In the midst of a touch-screen generation, a quiet counter-culture is on the rise. Hoping to revive a social, hands-on community, a group of event planners have been attempting to resurface an obsolete exchange: mixtapes.
The Hudson Galaxy Gazette, a monthly list of inclusive Hudson Valley events, will add their third Mixtape Trade and Game Night to their September calendar. This month’s trade, to be held on Tuesday, Sept. 13 on 14 Mulberry Street from 7 to 11 p.m., will bring out music lovers of all ages and types in New Paltz.
Hudson Galaxy Gazette hosts Kate Larson and Amanda Altobell hope that not everyone has thrown out their cassette tape players, since they ask for both CDs and cassettes.
“It gets people excited to make a mix of songs without a specific recipient in mind, which isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do, and then brings them all together for the night of the swap,” said Larson. “It gets people sharing music and hanging out with each other, a simple thing that doesn’t always happen enough.”
They said the rules are straightforward: bring a mix, drop it in a bag with the others and wait to blindly grab one from the pile. Add a track list and contact information, or don’t. It can be anonymous or an innovative way to make a new friend.
“People often make themed mixes, too,” said Larson. “There are a million ways to make a mix, and that’s what’s so neat about the event and what you leave it with.”
At the beginning of the night, Larson and Altobelli choose a random mix to play during the swap, and then finish the evening with a group game. People can also volunteer to play their mixes throughout the night.
“I feel such a rush of excitement when it’s my turn to randomly select a mixtape from the pile,” said Altobelli. “My heart begins to beat a little faster and I look around the room at everyone, wondering if their tape will be the one I pick. Last month, the tape I chose (or maybe it chose me) contained songs written only in the Lydian scale. I am constantly astonished at the creativity expressed through the careful planning and crafting that goes into making a mixtape.”
Mike Hollis, SUNY New Paltz alumnus and member of Breakfast in Fur, is excited to see what this month’s event has in store for him.
“The mixtape swap is a great place to meet new people and get turned on to music that’s new to you,” he said. “I will definitely be going and can’t wait to find out what I’ll end up with this time!”
As for other events, the Hudson Galaxy Gazette is just getting started. Although their September calendar is looking fairly full, they encourage anyone with ideas of events to contact them through their website at www.hudsongalaxygazette.com. In the past, the gazette has listed dance lessons, science nights, music shows, paranormal discussion groups, a bicycle parade, potlucks and even plant and mushroom walks. This month includes a clothing swap on Sept. 17, a cereal potluck on Sept 21. and a seed saving workshop on Sept 25. The calendars themselves can be found on the website, as well as on Facebook, through weekly e-mails and downloadable print calendars.
“We distribute print calendars all throughout the Hudson Valley, and try to put a lot of emphasis on those tangible copies. A different artist designs it each month, so they’re really pieces of art as well as functional ways to keep track of what’s going on,” said Larson.
Hudson Galaxy Gazette focuses on hosting diversity as well as bringing a positive environment for everyone. The mix tape swap is no different.
“The benefits are simple: share music and get new music. Hang out with people you know and make new friends. Get exposed to new things,” said Larson.