Category Archives: Nor Cal

[Traveling Tales] A Leisurely Road Trip Down the West Coast

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The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve been told that there’s only one constant in life, and all ironies aside – that constant is change.  As with the old adage ‘this too shall pass‘, I’ve developed a thicker skin and a willful resolve in the understanding that no matter what I’m doing or the trajectory of my life, the chances of a roller coaster moment is coming are high – so hold on and enjoy the ride.  The ups, downs and in-betweens are all wonderful side-effects of this passionate, purposeful and perpetual, journey around the sun.  This past year alone has been a crazy one, it started with a bang on a social high and it’s ending on a more personal, yet equally loud, roar – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The holidays have always provided me ample time for retrospect, possible due to the lack of a social circle in Oregon – but mostly because of the long flight up and almost two hour drive in from Portland to Corvallis once the plane lands.  Even though I’m not originally from Oregon, my dad is and I’ve felt like it’s been my second (well, technicality third home for my entire life).  Since I was a wee little one, I’ve been frequenting California’s stately neighbor to North.  Plus, now that my dad is inching towards retirement he’s left the busy, bustling and vibrant city life of San Francisco behind while trading it for the slower paced, quieter, country life of  Corvallis; where the claim to fame is green grass, football and Oregon State University.

Since they’d spent the last few months moving, my step-mom was over the moon excited to see us for two reasons – it’d been almost four months since the last time the family got together and she couldn’t wait to unload whatever household items they didn’t need into our possession.  Whether her excitement was from Column A or Column B simply didn’t faze us – we were over the moon about both! Originally when we discussed how we were bringing it all back to Los Angeles, we’d considered renting a van or renting a U-Haul, and had jokingly mentioned that we could just fill the old ’98 Ford Expedition  for a full fledged, super fun road trip – maybe we’d bring it back later in the year and use it as an excuse to come visit again; the options felt endless! Instead of laughing at us, they mused that we might as well just keep the truck since all it had been doing over the last give years was gathering rust and spiderwebs in the garage.  Without missing a beat, we jumped with joy and resolved we’d only have to book a one way flight to Oregon – and could spend the tail end of it road tripping down through Oregon to San Francisco and then on to Los Angeles.  Sure, we had the chance to travel down this path when heading to and from Shambhala but we’d always been in such a rush and never seemed to have the time to smell the proverbial roses or bask in the delightful Oregon sunshine.

If you’re not from Oregon, one of the first things to understand about traveling during Thanksgiving Break is that you’re going to find yourself in a bit of traffic from the Civil War Game.  Every year after Thanksgiving, the Eugene based University of Oregon Ducks take on the OSU Beavers for what’s contended to be the 5th largest college football rivalry in the United States.
If you’re a football fan, it’s a proper time to rejoice – but if you’re trying to make your way down the 5 to California, beware – because there’s really only one major freeway and depending on your timing you might just get stuck in it.  That’s literally the only weekend of the year I’ve ever seen traffic in Oregon. Instead of getting stuck in traffic, we decided to not only leave early but to take every detour we saw fit – we were in the mood to enjoy ourselves and for once we weren’t rushing back to LA on zero energy!

Our first stop was the little known Corvallis BMX Park on the edge of the city where the Marys River and the Williamette River collide.   Some parts were too waterlog to risk, others were too icy to entertain – but throughout it all it was an enjoyable adventure, even when we had to look up exactly what poision oak really looks like. Then we were off, off and away to a rest stop near Oakland, Oregon that looked like it was straight out of a fairy tale with vibrant greens, radiant yellows and blossoming reds.  Time had come to a standstill while we stood there, laughing like five year olds as we waltzed the empty paths around the field, enraptured by our momentary microcosm.

By the time we reached Mt.Ashland, it felt as though we’d experienced the brevity of all the seasons in just a few short hours.  First a cool breeze and sparse sunshine, blossoming into sunshowers and scattered clouds as we climbed our way into an indescribable winter wonderland.  Squealing like a schoolgirl that hadn’t seen snow more than a handful of times in her life, I pleaded with Danny to pull over at each and every turnout so we could embrace the snowfall, dance on the purity of the ground… and apparently have a snowball fight or two.

By sunset, we’d conquered Yreka and saw a beautiful orange and magenta shimmer off of snowcapped Mt.Shasta

We got to Menlo Park late that night, to wake up to the excitement of a stunning Saturday in the Bay Area.  It’d been forever since we’d had a day to just spend some time with my mother and I was beyond happy that she could host us for the weekend.  We spent the day gallivanting around the Bay Area to all my former stomping grounds – Strolling through Menlo Park, and into Atherton where my old High School was to grab lunch downtown at Le Boulanger, then into Palo Alto, Stanford Campus and my favorite hidden gem of a botanical garden. It was a whirlwind few days with a lot of driving and a ton of walking, but it felt great to stretch the limbs, expand the mind and really connect with my family and my fiance.

