“But it’s free!”

I’ve made a post in the past detailing how to take advantage of cultural happenings in San Francisco on a student budget (which you can read HERE) and now I’m going to try to do the same for New York City. I’ve been here for almost a year now and I don’t think I will ever get over how expensive and out of control some of the prices are here (this may be due in part to the fact that I’m on the hunt for housing right now and I just want to weep while scrolling through Craigslist; must avoid places like these listings). Almost everything here, from produce to housing, is a lot more expensive than I’m used to and as a result, I’m always on the hunt to save a few bucks here and there. New York’s crazy prices shouldn’t deter you from enjoying the multitude of events and activities the city has to offer, I tell myself. Personally, it’s pretty pricey living here, all the way across the country, away from my family, friends, cheap produce, cheap Mexican food, In-n-Out, and so on. I force myself to go out and really enjoy the city because not everyone can say they live in New York City, right? So I will now present a taste of some of the FREE (or super cheap) activities I’ve partaken in this summer so far.

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In Which I Come Back From My Blogging Hiatus to Write About One Direction

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a post for this blog, so it’s not much of a surprise that I would come back and write about the one thing that’s been preoccupying my time (other than whining and crying about finding a job) since I last posted.

That’s right. I am one of them. I am a victim of One Direction Infection (I can’t decide if it’s a better name than Bieber Fever). I have succumbed to these five charming kids and their catchy music. They’ve somehow climbed to the number 4 position on my Top Listened Artists on Last.fm and guess what? I am not ashamed to admit it either.

So before I start to blab about what makes One Direction so great – or beautiful – I will describe just what I experienced when I had the fortune of seeing them last week in Oakland.

I had no ticket and subsequently no hope the night before the concert and felt despair, misery, and all sorts of feelings that I probably shouldn’t have felt regarding 1D as a 22-year old college graduate. However, after watching the videos from the San Jose concert the night before I knew I had to at least try to get a ticket. I had heard that several people have managed to get last minute tickets at the box office just hours before the show and because I really have nothing going on in my life, there was no excuse. I knew that I would hate myself more for not trying, than not managing to get a ticket at the box office. Luckily, my friend Samantha is as much of a victim of One Direction Infection as I am so we both decided we would risk our sanity and our hearing to see Harry, Zayn, Liam, Niall, and Louis in concert.

That morning, my friend Amy called me to tell me that a girl sitting near her on the Amtrak train and had seen 1D in San Jose the night before and had essentially stalked them throughout the city to catch a glimpse of them. She managed to meet Niall and was proudly sharing her accomplishments with her fellow passengers. I took this as a sign that the universe was blessing my decision to try to see 1D. An hour later, however, I discovered that BART (the subway/train) was not running to Oakland from San Francisco because of a massive fire that had occurred the night before. Now here was a sign as any that the universe did NOT want me to go. I kept an eye on the news and prayed to Jesus Payne that things would be working by the time we would leave for Oakland.

Fortunately for us, everything was running soon enough and we were on our way to the Paramount Theater. Once we got there, one of the first things we witnessed was a group of teenage girls standing at a street corner, shrieking at something across the street. Already I was witnessing the One Direction Fangirls in action. Now, if you are unfamiliar with this fandom, here a few things that you may or may not want to know:

• One Direction fans cling onto inside jokes like they’re dying in the freezing Atlantic Ocean and all they have is a plank of wood to lie down on. Carrots, spoons, the phrase, “Vas Happening?,” cats, shamrocks/anything relating to Irish culture, and a pigeon named Kevin are just some of the things fans like to bring up all the time to prove that they are in the know of all things 1D. Not only are these things old and unfunny a year and a half later, they’ve also become the bane of One Direction’s existence. Unfortunately, their fans aren’t as quick to pick up on the fact that no one in the band cares about these things anymore.

• Homophobia, racism, and sexism run rampant in this fandom, particularly on Tumblr and Twitter. I try my best to stay out of these parts of the fandom, except to find a cute picture or gif, but occasionally you will see a post or Tweet that will make you lose hope in future generations. I don’t know if it’s because these websites give people anonymity and a large platform to spew garbage, but I do not recall coming across anything similar to this when I was younger and listened to Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Britney, etc. Of course, not all 1D fans are like this and there are many Tumblrs/blogs that call out fans on their stupidity and ignorance.

