Saturday, May 25, 2013

EDC NY 2013 Part 2/3

When we last left our motley crew of EDC-goers, they were making their way back to the LaGuardia Airport Hotel and prepping themselves for the after party event at the currently hot club 'Pacha' which I'm sure is Spanish for something trendy.  Pickup lines were being practiced, cell phones were being recharged, and expectations were growing high for the night.  After getting all prim and proper, the crew took one giant leap into the EDM World and started a voyage into the concrete jungle that is New York City.

EDC NY Part 2/3: Fear and Loathing in Pacha- The Journey Rages On

Things were off to an up-close and personal start when we crammed 9 of us into an SUV on the way from the hotel to Pacha.  Let me tell ya, there isn't a better way to bond with friends and new acquaintances than a crammed cab ride of about 40 minutes.  I was really looking forward to the crowd at Pacha, because I had a feeling it would be a mix of people.  By mix of people in this instance, I mean the normal club goers who would be all dressed up and such, and the riff raff that Pacha was letting in tonight due to hosting the EDC after party.  Rumor had it that the dress code was lifted for that night so that people could make it there in time, so that was pretty considerate of the good folks at Pacha.  This being said, it seemed to me as if there would be a great mashup (that's an EDM term, you guys) of regular people and overly tired EDC-goers who were still dressed like assholes, but in a club.  I was considerate of my appearance at the club, so I shed my jean vest in lieu of some black jeans, a sweet Japandroids t-shirt and a new button up that really made me feel good about myself.  I would consider myself more of the 'regular' people crowd at Pacha, as opposed to my buddy Steve, who was dressed more like the EDC asshole who was at this nice club in a tank top.  At least both sides of the coin was represented in our group.

Dress to impress, Steve. I'm not impressed.
The first thing after getting dropped off out front of Pacha was that I was a big fan of the Pacha logo which consisted of two cherries.  It made me feel like I was playing a slot machine or something.  If there is one fruit that can show some class for a club, it has to be the cherry.  Anyways, after paying our chauffeur off, I became somewhat nervous that we were told to "go around the back" of the club, through an alleyway and a weird parking garage thing to enter the club.  Since there was a line out front, it seemed strange to me that we had to go to the back entrance because we already had tickets to this shindig.  In short, I thought we were going to get jumped.  I can't speak for the rest of my friends, but I had my hands in my pockets grasping my cell phone and wallet extra tight while walking through this abyss of despair.  After getting somewhat lost and confused, we made it to the backdoor and were greeted with indifference by the bouncers who gave us pretty awesome 21+ bracelets that instructed us to "keep calm and rage on" which was kinda cute.  Upon entering the club, I made a beeline to the side bar to grab myself a Monster Energy drink to wake myself up and prepare my bod for the massive amount of dancing that I was about to do.  My first true NYC overpriced club purchase happened here, where I forked over 7$ for about 1/4th the normal sized can of Monster.  I wanted to question the mathematics involved by paying about 3 extra dollars for 1/4th the normal sized can, but I was there to have fun, not do math.  After downing my 3 sips of energy drink, I was revitalized and ready to show up the Empire State with some real Ocean State style dancing.
Pacha, from the balcony and with confetti
The headlining DJ for this after party was Steve Angello, who makes up 1/3rd of Swedish House Mafia, who has had some kinda popular songs over the past few years.  While the opening DJ was pretty good, the wait started to grow and grow and us club goers were getting impatient for Steveyboy.  To kill time we ended up having a dance off on the third floor of Pacha, which was entertaining to us, mostly because we were all delirious from living the EDM dream for 18 hours already.  While it was entertaining showing up Sarah, Paula, Ricky, and especially my foe Chris with some killer moves, all I can imagine now is someone else watching us all dancing and thinking we all belong in a mental ward.  When I wasn't dancing, I was pondering life and my surroundings.  One thing that hit me, and kept being in my thoughts for the rest of the night, was that Pacha was definitely a club that Stefon from Saturday Night Live would enjoy.  From that point on, I couldn't really take the place seriously.  While contemplating the events of that day, Joe Rippolone had the quote of the day by saying "The beautiful part about EDC is that it's so cheap that anyone can come.  I saw a couple of bums in there today. Hehehe".  At that moment in time, it was worth spitting out some of my 10$ Coors Light on the dance floor.

