Songs About Donald Trump or My Girlfriend

Saturday, Oct. 21 in Santa Ana, behind the glass display of a local music shop known as Beatnik Bandito Emporium, Ryan Alexander of Civilian begins to set up for an intimate night of heartfelt music. Among the classic vinyl records and dust settling on collectible guitars, most of the crowd decided to sit on the floor of the claustrophobic music shop.

Civilian is the moniker of permanent members Ryan Alexander (lead vocals & guitar) and Dan Diaz (bass & guitar). Their first album was released in 2012, titled “Should This Noose Unloosen.” They gradually started to realize how impactful their sound was and followed up with a few singles before releasing their sophomore effort, “You Wouldn’t Believe What Privilege Costs.”

This was the last show on Alexander’s two month tour run. “If this was my last show, I think I’d be okay with that. I hope it’s not though,” he told the modest crowd. All the songs played were acoustic renditions, but the stripped down nature brought forth something that made it all the more special to hear.

Before playing “Cut & Run” off of his second album, he pointed out that he had just moved to California that very day. Most of his songs’ subject matter deals with the struggle of love and self- loathing.

“Most of my songs either have to do with Donald Trump or my girlfriend,” Ryan told us before diving deeper into his set list.

The song  “Skulls” explains how distracting the presence of someone can be. Intricate picking patterns coupled with light strums to accentuate the emo-rock lyrics finished the night off right.

The Beatnik Bandito vibe reminded me of hometown shows, where it is just friends supporting friends. So, the next time you think life or love has got you down and you need some words of encouragement, or need hard hitting rock music to let your rage out, check out Civilian’s albums.

A Movie For Your Inner Rockstar: Almost Famous

Back in 2000, a movie that captured the “on the road” vibe of an emerging band was released. “Almost Famous” is a movie about a young writer going on the road with an up and coming band, and his experiences on the journey.

This movie is honestly my favorite movie of all time. It is a feel good movie and leaves one longing for that exact experience, or maybe just me. The rock ‘n’ roll scene in the 1970s was what everyone used to want to be in, but only very few actually got it. Even in a world where bands were rock gods and groupies were all over them, nothing else mattered but the music.

The movie follows William Miller, a 15 year-old who wants to be a music writer, and his journey with the band Stillwater after he gets an assignment from Rolling Stone magazine to write about them. Along the way, William experiences everything that was associated with rock ‘n’ roll at that time: sex, drugs and of course music.

It wouldn’t be a movie about ’70s rock n roll if there weren’t groupies. Miss Penny Lane and her group of “Band-Aids” were a huge staple in the movie. Penny Lane even had some of the best lines in the movie, such as “Groupies just sleep with rockstars because they want to be near someone famous. We are here for the music, we inspire the music, we are Band-Aids,” and, “I always tell the girls ‘Never take it seriously’. If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt. If you never get hurt, you always have fun.”

This movie is everything that one could want in a movie. It has great music, amazing fashion and gives me nostalgia for a time that I wasn’t even close to being alive for. All in all, I think everyone would enjoy this movie and I hope you all take the time to watch it. Before I end this, I will leave you with the most iconic line in this movie… “ Don’t Do Drugs!”

Featured Image: Retrieved from here.

Get Involved with the Obama Foundation Summit

On Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, the Obama Foundation will hold the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago and host civil leaders from around the world.  Hundreds of leaders will join together to exchange ideas, talk through creative solutions for common problems, and experience art, technology and music from across the world.  The Summit will have five main stage sessions with discussions, such as encouraging young people to improve their communities through creativity and technology.  The Summit will include other breakout sessions that will discuss culture and art and how they impact the identities of citizens all over the world.  The objective of the breakout sessions is to provide the attendees of the Summit with new skills and to engage them directly in conversations.  Some of the main stage and breakout speakers are:

  • Prince Henry of Wales
  • Matteo Renzi, former Prime Minister of Italy
  • Whitney Kimball Coe, director of the National Rural Assembly
  • Hamdi Ulukaya, humanitarian and founder of Chobani
  • Bahia Shehab, artist
  • Brian Alexander, journalist and author
  • Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Obama Presidential Center architects
  • Eric Liu, CEO of Citizen University
  • Elizabeth Alexander, poet and author
  • Theaster Gates, artist

The closing event of the Obama Foundation Summit will attract thousands of people, and will celebrate the efforts made by civic leaders and civilians to inspire and make positive changes in their communities.  Chance the Rapper is working with the Obama Foundation to plan a closing performance, which will include other musicians, such as Gloria Estefan and The National. Other artists that have yet to be named are also expected to perform.

 “As soon as I heard about the summit, I jumped at the opportunity,” Chance the Rapper says about Barack Obama’s inaugural summit in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.  “There’s a lot of great things going on in Chicago and I love the collaborative effort of being able to be at some of these talks and hear what people have going on and figuring out how I fit in. The fact that the president is jumping ahead of programming before the [Obama Presidential Center] gets built is inspiring.”


For those who cannot attend the Summit in Chicago, there will be a livestream of the event at:


Featured Image: retrieved from here

Hollywood’s Infamous “Casting Couch”

In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s Hollywood scandal, I think it is important to shed light on how common such cases of sexual assault are in this industry. Hollywood, in fact, has a long history with this kind of behavior, which is why the idea of the “casting couch” has long been associated with Hollywood. This dichotomy between young women who are trying to make it in a deeply competitive industry, and powerful, wealthy studio executives and Hollywood elite in general has long plagued show business.

Darryl F. Zannuck, who was a major Hollywood producer and studio head during the ’30s, popularized this concept, as he was notorious for taking young aspiring actresses to his couch. It was reported that he would take women to his office on a consistent basis during his time at Fox Century City. It is reported that Old Hollywood stars Natalie Wood and Joan Crawford, who charmed audiences with their movies and demeanors, had experiences with other producers and the infamous casting couch in order to land movie roles and advance their film careers.

In more recent times, a number of actresses have revealed their experiences with the casting couch and offers that they have received from powerful Hollywood elite. Actresses Megan Fox, Charlize Theron, and Lisa Rinna have described instances in where they were pressured by producers and key players in Hollywood, who tried to lure them into the bedroom. Actress Kate Beckinsale describes how she was only 17 years old when Harvey Weinstein invited her to his room at the Savoy Hotel and met her wearing only a bathrobe, a tactic that is all too familiar to Weinstein’s victims.

Not only are women on the receiving end of the perverse amount of sexual assault that goes in Hollywood, but men are as well. And not only this, but allegations of ongoing pedophilia within the industry on behalf of powerful producers and studio executives are rampant. Thus, it is clear that there is a problem within this industry.

The fact that so many people stayed silent on Harvey Weinstein when what he was doing was well known perpetuates the idea that sexual assault is a normal part of the Hollywood culture. And, this of course does not apply only to Hollywood, as sexual assault is frequent in many other workplaces. For example, Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, both of Fox News, were fired because they sexually assaulted women. Politicians like Bob Filner and Arnold Schwarzenegger assaulted women. And then, there is the infamous Bill Cosby, who would drug and rape his victims.

Thus, there is obviously a problem within workplaces and American society in general. Far too many times, people in positions of power use that to take advantage of their victims and render them silent. The looming threat of victims losing their job, not being believed or being ostracized from certain segments of society all too often keep victims from speaking out against their abusers.

Featured Image: retrieved from here