Exclusive: Claptone chronicles first Ibiza residency, soundtracks the season [Interview/Playlist]

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Exclusive: Claptone chronicles first Ibiza residency, soundtracks the season [Interview/Playlist]Claptone

In an auditory age when an artist’s popularity is largely predicated on clicks, likes, and oversharing, secrecy is sexy—now more than ever. And who on the house music hierarchy has remained more surreptitious than Claptone?

Little is known about the man behind the beak who averages an improbable upwards of 260 performances per year, often traversing multiple continents for performances across a single weekend. Soaked in soul and powered by four-on-the-floor club grooves that range from pumped-up to plaintive, Claptone’s production has been tapped for official remixes from a litany of likeminded counterparts: from the Pet Shop Boys to—most recently—Mark Ronson (a forthcoming release). Despite the explosive success the plague doctor-themed project has secured since its 2012 inception, the Berlin-based Claptone camp solidified a fiercely coveted milestone, even among bluechip modern electronic acts, in 2019: an extended summertime tenure in the White Isle. Claptone’s first Ibiza residency touched down at one of the island’s quintessential after-dark playgrounds, Pacha. The perpetually poised puppet master attracted an auspicious flock to his Monday Masquerades, which spanned this past May-September and included the likes of Diplo, Duke Dumont, Eli & Fur, Shiba San, and Bob Moses (to name only a few).

While he’s lauded for laying low, Dancing Astronaut caught up with Claptone to get a closer look at the man who’s made his mark with myth.

Along with a stylized playlist to score the summer residency, Claptone shared insights on the bygone summer season, some fond moments at Pacha, and a bit about what’s hiding in his aural incubator. He also reflected on the longwinded lore breathing life into his immaterial persona. Claptone’s face may remain never to be seen, but one facet of the DJ’s smoke and mirrors act is certain—there’s substance behind the subterfuge.

Did Pacha live up to your expectations for your first Ibiza residency? Why or why not?

It was my first season and I didn’t have any clear vision of how it might be really. I only knew it’d be a great party cause I know my fans and the international popularity of Claptone. I knew they’d come and enjoy this experience and they did. To be honest for the first season it surpassed my wildest expectations. So many amazing people that appreciated all the quite various line ups I had been programming. The greatest compliment surely was that so many of these great DJs whom I booked like Todd Terry, Kerri Chandler, MK as well as DJs whom I couldn’t have on the bill like Solardo, CamelPhat, Paul Oakenfold, Roger Sanchez, Erick Morillo, Martin Solveig came in private on some Mondays to just enjoy the party and the great vibe of the night. That for me says it all.

Tell me about the stylistic approach you took to your summer residency in the White Isle…

I made a huge effort in growing the regular stage setup of my The Masquerade parties—the huge golden mask above the booth and the smaller masks with the LED-lit eyes hanging from the ceiling, to match Pacha and come up with interior design ideas to go along with that. Same with the dancer and performer costumes. I had tailors from Pacha as well as tailors from Torture Garden in London work out details on costumes and designs I came up with. That’s why in the end there are about 30 amazing characters from futuristic Venetian carnival to cinematic Eyes Wide Shut from classic Circus to Dia de los Muertos dancing, wandering or even flying through the club. 

Can you tell me about a particularly impactful moment or night from this past season’s performances? 

It’s hard to pick just one or two moments when you just had 19 weeks of mayhem on a Monday at Pacha Ibiza at your very own night with your very own concept The Masquerade. The pure fact that I was able to program the line up, invite and play with Armand van Helden, Andhim, Audiojack, Basement Jaxx, Bob Moses, Catz ‘n Dogz, Chus & Ceballos, Danny Howard, Danny Tenaglia, David Penn, Dennis Cruz, Dennis Ferrer, Diplo, Duke Dumont, Eli & Fur, Faithless, Felix da Housecat, Hannah Wants, Heidi, Illyus & Barrientos, Jon Hopkins, Kerri Chandler, Lars Moston, Maya Jane Coles, Mat.Joe, MK, Nhan Solo, Nora En Pure, Pirupa, Purple Disco Machine, Riva Starr, Route 94, Shiba San, Shir Khan, Sidney Charles, SG Lewis, Sonny Fodera, Tensnake, Todd Terry, Tube & Berger, and Weiss was such a game changer for me.

