🌴The first wave of your sunset soundtrack has arrived🌴
Join us for our waterfront weekend March 2/3! Advance Sale tickets on sale Tuesday, December 11th at 11AM PT⏰ bit.ly/crssds19
🌴The first wave of your sunset soundtrack has arrived🌴
Join us for our waterfront weekend March 2/3! Advance Sale tickets on sale Tuesday, December 11th at 11AM PT⏰ bit.ly/crssds19
Written By: Serena Romero
As if to reflect the mystery of LA’s underground, the sky was dark and shadowy as the inaugural Secret Project Festival got underway. Upon arriving to the festival you’re greeted by a rare but welcome site at LA events, lack of a line and a quick entry. By keeping the decorations minimal, attendees are immersed in the “underground” environment with graffiti covered walls amongst a maze of downtown warehouses. The Naud St. Stage was built with stacked shipping containers and the Spring St. Stage was outfitted with visible scaffolding to continue the industrial aesthetic. Unlike their parent company Insomniac’s usual dizzying display of lights and pyrotechnics, Factory 93 kept the visuals straightforward with LED’s and strobes. With many bookings outside of the mainstream, the crowd filled with dedicated fans of house and techno.
Arriving on Saturday we heard the boisterous and lively thumping of Roman Flugel’s unique blend of acid house and german electro at the Naud St. Stage. Tale of Us played a mesmerizing closing set at this stage as well. Next at the Spring St. Stage was the ensemble of one, Danilo Plessow, also known as Motor City Drum Ensemble. His eclectic mix of jazzy and soulful house, funk, and disco made for a perfect set to take us from day to night. The crowd was on their toes, with a deep knowledge of music and acute technical abilities, you never know what his next move will be. Closing out the Spring St. Stage on Saturday was a DJ set from Bonobo, who opened with the Best Dance Recording nominated hit "Bambro Koyo Ganda" off his Migration album. The crowd was inevitably pleased and agreed to take the ride which brought us from disco to house to classics like Stardust’s “Music Sounds Better with You.”
Sunday had a lineup that rivaled some of the biggest clubs in the world. Walking in toward the Naud St. Stage I knew who was playing, it’s Peggy Gou. I see shoes waving in the air before catching a glimpse of the booth. She has such an ease and swag about her you almost forget she’s throwing down one of the hardest sets of the weekend so far, with a section of acid house that had everyone jackin. Then the crowd began to really pack in for Stephen Bodzin who played a live set. No one can entrance a crowd quite like Mr. Bodzin, with his hypnotic and spacey yet hard hitting beats...you end up truly losing yourself in the journey.
Over at the Spring St. Stage, Berghain resident Marcell Dettmann brought Berlin techno to LA followed by a closing Back-2-Back set from Ame and Dixon who cemented LA’s love for their dark and minimal techno. Closing out the Naud St. Stage was electronic music royalty, oh yes oh yes oh yes, Mr. Carl Cox. With a career spanning 30 years and the entire world, it’s no surprise that Carl Cox’s set was planned and mixed perfectly to close out this event. The crowd was so excited to have him playing such an event, the positivity was palpable.
What set Secret Project festival apart wasn’t just it’s impeccably curated lineup or the elevated experience of VIP, it was the sense of community. From the strictly warehouse crowd, to the club crowd, to the we-just-wanna-have-fun crowd, everyone seemed to realize we were all the same on that dance floor. A strong sense of community amongst the promoters, attendees, and artists in the neighborhood can change the scenery of LA events. The first Secret Project Festival was a unique event that we can only hope will come around again soon.
Written by Serena Romero
The Secret Project Festival is the latest underground experience from Factory 93. With 2 days of day-to-night DJ and live sets, a gritty DTLA backdrop, and VIP experience hosted by A Club Called Rhonda, Apotheke, & Majordomo, Secret Project Festival promises to be a unique and enveloping experience. An entire city block in the warehouse district will be transformed into a playground for techno heads and art and food enthusiasts.
Secret Project’s lineup will satisfy LA’s need for cutting edge sounds with beats everyone can groove to. Make sure to catch Bicep and Stephan Bodzin for the weekend’s live sets, and the always entrancing combo of Ame B2B Dixon. More can’t miss acts include Motor City Drum Ensemble and Roman Flugel on Saturday, and Marcel Dettmann and Peggy Gou (wave those shoes high!) on Sunday.
The VIP experience boasts some serious perks including a custom menu designed by the team at Majordomo, craft cocktails from Apotheke, expedited entry, and special viewing areas.
2-day and single day general and VIP tickets are still available but grab them quick! https://secretproject.frontgatetickets.com/
Written by Garrett Hazelwood
Photos by Tanner Williams
It was raining this past Tuesday in Taos, New Mexico. Just a soft mist falling in the high desert, and as local promoter Jerry Schwartz led us out to see the Airstream trailer from which the KNCE radio station is broadcast, he explained what a rare gift it was to get a storm rolling through. We had come to Taos to see another rarity passing through the small southwestern town, Tinariwen, a band of celebrated Tuareg musicians with a Grammy and a nearly forty year history of making genre-defying music.
That night, Tinariwen was to make their third appearance in Taos in recent years. They were playing in the wide-open mesa on the outskirts of town, at the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership. The Mothership––an aluminum Quonset hut built with DIY aesthetic and a dash of steampunk flair––houses the brewery, a taproom, and an indoor concert venue. It’s part of a compound that includes an outdoor amphitheater with capacity for an audience of 2,500; the Hotel Luna Mystica, which offers campground facilities and rents vintage trailers to visitors; and the aforementioned trailer-studio of KNCE-FM radio.
With multiple venues and a radio station onsite, the camp at Taos Mesa Brewing has become the hub of a surprisingly rich music scene in Taos. The site is frequently host to small-scale festivals with big-name artists, like the Jumpsuit Family Gathering coming in early September, headlining Polish Ambassador, Ayla Nereo, and Saqi. The music scene out on the mesa also extends far beyond electronic, though, featuring of an eclectic mix of genres ranging from delta blues to folk to Brazilian hip-hop.
Last Tuesday’s sold out Tinariwen show is a testament to the impressive amount of international music that finds its way to Taos these days, thanks in no small measure to Jerry Schwartz, part owner of KNCE radio and a core member of Roots and Wires Presents, a collective of promoters that fills the Taos music calendar with a steady stream of global talent.
Tinariwen, for its part, hails from the Saharan desert in Mali, where the nomadic Tuareg people have lived for millennia. For generations now, the Tuareg have been struggling for independence and to preserve their way of life while being marginalized by the governments controlling their ancestral territory. Members of Tinariwen have been refugees, exiles, revolutionary fighters, and targets of terrorist violence. Their music combines activism, rebellion, and poignant beauty in equal measure, drawing upon the influence of their traditional music while being driven largely by electric guitars.
The result is something akin to the blues in its raw, plaintive vocals and stripped down guitar. Yet at the show on Tuesday night, it often tended toward the high energy of rock ’n’ roll, building into crescendos that churned the whole tightly packed crowd into a fever of dancing as the set accelerated from song to song. Though the band is somewhat loosely knit and frequently takes on or drops members, there were six men on stage at the show in Taos: two playing electric guitars, one with a bass, one singing and playing an acoustic guitar, one hand percussionist, and one member singing backup and dancing.
The music was minimalist and the equipment onstage limited. They would often chant together and harmonize above the riffing guitars, and there was something about them that suggested a jam band in the fluid way they wove between songs and descended into long stretches of dueling guitars, occasionally veering off into funky bass lines that sent ripples through the crowd.
But while the set Tinariwen played resisted categorization and slipped easily in tone between celebration and sadness, exuberance and calm, Tinariwen proved themselves masters of controlling a crowd. What began with head bobbing and swaying soon accelerated into a level of pumping energy that bordered on frenzy. By the end, we were left sweating and dancing, cheering for a second encore, finally spilling out into the crisp desert air smiling and satisfied.
Tinariwen’s latest nineteen-stop tour ended last week in Phoenix. We can only hope they make their way back to the states for another one soon. In the meantime, check them out at http://tinariwen.com where you can pick up an album and keep tabs on their upcoming shows.
