Monthly Archives: December 2013

[Au Revoir, 2013!]

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Tonight is a milestone for me – I’ll be covering San Francisco’s famed New Years Eve Celebration Sea of Dreams for The DJ List.  If you asked me last year how I thought I’d be celebrating 2014, this would have in no way been on my radar and simply shows that hard work, dedication to a(/your) craft and a hobby that you truly enjoy can get you through any bad day or disillusioning job.

I’ve been told that how you ring in the New Year is indicative of how you’ll spend the rest of the year, and after this crazy whirlwind of an adventure that we’ve been calling 2013 – I can say with utmost certainty that this is true.  My writing career has blossomed, I fell in love with my best friend and I’ve finally realized how much I truly enjoy excelling at my 9-5 job, even if it’s a snoozefest half the time.

For the first time in a long time, I’ve given less thought to my social life and more thought to the person that I’d like to become – and through that, I’ve seen myself evolve from the little engine that could into the young lady that did.  I have one year left of my 20’s – one year left of this glorious adventure where I’m allowed to have my head in the clouds without a firm landing place on the ground and I don’t know if I feel like coming down anytime soon.

No matter who you ring in the New Year with or whatever you do, take the time to appreciate the world you’ve cultivated for yourself and then ask – what would you do if you couldn’t fail? What risks are you willing to take in 2014 that you’ve been willing to take head on and what dreams are you sick of deferring? Actively dream and create your own magic this year – if it’s anything like what I did for myself last year, I promise it’ll be more than worth it.

‘Til 2014, my pretty kitties!

Xx

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[The Audiofiles] Dive Into a Sea of Dreams

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Enjoying the festivities around the corner from my apartment at The Grove =)

When the holidays approach, there’s essentially one thing on every Audiofile’s mind: New Years Eve!  And then, of course, there are the quintessential questions that go along with it – what city to venture off to, what festival to attend, who to go with and last but most definitely not least, which sets to listen to and which you’re okay missing.

Whether you want to admit it or not, there’s a ton of planning that goes into celebrating the beginning of the New Year and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed a new-found appreciation for it because for my first three years in Los Angeles, my NYE plans were non-existent and I was more or less okay with being a recluse.  Which, after two years of going to Together As One and several years of simultaneously celebrating my best friend’s birthday with the coming of the New Year, was definitely not in my character – but neither were the circumstances in my life

Thankfully, 2011 was a year of change and evolution for me and I haven’t looked back since.  The year before, I dove into Together As One head first and without a safety net – I’m guessing that sounds slightly strange for those of you that have been following my adventures and incredibly bizarre for those of you that know me personally, but if you will – hear me out.  After going through four crazy months of reconciling an ex’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder I was on the hunt for myself again and New Years Eve gave birth to a version of myself that I’ve been waiting for.

Next Tuesday from 9pm to 4am, Sea of Dreams will take over Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for an evening of positive energy, creativity, vibrancy and connection. Created by the creative geniuses at AnonEvents and thrown by the good people at Sunset Productions and Another Planet Entertainment, Sea of Dreams is now in it’s 11th year in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The event itself is a menagerie of high end performance art, stunning live musical acts, an extravagant ambiance and breathtaking decorations fit for Burning Man.  And to top it off, the community surrounding the event is as rich and vibrant as the festivities themselves.

Photo: MKGraph

In the past, headlining acts have included crowd-favorites like Bassnectar, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Ghostland Observatory, Beats Antique, Adam Freeland, Tipper and FreqNasty – just to name a few; and this year’s lineup is definitely one to compete with!  In the past, the musical talent has fallen more on the experimental side – as you can see above; but, as times are a changing – so are the musical acts and the community around them, and it shows just how big the event has gotten with the unexpected addition of mainstream EDM acts like A-Trak and Dillon Francis.  Now, don’t get it twisted – I love them; I just didn’t expect to see them sitting on a line-up next to Emancipator and LowRIDERz. There’s nothing quite like getting myself musically ready for the event, so I’m pleased to announce this year’s lineup along with some required listening for the night’s festivities – enjoy, because I know I will!

Thievery Corporation

Hailing from DC, Thievery Corporation have been expertly meshing the musical elements of reggae, dub and acid jazz with Indian, Middle Eastern and Brazilian sounds to produce some of the best downtempo electronic music around since ’95.  I don’t know how it took me so long to appreciate their stylistic differences, but they’re refreshing to listen to – especially with all of the redundant EDM on the scene these days.

Little Dragon

Though they were formed in ’96, it wasn’t until the past year that Little Dragon migrated from an indie-electro, trip-hop Swedish trifecta into a hat-trick of musical geniuses appreciated the world over.

