Author Archives: Citizen LA

The Delicious Wonderfruit Fest

The globally conscious, cross-cultural Wonderfruit Festival is a wondrous celebration of art, music and life produced by Thai-based SCRATCH FIRST, which seeks to be a catalyst for positive change by providing a platform to unite creative cultures.

Taking place in lovely Pattaya, Thailand, the one-time quaint fishing village in the 60s has blossomed into the now tourist mecca known for its “anything goes” attitude. There’s a reason that Thailand is called the “land of smiles” and that’s exactly what the festival is sure to produce.

The Wonderfruit experience is packed with music, art, gastronomy, workshops, adventures, and other interactive activities all contained within an exquisite sprawling landscape known as The Fields at Siam Country Club.

Designated areas such as “The Living Stage”, “The Quarry”, “Solar Stage”, “The Farm Stage”, and the “The Rainforest Pavilion” have been carefully manicured to offer guests an immersive experience with musical acts that include Simian Mobile Disco, Nicole Moudaber, Lianne La Havas, Headless Horseman, Eric Volta, Sabo, Buke, Young Fathers, and more.

The festival’s gastronomical delights will be created by celebrated chefs such as Gaggan Anand, Chef Daniel Chavez of Ola, Paolo Vitaletti, Jarrett Wrisley, and Chef Jeriko of Cocotte who be serving mouth-watering Indian dishes, fire-grilled barbecue delights, Peruvian delicacies, an authentic reggae brunch and a farm-to-table banquet.

Wonderfruit is also presenting wellness & adventure activities to strengthen body and mind, wherein guests may participate in belly dancing, Zumba, healing sessions, along with opportunities to practice different styles of yoga with international experts, and including “Camp Wonder” that will be jam-packed with fun activities to keep the whole family busy.

As well as sustainable, Wonderfruit is also big on technology and safety. The event is completely cashless; all will receive an RFID wristband, courtesy of Bangkok Bank, which will making paying easier and worry-free.

Currently, 4-day passes can be purchased for $160. The festival takes place February 16-19. Visit Wonderfruit’s website for more information on securing your tickets, travel, and accommodations.

In Year Face: 2016

Do photos tell the truth? Or do they lie? Is photojournalism an art? Or a propaganda tool? Does the photographer manipulate his subject matter? Or does the viewer infer based on conjecture?

Though there is a time for theory and debate, ultimately being in the right place at the right time is what counts. Moreover, as a photographer “being there” is a result of “getting there” which is intrinsically dependent on bilateral respect.

It is our pleasure to unquestionably overcome challenging circumstances, executing above-and-beyond the call of duty, and actively pursuing the creation of kick-ass photos that benefit both artist and industry alike. Beholden to no one, Citizen LA and Ear Jelly celebrates the artist, revels in the prostitute, and endorses the product… well… as long as the drinks are flowin’.

Swan Song from Jazz’s Golden Age

Though an oppressive contract hounded Jimmy Scott through most of his recording career, “I Go Back Home” is a timeless album, which captures the essence of a life that was ultimately triumphant.

German producer Ralf Kemper risked fortune and sanity to produce the album for his longtime hero Jimmy Scott, a courageous figure who was once friend to both Billie Holiday & Charlie Parker and one of the last connections to the golden age of Jazz.

The journey of both Scott and Kemper is captured in the accompanying award-winning documentary “I Go Back Home” which follows the album’s creation before Scott’s untimely death in 2014.

From living in obscurity in Las Vegas, to the legendary recording sessions which led to Jimmy Scott’s well-deserved swan song, the album serves as the last will and testament to a voice that gained recognition and admiration from the highest of high culture against all odds.

Y La Bamba: A Healing Lemonade
Y La Bamba | A Healing Lemonadefotoboy62 | Citizen LA

As creative beings, our artistic manifestations are, in part, reactions to a lifetime of navigating conflicting social norms, flawed family structures, and opposing beliefs which challenge our autonomy and intellectual resilience.

