We Can Survive at the Hollywood Bowl

Each year during mid-October, radio station 97.1 Amp Radio hosts a benefit concert at the Hollywood Bowl for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

They collect donations and $2 from each ticket sold benefits the Young Survival Coalition, which is an organization that supports young women diagnosed with breast cancer. This year was the Sixth Annual “We Can Survive” concert with performances by Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth, Ella Mai, G-Eazy, Khalid, Marshmello, Meghan Trainor, NF and Tyga.

     

        

The concert lasted approximately four and a half hours, with nine artists scheduled to perform. Altogether, the performers spanned multiple genres of music, including rap, pop, R&B, EDM, and more. Instead of focusing on the artists individually, I want to tell you more about the experience of sitting front row at such a large venue.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend this amazing concert four years in a row, and the past three times I’ve won upfront seats on the radio. The first year I won, I had third row seats and access to a private pre-show to watch the radio station interview the artists. Last year, I had front row seats and got to meet Harry Styles. This year, I had first row seats, which situated me in front of the barricade, where I could physically touch the stage and reach all the artists. And let me tell you – once you’re front row – you really can’t go back. But regardless of where you’re seated, this remains one of the very best concerts of the year. Even experiencing the concert from the back-most row is worth it, as you’re still able to witness all these extremely talented artists.

Meeting Bebe Rexha at the 2016 We Can Survive Pre-Party

 

Meet and Greet with Harry Styles at We Can Survive 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While sitting front row at a concert, you get a completely different experience; You get the chance to personally interact with your favorite artists, including making eye contact, or even being serenaded to. And if you’re lucky enough, you can even catch a guitar stick from Brad Paisley’s drummer, or snag a setlist after the show.

The first thing you’re surprised about when you’re sitting up close at a concert is that you can see ALL the features on the artists, including the sweat on their face! It’s harder to notice these fine details when you’re sitting far away, or looking at them through the screen. However, if you’re not jamming out and having a good time, the artist may not notice you. During Khalid’s set, after he stopped right in front of me, I got his attention through singing “Another Sad Love Song” as loudly as I could. I knew this tactic would be especially effective, since other people at the concert weren’t likely to know the song as well as some of his bigger hits. Fortunately, he noticed, pointed to me, and sang to me directly.

          

Another way we got attention was by putting our hands up and throwing our energy out anytime they came anywhere near us – through this we were able to touch nine different artists (Charlie Puth, Meghan Trainor, Shawn Mendes, Tyga, Chris Brown, G-Eazy, and Anthony Russo)! The thrill of being cut after touching Chris Brown’s  hand since his ring was so sharp was a moment I’ll probably never forget. The excitement of being cut by hundreds of thousands of dollars of diamonds is an immense one! I also managed to catch G-Eazy’s sweat towel (which sounds gross, but I like to think of it as a souvenir from this experience) and make eye contact with many of my favorite artists.

        

Finally, it’s so cool to see these people who you look up to and listen to in person, where you can see their every move on stage, when suddenly, the realization that they’re actually real people too comes. Overall the front row experience is surreal, and easily ranks among one of the best night of my life, making the experience something I’ll never forget. I would recommend everyone be in the pit or front row at some point in their lives, as long as they are truly passionate about the artist they’re seeing, since it’ll make the experience way more fun and memorable.

I would also highly recommend the We Can Survive concert for everyone; they always have surprises and a variety of artists, the Hollywood Bowl is one of the nicest venues in LA, and it’s all for a great cause. Overall, you can’t beat that!

     
   
Review By: Ally Will
Photos By: Ally Will

Dexter: Detrás de Cámaras con el equipo Caloncho

Dexter (Izquierda) y Caloncho (Derecha) en el festival de Entijuanarte en Octubre.

 

El proyecto Caloncho encabezado por el vocalista Óscar Alfonso Castro, tiene miembros integrales como lo es Dexter Águila, su mano derecha. Usualmente se piensa en el vocalista como el centro de atención, pero hay individuos vitales para que este arte se lleve a cabo.

Fue a Dexter a quien Castro le comentó el plan de formar un equipo cuando lo conoció por primera vez en una banda ‘Bandz and Tigers’ en donde, a el ahora Caloncho, lo necesitaron como suplente de baterista.

Experimentaron de todo. Tanto el viajar de su casa en Guadalajara a Querétaro para una tocada, y regresar esa misma noche por no tener hotel donde hospedarse, hasta llegar enlodados a una presentación porque el GPS los guió por un camino en donde se les atoró la camioneta.

