Find out how the legacy of astronaut, scientist and musician Ron McNair has inspired a new series of parties, supported by B&O PLAY.


Astronaut, scientist and musician Ron McNair was a true polymath. B&O PLAY has teamed up with organiser and DJ, Garth Trinidad and The Theatre at Ace Hotel, Downtown Los Angeles, to celebrate McNair with A Party Called Ron McNair on 5 November.  Trinidad tells us about McNair's legacy, inspiring people through collectivity, and, of course, putting on a good party.


It's fair to say that Ronald E. McNair had a passion for all that life on this Earth – and beyond – offered up: he was a DJ, jazz saxophonist, fifth degree black belt in karate, astronaut and laser physicist, among other things. Tragically, McNair's life was cut short when the NASA Space Shuttle Challenger exploded during takeoff in 1986, killing McNair and his fellow crew members.  LA-based DJ, music editor and event organiser, Garth Trinidad has worked with us at B&O PLAY and Ace Hotel to kick off a series of parties celebrating McNair's legacy of collaborative investigation, adventurousness and creativity. Below, we chat with Trinidad about the roots of his interest in McNair, and how he has been influenced by this scientific and cultural pioneer.

How did you came across Ron, his life and work? 

My DJ and production partner Mateo Senolia – aka novelist and screenwriter, Marcus Guillory – was the 1991 recipient of the Ronald E. McNair Omega Scholarship at Jesse H. Jones High School, given by the Rho Beta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity – a chapter of which McNair was an active member when he lived in Houston. Black heroism is a recurring theme in our ongoing dialog and narrative as a DJ/production team. For example, Mateo has produced music that has featured the words of James Baldwin, and our first series of parties in LA were dubbed Jim Kelly, after the iconic 1970's film star and martial artist.

What first grabbed you personally and creatively about Ron?

Dr McNair is a phenomenon. In my mind he's a black boy's childhood dream come to life, a fantastic storybook tale. His achievements and his iconic NASA images have been imprinted in my mind and served as a quiet inspiration for years, like a cool uncle you look forward to hanging out with. As a DJ, his musings as a jazz musician combined with his work as an astronaut and laser physicist spoke volumes. His legacy has become part of my personal 'why' – when I play music on the radio or in public, I try to take people out of this world.

“So many people are stuck in boxes of tradition, expectation, insecurity, and so on. Dr McNair broke free and cast a rainbow of infinite possibilities for the world to see.”

The notion of mixing art with science is now very relevant to contemporary culture: was Ron ahead of his time? How do you think people relate to him now? 

Like most great achievers, be they artists or academics, I don't believe they are ahead of their time – rather so many people are stuck in boxes of tradition, expectation, insecurity, and so on. Dr McNair broke free and cast a rainbow of infinite possibilities for the world to see. His legacy as artist and scientist reverberate across the galaxy, making sense and affecting those of us who are tuned in. For the US especially, this reverberation cuts through the noise of junk food social media culture and beckons us to focus on real progress, whether personal, professional, spiritual or otherwise.

Collectivity is extremely important to music and how we celebrate many important life events. Literally: parties can change our world. Tell us who you hope to reach with with A Party Called Ron McNair, and what do you hope they get out it?

There is nothing like the intoxicating feeling of rhythm, song, colour, all coursing through our bodies and senses in unison. I grew up inspired by my own experiences which led me to create some of the most memorable events and parties in LA. There are pockets of like-minded collectives across the country and around the world waiting for this event – everyday people that think and groove independently, discerning music connoisseurs, cinefiles, science lovers, dance floor junkies, etc. Simply put, I want A Party Called Ron McNair to inspire people – to think, to dance, to make new friends and reconnect with old ones.


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We'd love for you to join us at A Party called Ron McNair on 5 November, 2016 from 10pm–2am

RSVP (free):

The Theatre at Ace Hotel
929 S Broadway
Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90015


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