Photo: MK Graphy

Shpongle

A-Trak

When he’s not spinning next to Armand van Helden in Duck Sauce or getting into some family values with his brother, who just happens to be half of the indie-electro band Chromeo, A-Trak is handing out hit after hit on his Fools Gold Record Label. His style sits delightfully between bouncy Eletro-house beats and bass heavy Hip-Hop and after becoming the first DJ to win three major DJ competition titles (DMC, ITF and Vestax) as well as the first DJ to win five World Championships, he’s definitely one to be reckoned with.

Dillon Francis

Hailed as the creator of Moombhaton (The BPM of Dubstep, but cut in half) – Dillon Francis has etched a permanent position as the class clown of EDM.  But don’t let his affinity of cats, Taco Bell or his alter-ego DJ Hanzel fool you, Dillon Francis knows how to throw a party and in the past two years of seeing him perform, he has yet to disappoint.  To boot, he stands as one of the few DJs and Producers that I’m simply itching to be best friends and have kitty play-dates with.

Emancipator

Hands down, there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere that Emancipator creates with his music.  Originally from Portland, Oregon – Emancipator submerses the listener in a musical experience rich with live instruments and pulsing harmonies.

LowRIDERz (Laura Low & An-Ten-Nae)

Rob Garza (of Thievery Corp.)

Minnesota

Photo: MKGraph

We have three members of Claude VonStroke’s DirtyBird crew coming through –

J.Phlip

Worthy

Christian Martin

Thriftworks

And rounding out the lineup are SambaDrop, Nolan Gray, Jocelyn, Dax Lee.  With only five days left in 2013, do you know where you’ll be when the ball drops??

Photo: MKGraph

[Artist Spotlight] The Magician

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My musical appetite shifts pretty frequently and I have to admit, lately my music library just simply isn’t cutting it.  I’ve caught myself shuffling through my songs so frequently that in the course of a day, I hadn’t listened to a single song from beginning to end; so frustrating!  So, it makes my heart incredibly happy when I stumble across an artist that knows how to keep me interested for more than a few hours, or songs, at a time.

The Magician first popped up on my radar a few weeks ago on Hypem; remixes of ‘When The Night Is Over’ were pouring through the Indie-Electro blogs and the track above caught my ear. After a solid week of various versions of the single on repeat, I retired the track and promptly moved on to newer addictions.  But then yesterday, as I was scouring through my social media accounts – I clicked through to a few of my favorite producers and tweet after tweet was directing me back to him and the latest Magic Tape.

The Magician - Magic Tape #38

Initially, I proverbially kicked myself –  “Thirty EIGHT?! How have I inconveniently managed to avoid such an exceptional producer?” But a little bit of research later and a few ah-HA moments later, I realized this absolutely wasn’t the case.  Not long ago, The Magician – whose real name is Stephen Fasano, was half of the then-duo Aeroplane alongside Vito de Luca.  They’re best known for their Balearic disco and French/Indie House and I’ve been a huge fan of theirs for a few years now.  There’s a mix that I play whenever I need to whisk myself to a tropical island and it never fails to disappoint.

After some good runs with Aeroplane, Fasano realized that his interest in the group was fleeting and decided to amicably part ways from Vito. Thus, The Magician  was born!  Back in 2011 he joined forces with  Yusek to form Peter & The Magician and since the he’s managed to break off on his own for some solo project.  The Magicianskillfully weaves deep, tech and indie house into a full fledged dance party that I’ve literally been living in for the past two days.  The best part about Magic Tape #38?  There’s 37 more to go – enjoy!

Tracklist

1. Casino Gold – All I Need

2. Duke Dumont feat. Jax Jones – I Got U

3. John Newman – Losing Sleep (Disciples Remix)

4. Chris Malinchak – If U Got It (The Magician Remix)

5. Cheap Picasso – Don’t Play Around

6. HAIM – Forever (TCTS Remix)

7. Kiesza – Hideaway

8. Lancelot – Givin It up feat. Anthony & Cleopatra

9. ??? – ??? 1

0. Klaue & Tatze – Bringing It

11. Disclosure – Voices (Le Youth Remix)

[Writer’s Block: Find Your Purpose]

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I came into the office this morning with every intention of cracking down, getting my tea fix and doing the good ol’Excel plug-and-chug to get me through the day.  On a personal level, for the last few weeks I’ve been suffering from the strangest writers block. I felt that I didn’t have intention, that I didn’t have a purpose of even an audience.  Then, last night as I was getting into my journal to figure out my personal trajectory for 2014, I found myself thinking ‘What the hell is the point?’  I’ve felt like tapped out, under-performing, uninterested and overwhelmed; all in all, I was my own worst case scenario. My words were lackluster, my thoughts couldn’t be caught or collected with a net outfitted for a killer whale.   My mother warned me about this when I was a kid – this idea of ‘wanting too much’ for myself; of spreading myself too thin and giving 75% to various pursuits when I could choose to give 100% to just a few.  Pick your battles, she told me; but what if you want it all?