It’s tough to put that into words and even harder to pick a favorite moment. But the back to back with Diplo was certainly a highlight for me as this was my very first and to date my last back to back ever, [considering] it was Diplo playing house music in front of a super excited crowd. 

Any new music in the works you can speak to?

You know I love secrets, but, well, I’ll make an exception. I just finished some remixes that went to mastering the other day. You are more than welcome to look forward to what I did to Mark Ronson as well as Charlie Puth and Michael Kiwanuka. Fasten your seatbelt. 

Describe the significance of the golden-beaked mask and white gloves…

This mask is part of my personality, one of my many faces. Its origins lie in the old Italian city of Venezia and for me hints at the rich history and culture we all share and of course at the masquerade balls [we’ve held for] centuries. A social tradition which allows us to explore our identity and to fathom our freedom as individuals in performative play. One aspect of it is being able to question authorities and hierarchies, structures of self-sustaining power, question the ones we kneel down before.

The beak with its birdlike shape is giving me access to perform beyond human abilities. At the same time it ridicules pop idols, who think they are more than just human and love to run around presenting their tail feathers. The resemblance to a plague doctors mask is not by accident either. You are welcome to perceive me as some kind of sonic plague doctor. The mask was casted out of titan’s gold. Gold for me reflects the treasure that I found in music. It simultaneously ridicules the greed and materialism of your average rock star or Hip-Hop hero. Last but not least, wearing a mask is liberating and it’s shielding your privacy, extending your personal freedom. This, together with reflecting on the mechanisms of media and popular music, empowers me to be in charge of my image and perform my artistic identity much more consciously. The gloves I just wear to not get my hands dirty.

A great deal of secrecy ensconces the Claptone masthead, specifically in reference to your identity(s). Can you speak to this? 

Claptone declined to comment.

Photo Credit: Jackmode

Calvin Harris joins USHUAÏA IBIZA for 2019 summer residency

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Calvin Harris joins USHUAÏA IBIZA for 2019 summer residencyCalvin Harris Live

Friday nights at Ushuaïa Ibiza now belong to Calvin Harris. One of the most iconic names in the electronic game, Harris will kick off his 2019 residency at the Balearic hot spot on August 2. From there, Harris will take the decks of Ushuaïa Ibiza each consecutive Friday evening, until his residency finale on September 6.

The technical team that routinely brings about Ushuaïa Ibiza’s masterful live production, from glittering pyrotechnic displays to striking lighting and visual synchronicity, will man the production of each Harris date for the rest of the summer. Tickets to the “Giant” producer’s summer residency at the open-air club are available, here.

Photo Credit: Conor McDonell

Techno Tuesday: Darius Syrossian on ‘taking clubbing back to clubs’ through new label + show concept

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Techno Tuesday: Darius Syrossian on ‘taking clubbing back to clubs’ through new label + show conceptTechno Tuesdays

Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.

Few acts stick to their guns like Darius Syrossian. The longtime house & techno stalwart has always been an outspoken critic of boxing his sound into a category, instead opting to focus on the ethos of each of his productions and their ultimate effectiveness on the floor when it comes to prompting footwork and euphoria. Not to mention, he possesses a perfectionist streak that ensures his own productions are as tight as a Roman aqueduct and that his mixing behind the decks is equally seamless. Such passion and drive equates to longterm success, with Syrossian earning high acclaim in leading the iconic Do Not Sleep series while also maintaining a heavy tour and release schedule. After a long and storied list of achievements over the past couple decades, however, the stalwart began feeling out of touch with the club scene and in need of something new to inspire his career.

