Camping @Navajo Lake: How to get 3 noise complaints

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A group of sixteen friends set off for a weekend getaway in Utah for a little camping fun. Since the majority of the group had to leave late on Friday, a few of us set out to secure camping spots for our big group. Little did we know that the rest of the gang would arrive past “quiet hours” thus resulting in three noise complaints and a lot of stinkeye from other campers at Navajo.


Here are some memories I captured with my Olympus Stylus:

 


Here’s a video that I put together, too!

 

Love at First Listen: Hidden Levels

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About Hidden Levels
The influx of amazing local bands is on the rise in Las Vegas. But the band that just recently stole my eardrums is Hidden Levels. In the Fall of 2014,  Jason Aragon (bass), Adam Grill (lead vocals and guitar), and Brian Scanlan (drums) started producing music together.  The trio decided on their band name, after going through a dozen others, when they came to realize that they shared a connection with playing old school videogames, like the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. “Hidden levels in a videogame hearken back to a nostalgic time. Our childhood and simplicity. Before the advent of social media and the internet. When you had to call a friend on your home phone and if they weren’t there you just rode your bike to their house,”Grill said.  These lads have been in the local music scene for some time, being part of various bands, including Twin Brother and Same Sex Mary.

About their sound
What would you describe their sound as? At first listen, I thought of it as a dreamy shoegaze sound, with an alternative rock presence. But after listening to their live demos over and over it became harder for me to pinpoint, which was exactly the point according to lead vocalist Adam Grill. “I try and write music that is unique. That is why I make music. So I mostly just write what I want to hear with as little influence as possible,” Grill said.

Their moody jams put you in a trance, with long distorted guitar riffs continually fading out over steady syncopated beats and melodic baselines.

Grill did say, if placed in a genre, they would fit most into the post-rock-pop genre- claiming Arcade fire, early Modest Mouse, Fugazi, Blur, and Tortoise as definite influences.

What’s up next?
The band last performed at the Griffin with Tiger Breaks and at the Bunkhouse Saloon for the We Are Love benefit, which raised money for the victims in Orlando. While the band doesn’t have any upcoming performances lined up, they are currently working on their debut album.

Listen to their live recordings on Bandcamp!

Song on rotation: Everyone Knows How

Performance @ The Griffin
Big thanks to Bad Moon Booking for introducing me to Hidden Levels. I caught one of their latest performances at the Griffin and snagged some footage of their performance. *SWOOON*

Artist Spotlight with Eric Vozzola

 

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Meet Eric Vozzola! An accomplished artist, graphic designer, muralist and human being trying to find his own language through his art. After a year of preparation, Vozzola exhibited his second solo art show “A Visual Language” at the Winchester Gallery in Las Vegas.

Vozzola began developing his exhibit by fusing the ideas of vast landscapes he’s traveled and cryptic language inspired by hieroglyphs, petroglyphs, and cave wall drawings. “I wanted to fill a space with images that were somewhat cryptic and ornamental on the surface, but held deeper meaning underneath, allowing the viewer to interpret it as they wish” said Vozzola.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Vozzola graduated UNLV with a BFA in graphic design and studio art. He has worked on murals for the Life is Beautiful Music Festival as well as other miscellaneous projects Downtown. He is a part of the design team at The Venetian Las Vegas and a freelance graphic designer.

I interviewed Eric before the opening reception to find out a little more about “A Visual Language.”

Femme Friday in DTLV

 

A growing community of female artists
Femme Friday is a radical event showcasing art, fashion, and music by women. Raw Femme originated as a blog by founder Amanda “Rawky” Lozano, to created a platform for emerging female artists to share their talent. “Raw Femme is not just a blog, but also a society that unites ambitious and innovative women from around the world. A collaborative of music, fashion, film, art and design. Women finally have a place where their artistic voices can be heard,” said Lozano. Raw Femme expanded its reaches this past First Friday by bringing together female artists, fashionistas, and musicians from Las Vegas and Los Angeles to showcase their work at their inaugural event.

