Tag Archives: Love

[The Audiofiles] Curating The Lightning in My Bottle

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For the last decade, hell – my entire life – music has been my genesis and the community surrounding it has become my family. I’ve ebbed and flowed in and out of genres in parallel to my social groups;  from my roots in Trance and Dubstep, into a self professed Techno-file, Basshead and back to being a tried and true audiophile. I’ve watched myself grow, between the cracks and between the events, blossoming, regenerating and trying again as the flowers do every spring. For the past few years, Lightning in a Bottle has been my source of metamorphosis, the cocoon that encapsulated my former spirit – giving life to my dreams and purpose to my passions. No automatic alt text available. But it always felt as if it came with a life-sized catch.

As is natural in life, the soaring highs and the lowest lows seemed to coexist within the festival space – almost magnified under the idea of the ‘transformational’ festival experience.  The human mind, as beautifully strong as it is, is forever wired to remember and avoid pain, while seeking pleasure.  Instead of remembering my whirling wanderlust for novel and new music, a colorful cacophony of characters cascading into my life, delightful dialogues with strangers that became instant friends and the effervescent beauty of immersive art structures – my mind matriculated elsewhere.  Every time I tried to conceive of myself bouncing around on festival grounds, the first memories to flood my head are my aunt passing away last year, our laptop getting stolen from our tent the year before, and various high drama moments between security and festival goers. Where my freshman self had been so keen on forming a new festival family, while now – as a festival veteran – I felt myself retract back into my personal bubble. Yes, inherently trust is something to be earned, like the view from the top of a mountain after a hike…but that’s for the real world – here, at a festival, with a menagerie of like minded people, I wanted to leave my defenses far behind me – instead, they transformed into a chip on my shoulder. Suffice it to say, it felt like my time there had run out – and rightfully so…after all, I’ve never been in a school system with the same people for longer than 5 years at a time, so if we’re really in High School part Infinity as it always seems – this is me, graduated and looking at life anew.

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Lightning in a Bottle – in tandem with the Do LaB – has turned an impeccable idea into a full on circus show where you’re both the audience and the show.  They’ve made me cultivate and curate my own community of dreamers and do-ers, they’ve shown me how to synthesize ideas and different types of personalities, how to go with the flow and look at the world through eyes of childlike wonder and amazement, I have a new appreciation for the metaphysical aspects of life and for the natural world – and now, I’m ready to foray that into the rest of my life.  Yes, LIB is an amazing, wonderful, technicolor day dream of a weekend – and I’m thrilled that I’ve gotten to dance my way through their world, both as a participant, as a writer for The DJ list, and as a member of their esteemed PR team when they were paired with The Confluence.

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I’ve lived inside someone else’s technicolor daydream and loved (almost) every second, but it’s given me pause – a notion that maybe it’s time to curate my own dreams and dive into those. I’ve had a trifecta of angles, a million perspectives shoved into a four year span – and it’s taught me that the world is both more beautiful and more complicated than you could realize, but if you take the time to put the pieces together – the puzzle you complete will astound you.

You’ll look at the world anew, with the ability to find sincerity in small moments and life long lessons within short term friendships.  Only after uncovering yourself, the person who resonates at your core, you’ll see the truth of the people you surround yourself with. There are an infinite amount of dragons to chase, so choose to search for the bigger picture, how to leave the world better and beautiful, how to operate with openness and kindness, and receive it them in return.  Smiling at strangers isn’t just for festivals, and hugs are for everyone, there’s art everywhere and every moment is a good moment to dance. The good life we create at our festivals, the community, love and ethos we spend four days and nights cultivating are here, in every second of our every day life if we choose to engage it.

 

One doesn’t stay in their genesis forever, and within that – I feel I’ve gotten exactly what I needed to head on in my own direction.  Lightning has been my springboard, a stepping stone in the river to where I’ve become myself and I’m thrilled at the memories that I’ve made there, but now – at 32, about to be married and wanting a family, I felt inspired to start my own traditions, and cultivate the lightning in my own bottle.  For the first time since 2012, I didn’t attend Lightning – but it doesn’t mean that my soul wasn’t there, living vicariously through passionate people prancing through the dust in search of their next adventure as I searched for mine.
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[The Audiofiles] The Road to the Desert Hearts Spring Festival is Paved with House, Techno and a Whole Lot of Love

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Over the last five years, Southern California’s Desert Hearts troupe has blossomed from a homegrown hub of House and Techno into a global party sensation. After taking the Fall season off this year, much to the dismay of Desert Hearts fanatics all over – Desert Hearts is proud to announce their triumphant return to the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation from March 31 to April 3, 2017.

