Monthly Archives: June 2014

[Music Monday] EDC ’14 Live Sets

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Photo Credit: Alex Perez for Insomniac

This past weekend, over 400,000 smiling faces graced the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for three nights of what can only be described as a whirlwind combination of friendly faces, massive bass, eclectic costumes and immense, immersive stages.  Now in it’s 18th year – Pasquelle Rotella and Insomniac Events have been bringing people together under the beautiful, electric sky for a night of magic, mystery, euphoria and the most beautiful type of mayhem you’ll ever encounter.  From it’s humble beginnings in San Bernadino and Los Angeles, to the massive scale festival that’s now situated just beyond the bright lights of Las Veags – EDC has become an internationally renowned festival; and the Insomniac Team has it’s more than earned those bragging rights.

Between the 8 permanent stages of music and mobile art carts traversing the grounds, there was literally something for everyone.  neonGARDEN played host to the Deep and Tech House DJs for the night, and was hosted by the man, the myth and the legend Carl Cox the first two nights and hosted the likes f Claude VonStroke, Dusky, Art Department, Adam Beyer, Booka Shade, Maya Jane Coles and Eats Everything.  The circuitGROUNDS brought in some of the more bass heavy, electro house like Afrojack, Sander van Doorn, Dada Life, Bingo Players and my personal favorite, Prydz.  Even though there were some stand outs in the line-up for me, Martin Garrix would be enough for me to avoid the circuit like the plague on the first night and any stage hosted by Avicii is reason enough for me to meander elsewhere.

Bassrush hosted the BassPod and brought in crowd favorites like 12th Planet, Infected Mushroom and Seven Lions for the first two nights.  On the last night, the BassPod boasted a co-curated stage with Andy C’s Ram Records for one of the most epic nights of Drum and Bass I’ve ever seen stitched together with Wilkinson, Loadstar, SubFocus, Netsky….um, yeah. Swoon.  In what I consider a monumental move, HARD is back at EDC for it’s second year with a curated stage – bringing in a Dubstep, Electro House, Bass heavy…well, party.  They’re covering all the genres with eclectic artists like Diplo, Justin Martin, Oliver, Madeon, Flosstradamus, Knife Party, Chromeo, Brancez, A-Trak, Zeds Dead, Dillon Francis, Bassnectar, What So Not and HARD’s founder Destructo. And for the first year, the DiscoveryProject itself was expanded to encompass costume design, stage design and art installations in addition to DJs and producers.

edc las vegas schedule 2014

I consider music my religion, so when I discovered that the kinesticFIELD – the main stage of EDC – had been completely redesigned into a cathedral – the DJ booth was giant pipe organ, adorned by two massive owls with outstretched wings. At over 440 feet wide and 80 feet tall, this is the largest stage in Insomniac history.  As I burrowed through pictures on social media – my heart swooned almost as fast as the FOMO set in; yes, I get claustrophobic, sure Las Vegas would’ve been expensive this weekend, and maybe I’m not exactly all the way recovered from my amazing weekend at Lightning in a Bottle.  So what?! Oh, man – that’s when I knew I was really missing out on something.  It was the first time since EDMBiz ended that I really felt the need to physically be in Vegas for EDC.  Through an on-point digital partnership with 7Up, EDC live streamed select stages for ‘EDC Curated’ as a way to indulge those of us that couldn’t attend the spectacle – and I’m so thankful they did!  As part of this global consciousness, it’s a great reminder for those of us that’ve been part of this ‘scene’ or whatever you want to call it that we really are connected by the music; and that’s a formidable bond.  My first EDC was the last festival held in San Bernadino and my last EDC was the first held in Vegas; the event and the community that engulfs it have become a family and within that, a second home for me.  So even though I wasn’t there, it was near impossible to not feel like I was still part of the event.

From stilt walkers to aerial artists, winged fairies and masked marathon dancers – the troupe that Insomniac brings in rivals the high octane energy of each and every smiling face in attendance.  Over 400,000 people from 40 different countries and all 50 states came together to experience the epic 3 night event, and for everything potentially lost in the Vegas desert – from cell phones to wallets, id cards and brain cells – with the new friends and a welcoming community, I guarantee much more was found.

