Life of a Unicorn

OITNB Season 3: A failure or a force to be reckoned with?

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By Koleana M.
Netflix released its third season of Orange Is The New Black last month, and it has been widely panned in the internet world. Rotten tomato released OITNB’s audience rating and the results were an interesting 74%. That’s only 3.8 out of 5 stars for Orange is the New Black: Season 3. Many critics claim the season is anti-climactic, flashbacks are poorly integrated, and the drama is lukewarm in comparison to the previous 2 seasons. While you’re free to compile your own feelings about how this season stacks up to the first two, I’d like to highlight the ways in which the third season converges dramatization with exploitation of society’s parochialism towards things that are different, while still maintaining its pervasive nudity; which is exactly why everyone needs to watch and learn.
Let’s take a looksie at some of the societal issues this season brings to light and how the characters work through them.

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Gender Fluidity:

In Ruby Rose’s first scene on the show as an inmate, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schiling) asks her if she considers herself as belonging to the category of ‘women’ and Rose responds with “Yes, but only because my options are limited”. Rose gracefully and directly exploits Piper’s (and the world’s) need for placing people in gender boxes and only allowing a human to either be a man or a woman. Why do we feel this need to categorize? Gender can be fluid and identification can fall somewhere on a spectrum. Just as we have progressed into considering sexuality as a spectrum as well, it’s clear that we should open up to the concept of gender fluidity too. And it worked out wonderfully that the character who spearheaded the notion of gender fluidity in this show is a rather androgynous and extremely gorgeous Australian model named Ruby Rose. See her self written and directed music video addressing and showing us that she is the quintessential example of gender fluidity here.

This season we also learn more about our favorite butch Big Boo, who also struggled with her parents’ and society’s need to impose their expectations of appropriate gender representation on her, and she fought with this all of her life. She’s a woman who loves women and also loves dressing like a man. Big Boo doesn’t fit into heteronormative stereotypes that the world tries to place upon her. Why can’t we just accept her for who she is!?
Boo

Transphobia:

Currently battling Caitlyn Jenner for the number 1 spot as America’s favorite Trans woman is Laverne Cox, who plays the character of Sophia in OTINB. Sophia is an inmate and the prison hair stylist- a job that perfectly embodies her interests in hair, make-up, and all things feminine. Her fellow inmates love her, her services, and coming into her prison salon for weekly gossip and beautifying. Until a little tiff with one Latina inmate causes a riot against Sophia and she is attacked in her salon by 3 inmates, cursed and beaten for being a man pretending to be a woman. In speaking with her prison counselor about that hate attack, Cox reveals that although she has undergone gender readjustment surgeries and taken every step she can towards becoming a woman, she’ll never really feel accepted in the eyes of people who don’t want to even try to understand transgender. Preach honey. We may never truly understand a struggle that’s not our own, but the least we can do is try to be accepting and supportive.

Cox

Sexual violence:

In this season, the extremely controversial Tiffany Doggett, or ‘Pennsatucky’ (played by Taryn Manning) evolves from being a crazy meth head hick to a character whom becomes humanized as we learn she has suffered and continues to suffer through mental manipulation and sexual abuse. Her mother didn’t raise her to understand that she has dignity and a voice in sexual encounters, but rather told her to ‘keep her mouth shut and let him do whatever he wants to do’ to her. With this mindset, she grew into a teen prostitute, drug addict, and ultimately ended up in prison, where she continues to suffer sexual abuse from correctional officer Coates. He repeatedly forces his sexual will upon her and then coddles her with donuts and ice cream leading her to think that these transactions are acceptable. The trauma Doggett endures makes it evident that parents need to have clear and in depth conversations with there children to help them understand their bodies, sex, love, healthy relationships and dignity.

Doggett

White dominance in the work force:

Also in this season, Piper begins a dirty panty smuggling business and employs a band of inmates to provide the goods for sale. Through this business venture, she exploits her workers in many ways and fights very hard to keep her slavedriver position. The moment Flaca conspires against Piper because she wants fair pay, she fires the Latina panty girl and blackmails her to keep her mouth shut. Piper gives her employees an unreasonably low pay, keeping the profits for herself and her family. When Ruby Rose succeeds in stealing the profits- Piper plants contraband all over Rose’s cube and drops an anonymous tip to the correctional officers that they need to search Rose’s bunk. Upon discovery of the planted makeshift weapons, lighters and drugs, Rose is immediately hauled off to maximum security prison just 2 days before she was supposed to be released. Piper’s descent into madness as a mob boss of a panty business accurately depicts white dominance. Piper has been challenged to understand her white privilege throughout the entire series, and now that she is in a position of economical power, she fails to show us that she has learned anything of value. Instead of mitigating white supremacist conventionalisms, she makes it clear that she comes from a historically dominant ethic group and is incapable of leading with a more modest and balanced role.

