This year, as the 10th Annual Gem and Jam Festival prepares to touchdown in Arizona – two extra special evenings of creativity and consciousness will be ushered in around California in celebration. On Thursday, January 14th and Friday, January 15th, the foremost artistic creators and psychedelic thinkers will join forces under one roof for two nights of epic proportion; first at San Francisco’s 1015 Folsom and then at the Belasco, located in the heart of Los Angeles.
From the moment the doors open, dancers, prancers and merrymakers alike will dive in feet first to the true ethos of the Gem and Jam Festival. A bohemian bazaar of vendors adorn the walls with finest wares, including some of the magnificent specimens you’ll find at the Gem show in Arizona, handmade festival wear and illuminated flow toys that they’ll be happy to show you the ropes on.
The multitude of music textures and performances are mirrored perfectly with live painting from the genius of visionary artists Alex Grey + Allyson Grey, among other local and festival circuit favorites like Sam Flores of Upper Playground, Amanda Sage, Gabriel Welch, Benedigital, Anthony Sirios West and Jef Logan. Visuals for the event will be done by none other than the esteemed Johnathan Singer of Tipper and Greatful Dead 50 fame.
Calling All DJs and ProducersThe team at RE:CREATION LA has an amazing opportunity for those that fancy themselves musical inclined. For your first chance at fifteen minutes of fame, Gem and Jam style playing alongside some of the most sought after names in the festival circuit.
The team at RE:CREATION LA will select their top 5 submissions to share for voting this weekend; the voting process begins Saturday, 1/9 at 12PM PST and will end Sunday at 12AM Midnight with the winner announced Monday Morning, 1/11.
Not in California? No problem! Colorado will be hosting it’s own Gem and Jam PreParty at the end of January with Exmag, Defunk, and Mikey Thunder on Thursday, 1/28 at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom with headlinres Jason Burruss and Sassfactory in Denver and 1/29 at Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins with headliners iLL Banks and Jason Burruss.
More Details HereFor more on the Gem and Jam Festival itself, head to their official website and social media channels:
Over the last few years, The Bay Lights have become a shining staple of my visits home; the sea and sky, both ablaze in sweet synchronicity. The brainchild of the Illuminate the Arts group and Tisch trained artist Leo Villareal, The Bay Lights started sparkling almost two years ago on March 5, 2013 much to the delight of San Francisco Residents. From dusk until dawn, 250,000 LED lights sprawl the length of the Westbound bridge in seemingly haphazard patterns, ebbing and flowing with electric current to an unspoken but innately understood rhythm. In the beautiful words of ItA themselves –
Standing 500 feet high and almost 2 miles wide, the Bay Lights currently stands as the world’s largest LED Light Sculpture. Oh, and then there’s there’s that whole fact she’s a stunning, fully functional bridge bound by a singular cable woven through the breadth of the structure. Crafted in honor of the bridge’s 75th anniversary, the reign of the Bay Lights unfortunately draws to a momentary close this coming March. As the two year art permit expires,Caltrans will begin simultaneous maintenance on the bridge’s cables which are purported to be suffering from both corrosion and cracking. There will be not just one, but two public ceremonies cementing the end of an enchanted era down on Embarcadero near Waterbar. Join in the fun on March 5th at 8pm or March 6th at Sunrise – and if you’re one of the first 1000 people, you’ll end up with a free snazzy LED candle!
If you’re like me and a tad uber sad about the Never fear, because Illuminate the Arts is in cahoots with the State of California on a long term proposal that brings the installation back, brighter and better than ever in 2016 to. So go now, frolic to San Francisco and get your fill before the lovely Bay Lights go off in March. And while you’re at it, pay some tribute to Illuminate the Arts and the Bay Bridge Lights Project by visiting their socials –
2014. As of this moment, there’s only a separation of two calendar weeks – but it somehow it already seems a lifetime a go. I’ve heard it’s just one of those things about aging, and understandably so: the older you get, the years become a smaller and smaller percentage of your life. 5 year old Amanda got to enjoy the year as a fifth, or 20% of her life – and here I am, inches away from 30 and last year merely accounts for 3.3% of my time on this wonderful planet. But in that year, twelve months, 365 days, 525600 minutes – I started a miniature business, delved into my DIY capabilities, moved in with the only man I ever want to live with. Hand in hand, we’ve made friends across the West Coast while simultaneously passionate pursuit of perfecting our crafts while diving headfirst into the electronic music scene. I’ve been humbled to work alongside some of the best and brightest minds in the industry, and am living out a my adulthood’s childhood fantasy. After seven years of living in Los Angeles, I was finally booked for a paid modeling shot; my lost dream and the reason I swapped zipcodes as a young college grad.