If you’re fighting against the grain this Monday, wishing you were in Vegas or itching to get back – I’m pretty sure these EDC sets will help you coast through until 5pm. Enjoy! 🙂

 

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[Wednesday Watercooler] Take a Mini-Mind Vacation

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As we enter the middle of the week, we sit smack dab in the cusp of Gemeni and Cancer, and at the pivot point Spring and Summer; June Solstice is just around the corner, happening this Saturday around 3:50 AM PST.  Now, I’m not in school anymore but I definitely wish I was for more than one reason – I loved my collegiate community in Santa Barbara, I loved summer in Santa Barbara – but more over, I loved celebrating the Solstice there! Every year, the streets of downtown are littered with excited visitors and locals getting down in the beautiful sunshine to live music, great food and wonderful art all weekend long.

Festival Date: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Solstice in SB

If you’re in the So Cal area, I definitely suggest getting to State St to check out the festivities; but if you don’t make it, don’t sweat it – there’s always the ‘Old Spanish Days’  and Fiesta in early August.  Put all of that together and shake it up, and you’ve got me thinking that I could use a vacation – couldn’t we all though? This whole week I’ve been staring at posts, links and pictures that literally transport me to a different world – so even if you’re stuck in an office cube, and your version of a vacation is getting off work at 5pm and diving into a cold beer, take a mini-mind trip through these awesome posts…enjoy!

Travel Through Underground Caves in Wales by Trampoline

Yes, you heard that right – in the Llechwedd caverns, Bounce Below has set up three giant trampolines to take visitors on a unique sight seeing experience.   The caverns are located in Northern Wales and the trampolines will open this July, boasting a 60′ slide and 10′ tall net walls on either side.   According to creator Sean Taylor – “It’s a one-hour activity where customers get dressed up in a cotton overall and are given a helmet…they then jump on a train and travel inside the mountain. They then disembark into a cavern twice the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral.” The cherry on top of this amazing adventure sundae? Lights.  The Llechwedd caverns will be swimming with gradients of pink, green, purple and turquoise lights. I say we book a group trip, like now.

Photo Cred: Creator’s Project

 

Nocturnal Wonderland Returns to Southern California

There might be a bit of gloom in the June of Southern California, but thanks to an early announcement from Insomniac Events founder Pasquale Rotella – residents are far from bummed. Late last night, Pasquale took to Facebook to announce that their pinnacle Autumn attraction ‘Nocturnal Wonderland’ will be making a triumphant return San Manuel Amphitheater for two days of festival fun over September 5th and 6th.

We are taking all the necessary steps we need to alleviate some of the logistical issues we’ve had in the past, especially where traffic is concerned. We’ll be lowering the capacity to create a more comfortable experience so that we ensure that everything about the event runs smoothly, even after the music ends. Our top priority is delivering the highest quality experience possible for all you Headliners. – Pasquale Rotella

As it stands, Nocturnal Wonderland is Insomnaic Events’ longest running festival with deep roots in Southern California – and as they always say, ‘The Show Must Go On’ – and, it is! Past headliners for the event have included 12th PlanetAbove & BeyondCosmic GateChris LakeGui BorattoMat ZoOrbitalSub FocusUmek and more.

Thanks to the love, dedication and determination of the EDM community at large Nocturnal Wonderland is back in a big way. Make sure to stay tuned for the latest and greatest in Insomniac Events headlines, and keep your ears to the ground for line-up announcements, ticket sales and more through the company’s websiteFacebook and Twitter.

See you in Wonderland!

Uber in Style with Optimus Prime 

In a cross-branding effort by Transformers and Uber for the new movie ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’, the companies have teamed up in three major US cities to shuttle you in tech savvy style.  In Dallas this past Tuesday, Phoenix this Thursday and Los Angeles on Saturday – if it’s between 1-7pm, Optimus Prime will cruise to your neighborhood and swoop you for 15 minutes of fame.  You might not get where you wanted to go but really, who the hell cares: YOU’RE RIDING ON OPTIMUS PRIME, DUDE.

