Choker at the House of Blues

On October 28th, 2019, up and coming artist, Choker graced the stage at the House of Blues San Diego to deliver an intimate and beautiful performance. His mix of R&B, Indie, and Rap created a mix of emotions and ultimately left his crowd wanting more.

After hearing about Choker from one of my close friends we decided to go see him live at the House of Blues. Fast forward to Monday night, we made it to the House of Blues and waited in line to enter the Voodoo Room. I had never been to the House of Blues before, so it was interesting to have the Voodoo Room as my first experience. It was a very intimate room composed of paintings that, I am assuming, have something to do with voodoo culture. I noticed that Choker pulls a variety of fans, individuals mainly interested in R&B and Rap and a few Indie fans.

To my surprise, the opener for Choker was bLAck pARty. He is also an up and coming artist, that fuses R&B, electronic sounds, and Rap. He started off with “No Complaints” which created a mellow vibe where you could find yourself swaying. Next, he performed “Bloom” which picked up the energy and got the crowd moving and grooving. Throughout his performance, he mentioned how grateful he was to be on stage. Something I admired about bLAck pARty was his passion for each song. His passion was noticeable and made the crowd appreciate every word that was sung to them. After his performance, he hung out in the crowd as we waited for Choker.

Around 8:40 PM, Choker arrived on stage and immediately started his set with “Brown Steel” from his debut album, PEAK. After performing “Brown Steel” he shook everyone’s hands that stood in the front of the crowd. He captivated his crowd and manifested for all of his fans to be present at the moment.

Choker continued his set with a few slower songs from his PEAK and Honeybloom album. He decided to pick up the energy with “Suzuki Peaches” and got the crowd jumping with him. Keeping the energy up he delivers two more songs “Gradient” and “Petrol Bliss,” which successfully kept the crowd singing and moving.

After leveling the energy with slower songs like “El Dorado,” “Juno,” and “Lucky” he decided to go into the middle of the crowd to perform “Starfruit NYC.” When the beat dropped everyone started jumping and screaming, “S.D IS AN AIRPORT WITH NO WALLS.” After jumping and getting push around, he returned to the stage to wrap up his performance. As the show neared its end, Choker thanked everyone for coming out and said to meet him at the merchandise table.

We asked Choker if he had any advice to people that want to farther their music career and he said,

“Remember to be passionate and genuine about the music you make, the moment you lose your passion others will notice.”

Choker is as honest and genuine as his music. Check out his music here! If you are going to Camp Flog Gnaw this year he will be performing on Saturday at 3:35pm!

Written by: Jasmine Alexander
Photos by: Jasmine Alexander

21 Questions: Diana Pastora Carson

woman in front of building

Diana is a kindergarten teacher and one of two lecturers for General Studies 420: Disability & Society.

“I suppose the question “Tell us about yourself” is overwhelming because there is not enough time to tell you about me which includes all that I am, do, have, love, and have experienced.”

So, tell me about yourself?

“I was made in Spain, born in Maryland, but grew up mostly in San Diego. My father was in the Navy and got permanently stationed here because, at the time, San Diego was the only place that had a school for children with autism. I have many roles: an educator, an author, a public speaker, a disability rights advocate, a mom, a sibling, a daughter, a wife, a friend, a middle-aged woman exploring what it actually means to be ‘herself.’ 

Recently, I have tried not to think so much about how people view me anymore. However, in all honesty, although my awareness of this has greatly evolved over the past few years, I’m not as secure as I want to be. It still does make me feel validated and proud when others think favorably of me. It is a journey toward full self-love. But I’m enjoying this journey and look forward to experiencing freedom from preoccupation with opinions of others. 

I have noticed that people usually think I’m sweet all the time. But in reality, I’m a pain in the ass to my family. I’m really picky about things at home and I’m not always very patient when family members don’t follow my ‘rules’ of cleanliness, order, etc. I do truly enjoy being with people though and learning about their lives. I appreciate people, their journeys, their identities, their struggles, their empowerment, and their victories.” 

Are you family-oriented?

“Yes, very family-oriented. I am especially close to my brother, Joaquin, who experiences significant autism. He is my next-door neighbor and I see him daily. He was institutionalized for a total of 15 years. But my family fought for his return to the community and after a 3-year legal battle, we won, and he is now home. My family’s life revolves around him and his wellness and peace within.”

Who are you listening to right now? 

I listen to Miguel Poveda, Sam Smith, and reggaeton on Pandora. I also listen to lots of podcasts on keto, women’s health, disability, inclusion, and business.

Do you have an idea of where you will be at the end of this year?

“I’ll be enjoying a break between semesters! Also, I’ll probably be excited over the release of a new book I’ve written for educators. It is about how to teach disability awareness from a perspective of dignity and empowerment. I’ll do some gardening in honor of my mother in her memorial garden at my home. I’ll get to sleep in more too.”

What’s on your mind today?

