Halloween Horror Nights 24: The Scares Are There, but Go For the Novelty (Video)

Sneak Peak of Halloween Horror Nights 24 at Universal Orlando from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

The sun had set and the sky was indigo. As you walked passed the revolving globe and up to the arches, the eerie music coming from the loudspeakers and musky, earthy smell of the lingering rainfall set the scene perfectly.

Though Universal Studios Orlando can't control the weather (and they likely wouldn't want it raining on their parade as often as it does), the trickling mist after the afternoon downpour made the opening night of Halloween Horror Nights 24 (HHN) feel as if you were transported into a classic horror movie.

And after walking through the gates and encountering any scare-actors roaming the streets with chainsaws, yeah, you totally felt like Laura Strode.

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Running Down a Dream: Tracking Tom Petty's Florida Roots in Gainesville

Categories: Road Trip

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Photo by musicisentropy via Flickr cc
When I told my brother I'd help him move out of his house in Gainesville, I planned to pay tribute to Tom Petty's place of origin by visiting sites that were important to him as a young man.

Jacksonville gave us Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tallahassee spawned Creed, Jim Morrison was born in Melbourne and went to Florida State University for a minute but was really a California guy. Tom Petty, though, was born, raised, and learned to play music in Gainesville. As far as the Sunshine State's contribution to rock music, Petty is ours.

I figured finding Petty's former hot spots would be easy. After all, Tennessee famously turned Elvis Presley's Graceland into a shrine. Every California guidebook has the address in San Francisco where the Grateful Dead lived. Hell, even Indiana has an "audio driving tour CD" where you can visit places important to John Mellencamp. But a quick internet search on significant Tom Petty sites showed nothing.

I asked a messageboard dedicated to Gainesville rock history and heard crickets. Some deeper sleuthing revealed old Gainesville phone directories where Earl Petty, Tom's dad, was listed. In 1950, the year of Tom's birth, there was an address at 1114 NE Ninth St. The phone book for 1958 listed him as living at 1715 NE Sixth Terrace. That was a start.


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Purple Hatter's Ball: Live Butterflies, Jam, Funk, and Good Vibes

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Phil Sunkel IV

The weather at the seventh annual Purple Hatter's Ball at the Spirit of Suwannee Music park in Live Oak, FL, was pretty much perfect for a festival. There was a nice mixture of cloudy and sunny during the day, and the nights were mostly cool. On Sunday afternoon, though, there were some heavy winds and rain, but even that upset ended up being refreshing.

The three-day fest is hosted in honor of the late Rachel Morningstar Hoffman, whose life was cut short at the age of 23 in an act of violence while working as an undercover informant to lessen the severity of non-violent criminal charges. The operation was poorly monitored by police and the worst case scenario took place. Rachel's parents, Margie Weiss and Irv Hoffman, were devastated. To prevent the same tragedy happening again, they contacted State Senator Mike Fasano, and, together, introduced Rachel's Law which ensures officers are educated on how to deal with undercover informants properly. They also took any money from settlements and started the Purple Hatter's Ball. Rachel was a fixture in the Florida festival scene, and it only seemed right that they hold one -- or seven now -- in her honor.

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Purple Hatter's Ball Honors Rachel Morningstar Hoffman for the Seventh Year at Suwannee Music Park

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Claire Nelson

This weekend at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL, is shaping up nicely. The seventh annual Purple Hatter's Ball is taking over for three days filled with live music by notable national acts, workshops -- from yoga to juicing -- and tons of love and appreciation.

Unlike most festivals in the same vein, Purple Hatter's Ball is dedicated in memory to Rachel Morningstar Hoffman, a young woman who's life was tragically cut short over seven years ago. But, in this case, from tragedy arose togetherness. Her spirit lives on each year in Live Oak, through the music and the environment -- one usually reserved for partying only.


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Shutdown at Least Stimulates the D.C. Bar Economy

Categories: Road Trip

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Best of Slideshow
This is what U Street looked like at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The government shutdown has left many federal employees well-rested and ready to imbibe barrels of alcoholic beverages. The Washington Post even listed spots in the D.C. area where government IDs will score them cheap booze and other deals, and the list is long.

One furloughed employee is just glad to not be complaining about how little sleep she's getting and actually just sleeping in. "I slept till like noon today. I'm still tired, but at least I'm not at work," she explained, yawning. After her second nap of the day, she plans on filling out job applications. "I might as well look for work. I mean, I have all this time."

