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Lifestyle Angelenos

5 Awesome Things to Know About L.A.! Pride 2016, Straight from the Festival’s President Chris Classen!

June 8, 2016
Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

LA! Pride has come a long way since its inception in the year 2000, when it was known as LA/Valley Pride (LAVP).

But even in really recent years, the festival that celebrates the LGBT community has majorly stepped up its game, bringing on top-tier musical acts (can we reminisce about last year with Kesha for a moment?!) and attracting a majorly diverse crowd.

This year (my seventh!), which kicks off this Friday (!), is expected to bring an even bigger crowd, especially by boasting performances by big acts, including Carly Rae JepsenCharli XCXKrewella and dozens of others.

But a musical upgrade isn’t the only big change you can expect this year. Skyelyfe caught up with Chris Classen, president of the festival and also president of Christopher Street West, which produces the three-day event. He dished on everything we all need to know leading up to (at least what I consider) the most fun weekend of the year!

Photo Credit: Own Your Pride Campaign

Photo Credit: Own Your Pride Campaign

From what went into selecting this year’s artists, to flashier decor and better food options, read below for five things to know about LA! Pride 2016:

1. Keep Your Phone Charged, Because There Will Be Far Too Many Photo Opps!

“World class musical acts, more inclusive programming, and interactive art experiences will be all over the festival,” Classen says. “I mean, wait until you see this thing. There are so many social media moments, you’ll have serious FOMO if you stay home.”

2. Much More Thought Went Into This Year’s Musical Lineup, But the Weekend Is Still Affordable

“This year we sat down and said, ‘Ok, let’s curate a lineup that’s diverse, cool, and broad,” Classen explains. “We wanted a mix of acts we love, but haven’t been ‘discovered’ yet, and some names people already love. We also added acts to the schedule, so it’s a really packed weekend of talent. The best part? It’s only $35 per day.”

3. Each Musical Act Has a Special Tie to the LGBT Community

“All of our acts are allies,” Classen says. “Many are openly LGBTQ, but the coolest change this year isn’t the headliners – it’s the entire lineup. Never before have we had a talent list that is as diverse as our own community.”

4. Classen Loves Being Behind the Scenes of West Hollywood’s Biggest Annual Event 

“Putting together the nations largest, ticketed LGBT event takes a year of preparation with a tight-knit team of dedicated people who become a second family to me,” he says. “But during the event, few of the attendees know who I am, and my favorite part of the weekend is being able to watch the joy and sense of wonder on people’s faces as they experience what we have put together for them.”

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

5. Kesha Left Her Mark on the Festival, Following Last Year’s Incredible Headlining Performance

“Being backstage with Kesha last year was one of my favorite memories of Pride,” Classen says. “She was lovely, and so genuinely excited to be a part of the event.”

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Music Food

Life Is Beautiful Festival: All the Behind-the-Scenes Secrets, from Co-Owner Ryan Doherty

September 22, 2015
Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

With fall underway, most of the year’s biggest music festivals are a thing of the past.

But Life Is Beautiful gives people a chance at one final big festival hurrah until 2016 Coachella.

Taking place this weekend in Downtown Las Vegas, the music and arts festival features huge talent, including Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, Brandon Flowers, Snoop Dogg, Duran Duran, Kygo – and a slew of my favorites (Porter Robinson, Death Cab for Cutie, Madeon, Future IslandsGlass Animals, Peking Duk, Audien and What So Not).

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Skyelyfe sat down at Soho House in West Hollywood with the festival’s co-owner, WENDOH Media‘s Ryan Doherty. Doherty discussed the headliner selection process, the things that set this festival greatly apart from the others and some of the year-long challenges that were faced in pulling this incredible experience together. 

Read on to learn six behind-the-scenes things to know about Life Is Beautiful festival:

1. The Setup Is Wild

“At a music festival, you’re usually in a venue. In this case, the entire downtown is turned into a venue,” Doherty said. “We fence off 17 blocks, we have stages and parking lots in the middle of the streets. There are casinos, bars, restaurants that become parts of the venue. It has this ever-evolving footprint that changes every year.”

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

2. Here’s How the Headliners Came to Be

“We had a lot of artists we went after for headliners,” Doherty said. “The festival scene has gotten so broad now. There’s a festival every weekend, and we’re all fighting over the same talent. We got lucky. We did end up getting who we wanted. Stevie Wonder was a big get for us. He’s not going to be playing for a [much longer] time. You never know when he’s going to hang it up, so for us to get him for a festival is a good get. We had hoped to get Imagine Dragons because we don’t have a local sports team. We have very few hometown heroes. So, the Killers and Imagine Dragons are like our two hometown heroes. and Kendrick, we kind of bet on that horse, so we got him a long time ago and hoped he would catch on fire. And so far, it’s paid off. He’s turned in some great festival performances already this year. His music is smart and conscious. One of the goals was to make the lineup diverse, and I think that was accomplished.” 

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

3. The Challenges of Putting Together L.I.B Differ from Other Festivals

“There are a million moving parts to a music festival,” Doherty explained. “There are tons of speed bumps, but no obstacles. It just takes a long time to get things done. Most of you go to a music festival and you have to deal with the personalities of rockstars. We have to deal with the personalities of chefs and rockstars. We have an entire speaker series, so we have all these speakers. It’s a lot of stars who have all different personalities and are all coming in from different places from all over the world. Just booking their travel is a full-time job.”

4. Just Dealing with Venue Matters Alone Took a Whole Year

“We have to shut down city blocks, rearrange traffic,” Doherty said. “When you have a venue you can walk into, like a Coachella, where it’s a big field, it’s a lot easier. We have residents that we move to hotels for a weekend, we have perimeter fences that we have to put up around 17 blocks. People are surprised it takes a whole year to put this together, but it’s 100,000 people across four pillars. We have the speaker series, we have the culinary program, then we have the musicians and then we have art.”

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

5. The Festival’s Learning Project Is Something That Doesn’t Exist Elsewhere

“It’s essentially built around the platform of small, 200-300-person theater-style engagements going on during the festival,” Doherty explained. “It’s short-form content. These are 20-minute sessions. The idea of it is so that if you’re in groups, you can divide off and two of you can catch a session while the others catch a music set and then you can meet up and get some food together. The learning project is really meant to inspire everyone. You’re not getting that at any other music festival – whether it’s an inspirational culinary experience or little pop-up demonstrations.”

6. Despite Its Las Vegas Location, L.I.B. Doesn’t Typically Bring Out the Party Animals

“It’s really not that kind of festival,” Doherty said. “It’s not that crazy type of environment.”

Music

Coachella 2015: This 64-Song Festival Playlist Will Keep You Busy While Venturing Through Desert-Bound Traffic!

April 8, 2015

CoachellaDid it take far too much effort to rummage through the seemingly endless list of Coachella performers to weed out who you want to see live, aside from the obvious (I’m looking at you, Drake, RAC, St. Lucia, Tycho, , Odesza)?

Well, rest assured, I have a good grasp on the acts this year and I’ve got your must-sees covered. From my newer discoveries Alison Wonderland and Coyote Kisses, to some longtime favorites Kaskade and Nero, there is a slew of solid music options between Friday and Sunday for your listening pleasure.

So, whether you’re packing your bags for the big weekend that lies ahead, or you’re getting in your car to head to the festival, sit back, relax, and listen to this playlist of 64 artists worth seeing at Coachella!

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Beauty Music Angelenos

SXSW 2015: From the Performances, to the Swag and V.I.P. Services, Go Inside the Hottest Music Parties!

March 24, 2015

I can’t stress enough how much incredible music talent was at SXSW this year – but as is the case with so many festivals, the parties were just as worthy as the shows themselves.

Guests at some of these top-tier fetes (which took place in the middle of the day through the wee hours of the morning) were treated to specialty cocktails, luxury swag and beauty services. Read on to go inside some of the hottest happenings in Austin, Texas, over the weekend!

Nylon x The dFm Present Terrace at the W Austin

The Nylon party was everything you’d expect it to be: the perfect blend of music, arts and fashion. Zella Day was a highlight performer at the fete, which featured other live acts, including Holychild, Tove Styrke, Safia and darling Cody Simpson, who had pals singing along to his songs. V.I.P. guests covered themselves with removable Flash Tattoos and swooped up swag from SkullCandy, Gibson, Pax Labs, Inc. and Original Penguin.

Nylon7

Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

Neon Gold Presents Neon Golden at Empire Control Room

Neon Gold‘s Neon Golden party had an insane music lineup. Featuring live performances by ASTR, The Knocks, Years & Years, MS MR, Marina & the DiamondsVerite and Cathedrals (just to name a few), this bash was off the hook! In between catching the acts, guests got beautified with the help of PRIV, a straight-to-your-door beauty service, currently available L.A., NYC and London, which launched in Sept. 2014 with a chic fete in West Hollywood. In celebration of SXSW, the company (whose app is available on your iPhone) made its services permanently available in Austin and kicked things off with manicures and hairstyling at the Neon Golden party!

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GQ x Jam in the Van Sessions Presented by Stillhouse Moonshine

Any event put on by GQ is bound to be a success, and such was indeed the case when the mag partnered up with  Jam In the Van for SXSW. During the two-day shindig, guests were able to let their hair down in a relaxed environment, taking in the sounds of a slew of acts, including Plain White T’s, Surfer Blood, Cody Simpson, Zella Day, X Ambassadors and Jukebox the Ghost. They sipped on specialty cocktails by Stillhouse Moonshine whiskey and had a peek of what goes down in the world’s first solar-powered music discovery vehicle. PRIV (short for PRIVileged) was on hand yet again, for massages, his and hers manicures and man-bun styling galore!

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Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

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Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

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Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

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Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

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Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

Beauty Music Food Angelenos Featured

From Lolla to the Taste LA: Reliving 5 Summer Highlights as We Say Sayonara to the Sunniest Season!

June 1, 2014

It’s no secret that my favorite season is fall. It makes me unconditionally at ease. So I guess it goes without saying that although there were some surefire highlights of the summer, I am beyond excited for the three-month falliday! But even while basking in the joys of the new season upon us, it would be unfair to discredit some fond memories of the past few months.

Here are five memorable moments from the sunniest season (in no particular order):

1. LOLLAPALOOZA 

Talk about a trip of spontaneity! While talks of heading to the Windy City for Lolla weekend had been going on for some time, the trip wasn’t officially booked until less than a week beforehand. The flight was far from inexpensive at this point, but at least my friend and I had a place to stay when we arrived (thank you for your hospitality, Elizabeth!). A handful of other close friends from L.A. were also in town for the festivities, so it was great to explore Chicago (for the very first time) with some of my favorite people. Oddly enough, after all was said and done, my Lolla group and I only made it to two shows out of the entire festival. But we definitely maximized our experience, making the two shows among the best options. Foster the People never disappoints, and Cut Copy‘s performance was so intimate and just perfect for a number of reasons. CC at Lolla was definitely one of the best live experiences I have ever had. When we weren’t at the festival, frolicking around the city or pre-partying at one of our friend’s amazing condos, we were pretty much stationed at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago for their weekend-long Lolla afterparty, where we caught incredible performances by ASTR and Betty Who (always perfection). The weekend was pretty much flawless, except for how quickly it went by.

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2. GETTING IN THE SPIRIT OF SIPPING SPIRITS

It’s not like you have to twist my arm to try a new flavor of vodka or celebrate a spirit, and this summer was no exception when it came to doing just that. While Svedka kicked off the season in June with a pool party to celebrate the launch of their mango pineapple and strawberry lemonade flavors, VEEV concluded summer with a huge nighttime pool party as well, to spread the word about their new 70 proof VEEV 2.0. Complete with aerial dancers and a beautiful view of Beverly Hills, the #cheatonvodka-themed fete was at capacity in no time. Meanwhile, Grey Goose had a launch of its own this summer. I was on hand at the now-infamous 1oak night club in West Hollywood (thankfully no shootings on this particular outing), where I sipped the brand’s new Le Melon flavor all night, as the crowd toasted Swizz Beatz and Kehinde Wiley. Cheers!

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GreyGoose

3. FESTIVAL OF ARTS/PAGEANT OF THE MASTERS

On a mid-July Saturday, I took a little drive just south of L.A. to Orange County with my dad. We attended the Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. The annual event is California’s premier fine arts show and this was my first time attending. The exhibits were seemingly endless and so diverse. After the festival, we grabbed dinner and then it was off to the spectacular display of living art. Yes, two hours are devoted to live people recreating historical pieces of artwork on a stage in front of hundreds of audience members. It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t seen it in person, but it is really interesting and I recommend checking it out to get a better idea.

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4. CRUSTACEAN’S REDHOUR SUMMER MUSIC SERIES

The summer heat had fully kicked in on this early Thursday evening in June and all I wanted was to be social in an air-conditioned space that provided wine. Well, luckily I managed to find that (and a sampling of an entire food menu) at the RedHour summer music series kick-off at Crustacean restaurant in Beverly Hills. My friend and I received the royal treatment sitting at a VIP table, while schmoozing with the eatery’s owner and some of the night’s lovely performers, who included American Idol alums Jessica Sanchez and Pia Toscano – along with Natasha and Daniel Bedingfield‘s equally talented sister Nikola Rachelle, who was definitely the highlight of my night.

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5. THE TASTE LA

I wanted one final hurrah before kicking off my month of #Sobtember, so before ditching booze and carb-rich foods for 30 days, I went out with a bang at the Los Angeles TimesTaste L.A. event. I don’t really know what else to say here except I could barely fit any of the array of beverages inside of me because I ate so much. The line for Ramen burgers dominated the whole event. I steered clear, but was sure to get my hands on churros, chicken & waffles, huevos rancheros, vegan cheeseburgers and who knows what else! All I know is it was worth every bite and I could barely move after my consumption. Thank you Food Flaunt for bringing me along, even if indeed it was one of the sweatiest days of the year.

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