Cultism:

Norma
Norma performing a spiritual cleansing

Through season 3 we learn a lot more about our token mute, Norma, who develops a loyal following of inmates that are seeking spiritual enlightenment, solace, connection to a higher power, and probably the most important thing for prisoners- mental and emotional acceptance and perseverance to make it through their prison sentences. The show does an exquisite job of helping us see what a slippery slope it is between spirituality and cultism, and how easy it is for a person to codify a spiritually operatic culture. It’s normal for people to want to believe in something. An entire level of Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs is dedicated to human’s innate desire to feel like they belong to something. We are social creatures and find a great deal of fulfillment in being accepted, which is what makes organized religion so popular. This is also why certain people have so easily talked others into ‘drinking the kool aid’. I don’t think Norma has any deeply malicious intent with her followers, but she likes the attention she gets- her followers constantly refer to her as their God, savior, mom, grandmother, guide and prophet. And her followers are excited to have something to believe in, someone to believe in, and are relentless in their quest for signs from the universe. This all seems fine and dandy until this cult becomes exclusive, its followers assume elitist attitudes and begin bullying an inmate so much so that she is driven into a depression and attempted suicide via pill swallowing. Whoa. Sh*t got heavy real quick. People can believe in whatever they want to believe in, but it becomes a problem when their ‘beliefs’ are harassing, bullying, and intimidating others all in the name of their ‘God’.

Alcohol & substance abuse:

My personal favorite character, Poussey, struggles hard with alcohol addiction in this season. And I understand it. She’s sad she’s in prison and she’s lonely. She just wants someone to love! I feel for her, I really do. Unfortunately, her character seems to be very misunderstood by her group of friends so she finds release in concocting her own homemade hooch and indulges in drinking it and napping all day long. While this blossoming alcoholic is meandering through her sentence, Soso tries to commit suicide in the library by downing a bunch of prescription pills she stole from the doctor’s office. When Poussey sneaks into the library to take a swig of her hooch she stashes in the ceiling, she finds Soso’s unconscious (but not dead!) body laid out on the floor among the shelves of books. I see what the writers did there. Having Poussey discover the body of an inmate who also was trying to find escape through substance abuse is probably the most effective way to get the woman off the hooch. And all of our hearts are warmed in the final episode when we see Poussey and Soso holding hands, having found what they were looking for all along – LOVE.

Poussey
FINALLY!

So while the first couple of seasons were all sex and naked women, (no complaints here), the third dives head first into some very serious societal issues. Every episode has layers of conflict, exploitation and oppression and the characters fight all these injustices while dealing with the fact their they live behind prison walls. OITNB directs spotlights over a lot of things that we struggle with, struggles other people are having, and how we may not be the person enduring the struggle but the least we can do is be allies for the cause.

And whether you watch the show for all the drama and deep sh*t, or you just like seeing all the naked ladies, this season has a lot to offer its audience – and her name is Ruby Rose.

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UMF – South Africa

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I’ve never been to South Africa, but after reading Koko’s review of Ultra Music Festival SA, I kinda wanna go now. So if you like festivals and South Africa or just wanna give this a read, check it out!!!

Unicorn Diaries

I love me some music festivals.

ultra1

UMF.

UMF, or Ultra Music Festival, is an annual music festival of the electronic persuasion. It originated in Miami, Florida in 1999 and instantly gained popularity in the EDM world. With close to 200,000 attendees and tickets selling out every single year, the event grew and began holding international shows. It has debuted in over 9 countries worldwide and finally hit Africa in 2014.

This is the largest EDM event on the African continent, and after hearing great reviews from other PCV friends about the 2014 event, some friends and I decided 2015 was our year to venture to Johannesburg and steal a slice of this magic, which started at noon and went until the wee hours of the morn.

THE PEOPLE. 

We walked into the expo grounds and all I can say is…oh. my god. So many beautiful people. Like I can’t even.

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Races: #4. SuperSpar Bela Bela Marathon

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Her and her metal
Her and her metal

A successful race! Read about KokoKai’s epic journey at the SuperSpar marathon in Bela Bela.

“Another marathon down. Sometimes I forget I’m in South Africa” – KokoKai

Unicorn Diaries

It was hot as balls, but I survived!