Photo Cred: Uber

 

[Tech Tuesday] Loosen Facebook’s Uncomfortable Grasp On Your User Data

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Somewhere between the excitement of the pure breadth of the internet and the desire to connect communities within it, Facebook was born.  And the world as we once knew it has never been the same.  My friends and I have casually joked about how we sit on the edge of an era, and we’re watching our counterparts on either side crumble from either too much, or too little, engagement with it.  The irony of social media’s evolution lies in two places.  First, instead of growing up with physical board games like Scrabble, people are  playing games like ‘Words with Friends‘ with absolute strangers that they have no intention of meeting.

Secondly, there’s this: over the course of our history as a country, Americans have felt a pretty specific way about Big Brother keeping all eyes and ears out of their business. Historically, the people to report for the census have by in large been representative of the middle to upper class white Majority in America.  By in large, it’s been the under-educated,the  low-income and first generation citizens of this country who either lack the capacity to fill out the forms, our a residence at which to receive the census.  As a Statistician and a Californian, I don’t put much stock in anything beyond AC Nielsen viewer data; but apparently the government doesn’t either, because they’re currently sitting on and turning to a wealth of data that we don’t even realize we’re contributing to on the daily.  Yep, you guessed it: Facebook.

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment, the government has always wanted this demographic data on citizens – but with something like Facebook, where we as users choose what to share, or not share – if what they originally wanted was a molehill, what we’re now giving them is an entire mountain of information.  Every click, every mouse hover, every statement typed out and then deleted – it’s stored somewhere.  All of your friends, and then non-friends, and even those sometimes boyfriends and your now significant other, they’ve become data points:  documented, analyzed and stored forever.  On your parents, your loved ones, your future children, your feelings – they’re bitcode players in this new cyber-board game of the world.

According to Martin Smith, the producer of the exceptionally well done PBS Frontline series on ‘The United States of Secrets‘: “If the FBI came to your door and demanded photos of your wedding, the names and daily habits of your children, the restaurants you frequent, who you’ve called and texted for the past month, and where you’ll be staying on your upcoming vacation, you’d call your lawyer….But that’s exactly the sort of information we’re all sharing by living our lives digitally — and the government has taken notice in a big way.”

Facebook MessengerFor the better part of the past decade, I’ve been an active, eager and more than willing participant  in this social experiment. At first glance, they’re loaded words words but dive a little deeper and you’ll discover the unfortunate truth that it’s really not that far from it.  Our Facebook profiles are a better mirror of pop culture than personality.  In effect, they’ve become a written version of ‘The Sims’ where we’re allowed to embody and pursue any facet of our psyche – but now, advertisers profit from it and the government covets it.  So, it’s has to be time for us to break free from the ties of social media.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried deleting your account – but I have, and I can tell you that it’s a paradoxical statement. Your account will stay ‘live’ for two weeks just in case you have buyer’s remorse of that newfangled free time; and now there’s options to essentially put your account on temporary pause instead of deleting it.  Why?  Let’s face it, over time there’ll be better, brighter and bolder ways to analyze your clicks, catch-phrases and chat messages, so why not keep it stored somewhere in a digital locker until you need it?  From a data standpoint, it’s genius; too bad this is our lives we’re talking about here – and that’s no one’s fault but our own.

Facebook privacy changes roll out on a gross level fairly frequently, but whether we’ve been made aware or not, on a more nuanced level these changes constantly on our profiles. It’s not that I’m happy to announce this but every month or so I scour the internet in search of the latest in Facebook’s privacy predilection.  Partially, because I’m curious – and the other part, is as active as I am online I also want to be aware of how my data’s being used, especially if it’s being used without my permission.  There are so many uninformed people simply giving into this seemingly self gratifying system of social media – and I can say this, because I was one of them; but I’m not anymore and I’d love to share the wealth of my information. So, take some notes as I show y’all how to take back the reigns of your Facebook privacy settings.

A New, Optional Way to Share and Discover Music, TV and Movies_2

 

Earlier in May, Facebook altered the standard sharing setting of new users from ‘Public’ to ‘Friends’ – which was always a head scratching moment for me – and they let in on a new feature ‘audio sampling.’ If opted, Facebook can now access the microphone (if opted) and pick up on the soundtrack of your day, whether it’s ‘The Breakfast Club’ or ‘NOISIA’.

