Monthly Archives: October 2014

[Real Talk] Cat Calling is Only Cool if You’re a Cat

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Earlier this week, a group called iHollaback  took the initiative to conduct a social experiment on the streets of NYC to show just how much unwanted attention a woman can get by simply stetting foot out the door.  Since 2011, they’ve been giving people a social soap box to engage their communities and share stories – stories of when they’ve felt verbally and physically intimidated, harassed, threatened and assaulted.  This video encapsulates what each and every woman has gone through – multiple times in her life, and sometimes – multiple times in her day.  Haven’t seen it yet? Before we get into it further –

First, we need to define cat calling – and I want to make it very clear, there’s a difference between acknowledging the presence of another human being – and making a woman crawl in her skin.

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Cat calling is street harassment – it’s unnecessary verbal contact that typically comes from a distance – much further than casual conversation would happen in your personal space; it has an intention – and it’s usually physical.  Because let’s face it, you didn’t have a sudden affliction for my personality, my intelligence, my wit or incredibly awkward sense of humor; you’re commenting on how I carry myself.  Because words tend to mirror desired action, women have learned to read through the lines – if you’re talking about my body, it’s because it’s desired, even if that desire is momentary and fleeting.  Most Men won’t understand what it feels to feel physically intimidated on a daily basis, but for women – that’s everyday life.  Being 6′ tall, I can safely say that I don’t feel that way the majority of the time, but it happens – it happens much more often than it should.  Though the video shows a predominantly vocal minority audience, don’t believe for a second that a wink, nod or lurking look can dissuade women the same way that verbal assault does.

If there’s one town in the US that’s synonymous with Halloween – it’s Santa Barbara.  Gaining notoriety for their annual week long rager, I didn’t attend UCSB until 2003 – a tad after it was “good”, according to every other class before us.  But what I noticed, and was part of, were a generation of young women taking hold of their sexuality and their bodies. Unfortunately, that comes at a price.  We live in an age where the greater community is more likely to tell me to put some clothing on than they are to tell a man how to treat a woman correctly.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling sexy, and it’s a shame that men have created an atmosphere where your physical safety feels threatened if you show some skin. Our twenties are supposed to be when we’re at our physical peak, so why not; but we’re more than our legs, eyes and lips – we enjoy thick books and nice scotches, a hearty burrito and video games, and are the perfect storm of beauty and intelligence.

My worst fear is that somewhere  in some strange town, there’s some woman that’s responding, appreciating and loving the attention and reinforcing bad behavior. Somewhere, along the line – these things have become learned and deeply ingrained in modern, male society.  Walk down Hollywood Blvd, Venice Beach or through Downtown LA and watch as the women with headphones on expertly weave through the crowd, avoiding interaction at all costs.

I view strangers as friends I haven’t met yet, and chances are you’ll catch me waving, nodding and saying hello to dog walkers of any ilk, adorable old couples and young professionals doing their thing. I say ‘Hello’ as a form of acknowledgement. That’s my intention, to acknowledge. Whenever I’ve interacted with a man on the street, there’s three ways it happens: frequently, there’s eye contact and a head-nod; cool. Sometimes, there’s a head nod and then they try to stop me to talk to me. I’ve been followed home more times than I can count on one hand. And then I’ll walk around the block so they don’t actually know where I live, because that’s scary. Or there was the time I was followed into my parking garage. But sometimes, if they’re looking at me like they see through me, my clothes – I feel threatened, I don’t want to acknowledge them. And in those situations, I’ve been verbally harassed, berated, followed – and at times, even been called racist.  Im not saying don’t say hello, I’m not saying don’t acknowledge people – but your comments compound upon countless others so think of your intention before you speak.  If, after all this conversation, you’re still unsure whether you should ever catcall, just follow this simple flowchart:

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Celebrate National Cat Day by Giving Back to Your Furry Felines

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As a self professed felineoholic, today is probably my favorite day of the non-traditional holiday year: it’s NATIONAL CAT DAY! I usually reserve my phone dump of fur on Saturday – Caturday, if you will – but I’ve saved my favorite feline pics, flicks and memes for today.  When you get home from work, make sure you stop by your local PetCo or better yet, that Mom and Pop Animal Store around the corner that you’ve been wondering about and snag a little treat for your furry friends; trust me, they’ll thank you!

