Rave Blog

By: Ali Benz

I said I’d never go to the rave again, but then I definitely went to the rave again. And again. Strictly for research purposes, though. Music festivals are a dangerous place. Luckily, I was brave enough to go and can reveal my findings. All I can think about is how similar ravers are to therapists. I know that sounds weird af, but it’s true. Both are in my life and both are sending me love and light. I don’t really know what that means but I love to receive things, so send it.

First of all, can we talk about crystals? I mentioned that my neck was hurting and someone told me to just “throw some agate on it.” WTF does that mean? Apparently doctors aren’t a thing anymore. I don’t know who loves stones and crystals more, my therapist or everyone at Burning Man. Want good vibes? Here’s a crystal. Need a new car? Here’s a crystal. Want to murder your ex? Here’s a crystal! It’s amazing. The crystal industry is booming. Remind me to invest in Swarovski.

These festivals can also get very spiritual. People are always “realizing things”. Isn’t that the point of therapy, though? To discover yourself and have breakthroughs and sh*t? Pass the Ayahuaska . The only difference is psychologists deal with real Shaman whereas you probably met a guy in a headdress who calls himself “Starlight” and tried to sell you an Adderall. Tragic.

Both parties also have this fascination with dance. I’ve seen therapists do this energy/movement dancing. It kind of looks like a mating call but I dig it. The moves are proven to have huge mental benefits if you can get past looking like a tribal dancer at a human sacrifice. Don’t knock it before you try it. At least you’re not a shuffler at an Insomniac event. Don’t get me wrong, I think shuffling is cool and I’ve maybe done it by accident before (for research purposes). I just don’t like shufflers that are cocky. Like I get it you can stomp the ground hard in your Sketchers but like don’t be a dick about it.

If you don’t know what shuffling is, it’s this thing that was cool in 2012 that gave white kids the opportunity to break-dance to House music without having to appear in a Missy Elliot music video. Nowadays, it’s become another YouTube phenomenon where anyone can profit from recording themselves in their step-mom’s backyard on an iPhone4. People around the world literally post themselves shuffling and get more sponsors than a child-star on Ellen. These “shufflers” get so competitive with their stomping and such and then try to sell me pre-workout. This is not Crossfit. Please leave me alone. Just sell your Bang energy drinks and move on. At least all my therapist tries to sell me is her e-Book.

I know I’m acting salty. I swear I’m not mad. It’s just that I don’t know what costs more, a night at the Brooklyn Mirage or an hour with my shrink. This stuff should all be free. At either event, I receive unsolicited advice and a hug at the end. Maybe some tears, who knows. Music festivals can be an amazing experience, as long as you don’t get mono from sharing everyone’s Camelback. Therapy is also a great release. I just feel like, with all the wild/exciting stories I tell mine, she should be paying me. But this is America, so I will continue to pay $200/hour to tell someone about how I went crowd-surfing at a Diplo set and got in a fight with the man in the Halal truck at 4 am. Tragic.

Beginner’s Guide to Brooklyn

By: Ali Benz

If you’re like me and you’ve been to Brooklyn twice, you’ve probably had the pleasure of riding the L train. It takes some getting used to, but you slowly learn that on the L all you have to do is grab on to the nearest man-bun for stability. Never fails and there’s always one around which is super rad. There are always different types waiting for your grip, but my favorite is the ginger-red double-knot for extra support and style.

Do I hate Brooklyn? No. But it’s def one of my least favorite boroughs. If you’re going to cross that bridge you need to be ready. Vans must be strapped, but just loose and distressed enough to give that “I don’t care and sometimes I take my longboard to my job in a WeWork space vibe.” Check your Manhattan privilege at the door. BK is all about the local brews. If it’s not on draft, don’t even bother. If you go to a coffee place in Bushwick, which probably doubles as a thrift-shop or a yarn store, do NOT mention Starbuck’s. Immediately order the nitro cold-brew, demand oat-milk for an extra ten dollars, and get out. Paper straws only!