Enter his solution: MOXY MUZIK, a brand new label and clubbing concept in which Darius’ aim is to “take clubbing back to clubs.” Launched in December, the digital/vinyl label is dedicated toward the cutting edge and underground side of house and techno. Its artists and releases are carefully handselected for their timelessness and ability to stand out as quality tunes well over a decade past release. Thus, it’s no wonder that Doc Martin, Cassy, Seb Zito, Dense & Pika, and more have been among those chosen to help break the label in. MOXY MUZIK takes on a Darius-centric route for its clubbing concept, with its founder choosing a new location each month to return to his early DJing roots and perform a extended sets each time. While he won’t be doing this in the states anytime soon, followers can at least get a taste through his upcoming Miami Music Week pool party with his Do Not Sleep camp on March 27. Tickets for that here. In the meantime, we picked Syrossian’s brain on his label, recent EP Dance Of The Shaman, musical philosophy, the meaning of “underground,” and more for this Techno Tuesday.

Techno Tuesday: Darius Syrossian on ‘taking clubbing back to clubs’ through new label + show conceptDARIUS SYROSSIAN 5

What elements make a song more ‘underground’ to you?
I was reading a tweet by Man Power the other day, he said the word ‘underground’ maybe isn’t the right word to describe his music and sets, and that maybe the word should be ‘Uncompromising’? Makes sense though, but either way, I think when we use this term, I think it means we are saying the music we are referring to is made as an art not to please the masses, there is always some kind of latest fad, and with every fad there is hundreds of tracks made to attract the attention of people who want more of that latest fad, for example, pop music is called that for the very reason that its popular right? And it’s made to be popular, so it’s not underground or uncompromising. So I’d have to say what makes a track more underground is when it’s made by any particular artist because it’s what they feel is their music coming out of them, and not to please the masses.

Can you expand a bit on walking the line between underground music and dance floor accessibility?
Well, I think there is certain sections of the industry where people who claim to be underground purists turn their nose up at anything that may be absolutely huge on the dance floor, this does not have to be the case, I mean tech house has a dirty name now, but if you think to when the term was started it was mid 90s at that particular time Tech House was music that DJs like Ian Pooley and Terry Francis (fabric) who were playing, and it was amazing music, loved by the purists, it was also music that labels like plastic city from Germany was releasing, again, it was labels that the purists loved, it had a bit more soul and depth to it, but essentially it was still Tech House, and I think right now, music that is maybe club friendly is frowned upon by those that claim to be underground purists. I just want to show that music CAN be made to make a dance floor explode, and it still can have soul and have some depth, and still please these purists. Not all underground music has to be abstract leftfield music.

I feel there is a big shift with too much generic tech house being forced on people who want to go to clubs to DANCE. While at the same time, a lot of underground music is becoming less and less dance floor friendly, so I want to show that underground can still be for the dance floor, and is not belonging solely to chin strokers who don’t go out clubbing!

How has your sound changed over the years?
I honestly don’t think it has, I’ve always liked a certain sound, which is both house and techno which has a strong emphasis on the groove and drums, quite minimal and is inspired by the early US house and techno sound but has darker European influences in it, and lots of Chicago influences when it comes to the drums, but having said all that, for anyone who listens to my sets that are at least three hours long, I cross over so many different genres, I’ll play house, to techno, move through prog, and even touch on some disco, I prefer to be a bit more balearic and don’t want to stick to one linear sound the whole set, I like to take it on a journey.

Tell us about your process for selecting the first round of artists to release on the label.
It’s about selecting artists who I think are making music because it is their art, and that will be music that I think will do two things to me, 1 make me want to dance, 2 be Music that I think ill still want to listen to in ten years time, and not just be music that is made to fit the latest fad, and make the top 10 sales charts, as I said in another interview, this side of things doesn’t interest me and its not why I started the Moxy Muzik label, most of my favourite music that I find when digging for music isn’t even in the top 100 charts, to me those things don’t matter.

What are some of your biggest goals for MOXY MUZIK?
I think to make sure I keep releasing music that I’m proud of releasing and that I can sit back in ten years and listen to it all again and still feel it not just in a nostalgic sense but in a way that it’s still music that I would play then as well. Also I’m putting out every release on vinyl which will also have bespoke hand drawn art because I want it to be something physical you can pick up, hold, and see, and not be disposable or digital music people play for a few weeks then it’s gone and forgotten about.