Written By: Kainoa Owens
The Desert Hearts Festival 2018 was nothing short of amazing! Back home for their 10th year anniversary at the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation!
Over the years, the festival has become known as one of the most popular, if not the best, ‘boutique festival’ to date. The festival brought a plethora of artists and performers from around the globe, creating a unique positive and loving atmosphere for their audience or techno-crazed-enthusiasts. The other forms of artistic participation ranged from yoga, sound healing, and more, however my most favorite was Shane and the Healing Sanctuary.
While normally boasting 3000-3500 capacity festival-goers each year, Desert Hearts truly could not contain their excitement, or their rate-of-inclusivity this year, as it seemed more like 5000 techno-ready souls dancing in the moonlight.
Despite the increase in capacity, the energy and message that Desert Hearts brings every year, ‘House, Techno, & Love.., We Are All Desert Hearts’, created a blissful dreamy wonderland that encouraged individuals to add onto the experience and express themselves in their own unique way.
This was my first Desert Hearts Festival experience, and it certainly will not be my last! The amount of love and freedom of expression was truly something to experience, and make your-own. The vibes and love from experienced Desert Heart goers, and new Desert Heart attendees (like myself) were of paradise.
Of course, unanimously the most influential part about Desert Hearts is the connection between us like-minded beautiful souls as we collectively sway ourselves to the ‘one stage, one vibe, one love’ in order to dance, and come together as a family to enjoy the eclectic sounds that these amazing producers and DJs exhibited.
Hands down my favorite performance of the weekend was Porky, Lee Reynolds, and Damian Lazarus.., back to back to back!
This trio took the stage late Saturday night into Sunday morning absolutely stacking the dance floor, and demolishing ears and similarly melting faces left and right, including my own.
Written By: Kainoa Owens
Desert Hearts have been very busy spreading their influence and mantra “House, Techno, & Love” across North America and some spots around the globe. Now, in their 6th rotation around the sun, they have recruited UK powerhouse DJ and producer, Matt Tolfrey!
His newest EP Nothing Like Home on the Desert Hearts label is out NOW!
This EP presents two tracks, ‘Nothing Like Home’ and ‘Fallen’.
Using an eclectic style of futuristic sounds, buzzy bass lines, as well as percussion components, his cultivating sound provokes an ‘it’s about to go down’ dance-craze.
These tasty beats have received huge support from a plethora of established artists such as, Desert Hearts producer Mikey Lion, Josh Butler, Audiojack, and more.
Mikey Lion, in particular, has described the EP as “one of [his] all-time favorite releases” signed to the Desert Hearts label.
Tolfrey never settles using one style, continuously experimenting with techno, house, and deep style beats that make you want to lose yourself in the rhythm.
His success can be traced back to his celebrated 13+ year label ‘Leftroom’, where for the 10th year anniversary, released a decade worth of compiled Leftroom classics, as well as unreleased delicates from collaborating artists including ‘Guti, Kate Simko, Chez Damier, and more.
Matt Tolfrey has been proving himself to be one of the more unique DJs in the industry. Renowned by fellow tech-house phenom Seth Troxler, as "the last great British DJ," Tolfrey has continuously delivered delightful sounds and beats for the last 15+ years, proving himself to be a exuberant DJ/Producer.
Having now been welcomed into the Desert Hearts label and family, we can expect nothing less than truly transcendent techno-tunes that tantalize our soul.
Matt Tolfrey and his all-embracing style and sounds mirror the positive love, connection and creativity that permeates around all Desert Hearts festivals and collaborations.
Below you can listen to his latest EP as well as his 'Ten Years of Leftroom Mix', and be sure to experience him in person April 27th - 30th at the Desert Hearts Spring 2018 Festival!
Written By: Kainoa Owens
Nestled away upon the majestic mountains of the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation outside of east San Diego County, the Desert Hearts Festival returns April 27th-30th to once again delight and tantalize techno-lovers. Now in their 6th gathering since 2012, Desert Hearts has established itself as one of the most popular and inclusive music festivals—boasting a 3000-capacity dreamland wherein festival-goers will have the opportunity to ‘celebrate all that make us human’ through the mediums of art and dance.
Additionally, the festival will host a wide variety of community-based artists and performers to create a ‘truly unique atmosphere embedded with artistic participation and imagination’. Further found at Desert Hearts are various forms of healing included but not limited to Yoga, Workshops, Sound Healing, Crystal Healing, Reiki, Energy Work, Spoken Word and Relax/Recharge zones.
Over the years, Desert Hearts has based themselves around all-encompassing festivals such as Burning Man and Lightning in a Bottle. Their mantra, “House, Techno, & Love…We Are All Desert Hearts” echoes a distinct sense of radical inclusiveness that is vital to their main purpose of ‘spreading as much love and positive vibes as possible’ at each of every one their events.
As a ‘boutique music festival’, they provide a similarly unique experience as these larger music festivals, but with the advantage of being smaller and more intimate in size. The ambiance they create each year for their ever-increasing family of techno-hungry-hippies is centered on the idea to have one stage, one heartbeat.
Desert Heart goers from around the world journey to the festival to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of ubiquitous love, creativity and family that this musical oasis provides. Desert Hearts fanatic, entrepreneur and Reiki healer, Lizeth, recalls her first Desert Hearts experience dancing through the crowd as ‘something magical’ or 'like entering a whole different world entirely’.
The feelings of unity and love permeate throughout all Desert Hearts shows in Southern California and now across North America, so if you’re unable to catch this year’s festival, be sure to check out one of their shows!
This festival is currently sold out; however, we highly recommended checking out these 5 artists on the Desert Hearts 2018 lineup:
Photo Credit: Felicia Garcia- FLG, Miranda McDonald- MNM , Skyler Greene- SAG, Eric Scire- EDS
CRSSD Festival Spring 2018 sold out this year and made its mark on San Diego’s Electronic scene yet again. The pattern is apparent and the formula is simple – combine amazing music with an eclectic crowd at a beautiful venue. CRSSD caters to an slightly older crowd that has an ear for music and enjoys an intimate setting without all the glam and glitter of EDM monster events.
CRSSD festivals’s prominent performances were Empire of the Sun, Bonobo, Trippy Turtle, Henry Saiz, Cirez D, Nicole Moudaber and many more.
A common tale reiterated through the festival circuit was that Empire's stage performance manifests a gateway - an invitation to dream with eyes wide open. Empire's performance combines theatrics, music, and visuals which pulls you past the event horizon and into a space of euphoria.
Some other notable acts were Nicole Moudabers set and Trippy Turtles anthropomorphic performance. We've provided a CRSSD Playlist below so have a sample and have a dance and make sure to have a beautiful day. See you at CRSSD Next year :)
Spring '18 is upon us and we are nearly sold out.
With only 17 days to go here's the update:
- We are over 90% sold
- This is LAST CALL for Weekend Passes: bit.ly/crssds18
- Weekend Passes will be gone in the next 24hrs
- VERY LIMITED Single Day passes on sale 11AM PST Friday
- We expect them to go quickly, and then we are 100% sold out.
This is not a drill 🌴
Get tickets here! http://www.westcoastweekender.net/2017/09/27/wcw2018year3/
Headliners include long awaited San Diego performances by CASSY, Bamboozle from Soul Clap, King Britt, Hyenah, Demuir, and Eli Escobar.
Get ready for another high-octane weekend in San Diego, May 3-6! A celebration of music, dance, and culture in Southern California, the music conference and festival is blossoming right alongside San Diego’s incredible cultural renaissance. With nearly half of attendees coming from out of town, the West Coast Weekender audience rings in a truly one-of-a-kind vibe. The influx of activity—plus the San Diego underground community’s enthusiasm—creates an infectious, old school energy that’s of another era.
Festivities kick off Thursday afternoon at the iconic Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, right at the junction of San Diego’s hip University Heights and North Parkdistricts and just minutes from the festival grounds. Start your day with brunch and poolside entertainment sponsored by Stoli Vodka. Panel discussions, Ableton workshops, and yoga sessions will be offered throughout the weekend. In between, immerse yourself in art, house, and drum and bass at Balboa Park’s multi-cultural and eclectic Worldbeat Cultural Center.
