Oh my gawd!!! My inner 15 year old self completely freaked out last night because I got to see my all time favorite performer Gwen Stefani. I waited seven long years for her to tour again and it was well worth it. I have seen her five other times with her band No Doubt and her solo tours, but last night was my favorite concert. The compilation of her new and old songs were on point and the energy level was amazing. Eve as an opener was a perfect recipe to set the mood of the night. Plus they sang “Let me blow your mind” and “Rich girls” together which was such a treat.
I remember being a Freshman in high school and while my friends were all listening to gangster rap or boy bands, I discovered this alternative ska music that I connected with. Gwen had this angsty staccato sound juxtaposed with soft melody and a kick ass band to support her that sounded so cool. She sang about heartbreak, women empowerment, or just fun dance songs that reflected what was going on in her life. Over the twenty plus years in the music industry I have continued to relate to her music and I am a super fan!
I am excited to see what is in store for her future tours. If you haven’t had a chance to experience her live in concert, I completely endorse it. I was a sweaty mess and loved every minute of it.
I never thought turning 35 would be such a momentous birthday to me until I started to fixate on the number. Sure when I turned 18, 21, and 30 I knew those would be important birthdays but I never really thought about 35. Maybe it is because after turning 30 multiple of five ages are an easy goal marker; or maybe it is because I am getting closer to 40; or maybe because I am realizing how lucky I am to be alive with good health. Either way it is a great time to stop and really look at what my life has become and where I want to take it. I sadly know too many people who have not had the luxury to get to this year in life. It makes me want to appreciate the little every day moments that make my life great; like getting up and seeing Violet’s sweet face smiling at me, or being able to have a kick ass workout that makes me feel all the major muscles in my body, or tasting that perfect satisfying bite of avocado toast.
I made the most of celebrating by hosting about thirty of my closest friends with a show from one of my favorite DJ/producers Kaytranada. From what I remember my happiness scale was through the roof and I was in love with all of my friends. On my actual birthday I went to enjoy a DJ set from singer/songwriter/producer Hayden Jamesat Q nightclub. It was a more intimate group of friends and the music and dancing was so good. It was cool to see Odeszathere and the crowd went wild when their mix of “Something about you” played.
Enjoying live music is my favorite pastime and it was the perfect way to bring on this new year of life. A big shout out to my husband for setting up the party and for watching the girls last night so I could go out on a weekday. Thanks to all of my lovely family/friends for all the well wishes, gifts, and the best hugs. I am feeling really positive about what’s to come and I hope to stay connected with all of you.
Last Saturday Brian and I went to the Seattle Theatre Group/STG’s annual fundraiser that raises money to support their education and community programs. Each year along with producing world class shows at The Paramount, The Moore, and The Neptune Theaters; the organization spearheads a lot of outreach programs to share the wonder of the arts with the community. Some of these amazing programs are the following:
Have you heard of the amazing Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater? I am always astonished about the level of beauty and grace these dancers always demonstrate. STG and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater are launching AileyCamp this summer, which provides a free six week camp for youth ages 11-14 focusing on dance training, creative writing, personal development, and communication workshops.
Another outreach program STG produces is More Music @ The Moore that provides young artists training and rehearsal time with professional musicians, sound, and lighting. They also have an opportunity to perform live at The Moore Theater. This year the music director was the world-class drummer and percussionist Sheila E!
STG also has programs catering outside of the youth. There is Dance for PDthat is a dance program for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers, with free classes offered across five sites (Seattle, Kirkland, DesMoines, Issaquah, Lynnwood). Each eight-week series of class uses dance, live music and community to develop artistry while addressing Parkinson disease specific concerns. This helps so many people to not feel so isolated in their disease.
These are just three out of the tons of fantastic community outreach programs that this fundraiser supports through the vision of STG. Brian and I were excited to participate and support art education in our community, which we think is truly important for all ages. I wished I participated in more creative extracurricular activities when I was growing up. It would have helped with my self-esteem, given me tools to express myself, and be an all around positive impact in my developmental years. I think there is so much value to art education and I am a big proponent!
The night started with cocktails, hor d’oeuvres, and a silent auction. We bid on a couple of items like tickets to see Anthony Bourdain and Sasquatch Music Festival VIP package. We were served a delicious dinner catered by our local restaurateur, Tom Douglas. Then we were treated by so many exceptional musical acts. A saxophonist, a Korean traditional dance troupe, Mike McCready from Pearl Jam, The Roots joined by Sheila E. and some outrageously talented young singers from the More Music @ The Moore program. We were thoroughly entertained and shared a joyous evening with friends, clients, and strangers.