Did you already the remixers chosen in your head as you were making “Dance of the Shaman?” Tell us about what led you to choose these collaborators.
No not at all, when I’m in the studio the only thing I’m thinking about is how that track is developing. Only when it’s totally finished and roadtested and I’m happy with a track will I then begin to decide about remixers. But overall I have a list of artists I admire, and when a track is finished ill look at the track and then at the list and i’ll pick out artists from that list that I think would be good for that particular track.

Who are some artists breathing originality back into house music at the moment?
Well there are way too many to mention across the whole spectrum of electronic music, but since you asked about house music specifically I’d say Shanti Celeste is doing some amazing productions, everything she does has so much soul, but maintains a good groove, then there are artists like Ben Rau right now, Archie Hamilton, Spencer Parker.

I think some of the best artists don’t get any press, but if you really search you can find so many great artists who are doing amazing things musically, yes there are artists blowing up all the time but sometimes music isn’t the main reason they are exploding. There are other factors and social media has played a part in that, maybe in the past without social media artists were judged only by peoples ears, because the only way to judge a DJ was by hearing how good he or she played a set maybe or how good he or she produced a track? But with social media, the press can see that IMAGE can play a big role in how popular an artist can be and this is definitely playing a role.

Anything else big happening in your pipeline?
Well I’m about to go on a South America tour, when I’m back it’s a heavy schedule over Christmas and New Year period and then in 2019 the Moxy Muzik label launch parties start which is gonna be a series of shows where I play six hours, and they are all held in small intimate venues, like Mint Club Leeds, Joshua Brooks Manchester, 93 Feet East London, Kater Blau Berlin and loads more, the aim of this is to take clubbing back to CLUBS, and I love doing the big warehouse events, they are great but there is a distinct lack of DJs playing smaller intimate venues I feel, and they are some of the best parties, so I’m focusing on these kind of sets for the label parties and they are gonna be long all night long sets, so I’m excited to get these underway.

Toolroom to return to Ibiza for 17-week residency at Eden

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Toolroom to return to Ibiza for 17-week residency at EdenToolroom At Eden

Toolroom Records is taking a summer-long family vacation, June 2 to September 22, to Ibiza for a season-wide residency at one of the island’s landmark locales, Eden.

Throughout the 17-week, Sunday-night commission, Toolroom will assemble its top-tier talent, as well as an abundance of fresh-on-the-scene label additions. For years, Eden has been nothing short of a wall-to-wall dance music destination in the White Isle, hosting prestigious residencies with Disclosure, Dubfire, Pete Tong, and even Lady Gaga. The multi-level club also just received top-to-bottom refurbishment as a product of its new ownership.

“Eden is a clubbers venue with an impeccable sound system,” says label head, Mark Knight. “It’s all about the music and people coming together in perfect harmony, which was the original essence of Ibiza, so to be back with them on the White Isle will really be something special.”

The Mark Knight-headed Toolroom celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2018. In that time they’ve released hundreds of records, conducted multiple world tours, and continued to readily adapt to the fiercely fluctuating industry climate. It’s only fitting that soon they will return to one of the most culturally impactful dance music havens on Earth.

Photo Credit: Ryan Dinham

Boys Noize and Lady Gaga tease long-awaited collaboration on opening night of Gaga’s Las Vegas residency

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Boys Noize and Lady Gaga tease long-awaited collaboration on opening night of Gaga’s Las Vegas residencyBoys Noize Mayday Lil Internet

Lady Gaga‘s new Las Vegas residency has been one of the most anticipated entertainment events in the country since its announcement over the summer. The show, known as Enigma, is a high-tech production launching at MGM’s Park Theater on Friday December 28. Earlier this year, rumors broke that Boys Noize and the Joanne vocalist were collaborating, and now with Enigma’s debut, Berlin’s favorite son took to Twitter to tease his involvement in the show’s production.

In the tantalizing Enigma teaser posted on Instagram, an animated female figure is whisked through a celestial transformation, ending with a chill-inducing “Hello, Gaga” at the end of the short clip. Boys Noize posted the video as well, suggesting that he’s adding to his already spectacular rap sheet in 2018 as his presumed collaboration with Lady Gaga is likely starting to reach the surface. Gaga will perform for the first time at the Park MGM a decade after the New Yorker skyrocketed into super stardom with her debut album, The Fame.


