Festival Coverage

Desert Hearts Festival Review Spring 2018

Photo Credit: GetTiny

Photo Credit: GetTiny

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.

Photo Credit: GetTiny

Photo Credit: GetTiny

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.

Photo Credit: Haley Busch

Photo Credit: Haley Busch

 

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.

Photo Credit: Jess Bernstein

Photo Credit: Jess Bernstein

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.

Photo Credit: Haley Busch

Photo Credit: Haley Busch

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.

Get Amped up for Halloween with our Minimal Effort, All Hallows Eve Mix

Minimal effort.png

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:

My first ever experience at Comic-Con International

By Tom Spiegel

Even if I have always been an avid movie and comic book fan since I have a memory, I had never really been graced with the opportunity to experience the San Diego Comic-Con due to various reasons. But this year was going to be different; my goal was to at least make it to the outskirts of the convention center and take loads of pictures of sweaties in full-blown cosplays. But what I got was a little bit better, just a tad shy of the full experience. While visiting my favorite video game shop, I encountered a nice lady employee who told me about a chance to work at the Con for a few days, suddenly getting paid to attend the event seemed like an excellent idea. The catch was that I would work as a security guard on the main entrance floor, without getting to go down to the exhibit hall. This was my first chance to actually get to say that I attended Comic-Con, so finally, I decided to go through with the experience. 

Verdict

I gotta say, apart from the excruciating pain my feet went through during all four days of the Con, the experience was actually pretty amazing. I got to interact with thousands of sweaty fans whose faces told the story of a place like no other, a convergence that congregates hundreds of thousands of fans who love movies, comic books, and pop culture, who are mostly quite respectful for one and other. My post was at one of the main entrances in the registration area; I had to deal with people who wanted to go out of the building for various reasons and needed to be re-directed by yours truly in order to get to the other side. For the most part, I had absolutely no problems dealing with people who just wanted their freebie bags, their collectible pin, and limited edition Jack Kirby book with articles about his impressive career. Since I wasn't allowed on the main floor, that was the best I could aspire to get, and I enjoyed every single minute of it. 

I did attempt to sneak into the main floor, at first I did get past the security guards, but I miserably failed after only five minutes of walking in I was politely asked to leave the premises. It was worth the try; I got to take a picture of K2-SO from Star Wars: Rogue One. After that failed attempt, I knew that my main objective was to take as many cosplay pictures as I could, and that's exactly what I did. 

The Strong Cosplay Game

It's hard to imagine how much work goes into making most of the elaborate costumes that make it to Comic-Con, I got the pleasure of taking over 60 pictures that I share with you at the very top of this article. All the toddlers with their cosplay are the ones that get me every time. However, perhaps the most beautiful costumes are the ones I got to see an old couple dressed as Han and Leia, who were walking around the floor holding hands and looking cuter than anything I got to see during the whole weekend. I also got a chance to find a couple of celebrities who were walking across the room to get to a panel. One of them was legendary comic book sweaty John Schnepp who has a show on Collider called Heroes. He was nice to me when I recognized him but looked a bit rushed to get to a panel.

However, the other famous person I met was one of the most recognized film critics in recent history; his name is Scott Mantz. As soon as he realized I knew him, he was incredibly gracious and asked me to take out my phone for a selfie; it's cool when people who get famous don't let it get to their head just like Mantz did with me and many fans I'm sure. But is I want to talk about highlights, there are other details of my whole trip that I can mention, for one I got to attend the event with my brother Diego who volunteered and hung out with me after every shift. Another great moment was when I met the lovable Moose, a local who goes every year for the autographs and got to take a picture with Chadwick Boseman. During a few breaks I got while working, I decided to spend time with him and got to meet a great human being who was one of the nicest people I met. 

For next year, I will try to get a badge for sure, either as a professional or press so I can cover more details of the event for this website. I do believe that we qualify to get in there without a problem, we'll do everything we can to get the full experience of the Con. But as a first time, I really can't complain about everything I saw. And the best part of it was that I got to hang out with some very nice people, both staff, and attendees. Let's hope next year increases my love for the experience. 

Picture taken from Moose Polk's Facebook page

Picture taken from Moose Polk's Facebook page

Cygnet Folk Festival 2017

6-8 JANUARY 2017, TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA

By Hugo Unwin

In the 35 years since Cygnet Folk Festival was first held, the magic surrounding this site has remained unchanged. I admired this glorious pocket of Australia as we departed Hobart, where the boundary between lush national park and city streets is unnoticeable. While travelling to Cygnet we indulged in regional Tasmania’s local cherries and apples, a tasty confirmation of our proximity to the agricultural centre of Tasmania.

Apparent on arrival to Cygnet was a general sense of excitement, driven by the promise of a weekend of folk, fun and friends in the brilliant Tasmanian sunshine. Our first enjoyment of music was Bill Jackson and Pete Fidler. Especially apt was the ballad ‘They Were Never Here’, an indictment of the genocidal actions of nineteenth century pastoralist Angus McMillan throughout Gippsland, Victoria. The song had added pertinence in Tasmania as a state which bears the historical stain of the despairingly tremendous annihilation of the local Aboriginal population in the years following colonisation.