From Lighting in a Bottle to Global Dance, Shambhala to HARD Day of the Dead – I consider myself blessed to be taken in by so many different music communities and families; and then to be entrusted by the music community to share that journey, and evolve what it means to be part of it – it’s more than I could’ve ever asked for. But, that’s not to say my year didn’t have it’s equivalent share of setbacks – after being in a car accident last Spring, I was anxious behind the wheel for months, I resigned my maid of honor status by endeding what I thought was a close friendship and I’ve been living with an obnoxious Bartholin cyst since the Summer. Whether your year was full of accomplishments and accolades or trials and tribulations, New Years Eve marks a time when the lot of us can put on our party pants, forget our worries and party like it’s 1999 (or, 2015, whatever).
As the penultimate day of 2014 quickly approached, I was haphazardly balancing work, family and trying to pack for that my favorite blustery city in the Bay, San Francisco. For the second year running, Danny and I were off, off and away – to the land of tech talk and Burner babble, where the Sports teams are hot and the weather is brisk, the skyscrapers tower above you while the city rumbles with animation. Now in it’s 15th year running, Sea of Dreams was plotting a triumphant return to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium after last year’s immense success. In an incredibly welcomed yet unprecedented move – they booked a two night stand for the event. The brainchild of Joegh Bullock, founder of Anon Events, Sea of Dreams was celebrating a decade and a half of decadence, dancing and deliriously wonderful vibes in San Francisco with support and assistance from Another Planet Entertainment and Sunset SF.
We crushed the 5 on Tuesday morning, leaving as early as possible so we could muster in a nap before the first night of the show. It’d been forever since I’d had a healthy dose of Pretty Lights, and now – I’d be seeing him twice in two nights. Christmas might’ve come early for some, but it came late for me and I was in no way complaining.
The first night of Sea of Dreams was as laid back as we were feeling, with only one active stage an intimate crowd and only a handful of artists, but they were all bursting at the seams with talent. For this night only, dancers, festies and music lovers of all kind brought out the flow toys and hoops as they grooved to the salacious sounds of Sea of Dreams. The early bird caught the worm at 7pm when Pumpkin jumped on the decks, but for anyone that missed his opening set – he was featured in between the other sets for an equal amount of time, if not longer, than his actual set. My only wish was that he was a little more highlighted as the crowd got down to a slew of remixes, from the tried and true MJ vocals to his soul tingling remix of Wildlight’s Twirl Me.
For anyone who’s said that true music is dead or lost within EDM had surely never witnessed the musical genius of the rest of the lineup. Next to grace the stage were Adam Deitch and Borahm Lee, better known to fans as NYC glitch-hop duo Break Science. From start to finish, they expertly fused genres from Funk to Hip Hop and Breakbeats with layered, live elements.
Break Science ebbed into Pumpkin and then flowed into The Glitch Mob. Living in LA since ’08, I consider myself more or less a local down south at this point – so seeing the Glitch Mobbers up in San Francisco was a nice treat. They kicked the crowd’s energy up, flowing through tracks from Love Death Immortality and older, crowd favorites; a solid set from the Mob, but being a pre-NYE event, I was hoping it would have been more raucous than it was. But that was immediately forgotten as the stage was stripped and the equipment rearranged. Left and right, audiophiles were geeking out as the acoustic musical setup took place and made way for the last performance of the night: the man, the myth, and the lights – Pretty Lights, to be exact. For this two night stand, Derek Smith brought the beats – and a full band, equipped with keyboardists Bor, trombonists, trumpeters, a Hammond Organ, a mixer and a drummer. And quickly, you remember why it’s called the ‘Pretty Lights Family’ – it features Scott Flynn of John Brown’s Body, Lettuce’s Eric Bloom and both members of Break Science. – at the very least. And we can’t forget, Lightning Director Greg Ellis, but you might know him better as LazerShark – and does that guy ever live up to his name!
