DJ Ariel Zetina Offers a Preview of Her Virtual Rave to Benefit Queer Communities

Photo courtesy of artist.

The pandemic has effectively shuttered nightlife around the country, but that hasn’t stopped artists and DJs such as Ariel Zetina from organizing virtual events that serve as a moment of release during a difficult time. On Saturday (August 1), Zetina is putting on Diamond Formation URL, a digital rave she’s curated, alongside artists Miss Twink USA and Dutchesz Gemini, to highlight sounds from different queer scenes. The event, hosted by Smartbar in partnership with Red Bull, will raise funds for staff members of Smartbar, as well as a list of LGBTQIA+ organizations, charities, and collectives. Viewers will be directed to the relief fund here during the virtual rave.

Zetina is a Latinx trans woman, DJ, and producer based in Chicago who has been a Smartbar resident since 2018. (She’s also released music on Discwoman and Femme Culture, and has an album of ambient music in the works.) She tells Remezcla that as she and her co-curators planned Diamond Formation URL, their goal was to bring together lots of music and performance that represent the landscape that they see at the moment.

“We have been working together for a long time on various projects including the Rumors party and mixseries (@rumorschi), and wanted to honor the hard but crystalline music and performance that really has come to represent our scene,” she said.

Diamond Formation URL follows the virtual rave concept that so many DJs and artists, particularly within queer communities, have turned to during the pandemic. “Virtual raves were necessary in my life at the start of the pandemic for an income, for community, and to hear the spontaneity of a live DJ set,” Zetina explained. “Diamond Formation URL will be my first time participating in a virtual party since mid May. Diamond Formation has always presented artists that are doing things that no other artist is doing at the moment with dance music. I hope that this party can bring some peace and some love and some inspiration. I know that sounds corny, but I really think techno has the power to do that—and this won’t be all techno, of course.”

The “dream line-up” features DJ Stingray and Swisha, among many others, as well as performers such as genderqueer drag artist Luc Ami and dancer/choreographer Darling Shea. Ahead of Diamond Formation URL, Zetina put together a playlist that showcases sounds you can expect this weekend, focusing on queer, Latinx, Caribbean, and Black diaspora artists. Take a listen below.

Tune into the set here on Saturday at 2 p.m. Some of the beneficiaries of the event include Brave Space Alliance, Afrorack, Molasses Chicago, and more.