Oh, 2016. what a sly little devil.

well, here we are. the last day of 2016. in my final post of 2015, i said 2015 was garbage. if i was correct, and 2015 was garbage, then in 2016 we lit 2015 on fire, and we had a fucking garbage fire. the first few days of 2016 were quiet and i was blessed enough to spend them with loved ones. my best friend and i were having drinks on david bowie's birthday and i was talking about how much i loved him as the dj spun "modern love" and "china girl" back to back while wearing a labyrinth tee. i told him that black star was a brilliant album, but it was very dark and moody. david bowie was dead two days later. sharing something beautiful to be followed up by something painful basically describes the year i've had; the year i think most of us have had. the death of so many luminous artists. flint. aleppo. philando castille. standing rock. brexit. trump. but, there were babies born and weddings. laughter and joy. live music and good movies and new restaurants and great books. there was a lot of good and bad. i started the year in a very dark place. i wasn't working and that affected my mental health deeply; i'm still clearing some of the cobwebs and rebuilding my life financially. however, i'm ending the year happier than i've been in a very long time, and in awe of how much can change in twelve months. i found work i love, i fell in love again (it didn't work out), i went to shows, i made new friends, i made new bonds with old ones. it was an interesting year, and one i'm not likely to forget soon.



i was able to spend a lot of time with my mom this year. i went to more shows that i can remember. i took a few road trips. i reconnected with my big sis. i watched my friends' children grow. i started a job i love. i lost weight, and then gained it, and then lost it again. there was so many good albums released this year. i grew. that's what i'm most proud of this year. i grew by leaps and bounds. things i had learned about myself over the past few years i put into application and i became a better person. i was able to end regular treatment with my therapist; we both agreed that my mental health was the best it had been since i started seeing her, and i was applying the things i'd learned. i hate to be cliche, but i've really begun to live my best life. 


where do i even fucking begin? everything felt brutal and raw this year, like poking an open wound. and on one hand, it made the good times feel that much better, but on the other hand, the rest of the year felt like having an anxiety attack while being hung over. the world lost a lot of heroes; to paraphrase my friend richard, "people who have influenced us, who played characters that we only dreamt of being, that we pretended to be when we were young (or even now), who's music got us through hard times (breakups, deaths, and more), who shaped who we are with their music, their characters, or just their lives". hatred and bigotry were normalized and applauded. innocent people were murdered by their governments, and it was broadcast for our consumption. there was so much ugliness, and i'm afraid it's only going to get worse.


this year was a ridiculously good year for music, and there are still a bunch of albums i haven't been able to listen to yet.

david bowie; black star // panic! at the disco; death of a bachelor // the hamilton soundtrack // rihanna; anti // sia; this is acting // ra ra riot; need your light // the 1975; i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it // hands like houses; dissonants // macklemore & ryan lewis; this unruly mess i've made // gwen stefani; this is what the truth feels like // zayn; mind of mine // baby metal; metal resistance // the lumineers; cleopatra // the deftones; gore // sleeping with sirens; live and unplugged // the used; live and acoustic at the palace // blaqk audio; material // beyonce; lemonade // pierce the veil; misadventures // issues; headspace // tiger army; v // beartooth; agressive // band of horses; why are you okay // nick jonas; last year was complicated // bat for lashes; the bride // blink-182; california // emarosa; 131 // good charlotte; youth authority // billy talent; afraid of heights // crystal castles; amnesty // frank ocean; endless and blonde // lindsey starling; brave enough // britney spears; glory // carly rae jepson; emotion: side b // a day to remember; bad vibrations // travis scott; birds in the trap sing mcknight // of mice & men; cold world // skylar grey; natural causes // every time i die; low teens // banks; the alter // solange; a seat at the table // phantogram; three // set it off; upside down // lady gaga; joanne // avenged sevenfold; the stage // waterparks; double dare // sleigh bells; jessica rabbit // miranda lambert; the weight of these wings // the weeknd; starboy // childish gambino; awaken, my love!

look below for my 2016 most listened to on spotify playlist*. 


not such a good year for movies though.

pride and prejudice and zombies, deadpool, zootopia, captain america: civil war, keanu, ghostbusters, star trek beyond, pete's dragon, blair witch, the girl on the train, doctor strange, loving, fantastic beasts and where to find them, moana, rogue one, fences, hidden figures


i'm behind on some of the new shows that premiered this year; binge watching has ruined me and i never watch things as they air anymore. of what i saw; i have to call out stranger things and westworld, obviously. i'm also gonna give it up to this year's season finale of game of thrones, and the episode of scandal where OP had an abortion on screen.