• One Direction fans enjoy obsessing over ANYONE in contact with the band. This is a fandom that has somehow created a fan name dedicated to the baby of their hairdresser, as well as a fake Twitter for her, just because a few of the guys have taken pictures with her. They also enjoy worshipping their security guards, girlfriends, and live band.

• One Direction fans will not let anything stop them to see the guys or anyone slightly connected to them. Traffic, large security guards, laws…nope, not one of these things will prevent them from getting that picture or video.

• One Direction fans scream at anything and scream very, very loud.

Now, with that knowledge, you might be able to better picture what I witnessed and how I felt. I watched as these girls shrieked at what turned out to be Paul, One Direction’s bodyguard, across the street and then run into the street/traffic just so they could get a picture with him. Cars had to stop midway just so these girls could run across. Clearly, I had no idea what I was getting into. Thank God I had Samantha with me because I don’t know how I would’ve survived all of this by myself.

As we waited in line for tickets at the box office, we witnessed several things that would make that day memorable.

• A girl dressed as a carrot and when I say, “dressed,” I mean she was wearing an orange bed sheet.

• We were in line behind a mother and father who were accompanying their children and talked to the parents more than any of the other fans.

• Theater staff looked liked they hated their lives and really, who could blame them. They had hundreds of teenage girls running around, screaming, and ignoring any rules and instructions.

• Things got heated when a group of moms cut the line after theater staff tried to get things sorted between those who were picking up tickets (Will-Call) and those who didn’t have tickets (Box Office). The mom in front of us began yelling at them to get out of the line and that they should know better as mothers. We were glad she was there because she was basically shouting everything we were too scared to say.

• The line was next to where the tour buses were parked and there were fans on the top of the parking lot across the street so they could catch a glimpse of anyone coming out of the buses. This led to frequent screams and stampedes. At one point Niall and Zayn came out and chaos ensued as a bunch of fans began crowing around the barricade that blocked off the tour buses. The lines that security worked so hard to form (essentially the line that we were in) disintegrated, but we did our hardest to stay in line. Things got hectic several times and the girl behind us in line had a bloody foot after getting stepped on.

Those were just a few things that made those couple of hours before the show memorable. Once 7:30pm rolled around, we began to wait to see if there were any extra tickets left. The moms who cut the line were the first in got tickets, as well as the group of girls ahead of us. Finally around 8pm, we got our tickets and they were great seats (Row E in the center orchestra)! We practically sprinted in and got to catch the last part of Olly Murs’s set. So that is my BIG TIP from this entire experience: Try to get last minute tickets at the Box Office. It’s worth the couple of hours wait because you can probably get better seats than those on StubHub/Craigslist and at face value!

Credit: joesmuchbetter.tumblr.com

The show was so good. I’m very happy I took the risk and went to see One Direction because, honestly, they have been the only thing making me happy these past few months. I have had a rough time since moving back home because of the soul-crushing experience known as job hunting and just general unhappiness. Their videos, interviews, and American take over have given me something to look forward to and cheer me up, as sad as they may be. It’s quite funny, because I remember feeling calm right before they come on and as soon as their introduction video began playing, it’s as though I regressed ten years and became a middle school girl again. “OMG they’re coming out in 1 minute!” “OMG only 30 seconds!” “OMG 5…4…3…2…1!”

I’m going to get a big fangirl-y here so feel free to skip this paragraph if you’d like, but oh…my…god. They are perfect in real life. Zayn Malik is literally stunning and I could not believe this perfect person was maybe less than 10 feet away from me. Harry Styles was intensely staring at everyone in the front and I can finally understand what people mean when they say he’s very charming and very charismatic. Niall Horan has amazing stage presence and very fun to watch. Louis Tomlinson, well all you need to know is DAT ASS. My favorite is Liam Payne and I just want to weep when I think about how I was so close to Jesus.

Credit: joesmuchbetter.tumblr.com

Credit: joesmuchbetter.tumblr.com

Credit: joesmuchbetter.tumblr.com

Credit: joesmuchbetter.tumblr.com

The Up All Night show is the same production they’ve been touring since January of this year. The only things they change up is the Twitter Q&A, the pranks during Harry’s solo in “What Makes You Beautiful”, and the occasional cute interactions between members. The Twitter Q&A at this show wasn’t very exciting, except for a question asking them to yodel. Someone did ask them to rap battle, but Zayn and Louis failed to deliver even after being put on the spotlight. During Harry’s solo, Liam and Louis put a pair of undies on Harry’s head and after Harry finished singing he flung the undies at the crowd, only for it to fly back and land on him again. And if there’s one more thing you need to know about One Direction (props to you if you have read this far), it’s that they aren’t shy about showing affection towards one another. It’s one of the refreshing things about them as a pop act and Tumblr is filled with gifs and pictures documenting each and every one of these moments. I will spare you more details about the concert and instead link to some of the videos from the night.

