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Level Up! Prose

Day 87/90: Polling Clerk Clark

While sitting in my 3-hr Poll Worker training today (voting not dancing 😂), I realized I’d never given thought, as to how much goes into the seemingly simple task of casting a vote.
As with the individual candidates campaigns, tons of time, manpower and processes are needed to ensure a successful Election Day —> 11/6/18!! I won’t go into all of the gory details, but I will say that the Poll Workers are kinda like the Umpires of the Election. And I’m stoked to help oversee this year’s series, in Orange County, CA.
#healingthroughcreativity #90daylevelupkee #volunteerin’ #pollworkerwin #generalelection2018 #electionumps #rockthevote#exersiseyourright #becool #geturassinthebooth #votethemout#votethemin #thefutureisnow #getursticker #ivoted

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KEESIO Level Up! Prose

Day 60/90: Field Trips: A Continued Education 

I’m honored to have spent this afternoon at the Palos Verdes Arts Center with an amazing guide and fellow art lover, @gail.phinney. We began with a viewing of the current exhibit: Echiko Ohira’s “Works in Paper.” The pieces are breathtaking and articulate – If you can, go see it!

After a delicious lunch with nibbles of tri-tip tacos and great conversation, we ventured over to the Wayfarers (Glass) Chapel, constricted in 1951 by Lloyd Wright. Surrounded by pines and overlooking the rocky shore, it’s easy to feel the pulsing romance and absorbe the beauty of the property.
Oh, how I love a good field trip and today was one filled with art, history and bliss 🙂 Thank you again for your time, Gail! As I say so often, Time is one of our biggest assets and I’m so grateful to have shared this experience!
#healingthroughcreativity #90daylevelupkee #neverstoplearning#followyourbliss #rideahorse #arthistoryarchitecturerox #grateful#fieldtrippinwin ✨✌️✨

 

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Day 60/90: Field Trips: A Continued Education I’m honored to have spent this afternoon at the Palos Verdes Arts Center with an amazing guide and fellow art lover, @gail.phinney. We began with a viewing of the current exhibit: Echiko Ohira’s “Works in Paper.” The pieces are breathtaking and articulate – If you can, go see it! After a delicious lunch with nibbles of tri-tip tacos and great conversation, we ventured over to the Wayfarers (Glass) Chapel, constricted in 1951 by Lloyd Wright. Surrounded by pines and overlooking the rocky shore, it’s easy to feel the pulsing romance and absorbe the beauty of the property. Oh, how I love a good field trip and today was one filled with art, history and bliss 🙂 Thank you again for your time, Gail! As I say so often, Time is one of our biggest assets and I’m so grateful to have shared this experience! #healingthroughcreativity #90daylevelupkee #neverstoplearning #followyourbliss #rideahorse #arthistoryarchitecturerox #grateful #fieldtrippinwin ✨✌️✨

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Level Up! Prose

Day 53/90: Never Forget – June 1991

I remember riding to the top, racing so we could make it to FAO. I remember the massive cleanliness of concrete and steel – overwhelming to a little girl, but understanding the big deal. I remember the escalators rising, seemingly never ending. I remember the oily glass, kissed by other foreheads. I remember looking for my green friend, that colossal beauty in the harbor. I remember saying, “Look Mimi! Please…can we go up further!” I remember watching the pieces of these memories crumble, on that crisp clear day, only ten years later. I remember the lost, the hero’s and everyone whose lives changed forever. All of your stories help us heal and for that, I am so grateful.

 

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Day 53/90: Never Forget – June 1991 I remember riding to the top, racing so we could make it to FAO. I remember the massive cleanliness of concrete and steel – overwhelming to a little girl, but understanding the big deal. I remember the escalators rising, seemingly never ending. I remember the oily glass, kissed by other foreheads. I remember looking for my green friend, that colossal beauty in the harbor. I remember saying, “Look Mimi! Please…can we go up further!” I remember watching the pieces of these memories crumble, on that crisp clear day, only ten years later. I remember the lost, the hero’s and everyone whose lives changed forever. All of your stories help us heal and for that, I am so grateful. #healingthroughcreativity #90daylevelupkee #neverforget #twintowers #1991 #photohistory #hugyourlovedones #handonheart #heartonsleeve

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Level Up! Prose

Day 8/90 – TSA and tips in breathing

Once upon a time, many lunar eclipses ago – I was traveling to my home office – I thought I had everything – blue hair, headphones and apparently a spaced out attitude.  When I arrived at my destination, I came to the realization that my bag was a just a tad too light.

