Monthly Archives: March 2016

[A Reflection] We Are All Acorns

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“Just because sandcastles are ephemeral and doomed to be washed away, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t build them, for they are still beautiful and fun to build. Life itself is not very different.”

The caveat of growing older, is understanding that as cyclical as we might imagine life to be – life also comes with an expiration date.  For as superhuman as we can feel, we’re also exceptionally fragile, like a basket of fresh egg on a Spring day,a newborn baby seeing the world with fresh eyes and your great grandmother’s China that you only use for special occasions.  As much as we prance, pounce and push our way to the top of our own proverbial mountain, it’s often in disregard that the quality of our time on this wonderful planet is also quantifiable.  Life is the synthesis of years, months, weeks, hours, seconds, and fleeting moments that have the weight of the world on their shoulders; and yet, it can be taken away all too soon. The irony of maturing is recognizing that the beauty around you, as minute or magnanimous at it stands, is ephemeral.

This year especially has been an emotional rollercoaster of losses for the Entertainment community.  More often than not, what I’ve found is that while mourning comes from the best of intentions, it eventually becomes a self serving reminder of our own mortality and accomplishments – or, usually, the lack thereof.  But this weekend, the dance community was shattered by the unfortunate passing of a man known for making the most of the moment, finding beauty in breakdowns and providing an uplifting reprieve from the world we live in. 

Sunday of my first Lightning in a Bottle, my dancing feet were failing me and all I wanted to do after three days at kittens first camping festival was take a serious snooze on the lush green grass.   As we sat near the Woogie, collecting our final marbles and exchanging hearty laughs, a slow beat started moving my whole body and I couldn’t help but bop in place to the infectious intonations. Donned in pastel technicolor parasols and androgynously amazing apparel, what started as a sleepy morning manifested into a  musical menagerie and what felt like the soundtrack of my life.  Eclectic and electric, I marinated into a moment that I never wanted to leave as Pumpkin delivered feel good hit after feel good hit.

It was music that transported us across generations and genres, initiating an evolution from unique, individual snowflakes into a haphazard but uniform snowstorm of happiness. A warmth filled my body as the music cascaded from expertly mixed oldies to emotionally driven four to the floor beats, from Jackson 5 to Fleetwood Mac, into Feed Me & Crystal Fighters ‘Love is All I Got’.  It as only later once I had time to refer to the lineup that I realized that it was Pumpkin, who I’d later revere as a West Coast Festival favorite.

Pumpkin was always an artist that my crew and I vehemently looked forward to, regardless of whatever nonsensical residual feelings echoed in the background – he brought us together. Whether we were mainstage waiting for the next act or blissfully taking in the sunshowers from every direction, Pumpkin had a smile and a song for all of us. From Sea of Dreams and Shambhala, to Lightning in a Bottle and Woogie Weekend – the one common denominator was how much the community was looking forward to his set.

One of those few individuals that was more than the sum of his parts, Pumpkin was more than a man and his music, he was a movement – a love train where he was the conductor, a sunshine soaked cruise with Pumpkin proudly at the helm; Pumpkin was a pastor, preaching love, kindness, happiness and warmth at every chance he could. Pumpkin was a humanist, believing the best in the world around him and instilling the world with an effervescent heartbeat that will unequivocally live on. His passing is more than a tragedy, it’s a communal travesty – a man revered for distilling vast amounts of happiness, he will be sorely missed. Pumpkin’s musical legacy will live in pride on the dance floor even though his heartbeat is missing from the soundtrack of our lives

There’s no way around it, it’s sad….I’m sad, what’s forever missing from our community is sad….but it doesn’t have to be.  Dance with joy and hug with love, be one with the world and don’t let one second go that you don’t exclaim to yourself, the world and the people you share it with how much you love them.

 

In memorial, friends of Pumpkin have set up a GoFundMe to provide for his family in this trying time, any little bit helps – and is a small price to personally pay for the amazing legacy that he’s left.

Pumpkin’s Go Fund Me

“Initial funds will go towards memorial costs and all the rest will be put towards some sort of charity involving music and children, to be specified by Nick’s family. As time goes on it’s our hope that Nick can continue to support the charity of their choosing, as we’re sure his big heart would have wanted.”