Drake is headed to the Strip — slated headline XS Nightclub in early 2019

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Drake is headed to the Strip — slated headline XS Nightclub in early 2019Drake Getty

Drake is headed to Las Vegas in 2019, and he’s got the Wynn in his cross hairs. With too many Vegas-inspired lyrics to count, the OVO helmer will be right at home when he headlines XS Nightclub on January 10, as part of the larger Consumer Electronics Show going on that same week. The show is billed as an added amenity for the convention, though admission is also open to the public. While Drake’s Strip appearances have previously been more few and far between, his performance at XS at the onset of 2019 has sparked speculation that Vegas might be a more frequent territory for the Scorpion rapper in the future, and additional performances could soon follow.

While Drizzy is only confirmed for his performance on January 10, sources close to XS have seemingly confirmed the pop star has inked an agreement to appear for a 12-show run at the club over the next two years. Live Drake performances will be in high demand next year, following his unsurprising sweep of Spotify and Apple Music’s year end statistics in 2018.

Exclusive: Sacha Robotti dives deep into his Sloth Sanctuary (Mix)

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Sacha Robotti

Los Angeles is not just Sacha Robotti‘s new home, but also his residence.

The news is out that Sound nightclub has officially booked the Dirtybird veteran and Sloth King for a summer residency beginning on June 23. To boot, each show will also be an open-to-close affair, allowing him to showcase his full essence as an artist.

Ahead of this expansive collaboration, Robotti has prepared an exclusive Sloth Sanctuary mix for Dancing Astronaut ears to consume. He fits quite a large breadth of tunes within its one hour span, starting off slow and grooving before heading into the dark and driving techno realm. It breeds further interest as to what a six hour set by this stalwart might sound like while also packing in a high charged mix of tunes that is sure to boost any pre-game.


Feature image credit: Quasar Media

Drai’s ventures into cutting-edge dance territory with TroyBoi as its summer resident [Interview]

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Las Vegas — since its early days, the desert city has defined itself as a veritable playground for America’s adult population. Its famed mile-long Strip is filled with more casinos, clubs, and hotels than one can count. Furthermore, the city’s laissez-faire energy is known to breed good memories in those looking for a temporary escape.

For all its glory, however, monotony and oversaturation remain constant threats that hang over the festive oasis. It becomes difficult to stand out amongst a vast array of similar competitors that are all within walking distance of one another.

This is where Drai’s comes in; owned by nightlife stalwart Victor Drai, the brand has become renowned for its forward-thinking concepts since its legacy began two decades ago with the Strip’s first-ever afterhours establishment. In 2014, the name evolved into a full-on institution with the foundation of its beach club and nightclub that hang over the corner of Flamingo Rd.

Drai’s mission has been to defy musical norms on the Strip.” The method is to simply not follow the status quo,” stated talent buyer Dave Fogg of their approach toward scouting out its artists. Their nightclub is renowned for the primarily live hip-hop and R&B artists that perform on its immersive stage. “Drai’s Nightclub is unarguably one of the top hip-hop venues in the country, showcasing live, 45+ minute concerts by today’s top artists,” continued Fogg. In creating such an experience, the brand has effectively led the charge in the changing Vegas landscape.


“When you’re looking at programming talent and curating that for the best possible customer experience, it’s easy to just look at the artists at the top of the charts and begin to throw large sums of money at them. We wanted to break out of that trope and look at the opportunities to pull from the incredibly deep pool of musical talent that’s out there to give our guests a truly unparalleled experience.” – Dave Fogg”


Its adjoining rooftop beach club — the first and only of its kind on the Strip —  is equally progressive. It offers guests luxurious amenities across its spacious 30,000 square foot spread as the daytime festivities wear on, including luxury cabanas and bungalows, towel service, and full service bars and cafe. Most stunning, however, are the views that surround the outdoor venue of the Strip and surrounding desert.