The panic hit me, “No no no, feck!  Where is my laptop!?” What to do?

First I called LAX – “Please go online to TSA…”  “Waaaaahhhh,” I cried as I pushed end.

Breath.

Luckily – phones are little laptops, so I painstakingly filled out the form on my Iphone 4.

As soon as I completed it, in came the auto reply – “If we have your item, you will be notified – case number: URgr8t”

Next, I called my boss – “Must fess up! Oh my god – of all the things to lose, misplace, forget?!?” (insert violent shaking of head here).

I made the call, breathing deeply and spilling the beans.

“Hahaha – omg, that’s funny! Don’t sweat it, we’ll have one set up once you get here.  BREATH, silly.”

“Okay – thank you thank you – Eekking is breathing right?!”

Bing! Another email from TSA: “We have your item, please call 800-Saved-Ur-Arse”

I dialed the number – “Yes ma’am, we have your laptop.”

“Oh, thank you thank you thank!” I am pretty sure my eyes were sweating, upon hearing this news.

“You can come get it or we can ship it right away.”

They shipped it to my home (at NO COST) and it was there, ready to mock me, when I returned.

“Well, you got a first class ticket, didn’t you, laptop – what an adventure you’ve had!”

Moral of the story: Double check your items before you leave TSA

Second moral – always fess up, because no matter how bad it you think it is, it is probably a 10th of what your mind is telling you

Third moral – If you have to accidentally leave your laptop somewhere – TSA is not a bad place.  This is a case of the “System” working to a T –>SA!

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Blog KEESIO Level Up! Prose

Day 1/90- The glass is half full, until it shatters 

95 days ago I walked into a gas station and forgot to buy a pack of smokes.  That evening I smoked my last three yellow American Spirits. The next morning, I re-read Allen Carrs’ Easy Way To Stop Smoking.  I haven’t touched a cigarette since. But, I didn’t quit – I retired.  

Glass ½ full → *Level-Up!

5 days later, I had my last beer. I had already cut out wine and hard liquor. While reading EasyWay, it dawned on me that I had been justifying my beer consumption the same way I had been speaking about my smoking.  The realization hit me – in order to quit smokes, I had to quit booze. But quitting didn’t work for me, so I retired.

Glass 3/4 full → Level-Up!

55 days ago, I left my corporate job to focus on #LL21c and my writing.  I’ve done some pretty crazy things in my life, pushing boundaries and following my heart. This one though, was one of the biggest leaps of faith and scariest steps I have ever taken. So, I packed up my corporate knowledge tool kit, looked forward, stepped off the ledge and retired.

Glass ½ full → Level-Up!

30 days ago my Mum died.  In the midst of revamping Liberty Enlightening the World – #LL21c, my own maternal guiding light was forever extinguished. This was my 60 day mark with no booze – a day I had meant to celebrate, but The Universe had other plans. She was my biggest fan and hardest critic. I always knew I had her unconditional love, but that day, she retired in her own way.  You never quit being a daughter, but a piece of my heart crumpled, and has gone into a silent, eternal retirement.

Glass Shatters → (I must) Level-up.

3 months ago, I made a commitment to not smoke or booze for 90 days.  Through others kindness, love and inspiration, the craters in my path have been easier to navigate and I am so extremely grateful. I have also learned that, much comfort has come through nurioushing my WrArtisty.  What will happen in the next 90 days in particle is unknown, but I will be creating something new, each day. And the harboring and starving my creativity have now gone into retirement.

New Glass; a bit blue but much thicker → Level-UP!

*Level-Up – soul altering moments which consist of abundance or loss and always growth. You’ve reached the goal (w00t!) and then the Universe decides to submerge you with another set of challenges – making your familiar world look completely different.