 

 

[The Audiofiles] Beyond Wonderland: The Beauty and The Beats

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Every day is a delightful dance of dichotomy infused with synchronicity, where we’re flirting with paradoxes and adapting to chaos.  We’re perpetually awarded the opportunity to pursue our destiny and unearth our desires; though, to do so, it’s imperative that we’re constantly discovering ourselves, in an ever evolving fashion.  It’s not about reinventing the wheel, rather shedding our skin like snakes and blossoming like Babushka Dolls.

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”
The Red QueenAlice in Wonderland –

Life, it seems, isn’t much different – working tirelessly to stay above water; where too often than not, we’re a victim of our own feedback cycles, part of the mundane 9 to 5 trivialities where we’re exhausted by the end of the work day and have to ration our passions.  But, when you go beyond yourself,  beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone, and beyond your preconceived notions, you can be free; when we go Beyond Wonderland, the possibilities are beautifully infinite and infinitely beautiful.

Ten years ago when I was still at UCSB, a few friends threatened me with a good time and convinced me to go to my first big music event: Electric Daisy Carnival 2006, or as they referred to it – a ‘rave’; and now, almost 10 years later, I was heading back to San Bernadino for my first Beyond Wonderland.  Rave, Massive, Music Festival …whatever you want to call it, what it ended up being was life changing. But what the media reports, is an entirely different story, and it’s imperative that we acknowledge the connotations surrounding the word.

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One look at any mainstream media source and you’d believe that the events run rampant with illicit drug use and explicit, if not deadly, amounts of consumption, a place where rules and regulations are replaced with dystopian views of reality. But spend one day engrossed in an event, one moment in the dancing shoes of someone who’s been there…come over to the other side just once and you’ll be singing a different song. Our festivals are explorations of time and space, creating a world that celebrates the moment and the best that humanity has to offer, where attendants have each others backs and look out for each other. The current negative stigma surrounding raves is even more unfortunate because these events more than live up to the literal definition.  One look into the linguistics and etymology of the word, and you’ll understand why.

Rave descends from the Old French raver, a variant of resver – meaning ‘to dream.’ By the 1700’s, to rave meant to discuss something with great enthusiasm and admiration.  During the 1950’s and 1960’s in England, ‘rave’ was a term used to describe wild bohemian parties, a word revived by the electronic music scene of the 1980’s.  The rest you could say – is dance music history.

But, it’s the second denotation that gets me: a rave is a physical framework added to the sides of a cart to increase its capacity.  Over the course of this ride we call life, a rave absolutely can increase it’s capacity – by increasing our emotional magnitude for understanding and the depth of our being by enriching us and enlightening us to the wonder we cultivate.  Built on individuality and creativity, raves are for the odd balls and weird eggs, the rare birds of a feather that get down together every blue moon under an electric sky.

Last weekend on Friday, March 18 and Saturday March 19,over 60,000 music fans arriving in festival families flocked to the stunning landscape of the San Manuel Amphitheater to dance away the last moments of Winter and Danny and I were both honored to capture the magic of the occasion.

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From lovely lightning on the overhang of the entryway to decadent decoration adorning literally all of the trees, the entire park was illuminated in a warm technicolor glow as an array of costumed characters filtered in, filling the grounds. With the combined Friday night and Festival traffic, we didn’t reach the festival until almost 10.  Dancing our way in to the sounds of Chris Lake, we gave our legs a quick stretch while we jumped in line for some tasty cold beverages.

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After quickly surveying the scene, we scampered from the Queen’s Domain, through the Cheshire Woods where Kink was throwing a good old fashioned House Party, and made our way to the Outer realm hosted by Dreamstate to scope out the very end of Myon & Shane 54’s Trance Showcase. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to an Insomniac show, and there’s no better feeling than the inspiring tones of trance booming from a glorious PK Sound System.  Next, Giuseppe Ottavianni & Solarstone dazzled the crowd with their ethereal, spine tingling performance as Pure NRG – but I had to pull myself back to the main arena for some feels as Galantis pulled out all the stops.

