I realized today that I don't post many pictures here. I also realized that my sporadic posts about what's going through my mind the days I blog don't do justice to the things that happen in between.
2010 was an incredible year. I traveled more than ever, met a ton of awesome people and made a bunch of memories I won't soon forget. Not only did I visit Atlanta, New Haven, New York City and St. Louis, but I road-tripped to Gainesville about 10 times and Sarasota twice. I managed to do all this exploring despite working Monday-Friday, 9-5. In case you (whoever you are) didn't know, I love lists. Here we go.
1) Towards the end of 2009, I stayed with a friend of a friend of a friend (seriously) in NYC. The plan was to spend New Year's in New York, which turned out to be epic. Aside from eating great food, walking around and seeing new places, I got to see snow for the first time in my life.
2) I turned 21. Not having to use a fake ID from Venezuela that looked more like a library card was pretty refreshing. For some reason it gave me more incentive to check out new places in my hometown. One of the events I discovered was Art Walk, where a circuit of art galleries in the Design District/Midtown/Wynwood open to the public once a month. Not all of the galleries change their exhibits on a monthly basis, so it can become a bit familiar, but there's always new stuff to see. I saw this a few weeks after my 21st birthday at my first Art Walk.
3) I made a pizza from scratch for the first time. (This isn't entirely a list about first-times. Promise.) It was my friend Guillermo's suggestion for a random Friday night, and it was delicious.
4) I drove a LOT in 2010. One day I'll sit down and write about why I like road trips so much. Over half of those drives were alone, which has its pros and cons, but getting to see the same routes at different hours of the day is interesting. In general, though, Florida is still pretty boring to drive through. (Unless you're driving to/from the beach, like I was in this picture.)
5) As I'll describe in a bit, 2010 was the year of live shows. I can't get enough. I saw a shitload of my favorite artists and discovered a goldmine of new music. Needless to say, Bonnaroo tops the list of last year's best live music experiences. It was my third year there and the greatest one so far. Last year's trip was particularly fantastic because I flew to Atlanta a few days before the festival. I explored, shopped, ate, drank...and fell in love with the city. Plus, I was on a pre-Bonnaroo high. I think it's fair to say my life is structured around Bonnaroo: the first six months after the festival I'm trying (and failing) to get over how great it was, and the next six months are spent looking forward to the next 'Roo. That's where I'm at now, anyway.
6) Summer of 2010 came. That's when the traveling really began. But not before some much-needed weekends on the beach.
7) After Bonnaroo, my first major trip was to New Haven/NYC for Manoli's birthday weekend. I literally headed to the airport after work on Friday at 5pm and flew back Sunday night. We had the most delicious brunch ever in New Haven. I had brie-stuffed French toast with caramelized berries, pears, whipped cream and cinnamon. (My sense of recollection is totally random sometimes. But really. Would you forget that meal?! Didn't think so.)
Although it was my third time in New York, it was my first time driving into the city as opposed to flying. Besides stumbling into some unknown cafe (that had a bluegrass band playing—perfect for a Sunday afternoon!), there was this really cool exhibit at the New Museum which had people's wishes printed on ribbons that hung from this long wall. After pulling a ribbon from the wall with someone's wish, you would replace it with your own wish written on paper.
8) I've always wanted to see Interpol live. After years of listening to them, I got to check them out at The Fillmore in August, and I got to see them with two of my biggest Interpol fan friends, Iris and Erika. They were really, really, really, really good.
9) Second major trip of last summer was my St. Louis visit. Broken Social Scene (my favorite band on Earth) was going on tour but they didn't have any shows scheduled in Florida, so I decided I would pick one of their weekend shows and visit a new city before the end of the year. Joanna, one of my best friends, goes to WashU, which meant I wouldn't have to look for a place to stay. Moreover, BSS' St. Louis show was at this new music festival called LouFest (first music festival for that city, I believe). Music festival? Visiting a friend's college town? New city? First time in the Midwest? The choice was easy.
After working eight hours and flying into a different time zone, maybe I should have been tired. Giddy from being in a new place, however, I spent my first night checking out the Thursday night college student scene, which included a stop at the rooftop of the Moonrise Hotel. The place has a bar (with bad caipirinhas, though expectations weren't high to begin with), a nice view of the city and a big, spinning (and appropriately corny) replica of the moon.
