[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

[Self Discovery] 2013: It’s a Resolution, Bitches.

They say how you ring in the New Year is indicative of how the rest of the year will turn out –
if so, I firmly believe that we’re all in for quite a beautiful journey.

Last sunset of 2012

I was lucky enough to spend the last week surrounded by some of my closet and dearest friends, both new and old.  There was lots of love to spread around, and to boot lots of reminiscing over the events of the past year.  But that gets me to thinking – what’s in a year? What can you really accomplish in twelve months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 528,600 minutes…? Most people are fans of New Years Resolutions – but me, I belong to the camp that thinks rules, regulations, resolutions and the like were only meant to be broken.  What I do believe in, however, are Life Resolutions.

When I first moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 2008, I made a ten point list of the things I wanted to tackle by the end of 2009. I had just graduated from UCSB and settling into my first apartment in the heart of Koreatown, living solo and looking for my first real job. I quickly learned that knowing that having the world is at your fingertips is one thing, but it’s of no use to us if we cannot use those same hands to shape and manifest our desires.  I had goals of every shape, sort and size on this list – nothing was too large to be conquered or too small to consider. Everything was equal; everything was beginning.  At the time, I honestly thought I could accomplish them all in a year or less. But after my first year down in LA-LA-Land, I got slightly discouraged – out of my ‘Top Ten’ list of things to accomplish I had effectively done nothing.  What I’ve realized since I made my list is that all change, especially positive change, takes time; reaching your goals does not occur in a heartbeat or a split second, and it cannot occur without persistence, dedication or hard work.  So, here we were – four and a half years later and I can proudly say that I’ve knocked a few of these bad boys down – but that can only mean that it’s time for more: more resolutions, goals, dreams, aspirations; more chances to achieve and astonish myself; more opportunities to learn, grow, love, laugh and live.

Before I get into my new resolutions, let’s spend a little time reminiscing about all the amazing things that I finally got to cross off my list!  Originally, I scribbled it on the back of my “Personal Growth and Achievement” binder in permanent marker; I’d wake up and stare at my goals, wondering where to start.  Over time my life trajectory shifted and my priorities realigned;  the goals I’d written so brazenly in bold colors had begun to fade and disappear.  What I’ve learned about words is that over time, they all fade away….but the sentiment still remains.

I hadn’t touched my binder in at least a year and a half, but the other week I went on a cleaning and purging rampage (being a pack rat, this is a necessity at least every other month).  As I was sorting my paperwork, I noticed the faded lines and remembered: once upon a time, this girl had some big dreams.I flipped through it whimsically, carefully observing this other version of myself; this younger, doe-eyed girl that to accomplish everything but in someway, shape or form lacked the mental capacity to conquer herself.

My original ten:

