Lava, Lakes, and Lounging: Five Unique Nicaraguan Experiences

From volcano surfing, to a blind massage, discover Latin America’s hottest up-and-coming destination 1. Volcano Surfing in Leon

It’s not every day that you’re teetering on the edge of a volcano, ready to surf down a steep volcanic ash slope on nothing but a flimsy piece of plywood.

But the Cerro Negro (Black Hill) volcano, located 25 km northeast of the colonial city of Leon, offers adrenaline junkies a chance to try out this offbeat twist on surfing, also known as sandboarding.

Nicaragua is called ‘the land of lakes and volcanoes’, but Cerro Negro is the only volcano in the country that you can ