I used to live in a relatively small town where doing a Walmart run was considered a 'plan.' So, I was pleasantly surprised when I learned about Tricks or Beats, an electronic music concert that happened at Haida House on October 27 at the Museum of Anthropology (MOA).
As I walked through campus, trying to get used to the Vancouver rain, I didn’t know what to expect. I am not going to lie, I got lost a couple of times before arriving at Haida House, but the MOA staff gave me directions. Winding my way through the path behind the museum, lit by tea lights, I finally reached the cozy wooden building to a warm welcome from the event organizers.
It was the first electronic music concert where I’ve been offered hot chocolate with marshmallows, and it was delicious.
Some people may think that a museum and electronic music may not get along well, but DJ Mynxy (Nisga’a) and DJ Beer (Ts’msyen), two Indigenous-proud DJs, kept the beats going through the night (or at least, until about 10 p.m. which is my bedtime at this time of year anyways). The sounds reverberated through the small warm wooden room, and attendees shifted between dancing, sitting on the benches that ringed the room and, for the younger attendees, breakdancing and Naruto-running in, out and around the building.
The lively music and dynamic audience made me reflect on how we tend to see culture in museums as something static, made to be analyzed and appreciated only behind glass. However, we can also enjoy culture while dancing and chatting over Snickers bars, which most people at Tricks or Beats did — although the booming bass drops sometimes made it hard to hear each other. In the end, isn’t that what culture is supposed to feel like?
There were not many people at the event, but another thing I noticed (and that made me very happy) was the freedom expressed in peoples' movements as they danced. In a world where we are constantly checking if we look 'cool,' where we take ten selfies before publishing one on Instagram and where projecting the 'correct' image feels necessary to get jobs, dates or societal approval, it was a relief to find places where people were just themselves — from the little kids jumping around to the man dancing “Thriller” in the middle of the room.
Tricks or Beats was an event to be free. It was a chance to appreciate culture in motion in a museum from another perspective with a cup of hot chocolate in hand and to dance in any way you wanted to — including not at all.