Same rules apply to any hipster bar you visit. Get a local home-brewed craft IPA stat! If it was wintertime, I’d recommend chilling in your rattiest Carhartt beanie with a little hint of man-bun coming out so they know you’re not messing around. Since it’s summertime, I recommend a flat brim hat that looks like it’s almost falling off your head but really you’re just too chill and present to care. There are more important things, like the environment, duh. Pair it with a random, super underground band-tee to really seal the deal. Maybe one that says “Joy Division”—whatever the f*ck that is.

Once again, I’m not hating on Brooklyn. How could I not love a place where everyone’s vegan and owns an Android? This place is sustainable af. Where else could I play competitive corn hole while listening to my favorite techno set in a brewery that used to be a factory that used to be an infirmary? It’s a beautiful thing, really. It’s the only grounds where getting f*cked up on kombucha and running around barefoot is admired and not a “cry for help” like your therapist says. Tell your shrink to chill and have some mead, bro.

If you’re having trouble connecting with “Brooklynites”, just casually mention Burning Man. I’m positive that everyone in this borough is attending. However, whatever you do, do NOT mention Coachella. Coachella is mainstream. That’s a dead giveaway that you don’t compost and you eat meat. To find a happy medium, I suggest the Brooklyn Mirage: a place to go when you want to leave Manhattan to see a bunch of people from Manhattan, but with the luxury of a “Williamsburg” snapchat filter. Just don’t come crying to me when the paper straw melts in your gin & tonic. Tragic.

 

 

True Life: You’re an Alien

By: Ali Benz

Do people even know what UFO stands for? It literally just means unidentified flying object. I consider a UFO to be that random scrap of meat the hibachi chef throws into your mouth and you just eat it no matter what because—showbiz. The term doesn’t directly relate to aliens, but it’s completely understandable if you grew up watching E.T. A UFO may be flying Japanese meat in my eyes, but to others, it’s the possibility of a whole other galaxy.

I’m down for an alien invasion just as much as the next guy. I just hope these slick extraterrestrials are single af. Everybody these days is either gay or married, so I’d take a handsome, tech-savvy E.T. any day of the week. My hopes are obviously up, but one can’t even be sure that the objects the Navy reported are extraterrestrial. The Navy is dramatic and prob just wants attention, or a day off from work. I told my boss I had tennis elbow to get a sick day, but I bet if I said I saw a UFO in 2015 he’d suggest a leave of absence for “personal reasons”.

Honestly, I think there are aliens all around us and we don’t even know it. For example, where in the world is Carmen San-Diego? Aka Melania Trump? I miss her so much. TBH Melania looks exactly like E.T. There. I said it. I am NOT bullying her. I know she is the obvious leader of the anti-bullying campaign. E.T. is super handsome. They both have that beautiful, copper skin, light eyes, and amazing figure. If they did a face-swap it would be the sexiest first-lady-alien alive, so don’t come at me like some alien body-shamer or whatever. I’m a fan. I just think it’s possible that Trump married an alien and was a huge fan of Steven Spielberg in the 1980s. Conspiracy theory people: Back me up here.

Everyone has their reasons for believing or not believing in intelligent-extraterrestrial life. The other week I was walking home from the bar and I was in a bind. My feet were too tired and Uber is unsafe so I made the obvious decision. I jumped on the back of a delivery man’s bicycle and asked him to drop me off on the Upper West Side. He pedaled me all the way home without asking any questions—and not just because he spoke zero English. As the wind blew through my hair on the heroic man’s handlebars, I realized that I was basically E.T. I’m clearly an alien too, or else I would’ve just taken a Lyft. I also learned that night that you shouldn’t drink on antibiotics. This was the year of realizing things, just like Kylie Jenner said! A modern Gandhi.

It’s rare that others will experience the spiritual awakening that I had. I think a lot of excitement around the UFO sightings is out of desperation. The state of the world is so wild right now that people want literally anything to believe in. From abortion bans to climate change it’s no wonder people are so quick to latch on to the idea of aliens. Maybe these UFOs are coming into awareness as our savior or a reason to give people hope. We all need something to put our faith in and honestly, I’m here for it. I thought Jonathan Cheban was our God, but apparently, he’s just a Foodgōd. Tragic.

