[LA Life] Get Your Culture On With Summer Happenings at The Broad

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As someone who admittedly understands most other forms of art – the written word, music, architecture, plays, musicals, theater, opera, film and dance – over the sculpted, drawn or painted variety, some of their mystique, culture and history had always escaped me.  But, the good news – I’m definitely not beyond reproach and have maintained both an open mind and heart to see what truly moves me.   Growing up in the Bay Area, we visited Science Museums, Botanical Gardens and open spaces from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, and all areas in between – but visiting a museum and looking at art was never in the cards.

Once I moved to Los Angeles and fully grasped how much culture was oozing out of the concrete jungle of our city, I started to get the itch for new and different types of art.  The LACMA, the Getty and the Getty Villa are all so unique in what they offer.  I’m a little biased because I was at the LACMA for the Tim Burton exhibit, but that was ghoulishly fantastic.  I find myself constantly drooling over the Grecian Architecture and landscaping of the Getty Villa, while the Gardens of the Getty are something entirely special to behold.  But the irony, was that I didn’t fall in love with art in Los Angeles.  I fell in love while I was in the South, in the depths of Arkansas on a work trip.  I’d done some remedial research before the flight and discovered the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art – a beautiful museum tucked deep into the town of Bentonville.  Beyond the stunning architectural design, this was the first time I was truly moved by Norman Rockwell’s canvases and Andy Warhol’s paintings.  Once I planted myself back in Los Angeles, I had a new outlook on the artistic endeavors around the city and as well as a new willingness to explore every niche genre of it.

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Ever since word got out last year that a new modern and contemporary art museum would be placed smack dab in the center of Downtown Los Angeles, I was intrigued at what they would have to offer Then, when the architectural design for the venue finally went up – I was absolutely enthralled.  So when I finally had the chance to visit The Broad with Danny this past weekend for their Nonobject(ive) Summer Happenings, I was over the moon excited and absolutely jumped at the chance.

The Broad, Los Angeles’ newest museum, opened just last September to fill some contemporary art chasm that vast amounts of local and street art couldn’t. Founded and funded by the esteemed Eli and Edythe Broad, the 120,000 square foot venue was immaculately designed by the combined brainpower of Renfro, Diller Scofidio and Gensler, and boasts over 2,000 prominent paintings and pieces of art distributed between it’s two floors of gallery space.   But when their Summer Happenings swing into bloom, the outdoor courtyard becomes transfixed into an open air concert venue with stunning acoustics against the textured exterior of the building while the insides are engaged in spoken word and performance art while attendees ebb and flow through the first special exhibition at The Broad, Cindy Sherman’s Imitation of LifeThough some of the performances this past weekend were a tad lacking – Sky Ferria’s DJ Set, I’m looking at you – it was a wonderful reason for my first visit.

Though I did enjoy bits and pieces of the museum, there was a large portion that felt like a multimedia smorgasborg and sensory overload. Swimming through troves of hipsters sipping on the latest fads and latest drinks, it was hard to actually get some breathing room regardless of if you were in the middle of the crowd during one of the many performance pieces or simply observing a piece of art.   As expected, the pop art from Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol colored me moved; but more than that, I also discovered new art and artists that I appreciated.

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I  found the emotive work of Jean-Michel Basquiat to be pulling at my heart strings, and I fell in love with the work of Takashi Murakami – both Of Chinese Lions, Peonies, Skulls, And Fountains as well as the detailed, grand and inspiring In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow (above). Standing 82′ in length, I could’ve spent an entire day analyzing the vibrant colors and intricacies within it. And who doesn’t adore neon, or vibrant, shiny, gigantically fake balloon animals – so, those were cool too, I guess.

The great thing about art, is it’s all subjective – the real question is: are you moved enough to feel – something, anything?  Maybe, just maybe, certain forms of art just aren’t my thing, maybe I need to go back on a day where I can move like molasses between rooms, taking ten, fifteen minutes to digest the art…or maybe I just wasn’t high enough; either, or. Whichever. The good news is that I’ll keep digesting the world around my like I’m at a buffet, and eventually – I’ll have my just desserts.

If you’re interested in getting attending the Nonobject(ive) Summer Happenings, you have two chances left! Tickets for the penultimate event on 8/20 with Rostam and Sparkle Vision are available here.  The final showing lands on September 24th with Sophie and Vessel, tickets go on sale August 15th. Or, if you’d like a more laidback and relaxed visit, visit online and reserve your spot. Admission is free to the general public unless there’s a special event, but that wait list is legendary.

