It’s been a while – a long while in fact – since I’ve properly celebrated Caturday; with traveling to SF and Big Bear, I’ve missed my fur babies terribly so what better way to commemorate Caturday than a month full of kitty pics!!
Vibrations. They’re more than the physical projection of minutiae, or the oscillation of air molecules. For as much as they occur around us, they’re simultaneously emitted from us. Each and every entity, not just on the face of this Earth, but the universe in it’s entirety is vibrating at a unique frequency. From a cosmic perspective, molecule by molecule we’ve all been vibrating equidistantly away from the heart of the Big Bang. Could it be that our entire lives, as we ebb and flow through the world we’re most attracted to those molecules that were in fact within the closest proximity to us when the Big Bang happened? And then, take the idea of two tuning forks set to an equal resonant frequency; one static – the other made to vibrate. If you bring the two tuning forks together, the tuning fork at rest raises to the vibrating frequency of audible fork. In the same way, maybe that’s an underlying science to instant friends – those people who find a strange affinity towards, but can’t place the time or place; soul recognizes soul when they’re vibrating on the same frequency plane.
Vibrations. We all have them, and we’re all tuned into them whether we recognize it or not. It’s the warmth of a hug from a friend and the ice cold, clandestine stare of a stranger, the enticing diatribe from a family member and the off-putting physical stance of a foe. Whenever we feel, we emit a vibration – and whenever we act or speak, doubly so. From the first breath, up through this very moment – you’ve been a human battery, charging and recharging on the vibrations raining down from the world; where external chaos breeds mental calamity and physical tranquility evolves from calm surroundings. As we’re propelled into maturity by life experiences compounded by emotional epiphanies, the goals and passions we seek in life changes as do the types of personalities we desire in our lives; along the way, we pick up a few friends here, a few others there….and at other times we undoubtedly, unfortunately, outgrow friendships of our former selves and end up leaving a few wonderful people behind along the way. That’s not to say their effect hasn’t been left, our shared past is my prologue – my future story wouldn’t be complete without their cameo in an earlier scene.
Vibrations. Within each and every action, interaction – reaction – the vibrations we’ve exchanged have shaped, manifested and evolved into my current world. So it’s only right that in turn, we acknowledge our own ripple effect on the world. Smiles to frowns, bubbly laughter and emotional explosions, private conversations unintended for public ears, words spoken out of turn or context, unfriendly fire in the form of gossip and flippant phrases better left to your imagination; over the course of a day, a week – a year, how many ripples have you left, intentionally and unintentionally in the lives of others? Do you realize that over the course of your life, they’ve been compounding around you? Innocent conversation converts into malicious musings, and sonic snap judgments are all too easy to make – especially out of context. Quite simply: you effect the universe in more ways than you can ever understand. Your physical presence can say as much, if not more, than the words coming from your mouth and your intonation and intent play as crucial a role as your elocution. As an empath, I’m constantly bombarded by the everyday energies of those around me, but that’s not to say those who aren’t are immune – they’re simply not as aware of the effects.
Nostalgia, though a beautiful reminder of the way things were – is also by in large the reason we get nasty expectation hangovers. The stark irony of being blessed with a beautiful series of friendships over the last year is that it’s caused pause and perusal of the ghosts of friendships past. The toxic friendships that manifested during times of strife and the beautiful friendships borne out of shared genius. I’ve always been incredibly receptive to the forces around me but it’s only been recently that I’ve felt understood their full weight. The good news, is that what has been seen cannot be unseen – once you acknowledge the gravity of your weight on the world, there’s no going back. As they say in the Matrix: there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path and the only way I saw that I could be a better version of myself was to elevate my every day life. Somehow, while in the throttles of passionate, intense and at times subversive life experiences, my soul grew into my twenty nine year old body. I was vibrating on a higher frequency, attracting other passionate souls who were pushing their own personal boundaries while reveling in the wild ride of life. So, how exactly does one raise their personal vibration? I have nine ways to do it.
[Rule #1] Treat others the way you want to be treated.
It’s the Golden Rule and Newton’s Third Law, not to mention – we’ve been learning it since Grade School, so it should be relatively easy to remember. The universe reacts to the energy you put out and the friends you keep are in effect a direct reflection of who you are at your core. The second half of the rule, often not mentioned, is never – ever – let someone else’s behavior prevent you from being the person that you are. The behavior of others is just that – their behavior, and it’s not directed at any one person more than the sun’s ray’s fall on any one part of the world. Adjust and adapt, and if you’re not keen on a person – just know that there are millions upon millions of people in this world, just waiting to meet someone like you.