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Americana Music Awards 2013: Ten Most Incredible Encounters

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Alisa B. Cherry
Billy Bragg at the Americana Music Festival

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares observations, insights and updates relating to South Florida's musical environs. This week, an incredible five days in Nashville...

Only Nashville could host an event like the Americana Music Festival and Conference. Austin has South By Southwest, and New York and L.A. have a monopoly on practically everything else. But when you're talking country, blues, Gospel, and R&B, you're talking Nashville.

Though more than a dozen years in existence, the Americana Music Association's annual event continues to grow in size, pride, and prestige each year. And it doesn't take a fondness for over-sized cowboy hats, big boots, or even the sweetest Southern accent to have an appreciation for the wide sonic terrain that Americana now embraces. It only takes a willingness to appreciate, and an open heart and head. And if that means dancing like you're at a hoedown or shedding a few furtive tears while hearing an especially sad refrain, then so be it. Americana sure as hell ain't going away, so you might as well get into it.

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Crazy Hood's Garcia Talks Coming Home, an Exploration of Cuba's Hip-Hop Scene

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Crazy Hood Film Academy
A little over a year ago, longtime South Florida hip-hop artist and somewhat more recent video director Garcia proposed a trip to Cuba with friend and collaborator DJ EFN to document the island's burgeoning hip-hop scene. For a pair of Cuban-Americans, the choice could not have been easy, given the trigger-sensitive issue of the island's politics and the opinions those home in South Florida have of those politics.

Undeterred by the potential backlash, the boys of Crazy Hood forged on, waging a successful Kickstarter campaign that resulted in the documentary Coming Home. It's been earning them accolades on the film festival circuit with more screenings on the way. We recently chatted with Garcia about the project and the general state of hip-hop in Cuba.

See also: 90 Miles Away: Crazy Hood Film Academy Needs a Little Bit of Your Help

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Pitchfork Music Festival: Top 10 Acts to Look Forward to

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Dancing to Blood Orange is what's going to happen.

Whether you're an avid follower, passive peruser, or determined hater of Pitchfork Media, there's no denying the impact the Chiacgo-based Internet music daily has had on the independent music industry since it first hit the scene back in 1995. With more than 1.5 million unique visitors per month, it's the most popular independent-focused music publication online.

Now in its eighth year, the annual Pitchfork music festival takes place in Chicago's Union Park and showcases some of the best acts across the alternative rock, rap, hip-hop, electronica, and dance music genres. This year, Bjork, Belle & Sebstian, and R. Kelly headline a three-day lineup of the webzine's most coveted and up-and-coming artists.

This Friday, County Grind makes its way up to Chicago to revel in all the glorified indie goodness. Here's a list of the top 10 acts we're looking forward to most.

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The Best and Worst of Electric Daisy Carnival

Categories: Road Trip

Josh "CuriousJosh" Reiss

If there is any lingering question about the mass popularity of electronic music, one need look no further than Electric Daisy Carnival. We'd be remiss to call EDC the "Woodstock of EDM," because even one of rock's most iconic festivals doesn't hold a candle to the production, logistics, and near incomprehensible grandeur that is Insomniac's flagship rave. To call it a party would be diminutive and downright disrespectful. For three days at the end of June, EDC is an ephemeral nation unto itself with a population of more than 300,000 whose primary export is bass.

We were among the masses at Electric Daisy Carnival over the weekend. Here is the best and worst of what we saw, heard, smelled, touched, and felt:

See also
- Electric Daisy Carnival 2013: Party People
- Electric Daisy Carnival 2013: Beautiful Women


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Bill Muter Is Here to Show the World That Tubas Are Cool

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Brent T. Williams
Experimental tuba: Two words you don't see side-by-side very often.

The big bulky brass instrument conjures up images of lockstep marching bands, or smoky New Orleans jazz joints, but never anything remotely new or avant-garde.

Set all you preconceived notions about the tuba aside, and get ready for Boca Raton born and bred musician Bill Muter to blow your mind with the beast of brass. Seriously, Muter emits sounds out of the tuba that are simply perplexing. Bending, molding, and shifting the notes of the lowest pitched brass and producing head-scratching noises that resemble guitar strums, keyboard bleeps, didgeridoo fizzes, and more.

He also tips and taps on the oversized horn at the same time, recreating the pitter-patter of drums. The real showstopper is when Mutter starts beatboxing out of the thing, a little boom boom biff hip-hop throwback emitted out a symphonic instrument leaves the crowd like putty in Muter's hands.

See also:
- A Practical Approach: At Only 27, Bill Muter Writes the Book on Playing the Tuba


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