This year West Coast Weekender 2018 will also be supported by Traxsource, a unique electronic music store created and curated by DJs with decades of experience in the music industry.
Thurs May 3
Lafayette Hotel 3pm – Close
Mark di Meo . Del . DJ Ala. Eric Groove. Marshall Jones .
Fri May 4
Lafayette Hotel 11am – 5pm
Worldbeat Center 5pm to Close
Hyenah . Doc Martin (Sublevel Live ft Lillia) . Eli Escobar . Hector Romero . David Harness .
Oscar P . Cris Herrera . DJ Mes . Urulu . Adam Gibbons . Red Sonya . Alien Tom .
Mikeytown . Matthew Brian . Bumpy Nuggets . Francisco Moreno . Vinh Sol .
Sat May 5
Lafayette Hotel 11am – 5pm
Worldbeat Center 5pm to Close
Cassy . Bamboozle from Soulclap . Demuir . Eric Medina . Garva . MC Ridda . Paluka .
Rebellion . Masha . Caliparis . Andrew Wilkinson . Chrysocolla . Arielle Z . Drummer John .
Coflo . Evlo . DiscoSupreme . Full D&B Line Up TBA .
Sun May 6
Lafayette Hotel 11am – Close
King Britt . Nickodemus . Fred Everything . Julius Papp . Master Kev . Sunlightsquare .
DJ Kincaid . Cole Vassallo . Nimbus . Chris Annibell . WhoDaHell .
Monday May 7
Lafayette Hotel 11am – Close
Pool Party / Line Up TBC
Written by Robin Nguyen
This Saturday, October 28th, Minimal Effort is once again delivering top-notch talent to the LA dance scene at its 4th annual Halloween installment, All Hallow's Eve, which this year features Claptone, MK (Marc Kinchen), Damian Lazarus, Dusky, All Day I Dream's label head, Lee Burridge, and many others to chill your bones and possess your soul (melodically speaking). We've created a playlist below to give you a taste of the artists' sounds.
This year the event will be held at ENOX events in downtown LA, at a sprawling industrial space that will span one indoor factory dance floor and an outdoor stage to host all your ghoulish delights.
Set times below, so whether you plan to join the Dead Garden or hit the Masquerade, look alive and make sure you have a haunted, hell of a time. Tickets and VIP table packages are available at www.minimaleffort.net
Check out our special Spotify playlist below:
By Kainoa Owens
Positioned upon 420 acres in the high desert of Joshua Tree, California, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Institute of Mentalphysics, has become home to the best rock festival this year, Desert Daze.
The institute, in all its glory and awe, rests upon a rare geological confluence of three underground aquifers, and a measurable magnetic field that is said to channel “natural energy” to help desert-goers find clarity. Also known as “a portal to your inner being,” the enlightenment-based philosophical institution was established for those seeking to understand the “physics” of their minds, or to gain a higher sense of consciousness. It’s an apt location for anyone looking to escape the confines of their everyday life, or attempt to join in and connect with one-another through other forms of mentalphysics like yoga and music itself.
Surrounded by captivating architecture, elegant fountains, labyrinths, and beautiful garden paths, Desert Daze has solidified itself as an extraordinary festival experience bringing a sort of kindred vibe similar to the likes of Lightning in a Bottle, and dare I say.., Symbiosis? Nevertheless, the message of Desert Daze is similar with other transformative festivals (as mentioned above), in that they seek to provide a spiritual awakening, reformation, transformation, and inspiration for the individual.
This festival, accompanied with the mysticism of its location and venue, is primed to continuously get bigger, badder, and weirder each year. Phil Pirrone and his altruistic family & crew have done a fantastic job curating the music lineup and festival-goer mentality. Throughout the three-day weekend, the mix of festival goers ranged from many young and old burners, to garage-metal, 90s alternative rock enthusiasts, and everything in between. Needless to say, the lineup this year was STACKED.
In its sixth-installment since its birth in 2012, Desert Daze showcased an inconceivable rock lineup of artists old and new, as well as a wide spectrum of diverse rock-genres. The music this year spanned from raw, electronic punk, garage rock, and punk rock, to crushing power rock, droning sludge metal, minimalist jazz-fusion, and beyond.
The performances this weekend were much to be longed for. More specifically, the sound of a type of psychedelic jazz, Lee Fields & the Expressions, and BadBadNotGood were sensational, while Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile and the Sea Lice headlining Friday night soothed my soul. Saturday was by far the busiest day, with the biggest names, where attendance could have easily been around 5000 desert goers. Performances from a kind of electro-pop Mr. Elevator, which made way for Twin Peaks, JJUUJJUU, and John Cale as some of the daytime shredders. The stoner metal band Sleep, performing their 1992 album Holy Mountain, was something truly special, bringing back the past, reincarnating 80’s and 90’s hard metal rock.
Iggy Pop, the 70-year-old ageless wonder and “Godfather of Punk,” did not slow down, but instead threw down! As a neighboring desert goer looks at me and exclaims in disbelief, “The dude is 2000 years old, from the prehistoric era, and he STILL is absolutely owning it!” Shirt-off, shimmying out on to the stage, while hurling his mic-stand, and executing a famed stage dive, Iggy Pop and his group made everyone else seem above average, and more comparatively made Black Sabbath, one of my favorite bands feel outdated.
Aside from the environs of the institute, the most important takeaway from the weekend was the share of love for music, smiley-vibes in the crowd, the lyrical passion, the crushing rock gifted by the musicians, and of course the nostalgia in us that is mothaafuckkin’ rock & roll.
It is evident that Desert Daze has developed into a forward-thinking rock & roll music festival with a novel, free-spirited vibe, and an inclusiveness that without a doubt makes it the best rock festival this year, and potentially a new giant in festivals every year to come.
Photo & Thoughts: Roger Coppola + Hannah Mendoza
Dirtybird campout found a new home this year at the San Antonio Campgrounds, a beautiful landscape marked by gnarled oaks, golden fields, and plenty of open space for all the colorful party goers. After two years at Oak Canyon Park, Claude and the team were able to maximize the use of a new venue that gave way to a more diverse and developed weekend experience. This environment created the perfect container for campers to tap into the nostalgia of their childhood memories with a Dirtybird twist, spending their days exploring hiking trails, observing wildlife, practicing archery, and playing kickball. While at the same time enjoying smokey barbecues, belly-laugh induced comedy shows, and some questionable late-night karaoke performances. These opportunities are what make Dirtybird such a unique festival experience, but rest assured the lineup was incredibly stacked and the music fully delivered.
As the sun set over Central California, Dirtybirds from all over the globe flocked to dusty dance-floors seeking groovy 4x4 beats and booty-shaking bass music. The Birdhouse, Dirtybird Campouts main stage provided attendees with some of the highest quality house music currently in the scene. As the night grew darker Friday evening, so did the music at the Birdhouse as Danny Daze took to the decks. Sticking to his signature style, he brought the crowd into a heavier, faster-paced rhythm, while adding touches of the wonky, hip-hop influenced Dirtybird sound. On top of this, his mastery was displayed in the way he mixed on four different decks at once while live scratching flawlessly. Other highlights included the Saturday sunset experience with cut snake, tinkling heartstrings with remixes of the XX, and later that night Justin Martin reminding us of what home feels like with unreleased Bjork edits.
However, new to the festival this year was the incorporation of a fully established second stage titled the Bass lodge which brought a slightly different crowd into the Dirtybird family and gave way to the exploration of a more diverse spectrum of electronic music. This stage lived up to its name, playing the full spectrum of bass music from trap, to experimental bass music, and even some rarely explored drum and bass.
One of the funniest moment of the weekend was overhearing attendees debate whether the stage was named after the fish or the deep frequencies musical enthusiasts crave.. Regardless, this new stage delivered some of the most mind melting bass music the west coast has seen in quite some time. Although there was confusion around the pronunciation of the Bass Lodge, there was no second guessing the quality of artists that graced the stage. dOP live played Friday afternoon and engaged the crowd with minimal, progressive techy beats and heavenly vocals. Saturday evening Claude Vonstroke, aka Barclay Crenshaw, took the stage and demonstrated another level of what bass music can be, transporting us to the stars, as he toyed with the space between sounds and masterfully brought in a Bon Iver edit, just at the right moment. Final Standouts include DJ Marky and the Martin Brothers Drum and Bass sets into Sunday morning, which fulfilled the deep void of the genre in the west coast festival scene.
