Annual Deaf Festival Celebrates ASL

Once a year, San Diego brings the Deaf community together to celebrate Unity Day. The Deaf Festival took place on Saturday, Oct. 7 at Jacobs Center for the second year in a row.

Unity Day is a fun, free event for the Deaf and a great way to celebrate 200 years of American Sign Language.  As an individual learning ASL, it is a great way to immerse myself in the culture and practice my signing. It can be intimidating, but the community is welcoming to all ASL skill levels.  This is the perfect place to find comfort and friendship in people who have similar experiences or backgrounds within the Deaf community.

This event serves to bring awareness about opportunities and services for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people. There are lots of different organizations that table, from within the San Diego county and outside.

Along with these opportunities, there were tables selling shirts reading “I love ASL,” and endless trinkets to show love and appreciation for the Deaf community.

There are also activities for people of all ages. There were free caricature drawings, a rock wall and fun workshops to take part in. Well-known groups were brought in for the event, such as Deafinitely Dope, Two Worlds, and Hedy and Heidi.

The crazy warm weather didn’t stop a great turnout for the event. Shaved ice was being sold to keep you cool as you walked among the tables outside.

Inside Jacobs Center was the main stage where Chris Corrigan could be found hosting Unity Day. He was the MC for the event in the previous years and shows sincere passion for the community.

 Deafinitely Dope is a duo who aims to unite the Deaf and hearing communities through music. Mathew Maxey brings the music to life with such vibrant personality in his signing. And, there was a meet and greet opportunity after Deafinitely Dope’s event. Fun Fact: Mathew Maxey is now interpreting for Chance the Rapper! 

Another exciting performance was given by the Israeli dancers Two Worlds. This married couple brings to life a captivating interpretive dance. The husband is Deaf, while his wife is hearing. She learned to sign after meeting him. Together, they make a great team and captivate their audiences through their dancing.

Leaving this event, I realized what an impact it had on me. It is truly captivating to see a community come together and share their beautiful language with one another. While I was not brought up in an environment filled with ASL, it’s a beautiful experience to share little moments with people and show you want to communicate with them. I wish everyone would take the extra step to learn a few signs and communicate with their fellow neighbors and coworkers who are in the Deaf community. That extra step to understand someone makes all the difference in the world.

 

Featured Image retrieved here

Casual Monday in the Mosh Pit

If you’ve been to a pop punk show, you know it’s an experience. On Monday, Oct. 2 the pop punk scene came to The Irenic. Four Year Strong’s 10 year anniversary tour brought the bands Life Lessons, Grayscale, Like Pacific and Seaway along for a night of great music.

Going into the night, I had seen Like Pacific and Seaway during previous stops in San Diego. I wasn’t sure what the other bands had planned, but I knew I was in for an intense night.

The concert started a little earlier than most, at 6 p.m. A small crowd arrived just in time for Life Lessons and Grayscale.

Life Lessons may be just a small band beginning to rise in the world of pop punk music, but the small crowd didn’t stop the band from having a great time. They jumped around the stage and got the audience prepped for the rest of the fantastic lineup. They promoted their latest music release and encouraged fans to pick it up at their merch table throughout the night.

Grayscale is another smaller band within the pop punk scene, but they know how to get a crowd going. They immediately brought the crowd closer to the stage and got them jumping around. It was by far one of the most enjoyable openers I have experienced.

Like Pacific brought a greater intensity and got the crowd riled up. The lead singer commented on California being his favorite state. It was their last night in California and they definitely went out with a bang. Fans were screaming along to their favorite songs throughout Lake Pacific’s set.

As the night went on and it drew closer to Four Year Strong’s set, the crowd was quickly growing.

Seaway was up next, and the crowd was ready. Seaway’s songs are easy to catch on to and sing along with. While the band had a different, more chill vibe than the others, this did not stop small mosh pits from forming and crowd surfing to take place throughout the set. They played a handful of songs from their latest album, “Vacation,” such as “Lula on the Beach” and “Apartment.” Of course, Seaway couldn’t forget about fan-favorites from their past album, so they closed out their set with “Airhead.”

Four Year Strong brings undeniable passion to the stage. The fans were ready to go from the second the band walked on. Mosh pits and crowd surfing commenced as the first chord rang out through the venue. The band commented on coming to San Diego many times before, saying that they expected nothing less from the audience. Nearly the whole crowd could be seen moshing, except around the perimeter of the small venue.

After their sets, the bands could be found hanging around their merch tables throughout the concert. This is always my favorite part of pop punk concerts – to see that interaction between the bands and their fans. It brings a whole new understanding to the music when you’re able to meet the people behind it all.

Overall, Four Year Strong’s anniversary tour was a night filled with incredible guitar riffs and intense moshing.

Thomas Rhett Sells Out Viejas Arena

Sundays tend to be filled with last minute studying or attempts to catch up on all the sleep missed throughout the week. That was not the case on Sunday, Sept. 24., when Thomas Rhett came to Viejas Arena on his “Home Team” tour.

Fans were lined up before 6 p.m., waiting for the gates to open and an unforgettable night to begin. Cowboy boots and flannels could be seen all around. And, as soon as those gates opened, fans rushed to buy merchandise and find their seats in the arena.

Up-and-coming country artist Walker Hayes kicked off the night. He performed his latest single, “You Broke Up with Me,” and the crowd loved every second of it. He was humbled by the response from the audience and joked about playing only that song for the rest of his set. His stage presence had all the country girls swooning and his energy was captivating. Walker Hayes was a great choice to begin the lead up to Thomas Rhett’s set.

Next up was five-piece band, Old Dominion. The crowd was on their feet as soon as the lights went out. Old Dominion has visited San Diego twice before, but as they say, the third time is the charm. Their second album, “Happy Endings,” was released in late August and fans sang along enthusiastically to the songs from it. They played fan-favorites such as “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” and “Break Up with Him.” Old Dominion ended their set with the lyrics “that’s a song for another time.” It left the audience craving more and hyped for Thomas Rhett.

Then, the countdown timer began for Thomas Rhett’s arrival. Fans were going wild and as the clock hit one second, Thomas Rhett popped out at the end of the catwalk. The energy was high and everyone was on their feet. Rhett’s newest album, “Life Changes,” was released two weeks prior to the show and fans loved being able to finally hear the songs live. Thomas Rhett made note of how incredible it was to sell out Viejas Arena; he was thankful, and said it was a distinct moment in his career.

Throughout the concert, Thomas Rhett was constantly dancing on stage. He interacted with fans of all ages and made it a great time for everyone. The video for “Die a Happy Man” melted the hearts of girls everywhere when he released it with his wife, and the live performance was no different.

It is undeniable that Thomas Rhett has a huge heart. He seems completely humbled by his success and the things life has thrown his way. His song, “Life Changes,” follows the remarkable experiences that have impacted his life. He encouraged his fans to welcome those changes with open arms because they can bring about some of the best things in life.

Needless to say, the Thomas Rhett concert was a night to remember.