Archive for August, 2013

2013 First City Festival Recap!

Well, it’s official – I have a new favorite music festival. The inaugural First City Festival in Monterey last weekend was just that good. Let’s get to highlights of what I recommend making a mini vacay out of next year.

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All photos in this post by Jenn Farmer

Tunes

Festival lineups often draw the ire of critics for no reason. Let’s face it – it’s tough work to book acts. You want star power, but you also want to get the up and comers and provide a few surprises. Even so, you’re at the mercy of other people’s schedules and only have so much cash to go around.

Well, Golden Voice had it all figured out and I’m not sure I heard anyone complaining about this lineup. There were a lot of great acts and audiophiles were plenty impressed with how good everything sounded. Aside from a few hiccups at Modest Mouse, most everything else was on point.

Day One personal faves of mine were Delta Spirit’s energy, the moves of Father John Misty and THAT voice on Quadron’s Coco O. Jeffertitti’s Nile (who looked like they may have crawled out of a basement in the 70s) were a nice surprise for those who hadn’t seen them before.

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On Day Two Generationals had me feeling like I hadn’t a worry in the world. Purity Ring’s light show was worth the trip alone and Toro Y Moi had me boogying down because let’s face it, I’m never going to get sick of Chaz Bundick. And are you kidding me? An airplane flew right over the stage as he sang High Living (and I may or may not have inhaled)! Modest Mouse provided a stellar close to the festival because no one’s heard much of them aside from a few new songs in the last couple years.

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Grounds

If you haven’t been, the Monterey Fairgrounds is quite an excellent choice for a venue. Besides its history with the Monterey Pop Festival, it’s just a choice place to be. The weather couldn’t have been better and there was ample space to chill out or kick it on a grass lawn. There were also a decent number of food options, vaudeville entertainers, separate area for carnival rides/games and while drinks were expensive (at least $7 for the cheap stuff), complaining about that seemed trivial.

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Other Memories

A lot of times, my favorite memories at festivals are thanks to a little extra press or VIP treatment. You know, the perks that not everyone has, like going backstage. While that stuff happened (I got to meet The Dodos and ride a carousel with them) what I won’t forget anytime soon is losing my keys and having a stranger put them aside and hunt me down because they thought the keys might have been mine. This lovely human being refused my offer to buy her a drink and just told me to pay it forward (which I did by giving a complete stranger a ride home to SF). That’s the sort of thing that happens in small festivals like First City. It’s a small town mentality. You see the same people throughout the weekend and take care of each other like family.

I feel like you don’t need me to say this, but if you’re within a few hours drive of this festival and the lineup’s even half as good as it was this year, go. Grab some friends or a lover, book a hotel and make it a weekend on California’s Central Coast.

Want more? Check out our full First City Festival photo gallery and previous coverage.

Urban patterns

Architecture nerds, have you heard of Michael Wolf? He’s a German photographer who takes gorgeous photos of life in mega cities. In his work structures come together as a mix of repetitive facades and colourful palettes so immense you actually forget you’re looking at. FYI, below we’ve included some Hong Kong high rise apartment buildings. Little units that hold people. City citizens with lives, just like ours.

Don’t know about you, but to think they’re all crammed into that architecture of density, woven in the fabric of the city just as another urban pattern, blows my mind. Really, it’s all so grandiose it makes my head spin.

No wonder Wired called their recent feature of his work Dizzying Pics of Hong Kong’s Massive High Rise Neighborhoods.

Few photos below, link to his book on Amazon here. Don’t miss his other photo series – aptly titled “Life in Cities” – via his website.

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Short Term 12 will make you feel something

If you’re looking for a film that’s going to make feel alive, I recommend taking a chance on Short Term 12. It’s a new independent film about the lives of foster care children and the people selfless enough to help those kids. It’s a world I didn’t know a thing about before watching, but made me respect how difficult a situation it can be for the children and their caretakers. It’s also a prime example of how we can sometimes be so valuable helping others with the very same issues we struggle with personally (not to give too much away).

The characters are well-developed to the point that you’ll feel a connection to them. Whether it’s Brie Larson’s (United States of Tara) character Grace who I’m totally crushing on now by the way, or some of the child actors playing the foster kids, I found myself empathizing with their struggles and rooting for them to overcome the hand life’s dealt them. Although the story is serious in nature, it’ll still bring you a smile or laugh when you need it most.

This movie is dear to us at Holiday Matinee because our friends played a huge part in it. It’s a semi-autobiographical film written and directed by Destin Cretton (I Am Not A Hipster) and has some fantastic original music by Joel P West and his band The Tree Ring. Even so, in addition to us, it has won over audiences and critics as evidenced by a SXSW Grand Jury Award earlier this year.

Short Term 12 debuts tomorrow in New York and Los Angeles, with plenty of additional screenings across the country. So check out the trailer and the handy links below if you want to know more.

Useful Links:
Trailer
Tickets & Showtimes
How Brie Larson prepared for her role
Short Term 12 Original Score
Film Soundtrack

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