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Don’t have a cat? No problem! There are tons of ways you can celebrate, too.Head on down to your local animal shelter or ASPCA and give those kittens in the cat room some lovin’! It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking of getting one of your own, or just have a few minutes to spare – these guys spend almost their entire day trapped in a small cage: except when you come in to play!  Even if you don’t want to commit to volunteering in the long term, today’s the purrfect day to pop your head in and say hello.

Back when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was hot and heavy, I took a different route and donated to the World Wildlife Fund.  Founded in 1961 as a collaborative international fundraising organization, the WWF was created after the Morges Manifesto was signed by top conversationalists from around the globe.  Though there was an international push for nature conservation, the resources at hand simply weren’t enough to satiate international needs.  And ever since, the WWF has taken center stage when it comes to protecting endangered animals and the acres and acres of land necessary for their survival. Currently, there are over 120 different species that you can opt to protect on the site – but did you know that of those 120, almost 10% are cats?! meOW!

Last but certainly not least, get your structured cuddlement as Uber, the ASPCA & Cheezeburger combine forces to bring the cats directly to your doorstep!  For the second year in a row, Uber will be delivering crates of adorable to the following cities; just place an Uber for KITTENS between the hours of 1 and 4pm in Austin, Chicago, DC, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle.  The best part – besides ALL of it – is that these kittens are also up for adoption! Please, don’t sleep on this – I would love to live vicariously through anyone that actually does it!

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[The Audiofiles] Required Listening for HARD’s DOTD

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– Purchase Tickets: 2 DaySaturday Only / Sunday Only  –

Festival Details

Pomona Fairgrounds
1101 W. McKinley Ave.
Pomona, CA, 91768

18 to Dance | 21 to Drink

Music starts at 11 AM Saturday and Sunday, ends at 11PM


Back in 2008, a small event called HARD Haunted graced the Shrine Exposition Hall in Los Angeles, and ever since:  the dance music scene in Southern California has never been the same. This year’s Day of the Dead marks my 4th Halloween spent with the HARD family – two at HARD Haunted, now my second at Day of the Dead; and it’s a holiday that I personally wouldn’t have any other way.  Over the last few years, HARD has migrated all across the greater Los Angeles area – from The Shrine to the Hollywood Palladium, Downtown LA’s State Historic Park and now in their 7th year, they’ve landed some mad luck with the new location at the Pomona Fairgrounds.  It’ll be my first time there for anything, so I’m excited to for this new journey that we’ll all be taking together.  Since we’ll be at the Fairgrounds, it’s only proper that we act accordingly – and that means Zip-Lining across the festival grounds, an awesome Ferris Wheel dubbed the Century Wheel, and The Typhoon – an awesome looking carnival coaster.  And as always, there will be loads of merch stands and over a dozen different food vendors, ready to cater to every type of dietary need: vegan, vegetarian and carnivore.

Over the last few years, as EDM Festivals have been held under exponential scrutiny – HARD has drawn a line in the sand in a push for more mature dance events; their festivals are an  18+ adventure that frowns on ‘Cuddle Puddles’, rave lights, pacefiers and face masks.  For some, this might feel slightly disillusioning and a blow to their perceived individuality at said events; but at the end of the day, it’s not just about image but safety, for the patrons as well as the festival itself.