For the next two hours, hundreds of eager ears danced their cares away until New Years Eve Day on a musical high that you can honestly only get from real instruments. There’s something in their tonality, the depth, the layering, the colors of the notes and harmonies they create. Nowadays within EDM, were so accustomed to a one man show – but we forget that traditionally, culturally, historically – music has been a multifaceted, artistic vehicle that encompasses the community and brings it together, in celebration; and Pretty Lights did just that. After the show, we forgot about the blustering wind and frigid weather while reminiscing on the beauty and wonder of the PL Live Band; a perfect pre-party for the main event.
Overnight, the wind subsided and the New Years Eve excitement was palpable as the sun rays broke through the window. Puffy white clouds dotted a surprisingly bright blue sky as the last moments of 2014 dissolved in front of us. During the day, we gallivanted around Crissy Field and over the Golden Gate Bridge – dishing on our favorite moments on the night and eager to feast on the main course of music. The sun slipped into the Pacific Ocean while spirits soared simultaneously from each corner of the city.
Strolling up to the second night of Sea of Dreams, the mood was elevated and enlightened, overflowing with ostentatious costumes and enigmatic personalities. Tonight was the big night; hello, 2015! If the main room was the main course, the small rooms may as well have been decadent appetizers that could fill you to the brim. Off to the right side of Bill Graham, the aptly named Trapeze Room was in full swing – fully equipped with life burlesque performances from local favorites Meka La Crème, Elektra Cute, Olivia Bellafontaine, Mojo Deville, Hunny Bunnah, Iza L Vamp, Tonya Kay Jay Siren and Miss Emma Nation. Throughout the night, DJs from The Gentlemen Callers of LA, Jazzy Fox, The Bellhop, Delachux and The Klown delighted party go-ers with the delectable rhythms of Electro Swing until the late hours of the morning. If you took a few steps back, the Silent Disco was getting a quiet groove on with the likes of Matt Haze, Analog Disco, DJ Phleck and DJ Mancub – just to name a few. On the flip side, there were some Funky Deep House and Disco vibes being tossed around jubilantly in Larkin Hall. An eclectic array of artists – from Dirtybird’s Worthy and the Fort Knox Five to Sea of Dreams’ own Robbie Kowal as Motion Potion – delivered exceptional sets to eager fans, lapping up celebratory drinks and reveling in style on the dancefloor.
Descending onto the main dance floor was a treat in itself; decorations adorned the ceiling while live painters and artists from Anthony West to Gregorio de Masi lined the walls, finishing the musically influenced masterpieces they began the night before. Mikey Thunder opened the night, followed by the funky freshness of Lettuce. Beats Antique came out swinging with animated set, more exuberant than their Creature Carnival Tour. Live performers including Zoe Jakes writhed to a bass heavy take on world music, with group members David Satori on the violin and Tommy “Sidecar” Cappel on the drums. For the second time in as many nights, the Pretty Lights Music Band reminded the crowd what dance music should truly be about – musicians and artists collaborating on the creative process, the end result – pure magic. Lightning Director LazerShark outdid himself, as the room filled was once again bombarded with the salacious sounds of a menagerie real instruments. I can’t stress how wonderful it is to hear the color a brass section produces or the emotions an organ can convey. As Derek and the band flowed through old (and personal) favorites like Hot Like Sauce and Keep Em Bouncing, I actually forgot that we’d just seen him the night before; it was a completely different vibe, but the same musical prowess and passion.
Whether it was the exceptional talent presented by the Pretty Lights Full Band, a desire to head home after the midnight ball drop or the almost poetic lull of music after Pretty Lights as the stage was discombobulated and reconfigured in front of our eyes – the crowd seemingly disappeared at 1:30; only to be slowly drawn back to the dance floor as Flying Lotus took the stage. The 2am crowd at Sea of Dreams had a mystique to them, a twinkle in their eye and an extra bounce in their step. As the music picked up, a hushed tone settled over the room; bodies at rest were revived and reinvigorated by the subtle tonality of near binural beats layered over intelligent lyrics. Dancing suddenly felt more like reacting as the low end frequencies emanated from my head down to my toes. We stood there, eyes transfixed on the cube come to form in the center, projection mapping psychedelically warping our minds. The lyrics wrapped their way around our skulls and into our memory, while the projection mapped visuals manifested, fractled and spiraled into and out of control. Tl; dr: my mind was blown.
