Little Black Diamond

Douchebag Rave Bros, You’re Ruining Everything, Please Go Home

You’re basking in festival sunshine, surrounded by a crowd of smiling people grooving to the beat. Out of nowhere a six foot tall douchebag and his wolf pack fraternity brothers aggressively cluster into your space, effectively blocking your view of the stage. A sweaty, swollen bicep bumps into your face and you can smell his alcohol soaked body odor. Then the gang of giants proceed to bust out their iPhones, filming every moment of the set, in selfie form. They don’t give a shit about the music. At this point the sunshine in your heart has faded, leaving you to ponder the question: “why the fuck am I even here?”

True festival culture promotes acceptance, respect and love, so “the more the merrier” should technically still apply to our scene. Yet with the rapid ascension of electronic dance music (EDM), our scene has attracted lots of newcomers–many of whom are uneducated on these basic principles. Some are just looking for the hottest new party scene to take drugs and get wasted at.

It’s not entirely the rave bro’s fault–the radio is flooded with drug glorifying EDM songs, none of which exemplify the respect and love our festival culture sprouts from. Even numerous rappers such as Juicy J, Lil Wayne, French Montana, Gucci Mane, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa glorify drug use in their tracks. Lyrics like “Molly in my veins, got my heart beating like a drum” and “Pop a Molly, smoke a blunt, that mean I’m a high roller” are indications of the overarching reach of EDM’s influence. Movies like “Project X” and “The Hangover” glamorizes getting obliterated on alcohol and drugs. Mainstream media is contributing to the influx of uncultured swine at EDM events. They are following a trend, but do not understand the true meaning of festival culture, and ultimately disrespect its aura.

The lack of respect manifests itself in sloppy festival goers who vomit everywhere and step on your toes to the wide-eyed cliques of girls coming up to ask “Can I have a bracelet?!” I’ve had newcomers walk up to me and without hesitation, began to rifle through my “for-keeps” kandi arm attempting to take their pick of the litter. These rave-babies had no idea about kandi, or why we make it, or why it is so special. When I tried to explain the culture to them, it was obvious that they could care less. All they wanted was a piece of the little shiny things that everyone else had because they wanted to fit in with the trend.

And don’t even get me started on the blatant disrespect towards women. It is never acceptable to grab ass or catcall us as we dance our way through the crowd, and it happens all the time.

Raves and festivals are meant to be an escape from reality, a retreat from the douches of the world to a magical land with like-minded, beautiful people. I don’t mean to discredit the love and light that flows from the present PLUR community. There are plenty of old and new ravers who understand the deep love that flows through our scene. But with the increased attendance at events (last EDC was over 400,000 people) comes higher budgets for increased production value and bigger and better talent. But our culture continues to suffer as most event companies focus entirely on profit alone.

Now I seek out smaller, lesser known events that encourage a sense of real community. While the allure of brand name events still tantalize me, I can now better appreciate the overall positive vibes of a low-key burner event where I have space to dance and the people are kind. That’s why we keep going back for more. The silver lining lies in the fact that no matter how mainstream or trendy our scene becomes, there will always be something real and heartfelt to take its place. It is up to us to continue to spread the culture of love, respect and acceptance no matter how popular or distorted by mainstream media our scene becomes.

Ten Ways to Prepare for a Successful Festival

To get the most out of a festival and to prevent last minute freak outs as you’re leaving the house, here are 10 tips to help you have a successful festival!

  1. Always have enough money for the ticket ahead of time, and if you’re on layaway, make sure your bank account has enough each month. Even though you just paid your car payment, your rent, bought some cat food, and that extra bag of chips, just make sure you put enough aside to buy those tickets in order to avoid stressing out the day tickets go on sale.
  2. In the same vein, make sure you have a place to stay figured out well ahead of time too. It’s never fun having to pay an inflated amount for a subpar room in a sketchy area that is far away from the festival venue.
  3. Make sure your phone is fully charged and consider bringing your charger to the festival! Many festivals now offer charging stations, where you can charge your phone, so you’re never stranded after the show with a dead cellphone.
  4. If the event venue allows it, be sure to bring a reusable, empty water bottle or a CamelBak, to avoid paying $5 for a bottle. Just be sure to check the “Approved Items List” for the event you’re attending beforehand.
  5. Pack a backpack or small bag to carry essentials in; gum, lipstick, your wallet, phone, some cool glasses, whatever you feel you need to survive! Once again though, check the “Approved Items List” for your event to avoid having to throw anything out in line.
  6. SUNBLOCK! No explanation needed; slather it on, bring it with you and always protect your skin from the sun.
  7. Plan your outfit accordingly. If anyone attended a New Year’s Eve festival this year, then you probably dressed up a little more than usual. This doesn’t mean you have to cover up in a baggy sweatshirt and jeans (unless that’s your thing), but maybe consider an extra pair of tights, or a cute one-piece with some gorgeous Isis Wings for some added warmth while still making a bold statement!
  8. If you plan to dance your butt off or just like to jump around a lot, be sure to wear comfortable shoes that fit. Platform shoes are incredibly adorable and heels are always fancy, just remember that the festival you’re attending may be on grass or dirt, so make sure you are comfortable in them if you are going to rock them.
  9. If you’re into trading kandi at all, make sure you make enough to trade with others, so you’re not left apologizing about not having anything or stuck feeling bad for getting an awesome trade and having nothing in return.
  10. Always keep an open mind and bring good vibes to spread with people enjoying the same music and experience as you!