#healingthroughcreativity #levelupday1 #celebratelife #bebrave #RIPMJ420

Categories
Prose

The Provincial Guide of Dana Point

Falling in love with a person is much different from falling in love with a place.  Sometimes, it takes others, outside the bubble, to help us appreciate new  and old, surroundings.  It takes others, whom I respectfully call Provincial Guides, to show us the inner magic of their own surroundings.  Provincial Guides are people who may never have left their own homes, like many of my childhood friends, happily living in Vermont, where I grew up.  Or, like my mother who lives in Ireland, they may find their soulful place, on the other side of the world.

When I speak with these Guides, specifically about their true homes, I realize they have found space in the world, their own Liberty Lane.  They have a twinkle in their eye and think there is no better place in the world, than their home area.  After moving in with my Forever Partner Darren, from Los Angeles, to Orange County, I was experiencing a bit of culture shock.  To assist in the transition, we we’re lucky enough to have such a Guide.

Living in a beautiful loft-style home atop a ridge which lends itself to sprawling views of the Pacific only 10 miles away, I found myself feeling out of place and homesick for Los Angeles. Within our happy house, Darren would spin records, while our pups sniffed the ocean air and I blissfully danced to Against Me! while splashing wine.

But every time I stepped outside, with my rainbow-colored hair and punk attire, I found myself  feeling a bit insecure, surrounded by cold suburbia. After a year of feeling this anxiety,  the attitude was altered, with the help of Darren’s old co-worker Chris, by his opening of the door, and becoming our Provincial Guide of Dana Point.

We were overlooking Laguna Beach, which was gently twinkling to life, as the last remnants of the sun slipped into the Pacific. Taking the sun’s queue, I slid into the pool, whose surface was a perfect reflection of the rainbow splashed sky.  The chlorinated water was the same temperature as the evening air. I recall doing a few laps to warm up and then rested at the edge, to sip in the spectacular and peaceful view.  We were celebrating Darren’s birthday, and had kindly been invited By Chris, into his 1960’s condo. We were perched atop a massive bluff, know as Dana Point, which has always reminded me of the Cliffs of Mohr on the western shores of Ireland (Mohr on that another time!)

That evening, Chris told us about the surfing in Salt Creek, which I thought was a trendy restaurant, but actually a beach cove below, which we passed on the winding way up to his condo.  Recounting a time when he was a lifeguard, our guide painted a fond memory of when a visiting surfer pulled a knife on a younger local, because the punk was cramping his waves. The cavalry was called in, (because apparently surfers are very territorial) and when the knife puller came to shore, he was faced with an angry gaggle of locals, ready to violently remove the tourist. As I shivered in the cooling sea-wind, and munched on a grilled sausage, supplied by our host, I realize there is much to be learned about this small coastal town.

After this story, it dawned on me that Chris did not see what I saw; which was a massive landmark, peppered with mansions, overlooking a yacht-filled marina, in the middle of the southern California coast. As I listened, it became apparent that he saw way beyond the material wealth which I had been close minded on.  He saw history, waves and magic. Seizing my opportunity, I remembered reading an article about an elusive waterfall in the area and I ask the guys about it. “Yeah, I know where that is.  I can show you!”  Bingo! We’ve found the Provincial Guide.

As the inky sky turns golden from the lights of the California coast, we wrap up our celebration. Sipping the last of our gin and tonics, and breaking the ice between our teeth, Chris and I agreed to meet later in the week to show me the waterfall. “I’ll take you all around!”  He had peaked my curiosity and I was excited to explore the offerings of Dana Point and thus report my findings back to Darren, the pups and You!

We met up again at Chris’ condo, a few days later.  A resident of Dana Point since 1991, he got out of his blue E-Golf, in a manner not rushed, but of trained patience, like waiting for the next big set of waves. A natural blonde from decades of sun and salt, which also shaped his kind smile-line face.

Guided by the cool ocean breeze, afternoon sun and a few circling hawks, we headed to the Dana Point Interpretive Center, located on the south side of Dana Point.  We pulled into the parking lot of the Center, which overlooked a gated community of a few multi-million dollar homes, only a stone’s throw away.

