If I had to choose one word to summarize the journey that putting this event together was, it’d be resonance. We ventured into lots of new territory with this event, lots of unknown variables to say the least. For starters, this was our first LA nightlife event. Finding the right venue for our community was the first challenge.
As a space for the Burning Man/Do-Lab community, King King possesses a beautiful energy. I felt the purpose of our event had a chance of resonating with them, so I cold-emailed, got a reply, set-up a meeting, requested a half-day from work, and off I went to Hollywood on a Friday afternoon in May. 30 minutes and a handshake later, it was on!
Finding talent was the next hurdle. To achieve the type of vibe we envisioned with our limited budget, we had to put the mission out there and remain diligent. Weeks went by, e-mails, tweets, and proposals went unanswered, but after putting the cause and our hearts out there those who resonated with us confirmed, and 10 days before the event we locked the lineup down. From there we had the talented 12FV put together another awesome flyer and it was time to spread the love!
Another challenge was creating that child-like wonder. We believe a little silliness is always a good thing. It combats the “too cool” attitude and creates an environment where people can express themselves freely, with no judging vibes. This is where the hand-crafted hats, bowties, and butt spelling group activity came in! Being in Hollywood however gave us some doubts. Would our guests resonate? Do people just want to party, or participate as well? Even with these questions, it was important that we stayed true to what we wanted to create and not what we thought others would think, and man am I happy I saw the crowd spelling E’s (for Eayikes!) to the beat of Bubble Butt.
Lastly, selling tickets… what a beast! After all the phone calls, text messages, changing of Facebook profile pictures, tweeting & retweeting… Saturday came and we had only sold 89 pre-sale tickets. Rough! But despite the feelings of anxiety and concern, I think we all knew we spread the word to our best abilities, so all that was left was to keep the faith. The night began, guests trickled in, and before I knew it the venue was 75% full (~230 people) of folks down for the cause, resonating with the event and each other!
At the end of the night, the smiles on everyone’s faces were beautiful, we raised our goal of roughly $2,500 for the summer camp, and I felt a whole mess of emotions. After some reflecting, I’m still so humbled by the support of the community, grateful to be in this position to serve y’all, and proud of the crew. Cheers and thanks to everybody, from the artists to the bartenders, guests to volunteers, who took part in making Camp Eayikes happen!! Let’s keep it moving <3
It started with wanting to connect with the community and build out with them. I emailed the principal at Beach High School, a classified continuation high school in Long Beach, about coming in to their classes to teach them Roadtrip Nation curriculum.
I figured since it was out of the blue he wouldn’t give it much thought, but he replied quickly and set up a meeting. I explained to him my passion for working with young folks, and really wanting to advocate for them and mentor them. He offered me two periods a week, and off I went to connect and to learn.
The first class I came to, I had the jitters, as I saw it as an opportunity to truly connect and make some sort of difference on the ground. But even with the jitters I wasn’t going to appeal to them cheaply and win their approval or try and assert some sort of dominance that wasn’t me.
I wanted to speak to them with a respect, a sincerity, and a realness befitting my peers. I saw them as that. I asked to be a part their class with them and offer anything from my experience or knowledge that could help them. As much as I was willing to teach, I was doubly willing to learn from them.
Now, two months later, I am so thankful to them. Thankful to them for keeping it real with me, trusting me, teaching me, and most of all inspiring me. Their stories and experiences put most of our first world problems to shame. Granted they are growing young minds and due of course to make some mistakes, but they’ve handled their situations bravely and with grace. They’ve been through a gamut of trials that demand the mindset, maturity and wisdom of people twice their age, and to deem them different, at risk, or to count them out, would be foolish. Whether it’s drugs, gangs, poverty, or troubled family lives, these young people strive, these young people want someone to believe in them, these young people dream. These young people are also still kids who need to be given the chance to be just that. They need positive examples to mentor and support them, free from judgment and full of love and praise. We need to be that. Cause for every question we have about how to help them and how to reach them, they have the answer. We just need to be willing to listen and learn. They are the answer.
“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.