A supergroup made from Christian “Bloodshy” Karlsson of Miike Snow fame and Linus Eklöw, best known as Style of Eye, Galantis’ blissful beats layered over crooning vocals and textured synths made for one of the best sets of the weekend, playing hits from their debut album ‘Pharmacy‘ like ‘Runaway (U+I)‘ and my personal favorite’Peanut Butter Jelly‘. In a fit of irony, I tried to get a picture of their amazing Seafox visuals on my phone – but my phone apparently had other plans and took a hearty bath in my mixed drink. Originally annoyed, I quickly remembered that I knew all of three people out of the thousands in attendance, one of them being my fiance.  Almost immediately, I let a smile wash over my face as I resolved that the universe did me a solid by forcing me to forget about my electronic leash. Plus, Danny is an exceptional photographer and I knew I’d be able to rely on him to snap some stunners – which he definitely did!

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After another quick boogie with Kink in the Cheshire Woods, it was back to the Outer Realm to hear what Andrew Rayel had to offer: an uplifting, progressive Trance set that rattled your bones; a brand of ‘festival’ Trance that I immensely enjoy. While we were comfortably waiting on the lush grass, a jolly gentleman skipped by with his hands full of water bottles.  Eagerly, he turned to all of us – ‘Do you need any water…Would you like a bottle?’ He echoed, effusing the area with his infectious spirit. ‘We’re giving them out for free; here – have one!’ It’s this kind of spirit that creates the ethos of our community, and the type of giving that’s a cornerstone of our culture.

And then, what I’ve personally been waiting forever for – Ferry Corsten’s new live concept show: Gouryella.  From ‘Beautiful’, ‘Fire’ and’Into the Dark’ through ‘Black Velvet’ and ‘Twice in a Blue Moon’,  I’ve been a huge fan of Ferry’s for almost a decade now and  I find solace and strength within the weight of his music. And Gouryella did not disappoint – the poignant, visuals containing emotive questions forayed into mathematically influenced nature sequences as his driving brand of trance brought the music home.  At the end of the night, we made it back to the Queen’s Domain for some good, old fashioned champagne and bananas with Dada Life, as we kicked out the epic motherfucker to wind down the night.  The crowd was amped, with banana inspired totems, flags and costumes…which for the most part were amazing, but I have to admit that with a vast sea of totems clogging the bottom of the stage I feel like I’m missing part of the show.

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As I lamented the premature black screen of death on my phone while we sauntered out of the grounds, Danny and I were gleefully surprised as one of our favorite humans, and photographers, Juliana –known in the scene as Get Tiny,popped out of the woodwork as we made our way to our car.  If you haven’t seen her pictures, do yourself a favor – scope her out. One of the other two people I knew at the event, I was beyond ecstatic that our paths had crossed – but with the way festivals and coincides work, I was definitely not surprised – we were exactly where we needed to be.

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Get Tiny for Insomniac Events

With the last minute decision to attend Beyond Wonderland, I’ll be the first to admit that we weren’t the most prepared – but we did finagle a last minute hotel about ten minutes down the road from the event. Decompressing, we basked in the afterglow of Day 1.  As we cataloged memories, swooned over our favorite sets, I began to mull over the last few months and the direction of my life. Somewhere along the way, I’d convinced myself that I was growing up and out of the festival circuit. It’s not that I don’t, or didn’t, enjoy them – quite the contrary: I love festival. Maybe it’s the energy necessary to last at top emotional, mental, physical and spiritual shape for the entirety of the weekend events, or the detailed preparation that goes in from outfit choices to set times, the cacophony of personalities whose paths you cross…and on top of that, camping and surviving in the elements;  but, within that unique mixture of quality and quantity, I had burnt out.  Give me one night back at an Insomniac event, the music and the magic of community surrounding the event and the sheer ethos of it, and the fire inside has been reinvigorated ten fold.

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After an incredibly haphazard Saturday morning and afternoon that included absolutely no dull moments,  it was time to don our dancing gear and Caturday best to prepare to do it all over again – but with a twist!  Two of our good friends surprised us on Saturday afternoon after springing for a pair of tickets and we were excited to have our squad double in size for Day 2.  We made sure to get there with daylight to spare and headed straight through Sleepy Tom at the Queen’s Domain to the Outer Realm for Spag Heddi, one of our friend’s personal favorites and must see’s of the weekend. Hosted by the Bassrush Imprint on Saturday night, The Outer Realm highlighted the key players, movers and music makers currently in the Dubstep and Drum and Bass scenes…and not in Miami, but I digress.  It’s always more difficult to navigate a festival in the dark than the day, so we were on a mission to find the Ball Pit, the ‘Turning Wheel’,  Insomniac’s steam punk inspired art boat – the Beyond Wench, and their illusive fourth stage – The Upside-Down Room.