For more about The Broad Museum and their contemporary collection of art, head to their site and socials –

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



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[The Audiofiles] Dive Into a Sea of Dreams

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: MKGraph

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

Thievery Corporation

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

Little Dragon

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

Photo: MK Graphy

Shpongle

A-Trak

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

Dillon Francis

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

Emancipator

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

LowRIDERz (Laura Low & An-Ten-Nae)

Rob Garza (of Thievery Corp.)

Minnesota

Photo: MKGraph

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

J.Phlip

Worthy

Christian Martin

Thriftworks

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

Photo: MKGraph

[Doing it Right] HARD Summer 2013

‘It was deep, it was soulful , it was techno, it was disco – a kaleidoscope of sounds.’
A tribal beast of rhythm, a ceremony of sound, the gathering of the spirits that would lift us off the ground,
My vision was so clear, but it was still hazy in my mind;
I must have went to house heaven, because nothing’s that divine.

My Love

This Summer has been one of my busiest and best to date; but between the caliber of friendships that I’ve developed over the past year and the effervescent and ever-evolving music scene in Southern California why would I expect anything less?  This past weekend marked the annual mayhem and debauchery that is Hard Summer – one of the only multi-day EDM festivals left in the city of Los Angeles.  It’s taken a few days to recover, but somehow and somewhere between the laughs, the stories, the ‘did-you-guys-see-that?!’ moments and our tired joints we’ve managed to detox from one hell of a wild ride and revel in its glory.

One of the best things about the way HARD has transformed in the past year is that you could get fresh and funky one minute and dirty and dubstepping the next; with acts like Disclosure, Alex Metric, Oliver and Claude VonStroke‘s DirtyBird crewJ.Phlip and Justin Martin in the ‘Underground’ tent you could take a break from the ear thrashing bass (not that I don’t enjoy a good rage sesh every now and again) and groove to something different.  All in all, we couldn’t have asked for better company, weather, food trucks, people watching and amazing acts to see.

On the flip side my friends and I walked from the event with a few legitimate concerns about the safety of the set-up and layout of certain areas like the location of the food trucks, merchandise tents and the ‘Underground’ stage. The vending areas were in an incredibly central -read: profitable – area and disrupted an otherwise pleasant flow to the grounds. The biggest problem for me was having a tented off stage with closed sides. The Sahara and Gobi tents at Coachella created a similar relaxed, shady atmosphere but the addition of sides on the tent made the crowding unbearable and trampling a definite possibility. I was there for Disclosure and so thankful we escaped – the lack of oxygen was pretty brutal!

HARD works hand in hand with Los Angeles: when you purchase your ticket, you’re granted free access to the Metro systems in the city for the entire weekend.  It makes so many things absolutely easier on all of the festival go-ers – driving, traffic, parking, the possibility of accidents and DUIs; the list is endless and we didn’t have to fret about any of it! Once we hit Union Station, we were a mere hop, skip, jump and a ten minute walk to LA Historic Park.  On the way there was an amazing vendor handing out deliciously flavored, and might I add free, fruit-infused waters to all of us so we could fend off our impending dehydration – thank goodness!

Especially compared to the last few HARD events I’ve gone to (last year’s HARD Summer + Day of the Dead), the lines were so much more manageable this year and we barely had to wait; the addition of metal barricades between the lines was absolutely necessary and completely welcomed.  After a friendly little frisk by the security team, we were on and through to the other side: lights, camera, action – here we go!

I had-had-had to make sure we were inside by the time Keys n Krates hit the stage and rightfully so – I guarantee you one thing, they are part of an EDM revolution with the likes of Modestep, Infected Mushroom and the old Pendulum live sets.  There’s just something so damn magical about live instruments – especially the evolution and pairing of them with modern forms of electronics and technology.  It’s giving me a braingasm just thinking about it!  We bounced around between the stages essentially the entire day, because we have severe forms musical ADD and after Tommy Trash tore the city a new one the main stage never really sounded the same.

Day 2 was a whole horse of a different color when compared to the first day; chalk it up to people on Sunday needing to go to work on Monday (or, conversely, people on Saturday who planned on partying for 36 hours straight) but the vibe was a lot more low key and I heard lots more people interject with a “Sorry!” or an “Excuse me…”.  It was like we all got some unwritten memo about chilling out, and we did.  If the aggression of the first twelve hours dissuaded anyone from coming back to another HARD event I surely hope they let the second day change their minds.  Like usual, I came out of this festival with more friends than I went into it with; but, I’ve been doing one thing differently as of late that I hope everyone employs at festivals sooner or later: turn off your phone.  Not just the mobile network but the entire thing!  Sure, in emergencies whip that shit out and find your passe but while you have one: enjoy the moment and focus on the friends that are next to you instead of concerning yourself with people that aren’t around.   You’ll find your entire experience so much more enjoyable; trust me!