Stefon is a regular at Pacha
As we waited longer and longer on the 2nd floor of Pacha following our Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights style dance off, I really started to take notice of the VIP section we were standing near.  Like most VIP sections, it had the standard velvet rope entrance, with nice looking tables and couches, and nerdy kids who put the tabs on their Dad's credit cards, but something in the area caught my eye.  At first, I thought it was a column/support beam that was made out of glass.  Upon furthur notice, I realized that at the bottom of this glass cube was some tiles and a drain.  It was at this point that I turned to some of my posse (I think Matt, Kyle and Sarah?) and asked the absurd question "Is that a shower?".  I nailed it.  About five minutes after spotting the shower head, a girl in a bikini entered this cube like she was ready to do battle, and threw off her robe revealing a bikini, and just started showering right then and there in the middle of the club.  It was kinda concerning at first.  The first thing that came to mind was "what a useless shower. She still has a swimsuit on...kinda".  I mean what kind of a person showers with a bathing suit on?  This then reminded me of when I was 4 years old and I once showed up for bathtime wearing my swimming trunks, and getting mad at my mom for not letting me wear them in the bath like the kids in the commercial for some stupid bath toy.  I guess back in '94 I didn't realize just why these kids were allowed to wear a swimsuit in the bath, but it made me relate to this girl who was showering in a bikini in a club in New York.  What am I talking about right now?
Waiting for Guns N' Roses
Moving on, this girl kept showering, and drawing heart shapes on the steamy walls of the shower, making a lot of immature people attempt to write their phone numbers on the wrong side of the steam, which was amusing to watch because they all failed.  I'll tell ya, seeing a kid attempt to write his digits in steam, but on the wrong side of the glass is awesome.  It's about as graceful as watching a ballerina fall.  So Steve Angello was still keeping everyone waiting.  Let me tell ya, it was beginning to seem like this guy thought he was Guns N' Roses in 1988 showing up 3 hours late to their own show.  The only problem here is that when Guns N' Roses did it, you had all 5 guys there.  At this after party, it was for 1/3rd of Swedish House Mafia.  If Axl Rose were to show up by himself to an after party show, people would become all angsty and restless, which is what the crowd started to do at Pacha for Steveyboy.  Finally around 2 a.m., Steve graced us with his presence.  It was nice of him to join, but it hit me real quick that the angle that I had on the balcony  made it impossible for me to actually see him.  For all I know, it could've been Carlton from Fresh Prince blowing our minds away by dropping bass etc. I kind of gave up on caring about this point rather quickly, and started to become one with the music.  The set he played was pretty awesome, and the usage of smoke machines and confetti really spiced up the night.  I was somewhat disappointed that he never played Avicii's new single 'Le7els' or some Guns N' Roses songs, but I was happy overall.

Following the epic dance off
As we made our way out of the club early when the clock struck 3:00, we realized that we had to wait for the same chauffeur who dropped us off earlier.  We had a feeling that it might take a while.  This guy was a real stickler.  On the way there he kept telling us that he might get in trouble for having 9 people in a SUV and he could 'get a ticket', whatever that means.  He wanted my poor friend Paula to duck her head a bunch of times, like when we got to a toll booth and a cop was standing right in front of us.  He just needed to chill.  Maybe he should start listening to EDM and reevaluate his life.  Anyways, we were hanging around a street corner, and we were all pretty hungry, so we hit up a hotdog stand that was nearby.  My buddy Steve referred to this late night snack as 'street meat', which kind of ruined my appetite.  Street meat.  Sounds like a bad nickname for a guy in a frat.  Things got real weird when my friend Sarah gave me some of her pretzel out of the goodness of her heart, and my foe Chris took a bite out of the pretzel, and then proceeded to (while still biting) fling the pretzel in the air and onto the ground in one fell swoop.  Bamboozled, I really let him have it, calling him a terrible friend for wasting a pretzel like that.  He proceeded by buying a pretzel for us to share, and specifically asking our fellow street meat vendor if he could give him the saltiest pretzel he had, because Chris is selfish and likes extremely salty pretzels.  I was standing on this street corner in NYC on a Saturday morning at 3:30 and thinking to myself "This pretzel sucks" when our chauffeur finally pulled up to our curb.  Praise Jesus.
Don't trust this man with a pretzel. Or sunglasses.
As if Chris couldn't have killed our delirious buzz any more, we had just left in the SUV when Chris realized he couldn't find his prized Pacha sunglasses that set him back a whopping 12$.  The ride turned from telling awful stories about each other into Chris complaining that he couldn't find his glasses.  I'm sitting in the back thinking "Who cares, man?  What do you need sunglasses at 3:30 for?" and contemplating if I just wanted to hand him 12 buckaroos in exchange for him shutting up about his lost glasses.  The rest of the ride was uneventful for the most part, with Chris complaining in between sobs over his Pacha shades that most likely fell when he was flinging my pretzel with his teeth like he was a circus performer.  Serves him right.  If you reading this ever take away one thing from my blog, it is to make sure you don't lose your shades when tossing a pretzel that doesn't belong to you with your teeth.  It's the simple things in life, really.
This night would've sucked without a Ricky photobomb.
We finally made it back to the LaGuardia Airport Hotel absolutely exhausted and in need of sleep and showers, but also to recharge our batteries for Day 2...or as you will soon know it as Part 3.