“Nos presentamos en bodas, quinceañeras, y hasta bazares.. El chiste era tocar”, dijo Dexter.  

Años después, se encuentran en festivales por todo México tocando con su arte a miles. El festival Entijuanarte, por ejemplo, se llevó a cabo este mes en la ciudad fronteriza de Tijuana, en donde hay influencia de todo tipo de culturas y se siente el amor de su gente, dijo Dexter.

Para Dexter, la pasión por la música lo llevó a experimentar literalmente “sangre, sudor y lágrimas” al tocar su primera guitarra que se le regaló con mucho esfuerzo a Dexter. Fue distinto el ver a su vecino que se olvidó y que dejó empolvada la suya como uno más de sus juguetes.

A la misma vez, dice que se trata de compartir esta pasión, y no necesariamente de adaptarse a las demandas de lo que generará más dinero. Para él es una invitación que se le hace al mundo de que acompañen al grupo en esta travesía.

“Si no estás feliz y sólo lo haces por vender, se vuelve un

a cuestión económica y no pasional”, dijo Dexter. “Es ahí donde existe un conflicto de valores personales”.

Si es tocar rock psicodélico como lo hacía anteriormente, o reggae, hacerle un homenaje a ‘De Quen Chon’, o cantar a todo pulmón ‘La Chona’ rumbo a una presentación, lo que importa es que lo disfruten.   

En este caso, es evidente que han podido seguir con su proyecto ‘alternativo’ y tener éxito a la misma vez. Es música universal, o como él la llama, ‘música que su abuelita puede escuchar’. Es más, para él es una misión el llevar este arte al mundo.

Todos forman parte de esta misión de llevar este mensaje. Muchos de sus temas tienen un mensaje optimista o también pueden ser un reflejo de lo que sucede en sus vidas. Por ejemplo, Dexter comparte que el hit de Bálsamo, fue para Caloncho un reflejo del amor de familia. Con el tema ‘Equipo’ se extiende esto a los productores, a los fans y a todos a los que une este proyecto.

Junto a esta filosofía de unión, también comparte Dexter la de el ser únicos. Cada miembro tiene sus propios proyectos, y lo que los une es Caloncho. El punto es no detenerse e ir haciendo lo que la vida les presenta, por eso tienen pensado ir sacando temas conforme los vayan componiendo.

El artista pone el ejemplo de dos dentistas y la idea de que se nos dice que todos tienen que ser iguales. Entonces qué los va diferenciar? El afirma que si a uno le gusta pintar y al otro le gusta el fútbol, hay que aprovechar estas diferencias.

“Somos personas multifacéticas” dijo Dexter.

Para él, el secreto está en el creer que ‘lo puedes’ como si fueses un experto en cualquier cosa. Es un ‘todólogo’, afirma en su descripción de Instagram. Tiene una compañía en donde trabaja con artistas para mejorar su presentación en redes sociales y también le gusta crear música ambiental y relajante en la plataforma de Youtube.

Otra forma de ir dejando semillas en la vida de las personas, es a través de su pasión por la comida. Su estilo de vida, vegana, es difícil en un país carnívoro. Pero, dice que su decisión tiene un impacto a gran escala; tanto en la huella ecológica como en la sociedad en general.

El descubrió que a través de la comida, iba a cambiar el mundo. Dijo Dexter.

“Pero también hay quien comparte esta ideología de manera denigrante”, dijo Dexter. “No es por el lado del odio, si no por el lado del amor”.

 

Dreams From The Stars: They Are Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!

In this edition, Ahmad Dixon walks us through his Halloween influenced dream of fatherhood and success.

I hate money and respect from my elders, so I’ve always been more of a humanities person than a STEM person. Unfortunately, due to California State University General Education requirements, I’ve had to take a handful of science classes here and there if I want to graduate. This eventually lead me to a class called “BIOL. 436. Human Reanimation.” Truth be told, I mostly signed up for the course because I thought it was an art class; however, it was radically different than anything I could have predicted.

The class was being held on the first floor of the Physics building and the first thing I noticed when I got there was the faint presence of electricity in the air which made my arm hair stand up. The last time something like that had happened to me was when I was struck by lightning after someone had left their Tesla Coil on indoors; so as you might imagine I have been pretty cautious from that point on. After scanning the room, nothing abnormal seemed to  stick out to me, so I took my seat next to a woman playing Clash of Clans on her iPhone. The hair on her head was also starting to stand up.

