From Extreme!

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Folsom Street Fair celebrates more than just leather

Folsom Street Fair 2015
Harnesses, feathers and pecs were out in full force at Folsom Street Fair

Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos by Kevin Kelleher

Disclaimer: This entry is NSFW nor is it safe for readers who are prudish, uber conservative, homophobic, close-minded and uncomfortable with their own sexuality.

Folsom Street, Dore Alley
Folsom Street Fair spans across 13 city blocks and a ton of alleys

Everyday I’m learning more and more about this amazing city. San Francisco is for tech nerds, people who want to make waves in their career and for those who innately add an amazing energy to the environment around them. It’s also for people seeking a place and community sans judgement. This past weekend’s Folsom Street Fair celebrates just that, along with “freaks” and fetish lovers at the world’s biggest leather festival.

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IgNight Fire Flow Conference brings Light, Fire and Dance to Joshua Tree

by Andrea Verdin

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The wilderness of the desert brings life to many, especially if they’re looking to improve themselves. There’s just something about the quiet and beauty of the great outdoors. That’s why IgNight Fire Flow Conference is such an amazing experience. Each person attending will develop their abilities in aerial acrobatics classes, archery, astronomy, and yoga.

Of course, you can’t have a conference called IgNight without having elements of flow tools, like lit wicks, flow tools like hoops, poi, fans, staves, torches, wands and swords. The conference features lectures with spiritual teachers from all over the world. The event began today at noon, and will end at 5p.m. Sunday, more than 160 classes will go on during the daytime. A nightly spin jam session allows students to practice and develop their muscle memory.

night-fieldAccording to Michael Engel, lead organizer for IgNight and fire performer with almost 10 years in the flow arts community, the great event truly gets started on Saturday night. Once all of the conferences and classes have finished, the attendees join together into a dance circle and put all that they have learned from the two days into practice. Together, they play music, and dance until sunrise.

In addition to having a great time, the conference goers  take care of the nature they enjoy. IgNight’s leadership works closely alongside The San Bernardino Fire Department to make this, the safest event possible. All participants must attend a mandatory fire safety workshop, which grants them access to the fire spinning area.

In a letter to the IgNight team, San Bernardino County Fire Marshal Curtis Markloff  wrote, “You guys always amaze me on how safe you all are at your event. Thank you for organizing and putting on this event.  I hope that you keep coming back year after year.”

Since IgNight’s inception in 2012, the event has sold out and it is still the only event of its kind and size in southern California. Each time, the rapidly growing contingent of local flow artists transforms it into an epicenter of growth, play and magic.
fire-blow “It’s for everyone to come and learn,” said Engel. “Ultimately, it’s an exercise in community building and community building is always a positive thing.”

IgNight’s location is the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, the oldest and largest center of its kind in the country. The buildings were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, meaning that they are beautiful elements to the backdrop.

The retreat center’s elegant spaces house luxurious amenities: air-conditioned classrooms, a swimming pool and Jacuzzi and shaded meditation nooks to relax and reflect. However, most participants will sleep under the stars in the property’s ample camping space.

The vast, clear desert skies are ideal for stargazing and the Black Rock Observatory will be giving nightly lectures and telescope demonstrations.

With all of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences occurring in one weekend, it’s easy to have a life-changing transformation. These types of arts allow for a better understanding of who you are, and what you are capable of doing.

The IgNight Fire Flow Conference brings an educational celebration of fire, yoga and flow arts to Joshua Tree, CA on May 8-10. Admission is $150.00 and covers all three days of camping, workshops, shenanigans, and music from Friday at noon to Sunday at 5pm. For more information about IgNight, go to http://ignightconference.com, call (310) 497-4775, or check out their Facebook Page.

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Kayakers come out in droves for the Port Angeles Kayak and Film Festival

Port Angeles Kayak and Film Festival unites Film Lovers with the Great Outdoors This Weekend!

by Andrea Verdin

The weekend is nearly here, and for those of us who are scrounging for an adventure, it may be time to head to Port Angeles for a one of a kind experience: the Port Angeles Kayak and Film Festival.

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This event will span two days, with a pre-party starting on Friday night, and continuing through Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19 at Hollywood Beach in Port Angeles, WA. Throughout the entire weekend, there will be over 25 different events happening for anyone interested in paddle sports or film to join.

“We are so pleased to bring an event of this caliber to Port Angeles for a second year,” says Tammi Hinkle, owner of Adventures Through Kayaking, one of three local co-organizers of the Festival. “It’s truly a one-of-a-kind event; no other festival in the country highlights and promotes all classes of paddling. Participants can take an Eskimo rolling class, get educated on tides and currents, learn how to land their craft in surf, experience stand-up paddle boarding and much more.”

img22A “It’s a continuation of an event that used to happen in the area,” said Hinkle. “It’s really about community, being outside, sharing experiences, and being excited about outdoor recreation. It’s absolutely a family event.”

“The best part,” Hinkle continues, “is that almost anyone can participate. The Festival is open to all levels and all ages. It’s a community event that we hope anyone with an interest will come out and enjoy.”

There are 12 different short films that feature some sort of paddle sport. Keynote speaker will be professional kayaker and co-founder of the Ikkatsu Project, Ken Campbell.

paddle-boardersAcccording to Campbell, the Ikkatsu Project is an initiative to raise awareness of the impact that toxic pollutants are having on beaches and shorelines through print, films and data-gathering expeditions. After his presentation, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the world premiere of Message in a Plastic Bottle, a film by Ken Campbell that discusses the Ikkatsu Project’s third film, which chronicles his 150-mile journey from Olympia to Bellingham aboard the Hyas yiem, a kayak constructed of discarded single-use plastic bottles. The presentation will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 18 at Peninsula College’s Maier Performance Hall.