[Rule #2] A Friend of a Friend is a Friend of Mine
Though a lot easier said than done, this isn’t actually that hard. That circle of friends you have, well – let’s just put it this way: you’re not their first friend, right? They come with chums from Grade School and Band Camp, Summer Camps and Basketball Teams, College Fraternities and Study Abroad Programs; they’re located around the world and chances are, they’re just as wonderful as you. When the opportunity arises to adopt them into your social circle, think of your mutual friends as your flotations devices; don’t dilly dally in the shallow end – jump on in and swim a little deeper, you might just make a new friend for life.
[Rule #3] Reach Out and Touch (or, just hug; whatever)
It’s 2015 and I’m so sick of meeting people with a handshake. Historically, we shook hands with our right hand – the dominant hand – to signal we weren’t wielding a weapon. At work or while doing business I’ll let’em slide, but in personal, social situations, I want my soul to touch your soul – but I’ll settle for a hug. Hugs have a calming nature and a healing effect; long hugs can produce the same bonding hormones as sex and hugs are scientifically proven to have healing powers. Have you hugged a human today?
[Rule #4] Always true to being you, unless you can be a better version of you – then be that.
You want to know what the best version of you is? It’s you. You are the reason people are attracted to you, and you are beautiful – so never stop being yourself. It’s easy to become the friend who always says ‘No’ and turns down invitations, and equally easy to become a ‘Yes’ man; instead, throw those words out the window, say what’s actually on your mind and set some boundaries. And remember, just because you’ve set boundaries doesn’t mean they’re permanent fixtures – that’s the beauty of being you: you adapt, evolve, and become a better version of who you were because of it.
[Rule #5] Respect
Aretha sang it best: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It starts with you, because to get respect – you need to respect yourself. Respect your own intelligence, respect your body and the things you both put into it food wise and get out of it physically. Once that falls into place, then there’s respecting the world around you. Respecting the personal space of others, whether that’s physical, mental, emotional or temporal, is the first step to garnering it back towards you.
[Rule #6] Let It Go
As Shakespeare put it: Past is prologue. The past is a beautiful introduction to your story – it’s a wonderful foundation for your current condition, but it’s not the story. In much the same mannor, the events and circumstances of your friends lives before you are interesting building blocks in their personal puzzle, but the more you focus on them – the less you’re living in the moment of the friendship. Don’t dwell on grievances or lavish on the lives and things that could have been, instead celebrate greatness and simply enjoy being
[Rule #7] Meditate On It
This too, shall pass. It’s an old diatribe but it most definitely holds true, time heals all – but what time actually does is give us the personal separation of space from an event. The more space we have, the less personal it becomes and the more we can think of a macrocosmic answer to a problem we shouldn’t have taken so personally to begin with. Just remember, the best way to get an answer, is to ask the right question.
[Rule #8] Honor The Capacity for Change
Hi, Pot! I’m Kettle. We’re black! You aren’t the same person you were last year, and you definitely aren’t the same person you were ten years ago. You could have some of the same passions and proclivities, but on the overall – experience has a habit of evolving us, with or without our consent. If we can acknowledge our own maturation, then we surely can’t deny the growth of anyone else.
[Rule #9] Practice Random Acts of Kindness.
Pay it forward. As a general rule, I only ask people to pay me back if either I know I’ll never see them again or I purposely intend on it. If you’re my friend, we’ll hang out again. You can get the next beer, coffee, dinner, ice cream, etc…whatever it is, there’ll be a next time – because I want there to be.
For more on the paintings and artwork used throughout this article, please head to the site of 21st Century visionary Alex Grey.
Through times of greatness and times of strife, moments of genius and seconds of insanity – the most bonding force we have is music. Sound, purported by old Native American tribes is the glue truly holds the universe together on vibratory strings, sonic spiderwebs and fractaling frequencies – and modern day scientists now understand it, the universe was propelled apart in an equidistant motion by intense vibratory sound waves after the Big Bang. As socio-economic boundaries are broken down while far reaching forms of social media are on the rise, it makes all too much sense that music has become the bonding factor of my generation. Humans are a tribal bunch, we naturally congregate around those who share similar values, morals, senses of humor – and what better litmus test of a personable friendship than full immersion into festival culture? Festival Culture. It’s where people hug instead of shake hands, strangers are simply friends whom you haven’t met, clothing more resembles costumes and the community itself is a giant support system and music is our religion.