The professor for the class was a grad student named Frank. Frank was a rather tall, thin man, with sunken in eyes and white hair that seemed extremely premature for someone his age. He was an all round good teacher. His quizzes were easy, he’d keep consistent office hours, and he was understanding if you needed to miss class for whatever reason. The only negative thing I can think of was that in the middle of lecture he would sometimes start crying and saying how this class was an abomination and that we were playing God. Once when he was explaining how to reattach nerve endings in decaying tissue, he suddenly stopped talking and screamed something incomprehensible, and then jumped out the window. I was glad to get out of class early that day; the farmers market had a french toast stand that I was meaning to try. I always wondered why Frank chose his line of work, though I never asked because I didn’t feel like hearing an hour long, existential speech about mortality and morality.

A week after that episode of defenestration, Frank told us to go gather corpses for our final project. I was going to object to a request as heinous as that but then I realized that the syllabus did say that at some point I would have to do some heavy duty grave robbing and if I had a problem with it I should have said something at the beginning of the semester rather than at the end.

So the rest of the class and I got to work finding human remains. This project was pretty tricky because I had to find one of every human organ, muscle, and tooth. The first place I searched was my local cemetery. I got a usable pair of arms but after getting covered in dirt and having three or four splinters thrust into me by the shovel I was using I realized the bodies there were a bit too decomposed for my needs. Plus a grieving widow threw a vase at my head while I was trying to harvest her husband. Some people can be so rude and overprotective of their belongings. I did find a fellow who was buried alive though. He was so grateful he told me I could have one of his kidneys and a chunk of his liver for my assignment.

Next I hit up Alvarado Hospital for more fresh produce. The funny thing about San Diego hospitals, and hospitals in general, is that as long as you wear a lab coat and stare down at a clipboard, no one will question why you’re wandering the halls restricted to staff and patients. I  dropped into the morgue and started putting some stuff in my cooler. At one point a security guard asked what I was doing and I just said, “official hospital business.” That explanation was good enough for him, leaving me free to claw out a pair of pale blue eyes with an ice cream scoop.

That trip to the morgue was pretty productive but I lacked one more item, a human heart. After scouring the city for an afternoon I decided I was just going to ask the shady butcher shop down the street from my house if they had one. After waiting ten minutes my number was called and the man behind the counter said he sold the last human heart to a woman playing Clash of Clans. I asked if he had anything similar and he dropped a chimpanzee heart into into my arms. I think the deli was closed by the health inspector a little while after I got there.           

I spent about four hours stitching together a meat puppet Sunday night. The small intestine proved to be unruly but I eventually got it to fit in the abdomen. The next monday the class had to present their hard work. Frank came out to look over the crimes against nature we had all created and had a look on his face that said he regretted all of his life decisions up to that point. He turned to look at me and muttered, “Welp, let’s see if you followed instructions.” He plugged in a little machine in the corner, put it on the chest of my homemade cadaver and flipped a little switch that sent an inconceivable amount of electricity through it. It was at that moment my meat puppet became a person, and that person became my daughter. I never thought I’d become a parent so early in life, or that my child would be the product of lab I had to take in college, but gosh darn am I proud of my pumpkin. She may not be the prettiest girl in kindergarten but she’s got character. The other kids bully her about her green skin and the fact I accidentally sewed her left ear a bit lower than her right but she’s a tough little zombie so not much gets to her. So that’s the story of how I passed BIOL. 436 and how I became the world’s greatest Dad to Mary, the undead little girl. I’m signing her up for ballet next week — hopefully those stitches survive all that bending! The Chimp heart is good for endurance though.        

The Sinner Sandwich

Join Thomas and Fabrizio as they experience the joys of cooking. The sandwich is created by Nick Cormack and is comprised of Turkey, Strawberry Jam and cereal. Despite it’s description as a “self-inflicted punishment to atone for past sins,” Thomas greedily gobbled down this mighty chow. With a heave and a ho, and a belly full of yum and fun, Thomas giggled and played, until he grew tired, at which point he laid on the ground and took a big ol’ cat nap. Surprisingly, he found the sandwich delicious , which convinced Fabrizio to order it as his lunch the very next day.
Directed by Caitlyn David
Edited by Reggennie Toor
Written by Thomas Torres, Fabrizio Ramirez, Nick Lograsso, Ahmad Dixon, and Peter Swan