On Monday, May 27th we hit the streets to bring a little water and love to the community in Skid Row. Being our first outreach effort of this sort, we were all a little nervous. If there’s anything we, as The Donut collective took from this, it’s that there’s so much more work to be done! Thank you to everyone who supported and participated! Every second and dollar counted and will continue to count as we work on future projects for this community. We all left encouraged and inspired by what our collective efforts are capable of doing for the greater good!
We just wanted to take a few moments to share some of the personal experiences from the folks who volunteered. A BIG thank you goes out to Beans, Emily, Elysia, Jeff, Jungle, Alan, Liz, Joe, Donna, Grace, Katherine, Christine, Mike, Philip, Sam, KDuh, Kyle and Alex <3
- “My experience with Donuts was the first time I really got a good, hard look at Skid Row. I’d never seen firsthand so much need in such a small area. It was hard to believe that they were lacking water, which is such a fundamental need and also something that many of us take for granted. Though we know that the homeless (and other people with great needs) are out there, at times we get so caught up in our own personal business that we forget altogether that there are others who just need a little help. Skid Row was both a humbling and silently mind-blowing experience that gave me a nudge to remember to both be thankful for the many blessings that I have and as well as use those to help others.” Jungle
- “I was nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m glad I was able to take part in this because I was able to meet the people there first hand instead of hearing about them through the media. I felt appreciated by the people there and that felt good. It helps me put things into perspective - both them and me.” Mike
- “Through this experience, I was affected by a revelation I had of the terms “brother” and “sister.” To my surprise, I heard a lot of “thanks my brother,” “God bless you sister,” and “good morning my brothers and sisters” from the Skid Row community. It got me thinking that yeah, we come from different families and cultures, but at the end of the day we are all humans mostly striving for similar ideals. Skid Row struck me with new realizations of the walls and barriers that keep us from seeing one another as brothers and sisters. Growing up, I always kept a distance from the homeless and rarely did I experience anything that humanized them. Oh how better of a world we’d live in if we all looked out for each other as brothers and sisters! For me, everything The Donuts stands for is building our community and breaking those walls down. We are all human, after all.” Alex
- “Spending some time with others in Skid Row reminded me how valuable each day of life is and how far a little love goes. In many ways I look up to some of those who call Skid Row their home because I know if I spent 24 hours in any of their shoes, there’s no guarantee I would be able to last another 24.” Beans
- “In retrospect, the times of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful. That day at Skid Row, I felt two conflicting natures of the community that made me think of this. I saw those who had lost sight of that vision and could sense that they had been living in a prolonged struggle for some time. Whilst, another part of the homeless community there seemed to share a collective spirit of just taking it one day at a time. Its leaving impression on me made me wonder about all the different sequences of events that led to this becoming community and how we can discern our roles in bridging these sequences so that others don’t fall off the map. I think the first step is stepping out of your comfort zone to widen your perspective so that you may see more of what’s around you.” Emily
- “I have to say I was kind of nervous leading up to Memorial Day, as I haven’t had too much close interaction with homeless people in Skid Row before. I don’t know why it felt awkward in my mind, but for some reason I felt at ease once I got to our meeting spot. I knew that on such a hot day, what water we could provide would be welcomed with open arms. I only wish we had more to give. We are all blessed with so many things we take for granted, and maybe that makes us feel some sort of separation, but that morning I felt like we had come from the same place, but just that our situations had turned out differently in life. This helped me connect a little more and calm the nerves. I am excited about diving deeper into more interaction next time, and hopefully providing even more help to their needs in the future.” Kyle
- “It was an eye opener for sure, the sights to the smells of the streets, but past all the things on the surface, for a few moments we got to connect with the people of Skid Row and realized they are normal human beings just like us, trying to figure out the crazy maze of life.” Jeff
- “I walked into this experience full of judgment. I was scared of the tuberculosis outbreak in Skid Row, the possibility of danger and violence, the stench of urine… everything. But as I passed along just a simple 16 oz bottle of water, every single person I met was genuinely grateful, polite, and kind. There really is no room for judgment when a fellow human being just needs a bit of honest help. I’m happy to have contributed to this project and will gladly do it over and over again.” Elysia
- “I woke up early on Monday after having one of those restless sleeps. I kept waking up periodically, would turn to peek at the clock, sigh as I saw the time and then try to sleep again. The Skid Row event was upon us and I felt so anxious! The worrywart inside of me clouded my mind with unnecessary stress: Were people going to show up? Would we be safe? Would we have enough water? Would people come on time? Would they have a good time? These questions made laps in my mind throughout the week leading up to Monday, during the car ride to L.A., and even to zero-hour when we started walking, bottles in tow.