Just the other weekend, some of Southern California’s biggest fans in Bass Music – including my group of pretty party personalities – descended upon The Fonda Theater for a night where consciousness and creativity collided in a spectacle of audio-visual delight. The evening featured a wonderful cross section of community, music, culture and art sponsored by Euphonic Conceptions, In The Loop and The Do Lab as the upstairs area manifested into a Burning Man-esque vendor bazaar, hosted by Los Angeles’ own Grateful Generation. The night featuring booths from local vendors of permaculture, art, essential oils, gems, jewlery and costumes like K’ulu Misk’i, Lunavore Designs, Mostly Minerals, vibrant long exposure photography by Harmonic Light so much more entrenched in momentary lush surroundings.
With Jonathan Singer setting a vibrantly trippy visual mood, Soulular set the tone for the evening with a stellar opening set as live visual artists Sam Flores, Amanda Sage, and Alex + Allyson Grey got down on live paintings much to the crowd’s delight. Desert Dwellers followed with a downtempo ‘World Bass’ set, followed by the convoluted, glitchy dubstep sounds of Thriftworks, who got the crowd in a frenzy; the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae being an unexpected appearance by Russ Liquid on the Trumpet, eventually ebbing into Russ Liquid‘s flow. My first Random Rab experience was last Summer for a sunrise set at Lightning in a Bottle, so I had little to no idea of the musical prowess he had in store for the evening. For almost two hours, the entire arena was transfixed to the sounds and visuals stemming from the Entheon Stage as we were swept down a rabbit hole of music and wonder.
From start to finish, the evening was swimming with fantastic company, boasting the best of their personalities while getting down in their most exuberant, colorful and quirky duds. It was beautiful to watch the paintings manifest as each musician, one by one graced the epic Entheon Altar DJ Booth, a 3D printout of the official Entheon structure modeled by digital sculptor Ryan Tottle, who made an appearance for the evening. Crowdfunded through Kickstarter and lovely backers of the arts, the official Entheon building will play host to Alex Grey’s incredible, immersive art at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in New York, known to most as CoSM. And the stage is most certainly set for the official Gem & Jam Festival, happening in Tucson, Arizona from February 6-9
As the Official Gem and Jam Festival Gets Closer, the Pre Parties continue heating up across the West Coast. This coming Friday, Gem & Jam will be getting groovy with Vibesquad in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as Flagstaff, Arizona with Kaminanda, and Safi’s Lab. On Saturday. Pumpkin and Late Night Radio bring the funk to Austin for the official Texas PreParty. Last but definitely not least, don’t forget about the grand finale – the Gem & Jam Festival itself! Thrown in conjunction with Infinite Music, Euphonic Conceptions, New Earth MuZiQ and Challenger – the Gem and Jam Festival is reaching a historic 9th year and can’t wait to celebrate with you.
Set in conjunction with one of the world’s best gem shows, for three days and nights, the air of Tucson will be vibrant with Glitchy, Dubby, Wobbly and downright Trippy West Coast Bass and Jam Music sounds of renowned producers and astounding musicians like Random Rab, Desert Dwellers, Pumpkin, Late Night Radio, Emancipator Ensemble and Thriftworks. With hip-hop influenced acts like Ill-esha and Amp Live from Zion I, there’s a bit of something for everyone in your crew. While they’ve got your feet moving and your soul grooving, let your mind wander and eyes roam the grounds with astounding live art to match from the likes of Amanda Sage, Xavi, the Welch Brothers, Benedigital and of course – Alex
and Allyson Grey, founders of the fabled Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. Come and witness the influence the cross section of artistic prowess and musical genius, as performance art of all shapes and sizes influences each other over the weekend. With a healthy dose of intelligent dance music and mindboggling artwork, the weekend will truly appeal to all of the senses, maybe even your 6th.
Our entire photo gallery can be found here on The DJ List.
For more details on the festival itself, read on after the event photos
It’s 2015 and weird is the new black; try it on! Embrace those strange thoughts that make you giggle, and could probably make an elderly lady blush; give those wonky clothes a go and flirt with fabulous; why not dye your hair a litany of pastel colors while feeling their alternating moods. Our entire lives, we’ve been force fed into believing that it’s better to fit in a box than to stand out. That gliding along in life is easier if you conform to inane societal standards about what things you should have accomplished in life rather than evolving into the type person that you’re astutely, intelligently and proudly determined to be. Weirdness isn’t about other people or their opinions, weird is what happens when you choose to embrace your unknown and ebb with your own flow.