During the remainder of the afternoon I ducked into open houses, art studios, music halls and churches, all abuzz with a palpable tension between self-restraint and self-indulgence so common to the first night of a multi-day festival. Saturday morning saw the enactment of a commitment to see ‘things other than the music’, so frequently promised upon perusal of the lineup prior to a multi-faceted festival. This came in the form of the ‘The Poet’s Breakfast’, a celebration of regional and Australian poetry, with concomitant themes of life in the outback, loss and community.

Theresa Young, a promising young artist now based in Hobart, delivered the standout musical performance of the afternoon, with her delicate music resonating in the Supper Room. As a central figure in the Tasmanian folk music community, Theresa performs with stoic passion, focus and presence, to the tremendous benefit of the listener.

Azzband, Sunday Morning

Azzband, Sunday Morning

Huon valley on Friday Afternoon

Huon valley on Friday Afternoon

Theresa Young, Saturday Afternoon

Theresa Young, Saturday Afternoon

Sunday morning began with an invigorating dip in nearby Kangaroo Bay. The musical highlight of the afternoon was the Song and Tune Writing Competition, sponsored by APRA and won by Theresa Young. Alan Gogoll delivered a breathtaking performance in this bracket, with the captivating Bell's Harmonic.

Azzband performed wonderfully on Sunday afternoon. This group hail from across the globe, finding commonality in a collective cultural consciousness. Such an endeavour brings to mind Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, but with a far more grassroots and authentic sense of cultural collaboration.

The Director’s Concert and Final Cabaret delivered a range of magnificent performances. I have discovered that in Tasmania, those from other parts of Australia incorporate ‘mainlander’ into their cultural identity. The same is true of the sense of community and creativity engendered by festivals such as Cygnet, which remind us of the immense benefit we have simply by being thankful for one another.

Leonard Cohen Tribute, Saturday Afternoon

Leonard Cohen Tribute, Saturday Afternoon

Festival Cabaret, Sunday Evening

Festival Cabaret, Sunday Evening

The Luxury and Legitimacy of Further Future

The Mothership is at Further Future. It is there practically, as a stage and supporting structures forming a polygonal dance area. The sound infrastructure we can see. The speaker coils compress the air we’re breathing and the musicians we see we can hear. The place exists visibly, audibly, tangibly, locally. It also exists metaphorically. The Mothership is a shared space, musical and collaborative, from whence we embark and to which we return.

I can't think of a better way to describe what goes on at Further Future than "extravagant living." I've tried.

The stage and the festival are both aptly named. This being only the second iteration, “FF002” as the organizers call it, there’s a surprising permanence to it: that sense you get when you hear an instant classic for the first time. An artist in the process of creating a work that will evoke this may call their creative state "inspired," that sense of channeling, when the work flows through rather than from them. Founders Robert Scott and Jason Swamy said during an interview with Billboard in April that their goal is to build a community based on inspiration, but I suspect the process of building FF002 was more grounded than that.

Fastidious curation and relentless attention to detail created this festival, and it shows. My favorite example is the stunningly suburb sound. I expected nothing less from Robot Heart's famed one million dollar system, but was surprised that at every single stage the sound was equally excellent. Standing 3 feet from the speaker at the Mothership or the Void, I can feel the vibrations rattling my jaw, yet can talk in a normal speaking voice to the person next to me. It's incredible.

The quality of the experience speaks to a community comfortable with itself. The organizers and attendees, both defiantly beaming, blithely resist the most-times mutating, and often-times mutilating perch on the lap of luxury. Make no mistake, Further Future is a luxurious festival, a fact that has generated no shortage of criticism.

The word luxury came to Middle English from the Old French word for lechery, and before that from the Latin "luxus," meaning "excess." To recognize solely these negative connotations resonating through the centuries, dusty admonishments from stern-faced marble moralists of ages past, is to miss the nuance of our current usage.

Luxury is today defined as, "the state of great comfort and extravagant living," and alternatively as, "an inessential, desirable item that is expensive or difficult to obtain." 

Tchochkes on Parade III by Jay Joslin

Tchochkes on Parade III by Jay Joslin

Whether or not extravagance in living is "inessential" is a debate best left for other venues, but as long as it is, for some segment, "desirable," Further Future and its inevitable imitators have a place in the festival community.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs posits that only after one has successfully satisfied every other need in the hierarchy can one achieve self-actualization. It is an achievement that is inherently "expensive," and "difficult to obtain." Further Future founders Robert Scott and Jason Swamy became music industry legends when they built the Robot Heart collective at Burning Man.

At that event, people expend huge quantities of themselves in creating an environment that facilitates the discovery of what organismic theorist Kurt Goldstein called the "master motive." Previously, that giving primarily came in the form of production through the application of one's time. Over the past decade, the growing portion of attendees who choose to give through purchasing to provide has produced much grumbling among both old guard participants and idealist pontificators alike.

The debate as to whether time is money, or something more valuable, is another best left merely mentioned here. At this point it is still an open question, with inputs as far reaching as the modern economy, and an answer with consequences equally expansive and significant.

Until we've settled the question, the debate has no bearing on Further Future's legitimacy in the scene, and the fact that Further Furture's presence sparks so much activity in this area of thought should be all that is needed to justify its existence for all of us.

By Derek Ruhland