My first alarm went off at 1:50am and by 2am we were in the car and on the road. We arrived at the race site by 5, giving us just enough time to check in at registration, use the restroom and get ourselves prepared. My host mom gave me a big, warm hug and we wished each other good luck [she was running the 5k]. The gun went off at precisely 5:30 and away I ran!

The SuperSpar marathon in Bela Bela was a race of contrasts. The first 20km or so was pretty flat and I was feeling good about it. It would be quite misleading to any runners that hadn’t already studied the course map for elevation gains. I was constantly checking my posture and making sure my alignment was good. I knew that if I was kind to my…

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#FirstWorldProblems: Africa Assumptions by an Asian in America

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Wise words from Africa
Wise words from Africa

By KokoKai and Sype

Everyone has heard of #FirstWorldProblems, a hash tag that people in privileged nations use to complain about their . . . well, first world problems. But after watching a video (you can see down below) titled “First World Problems read by Third World People” by Water is Life, you start to feel like maybe using that hash tag is a little over the top.

 

 

So I, Sype, decided to ask my own ignorant American questions to my partner who is currently serving in the Peace Corps in South Africa. I tried to think of the most hyperbolic questions possible without seaming too racist (and stupid).

-And I, KokoKai, am happy to answer his questions because these are things that I even wondered about before moving my ass over to this side of the globe.

 

I cannot live without WiFi, WHERE IS THE WIFI!?!?!?

For being in the developing world, internet is surprisingly accessible here. Not a lot of people have home computers or laptops so a lot of young people will invest in smartphones so they can access basic internet services and social media.

People don’t have running water but they’ll have a BlackBerry with internet services? #priorities 😛

Sype: If I ever go visit I’ll prob bring my Driod so I can . . . surf the web . . . at night . . .

 

Does Africa have running water? All the African videos I watch has everyone living in huts.

In the rural villages, a lot people do live in huts or tin shacks and don’t have running water. Some also don’t have electricity. If you find yourself in a town or city, it’s like being in suburban America- big houses with pools, fancy cars, running water & electricity.

Sype: I wonder what they call Pizza Hut out there o.O

How do people hook-up without a Tinder?

See – “There Is No First Date When Being A Peace Corps Volunteer”.

Sype: They probably do a lot of web . . . surfing.

Are there lions and cheetahs and rhinos everywhere? Like the Lion King?

Yes, there are tons of these wild animals. No, they don’t go running through the villages. Most of these animals have been contained in areas that we call ‘game reserves’ which are huge areas of land that have been fenced off because animal poaching is such a big problem here, but the animals are still able to roam free in their natural habitats. Even though game reserves do add a level of deterrence from hunting, but poachers are sneaky and still find ways to break in and kill animals. See this recent article about the rhino population…

Spye: JUMANJI!!!!

How do you know what your friends are up to if not everyone has a Facebook? 

Facebook has monopolized all communication forms in the present day, but it is not the only way to contact people. Whatsapp is actually the most common communication tools we use as Peace Corps volunteers to communicate with each other, and for communication back home here is, of course still email and the perennial snail mail system. FB may seem so extraneous, but having access to it makes me feel incredibly connected.

Sype: I see Africa also does late night regretful Facebook booty calls.

Do movies come out at the same time as it does in America?

For the most part, yes. Sometimes it may take a week or two for the new releases to show up on our big screens.

Sype: I wonder if the whole cast of Lion King was there when the movie came out . . .

Do you have to hunt for your food?

Considering I’m a vegetarian, the answer would be NO. I do garden however, so I guess you could say I grow & cut my own food. Which is almost like hunting. Expect the food isn’t running away from me, it’s stuck in the ground.

Sype: What about ‘playful’ hunting? Where you shoot guns filled with love?

Do you know any monkeys?

I actually made friends with some Samango monkeys recently! And by ‘made friends’ I mean, they liked to steal my food and I let them because I wanted their friendship. And I was slightly too scared of them to refuse.

Spye: Abu!!!

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There is No ‘first date’ When Being a Peace Corps Volunteer.

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taking a lil break
taking a lil break

By KokoKai

An assumption my family & friends are constantly buzzing around is that I’ll find the love of my life while serving in Peace Corps. Let me clear the air by stating that Peace Corps is not a dating service nor a marriage agency. With that being said, there may be some truth to the saying that when you surround yourself with people on the same mission as you- I suppose it can be relatively easy to fall for one of them.