As we took in the sunset from the top of Lookout Mountain, it felt like the event was evolving in front of our eyes as layers of lasers at every angle cascaded through the cotton candy skies; and once again, we were off, off and away on the night’s musical adventure, gleefully bouncing back and forth between the stages, making sure to dance our way through each nook and cranny of the festival. Friday night had ample room to roam around, but with Saturday’s sold out status – I definitely felt the claustrophobia creeping in.  Good news is that I’ve never been around a more gracious group of people in my life, constantly with the ‘Please’ and ‘Excuse Me’…well, except for that one guy.  But apparently, more of the venue was used for last year’s festival and with the amount of flow toys that are admitted into the venue, I wouldn’t mind them expanding the grounds again for their next event.

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Klingande was an absolute delight, but I had to tear myself away for some Delta Heavy – but not before getting down to bangin’ Dirtybird sounds of Will Clarke.  One of my favorite groups for quite some time, I finally had my chance to catch Delta Heavy live.  Their euphoric drops and booming bass were doctor ordered and hearing ‘Ghost’ live was just as good as I expected.  Then it was back to the Queen’s Domain for a sonically salacious set from Slander, back again to the Outer Realm for an unbelievable set from Troyboi, who threw a full on electronically infused hip hop party.

After, we went back to the Queen’s Domain and headed  front and center for what I consider the best set of the weekend – an artist that refuses to fit into any one genre, Seven Lions.  Within one fell swoop during the height of his set, Seven Lions expertly fused ethereal Trance into a Bassnectar-esque breakdown and immediately into a Drumstep beat; I even had a few good cries to an incredible remix of Ferry Corsten’s ‘Beautiful’ and ‘No One On Earth’ from Above & Beyond.

With a few last minute changes, Doctor P was replaced on the lineup by the notorious NGHTMRE; I thought that my friends with last minute tickets would be a bit bummed by the revelation, but to the contrary – they were stoked!  After a few flight delays, NGHTMRE took the place of Ghastly on the Bassrush stage and oh my goodness, did he deliver – even giving us a hearty mix of ‘Gold Dust and closed out by bringing Slander on stage for one last song together.  Then, you guessed it, back to the main stage for the beginning of Deorro to get our Melbourne Bounce on.  As usual with the genre, there’s only so much I can take so I was thrilled to close out the night with some grooves on the giant Boombox, and then back to Datsik.

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While the clock neared 2 at the end of the night, Datsik started to close out his set with Red Hot Chili Peppers’ classic track ‘Otherside.’ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually heard the song remixed, so I was delighted to hear the emotive chord progressions of the original, an ode to our childhood and the music that inspired our musical tastes – the music that pushed us to where we currently are today.  As the soundboard insisted they cut the music, Datsik turned to the audience and urged us to sing along a capella – and sing along we did: tens of thousands of us, with an abundance of voices there were so many harmonies, scales and tones that regardless of how loudly or softly, on or off key you sang – you fit, you had a niche, your voice had a place, and the collective brevity of our voices can move mountains.

“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

For one weekend, thousands of friendly faces put their regular lives on hold in order to release themselves into a world where anything is truly possible.  A world where we give more than we take, offer compliments not condescension, decorate ourselves as loudly and boldly as we choose and can become whoever or whatever we desire.  We come together to celebrate the music and the moments, the beauty and the bass, while rediscovering our individuality within a heart warming community. For one weekend, we went Beyond Wonderland, and we’ve left forever changed.

Over the last twenty years, Pasquale Rotella and Insomniac Events have carefully created and curated an unshakable dynasty within dance music. The production value of the stages was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, it’s just as ostentatious, colorful and out of this world as it should be – and then some. I mean, did you see the water spouts on the Queen’s Domain, or that thrilling, shooting fire from the stage and sides of the Outer Realm, or any of the incredible fireworks shows?  Attend just one Insomniac Event and you simply won’t be able to take Fourth of July Fireworks seriously ever again.  Between the precise attention to each detail of the festival, pristine PK Sound System, ornate dancers and costumed characters in envy worthy costumes, a vibrant community with deep roots in the evolution of the dance scene and world class musicians, Beyond Wonderland proves once again that Rave is King.