My entire life, I’ve more or less been a perfectionist – almost to a fault: there’s a thin line between perfectionist and OCD, but if you tell me where it is, I’ll clean it up. The world as we know it is a tumultuous, chaotic, messy, entropic place – so why are we under the assumption that internally we should be any different from our external environment? I know it sounds strange, but it’s taken me almost 3o years to figure out that it’s better to break the mold than be it. And yeah, I’m full fledged, 110% positive that I’ve got the weirds; and I’ve got’em bad. According to one of my favorite books – The Secret Language of Birthdays – I was born on the ‘Day of Idiosyncrasy‘, December 7th, and I think it’s absolutely fitting. I like eating pico de gallo by itself and watching the weather channel, I talk to my cats and sometimes swear they’re conversing with me, I do most things backwards and spend a good proportion of my time laughing at myself, for either the weird shit that comes out of my mouth (seriously, say two near words together and immediately I’ll shout out their new illegitimate literary word child) or awkward things I actually physically do.
So, to inspire you to get a little strange, zany, crazy, silly, bizarre, uncanny, supernatural, odd, wonky and plain old weird this weekend – I’ve pulled some of my favorite quotes. Enjoy your Friday and don’t be afraid to let your freak flags fly, my friends!
Over the past few years, I’ve turned dabbling in DIY into a full fledged hobby and lifestyle. It feels like only yesterday that I was still living in West Hollywood, enjoying a full fledged “Ah-Ha!”-moment while figuring out what to do with my extraneous glassware, jars and jugs. I’d been scouring the internet, hoping onto Pinterest and not so secretly scrounging boards of friends and strangers alike. I’d seen some awesome tutorials and the like floating around a few of my favorite websites and decided to give them a try; voila – my obsession with candle crafting and creations was boldly curated.
Between picking the perfect colors and aromatically inspiring scents, rummaging through old glassware to find the perfect fit, educating myself on chromeotherapy and using the new moon to fuel my creativity, I not just think, but know, that I’ve found my happy place. Now, when I look back and I take a gander at the vast oeuvre of DIY that I’ve partaken in, I’m slightly blown away. What began with an obsession with setting up sparkling mason jar candles, manifested into manufacturing the real thing and a revving up a full blown ETSY Candle Shop to spread the love of my crafts, repurposed jewelry and, of course, candles! In a sense, you could say I’m hooked.
Conquering candle creation was one thing, but decorating and adorning the glass is quite the horse of a different color! Though I’ve never considered myself “artistic” in the “Paint me like you paint your French girls” manner, I definitely can get as artsy as the rest of ’em.
After months of toiling and trying with oft combinations of glitter and glue to decorate the mason jars, the glitz and glamour more often than not washing away between uses, I’ve been searching for a way to switch it all up. For the record, I’ve finagled mosaic mirror tile on the outside with glitter and gems on the inside; plaid patterns, whimsical color swatches, you name it – I tried to DIY it. Needless to say, when I saw an simple home tutorial for color casting glassware – I was intrigued and quickly queried the inter-webs for all the necessary supplies. Mason jars evolve into exquisite candles, makeup brush holders and pencil keepers, former wine bottles transform into elegant vases and like night to day – what was once in your trash can become treasure, in mere minutes!
Not only did it look awesome, but it seemed simple enough and wasn’t about to break the bank. Michaels‘ has some sporadic things, but – mostly, I’ve found it to be overpriced. You can search high and low for warehouse and discount websites, but suffice it to say – Amazon‘s got you covered.
Supplies + Tools
- Assorted Upcycled and Recycled Glass Jars, Mason Jars, Old Spaghetti Jars, Jelly Jars, Wine Bottles….glass, basically.
- Mod Podge: Gloss Lustre
- Food Coloring in Multiple Colors. remember the color wheel from Kindergarten? Awesome. We’re about to use it.
- Small Cups for Mixing Colored Gloss
Around the house items – it shouldn’t be much trouble scrounging these up, but so they’re at your ready:
- Oven. We’re turning it into a faux-kiln!