This blog post ended up being much longer than I intended, but I guess I had more to say about the entire night than I thought! Now if you’re still interested in learning more about these charming lads, I will direct you to a few of the videos and songs that convinced me to become a fan.

“One Thing” Acoustic
+“One Thing” MV
La Boite Interview
Alan Carr Interviews 1 and 2
One Direction Being Dirty Minded
and this just came out recently, but it’s FANTASTIC! “The Adventureous Adventures of One Direction”

Concert/Festival Pet Peeves

This past weekend I attended the 4th annual Outside Lands in my very own hometown of San Francisco! This was my third time attending, but my first time obtaining actual tickets. In the past, I’ve volunteered to get in and snuck in (shhhhh….), but I was fortunate to win tickets from one of the many contests I entered. The line-up was insanely good this year, so I was determined to attend this year’s festival.

Winning the 3 day passes! I almost screamed in the office!

However, because I didn’t pay ANYTHING for my tickets, I didn’t feel the need to convince myself that I was having THE BEST TIME EVER! Rather, I could look at everything in an objective manner. That’s not to say that I tried to pick apart every single thing at Outside Lands, but I did note a few things that kind of reinforced my belief that I will never pay $200 for Outside Lands. The ticket price alone is a major turn-off, especially for a poor student like me who isn’t bringing in any income at the moment, but I’ve tried to compile a list of some of the things that bothered me and put me off on paying major bucks to attend a festival.

1. TALL PEOPLE LOVE TO STAND RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.

I’m short. I’ve been the same height since the 6th grade. This doesn’t bode well for me at concerts where the majority of the crowd is taller than me. I’ve been going to shows since I was 14/15 and I can still remember how the girl at the Rooney show rested her armpit on my shoulder. Yes, I have suffered because of my height. Regardless, I still attend shows because they’re fun and I know that I should probably aim to be in the front to get a decent view.

Anyway, back to OSL. So there I was standing and enjoying my decent view of the Sutro Stage right before The Joy Formidable’s set. Right after the band finished soundchecking, this girl walks directly in front of me! All of a sudden, my view of the stage is completely obliterated by her head! My perfect view of the stage was now ruined by a head of blonde hair. Sadly, this was not the first instance in which my view was ruined by a person’s head or back.

After Ok Go’s set on Saturday, I came up with the “brilliant” idea to have my friends move out of the middle of the pit towards the barricade dividing the audience in half. I thought our view would be decent there and we’d at least have the barricade. Unfortunately about 50 other people had the same idea, so about half the people around us pushed forward while the other half pushed alongside us. It failed obviously. I ended up behind this 6 foot old guy and my arm squished between his back and this other girl. At first there was a average height man in front of me so I could at least see the stage if I stood on my tiptoes. Things got worse, though, when the old guy in front me asked the average height man to switch places with his son. Suddenly, a GIANT in a blue hoodie was standing directly in front of me. And if you’ve ever been to a concert, you may be aware of how close people are packed in. I was, essentially, pushed up against him, practically grinding against him. Not by choice! The girl behind me was also complaining about not seeing anything so she decided that she could see better by pushing against me, which pushed me against the giant. It was an awkward, sexy sandwich. Yep.

I could rest my arm on his butt

"What acceptance looks like"

2. PEOPLE WHO BRING THEIR DSLRS INTO THE CROWD/PIT

I’m not going to lie, I’d love to have a DSLR. I’d love to have the ability to take great pictures and just look like I actually know what I’m doing with a camera; having that giant camera slung around your neck definitely adds to that illusion. However, I completely dislike seeing people bring their fancy cameras into the crowd. There’s a reason why most venues stop you from bringing in large cameras. THEY BLOCK EVERYONE’S VIEW OF THE STAGE. Not to mention the fact that sticking your expensive camera up in the air where people may crowdsurf isn’t the smartest idea.

So there I was, enjoying Phantogram’s set on Friday when this girl appeared next to me cradling a fancy DSLR camera. She seemed to be really enjoying the music so I didn’t mind her presence…that is until I saw her lifting her large camera to take photos and thus, completely blocking my view.