To be continued......

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

EDC NY 2013 Part 1/3

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to journey on over to the decent state of New York to attend the Electric Daisy Carnival.  This event is basically a music festival with a bunch of EDM DJ's/artists and what not, in a Carnival setting.  There was a lot of bass, neon colored clothing, and kids on drugs throughout the weekend, so basically the setting made for some good story telling, and I have decided to share with all of you my EDC experience in three parts.  Now for part one.

My trip began with a car ride to Valley Cottage, New York on Thursday night to stay over my dear friend and fellow Friar Steve Sheridan's house.  Things were about as eventful as you can imagine in a town called Valley Cottage (highlights included finding a case of Yuengling Beer, some friends buying Powerball tickets, and me sleeping on a mattress that deflated way too quickly), so the real story begins on Friday as a group of 8 twenty-somethings checked into the pretty average LaGuardia Airport Hotel.  There we were, a group of young adults just waiting to have the experience of a lifetime who had killed the few hours beforehand with cheap champagne and Wheat Thins for breakfast.  This was going to be a good day.  After a short cab ride over to the Citi Field parking lot, where rumor has it people actually park to see the Mets play, the excitement and tension was mounting.  I can only compare it to walking around a new city: unknown pleasures around every corner, sites to see, people to meet, things to do, and all that jazz.  My immediate reaction 5 minutes into walking over to the entrance gate was "OW GODDAMMIT!".  EDC hadn't even started yet and I had already got my jean vest caught on a tree branch, making me turn slightly, then as I pulled away from the tree branch, I decided to smash my shin right into a concrete block that was the base for a stupid fucking light pole, resulting in blood and now this sweet looking battle wound:
I guess you could say that EDC was off to a rough start, but it didn't bog me down.  I (heroically) staggered over to the main gate and presented my credit card-type ticket, and went through an extensive pat-down and then drowned myself in the magic that was EDC.

If there was ever a time where I can refer to a parking lot as an oasis without bringing up the song 'Wonderwall', this was it.  I walked in with the same jaw-dropping manner as my 7 other comrades on this EDM voyage.  Besides the massive stages and thousands of people there already at Noon, my attention was drawn to the Ferris Wheel, Zipper ride (isn't that thing banned in like 13 states?) and giant swing-thing and tents and tents of carnival food and such.  After snapping back into reality, I walked over and got myself a 21+ bracelet so I could drink very overpriced Coors Light after being scrutinized and made fun of by the ID checker because my hair was pretty sweet back when I took my license picture at the tender age of 16.  After buying a 9$ Daddy Soda and tipping a buck because of the "Tipping is Good Karma" sign strategically placed in front of me, it was time to become one with the music.

The first DJ I remember seeing was Rudee.  Not sure if it's the same guy from that Notre Dame football movie, but he was pretty good regardless.  In all seriousness, it is probably sweet to DJ at EDC just for the sake of gaining new fans.  Anyways, after jamming out with Rudee, some asshole jumped in front of me, knocking some of my beer out of its cup and onto the scorchin' hot pavement.  This jerk never said sorry and was jumping up and down like a kangaroo.  It was at this moment when my friends Steve, Matt, Chris, Jenna, Kyle and Ricky realized that it was former Friar Legend Joe Rippolone who had surprised us.  That sly devil had told us he was coming to EDC on Saturday! Ha! He got us good.  So Joe joined the crowd, and if any of you reading this know him, you realize that this was a big addition to the group.