“I’m focusing on how to maximize my health, listening to podcasts on the ketogenic lifestyle. I’m also focusing a lot on how I can shift from teaching elementary school and focus more on a speaking/consulting business after my retirement. In general, I’m mentally planning for a future of health, wellness, and abundance.”

If you could tell your younger self something what would it be?

Don’t believe everything you think. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Enjoy each day. Breathe. Be who you are. Take care of your physical and mental and spiritual health. This life is a journey.

Written by: Jasmine Alexander

Photo by: Jasmine Alexander

21 Questions: Lizzy Havey

Inspired by Humans of New York, this is 21 Questions; a fun way of getting to know the students, faculty, and staff of SDSU. This week is Lizzy Havey.

“My name is Elizabeth Rose Havey. But I usually go by Lizzy. I was named after my grandma, who ironically changed her name to Eleanor because she didn’t like to be called ‘Lizzy’. She is still my favorite person to this day. Oh, and I am from Sacramento, California (916).”

How do you feel about the question, “Tell us about yourself?”

“Unwell. I tend to babble when I hear this question. I think of every interview I ever had and how I have probably changed my answer to best fit the interview scenario. A smart move on my part, but is it noble? Eh, probably not… however, get that money right.”

So, tell me about yourself?

“Ah, just a small-town girl living in a lonely world. No, but I am 22 years old and a fifth-year student at SDSU. I came to SDSU because I really wanted to experience living in both Northern and Southern California. In my free time, I like to read poetry, sweat via biking/cycling, dancing, or a boxing class. If I had more open weekends, I would probably plan more camping trips. I’m passionate about environmental justice, policy, travel, unpopular opinions, satisfying videos on Snapchat, and frozen yogurt. I’m a Pisces if you couldn’t tell.”

“I was once told that I am a ‘charismatic leader’ I appreciated that, so I like to mention it sometimes. At my job as a waitress and in the field of customer service people view me as pleasant, “smiley”, and friendly. But in other settings, people tend to think I am unapproachable. I want people to know that I am approachable, and I do care about others, even from the slightest interaction.”

“I am always happy when I dance. Playing my favorite song over and over makes me happy. Live music whether at a karaoke bar, a restaurant, a music festival, or anywhere in between also makes me really happy. Right now, I am listening to Summer WalkerLana Del Rey’s new albumPrince (all the time),  and Paulo Londra.”

What’s on your mind today?

“Today, I’m thinking about pain, loss, the number of tasks I need to do for my student organization, and I’m thinking of a friend who is struggling right now as well as personal boundaries. Aside from those thoughts, my day is good. My day is very good actually. I am winding down after a day of work and 2 canceled classes. I feel surrounded by friends and I am really looking forward to going to my internship tomorrow.

If you could tell your younger self something what would it be?

Nothing is ever just black or white. Also, eat the whole row of Oreos and have a second bowl of ice cream if you want it.

21 Questions: Kevin Almazan

man smiling in front of building

Inspired by Humans of New York, this is 21 Questions; a fun way of getting to know the students, faculty, and staff of SDSU.

Tell us about yourself.

“I am at a point in my life where I feel like I can confidently answer a question like ‘tell us about yourself’. I love the current version of myself and it is surreal how much I have grown.

I am a human being who wants nothing more than to bring positivity and hope to this world. Mainly, because we desperately need more love and cohesion in this world. I am someone who is just trying to polish my gifts and share them with the world. These gifts include compassion, determination, empathy, and a calm soul. I want to help at-risk youth, which might include becoming a counselor, therapist, or social worker.

Looking back at what has happened in my life, I have watched myself grow in so many ways. Especially being a freshman in college, I was immature with certain aspects about being an adult. Now I’m happy to say I’m thriving and working toward making my dreams a reality.

I am graduating in May 2020, so I am excited and proud of making it this far. I will be the first in my family to obtain a degree and that is what keeps me going. I am showing my family that I’ve taken advantage of the opportunity my parents laid out for me. I can’t wait to begin working towards my life goals and becoming the person I have envisioned for so long. 

What are you thinking about, right now?

Right now, I am thinking about how much sleep I have to catch up on honestly. On a serious note, I have been thinking about what I’ve accomplished so far in this new school year.

Thinking about things I would change about myself… Well if I could change one thing about myself, I would erase the regret that I had for things that were completely out of my control. The regrets I had cost me a lot of time and energy that I will never get back. Other than that, I would leave everything else the same because I have accepted myself for who I am. As for the world, I would change the lack of understanding and love that we have for one another. If people made an effort to get to know others there wouldn’t be as much hate or destruction. Ignorance has led to hate and that has led to fear which has led to destruction (the endless wars that have ravaged the planet). Just a little empathy and that would make a huge difference.”I

If you could tell your younger self anything what would it be?
“I would tell my younger self to be strong because things do get better. That was something I didn’t believe when I was younger.”

Kevin Almazan, pronouns: He/Him/His