This alien sh*t also could not have come at a better time. I just read an article about a new craze of people LARPing in the park with goats. Like there are humans literally role-playing as part of a goat fantasy at local farms in Connecticut. I hope the aliens abduct them first. As if CT needed one more reason for people not to visit. You really blew it, Nutmeg State. And yes, I’m from there. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be ~summering~ at Area 51. Montauk is for Muggles and my hometown is filled with LARP.

What the Smollett…

By: Ali Benz

I need to come clean: I walked around with a black smudge on my forehead on Ash Wednesday for personal gain. It wasn’t that serious, I just had to convince my trainer I gave up cardio for Lent. Genius, I know, but if I was a celeb it might’ve been cultural appropriation or some sh*t. It also didn’t help that I work out at the Jewish Community Center.

My little ash stunt wasn’t nearly as bad as recent scandals. I feel like we live in the Purge. Never seen that movie but I assume it goes something like this. There are literally no consequences for anything—especially if you have money. Jussie Smollett got away with his fake hate crime for the small price of 10k. Pretty good deal for a staged attack, don’t ya think? Must have been Black Friday (not a pun).

The Mueller Report essentially exonerated President Trump. This was a bigger let down than 7/11’s ban on Mango Juul pods. It’s fine that they found no collusion etc., but like why be so dramatic about it? There was this huge build-up for literally nothing. Does Robby Muellz just like the spotlight? Everybody is a star these days; My dog, hot lawyers, idiots on Summer House that blackout in the Hamptons—anyone. And it’s not even their fault. All of us want a story, so they give us a show. It doesn’t matter what’s wrong and what’s right, just keep it interesting.

Aunt Becky did not disappoint. Lori Loughlin bribed USC to enroll her daughter and now she’s more relevant than ever. She might even get a show! I tried to bribe a teacher once and he reported me. Still unsure how “If you round that up to a 90 I’ll cover your tab” is inappropriate, but I guess that’s what happens when you bump into your professor at a Ruby Tuesday. Although Loughlin’s “influencer” daughter, Olivia Jade, lost her make-up sponsors, she’s still winning in my book. I have literally never heard of her. Now I’m writing about her. I got waitlisted from USC and I slipped a twenty in my application but nobody wants to talk about that now do they? OJ (can I call her that?) slips a casual 500k with her Common App and all of a sudden she’s a BFD. Go big or go home I guess. Tragic.

Hate to bring up this rando again, but Jordyn Woods—WTF?! This girl dragged us through a devastating cheating scandal and now she’s America’s next top model? I fought for you, Jordyn! I cried and battled multiple strangers on the internet for you, Jordyn! Where is the loyalty? You played me for a fool, Jordyn! But you knew what you were doing. You caught the scandal bug. I respect it, considering you drop-kicked the Kardashians, shed a few tears for the people back home, then rose to fame overnight. I just wish some of us got the same treatment: When Woods blacks out at a party and hooks up with someone, she calls Will Smith. When my friends blackout at a guy’s party, we call Planned Parenthood. I just feel like it’s slightly unfair but whatever.

One minor step backward, two huge steps forward. Give us a good scam and we’ll sling you to stardom. I finally get why they say no publicity is bad publicity. Keep the people talking. I just wish my therapist understood. Every time I get kicked out of a bar she says I need to quit drinking. Jokes on her because all of downtown has been talking about me for weeks. If my calculations are correct I should be a star by noon.

 

What do R. Kelly & a thicc Otter have in common?

By: Ali Benz

What an interesting world we live in where one can body shame an otter. I’ve been reflecting a lot these days. Not by choice, but we’re over a week into dry January and I literally have nothing better to do. It’s amazing how much free time you have when you’re sober. Who knew! Anyway, back to the otter: an absolute unit. How is it that an aquarium is facing extreme scrutiny over posting a thicc sea creature yet R. Kelly, a serial pedophilic rapist, has received minimal backlash after decades of abuse? The only thing I’m thankful for regarding this monster is that the six-part “Surviving R. Kelly” docuseries came out on the first weekend of Sober January. That was the first time I’ve ever told my friends I couldn’t go out because I was watching Lifetime. No one believed me. So, thank you Robert, but also f*ck you, you piece of trash.