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Next up for night owls and other rare birds of a feather – the sold out Bassrush Massive on April 2ndWe Are NRG heads to the NOS Center on May 20 + 21, Audio on the Bay May 28 + 29th in Northern California, and Nocturnal Wonderland was literally just announced for Labor Day Weekend. For those in Southern California, keep your ears to the ground for a new Warehouse party series in Downtown Los Angeles!

Be in the know on all things Insomniac and catch up on all the latest events through their social media channels.

Beyond Wonderland: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Insomniac Events: Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is: Infinite”

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[Self Discovery] A Resolve for Growth

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“Resolve, and thou art free.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When I moved to Los Angeles in my early twenties, I quickly realized I had the entire world at my proverbial fingertips and set out in a determined fashion to conquer most, if not all, of it. Maybe it was a byproduct of my 20-something, 20-anything phase, or maybe it’s simply an ode to the fact that I love making lists – but as I was rounding out the last decade of my life, I found myself insatiably devoted to the litany of bucket lists that I’d created.

As I approached 30 and 31, my lists extensively cataloged places to go, things to do and personal mountains to climb. Each was carefully curated with the best of intentions in mind, playing on my zest for life while rediscovering a purpose in my passions.  As the beginning of the year came and went, I realized that though my lists were representative of the person that I was driven to become – between the constant stroking of the go and daily reminders of what hadn’t been accomplished, they were also slightly exhausting. As John Lennon so famously said, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans

Instead of limiting myself to resolutions I tried to start at the inception of the calendar year, I’ve decided to maintain a fluid list of small ideas where each day holds a unique opportunity for growth and a resolve for evolving past who we were, to become who we want to be.  Regardless of when you set your resolution, it’s important to understand that it’s really the intent that matters.  Sure, a ’31 Before 31′ Bucket List was great – but I found myself so wrapped up in checking the boxes and heading into the next goal, that I couldn’t stop and simply appreciate my small moments of accomplishment; and that’s when I realized that my focus was in the wrong place.  Contrary to my previously held popular belief, It’s not important how many goals you accomplish, or how ‘much’ you grow – but that you have the will and wherewithal to grow in general.  We must be willing to step out of the mundane routine of the every day, and into the novelty of creating magical memories where even the most minute metamorphoses can equate to a massive internal shift.

Over the past few years I’ve inched towards several goals, some haphazardly while others have been more wholeheartedly. Tthis year, instead of a compiling a concise list or a ridiculous repository, I’ve decided to keep it rather short and sweet – well, all things considered.  No joke, going back and looking through these lists is a bit emotionally exhausting – not the kind of feeling you want to have when you’re gearing up to accomplish greatness!  Instead of a grandiose number of accomplishments, I’ve whittled it down to a few that I’m set on taking up.

First and foremost,  I vow to give less fucks. Less fucks?  Yes, a whole lot less.  I suffer from this incurable disease called ‘caring too much about everything’ and not only is it time consuming, but it’s simply exhausting.  Giving less fucks has freed up more time to care about what’s truly important – me, my cats, my husband and this beautiful life that we lead – and less about isn’t – like a past that can’t be changed, unwelcome opinions and toxic friendships that in the grand scheme of things don’t matter.  Coinciding with giving less fucks,

Next, I really want to get back into reading. When I read, my writing improves tenfold and my imagination runs rampant – it’s like a vacation in my hands, how could you not love it?? I implicitly understand that reading more than 10 books a year is a lofty goal; one that can basically be accomplished only if you choose to live inside a literary world and essentially ignore the real one that we’re living in.  Instead of a list of 20 books, I really just want to get through five good ones.  Just five.  I think that’s pretty solid.

Now that I have a plan to engage my mind, I also want one that engages my body and spirit.  Creating a militant workout routine just isn’t my style, because give me rules and watch me avoid them – but I’ve rediscovered a love exploring the great beyond, and have found that being outdoors reinvigorates me from head to toe.  Instead of inundating myself with gym time or diet plans, I’m choosing to eat healthier – with less processed foods and more time at the Farmer’s Market.

