I'm not quite sure how to describe this...because I just haven't seen anything like it in Los Angeles before.
Picture this: the Santa Monica pier taken over by artists, DJs, musicians and performers from 7am-7pm, with 25,000 people in attendance. A solar-powered ferris wheel filled with a revolving orchestra, illuminated recycled materials floating about the ocean, and the bike path under the pier will resemble "Neptune's Net." Glow's organizers were inspired by Nuit Blanche from Paris. But that's not the only international influence. When the word started to get out, foreign countries started to send representatives...so you'll see/hear artists from England, Austria, Taiwan and France...and all to encourage people to interact with each other and art...all around the Santa Monica area. Tres cool!
And it's free.
I'll be there in full fun gear, flat shoes with friends in tow.
Something to check off the Life List: Attend a 12-hour dance-music festival and immerse myself in some euphoric beats and an energy one rarely experiences on this planet.
Insomniac Events' annual ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL took place in downtown Los Angeles this past weekend, and Mona Holmes of SHEJAY.NET and I were fortunate enough to be included among the minimal press covering this musical event of epic proportions (Sadly, Big Chocolate herself was unable to attend at the last minute, so I was left to check out the shenanigans by myself).
A wi-fi Woodstock for the Facebook fiends of the 21st century, EDC, as the regulars call it, has grown considerably over its 12-year run. This year's event was quickly proving to be the biggest one yet. Among the celebrity DJs who filled up the roster: Benny Benassi, Armand Van Helden, DJ Heather, D.I.M., DJ Hype and MC Daddy Earl, Krafty Kuts, Freestylers and dozens more.
The night started early out on the 110 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard exit ramp. Two girls, fed up with the gridlock, bounced along the cars in the shoulder lane, hooting and cheering for those trapped in the standstill. Traffic was backed up for miles, caravans carrying alterna-teens and twentysomethings from all across the western half of the country: Eyebrow-pierced Zac Efron lookalikes in neon parachute pants. Bandana-covered bass boys decked out in Ed Hardy. Lollipop-sucking lolitas in colorful outfits rivaling Rainbow Brite's wardrobe. Tattooed Hello Kitty fetishists...
An estimated crowd of 50,000 invaded the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Exposition Park. Needless to say, crowd control was a major challenge. Security had their hands full with a mass entrance that didn't let up for hours.
Knowing full well that I'd probably get a contact high off the copious amounts of doobage that surrounded me, I surveyed the fairgrounds before the rest of my acquaintances showed up (good luck to them getting in). I befriended a group of out-of-towners while waiting in line for the Yo-Yo ride in the Circuit Grounds while Freestylers killed with a remix of N.E.R.D.'s "Everybody Nose." A blond fairy-princess stood behind us in line offering over-the-counter eye drops that apparently made your peepers "burn a little, then make them feel minty fresh." Soon after, the crazy kids were spotted sticking small, white Zycam-like tubes up their nostrils, inhaling the best pharmaceutical goodness CVS could supply.
BT opened shortly after 1am as he always does, spinning the original version of a well-known classic (this time, it was "Let it Be") and then warping the shit out of it with his trademark stutter edits. The man knows how to give good thump.
Colette spun and sang her rendition of "Didn't Mean to Turn You On" before Mark Farina's sick set in the Giant Peristyle corridor outside the Coliseum. Once Mark wrapped up at midnight, it was just a hop, skip and a bounce to Kinetic Field where Moby revved up his turntables and blew away the thousands of energy seekers who threw their hands into the air in praise of his sonic skillz.
Paul Van Dyk soon followed, closing the night on the massive Coliseum grounds. The Berlin-born maestro dominated the arena with "Time of Our Lives" and a variety of transcendent cuts from In Between.
It was a sobering 15-minute walk back to my car (I had lucked out with a spot in front of the Radisson at Figueroa and Exposition), and by the time I plopped myself into the driver's seat I saw that (shit) it was nearing 4am. My cell chimed telling me I had five new texts, all delayed from the f'ed-up signal inside the park. The most recent message was from a co-worker of mine who was stranded at the gates and needed a ride back to her car which was parked a mile away. With a quick look in the mirror (yay for bloodshot eyes!), I pulled out and drove back into the crowds.
A shoutout goes to all of the colorful characters I had the pleasure of meeting during my first EDC experience - The chatty couple who accompanied me on the walk back to the festival gates from my Quiznos dinner across the street. The dude who claimed to have had an in at Paul Van Dyk's penthouse suite afterparty. The peeved music exec who was on a mission to score some E or K (mental note: I should copy Sarah Polley's character in Go and sell baby aspirin next time...according to the short Asian dude who tried to sell me "some pills," the rate's fifteen bucks a pop). And of course, last but not least: Devo, Julie, Yolanda and Miss Amanda - glad we could meet up.
Hot Mix 4 was possibly our best one to date! Thanks to Happy Ending Bar and Restaurant for hosting the festivities in their private back room, and many thanks to Paul, our special bartender, for pumping out those mojitos!
So…what'd I say in my Coachella Music Festival recommendation a few months back? It was something along the lines of don't miss. This past weekend, I spent three days listening to artists like Roger Waters (Pink Floyd for you folks who live under a rock), M.I.A., Kraftwerk, Justice, The Breeders, Spank Rock, Fatboy Slim, Love & Rockets, Simian Mobile Disco, Tegan & Sara…all amazing artists in their own right. We wandered from stage to stage to see them do their thing, and now it's my turn to brag/report on what you missed out on…
Aesop Rock – an interesting experimental hip hop group who was one of those special Coachella nuggets. What I mean by a nugget is this: I knew NOTHING about Aesop's music, and when walking by their stage, I really GOT their sound. The same thing happened with one of my colleagues…her nugget was with a group called Pendulum.
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and Goldfrapp were fabulous. Goldfrapp has a way of drawing you into their sound while looking SO stylish! Another surprise, the Raconteurs! Jack White is a highly talented music maker. I'm buying their album as soon as I finish writing this. And then there's Hot Chip. I love how they layer very simple lyrics and rhythms over FANTASTIC beats. They had everybody dancing. Portishead. How can lead singer Beth Gibbons sound still so good 15 years after they broke into the scene?
So many good things to say, but the best? Prince stole the show. I repeat, Prince stole the show. My husband is not a fan of the Purple One, and he turned to me and said "That's the best live performance I've ever seen." I am a fan. Picture this: Sheila E (sang "Glamorous Life"), Morris Day & The Time, along with a cover of Radiohead's "Creep" and bringing the crowd together with "Come Together." He made both songs his own that night, while showing off his mastery of the guitar. Simply put, he's a talented performer.
Sia had everyone in tears at the end performing "Breathe Me." (Remember that gorgeous song that ended Six Feet Under?) Wow is all I can say. Chromeo defined "fun" at the end of the last day. How can you not hear two lovesick, electro experts croon about "BONEFIED Lovin" and talking about a "Needy Girl?" And sorry Roger Waters, but I could've heard that on my own iPod at home…
What else is there to say? Go next year.
Get your mind out of the shared needle gutter! I'm talking about the Dutch trio Kraak & Smaak, innovators who have been out in the world since 2005. My husband describes them this way, "Old school soul injected with funkification for the '08 dance nation!" And he's right. These men are FUNKY. Heavy basslines, heavy on the percussion, minimal soulful vocals...and LIVE instrumentation is what makes them old school. They have a new single out this month too, "Squeeze Me," and it's everything Craig says. It's so old school, you can only buy it on import at your record store. Try Amoeba on Sunset near Cahuenga.
We fell in love with them a year ago, and always have them on regular playlist rotation. (In fact, I'll be playing a few K&S songs on Friday night at Hot Mix).
You can also see them the night before, doing a DJ set at the Echoplex in lovely Echo Park. I'll be there in the front row getting my fix.
You've heard about that song right? The Katy Perry track, "Ur So Gay," is worth many listens, and usually with company. These are lyrics at it's most clever, and lucky for me…it's got a catchy beat to qualify it as a good song. And with the video being premiered on MySpace today…and all I have to say is this, it's modern Ken and Barbie at it's FINEST, dark moment. I caught up with Katy last week, but you can have a listen and a look yourself: Myspace
Mona Holmes: What has the response to your music been like?
Katy Perry: Great thus far! I especially like it when people come up to me and say, "Oh my God, that's EXACTLY how I feel! I cant believe you said that." It's nice to be a voice for how people would like to express, especially us females! It makes me feel good about being open and honest in the lyrics of my songs....
MH: What are your thoughts on celebrity rehab?
KP: I think that it's good when people get help and take that step and go there. I can't imagine how hard it is to actually check yourself in there as a celebrity and the scrutiny from the press and the people and having the WHOLE world know you have a problem... that must be hard, let alone defeating a habit. I can barely get to the gym... so I respect those people that do get help. The paparazzi are out of control and personally, I think there should be laws... like they have now in Europe because of Princess Di. I haven't really dealt with them and embrace all sides of what I've stepped into as an artist, but have seen some of my friends go through it and read about it all the time. Dude, even from reading about people like Britney Spears lives in the press, I stress out and break out in hives. I try and steer clear.
MH: Would you consider yourself a role model? Do you care?
KP: I don't want to be a "poster child" for a role model, because frankly I am in the business of Rock and Roll and am too much of a spontaneous, big mouthed person that I don't wanna be held responsible for saying something crass or doing something un pc... cause God knows that shit just runs in my blood. I think we already have our young girl role models like Miley Cyrus and the whole cast of high school musical. I'd love for anyone to listen to my music and be inspired but at the end of the day my job is not to be a saint, my job is to play music.
MH: Tell us about what inspired you to write "Ur So Gay"
KP: Honestly it was a mixture of some past boyfriends, some of them being overly sensitive, fitting into MY jeans, taking more time in the mirror than I do, guy liner wearing, straight iron using type guys. And it is also taking the piss out of anything and everything emo.
MH: What other artists are you listening to these days?
KP: I like a mixture of music, right now... people like Robyn (who would've ever thought she'd be back in the music scene and owning it?!) Sia, this new cat named Sam Sparro; The Virgins; Mika and all my old favorites like Queen, Heart and The Beach Boys.
MH: What or who do you think is hot in Hollywood?
KP: Dita Von Teese... she's is always on point, girl can't even go to the grocery store without looking like she hopped off of a time machine. I also like this new breed of funny people in show-business like the guys that do the hilarious show, "Human Giant." They have the most wacked sense of humor.
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