i think i read even fewer books this year than last year. that makes me really unhappy, however, there's a plan in the works to combat that and you'll know more about that soon. that said, there were a few standouts for me this year.

ready player one by earnest cline (i can't believe they're making this a movie. how?? how is this all going to fit into one movie?).

liar by justine larbalestier (i stayed up and read this is one night. in fact, i might read it again over my long weekend).

gray by pete wentz (this book made me feel nostalgic in a good way. the end gutted me).

more happy than not by adam silvera (i read it twice this year, both times in less than 24 hours).

moonshine by alaya dawn johnson (the vampire novel market is over saturated, but i genuinely enjoyed this).

love in the time of global warming/the island of excess love by francesca lia block (so much yes to both of these).

wood nymph meets centaur by francesca lia block (turns out i'm a banshee/vamp and should be dating centaurs instead of fuckboys. who knew?).

armada by ernest cline (i'm willing to bet earnest cline spends a lot of time on reddit talking about how cool he is).

harry potter and the cursed child (harry potter: the christmas special/also, don't fuck with time travel, a cautionary tale. i liked it tho).


abundance in all areas of my life.


find fulfilling work--i definitely did this and i feel like the luckiest girl ever. i work for a company and brand that i've admired since i was a kid. i get to write about music and pop culture everyday. there's a civic component. i work with amazing people in a culturally rich environment. there are tons of benefits. i know i'm going to grow and further my personal goals here. it's just a really good fit, and it couldn't have come sooner or worked out better for me.

work/life balance--this evened out when i found my current job, but it was shit the first half of the year. i wasn't working steadily, so i felt guilty for trying to have a social life, because i shouldn't have been spending money like that. then, i was working at a start up in santa monica and spending 3.5 hours in traffic everyday and wanting to die, and i didn't even like the job. i am now in a job that i enjoy, my commute (while still being long) is shorter, and i make enough money to enjoy myself without being worried about the bills.

beautify my home life (my place kinda looks like leslie knope's)-- i sucked at this. if anything, i made things worse.

revamp my wardrobe-- this goal is a work in progress, but i am much closer to where i'd like to be in my overall personal style and my closet has grown dramatically this year. fashion is always evolving, anyway. i'm gonna call this a win.

eat better food-- i did a lot better at eating mindfully and varying what i ate, so i didn't end up in a food rut, but i was not as healthy as i wanted to be and my weight certainly fluctuated. i do want to trim a few pounds in the coming months.

purge unwanted and unnecessary junk-- if we're talking about people and relationships, then yes i did that. if we're talking about actual physical stuff, i failed.

spend more time outdoors-- if by outside, we mean under my covers with netflix, then yes, yes i did this.

-2017 GOALS

make this blog a priority

do more creative work

spend more time actually outdoors

move (preferably to mid-city, silverlake/echo park, or long beach)

get more tattoos

dance more

take moxi skate classes

start circus training again


lastly, a bit of blog news. this site is going to be going purposefully dark for about six weeks or so. not that it would be surprising, considering i haven't adhered to a regular publishing schedule to begin with. like it says above, i'd like to make this blog and my creative pursuits a priority in 2017 and give this space my best; so i am taking some time "away", to revamp this space, organize and beautify it; and make a plan and schedule for 2017. when i come back, things are going to be better than ever. promise.

until then.


black girl in white space

I've been thinking about what happened to Solange (http://pitchfork.com/news/68197-solange-discusses-hostility-in-predominately-white-spaces-after-kraftwerk-concert-incident/) a lot since it happened. I posted about it on Facebook, and haven't talked about it since, but I've been thinking about it. I am a black person who spends the majority of my time in white spaces. And while I don't live my life feeling uncomfortable, I know EXACTLY what Solange is talking about. Please believe me, this was not an isolated incident that she experienced. This is just part of our lives.

I remember being about 8 years old and being obsessed with No Doubt. Rock radio in general. My older brother warned me, "don't be one of those weird black girls who listens to Green Day and stuff". I became one of those weird black girls who listened to Green Day. I don't think he was trying to clip my wings, I think he was being a protective, albeit misguided, older brother. He knew it wasn't going to be easy for me. Being a weird black kid at a predominately white school was hell; I've already blogged about that (SPHS + WOC = ? http://www.lambertraa.com/blog/2016/1/27/sphs-woc-). This is not that, but that's part of this.