When it comes to the my professional life, I’ve realized that I need one job that pays the bills and another that makes me happy; and if they can be the same – even better.  By in large, they aren’t though and you have to be willing to subsidize your happiness somehow – take a course at a local community college, join Toastmasters, volunteer at an animal shelter, join a neighborhood council, take up an instrument, join a choir, write for a local paper, read to schoolchildren, start up a kickball team…the opportunities are endless once you open your mind beyond your 9-5.  And working from home, I’ve also realized that when I’m done with work for the day I need to be done – put the laptop away, get off social media, and get into myself.

Lastly, when I think of my friends – I want to let them know personally.  Not post on their Facebook wall or send them a Snapchat, because really – those aren’t for them, it’s for you – I want to reach out and tangibly touch them with my words, hear the nuances in their voice as they tell me about their day.  I want to be present in the moment with them, and by in large that means getting offline and into a real conversation.

Whether you’re carving out a solid block of a few hours every weekend, or devoting 30 minutes a night, it’s important to set aside some personal time for yourself to dive into your dreams and rediscover who you are at your core.

What are your personal goals for this year? Where’s your resolve for growth?

[The Audiofiles] Dive Down the Rabbit Hole at Beyond Wonderland

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One day in 2006, a wide eyed, wanderlust fueled, dream weaving music maven was thrust into the world of electric skies and daisies, unabashed personalities paired with unapologetic beauty, a mixture of hefty bass and ethereal trance with what felt like an unlimited supply of good vibes and good times.  Now, a decade later – the young woman that evolved from the chaos of the last few years will be entering a new adventure: diving down Insomniac’s fabled rabbit hole and into my first Beyond Wonderland.

Returning for it’s 6th year,  Beyond Wonderland and it’s headliners return to the San Manuel Amphitheater and Grounds in San Bernadino, California for an epic adventure into the heart of dance music. Between the interactive art installations, costumed creatives roaming the grounds, free hydration stations and an incredible array of performers on four stages spread out among the grounds – Beyond Wonderland has something special up it’s sleeve for all in attendance.I can tell you right now that my Trance Arms are ready and roaring to go for the Outer Realm hosted by Dreamstate where FERRY CORSTEN will finally debut his live GOURYELLA set on Friday, and then I’ll be right back again the next night for some Bass and booty shaking with DOCTOR P and DELTA HEAVY. Check the set times (and potential conflicts!) below.

Even though Insomniac’s events were where I evolved into the audiophile I am today, I actually haven’t been back to San Bernadino since How Sweet It Is 2009 – when HSII still existed; and I haven’t been to an Insomniac festival since their first EDC in Las Vegas back in 2011. I can’t wait to be back, back with my neon brothers and sisters in a vibrant setting surrounded by fantastic music.

In the past few years, Insomniac has paved the way for some festivals to transform into camping utopia’s for festival squadrons from near and far – this year at Beyond Wonderland is no different! Dare to dream and wish upon a star in the decorated nooks and crannies of the campground, including access to morning yoga and a Silent Disco.

To enter the camping areas, you must have a valid festival ticket and be over 18. The tent areas measure 10′ by 10′ and there is a maximum of 5 party people per tent. Though you can park remotely and walk in, note that there’s a free lot specifically for tent camping purposes and the lot is limited to 1 car per tent spot.

“These Wonderland events were born and raised in Southern California, and so much of their unique style is inspired by the Headliners who attend them…the magical spirit of our Headliners continues to make Beyond Wonderland a special experience.”Pasquale Rotella, Founder and CEO of Insomniac.

Feeling the festival FOMO yet? Don’t fret, there’s still time to join in the fun!

Purchase Tickets Here | RSVP on Facebook and bring the squad!

For more details, follow Beyond Wonderland and Insomniac Events on their socials –

Beyond Wonderland: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Insomniac Events: Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

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Article cross published on The DJ List – and stay tuned for a full recap and a plethora of pictures from my fantastic fiance 🙂

[The Audiofiles] Insomniac Returns to Their Rave Roots for LA Warehouse Series This Summer

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As the dance music circuit bubbles over with large scale events where you can lose yourself within a welcomed sensory overload of sound, color and personalities, it’s about time that a production company come and turn the scene on its head again.