  • Make sure you have your essentials: ID, Credit Card, Cell, Cash, Robot Ears and Good Vibes.
  • and some The Pomona Fairgrounds are pretty expansive, with two days and 5 stages to visit you’ll want to opt for comfortable shoes over fancy footwear.
  • Layers are your friend: It’ll get to almost 80 during the day, but prepare for some blustery wind and nighttime chills.  I mean, Winter is coming.
  • Regardless of weather, if you’re dancing a storm you’re gonna sweat – remember Water is your friend; fill up often and make sure everyone in your crew does the same
  • Earplugs might dull the bass, but when you’re older – you’ll thank us.
  • The Buddy System – there’s something said for flying solo at a festival, but if you’re in a group make sure you have a meeting point and a bestie.

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This year, CamelBakcs and GoPro’s have the Green Light, but as I was saying earlier – there’s a pretty expansive list of Don’ts; besides the very obvious ones (no outside food, no outside alcohol, no ins and outs, no weapons, etc…), here are the highlights for you pretty party people, and then a few from me.

  • NO Masks
  • NO Laser Pointers
  • NO LED Gloves or LED Microlights used for Light Shows
  • NO Markers, Pens or Spray Paint
  • NO Large Chains or Spiked Jewelry
  • NO Balloons, Balls, Inflatable Balls or Frisbees
  • NO Tents, Large Umbrellas, Chairs or Blankets
  • NO Stuffed Animals or Dolls (Including Plush Backpacks)
  • NO Kandi Bracelets or Kandi Necklaces
  • NO Electronic or Vapor Cigarettes
  • NO Wubs
  • NO Totems
  • NO Bad Attitudes

Mobile App

As a tried and true Techie, I have immense respect for Music Festivals that respect the 21st Century.  HARD DOTD’s interactive and immersive mobile app for Android and iPhone is the perfect combination of festival fun and ergonomics, right in the palm of your hand.  On the top, you can see the current temperature at the festival and at the bottom there’s a lovely little countdown window, tick-tocking away until the gates open on Saturday morning.  Click through the tabs on the left, and you’ll have access to the HARD Mixtapes that have been slowly but surely appearing on Soundcloud, directions to the Pomona Fairgrounds, a site-map and the opportunity to make your own schedule and navigate unexpected time conflicts as you peruse the lineup.  There’s assorted details like Set Times, Stage, Artists Details and Socials and last, but certainly not least, you can set a timed reminder so you don’t miss your favorite artists; GENIUS.  Between the running tally’s of most anticipated sets and most liked artists through the API, if you pop over to the Discover tab you’ll see the latest and greatest trends – which directly correlates to the biggest potential crowds.The only thing missing from the Official App is something like FireChat, a mobile texting technology that’s proven useful for off the grid events like Burning Man and then gained international notoriety during the recent protest in Hong Kong.  The app creates a network of phones that can still communicate with each other on the festival grounds even if they can’t upload their latest Snapchat or Selfie. #Priorities

 Scheduling Conflicts and Highlights

Gaining acclaim under the DJ moniker Destructo, Gary Richards – HARD’s proverbial Fairy Godmother – once again outdid himself on the event this year. To curate artists – not just for the event, but for each of the five stages (HARD, HARDER, Pink, Purple and 7UP) for both days, for a specific feel – takes a vision, drive, passion and respect for his peers. That said, if you’re a Tech head, you’ll probably end spend Saturday at the Pink Stage and Sunday at the Dirty Bird on the Purple Stage.  Want to get your wubs on – just Enter The Void with RL Grime’s Pink Stage on Sunday.  Feeling experimental? Dive into Saturday’s Purple Stage.

Saturday

On a personal level, there are so many great acts on both days, it’s easy to just get lost in the schedule.  I was turned on to acts like Sweater Beats and Shakehips at Do LaB events, so it’s awesome seeing them represented here as well.  Sweater Beats has a bunch of new tracks that I’ve been lusting over lately, so fingers crossed I get to hear ‘Dark Matter’ live.  I love Seven Lions, so that’s a no brainer; between him and Bassnectar, maybe I can even pick up a few hair tips.   ! I’ve been crossing my fingers for no conflicts and on Saturday there’s really only one (well, I guess technically, it’s two): Pretty Lights, TEED and ZHU are all overlapping and making my life difficult.  I’ll be getting a double dose of PL over New Years Eve for Sea of Dreams, and this is ZHU’s North American debut – so I’ll probably skip PL – head to TEED then ZHU, but man…that’s a tough one; and it’s easier said than done. (Have you ever seen Pretty Lights live, I mean, WOW).  To end Saturday night, I’ll be getting weird in Mau5ville as Prydz and Deadmau5 head back to back for an epic two hour dance off. I should apologize to Jamie Jones, Knife Party, Araab MUZIK and Odesza now before it’s Saturday because I won’t be leaving that main stage once those two start going off…