Peace Corps Volunteers are grouped together in cohorts and sent to developing countries for our service. We don’t get to pick who is in our cohort, headquarters put us together based on the type of work we will be doing abroad. I met the other 34 members of my cohort in Philadelphia, then we all hopped on the plane together to South Africa.

We all fall in to 1 of 3 categories: 1. married and serving with your spouse, 2. in a relationship with someone back in America, or 3. (most are) single…wondering what their romantic life will be like these next two years. Speaking from personal experience, I came to this country without dating being on my priority list, I hadn’t given it much thought (ahem, already kinda wifed up at the time). I came to work, to immerse myself in my village and to try to make an impact in whatever way I can. Saving the world and such. After being in country for a bit, I quickly realized that Peace Corps can be like an extension of college life . . . if you replace the college keggers with humanitarian work.

Wayne's World! Wayne's World!
Wayne’s World! Wayne’s World!

“How often do you see other volunteers?”

Volunteers work full-time, most weekdays, but when weekends come around, we look for every opportunity to get together with other PCVs and rage face for 2 days before starting the cycle all over again. There are a lot of Dr. Phil venting sessions fueled by booze and tears, and yes, there is sex too, all mixed in with hikes, safaris & a general interest in exploring Africa’s terrain. Here is a funny read about sex and the Peace Corps from a fellow (sex ninja) RPCV.

I didn’t expect to be in such close proximity to other volunteers, to be able to see them basically every weekend. I didn’t expect booze to be so readily available, and so God-awfully cheap! It’s like summer camp for over-sized kids who want to save the world! And most of all, I didn’t expect romance to creep up into volunteer life as much as it has.

“Do people date in Peace Corps?”

The struggle is that there are no ‘first dates’ in Peace Corps. While people in first world countries can say things like “let’s get to have coffee” or “let’s get together for lunch one afternoon” if you want to spend a little time getting to know someone interesting, us PCVs are trying to navigate through a different structure of dating…“Wanna spend the weekend together?”

Yeah, you’re going to have to speed through a feeeeeeew steps.

We have to travel several hours on public transportation to visit each other, so visits are not simply for a few hours only. If you think you might have a connection with someone, you spend an entire weekend together to explore that spark. Nightlife and other forms of entertainment are so uncommon here, that you’ll spend a lot of face time just getting to know each other without the distractions of other people or noisiness of clubs.

So it’s like the opposite of Tinder . . .

Here is a video for someone else P.C. love story:

“Do PCVs only date other PCVs?”

I’m glad you asked. There are PCVs who date HCNs (host country nationals), but that’s a whole nother beast. We came to this country to fight HIV, and sadly some PCVs leave this country having contracted the virus themselves. So while mixing & mingling with South Africans may seem enticing and easy, a lot of PCVs steer clear of this temptation and turn to other PCVs to satisfy the natural need for carnal embrace.

“Is it true people will want to marry because they want to become US citizens?”

The answer is Yes, and it’s extremely annoying. Walking to and from work everyday, it is common to hear “I love you baby I want to marry you” being shouted in my direction from across the road. These guys are partially just being asses, but mostly serious. They will cat-call, stalk you, and shout marriage proposals over & over until they get your attention- all over the assumption that marrying an American girl will somehow grant them American citizenship, wealth and fame. It’s almost like being creeped on by Sype at a club.

The host country females are on this same hype too. “Do you have any brothers?” is a common question chicks like to ask me. I guess in the hopes that I’ll organize a betrothal for them to an American man. Why does everyone think America is so great? Hahaha. If they only knew the truth . . .

Romantic relationships blossom in a peculiar way when serving in the Peace Corps, and maneuvering the ebb & flow of volunteer life becomes more bearable when you have another PCV to hold your hand through it. They say roughly 80% of PCVs return to America in love. I don’t know how much I trust stats floating around the internet, but it gives you an idea of what Peace Corps dating is like.

Don’t feel sorry for us though! At least we are able to avoid the awkward self consciousness that comes with first dates, as described by Wedding Crashers’ Vince Vaughn:

❤ KokoKai

Top 10 Things that K&A Hate and Love About EDC (or any other festivals as well)

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By: Koko and Airec

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Zips chillin for a pose at EDC 2012. Rage.

The Electric Daisy Carnival is the most magical place on Earth (sorrywerenotsorry, Disney). Over the years the location of this magical insomniac wonderland has changed, but that doesn’t mean that the aesthetic feel of its importance is lost. (Dem feels bro). The current home of this electronic fairy tale, that is waiting to be written by the likes of 400,000 attendance , is in the Graceland, or Sin City, of Las Vegas.

