It all started when about a month ago, I found out that my favorite dj duo, The Crystal Method, were coming to play a few shows in Alaska. I went to a lot of raves and EDM parties when I lived in Virginia, and I was a bit blown away when I got to Alaska and figured out the scene here consisted of minors and heady (aka egotistical) promoters. So, you can understand, when I found out some internationally know djs, like TCM, were coming here, I was *stoked*. More like ecstatic, but we won't go there. Ok, I ran around my house like a crazy woman when I found out screaming "The Crystal Method's coming. The Crystal Method's coming..."
Come to find out, they were playing both of their Anchorage shows on the same weekend as Trapper Creek Bluegrass, which is a huge festival-slash-camping party-slash-hoop massive. All of our friends go and we actually took part in setting up the festival grounds this year; my boyfriend helped build the fire stage and I, along with some other fine festival ladies, painted signs (like "Leave no trace, clean your space" and "Pick up your trash, please.") and also did some trash pick-up from stragglers that had been using the property since the last festival.
Anywho, so it was pretty much impossible for me to pick going to TCBG on both Friday and Saturday night and NOT go to TCM. I mean, I couldn't miss TCM's debut in Alaska; it just wouldn't be right. I also got a bit flustered because, well, the show was three weeks away and I had *just* found out about it? I mean, where were the promoters? I hadn't heard one radio announcement (though, I don't really ever listen to the radio, but boyfriend does), nor had I seen one flyer for the event here in the Valley. I figured, with it being Trapper Creek weekend and pretty much limited promoting, how was the turn-out going to be? Lots of people had to come to show their support or the guys would never come back to Alaska. To me, all of this meant, not a good turnout=no good djs EVER coming back up here. And I couldn't possibly let that happen!!
Meanwhile, I had this stupendous idea to email the road manager for TCM and just nonchalantly mention that I was an LED hooper and that I would love the chance to hoop onstage for their first Anchorage show. I thought "what the heck? why not try?" So everyday for the first few days after sending the email, I checked my email on my phone like 10 times a day. I know, I know; a bit excessive, but come on... I was excited!! Then, after I figured that maybe I wasn't going to get a response (I know they are busy!!), the lovely Jen emailed me back!! YES!! And then, the opportunity of a life time manifested. She got me in contact with Janine, Ken's wife, who is also a hooper. Janine is usually the one who provides the awesome hoopness for their shows, but she was willing to share the stage with me, letting me LED hoop with them.
I was forever grateful. I felt like it was really nice for her to allow me to hoop onstage. I mean, she could have been pretty exclusive about it and just said no. I know there would have been some people out there like that, but she is an amazing lady and was super nice to me. We kept in contact until the show, color coordinating our outfits and talking about the game plan.
The weekend before the show, I went down to Anchorage to the MTS Gallery Goodbye Bash to watch my friends' band play, The Church of Flaming Funk, and decided to go to Chilkoot Charlie's where the TCM show was going to be and scope out the location. I had never been there, as I hardly ever go to Anchorage and usually, if I do, I am going to the Airport. I wanted to see what the stage was going to be like, and pretty much prepare myself for how much, or lack of, stage I was going to have. It seemed pretty decent, but I couldn't really tell as there was a band set-up- ie drums, guitar stands, microphones, ect.- already on the stage. Since I was there, I thought I would talk to the promoter of the show and see if I could get some flyers to post around the Valley since I literally had seen zero out there. He was on his way to work, so I decided to be naughty and have nice, greasy, bar food veggie Philly while I was waiting. Haha... it was reeeeally good by the way. He never showed up and I bugged the poor girl at the ID booth so much that she got the GM to come down and talk to me. He brought me a HUGE stack of flyers and postcards. For whatever reason, he seemed impressed that I wanted to post flyers for free. I told him that truthfully, I wanted to see an over 21 EDM scene flourish here and the only way that was going to happen would be to have big name djs like The Crystal Method come up here and that I was willing to do pretty much anything to help make that happen. I told him I would be willing to post flyers here in the Valley for any upcoming EDM shows since he didn't have anyone out here promoting. So, with flyers in hand, I went off to the Art Show to practice my LED hoop.
