Tag Archives: brick & mortar music hall

A Big Weekend Back Home

I was recently home for a weekend visit. As I mentioned before, the plan originated when I got an invite for my friend, Ryan’s, baby shower. I met Ryan in 2008, at new-hire orientation for a bank we worked at. We’ve been friends ever since. She’s a world traveler and always inspired me (and encouraged me) to see the world. She had a huge influence on my decision to become a flight attendant. Now, she’s having twins, a boy and a girl. It’s exciting!
I wanted to make the most of my time in California. I knew that I was going to be reunited with lots of my girl friends at the baby shower and I wanted to make time for family, too.
I have a lot of family in Northern California. Growing up, I was raised with my mom’s side of the family who live about an hour and a half east of San Francisco in the city of Modesto. As for my dad’s side of the family, many of them live about an hour and a half south, in Watsonville – where I was born.
Recently, thanks to social media, I’ve reconnected with some of them. We’ve been making an effort to reach out and to get know each other. So, we planned a gathering for the day after the baby shower. I was looking forward to reuniting with some of them…& meeting some of them for the first time.
Other than a quick stop on my drive down Pacific Coast Highway, back on my 30th birthday, I hadn’t been back to Watsonville in over 20 years.
My trip started with a visit back home to San Diego. That’s when I had the chance to take my mom and my little sister to their first ever hip-hop show
The morning of the baby shower, I catch an early flight to San Francisco. When I land, I discover that Ryan’s having a bit of a busy morning. Something’s aren’t going as planned, but that doesn’t stop her. She’s expecting friends and family from all over to celebrate the joyous occasion.
Ryan’s house is beautiful! It looks like those homes you’d see on the cover of a magazine. The decor is equally as beautiful… our friend, Aimee, is a master of design.
The party plays out in such a lovely way. I’m reunited with friends (who started as co-workers at the bank) and I get to make new ones over yummy drinks and delicious food.

20140513-080555.jpg

20140513-080641.jpg

20140513-080650.jpg

20140513-080656.jpg

20140513-080710.jpg

20140513-080716.jpg

That evening, a few of us head into the city & grab dinner. Then, a couple of us head to a show.

20140513-081030.jpg

The next day, most of us reunite for a delicious Sunday brunch at Bin 38. (I’m reminded of the fun tradition we used to have when we all lived in San Diego…good times). We share recaps of our night and indulge in wonderful conversations…& mimosas.

20140513-081147.jpg

20140513-081200.jpg

20140513-081338.jpg

After brunch, most of us will leave San Francisco to return home. For me, it’s family time…

20140513-081458.jpg

20140513-081522.jpg

My two (very generous and patient) cousins offer to drive me. They live in Watsonville & make the trip just for me. They’re awesome!
When we get to my family’s ranch, I’m greeted by cousins, aunts, uncles…and amazing food! It’s great seeing everyone again…and it’s nice to finally meet some of them. They’re all warm and welcoming…and they make sure I’m well-fed, as they continue to bring food from the grill to our table. I’m surrounded by cousins, laughter & great stories. I gotta tell you, I have some amazing cousins!
The party moves inside & I share a bottle of Puerto Rican rum from my travels. We continue to bond & catch up…it’s great getting to know them all better. We take some pictures… well, lots of pictures (on lots of cell phones) before everyone heads home.

20140513-081748.jpg

A few of us cousins stay up for girl talk with my aunt. Later, we interrupt one cousin’s study session to go on a fun late-night run for coffee & donuts. It’s the perfect way to end the night!
I have to catch a flight back to Philadelphia in the morning. A couple of my guy cousins have offered to pick me up at the ranch & drive to the airport…in San Jose! Again, a very generous offer.
Before we hit the road, my aunt makes sure that we all have breakfast. We take our places at the table as she brings over course after course. It’s quite the spread. I’m humbled by the hospitality & I’m really enjoying this wonderful meal with my family. I feel like a kid again…
In San Jose, we stop to visit my godparents. I haven’t seen them since my age was in the single digits. We visit briefly, chat a bit and play around on their mini motorcycle. It’s great being a kid again!