The event
Femme Friday took place at a furniture store turned art space known as “the corner building”–now Metroplex Arts-located on Main Street and California Avenue. Walking in, you could hear the bass vibrating from the groovy tunes played by DJ Skye in the backroom. Fashion and jewelry vendors displayed swanky jewelry, jean jackets with custom embroidery, and sweet vintage clothing. Drinks flowed from the bar conveniently placed in the center of the room. In the warehouse-like backroom, live music was showcased and the exhibiting artists displayed photographs, paintings and digital prints. In the mist of an incoming rainstorm, many supports still came swelling through to show their love to the ladies. A portion of the proceeds were donated to the Dreaming Zebra Foundation-an organization that provides art and music supplies to under privileged children throughout the world.

What to expect next from Raw Femme
While Lozano plans to throw the Femme Friday event twice a year, she also plans to set up smaller events in between. “I’m planning to showcase fashion shows, individual art exhibits, and more” said Lozano.

For more about Raw Femme check out the website:
http://www.rawfemme.com/

Last Trip Before Summer

Farewell


During the last week of May, a few friends and I made our way down to Costa Mesa as a farewell trip for our friend, Karla. Some highlights were hanging out at the beach and catching a performance by Satin Jackets–an electronic pop duo based out of Germany.


Here’s a photo diary of some moments during our adventure.

The roll of film I thought I lost.

Details:

  • Olympus Stylus
  • Fujifilm Superia 400

A day with the inspirational DJ Crykit

crykit13Who has ever made a living doing everything they love? Local DJ, breakdancer, and online clothing shop owner, Crykit (Cricket) is one of them. Her story began on a dairy farm in a humble city in Wisconsin and continues to flourish in Las Vegas.

Getting to know DJ Crykit
Meeting Dj Crykit is something like an infectious boost in spirits. Her lively personality resonates in her animated movements and all-around positive vibes. That positivity is exactly what has driven her to the be the successful DJ and entrepreneur she is today. Born Michelle Kolnik of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Crykit first found her passion of dance through ice skating. “It was my life from 6 to 12 years old” said Crykit. Her love for floating on the ice was the foundation for the talented woman she would become.

Beginning her DJ career
Moving to San Francisco, Crykit was inspired by the underground rave scene and began her DJ career playing drum & bass. She continued broadening her musical tastes when breakdancing became another passion she began to master. Integrating her experience with playing drum & bass, hip-hop and later EDM helped develop her unique multi-genre sound. She was name “Best Local DJ 2013” by the Las Vegas Weekly Magazine shortly after she broke into the DJ scene in Las Vegas.

Passion for fashion
Always having a deep love for fashion and thrift shopping, Crykit recently opened Crykit’s Playhouse. Her unique pieces directly reflects her own colorful and quirky sense of style. “My main goal is to find and circulate pieces that make people smile” said Crykit. She is also an advocate for reducing waste by recycling second hand clothes. One day she hopes to build a celebrity clientele and is also currently working on launching a fashion app call Parallel Hive.

What’s next?
Join Crykit for July’s First Friday where she’ll be vending clothes at Femme Friday inside of The Metroplex. The event will include artist exhibitions, performance installations, live music, and local fashion vendors. Crykit will also be playing a DJ set for Bruno Mars at the T-Mobile Arena on August 24.

Our photoshoot

See Crykit dance

See Crykit spin

See Crykit style on you
Las Vegas Review-Journal – Full-time DJ moonlight fashion

UNLV students & alumni bring live painting to Life is Beautiful


Top row, from left to right: Devin Duitsman, Ruzo Logic, Reina Dalton, Eric Vozzola.
Bottom row, from left to right: Ian Racoma, Holly Vaughn, Kim Johnson, K.D. Matheson.

A Surreal Opportunity
UNLV students and alumni are collaborating with local artists on an interactive mural, called Life Is Beautiful & Surreal, at the upcoming Life Is Beautiful festival. Ruzo Logic and Kim Johnson are the artists responsible for organizing the collaboration. Their vision with the project is to incorporate people with art, and allow them to actively see the work done in real time.

