Stories of Rock ’N Roll: Groupies

The 1960’s and 1970’s were probably the biggest eras in rock and roll history. Rock and roll was the most popular music in the world, and its movement is still the biggest form of counterculture and rebellion to this day. With the wild and flashy lifestyle of rockstars, groupies followed closely behind.

During this era, these groupies put the “sex” in sex, drugs and rock and roll. Even though society saw them as girls who just slept with the band, the media popularized their identity. “Rolling Stone” magazine had an issue titled “Groupies and Other Girls.” There were even educational and eye-opening documentaries made. For example, the film “Let’s Spend the Night Together” focuses on the role of groupies from the songwriting perspective. Band members didn’t dehumanize them as objects but rather as muses for their work. Songs like “Plaster Caster” by Kiss or “Going to California” by Led Zeppelin wouldn’t have existed without groupies.

Some mannerisms that we love from our favorite rockstars stem from these girls that hung around them all the time. Places like the Hyatt house on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles, the Roxy or Whiskey A Go Go were all special spots for rockstars and their groupies. Back when Los Angeles was the center of the rock and roll culture, it was hard to not run into bands members from The Doors or Led Zeppelin and their groupies.

I took interest in rock and roll and the groupie culture after seeing the movie “Almost Famous.” When I watched “Let’s Spend the Night Together” I learned that these girls didn’t feel like they were being taken advantage of in any way (even though some of their stories were very suspicious). Therefore, the word “groupie” shouldn’t have the negative connotation it holds today. A groupie is simply another member of the band.

Featured image from: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/nov/15/groupies-revisited-baron-wolman-rolling-stone-pamela-des-barres

Cozy Up With these Reads

The season of lattes, knit sweaters, looming finals anxiety and ceaseless tater tot cravings has fallen upon us! Brace for impact as Ugg boots are pulled from the depths of suburban closets, the pervading scent of pumpkin spice invades homes everywhere and Michael Bublé plays on repeat in a fiery loop. As the cloudy skies and early nightfalls basically beg us to stay inside all day and relish in the ancient practice of procrastination, we rely on Netflix, comfort food, cozy blankets and books for sustenance.

Most of you may not consider reading books as a part of the perfect fall equation, but those of you who do, this post is for you. The following list of books is meant to make you feel like you are the epitome of fall aesthetic goals, reading a book whilst drinking English Breakfast No.1 with the sight of crunchy, orange tree leaves right outside the windowsill. Basically, reading these books makes me feel fuzzy and cozy, so I am sharing them with you in the hopes that they have the same effect this fall season. 

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

For a classic love story that weaves in loss, hope, dreams and everything in between, read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” It may be as basic as a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, but that’s part of its charm. Beautifully written and not cheesy at all, “The Great Gatsby” will either make you really nostalgic for your own past or cathartically release your cynicism of the future.

Anything “Harry Potter” by J.K Rowling

It’s always a good time to read or re-read anything from the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling. However, reading any or all of the books by this wondrous author during the fall is sure to put you in the best crunchy leaves and cozy blankets mood.  I prefer to go for the first books in the series to get the full nostalgia effect, but anything is fair fall game here!

“A Separate Peace” by John Knowles

What’s better to read than a book about friendship and loss at a time when you just want a good cry? This book by John Knowles is beautiful in its depiction of the realistic, perfectly imperfect friendship between main characters Gene and Finny. Although it may be a little on the sadder side, this book will have you sniffling while dreaming of its New Hampshire setting and yearning for pumpkin pie to fill that newly punctured hole in your heart.

“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn

Mystery lovers who want a book they will not be able to put down, “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn is for you. This is a read that is so intense and mind-bending that it will have you quarantined with tea and blankets all day. If you have already seen the movie, try to forget it, because the book is so much better!

“The Shining” by Stephen King

For those of you not down for the romance and sniffles, there is always Stephen King, whose work in “The Shining” will have you reaching for the cozy blanket – this time to cover your entire body and hide from the fear. Not exactly a cozy read, but definitely one to get the chilly, fall feels that make you want some greasy comfort food and happy people to keep you company.

This is My Last Rave

“EDC Las Vegas 2016 will be my last rave.”

I remember saying that, only to keep on going to rave after rave and eventually saying the same thing at EDC Las Vegas 2017.

When I was 17 years old, I came across Electronic Dance Music on YouTube. “Armin van Buuren live at Ultra Miami 2014,” was the first live set that I watched. Ever since then, Armin became my favorite DJ and got me hooked on EDM. I eventually started to watch more videos of other DJs’ live sets and became pretty familiar with the big names such as Hardwell, Martin Garrix, Tiesto, Axwell /\ Ingrosso (two-thirds of Swedish House Mafia), Yellow Claw, etc… The genre grew on me and that’s all I listened to.