I go a lot of shows. A LOT. Everyone who knows me, knows this. My first show was the 2003 Honda Civic Tour with Good Charlotte and New Found Glory headlining. My mom took me, because she felt I was too young to go to Hollywood with one of my friends no supervision. This was not my mom's scene, so she was a little curious. She looked around after we had been there for a few minutes, "We're the only black people here." She paused, "You're unique, Jordan. That's cool." We had a great time that night, my mom walked about liking New Found Glory a lot. She got an insight into the person I was becoming; I got to see my favorite bands and bond with her. It was a really good night. However, I was learning that not everyone would find my uniqueness as cool as my mother did. And, this night would set a precedent. This wasn't the only time I'd be the only black person at a show.

AFI is my favorite fucking band of all time. I live and breathe by Davey Havok. If it was the holy quadriology and not trinity it would be the father, the son, the holy spirit, and Davey Havok in my eyes. The first time I saw AFI live was in support of Decemberunderground; my friends and I drove five hours to Bakersfield to see them. We were in the pit, before they started, and someone said "What the hell is that black girl doing here?" Of all the things I expected to happen at that show, that wasn't one of them. I deflated. I loved AFI. I had been listening to AFI for five years. I was literally a card carrying member of their fan club. This was my first chance to see them live. I had been dreaming of this show for ages. I belonged there. And here was this yokel, questioning me, because of the color of my skin. My white best friend, didn't skip a beat. "What the fuck did you just say about my friend?" We were with a crowd of 20 Despair Faction (AFI fan club) members. They all knew me from the message board, they all rallied around me and made that bigot know he wasn't welcome in our pit. Hours later, when Davey Havok was godwalking through the crowd and his basically standing on my head, I wasn't thinking about what had just happened. But, it's something I never forgot. It stung. This wasn't the last time something like that happened.

I have been to several shows where been one of few, if not the only, black persons there. I have been to several shows where I've been called out for it. While the landscape of the scene has changed and it is far more inclusive now; I've been through my share of shit. I saw Marilyn Manson three times on the same tour; the second time a white male asked me if I knew who Marilyn Manson was and if I was at the right show. I took my nephew to see Black Veil Brides and Falling In Reverse. It was his first show and his favorite bands were playing. We were the only black people there, and I could tell it bothered him when he noticed and pointed it out. I reassured him it didn't matter, we were there for the music and that was all that mattered. And thank God, Set It Off opened, and Dan Clermont, their guitarist is magical black man. I pointed out Dan, and told my nephew again, this is our scene, too. I punched a guy in the face during a Thrice set at a festival, and it was one of the most affirming moments of my life. You will not push me during this set, you will not try and get in front of me, you will not take my space; I fucking belong here, this is my scene. I planned to meet with friends at Taste of Chaos, and we tried to plan a meeting spot. "I'll be hiding from the sun", a friend said. "I'll be one of six black people", I laughed. "You think there will be that many there?" It's funny, but it's not. I met the vocalist for Old Wounds at Warped in their merch tent, we had a great time talking and I promised I'd be at their next LA show, "I'll be looking for you", he said. "I'll be the only black girl there." He sighed, "I hope not!". We laughed, but the scene isn't a space readily accesible to people of color. It's far more welcoming than other places; I've been to country concerts and almost left, because people were flying the confederate flag as they tailgated.

This isn't a concert issue. This is an America issue. But, that should be obivous. My mom and I go to a lot of museums, it's kind of our thing. We get a lot of odd looks. We got called 'colored' by a security gaurd at the Norton Simon, who was radioing his boss about our 'suspicious behavior'. The first time I got followed around a store, I was 10 years old in a high end beauty supply store, shopping with my mother. We didn't look like belonged in that shop, in that neighborhood. Honestly, I can't even go to Trader Joe's without a white person asking me if I know how to cook those brussel sprouts and offering me their shitty ass recipe on the spot, or asking me how if I buy flowers often. They aren't being a friendly. I know someone is going to come into my comments and say they're being friendly. There's a tone of voice, a demeanor, the way they say it. You know when you're being talked down to. You know when it's because you're black. I was racially profiled at Disneyland of all places. I got accused of stealing, because I'm young, I'm black, and the woman thought I couldn't afford the high end Disney luggage I had used for my stay at the Disneyland hotel; so I must have been trying to shoplift it from the giftshop. How do I know this? Because my white best friend walked right past her, also carrying souvenirs out in the open, and she didn't get anything but a, "Have a magical day".