Upon entering the tiny Center, there were small exhibits lining the interior, depicting wild and sea life.  There was also a large, colorful mural on the back wall, which depicted men, who were known as Droughers, (dudes who threw cow hides) down the famous bluffs, to sailors on shore, and a large ship, awaiting its supplies.  Approaching the help desk, I pointed up to the looming painting. Before saying anything, a friendly woman leaped to life, but seemed reluctant to share information. She stating, “Oh, I can’t really, help – I’m just a docent.” She then ushered me to the small Park Ranger’s office, next to the immortalized snapshot of the Droughers. As the Park Rangers awakened from their desks, I called back to her, “Docents are people too!”

Laughing, an older Ranger quickly approached and did his best to answer my questions about the history of Dana Point.  Before exiting, he eagerly recommends a book; which he assures will answer my questions –  Home Point for Romance, by Doris I Walker.

I found Chris, on the balcony, patiently peering out at the mansions, obstructing any view of the Pacific. Back in the car, with the wave of a magician, Chris casually hands me Doris’ book.  As I excitedly thumb through the yearbook style pages, he tells me the author’s own story.  “Doris was a bit of a hoarder and the unofficial local historian,” he states quietly.  “Unfortunately, she and her husband perished during a fire in their home, not long ago. They were in their late 70s.” He then put the car in gear down the steep hill overlooking the harbor.  After a moment of respectful silence, he pointed south, towards our next stop.

We pulled up to the area known as Blufftop and walked up to a massive stone with a bronze historical marker, telling any onlooker that this rock is dedicated to the city’s namesake, Richard Dana. The plaque states that Dana was here in 1835 and the author of Two Years Before The Mast.  At our last stop in the Interpretive Center, the ranger told me a little about Dana.  “He was an affluent Harvard law student, but due to some kind of eye issue, he couldn’t read the books.  So, he went on a two-year expedition as a true seaman which was unheard of for someone of his stature.  He depicted Dana Point so romantically, that it brought attention to the area, hence the namesake.” I asked Chris about this information; he pointedly looked towards the blue reference in my hand. After a quickly fact checking with Doris, her book provided one change to the Rangers story; Dana had had a bout with Measles, which ultimately lead him to the sea (81).

Past Dana’s honorary rock, in the distance, we could see the breakwater. This jagged line of boulders was added to the harbor, in 1968. It now serves as a protector from the tumbling ocean, for the many sailboats and yachts anchored there.

Chris pointed to end of the rocks, connected and overshadowed by the massive ledge of the Point. “I rescued a man and his son, from there once.  I was with my kids, who were young, and I saw a huge wave coming in. It knocked the guy over and cracked his head on the rocks.  I grabbed him and he was bleeding. While I was holding his head, I could see my daughter, but not my son.” Chris told me that he yelled for his son, as another large wave broke apart on the rocks. “He yelled back; ‘I’m here Dad!’ and he popped his head up, just like a crab.” Chris then humorously mimicked his son, with a relieved crab-like smile.  Asking the fate of the man, he told me that; after being e-vac’d by helicopter, he did survive.  A few months later, the County of Orange called him and, thinking he was in trouble, was relieved to find out that he was being awarded  him for his bravery.  “I have the thing, I’ll send it to you!” And with a humble laugh, he attempts to show me an invisible piece of paper.  Later, he emails me a picture of “the thing.” It is an intricately designed, gold-plated certificate which recounts the actions of that day and confirms that Chris, is a Good Samaritan, local hero, and definitely, per my own research a Provincial Guide.

Still overlooking the Marina, with the breakwater in the distance, he moved his arm slightly closer inland, and pointed, “That building down there is the Orange County Marine Institute, where Marine Biologists study. Stephen Hillenburg worked there….” Chris stopped to see my reaction, which was one of engaged listening, but lacked full comprehension.  After a suspenseful beat, he gleefully stated; “Hillenburg created Sponge Bob Square Pants!”  We both giggle with fanatic appreciation.