  • Sweater Beats, 7 Up Stage, 2:05
  • Seven Lions, HARD Stage 4:30
  • Snakehips, 7 Up Stage 5:05
  • AlunaGeorege, 7Up Stage 6:25
  • Pretty Lights, HARD Stage 6:55 (Alternate)
  • Tottally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Pink Stage 7pm
  • ZHU, HARDer Stage, 7:20
  • Diplo, HARD Stage, 8:15
  • Deadmau5 vs Prydz, HARDer Stage 8:50

 Sunday

If you’re going for only one of the days – I’d pick Sunday. Between the Dirty Bird BBQ on the Purple Stage which promises surprise guests and back to back sets, RL Grime’s Enter the Void on the Pink Stage and a closing set from the man, the myth – the epic hair himself, Sir Bassnectar – the only act that compares in any way on Saturday is the epic Mau5 off: Eric Prydz vs DeadMau5.  And that’s some real talk. There’s actually so much musical win on Sunday that I have a bit of anxiety, three times over.  First, I have to pick between Eats Everything and RL Grime….at the end, Claude vs Bassnectar but the worst is that  Zeds Dead, Cashmere Cat and Booka Shade are on within 10 minutes of each other on the HARDer, Pink and 7Up Stage.  And the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae? I finally get to Trop til I Drop with Thomas Jack – I was so bummed to find out he wouldn’t be at Lightning in a Bottle this year (visa issues, I believe) that it’s about damn time I get to see him live.

  • Shiba San, Purple Stage, 3:30
  • Aeroplane, 7Up Stage, 4:10
  • Big Gigantic, HARD Stage, 5:00
  • Thomas Jack, 7Up Stage, 6:00
  • Eats Everything, Purple Stage, 7:15
  • RL Grime, HARD Stage, 7:20
  • Zeds Dead, HARDer Stage, 8:30
  • Cashmere Cat, Pink Stage, 8:35
  • Booka Shade, 7Up Stage 8:40
  • Claude VonStroke, Purple Stage, 9:45
  • Bassnectar, HARDer Stage, 9:45

For last minute details, interviews and more – keep it locked on The DJ List; for more information about HARD and their upcoming events, try their socials:

HARD DOTD | HARD Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud

[Thursday Trend] Lusting for Leggings

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17 Fall Activities All Basic Girls LoveFall in Los Angeles; it’s when scarves, boots and a sweater goes flawlessly together, PSL’s head back to the menu, the tree’s have embarked on their seasonal metamorphosis and the roads are clogged with kids heading back to school.  I’ve never considered myself much of a fashion aficionado but over the last six years in this city, I’ve really honed in on my personal style. And much to my surprise, as of late – that’s included leggings.  Now, until a few years ago – I considered leggings a passe idea reserved for ballerinas, yoga devotees and all you can eat buffets; but thanks to an impromptu dressing room encounter, they’ve gone from a wardrobe-won’t to absolutely necessary item in my closet.  Every color, design, fabric, texture…with pockets, studs, zippers, the works; you could basically say that I’m in lust with my leggings, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Here are a few of my favorites as of late – including a few I’ve bought for myself and my favorite suppliers.  Fall into a pair!