The pair is also known for co-founding Guerrilla ARTZ Factory, a coalition of street artists, about a year ago for downtown’s monthly First Friday events. The mission of Guerrilla ARTZ is to show “Artist in Public! Not Public Art.”

About the mural and artists
Life Is Beautiful & Surreal involves a shared mural that is divided between UNLV students and alumni, Las Vegas Academy students and ZAP artists – that is, artists commissioned by the Clark County Parks and Recreation to beautify electrical boxes around the Las Vegas Valley.

“The nature of this project is actually to do the largest three-dimensional mural ever done in Nevada,” said Ruzo.

The murals are painted on what Ruzo calls guerrilla cages, which are three-sided walls in the shape of a triangle with a canvas on each side. He came up with the idea for the guerrilla cages after his experiences with street art.

“So my idea was to go ahead and build our own walls and set them up in a way that they’ll be free standing and you could see them from all directions and we could put these anywhere and nobody could tell us what to do with them,” Ruzo said. The theme of the mural is surreal pop-art – described as taking something real and making it into a fantasy or imaginary character. “For example taking a bird and putting a human head on it,” Ruzo said.

Artists finished outlining the 40-foot wide murals in time to display it at September’s First Friday held every month in the Arts District. The mobile mural will be completed at Life is Beautiful as an interactive experience, available for viewing on all three days of the music festival.

The piece will have another First Friday in October to celebrate the efforts of all the artists. The collaborative mural will be set up at 18b Arts District.

“As an artist I look for projects that bring artist together, showcasing the talent we possess in ways we and others can enjoy. The vision of Life Is Beautiful & Surreal is to paint where others can join us and interact by having a conversation about and watching the progression of a major work of art,” Ruzo said.

K.D. MathesonK.D. Matheson outlining one of six guerrilla kages.

Upcoming Guerrilla ARTZ projects
Guerrilla ARTZ is also getting ready to work on their newest project, called Guerilla Crossings. The project will involve 21 artists from various states, including California, Arizona, Oregon and Idaho. The idea of the project is to connect different states with shared murals that will be set up on their state lines.

While Guerrilla ARTZ plans for many projects to come, Life is Beautiful & Surreal is their most anticipated project of the moment.

“It’s simple – build something to paint on, get people to support the artists doing it! Let the rest happen in the most organic of ways,” Ruzo said.


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Artist Chat
I pulled aside four of the artists working on the mural to talk about their inspirations, thoughts and their contribution for  Life Is Beautiful & Surreal.

Artist: Devin Duitsman
Major: Bachelor of Fine Arts
UNLV alumna 2015

Describe what you drew for this mural?
Devin: I drew a character I developed through my own self-conscious named Slime. She is a light being living in a dark world exploring her consciousness.

What was your inspiration?
Devin: My own personal experiences living in Las Vegas.

What does this collaborative mural mean to you?
Devin: It means a lot. I’m excited to work with a lot of the artists. I’ve seen work they’ve done on their own. So I’m excited to see what our art will look like cohesively.

Who is your biggest art influence?
Devin: Japanese contemporary artists like Yoshi Tomo Nara.


Artist: Eric Vozzola
Major: Graphic design
UNLV 2011 alumnus

Describe what you drew for this mural?
Eric: I drew a cube pattern for the background that would be consistent for the entire UNLV piece.

What was your inspiration?
Eric: There was a lot of organic elements in the murals, so I wanted something more geometric and flat to balance everything out.

What does this collaborative mural mean to you?
Eric: It’s a chance to work with friends and an opportunity for artist to work with a large scale who have not before. This is also an opportunity to work with artist with a range of experiences.

Who is your biggest art influence?
Eric: Zio Ziegler who works with patterns and has a piece downtown from the first year of Life is Beautiful.


Artist: Holly Vaughn
Major: Sculpture
UNLV 2014 alumna

Describe what you drew for this mural?
Holly: I drew up a floating island with whimsically architectural elements that has a secret UN meeting that went wrong (it’s called “the meeting”).

What was your inspiration?
Holly: Socioeconomic advancement/class advancement as well as ghosts, Katy Perry and Halloween.

