Black Sheep, concert, emily haines, Fillmore, Grow up and blow away, Joywave, Live it out, Metric, Pagans in Vegas, Party, Philadelphia, Philly, photography, rave, Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Synthetica, Travel
METRIC! I’ve been a fan for year, but I’ve never really been a big show goer outside of my usual handful of bands. I don’t know why, but I’ve made it a point to start going out to see more live music. I always have a great time, it’s bizarre that I’ve been missing all of these events for no good reason.
Metric released their tour dates back in December, and I snatched up a ticket as soon as they went on sale.
Before I get into them, let’s talk about the venue!
Lemme just say, this place is BEAUTIFUL. It’s essentially just a gutted warehouse with a more modern and minimalist interior, but what it does, it does extremely well. Dual iron staircases, exposed brick. They nailed the aesthetics of the place. Right down to the glowing purple chandeliers. Might be my new favorite concert venue in the city, I can’t wait to see another show here.
– See a show at the new Fillmore
The place was full, but not overcrowded like I expected it to be. For the first time in a long time, (if not the first time ever), I managed to slither my way through the crowd and grab a spot up at the front gate. Perfect timing too, the opening band took the stage not even five minutes later
- Minor Rant- I’m not usually one to tell others how to enjoy themselves, but holy shit is it frustrating to see people at center stage, front gate on their smart phones checking Facebook the entire time. Straight face, no emotion. I just can’t imagine watching a concert through my peripheral vision. If you’re enjoying, fine I guess, but if face down in a smart phone is your comfortable resting position, you might have a problem.
Their first song didn’t do too much for me, but their last couple drew me in. I was a fan. I think. I’m in a weird neutral zone with them. I need to listen to more of their music for a final verdict, but I did appreciate their energy on stage. In fact, think I’ll put em on while I finish up this entry.
Their performance was fantastic! They didn’t pull any over the top antics, it was straight business. A rapid fire succession of music from a set list that did a thorough job covering their numerous albums.
I would have liked a few more of my favorites, I was really hoping for Lie Lie Lie, or Lost Kitten, but Black Sheep happened so I was satisfied.
Not ashamed to admit that the Black Sheep cover in Scott Pilgrim was what originally clued me into Metric, but from the crowd reaction, I’m assuming I wasn’t alone. The place went crazy when those familiar black sheep, c’mon, black sheep, c’mon, lyrics began.
The concert as a whole was a lot of fun. I THINK their US tour has ended now, they’ve recently crossed into Canada, but if I’m wrong, GO! GO TO THE SHOW! Have yourself a time. Worth it for a fan. And if you’re not, go and try out some new music!
-See Metric live! Finally!
adventure, Android Jones, art, art festival, Backpacker, Backpacking, blackrock, blackrock city, BM2015, BRC2015, Burner, burning man, burning man 2015, carnival of mirrors, conclave, death guild, Deathguild, deathguild thunderdome, dust storm, El pulpo Mecanico, Festival, Fire, Fire Arts, flaming lotus girls, mayor monday, photography, Ranger, reddit, reddit meet up, Road trip, serpent mother, Thunderdome, Travel, traveling, white out
My last few days in Boulder were spent gathering supplies for the biggest venture of the trip; the Blackrock desert and the city that buds within!
Burning Man 2015 was on the horizon. The desert happening has brought so much change, so many people, so many events and learning into my life just through its influence, yet I never experienced it myself, I’ve never journey out there. Until now.
The drive from Boulder was significant, (considering we had just driven from New Jersey to Denver it wasn’t THAT long) but still something to contend with. 18 hours of more cornfields and emptiness, although come Utah, the landscape finally started to change.
Finally we arrived, and by arrived I mean we made the last turn out of civilization. No more stores/gas/stops outside of a tiny little town a ways away. We got maybe five minutes down the road before we hit the back of the line. I’ve heard stories about the gates taking upwards of six hours, so I pretty much knew we would be greeted with brake lights.
The combination of a car accident, gate pulsing, and 70,000 people trying to get into the same place at once left us on the road for most the day. We made the best of it, all part of the overall experience, right? The crowded cars soon expelled their humans and the roadside pre-parties started popping up. Every time the caravan started moving the crowd would scurry away toward their cars, only to reemerge a few minutes up the road.