 

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[Traveling Tales] The Journey to Shambhala

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Not even a few weeks after we arrived back in Los Angeles from our epic journeys to Red Rocks and Zion, Danny and I were feverishly packing our car and getting ready for what turned out to be the best weekend of our young lives so far. Blessed with amazing connections and peers within the dance music scene, Danny and I were both asked by The Confluence to cruise up to Canada for their famed Shambhala Music Festival out at Salmo River Ranch in British Columbia, Canada – and you all know how I am when threatened with a good time, so when they asked I immediately and obviously jumped on this amazing opportunity with pep in my step and more bounce in my boogie.

Once the car was packed to the brim with camping supplies – tents, tarps, blankets, pillows and a cooler – we were off to the races! What originally was a 23 hour drive got broken up into three simpler sections: a 6 hour drive from LA to SF to visit my father, a 9 hour drive from SF to Corvallis to visit my Step-Mom and then another 9 hours until we found ourselves across the border and at Salmo River Ranch in Canada. What started as an unassuming adventure to both a new country, and new music culture, culminated in a warrior-esque journey to a new mindset, absolutely engulfed by the serenity of nature and enthralled by the beautiful expressions of humanity that surrounded us from every angle. There was never a dull moment, and at each and every turn there was someone or something to interact, connect, dance or laugh with and for every stranger we met – we walked away with two new friends. The Shambhala story – and trust me, it’s an EPIC one -won’t be coming later this week; so, until then, enjoy some of these pics from our roadtrip and Shamble-on!

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[The Audiofiles] Silent Frisco Set to Takeover the Nighttime Airwaves at Lightning in a Bottle

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From the US inception of the Silent Disco in 2007 at the Bonnaroo Music Festival, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that this novel idea would become a bonafide hit at festivals and parties nationwide. This goes doubly so for Robbie ‘Motion Potion’ Kowel, founder of San Francisco’s famed Silent Frisco and Co-Founder of SunsetSF – not to mention the premiere Silent Disco DJ in the United States. Until 2011, Kowel spun the Silent Disco alongside DJs LOGIC, QUICKIE MART, and MEDI4 using one channel headphones manufactured by KOSS; now in 2014, you’ll find the Silent Frisco footprint at over 100 different events year round.

In the last two years alone, they’ve hosted monthly residencies in Los Angeles and San Francisco, had their hands on events from clients like Dos Equis, MacWorld, Yahoo and the L.A. County Museum of Art – not to mention the eye-opening experiences at music festivals nationwide like Electric Forest, Treasure Island Music Fest, Gathering of the Vibes, Camp Bisco, Ghost Ship Halloween, High Sierra Music Festival, Hornings Hideout, Sonic Bloom, Another Planet Entertainment, Insomniac Events, Madison House Presents, NoisePop and so much more.

Now, they’re pairing up with longtime friends and fun makers The Do Lab to bring their amazing energy, positive vibes and Silent Frisco-ing down to the hills of Monterey County for this year’s Lightning in a Bottle festival, held over Memorial Day Weekend. The Silent Frisco will broadcast for four nights over two channels with an exceptional roster of talent from all over the nation for four nights. On Thursday night, you’ll hear the tunes of Talking Heads vs LCD Soundsystem and the next night it’ll be Radiohead vs Daft Punk. This hefty portion of eclectic music has been meticulously schemed to ensure a sublime morning for all.

“After years of welcoming The Do Lab to produce stages at our greatest annual creation, Sea of Dreams, it’s only fitting that we should do the same for them at their incredible festival,” said Silent Frisco/SunsetSF director Robbie Kowal. “The Do Lab are among the finest of event producers and giving us “the keys to their sunrise” is an honor we do not take lightly.”

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Silent Frisco will broadcast in our upgraded and expanded HushZone late night on Thursday, Friday, Saturday (that’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings) from 12:30am until 7am. The eclectic lineup will feature nufunk legends FORT KNOX 5 and drum & bass innovator Thunderball, (both from D.C.) as well as LA/NYC Moombahton trailblazer Sabo. SoCal will be well represented with electro-swing producers THE GENTLEMEN CALLERS of Los Angeles, eclectic electronic stalwarts ROMY ACONA and PATRICIO, and two sets from AARON CASTLE, including his patented LCD Soundsystem set. NorCal will represent as well with remix aficionado Zack Darling, mid-tempo hero Malarkey, and downtempo producer INI. Silent Frisco’s residents will keep the trains on the tracks with sets by including resident DJs MANCUB, MATT HAZE and SHOUTS and Motion Potion’s patented Radiohead and Talking Heads sets.

Adds Kowal, “Silent Frisco creates a direct connection between the listener and the artist, which enables more creative, explorational sets. We pride ourselves on curating experiences that allow DJ’s to truly stretch and take the listeners on a journey.”

For additional Silent Frisco events in the San Francisco and Los Angeles area, head over to their website, Facebook or Twitter pages.