One thing that’s never made much sense to me was why Facebook Messenger needed a standalone application; sure, the UI is a little bit nicer, but functionality wise they do the same thing.  In the back of my always moving mind, it makes me wonder if it’s simply to store an even bigger wealth of user data for analysis.  So, it came as very little shock to me to me that Facebook continues to roll out impressive bold options with dire consequences.

Unfriending Facebook Messenger 

Just this week, there are two tweaks coming to the application that yes, helps streamline the process – but to what end?  If we download the actual messenger app, we can not only send pictures – but now, we can record and send videos via the Facebook app.  Video recording capabilities imply use of both the camera and our microphone, meaning that Facebook has access to both features on our phone.  The punchline? Since Facebook is part of PRISM: the government has access to them, too.  There’s an incredibly quick fix to this problem: stop using the application.  Yes, the stickers are adorable and there are so many ways to share – but put it in a text message and leave the third party applications (and the government) out of it.

Stop Facebook From Sharing Browser History

Last week, Gizmodo – one of my favorite Tech sites – raised some red flags about Facebook’s new advertising policy.  Since it’s gone public, the general public has been made increasingly clear just how much money Zuck has in his pocket and how much Facebook makes off of users via third party applications like Candy Crush and who knows what else.  Now, in an effort to streamline ads (read: increase revenue) Facebook’s browsing through our browser data for prime placement. Thankfully, there’s a way to ‘Opt Out of Ad-Sharing’ – head over to the Digital Advertising Alliance on each of your browsers and unsubscribe those snoopers. As a general rule with all things Facebook: when in doubt, opt out.

Don’t Give In To New Snapchat Rival, Slingshot

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about internet fads, everyone loves ‘New’ – and more often than not, the younger generation doesn’t want anything to do with Facebook or social media commitment of any kind (re: Snapchat).  It should be as no shock then that Facebook has produced a ‘worthy’ competitor with a different purpose.  With a catchy name and technology forward approach, Slingshot is a photo sharing app that only lets the viewer see a picture after they’ve sent one in response.  I love the concept – like a ‘Telephone’ game of photography, but don’t for one second think that this data – like Snapchats – is sitting somewhere, waiting to become a statistic.

After all this time, the photo albums, the Timeline updates, finding the perfect words for a status only to know that you’ve stored the previous 27 awkward versions -Facebook has truly become the government’s ‘long con’- so, how much longer are you going to give in? Phone a friend, step outside with a polaroid camera, write your parents a letter – but become an active participant in your life, as opposed to a passive member of this Matrix.

[The Audiofiles] Dream Rockwell Dishes on The DoLab, LIB and Lucent Dossier’s ‘Light of the World’ Tour

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Lucent

Originally Published on The DJ List: As a sidenote, I’ve written for The DJ List for a year and a half now; worked my way from Ad Hoc press releases to being the Senior Editor and PR Specialist, and at about the 150 article mark – this interview with Lucent Dossier founder Dream Rockwell stands at the pinnacle of my accomplishments, right along with my coverage of Lightning in a Bottle, Sea of Dreams and Krewella’s Get Wet Tour with Seven Lions.  Enjoy; I know I did!

As Spring manifests into Summer, Los Angeles based avant-garde performance collective the Lucent Dossier Experience are taking a quick break between legs of their first North American Headlining Tour “Light of the World.” The tour showcases the production and vocals of Lucent leader Dream Rockwell alongside singer Sarah Llewellyn and band members Atla Gadret and Metaphase. Commencing at Coachella’s Gobi Stage, and then another headlining set at California’s coveted underground music festival Lightning in a Bottle, they’ve been taking the East Coast of the country by storm with their out of this world stage spectacle of acrobats and contortionists ebbing and flowing to eastern inspired melodies. City by city, the 21 person performance troupe joins up with exclusive local acts for a unique Lucent Dossier Experience each and every time.