TWELVE hours later….
Exhausted, disgruntled, and hungry, we dropped out things in the sand and dust, and set up camp in the darkness. As much as we wanted to explore, the bed was much more inviting. After my years of local burns I’ve learned that pacing is absolutely key. Don’t burn yourself out on day 1, because you’ve got way more to do! And so, we face planted into our mattresses and passed out.
Now, before I get into this, let me preface by saying this:
One of the greatest challenges I faced after returning from Peru was trying to find the words to fully encompass everything I had experienced, especially to my eager friends/family who wanted to hear every detail. My ayahuasca ceremonies just felt lacking when I tried to attached words to them, so empty for such a powerful and life changing experience. I tried to put things down on this blog, I really tried, but I still did them no justice. Here I find myself again trying to find the words to describe Burning Man.
So instead of forcing my numerous experiences into hollow casings, I’ve decided to just let my pictures tell the tale. I’ll review some highlights, but I’ll leave this entry mostly to the pictures.
Unfortunately, my camera took a serious dive and the focus/lens never recovered (and my phone ended up breaking on the drive in! Lesson in being present much?!? ) Please excuse my blurry photos, but I hope you enjoy them all the same.
The Temple of Promise
The temple is always one of my favorite places at the local burns, but finally seeing the grand scale of The Temple of Promise was like a tragic dream come true. The Temple warps in shape every year, and means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but the respect for the structure seems to be universal. Nestled away from the high energy radiating through the rest of the desert, the Temple is where one goes to let go, to mourn, to grieve, to pray, to reflect, to forgive, to express whatever it is they need to express (before it all goes up in flames on the final night).
The walls may be made out of wood, but the structure itself is infused with so much raw emotion that it’s a challenge to step inside and remain untouched. I made it a few steps passed the threshold before my eyes started to well up with tears. The stillness is the first thing I noticed. In a work of art filled to the brim with people, only silence and the occasional whimper, cry, or whisper filled the air. Along the walls, writing utensils hung freely for those who had something to add to the walls. Messages were written, pictures of loved ones hung, whatever it was you wanted to express, the Temple is the place to do it.
With tears streaming down her face, I watched from afar as an older woman wrote a message to her mother who had passed away recently, finally saying the things she never got to say in life. Behind me was a scathing message written by a woman to the man who had brutally raped her in the past. On the bench next to me, a man sat in quiet meditation, holding a picture of a young child. Stories of love, hate, encouragement, loss, sadness…I could go on. Everywhere. Every story, every makeshift shrine was different, but each one was laced with powerful emotion.
I wrote my own message, a personal something to myself, and I silently cried my damn eyes out…
-Write in the Temple of Promise
Wednesday some dear friends arrived at camp. For any long time readers, you may recognize them from one of my very first entries. We unloaded their car, helped em setup and made our way back to the playa.
The DeathGuild’s Thunderdome was my kinda place. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the house music, the burners and all the oneness with the universe and what not, but the Thunderdome stole my heart. Hard rock/industrial, people fighting, girls in revealing black leather and the guys suited up in some badass wasteland armor! When I arrived they were blasting some of my favorite songs by Manson, Rammstein, and Mindless Self Indulgence. MSI on the Playa!?!? I loveeeee my MSI!!!
The goth kid in me came out in full force! I found myself at the top of the Dome, shouting for the combatants to tear each other apart many, many times throughout my week.
Warning – The video has strong language and sexy people in black leather NSFW
I love you Thunderdome!!
Finally see the Thunderdome in person
The Serpent Mother
Created by the Flaming Lotus Girls, this monstrosity of fire and metal has earned its place high on my list of all time favorites. I’ve seen a lot of fire performances and fire art, but this was…this was something else. The serpent writhed back and forth in the sand, lifting her head and opening a mouth lined with flaming daggers. The metal body of the serpent gleamed in the night, illuminated by the the plumes of fire hissing from each one of her segments. Within her coil, the Mother protectively wrapped her flaming tail around a massive copper egg.
I stood within the Serpent’s grasp, surrounded on all sides by the roar and heat of the fire until the crowd was ushered a safe distance away. A safe distance from what? I wasn’t sure, but I was about to find out.