Last Minute Fitness Tips for that Upcoming Festival

“Wait, the festival is two days away?”

We’ve all been there, months out from a festival – we buy the tickets, we plan the drive, the place to stay, the perfect group to go with…and a couple weeks out from the event, you realize that you are not ready to wear those pasties or that super cute, slightly spontaneous pair of booty shorts you so eagerly purchased three months ago, and you’re left wondering: what now? Here are some last minute tips to help you feel a little more confident and comfortable in your carefully planned outfit.

1. Add at least 30 minutes of cardio a day.

We know how important cardio is. We are constantly bombarded with signs to “get moving”, but that doesn’t mean you have to go out and run a grueling 4 mile run in sneakers that have been collecting dust at the back of your closet. Instead, just do at least 30 minutes of activity a day, even if that’s just 10 minutes of jumping jacks three times a day, it will help you retain stamina for those hours of dancing at the festival!

2. Have a serving of greens twice per day

Try to have a salad or some sort of green at lunch and with dinner, or whip up one of those crazy-looking, green smoothies for breakfast (e.g. add a handful of spinach/kale/cucumber to your breakfast smoothie). The fiber will boost your metabolism, keep you fuller longer, and if you eat the greens before your meal, it can help you feel fuller before you even start the main course.

3. Stay hydrated

The most important tip for staying fit during festival season is simple – DRINK WATER! Drink often, not just during the festival, but also before. Staying hydrated helps keep your skin clear, your stomach full, your body healthy and water keeps things “moving smoothly” in the digestive track, helping prevent stomach aches. Drink water before and after every meal, when you wake up in the morning and whenever you’re feeling hungry, try a glass of water before eating, to see if you’re actually just dehydrated.

4. Try to avoid fried and high sodium foods

Both fried foods and foods high in sodium, tend to promote bloating and are also common causes of breakouts in many people. Try to cut down on those before the festival, and with the added water and greens, you’ll be feeling more alert, healthier and won’t be wanting those fried foods anyway.

Just remember, don’t stress it. Even if you don’t get to do any of these things, or only add some of these tips in the days leading up to the event, just have fun! At the end of the day, you’re gonna have a great time at the festival, listen to some amazing music, make new friends and dance the night away and no one will notice those little flaws that you feel you have. So wear what you want, and dance like no one’s watching.


On Giving

“There is not a man of us who does not at times need a helping hand to be stretched out to him, and then shame upon him who will not stretch out the helping hand to his brother.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

Last year around this time we concluded our Kandi for a Cause initiative, raising $2,000 to donate to UNICEF to aid in relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Since then, we’ve transformed as a company from a small t-shirt vendor to a growing, innovative fashion brand. Since the beginning, one of our core principles was that success must be accompanied by an effort to improve our community. The most gratifying part of the our 2014 journey is that growth is allowing us to contribute more often and in greater amounts to charities that serve causes we are deeply passionate about.

In June we donated $1,500 to two charities in honor of Gay Pride Month. The two charities, It Gets Better and the San Diego Center, use the funds we contributed to support LGBTQ Teens who are suffering from a lack of acceptance in their family or school. No one deserves to be bullied for how they choose to look, act or identify, and these charities do an excellent job of serving a high-risk group of kids.

We are pleased to announce that we have made another round of donations for the holiday season. Mama’s Kitchen is an amazing, local charity that helps individuals who are affected by AIDS or Cancer that are vulnerable to hunger. Many of the people they help are too poor or too sick to be able to care for themselves, and Mama’s is sometimes the only thing between them and starvation.

Toys for Tots is a household name and they are the only Santa that some kids will ever know. Working with the United States Marine Corp, the Toys for Tots Program and Foundation have collected and distributed more than 469 million toys since 1947. We are honored to donate $1,000 to each of these worthy charities.