Broken Social Scene played an amazing set later that weekend. I didn't care that I was at the show by myself. Five years after hearing "7/4 (Shoreline)," the song still gives me goosebumps from time to time. Forest Park is also beautiful and probably the largest green space I've ever seen.
10) Sometime last summer, I heard about Miami Horror. (No, it's not a local Halloween orgy.) They're a disco-influenced electro-pop group from Australia and they have some of the most contagious, catchy and dancey songs I've ever heard. After the release of their first album last year, they toured the U.S. Their stop in Miami was at LIV, this ridiculous, snooty club at the Fontainebleau hotel on Miami Beach. (I quote, from their website: "The quintessential, 21 and older nightspot fuses the appeal of an ultra exclusive lounge and a high-energy nightclub. LIV is home to celebrities, VIPs and Miami’s local party crowd.")
The fact that admission at LIV is as ridiculous as its ego goes without saying. Two (male) friends and I waited at the front of the line for over half an hour, mostly ignored as hordes of girls in colossal heels and circulation-cutting skirts glided right in. Hey, maybe we weren't females but we weren't bros either. WTF? Anyway, soon after doubt started setting in, I felt a tap on my back. I turn around and this REALLY pretty girl (with three really pretty girl friends) says, "Hey, can you get us in?" I didn't even have to think; my Miami genes clicked like clockwork. I beamed and said, "Absolutely." Once I flagged down the bouncer and nodded at the girls, it was smooth sailing from there. Despite the fact that Miami Horror's set was only 20 minutes long (LIV truly is lame), the night was a blast and a new musical obsession was born.
11) A week or two after the Miami Horror show, my parents flew back to Lima. I've written so much about their move in this blog so I won't go into detail. But my memory of their going-away lunch sticks out in my mind more than most of the meals we ever had together.
12) The next show in the "spend a sinful amount of money on concerts" season was Sleigh Bells and LCD Soundsystem. I had already seen LCD at Bonnaroo, but like most bands their own show was completely different compared to their festival set. Also, since they're a musical project (not so much a band), who knows when their last show will be? Sleigh Bells were intense, awesome, and I'll probably see them again in April when they come to Miami.
13) A week or two later, I saw Massive Attack and Thievery Corporation but I didn't get any good pictures. (They rocked! My 2C-I-induced perception of Thievery at Bonnaroo left a pretty cloudy memory, so seeing them again was worth it.) A week or two after that, I saw Matt and Kim at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale.
Let me preface this by admitting how often I throw around the same general adjectives: fun, awesome, and incredible. But Matt and Kim SERIOUSLY blew the roof off of the Culture Room. They have more energy than any live duo I've seen before. Kim walked on top of the crowd while people held her up with their hands. They played a cover of "Better Off Alone" by Alice DeeJay, which threw our inner nineties child into a pseudo-ecstasy-ridden frenzy. The place practically exploded when they finished their set with "Daylight." I got pushed around (if not trampled) and lost my friends, but the show was amazing.
14) Life went on as I spent the months of August-December in a live-show-stupor. Last year was my first Thanksgiving without my parents, and I wasn't throwing in the towel in terms of having a traditional feast. With help from my brother, I cooked my first Thanksgiving turkey and made cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, couscous, gravy and chocolate cheesecake—all from scratch. Everything tasted amazing and there were leftovers for days. My parents joined us via Skype and were both proud and jealous. (Thanksgiving is nonexistent in Latin America.)
15) December started with Art Basel and an event called Art Loves Music. They set up a large stage on the beach the first night of Art Basel and the event was free and open to the public. It was my first concert on the beach (literally) and my first time seeing Metric, who are somewhat related to Broken Social Scene. I was excited, despite knowing only a few songs. The beach was packed. Besides Winter Music Conference, Art Basel is one of the most exciting times of the year for Miami. I saw Diplo later that month and went out every single night of the week of New Year's with all my friends who were home from college.
I'm really glad I wrote this. In high school, my LiveJournal was titled "La Vida Es Buena" ("life is good" in Spanish). Having completed this lengthy and detailed post, it's comforting to know that in light of these countless new experiences, some things haven't changed. And although I still want to live somewhere else later on, last year I finally came to love Miami and appreciate everything this city has to offer, in spite of its flaws. It took 21 years but eventually I learned that—like a lot of things—you just have to look on the bright side.