Wednesday, October 25, 2017

New Found Glory & Ataris Tour

Emo college me is squealing in excitement over 2 of my favorite bands, The Ataris and New Found Glory, on tour together!  It's like the emo punk dream team!  Can't wait to see them in San Diego!

This tour will give fans two full albums each night, so even if they're playing 2 nights in the same city, it'll be a different show each night. 

Buy tickets here.

Nov 14          Minneapolis, MN      The Cabooze
Nov 15          Omaha, NE               Sokol Auditorium
Nov 16          Fort Collins, CO        Aggie Theatre
Nov 17          Salt Lake City, UT    The Complex
Nov 18          Boise, ID                   Knitting Factory
Nov 20          Portland, OR             Wonder Ballroom
Nov 21          Seattle, WA               The Showbox
Nov 22          Seattle, WA               The Showbox
Nov 24          Santa Cruz, CA         The Catalyst
Nov 25          San Diego, CA          House of Blues (Sticks & Stones / Resurrection)
Nov 26          San Diego, CA          House of Blues (Self Titled / From the Screen to Your Stereo)
Nov 28          Phoenix, AZ              Crescent Ballroom - SOLD OUT
Nov 30          Houston, TX              White Oak Music Hall
Dec 1            New Orleans, LA       House of Blues - New Orleans
Dec 2            Birmingham, AL        Saturn
Dec 3            Nashville, TN            The Basement East

New Found Glory live in London

Friday, October 20, 2017

Dark Harbor @ The Queen Mary

Hello everyone! I'm Jenny, Conbon's sister, and I've forced Conbon to let me be her staff writer, because I have commitment issues with my own blog and I've spent my entire life leeching off her.

Now that we've gotten introductions out of the way, I want to tell you about the time we got the SHIP scared out of us at Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor. Sorry, we saw that phrase somewhere in a promo email and knew we needed to use it. For those of you who have never heard of it, Dark Harbor is an annual Halloween event that features scary mazes, live entertainment, and professional creepy people. It takes place on and outside a permanently docked cruise ship in Long Beach.

I've always been fascinated and scared ship-less of the Queen Mary because of all the stories about it being haunted that I heard growing up. I was actually a little excited to attend my high school prom because it was advertised like we would be able to go ghost hunting. It turns out, a dance there really just means you get your granola bar and gum taken away and you are confined to one banquet hall and a tiny adjacent room where students do karaoke with the chaperones. That was probably the scariest part.

Anyway, Conbon and I were fortunate enough to attend Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor media preview on its opening night this year. We started off at the RIP Lounge, which overlooks the Dark Harbor (they call it a "ghost-eye-view") and has a VIP bar with all-you-can-eat tacos. We were paid visits by various creepy characters, including a gypsy violinist. It's always scarier when they look at you but don't talk. The view was pretty cool, especially as the sun was setting and the park was coming alive.

There are seven mazes total, each featuring a ghost rumored to actually be haunting the Queen Mary. The newest maze, FEAST, is inspired by a not-so-popular chef who was shoved into his own oven aboard the ship during World War II, according to the OC Register. You get a chance to feel his last moments if you choose to take the shortcut and crawl through the oven.

We went through all the mazes and my favorites were Soulmate and Deadrise. Soulmate was maybe the most creepy one because the ghost story felt most realistic. The characters, donning death masks and fancy vintage clothes, were often wearing the same costumes as many of the stationary mannequins so you never knew who was real. And it’s was aboard the boat, which itself is spooky without needing to be decorated. There were pretty antiques strewn about, which made me want to take a closer look, but don’t do it, because Graceful Gale, who was a first-class passenger who disappeared in the 1930s is looking for her soulmate and she and her friends do not discriminate.

Deadrise was the most stress-/pee-inducing. The ghouls, comprised mostly of sailors and naval folk, were pretty confrontational. We met the Captain earlier in the RIP Lounge but he made another appearance here to lead his crew on a quest to make us cry. There were a lot of elements involved, including fire, fog, and water, so be careful not to slip when someone surprises you. The whole maze is kind of an assault on all your senses so you never know what to expect next. We hid behind an old man, thinking that maybe the crew would take it a little easier on him, but I think that made us magnets instead.

All the other mazes were pretty good too:
• INTREPID: Meet the mastermind, the creator and now the protector of the Queen Mary, Iron Master.
• CIRCUS: Step right up as the Ringmaster startles with disorienting illusions, maniacal magic acts, and a cadre of sideshow freaks.
• B340: Descend into the insidious mind of Samuel the Savage to face his worst nightmares.
• LULLABY: Hush Hush don’t cry; Scary Mary is just looking for her next playmate.
• PANIC 4D: As soon as you put on your 3D glasses, you are thrown in to this 4D virtual maze of a creepy house full of all kinds of gross stuff.