On behalf of the founders and employees of Little Black Diamond, we are humbled by your support, and we want to thank all of our customers and followers for enabling us to do good and help make the world a little better. We enjoyed 2014 immensely and we look forward to serving you in 2015.

Happy New Years!
The Little Black Diamond Team

Little Black Diamond featured in Japanese Magazine Kirameki

Our bay area babes Jemma Morris (model) and Ashlynn Danielsen (photographer) came together to create this futuristic shoot featuring our gear which has been published by Kirameki Magazine! Based in Orlando, Florida, this Japanese publication features visual and written artist submissions from all over the globe.

Danielsen shared her perspective and vision with us regarding the shoot:

“This shoot was a great opportunity to try out some high level equipment at my school, Academy of Art University. It was my first shoot ever dedicated completely to a magazine submission and I am so grateful to have gotten published with our photo on the cover of Kirameki Magazine. Jemma showed up with her kickass Little Black Diamond gear and we got to setting up. I wanted her face to emulate a that of a space babe who is half cyborg, half rock star, half cotton candy bouncy goodness. (Yes, she adds up to 150%.) Through lots of sweat and confusion I figured out exactly how the equipment worked. I was stunned by the high quality of both the camera and Jemma’s modeling prowess. All in all, it was an amazing shoot and I’m so blessed to be surrounded by incredibly talented ladies to help bring forth my vision.”

Pasties & The Modern Feminist Movement

pasties are not just for strippers anymore, they are a symbol of the modern feminist movement.
Boobs. They’re everywhere. And our culture is obsessed with them.

Yet when we take our tops off, put pasties on and gallivant around in public (even at festivals), the inevitable negative reaction occurs:

“SLUT. I can’t believe she just has them OUT like that.”
“There’s no way I’m letting MY girlfriend dress like THAT.”
“She’s setting a bad example for young girls who are gonna think that this is okay.”
“Wow, someone is desperate for attention.”

Yes, pasties do elicit a strong reaction. But slinging insults says a lot more about the person dishing them out than it does about the person on the receiving end.

It’s not entirely the hater’s fault–our culture is obsessed with boobs & bodies, yet we are conditioned to be ashamed of them. Plastic surgery and extreme dieting are just two examples of how our culture teaches us that our bodies are inferior. But if we show too much skin, we’re slapped with a scarlet letter and written off as a whore.

Pasties force us to stare this cultural dichotomy right in the face.

Let’s just fucking end it already. Let’s be aware of the dichotomy and ourselves. Realize that happiness–and hate–start from within ourselves, and it is our personal responsibility to monitor it. We can’t change other people, we can only change ourselves and our own perceptions of the world.

Thanks to our festival culture of acceptance and the modern feminist movement, pasties are no longer a sordid staple for strippers or women who are ‘easy’–they have transformed into a symbol of female empowerment.

Pasties send a message: I love my body, I am comfortable with who I am and I am literally baring & exposing myself to the world in a beautiful act of self acceptance and love.

It’s up to us to continue the culture of acceptance and keep the love going.

Pasquale Rotella moves Beyond Wonderland and Nocturnal Wonderland to Las Vegas

Pasquale Rotella is moving Beyond Wonderland and Nocturnal to Las Vegas, Nevada.

The following is a Facebook post published on Pasquale Rotella and Insomniac Events’ page.

Being transparent with you, the headliners, is very important to me. You have all been asking about Beyond Wonderland SoCal. Thanks to those of you who have been patient and expressed so much interest in whether it’s happening. Here are your answers.

San Manuel is a beautiful location, but it’s clear that it cannot handle our larger Insomniac festivals right now, including Beyond Wonderland. We always want to deliver a high quality experience, even after the music ends, and while we tried our best to accommodate the large crowds and handle the traffic issues, it’s just not working yet. Instead, I’m excited to announce that we are creating new, smaller all-campout events specifically tailored for San Manuel, which will mean better traffic and less logistical issues.

We’re always looking for new venues and we are actively negotiating new homes for Beyond, Nocturnal and Escape. As soon as we secure the perfect locations, we will announce the event dates. I hoped that I would not have to write this – and part of the reason I have waited to answer your questions – was because we have identified possible locations. I want to experience this event with you as much as you all want to be a part of it, but until we have the right venue, we are not going to have Beyond Wonderland in SoCal.

There’s also been chatter about Beyond Wonderland SoCal moving to Las Vegas. For me, a festival held in another state is not a substitute for our SoCal events. I started in Southern California, and shows like Nocturnal and EDC have deep roots here. Southern California dance culture has been vibrant for more than two decades, and it’s an important place for us to be because it’s Insomniac’s home and home to so many of you.

We have an amazing new venue to announce in Las Vegas (EDC is staying at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway), but anything that takes place in this new venue will be in addition to—not in place of—anything that happens in SoCal. We are going to launch a Beyond and a Nocturnal Wonderland in Vegas.
Of course we hope you can join us at all our shows, and as always, we’ll continue to bring magical and memorable experiences to each and every venue!

We have an exciting announcement about our brother festival, Hard Summer, tomorrow so stay tuned.

While some fans are expressing their confidence in Rotella and his team, many are disappointed to hear that their favorite festivals are moving out of Southern California.

We’re looking forward to hearing more about this smaller, camp-in event still to be held in SoCal. It would seem holding a smaller event with camping would address many of the traffic issues known all to well to ravers.

Rainbow Ice Castles in Utah

Can we please have a Snowglobe-esque rager here? Salt Lake City-based photographer Ben Kuhns captured enchanting images of these LED colored Ice Castles in Midway, Utah. He perfectly captures a sense of mystery and adventure in these photos.

Check out the slideshow above, then experience more of his amazing work here.

Are my Monday Blues actually a sign of depression?

Have you ever wanted to disappear subtitles appear over a gray sky with stars

Sometimes we revel in an entire weekend of partying and debauchery only to hit those Monday blues like a sledgehammer to the psyche. But how can you break the cycle of depression when it doesn’t end on Monday, but persists all week? Or maybe even for months? Here are some self-help tips to help you or a loved one cope with depression.

#1: Make positive friends
Your friends are a reflection of your character. When the people surrounding you are positive and supportive, you are much more likely to reflect these traits as well. Identify individuals who are poisonous to your life and excommunicate them immediately. And when making plans to hang out with people, follow through and stick to them, even if you feel sad and want to stay at home.

#2: Step back
Emotions–especially depression–can cloud your judgement. The thoughts we have drive our destiny. Be aware of your self criticisms by asking yourself if you would say this to someone else. If not, you are being too hard on yourself. Many depressed people are perfectionists who hold themselves to such a high standard, then become disappointed when those standards are not met. Instead, make an effort to generate more realistic thoughts about yourself.

#3: Exercise
As Elle Woods from Legally Blonde would say, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” Working out doesn’t have to be an ornate ordeal–even going for a brisk walk is a great start and will help your body produce the happy chemicals it needs.

#4: Take care of your body
Get plenty of sleep, a little exposure to sunlight and eat a healthy, balanced diet when possible with lots of leafy greens and protein. Make sure to take proper doses of 5-HTP, Vitamin C and Vitamin B Complex especially after partying to help restore your serotonin levels, energy and brain function (respectively).

For more tips on how to fight depression, check out this very thorough article here. And always remember to seek help from someone you trust or from a medical professional if you are seriously having trouble coping with your emotions.

Positivity is Key: Saving our EDM Scene

PLUR raver Shirley Dixon trades kandi with a fellow festival junkie.

We’ve all felt it before: You’re dancing with friends at a festival, vibing to some great music, when someone barges through the crowd and knocks you over on their way to the front of the stage like a quarterback sack.

Or maybe you’re decked out in all of your favorite kandi made for you by your closest friends when a bug-eyed, bandwagoning raver sprints up to you and demands that you gift them with a ‘bracelet.’ (Or maybe they skipped the pleasantries and proceeded to rip a kandi off your wrist.)

It’s the little things that people say and do that create the bigger picture. Because of incidents like these, sometimes it’s difficult to feel the love for new ravers.

The question is, how are we going to respond? Are we going to start a war with the massive influx of newcomers to the scene, which we will inevitably lose, as we have no control over the mainstream popularity of EDM? Will we blame people we don’t even know for the advent of bad trap, overplayed Beatport top 10 tracks and douchey frat boy culture?

Or will we take responsibility and try to affect change?

Ridiculing newcomers and holding disdain for all of them unconditionally will only bring the death of our culture. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been raving since the 90s–every one of us started off as a newbie. If you enjoy our scene, take it upon yourself to spread our culture of acceptance, unconditional love and mutual respect. Show everyone, veteran and green, that we do not judge based on race, sexual orientation, religion, body image, or wealth. Show them how euphoric it feels to be connected with humanity and free of prejudice.

No one can stop douchebags from douching if that is their true heart’s desire. But we can work to marginalize those people. Through positivity and respect, maybe we can help them see the light too.

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