Cool posters to bid on. Brian bid/won a Digable Planets poster!
We did not win this bid.
It’s a full house!
When I think of the ultimate boss lady, I think of Gloria!
The event raised $750,000! We are so happy and proud to be a part of a night that will help so many people. I can not wait for next year!
Okay here it is, my Coachella recap. This is my 5th festival year shared with my best bud Abby and we have our routine down. The festival is two consecutive weekends long and I usually attend weekend 1 so I can experience all the surprise guest appearances firsthand. Flying in on Thursday allows me to settle in and really be in vacation mode. First things first, Abby and I had to enjoy In-N-Out burgers and fries since we unfortunately do not have one in Washington. Then we head to the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon, CA, which is 20 minutes away from Palm Springs. It houses 180 stores and nothing beats designer boutiques at 30-40% off. We were thinking of attending The 143 X Do Overparty at Ace Hotel but our hotel room and room service sounded more appealing to get us prepared for the next festival day.
Friday starts like this. Leisurely wake up, go to the best and I mean THE BEST frozen yogurt shop, Tutti Frutti, then get ready for Day 1. The shuttle situation was not ideal because there was a super long line at our hotel for the 40 minute ride to the festival. We got to enjoy DJ Mustard who brought out special guest YG; Foals; The Kills; St. Germain; Lido with special guest Jaden Smith; G-Eazy;Jack U with special guests AlunaGeorge, Kiesza, Post Malone, and Kanye West; and finishing the night with LCD Soundsystem. We also got to check out the Heineken House which has a separate list of entertainers sponsored by Heineken on the festival grounds. It is an air conditioned enclosed tent and the lineup was perfect for the base heads. We bounced to the sounds of Crizzly and DOCTOR P. We missed a lot of other great artists but we still saw a lot.
Saturday we woke up and grabbed lunch at LuLu California Bistro. We were sat next to this fabulous table of men in sequins and see-through lace and next to some sweet elderly women drinking mimosas. Yup we are in Palm Springs. We grabbed Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt again then went back to the hotel to get ready for a pool party. I met up with our friends Sandra and Natalie and then we went to the Hilton Day Club to enjoy Sam Feldt and Dirty South.
We finally made it to the festival and grooved to the music from Disclosure who wins for the most special guests – Lorde, AlunaGeorge, Sam Smith, Kwabs, Brendan Reilly, and Lion Babe. We also checked out Ice Cube with special guest Snoop Dogg;Zedd with special guests Aloe Blacc and Kesha;Guns N’ Roses with special guest AC/DC; and ending the night with Grimes with special guest Janelle Monae. We attempted to go to an exclusive after party at the Merv Griffin Ranch Estate with Atrak but could not get an uber or a taxi to take us. After party fail!
Sunday we went to the gorgeous Parker hotel for massages and brunch. It is a tradition for Abby and I, and after dancing and walking miles it was much needed body work. We then got ready for our last festival day. We checked out the Basque Country sound of Crystal Fighters; Major Lazer with special guests Sean Paul, DJ Snake and Mo; SIA with special guests Maddie Ziegler,Paul Dano,Kristen Wiig, and Gabby Hoffman; then ended the night with Calvin Harris with special guests Big Sean and Rihanna with full on fire works to close an epic weekend.
Get VIP if you can. You get access to two huge VIP areas next to the Sahara Tent and Coachella Main Stage for optimal viewing. There are flushable clean toilets, comfortable seating, and access to special food options. Plus celebrity sightings are fun.
Do not attempt Uber or Taxi to leave. You will have to wait at least 2 hours for an available ride and the walk to get there is horrendous.
Check out Heineken house for a reprieve from the blistering sun and a more intimate setting to see your favorite DJ’s.
Remember to hydrate, bring a lighter if you want to make friends, and go with the flow.
Sunday night I experienced an acoustic high as I enjoyed Metric in concert. They are from Canada and have a new wave, indie rock, electro synth sound. They played at the century old historic, The Moore Theater in Downtown Seattle. I was first introduced to Metric by my sister-in-law Chrisann, seven years ago. She gave me their fourth album, Fantasies and endorsed that every single song on the album “was a winner”. After listening to it, I concurred. Then she took me to their concert when I was six months pregnant with Uemera, held at the Showbox Sodo in Seattle. It was an amazing show and I became a real fan. I have been wanting to see them again, but this is their first headlining concert in Seattle since then.