Moving on, we ended up a dash south, atop another bluff.  There was a walkway, with an inviting bridge, overlooked by blue and white clapboard condos, stacked upon each other like building blocks.  “Well,” Chris pointed to his left, from the middle of the bridge, “This is the famous Dana Point Waterfall.” Sensing a touch of irony, I peeked over the edge.  My imagination had definitely overshadowed reality.  Instead of a stream or even a trickle of water, there was only overgrown vegetation and rainbow bits of garbage.  Having seen my flicker of disappointment, Chris ushered me away, taking me to The Ruins.

The Ruins, as they are known by locals, were just on the other side of the bridge, and were large concrete arches. These arches had the potential to be the face of a massive luxury hotel from the 1920’s but fell victim to the Great Depression and were left behind, like an unfinished thought. As Chris began to climb up the steps to our next stop, he turned around, “Wouldn’t that make a pretty picture?” After passing under The Ruins, we saw the mystical Dana Point, jetting out into the sparkling Pacific, perfectly framed through the pointed and ivy swirled arches – yeah, I took a picture.

At the top of the stairs was a bronze statue, which transported me back to the large mural in the Interpretive Center, our first stop. This was the actual spot, where the dudes known as “Hide Droughers,” threw the cow-hides off the bluff, to the ships below.

Today, the water has been pushed out about half a mile and below us was now a sea of grass.  The massive statue had a shirtless, upper torso, who’s toned physique was glowing in the afternoon sun.  He was frozen in mid-hurl, tossing an enormous cow-hide, forever caught vertically, in the wind.  As I fondly admired the statue, who reminded me of a shirtless Darren, Chris excuses himself to take a call.  The wind shares Chris’s conversation with me. It is his 20-year-old son, visiting from Venice Beach.  “Ok! Yeah, I’ll put in the order in a few minutes – steak burrito and fish tacos? What does your sister want?  Ok – yup, I’ll be home a bit later.  Ok, love you – bye!”  It sounded to me like the perfect SoCal family dinner.

Heading down a windy road, we drove into the Harbor, to get a closer look at the swaying sticky ships and families splashing around in the gentle turquoise saline.  As we passed the state beach parking lot, Chris stated, “Oh wait, that’s my friend. I have to talk to him.” We quickly flip around and pull in, next to a huge, freshly waxed truck, the type that is better suited on ranch lands but are staples in many California beach communities.

“Hey! Did you do the Power Race?!” Chris demanded from the driver of the truck –  a man with the polished look of an executive surfer. With a lazy smile, the gentlemen responded with a snicker, “I did the Power Nap…” “Pussy!” Chris jeeringly whispered. We all laughed, and he introduced me, “Hey! I’m being interviewed!”  His friend gave us a flash of his big pearlies and waved as we spun away.

On the way back up the hill, I asked Chris how he ended up here.  He told me that after growing up in New Jersey, he traveled to Australia and Hawaii, but after one visit to Dana Point, he knew it was “the place for me.”  And after spending a few hours with him, I understood completely. The magic I witnessed as a glimmer the evening of Darren’s birthday, was amplified by Chris’ stories and enchanting provincial knowledge.

Wrapping up our tour, Chris drove us back up to our starting point. With the cooling afternoon rays of sun on my face, I realize I now can feel the magic of Dana Point, as well.  Dana Point and the surrounding area is not just a pretty place to live, with expensive plantation shutters drawn and judgmental eyes piercing through, but a space that is inviting and if you allow yourself to open your heart, it will welcome you with open arms.

Since the tour with Chris, my Provincial Guide of Dana Point, I have a whole new, colorful view of my ‘hood. I now look up when visiting the harbor and excitedly point out to my friends and Darren (each time!), the nuggets of history, looking down on us.  When coming home, I now get out of my car, and proudly look to those once spooky windows and smile up at the 20-pound cat, happily perched upon her sill, keeping an eye out for us all.

 

Works Cited

Walker, Doris. Dana Point Harbor/capistrano Bay: Home Port for Romance. Dana Point, Calif. (Drawer 546, Dana Point 92629: To-the-Point Press, 1995. Print.

Dana, Richard H. E. N. R. Y. Two Years Before the Mast. S.l.: VALUE CLASSIC REPRINTS, 2016. Print.