There are so many reasons to love EDCLV! This event has got it all. DJs, rides, art … and of course your best friends by your side. With the good comes the bad, and the world wouldn’t be balanced if there wasn’t a sense of Yin & Yang to the Electric Daisy. Here is a list of the top 10 things we utterly hate and absolutely love about the past 3 years of Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival.

the picture of our credentials of past EDC, Koko and I are in all 4 of em, the only members of our group to do so
The picture of our credentials of past EDCS, Koko and I are in all 4 of em, the only members of our group to do so.

Please feel free to add your hates & loves in a comment below!

HATES

1. LACK OF SANITATION

This is more of a personal problem but we know we’re not the only ones with our panties in a bunch about it. Not all port-o-potties have hand sanitizer in them. Yuck! Come on Insomniac.

Sype: Dudes, just make sure you drip properly and try to not get any piss on yourself. Being drunk isn’t an excuse. However if you do, just wipe it off on your pants; no one will know if you don’t tell anyone . . . not even your bros . . . cuz that sh*t is gross

2. DJ OVERLAP

Insomniac forces us to make some serious life decisions when they decide to have some of your favorite DJ’s playing their sets at the same time. If only it were possible to be in 2 places at once, but this isn’t Harry Potter and we can’t all have Hermione’s magical pendent. (We both LOVE Emma Watson FYI. Especially Sype because he’s a creeper).

Sype: So plan your time wisely. Even if you do plan on seeing half a DJ’s set to make it to another, you can still miss out on some of the best drops or musical performance the set. Tip: see your favorite DJ last 30 minutes instead of the first. I know this because Ish was forced to carry me KICKING AND SCREAMING as we left Mat Zo’s set when he dropped “Rebound” last year. I will never forgive him. Also remember that sometimes things change; I didn’t expect to leave Above & Beyond for Fedde Le Grand, but hey, it happened (thanks Koko).

3. THE SUNRISE BOOT

When the last DJ finishes the his/her set, the Speedway security will try to kick everyone out right away. Thus abruptly ruining your magic as you’re reminded that once you leave the top stairs of the Speedway- reality awaits you.

Koko: It would be really nice to ride a few rides and refill my water bottle before making the journey back to the strip.

Sype: Girls, don’t forget to use the restroom or else you’re gonna be like that one girl at EDC 2012 rushing out of the shuttle bus and peeing on the side of the road as she beaver shot everyone. Guys . . . well we’re pretty much covered. Thank you penis.

4. DOUCHEBAGS & BITCHES

Me flexing, I just turned 21. . .yes I know I looked like a douche bag for taking this picture, but hey, I just turned 21
Me flexing, I just turned 21. . .yes I know I looked like a douche bag for taking this picture, but hey, I  had just turned 21.

And when we say D-Bags and B-Word, we mean it in the most constructive, positive way. Maybe we don’t understand you, so we don’t know why you’re acting like this; maybe you had a bad childhood and the only way of life that you know how to live is one full of rudeness and vile attitudes that cause you to lash out in society with your scowl. But please, even with all of your baggage, this does not give you the right to be a fugging as*hole!

We hate it when someone is pushing through the crowd with fierce elbows, stomping on our feet as they try to bull-rush to the front. We also hate it when someone runs into you without saying sorry. We also hate . . . well, we simply hate it if you’re just being plain rude! (Exclamation marks times infinity!)

Why you gotta be like that?!? We understand you may be high or whatever, but please be considerate of the people around you and mind your manners. We know yo mama didn’t raise you to be no fool!

Koko: So be kind, practice your PLUR.

Sype: Or just don’t be an AS*HOLE!

5. PEOPLE ASKING YOU FOR DRUGS

We understand that you like to party, but please stop asking us if we have drugs. And if we say no, please don’t nag us with statements like: “we know you have some” or “please, it’s my first rave.” That just makes you desperate and a rave sl*t. And girls, don’t whore yourself to guys for free hits of molly, just because you have a pretty face doesn’t mean it will always get you what you want. (Like those hot Canadian girls who tricked our friend at EDC 2012, his little head won their battle but lost his war)

Sype: Also, just because I’m Asian and I’m wearing a panda cap smiling as wide as my eyes, doesn’t mean I’m rolling!!!

asian boyfriend
Asian hat + Asian eyes = makes for a cute Asian boy ;P

6. LOSING YOUR FRIENDS

Losing your friends is never fun. It’s dark, it’s loud, and there are a million people around you. SO DON’T FREAK OUT. You wanna see your favorite DJ but you fear never being able to find your friends again in all the madness.