Justin Martin

Miau!

Zedd

For an excellent way to bounce through your day, peruse these fine sets from my favorite acts at Hard Summer; enjoy!

Doing it Right: Porter Robinson’s Circle Assembly Tour

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a major crush on Electronic Music – from Trance to Electro House, from Industrial Tech House to Dubstep, and from Drum & Bass to Trap, I basically love it all.   And it’s no wonder, there are elements of electronic music oozing from every other genre.  The “Dubstep” of 2013 sounds eerily similar to the hard rock sounds of Atreyu, Avenged Sevenfold, System of a Down and Korn and “Trap” music is nothing more than hard Rap and Hip Hop beats sans the obnoxious “Money, Hoes and Drugs” vocals.

Each of Saturday’s acts is respected within their own right, as well as their own cross-genre productions.  If you made me drop a pin on the EDM map for Penguin Prison, Seven Lions or Porter Robinson I simply couldn’t do it; each act boasts a mature sound and is beyond versatile.  To be honest, I’d either essentially forgotten or literally had no idea that PP was the opening act – it wasn’t until much later that I put 2 and 2 together to get 4; there were gorgeous vocals coming straight from the DJs mouth, which we were all highly astounded by, a Indie-electro sound and beats that made you just bop around the dance floor – he was the perfect opening act.

Next up was Santa Barbara native Seven Lions – the best way to describe his sound is Trancestep. By weaving beautiful, harmonious dissonance and booming basslines, he creates a unique sound that I’ve only heard from the likes of  Blackmill, on the more relaxed “Chill-step” end of the spectrum, and Xilent, who sits on the harder hitting Dubstep and Drum & Bass side of things. Seven Lions played literally one of the best set’s I’ve heard in the last few years, let alone one of the best ‘Dubstep’ sets ever.  He gets down with the crowd and his energy is contagious, the only other performer I could even compare him to with sound and style would be Bassnectar – and that’s an amazing compliment to both artists in my opinion.

Seven Lions @ The Hollywood Palladium

Last, but by no means least: there’s mister Porter Robinson himself.  After the astounding set by Seven Lions I wasn’t expecting to get swept off my feet: boy was I wrong! He started off the set with his hit ‘Seconds’ and then continued, hit after hit, to wow, astound and hype the crowd.  There was a perma-smile on my face the entire time he was spinning and my feet could not stop moving to his beats.  The Circle Assembly Tour is a must for any self-professed EDM lover; if I could, I would go back in a heartbeat!

Porter Robinson at the Hollywood Palladium

Doing it Right: The Electric Run

When it comes to running, let me be the first to tell you that it’s neither my forte nor something I’ve been interested in for very long. I grew up playing basketball, volleyball and swimming – nothing that required running long distances or for extended periods of time.  But then, last spring – something weird happened:  my tried and true GTI 1.8T decided to have a crisis of faith and stop working.  Transitioning to bipedalism wasn’t the biggest issue in the world; when I moved into my apartment last year, one of the first things I looked up was the “walk-ability” of the neighborhood and was pleasantly surprised that the area had a score of 91 out of 100 – meaning daily errands don’t require a car.  Instead of driving to get produce or supplies for the apartment, I was walking here there and everywhere; except for one minor detail – the gym.  Not being a runner, I was at a loss for a few days…I would run the stairs in the apartment, go for long walks or do some yoga; unfortunately for me, it just wasn’t the same.  So, I did the unthinkable: I started running.

Electric Run LocationsI started slow and steady by running a bit then walking it off; slowly, I worked up to changing the ratio – running for a mile, walking a few blocks, then running another mile.  And then the strangest thing happened – I started falling in love with the balance of breath and movement, grace and growth.  I didn’t have an end goal when I started, but through social media channels I found out about something fabulous called the Electric Run – a 5Kfunrun that’s best described as the illegitimate child of a rave and a half marathon; and to boot, the inaugural one was essentially going to be in my backyard – Orange County.