Other new experiences include the Chef's Meat Locker, which is a 7-degree ice bar where you don a fur coat or you'll freeze to death, and a secret hidden bar in one of the mazes (I think we found it and, probably so as not to cause a slipping hazard, they serve jello shots).

Some other attractions include:
• SIDESHOW: Step ‘backstage,’ rub elbows with resident freaks, take in a show or a drink at the secret bar
• CREEPY CABANAS: Host a private soiree, order a freak show, enjoy instant access to Sideshow & Swings. (Please note you are not safe from monsters up here, a mistake we made.)
• SINISTER SWINGS: Take a spin on the infamous Neverland Ranch Ride.
• MAINSTAGE: DJ spins between a variety of nightly entertainment shows, plus special guest performances.

Really, the whole space is a stage. There are performers walking around constantly, sneaking up on unsuspecting guests. This guy was my favorite. He walks around on stilts, holding a severed head, which he uses to kiss people on the face when they're not looking.

There is a whole show devoted to the guys who slide around on knee pads when you least expect it, sparks flying everywhere, called Slider Alley. It's pretty mesmerizing to watch how far these monsters can slide over and under each other.

I’ve been to most of the Halloween maze events in SoCal and I have to say that for the price, Dark Harbor is pretty worth it, but get there early to hit up as many mazes as you can because it gets packed really quickly. If you want to splurge, they do have an upgrade that gets you to the front of the lines.

Dark Harbor is going on through November 1, 2017. If you are looking for a deal, Goldstar is selling tickets from $9 to $19.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Har Mar Superstar @ The Fonda Theatre

Har Mar Superstar opened for Afghan Whigs last Friday at, what I still think of as, The Henry Fonda.  For me, Har Mar was the main act.  He knew how to curate his setlist for the audience (mostly AW fans.  I kind of hope they're called Whigs).  His set was more toned down compared to  last year when I saw him at The Echoplex where he headlined.  That time, he played fan favorites, told stories, crowd surfed, danced to his heart's content, and even had Macaulay Culkin dancing on stage!  This time, he leaned more heavily on his more recent albums Best Summer Ever and Bye Bye 17, which showcased his amazing voice.  He started the night with the moody title track off his new EP Personal Boy and later debuted a new song, which sounded impressively polished even though he came up with it only a few days earlier.  His set ended all too quickly with him belting out Lady You Shot Me, but he definitely gained some new fans as I overheard people praising his vocals.

He's got a few more tour dates with Afghan Whigs this month.
  • Oct 21 - Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre
  • Oct 22 - Kansas City, MO - Record Bar
  • Oct 24 - Austin, TX - Moahawk
  • Oct 25 - Dallas, TX - Trees
  • Oct 26 - Houston, TX - Heights Theater
  • Oct 27 - Witchita, KS - Barleycorn (headlining)

More Photos:

Monday, October 16, 2017

Amazon Adventure 3D, Hurricane 3D @ CA Science Center's IMAX Theater

Since Wing is much more of a cinema technophile than I am, she'll be taking the reins on this blog post.

The newly installed IMAX with Laser projection system is a fantastic addition to the California Science Center. It has finally resolved one of the common issues that plague many regular 3D movies - the dullness of images viewed in stereoscopic 3D. With the new laser projection, the 3D images are bright and crisp; the colors are vibrant. On top of that, the 12-channel surround sound system provides a great audio boost to go with the beautiful visuals - the perfect combination to experience the many nature-themed films that the Science Center has to offer.

Amazon Adventure 3D follows the journey of naturalist Henry W. Bates into the Amazon. It was breathtaking, seeing the rainforest brought to life on the gigantic 7-story high screen.

Hurricane 3D, a documentary that tracks the beginning and end of an Atlantic hurricane, showcases both the beauty and destructive power of nature. The 12-channel surround sound especially shined during this film. It was so immersive I felt like I was in the eye of the storm.


  • To get the best IMAX experience, definitely try to pick seats that are in the upper center rows. As with most 3D projections, the images on the edge of the screen tend to be harder on the eyes when one is seated on the side. The effect is even more pronounced when viewing 3D on an IMAX scale screen.
  • If you haven't yet, definitely swing by the space shuttle Endeavour special exhibit. For the low admission price of $2, you get to witness one of the greatest human achievements on display.