Literally just the other week, I was craving a Los Angeles warehouse party – you know, one of those parties where you have an address but not the address, are ushered away in a hush hush manner to a dimly lit, intimate and industrially inspired location to dance the night away as music echos around you. So, it’s no surprise to me that others share the same sentiment.

Last Thursday, Insomniac Events company founder and tastemaker Pasquale Rotella took to his Facebook page for an extra special announcement that has the city of Los Angeles roaring to go:

“Going back to our roots with a special series of warehouse parties this summer…More info coming soon.”

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Let’s be honest, the Kandi Kid inside me is bouncing up and down with joy.  I spent a good three years in my eight year stint bouncing between warehouse parties in downtown Los Angeles, hoping each wouldn’t be swarmed by cops who were thwarting our efforts to have an unabashed, good ol’ time. I remember one night when the cops came right when my friends were setting up at 10pm, they gingerly urged us to vacate the property – throwing a fit over how we knew about the event.  “You have friends…?” He asked a group of us, “Well, so do we…” alluding to a secret network of false social media profiles.  We took a deep breath and packed up while they exited the venue, only to hear the production team giggle: “..and this is why we booked four venues for the night! The party must go on!”

And go on it will – now, with a reinvigoration that only Insomniac can provide.Details on Insomniac’s highly anticipated upcoming party series are still under wraps, until I know more – it’s best to keep your eyes on Insomniac’s website and socials for more information.

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[Oh, Snap] An Adventure Down The Gabba Gallery’s Animal Alley

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Hints of them are creeping around corners, lurking between alleyways while beautifying the backside of buildings, casually creating a sensation while transforming the world.   Some adorn the sides of old train cars or the underside of bridges, and others are more purposely placed, adding character to the communities around them with technicolor trickery and awe inspiring art work.

At this point, I have a pretty long list of my favorite things about Los Angeles  – but the art here is definitely one of them. This city is literally swimming in a sea of immensely talented artists that use a multitude of mediums, from lights to sculpture, mixed media, dance, theater and more but I’ve realized in the last five years that by in large when it comes to the types of art I truly enjoy – I have hearts for eyes for architecture and Graffiti. The creativity within the community bubbles over effervescently, adorning buildings in a similar tone to the hieroglyphs to ancient Egyptians, with a menagerie of talented artists with unique styles, focusing on spirituality, humanism, perspective and mountains of wisdom.

Back when I lived over in the Miracle Mile and Fairfax District, I was what I’d consider artistically spoiled: the alleyways behind the sorted shops all along Melrose and the Fame Yard sponsored by SportieLA boasted a bevvy of newly commissioned artwork, and I loved the juxtaposition of high end retail (well, let’s be honest…Melrose is pretty much every type of Retail) against a rich cacophony of freshly painted art.  The art scene was so big over there that you would see paintings that honestly looked like those huge plastered billboards on the wall across from Fairfax High School (/ and the Melrose Trading Post); but once you got up close and incredibly personal with the wall, you’d see the intricate details in their labor of love and realize how much raw talent went into it’s creation.

This past weekend with Daylight Savings Time rearing it’s incredibly stupid head, Danny and I took it upon ourselves to get into the mood by diving into one of my favorite seasonal rituals, Spring Cleaning. We went through each and every nook and crany of our apartment, and ended up donated or throwing away roughly 30% of what was in our closets!  On our way back from a quick jaunt to Koreatown, we realized we were right by The Gabba Gallery, which has been this proverbial, mythical creature of an art gallery to me.

Curated in tandem by gallery owner Jason Ostro and gallery manager Elena Jacobson, The Gabba Gallery plays host to talented local, national and internationally respected contemporary artists, honing in on the modernization of art through photography, sculpture, collage, mixed media, fine art, street art and design. You never know what you’re going to find at The Gabba Gallery, especially when you don’t even know it’s hours.  Right.  As it turns out, the venue opens for showings but doesn’t keep normal “9-5” hours every day of the week. After a bit of research, it looks like the Gallery is open either by appointment or by exhibit opening; so, there’s that.   The good news, is that right around the corner was an awe inspiring amount of art to explore in the freshly painted offshoot of The Gabba Gallery – Animal Alley!