Since Port Angeles is a quaint portside town, it has all of the smalltime charm that allows for relaxing and enjoying yourself in between films. Hinkle recommends spending a little time enjoying the Olympic National Park after the festival, so you may want to bring a pair of hiking boots and a mountain bike as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADuring the Port Angeles Kayak and Film Festival, over 20 classes are available to guests, and they can create the itinerary that interests them. One novice might want to learn the basics of kayaking or stand up paddle boarding, while an experienced kayaker might want to focus on navigation or cold water immersion.

“Some of our instructors are very well known in the kayak world,” said Hinkle. “You can bring your own kayak, or you can rent. Gear is included with some of the classes. The festival itself is free, and the only cost is for class participation, with the cost ranging from $5 to $35.”

Don’t fret about being lost in class; each class allows for intimacy with the instructors.

“We have really small classes, with a maximum of eight people,” said Hinkle. “We always have at least two instructors, even in a class of eight for the quality of instruction. There is going to be a lot of learning from very highly acclaimed teachers.”

For more information, go to www.portangeleskayakandfilm.com or call (360) 417-3015.

Discovery Wildlife Tours in Breathtaking Alaska

All Aboard Yacht Charter Alaska Cruises Makes for Unique Tours

by Andrea Verdin

Summer is perfect for exploring the Great Outdoors. You want to be one with nature, communing with animals and exploring uncharted territory. However, that’s hard to do when you’re booking a trip with a big tour company that caters to thousands of guests at a time. In order to get the thrill of kayaking up to a brown bear, or seeing an eagle perched atop a glacier, you may want to book an Alaskan cruise with All Aboard Yacht Charter.

Kayak with brown bear in Alaska with All Aboard Yacht Charter
Kayak with brown bear in Alaska with All Aboard Yacht Charter — Courtesy photo

All Aboard Yacht Charter Alaska Cruises are different from the bigger cruise lines in a variety of ways — a smaller boat, a smaller group of people, and a less rigid schedule. This leaves plenty of room for a person yearning for a true nature getaway to relax, unwind and explore Alaska’s natural beauty in peace.

With a maximum of 12 guests on each Alaskan cruise, guests’ days are spent cruising and sightseeing, watching whales, fishing, hiking, beach combing and bear viewing. Late afternoon Discovery anchors in a secluded bay where guests have the opportunity to explore by kayak or skiff, help the crew set crab pots or just relax on board. Humpback whales are regularly seen breaching, lunge feeding or tail slapping and often come very close to the boat. It is not uncommon to spend an hour or an afternoon watching humpback whales, orcas, dall’s porpoises, sea lions, sea otters, bald eagles and a variety of sea birds that also inhabit the Alaskan waters.

According to Discovery Captain Ben Swanson, off boat excursions are the true highlight of each cruise. Guests can pull their hiking boots on and traverse on bear trails through lush temperate rainforest to clear salmon streams. Admiralty Island has the densest population of Brown Bears in the world and is a popular site for Bald Eagles, so be sure to keep your camera handy.

Brown Bear meets an off boat excursion from the All Aboard Yacht Charters team
Brown Bear meets an off boat excursion from the All Aboard Yacht Charters team

“We try to show guests a little bit of everything,” said Captain Swanson. “We can see whales, then hike and soak in natural hot springs. We are obviously so different from a traditional cruise ship. We let guests see what others don’t ever see. We go off the beaten path into desolate bays.”

Based on the number of guests aboard the Discovery and their interests, each trip into Alaska may be completely different. If a group prefers to kayak, they may, and if they choose to take their cruise on land, they may also spend some time in a terrain that is limited to a special few.

“One thing that is pretty special about our cruises is that we are able to go ashore in Southeast Alaska,” said Captain Swanson. “We have a permit to go to shore or fish because we have all the permits required, which many of our competitors don’t. If guests say they would like to hike on the beach, we have the ability to let them.”

Discovery by waterfall FT IMG_6179 Guests on bow IMG_6195

If guests prefer to lounge about the Discovery, there’s still plenty to take in. With wrap-around windows, every seat has a spectacular view of the Alaskan beauty that surrounds the ship.

The All Aboard Yacht Charter Alaska Cruises take place on the 1931 classic yacht MV Discovery, a beautiful fantail yacht. At 87-feet in length, this boat has a perfect blend of old world charm and modern conveniences.

“The windows surround the whole boat,” said Captain Swanson. “We have over 30 windows, and even on a rainy day, a guest can sit in the salon and see all the wildlife, or come to the wheelhouse and sit in the co-pilot’s seat with a cup of hot chocolate. We have wrap around decks that let guests walk around the whole boat, or relax in the fantail lounge outside.”

Don’t think that just because the Discovery is a smaller ship that you’re not going to get world-class treatment. Each cruise has a chef that will not only provide extraordinary culinary experiences, but he will also meet any dietary needs or restrictions that a guest might have. As an added bonus, any fish that are caught by guests can be enjoyed the same evening after they were caught.

MV Discovery Salon - Forward in eveningIMG_0549 MV Discovery Salon - Dining

 

Captain Swanson and his team have a vast amount of knowledge about the Alaskan terrain, and they know how to keep each guest happy throughout the experience, which is truly solidified by the experience of sharing this once-in-a-lifetime trip with others.

“People are so enamored with the boat when they arrive, and it’s really neat to share that with someone,” said Captain Swanson. “We end up staying up every night until 11:30, sitting and reflecting over a whale encounter or fish story that was moving.”

If you’re really looking for that kind of moving experience, this is the trip for you.

For more information on the All Aboard Yacht Charter Cruises, go to  www.AlaskaCharters.com, email allaboard@alaskacharters.com, or call (800) 767-1024 or (360) 898-7300 if outside the US.