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  • Annya Pabial

JORE’s Going to the Diwali Drop and You Should Too!

You may have heard of And/Aur’s ingenious fusion events like Masala Mixtape and Rang Rave taking the New York City community by storm, but are you aware of their latest South Asian soiree?

We had the chance to sit down with the talented minds behind these pioneer events and pick their brains about how they came to be, the inspiration behind them, and their hopes for future events, as well as teasing us about what attendees can expect at Diwali Drop.

Their upcoming event, the aforementioned Diwali Drop, is set to take place on the 21st of October. It’s marketed as a unique three-in-one evening: the Bazaar at 6PM, a Comedy Show at 8PM, and the After Party at 11PM! Completely unlike any other event NYC has seen (which is a pretty big feat!), it’s sure to be a night that combines all the very best parts of South Asian culture in a huge, non-traditional, unparalleled, diaspora-typical way.

JORE has looked to And/Aur’s events with both pride and excitement, and we consider this one exactly the same. We’re immensely proud to see the

community coming together, especially during such uncertain and strange socio-economic times, and we can’t implore you enough to attend one of their events if you’re able to. They’re seriously one-of-a-kind… However, let’s hear all about it from And/Aur themselves.

First and foremost, I wanted to commend your inventiveness for creating an event based on the pre-existing community Diwali festival and then fashioning it into something more contemporary. Was there a specific reason you chose a comedy night? And will there be any traditional customs upheld at the event?

Thank you for the kind words. As with our previous events, our goal is to create elevated experiences with the South Asian diaspora in mind while also bringing important cultural traditions to the forefront. The idea of having a comedy night came from a mix of incorporating an aspect of joy and laughter for Diwali and highlighting South Asian talent, which is something we care deeply about. The event will have several elements of a traditional Diwali festival from a classic shopping experience to an abundance of diyas, lights and feasts!

You previously held Rang Rave, a unique and immersive Holi experience. What makes events such as these, stemming from a basis of generations-old religious ties, so important for our community, especially in regards to a younger type of audience who may not be all that interested in the specific religious folklore or customs?

Some of us are familiar with these festivals in a more traditional setting, starting the morning with a worship, visiting family members, and celebrating with gifts, sweets, and lights. Given our upbringing in South Asian households, we aspire to create these events to carry on these customs and incorporate elements of that familiarity but put them in a more contemporary setting.

Expanding on the idea of community, Masala Mixtape, another event you put on, was delivered to a post-pandemic audience. Undoubtedly, it brought people together and reminded them just how important it is not only to support the South Asian community’s diverse creative artists, but also that we are the only ones we can rely on to create spaces for ourselves where we will all truly be celebrated. Did any of these sentiments carry forward for Diwali Drop?

Our motivation for Masala Mixtape was to create a space to highlight South Asian talent and developed into the music festival that our community saw and experienced. With Diwali Drop, our goal remains to build upon our previous events and provide unique experiences that underscore the enormous talent of members in our community such as the massively popular Zarna Garg and Vishal Kal of Indian Matchmaking fame.

For those who have attended your prior events and are hoping to make it to Diwali Drop, what would you say to entice them that sets this night apart from the rest?

We develop these experiences to be unique and special while centering them in tradition and putting a spotlight on South Asian creatives. Diwali Drop and the concept of a Comedy Night Bazaar is unlike any other event this city has seen before and we hope guests get a chance to appreciate the thought we’ve put behind producing this unique experience.

Anyone who participated in your previous events will know just how extraordinary they were, and–I’m sure–can’t help but rub it in people’s faces that they went. Could you talk a little bit about your reaction to the success you’ve experienced, the hype that was generated around the events, and the expectation for more?

That is very nice of you to say. We were definitely pleasantly surprised and humbled by the response we got from the community. When we set out to create the experience, we knew there was an unmet demand from our community but the turnout and feedback were unlike anything we expected and we are thankful to everyone who attended. We hope to keep challenging ourselves to produce such events and build upon our previous learnings to bring more unique and special experiences to our community.

The South Asian community, especially so with the diaspora, is used to fighting to have our voice heard in predominantly white spaces. For you personally, why are events such as these so necessary and important for us?

South Asian talent has entered mainstream consciousness over the past few years in the entertainment industry but we still lack experiences that make it easy to discover, highlight and access that talent in a more intimate and personal setting. With these events, we hope to expand the exposure of creatives in our community as well as provide a space for our guests to enjoy what’s familiar culturally yet inaccessible at the moment.

If you weren’t putting on your own events, what things would you like to see pop up in the future? What are the types of functions you’d attend yourself?

The beauty of South Asian culture is how similar our values are yet how diverse and vast our community is with its many different subcultures. We would love to produce as well as hope that others create experiences around traditions in these subcultures and bring these valued traditions to the forefront. As people who’re steeped in the events industry and passionate about our community, it’d be great to see and attend more such events that elevate up-and-coming South Asian creatives.

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