Although I had been to the area before, I still felt nervous. When I drove up with Jeff, we took a little cruise around the block to survey the neighborhood. As we passed an intersection to park, we heard a dispute, saw a woman pull her pants down, sit with hands folded, then get punched in the face by her mate. We parked and sat, both of us a little intimidated. A few moments later Kyle and Elysia pulled up. We started unloading the water as Alex, Beans and Jungle arrived. Alan and Liz followed. Then Joe called me as he pulled up with Donna, Grace, and Katherine. Soon after Mike and Pat pulled up. Finally, Sam and KDuh strolled across the street to meet us. In just a few short minutes, we were about 20 strong with roughly 500 water bottles, 60 1-gallon jugs, and 10 2-gallon jugs. I couldn’t believe it! The whole time, I kept thinking about a quote that our good friend Jhust shared a few night before, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead. What we were doing on Memorial Day was definitely not world-changing, but we were just a small group of people sharing love and water with people who are often forgotten, criminalized and looked at like garbage by the society that surrounds them. Although not world-changing, it was important for those who came to volunteer and those who were in need of water.
The problems that exist in the neighborhood are expansive, but I do believe we have all the resources and heart to positively impact the people who live there—be it small or large. There’s still more work to be done and I hope this is just the beginning of The Donuts’ efforts in this area.” Hannah
Until next time…
Love and Donut holes,
What a weekend.
When we came together over a year ago, this past weekend was exactly the type of community gathering we hoped to create. Art, music, good vibes, and positive people all coming together in one space… it really is an unbelievable feeling when you set an intention and achieve it. Whether it’s personal goals or work quotas, we hope you can identify with what we’re feeling right now. Now, as you reach milestones and see what you’re made of, new visions and endeavors arise. "Every idea needs a version 1". Through this beta period, we’ve tried, experienced, reflected, and grown. Now we’re ready to build The Donuts 2.0, we’re ready to do work!
Whether it’s a food drive, a community function, a flash mob, a camp for empowering teens, a concept video, or fundraising for a cause, we want to get things done. We want to do it with heart, we want to do it with a purpose, and we want to leave a positive impact. If you’re down with that, then let’s do this together!
Here’s our latest attempt at describing who we are:
The efforts of one person can be great, but the impact of a community striving to create positive change is limitless. We are committed to connecting people who want to create that change and make the world a better place. We’re The Donuts, and it’s nice to meet you. The Donuts are a collective of folks from different cultures and backgrounds; teachers, DJs, dancers, emcees, photographers, designers, social workers, and much more.
We aspire to:
-Bring people together through events and initiatives that serve a direct cause, raise awareness, and spark meaningful dialogue.
-Provide a platform for people with different talents and ideas to come together and express themselves.
-Inspire others to take action and make positive change in their communities.
Empowered people accomplish great things. This is what we’re about, and we welcome Donuts of all flavors, shapes, & sizes. Like your local donut shop on the corner, our door is always open.
Eh? If you feel us, holler! We’ll keep you posted on what we’re up to this summer. In the meantime, enjoy these photos and relive The Brewery with us. Part of the weekend never dies.
Here are a few photos from the weekend, view the full album HERE.
Man, it’s been a nice two months of reflection since the 1-year event at Proof. Slow and steady has been our motto, mainly because we knew from the beginning it’d be a learning process for us as individuals to figure out how to balance our own lives, responsibilities, and career aspirations with this desire to serve our community together. We apologize for the lack of consistency, but this being a not-for-profit endeavor we hope you understand Donuts gotta eat too!
Lots of things have been going on behind the scenes, and we have some really exciting news to share! Our next community gathering is going down at the BREWERY ART WALK in LA, Saturday April 27 & Sunday April 28.
This once Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery is now a live/work space for artists. Twice a year they open up the area for an artwalk, and we’re honored by the opportunity to participate! Big ups to Suey Creative for hosting us. Learn more about the LA Brewery!
Food, drinks, music, art, community. More details TBA. Save the date!
