At Electric Daisy Carnival, Misfit Street Performers Steal the Spotlight
Clowns parading at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas.
It’s 3:42 a.m. at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and a militarized sisterhood in neon-orange vinyl corsets prepares to make the rounds. Its members are tasked with seeking out Electric Daisy Carnival revelers whose energy is depleting in the wee hours of the night and arresting their lethargy.
The moment they leave the performer prep room and their black knee-high boots collide with the raceway’s pavement, the half-dozen "party officers" snap into character. Their unyielding posture is fortified by akimbo elbows and hands anchored on lean waists. Their shoulders are open, rhythmically twisting forward and back in unison and exuding authoritative poise.
The Military Bratz march in a V formation to Rainbow Road at the center of the festival and fall back into a single-line phalanx. Young ravers encircle the them and take pictures. One member of the team steps out and locks onto her target: a young woman in a one-piece bathing suit and marijuana-leaf-print tube socks. She holds a hula hoop, and colorful kandi bracelets encircle her forearms.
Stepping in front of the girl, the officer holds up a flat-palmed hand signal and firmly commands her to stop. In a few seconds, the two are doing double-digit repetitions of squats, and the rest of the troops surround their mark with cheers of encouragement.
These and the hundreds of other street performers instigating jocular chaos on the EDC grounds are the progeny of Insomniac Events’ entertainment director, MsEasy.
MsEasy (center) and a selection of her characters
The veteran raver and performance pioneer is the nexus of a technicolor cast of dancers, actors, and street performers. Her vision has careened through the festival since 2007, when Pasquale Rotella, Insomniac’s founder, brought the EDM staple to the Los Angeles Coliseum. Her crew of entertainers go by the fitting name Team EZ.
“This is a career that happened to me,” MsEasy says. “It wasn’t something I could aim at. It was something I felt and kept going forward with — that passion and hard work — until it developed into this thing that it is now.”
MsEasy grew up in St. Louis the daughter of a discotheque DJ and a technical seamstress. She first took interest in costuming after visiting her mother’s workplace and taking home scraps of fabric to personalize her dolls.
In her teen years, she joined St. Louis’ small electronic-music counterculture and assumed a role as an informal creative director. After school, she spent her time acquiring an alternative education in warehouses, where she learned how to design parties, costumes, and characters for the club kids and drag queens who frequented the events.
As a young adult, MsEasy lived a transient lifestyle associated with rave culture at the turn of the millennium and developed a penchant for New Orleans’ uninhibited revelry. The city’s cultural liberalism suited her affinity for performance pieces that confused and captivated unsuspecting audiences.
“We were doing this kind of guerrilla clowning,” she recalls. “It’s very over-the-top, in-your-face, crazy antics. Not supertraditional clowning. Surprising. People don’t know what to do when 15 clowns fall out of a porta-potty when they open it.”
She met Rotella in the mid-2000s, and her subsequent work with Electric Daisy Carnival has grown to encompass all facets of performance art.
MsEasy as Peezy the clown (foreground)
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“She was a character that stood out to me,” Rotella says. “I had used her as an independent contractor to bring some troops in. And when Insomniac started growing rapidly and we were getting 300 or 400 performers to show up to one event at a time, I wanted someone that was superpassionate about that specific thing, that wanted to live and breathe it every single day. And MsEasy was that person.”
MsEasy keeps an open-door casting call for the world’s most ardent entertainers at any skill level, and the annual auditions overflow with hopefuls. Her staff is composed of stage performers, studied ballerinas, and the unassuming 9-to-5'er next door.
“You may have a girl that’s like, 'I toured with Lady Gaga, and I did the halftime show with Coldplay, and I’m in that music video, and I did Cirque, and now I’m at Daisy Carnival,’" MsEasy says. "And then next to her, you have a girl that’s like, ‘I’m a 9-to-5 professional engineer, I studied all of this stuff when I was younger, but I took this other path. But, ya know, I gotta come back.'"
MsEasy's presence at Insomniac instills confidence in a misfit subculture of performers. She's a beacon that embodies unbridled creative expression.
“We found our own way,” MsEasy says of her tribe. “Then we found each other.”
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