Losing your friends sucks, but what’s worst is losing your girlfriend or boyfriend, then that would really suck. You don’t know who’s trying to squirrel up your nut. The worst part about this is that there is slim to none cell-phone reception so . . . good luck.

But if you’re a #zip then you know your crew has specific meeting times in case anyone is ever lost. Genius!

Meeting at the Zipper, #Bros4Life
Meeting at the Zipper, #Bros4Life

Just try to enjoy the moments as EDC throws them at you when you get lost. Make the best of it. Sometimes the most fun is when you’re by yourself and free to do whatever you want.

7. HAVING TO LEAVE WHILE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CROWD

This has happened to all of us, we’re enjoying a set and we have leave for some reason or we just gotta get out of there. Leaving a crowd always sucks! You gotta push and shove your way out of a sea of sweaty, angry people because you’re disrupting their experience as they brush off your “sorry’s” and “pardon me’s.”

I'm just wondering around
I’m just wondering around..

Then to tack onto this not-so-pleasant experience, the trip back. If you left a girlfriend/boyfriend or your crew, you are faced with the decision of fighting your way back through the same people you just pissed off or, do you enjoy the set from outside of the mass? Your choice.

Sype: Yeah, fugg that, I’m old. I’ll just stay out there and enjoy it from afar. My friends know where to find me.

Koko: Especially at Circuit Grounds. WTF is going on that there is a 20 degree temperature difference if you walk an extra 5 feet toward the stage? Eff that. I’ll stand in the back where I can get a breeze. Or get a VIP wristband from somebody and enjoy that Very Important Person view 😉

Koko getting a breeze . . . and just adding a little sex appeal ;P
Koko getting a breeze . . . and just adding a little sex appeal ;P

8. HIGH WINDS/BEING COLD

High winds in Vegas can ruin your EDC experience . . . like how the vicious winds of Las Vegas robbed us of Markus Schulz EDC 2012. We had just experience a pleasing set from Calvin Harris and had just arrived at Markus before the winds kicked it. WE WERE ROBBED!!! Our 2nd day ended early. This maybe unrelated but our friend DeathMetal puked his brains out after Markus reluctantly told the crowd they had to leave the majestic A State of Trance stage . . . but that might be because of something else.

High winds ROBBED us of DAY 2 of EDC during my (Sype) fave DJ set, MARKUS SCHULZ
High winds ROBBED us of DAY 2 of EDC during my (Sype) fave DJ set, MARKUS SCHULZ

Koko: Being a girl, we know that when we go to raves, we might not be wearing the most father-approving clothes. So when those high winds kick in, we’re freezing out little tutus off. Burr. This is the most appropriate time to create a cuddle puddle in the grassy field or ask a guy friend for his sweater (;P)

9. LEAVING THE SPEEDWAY

When the sun is already high in the morning sky that can only mean one thing, the festival for the day is over. This also means another thing . . . RAVE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!!!

RAVE ZOMBIES!!! Thank God we don't dress like this or get as zombified anymore
RAVE ZOMBIES!!! Thank God we don’t get as zombified anymore.

And trust us, nobody looks good in this zombie light. When the day is over, there are hella amounts of brainless ravers trying to rush out the Speedway in a slow Walking Dead like fashion. Everyone smells like cigarettes, body odor, and of course Vicks.

Don’t even get us started on leaving the Speedway parking lot. There is no such thing as PLUR in the Speedway parking lot. It’s over packed with people who are coming down and trying to GET THE HELL OUT! Everyone is cutting each other in-line and doesn’t seem to know where they’re going.

One time leaving the Speedway on the last day of EDC we saw some ravers get out and start shuffling outside their car in traffic . . . while they must have still been high, this irritated us. Get in your car and move! While stuck in traffic, the only thing we could have done was channel our anger to these kids who were still living EDC . . . damn those kids.

damn kids and their shuffling
damn kids and their shuffling

Koko: While stuck in leaving-the-speedway-traffic, we exchanged booze and kandi with some nice ravers in the car next to us. Traffic isn’t all that bad when people uphold the PLUR.

Sype: DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! Be safe.

10. SAYING GOODBYE TO YOUR FRIENDS AND RETURNING TO REAL LIFE

saying goodbye always suck #demfeels bro
Saying goodbye always sucks. #demfeelsbro

After spending an amazing week in Vegas and living in a magical wonderland of EDC, no one wants to leave. Trust us when we say there will be water works; floods of tears will fill hotel rooms as one-by-one your crew starts to take off into the abyss of adulthood.

