Silverlake's own ever-revolving ashtanga yoga studio celebrated its one-year anniversary as Ashtanga Yoga Los Angeles (AYLA) Friday night. The usually muggy and sweat-soaked shala was transformed into a rollicking party train all dolled up and disco-ed out with fresh flowers, Indian fare, and the usual Mysore crew, barefoot and semi-recognizable in street clothes, instead of our usual stinky lycra, and showered and groomed to boot. DJ Mattnifique spun sultry and low-key from his corner post, while we sucked down Thai coconuts, sipped milky Chai and introduced ourselves to the people we Ujjayi breathe and grunt next to every day (except moon days and Saturdays, of course).
Naked Rhythm took the “stage” as the food frenzy died down. A loud and furry collective, the band played electric Asian while Monica, a knock-out blessed with heavenly hips and an astounding command of their movement, gyrated and churned, shook and shimmied, mugged and beamed, and won the hearts and base lower chakra longing of everyone in the room (specifically DJ Mattnifique, who watched with mouth agape, frozen and drooling, from his corner post).
Yelling over the music took its toll on my enthusiasm. Monica left the stage to unofficially instruct interested yoginis in the art of the belly churn. Clearly, it was time to move on.
I snuck out and headed to automobile showroom turned uber-loft, Marvimon, where British singer-songwriter James Webber was headlining an invite-only acoustic shin-dig celebrating the birthdays of a gaggle of Pisces' (including Erewhon Tonic Mix-Master Randall Zamcheck and Webber's very own mom), and the impending release of Webber's new album.
The space was impressively lit and spacious. Tonic bar regulars and Rodeo Grounds “home team retards” (to quote partygoer/artist/genius/weirdo James Mathers) smiled warmly and met glittery gazes head on while delighting in the sensory treats abound. Fragrant flowers lent their sweetness to the space. Tonic Bar Guru Truth, along with his grounding and ever-grinning (business) partner, Chris, manned the bar, mixing herbal tonics infused with Maca powder, Reishi mushroom, and an infinite litany of magic potions – all natural, all legal.
An orgasmic array of organic food was set up in the kitchen, while raw chocolate infused with Cordyceps (for energy) and Agaricus (for immunity), coated in black sesame seeds (for adrenal oomph) made its way around the party. Like the proverbial pig in shit, I was in optimal health geek heaven.
Alex Iverson, an AMAZING sleight of hand magician, clearly empowered with those well-kept secrets of the Universe whispered about in esoteric occult circles and underground covens, wowed tiny enclaves of crowd with levitating cards and slick illusions, armed with portals to alternate dimensions up his sleeve.
Hopped up on herbal love and organic bliss, we gathered cozy and close on fluffy pillows and long comfy couches to soak in the song-stylings of the evening's line-up.
Robbie Briggs, our host and Master of Ceremonies, opened with an abridged set of simple melodies. Daisy McCrackin, known as much for her extroverted exploits as her monstrous talent, took the stage with uncharacteristic trepidation and, in the span of four songs and some nervous filler, stole the show and transformed, right there in front of all of us, into a bonafide rock star.
James Webber strummed a long, toothy set to an adoring crowd. Johnny Moezzi followed with an upbeat tempo and an interesting array of sounds coaxed from the side of his guitar and between his lips. But it was an undiscovered teenager named Robert on cello along with classical guitarist Grady who cut through the cozy herbal haze and the whispered murmurs, beelining straight to the guts of every last one of us with the sweetest sounds of the evening. No words, no pretense – just strings and heart, infused with ache and beauty.
As goodbyes were exchanged and candles extinguished, I spied a couple lingering on a couch, high on chocolate, magic and music, lending credence to Maca's purported aphrodisiac effects.
Buzzing on my own cocktail of Maca-infused treats, I stepped out into the shadows of the downtown skyline to power up my veggie-mobile and head to my (un)boyfriend's house to test the effects myself.