Perhaps my favorite part of the event was seeing the way different scenes of people gathered together to celebrate life and music. The fashion ranged from sparkly glitter aliens, to long time burners, beach bros, and the occasional banana. Creating a safe space to explore any self expression. Let’s not forget the bountiful amounts of totems that went from bagels on a stick to Rick and Morty references, and of course plenty of renditions of adventure time. Although one of the last festivals of the season, it was wonderful to see that people still went all out with expressing themselves and coloring the dance-floor.
All in All this was a glorious weekend of exploration and silliness, in an incredibly beautiful environment, thank you to Claude, the team, and all the attendees for making it a magical experience. See you next year Campers!
Photo Credit: Julian Bajsel - @jbajsel
CRSSD Festival Fall 2017 was another one for books. CRSSD's bi-annual party is now an official staple in San Diego’s electronic scene and it's evident! The festival has matured, the music was selectively curated, and FNGRS CRSSD Promotions has done a great job perfecting the party process. A lot of the kinks have been worked out and the event ran smoothly.
CRSSD festival has come into its own. The three main stages deliver and there is always a good vibe between party goers. The mix of festival goers ranges from burners to surfers and everything in between. I’ve attended CRSSD for a the past two years and I’m always amazed at how chill and respectful the crowds are.
Saturday started off beautifully with warm weather, clear skies and continued through Sunday. My two favorite acts for the weekend were Breakbot and Chromeo. Breakbot was a nice surprise. I hadn't heard of them until now! They nicely mesh together live music with an electronic sound and a throwback 70’s vibe. I danced and grooved my way through their whole set. The crowd was much bigger Sunday and Chromeo smashed the house as usual. I have seen Chromeo three times now and they consistently deliver. Some of the other notable acts for the weekend were RÜFÜS DU SOL, Cut Copy, Damian Lazarus and the Ancient Moons, Richie Hawtin, Emancipator, The Magician, and many more.
I feel like CRSSD is something hardcore music heads look forward to. The festival has transformed into a must attend event on the festival circuit and is putting SD on the house and techno map!
Hugo Unwin | Kinofilia Australia
In One More Time With Feeling Director Andrew Dominik uses an innovative range of cinematic techniques to face the challenge of depicting tragedy in human terms. The film documents musician Nick Cave as he recorded and performed his sixteenth studio album Skeleton Tree. Both the film and album evoke a sense of time now gone, of being in neither the future or past, nostalgia and contentedness, an intensely powerful human experience.
Naturally, loss features heavily, however Cave's particular loss is revealed delicately, as over an hour in the uninitiated viewer learns its' details. (Much of Skeleton Tree was written prior to the tragedy, which unnervingly substantiates Cave's wife Susan Bick’s superstitious beliefs about the prophetic nature of Cave’s music). In a poignant moment Cave, surrounded by his studio and all its attendant demands, embraces his family in a well-rehearsed routine borne of repetition.
The reverence of the camera throughout One More Time conjures comparison with films such as Cameraperson. The whole-body experience of a swirling long-shot, drifting throughout the studio and surrounding countryside, reflects a ‘drone-age’ trend in post-cinema, epitomised by a corporal and experiential viewing style. Cave’s son Earl, brandishing a camera, is momentarily empowered as photos of him are flashed in colour, thereby giving agency to the photographic devices.
Beyond loss, One More Time touches on regret: ‘I should’ve strengthened my voice, I should’ve sung more before I came into the studio, I knew that at the time’, a universal feeling which connects Cave and the viewer. No matter your experience and skill, mistakes arise.
The second half of the film imbues the scenes of Cave’s domestic life with his narrated poetry, replete with musings on consequences seen and unforeseen.
The origins, influences and manifestations of creativity are often the subject of Cave's musings. In One More Time we also see the perspective of those close to him, as Bick appositely states that her work has become an outlet for grief. Conversely, Cave describes the difficulty that he has in conjuring the imagination 'when trauma takes up so much space’.
Dominik effectively interweaves the real and imagined to reflect Cave’s deep and binding belief in the importance of the subconscious to creativity. With a range of methods, Dominik succeeds in focussing on Cave’s positivity, ensuring that the moments of his darkly sardonic humour shine through, perpetuating the vision of Cave as a deeply intelligent, erudite and self-aware individual. This resistance to descend into a purely elegiac profile makes for a touching piece of cinema.
Por Sol Pérez-Pelayo
El 5 de septiembre de 2017, Farrokh Bulsara, mejor conocido como la leyenda: Freddie Mercury, nació en lo que ahora es Tanzania, antiguamente Zanzíbar.
Hace una semana fui a ver el notorio tributo a Queen: “Dios salve a la reina”. Los argentinos se hicieron muy famosos por ser el mejor tributo de la banda después de que inclusive el distintísimo Brian May los bautizara así. No me gusta decir imitación pero voy a utilizar el término de forma no desdeñosa, porque de verdad quedé realmente sobrecogida por la forma tan fidedigna en la que se plasmaba a los miembros de Queen, no sólo Freddie Mercury (Pablo Padin) quien es simplemente excelso representándolo, sino todos los demás, el baterista portaba el cabello rubio oxigenado de Roger Taylor (Matías Albornoz), el bajista la ademanes y el mini short de John Deacon el bajista (Ezequiel Tibaldo) y el guitarrista llevaba a la perfección el estilo de Brian May y sus distintiva cabellera (Francisco Calgaro).
Freddie Mercury lleva muerto desde 1991, pero aun sigue muy vigente como músico, personalidad e inclusive ícono de estilo. Eso es lo que pasa cuando te vuelves inmortal, trasciendes el tiempo y el espacio, vives para siempre en la cultura y en tus obras. Eso es lo más grande que puede aspirar un artista, llegarle al corazón de las personas, sea de una forma “buena” o “mala” lo que importa es que la obra sea sublime, que tenga una reacción en alguien y que no tenga vigencia. Que no sean simplemente una celebridad, o una moda del momento, sino que se conviertan en un estilo magníficamente reconocido y que venza al paso cruel del tiempo. El arte es belleza bajo nuestro control y eso es nutrición para el espíritu y mientras sigamos siendo humanos y no olvidemos tomar cargo de las cosas no etéreas, seguiremos buscando este placer sensorial que nos hace vivir un poco mas cada día.
Los asistentes buscábamos todo esto, sabiéndolo o no, el poder de que un recuerdo o el poder de la música nos sacuda de tal modo que sentimos la vida en todo nuestro ser.
No puedo decir que el venue (Auditiorio Telmex) estaba abarrotado a más no poder, pero estaba considerablemente lleno para ser una banda “homenaje” la que se presentaba, he ido a conciertos ahí con bandas originales que no llenan ni la parte del primer balcón.
Entre el público destacaban familias completas con playeras con fotos de la banda, de Freddie, personas de mediana edad y jóvenes aunque no eran mayoría. Esto tiene que ver con la trascendencia de la banda. Parece que Queen sigue tocando, que siguen de tour, chicos y grandes me dieron este efecto; de que el tiempo aquí se había detenido, de que estamos todos unidos por una causa y esta era la de rendir homenaje a algo (la banda) y alguien (obvio quién) que aunque ya se fue, sigue como un eco creciente. Lo que más pude darme cuenta entre más reparaba a las personas era que todos portaban sonrisas, puedo casi asegurar que fácilmente no vi amargados ahí, o gente con mala cara. Se les notaba ese pasito de emoción cuando andas inquieto por llegar a algún lugar donde sientes que debes de estar. No es una prisa con presión sino con emoción, como cuando los perritos caminan de brinquito cuando van a paseando por la calle. Eran una anticipación marcada por ver aquella banda que te comprende desde las entrañas, que te calienta la cabeza, te seca la boca, te sudan las manos y que te eriza la piel: la sensación de amor verdadero.