Keep up to date with all things Lightning in a Bottle and Do Lab with their socials –

Lightning in a Bottle: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

The Do Lab: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Youtube

For festival coverage, keep your eyes on The DJ List

[The Audiofiles] Lightning in a Bottle Brings the Noise with Official Lineup

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Fresh off the heals of their epic lineup celebrating a decade of live entertainment  at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, The Do Lab – the seminal and ever evolving production team out of Los Angeles California, just keeps the hits coming with yet another epic festival announcement: the lineup for Lightning in a Bottle (aka, my favorite festival ever).  From Amon Tobin to Kraak & Smaak, Thomas Jack to Desert Dwellers, Kaytranaa to What So Not – the weekend offers a little bit of something for everyone, especially those who distance themselves from the monotony of mainstream EDM.  In a page from the book of Sea of Dreams, you’ll still find various remenants of mainstream indie acts like Moby, Little Dragon, Phantogram – but that just leaves more dancing room for the rest of us at the other stages!  The majority of the lineup is, and has always been, creative and cultured underground music scene – and that’s precisely what the Do Lab is known for.  Take a gander at the playlist they threw together and feast your ears on these delightful beats:

When it comes to music festivals, seeing is believing – and if you’re never been to Lightning in a Bottle before, each and every one of your senses is in for a delectable treat.  These videos chronicle last year’s festival out at Lake Skinner in Temecula, California.  This year’s festival promises to be bolder and brighter as the event migrates from its home in Southern California to the hills of Bradley, a location equidistant from the overflowing West Coast Music communities in Los Angeles and San Francisco (and you, too, San Diego; don’t think we’ve forgotten about you).   The new location boasts more land, and swim-able water; a perk for those of us last year that spent too much time seeking shade in that hot, Summer sun.

[2014: A Brave New Year]

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Over the past year, I’ve made myself stop and notice when the workings of the world fall into step and New Years Eve was absolutely no exception to this rule.  From the ambiance and the incredible art (both created and sold at the event) to the plethora of people watching and incredible live musical acts, my creative pallet was equally engaged and satiated.  To boot, it’s officially been one year with the man of my dreams and I couldn’t have picked a better way to celebrate our love than in a ‘Sea of Dreams’.

When we came back from San Francisco last night, I’d developed a new-found bounce in my step and I’d found a soft place for my head in the clouds.  I’m still reeling, reliving and loving all of the moments from this trip – and let’s be real, from 2013 in general. So, what do I have up my sleeves for 2014?  For the long list, you’ll just have to stay tuned in to find out – but the short and sweet of it expect some stellar Festival + Concert Coverage, DIY-deas, Adventures around California, Yummy Recipes, Life Musings and More.  But, until then – let me leave you with some highlights of my last trip!

First stop – Menlo Oaks to visit my mom and gallivant through our awesome backyard!

San Francisco’s Ferry Building from Pier 14.

Pickled Quail Eggs @ The Alembic (Yummy!)

Playing tourist with my favorite Partner-in-Crime.

Sea of Dreams: The Ladder of Dreams created by Sea of Dreams founding father, Joegh Bullock

Thievery Corporation gettin’ down on the Main Stage and then with the ball drop…

Surprise! A-Trak brings Dillon Francis on stage for some back-to-back action.

Last stop – the Marin Headlands for that killer view of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. Parting with the city is always bittersweet, but it’s lovely to have another place besides Los Angeles and Corvallis that I can call home.

[Doing it Right] SF + Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

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This past weekend, my boyfriend and I gallivanted up to our home away from home – San Francisco – to attend the 13th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park.  The festival was started by Warren Hellmen, a philanthropic investment mogul with an affinity for the city of SF, bluegrass music and the community surrounding both.   Though he passed away in 2011, his legacy – and festival – live on through a legacy fund he set-up.  The event is entirely free and full of the most ridiculous intersection of people ever; but hey, who doesn’t like free, right?! I’d say that easily half a million people showed up, but it could’ve been nearly 750,000.  Old hippies, young hippies (which, by the way – it actually costs of money to look that poor), families, stragglers, groups of friends, groups of couples, etc, etc.  We only went for Saturday but that was plenty for me!  I caught part of Elvin Bishop and then it was off to see Dave Alvin with Greg Leisz.  We saw all of Boz Scaggs, who gained notoriety as the head guitarist and sometimes lead vocalist of the Steve Miller Band; he ROCKED!  Then we sauntered over to see Los Lobos Disconnected – a unique, acoustic set by one of my childhood favorite bands; and finally, to wrap up the day we headed back to see Natalie Maines, a third of my childhood favorite country group the Dixie Chicks. Other than the festival, we spent the weekend eating amazing food with great company.  I have to admit, it’s the first time I’ve been home with my man and resigned myself to just doing family stuff – and it was wonderful! If this is growing up, I can definitely get used to this. Now, onto the pics – enjoy!

Good morning, San Francisco!

Last time we were in the city, my man wrote a thank you note to my family; it was beautiful seeing it up on their wall!

Starting the day off right with some Old Vine Zin and fabulous cheeses!

HSB!

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