Nestled somewhere between reality and fantasy, an ethereal stage filled with mystical dancers, cosmic jesters, and enchanting sirens have enticed thousands of viewers to just let go and caper into a world where anything is possible. Among this cast of characters is the queen of imagination herself, Dream Rockwell. With a name that suites her well, Dream created the Lucent Dossier Experience as a way to combine her creative talents with her innate desire to transform performance art.
In 2009, a series of links led me to this avant-garde, Cirque du Soleil inspired, whimsical group of vaudevillian nerds called the Lucent Dossier Experience. They were steampunks on steroids. Artists from another world. Transistors of cosmic energy. I knew I had discovered something beyond cool. Something fresh and invigorating.
The Lucent Dossier Experience had taken residency at a club in Hollywood called the H-Wood, an industrial-themed venue that had lots of playful nooks and crannies. From the moment I entered the lair, colorful gypsies and alluring carnival freaks of the 1930s were uniquely interacting with guests. Each played a specific role in the amenities that were offered throughout the evening. There were fortune-tellers and masseurs, wandering performers and aerial artists. As the years passed, Lucent’s popularity grew exponentially, to the point where now, in 2015, they are headlining a tour throughout North America.
MiLLENNiAL had the distinct privilege of sitting down with Dream Rockwell at this year’s Lightning in a Bottle, the first stop on the tour and a home away from home for these auspicious clowns. I had waited four years for this interview and finally was sitting back stage at the Lucent tent, filled with angst and excitement to meet the woman who had greatly influenced my life. She walked in with a glowing aura. Her massive mane of blonde hair pulled back in a disheveled ponytail. It was hot and dusty, yet she gracefully introduced herself and humbly sat next to me on a plush sofa.
Dream Rockwell & The Do LaB
It all started with a cascading vision – an array of artistic endeavors that had no real cohesion until she was directed to find her arrow. It was 2003 when Dream attended a party called “The Pajama Jammy Jam” that would ultimately change her life.
Sitting quietly in a room full of awkward wallflowers, Dream noticed a familiar man standing in the doorway. He broke the silence by stating to the group, “My name is Josh and I’ve been an alcoholic for 3 years.” While everyone uncomfortably adjusted, Dream was the only one who broke out into laughter. The man B-lined for her and introduced himself as Josh Flemming. Looking into his eyes, Dream flashed-back to a moment at Burning Man when she felt an intense connection to a similar looking guitar player who carelessly walked by her after the show.
As the present pulled her back from the memory, she felt there was an odd familiarity with Josh, and when he introduced her to his twin brother, Jesse (the guitar player from Burning Man), Dream knew this was no coincidence – this was destiny.
Josh later invited Dream to dinner where they shared their vision about creating a transformative event company that would incorporate elements of structural design and performance art. “Our lives just wove into each other,” Dream says reminiscently. That very week, Dream was planning to move to Italy and decided to eat her one-way ticket, forming The Do LaB and conceptualizing the Lucent Dossier Experience instead.
What started as an individual journey quickly turned into a collective exploration of creative minds. “I always felt I had something to say and I would always try to do it by myself,” Dream says, “when I met Josh and Jesse, they taught me about we, because they are twins so they are naturally we…As soon as I realized that WE is infinitely more powerful than ME, everything fell into place.”
The Milestone Anniversary
Celebrating 10 years of Dossier, the first and only original member, Roger Fojas, says the group has given him “a strong sense of community.” He was there from the beginning when Dream was looking to create a troupe full of vibrant characters that would connect with audience members in a way that pierced through societal layers and recognized the individual’s soul. He remembers performing at intimate venues (like the H-Wood) that would allow them to stare into the people’s eyes and acknowledge them in ways they may not have experienced before. “It really opened their minds and their hearts,” he says.
While the world looks at life as black and white, Fojas points out that Lucent likes to stretch those possibilities, inspiring guests to “find the magic and color within themselves.” Bridging that essence with electrifying music, Dream says that “Everyone wants to get their wiggle out and party, but I think that if we evolve that and take home some of that connection, we can allow it to change us.”
For the last four years, Lucent has fused together electronic beats with live instruments to create an energizing performance unlike any other. Atla Gadret and Frankie Bernstein, were the first musicians to compose and perform live with the troupe. The two met in 2011 while jamming with a few other Lucent musicians, and their chemistry led to the formation of a new sound. Bernstein says what he finds most unique “is the ability to collaborate one-on-one with amazing aerialists, amazing dancers, and a real variety of performers” to inspire what they make as producers. As a result, the band debuted their first album Light of the World on July 24, 2014.
Cuddle the World
But Lucent isn’t just about performing they are also about giving. In 2006, Dream started the charitable foundation, Cuddle the World, a nonprofit that donates stuffed animals to orphanages and teaches them how to snuggle among other resourceful skills. “I just wanted to be around kids and give back to the world in a completely selfless way,” she says of how she started the organization.
Her mission was sparked by an airline special that offered $50 tickets to Guatemala. She and 14 other Lucent members hopped on the deal and made their way to Central America. “What we discovered was that they didn’t have anything. They lost their parents, some were abused, but they were way happier than other kids. They were stoked to be alive and to be with us. We wanted to leave them with something.” Just as they leave imprints on all who witness their performances, Cuddle the World, leaves permanent smiles on all the children they reach.
From dynamic and galvanizing performances to heart-expanding and mind-altering connections, Dream Rockwell and the Lucent Dossier Experience invite all to jump out of their boxes and play in their world of emotional vulnerability. It is in that space that you will be liberated with the freedom to embrace your true identity.
The only way to feel the power of the Lucent Dossier Experience is to see them live. Be sure to check out their tour schedule to see when they are in a town near you.