Like a select other festivals that boast permaculture and collaboration through societal progress – Sea of Dreams is about more than just the music; it’s about the culmination of a music and collaborative community that embrace it. I spent the two nights of SOD celebrating with good friends old and new, festival friends that I’d made at Lightning in a Bottle and new friends just as thrilled as we were to rock into the New Year surrounded by exceptional artists, visionaries and peers. With the menagerie of live musicians that graced the main stage we’re seeing true musicians push back against the stigma – displaying their instrumental prowess as well as their exceptional production skills on the same scale. it’s a different crowd, a different edge of the venn diagram that EDM lovers mingle between. For once, the ‘Dance’ was rightfully thrown back into the moniker ‘Electronic Dance Music’ and was sweet music to all of our ears. It’s been said that how you spend your New Years Eve is indicative of how your year is going to be, and if so – the dance community is in for quite a treat this year.
For the last week of 2014, my wanderlust swept me away from the City of Angels and up to my favorite City by the Bay – San Francisco. Even though I was born and raised in the Silicon Valley, now that my father lives in the heart of the city I spend a significant proportion of my time gallivanting around neighborhoods in search of epic street art, beautiful scenery and the unique architecture of the city.
Typically, my parents are my road dogs while I roam but this time, Danny and I enlisted a few of our LA favorites to explore with us. Due to weather issues (typical) and unexpected detours (also, typical) over my last few trips, we never managed to make it down to Golden Gate Park, and I’ve kinda been begging, pleading – maybe even whining – to be dwarfed by the awe inspiring Golden Gate Bridge. As we descended on the city after a hearty (and delicious) brunch at the Butler and the Chef, my friends asked around to see where we wanted to go; after squeaking ‘Golden Gate Park’ from the back seat, my friends smiled in agreement. In sync, we took a sip of our roadies while rolling down the windows, the slow backbeat of a moody rock song filled the car while the engine purred in response. Adventure was calling, and we were ready to answer.
How lucky were we that the last day of the year also turned out to be a beautiful one? A quick storm from Canada trampled it’s way through California earlier in the week. Though it left the city windy and cold our first night, paved the way for radiant blue skies dotted randomly with assorted fluffy clouds. First on the list – Crissy Field. Originally build as a US Airfield, Crissy Field has since been repurposed into one of the best natural spaces in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is often considered the Golden-gateway, or proverbial front door, to the Presidio.
Slowly but surely, we made our sundrenched way through the winding paths and up through the Battery Trail to a great viewpoint of the Golden Gate Bridge.
One thing I’ve always stood by is that you never know where the limits of your comfort zone are if you refuse to push them. So, on Wednesday – I decided to conquer my tried and true fear of heights (known as acrophobia) and walk the Golden Gate Bridge.
What are you determined to accomplish this year?
Shout out your resolutions in the comments below and let’s conquer them together!
Bustling with energy, Muni’s and metro stops – San Francisco boasts tan exponentially growing Tech Bubble, swarming with passionate, hungry young professionals seeking to make a name for themselves. Rolling hills full of painted ladies, vertigo inducing buildings and shorelines full of wildlife engulf the city from all sides. Even though places like Delores Park, Lands End and Golden Gate Park are scattered throughout the city, I’m typically left feeling over-industrious and slightly out of touch with nature. Good news, is there’s a new plan in the works that could change all that.
Recently, London’s Westminster Borough approved a ‘Garden Bridge’ for the city – and the more I’m enamored by the idea of converting something so rote and industrial into a whimsical world engulfed by local flora and fauna, the more I’d love to push for San Francisco to take on something similar with the Old Bay Bridge. For the last year, it’s been made increasingly clear that the initial plans to disassemble the Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge over the course of two years has caught a kink; slowly, but surely, the CalTrains budget of $6.4 Billion has been dwindling and there’s been no actual end in sight for the project. To boot, with the abundance of natural wildlife around the area in the wetlands, sand flats and eelgrass beds – there are multiple ecosystems that would effectively be destroyed if said plans to take down the former Bay Bridge follow through.
