That’s right lovely listeners, you wouldn’t believe it but many UCSC students and KZSC DJs have begun their last year as undergraduate banana slugs. Commonly, I like to write a blog about a new fun event or cool artist that makes me smile, however this time I’d like to take a more personal approach. Before I begin, let me set the scene for you *ahem*

It is a gorgeous Santa Cruz early morning (2 am to be exact) in UCSC’s upper campus. The Violent Femmes scream soothing words of wisdom from ‘Add It Up’ into my distracted mind as my feet scrap methodically across the redwood underbrush. A cigarette dangles loosely from my fingertips, lit only minutes ago from the pilot light of my stove as I ran quickly to the woods for clarity. What has led this commonly sound of mind young heroine to stumble off in such a dramatic fashion? Did a spurned partner say something cruel? Did a close friend decided to move half way across the country? Did the drive thru clerk at McDonalds give her diet coke instead of regular? No dear friends, she was instead struck painfully by the first pangs of graduation anxiety (G.A.). She had her brand spakin’ new future laid out and glowing. It had always held the promise of reward for the past +4 years of academics and odd jobs she had happily endured, but one phone call had dashed it all to dim fluorescent scraps. She was told her dream needed to be, in a sense, ‘demoted’ in order to compensate for her academic achievements. I will not put solid numbers on the young lady’s accomplishments but let’s just say she has enough confidence, drive, and worldly experience to more than makeup for her ‘drawbacks.’ Normally this saucy minx would have told the bearer of bad news to go to hell (in nice terms of course), but the trouble is the information was personally delivered by the head of admissions themselves. What is this educated fledgling now supposed to do? Probably light another cigarette, walk another mile, listen to another song, admire the coming of a new day and smile in spite of everything. I know this sounds cliché, but life needs to suck sometimes for you to appreciate what you have. Sure, my old plans have been scattered to the wind yet a million more pieces of paper are awaiting my ink and my devotion.  What will I do? What will I write? What will I become?  You know what? It’s okay that I don’t know. With the sun slowly bathing my vision with soft pinks and gold, I if find it hard to recall the anxiety that sent me here. Instead, I’ll make a toast to the world and all those within it, ‘It’s okay to be lost, it’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to be unsure, and it’s okay to fail! As long as the simple beauty in this world can cause a smile to play upon your lips, you are exactly where you need to be!’  This may be my last year, but I am certainly going to make it count!

Reggae On The River Review

August got off to a sizzling start as the Mateel Community Center hosted the 29th annual Reggae on the River Festival in Humboldt County. With all the lawsuits settled, Reggae on the River finally returned to its original location, French’s Camp on the Eel River. Young and old, families and friends gathered to camp, cool off and enjoy 4 days of hot reggae music including Julian Marley with The Uprising Band, Morgan Heritage, Tarrus Riley & Blak Soil, Anthony B, J Boog & Hot Rain with Aaradhna, Natural Black and others. Check out the Reggae on the River 2013 Photos below. If a picture is worth a thousand words and you’re a reggae fan, this is one summer festival you don’t want to miss. Hope to see you at the 30th Annual Reggae on the River next year!

KZSC presents… The UC Radio Network Conference

KZSC recently hosted the UC Radio Network (UCRN) student broadcaster conference, a mostly harmonic convergence of California college radio stations including KDVS/UC Davis, KALX/UC Berkeley,  KCSB/UC Santa Barbara, Bobcat Radio/UC Merced and others. We’ve never seen so many Warby Parker glasses and Yo La Tengo shirts in one place before. When you get a bunch of radio goobers together, you can only expect them to goober together. Special thanks to guest speakers medial law attorney Michael Couzens, filmmaker Eric Christensen (“The Cover Story: Album Art“), Eva Papp of Spinitron and UCSC Catering. Take a peek at some of the folks who attended and their opinions on how UCRN benefits college radio – which benefits you as a listener. Make sure to watch it in HD (no special glasses needed).