Playing host to an intimate number of attendants, the festival is capped at 3,500 and the warm, bubbly ethos that the size of the event curates is delightfully palpable. Between the various Desert Hearts virgins and assorted Desert Hearts vets, the weekend is as much a festival as it is a family reunion…with the grooviest soundtrack on the West Coast. Musical tastemakers to grace the decks have included Tiefschwarz, DJ Harvey, Monkey Safari, Rodriguez Jr., DJ T, Claude VonStroke, Marc Houle, Olivier Giacomotto, Mark Henning, M.A.N.D.Y, alongside the usual suspects – Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs and Porkchop.

The road to the Desert Hearts Spring Festival is paved with House and Techno from coast to coast as the squad heads out on their 21 tour date City Hearts Winter Tour. The mobile micro-festival vibe will takeover premiere festivals in previously unexplored markets for the burgeoning brand including Brazil’s Som & Sol Festival, Costa Rica’s Ocaso Festival, Tucson’s Gem and Jam, plus return trips to Brooklyn, Denver, Miami, Salt Lake City, its prized home turf of Los Angeles and San Diego, and many more standout shows.

Tickets for the highly anticipated and long awaited Spring 2017 Edition of Desert Hearts go on sale Tuesday, December 6th at 12 PM PST.

RSVP on Facbook and Rally Your Squad | Snag Tickets Here!

For more on the Desert Hearts squad and their upcoming roster of events, head to their social media channels –

Website | Facebook| Twitter | Soundcloud | Instagram

[Self Discovery] The Truth About Lying

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Lies.  Big or small, white or monstrous – we’ve all told them, and to believe the contrary would be – you guessed it – a lie. According to a recent study, we lie in 25% of our interactions.  Both in action and as concrete ideas, lies can build an unstable foundation in any relationship, familial, romantic, platonic – and even your relationship with yourself. And these untruths aren’t confined to our external environment, either; for every falsehood we voice out loud, there are a handful of others that we tell to ourselves. Unfortunately, the lies we tell ourselves pave the way for the way we lie to the world.

In contrast to Mark Twain, who saw them as ‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’; I choose to think of them as white lies, grey lies and black lies, all sitting on a sliding scale of deception. Let’s do a thought experiment for a second. Quick as a bunny, what’s the last lie you told?  Did you tell your boss you needed more time on a project, when you’ve actually just been procrastinating?  Did you misrepresent yourself in the way you dress, catering to a specific subset of society? Did you tell your squad that you’d meet them for drinks tonight when all you plan on doing is curling up on the couch? Did you tell an artistic friend that you enjoyed their last piece of work when you were anything but interested? Did you tell yourself you didn’t want seconds when you’re still hungry? From half truths to complete falsehoods, none of them are honest – but, one could argue, they’re socially necessary.

From an early age when we couldn’t yet grasp the veracity of the truth when contrasted with the stark emptiness of a false promise, or erroneous nature of a flat out lie – we babbled, we balked, then we talked and walked.  We expressed ourselves emotionally, in our own truth, while slowly learning the truths around us.  Leaves don’t dance down from trees, they fall with the assistance of gravity; I’d rather believe the former, but the later screams accuracy.  And that’s the thing, lies always start small – innocent, lacking any semblance of personal harm or distrust.

White lies are the lies we use on a daily basis to navigate the world.  Telling the cashier that your day is going well even if it’s anything but, entertaining a lunchtime meeting with your boss when you just wanted to have your head in a book, compromising on restaurant choice because your friend’s appetite is heavily invested and you could give a shit.  Yes, you could be honest in all occasions: My day is actually shit, how long do you have to talk; Sorry, I would rather be alone than talk to you; No, I’m not interesting in eating there.  Yet, you don’t – because it’s simpler, easier, almost more necessary to give in to the dance of life.  However, each of those scenarios becomes exponentially trickier the more you you’ve seen the cashier, the longer you’ve known your boss or just how well you know your friend.

They say that improvisational comedy won’t work if you continually say ‘No’ to scenarios, and life isn’t much different. Though white lies are most certainly lies, how awkward or tense would you have made each of those situations for both parties by delving into the veracity of the situation?  In an economic sense, you understand what you’re giving and you’re complicit in what you’re getting. What transforms the white lies into the grey ones, and the damned black dishonesty, are the people you’re deceiving and the levels of duplicity you’re willing to go through.  The closer you consider the relationship, the more harm dishonesty inflicts. Conversely, the more effort you put into the lie, the more disastrous the backdraft.

