Rave Against the Dying of the Light

Since the 1980s, the folks at Lumonics Light Museum have populated their Lauderdale warehouse with trancey light sculptures, fountains, and comfy chairs. They sprayed video projections against the wall, cranked up the techno, and invited us in for tea. The result? Years of late-night, mind-liberating circuses of light and sound. Floridaraves.org describes Lumonics co-founder Dorothy Tanner and her crew as "guidance counselors of the soul." But, alas, the counselors are ending the party. This weekend, Lumonics holds its final light shows and dances at its present location.

Just last month, New Times named Lumonics Best Art Gallery. Two years ago, we named it Best Dance Club, although we don't take credit for the raid that took place ten days later, with drug-hunting cops enforcing permits and fire code regulations. Oops. Two months later, Lumonics established attendance caps and an 18-and-over rule. But the 2002 incident has been difficult to overcome, Lumonics spokesman Barry Raphael says. Owners are now searching for a larger building that can also serve as a community center for field trips exploring art and technology. "We're trying to find the right kind of space," Raphael says. "South Florida is our preference, but if the opportunity arises, we'll move."

After Lumonics was born in 1960s-era Miami, the museum (the lovechild of artists Tanner and her husband, Mel, who passed away in 1993) migrated to California and New England before its 1987 South Florida repatriation. Now, as its staff house-hunts, it will still use the warehouse as a workshop for building lighted dance floors -- some portable, in case you're interested in holding a rave in your church's basement. -- Dave Amber

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