It’s hard to say goodbye to something that made you really happy for a whole week, it’s also hard to say goodbye to your friends who you only see once in a blue moon, or this could have been one of the rare times where everyone is together, fact of the matter is that no matter how tough you are, saying goodbye at EDC is going to feel like one giant Death Cab for Cutie concert. It’s clinically depressing.

Koko: Every time I leave my friends after EDC I cry. I just can’t help it. We’re all depressed, the highs have plummeted to painful lows, and everyone’s climbing aboard the feels train. All we can do is start the countdown for the next year’s EDC.

Sype: We men don’t cry, but we can go on walks. Trust me, when everyone is leaving just say a quick goodbye and give a light hug so you can jolly-off on a dark stroll down the bright neon lit Vegas strip, it helps.

 

 

LOVES

1. FREE WATER!!!!

Need we say more? Don’t pay for that shiiiiizzle.

2. FREE RIDES

What other carnival/fair offers free rides!? Pretty dope.

weeeee pho fleeeee
Weeeee pho freeeee

3. FRIENDLY COPS

Once you’re inside the motor speedway, the security and cops are super nice! You can always spot them fist pumping at a stage or trading kandi with ravers. It really makes the whole experience more comfortable when you know that the cops will party with you and protect you at the same time.

4. LAS VEGAS LOVES US.

The city of Las Vegas had no idea what hit them EDC 2011. L.V. citizens were like ‘WTF is EDC and why are all these kids running around in tutus!?’ Now the city welcomes us with open arms by holding EDC week where all major hotels, clubs and pools are on board with the raving mayhem. They love us for bringing in millions of dollars in revue in a week’s time, and we love them for being so accommodating.

Cheers! WE'RE IN VEGAS
Cheers! WE’RE IN VEGAS

5. EDC SCHEDULE

We love that the EDC website has an interactive schedule maker so you can create your schedule for each day and even share it with your friends through social media! Remember the days of having to hand write a schedule of DJ sets? Yikes.

6. THE PRODUCTION

What makes EDC standout from other festivals is the time and money that Insomniac puts into their production: the art, the variety of colorful stages in tuned with the music that is being preformed there, the lights, the vast amounts of performers and entertainment, ALL OF IT!

Clowns plus a marching band?!?!? oh yeah that's sick . . . unless you're afraid of clowns and hate music, then sucks for you
Clowns plus a marching band?!?!? Oh yeah that’s sick . . . unless you’re afraid of clowns and hate music, then sucks for you.

Sype: One of my favorite memories of last year EDC was after Koko and I left Above & Beyond to see Fedde Le Grand and she pointed out the lights in the sky. As I looked up, I saw multiple streams of white light from all around the Speedway that met in the middle. This I thought gave EDC that final touch of a magical environment that sealed off any influence of the outside world and strengthened the illusion of being in a magical wonderland. Unless that production *cough Art Cart cough* blocks your view and plays loud amateur DJ music robbing you 10 minutes of Ferry Corsten’s set, then yeah the production sucks! But everything else is awesome.

7. RANDOMLY FINDING YOUR FRIENDS

We found each other! lets make hearts with our hands!
We found each other! Let’s make hearts with our hands!

As anyone would know, getting lost fugging sucks. And to make this worst, due to the massive amounts of people at EDC, that smart phone that you flashed to all of your friends with its bells and whistles (and especially in front of that one friend who still has that museum-grade-flip-phone) is now useless. It basically becomes an overpriced camera with a digital clock. When you’re lost and really really really want to find your friends, this can kill your experience. But somehow with a stroke of luck and a pinch of EDC magic you do happen to find your friends, there is a sheer thrill of happiness that one cannot describe. Finding your friends allows you to not only create memories, but it also allows you to have the pleasure of knowing that you created those memories with your friends and loved ones.

8. NEW FRIENDS

6 of 70, the first of us to enter in EDC 2013 Day 3
We just met these cool people from New York.

You know that song “No New Friends” by DJ Khaled featuring that crippled guy on Degrassi Drake? Well that’s bullsh*t! That kind of mentality does not fly here at EDC. Sure you came with people, but you got to realize that you have the potential of making 400,000 new friends in this magical wonderland.

Given if that person isn’t an as*hole or a c*nt. Then steer away from them; they’re just here for the beer and b*tches. Try to look for goodness in everyone, but try not to get taken advantage of.