- Baking Sheet
- Wax Paper or Aluminum Foil
- Paper Towels. Apparently paint is messy, or so my kitchen floor informed me the next morning…
Instructions – Time: 1 hour, with considerable downtime
- If you’re reusing an old candle – handwash the glass candle holder to remove the outside label and leftover wax, then dry before next step
- If you’re having trouble, a little GooGone should do the trick (or any form of Olive Oil or Baby Oil)
- Get a few mixing cups out and let’s make some colors! Pour about a (1/4) to (1/3) cup of Mod Podge (don’t bother measuring, just pour it) into your receptacles and let’s mix it up. First, a few fun tips 4 to 3 Blue :: Red Ratio makes a pretty Purple
- 4 to 1 Yellow :: Red Ratio gets a lovely Orange
- 2 to 1 Green :: Yellow Ratio creates a mellow Green
- 3 to 1 Red :: Blue Ratio transforms into a nice pink
- Take your colors one by one and pour them into each of your jars.
- Let the tinted Mod Podge coagulate on the bottom and slowly swirl until all sides are color coated
- Set up your baking sheet with aluminum foil or wax paper, whichever floats your boat; then line it with some paper towels.
- Turn the glasses upside down on the paper towels and and let all excess Podge drip down; let them sit for 30 minutes
- While the colors set in, let’s set the oven to preheat at 225° and make sure there’s enough height for all the glasses.
- After half an hour has passes, remove from paper towels and turn them right side up on piece of newspaper .
- Toss your paper towels away, if necessary – swap out your aluminum or wax paper; and now you’re ready for a science project!
- Turn those chromatically appealing pieces of glass right-side up and onto your baking sheet, put your baking sheet in the oven, sit back – and enjoy that entire bottle of wine you just whimsically poured out because you realized the wine bottle makes the cutest little vase. Yes, you; I see you.
- Leave glass in oven for 30 minutes.
- When your timer goes off, grab your office mitts (yes, they’re hot!) – set your baking sheet in an appropriate location and then take a gander at what you’ve created. It’s pretty effing neat.
From vases to candles, vacation jars, coin collectors and memory keepsakes – whatever you choose to turn your tinted glassware into, make it with love and make it yourself!
Sea of Dreams Sets the Tone for the Resurgence of Live Music within EDM
Photography by Daniel Leist
2014. As of this moment, there’s only a separation of two calendar weeks – but it somehow it already seems a lifetime a go. I’ve heard it’s just one of those things about aging, and understandably so: the older you get, the years become a smaller and smaller percentage of your life. 5 year old Amanda got to enjoy the year as a fifth, or 20% of her life – and here I am, inches away from 30 and last year merely accounts for 3.3% of my time on this wonderful planet. But in that year, twelve months, 365 days, 525600 minutes – I started a miniature business, delved into my DIY capabilities, moved in with the only man I ever want to live with. Hand in hand, we’ve made friends across the West Coast while simultaneously passionate pursuit of perfecting our crafts while diving headfirst into the electronic music scene. I’ve been humbled to work alongside some of the best and brightest minds in the industry, and am living out a my adulthood’s childhood fantasy. After seven years of living in Los Angeles, I was finally booked for a paid modeling shot; my lost dream and the reason I swapped zipcodes as a young college grad.
From Lighting in a Bottle to Global Dance, Shambhala to HARD Day of the Dead – I consider myself blessed to be taken in by so many different music communities and families; and then to be entrusted by the music community to share that journey, and evolve what it means to be part of it – it’s more than I could’ve ever asked for. But, that’s not to say my year didn’t have it’s equivalent share of setbacks – after being in a car accident last Spring, I was anxious behind the wheel for months, I resigned my maid of honor status by endeding what I thought was a close friendship and I’ve been living with an obnoxious Bartholin cyst since the Summer. Whether your year was full of accomplishments and accolades or trials and tribulations, New Years Eve marks a time when the lot of us can put on our party pants, forget our worries and party like it’s 1999 (or, 2015, whatever).
As the penultimate day of 2014 quickly approached, I was haphazardly balancing work, family and trying to pack for that my favorite blustery city in the Bay, San Francisco. For the second year running, Danny and I were off, off and away – to the land of tech talk and Burner babble, where the Sports teams are hot and the weather is brisk, the skyscrapers tower above you while the city rumbles with animation. Now in it’s 15th year running, Sea of Dreams was plotting a triumphant return to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium after last year’s immense success. In an incredibly welcomed yet unprecedented move – they booked a two night stand for the event. The brainchild of Joegh Bullock, founder of Anon Events, Sea of Dreams was celebrating a decade and a half of decadence, dancing and deliriously wonderful vibes in San Francisco with support and assistance from Another Planet Entertainment and Sunset SF.