Nasty Gal

Little bit of glitz, little bit of glam – and a whole lot of sex appeal.  I have a healthy love of all things Nasty Gal – and that includes their plethora of leggings. I don’t have a whole lot of their clothing in my closet, because let’s be honest…I’m a baller on a budget and there are other priorities than loading my closet with the latest and greatest fashion (that’s what my Pinterest board is for).  Then I go back and buy it months later if I still love it =D

Nightwalker Tie Me Up Faux Leather Pant - Halloweird

 

 

 

Blackmilk

Sleek, sexy, shimmery patterns and form fitting cuts – I’ve been obsessing over Blackmilk for years now and one of these days, I have my own pair….promise!  Until then, these can satiate my taste…

Aurora Skye Neon Purple Leggings - glows under blacklight!

 

Barbie Spewed On Me Leggings - LIMITED

Target

For a super inexpensive alternative to splurging, head over to Target! These are quite literally the cat’s pajama’s, less than $20 and I cannot wait to wear them out!

 

 Urban Outfitters

They’ve been a favorite store since High School and I simply can’t see them going out of style; well, my sort of style at least.  I can’t wait to get a hold of these guys…

Kimchi Blue Ballerina Legging - Urban Outfitters

 

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[Weekly Dose of Wisdom] Dedicated to Oscar de la Renta

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Though I’m not the biggest into fashion, I can almost guarantee that every woman in this country – if not the world – has had at least fleeting dreams of walking down a red carpet donning an Oscar de la Renta gown. How do I know this? Because I most definitely have and I’m far from what I’d consider “girly”.  When I found out last night that he’d passed away it got me thinking of the photo shoots I’d done in the past, and his exquisite, elegant and feminine sense of beauty, style and grace. I wanted to pay homage with a few quotes of his that really resonate with me – as well as some of my favorite dresses of his. We’re missing a fashion icon on Earth, but I promise that Heaven has never looked so stunning.

 

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[The Audiofiles] Partying with a Purpose: The Dawn of Transformational Festivals

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We remember the sound of dial-up modems and the touch of rotary phones, make references to archaic cartoons like Jem and the Holograms and Legends of the Hidden Temple and laugh at our assorted childhood crushes from Saved By The Bell and Boy Meets World. The powerful product of the love generation, we’re toeing a thin line between Gen X and the Millennials, though in all honesty we’re somewhere delightfully in between.   I was already well-integrated into my collegiate career when Facebook sprouted, like a rogue weed from the garden of the interwebs.  Not to say I wasn’t already an avid Internet user, with multiple AOL and AIM screen names, frequenting chat rooms and discussing the latest music trends; but the social world was more or less turned on its head with the advent and evolution of Facebook and Twitter.

While the world spins itself into a frenzy at the latest and greatest “social” apps – like ‘Ello, Path, MySpace – my personal belief is that we’re losing our emotional and social intelligence in favor of quantitative statistics, figures and metrics; attributes that honestly have no foundation or basis within our communities. We’re a generation of dreamers and doers, who haven’t had it lost upon them that good things come with hard work and diligence; and we’re at a turning point in our lives where we desire to be a bigger part of a community, perchance even starting our own “tribe” with an intermingling of friends, extended family and blood relatives – or, a family of our own. We’re an enigma, we’re an entity; hear us roar.  

As the children of hippies, whether we’ve known it or not, we’ve been raised with similar morals, ethics, a general lack of organized religion and push towards spirituality.  And now that I’m engaged, turning 30 and settling down in my lifestyle a bit, I’ve found a new respect for the values that my parents implemented in my youth.  Growing up, I was used to having .  On the flip side, one of the beautiful things my parents did was opting for African-American and Native American Fables and tales over the Bible or the Torah.  I always lamented that I was missing out on the community aspect of organized religion, but as I’ve grown older – I’ve discovered that, I’ve discovered that I can pursue and derive that community on my own terms, which is infinitely better.  For me, that community is bas(s)ed on a shared love of music.