Of course I had to see Metric again with Chrisann!
The opening act was an ultra cool indie rock band, Joywavefrom Rochester, New York. You may know them from the Nexus 6P commercial released last year using their song, Tongues. They were a great opening band, very entertaining and into their music, and I am excited to hear more from them. They will also be at Coachella this year!
Metric began the show with, IOU followed by Help I’m Alive. The production quality and lighting were phenomenal! They stepped up their game from six years ago. It was a visual and auditory dreamscape, like being brainwashed in the best possible way.
They played all the great music from all six studio albums, which made me pleasantly surprised. I thought it would be more focused on their current album, Pagans in Vegas. It was lovely to get breaks from the full production sound to hear Emily sing, Twilight Galaxy with just an acoustic guitar accompaniment and then a random a capella version of, Lost Kitten suggested by an audience member.
In the middle of their set they brought out the forty+ VIP ticket holders on stage and divided them into two groups as well as the audience to conduct a sing-a-long to, Dreams so Real. It was an awesome moment to have together. I was blown away by hit after hit (please excuse all my snapchats). The only bad thing was that we had seats in the balcony and no one was standing. I perfected the seated dance, that is for sure. Mental note for next time to get seats closer to the stage to be able to get up and dance.
Metric played for about an hour and a half and around twenty songs. They were so generous and treated us to four encore songs. The last two songs were, Gimme Sympathy and Breathing Underwater. The best way to end an epic concert and to reflect on the lyrics, “Is this my life? Ahhh. Am I breathing underwater?”. I hope to see them come back with another headlining tour before another six years go by.
Brian and I had a pseudo post Valentine’s Day date to watch The Dream and our friend Four Color Zack perform a show at Neumos. We had an ultra romantic dinner first at Big Mario’s New York style Pizza; gazing in each other’s eyes over huge slices of sweet and salty balsamic drizzled, arugula, and salami pizza. All jokes aside this is the type of couple we are; no fuss dinner sans the kids, and a live R&B show is our ideal date night.
It was a sold-out show on a Tuesday night and Capitol Hill commonly called “The Hill” was streaming with people. I enjoy going out on a weeknight better than the weekend, the milieu is more my taste. The weekend crowd tends to be a sea of inebriated people trying to cause a ruckus.
My “Ratchet Reunion” crew plus so many other friends were at the show too. The opening DJ’s, Deejay Beeba from Seattle and DJ Delve from Hawaii, were awesome at keeping the crowd entertained and in a groove. Then Four Color Zack played a set and hyped the crowd even more until The Dream took the stage.
Remember the days when no one had their cell phones up and actually used lighters at shows? Snapchat, Instagram, video, and camera phone in all of its glory was happening, but I can’t complain because I was a participant. The Dream played a good mix of new and old hits with Four Color Zack controlling all the musical tracks. He was a really great performer, engaged with the audience, playing up his strengths with the ladies and the fellas.
He sang a couple of songs a cappella, which showcased how amazing his voice is and what an intelligent lyricist he is. The Dream is an amazing singer, songwriter, and producer and his show did not disappoint. It was an awesome night to enjoy high quality music and be thoroughly entertained. Plus hanging with my honey and my best buds is always a plus.
With everything that happened last week, I needed a night to be with loved ones, listen to good music, and dance. To not succumb to my sadness and enjoy a couple of numb hours. My “Ratchet Reunion crew” which we lovingly call ourselves, rallied to go out Saturday night. It was almost the full original group, plus a few extra recruited members.
Nightshift was holding an event at Neumos which is a midsize concert venue on Capitol Hill. Nightshift is a music collective that prides themselves on bringing premier one off club events at different venues. Their events have the best vibes, the people motivated by great music to dance and drink with no drama. It is a night to embrace your uniqueness, dress how you want, and have fun with your squad.
This night we were treated by the headlining DJ, Eden Hagos. She is an artist in the Soulection music label based in Los Angeles. She played a mix of old and new hip-hop mixed with samples of future soul.
Pro tip: If there is a long line to get into Neumos, go through Moe Bar. They have a shared bathroom so they will have to let you in, but remember to get your tickets first from the box office.
I ran into lots of old friends.