Me incluyo en esta horda de románticos enternecidos que estaban vehementes por entrar a auditorio. Desde la adquisición de mi boleto puedo decir que sentí ese brinquito en el estómago. Yo soy una persona que me considero entusiasta, las cosas mas pequeñas o eventos que parecieran no tener ninguna preeminencia en el long run, me emocionan. Si no siento emoción por algo que estoy haciendo tiendo a aburrirme y a dejar todo de lado. Este concierto homenaje me provocó emoción y me di cuenta que hacía lo correcto en asistir. Compré un tequila para ver el concierto más a gusto aún y me dirigí a mis asientos, séptima fila para poder ver con claridad todo.
Cuando las luces se sofocaron; en el auditorio hubo un grito unánime de hermandad casi escalofriante. Yo estaba tan emocionada como si fuera el mismísimo Freddie Mercury el que estaba a segundos de aparecer en el escenario. Escuché los conocidos acordes de una de mis canciones preferidas “Tie your mother down” escrita por Brian May, quien además es astrofísico y defensor animal: WIN.
Voy a ver bandas en vivo todo el tiempo, voy a conciertos, recitales, toquines, palomazos, ensayos etc, sobre todo de metal o sinfónicos y claro como mencioné, siempre siento emoción. Sin embargo, aunque yo sabía que de verdad no era Queen a quien iba a ver no puedo explicar que sentí exactamente cuando sentí en la cabeza como si estuviera borracha y se me puso la piel chinita, de repente cuando me di cuenta, ya estaba gritando en cuento Pablo Padinpisó el escenario, no era él, sino que en verdad era Freddie Mercury con su gorro de policía y atuendo de la cabeza a los pies de cuero. Se convirtió en un símbolo y nosotros en sus intérpretes. Entró en el escenario y todo el auditorio volvió a gritar como si en verdad Freddie hubiera aparecido ahí, reencarnado en este cantante argentino que lo emulaba a la perfección.
Mircea Eliade, fue un filósofo de origen rumano del cual disfruté mucho leer cuanto estaba estudiando mi carrera en filosofía y ciencias sociales pues dedicó mucha parte de su vida intelectual a la investigación del lenguaje simbólico de las religiones. La forma en que se emplea y como tiene peso en el comportamiento de los creyentes o fieles. Este lenguaje simbólico tiene repercusiones en el significado de mitos que son primordiales para el establecimiento del fenómeno de la religión y sus respectivos fenómenos místicos. Eliade los llamó HIEROFANÍAS, o sea manifestaciones de lo que se considera sagrado en una religión o en el mundo en general. Eliade dedicó cuantiosísimo tiempo a reconocerlas en las religiones antiguas y actuales, sobre todo para poder revelar las experiencias místicas que surgían a través de estos símbolos.
Por medio del simbolismo un objeto obtiene un valor añadido, más allá que el que su forma conviene desde su origen. Estos valores son adquiridos o inmediatos, la realidad es inmediata pero a temporal de este modo. Los símbolos nos revelan una realidad total que representa medios de conocimiento que de otro modo serían inaccesibles. Tenemos símbolos para todo, por dar un ejemplo aquí ad hoc, la chamarra amarilla representa a Freddie Mercury, la corona y la silueta con el puño levantado. Un símbolo que une a una religión es mucho más fuerte que solo un motto o una doctrina como tal, pues los símbolos se leen en todos los idiomas y no son meras representaciones, sino que son “la cosa en sí”. Cuando los fieles creyentes van en procesión de una virgen o un santo, aunque se sabe que no es realmente la virgen o el santo lo que llevan a cuestas de iglesia a iglesia, en ese momento se convierte en eso mismo, es la virgen y es el santo, lo más cercano que serán en esta dimensión.
Tenía mucho tiempo que no asistía a un concierto dónde el púbico respondiera tan acertadamente y que tuviera esa buena conexión con la banda. Creo que existe algo muy específico que hace que esto sea realidad, esto es claramente nuestra adicción a los buenos recuerdos, a las buenas memorias y tiempos. Del modo que lo explica Eliade, de cierto modo sentía que todos los reunidos ahí (también puede ser en cualquier otro concierto con gran audiencia) principalmente respondíamos al gran símbolo que se ha convertido Queen y sobre todo Freddie del rock, de la felicidad y es sin duda un emblema de rock que no podrá ser borrado jamás. Su gran presencia en el escenario y manera de dirigir a la audiencia ha sido muchas veces imitado pero jamás ha sido duplicado o si quiera se han acercado a la par de él. Con su rango de cuatro octavas es difícil que alguien con ese talento y personalidad sea igualado. Así parecíamos todos los creyentes fans y admiradores, con las sonrisas en la cara en peregrinaje ecuménico al concierto.
Pero antes de volver a esto, voy a insertar aquí una graciosa y adecuada anécdota que representa la some kind of magic que provoca Queen.
Unos días antes de que asistiera al concierto del tributo, tuve una reunión con mis amigos de la escuela, a quiénes conozco desde el kínder, nos hemos visto crecer y madurar a través de los años, algunos de ellos ya han formado familias y no hemos perdido contacto. No es raro que nos reunamos, tomemos un par de tragos y escuchemos música, todos nuestros gustos muy indiferentes en géneros y estilos. A veces jugamos a poner una canción cada quien, lo cual resulta muy curioso pero en ese día optamos por una playlist muy chill de los 70s. Una pareja de mis amigos, traía a su hijo Santi, quien como cualquier niño de su edad es muy inquieto y curioso y tiene mucha energía. El niño estaba por todos lados y se subía a los muebles de la prístina y hermosa casa de nuestra anfitriona quién preocupada volteaba para todos lados siguiendo al niño con la mirada y la verdad que yo hubiera hecho lo mismo o quizás yo no me hubiera mostrado tan tranquila.
La música tiene un poder curativo, regenerador, relajante y apaciguador. Existe música para todo tipos de propósitos y me he dado cuenta que puede servir para varias situaciones, en el playlist de los 70s buscaba una canción para que Santi pudiera calmarse o concentrarse en ella, ya fuera que nosotros aplaudiéramos para distraerlo o que se arrullara. A darle en aleatorio, empezó a tocar “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Prácticamente todo el mundo conoce esta canción, payasamente y entre broma y no, yo hacía un filtro en mis amistades con ella. Si la canción comenzaba y no comenzaban a cantarla conmigo: FUERA.
La verdad no siempre se aplicaba pero era una forma muy útil de reconocer quien en la borrachera y felicidad era digno de cantar conmigo uno de los himnos más cool que se han escrito. A los que nos encanta Queen y esta canción, no van a desmentir que por más horrible que cantes es divertidísimo hacer las voces y cantarla. La canción conocida por muchos sin embargo contiene importantísimas cosas que no se aprecian a primera oída. Bohemian Rhapsody estuvo en las listas de popularidad durante nueve semanas seguidas en el Reino Unido y volvió a ser la número uno después de la muerte de Freddie en 1991. Esto no sucede seguido, que un éxito ya añejo vuelva a las listas de popularidad, es el tercer sencillo que más se ha vendido en la historia. La canción es una innovación porque era algo que jamás se había hecho, era una canción larguísima. Comienza a capela, donde se aprecia la voz de Freddie de una manera limpísima. En esta parte, Santi seguía brincando por la sala, en la segunda parte donde comienza la balada en “mamaaaaaa just killed a man…” Santi se acercó a la sala y miraba a todos lados, cómo si jamás hubiera oído algo similar y se contoneaba de lado a lado .
Para ese entonces comenzamos a cantarla algunos en esa sala, al darnos cuenta que Santi respondía con efectividad a calmarse con la canción me dio gusto y sentí orgullo que un niño tan pequeño se sintiera tan feliz oyendo eso, obviamente mi cuerpo ya estaba cubierto de piel de gallina. Ya hacíamos air guitar en la tercera parte o parte del solo de guitarra y entonces comienza la parte operística, la más divertida de cantar haciendo voces y aunque cantes horroroso como dije, siempre es muy entretenido cantarla, ya parecíamos coro y Santi aplaudía y bailaba y pensé, ok, cuando lleguemos a la parte del rock Santi va a perder la cabeza… y pues todos la perdimos con él. “so you think you can think you can stone me and spit in my eyeeeeee?” para la coda ya habíamos algunos adquirido un humor bastante a gusto, un cierto tipo de trance de procesión religiosa. Los ánimos eran tranquilos y más divertidos entre todos. Santi se tocaba el estomago y escuchaba con una dicha envidiable la canción. Qué ganas de volver a sentirme así!- pensé- Qué ganas de volver a sentir esa especial emoción al escuchar una gran canción por primera vez, de sentirme niña de nuevo… y me di cuenta que ya me sentía así, que siempre me he sentido así, porque cuando disfrutas de una canción que te encanta , de un sentimiento poderoso, de una obra de teatro, inmanente obra pictórica o una buena conversación inclusive te sientes cada vez más vivo y eso es combustible para el alma.