Growing up in the South Bay, I’ve seen ample changes to the city. Over the last three decades, ginormous buildings have drastically altered the SF skyline while earthquakes like Loma Prieta have done their duty to attempt and level it. Back in ’89 when the quake hit, the Bay Bridge as we then knew it collapsed from the upper deck. In one of the largest public works projects in the history of the United States, the new bridge finally commenced building in 2002 and after a decade of work, finally opened to the delight of the city in 2012. At the time, there wasn’t a question on what to do with the former Bay Bridge – disassemble it, destruct it, destroy it; just get it out of there! But by the time the Summer of 2013 rolled around, their bank account had zeroed out but the Eastern Span was only half gone. In lieu of upping the toll fee to subsidize the high cost of taking down the rest of the bridge, there are a few other ideas in the works that I think are just phenomenal.
In an effort to pinch a few pennies on demolition costs, the city is considering leaving a few piers standing, which means the options and opportunities for repurposing the Bridge are effectively endless. Minus converting the entire thing into a parking structure (which, one could argue, the city desperately needs), or apartments, condos or – heaven forbid, more tech offices, I vote the still standing Eastern span of the bridge is converted into a garden, park or the like. Much like the Garden Bridge in London, if the old partition of the Bay Bridge was saved and reinvented, it would be a wonderful compliment to how corporate San Francisco has become while giving the city a breath of fresh air – literally.
What do you think should come of the old Bay Bridge?
“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”
There are currently over 200 Million active users on Instagram and between the lot of us, we load about 60 Million snaps a day, amassing over 20 billion pictures to date; of those 20 Billion, about .2% – or 40 Million – are #selfies,a term thatas of last year -not only made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, but was nominated ‘word of the year.’ Last year, the Smart Phone Market overran the PC Market with over 1.75 Billion Smart Phone users in the world, including 56% of Americans – up from 35% 2 years ago. Of the 1.25 Billion Facebook users, roughly 25% play games on the daily. Since 2012, the number of Americans streaming digital media like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon has gone from half the population to almost 70%, and digital streaming devices can now be found in 14% of American households; up double from 2011. Between new developments in gaming systems, social media and technology, it’s become all too easy for the majority of us (including myself) to forget that there’s this amazingly wonderfulplanet that we have the opportunity to explore. I firmly believe that each day is a new chance to appreciate the beauty that surrounds you, and that goes doubly so for today, Earth Day. Today’s a day to be in awe of your surroundings, fully immerse yourself in your environment, and celebrate the beauty that surrounds you – a day to honor your relatives, both ancestors and those to come, by embracing nature and all it has to offer; and I hope more people choose to pay attention to the details and take the time to smell the flowers. As tied in as I find myself with all things internet – from my addiction to House of Cards to my love of Caturday pictures, I’ve felt an extreme need to detach myself from these chains that masquerade as wifi signals and find some real, personal connection with my surroundings. Back in 1969, a young environmental activist named John McConnell found himself in front of the UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, pleading with peers and mentors alike that the world deserves a day to both honor the idea of peace and rejoice in the Earth’s beauty – and the year after, Earth Day was born. In almost half of a century, the event has manifested from a local, California event into a global masterpiece in over 190 countries.There are ample amounts of Earth Day festivities around the globe that you can take part in, but if you want to do something on a smaller and more personal scale – try these on for size:
Ditch your wheels! Head out on foot, with skates, on a bike or with public transportation – did you know that there are some gorgeous smelling flowers just three blocks away from your house? Well, now you do!
Shop local and try out the Farmer’s Market around the corner or the Mom and Pop shop on the corner
Take a thick book into a lush park and don’t return until you’re halfway done; set your imagination free and leave your cell on silent
When you’re with company – do the polite thing and turn off your phone, or as a baby step – try just your mobile network. When you’re with good company; not like you need to see how many likes that rant on Facebook got you while you’re enjoying your surroundings, right?
Get off the grid and explore – find a new hike or walk in your neighborhood; activity loves company so call a friend or three and get your endorphins pumping
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.”
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 –
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