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  New Year's Eve - GIANT Village

December 31, 2004 - a giant X marked the best spot to celebrate New Year's 2005 - the GIANT Village in downtown Los Angeles. New York City may have the masses but Los Angeles has GIANT production values and a cross-section of the best DJs in the world. Four city blocks, three massive stages, two VIP areas and one massive intersection complete with a "Quadra-Screen Jumbo-Tron" (as impressive as it sounds) with multiple Times Square-like screens projecting out each direction created a centerpiece befitting the entertainment capital of the world.

The torrential downpours that have been drenching LA for what feels like weeks non-stop, miraculously did stop just long enough to let this 8 hour event (and the next day outdoor garden after-party) fill to near its 12,000 person capacity and run smoothly all night long. The intense rain actually scrubbed the city clean, so it felt more like we were partying on a movie set of downtown LA than the actual city streets. [Continued below...]

    fireworks at midnight


Our night started out in the metro station - yes, LA has a metro. We met up with the Winners of our TICKET CONTEST (<-- click to see the contest page and flyer for the event) who were as excited as we were about them winning! It was all of our first times riding it, but considering that it stopped literally underneath the event, had trains running 24 hours at 20 minute intervals, and meant we were avoiding all the drunk drivers on the road, it was the obvious choice. Our train was like a party train, filling up with pink-fur platform boot wearing GIANT-bound patrons, who mixed in with Universal City Walk tourists and other tiara wearing revelers going who knows where, but having a great time doing it.

The festive mood was dampened a little bit when we saw the length of the VIP line, especially when our friends who had purchased advance tickets walked right up to the GrooveTickets tent with no wait. Luckily for us they had a... actually I don't know if this person has an official title, but he was walking up and down the line making sure everyone was where they were supposed to be, and asking if there was any press. Flash of a business card and we were whizzed right in. Actually the only lines we stood in all night were for the VIP entrance, the VIP bar, and (understandably) the Ferris wheel. Unlike last year which had line fiasco after line fiasco, this year there were tons of bars and bartenders, lots of bathrooms, and no problems with circulation at all. All their previous years of experience of doing an outdoor street event really paid off.

Even the security were nice - and actually GIANT's Director Dave Dean would tell me the next day, they were part of the Chrysalis, the charity the event was benefiting. The Charity provides job training and jobs for homeless and economically disadvantaged people, and so Dave Dean hired all the security and clean up crews directly from the Charity. To date, GIANT's New Yearís Eve Celebrations have raised over $300,000 for Los Angeles based charities. Now that's my kind of party! Ý

Can you believe I've written this much and not even mentioned the music!!?? When we got in, we made a beeline for the stage at the far end of Wilshire Boulevard. The Grammy Award nominated super hyped band The Killers were performing live. For the past four years, the line-up has always been enough to take your breath away, but I was curious to see how the first live band performance would be received. As we made our way through the crowd, I noticed that unlike the typical looking club goers crowded around John Digweed on the Flower stage, or Jason Bentley at the Hope Stage, the crowd was decidedly - and fittingly - more rock and roll the closer we got to the Grand Stage.

Honestly, I'd never heard a Killers song before tonight. (Hey, I like my insulated electronic music world!!) Yes, they were nominated for a best rock album Grammy, I know! If their live show is anything like their album, I can see why. Kind of like glam rockers, super cute, with some incredibly catchy tunes. I get it. Can we go ride the thing that spins you around through the tree branches now?

Fireworks!? I didn't know there would be fireworks!!! How they managed to get permission to shoot off fireworks in the middle of a bunch of hi-rise buildings I'll never know (maybe the same guy they got to bribe the weather gods) but watching them reflect off the buildings was surreal and spectacular.

   Red Bull drinks on the VIP bar


Afterwards we retreated inside to the VIP area, which was the only part of the event that was a bit of a disappointment. It was a white walled unused commercial store space, well-appointed with some cool glowing multicolored tables and the only places in the entire event to sit down (mattress like couches) but the sounds was so loud as it echoed off all the concrete it was pretty unbearable, not to mention the mob scene at the open bar. We quickly retreated again to outside.

Our energy was a little low, and we weren't eating sausages or chicken or pasty looking pizza (ew), and some of our group decided it was enough for one night and left after a high flying spin on the Ferris Wheel. But we we were hanging in at least for a little bit of our New Year's Eve standards, The Crystal Method. In the meantime, Oakenfold dropped some U2 classic "Where The Streets Have No Name" which had the streets in a hand waving frenzy. We kept jumping between him and Digweed, who played for a full six hours. But for us, six hours was all we could push ourselves to stay, and we finally stumbled our way back down into the metro, feet happily tired from dancing, voices spent screaming on rides and into each others ears, and the New Year rung in the best way possible - with friends, GIANT style.

-- written by Jennifer Warner

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