  1. Get weight to 140
  2. Take GRE, apply to Grad school  This was a lofty goal at the time considering the downturn of the economy and outpouring of recent college graduates; but, I tried my hardest and did the damn thing anyways.  I applied to Graduate Programs in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics around California, unfortunately I was rejected by every single one.  It was a blow to the ego but it was also eyeopening: I might not have gotten into Graduate School like I intended, but I did shock myself by snagging a 1330 with a perfect score on the math section. So sure, I’m not back in a classroom feverishly taking notes and stressing myself out about labs or tests – but I am in the top 1% of the population for intelligence and that’s something to get excited about!
  3. Travel outside the US  Back in January, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Shanghai to visit one of my best friends for the Chinese New Years.  It was one of the most humbling and eye opening experiences I’ve ever been; it’s safe to say I was bitten by the travel bug and haven’t been the same since…
  4. Find a cause worth volunteering for It’s pretty obvious that I have an affinity for adorable four legged creatures, but back in early November one of my friends shared a picture on Facebook from something called the Kitty Bungalow: Charm School for Wayward Cats. They focus on socializing feral and stray cats as well as educating the community about our feral cat problem in Los Angeles. Immediately, I was enthralled and within half an hour I had signed up for orientation.  I’ve been volunteering there for a month and a half now – there’s a calm about me that I didn’t use to have, and there’s a soft spot in my heart that’s growing.  Volunteering is as self-serving as it is altruistic; not only am I engaging the community and enriching the lives of both a cat as well as their owner, I’m engaging myself to reach out and step out of my shell….to take notice when the world doesn’t seem completely right and do what I can to change that.
  5. Hone in on skill set and dive headfirst to your field of choice Immediately after being rejected from graduate school, I received a phantom call on my phone – a recruiting agency had found my resume on Monster and wanted me to come in for a first interview….which lead to my first “bigger” kid job as a Data Analyst at Internet Brands; I learned amazing tricks of the trade that I could not only apply to my work, but also to my own blogs and websites. After nine months with the company, I had a hat trick of requests from various agencies – it was a tossup which job top take since they were all contracted positions for 6-12 months but I went with my gut: I chose Disney. Within a month, a pivotal member left the team and I was offered a permanent position within the group – to this day, that I know that was the best decision I could have made for myself.
  6. Step your social game up and meet some new friends And new friends I’ve made!  Last year around this time I was feeling antsy and couldn’t get my thoughts together straight – truth me told I was going through some shiiiit and was questioning how effective my “support” group truly was.  So…I kind of…left. I ventured off and out, trying to discover what moved me and what I can leave in my past.  I tried dating, I tried a new music scene, I started going out to shows by myself and talking to complete strangers.  And I am so proud to say that so many of those former strangers are now my close friends. I’ve always thought that when you’re on the dance floor you’re never in fact alone; now I can say for certain that I know that’s true.
  7. Keep blogs, social media, etc up to date  In the summer of 2008 when I created my list, I had a Facebook, Twitter and a Tumblr Account.  Fast forward to 2013 and this is the gamut: Klout, Foursquare, WordPress (…duh…), Influenster, Google+, Instagram, Blogspot,…the list really does go on and on.  Social Media is one of those niche fields that interests me; analyzing trends – from local to global – and meeting like-minded people are just a few of the reasons I enjoy it.  Hopefully, eventually, I’ll be able to foray my knowledge and know-how into a career.
  8. Take a new course There’s a wonderful website, Coursera, that’s teamed up with schools across the nation to produce free, online courses – I’ve signed up for quite a few and cannot wait to get into the thick of them!
  9. Learn how to use the microexpression training tool
  10. Start blogging again.

Because I’ve been lucky enough to finally cross things off my epic Life Achievement list, I finally get to tackle some new ones ♥ here are the new 7 Life Resolutions that I’ll start working towards starting right now:

Healthy living: This includes but is not limited to engaging in physical activity a few times a week (running, yoga, gym, hikes with friends, long walks alone, etc), sleeping a proper amount each night, eating healthy and right.  I think considering my propensity to party, this is actually a lot harder than it seems – which is why I’ve elevated it above all else.

★ Enjoy all that Los Angeles has to offer on the daily! There are so many amazing restaurants, museums, parks and beaches that you never need to hit the same one twice – so why would you? Venture out and explore the city; the last thing I want to have happen when I leave this place is someone to ask if I’ve ever done X, Y or Z because they’re such LA Local things to do. I want to have done it all and done it right.

Learn to cook the foods I love! Eating a $7 lunch in the work commissary isn’t exactly going to break your budget, but a $4 cup of coffee in the morning sure can.  I’ve spent more than I should on my culinary creature comforts in the past year and I think it’s time to refocus my food intake.  One of my biggest problems is that I’m a picky eater….and picky is an understatement.  I’ve honed in on my culinary skills in the past year but it’s time to put it to the test – instead of eating out, I’ll learn to make my favorite meals. Sushi night, anyone?

Give more; take less.

♥ Learn to be picky with friendships; remember: you don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like you

★ The sound of your own voice should inspire you, not scare you – cultivate what it is that drives you and

Take my idea for a Non-Profit organization and run like the wind with it. My genius idea came to me as I drove to work one day; and per usual, with genius ideas – the word genius doesn’t even begin to describe it.  In all honesty, I feel like I’ve found my calling and I feel like my entire life has been leading up to this. I’ve only told a handful of people (and trust me, when this hits the ground running you guys will hear all about it) but the response was beyond positive; to boot, people already want to help. They don’t even care what they do, they want a part of this and I couldn’t ask for anything more!

I hope everyone had a safe and fabulous New Years eve; cheers to 2013 and the adventures to come – thanks for taking the ride with me!

NYE in Bouncyland

All [[New Years]] We Dream – Egyptian Theater