With all the flammable humans at a safe distance away, the egg she so carefully guarded over, bloomed like a lotus. The hatching egg remained quiet, until a hiss louder than anything its Mother had produced up until then, came screaming out of the top of the egg. What burst forth was a plume of fire unlike I’ve ever seen before. One, then two, then three at once. These spires, these spears, these swords of fire tore through the sky, spouting flames of nearly 50 feet. The bright red flames bled into a blinding orange, then to a burning emerald green.
This was something to behold, truly. Words do little justice…
Radical self reliance is high on the list of Burning Man principles. You must bring everything you need to survive, and you must be capable of surviving in the first place. This is definitely not just some music festival (much to the disappointment of some girls I found sobbing in a dust storm, complaining about how terrible everything was and it was nothing like they thought). As fun as it all is, if you’re not prepared, you’re in for a world of trouble. Of course people won’t let you die, but you should do you best to not be a burden for anyone else. Whether it’s food, water, or weather, be prepared. And we had quite a bit of weather…
The white outs are a common occurrence out on the playa. Huge dust storms that blow in and drop visibility to zero in a matter of seconds. I prayed I’d get to experience one, and I think I prayed a little too hard! As my friends said, the intensity and frequency of the white outs was the worst it had been in a handful of years. Structures fell, tents were destroyed, I watched people smash their bikes into one another when their sight had disappeared.
For the first day or two I really tried to keep the dust out of my tent, but by the third day I realized how futile the battle was. Falling asleep and waking up in INCHES of playa dust took some getting used to but, hey, I enjoyed it. How comfortable does one need to be anyway?!
The art, the structures, the builds were all so beautiful to experience. But like all things, nothing is permanent. Everything must burn…
In Conclusion, Burning Man was as incredible as I thought it would be. I got to spend it with some of my favorite people, got to see some of the art I’ve only seen in pictures, and now I’ve got a ton of stories to tell! Like I said, words do little justice, and as much as I did the entire week, I still missed so much more! This is but a glimpse!
But it wasn’t all fun and positivity, unfortunately I’m coming away with a few regrets. Regrets due to a symptom of a larger internal issue. Under the microscope of a the big burn, it’s easy to see such things. Now, to fix it. Things to work on.
Always evolving right?
Regrets aside, this was truly one of the favorite experiences of my life.
Dance on an Art Car -View the best fireworks display I’ve ever seen in my life when the man burned Live in the desert for a week -Finally see El Pulpo Mecanico -Spend time with my Philly friends at BM2015 -Sit in for many BM workshops -See Android Jones’ work in person -Finally make it to Burning man!!!! Burning Man 2015: Carnival Of Mirrors!!
Cheers to the possibility of Burning Man 2016!!
“Onward!” he screamed from the mast of the war rig. The day was upon them and time was running short. Our heroes gazed at their route; the stretch of travel before them was daunting, but they did not falter! They COULD NOT falter! “Onward!” he screamed again. “Bring us the West!”
Stately welcome signs rose and fell as the crew pushed on. The road was as desolate as the landscape surrounding them. Stops were limited, and so, with only the clouds above to keep them company, they continued.
Nothing could stop them! Not even the seething rage of our Mother Nature gave them pause, try as she might! The speed and hubris in which the crew dominated her lands was taken as an absolute offense. No human should be so lax when crossing an entire country!
In her fury, she showered them with blinding lightning, doused them with rain and tried to shattered their defenses with hail. She lashed out once again with a ferocity unmatched, threatening them with a potential funnel cloud on the horizon.
But the intensity of the weather didn’t last long. Nature had opted not to destroy the rig. Instead, she granted them safe passage and formed a new host of clouds to float above their path.
Mountains appeared!! They did it!
I made it! Time to add this one to the list up there with the Alaskan road trip and the drive down to New Orleans (Entry Coming Soon)!
I’ve been here for a week now and I’m really enjoying things out here. Boulder is a beautiful!
Now, Boulder isn’t a permanent stop for me. No, no, no! It’s merely a pause, a yield before a longer trip. Tomorrow I mount back up and continue toward Nevada. My birthday celebration and a most daunting “First” awaits me the Blackrock Desert.