Really loving this view of her arm

She didn’t do it too often, thankfully, but it was still annoying. I remember reading this article from my Alternative Press magazine from 2003 (yes I used to read that magazine) in which they asked photographers for their tips. One that kept popping up in my mind throughout the weekend was, basically, “Get to the show early if you’re going to take photos…no one likes having to deal with the photographer carrying a bunch of gear and blocking the view.”

Not to say that the photographers in the front weren’t annoying as well. I was loving Foster the People’s set when I suddenly noticed a giant DSLR camera bobbing up and down in front.

Really.....really?

It was funny, but definitely distracting. I couldn’t focus on the music because all I could see was a camera moving around near the band’s faces.

3. DUMB SECURITY POLICIES

One of the other things that bugged over the course of the weekend was the policy that you couldn’t bring in open containers, including refillable water bottles. I understand the goal of this rule is to prevent people from smuggling in alcohol and other “substances” (LOL) but it seemed stupid, considering the fact that this festival preached green tactics and such. They encouraged festival goers to bring in re-useable bottles, but then we all had to empty them at security check? Luckily, I realized that I could just pour out a few drops of my water and security wouldn’t notice. Honestly, though it was, as I overheard one girl complain, “…a complete waste…”

4.WHY DOES EVERYONE DRESS THE SAME?!

I live in the Sunset, which is fairly close to Golden Gate Park, so I think I’m pretty good at being able to differentiate the Sunset locals from out-of-towners. Since OSL began four years ago, Irving Street, typically filled with Asians, senior citizens, and mothers, get overrun with, for lack of a better word, hipsters. Usually, people who look like Tumblr threw up on them.

It gets worse once you’re inside where you may be stuck in a sea of people who are all sporting the same sunglasses (Ray-Bans or knock-offs) and headbands. I looked around and I could count at least 10 girls near me wearing headbands and many more (guys and girls) wearing identical sunglasses. I’m not quite sure what it is about festivals, but people come out in droves wearing their best faux/”hipster” garb.

I’m not gonna front though, I wore my AA blue hoodie just like thousands of other people and some guy ran up to me and said, “Nice hoodie!” and then I realized he was wearing the same thing.

5. CROWDSURFING

Luckily, this was not as ubiquitous at OSL as it is at emo/punk shows (Warped Tour, I’m looking at you), but it definitely happened during the Arctic Monkeys set on Saturday. My friends and I were, once again, packed in and practically grinding against one another and various strangers when we could feel a strong push behind us. All of a sudden, there was a body above our heads and because none of us are strong enough (or care enough) to carry another human beings above us, he felt directly in front/top of us. The guy also happened to be the guy who pushed past us earlier, claiming he had to “find his friend”, so he somehow made his way behind us and tried to crowdsurf back to the front. Great.

The crowd for Arctic Monkeys

I’ve never crowdsurfed, nor do I want to. I’m scared of heights as it is and to have to trust other people to successfully carry me around makes me want to die. I suppose I can see how it’s fun, especially when the mood and music are right, but my God is it annoying when you expect ME to carry your bony (or not so bony) bod to the front of the stage. Plus, it’s never fun getting kicked in the head.

Still, one of the best things I saw this weekend came courtesy of a crowdsurfer. A girl also standing near the crowd dividing barricade decided that she would partake in the fun and had her friend lift her up. Her “Yeaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!” scream announced to those of us around her that she would be crowdsurfing, so immediately hands went up to try to carry her across. Unfortunately for her, a security guard right on the other side of the barricade also heard her and grabbed her ankle and began pulling her back towards the barricade. The result was a tug-of-war between security guard and audience members, with the girl as the rope. It was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in awhile and taught me that if I ever wanted to crowdsurf, doing it right near the barricade and security guards isn’t the best idea.

I think those are all the pet peeves I can think of right now. There are more, but most of those come with attending any type of concert, so I usually just brush them off. Overall, Outside Lands was a ton of fun and definitely a highlight of my summer. Thanks again to EggDrop app for giving me free tickets and to all of my friends who went with me. I can’t wait till next year and depending on the line-up, maybe I’ll pay for tickets. Maybe. 🙂

The Joy Formidable

Phantogram

Foster the People

Hanging back for MGMT

Best Coast

Chocolands at night!

The Vaccines

Ok Go's Damian coming into the crowd!

Arctic Monkeys

The sun came out on Saturday!

So many people...

The Black Keys

Muse

Girl Talk

Intel Cube!

!!!

People everywhere!!!

The Decembrists

Arcade Fire