The only bright spot I can think of in all of this, is the excitment of seeing another black person in a white space. You may not know this if you're not a POC, but POC get really excited to see other POC in public, in white spaces. We are not alone. We are not tokens. This is a place for us, too. At Warped 2016, a black kid I didn't know became my best friend for five minutes, because we were two of four black people screaming the lyrics to New Found Glory and dancing our hearts out. Twice, my mom and I have been at museum exhibits, and gotten told special museum secrets by security gaurds, because they were so happy to see other black people there. My family was stopped at the Renaissance Faire by a black performer, who was very happy to see people from "her land", at the faire. I held a long conversation about the price of bread with a woman at Trader Joe's, because the same rude white woman had almost ran her cart into the both of us. The only black performer at Medieval Times gave his flowers to my mom, because he was happy to see us in the front row. We are here, we exist, our presence is valid.

I'm not writing this to bitch and moan and complain about how hard it is to be black. I love being me. Part of being me is being black. I wouldn't change that for the world. But, I feel more and more it's my job as a black person, and a black person with a platform (even if it's a small one like this blog), to use my platform and affirm and validate the voices and struggle of my brothers and sisters. Because, it feels like no one believes us. Everyone wants to discount. People want to say the world has gotten to sensitive, too politically correct, all lives matter; instead of saying, something isn't right here. Let's do better.

The instances I referred to at shows have lessened the older I've gotten. I've made way more friends and am usually known when I go out. The scene has become more inclusive. I like to believe it's because of people like me, who were passionate about the music they loved, and wouldn't let their discomfort at being in a white space stop them. We have to keep doing this. We can't be shy. We have to be brave, and bold, and passionate. We have to knock on doors and bang them down. We have to let other people know I belong here, and you do too. And, if something like what happened to Solange happens to us, we have to talk about it. We have to affirm each other's voices.

I think I'm done. The next post I'm planning will also be show focused, but it's going to be more lighthearted.

Until then. I'm gonna close this out with some of my favorite concert photos I've taken. There's a lot of Davey.


EDITED TO ADD: Dude. I feel like this post is now even more relevant today RE: Tim Burton's ignorant ass comments about the lack of diversity in his films. He was probably blind sided by the question, but his answer was really stupid. As a HUGE fan of his work, it was totally disheartening and reminded me of how "bad" I felt being a black person who was into his creepy aesthetic, because I never saw myself fitting into that world, because there was literally no one who looked like me. TO DO: Make film shorts about a creepy black girl, aka black Vampira.

Dear Boy In Store

I had another really good weekend. It was a standout two days in a month that has really sucked. Quick Disneyland trip, coffee with my BFFL, first meeting as a sorority advisor, and the train wreck that was the VMA’s. (I did a lot of side eyeing my television last night, that’s for sure). The funny part is, all of that happened on just Sunday! On Saturday (yes, I realize this is backwards), I went to an in store performance by one of my favorite bands, Dear Boy.

According to their Facebook page, Dear Boy (Ben Grey, Keith Cooper, Austin Hayman, and Nils Bue) is bitter-sweet alternative rock with roots in both post-punk and 90‘s British guitar pop. They are based out of Los Angeles and recorded their first EP in London. They’ve built a devoted live following through their shows and you will generally find me somewhere in the crowd if they’re playing in Los Angeles. 

I met Ben in July of 2006, during a rather low period in my life. His previous outfit, Scarlet Grey, was opening for Nico Vega at The Troubadour. I was aware of them, as they had opened for AFI (basically my favorite band of all time), the previous fall. They were great. I stopped by the merch table after the show to express my thanks for their work and tell them I’d be at their next LA show. Fast forward a few months; I’ve kept my promise, Ben spots after they’re done playing, and thanks me for that. We become friends. Ben Grey is one of the most gracious, talented, kind people I have ever met in my life. Even if I’ve already gotten a Facebook notification about a show and RSVP’d, he will still personally message me to invite me, ask me how I’m doing, and listen if the answer is not so great. He is a great person who also makes really great fucking music, and I urge you to check out Dear Boy. (And this is not to shit on Austin, Keith, or Nils…because they’re also amazing men who are ridiculously talented, and equally kind. Shout out to Nils for sharing his beer with me on Saturday).

The in store was awesome. It was held at Vacation Vinyl in Silverlake. If you like record stores, give it a whirl. They had some really good rare stuff, including Jimmy Fallon’s Tebowie 7”. We celebrated the release of Dear Boy’s first 7” by packing a fire code’s violation worth of people into the store on a day when it was already 91,000 degrees and dancing our butts off to 6 song set. I made a few new friends, I got my 7” signed, and I had the pleasure of talking to some old friends. 

Here’s Dear Boy’s Spotify… 


In other news…quitting my day job to follow my dreams is the scariest thing I’ve ever done and I don’t know if I’m handling it well. 

What the fuck is Miley Cyrus’s new album?

I'm in love with emo Bieber. 

When will summer end?

Until next time.

xo <3