I get tired of things real fast. I was sick of where I lived & tired of staring at a screen all day working on stuff that didn’t mean much to me. I always wanted to explore the Pacific Northwest and knew my friend, Jared Wennberg, would be willing join the journey. So I sold my car, bought a truck, we packed my bags and decided to head as far as we could.

It took us about 2 days to organize our camera gear, pack the truck, and run last minute errands. Our first stop was at our friend Tommy’s house in San Louis Obisbo. We only had time to stay for a night and went off to Santa Cruz to stay the night with our friend Paul at the “commune”. He cooked us TWO! meals and showed us around the spots.

I had always wanted to take the PCH up the coast so we drove the windy hilly roads from Los Angeles to San Francisco stopping several times to appreciate our coastline that I forget is there somtimes.

We spent our time in San Francisco visiting a lot of familiar faces and riding our oversized mountain bikes up and down the hills that define the city.

We filled our nalgenes’ with Brass Monkey’s and our lil red’s with whiskey and had one of the best nights I’ve had in the city, just getting lost and exploring the city on our bikes.

We spent the night with our friend Trevor in the off Noriega. Jared made some coffee and breakfast on the back of my truck and we hit the road north. Our camping equipment had still been untouched  so we decided it was time to use it once we hit Shasta Lake. After an hour and a half of scrambling around looking for a decent camping spot we stumbled upon a spot on the lake with a broken down boat ramp and a bridge that ran across the skyline.

We crossed under the bridge and passed a couple of sketchy spots that you couldn’t cross without the help of the sun to get to our campground which sat overlooking the lake. It was perfect.

We set up camp and ate some chicken burritos as we watched the sunset turn into the stars.

The stars at Shasta Lake were nothing like I’ve ever seen before. We sat underneath the bridge wrapped up in our jackets, laying on the rocks and watched the stars dance around the bridge to the sound of our iPhones.


Phyliss Arnold and Frank Sardisco Scholarship Show

Last week I had my first art show at Moorpark College. It was with a few friends, Justin Klegka, Tavia Jones, Lee Corket and a few others. It turned out great. I took an urban approach and I’m happy with how it turned out.
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Tavia Jones, first place n' shit. Good luck at Long Beach next year!

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The Reflectacles Feature

It’s the beginning of my junior year of college. I’m seated three desks back in the far right row of Room 113, Cypress Hall, better known as the music building of California State University Northridge. Around me are about ten other Music Industry Studies majors, and on this day our goal is to find the “artist of the year” for our year round project, in which we find an artist to promote for the endurance of two complete semesters, in hopes of getting this artist’s foot in the door of the Music Industry. This afternoon we’re looking for the temporary top four, and these four artists will then play a showcase in order to make our final and lasting decision. In the midst of roughly sixty applicants, whom Ryan O’Grady (A&R committee chair of the project) has graciously filtered down to forty, is a disc by a band called The Reflectacles.

 It comes with a brief biography, which I don’t care to read, along with some intriguing pictures showcasing their blatant fashion. Ryan pops the demo into the classroom’s unreliable CD player. The room sits like an isolated cavern, whose only purpose for those few minutes are to give this band the attention they would have hoped, and the listeners are silent, paying their concentration to detail. “I’m just a ghost” sings Gerry Hirshfield, one of two lead singers of The Reflectacles. I can hear by the end of the first song that this band has focus and a real understanding of the folk rock genre. The production of the demo is good, far better than the majority of the applicants, but this band already has a negative vote in my book. By this point I’ve already heard four artists who I enjoy far more, and so I put my head down, patiently waiting to hear the next artist.

Blame it on my own close mindedness, or a misguidance due to the other thirty nine artists I heard those few days, but my peers felt drastically different than I.  It was without much argument aside from my own behalf that they were chosen to perform in our showcase, amongst the other top three contestants. A few weeks later I sat backstage of the Recital Hall, overhearing their performance. They were fantastic, and upsettingly to me, the best performer of the night. While the songs still weren’t my favorite of everything we had considered, I began to recall my own mistake, as The Reflectacles had a strong and confident stage presence, with musicianship that was professional but not overbearing.  It would be a matter of days before they were contacted to be our artist of the year.