Raised on hearty Rock ‘n’ Roll riffs and Motown hits that I can now understand my parents were sarcastically referring to as oldies, there was something so enticing about music of my youth; from soulful storytelling, to moving melodies and music with a symphonic, harmonic message. As my musical tastes ebbed and flowed over time, I found myself front and center at rock shows, ranging from Atreyu, Avenged Sevenfold, Bad Religion and Taking Back Sunday – the heart and soul of the music were there, but so was the pushing, raging, shoving and screaming.  The concerts and shows I frequented, regardless of how big or small of a group I was with, became individual endeavors, a solo experience

Dance Music has been fueling my life for the last decade, starting with my first EDC while I was still in college…

“I remember walking in, arms firmly linked through a best friend on each side. I was trying to figure out which side of the rabbit hole I wanted to wake up on; I was trying to come to terms with my world spinning  inside out and upside down. Girls in neon tutus blocked every other turn but we were always greeted with friendly smiles, open arms and PLUR handshakes.

About ten minutes into the festival, my friends nodded in symmetry and announced they wanted to sit down and chat. I nodded in turn, but in silent agreement that I wasn’t in the mood for those kind of shenanigans.  I did a quick gut check and dove right in; or at least – tried to.  I must have looked as out of place as I felt, because immediately a charming sprite of a girl grabbed my arms and insisted I follow her to the dance floor. “Is this your first EDC?” she mused, but didn’t wait for a reply because she already knew the answer.  “You need to let it go…” she continued, her eyes dilating with excitement “…let it all fall down; shake it off and breathe it in.” She was speaking in tongues but I understood every word.  One by one, my hands wound up entwined between her delicate fingers and then, with glee, she announced my next move: “Spin! Faster! And now, just let it go…”  For the next five minutes,  I twirled with the delight of a toddler and every preconception I had about that night washed over and off of my like Spring rain.  She smiled whimsically, like whatever magicians trick she pulled actually produced a rabbit out of a hat.  She smiled with satisfaction; I smiled back in wonderment.  We hugged and danced off in different directions – but the lesson remains:  I haven’t been the same since.”

I walked away from that event completely transformed, set off on a bold, new tangent; entering a new phase of life; evolving into the individual that I want to become. There was something so special about the outlying community, a group of strangers waiting to become your friends, equally enamored by the music and the sense of personal expression.  But, after your ump-teenth rave with your friends, you find that instead of PLURing together – they start to blur together; basslines, sets, stages, days, events. Is there something more? And the answer is yes. My parents always quipped that doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is a form of insanity; after a certain amount of raving,  I think the same can be said for the mainstream quotient of our current festival scene.

In the last five years, EDM has catapulted into the spotlight; but for those of us that have been there for years, and even before my time, EDM symbolized an underground movement where the freaks, the misfits, the lone wolves and wistful wallflowers could come together and become something greater, together. Now that it’s gone ‘mainstream‘, so have many of the concerts – held in large metropolitan areas with crowds in cookie cutter outfits, bobbing on queue to the same beat and ample amounts of vendors (whose money more often than not doesn’t go back into the community) and leaving the venue in a general state of disarray. IMG_2272.JPG

Here’s the thing, musicians – and the unique world they curate – are by proxy, always evolving, ever-changing, catalyzed by passion and moved by the moment.  And with the community surrounding Dance Music, one thing has become crystal clear: there’s a want for something more meaningful than just partying all night; something deeper than tossing back bottles and breathing in cigarette ash; something that resonates with you for longer than one night and inspires you, as an individual, to become a better version of yourself while engaging in your community.

Though I’d had my sights set on Lightning in a Bottle for a few years prior,  Coachella was my gateway drug to Transformational Festivals; it was the first time I’d had my 360 view of the world turned upside down by my surroundings, and for multiple days at that.  The costumes, the stages, the stage makeup, the bass frequencies, the art installations – the art !!, the theatrics of The Do LaB’s stage at centerfield, submerging myself in my first of many Lucent Dossier Experiences and an extreme sense of community and belonging.  After two years of watching the Polo Fields turn from green to a muddy brown, strewn with garbage and leftover fabric from meticulously planned outfits meticulously while seven stages bled together, I knew that it was time to move on. With each and every one of their events, from large scale multi-day festivals to low-key concerts, The Do Lab unabashedly embodies the essence of Transformative Festivals all along the California Coast.  From local level to large scale, their shows constantly offer up novel musical pairings in conjunction with a live painting, immersive entertainment and an enigmatic community of modern day Renaissance personalities.