The Future of America
After catching up with Joe, we all started to settle in at EDC.  After taking in our surroundings, it was time to commence one of my favorite pastimes: people watching.  Dear lord.  My first thought was how sorry I felt for a lot of father's out there in the world.  Holy smokes were the girls scantily clad! It was like going to a beach and seeing girls in bikinis only it was in a parking lot so it seemed out of place but then again not really because it was an EDM festival and now I'm even confused at what I'm talking about.  A lot of people dressed up in strange hats and costumes.  I found Waldo a couple of times, but not Carmen San Diego that bitch.  This guy was wearing a Goofy hat, making it perhaps the first time that it was semi-appropriate to wear while not physically in Disney World:
Protesting MickeyMau5 perhaps?
I was wearing a jean vest (or a 'jest' as some girl I met called it) and was feeling pretty good about myself overall.  Wearing a jean vest at an event like this seemed to make me fit in a bit with the weirdness, which I guess I appreciated.  At an event like this, it's hip to dress like you won a Savers shopping spree, and people took full advantage.  I don't think the 80's had as much neon clothing as EDC did on Friday and Saturday.  It was a sight to say the very least.  Another thing that stood out in terms of people watching was the random things people would hold up.  I noticed quite a few flags and inflatable things, but I also saw those plastic flamingos that you stick on your front lawn, and one person had what looked like a tiki torch with a bunch of Beanie Babies tied to it.  Kinda cool but also kind of disturbing.  I'm all for unique things but a torch with Beanie Babies on it?  I'm here to see DJ's, not a sacrifice of toys.

I didn't get a glimpse of the guy with the BB Torch, so I'll assume it was this guy.

Another point about the crowd present at EDC was that they were all so damn friendly.  Normally, I'm a skeptic when it comes to overly nice people.  They're up to something.  I just know it.  At EDC, I'm not sure if it was all the drugs people were on or just people living that PLUR lifestyle, but everyone was so goddamn friendly it was unsettling.  Everyone was so nice! The Grinch would've hated this place!  There was hardly any pushing and shoving, which goes against everything I've ever learned from every other concert I've been to, but almost everyone was saying things like 'excuse me' and 'sorry, can I squeeze by?' like it was genuine. Kinda weird.  There was one girl who was standing next to the beer line holding up a 6 ft tall inflatable palm tree who actually laughed when I asked her if she grew that herself in a drunken stupor.  She laughed at that! That never happens to me.  I'm not that funny but she was even polite enough to laugh at that awful, drunken quip!

After checking out DJ's like Milkman, Danny Avila, Arty, 12th Planet (who was amazing by the way), and the end of La Roux's smash hit single 'Bulletproof', it hit me, and my dear friends Matt Rizzini and Paula Tran that we had no idea where everyone else was.  Using our cellular phones, we realized that for some reason there was no cell service whatsoever, making texts and phone calls pretty useless.  This could have been a problem, especially since we were trying to find 7 friends scattered about 5 stages and thousands of kids on drugs, but we went to see Nicky Romero anyways, which ended up being a shitshow.  Throughout the day, the crowds at each stage were somewhat crowded, but it wasn't until this set that things got chaotic.  A lot of bumping and grinding was going on in front of me, and one kid wearing a pink trucker hat that said "Big Booty Hoes" was particularly annoying, but it still wasn't ruining my day.  It hit me that even on a day with no cell service when I needed to find my friends, with way too much sunshine, a pretty nasty booboo on my shin and a semi-hangover going on, I was still having fun.  The day really picked up when fellow EDC-goer 'Radical' Rick Mansfield came to the rescue and spotted me, Matt and Paula in the crowd, all because he saw my stupid but also trademark 'Rage Diego' hat.  Now that the group was back together, we got some grub and headed back to the hotel a bit early, so that we could attend the after party at Pacha featuring 1/3rd of Swedish House Mafia.