On on side of the coin -my paying job has given me one of the most visible accounts, and on the flip side I’ve been upgraded to a Journalist / Editor at The DJ List; add that all together and mix it up, and I’ve essentially been running myself into the ground trying to please everyone with my work.  But the question remains, am I pleased?  Have I developed a voice; have I made a mark; do I influence people and make them think; these are the questions that swim laps in my head from the second I wake up to the second I sleep.  And then there’s the ultimate, why does it matter?  And the answer will be different, each and every day – but at the end of it all, there’s only one answer that matters: because I wanted it.

Another lesson I learned at a young age was if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all; I think that goes doubly for if you don’t have anything to say at all.  Don’t force it, don’t make yourself regurgitate words you didn’t want to swallow in the first place – don’t pick a topic that bores or snores you and don’t write if your heart isn’t involved; words tend to lose their meanings when so many get in the way. 

[The Kitchen Kitten] Walnut + Blue Cheese Salad

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I almost fell off the bed this morning when I saw that it was December 17th; no, time did not stop for me on my 29th birthday and yes, I’ve been paying attention as the days pass – but the month is halfway over and I can almost count the day to 2014 on my fingers.  Man, oh man – it’ almost that time of year.  At the office, it means the first quarter of the fiscal year and the directors are making sure that all of our ducks are in a row, crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s.

But, on a more personal level – it’s almost the holidays, meaning whatever free time I thought I had will be gloriously overrun by family, friends and festive celebrations – three of my favorite F words, believe you me! However, since there are only 24 hour in a day and I’m always trying to cram three too many things into it, the one area of my life that I almost ignore when I’m busy is my appetite.   And take it from a Pro, that can throw your whole day in a downward spiral if you don’t tackle it in time.

Good new is that I’ve found the perfect, quick and easy fix – in the form of a salad!  I know what you’re thinking – silly rabbit, tricks are for kids!  True – but this tried and true meal can range anywhere from an appetizer salad to a full meal depending on how stacked you’re willing to make it.  One of the best things about salads – minimal prep-time.  Simply stock the fridge with your favorite dressing, fresh veggies and  then toss some arugula, red leaf lettuce or one of those convenient pounce of mixed green and your kitchen will always be prepared.

Before we go to the next step, expand your mind a bit about what can go into a salad.  Since cucumber, tomato and avocado are all fruits, why not toss in some slices of mandarin for a splash of citrus? Why not shred some of your favorite meats and cheeses for a boost of added protein, or add some nuts?  The possibilities are endless if you put your mind to it! The salad below is what I like to think of as a ‘next level’-salad – you have the incredible, savory flavor of the blue cheese melding with the sweet, smokiness of the candied walnuts, then the complementary cold and refreshing flavors of cucumber and beets leaves the pallet wanting more.  And trust me on that last part – I make this salad at least twice a week now! Now, onto the good stuff.

Tools:

  • 2 bowls – 1 large, 1 medium / small
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • cucumber peeler 
  • muddler (or, object with a blunt end)
  • salad tongs (optional)

Ingredients for 2:

  • 1 cup Baby Arugula (or greenery of choice)
  • 4 oz Blue Cheese Crumbles (If the taste is a little much, try Goat Cheese or Feta)
  • 6 oz Candied Walnuts (chopped or smashed)
  • 1/3 Cucumber
  • Trader Joe’s Goddess Dressing (or whatever your pleasure may be)
  • 6 oz cold Beets
  • Last, but not least – beats: I’ve really been digging on Emancipator lately – it’ perfect  stop-and-smell-those-roses type of music.

Optional: Upgrade yo’self, because you’re a boss like that:

  • Fresh Baby Shrimp ( .5 lb)
  • Granny Smith Apples (1 diced)
  • Prosciutto (4 slices)
  • Ground Pepper + salt (Tsp each)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (10-15)
  • Scallion slices (enough for flavor; to each their own)

The Basics: Mixed greens, beet, cucumber, blue cheese, candied walnut and Goddess dressing

 

Now, let’s get down to brass tax – and it’s incredibly simple:

  1. Wash your lettuce / arugula / whatever greens you selected and tear them into edible morsels, toss into large bowl and set aside
  2. Peel and chop the cucumber and beets (and other juicy veggies), throw into large bowl with greens and mix well
  3. In a small bowl, take your candied walnuts and your muddler and get your smash on until the pieces have become about a quarter the original size
  4. separate the blue cheese crumbles in your hand a bit and toss in with the walnuts
  5. Load the large bowl with dressing, toss for a bit then throw in the content of the small bowl

Voila – your ten minute meal is le served!