At the time, I was still in high school and not many people liked EDM; I felt like an outcast and didn’t really talk about EDM with anyone. I remember only talking to a couple of people that I knew who were also into EDM at the time. They would bring up “EDC” into the conversations and I was confused as to what “EDC” was.

I did my research, only to be amazed to find out what the Electric Daisy Festival was: the biggest rave in the United States filled with multiple stages and with production like no other. I had to go. But, there was no way I could go in 2014 due to the festival being 18+. Then, December 2014 came and I finally turned 18. I attended my first rave, which happened to be a New Year’s Eve rave here in San Diego.

I got hooked straight away. The thumping bass lines, the multiple lights flashing, lasers, LED screens and confetti popping out after the bass drop made for an unforgettable atmosphere that I enjoyed, along with thousands of other people who shared the same interest.

I wanted to go to more raves, but had no one else to go with since everyone I knew at the time was under 18. And, due to this, it was a quiet 2015 until September, when one of my friends turned 18. From then on, I attended other events such as Nocturnal Wonderland, Escape: Psycho Circus, Countdown NYE as well as smaller events and some Artist/DJ shows. I had no urge to stop and literally had at least one rave planned out for each month. June 2016 came and that’s when I had the opportunity to attend EDC Las Vegas 2016.

Even though all my friends flaked on going to EDC, I decided that they weren’t going to stop me and I went alone. Even today, this is a decision I will never regret in my life.

Experiencing a festival of such magnitude alone makes you appreciate everything that life has to offer. How people set aside differences and hate in the interest of unity, brought on by music that has no language barriers. I connected with a lot of people and also grew as a person on my single EDC trip. It made me realize that we shouldn’t let anyone stop us from doing what we want with our lives. At the time, I again said that it would be my last rave. But yet again I couldn’t resist.

Nocturnal Wonderland, Escape, Countdown NYE, other, EDC. Nocturnal Wonderland, Escape, Countdown NYE, other, EDC. This is the schedule that I have been repeating ever since 2015. Of course, every single time I attend these events, it’s a unique experience where I meet some new people and see some people that I met previously. I mostly attend these events alone now. I don’t bother asking people if they want to join me because, honestly, I prefer it this way. It gets me to talk more to people around me and let’s me enjoy the experience without having to constantly worry about somebody else.

Now, here I am in 2017, fresh out of Escape, writing about the 20+ raves that I have attended and will continue to attend (because I already have tickets for raves in the upcoming months). I’ll admit it, it’s getting harder and harder doing the same thing. Not because it’s getting repetitive, but because my body is starting to hurt after these events. Maybe EDC Las Vegas 2018 will finally be my last rave? I guess I won’t find out until then.

How to Not Make a Film

Just a couple weeks ago I saw a sign that read, “Can you make a five-minute film in a week?” It was an advertisement for a nationwide competition called Campus Movie Fest that gives college students full creative control to make their movie dreams come true, with free equipment! And, oh, did I make a film. Whether it was a good one or not is totally subjective. But, if you don’t like it you’re wrong.

For almost as long as I have known her, like (two-ish years) my friend and I have been brainstorming the greatest movie our little college educated minds could conceive. Not to give anything away, because it is still in the works, but noodles, Harry Styles, Angelina Jolie and the zombie apocalypse are all involved. This obviously could not all happen in a week, so we had to start somewhere else.

There were, however, a few hitches along the way.

The main problem was probably with the way we think about stories and ended up shooting our movie. What I mean is, there is no real story line. It’s just filled with all jokes, things we think are funny, and no planning. We centered our movie around one single joke. A whole three-minute video with hundreds of dollar’s worth of equipment for a single line. And, while we obviously thought it was hilarious, it just did not make sense to others not in on the joke.

Another problem we encountered was one we had anticipated: finding people to star in our film. Originally, there were five characters. Unfortunately, we had to cut that down to four, and half of those characters were played by my friend and I; both of us are directors, writers and masterminds, but we are most certainly not actors. With these setbacks, we ended up short on time, and were forced to film until 3 a.m.

Then came the editing. Now I’m not sure about you, but I have never used a video editing program in my entire life. Everything we learned about the software came from a single twelve-minute video. In the end, our film ended up super choppy and without any background music. The music thing was more of an artistic choice, but ultimately, a bad editing decision on our part.

If you ever get the chance to shoot your own film, I think you should take it. Our film may not have been an award winner, but that is not going to stop me from being proud, and embarrassed, and forcing all my friends to watch every second of it. Check out this beautiful train wreck here!

Featured Image: Retrieved from here.