Cross the US heading West Spend an entire birthday in a car, driving West Explore Boulder
Last night was the peak of the 2015 Perseids meteor shower, and as an amateur astronomer this is one of my favorite happenings of the summer. Thankfully I was greeted by clear skies and no moon, the previous years my stargazing attempts were foiled by cloud and rain. The last time I saw the Perseids, I was half a world away, attempting to fight worms and slay demons.
I can’t believe three years have passed already The skies were absolutely gorgeous out there, but the events of the final ceremony left me exhausted with little desire to move, let alone stargaze.
But that was 2012. 2015 was here and I found myself debating where I should bring in the storm. I had previous considered a beach trip, but some friends had found a spot that boasted much lower light pollution and regularly hosted star gazing events.
Batsto Village, a tiny relic from the 1700s, nestled away in the protected pine barrens less than an hour away. Whispers of the internet claim it’s haunted…
Ghosts be damned, I had meteors to watch and into the darkness I went! The route wasn’t too complicated but I did blow passed the unmarked dirt road, twice. The pine barrens are riddled with these dirt paths that lead to nowhere, so my hesitation to turn into the wrong one (which has happened before) was apparent. My GPS said this was the right one, but my GPS is also a liar…
I took my foot off the gas and allowed my car to accelerate on its own; going too fast wasn’t wise on these windy dirt roads and going too slow would surely leave me spinning my wheels in the fresh mud.
I cruised onward through the darkness, waiting for the shambling undead citizens of the village to greet me around every blind turn…
Thankfully the only people I found were my friends. I was greeted with hugs and champagne!
The three of us got comfortable and settled in as blue streaks littered the sky all around us. We even caught a few earth grazer!
The highlight of the night was definitely a massive meteor so bright the landscape was illuminated with a golden flash. We were facing the opposite direction yet still had time to turn around and catch the glowing streak as it continued to cut the sky.
A beautiful night of crooked necks and good company!
-Watch the Perseids at Batsto Village
There are very few bands I like, even less that I’d care to go see live, but Caravan Palace is definitely high on my list. I remember hearing about nearly 5 years ago during my first trip up to NYC to see Emilie Simon. I pocketed one of the flyers littering the venue with other upcoming French acts I found at the bar. “Caravan Palace eh? Maybe I’ll give em a listen” I thought to myself.
When I got home, I listened to one song of theirs “Suzy” and was instantly hooked! What an incredible, unique sound! I pride myself on finding good music, and this was an absolute treasure.
I’ve been a fan since that night, but unfortunately as a band based in France, I’ve never had a chance to see them perform.
Fast forward to the end of my trip. Returning home after months of travel is never easy, in fact, it usually throws me into a pit of depression. This time however, a friend of mine clued me into Caravan Palace playing within my first week back. This would not only be the first time I’d be seeing them live, but also a marvelous way to transition back into being home.
Without hesitation, my ticket was bought!
The concert was absolutely amazing. The energy was incredible, the performance? Even better! It was easily one of the best concerts I’ve ever been too. Below is the official video from their tour, highlighting the Philadelphia show.
Afterward the friend and I parked ourselves outside of the venue and caught up for a bit. He was one of my favorite people going back to my high school and we hadn’t seen each other for years. It was nice to have some extended time to chat.
Mid conversation however, the female lead, Zoe came out to start loading up her things onto the tour bus. She seemed to be in a hurry, as most artists are after a shown, so I didn’t make a move to approach her. I watched as she nestled her remaining bags under the bus, stood up with a sigh of relief, then turned to look in my exact direction. We eye locked. Heart flutter.
I felt like I had some silly dumbfounded smile on my face, but much to my surprise she returned the smile with one of her own. Not only that, but she followed it up with a wink before disappearing onto the bus.
What a great night 🙂
See Caravan Palace live
adventure, Alaska, Amazing Race, Backpacker, Backpacking, Cali, California, Cliff diving, Fanastic Race, Getty Museum, graduation, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Race, Party, photography, photos, Retreat, Road trip, SoCal, The Getty, The Getty Center, Travel, traveling, trip, Venice, Venice beach
(Ok, I’m back. Time to finish this story and catch up with the Firsts!)
Before I made it to California, I had another unfortunate run in with the Denver airport. Thankfully however, it wasn’t for another 9 hour layover.
