Tag Archives: weed

Pink Floyd Experience @ OC Fair

21 Jul

When I first heard I was going to cover the Pink Floyd Experience at the Orange County Fair, I immediately pictured a night filled with laser light shows and all the other trippy aesthetics that have become synonymous with the classic rock legend.

And when I heard PFX would be playing the entire Animals record and then some, I crossed my fingers and hoped to see the giant pig, from the 1977 album cover, floating above the Pacific Amphitheater at some point during the show.

However, my mistaken emphasis on the word ‘experience’ left me disappointed when I realized this was merely a tribute act and the only lights I would see were those shining on the band members and coming out of the projector screens on either side of the stage.

No– Roger Waters, Syd Barret, Nick Mason, Richard Wright and David Gilmour were nowhere to be found, and while PFX lead singer Howard Pattow’s vocal was impressive, it wasn’t quite good enough to make me forget I was watching a cover band.

Impervious to this, my fellow Pink Floyd fans filled the amphitheater and rocked out as lead guitarist Tom Quinn, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Howard Pattow, bassist Gus Beaudoin, saxophonist Jesse Molloy, keyboardist John Cox, and drummer John Staten put on one hell of a show.

As the sun went down, revelers with a beer in one hand and for some, a joint in the other, watched in amazement as Quinn and Molloy played near perfect guitar and sax solos. The crowd roared each time they recognized a track off the classic album and images of factory explosions, lava lamp goo, sheep, and a man with no eyes corresponded with the psychedelic songs and their philosophical lyrics.

“We just think this is some of the best music ever written,” said Pattow, who then played hits “Money,” “Time,” and “Comfortably Numb” off Floyd’s 1973 Dark Side of the Moon album and 1979 album, The Wall.

Call me a snob, but part of me cringed when the act concluded with a sing-a-long to “Another Brick in the Wall (Pt. II).” The guy next to me, a veteran Pink Floyd concert attendee who called himself “a rare fruit grower” and had the distinct smell of rum and coke on his breath, shared my sentiments and scoffed, “A sing-a-long?! Pink Floyd would never do that!”

He also screamed, “Where’s the fuckin’ laser show, man?” A kindred spirit, I guess.

So, is the ‘experience’ as good as the real thing? No, but it’s near impossible to be as good as the originals– it’s like going to a Doors concert without Jim Morrison or a Queen concert without Freddy Mercury.

Given what the guys of PFX are up against, they are a talented bunch that truly respect the original musicians and may just be Floyd’s biggest fans. Considering that two of the original members are now playing their “great gig in the sky,” PFX is the next best thing and a relatively inexpensive way to see the iconic songs performed live.

In the words of my newfound friend, “They’re good, but they ain’t Pink Floyd.”

(Originally published in OC Music Magazine)

Messages on the Wall

8 Dec

You pass it every day without so much as a fleeting thought. It covers freeway passes, it is carved into desks and trees and it lines the walls of bathroom stalls.

Graffiti has become so ubiquitous that its intent is routinely overlooked and its words are seldom viewed as anything more than the defacement of property by careless delinquents. But what are the stories behind these anonymous scribes? Are these words merely written for cheap thrills or is there a deeper expression beyond the surface?

Across Cal State Fullerton’s campus, female students are hiding behind the cloak of anonymity and tagging the walls of the women’s restrooms. The stalls proclaim: “don’t be afraid,” “legalize weed November 2010,” “remember you’re beautiful without him or her” and “good luck on your tests!”

Girls pose the questions: “is casual sex with friends OK at all?”, “how do you go from being boyfriend and girlfriend to just friends?” and “why are guys so dumb?” with a list of reasons from several different participants. One student writes, “if I had to choose between loving you and breathing, I would use my last breath to say I love you” and another confesses, “having depression has ruined me but in some ways, it’s saved me too. I know who I am now.”

“I just have to stop and read it sometimes because it’s interesting. I think it’s way easier to write on a bathroom wall than to go up to someone’s face and talk about it. That’s why this generation is so addicted to Facebook and all the other social networking sites. They don’t know how to have interpersonal communication. There’s a complete lack of face-to-face (interaction),” said Ashley Pillabough, an English major at CSUF.

Anthropology major Breana Cumberland enjoys reading the graffiti and is disappointed when the conversations are painted over. She worries about the people who ask for personal advice. “I feel like they don’t have anyone who they can go to, to talk to. It sucks when people write ‘you’re stupid’ or ‘you’re a bitch.’ It’s like really? Support! Even if it’s from a bathroom wall,” Cumberland said.

However, not all students are as receptive to the graffiti as Pillabough and Cumberland. Freshman Michelle Ruiz said, “I don’t think it’s right. It’s just a waste of time. They’re asking for advice on a bathroom wall. There are things here at school you can go to to get help where you don’t have to vandalize the school.”

What Ruiz refers to are the eight individual counseling sessions that each CSUF student is allotted per academic year. The service is covered by the student health fee but the sessions are remarkably underutilized. According to the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) appointment statistics, of the 68,873 students enrolled at CSUF during the 2009-10 academic year, only 1,162 students visited a counselor using an average of six sessions.

Students may opt for anonymous disclosure rather than seek counseling due to shyness or the lack of a support system but Sapna Chopra, a professor in the master’s program of counseling, believes that it is society’s perception of therapy that prevents people from reaching out.

“Over the past 10 years or so, there has been a real rise in the number of students with serious mental health issues, not just on our campus, but across the country. And sadly, there is still a great deal of shame and stigma for many people to seek help.”

Ya-Shu Liang, a licensed psychologist at the Counseling and Psychological Services (part of the Student Health and Counseling Center) said that the biggest issue she sees CSUF students for, is stress. She urges any student who is considering counseling to try it at least once. Coming here doesn’t mean you have a diagnosis. There are tons of people (who) will never seek help so coming here means that you’re brave enough to talk about it with somebody who might know a little more than your peers. It’s not like your friends and parents are not helpful; it’s the role that they have. They cannot help by having an opinion. They are not really impartial but what a counselor can do is be more objective.”

Nursing major Rachelle Ramiento proposes that the anonymous outpouring of emotions on the restroom walls is just another trend of our generation. Ongoing projects such as Post Secret, where people anonymously share their secrets on homemade postcards and send them to a designated P.O. box, and 1,000 journals, an experiment that attempts to follow 1,000 journals as they travel across the world and continuously change hands, have catapulted the phenomenon of anonymous self-disclosure to fame.

At a time when our means of communication are faster and more accessible than ever, it’s hard to understand how it has led to an emotional disconnection from our peers where, for some, anonymity seems like the only way to have their voices heard. In the 2010 Healthy Minds Survey, 9 percent of CSUF students admitted to seriously thinking about attempting suicide, a statistic higher than that of the number of students who visited CAPS.

Not everyone is comfortable seeing a counselor or sharing their problems with family and friends but anyone can hide behind a pen or a screen name without worrying about being associated with their message. Whether you see graffiti as vandalism or just another mode of expression, it is here to stay. Pay attention to its words and you just might find that there’s a stronger connection between you and your fellow students than you initially thought.

Originally published at The Daily Titan

More Pictures from Messages on the Wall

8 Dec

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