Summer nights in LA

With fall season to come upon us, I thought I’d be fair to write about the outdoor events that the city of Los Angeles had offered to its residents every summer.

Having my project Stories Without Borders has turned me into a journalist on a mission.

I’d take pictures of places and events while writing my thoughts on the events or what the place has to offer. It’s as if seeing things through a different lens. This shift has turned into a fondness of searching for the next subject to write. Living in the city where every part of town has its own flavor and culture, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by choices on where to go and what to see.

I was one of many to witness all the wonderful things that the city has to offer during the summer months. From food festivals, outdoor movie screenings to live music events where most of the events are free, the summer months made me look forward for new adventures to embark upon. They also made the week go by fast.

My recent discovery was a series of music nights called Dance Downtown hosted by the Music Center’s Dance Center on Friday nights from June 3rd to September 2nd. Each Friday night would have 3 different DJ’s playing from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm where each DJ is given an hour to play their set. The first Friday of the series started with Bollywood, something I wished I had been to. While the last of the series ended with Disco. I recalled disco era as an end to the 80's before grunge came into the world to sing their truth. With that being said, each Friday night came with a different music theme to draw crowds for nostalgic moments and of course the best part was to get people to dance.

On the night I went to Dance Downtown, I was lucky enough not to have to fight my way to reach my destination. Simply put, the commute and finding parking was a breeze. It must’ve been the Olympic month that kept the folks stayed indoors instead of crowding the streets on Friday night.

As I made my way to the event, I allowed the salsa music to lead me to a place where trees were elegantly lit in a single cord of summer glow. Tables and chairs were spread out from the middle to the back where people sat with picnic foods and drinks.

I walked to the informational booth where a hostess graciously told us about different music theme for every Friday night. The salsa music invited dancers of all skills and age to crowd the main area. I noticed how most of the visitors and dancers arrived with a pair of tennis shoes. Some arrived hand in hand as a couple while the rest came as a group of friends or a family. It was a fun and less expensive option to have on a Friday night.

Just a week prior, I went to a park at a west part of town where they had jazz bands playing every Sunday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Initially when I read the invitation on one of their social media sites, I thought about bringing my laptop to the park, thinking about a different writing scenery than my usual at a coffee house or at a co-working space. However as soon as I heard samba music playing, I raced to the front of the line and danced as if no one was watching. Forget the laptop, the only thing I cared about was to dance that I didn’t care about the heat. The music sent me to an imaginary tropical spot in my head. The vibe of the people around me was intoxicating, I could still hear the beat even on my drive home.

Another summer night festivities that I was fond of was outdoor cinema screening at parks or at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery Park. Armed with a blanket, a lawn chair along with a bag of snacks, I was surrounded by other people who came to watch cult classics that normally would play on reruns on cable. It didn’t matter if we knew how that movie tanked the box office when it came out in theaters years ago. We knew the lines and scenes to heart, unconsciously the movie and the event created a bond amongst strangers.

The last event that stayed on my mind was the 2 day annual music festival in Long Beach. There wasn’t a cover charge to get in and the best part was free street parking. I couldn’t help but dance to the great selections of house music. The crowd was a mix of locals, a large numbers of Cal State Long Beach students, downtown hipsters and Burning Man followers. With the ocean breeze, great music and happy vibes in the air, I’d definitely look forward to going back next year.

Living in a digitalized society, people is addicted to what is conveniently stored in a device that sits on the palm of your hand. Shamefully I have to admit that I am one of them. We get so engrossed with our emails, text messages, games and our work that we don’t look up to see who and what is around us. We turned into solitary creatures constricted to what we set as expectations. Having a goal and a dead line is a great way to keep yourself accountable to your work and responsibilities but it shouldn’t restrict you to be a free and authentic being. I heard people say wanting to build connection yet we are buried and protected by fear of intimacy. We are reluctant to allow others to see us for who we are. Fear of being taken for granted, fear of being seen as vulnerable and some are just not comfortable showing a softer side so they put on a wall that’s been installed for years. I used to be one of them too, raised by parents who never showed their softer side. That was how they were brought up believing strength would get you to wherever you needed to be. It wasn’t until years after that I learned how fear was the wrong motivation to live by. So many of us are still living with that same mindset.

They get uncomfortable with change or with someone that can pull out their gentler self so what they do is create a barrier to protect what they thought was their strength.

The list of reasons on why people are so afraid to reach out can go on and on. I’m at a point in my life where I seek meeting like minded people, build a connection and a create a circle of friendship that allows everyone to be authentic and happy. Long lasting friendships and lastly a romantic relationship that is real with deep feelings where being with a good company is preferred during the most uncomfortable times.

With Halloween and major holidays around the corner, I couldn’t believe how time flew by and we are getting to end 2016. As a closing to this write up, I hope that people continue the step out of their comfort zones, to get out of their solitary cage and make connection to others. Nothing can speed up tomorrow sooner just as you can’t bring back the days that have passed. Enjoy the simple pleasures that life has to offer. Sit at a park, dance you heart out, go to the beach, exercise outdoors and be with the one you love. Live in the present and appreciate everything and everyone in you life.

Pic of me edited by Luvina Rosdiana