As we continue on with Jelly-Filled Fridays, reaching out to like-minded striving & starving artists is so important to us. Paying it forward to good peoples pursuing creative paths is why we began this event, and we feel blessed to even be in this position to facilitate these positive experiences. So cheers to you for helping us keep this going, and here’s what we created this month to thank you :D
So for October, we’re stoked to be collaborating with electronic music blog SoundLogik. We’re calling it the “Two Party System” as a nod to the upcoming elections, but mainly to recognize the coming together of two creative communities to produce one awesome experience. The best part about this is we get to host some of the artists out of their community! First, let us introduce Mr.Y:
This dude, as you can see, blends the arts of beatboxing, producing, and mixing to create an incredible live music experience. Every piece of sound is organic, with little to no effects, making what he does not only damn unique, but really effing difficult!! It’s with great excitement we’ll be hosting him in the basement, starting at 10pm.
Mr.Y - thisisMrY EP
DJ duo MathMatix are coming out of San Diego with a fresh taste on BASS. After listening to their latest original production, Bass Division, we’re finding it hard to believe they just got on the scene in 2012. These guys definitely have a bright future ahead of them, and we’re just happy to be a stop along their journey. Check them headlining the mainroom from 12-2am!!
And the night wouldn’t be complete without your residents, the Groove Monsters. They’ll be on the decks in the mainroom, so get them dancing shoes ready and get ready to sweat. Check them out from 10pm-midnight!
As for art, some of our best Jelly-Filled Friday memories have been the amazing exhibits we’ve been able to feature in our “Basement Series”. This week we have an exhibit called “Safe Travels”, a three-week photo journey through Europe by 3 of our good friends.
"We journeyed all throughout Europe for fun, the views, the landscape, and the pictures. We skipped around to Iceland, Spain, Morocco, Switzerland, Italy, and Turkey, and came back with a plethora of photographs to share. Traveling has mostly changed us for the better, but we also got a speeding ticket in Iceland and duped into Moroccan carpet." -12fv
Here’s the Facebook event, come out come out old and new faces! This Friday is gonna be a good one. We hope to see you there <3
For those that have been with us since February, it’s been quite the journey. From the first art exhibit to the Coachella Photo Booth, from the comedy show to last month’s The Donut Cellar, it’s pretty awesome being able to say we’ve accomplished what we originally set out to do! Looking through all the photo album sets, seeing old & new faces smiling, dancing, drinking, yelling, and straight cheesin’ is amazing. Take a look for yourself!
This Friday we bring you Jelly-Filled Fridays 8/3 @ Proof Bar. The basement will be transformed into “The Bassment” as we bring out our hommies Sharon Isadora (10-1130pm) & DJ St3vil (1130-1am) to bump some dope beats and bass music. Upstairs we have DJ DZ (10-1130pm) spinning some good ol’ hip-hop/top40 classics, & Groove Monsters (1130-close) making your feet happy with a variety set. Cruise through to Orange County and get funky with us!!
ADDITIONALLY, please help us wish a Happy Birthday to Adele Joven & Sharon Isadora, as well as say farewell to some dear friends as they take their journeys to other parts of the world. Let’s fill Tomo, Wade, and Darnell with that Donut love & positivity so that they embark on their new adventures feeling goooooood….!
As always, free entry, free donuts, & free hugs. Come play.
By now we hope you’ve gotten a glimpse of who we are and what we’re about. One branch of the Donut tree is our monthly event, Jelly-Filled Fridays, at Proof Bar in Downtown Santa Ana Arts District. With this event our aim is to showcase multiple forms of creativity and the members of our community who are traveling down artistic paths! As the months go by, our hope is to bring more artists along on the journey, while inspiring others to pursue their passions. Like Coolio said,
Come along and ride on a fantastic voyage!
Save the date! April 6 we’re teaming up with our friends at ThreadSence to bring you our Coachella Kick-Off shindig. Details coming soon, be the first to know what’s good:
p.s. The hommies Dr. Oc2pus, Sambot, and the Shiver Crew are hosting SHIVER ME TIMBERS this Saturday (3/24) in Little Tokyo. Always a good time, especially with our very own Time Machine spinning some tunes! Here’s a dedication re-edit by Dr. Oc2pus to get you pumped for the weekend: