Monthly Archives: May 2016

Boston Calling Music Festival 2016


As the weather starts to warm up, hundreds of venues release their set list for the annual music festivals.  Music festivals are held each year, showcasing hundreds of artists who are headlining the 3-day event.  From Bonnaroo to Electric Forest, all of the young hipsters and hippies gather around with their friends for action-packed weekend with the best bands.  Each music festival caters to all kinds of music genres, so you’ll never be disappointed about not finding your favorite band in the mix!  The Boston Calling Music Festival is just one of those events that happens during the summer season.

Boston Calling Music Festival is a 3-day weekend event that takes place in May and September.  Each festival is held at the City Plaza, just mere steps away from Quincy market and various stations on the blue line.  Some featured artists at the event included Sia, Sufjan Stevens, The Vaccines, Battles, Courtney Barnett, City and Color, Odeszy, and other bands from around the area.  Two stages were built for the concert, so fans had to flock back and forth to the next stage when a new artist was about to start.

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Before entering the event, patrons had to enter security checkpoints to receive their wristbands and have the IDs checked.  People were only allowed to carry a certain number of things in order for the event to go smoothly.  Tickets were present either through printed copy or through the email on their phone.  Any person who was 21 and older could enjoy the selection of beers and wine available.

If your favorite band wasn’t playing on stage, you could wander around the food and beverage vendors nearby.  Tasty Burger was cooking up delicious burgers on the grill and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse was grilling some steak kabobs.  Beer was provided by Sam Adam’s since it is the popular craft beer around Boston.  Other than Sam Adam’s, Wicked Wines was also distributing wines for people to enjoy.  Wicked Wines is currently located in Framingham and their products can be found in liquor stores and supermarkets.  Some other tasty treats available were pizza, chicken fingers, French fries, ice cream, lemonade, and even fried Oreos.

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While I was at the concert, I got to hear from some really good bands.  One unique band was Battles, a progressive/art rock band hailing from New York City.  Battles was a funky, experimental band that incorporated quirky sounds into their music.  Ian Williams, John Stanier, and Dave Konopka all rocked out for the audience.  I loved their music because they mixed a lot of unique sounds into their songs, which was really creative!

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Another notable artist I enjoyed was Courtney Barnett.  Hailing from Australia, Courtney was a grunge/indie rock star known for her witty, rambling lyrics.  She had that grunge style, wearing casual T-shirts and jeans while rocking out to some humorous tunes.  As well as being the lead singer, Courtney is also one of the guitarists for the band.  Courtney gave a terrific performance for the crowd!

Overall I had a wonderful time at my first music festival!  I have been to lots of concerts while I was in college, but I have never attended any festivals before.  My friends from Champlain College were always talking about attending these events and it sparked my interest.  What got me interested in attending was seeing my favorite bands on the set list for some of the events.  Seeing bands like String Cheese Incident or Phish up on the list got my excited since I haven’t found the time to see them live.  After Boston Calling Festival, I am definitely up for attending more festivals around the country.

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Ride-Sharing Into Your Destination


After a fun night with my friends in Boston, I pull up my Lyft app to get a ride home.  I usually stay out late at night and I don’t feel safe traveling by foot.  Who knows what happens on the trains at this time of night?  Ride sharing apps like Lyft or Uber have become the social norm for millennials who are searching for a ride.  Why are ride-sharing apps trending more than taxis?  Because taxis are SO 20th century!

In all seriousness, taxi rides aren’t the most pleasant experiences.  Most of the bright yellow cabs are unkempt, the costs of the rides burn a hole in your pocket, and your driver will probably be a grumpy old man that wants nothing to do with you.  Lyft provided me the exact opposite experience and it provided me the option to rate how good my driver was.

Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft were the pioneers in transforming the way we get around in the city.  With the release of new ride-sharing apps each year, what other options could we choose?  Are there unique ride-sharing apps with interesting features?  The answer to both of those questions are yes.  Here are some unique ride-sharing apps people can choose from for their phones:

Lyft: Lyft is known as ‘a ride whenever you need one’.  Launched in San Francisco on June 2012, Lyft’s mobile app connects drivers with passengers who are in need of a ride.  Riders can share the costs with their friends and will match with other riders who are heading into the same direction.  Passengers can rate their driver based on things like friendliness or cleanliness once the ride is over.  This app is geared toward the young, tech-savvy crowd that want to save a few extra bucks on their trip.

Chariot For Women: Chariot For Women is a unique app that caters to women only and features only women drivers.  The app hit Boston on April 19th, providing a safer alternative for women who are riding alone.  Other than adult women, Chariot For Women can pick up boys and girls under the age of 13.  Anyone who identifies as a woman, even trans-gendered, are able to use this app.

This idea stems from the sexual assault incidents within the past years involving Uber/Lyft drivers.  Many sexual assault cases from around the world prompted businesses to think more about safety issues surrounding women passengers and male drivers.  This idea seems great for women seeking a ‘Cinderella’ experience for their ride.  Who wouldn’t want to ride in a beautiful carriage on their way to a party with their gal pals?  Just don’t forget your glass slipper on your way out!

Fasten: Boston-based Fasten hit the market last year as a means to disrupt the competition with Uber and Lyft.  Their marketing plan surrounds the idea of having riders pay less while the driver makes more money.  Passengers always see what the total cost will be during the ride, so no one will be shocked by the ending price.  Unlike Uber/Lyft, Fasten has no surprise surge pricing that comes up.  This is a great Boston-based app for those who need a cheap ride in and around the city.

Bridj: Rather than being another ride-sharing app, Boston-based Bridj prides itself as being “the world’s first pop-up mass transit system”.  Rather than relying on cars, Bridj provides 14-seat luxury shuttles for passengers that want to get around style.  These shuttles have leather seats, Wi-Fi, and an average pick-up time of less than 10 minutes.  Those living in Boston, D.C., or Kansas City shouldn’t pass up this unique ride-sharing experience.

So there you have it!  A few unique ride-sharing apps to travel to your destination.  Whether it is for saving money or taking a trip with your gal pals, there’s always a unique app for everyone.  Don’t hail for a taxi, skip the public transit, and forget walking alone in the middle of the night.  The 21st century taxi services are here and they will provide you a much better riding experience.

An Ode to Life After Graduation


As of Saturday May 21st, I have officially graduated from Salem State University.  After being in college for the past 5 & ½ years, I will now venture out into the real world.  All of these feelings of happiness, excitement, frustration, sadness, anger, and anxiety have lead me to learning about the journey into life.  Homework and grades have now been replaced by work and pay raises/decreases.

Like millions of other graduates, I am completely unaware of where life will take me.  All of those long commencement speeches encourage students to be bold and take those roads less traveled to explore exciting ideas along the way.  Some of what I have to say comes from those cliche speeches, but it also comes from my personal experiences.  Here’s my personal takeaway from these overwhelming past few weeks:
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Congratulations to everyone who graduated this year!  You have now entered this thing called ‘The Real World’, where you must work to strive for the life you want.  It’s exciting, it’s overwhelming, and you have no goddamn clue what is about to happen.  You’ve probably stalked your friends’ Facebook to see their “exciting” news they share with everyone (my bf & I are engaged! We’re pregnant!).  Friends, family, and other accquaintances may have provided you with countless advice about how to achieve the goals you want in life.  College may have prepared you with the knowledge, but nothing can ever prepare you for what surprises life has in store for you.

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There will always be a beginning, middle, and end whenever you first start reading a new book.  A book introduces you to the new characters you follow, what their dilemmas are, and how the overcome their obstacles in the end.  Right now you are in the middle stages of life where you don’t know how things will get sorted out and THAT is the scariest shit that is on everyone’s mind right now.  Everyone is scared of the UNKNOWN, what lurks beyond your comfort zone outside of your hometown.  Some of your most burning questions will finally be answered once college is over.  Will I figure out my dream job?  Where do I want to live in the world?  Will I ever find the right guy/girl for me?  Am I even making the right choices?

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As far as I know, you’ll have to answer those complicated questions yourself.  I started MakeSandcastlesNotWar solely for the purpose of expressing my passion of entertainment through blogging.  What started as one blog post introducing myself to the world has now become a daily habit of blogging about interesting news within the entertainment industry.  Truth be told, I honestly don’t know where this blog will take me in life.  I know that I will continue to write about subjects pertaining to entertainment, but maybe it could be shifted towards unique stories that I have never heard of.  Maybe I will throw in stories pertaining to fashion or pornography or environmental issues.  At the end of the day, even I don’t know what the future holds for MakeSandcastlesNotWar.

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I know that I am not alone when I say that I am scared shitless for what life has to offer me.  You can set up all the plans you want, but life will always throw you surprises every step of the way.  Some of you may know what you want to do and that’s good, while some of you have NO idea what you want to do and that’s good as well!  Life isn’t ever figured out after college, but that is what makes the journey so interesting.

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It’s OK to be overwhelmed with all of those advices and tips that everyone tells you about how life works.  At the end of the day, you should feel EXCITED about what’s to come next after graduation.  Maybe you’ll find the guy of your dreams or land this new job that you end up loving because of this new hobby you discovered.  You may be venturing into the unknown, but some of those surprises could be life-changing.

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All I have to say now is: GO FOR IT.  Take charge, explore new places, and make mistakes!  Search for the guy/girl of your dreams, find the job that YOU want, and don’t be afraid of any opportunity that comes in your way.  I believe it was the theme song for United States of Tara  that says, “I know we’ll be just fine when we learn to love the ride”.  Once you learn to love the ride, you will be ABSOLUTELY fine.  Just sit back, work your magic, and watch life unfold through your very eyes!

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My Adventures at Game Over! Boston/Gronk’s Party Bus


After a long day of work at the office, it’s always great to wander around Boston.  Happy hours start at the bars, bands are playing free concerts in the Commons, and people are out searching for fun activities.  I spent my Tuesday night heading towards South Boston to hang out at Laugh Boston.  What was so special happening at my destination?  Game Over! Boston.

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Game Over! Boston was an event for adults to play classic video games with their buddies.  The event happened at Laugh Boston in 425 Summer Street within the Westin Hotel at the Seaport district.  People could choose from thousands of video games to play with from various consoles.  Such consoles included the Nintendo Entertainment System, SEGA, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, and many other gaming systems.  Other than video games, there were various board games laying out on a table.

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All of these games were run through emulators, a special program utilized to play nostalgic games right off of your computer.  People can search for emulators online that cater to certain console games that they haven’t played in years.  About 10-12 screens were hooked up with gaming controllers by the table and a big screen TV was put in the center as the focal point of the room.

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There were food and drinks for people who get wiped out from all of that gaming fun.  Other than the typical beers on draft, special cocktails were designed based off of things within the video game atmosphere.  One notable cocktail was called Luigi’s Fireball, a drink mixed together with different ingredients to resemble the fireball from Super Mario Brothers.  Each of these cocktails ranged from $9-$30, with the expensive drink being Hadouken’s Fishbowl.

After being wiped out from gaming with the other patrons, I sat down to have my beer.  I spoke with Lance, one of the employees that was running the show.  Lance remarked that Game Over! Boston has been running since last September and they have pop-up shows two times a month.  I told him that I am excited to see more events like this around Boston.

Once I got tired from gaming, I walked out of the Westin Hotel only to see this huge bus in the front.  The bus was advertising Rob Gronkowski’s Monster Energy and it just so happened to be used for Gronk’s partying tour!  Gronkowski has been known for touring around Boston with his fans inside the party bus.  Two employees I spoke with worked for Monster Energy, driving around Boston and selling the popular beverage.

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Last night was a lot of fun!  I am grateful that Boston hosts these unique events around the city.  Video games will always be ingrained into our American culture and we should continue to bring this culture outside of our basements.  Playing new titles that are out are always fun, but the best times are going back to the classics.  Millennials grew up playing the Super Nintendo or SEGA system, only to wander into a bar and play their favorite game with their friends.  We have always been connected through video games and events like Game On! Boston only brings us closer than ever.  Sure we’re playing games through our smartphones when riding the T, but nothing will ever come close than sitting down with that Super Nintendo controller in our hand.

 

Paparazzi Art


Whenever I wander around a grocery store or CVS Pharmacy, I pass by various magazines that highlight major news about the hottest celebrities.  These magazines always have headlines like ‘Kendall Jenner breaking the internet with this new dress’ or ‘so-and-so newlywed strolling the streets of Los Angeles’.  We even have this section about celebrities’ hot beach bods and what he/she did to shed those pounds.

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How did we plunge into this voyeuristic obsession of our favorite celebrities?  Why are so eager to hear about Kim Kardashian’s new Prada bag or read about Chris Evan’s secret to a great body?  These low-brow articles were made with the help of Paparazzi.

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A paparazzi is a freelance photographer who pursues celebrities to capture a snapshot of them.  These pesky shutterbugs take photographs of entertainers, athletes, politicians, and various celebrities in the world of entertainment.  It is a controversial art form that was coined in the 1960s, described as a “buzzing insect” that hovers over you.  The term ‘Paparazzi’ was the focal point for the Italian film La Dolce Vita.  Released in 1960, La Dolce Vita is a comedy-drama film focusing on the life of jaded journalist Marcello and photographer colleague Paparazzo who took photographs of celebrities.  After the film’s release in the United States, the term ‘Paparazzi’ became synonymous with the actual group of employees in the journalism field.

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La Dolce Vita hit theaters around the United States in 1961, sparking mainstream fame around the notorious practice.  Paparazzi became a nationwide subject for newspapers, magazines radio shows, and even created a whole segment for CBS’s 60 Minutes.  Thus, the central idea of wealth and fame became a popular subject for magazines.  By using candid voyeuristic photos of celebrities we love, businesses sparked up a growing trend in entertainment news.

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Let’s face it, we really don’t know ANYTHING about these celebrities that we read about.  We know that Matt Bomer is married to publicist Simon Halls, but we have no personal connections with him whatsoever.  When reading about our favorite stars, we create these para-social relationships with our heroes.  People feel as though they know who these people are because they WANT to have a friendship or relationship that long for.

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Fame crosses our mind every day in our dull lives at the office.  Just the mere idea of earning millions of dollars for performing on camera seems like an easy life.  Who wouldn’t want to own that hip bachelor pad on Malibu beach?  Or be able to drive that European sports car on the Pacific Highway?  It’s these wild dreams that motivate us to better our lives, scouting out real goals.  People may seem crazy for skimming through a US Weekly magazine each week, but we all have our guilty pleasures for escaping life’s crazy ride.

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Entertainment magazines may be short on words, but they make up for it with the over-sized candid celebrity pictures.  These paparazzi shots are part of our guilty pleasures we go back to when we get frustrated with our lives.  I used to follow the celebrity trends through entertainment magazines when I was in middle school.  Reading about the lives of Paris Hilton or Bam Margera was my escape from the hectic life as a teenager.  Nowadays information is easy to discover with just a click of a mouse.  Internet blogs and news are the technological norm for scouting out information about your favorite celebrity.  One thing is for certain: our curiosity about our favorite celebrities will always embed us into the wild world of entertainment.