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A Beginner’s Guide to a Night at the Staples Center

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If you’re anything like me, a Los Angeles newbie with a bucket list of places to visit before the undergraduate days are over, a concert at the Staples Center will likely be somewhere on that list. So when a friend presented me with an extra ticket to the 2014 Jingle Ball concert, I jumped at the opportunity, and I must say, I learned quite a lot in the process. If you’re new to LA or just haven’t been to the Staples Center, here are a few pieces of advice that I have compiled from the Friday night excursion.

In my particular situation, I found out I was going to Jingle Ball one week prior to the event. Fortunately for me, my friend had already bought and printed our tickets, but I still wanted to prepare myself for the night by looking up transportation routes, concert reviews and my seat location. I decided to do some basic research via Google and found out that the line-up for the event, sponsored by KIIS FM, consisted of 12 artists including Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea and host Nick Jonas. From the concert reviews, I got a better sense of how much money to bring and how long the event would last. This brings me to my first point:

Do some research in advance. 

The Staples Center and its surrounding area have very high traffic before and after major events. It’s helpful to prepare an estimate of how much money to bring for a taxi or Uber ride and to foresee any other bumps in the road.


To save some money, my friend and I wanted to take a bus to and from the concert, but my roommate advised us not to take public transportation back from the concert for safety reasons and because of how late we would be coming home. Getting there, we took the Metro Rapid 720 from the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood at around 4:30 p.m., planning to get off on Broadway and 5th and walk a couple blocks to catch another bus. A woman on the 720, however, overheard our transportation plans and recommended a different route, which we decided to take. She advised us to instead get off the bus on Vermont and then take the red line of the Metro (underground subway system) to 7th and Figueroa, noting that the Staples Center would be just 5 blocks away. Buying the Metro ticket was very easy, and the whole trip to the venue only cost $4.50. This brings me to another important tip:

Make sure you are familiar with where your desired bus stop is located.

If you plan on taking a bus to the Staples Center, it’s important to know that there isn’t one direct line that takes you straight to the venue. You will most likely have to switch buses or use the subway system like we did, and that could include some walking in between. If you’re not familiar with downtown L.A. or where certain streets are, don’t be shy to ask someone who is more familiar how to avoid questionable situations.

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One of the perks of arriving two hours early to Jingle Ball was the free holiday-themed carnival that took place outside the Staples Center before the doors opened. Entrance was free, and various corporate sponsors had booths set up where they were giving away samples or showing off new products. An ice-skating rink, ferris wheel and outdoor concert, which included a performance by Meghan Trainor, were also available to the public.

So, when attending a concert or game at the Staples Center, don’t forget to take advantage of freebies.

Oftentimes, there will be similar outdoor festivities with free handouts for other events where you can have some fun before the show.

Once we showed our tickets and entered through the doors, the Staples Center was really quite easy to navigate. Signs very clearly direct you to which section and row your seats are in, and ushers and other personnel in each section are available to guide you as well. Each floor had plenty of restrooms and fast food eateries, so our basic needs were definitely covered.

My last piece of advice is, if possible, to leave a couple minutes early to beat the rush of people exiting the building.

If you’re planning on taking an Uber or Lyft, you might want to walk a block or so away from the Staples Center for pick-up, but there will definitely be plenty of rides available. And don’t be surprised if the ride is a little bit on the expensive side.

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Going to my first concert at the Staples Center was definitely a learning experience, but as a newcomer to L.A., the experience was truly amazing.

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Arts & Entertainment

UCLA’s Newest Band: Apollo Soul

Amid the much needed rainy week, I had the chance to sit down and interview a new, up-and-coming band on campus, Apollo Soul. Consisting of four first-years – three studying ethnomusicology/jazz studies and one studying theater – Apollo Soul is bound together by members Jack Bastian (keyboard), Matt Saunders (electric guitar), Cole Brossus (bass guitar) and Ellington Peet (drums). When asked how the band name came to be, they all told the story of how after a conversation about the movie “Rocky” and the character Apollo Creed, they subsequently began talking about band names. Knowing they wanted to incorporate the word “soul,” the members chose “Apollo Soul” and a band was suddenly born. Apollo Soul brings a new front to neo-soul and jazz, and their songs present a versatile medium that can be listened to while enjoying a Cafe 1919 gelato or celebrating at a post-final party. Although the members are first-years, being in a band makes them less relatable; thus, I’ve asked some quirky questions to get to know the members on a more personal level. Here’s what I found out:

They Sing in the Shower

To get technical, two out of the four members sing in the shower (well, if scatting counts). Brossus immediately said that he did, while Saunders and Bastian said they didn’t. Peet amusingly revealed that “sometimes (he’ll) scat.”