With multiple tours spanning twelve countries over the past decade, it’s easy to understand how the ensemble worked their way from humble beginnings in the vast underground party network of Los Angeles to international stardom. In a Bohemian-Steam Punk induced style all their own, The Lucent Dossier Experience combines the theatrics of modern dance and performance art with the immense creativity that fuels festivals like Coachella, Burning Man and Lightning in a Bottle. Weaving aerial acrobatics into body rattling sub-bass frequencies, the troupe delivers a performance package that completely redefines the live theater experience by further blurring the line between performer and audience member. The team is led by the effervescent Dream Rockwell, a creative visionary with a clear understanding of what she wants to give to the world; and we were lucky enough to touch base with her as her troupe gears up for their Summer tour across the West Coast and Canada.

TDJL: Thanks so much for finding the time to talk with The DJ List! To start with, what kickstarted you to form the Lucent Dossier Experience and what fuels your creative fire?

“I started The Do LaB with two brothers. They loved to build and light things, lots of power tools and stuff. I wanted to do more frilly lacy things….more spiritual, if you will, more silliness; so I started Lucent, to get my creative wiggle out. We became the perfect complement to each other. I fueled by my desire to live in a better world and the understanding that we can’t do it alone. We have to go together. So I hope to inspire others to create a better world for us all to live it. That’s my passion.”

TDJL: Not only are you the founder of the Lucent Dossier Experience, but you’re a co-founder of Lightning in a Bottle – what other hats do you wear?

“I have a foundation called Cuddle the World, we deliver cuddle blankets, inspirational toys and instruments and necessities to children in basic care institutions worldwide. In fact, I’m almost on my way Guyana to visit an orphanage and play with the kids there. I’m pretty excited about that.”

TDJL: Coming off of your amazing performance at Lightning in a Bottle, how and where do you draw your inspiration from and how does that translate into your solo performances – like the one coming up in Los Angeles at the Nokia Theater?

“We’re always inspired to inspire others. To be more of who the really are. Not who we think we should be, but just who we are. We’re all weirder, more powerful, more playful then how we’re living and acting…..at least that’s my belief. Lucent is a permission slip to let it all transpire, all the awesomeness of who we really are. “

TDJL: You’re on another tour – the ‘Light of the World Tou’r – how does this differ from your last national tour and when ‘Lucent Met Herakut’?

“When Lucent Met Herakut was a show we put up at the Palace DTLA. Our last national tour was with Panic! At the Disco. We’ve done lots of dates here and there but this is our big first tour in years, and our first as a headliner! The difference is, we are more in our power now then we’ve ever been. We are super solid in our craft and as a team. It’s an exciting time for us. “

TDJL: With the Do Lab – life seems to be non-stop; a festival here, performance there – how do you manage to stay on top of it all and, when you’re not Do Labbing it up – how do you fill your leisure time?

“I’m not involved in the day to day of The Do LaB operations these days. I’m focused on LIB and Lucent. But even so, leisure time is few and far between. I could probably use a little more leisure time and hope to get it soon. But I love what I do; it’s important to me.”

More tour dates will be rolling out soon, so make sure to stay up to date with Dream Rockwell and all things LUCENT DOSSIER through their socials.

Early Summer 2014 “Light of the World” Tour Dates:
7/25 Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
7/26 Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia
8/10 Salmo, BC Shambhala Music Festival

Lucent Dossier Experience: The DJ List | Website | Facebook

Dream Rockwell: Facebook

To find out more about Dream’s Non Profit foundation ‘Cuddle the World’, please head to the website here

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[Wednesday Watercooler]