What does this collaborative mural mean to you?
Holly: It’s a huge opportunity to work with other artists I’ve admired and exposure for local artists in Las Vegas–which is desperately needed.

Who is your biggest art influence?
James Turrell who has an art installation at the Louis Vuitton store at the Crystals Mall.


Artist: Reina Dalton
Major: Fine Arts
UNLV Freshman

Describe what you drew for this mural?
Reina: I drew a scantily clad motorcycle lady with aquatic limbs.

What was your inspiration?
Reina: Surrealism and Dalism.

Who is your biggest art influence?
Reina: Kaspian Shore and Agnes Cecile

Get Pumped For Life is Beautiful

Life Became Beautiful

Growing up as a child in the 90s to the early 2000s, I never thought that Las Vegas would ever bring a music scene, let alone a music festival. Although, skeptical about Life is Beautiful, after attending the first year, the experience was better than I could have expected. Never have I ever had food at a music festival that donned the name of a reknown chef. Never have I ever had the ease of finding my way around a music festival because it was well organized. While I wanted to be the scrooge of Life is Beautiful, I actually fell in love with it.This year, Life is Beautiful is scheduled a month early, falling on September 25-27.

Tips To Beat Traffic & Parking

If you are a local, here are a few suggestions to beat the traffic and avoid the horrendous parking situation.

1] Take the Shuttle: Life is Beautiful is providing shuttles from various locations around the Valley. For UNLV students, the most convenient pick up place is the Thomas & Mack black lot, where parking is free after 1 p.m. on Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday.

2] Book a Hotel: If you’re feeling lucky, try downloading the app Hotel Tonight for discounted hotel prices the night of the festival.

3] Crash Downtown With Friends: If you have friends that live in the downtown area, see if you could crash at their place. The festival will be a short walk or bike ride away, and with friends the journey to the festival could be just as fun as being there.

4] Uber and Lyft: The epic battle waged by state regulators on Uber and Lyft has finally ceased. The ride sharing companies have been up and running in Las Vegas since Sept. 15. So festival goers can now download those apps, make use of those coupon codes and party without worry.

5] Get dropped off: Plan ahead and ask a friend who is nice enough to drop you off near the music festival. If you’re lucky they’ll be nice enough to pick you up afterwards. Otherwise, Uber and Lyft are your new best friends.

What To Wear

1] Dress to be seen: Festivals aren’t for wallflowers or the timid. Life is Beautiful is as much about celebration as it is a place for music. Fashionistas of all genders and identities should be able express themselves and be accepted there.

2] Protect Your Toes and Soles: Shoes complete the outfit, but walking noon to dawn can leave your feet pounding. Invest in some sole inserts to make shoes more comfy. Also, if you have a problem with people dancing on your toes, go with closed-toe shoes.

3] Pack light, but smart: The last thing anyone wants is a lost phone or wallet. Bring a comfortable, secure bag that will be easy enough to carry all day. Stick to the essentials, whatever that means for you – but make sure to take all of those old receipts out of your bag first.

4] Dealing with the heat: September in Vegas is still dripping with heat. Add dancing, walking, eating and windstorms to the mix and there is no guarantee you will leave the grounds looking the way you walked in. Remember to bring somethings to freshen up halfway through the day. If you decide to wear makeup, bring the essentials needed to touch up. Lipstick, sunscreen, mascara and some moist towelettes will come in handy.

Top Music Festival Advice

1] Stay hydrated: Common sense, but easy to forget. Hydration does not mean three bottles of Dos Equis. Water and something to replenish your electrolytes will do wonders while hoofing it from stage to stage.

2] Enjoy the music: Put away your cell phone for one musical act that you love. We live in a digital age, but watching the performance is much more memorable than watching it through the screen of your cellphones. Okay, okay – well, maybe take at least one good photo.

3] Eats: Prepare to be well-fed with choices from the best restaurants, food trucks and chefs in town. One could go into a food coma just by looking at everything up for grabs. However, food can be an investment. Expect to start spending $10 to $12 per food item. For those on a tight budget, there will be food trucks with friendlier prices.