 

Categories
Prose

Fun with Metaphors (contains strong language)

Some of these metaphors, I have heard all of my life; others were just born. Some we have all heard before and one is very much saturated in our current vernacular. When I really thought about these, in a literal sense, things got interesting quite quickly:

· Nose to the grindstone – OUCH! If your job was to have your nose literally on a grindstone…what a mess it would make! Ick., Lets all just work hard and keep focusing

1. He wears is heart on a sleeve – Another gross one – and how unsanitary and sensitive…oh, so sensitive.

2. “At the end of the day, its all just peas and carrots…” – Oh dear, imagine it raining down these veggies, every evening? Perhaps, they just mean at the end of the situation, everything will be just mushy and sweet.

3. To add a little color to the situation, let me explain… – Adding color to any situation is usually a good idea, however, please explain how to color in a vocal conversation? Let’s just stick to the facts, Ma’am

4. Cold as a witches tit – If witches were real and we had evidence that all of their breasts are bitterly cold, I would let this one go

5. Windy as a motherfucker – Mother fuckers are people too and therefore cannot be windy

6. It’s a windy bitch – Female dogs cannot be windy either

7. He was soft and cuddly like an armadillo – Have you ever held an armadillo? Me neither!

8. Her voice was dripping with icicles – Voices cannot freeze nor form icicles – however icicles will make you shudder, much like her voice

9. She like, literally floated over to him – No, I like, literally do not believe she did

Categories
Prose

My Aggressive Thoughts on the Importance of Positive Self-Identity

Our journey through life is often based upon the individual.  We are all unique in one way or another, even identical twins.  There are several ways to express self-identity, which according to the Oxford Dictionary (OED Online) is “the perception of recognition of one’s characteristics as a particular individual, especially in relation to social contact.”  What this definition is lacking, is that a person who can authentically recognize himself or herself, also has the responsibility to do so positively, for the whole of society is also watching.  The individual shines its brightest, when that person easily expresses attitude, visual, and faith of themselves and shares the positivity with others.

Self-assurance is an important portion of self-identity.  When the individual has a reassured attitude toward himself or herself, the social view is often a positive one.  When someone walks into a room of strangers, with their head held high and a smile on their face, it is easy for an onlooker to realize this person carries a high regard of himself or herself.  If the individual cannot show this level of confidence, it is much harder to look inward toward the self.  A simple smile in every mirror will help build that attitude and is reflected when in a social setting.  When we share that positive energy with a room full of strangers, everyone benefits greatly and often subconsciously.

Through tangible items, such as clothing and home decoration, the individual has great power in self-expression.  From a social point of view, we often can categorize the self, through a person’s hairstyle or the type of car they drive.  All of these visual aspects show confidence within a person, as well their own unique styles.  Whether it is the shoes they wear or the food they eat, all tangible pieces combined, help define the sole person.  In addition, through these styles, inspiration seeps into others.  A fussy eater may not try a new food, unless the confident friend suggests they just try one bite.  After the bite has been consumed, the picky eater now realizes they have a taste for sushi after all.

The social machine is often tied to faith in a higher power; however, faith in one-self is just as important for a person to recognize self-identity. For the ability to see the smile in the mirror, the individual must feel that smile, through the faith they have within themselves.  For that person to be able to walk in to a room of strangers, head held high, he or she must first have full confidence to take that first step of opening the door.  The certitude is not only crucial, but can be delightfully contagious as well.  Conviction, loyalty, and assurances of oneself can sometimes come off as arrogance; however, this can easily be adjusted with an authentic smile and love for oneself.

Slices of confidence, style, and self-love are all components that will help individual not only understand who they are, but can help others as well.  By combining these powers, he or she then has the ability to shine brightly in society, and help inspire others who may be struggling with their own self-identity.  We as individuals are very much entwined with society and it is important that through self-expression, there is a focus on positivity, for the view of ourselves will resonate with others, even if we do not personally see the rippled effects.

Works Cited

“Self-identity, n.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2016. Web. 12 February 2017.