They Have Self-Proclaimed R@pp3r N@me$

I asked what their hypothetical rapper names would be, and they all seemed to know without hesitation. As Bastian and Peet dubbed themselves the duo, “Big Poppa & the Love Doctor,” Saunders claimed the name “Jojo Diamond,” and Brossus labeled himself the “Prada G.” All in all, I give them props for thinking of good rapper names that don’t have their first initial tagged in front of “eazy” or “dawg.”

They Live On the Edge

“Living on the edge” can vary from person to person and here, we see no difference. While Brossus excitedly told the story of how he once got on a plane to Germany, went to a punk/rock and roll club with a friend, hit a German version of a piñata and was referred to as “the American” all in one night, Bastian concisely yet nonchalantly said, “being born” was the edgiest thing he’s done. Saunders shared the story of how he took a spontaneous trip to South Korea and went to a night club, where he was threatened by a gangster for dancing too hard. Finally, Peet proclaimed “getting into UCLA” was the coolest thing he’s done, but something tells me it’s creating his own record label company, Brewing Thoughts.

They are Human 

Movies are made to make you think, laugh and discuss, but some are just meant for you to cry. After some thought, Peet mused 50/50, the mislabeled comedy, featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, made him cry. Saunders claims to “lose it” while watching Aquamarine, the film about two teens befriending a mermaid and Brossus chose Mr. Holland’s Opus, a movie about a musician who takes a high school teaching job. Just like you and me, the members of Apollo Soul have their teary moments – but oh wait, what about Bastian? His answer: “I never cry.”

They Have Theme Songs

A theme song is a song that reflects your personality or life, but simply put, it could just be a song that makes you want to dance. Brossus’ theme song is “Street Joy” by White Denim and Bastian claims his to be “Stonecutters” by Flying Lotus. Peet threw it back to the late 90s, as he chose “All Star” by Smash Mouth, and Saunders humorously mentioned, “Hyrule Field, that theme song from Zelda.”

Ultimately, in the trek to creating their own path, the members of Apollo Soul are hoping to record some songs and launch a “school circuit,” or a mini tour around other local universities in the future. If you want to check out this band for yourself, you can attend its next gig this Friday (location TBA). This band is one to keep your eye on throughout the years.

Sookie Kwak

Courtesy of Sookie Kwak

Credit: Olivia Lim

Courtesy of Olivia Lim

Credit: Sookie Kwak

Courtesy of Sookie Kwak

Credit: Sookie Kwak

Courtesy of Sookie Kwak


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Free iOS Apps to Get You Through Finals

With finals approaching, everyone is beginning to cram for the classes they’ve procrastinated on all quarter. Here are some free apps to download for your iPhone, iPad or other iOS device that will get you on track.

1. Exam Countdown. This is by far the most important: You don’t want to forget what day your final is on. Not showing up is a guaranteed way to fail. Plus, seeing how few days you have left can shock you into studying.

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2. Quizlet. If you’ve never heard of Quizlet, you’re missing out. It’s an app that lets you access flashcards for different subjects or make your own, and it allows you to quiz yourself in a variety of different ways. If you’re really trying to cram, these flashcards are easy to study between classes.

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3. RefME. This app is great if you’re writing a paper and need to cite your sources. If you’re using a textbook that has a barcode, all you have to do is hold your phone over the barcode for a few seconds. All of the information about the textbook pops up, along with the citation.


4. Pocket. This app is great for looking up articles on your phone when you intend to save them for later. Simply download the app, and you’ll automatically have a list of options of how to save articles. You can save from Mobile Safari, your computer, apps and email. It’s ridiculously self-explanatory and incredibly useful.


5. Calm. This app is a guide to meditation, perfect for the stressed college student preparing for finals. It begins by asking you to select a relaxing scene like a forest or a beach, after which it starts playing related sounds. You can customize the time you want to spend relaxing to fit your own needs and you can learn how to meditate through the “7 Steps of Calm.”IMG_5316

Good luck on finals!

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Arts & Entertainment

Five Off-the-Beaten-Path Dance Clubs

Courtesy of Eater LA
Courtesy of Eater LA

Maybe you like to dance, and you’ve tried out the various student organization-run clubbing events, but none have been exactly your thing. If you’re over 21, you may be sick of the endless heterogeneity of music at the usual Hollywood clubs your friends are always dying to go to. Mainstream music is great, but sometimes, something a little more unique is the best thing to jam out to. Here at Mojo, we understand your struggle. Whether you’re of legal drinking age or not, finding a way to spend your night out dancing to chill music can be difficult, so here’s a handy-dandy guide to a few places for the next time you want to take a path less traveled on your night out on the town.