Stupid, yet effective.

After leaving EDC Day 1 and going back to the hotel, we recharged our batteries, both in terms of our bodies and cellphones, and readied ourselves for the after party at Pacha...............which you shall find out more about tomorrow.

To be continued......

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Caving In Under Pressure

So my dear friend Annik turned 21 yesterday.  Over the years I've managed this blog, I've had numerous friends and sometimes strangers ask me to do a blog about them.  I've always said that will never happen.  Anyways, Annik tweeted at me today asking where her blog was that I probably drunkenly promised her for her 21st birthday, and since I'm on a mini-vacation until Monday I've decided to grant her this wish and make a blog about her.  Therefore, I'm kicking it oldskool and making up one of those things where you list adjectives for a person's name.  Is there a proper term for that?  Whatever.

Amusing: Because as much as I don't want to feed your ego, you are somewhat amusing. Texting Hofstra Campus Security and telling them that they suck for not giving you a ride home because you're a diva is very, very amusing.

Next: Because your class is the next to graduate college and then you'll feel as old and depressed as everyone else who has had to leave the paradise that is college :-/.  Sorry but it had to be said.

Napoleonic: Because you're short but also pretty powerful/influential.  Especially since you somehow got me to devote an entire blog about you.  There is also a chance that you will be banished to an island at some point in your life for causing too much trouble.

Incoherent: Because this describes the majority of the text messages I receive from you on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights!

Keen: Because there are surprisingly few good adjectives that start with K, but I suppose you qualify as keen!

So I hope you enjoyed this Annik.  I still need to figure out what these things are called.  It was way harder making one for Annik.  Ya know, when I was in elementary school I only had to find 3 letters, so this was challenging.  Happy birthday you diva!

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Not-So-Mainstream Mother's Day

Mother’s day is this weekend, meaning that I need to find a gift for my mom and I need it soon.  While procrastinating on that little chore, I have decided to kill time and give you all the gift of help when it comes to getting presents.  Now, I want to admit that I don’t know most of your mothers, which may make things difficult if you’re looking to make your gift personal.  If that is the route you want to take, then I’m no good for advice on what your mother likes, however I will suggest a coffee mug with your Mom’s name on it.  Not only will she have a new coffee mug, she’ll be able to easily tell if she has the right mug or not in times of confusion.  Or an xBox.  You can’t go wrong by getting your mom an xBox.  Moms love xBox.  Anyways, moving on, I’ve decided to help people shopping for a certain type of Mom.  This time Mom is the new version of “the cool Mom” which is sweeping the nation like the Bubonic Plague.  That’s right: The Hipster Mom. 

This baby has a weirdly shaped head.
Why are Hipster Moms becoming more and more common in today’s society?  I’m going to go with the fact that since everything retro is now hip again, it seems that by not changing anything, your Mom is all of a sudden cool again.  Has your mom worn the same leather jacket since you were in diapers?  Has she kept her same thick rimmed glasses since before Weezer’s Blue Album came out?  Does she still have her beloved collection of vinyl albums somewhere around the house?  If this is the case for your mother, then she’s probably a Hipster Mom.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a very good chance that this is unintentional and she may not even know what a hipster is, but a Hipster Mom is a Hipster Mom, and she still needs to be celebrated this Sunday.  Enough of my endless jargon, it’s time to give you all gift ideas for the hipster that brought you into this world.  Just think about how happy your Mom will be when she finds out you took trouble to help her be cool in today’s world!

Vinyl- Inexplicably, but in a good way, vinyl has come back in a big way.  Bands new and old are releasing (and sometimes re-releasing) albums on vinyl.  Old is the new New.  New is old.  Wait.  I’m confusing myself here.  Anyways, there are two ways you can handle giving your mother some sweet vinyl this mothers day: 1. You can go support your local record store and buy the new album by a band that Hipster Moms like/think is ‘so cool’ like Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons or Arcade Fire, or 2. You can go sift through your mom’s old album collection and find an album by…say, the Talking Heads, wrap it up and give it to her.  Even if your Mom knows that she already has the album, she will be very impressed that you went through the trouble to find an old, original album from her youth. 