 

 

Categories
Prose

SEx on the Sunset Strip

LA: the final frontier. These are the experiences of a Punk Rock Princess. Her current mission: to explore strange new bands, to seek out new venues and new civilizations, to boldly go….?   LA: perhaps the final frontier.  My current mission: most definitely to seek out new bands, venues and civilizations (this is hollyweird after all)…

This past Saturday night, I had the opportunity to boldly go….to the Key Club .  Armed with my black boots and an Away Team, I headed  to the Strip (umm, the Sunset Strip, not “the other one“;).  My mission: to see a friends band; Soul Exchange (i.e. SEx – not the bands favorite abbreviation, but still fun for blogging purposes).  Upon landing, we were thoroughly debriefed and found out that the club was overbooked  and attempting to slide SEx’s time slot (a classic Sunset Strip Douche Bag move…yup, welcome to Hollywood).  This normally wouldn’t really upset the masses, but in this instance, another more widely known band (no need to mention names here) was going to be playing the Main Stage at the same time of SEx’s new time slot.  If SEx ended up playing this new time slot, the un-named Main Stage band might have taken away potential fans, which would have quite simply sucked.  Logistics, complicated I know, but this is the final frontier after all.

After some wheeling and dealing conducted by SEx’s lead singer, Jim Schueller, we were handed our “actual” printed, will call tickets (gotta love a keep sake), and cheered over still having the pivotal/original time slot.  The Away Team and myself then shuffled off through the cattle style gates, ran through the gauntlet of inappropriate touching (also know as security) and finally entered the club.  Faced with two bars on either side, the main stage and a secret passage-like staircase to our rights, we all agreed…it was time for a refreshment.

Once armed with an IPA and the Away Team with their mimosas (gotta fecking love them), we were ready to head downstairs, to the Plush Lounge, where our heros were minutes from taking the stage.  However, before my descent, I was gravely informed of the situation happening below.  The lad, a solo musician (bless him) was playing with a electric guitar and a lot of heart.  I won’t spend a lot of time depicting his performance…mostly because I don’t remember much about it.  This may have been due to 1) the fact it sounded as if he really should have been playing with an acoustic and 2) that I was chumming it up with the other bold explorers of the evening.

Okay, enough of the Star Trek references, lets get down to brass tax.  The first thing we all ask when talking about a band is, what are they like?  Well, quite simply put, these guys are ROCK.  Not Emo Rock, not Hard Rock, not Wussy Rock…just, good, old fashion ROCK. They play the type of music that makes me nostalgic for the days when smoking was allowed inside. Where you would see the band through that blue haze and immediately relate to the hard driven (and sometimes heart breaking) lyrics, nodding your head to the beat and swaying through the fog along with awesome guitar riffs.

Backing up the for-mentioned (and extremely energetic, crowed inspiring) Jim Schueller, was Uzi Zaray, (rocking the guitar solos), Tyler Schaeffer (hammering Animal style on the drums) and Alon Hamami (keeping his face and the bass smiling throughout the entire set). Minus the lack of the smoke, their 40ish minutes in the spotlight were everything I expected from this self proclaimed rock bank.  To add a cherry on top, these Heros Of The Night even snuck in a Lady Annabellum song, which didn’t make my ears bleed!!  We’ll touch on my disdain for contemporary country music [gag] another time, but I really did enjoy SEx’s cover.

In my humble (actually, go ahead and insert “awesome” here) opinion, there’s really nothing like seeing a live band, especially in a small, intimate venue with a solid crowd of adoring fans; which SEx achieved, not just by getting to first base, but scoring the home run.

So here’s the bottom line,  I’m just a music addict/story writer/serial run-on sentence creator, and by no means an expert on reviewing shows (you know, all that technical crap that Rolling Stone drones on and on and on about). BUT if you’ve gotten this far, your interest is obviously piqued.  And since this is obviously the case, the first thing you need to do is get your overly aerobicized arse over to Facebook and check out the Soul Exchange page.  Give them a listen and if you like what you hear (and I’ll bet you an IPA that you do), “Like” the page and, if your an LAngel, support your local artists and check out their next show!

Long live Soul Exchange, Star Trek, Freedom Of Speech and the Creative Realm.