The night ended up being what I needed; to be in my comfort zone, let loose, and to not think about current events. I am glad my friends pulled through and was there for me in their own way.
It’s here! It’s here! The Coachella 2016 lineup was released yesterday and it does not disappoint. It is the seventeenth time the infamous music festival lights up the desert but it will be my fourth time enjoying it live. I absolutely love Coachella. The atmosphere with the amazing art installations; the quality and diversity of music; the eye candy of all the funky fashion; and of course the experience. The freedom to dance AND explore AND connect. Connect with self, Connect with my friends, and Connect with strangers.
I am nostalgic about my first Coachella experience in 2012. Abby and I (the best travel mate) only attended one day. We went on a girls trip to Palm Springs and decided that one day at the festival would be enough; our intent was to enjoy a getaway in Palm Springs. We stayed at The Saguaro Hotel, which had just opened up and were giving out deals on livingsocial.com. That hotel has since blown up. Ray Bans had a shuttle bus take guests of the hotel to the music festival and back all day. Indio, where the festival is located, is about 30 minutes away from Downtown Palm Springs.
Pic found in the archives of my old Android
This is the first music festival that I have been to at this grand scale. I have enjoyed our local music festivals in Seattle (Bumbershoot and Capitol Hill Block Party) and I have been to Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco that is held every year in the Fall. Coachella Music Festival is on another level. 2012 was the first time Goldenvoice – the organization behind Coachella- had two separate weekends with identical lineups. The festival is big enough to hold two weekends of identical music and sell out! Crazy I know. Abby and I went on Sunday of the second weekend. We had some ideas of what was in store. Since it was the second weekend, we already knew there was going to be a Tupac hologram appearance during the Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog performance and that Rihanna sang her big tune with Calvin Harris so maybe she will guest appear again? We also knew to expect amazing music, hot weather, and bonding time with each other.
Abby and I rode the free shuttle to Indio in the afternoon. The temperature was already reaching a blistering 100 degrees and was slowly rising. The nice Ray Bans rep. stopped and got us popsicles. We met a cool guy from Florida named “Bananas”. We finally got to the festival grounds and walked toward the entrance. I wore a breezy open back dark green Zara dress, open toe Chloe booties, and carried my small Chloe “Marcie” crossbody bag. We had to walk through the campgrounds, which was pretty far to even get to the entrance. The cell reception there is pretty shotty but luckily my texts were going through. We were meeting up with a bud of Brian’s who was so kind gift us with VIP bands and food vouchers. Thanks H and thanks husband!
The bright hotel room of The Saguaro.
Finally, we reached the actual festival grounds, met up with H and then parted ways to enjoy an epic day. In 2012 there were five stages: Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theatre, Gobi Tent, Mojave Tent, and Sahara Tent. The Yuma stage was later created for 2013. We went with our new friend “Bananas” and watched Dada Life kill it in the Sahara Tent. I was released! It was 105 degrees and I did not care! Dancing with Abby and feeling the energy of 100’s of people was so much fun. It was a start of a great day!
That day we were thrilled by performances from Dada Life, Girl Talk, Calvin Harris, Gotye, Florence and the Machine, and the mega star studded performance by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog. We thoroughly enjoyed the VIP area by the main stage. The seating area was cozy with water misting fans as an added plus. Popular food trucks lined up as well as other delicious food offerings and fully stocked bars. Absolute vodka had a tent that was air conditioned and provided entertainment with a decent DJ. Instead of just porta potties, there were makeshift bathroom areas with a vanity and flushable toilets. And the people, I mean the people watching was so delicious! The beauty, the best fashion, and the celebrity sightings. Abby and I knew we scored with this experience.
The closing show of the festival was amazing! 50 Cent, Eminem, and Whiz Khalifa rocked it out with Dre and Snoop and we witnessed the trippy Tupac Hologram. Then the show was over; it went longer than expected so we unfortunately missed the last free shuttle. Production staff closed off the entrance back into the festival grounds from the main stage area so we were herded to the perimeter of the grounds to reach our individual transportations out of the festival. After the high of an incredible day dissipated I began to feel the soreness of my feet and legs. I barely made it to the taxi stand.
The aftermath of my first Coachella experience left me in absolute amazement. It transcended any expectation that I had and really ignited a desire to come back. I fell in love. I fell in love with Ella. Although I left extremely dirty with the worse blisters of my life, I was hooked. I knew I had to come back the following year and come back I did.