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

90’s Fashion Trends That Are Cool Again

Though 90’s kids are inarguably the best, fashion in that time period was questionable. Crop tops, bermuda shorts, shell necklaces, and platform flip-flops (yes, all in one outfit) were some of the things I remember wearing as a child (thanks, mom).  Here are five 90’s fashion faux pas that have made a comeback, and for your convenience, I have included links if for some reason you feel like buying something on the list. You’re welcome.

1. Jelly Sandals

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I was a huge fan of jellies growing up because they were awesome and cheap enough to convince my parents to buy me one in every color. The original company started to sell them again after the resurrection for about $35, whereas American Apparel charges about $45, which isn’t surprising. In the 90’s, jellies were worn without socks if you wore them to school and with socks to make them fancy enough to wear to church or something. Now, jellies are paired with opaque nylon tights for the most hipster effect. The higher the heel, the cooler you are, apparently.

2. Bucket Hats

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Yes, bucket hats were worn by my favorite boy band members, but this trend faded out for a reason. I blame Justin Bieber for bringing this one back. I’ve seen mostly men wearing bucket hats with a large variety of outfits. Paired with a fancy outfit or not, these hats look ridiculous. In my opinion, bucket hats should only be worn by pale babies or adorable grandpas who are trying to avoid a sunburn.

3. Tattoo Choker Necklaces

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What used to cost a quarter at one of those little bubble gum-looking machines is now being sold for $5.50 at Claires, with the description, “Get an edgy retro look with this double tattoo choker necklace.” Retro? Really? That doesn’t make me feel a million years old at all.

4. Crop Tops

On Location for the video "Sometimes"

Clearly crop tops have been popular for a while, but the 90’s style crop tops have been making a comeback. A 90’s style crop top features a high neckline (maybe even a turtleneck), but leaves the midriff visible. It is more “modest” than other crop tops, and is usually paired with high waisted jeans and a flannel for an ultra-grunge look.

5. Birkenstocks

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Birkenstocks were introduced to the US in the 1960’s but according to 90’s 411, they gained the most popularity the company would ever get during the years of 1992 and 1994. I’ve been seeing mostly women wearing Birkenstocks, usually paired with floral dresses or a simple jeans and t-shirt type of outfit. Either way, I’m just going to say it: these are seriously the ugliest sandals I’ve ever seen. I am greatly confused as to why this company has survived since 1774. But hey, maybe they’re comfortable.

Country goes pop?

I’ve always been a big fan of collaborations in music, especially if it involved several artists that I loved. Even if I favored an artist over the other, collabs always just seemed to work– Eminem and Rihanna, B.o.B. and Hayley Williams, Lana Del Rey and A$AP Rocky, and the latest, most successful collaboration: Jessie J, Nicki Minaj, and Ariana Grande. All of these artists accommodated their different styles and worked together to create music that ended up being more than just a duet, which attributed to the success of their work.

A seemingly popular collaboration series when I was younger (circa 2001) was the Punk goes… albums, which centered around punk bands covering music from the genres of pop, classic rock, “crunk”, and acoustic music. All types of bands from the All American Rejects to Rise Against agreed to do their own rendition of songs that seemed out of their realm (aka choosing to cover Bieber). These albums hooked me even more because of the drastic differences between the bands and the artists they were covering.

What has caught my attention lately is the genre of Country music. I’ve noticed that many of the singles released by the most popular Country artists have more undertones of a pop influence rather than just the plain ol’ country-bluegrass feel. Country music now is noticeably less “twangy” than the music of Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, and Trisha Yearwood that I heard growing up.

The biggest example of this Country-Pop crossover is, of course, Taylor Swift. Her first album with the most notable pop influence was her last album, Red. I wasn’t the biggest fan of that album (among other reasons), but even the most die-hard Swifties I knew didn’t consider Red their favorite album either. On the release of her newest album, 1989, where she officially declared her transition from country to pop, I was hearing the same thing among my friends: they felt that she was “selling out,” as many artists end up doing for profit reasons. But is it really selling out, or is it more of a convergence between the two genres?

This is evident in last night’s broadcast of the annual Country Music Awards. Normally there’s nothing too exciting or different, but this year, the headliners definitely were something new: the CMA team announced that Ariana Grande and Megan Trainor would be joining Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town for special performances.

…what.

Well, that happened! It was an interesting collaboration to say the least. I wonder what country veterans like Dolly Parton or Tim McGraw think of this prominent pop influence on current Country music. I honestly can’t figure out why this is happening (and also why Ariana Grande is everywhere) or for what reasons. Not that I’m against pop music, but I would like to be able to a classic Country song rather than the stuff I already hear every day. And to also be able to tune to another station to get a break from Ariana Grande would be nice! I mean kudos to her and her success, but she’s been popping out singles one after the other as if she’s a Duggar (19 Kids and Counting reference just in case nobody got that).

Watch Little Big Town and Ariana Grande perform her pop hit at the Country Music Awards below!

http://youtu.be/NhLy2Qe62Tk