Miss A Columnist

Melissa Curtin covers charity and style related events and loves to cover LA's best in beauty, fashion, and culture. She is an educator who recently returned to the classroom to motivate and inspire third graders at a private school in Pacific Palisades. In 2012, she launched an educational T-shirt line called Wear2learn. When she is not working out, hiking a canyon, or at the beach, she is writing. Her latest dream come true has been travel writing for Johnny Jet.

After teaching in the Maryland public school system for almost a decade, she left the conservative East Coast environment in Washington, DC for West Coast living. Eager for adventure, inner growth, and a new environment, she packed her car and took to the open road on her own landing in her new home - Hollywood, California. As a Connecticut Yankee at heart, she has now lived in Los Angeles for six years surrounded by the stars.

Melissa graduated from Gettysburg College with a double major in psychology and art history. Soon after, she earned a Master's Degree in education. Melissa traveled around the world on Semester at Sea, and earned a Fulbright Scholarship which enabled her to teach in England. A lust for travel and learning has fueled her globe trotting ever since. Some of her favorite destinations are Costa Rica, Thailand, Fiji, Morocco, Vietnam, Belgium, Italy, Sicily, Prague, Egypt, Australia, Greece, and Paris.

Los Angeles has won over her heart. She is constantly taking advantage of what LA LA Land has to offer - new boutiques and restaurants, finding great deals, discovering new hikes and beaches, music, and West Coast fashion.

Recap: First Two Days At SXSW In Austin

Days 1 and 2 in Austin, Texas for the South By Southwest (SXSW) film and music festival.


Thursday – Miike Snow – midnight (more like 1 a.m.)

Andrew Wyatt, lead singer of Miike Snow (Photo credit: read.mtvhive.com)

I am so glad I went to see this Swedish band (not a solo artist) when I landed Thursday night. It was one of my favorite performances by far, and I am thrilled to have discovered them this past year through one of my favorite songs, Black and Blue.  The lead singer of this Swedish electronic pop band is American Andrew Wyatt.  The Swedish band members Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg are known for producing tracks with Britney Spears, Madonna, and Kylie Minogue. I wouldn’t consider this music pop or even techno, but the beats suck you in with the lead singer’s witty and complex lyrics (often about death and struggling relationships).

My introduction to Austin life occurred at the Lustre Pearl on Rainey Street. How cool to see a whole street of houses turned into funky bars and restaurants with music pouring out of every wall seam. After patiently waiting an hour, and then impatiently waiting over another hour for the show to begin, I will forgive Miike Snow since they put on a killer passionate show at Lustre Pearl. I think they may have been watching Bruce Springsteen nearby since I watched an interview with them and the lead singer said that’s who he’d like to see at SXSW, and I found out later Bruce was playing next door.

Their symbol is the jackalope, a mythical antlered jackrabbit that represents humans’ tendency to embrace the absurd. (Photo credit: amazon.com)

Various band members in their slick slinky black jackets jammed on an 9 x 9 foot spaceship looking black synthesizer that they call the blob. Twenty Swedish scientists created the blob, which the band finds hard to fit on a any bus. The crowd went wild dancing to their tunes.

One of my favorite songs is Animal and A Song for No One.  Check the band out here or here talking about the SXSW festival experience.

The night ended with a late night funnel cake off the street to increase blood sugar level before collapse.



Fashion – Style X at the Convention Center

We walked around to peruse the trends, brands, styles, and learn more about the inspiration behind the creations.  The highlight was our free make-over thanks to Buxom make-up and taking home a free Buxom lip gloss (my favorite kind) and mascara, which is now my new favorite!

Stubbs (Bar-B-Q) – Spin day party

Santigold at Stubbs (Photo Credit: courantblogs.com)

Stubbs is a legendary spot where the music happens in this large outdoor space.  I rolled in just in time for Best Coast and then Santigold.  Best Coast won video of the year for the Drew Barrymore-directed “Our Deal (Extended Version)” which I find heart wrenching.  They were getting tons of buzz at SXSW.

Once Santi White, Santigold came on next. Santigold hit “L.E.S. Artistes” was placed at number two on Rolling Stone ‘s Singles of the Year. Santigold attended Wesleyan University and definitely has her own unique sound.  Check out this cool video of Santigold’s song Disparate Youth.  See her live at SXSW here.

Adam Durritz of the Counting Crows (Photo credit: billboard.com)

Counting Crows(8 p.m. at Auditorium Shores)

The first part of the show put me to sleep for the first 20 minutes, and this is one of my all time favorite bands, but Adam Durritz admitted he was tired after a week of having way too much fun, as you can imagine. However, he didn’t fail to deliver for the rest of the show as he sang with passionate abandon my all-time favs, like Mr Jones, A Long December, Holiday in Spain, Sullivan Street, Round Here, Rain King, Colorblind, and so much more goodness.

So many of his tunes remind of where I Iive now – LA, and I am pretty sure he was writing them all when he lived in LA at the time.  I don’t think they have ever put out one bad song.  I think Adam Durritz thinks a lot. He sang some new songs that will be coming out on their new album Underwater Sunshine (or what we did on our summer vacation) which seems to be mainly cover songs but Adam Durritz says, “My guts are all over it.”  Therefore, I am all for it. The band’s lyrics always enthrall me. See them at SXSW singing A Holiday in Spain.

Temper Trap (12 a.m. at The Parish on 6th street)

Temper Trap (Photo credit: spinner.com)

This show was sadly disappointing after over an hour wait to get in. They took awhile to start and then messed up (but how would we know?) and decided to stop and start again. I think they were nervous. Who doesn’t love their song Sweet Disposition, but every song from this Australian indie rock band with Indonesian-born lead singer seemed to blend into another and sound the same. Perhaps it was my mood or the crowd or the venue or that my knees were about to buckle from the day. However that being said, they’ve put out some great videos like this one and I do like having their music stream through my house.

Not much sleep these last two days, but dreaming of tomorrow – Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Old Crow Medicine Show, the film premiere Big Easy Express featuring those three bands, and Train playing in a church…and who only knows what else will pop up along the crazy crowded streets of Austin.

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