After years of pining, months of planning and weeks of anticipation – I  to LIB in the Summer of 2013; no expectations, just wild eyed in wanderlust, anxiously awaiting the next music laced adventure.  Waltzing through sculptures that were thrice the size of my body, the live art humbled me – and was unfolding in front of me; I was amazed by the live acrobatics, performance art and creative prowess of not just the artists – but the community at large.  Music takes the backseat to personal growth as bodies gracefully collapse underneath themselves during mid-morning Yoga sessions. Minds expanded and consciousness, both personal and communal, during group workshops and seminars featuring discussions on Sustainable Living, Music as Therapy, Meditation Techniques,  The Art of Tantra, Self Actualization and so, so much more.

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From that weekend on, my three day tango with Lightning in a Bottle manifested into a deep rooted curiosity with Transformative Festivals, Counter Culture and Permaculture, Burning Man ideology, flow performance art and the rich history of West Coast Bass Music.  Plush with the fusion of art, music and culture, living in Los Angeles is the perfect catalyst to cultivate those feelings.  Between Do LaB events, the Melrose Trading Post, the Downtown Art Walk, Venice Beach, Hollywood, the U R Art Festival, or a Sunday at Grand Park – this town is always painted some sort of neon, with shimmer, glitter and technicolor combined. Take one step outside of the city, and California – and the West Coast are essentially the Meccas of Transformative culture, and have been for some time. Burning Man, making Nevada weird for 26 years, started in San Francisco in ’86; the event is almost as old as I am and founder Larry Harvey is my mom’s age.  When I gushed earlier about the commonality with my friendships being that we were instilled with similar values, I can easily parallel that to why we’re equally attracted to Larry Harvey’s brainchild; it’s roughly the same age as we are and the 10 Principles are incredibly reminiscent of   the value system that my parents had in place, where individuality is coveted, creativity is rewarded, art is meant to be climbed on, hugs have more klout than handshakes and the weirder – the better. You call it new-agey hippie shit; we call it a lifestyle choice that we make on the daily.

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At this point – I owe you a definition- Transformative Festivals are an ecologically friendly, multi-day counter culture events with equal focus on mind, heart, body and soul.  They’re set in a lush, natural location so participants can return to their roots – not just as individuals, but as a community with workshops ranging from sustainability to personal growth and artistic expression paired with rich musical entertainment and a ‘Pack in, Pack Out’, or ‘Leave No Trance’ mantra. Over the last two decades, multitudes of these have sprouted all along the Pacific Coast – but most notably in California. Southern California’s Lightning in a Bottle has been going strong for 20 years, Shambhala Music Festival in Salmo, BC has been around for 17 and now that it’s 2014, you can take your pick from a slew of newer ones like Symbiosis, Lucidity, Youtopia, Sea of Dreams, Colorado’s Bloom Festival, Desert Hearts, Forever Never Land and Costa Rica’s Envision Festival – not to mention, the theatrics of live concerts from Emancipator, Beats Antique, Shpongle, and the Lucent Dossier Experience

The more I understand about the culture, the more I want to know – so I invite you to journey with me through my series on Transformative Festivals! I’ll be focusing on their rich history on the West Coast, the infusion of their principles into daily life and the unabashed creativity, energy, effort and curation of an ecologically friendly, socially innovative musical affair. I’ll be interviewing key players, dream weavers, festival organizers and musical tastemakers within the Transformative Community – all in an effort to help you, your friends and the music community both understand the necessity of these events and learn how to incorporate them into our daily lives.

Ps.  This is one of my favorite TED talks – it’s by Jeet-Kei Leung, who’s since gone on to create the Bloom Series – which I’ll touch on in a future post. Enjoy!