Puerto Rock Steady Music Festival, Puerto Rico

5/5/15

This weekend, I went to the Puerto Rock Steady Music Festival in the beautiful beach town of Isabela. The 4-day event, produced by non other than Rock Steady Crew president, Crazy Legs, is basically an international destination for dance, music, sun, beach, food, chilling and fun (think music conference without chasing parties and 'business as usual'). Now in its third year, the festivities included intimate performances by Big Daddy Kane, Barbara Tucker, DJ Spinna and tons more, all under the breathtaking backdrop of Puerto Rico.

The event took place at the Parador Villas Del Mar Hau, a laid-back, bohemian resort where the beachfront views are amazing.



Montones Beach: The water here is crystal clear, with an average temperature of 81 degrees. There's nothing like it!



The event kicked off with an evening pool party and meet-and-greet. So nice to see new and familia faces. 

Voodoo Ray, Crazy Legs and Jansy Gonzalez

Big Daddy Kane and his beautiful wife, Shawnette

DJ Tahliem

Party people


Rock Steady Crew's EZ Mike (left) and Jazzy Jes (right)

David Calle, moi and Peter Connell


During the days, it was all about relaxing on the beach, listening to great DJ sets and making new friends. There were also mid-morning dance and workout classes for those who wanted to burn off the previous evening's indulgences (myself included).

Beach scene: Big Daddy Kane (right) took over the turntables and showed that he's more than an MC. Photo courtesy of the one-and-only Joe Conzo.

Rock Steady Crew's B-girl Mega with Michele Byrd McPhee

Just4Rockers' b-girl Hurricane with son, Danny, chilling on Montones Beach. Photo by Joe Conzo.

Nothing but blue skies and beautiful, clear blue water. Photo by Jazzy Jes.


There is a large lagoon on one side of the beach—perfect for kids (and for adults who preferred to just wade in the warm water with a cold drink!).

Clowning around: Rock Steady's DJ DV One and b-boy Ynot

Puerto Rock Steady love: A banner hanging from the balcony of one of the villas

A mid-morning dance workshop taught by Rock Steady Crew's Jazzy Jes and EZ Mike. Photo by Joe Conzo.

Straight from France: The Just4Rockers Crew 2-on-2 b-boy/b-girl battle, where the winners received a trip to Paris to represent Puerto Rico at the Just4Rockers Jam in 2016. Photo by Joe Conzo.


A short walk along Montones Beach (toward Playa Jobos) takes you to one of Isabela's tourist attractions: the storied blowhole where, legend has it, a man named Jacinto fell in with his favorite cow (he kept the cow tied to himself, so when it got to close to the edge...well, you get the idea). It's said to bring good luck when you shout out, "Jacinto! Dame la vaca (give me the cow)!" as the spray comes up.





On Saturday night, longtime Rock Steady member Lea Maxwell, along with her culinary crew, Grace Gonzaga, Jeff Jessop and Samantha Hershey, prepared an uh-mazing Filipino "Kamayan"-style dinner, specially for RSC members. I've never seen anything like it!

Photo by Jazzy Jes

Pit master: Jeff Jessop holding down the grill

A big congratulations was also in order for Rock Steady DJ Margie 'KaoticBlaze' Nuñez (right), who just graduated with a degree in Communications and Sociology. Congrats, girl!

Grandmaster Caz, Joe Conzo and DJ Velcro


Later that night, house singer Barbara Tucker performed—and killed it—at an outdoor concert and party. Photo by Joe Conzo.


Puerto Rock Steady host, Voodoo Ray

Me and the Mr.


On the second night, legendary MC Big Daddy Kane performed at the "White Party." He had the place going off!


Crazy Legs and Kane


After the concert, everyone (who stayed up) grabbed some wood and headed to the sand for a beach bonfire. This was one of those magical moments that you wish would never end. Tropical island, warm breeze, singing, laughing and dancing with friends—it couldn't have gotten any better.

Bonding: Joe Conzo, Grandmaster Caz, Pete Perez, Crazy Legs and Julian Oritz

The (unofficial) final PRS party happened in San Juan at a club called La Respuesta on Monday. It was definitely worth the drive if you had the energy after the long weekend (San Juan is about an hour and 45 minute drive from Isabela).

We made it: DV One, Crazy Legs, Jazzy Jes, Ynot and EZ Mike taking in the sunset in Condado, San Juan.

Going strong: Margie 'KaoticBlaze' Nuñez, Crazy Legs and Jazzy Jes at La Respuesta

Rock Steady's DJ Velcro

3 AM and the party was still going strong... Really looking forward to Puerto Rock Steady 2016! Until then, I plan on catching up on some sleep.

September in Greece, Part III: Athens

Our last few days in Greece were spent in Athens. Our hotel, A for Athens, was centrally located in the city's old town, at Monastiraki Square—a major tourist spot with tons of restaurants and shopping—and it sat just below the Acropolis. The view was amazing! The only downside: you can hear drummers in the square till the wee hours in the morning.

One of the first things I like to do when traveling to new, distant places is check out the local food markets. It's a great way to get a true sense of the people, the lifestyle and find out from the locals what's good to eat! Plus, it's always so colorful and full of (real) life. Here's a little piece of the action captured from my phone. It was loud, crowded and wonderful! (Love the girl waving at the end.)
video





 


We spent an afternoon walking around the neighborhood of Monastiraki, which has a ton of great antique shops and beautifully aged architecture. 


This Victrola was in great condition—and it still played records. 

A small street strung with lamp shades.



What was most surprising to me about the area was the amount of graffiti everywhere. There wasn't one wall or building that wasn't tagged up in some way.



And of course, there was the Acropolis—reachable by foot from Monastiraki Square. You can also get there by bus or trolley, but I recommend taking the long, scenic route.

The road up...

Unbelievable views...


Statues along the way as we walked through ancient Agora...


The statue of David (Calle)

The legendary statue of Crazy Legusus

The statue of Saint Peter (Connell)

View from the rock of Areopagos



Just below the Acropolis, there is the theater of Herod Atticus, which is still used for concerts and performances. 

We were lucky to catch dancers rehearsing for the evening's performance.

And finally, we made it!

The incredible Parthenon

Maidens of Caryatids on the Erechtheion


The Acropolis has been under an extensive restoration and conservation program since 1975. Many of the ruins are being restored with new marble. The contrast is amazing to see in person—and really allows you to imagine what this place must have looked like centuries ago.


At the very east side of the Acropolis is the Greek flag. From here, there are beautiful unobstructed  views of the city. A great way to end the visit.

Greece was, by far, one of my most memorable trips. I definitely plan on returning. It is a mythical place that takes you back to a time of gods and goddesses—and is truly heavenly!