We crushed the 5 on Tuesday morning, leaving as early as possible so we could muster in a nap before the first night of the show. It’d been forever since I’d had a healthy dose of Pretty Lights, and now – I’d be seeing him twice in two nights. Christmas might’ve come early for some, but it came late for me and I was in no way complaining.
The first night of Sea of Dreams was as laid back as we were feeling, with only one active stage an intimate crowd and only a handful of artists, but they were all bursting at the seams with talent. For this night only, dancers, festies and music lovers of all kind brought out the flow toys and hoops as they grooved to the salacious sounds of Sea of Dreams. The early bird caught the worm at 7pm when Pumpkin jumped on the decks, but for anyone that missed his opening set – he was featured in between the other sets for an equal amount of time, if not longer, than his actual set. My only wish was that he was a little more highlighted as the crowd got down to a slew of remixes, from the tried and true MJ vocals to his soul tingling remix of Wildlight’s Twirl Me.
For anyone who’s said that true music is dead or lost within EDM had surely never witnessed the musical genius of the rest of the lineup. Next to grace the stage were Adam Deitch and Borahm Lee, better known to fans as NYC glitch-hop duo Break Science. From start to finish, they expertly fused genres from Funk to Hip Hop and Breakbeats with layered, live elements.
Break Science ebbed into Pumpkin and then flowed into The Glitch Mob. Living in LA since ’08, I consider myself more or less a local down south at this point – so seeing the Glitch Mobbers up in San Francisco was a nice treat. They kicked the crowd’s energy up, flowing through tracks from Love Death Immortality and older, crowd favorites; a solid set from the Mob, but being a pre-NYE event, I was hoping it would have been more raucous than it was. But that was immediately forgotten as the stage was stripped and the equipment rearranged. Left and right, audiophiles were geeking out as the acoustic musical setup took place and made way for the last performance of the night: the man, the myth, and the lights – Pretty Lights, to be exact. For this two night stand, Derek Smith brought the beats – and a full band, equipped with keyboardists Bor, trombonists, trumpeters, a Hammond Organ, a mixer and a drummer. And quickly, you remember why it’s called the ‘Pretty Lights Family’ – it features Scott Flynn of John Brown’s Body, Lettuce’s Eric Bloom and both members of Break Science. – at the very least. And we can’t forget, Lightning Director Greg Ellis, but you might know him better as LazerShark – and does that guy ever live up to his name!
For the next two hours, hundreds of eager ears danced their cares away until New Years Eve Day on a musical high that you can honestly only get from real instruments. There’s something in their tonality, the depth, the layering, the colors of the notes and harmonies they create. Nowadays within EDM, were so accustomed to a one man show – but we forget that traditionally, culturally, historically – music has been a multifaceted, artistic vehicle that encompasses the community and brings it together, in celebration; and Pretty Lights did just that. After the show, we forgot about the blustering wind and frigid weather while reminiscing on the beauty and wonder of the PL Live Band; a perfect pre-party for the main event.
Overnight, the wind subsided and the New Years Eve excitement was palpable as the sun rays broke through the window. Puffy white clouds dotted a surprisingly bright blue sky as the last moments of 2014 dissolved in front of us. During the day, we gallivanted around Crissy Field and over the Golden Gate Bridge – dishing on our favorite moments on the night and eager to feast on the main course of music. The sun slipped into the Pacific Ocean while spirits soared simultaneously from each corner of the city.
Strolling up to the second night of Sea of Dreams, the mood was elevated and enlightened, overflowing with ostentatious costumes and enigmatic personalities. Tonight was the big night; hello, 2015! If the main room was the main course, the small rooms may as well have been decadent appetizers that could fill you to the brim. Off to the right side of Bill Graham, the aptly named Trapeze Room was in full swing – fully equipped with life burlesque performances from local favorites Meka La Crème, Elektra Cute, Olivia Bellafontaine, Mojo Deville, Hunny Bunnah, Iza L Vamp, Tonya Kay Jay Siren and Miss Emma Nation. Throughout the night, DJs from The Gentlemen Callers of LA, Jazzy Fox, The Bellhop, Delachux and The Klown delighted party go-ers with the delectable rhythms of Electro Swing until the late hours of the morning. If you took a few steps back, the Silent Disco was getting a quiet groove on with the likes of Matt Haze, Analog Disco, DJ Phleck and DJ Mancub – just to name a few. On the flip side, there were some Funky Deep House and Disco vibes being tossed around jubilantly in Larkin Hall. An eclectic array of artists – from Dirtybird’s Worthy and the Fort Knox Five to Sea of Dreams’ own Robbie Kowal as Motion Potion – delivered exceptional sets to eager fans, lapping up celebratory drinks and reveling in style on the dancefloor.