The beauty of these unappetizing scenarios is that the more we place ourselves into complex or risky situations, the more our brain develops new neural connections. This allows our brain to function more efficiently, becoming more nimble.

The idea here is not that we merely apply our problem-solving skills, musically turning life’s lemons into lemonade, but that we possess the creative dexterity to, let’s say, incorporate diverse musical nuances into a single song which resonates on a spiritual level.

Where genres intersect to redefine the very nature of a song within a composition –while the listener actively interprets these junctions– is where the album Ojos Del Sol precariously teeters.

Luz Elena Mendoza, who pilots a mysterious musical project known as Y La Bamba, produces genre-bending songs whose melodies and harmonies drift and swirl through exceptional compositions, presenting the listener with Luz’s unique life perspectives and personal beliefs.

Luz’s aptitude for creating playful, yet intellectually challenging music is evident in songs such as:

“Iris” … which juxtaposes philosophical wonderment with the quaint honesty of early gramophone recordings wrapped in a snow white lullaby.

“Atmosphere”… where Rock n Roll slips into an out-of-body ayahuasca experience ripe with sonic tension on the verge of orgasmic release.

“Nos Veremos”… whose lyrics resonate as some primordial “grand plan” message to mankind carried by an exuberant chant that emanates from the clarity of innocence.

“Ulysses”…which sails along as a psychedelic ice-cream truck selling Timothy Leary LSD Bomb Pops and Terence McKenna DMT Push-Ups, while Sid Barret skips down Sesame Street wearing an Al Demiola t-shirt.

Citizen LA: Your music holds a playful innocence wrapped in abstracted truths, kinda like classic children’s songs. How does “innocence” influence your music?

Luz: I always allow innocence to remain present in my writing. I write a lot about my childhood, and when I think about youth, I think about how people raise their children. It’s important to nurture the child, to let them be who they are from the beginning.

Citizen LA: When I first heard your music, it sounded… well… insane.

Luz: [laughs]

Citizen LA: There’s an innocence in that kind of insanity, which allows freedom.

Luz: It’s just about being open… and vulnerable.

Citizen LA: This album seems to have no problem crossing borders, even to the point where it removes the concept of borders entirely. The songs contain influences from Cuban “Trova”, African “Soca”, and Mexican “Trio” music. What are your thoughts on bringing these worlds together?

Luz: It just kinda… happens. I know what triggers me and what inspires me, and I follow that road.

Citizen LA: You’ve associated yourself with some early styles of music; connecting dots on a deep level… and for somebody that’s only 35—I mean 34, um, how old are you?

Luz: Don’t add more years!!

Citizen LA: Sorry!


Citizen LA: There is a purity in saying “it just kinda happens” or “I’m just being me”, but there are people “just being them” that unfortunately don’t get it.

Luz: You know, I never really expect anything from music.

Citizen LA: Perfect.

Luz: I live in the shadow of what my parents EXPECT out of me… like I shouldn’t have tattoos, I shouldn’t have short hair. But I SHOULD DEFINITELY be having kids right now and be a doctor and be married. This is what I know about expectations.

Citizen LA: Expectations are very problematic. So, your parents are both from Mexico, and yet you grew up in America?

Luz: The only time I was “American” was at school… and even then I felt awkward. My parents didn’t teach me to be an American adult, they taught me to be a Mexican adult. And that confused me!

Citizen LA: I bet.

Luz: They were raised with their “truth”, which at times, can be very oppressive. I empathize, but it’s sad because they were robbed of choice and perspective.

Citizen LA: Do you travel to Mexico often?

Luz: Recently, I visited Mexico City. It felt powerful, like a really intense romantic relationship. I loved it, but there was this disconnect, especially when seeing such division, judgment, and hypocrisy.

Citizen LA: Yeah, unfortunately, there’s general distrust among a majority of the population in Mexico right now. It’s very sad.

Luz: With the release and the tour, I was really hoping to help people connect, to be brave. Some people feel oppressed in their own households… I mean, what if they don’t agree with their family and they’re trapped and only 12 or 13 years old? How do we let them know that they’re not alone? If I get to do that through my music, that would be amazing.