Let’s compare these two breaking stories. On one hand, we have Abby, an innocent otter with the same publicity and curves as the Kardashians. She’s an icon. Abigail is an unapologetic female who will not conform to impossible beauty standards, and her PR girl gets that. After the Monterey Bay Aquarium released one of her tasteful nudes, the internet quickly turned the otter into a victim. Although I’m sure the picture was meant to empower women of all sizes, Instagram trolls quickly did what Instagram trolls do best—ruin a good thing. Thus, the #OttersLivesMatter movement was born. The aquarium was quick to issue a public apology to the furry feminist to silence the trolls. Abby has since become the most influential sea otter on social media and is predicted to be the first aquatic member of Congress. She is set to have lunch with Michelle Obama at Nobu to talk strategy. Fingers crossed for another tell-all.

On the other hand, we have Robert Kelly, the Harvey Weinstein of RnB. While the sea otter content had me falling out of my seat, laughing, the R. Kelly documentary had me sinking into my couch, crying. This man abused tons of vulnerable women without seeing any consequences or remorse. His fame and fortune allowed him to hide in plain sight. Loyal fans protected this creep for years and constantly shamed his victims. It literally took thirty years and a six-part docuseries to shed light on an infamous rapist, yet just hours to shame an aquarium for accidentally offending the otter community. Tragic.

Just because you don’t want to remove “Ignition” from your throwback 2000’s playlist does not mean you need to support a predator. While Abby thrives in aquarium boundaries, R. Kelly should rot in a cell. If Instagram trolls spent even half as much time destroying R(apist) Kelly as they do tearing apart a random aquarium, the world would be a better place. He may sing like an angel, but keep in mind he’s just another Bill Cosby behind a pretty voice. I strongly suggest everyone continue the fight to #MuteRKelly and protest this sick man to death.

On a happier note, I just received word that Abby will be the new face of OtterBox. She will be collaborating on a new design for thicc, plus-size iPhones, available exclusively through Fashion Nova. Oh lawd she comin.

Sexy Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By: Ali Benz

Halloween is amazing. The costumes get crazier and more confusing every year. For example, last night, I met a black man wearing a sweet George Washington costume. Naturally, I asked him if he was George Washington Carver. He said, “No! I’m Ric Flair (b*tch)!” Then I jumped off a bridge. Just kidding. I’m not racist, just an idiot. I’m not even sure who GW-Carver is but I’m sure he’s a lovely guy. We then preceded to get a ~ spooky ~ drink together and he followed me on Instagram and I’m buying his mixtape. All’s well that ends well!

I just love how it’s socially acceptable to dress up like an idiot, consume your weight in chocolate, and black-out on a Wednesday all because of this random holiday. I mean, to me, that’s just another day in the life, but it’s great to see the community getting involved.

I’ve never actually planned a Halloween costume. I have no idea how you psychopaths do that. My method is to throw on all black (shocker), douse myself in paint, find the nearest headgear, and call it a day. Then, you go out and whenever someone asks who you are, you obnoxiously say “What does it look like I am?” However they respond is now what you are. Basically, that’s how you become a skeleton, pirate, cannibal, and sexy pumpkin all in one night. That’s just showbiz, baby.

Lucky for me, my Italian hair-dresser saved the day. She legit stuffed one of her black smocks (smock is a weird word) into my bag and said: “Here, have a cape.” Sexy witch, here I come. Stylist Deb doing G-d’s work—I love it. Clearly, her selfless act did not go unnoticed. I caught the attention of a guy dressed as a sexy cop. He asked for my full name, address, birthday—and then I realized he was indeed not in costume at all and I was indeed receiving a fat fine for public intoxication. Stupid hot narc.

Bottom line, Halloween is the best holiday of the year. A bunch of weirdos running around half-naked or covered in blood—you never know what you’re going to get. Also, holiday-hack: if you’re a girl in your twenties and put on a mask and channel the voice of a small boy, you will never have to stop trick-or-treating. I don’t do that, I just heard one of my friends did it. And I was there. Don’t judge me. I have no idea where else to get 100 Grand bars without knocking on a stranger’s door disguised as a ninja turtle. Gender roles, am I right?