\m/Kee\m/

Categories
Prose

Life in the pit

There’s precious little that I love more than live music. Oddly enough, I’m really not into crowds. When walking through the busy streets of Hollywood, its all my comrades can do to keep up with me. I walk fast, weaving in and out of the tourists, freaks and working broads. If I get stuck behind a shell shocked family from the mid-west, its pretty hard to restrain from elbowing through them. I usually choose to battle traffic and the demonic cyclists off the sidewalk, in order to save the family from getting bruised.

In the pit, its no holds bard. The freedom to kick, elbow and even pull the occasional straw colored hair, (not that I ever have…) is all there. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a brute, nor do I condone violence, but while in the pit, that primal beast we keep hidden in the depths of our souls, is allowed to be released and is even socially acceptable for a couple of hours. When entering the massive live membrane, you should damn well know what you’re getting into. If you cant handle the heat, you’re more than allowed to get out of the kitchen – and we die-hards recommend you do.

The first “show” I ever attended was punk/ska themed in Burlington, Vermont. Having grown up in a “fairly sheltered bubble” (or so I thought at the time), at the age of 14, I craved little more than to let loose and experience some danger. A group of us entered Club Toast, not really knowing what to expect, though we were certainly dressed the part. I don’t remember every detail of my ensemble, but I do recall long henna-hued hair, some sort of plaid, boots and a pair of huge hoop earrings that I had procured at a Claire’s earlier in the week.

After hitting the landing at the top of the beer and vomit soaked stairs, the braver members of our crew walked up to the bar and ordered Mountain Dews. We thus proceeded to slurp them down while anxiously awaiting the first band to begin. After about three plastic cups worth of the “weasel piss”, the musicians finally sauntered onto stage. The band consisted drums, bass, guitars, trumpet, trombone…and, oh sweet jesum crow, a saxophone! After a couple of notes, my heart was pounding, brow was sweating, brown eyes were dilated, ears were ringing…and man oh man, was I hooked!

Having been one of the shyer members of the group, I initially held back, allowing the masses to get in front. Quickly, I realized that standing on tip toes and watching the audience skanking to that music just wasn’t gunna cut it for me. By the fourth song, my yellow Doc Martians were readily entering the madness, and my steel-tipped toes had finally found a practical use.

For the next, a true to form band of punks, the crowd quickly went from airily dancing to ska, to smashing into each other as best they could in a confined, humid space, packed to capacity. This is where my crew split; into those willing to be released to the primal being hidden inside, or those that would rather be voyeurs to the carnage at hand.

I found out quite quickly that not only did I love being in the pit, but I was literally built for it. I was tall, sturdy and ready to push, kick and snarl my way up to the front, which were my first instincts and most definitely the correct ones. Now, I’m not gunna lie, it was scary as shet. However, after getting elbowed in the back by a straight edge, kicked in the face by a body surfer, and protecting myself from every jib, jab and kick, I came out feeling alive!…and, well…sweaty…really really sweaty.

In the end, losing one of those big hoop earrings, a fist full of hair and having with a converse imprint (consisting of cigarette ash and beer) on my face, were just small tokens paid in full to the Live Show Gods.

I remember proudly wearing that sneaker print home. Nothing could kill my buzz, not even my mother’s elation that it wasn’t a bloody nose. During the following week, the natural high was still in full effect and I excitedly retold my tales of the pit, while showing off my bruises, which (as I didn’t realize it at the time) was the birth of a ritual.

Mostly because of the dicks in the mosh pit, who usually end up about four “rows” back from the stage, I’ve learned my place in the pit and know how to defend myself against them. They’re the real animals, aggressive and always needing more room to show off and beat the fecking shet out of each other. A real life fight club at every show…if you want to go home with a bloody nose to show Mummy, then this is definitely the spot for you.

And where will you find this Punk Rock Princess in the pit? She’ll be front and center, as close to the stage as humanly possible. More than likely being crushed against the foreboding iron fence, with hands up, elbows out, 98% attention focused on the creatures above. She’ll also be relishing in the fast forming bruises, which will help tell yet another tale of life in the pit.

Long live punk rock, freedom of speech and the creative realm.

\m/ \m/