Volume 90, Issue 90

Friday, March 14, 1997



A stitchy underground

Gazette file photo
COULD YOU MOVE THOSE LETTERS UP A BIT? Model Mai Nguyen flashes the eye chart at last year's Underground Groove fashion show.

By Jennifer Leonard
Gazette Staff

In the beginning there was Jack and Jack had a groove. The Underground Groove embodies the spirit of Jack's groove – one to which all are invited to move.

The lyrics above derive from traditional house music. House music, in its purest sense, has professed "unity and acceptance of all people from very early on," says James Jenkins, VP-executive producer of the Underground Groove's greatest undertaking. Centennial Hall will house 1997's Dimension Fashion, the largest fashion show in southwestern Ontario. The proceeds are going to benifit AIDS awareness.

Six years ago a noble concept originated from a group of like-rhythmed individuals – to transcend racial and sexual boundaries and bring together all who shared an appreciation of underground house music.

Before the days of the UG socials, the funky-sorts had merely the choice between "commercialized dance bars or drinking holes to go to," Jenkins relates.

From its humble beginnings grew large scale benefits. Seating for the fashion shows have amassed 1,500.

This year marks the fifth Underground Groove Fashion Show, showcasing a theatrical presentation of independent Canadian designs. "The club scene, ages 17-24, is our target group," states UG executive director, Ian Sinclair.

All proceeds from the fashion show go to The John Gordon Home – London's regional AIDS hospice. AIDS awareness is an issue "we all felt strongly about," shares Jenkins. Jenkins says the Underground Groove is committed to raising much needed monies for this organization, as well as supporting their mandate to provide AIDS/HIV awareness to every facet of society in a very entertaining way.

Dimension is the theme of this year's show. The creators liked the ambiguity of the name because, as Jenkins notes, "It lets people take away what they want from it." Onlookers can refer dimension to the measurement of the models, the amplitude of the music or the scope of lifestyles, for example.

Music for the show includes a wide variety of house samplings: hip hop, funk, progressive house, jungle/break beat, acid jazz and classic house. Sinclair makes it known that these musical styles originate from the "same tree with many, many branches."

The official UG after-party, at a surprise location, proudly presents London homey John Aquaviva, who is often booked solid to spin and mix in every corner of the world.

The graphic designs highlight Jym Campbell's, talents. He has designed the shows concept and layout for the past two years and was the creative inspiration behind the Ontario Summer Games '96 poster.

Dimension's technical dream team, beams Sinclair, consists of audio engineer Chris Jordan, producer/director Scott Wenman and video producer/engineer Dave Stevens of TV Western.

A media blitz will be in attendance if this year resembles the turnout from last year's Ooh La La, MuchMusic and local coverage. Of note too is the celebrity support received by Donovan Bailey and the Toronto Raptor cheerleaders at 1996's show, Truth.

Jack is back, and the boy is lookin' fine.

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997