Super depressing that it’s over, but at least it’s about to get worse. All your slutty pics are about to surface and literally ruin your life. Bad weekend to be a school teacher. The best is coming into the office after all your ~ spooky ~ activities. All the Karens and Toms ask you what you did and you tell them “nothing special,” as if three hours ago you weren’t funneling handles of Fireball dressed as a sexy Ruth Bader Ginsburg and vomiting into a pumpkin. Life experiences are everything. Happy Halloween!

Advanced Guide to Resume Building and Job Applications

By: Ali Benz

If you don’t have ‘Proficient in Excel’ on your resume, did you ever even create a resume? Just because you made that mailing list for your step-sister’s Quinceañera, doesn’t mean you’re an Excel pro, but you better believe it’s on my list of skills, right next to ‘Works well with others’. Doubt it.

Applications are just too confusing these days. I love how, in a desperate attempt to appear less prejudiced, forms will put ‘White’ as one of the second to last options. This is cute and all but I can literally never find it. Sometimes, for the sake of time, I just circle a random race so I’m not late to the interview. It was only awkward that time I chose Pacific Islander because I thought it sounded like a cocktail at Red Lobster.

The questions just get harder and harder. Do you ever get hit with the ‘Hispanic or Non-Hispanic’? It might as well say can you dance or not. I always feel a little offended by this one. They’re basically asking if you’re exotic or a basic b*tch. Not slick. Also, I never really know how to answer this super personal inquiry. In my heart, I do feel a little Hispanic—I did spend that one summer in Punta Cana and I might have dated a Salvadorian—but the question isn’t clear as to what qualifies. My advice is to just leave that one blank. First amendment type sh*t. #KnowYourRights.

It seems I’m not the first one to be confused by an application. Senator Elizabeth Warren was clearly a bit rattled when applying to Harvard. Maybe she wasn’t sure to what extent Native American they meant—just like I’m still confused if I could be considered Latina. Then again, I was just trying to get into Costco, not an Ivy League school. What she did was probably wrong, but I bet she would’ve been accepted even as a Pacific Islander. You can’t always just name-drop Pocahontas and get the job. Sometimes, you have to actually meet the requirements. For example, Jamie Lee Curtis is my fourth cousin and I still didn’t get the part in Freaky Friday. Lindsay Lohan is just a better actor, dancer, activist and—this is how you throw a party in Mykonos, b*tch.

Anyway, I’m not sure how much you should exaggerate on a school/job application. Maybe just enough? Like, if your idea of fluent in Spanish entails watching Narcos without the subtitles, then, by all means, throw it on the res. Just don’t apply to any positions that specify bilingual as a requirement. That’s a bigger let down than a Starbucks in a Target. No one wants a caramel macchiato from the place that sells tube-socks in bulk. Know your audience.

Race and name may influence some outcomes, but with all these ancestry tests who even knows what’s real. I’m surprised they don’t require you to attach your results to the common-app. Had there been a 23andMe kit back then, I would’ve checked off way more race/ethnicity boxes and really expanded my horizons. White girl from Connecticut just never had that “wow” factor. Luckily, my grandma forbids this testing because “why would we just hand our DNA over to the government?” Once again, I do not know what secret opps she’s running out of Boca Raton, Florida, but I continue to respect the hustle.

It’s no secret that everyone exaggerates a little to get a foot in the door. Just look at Paris Hilton. She managed to convince the whole island of Ibiza that she was a DJ, when really, she had spent the past ten years blacking out at Ultra Musical Festival and occasionally dancing near one of the Chainsmokers. All you can do is work hard to surpass the lies that are your resume. Get that job you are completely unqualified for, then become so great that you don’t need a last name, like Dunkin’ Donuts. Did they really change their name to just Dunkin’? Who do they think they are? Cher?

Hopefully, this helps you land your dream job. Takeaways from this post: always lie just enough to get inside, subtle brag that Jamie Lee Curtis is my fourth cousin, don’t rely on DNA testing. Anything is possible. I’ve received opportunities way out of my league, and I thought Big Pharma was the name of a rapper. Tragic.