Descending onto the main dance floor was a treat in itself; decorations adorned the ceiling while live painters and artists from Anthony West to Gregorio de Masi lined the walls, finishing the musically influenced masterpieces they began the night before. Mikey Thunder opened the night, followed by the funky freshness of Lettuce. Beats Antique came out swinging with animated set, more exuberant than their Creature Carnival Tour. Live performers including Zoe Jakes writhed to a bass heavy take on world music, with group members David Satori on the violin and Tommy “Sidecar” Cappel on the drums. For the second time in as many nights, the Pretty Lights Music Band reminded the crowd what dance music should truly be about – musicians and artists collaborating on the creative process, the end result – pure magic. Lightning Director LazerShark outdid himself, as the room filled was once again bombarded with the salacious sounds of a menagerie real instruments. I can’t stress how wonderful it is to hear the color a brass section produces or the emotions an organ can convey. As Derek and the band flowed through old (and personal) favorites like Hot Like Sauce and Keep Em Bouncing, I actually forgot that we’d just seen him the night before; it was a completely different vibe, but the same musical prowess and passion.
Whether it was the exceptional talent presented by the Pretty Lights Full Band, a desire to head home after the midnight ball drop or the almost poetic lull of music after Pretty Lights as the stage was discombobulated and reconfigured in front of our eyes – the crowd seemingly disappeared at 1:30; only to be slowly drawn back to the dance floor as Flying Lotus took the stage. The 2am crowd at Sea of Dreams had a mystique to them, a twinkle in their eye and an extra bounce in their step. As the music picked up, a hushed tone settled over the room; bodies at rest were revived and reinvigorated by the subtle tonality of near binural beats layered over intelligent lyrics. Dancing suddenly felt more like reacting as the low end frequencies emanated from my head down to my toes. We stood there, eyes transfixed on the cube come to form in the center, projection mapping psychedelically warping our minds. The lyrics wrapped their way around our skulls and into our memory, while the projection mapped visuals manifested, fractled and spiraled into and out of control. Tl; dr: my mind was blown.
Like a select other festivals that boast permaculture and collaboration through societal progress – Sea of Dreams is about more than just the music; it’s about the culmination of a music and collaborative community that embrace it. I spent the two nights of SOD celebrating with good friends old and new, festival friends that I’d made at Lightning in a Bottle and new friends just as thrilled as we were to rock into the New Year surrounded by exceptional artists, visionaries and peers. With the menagerie of live musicians that graced the main stage we’re seeing true musicians push back against the stigma – displaying their instrumental prowess as well as their exceptional production skills on the same scale. it’s a different crowd, a different edge of the venn diagram that EDM lovers mingle between. For once, the ‘Dance’ was rightfully thrown back into the moniker ‘Electronic Dance Music’ and was sweet music to all of our ears. It’s been said that how you spend your New Years Eve is indicative of how your year is going to be, and if so – the dance community is in for quite a treat this year.
For more information on Pretty Lights and Sea of Dreams, check out their socials –
From the moment I flutter my eyes awake until the millisecond I drift off into dreamland, I essentially eat, breathe, drink, sip, slurp, embrace and flirt with music. And it’s not just some music, I love it all – music of all genres, shapes, sizes, styles, frequencies, tempos, colors, temperatures. Back when I was younger, I picked my high school based on my purported future basketball career – and I’ll be honest, I really had a good thing going. As an Eighth Grader, I was being recruited by a few Division II colleges. Yeah, I know – DII, but in my defense – I still had braces, didn’t have a drivers license and was far from my first kiss; but, basketball? I could do that. Well, until I couldn’t. My freshman year, I was sidelined with a stress fracture in my L5 and simultaneously discovered my obsession with music history thanks to an exceptional teacher. Sophomore year, as I optioned to leave the basketball team – I happily, and swiftly, replaced my basketball scrimmages with choir practices and reciting lines for the school musical. Looking back, it’s almost comical how life’s trajectory can change velocity in a heartbeat. Not to mention, this was right around the time when Napster came into play.