The club’s setting is as spectacular as its artist billing, which, like its nightclub, chooses from a pool of the cutting-edge. One of their new summer additions, TroyBoi, proves a perfect fit it into this ethos. Hailing from the UK, the former Diplo collaborator is known for his gritty take on trap, as well as his collaborations with rising talent in the rap game. His sound skillfully walks the line between dance and hip-hop making him “a great fit for Drai’s Beachclub because of the high-energy show he’s going to deliver,” according to Fogg. In fact, he is more than confident of his of his booking decision: “Troy’s been on my radar for about four years from a DJ perspective. I’d been watching him grow as an artist with his own trademark sound since that time, then literally, meteoric.”

Fogg is not wrong; TroyBoi has exploded into a veritable icon lately, bolstered by the success of his debut album Left and Right, and singles like his long-awaited Ekali collaboration, “Truth.” He remains humble, however, voicing that he was “thrilled” when Drai’s approached him for a residency. “I’m really looking forward to bringing my sound to the Vegas scene and taking advantage of the insane set up provided by Drai’s. Vegas’ party scene is so hype so I’m keen to give them a dose of the Boi,” he expressed.

“Our goal is to provide the ultimate entertainment experience so that whether you’re an experienced clubgoer who parties on the shores of Ibiza or an accountant from middle America, you’ll never forget your experience at Drai’s and will want to come back on your next trip to Las Vegas because there will surely be something new and exciting in store.” – Dave Fogg

What else does a TroyBoi residency hold, one might ask? “That you will have to wait and see!” the producer advised. “But, a TroyBoi residency is all about good vibes, good music and creating memories that will last you a lifetime.” When reflecting on what inspires him most sonically, he divulged, “I’m always inspired by a good drum beat or rhythm. The beat is the backbone of every track and I love to dance, so it’s gotta make me move!” It appears that one thing is for sure: he will be ensuring a highly danceable atmosphere with each show, and fond memories of Drai’s in his viewers’ minds.




Head over to Drai’s website for more information and dates for what’s sure to be a revolutionary residency by TroyBoi. 

Hakkasan Group extends Calvin Harris’ residency into 2020

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Calvin Harris

Calvin Harris topped Forbes‘ list of the highest paid DJs for the fifth consecutive year in 2017, but as 2018 begins to unfold, it seems that a sixth year at the number one spot on the list is likely as Harris rakes in a hefty sum for the renewal of his Las Vegas residency with Hakkasan Group.

Determined not to see Harris “Slide” out of the entertainment capital, the luxury nightlife brand has extended Harris’ Omnia Nightclub residency through 2020, an elongation that arrives at the price of £200 million (approximately $280 million USD). The figure breaks down to a pay out of a little more than £1 million each night that Harris performs at the world famous nightclub.

Harris fans traveling to the Strip can get exactly what they “came for” given the producer’s extended residency, and can purchase tickets to Harris’ upcoming shows, here.

H/T: Your EDM

Zedd the first artist of 2018 to renew his Las Vegas Hakkasan Group residency

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Following in the titular fashion of his double-platinum single, when it comes to Las Vegas, Zedd is there to “Stay.”

The entertainment capital of the world will see Zedd grace a variety of Hakkasan Group venues, with the world renowned hospitality company officially extending the Grammy nominee’s residency into 2020 in what is Hakkasan Group’s first residency renewal of the new year. Zedd will accordingly appear at Hakkasan Nightclub, WET REPUBLIC at MGM Grand, and OMNIA Nightclub.

“Zedd has been a fantastic addition to our artist roster, and we’re excited to continue our partnership with this multi-year residency extension,” says Hakkasan Vice President James Algate of the renewal, “Every time he takes the stage, he provides fans with an energetic and dynamic experience, which is exactly what we set out to achieve through all of our venues.”

Zedd echoes the sentiment, pronouncing Vegas to be “like a second home.” “It’s always great to get to play for my fans there,” Zedd remarks, ““The crowds bring such great energy every time and I’m excited to continue to be a part of the Hakkasan family.”

Those seeking to catch one of Zedd’s forthcoming Vegas based performances can purchase tickets here.

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