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If time stood still for Lightning in a Bottle, then it’s been going at Warp Speed ever since – there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week and weeks in the month to accomplish everything I want! There are lists upon lists of things to accomplish, meals to cook and conquer, hikes to go on, museum exhibits to attend, festivals to cover and friends to hang out with – and then there are all the things I wind up doing instead of making plans; isn’t that life, though?I’ve been a little – well – spread thin as of late; with great power, comes great responsibility.  First, thanks to the fact I’m on Best Buy – my role within the Disney organization has been kicked up a bit;there’s simply more visibility from the EVP’s on down. Not that I’m complaining – it’s just become more imperative that I stay the course, finish deadlines with a healthy time cushion so I can double check my work and it requires me to be a ‘self starter’. Knowing how big of a procrastinator I used to be, I guarantee it’s something my parents probably laugh at every now and again.  And then, there’s my work for The DJ List.  A year and a half ago, I was a lowly editor – and now, I’m a Senior Editor, Senior Publicist, PR Specialist and the 3rd from the top.  Not to toot my own horn, but 100 articles, 2 major festivals and 10 shows later – it feels like I’ve gone from having a hand in the cookie jar to a foot in the door; and I can’t even explain how blessed it makes me feel.  So, juggling two jobs, a relationship, cats and friends – it’s pretty simple to see that life is what happens when I’m busy making other plans, and I’m so very okay with that.   The great news – which I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, is that it’s hump day (finally!). What better way to get over the Wednesday hump than some awesome watercooler talking points; so, without further ado – let’s get down to business!

The Garden Grows Up

The ‘Vertical Farming Initiative’ is headed by Dr. Despommier – a professor at Columbia University in Public Health and Environmental Science, and why this hasn’t been considered before is almost beyond me; especially in high rise cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai. It purports that there’s a large amount of untapped resources and open space at our disposal that gets gregarious amounts of light, enough light to house a variety of herbs and plants – enough to ensure communities don’t go hungry. And similar to a tree, the structure also gets it’s energy from the sun; the sun’s rays are stored in Photovoltaic cells and used at night time for heat as well as light.

Genius!

A/S/L/OS? The First Supercomputer Passes the Turing Test

Though it’s considered an incredibly remedial, outdated test from over 60 years ago – the Turing Test, created by Alan Turing, was developed in 1950 as a mechanism to quantify a computer’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour at par with human intelligence.  While it’s debatable just how valid this test even is, and how intelligent this new ‘Super Computer’ is that actually only tricked 33% of participants into thinking it’s a 13 year old boy, the long and short of it is that we’re still in the process of developing automated computers that contain learning algorithms; and the future we’re building is drawing more parallel’s from ‘The Island’, ‘Terminator’ and Isaac Asimov’s ‘iRobot’.  This computer, eh – least of our worries; but the fact that we’re putting weight into this technology isn’t something to scoff at, or glaze over.  We’re at an era of greatness in science and technology, but my fear is that by pushing for Artificial Intelligence – we’re refusing responsibility for community and social intelligence, and it could be the disintegration of society as we know it.  But, for now, that’s just my opinion, man. 

Featured Image for Is that a nebula trapped inside a gemstone?

Is that a Nebula in your gem – or are you just happy to see me?

I’m not usually one to go gaga over geological formations – but the second I laid my eyes on this Contraluz Opal, I was in lust.  Discovered up in Opal Butte, Oregon – this stunning stone is going for a pretty penny (20,000,000 of them to be exact).  Sold last may through the Bonhams aution house, the piece has a ‘botryoidal jasper formation which forms a unique inclusion’.  I’m still not exactly sure what this means, except that I want it.

The Vindication of the Valley Girls

I’m a writer – and the great thing about writing, is you have the entire breadth of the English language at your disposal to play with, manipulate and use as you see fit; if I don’t like the way a word works out, I can rearrange my sentence or find a suitable substitute.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t translate into speaking prowess very easily – I used to slip a ‘like’ every now and again, but over time and some speech classes, I’ve substituted the ‘like’ for an ‘um’ or solid pause to collect my thoughts and get to the point of what I was actually trying to say.  Well, thanks to a study released today – it sounds like the world’s been stigmatizing us all wrong. Yeaaahhhh; way harsh, Tai!

While slipping more “likes” into your daily vocabulary is not going to make you a more conscientious person, the study suggests that the word and those who use it may have been unfairly maligned. Though filler words are often considered hallmarks of vapidity, they could actually signal a speaker taking the time to listen and respond deliberately. Rather than blurting out whatever is on their mind, they’re trying to find the right word or analogy.

Last but not least, the folks at Lightning in a Bottle have thrown together quite the recap video from the other weekend and in the best way, it makes me incredibly home sick.  Take a gander for a menagerie of the magic, mayhem and memories that was LIB’14