Adorning the alleyways in Echo Park between Beverly, N Vendome and N Dillon St, Animal Alley is a collaborative public art installation that contains upwards of 80 murals by over 50 different artists.   The project has been underway since April of 2015 and finally came to completion this past December, featuring a wide variety of animal inspired artwork around each and every corner.

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For more on The Gabba Gallery, head to their socials:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Yelp | Tumblr

If you’d like to head straight to Animal Alley:

[Traveling Tales] Plan Your Next Vacation With Google Destinations 

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“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.”
– Anais Nin

The last few days have ushered in the pitter-patter of rain like cats nimbly playing on our roof, while the sun has chosen to haphazardly break through the clouds, reveling down onto our atmosphere and warming the land bits by bit.  Yes, you guessed it – Spring is just around the corner and we just had some “real weather” in Southern California, providing a fresh layer of powder in the mountains and a stunning ‘Super Bloom’ out in the middle of Desert Valley. Over the last few days, we’ve been itching to plan another quick weekend getaway similar to the Sequoias and it’s gotten me all antsy with anticipation for another adventure in the great outdoors.

The more I travel, the more I realize that though we can all enjoy a vacation -between determining the destination, booking the room, exploring extracurricular activities in the area and finding some fabulous food options- planning them certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  With the assistance of any number of websites that coagulate travel data across the hotel and transportation markets like Travelocity, CheapTickets and Kayak, a host of easibly maliable and managable mobile apps, and my uncanny ability to have way too many tabs open and organized in my browser window, it’s gotten a wee bit easier.  But let’s face it, it’s still not streamlined – so leave it to the geniuses at Google to revolutionize the online travel game.

Just yesterday morning, Google announced a new component to its mobile vertical – Google Destinations.  It’s an easy, breezy one stop shop of a vacation application that’s sure to take the stress out of your search and get you into some fun on the double. As the worlds premiere online search engine, Google claims that in the last few years it’s seen a 50% increase in travel related questions and queries generating on the site. After putting their heads together, they coagulates the metadata from Google Flights and Hotel Search to provide instant travel relief in the form of easy to browse itineraries and quick buy bookings from reputable sites.  If you haven’t taken Google Flights for a spin, I’ll be honest – you’re missing out.  The algorithms they’ve developed do a wonderful job of forecasting the best times for flights, not to mention it’ll link you with any number of other travel providers.

Unlike many other large internet travel providers like Kayak, Air BnB and Cheaptickets which offer multiple ways to access their data, Google Destinations is only available on your mobile device.  Though this move could be construed as an attempt to drive traffic to their mobile site, maybe it’s also a silent hint that we should be prepared for a mobile app from Google Labs.  Either way, though, I’m into it -.  If you want to take it for a spin yourself, grab that smart phone and let’s play along.

First, head to your native Google or Google Chrome app (and if you don’t have either, I would recommend downloading them immediately.) And now, let’s just dream a little and plan a hypothetical dream vacation. From tinkering around this morning, it looks like you can either use a State from the United States or a Country from around the world, paired with the word “destinations” – meaning queries like “California destinations”, “Canada destinations”, “Italy destinations” and the like.  Now, the real fun begins!

Once you have your general location in mind, there are three ways to manipulate the data.  First, you can filter by date – and if you don’t know the exact dates you want to travel, the ‘Flexible Dates’ let’s you just pick the months you’re considering.  Next, you can refine your search by the type of activity; or you can even include the keywords in your search with hobby terms + [Location] + “Destination”, like “California Surfing”, “Colorado Hiking” or  “Spain Skiing.”  If you don’t know what you want, let Google do some thinking for you and choose from the options are as below.  And last, but certainly not least – you can adjust the end price which takes into account 7 nights away; as of now, it’s only available for 1 or 2 travelers.

If you click through to your dream spot from the first search, you’ll be presented with a window with two tabs. ‘Explore’ gives a little bit of background on the area – including the most sought after locations in the area, various itineraries based on past searches, a birds eye view of the topography and annual meteorology of the area letting you know when the best time of year to go is and a variety of additional locations to enjoy based on your search.  Currently, Google only has itineraries for roughly 201 locations but I’m sure that number will increase exponentially with the use of the application.

If you don’t have your phone handy, don’t have a destination in mind or simply would rather watch someone else do it – take a gander at the video below.