The next week was composed of practicing, finishing constructing my costume, and spreading flyers wherever I happened to be going that day. Even though the show was within the week, I figured even if only one person saw a flyer I posted and went to the show who otherwise wouldn't have known about it, I did my part. Plus, it wasn't that hard to post some flyers. I even recruited a guy at my work to post some flyers out in Knik where he lives and I never make it out to.
Finally, the weekend that I had been waiting for arrived. I had Friday off, so I had the whole day to mentally and physically prepare myself. I found out the night before that Janine's plane was going to be coming in late, so I was going to be hooping solo for a majority of the show. That was cool and all, but I was really excited that I was going to get to hoop with her. Butterflies swarmed in my stomach as the day passed by. I couldn't figure out a darn thing to do with my hair. My friend has given me some feather extensions a few days before and I was trying to find a way to accent them and not hide them. I wanted someone to french braid my hair, but couldn't find anyone that wasn't busy to do it and I didn't want to pay a salon to do it. So, I taught myself how to french braid in a little over an hour. I always wanted to learn; god bless YouTube haha.
I unveiled my outfit to my boyfriend as a first time previewer and he said that he liked it. I was a bit nervous because I literally based my whole outfit on a pair of legwarmers I purchased online that I had never actually seen before. But it all came together nicely and I was proud of myself for constructing it all out of some ordinary clothes making it into some awesome raver worthy gear.
Filled with anticipation, we arrived at the club with our VIP status (ie, double wrist bands haha) and headed into the bar to wait for the arrival of The Crystal Method. The promo said he was going to go pick them up around 11 and then he would come find us. In the meantime, we drank a beer and listened to the opening dj, DJ Luxor who was, ironically, also from Vegas. After looking at the current stage set-up, I got a little nervous as there was hardly any room to really hoop onstage. There was literally about four square feet of space at both sides of the dj booth and the ceiling height was about 7 feet. So much for any off the body stuff.
We kept seeing them bring all kinds of "dj worthy" goodies into a room and knew that they had to be going there. Which, later, I would find out consisted of organic fruits, veggies, vodka, and juices then a mixture of meatless cheeses and "meats." All of a sudden I saw Ken walking around, heading our way. I went up to him and said hello and somehow, he knew that I must have been the hooper girl (was it my unfashionably Alaskan raver wear?). He motioned us to follow him and ended up in the "VIP Room" formerly known as Koot's office. We- myself, boyfriend, and Ken- joked around about how that small office room was the Alaskan style VIP. The room was literally like 10x15. Probably the size of some of the bathrooms of the VIP rooms I am sure they have graced before. But it was all in good humor as we had a good laugh about it.
Scott and their roadie manager Josh, showed up not too long after and we all proceeded to discuss such things as Alaska, what to do, good food, and the like. During our chat, here rolls in the promo and saw us hanging out with the guys. He said he had looked all over for us and here we were. Guess I could go VIP by myself. Anyways, we also talked about how we used to go see them when we lived in Virginia, and we brought up some old memories for them of some pretty crazy times. The first place we saw them was at Nation Nightclub (RIP) in DC during the closing parties. They spun one hell of a set, I'll tell you, and ultimately got me hooked on their music ever since. Ken told us about how the first time the played there was back in '96- 10 years before that night we saw them in June/July of 2006. It was kind of, no *really* awesome, to just hear some of their stories and how Ken said that Nation was one of the craziest places they had ever played. That was something coming from guys that had played all over the world.
Before they went on, we talked about where they wanted me and what time I was to go on: after the first hour of their set, I was to hit the stage. Ahh... talk about anticipation. Ken also confirmed that Janine's flight wasn't suppose to come in until around 1:30am so that she would probably miss most of the show.
After an hour of jamming out to some pounding beats (and boy does Koots have a surprisingly bumping bass system), I grabbed my hoop out of coat check and made my way to the front. I took a deep breath and heading across the stage, turning on my LED as I got to my designated hoop corner. Looking out at the crowd, I let the music take me away and rocked out, an ear to ear grin overtaking my face. People up front found out quickly that they couldn't come too close, accidentally knocking a drink out of one guy's hand. I felt bad at first, but that quickly changed when he gave me a double thumbs up.
It was a complete rush to feel the energy of the crowd, the bass pumping through me as the hoop twirled around me with swirling colors. Unfortunately, hitting the wall and surrounding lights informed me of the certain lineup of tricks that would only be able to be used.
Pretty quickly, space awareness was installed and I hit things around me less and less. Every once in a while I would be really into the music, falling into a sort of trance, forgetting how little space I had, and the hoop ending up smashing into something or someone. Everyone was pretty chill about it though.
By the time Janine got their, it was the last hour of their set. I started off on the left side of the stage, but moved to the right side, so that she could have a little bit more room. The crowd really started to go wild when we both got up there and the guys put down some serious jams. It was definitely a spirit lifter, being able to be dance to some good, live EDM. That was something that I definitely missed since moving to Alaska.
At the end of the set, Ken led me and Janine off the stage towards the "VIP Room" and on the way, a guy stopped Janine and I, asking for our autographs. Now, I had never had anyone asked me for my autograph, but without even a small pause, I took his pen and signed away. Dare I say, I felt like a famous person or something. Back at the room, the guys and us talked again for quite some time. We found out they are making a new album which should come out by the end of the year. They have some songs that are going to be featured in a new movie, which they could not release any information about. We got some pics with them and Ken and Scott autographed a poster for me. In addition, they told us they would for sure be coming back to Alaska- and hopefully soon!!
All in all, looking back, it is almost like I was watching someone else's life during this whole experience. Like, I was present and all, but it was just so unbelievable and almost fantasy like, that to this day it seems unreal; like it didn't even happen or was all some part of a lucid dream. I will, however, *never* forget that night. NEVER. The energies and the pictures will always be an everlasting memory. I hope to keep in touch with Janine and maybe we will meet again sometime in the future. I can't wait for Ken and Scott to come back to Alaska. Hopefully it just won't be Trapper Creek weekend, again, and I can attend all the shows.
Here are a link to my pictures on photobucket. I uploaded all of them, good and bad. Unfortunately, we don't have a great camera, but I think boyfriend did a miraculous job working with what he had. Most of my videos are up on vimeo and youtube. Check them out and let me know what you think!!
I want to leave you with a bit of a moral here. Ever since I was a child, I always felt like no matter what, I could never exceed expectations. It wasn't purposeful, as in my family never meant to impose this on me, it was definitely accidental. But, I always felt like I needed to be better, do better, do more, ect. to get the love and attention that I needed/wanted. Why this manifested in me when the actions of those people were genuinely not in that direction, I do not know. There are a lot of things about myself, internal mysteries, that I have yet to uncover the story behind. The point here is my yoga and my hoop practices have brought so much growth, opportunities, and positivity to my life, that it makes me even more eager to share what I have experienced. Everyone should have the opportunity to live their dreams and participate in their most desired experiences. The fact that the hoop and even yoga mat can become catalysts in exploring and ultimately manifesting these dreams, well, that is just amazing and what soul fulfilling activities are all about.
So believe in yourself, believe in your dreams. The Universe will eventually provide, it just comes when you are ready. I know that, even if my performances with TCM and my friends of The Church of Funk do not lead to anything, in the future these experiences will benefit me, somehow. I just know it. It will help me feel comfortable and confident in all that I do, and maybe, lead me to other performance opportunities. If nothing else, I have some amazing memories to hold on to. And *that* is what is important.