Beyond being kinder and flat out honest (things I like), the truth is also easier to remember and never has to be defended – because, simply put, the truth just is. It exists whether or not we want to acknowledge it.  It’s like evolution, climate change and science – it’s there, and life becomes more valuable when you accept the truth and move forward with it in your pocket.

The economy of friendship is built from the supply and demand backbones of truth. Though we would love to believe that we are infallible and incapable of telling lies, the fact of the matter is we all bend fact to make fable from time to time. Which begs the question not of why do others lie, but why do we lie? Comfort, ease, and emotional protection top the list – the comfort, ease and protection of our own ego.

Sometimes, the truth is boring and as orators and storytellers by nature, we yearn for the truth to be more exciting.  But more often than not, the truth is a a difficult pill to swallow – let alone force feed to another soul; it becomes an alarming reason for pause, a conversation starter, relationship ender, or an anxiety induced call to internal calamity. All the while lies, time and time again, are used to smooth over any future scars before the threat of pain is on the horizon.  The problem is this – lies are akin to using a bandaid to stop a gunshot wound; it might cover the wound and provide a momentary solution, but it’s not going to stop the bleeding or the pain.  While, on the other hand, intimate trust is more like a mirror – once it’s broken, it can never be put back together quite the same again; and lies have the innate ability to dismantle relationships altogether.  This brings about a new problem – and I’ll leave it to Nietzsche to summarize: “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that I can never believe you again.

None of us wants to believe the people in their lives to be liars, or dishonest in any way.  Yet knock out one of the mosaics in the stained glass window of your relationship with a lie and you’re bound to shine light on an emotional situation.  Knock too many down, and the vibrant image has been replaced with a new vision of clarity.  How many lies does one need to tell to be removed from our inner circle and emotionally placed outside of the intimate confines of our reality?

How many lies do we need to tell ourselves before we realize that we don’t have to be what the world wants us to be? We can be unapologetically ourselves, with all of our faults and idiosyncrasies, where our true preferences are wrapped up in the fibers of your ego and expunged through every fiber of your being.  Once you’ve lived honestly with yourself, there’s no going back – being honest with the world you cultivate and curate feels like living with love in every step; once attained, it feels like the only way to live.

No matter the circumstances, next time you’re about to fib, falter, misspeak, or flat out lie – wonder what you’re lying to yourself about first, and ask yourself why.

I watched this movie called “Liar Liar” and the message was, *Don’t* lie; and that was a smart movie.

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[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.”

 

 

Saying Goodbye to Sake

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 Over the past few weeks, my heart has been slowly breaking. It’s been trying, difficult and frustrating to wrap my fingers around the idea that a piece of my life is missing; there’s a definitive void – not just within me, but surrounding me. Words have failed me, and at every turn I feel like I’m going to crumble to the ground, overcome by emotion and struck by reality.


Back in college, I was going through a transitionary period. Becoming a fifth year senior isn’t usually commendable but at an institution like UCSB – it also wasn’t uncommon. It was the Summer of 2007 and I had just moved out of Isla Vista to the Mesa – a wonderful area near downtown Santa Barbara, surrounded by a stunning almost 360 view of the Pacific Ocean. My best friend at the time, a wonderful, warmhearted gal with an affinity for furry friends, moved in with me and between the five housemates we had two cats – Ssleman, a beautiful grey and white cat with a warm heart and a little black kitty that hid every chance it could; and then there was Roxy, a Golden Retriever / Yellow Lab puppy with more energy than I’d ever seen. After living there for a few months and going through a few mental moments of manifest destiny, I decided it was time – time for me to get a cat. I needed something to love beyond myself, to remind me that I was worthy of love; I needed to care about something to remind myself of the circular motion of life.


Arriving at the shelter, I gallivanted into the cat room and immediately felt at home. Throughout middle school and high school, I’d volunteered at cat shelters and there’s nothing like some kitty cuddles to brighten your mood and cultivate altruism. I glanced at an 8 month old Siamese that I immediately wanted to bring home, and a litter of orange tabby kittens not more than 2 weeks old. After getting to know me a bit, the young man working this room had a visceral lightbulb moment…“There’s a cat over here that I think will be perfect for you; he’s a little trickster and a lover.”  As we walked over to the carrier, a beautiful blue-grey cat sat poised in the back of the cage. “No…” I mused “…what about the playful girl next to him?” The man smiled back “Why don’t you guys go into the play room, and if it’s not a good fit we can keep looking.”