La nostalgia vive en todos nosotros y mientras mas viejos somos más intensa se pone. “Antes si se quería la gente, mira que seguridad había antes, antes todo era mejor etc.” Lo importante es que no andemos diciendo “en mis tiempos” o sintamos que todo era mejor antes porque todas las épocas tienen su encanto, todo tiene su tiempo y su razón de suceder y a veces se nos olvida que el mundo no gira alrededor de nosotros o que está destinado a ir en nuestro favor siempre. Concentrarnos en vivir el hoy y disfrutar de lo que pase es una parte importante para ser feliz y no estar siempre anhelando el pasado y sus contextos. Por supuesto que yo extraño cosas de mi pasado, pero al hacer esto estamos evitando el presente y estos momentos pronto son el pasado y te das cuenta que no estaba todo tan mal. Yo creo firmemente que como Freddie no habrá nadie más grande ni más talentoso, y eso es parte de mi aferre al pasado a la nostalgia que me mueve para seguir escribiendo cosas como esto sobre el pasado, sobre experiencias que ya no son porque está imposible ir a la par de tiempo.
En el momento que me di cuenta de esto me volví a sentir teenager o más joven y creo que esta es la parte que nos nutre de la nostalgia. Sentir que se eriza la piel y que la garganta se hace un nudo, aire en el estomago y que se esboce una sonrisa en la cara en cualquier momento que recuerdo una canción de Queen me hace sentir viva y eso es algo que no cambio por nada. Happy birthday star, long live the King, lover of life, singer of songs.
Written by John Karlo Torres
Photos by Edward Clynes
"Jellyfish or jellies are softbodied, free-swimming aquatic animals with a gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles... Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea... Jellyfish have been proven to be the most energy efficient swimmers of all animals." - Thank you Wikipedia, i'll get back to this.
This year at Enchanted Forest I wanted to do things a bit differently. I have been going to festivals for almost a decade and it wasn't until recently that I started to notice the amount of time, love, and effort that goes into creating a great gathering full of intention, music, art, movement, and conscious living. As a glitter-seasoned participant of this community, I wanted to meet and highlight the magical ingredients that make Enchanted Forest Gathering, well, enchanted.
Before I introduce you to some of my favorite wondrous Jellies, I want to point out that this year was amazing! There is nothing quite like getting to dance my ass off to Tipper, The Polish Ambassador, Tokimonsta, Psy Fi, Opiuo, Soohan, Space Jesus, and DJ Dragonfly all in the same weekend. All the environments were top notch, plush spaces to recharge, let loose, bask, fuel up, and indulge in the many splendors only a festival environment can bring you. This oak forest was truly magical bringing forth every night with a sacred fire that lasted 'til dawn and welcoming mornings with great musical sunrise sets by Kalya Scintilla and Whitebear. One of my highlights this year was the Saucy Spa sauna where I made some amazing nakey friends melting into softened puddles after long hours of movement.
Now onto the fun stuff, the Jellies! You may be wondering, "What's up with this jellyfish business?" I'm glad you asked. Long ago when I lived in Barcelona, my friend and I would get drunk and chalk the cobblestone streets with, "Como bailarías si fueses una medusa?" - How would you dance if you were a jellyfish? We made a ton of friends by asking random strangers this question and we realized, no two Jellies were alike, not even twin Jellies. So I wanted to try an experiment and ask this question to the lovely people who contributed to Enchanted's magic this year. Here are the ingredients for a saucy good time:
These Jellies are the bones and brains that real jellyfish only dream of. Without the heart and dedication of staff and volunteers there would be no place to call home, no vision to execute, and no gathering at all. Thank you for coming in weeks early to build, and leaving weeks later to tear down. Let's see how this Jelly gets down!
These Jellies are delicious! Wait, don't eat the jellies or you will swell up like a ballon! There was so much yummy food and amazing vendors. I was looking for some MAJOR greens and lovely Devin working at Imlak'esh Organics helped me navigate the open waters to the most nourishing superfood bowl of my dreams. Also, when I was feeling really shitty after a long night and needed a serious boost, Sarah, Bee, and M'fon with Asana Foods brought me back to life with Açaí bowls made for the gods. Thank you vendors for allowing me to camp light and supercharge my body. These Jellies are #PlantPowered!
To stay in touch with the Enchanted Forest Gathering visit http://enchantedforestmendo.com/.
There is never a shortage of amazing yoga, workshops, and movement classes at Enchanted. This aspect of festival life has to be my favorite ingredient. There is so much knowledge, wisdom, practice, and energy available to all participants and I can't stress enough taking the time to engage with workshops and classes at festivals. Partying is a great time and dancing is essential for my experience but what I learn in workshops really funnels into my everyday life. Thank you teachers for all your lessons and wisdom. Turn that Jelly into jam!
I have recently been receiving more body work and healing services at festivals and it has been AMAZING. There is nothing like getting a deep tissue massage or acupuncture in the middle of an oak speckled forest. Considering all the walking, yoga, dancing, and general buffoonery that is going on, it is a real treat to get body work done mid-festival. I was so happy to meet Nik who did some great deep tissue work on my back when I was feeling pain from too much fun. Thank you healers for putting us back together and keeping us movin'! This Jelly is elevating!
Enchanted Forest Gathering 2017 was my first ever solo festival. It was such a special experience and I made so many new friends that I get to group text with and hang out with all the time now. The best part of the Enchanted family is all the beautiful people. I am pretty lucky that all the ingredients got real mixed in this year for me and I met so many amazing people who contributed to making fairytale magic in the forest. This super cool Jelly here is Sari. We did a lot of hanging out at her WooWoo Pocket Photo Booth and bopped around dancing, laughing, and making puddles of friends. This Jelly is on it's way to being a STARfish.
So you see, our Enchanted Jellies are softbodied, free-spirited land animals with creative, human-shaped hearts and arms for tentacles... these Jellies are found in every environment, from the mountains to the sea... they have been proven to be the most energetic loving dancers of all animals.
See you Jellies later!
By Sol Pérez-Pelayo
One: The dream
Two nights ago I had a dream that would mark all of my week with causalities and consequences that made me wonder about the real meaning or perhaps foreshadowing of it. I was in a field where it smelled of rosemary, thyme, and cassias; across my feet I saw bushes and marigolds that enchanted my eyes. The air was jam-packed with a delicious pressure and it was so hot I was sweating. Mulberry trees were all around where I was and as my hand reached to caress the plants that were beneath my feet, I heard galloping, it was very fast and it came in increasing paces each time. I could hear it getting near. There was no one around me, but the dashing was getting closer every time, and it started to distress me as the strides began matching the beating of my own heart. The pounding was making my chest ache with pain and I had to kneel down to relieve it. I heard a very loud neigh and as I turned to see, my eyes were hurt for one second, I lifted my right arm to keep the sun from blinding me and there he was. The most splendid and whitest horse and I have ever seen. I thought it was Gandalf the wizard’s legendary white horse Shadowfax. He was whiter than an exposed bone in a fracture, so white it seemed to be the source of some cosmic spell, giving out light of it’s own. But this whiteness didn’t hurt me like the sun because I could see it. Feeling his tremendous existence in the same perimeter as I was made me faint. It has to be also the biggest horse I had lay eyes on; it stood on its two hind legs and had a bewildered look in it´s astonishing brown eyes. As I was staring into this striking glare, the Egyptian obelisk of the Vatican emerged behind it. He neighed again one more time making an earsplitting sound and our gaze met and then I woke up.