** Photos provided by Boutique Publicity

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

FYF Fest 2017

This year FYF added an extra day and some new stages to their weekend festival, while injecting some Gen X nostalgia with acts like Missy Elliot, Bjork, and NIN.  Here are some highlights for this music-packed 3-day festival.
Disclaimer:  I skipped last year's FYF, so some things that might be new to me might not be new to others.
  • The entrance was moved farther down the street from the Metro stop (at the end of the block instead of halfway).  The longer walk led the herd of people down the block, split them up into smaller, more manageable lines, then moved them into a winding, Disneyland style line.  Yes, this was a lot more walking, but it definitely prevented people from having to standing around too long.  Also, greatly appreciated Vitamin Water giving out much needed hydration on the way to the entrance.    
  • One of the best things to me about FYF's Exposition Park location is still the abundance of real bathrooms with running water.  They definitely upped the convenience by opening up more this year.
  • Beach Fossils, with their lo-fi, surf style music, was the perfect first act for us to catch. 
  • BadBadNotGood sounded even better at the Trees Stage than they did a few years back in the Sports Arena.  
  • Bj√∂rk was amazing live.  She came out in the usual crazy outfit and even had a string orchestra on stage!  Her voice sounded great and she had so much energy.  Hard to believe she's already in her 50s. Unfortunately, the video screens didn't seem to be working correctly as some of the coloring was definitely off.  This was remedied by the time Missy Elliot got on stage.  I heard there were even fireworks!  
  • Regretfully, we left early to go check out Survive, which was probably one of the most boring live sets I have ever seen.  Don't get me wrong, they sounded great, but it was absolutely pointless for us to be standing up front, where some of them hardly cracked a smile, slightly tapped their toes, and barely bobbed their heads.  I actually had to stifle a few yawns during the set.  There were some awkward moments where even they seemed surprised by the loud hissing of the fog machines on stage.  
  • Missy Elliot's set was an impressive retrospective of all her greatest hits. So much of her music still sounds innovative today.  I loved seeing all the behind-the-music interviews on the big screen.  I don't think anyone today even comes close to her groundbreaking music videos.  She was full of energy the entire show.  
  • I liked the idea of Flying Lotus' 3D video performance, but FYF probably could've executed it better.  He should've been at the Main stage where it's much easier to see the screen and more accommodating for larger crowds.  The 3D glasses mailed with the festival passes were an advertisement for his show, so of course the Lawn was completely jammed.  It was cool when I could actually see the screen and there was a short break in the constant stream of people walking in front of me.  He sounded great live though and I got a kick out of the Twin Peaks cover.  
  • The Drums sounded great live with their surf pop.  
  • The Faint always know how to rock a music festival and cater to their fans.  
  • Since we stayed for the entire set for The Faint, we missed the beginning of Frank Ocean's show, but apparently we didn't miss much because it turned out he was late.  Now maybe it's because I'm not a Frank Ocean super fan or maybe the set was out of context because we started in late, but I just didn't get it at all.  First, props to him for making a joke about how messed up it would be if he didn't show up to FYF the second time in a row. Second, I thought the cinematography was terrible.  The display menu was turned on and covering up the screen several times. Sometimes we would just see feet, or just the floor.  The camera was often shaky and going every which way.  We joked about how the camera guy was going to get fired or maybe that he was Ocean's 10-year-old nephew.  And we thought that was Brad Pitt on stage (we were watching from a distance), but why was he on the phone?  I kept thinking he was on a call or maybe letting someone on the phone hear the music.  I later learned that they have some sort of bromance.  Near the end of the set list, I found myself getting bored by the song choices.  When I checked reviews online the next day, I expected scathing reviews.  I was shocked that everyone thought his set was mind blowingly amazing.  It turned out that Spike Jonze had been filming the entire performance. What?!  I wonder if knowing a famous director was shooting had any influence on the reviews.
  • What a huge miscalculation on FYF's part in putting Iggy Pop at the Lawn.  Seemed disrespectful to put such a big name on a stage smaller than the Main Stage.  People were cramming onto the lawn trying to get him in their sights.  We knew we couldn't get in there so we just stood on a nearby bench.  At 70, he was rocking out harder than some of the younger acts at the festival and his voice still sounded great.  No old man voice to be found.  
  • So I usually find Run the Jewels' songs annoying, but they were actually pretty good live.  Mind changed, but only live.  
  • Nine Inch Nails left me awash in a wave of 90s nostalgia.  They've never looked so normal or sounded so good.  

More Reviews: