Having just moved to Los Angeles from Toronto, I was looking forward to all the American-style road trips I would have during my summer vacation. Of the ones I went on, the most memorable trip was my get-away to the Electric Daisy Carnival (aka EDC), an epic three day music and performance-driven extravaganza located at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The annual EDC features all sorts of entertainment, from Electronica music to carnival rides to circus-like performances to interactive art installations. On top of witnessing a visually spectacular scene, from the moment you walk in, you are surrounded by and fully immersed in the Electronica music culture from which EDC originally emerged – the principle of P.L.U.R (Peace, Love, Unity and Respect). With that said, EDC was beyond my expectations. 35,000 people attended this music celebration, taking over the Las Vegas Strip during the day and the Motor Speedway at night.
Even though I was born and raised in Los Angeles, I often feel like a stranger in my own city. As funny as this it might sound, I sometimes feel like tourists know more about Los Angeles than me, a native! This city is so large and has so many different sections that it seems like an impossible city to intimately know, especially for someone like me who tends to stick to her own backyard. So when my sister suggested that we go to one of Cinespia’s cemetery screenings, I decided to give it a go!
Cinespia is an organization that hosts screenings of classic films at the famous Hollywood Forever cemetery. They project old (and some newer) classic movies onto a large wall that is surrounded by a huge grassy lawn for people to lay out and watch the films. Most people bring picnic-style food and drinks to enjoy while watching the movie. My sister and I came prepared with an endless array of snacks and drinks so that we could maximize our experience. We arrived at the cemetery about an hour and a half before the movie began but, understanding the popularity of this summer event, we weren’t surprised to see that a long line had formed and was already spilling out onto Santa Monica Blvd. It was all worth it though once we got to the front and were allowed onto the grounds of Hollywood Forever. The area of the cemetery in which the films are projected is somewhat toward the back of the grounds; you actually have to walk through a portion of the cemetery in order to get to the final destination. Along the walk, I was drawn in and fascinated by all the over-the-top marble tombstones and mausoleums; some had effigies (or drawn likenesses) etched into the stone so that you could see what the deceased looked like when they were alive.
The last time I went to the Grand Canyon, I was six years old. The visit came about because my family was moving from Nevada to Texas and we wanted to check out this wonder on the way. I remember walking to the edge of the canyon after sitting in the car for hours, staring down into the infinite abyss, and then looking back at my dad and thinking, “This is it?”
Fast forward 17 years later and I am standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon for a second time. It is breathtaking. There is snow on the ground, couples walking their dogs, and very few kids running around (must be something about the edge of a canyon that scares parents). The canyon is quiet in sound but loud with color and depth. It is a bright rustic red and orange but, in the crevasses, it is a dark purple. The South Rim shows melted snow running down the side of the canyon and patches of solid ice where the sun has not yet touched. I found a flat rock where not many people were. My boyfriend and I had just begun to meditate when a woman interrupted us to ask if we could take a picture of her. She was from South Africa; so is my boyfriend. They began to speak in Afrikaans and he learned that she has a safari in South Africa and teaches at the same elementary school at which his mom teaches. He misses his home in South Africa, so to meet someone who tells him how beautiful it still is makes him happy, which in turn, makes me happy.