Dance Yourself Clean (21+, every Saturday)

If you’re into trekking to Silverlake, Dance Yourself Clean is a good and cheap bet for a Saturday evening. With $5 cover after 10:30 p.m. and a DJ spinning music inspired by the genre styles of Icona Pop and Holy Ghost, DYC may be a hipster magnet (and has the Portland origins to support this), but you won’t be able to deny the bargain deal and unique sound it provides in a clubbing landscape littered with top 40 hits remixed with mainstream EDM.

1717 Silver Lake Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Facebook Page

Golden Box (21+, open Tuesday through Saturday)

Behind Musso and Frank’s on Hollywood Boulevard and down the street from Supper Club, Golden Box is just that: a box. Small in size, but with a 70′s disco feel and cheap drinks, Golden Box packs a big punch if you’re looking for something nu-disco/proto-EDM for your Friday and Saturday nights. More a bar than a club, there’s no cover but plenty of dance space. The crowd and DJ vary every night, so be sure to check their Facebook page for more date-specific event information.

6685 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Facebook Page

A Club Called Rhonda (21+, certain Fridays)

Usually held at Club Los Globos in Silverlake, and occasionally other venues, Rhonda specializes in dirty and deep house in a flamboyant atmosphere that encourages creative costumes. With two floors and two DJs spinning on each, there’s plenty of space to either chill out with a drink or really get down. For those planning to spend New Year’s in Los Angeles, they’ve got a Rhondapolis at The Standard in downtown L.A. If you don’t have $175 to drop, try Rhonda on their bi-monthly to monthly Friday nights at Los Globos once school starts next quarter ($20 cover).

3040 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Facebook Page

Rage (18+, every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)

Rage is one of West Hollywood’s most famous gay clubs, but provides a campy, cheesy mix of top 40 and EDM in an all-inclusive space that lets the under-21 set dance their hearts away on an actual weekend night (Friday). Fridays are geared toward queer Asian males on their Gameboi nights, while Tuesdays and Thursdays are more general – anyone is welcome.  At $20 cover for those under 21 and less or free for those over 21, Rage is a poppy, fun place to spend your evening without spending too much on an Uber from Westwood. P.S.: Look out for the shirtless go-go dancers at Gameboi nights on Fridays.

8911 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Pehrspace (all ages, see their calendar)

A volunteer-run venue with only $5 cover, Pehrspace is geared toward lovers of local and indie bands. The club is located in the Westlake neighborhood. With a grungy, Eastsider hipster feel, Pehrspace may not be a club-type atmosphere, but its all-ages status and interesting acts make it a compelling night out for the musically adventurous.

325 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

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UCLA Store’s 11 Gifts to Give this Holiday Season

Thanksgiving has passed, December has yet to arrive and Mariah Carey’s greatest holiday hits are ring-ting-a-ting-a-ling all over the radio. This can only mean one thing: Christmas.

When it comes to gifts, I usually have a Regina George-esque attitude (“I don’t send them, I just get them”). But Christmas is the exception, when giving gifts brings warmth to my heart and makes a hole in my wallet.

Thinking about buying some presents for your friends and family this holiday season? Are you car-less, or at least not willing to make the trek to anything past Wilson Plaza?

Luckily, your life just got easier. Here’s a gift guide to our very own UCLA Store, so you can fret a little less about what to get for that one distant cousin that always happens to buy you something, but you never get them anything and you always feel really guilty, and so you try shopping for them but, like, how are you supposed to know what they like? Anyways.




UCLA Bruins No. 1 basketball jersey (white)


This one goes out to the athletic older brother who loves reminding the world that he works out and has big arms. Cheers to you.




UCLA women’s double arch V-neck tee – blue


Simple, yet cute – an easy gift for a girlfriend, sister, friend. Plus, it’s performance fabric, so it’s perfect for working out in.



UCLA arch mom crewneck sweatshirt – blue


Especially great for those mothers who love to have hot chocolate and sit by the fireplace on those cold winter nights.



UCLA dad license frame


Perfect for a father who loves to rep the amazing school his child goes to.



UCLA musical Bruin plush


Everyone is a sucker for teddy bears. Are you in a long distance relationship? All the more relevant. Now your significant other can cuddle up with a little somethin’ that reminds them of you.



UCLA block tube socks – white


Socks are a staple Christmas gift, so why not change it up and slap on some UCLA spirit?



UCLA pet bowl


We can’t forget the puppy! The cutest member of the family needs a present as well.



UCLA 2014 tree ornament


A universal gift that can be given to anyone: grandparent, uncle, aunt, friend or lover.


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‘What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions’ by Randall Munroe


Can’t find the perfect book to give in the store? Fun fact: The BookZone can order any book you need and have it shipped to the store.



UCLA Enzo mug


Let’s face it. We always thought coffee was for old people, but, now in college, I am a hot mess without my daily dose of caffeine.



UCLA 13-inch slipsuit navy laptop sleeve


A laptop contains all of life’s important information – why not keep it safe and represent UCLA at the same time?

Happy Holidays!



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