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Over 10,000 people signed up to be part of this ridiculously fun – and incredibly well run – event.  The premise was that the entire 5K course was adorned with lights, lasers and speakers blasting some of the best EDM currently around while participants decked out in their favorite glow and neon outfits frolicked around the track.  There were families and there were rambunctious teenagers; there were people determined to run their hearts out and others who just wanted to take it in and dance.  Before the run, we were all handed an official T-Shirt and some glow gear of our very own – and others dressed to the 9’s in LEDs, EL-wire and their very own outfit creations (we even saw a ‘ma5 head!).  Employees of the Electric Run were scattered around with cups of water and high fives of encouragement and at the finish line we were showered with granola bars, cheap shots of whiskey and a live performance from DJ’s Sultan and Ned Shepherd.  You were basically welcome to enjoy the intersection of exercise and playtime anytime you wanted. I had an absolute blast running around with my friends and taking it all in – if the Electric Run comes to your city, hop on it like it’s your job!

Sprinting to the end…

Sultan & Ned Shepherd

Doing It Right: HARD Presents – Day of the Dead

I think I’m finally on the verge of recovery from last weekend’s shenanigans – in typical Bouncy Kitty fashion, I more than enjoyed myself at the Music Festival last Saturday.  Sure, there were lines and there was pushing, it took forever to get in and then there were a clusterfuck of people – but that all comes with the territory of festival dwelling and was more or less expected.  Between the chaos and the camaraderie, I had such an amazing night with some of my closest friends – here are some of the highlights:

First of all, not to toot our costume horn but beepm’f’in’beep, my friends! The other weekend a zany, but plausible idea popped into my head in the middle of a brainstorming sesh: My friends and I were discussing our habitual Halloween “fall back” costumes, and a few of us admitted it was actually our “Plan A” every year and mine just happens to be a kitty cat (shocker…).  Well, because we were going to ‘Day of the Dead‘ I thought it’d be fun to incorporate some morbidity into our costumes – so, obviously, I opted for “Dead Cat”…which turned into “Dead Animals”…which somehow turned into “Hey, guys! Let’s be ROADKILL!”  I knew I loved my friends before, but I adore them 150% more because they went along with my ridiculously awesome idea.

Sexy Pieces of Dead Ass

The next highlight of the evening was getting a chance to finally see Miss Maya Jane Coles in action – as much as this was a personal highlight, it doesn’t begin to tell you how effing excited all my friends were.  She was the sole reason they bought their tickets and fended off the damn bike fences – hands down, one of the best deep house sets I’ve heard all year and according to my friends it was 110% completely worth it.

One thing I love about using LA State Historic Park as a venue is the ample stage space for ostentatious set-ups.  The Earstorm Stage where Knife Party ripped the festival a new one was no exception – it was huge, fabulous and stocked to the brim with more lights and lasers than I could count.

EARStorm Stage: Knife Party, Kill the Noise, Tommy Trash, Zane Lowe….

Last – but certainly far from least – I FINALLY SAW KNIFE PARTY!  When Knife Party came into the scene last year I didn’t know how to feel or what to expect from their evolution as a group – but the more I listen to them, the more enthralled I am by what they produce: this melodic dissonance that I simply can’t get enough of.

Knife Party – Save the World

Knife Party – Internet Friends

Doing it Right: All Day We Dream of Cities and Angels

Over the last few months, I’ve managed to both migrate friend groups and music scenes; if you know much about LA you’ll realize that these are more or less the same thing. In Los Angeles, your taste in music and culture – apart from everything else – are truly what separates you from the rest of the bunch, essentially dictating which of the multitudes of subcultures you belong to. Though I have a firm and steady love for all things music – especially electronic, for the past few years I’ve been listening to a lot of trance, house and drum & bass. Well, about five months ago the trajectory of my life shifted – I started wavering away from my former group of friends into unfamiliar territory: the co-mingling worlds of deephouse and techhouse.  Sure, I’d been to a few underground parties in the past but this was so different. My friends were essentially spoon feeding me music, events and DJs like I was a newborn child. I’ve always told my friends that the best way to experience a new type of music or new DJ is to see them live – and now I can say for a fact this is true.

Looking back at all the wonderful events I went to this Summer, I can tell you with 110% certainty that my favorite was ‘All Day I Dream of LA Sky‘ with Lee Burridge and Matthew Dekay. I went with a few of my new, close friends (remember: I’m excellent at this fastfriend thing) after an epic birthday weekend in Ojai.  To be honest, I had no expectations because I didn’t know what to expect.  But there were beautiful people sprawled out across the parking-lot-rooftop-turned-dancefloor, gorgeous light fixtures of all colors swaying with the slight breeze and the music – oh, the music.  And I couldn’t be more thrilled, because they’re bringing the party back to Los Angeles one more time….today! As I type this, I’m getting all sorts of goosebumps reminiscing about just how amazing the last show was and this giddy feeling is developing in my heart, is it time to dance yet?!  If you want to see what you missed last go around, just take a gander at the video below!