulnerability to Ecstasy.”