20140513-082214.jpg

As we prepare to head to the airport, I realize that I’m missing something…my uniform! I left it in Watsonville, hanging in my cousin’s closet. Luckily, a couple of my cousins are heading our way. So, after a delicious cup of Phil’z Coffee & lunch at the famous Falafel’s Drive In (& maybe just a little panic attack) I’m off to the airport.
In the end, everything worked out…I had a wonderful visit back home. I got to see so many people that I love, meet so many new ones, and reconnect with distant relatives. Such an amazing trip!

Thanks for reading along, everyone. I really hope you enjoyed this post.

Advertisements

Sick Jacken in San Francisco

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a few days off & was spending time back home, in California. So, when I saw that Sick Jacken was going to be in San Francisco on the same night I’d be there, I knew I had to catch the show.
*You know Sick Jacken from the hip hop group Psycho Realm
I was in town for a baby shower for one of my favorite friends, Ryan. She’s having twins and we’re all so excited. It was great being reunited with so many lovely ladies. My friend, Nadia came as a surprise. I was so happy to see her! Nadia & our mutual friend, Jessica, booked a room in the city and invited me to stay with them. Nadia even agreed to accompany me to the show…now I’m really excited, because it’s her first hip hop show ever! I love it when things just work out.
We decide that we’re going to walk to the show & enjoy a little bit of the city. After a sushi dinner, we start the tread from Union Square to the Brick & Mortar Music Hall. It’s a beautiful night in the city…even along some of the “questionable” streets we pass. Lol.
20140504-172350.jpg

We get to the venue just in time to catch rap duo, I.L.A.M. The guys (Trey C & Playa Rae) are really working the crowd. It’s a small, intimate show (my favorite) and there’s a great vibe in the space. It’s the perfect setting for the next MC to hit the stage. Reppin’ for the ladies, is Gavlyn. During her set, she’s joined by special guest, Oh Blimey, to perform a fun track entitled “Ew.”
20140504-172541.jpg

20140504-172555.jpg

Next up is Bambu. I’m stoked to catch his set, since I missed him at the Observatory the night before. He has a great stage presence; very entertaining. I’m super excited when he introduces his special guest…his “baby momma,” Rocky Rivera. They have great chemistry (obviously) & are a lot of fun to watch.

20140504-172751.jpg

20140504-172805.jpg
Now that the crowd is hype, it’s time for the headliner to take his place. When Sick Jacken takes the stage, the crowd goes nuts…or should I say Psycho…? 😉 This guy is simply captivating.
Almost everyone in the audience is dressed in black, & wearing either the Psycho Realm, Soul Assassins, or Oakland Raiders logos (which I’m sure are all directly inspired by Sick Jacken’s wardrobe). Hands are in the air & heads are bobbing as the crowd joins in on spitting lyrics from classics like El Barrio from The Legend of the Mask & the Assassin (Sick Jacken’s collaboration with DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill). More crowd favorites from Terror Tapes Vol. 1 are performed & Sick Jacken tests just how psycho the attendees are when he goes on to perform tracks from Terror Tapes 2.
The whole show is very entertaining & Nadia & I are having a blast. When it’s time to wrap up, Sick Jacken (like other favorite artists of mine) takes the time to meet & greet fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures. I get the honor of chatting with him after the show & having a drink with him & some of the other performers in the green room. We discuss music, food, family, travel, and even more opportunities for future blog posts.
I treated our conversation as a casual one, not an interview, so, I won’t quote anything here. I will, however, say that Sick Jacken loves menudo! Lol. He’s a funny guy, with a big heart and a great smile. I look forward to sitting with him in the near future for an official interview. Stay tuned…!

For upcoming events, follow Sick Jacken on Instagram and Twitter

Thanks for reading along, everyone!

20140504-172910.jpg

20140504-172918.jpg

20140504-172928.jpg

20140504-172937.jpg

20140504-172944.jpg

A very sincere Special Thanks to Joaquin “Sick Jacken” Gonzalez for granting me access to the show!

Special Thanks to Federico, for special accommodations.