Fast-forward several months later, and our class sits with very close to a finished product in our hands. We’re weeks away from sending out a four song E.P. to important people in the Music Industry, most of who are music supervisors. The effort contains tracks all written and recorded by the band, mixed and mastered by our own focused students. Produced by Eric Thorngren, better known as E.T., who has produced acts such as Talking Heads and Violent Femmes, the recording has what it takes to compete with the bigger names of their genre. Most importantly to me, I find their more recent work to be such a gigantic leap in the right direction, as they’ve now in my eyes hit the mark on what they’ve intended to do. The truth of the matter is that the band admits their goals are simple: they set out to create “good old-fashioned, harmony-centered rock n’ roll music.” The songs are honest, and tell stories with creative imagery, using dynamics to their greatest advantage. “My soul”, which is my favorite track of the four, brags a flugelhorn solo sure to send chills down any spine who holds a head at its end more open than my own. Each song has it’s own contrast to the others, and none of them are capable of slipping through the cracks of a reasonable attention span.

What are “reflectacles” in a more general sense? Goggles? Mirrors? Something that reflects? Truth be told, the barefooted friends named their band after a word they made up to describe “cardboard glasses that diffract light into rainbows”, and I don’t find any other explanation necessary. The first fifty fans at each and every Reflectacles concert is entitled to their own pair of “reflectacles” to add to their already engaging performance. The Reflectacles’ individual members “in order of most to least likely to defeat a grizzly bear in a fight”, says Gerry, the band’s guitarist and vocalist, are “Devin (a beast, himself), Gerry (black belt in karate), Logan (Eagle Scout), Chris (sheer weight advantage), Micah (an even match), and Lincoln (financially indebted to grizzly bears)”. I think it’s safe to say that the group holds a sense of humor. They met “under a vague combination of hitchhiking, college, and grizzly bear wrestling tournaments”, and I wouldn’t doubt them for it. Influences of The Reflectacles include Bob Dylan, Baruch Spinoza, Tom Waits, and The Kinks. I’d say there’s enough here to prove the group is unique, and their music only supports this image.

Had I seen the potential of this band sitting at that desk months ago, I would have more than voted for them, but shown them to every person I know within my line of musical interest. This summer, the band will be playing several shows in the Los Angeles area, in addition to a performance in Maui. They’ll also be opening for Willie Nelson, who’s son plays drums for The Reflectacles, at his 4th of July Extravaganza in Austin, Texas. Future plans also include the release of a full-length concept album, which the group has already begun to work on. I can only hope that The Reflectacles’ music earns the attention and respect it deserves, and I’m eager to see their awaiting accomplishments. If the music doesn’t prove to be your cup of tea on the first listen, listen again and your award awaits you, as did mine.

Myspace: www.myspace.com/thereflectacles

For fans of: folk rock in general, Bob Dylan, Wilco, The Band

All photos by Heihachiro Fukuda

River Grove Tattoo

I believe the most important relationships to have are those friendships that have lasted since childhood. Last week my 5 closest friends and I all went over to Nate Siggard’s to get tattoo while he tried out his new coil machine. River Grove is the street we all grew up and at one point lived on and hang out on almost everyday.

Nate Siggard testing out his new coil machine.

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Moorpark College Scholarship Art Show Preview

I just finished up hanging stuff for the first art show I’ve been apart of and I’m super excited. Its a scholarship show at Moorpark College and runs for a couple weeks. Two of my classmates, Justin Klegka and Tavia Jones also have work up, which makes it even more awesome to be in. Here’s a small preview of the art that will be up.

Justin Klegka

I have a few photographs up as well as paintings and shoes

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Joshua Petker Art Show

Wow. I’ve done some serious neglecting to the blog. I’m hoping to keep it constant. Last week some homies and I hit up Joshua Petker’s solo show, Between Butterflies. Check out the show at the Corey Helford gallery.

One of my favorites of the night. I couldnt get a straight on shot.

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