We started our festival group with a handful attending EDC 2009, and now we’re about 70 people large and GROWING! #ZipperSquad So make some new friends, it’s totally worth it!

9. SEEING YOUR FAVORITE DJ/ THE MUSIC

Why do we go to EDC? WELL IT’S FOR THE MUSIC!!! We love the music that EDC offers us. Or else we wouldn’t be spending a bunch of money risking our health by dehydrating ourselves in the middle of a freaking desert.

I couldn't help but life up one of my best friends when we heard Sander Van Doorns "Eagles"
I couldn’t help but lift up one of my best friends when we heard Sander Van Doorns “Eagles”

Sype: If I wanted to do that I would have stayed in Fresno. There is something about the combination of music and friends that when you combine those two, that song or DJ set will forever hold a place in your heart. So every time you listen to an old live set or hear that special song, your mind will be rushed like a fireman’s hoes with euphoria as your body shivers as your reminded of that time and place where you and your friends jumped in joy when that song first encompassed you guys like a warm blanket of merriment.

10. THOSE MAGICAL MEMORIES

Those little magical memories make up our story, as told to us by Above & Beyond
Those little magical memories make up our story, as told to us by Above & Beyond

We may not know the meaning of life, and it’s probably not hidden in the subtext of EDC, but we do know the meaning of “live in the moment.” Not YOLO, because that is a load of bullsh*t young kids say before they do something stupid or slutty. But EDC is our favorite place to create these magical memories which was forged by “living in the moment” that will forever binds us to our friends, helping us on the road to happiness down this “meaning of life.” Despite the constant alcohol abuse and head injuries, we will never forget the magic that we and our friends have fostered at EDC, in the Las Vegas Speedway or on the Strip.

May it be the memory of someone clogging our toilet on the third day of six at EDC 2012, forcing us to use the lobby bathroom every time we had to pee or poo, or may it be the memory of seeing the sunrise on the last day of EDC that year as we watched and heard Aly & Fila perform their hit “We Control the Sunlight.”

All of these joyous times we will carry with us until the day we die. We will forever remember our time at EDC and the happiness we felt. It truly is a magical place, we hope that you guys will be able to make your own magic during your adventures there because even if, God forbid, EDC gets shut down, EDC will forever be alive in our hearts and memories.

Till next time, please have a safe and fun EDC from Koko and Airec. Laters.

night 2
EDC 2013 Night 2, everyone, plus a few new friends, together

P.S. A last note from Sype: Koko will not be attending EDC this year due to her amazingly-awesome responsibility (and representing us #ZipperSquad) in the Peace Corps in South Africa. I will have to admit that my group and I will be deeply sadden with her absence. Not having a partner in crime, who has been with me closing out EDC for the past 4 years, is going to not feel (opposite of happy feelings words jumble). But when she comes back, we will rage. Even in 20 years when we all have kids and are married, we shall meet up and live it up, cherishing our moment, everyone’s moment, together. It’s a promise.

We dressed classy to get trashy for this trance event, POP NYE 2012/2013
We dressed classy to get trashy for this trance event, POP NYE 2012/2013

 

 

What do people listen to in South Africa?

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Well, I’m glad you asked 🙂 Africans love their dance music! This is what they consider ‘house music’. It kinda has a drummy beat with some build ups, definitely a different style of composition than that house we love so much back in the States. One of the most popular songs I’ve heard since arriving in good ol’ Afrika Borwa is Y Tjukutja   BTW, ‘Y Tjukutja’ means ‘shake your body’ in the Xhosa language (one of South Africa’s 11 official languages). Congratulations, you learned something new today. You’re welcome 😉 This chick Mampi is from Zambia and sings in Bemba. Also very popular in South Africa. She’s singing about her lover, it’s a love song, but she really does know how to get you up & moving! After all, that’s the point of dance music right? Then there’s these weirdo Afrikaaners who are creepy as fuck, but they’re well liked for their shock value. Die Antwoord translated means The Answer. Not gonna lie, their demeanor, costume choice, props, everything about their video production in fucking nuts. But I like it. They’re pushing the limits of normalcy, and their outrageous IDGAF attitude makes me want to watch, holding my breath with anticipation of what the next barbaric scene has to offer. All in all, I’m really digging the spread of musical entertainment in South Africa. A lot of the music is in any of the South African languages I don’t understand, but still there’s so much energy to it. And what I’ve discovered is that it doesn’t matter if you understand the lyrics or not, the beat still lifts you out of your chair and makes you wanna dance. 😀 -Kokokai