As Maguro was plucked from his perching position and was handed to me, his front paws reached out around my neck and he looked at me like I was home.  From the moment we were in the play area, he flopped and stretched ten ways to Sunday, purring, prancing and pawing at me. Looking up with a glimmer of gratitude in my eyes, I laughed “Ok, you guys got me…I’ll take him!”

As it turned out, I couldn’t bring him home immediately – upper respiratory infections are incredibly common in shelter cats and he’d just come down with one. Instead of bringing him home, I played with his sister – Saba – and it felt like she knew I was taking her brother away. I whispered that I would take good care of him and she purred in response.

Eight years later, I can say that without a doubt – he’s actually taken care of me.  From Santa Barbara to now four different homes in Los Angeles, Sake has been my confidant, my best friend, my furry little man and the light of my life. He’s gotten me through heartbreak and deaths, losing friends and losing my mind. 

 

My little Sake bomb. Sir Saks a Lot. He was the most playful, loving creature I’ve ever known. He would wake me up by pouncing on my chest and announcing his hunger with a miniature roar, he would zoom around the apartment with gusto and cuddle-hug you like he was a person. Sake converted friends that had sworn they were solely dog people, and made cat lovers rejoice. He was the best thing that has happened to me in my 30 years of existence. And now, he’s gone.

We only noticed the symptoms a few weeks ago and it wrenches my soul to think if we could’ve saved him. The last two weekends were full of friends that I consider family, doting their love and happiness on him and he loved back in kind – curling up and lapping up attention like it was his job. But in the back of my mind, I was scared, sad and confused. It felt like just yesterday, he was running around in the Santa Barbara sunshine, lounging in the flowers and running to my car from down the street whenever I returned from campus. And now, I was feeding him by hand, cradling him like he was my child, wishing for a better tomorrow. But that better tomorrow never came.

Yesterday, Sake lost his battle against lymphoma. The last thing he ever did in his life was jump into my arms, almost in parallel to the way he came in. We held his paws, wiped his eyes and sang with him until his final curtain call. I’ve never been so conflicted and overrun with emotion; I don’t know if I’ve even ever been this uncontrollably sad. I miss my dapper little man but I know he’s in a better place, cathartically chasing mice and lapping up love in the great beyond.

Because of Sake, I know what it means to love, to care, to be a friend and just listen; I know the true meaning of life, to love and be loved. When you get home tonight, hug your pets…hug your loved ones, life is too short to be anything but blissful. RIP Sake, I only hope that I can have half the effect on the world that you did.

              

[Let’s Celebrate] Friendsgiving

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‘Tis the season for festive candles, home cooked meals, holiday cards and spending time with the ones you love; sure, Thanksgiving is right around the corner – but Friendsgiving? That simply never goes out of style. Living in Los Angeles, as in many big cities, there are twice as many transplants as locals.  A good proportion of which stay around for the holidays and end up below the radar for Thanksgiving, if they’re not flying solo.  Not that you need an excuse to get the gang together or have an ‘orphan’ dinner, but I couldn’t think of a better one than this family infused time of year.

First things first, you need someone that’s willing to both offer up their home for the night and then deal with the mess the next day; sure, guests will help but as the drinks keep flowing – you might want people to keep away from glassware and plates and enjoy simpler, less chaotic activities that won’t result in broken dishware. And remember, crystal is nice – but it’s less nice when it’s shattered on the ground; this is an opportune time to get some plastic plates and forgo dishes for the evening.  Get a group e-mail chain going and confirm what everyone’s bringing to ensure everyone leaves with a happy heart and a full stomach, and to avoid appetizer overlap.  If you’re hosting, the turkey is on you – and if you’re attending, don’t forget to bring a little somethin’ somethin’ for the entourage beyond your appetizer and or dessert like spiked eggnog, homemade candles, a magnum of wine, or the like.  Reserve your status as host(ess) with the most(ess) by creating room for plenty of beer, ice for any coolers and Cards Against Humanity is a must.   – . Oh, and don’t forget a camera and a kickass sound system!

Last weekend was my first Friendsgiving since college, so that’s almost ten years. And it’s really taken me that long to come back into my own skin.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a group of individuals that I’ve felt this at home and in touch with, and each and every day I’m infinitely thankful that they’re in my life.  We all combined culinary forces for a night that went down in infamy, fully equipped with beer pong, dance parties and Polaroid pictures.