Citizen LA: So about your process… there are basically two ways people learn to play music. The first is to study the rules so we can be free to break them. The second is to forgo study and make the rules as we go along. How do you define “freedom” in the context of music creation?

Luz: No rules. I don’t have boundaries when I write. Rules happen when somebody else is trying to connect the dots, so they can collaborate with you. Or in the recording process, you wanna give yourself some sort of boundaries so you’re not wasting other people’s time AND can still be free.

Citizen LA: Especially knowing that it’s often difficult to find a good fit creatively and technically.

Luz: It’s very important that I work with the right people, who understand me. It’s like the psychology of raising a child from birth… you’re gonna let the child be exactly what it needs to be in order to fulfill its prophecy of being the child.

Citizen LA: A nice thought, too bad it rarely happens.

Luz: I’m very integrated with that thought. If I do have an agenda, it’s just to “be free”.

Citizen LA: Did you study music at all?

Luz: Nuh uh.

Citizen LA: That’s often what it takes to make something as beautiful as this album.

Luz: Thank you!

Luz Elena Mendozafotoboy62 | Citizen LA

Citizen LA: It seems like you were raised in a dogmatic household, yet remain free from the shackles of organized religion. How does music and spiritually fit together for you?

Luz: It’s the same thing to me. Sound is a body. I feel the body. I let the body embrace my body. And then we become ONE body. I express myself through that body. It’s like breathing and eating, thinking and feeling.

Citizen LA: Great perspective.

Luz: We’re all spiritual, you know. It’s just that some people are awake to it, and some refuse to open that door… but it’s there. People have confused it with mysticism, but its way more simple. People fear, and don’t allow themselves to have a relationship with spirit.

Citizen LA: As people, we intentionally create drama and situations in our lives, and in doing so, it prevents us from truly looking at ourselves.

Luz: And that goes with being vulnerable. It’s scary to some people, even just to close their eyes and really go in there.

Citizen LA: Brutal self-reflection rarely happens, so if your music allows you to look at yourself critically, then you’re in a good place.

Luz: I know the struggle. I want to help people experience the gift of being alive within their spirit and physical body. If I have the opportunity to help my brother or sister, and nurture that spirit, I’ll do it.

Citizen LA Is there an underlying message to this album?

Luz: It’s ok to be vulnerable, especially with each other, because that is how we’re gonna communicate. And we really need to be communicating, or at least expanding our knowledge of what communication is. We’re living in some really crazy times right now.

Citizen LA: Crazy times in a crazy world that needs healing.

Luz: At the end of the day, my music is an offering to those who want to receive it… I’m grateful, and hope that it leads to positive transformation.


Ojos Del Sol refuses to conform; as if the album were a mischievous shape-shifting entity, wherein the listener is set delightfully off-balance, caught in its mesmerizing spell. Its uniqueness springs from tapping into an incredibly diverse library of technique, risk and vulnerability.

Luz’s genuine desire to connect to her audience, to free them from a sense of hopelessness while revealing the positive nature of humanity and spirituality, speaks volumes of her as a person. Y La Bamba may not solve all of life’s problems… but it certainly is some deliciously healing lemonade.

Ojos Del Sol is out now.

LA Embraces GOODFest

A music festival created to inspire optimism & action around five important causes, GOODFest made its way to the Theater at Ace Hotel w/ performances from D∆WN, The Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Ensemble (featuring Bilal) and Jimmy LaValle of The Album Leaf.

Reaching the end of a “5 Shows / 5 Cities / 5 Causes” run, GOODFest delivered its final set of performances in Los Angeles for the last of its selected causes “LOVE”… of which proceeds go to support the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry.

Sharing the stage were other artists such as Butterscotch, Genevieve and Boogz, who, alongside headliners, demonstrated stunning artistry and delivered memorable performances. Additionally, live acts were supported by short films which reinforced the GOODFest festival arc, successfully bringing a sense of cohesion to the unique five-part series.