I woke up sweaty, dumbfounded and feeling a bit quaint. My heart was pulverizing my chest and I sat in the bed. I could still feel the roman garden’s fragrances in my nose and the thought of the horse entranced me. I have a very peculiar and distinctive relationship with horses or at least the idea of them. I really wish to have one of my own someday so we can be friends and love him dearly. They are certainly one of the animals that I love and admire the most but they also have a part of my heart that is dark and I rarely talk about. Why was that horse in my dream? Was there a horse near me that needed help? The horse in the dream wasn’t hurt but he was very upset. The exceptional connection that I feel with horses comes from this maybe unfounded but very heartfelt idea that I can communicate with them. They have always created the impression of animals who are comprehensive and that suffer beyond means. I have this incredible weird trauma with animals being hurt. I hate walking around downtown Guadalajara and see how people can still ride those “calandrias.” I can’t even begin to express my disgust to spectacles were animals such as horses are hurt and mistreated for idiotic and cruel entertainment.
Two: The memoir
The next day I had a vivid memory from my past. Somebody else in literature had a dream about a horse that was a life changing experience. Sometime around my 15 years of age, I came across one of the most influential books of my formation as a human being: Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. This book’s passages have remained in my head for a very longtime now. There is one extract that until today I have not been able to re visit and that continues to hunt my memories. Raskolnikov, the main character, had a series of dreams that foreshadowed events in his life. In one of these dreams he is a little boy and he witnesses a grisly scene of animal cruelty. It was a dark grey day and he was with his father. Outside a tavern stood a carriage with a poor old mare that couldn’t even pull it anymore. It’s driver, a cruel man kept putting people into the carriage, striking the mare harder each time, and forcing her to pull the heavy carriage. Even writing about this now is hard, my skin is full of goose bumps and believe me, its difficult, I’m getting a knot in my stomach just now. I’ll make this short because otherwise I’ll cry and never finish writing this phantasmagoria of an article I want to share with you all. The man continues to hit the mare, some people encourage him and even cheer when the mare cries and bleeds, others cry and are very vexed and sick with worry by this wretched scene. But nobody lifts a finger and the deranged chauffeur blows the mare, even in the eyes to death. This horrific scene will forever hold a place with pain in my heart. Even though it was just a dream in a book, these are things that happen every single day everywhere in the world. Evil continues to exist because the so-called “good” people do nothing about it.
Horses are superb creatures; they have certainly given all to humans asking nothing in return, like most animals have. Horses carry and not pun intended here, strong symbolism in almost every culture in the world. Horses are intelligent individuals that have made contact and communication with human beings. They are able to learn commands and tasks, consistency is key to teach a horse simple tricks and routine is also very helpful for the training of these animals. Horses also possess a very particular and interesting ability; they can associate items or voice tones to situations that often got them upset. There were no horses in Mexico when the conquistadors came. An ancient woman of the history of Mexico called Malinche or Mallnalli who was a translator, a slave and former wife of conquistador Cortez, had an intimate connection to horses. Malinalli felt that the horse’s eyes were mirrors that reflected everything one felt. In other words, they were mirrors to the soul.
Another juncture between that horse of my dream and another horse came across my mind that day. I wrote my thesis for my bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Social Sciences about Nietzsche’s works and how his personal life had a direct impact on them. On Nietzsche’s decline there is particular chapter that seemed to have made a deep mark in me, the reason as you will read now will be obvious:
It was January the 3rd 1889, in a cold morning in Turin where Nietzsche had gone off in the hopes of writing a new work that reflected his thoughts and new great ideas. The German philosopher came out his door in the Via Carlo Alberto. Across from his sidewalk something called his attention, a driver of two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage was complaining out loud about his horse, there present. The animal refused to pull the carriage or even move, the driver continues to scream and instigating the animal. The chauffer finally looses his patience and beings to beat the animal with a whip. Nietzsche appalled and horrified by this ran straight towards the horse and threw his arms around it and started sobbing like a little child. Many said he asked the horse for forgiveness on behalf of all humanity, pardon for all the cruelty all animals have suffered. Something must have hit Nietzsche’s insides for good because after this he was mute for two whole days, except for his alleged last words ever spoken'Mutter, ich bin dumm!' ('Mother, I am stupid!' in German), after this he lived 10 years without ever muttering another word.
The connection between the abdominal incident in Crime and Punishment and Nietzsche’s culminating moment, retiring from existence and presence in this world is remarkable. I’ll be totally honest here, when I made this association was one of the most consumable and rewarding moments that gave me a gratifying sentiment in my heart. For years I couldn’t see or be near a horse and not feel awful, simulating their pain. Even their smell would make me feel uneasy, even though I have always loved them as creatures of innocence and beauty. As Miguel de Cervantes says “It is prerogative of beauty that it should always be respected”. One time, and I recall after more than 14 years (at the time) of experience modeling, acting and photo shooting in many eerie and less than confortable situations; I came across one that was conspicuously touchy for me.
Three: The challenge, a blast from the past
A band from Guadalajara called Sutra (check them out they are awesome) hired me to be on the cover of their album and to appear on their music video as well. Everything was stupendous; the art was very lugubrious and dismal, notions and aesthetics that I find very appealing. The idea was of the pilgrimage of two urban witches walking blindfolded around town, carrying a horse’s corpse. Everything went well until I heard horse head and horse body, dismembering of it etc. My blood chilled. I could feel my hands getting sweaty and cold and I almost chickened out, the idea of holding a dead horse in my hands was way beyond anything I could handle. I have pretty much done very weird and gory things I won’t talk about now, but this reached something that gave electroshocks to my nervous system. Before I could freak out and make a complete fool out of myself I saw the “dead horse” was a model, it was made out of foam and even though it looked completely realistic it was lifeless, but not like life had been taken from it, but in a way that it meant it had never been alive before. I stared at its eyes, not into them. They were so real but I couldn’t feel anything. These eyes didn’t reflect my soul, these eyes were just marbles. We took all day filming this video in one the most iconic and oldest neighborhoods in Guadalajara.
There were times where I honestly felt the horse was going to come alive and start moving, I can almost say I saw it move, it was one of the most uncomfortable and challenging jobs I’ve ever done, not because I was walking around blindfolded or in a tight dress in front of people, but because I really thought this horse was going to move in any minute. I loved doing this and I’m a fan of the band but this was absolutely horrifying and hard for me. Even that scene in the Godfather with the horse’s head has got to be one of the most disturbing film scenes for me.
Four: the present
The morning after as I was getting ready for my early run, I couldn’t stop hearing this roman horse in my head and every time I blinked I saw him and his penetrating eyes glaring back at me. As a fan of metal music I make lists on my Spotify for when I do certain activities, I can almost do pretty much everything to Death or Black metal, but I had found a new taste in folk metal when I ran. There is a function called “artist radio” this makes a “station” based on a artist that you play and it plays songs that are similar or what Spotify thinks you are going to enjoy. I was around my 7th kilometer feeling unusually exhausted, when a song I had never heard before came up and I fell in love. The first thing I heard was a ceremonial group of trumpets announcing something, something of importance, a coronation perhaps. The song was called “I, Caligvla”. The vocals, guttural and strong, were very familiar but the music wasn’t. I turned over my phone and saw one of the most astounding album covers I had seen in a long time. This band is called EX DEO, it’s the side-project of Kataklysm's Maurizio Iacono. Kataklysm is one of my all time favorite bands, no wonder I recognized his voice and felt awful because I didn’t know this was his side project. I felt even more awful when I realized all his songs have to do with the ancient Roman Empire and I had never heard them before. Caligula is my favorite emperor; ever since I read Albert Camus’ play I have been overly obsessed with Caligula and his empire.
This newly found discovery of “Roman metal” made my day. The band was amazing, he had all the themes of the Roman Empire engraved in their songs and albums, however, their songs were still in English, I would be thrilled if they were all in Latin but I guess that’s a challenge. During the week I continued my investigation of Roman Metal, I found a band from Lazio called ADE, their songs are mostly in Latin and I have found both of the bands a ball to listen to, I couldn’t be happier. But the videos that I saw of the band (of EX DEO) were not that cool, the production was certainly very good but maybe its my high expectations due to a “Caligula” 1980 American- Italian film. This film was produced by famous men’s magazine Penthouse. The intention was to make an explicit erotic, close to pornographic film with good dialogues great actors and real sex on tape portraying the sexual deviants and excesses that have characterized and stained Caligula’s reign.
