Dreams From The Stars: Apocalypse How

In this series, we expose the dreams written by our wonderful KCR members. Today, Ahmad Dixon takes us through his post-apocalyptic nightmare.

 

I remember waking up last Wednesday and everything felt just a bit off. I really can’t properly describe what I felt but it was a more… crispy version of the normal existential dread you feel on a weekday. I initially blamed the spicy food I ate the previous night and went through my normal routine. I made myself a bowl of oatmeal, poured some orange juice, and switched on the local news. I thought it was peculiar that the anchors were either throwing up, crying, or both but I continued to watch because I wanted to catch the weather report to see if I needed a jacket. After one of the anchors pulled themselves together I learned that while I was asleep World War Three had apparently declared and the United States was fighting a brutal battle against all its enemies from all sides.

I can’t say that I was surprised by this new development but as a bleeding heart liberal I was pretty disappointed that my country was fighting another pointless war to preserve freedom or something. I tried to figure out what the war was about but at that point the newscasters were mumbling incoherently before cutting to commercial. I think the war was either about oil, Russian aggression in Ukraine, the South China Sea, Syria, a used car tent sale, or Eggo Homestyle Waffles. I was really hoping that it was about waffles, because that’s a cause I’ve always been willing to fight and die for.

I flicked off the television and contemplated my next move. I did the first rational thing that came to mind and checked my email. Apparently class hadn’t be cancelled due to Armageddon, and I needed the participation points, so I decided to go to school. I grabbed a coat out the closet (the forecast called for nuclear winter), put on my trusty gas mask, and got into the car.

My commute was fairly quick; on the freeway everyone was going the other way to try and get out of the city, but I kept having the swerve to avoid landmines. I accidentally hit one but thankfully it was a dud. That’s Russian manufacturing for you, or maybe we were fighting the Chinese? North Koreans? Honestly we could have been fighting the British for all I know, I wasn’t really paying attention. While in the car I was listening to NPR and it appeared that the Washington D.C. office had been taken over by a group of far-left communists, either that or they were just playing their normal morning programming. Again, not really paying attention.

When I finally did get to school the entire parking structure was empty, so the day wasn’t a total loss. I had parked up front on the first floor of parking structure three when suddenly, a sniper shot out both my front tires. I was fairly offended by this because it was obvious that they weren’t trying to kill me, just annoy me. As I walked away they shot out one of my headlights, jerk.

As I made my way through campus, I looked around and took stock of my environment. Graffiti was everywhere (“the end is nigh,” “God have mercy on our souls,” “help!”), there weren’t many students around but the few that were seemed to be in the midst of a severe mental breakdown, many of the windows were broken, and there was trash everywhere. So really a normal day at San Diego State University, I felt kinda silly wearing my gas mask.

Picture from: The Union Tribune

Over at East Commons the only people in the lecture hall were me and my Professor, who was banging her head against the whiteboard and didn’t notice me come in. I watched her do this for a good fifteen minutes, I felt it was rude to interrupt. She eventually turned around and asked why I was there.

“I’m on the border between an A and a B. I need as many participation points as possible to maintain my GPA.” I said as I took out a pencil to take notes.

“Oh dear God! Who cares about grades it’s the end of the world!”

“Yeah well, try telling that to my parents. They were pretty cross when I didn’t get on the Dean’s list last semester.

“Listen, the only reason I’m here is because my house got shelled and I have literally no where else to go. I am not in the mood to give a lecture, especially when you’re the only person in the room.”

I snapped.

“You should have said something on Blackboard.”

“Okay, please leave…

If tomorrow ever comes I’ll give you and everyone else in the class an A. Just don’t come back.”

 

My professor turned around and started banging her head against the wall again. Mom and Dad will be so proud that I’m doing so well this semester.

After I went back outside, I noticed that the sky had turned a sickly orange and kinda looked like it was on fire. A couple of seconds later the sun disappeared and black rain began to fall, covering the concrete in a tar like substance. Usually, I try to catch rain on my tongue, but that seemed like a pretty awful idea today. I decided to skip the other class I had that day and started texting my friends to ask if any of them had access to a bomb shelter. I didn’t get any responses immediately so I found a nice spot to get away from the rain, sat down, and waited.