At least I knew the airport by heart and revisited my comfortable corner. During the height of my boredom the first time around, I wrote this note to myself since I knew I would be coming back. I wanted to see if it would still be where I hid it, tucked away behind a phone kiosk, and alas, it was. HA!!!
California, how I missed thee. I hadn’t been to Cali in a few years, but once again, I found myself walking through the familiar lengths of LAX. I had a few weeks to kill, had some plans, had plenty of free time, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to get
into, but I trusted myself to cause some laughter inducing mischief.
First on the list and the heart of the trip: my cousin’s graduation.
Attend my cousin’s graduation
Also got to meet my new baby cousin. New boy in the family! Finally!
Highlight #3: The Getty Museum
I’m not one for museums, never have been, I’ve never really found the level of engagement I need to enjoy a museum. With that said, the Getty did house some exhibits that I found interesting and I absolutely loved the garden grounds. The building itself was my favorite part to be honest, it was like a beautiful fortress resting high above the clouds and the world below.
Highlight #4: Clubbing in Hollywood
My sister’s wanted two things for her birthday. Fishbowls and to go out in Hollywood. We accidentally made them pretty strong, but they were still delicious!
Later that night we made our way into Hollywood. Some of my sister’s friends showed up and recommended a spot we decided to check out so we made our way over there. 600 dollars for table service? SIX. HUNDRED. I nearly told the group I’d wait in the car! Mathematically though, considering we had a small group with us, it kind of evened out to a regular cover charge. “This is pretty much what you’re going to run into out here, even if we go to another place” said someone in the group.
Before we walked in, we all huddled together for a quick pep talk. My sister’s friend jumped into the center of the circle like some rabidly enthusiastic football coach “Ok. We just spent a lot of fucking money. So we’re gonna go in there and do this proper! Readyyyy break!”
The venue was actually pretty cool. We were greeted by a fireplace lined outdoor courtyard filled with a large rectangular fountain running through the center of it. This fountain was overflowing with bubbles, while a beautiful young lady was seated on a swing mounted above. She smiled as we walked passed and gave a light kick to the foam, littering the air with glistening bubbles.
We got our table, neat little spot actually. Food, drinks, mixers, fruit. It was honestly a nice spread, and my sister seemed happy so it all worked out. The group wandered the venue and we eventually ended the night on the dance floor.
In rare form, I ended up drinking too much and got myself a pretty potent case of the spins. I guess that’s what I get for accepting shots from the costumed woman sitting on the shoulders of a man on stilts (even if most of it got in my eyes)
Go clubbing in Hollywood Dry Heave until the sun came up
Highlight #5: Venice
I’ve been to Venice beach many times, but every time I’m there the beach is a playground for photos.
Highlight #6: Cliff Diving
Go cliff diving in California
Highlight #7: The Amazing Race
I would highly recommend this one to anyone with a competitive group of friends/family. This was easily one of the best things we ended up doing while in Cali.
The race was a mixture of a scavenger hunt, puzzles, riddles, etc that sent us speeding through the streets of Hollywood. We solved puzzles while weaving through crowds at the Chinese Theater, ran through subway stations to catch trains with moments to spare, wracked our brains at the Disney Orchestra building and burned through the streets of Hollywood while police were yelling at us to slow down.
There was a moment there, when a series of cars exploded in the background, that left me feeling like John McClain in Die Hard 3. (The explosions weren’t part of the Race, they just happened to be filming a commercial in the area, but it was still really friggin awesome).
The creators were rather brilliant in their design. Not only were you playing a game, but the race led you to city hotspots with an intention, rather than just milling around in the tourist crowd. You can also make it as intense or relaxed as you want. We just happen to be rabid competitors so we sprinted most of the way.
Like I said, I would highly recommend. This was simply incredible AND they have races opening in more areas. Check it out!
#1 Cupcake ATM We were dumbfounded. “What? That doesn’t exist” we said. We were wrong.
And they came in neat little boxes too. LA can be a strange place.
Eat a cupcake from the cupcake ATM that really does exist
#2 Dinner and Piano with friends
Have drinks at a piano bar in Hollywood
There’s plenty I’m leaving out, but this entry is already long enough! California was a fantastic as always, and it served as a perfect end to my extensive trip.
Alaska to Canada, Canada to Minnesota. Minnesota to California, California back to Philadelphia. (Start at the beginning here: Things I’ve Never Done:31 Returning to Depart)
Good times, good memories, and some great Firsts!
My companion was at the front desk, signing his lease and other official while I slipped into the stairwell and made my way to the third floor. She was here somewhere, behind one of these doors scattered throughout the long twisting hallways with the 70s carpet.
I was on a stealth mission and as such, I dodged and hid in the doorways when residents made their way in my direction. There must not have been any cameras in the building, or security wasn’t watching, but my venture through the labyrinth that was the apartment complex probably looked shady as all hell.
But alas, I carried on! My job was to find her door, set these two stuffed animals my companion had brought back from Alaska, knock, and run back to the awaiting apartment downstairs before she could see me.
“Mission complete!” I shouted as I bolted into the door of my companion’s new apartment downstairs. I laughed and retold the tale but was hastily interrupted when the door swung open. Enter new character: Caelys.
In she walked, the voice and the words I’ve spoken to for ages in physical form. We came across one another through mutual friends and started up a friendship that has lasted over the years. We’ve talked, we’ve skyped, but this was, however, the first time I was actually seeing her in person. Proper greetings were in order, and so, we hugged. It was lovely.
I crossed mountains, swam rivers, fought ice trolls in the frigid north, and finally turned up on her doorstep victorious! With the three of us united at last, celebration was in order! Drinks all around!
Have a drink with friends in Minnesota
On the way home, we stopped at a few places since the fridge was empty. We got some much needed essentials for the rest of the week and the upcoming house warming party.
There wasn’t much planned now that the drive was over. The goal of this entire trip was to assist my companion during his move to MN; I pulled the final bag from the backseat, and my job was now complete.
I had a week in MN before flying out to my next destination, let’s find something to do.
The Mall of America was one such outing. I remember back in 5th grade, hearing about it for the first time and being absolutely captivated by the thought of it. Here I was, walking through the lengths of the massive building, mentally high fiving the shadow of my younger self.
We also stopped for sushi. Delicious, delicious sushi.
I would recommend. Ask for Rebeka.
Eat Sushi with friends in Minnesota
We ventured on; saw the rides, the mirror maze and other attractions before it dawned on me that this was, essentially, just a mall. A mall that had all of the same stores that any would have, just larger and more of them. Does one really need a floor sized Abercrombie?
Lost in a world of mirrors.
-Visit the Mall of America
The housewarming party was next on the list. Caelys brought her friends and we had ourselves a night of games and hastily created concoctions. I discovered a strange mysticism people have with magnetic stacking balls, and finally took my hand at Cards Against Humanity.
Play Cards Against Humanity
Make new friends in MN
After the festivities, the pace for the remainder of the trip settled into that of a relaxed state. The days were spent doing random activities, or visiting more of the Caelys’ friends…
-Meet MJ. Maria. David. Devon!
…while the nights, I found myself in her apartment watching movies and spending some time together. The driving companion and I had been conjoined at the car for the majority of the trip, so it was nice to get away for a bit.
The days slipped away until my leaving date had arrived. I packed up my bag, gave Caelys a hug goodbye, and walked out to the car. My companion and I were off for our final ride together.
This is where I took a bow, and exited the scene. Through the automatic doors I stepped, and into the crowd of the bustling lobby. That feeling, that excitement tinged with just enough fear to keep you heightened, but not enough to actually stop you from continuing, ah, yes, that feeling of being inside an unfamiliar airport, how I’ve missed thee!
At the start of this entire thing, people thought I was out of my mind for even considering such a trip, and to be honest, I’ve never actually considered going to Alaska or Minnesota. All of these entries, this whole story, all the photos, all the people I met and things I saw, are a product of stepping out of my comfort zone and saying “yes” at the very beginning. I could have said no, quite easily too, and erased the possibility of it all from my personal history. How frightening of a thought, how many other “No”s in my timeline could have ended up being brought into beautiful reality?
I suppose that’s a question for another day, because I say “Yes“, yes to it all, and that makes me smile.
-Meet Caelys – Hug Caelys
Conclude the Alaska to Minnesota trip in its entirety
My plane left within the hour. Onward to California!