GOODFest kicked-off in NYC with Glass Animals, members of Gogol Bordello in New Orleans and in Seattle with D.R.A.M. Solange and Fantastic Negrito performed in Oakland on Friday. In five live-streamed shows, they brought together music, community, and technology to raise funds and connect people in the name of good.

Both Casey Caplowe (Co-Founder of GOOD Inc.) and Attorney James McElroy (SPLC Board Member) were present in Los Angeles to deliver poignant messages, encapsulating the overall mission-statement for the event and the associated charity. This while helpful volunteers were on hand to answer questions and accept donations in the spirit of the causes.

The festival was conceived by social impact company GOOD Worldwide and presented by PIXEL, phone by Google.

2017 AVN Awards Nominations

The Avalon nightclub was ground zero for an industry-only party announcing this year’s nominees for the 2017 AVN Awards. Hosted by Riley Reid and Aspen Rae, the star-studded Hollywood event ramped up from red carpet to red-light district in a matter of seconds and didn’t disappoint.

Nominees (and guests alike) were accommodating, gracious and accessible, granting us rare candid moments of an often tightly controlled persona. From fierce to submissive, and from silicon-cougar to girl-next-door, all our favorite candies were delightfully displayed and fabulously unwrapped.

Attendees included, Abella Danger, Romi Rain, Briana Banks, Kenzie Taylor, Jessa Rhodes, Bailey Brooke, Lily Adams, Norah Nova, Elsa Jean, Katrina Jade, Jojo Kiss, Gina Valentina, Uma Jolie, Melissa Moore, A.J. Applegate, Joanna Angel, Riley Nixon, Jasmine Webb, Ana Foxxx, Edyn Blair, Tia Cyrus, and more.

All hopefuls were present to celebrate a successful year in the industry while vying to take home an award in their respective areas of expertise which encompass movie production, web & technology, retail & distribution, and pleasure products. With far ranging categories such as “Best All-Girl Group Sex Scene”, “Best Big Butt Movie” and “Best Transsexual Series” there were plenty of opportunities to win and be honored in what is known as the “Oscars of Porn.”

Anikka Albrite, James Deen, Alexis Texas, Ana Foxx, Tasha Reign, Asa Akira, Aiden Starr, Abella Danger, Abigail Mac, Dani Daniels, Allie Haze, Nikki Delano, Angela White, London Keyes, Jelena Jensen, Lily LaBeau, Brandy Aniston, Mick Blue, Heather Vahn, Nina Elle, Abigail Mac, Cindy Starfall, Vicki Chase, Kiki d’aire, Ryder Skye, Kendra Lust, Kleio Valentien, Kristina Rose, Morgan Lee, Wendy Williams, Venus Lux, Dillion Harper, Jayden Lee, Natasha Starr, Alana Luv, Angela DeLuca, Sadie Santana, Monique Alexander, Kat Dior, September Reign, and Chloe Amour.

The nomination party is simply a taste of what’s to come this January 2017 when AVN holds court in Las Vegas. Sponsored by MyFreeCams, and held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the annual AVN Awards Show is the premier gala of adult video recognizing titles, individuals, and companies for contributions to and excellence in the industry.

OhMiBod “Life’s Essentials”

Sexual health & pleasure products innovator OhMiBod rolls out a new sex-positive ad campaign where we learn that no matter what changes one makes in life, pleasure is essential… especially during a spring cleaning ritual.

Co-founder Suki Dunham states that the new ad “is tasteful and raises awareness for and lessens the stigma of sexual health among mainstream audiences.” OhMiBod is the creator of the original music & Bluetooth connected vibrators, and an award-winning innovator of technology-focused pleasure products.

Aoki & Clinton GOTV Performance

WL’s “Light Years” Visual Album

Introduction – 00:00
Pink Cloud – 06:59
Crossing – 13:50
Feeling Down – 18:04
Refraction – 22:40
Disintegrate – 26:13
Mercury – 30:11
Trash – 33:59

Nutaku “The Next Level” Contest

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