The rain eventually stopped, so I started to emerge from my nook when I noticed the fire had spread to our library. As I watched our library burn down, I began whistling the national anthem. Suddenly, I got a text telling me to head east to get to the community civil defense shelter. I mentally prepared myself to spend a long period of time underground and walked down the street totally alone.

Dreamed by: Ahmad Dixon

88Rising Music & Arts Festival at Los Angeles State Historic Park

This year marked the first ever 88Rising Music Festival: Head in the Clouds.” More importantly, this was the very first Asian-American music festival in North America.

With an attendance of 2,500 or so, 88Rising does not rival the big dogs such as Coachella or Lollapalooza, whose attendance is in the hundreds of thousands. However, this is not to say that the touring festival was not filled with an equal amount of passion. 

It was held at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, a fitting location considering the festival is a major milestone for Asian-Americans. 88Rising is a mass media company that covers all aspects of a musician’s life, from management and production to everything in between.

By representing artists such as Rich BrianKeith ApeHigher BrothersJoji, and more 88Rising is becoming more known and respected in the music industry. It is a one of a kind company that truly aims to support Asian artists and underrepresented people in music. In addition to their star-studded lineup, 88Rising brought out Anderson .Paak and MadeinTYO and had them perform some of their own original songs. L.A. natives DUCKWRTH and Dumbfoundead represented their city and introduced their fellow artists to their hometown (several of them had never been to Los Angeles). Nonetheless, all the artists had undeniable chemistry with one another.

The festival itself is very organized – especially considering it is the first of its kind.

There were the usual merchandise booths, eateries, and a second stage with local DJ’s dipping their toes into the pool of live performance. This festival was the very first stop on their tour across the nation, and hopefully the first of many more tours to come. A company with as much ambition and passion as 88Rising will grow exponentially as they add more and more artists to their unique label.

Review by: Eduardo Orozco
Photo by: Eduardo Orozco

Florence + The Machine at Viejas

 

To simply call Florence + The Machine’s performance unforgettable is an understatement.

Kicking off their “High as Hope” tour, the band brought to old fans and new fans alike a raw and riveting show, all at the Viejas Arena. The concert was opened by Kasami Washington and his crew, immersing the audience into the night with some soulful jazz. Between his songs, Washington shared some words of wisdom and encouraged people to see the beauty in diversity and the importance of culture. Washington said, “We do not tolerate our differences. We celebrate them.” Washington’s message aligned beautifully with the theme of Florence + The Machine’s tour, where they hoped their new music would inspire and invigorate listeners through a time of oppression and activism.

Watching Florence + the Machine perform is akin to watching art. Giving herself over to her music completely, Florence danced and twirled and pinned to the rhythm. At one point, she went into the crowd, and for a moment, disappeared. Not only was her music amazing, her feel was artistic and energetic. The flow of her dress and the wooden stage complimented the earthy and natural tone of her music wonderfully.

One of the highlights of the night, was when Florence herself encouraged each and everyone to turn and embrace one another. Whether it was a loved one or a stranger, everywhere, the arena instantly became filled with warmth and affection. There was so much love. Next, she asked for all cellphones to be turned off and put away. “This moment cannot be kept, but only remembered.” Miraculously, all the tiny screens and glowing lights disappeared, and the arena was filled with people who were wholly in the moment. 

That night, Florence + The Machine earned many new fans. Through her pure, yet powerful sound, Florence won over new fans and old fans all over again. Her ability to draw people, as well as create stories expressed in her music is a gift to behold. Since the lyrics are so truthful and genuine, her songs couldn’t help touching and bringing the audience together. As the band ended their set, applause filled the arena while the audience begged for an encore. Tiny, but beautiful camera flashlights filled the arena with the hope of just one more song. Returning to a wave of thundering approval, the group ended their concert with the songs “Big God” and “Shake It Out.” Overall, the entire experience was phenomenal.

Photos By: Veronica Yoo
Review By: Veronica Yoo