Boy George and Co. was a favorite of my mom :-/
VHS Player- I’m going to make a safe bet here and say that most of you reading this are in your early/mid 20’s, meaning you grew up in the 90’s, which is awesome.  Since you are most likely a 90’s kid, take a moment and think back to watching movies as a youngin’.  Chances are you were watching 101 Dalmatians on VHS with your Mom on a rainy day after Kindergarten.  If your mom is anything like mine, she kept a good chunk of these VHS tapes because it brings her back to simpler times.  Also, if your mom is anything like mine, she still has trouble figuring out how to use a DVD player because “it’s too complicated”.  What’s the solution to this problem that would also make a Hipster Mom happy?  A VHS player!  Think about it, they’re most likely dirt cheap right now and can be found at the Salvation Army or Savers, you can help bail your mom out of the difficult DVD player, and she can watch old VHS tapes like Home Alone or Jurassic Park and pretend that you’re there with her!  It’s really a gift that keeps on giving.
Tell your Mom you care

This guy didn't disappoint his Mother (for once) with this gift!

Band Tshirts- Back in the day, your Mom probably loved bands like Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Poison, Television, Blondie etc. and had some sweet tour tshirts from 1984.  Over the years, as our mothers matured and stopped using Aquanet in their hair and gave up their dreams to be Mrs. Van Halen, they traded the band tshirts for work appropriate attire.  Now, with retromania being in full swing, we have the perfect opportunity to make our moms feel young again.  How you ask?  By going to the nearby Savers or similar thrift store to find some sweet band tee’s that will make your mom scream with delight as if she were about to be serenaded by Eddie Money.  Honestly, what else could make your mom feel like a Material Girl living in a Material World than a tshirt from her past?  Fortunately for you, the prices at Savers will make the tshirt cost about the same it probably did in the mid 80’s (side note: Tshirts at a recent Muse concert I went to started at 35$. God damn inflation, man).  This is the ideal gift choice for those of you trying to save a lot of money, and making your hipster mom feel hip by getting her something new, which is old, which is now cool.

This Motley Crue shirt was a hand me down from his Mother, only to be regifted back to his Mother.

College Coffee Mug From a School She Didn’t Go To- A few years back, I got my Mom a Providence College Alumni coffee mug as a joke.  She left PC after her Freshman year and transferred to URI (I know, I know.) so since I’m a pain in the ass I decided to mock her and get her this mug.  When I was started thinking about gifts for a hipster mom, I thought about this stupid PC Alumni mug and it hit me that getting your mom a mug from a school that she never attended can certainly fall into the hipster category.  There is no doubt that a good chunk of hipster trends are complete nonsense.  People wear tshirts commemorating places or events that they have never been to, and don’t really know much about.  A true hipster mom would appreciate a random mug from, say, Pepperdine University, when your mom went to, say, UMASS.  One of the aspects that hipsters got right is that it is cool to have things that other people don’t.  If you execute this gift idea correctly, your mom will be the proud owner of a random college mug that none of her friends will have.  After all, isn’t it sort of mainstream to drink coffee from your own school’s coffee mug? 

Mom went to UNH? She'll love this!

Art- Moms love art.  Along the lines of nonsense and randomness, one area of gifts we have not yet touched is art.  As I mentioned earlier, having something unique is key to a hipster lifestyle.  Art is such a wide ranging area that it makes your job of finding a unique gift so much easier.  Get your mom a sculpture of Edgar Allen Poe.  Perhaps a self portrait of someone you don’t know?  A framed picture of a ukulele would look great in your kitchen!  How about a collection of Polaroids, just because it’s a collection of Polaroids?  In this day and age, the random-er the better.  Your mom will be completely puzzled, perplexed, confused, bamboozled, flimflammed, and overall thrown for a loop when she gets a ceramic rooster candle holder, but she’ll most likely love it since it came from you.  Unless of course your mother doesn’t like you, but if this is the case then you probably have more issues than picking out a mother’s day gift.  (Sidenote: Searching google images for 'weird art' is very disturbing. I honestly don't recommend it).

This. Is. Art.

Eye candy.

This piece can really brighten up a room.

I hope this helps you out while rushing to find your Mommy Dearest a nice gift.  Most people in my age range are degenerates, so it really pays off to be kind to your Mom and get her something she'll enjoy and cherish forever, like a ceramic Cow Pie.