My musical taste expanded with every breath I took and every song that got stuck in my head; I’d scour the internet for unreleased masters, live versions, acoustic versions – of? Well, anything! As much as I ‘appreciate’ (and I use that term vaguely) the radio – it’s a purely commercial market that people are funneling mindless music at ten times the rate of intelligible, honest, legitimate work. So, instead, I use my hunting and pecking skills to scour the internet in search of everything that the Record Labels didn’t want me to hear. Keep in mind, this started when I was a teenager – now that I’m 30 and I’ve been collecting music for the better part of the last two decades, my iTunes library better resembles a game of minesweeper than an actual music library.
There are two basic malfunctions in my iTunes library – ‘Incomplete Information’ and ‘Missing Files’. They’re equally obnoxious but in entirely different ways, but I’d say the later is worse – because your library will literally stop playing when it can’t find your music file. Let’s tackle that first. Besides, do your really want to rename files that you could potentially be deleting? Right; didn’t think so.
Before I started this, I had 43274 songs in my music library – according to iTunes, about 210 days of music (my personal goal is to have 365 days worth…but whatever, that’s for a different time). But, thanks to all of my warning signs – literally, flags – I knew that this wasn’t the case: almost 10% of my library was actually missing or deleted.
Ever wonder what that annoying ! mark was in the left hand column on iTunes? Well, if you’ve never seen it – you can probably skip this part. But if you’re like me and files are scattered throughout your machine haphazardly, this section will be your bread and butter. Each and every time your iTunes comes across one of these files, the music stops and a dialogue box pops up, asking you to locate the missing music. Sometimes, I know exactly where that Above & Beyond album is sitting, or which single by Griz I needed to link back to my library – but more often than not, I have no damn idea where the files are. The biggest annoyance? Whatever groove I was getting on has been thwarted, and I have to start fresh – and less funky. Thank goodness I found these simple steps to Music Library Liberation.
First things first, the folder up. We’re eventually going to make a hat trick of Playlists, so first let’s make a Playlist Folder to enclose them:
File > New > Playlist Folder
Then, we’re going to make two Smart Playlists and one Static Playlist. From a data doll in the flesh to the rest of you, if you’re not playing around with your Smart Playlists you’re honestly missing out! I have a playlist set to collect data every month, and yearly, for the songs I’ve ranked 4+ so I can have an ongoing ‘Best Of’ Playlist without touching a single thing. You can set filters on filters for the multitudes of metadata each file contains.
We’re going to be creating two Smart Playlists and they’re going to be working off of each other, like logic statements. The first smart playlist is going to encompass ALL of your music files. And I mean, all of them. To do this, we basically tell our playlist to find all files not made by some fake name – logically, the smart playlist places anything and everything in this folder. Make sure the live updating is on, and there aren’t any file restrictions. If you don’t feel like being creative – you can try using my folder name, unless you have some yodeling music on your computer or something…
File > New > Smart Playlist > “All Files”
The more I played around with iTunes and sought some solice online, I found an incredibly helpful hint: If you’re dragging a group of songs out of a Smart Playlist and into a regular playlist, iTunes will automatically eliminate all files it can’t locate. That said, let’s tackle the easy playlist – the Static Playlist. Think of this playlist as a bucket; a helpful, musical bucket where we’re going to be moving our files to. Label it ‘All Live Files’
File > New > Playlist > “All Live Files”
Last, but certainly not least – your second Smart Playlist. This is going to be for your ‘Dead Files’ – we’re going to set this folder up like a sieve, it’s going to collect all the crap data within the application. We want this Smart Playlist to match two rules – we want it to be in the “All Files” Smart Playlist, and we don’t want the files to be in “All Live Files”
File > New > Smart Playlist > “Dead Files”
Head into your “All Files” playlist and select everything – yep, everything (Command + N), right click – and add the files to your ‘All Live Files’ folder. This could take a few minutes, especially if you’ve got a large library, so go open a cold brew, sit back and let your Smart Playlists do the work. When you get back to your tracks, you should see a pretty folder with no warning flags – and a populated “Dead Files” folder. Go to the “Dead Files”, highlight everything – right click and scroll down to delete. Voila; a cleaned up iTunes Library!
Now, if you’re still in the mood to fill in that missing metadata – make a new Smart Playlist, set ‘Artist’ ‘is’ ‘Blank’ – or, Album ‘is Blank’. Your new folder will have all the files missing information – it’s a long, tedious road to adding it back in (trust me, I’m in the middle of it), but it’s so much easier when your playlists are seamlessly streaming.