4] Positive Vibes: Keep your vibe positive and friendly. Remember you’re there to share in an amazing experience with others. Don’t be that person who starts a fight in the middle of the chill atmosphere to show how badass you think you are. Just be cool and people will be cool.


Published for the Rebel Yell @ the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Local Band Sang Bleu’s Self-titled EP Slays

photo by: Corlene ByrdPhoto credit: Corlene Byrd

Ladies That Rock

Sang Bleu is the all-ladies band that Las Vegas has been waiting for. The band consists of six members: Maggie Leon (lead vocals), Sulayla Arnett, Stephanie Fuchs, Elizabeth Scheib, Karli Stenger and Jennifer Gerena. According to Leslie Ventura at the Weekly, they sound like a mix between Le Tigre and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Le Tigre is definitely an influence you can hear from their heavy guitar riffs choked full with distortion. When I hear the song “Savages” it automatically reminds me of Le Tigre’s self-titled album. Have a listen to Le Tigre’s guitar sound on “The The Empty” and Sang Bleu’s guitar on their track, ”Savages”.

A Diverse Sound

All bands have their influences somewhere, but after you listen to Sang Bleu’s three-track EP, they are pulling influences from everywhere. Not only that, they even have an entire track that is sung in Spanish. In the song “Le Ventana” the ladies slow down the pace with a beautifully somber melody. With their last track they bring out an eerie vibe coupled with an intense beating drum, haunting coos, and a xylophone to tie it all together. The last song “Blood Diamond” is reminiscent of a nursery rhyme with an added witchy spell to go along with it–dark and disturbing, just like nursery rhymes! This track also transitions into another song called “Pretty White Boy” which makes a full circle back into their fast paced rhythms and distorted guitar riffs heard on their first track.

Where To Find Them

The ladies have been known to play many of the venues in downtown Las Vegas. Most recently, they played a beautiful set at The Velveteen Rabbit where colorful projections  blanketed their performance. Follow Sang Bleu on their their social media outlets to listen to more or find out where you can catch them next! Down below is a short podcast dedicated to the rockin’ ladies. Have a listen!


Intro music by: Ben Sound

Battling the Vegas Heat, One Cocktail at a Time

Summer Fun Cocktail

Las Vegas’ notorious 100 plus degree weather has arrived, but that only means that it’s time to hit the pool. I’ve picked out the perfect poolside cocktail that has the right amount of sweetness and electrolytes to keep you hydrated and in party-mode.

A Mojito with a Twist

Melissa d’Arbian from the Food Network makes a simple cocktail that transforms a normal minty mojito into a drink made by the Gods. By adding raspberries, pineapple juice and coconut water, d’Arbian has constructed a magical summer time cocktail appropriate for hanging out in the sweltering desert heat. The raspberries and pineapple juice add the right amount of tart and sweetness to the drink, while the coconut water dilutes it just enough. The coconut water is an essential part of the drink because it’s packed with electrolytes to prevent dehydration.

Modifications to Step-up the Recipe

While, d’Arbian’s ingredients are the prefect ingredients and ratios to make an amazing summertime cocktail, I decided to step up the “yum” factor by muddling (or mixing) the raspberries and mint together. I made a step-by-step video of how to make the cocktail by improvising with kitchen appliances. Before we get to the video, here is what you’ll need!

Raspberry-Pineapple Mojito

Ingredients:
-Pineapple juice (3oz)
-Coconut water (3oz)
-Fozen raspberries (2tbs)
-Fresh mint (3-4 leaves)
-Rum (1oz)

Tools:
-Cocktail shaker
-Jigger (measures ounces)
-Muddler (to mash raspberries & mint)

If you don’t have these bar tools you can improvise with items you should already have in your kitchen:
-Glass and Coffee mug (that fit snug into each other)
-Shot glass
-Tablespoon

Step-by-Step

Finally, here is the video to help guide you to make your own fruity cocktail. I encourage you to experiment with any type of fruits you fancy–not just the one suggested in the video. I hope you try out this recipe and impress all your friends with a drink that will help keep them hydrated and having fun in the sun. Enjoy!