Five: The emperor and the golden equus
Caligula, whose real name was Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus (Caligula, means "little (soldier's) boot" in Latin), was a very controversial Roman emperor; he was a ruler of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Despite Caligula's popularity with the people, the Senate expressed disparagement for what seemed to be airy eccentricities. Caligula by most history books and even the film production mentioned above is remembered as a degenerate and mad emperor who only used his power to oppress. He entered the senate and his reign with great widespread acceptance; he arrived in Rome like a true rock star. The crowd in the streets loved him and all acclaimed him, this specially because his real father was Germanicus and not the former “mad” emperor Tiberius (suffering advanced syphilis). His first year was great for the Roman Empire, he made treason papers invaluable and gave his army important benefits. Caligula pardoned exiled politicians and helped those whose life had been affected by exuberant taxes. He punished sexual offenders and had the people happy and entertained with gladiator spectacles. He built several aqueducts and made a public reform. However, nearly after this, his health declined and his attitude changed and turned in to a complete monster by engaging in activities that harmed others sexually, he also began executing people without leaving any trails, even within his own family and thus, this lead to his murder. He was emperor for about four years; he was only 28 when he was assassinated.
That same day after the run and lunch and all that, one of my good friends called me up to tell me she had gone to one of the most ridiculous places in our city: a nightclub. A popular place for some known to be elitist, full in my opinion with phonies that are mostly gold diggers and low self esteem beings who pretend to find love or snort coke in the bathrooms. I asked her what she was doing there; she said she was just making company for a friend. She said everyone apparently found so odd that they let her in with sneakers and that she didn’t know anyone. They thought she was a foreigner they even pretended to introduce Tequila to her. She couldn’t hear over the loud annoying music when they asked her if she had tasted it, she said no, thinking that they had asked her if she had tasted this particular brand. Somehow this tequila, worth $500 pesos per shot (no joke) was what made these people feel so above everyone else. I asked her what’s in the shot? Gold? We both laughed but to be really honest with you, I felt a little tingle in my spine with fear, really? Are people actually buying this opulence? In the nervous laughter I remembered a really cool, odd and funny fact about Caligula, His HORSE; Incitatus.
Incitatus was the single most beloved living thing that belonged to the emperor. I read about all the oddities Caligula had for his horse. According to Suetonius a Roman historian that lived around c. 69 – after 122 AD Caligula adored his horse from birth, he had his stable made from white marble, his manger was made from ivory and he often wore purple blankets. Purple was the most expensive of tints back then and a color set apart only for royalty. He wore necklaces with precious jewels and even ate oats mixed with gold flakes (yes! Like those people in the nightclub with the tequila shots!) He had several servants designated just for his needs, and he was a racehorse who only once lost a single race ever, the unfortunate jockey was executed. How could it be Incitatus’ fault? On the nights previous his race, absolute silence was ordered, whoever disturbed Incitatus’ sleep was killed. Caligula wanted to name him a consul in the senate and this outraged the other senators. This story has two sides like most stories. It is said for starters, that Caligula’s madness had gone way overboard and his exacerbated love for his horse as well; and two, he wanted to make fun of the senators by appointing a horse with no logos and reason so it could do their job if it could live like them.
But one thing is for sure: Incitatus was the horse of my dream. Today is a full moon and I hope he gallops through my dreams to foretell me another even and screaming “cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”.
Note: HAVOC! Was a military signal the English used during in the Middle Age to direct soldier into attack, rapine and pandemonium. This phrase is taken from the Shakespearean from the play “Julius Caesar” (III,i 273) “Julius Caesar” after his murder to foreshadow a catastrophe.
By Tom Spiegel
The world famous comedian took some time to give us a much-needed life lesson for today's society in which he shows us the ideal path to combat depression: painting.
As a comedy nut that I've always been and also a bit of a closeted psycho therapist, it's inevitable for me to analyze the most talented comics in history, or at the very least the ones who I can remember. The furthest I've gone in my research is Jonathan Winters or Don Rickles, both considered icons of the craft. In all the passion I've found throughout my never ending videos and texts, I have found a pattern that is more familiar with comedians who are more involved in the Hollywood world and worry a bit more about succeeding than actually enjoying the thrill of making people laugh. What I managed to discover in my investigation process, is that the more talented the comedian is, the more he wants to cover other artistic areas in entertainment.
We have some incredibly quick-thinking improvisational comics, who I consider to be at the very top of the creative realm. Fair examples of this comic are the ones we will discuss in this article. Jim Carrey, Richard Pryor, TJ Miller, Gregg Geraldo, and more importantly Robin Williams; these are the prime examples of creative comic minds who sometimes cross a very thin and dangerous line that can suck their souls and sometimes even spark mental illness they didn't have before. Jim Carrey has been well-known as a diagnosed bipolar comic who has always fought with depression; he has never shied away from the burdens he has to bear every single day of his life. Being that talented has a high price, for some comics being this creative has even cost them their lives.
There is also the more prepared and sharpened comedian who wasn't good when he started but has improved over the years to levels that only the very best can aspire. In this group of comics, you can easily find people like Ricky Gervais, Louis C.K., Jerry Seinfeld, and Chris Rock talking about their rise to stardom and how hard they worked over the years. These guys need at least a year to write a full hour of material and another year to test it in comedy clubs before they are confident they have a good show, but the misfits like Carrey and Williams were born with the comedy spark since they were little. Both of them were lonely little boys who started developing characters at an early age without realizing they also developed mantel illness; Robin Williams developed dementia for example.
August the 11th marks three years since Robin Williams sadly passed away after committing suicide, the icon was found hanging in a bedroom door. People already knew how depressed he was since he was young, substance abuse at an early age certainly didn't help in latter years because his illness only grew stronger. But then again, the fact that he needed so many drugs to feel better also means that even sober he didn't feel okay. Fortunately for him, Robin's family helped him find inner peace in the city of San Francisco, and we witnessed some of the most impressive work of his career during his sober years. But as all unhinged creative minds, Robin required something to keep him occupied and distracted from his always present depression. Going on bicycle rides every day seemed to help out a lot, but divorcing his wife and separating from his family was a huge blow for him.
I remember shedding many tears when I found out about his passing; it's almost as if I had lost one of my dearest friends because I had been following his career for decades. That's when it hit me; I remembered how severe Jim Carrey's depression had been for the past few years. Personal problems had him in constant search of tranquillity and enlightenment, a sudden alarming feeling came over me, and I started researching the latest acting he's done or comedy he's performed. I quickly realized that Jim Carrey hadn't done much in the last decade, he is another one of those artists who feel suffocated by the shallow and empty Hollywood life. Then I stumbled upon a nifty little show made for comedians by a legendary comedian called "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee", my first reaction was searching for Jim Carrey's episode, and there it was.
This was a few years back, the reason I bring this up is that it soothes me to know that fewer people are as alarmed as I was then after knowing that Jim is alive and well. In that episode with Jerry, he spoke about how much he is enjoying life through painting, the perfect therapy for a person who suffers depression the way he does. Then a few days ago, Jim uploaded a documentary about his experience with painting called "I Needed Color." Watching it reminded me of Robin Williams so much, I felt sad because I knew he wasn't able to find the proper therapy in time like Jim did. But I also felt happy because I saw hope in Carrey's words during the documentary, he knows he is the type of creative mind that needs to feel less involved in the world's problems because they hurt him on a fundamental level.
Sadly, not all comedians have the fortitude or carelessness to find comedy in tragedy. People like Jim Carrey are compassionate souls who do their comedy with no intention to enrage anyone, other comedians don't care about that, and that's okay. Perhaps the British comics have a more relaxed way of approaching their craft, people like Jimmy Carr, Ricky Gervais, and Craig Ferguson don't take themselves that seriously. Maybe that's where their success is hidden in plain sight, not giving a fuck every once in a while and just letting the comedy flow can also be the answer sometimes. I sure do hope Jim Carrey comes back to act in great comedy movies like in the past, let's hope his new hobby fuels him with motivation, and we get a new timeless character to imitate until the world comes to an end.
Keep that momentum going Jim, please don't make me miss you and cry for you as Robin did.