Henry Henry

In honor of  punk rock icon Henry Rollins, I will now pile on 16 tons of Henry knowledge. Germanic in origin and meaning, “Henry” is well used as a first or last name. Dozens of royals in multiple countries have been named Henry plus the Roman numerals. Thanks to Joseph Henry, science uses “the henry” (symbol H) as i, H/m (henry per meter). Many musicians have sung about the legend of John Henry and his steel-drivin’ ways. The King of Pirates, Henry Every, boosted loot on the high seas and disappeared into the mists of time with no known date of death. Major General, Henry Shrapnel,  invented a hollowed-out cannon ball filled with shot, hence the word shrapnel. St. Henry is the patron saint of the childless; his feast day is July 13th. Henry Miller’s 1934 “Tropic of Cancer” was deemed obscene until 1964 when the Supreme Court ruled that the erotic novel was art.  The first foreign-born kabuki actor in Japan and the only foreign-born rakugoka (story teller), was an Australian by the name of Henry James Black. And finally, as I finish typing this blog, local printmaker Bridgette Henry has put together a show called “Cemetery Polka” featuring 16 artists presenting works inspired by the music of Tom Waits. It’s on display at the Felix Kulpa Gallery in downtown Santa Cruz until February 24th.

CMJ 2012

In mid-October I had the privilege of attending the CMJ conference/concert marathon in New York City. There are over 1000 artists that play within 5 days, as well as conferences in the morning/early afternoon ranging from DJ tips to the ins and outs of the biz. I managed to stay on California time during my weeklong work-cation fun-tastrophe, and couldn’t have done it without my old friends and new ones too. I was fortunate enough to stay with my friend Angelie in the West Village, special thanks to her and her roommate for allowing me to intrude on their exotic New York lifestyle. Also thanks to Mateo and Peter for keeping my company because our Station Manager and Rock Directors couldn’t make it, so we put their passes to good use. Although I wasn’t 21 I managed to see some cool shows with interesting new artists as well as catch up with old friends who were around in the city. My top artists of the week were the Robert Glasper Experiment which played the first night (Tuesday). Even though they started their set an hour and a half late and I hurt my foot and subsequently couldn’t walk for the next few days, I think it was worth it. The Experiment as it is called now is a hip hop band full of once (and still) jazz musicians who decided to take their artistry to the next step. Robert Glasper is still a Blue Note artist, despite his genre change. What I find interesting is the tendency for artists to mesh genres once they get a big time contract. Glasper is no exception. He brings in the who’s who of hip hop on his latest release “Black Radio,” including Mos Def (Yasiin Bey), Erikah Badu, Lupe Fiasco, and so many more. You should check out this record, it’s worth your time, although it may get repetitive after you play it a few hundred times every day.

Besides Glasper, after my foot healed and I could walk again I managed to catch my next favorite Tokimonsta, an important player in the LA electronic beat scene. Think Flying Lotus in the body of a hip asian woman. Her music was noticeably more mature than other artists from her label, which made her really stand out to me. Her music is easy to experience, and spectacularly put together. She was doing live material not just prerecorded CDs like her colleagues.

These were my top two artists of the week, but others include Hundred Waters, The Neighbourhood, and many many more.

All in all this week was a week of discovery of new music, and also how much it costs to not walk in New York City. Being surrounded by my new friend(s) from WMVL, a pirate station from Manhattanville College was nice, special thanks to Elyse Rousseu for being an awesome person along with Candice, Mitchell, and all the other WMVL folks. Truly good vibes all around. It was a blast seeing cool music, and hanging with old friends too, this is one for the books. But it’s also good to be back in the Cruz finally caught up on school work. Would I go again? Yes, but hopefully I won’t have to do as much homework.

Outside Lands Fest

It’s easy to forget how good we have it here in Santa Cruz. There’s the obvious: beaches, redwoods, meadows, radio (duh)… but there’s also our prime location. Santa Cruz is exactly 73.4 miles from San Francisco, home to the 2012 Outside Lands Music Festival.

This weekend, August 10-12, Golden Gate Park will undoubtedly experience an explosion of amazing artists, and I don’t just mean the legendary musicians who will be occupying the stages. Once again, OSL will be collaborating with Juxtapoz Magazine to provide attendees with free (!!!!) mags, live artist performances and even installations which will be built throughout the weekend.

I’m especially stoked to see work by the quirky, adorable Australian duo Dabs MylaAnother pair-up will occur on Sunday: Marcus LaFarga, an artist with a clean, contemporary aesthetic and a knack for reinventing classic typographic images, will execute a live painting with Brett Armory, whose haunting portraits (like the one seen below) capture the isolation of individuals in misty, smudged creations.

Artists will also include graffiti writers Curve (seen below) and Pastime, tattoo artists from Golden West Tattoo, illustrator N8 Van Dyke, and many more.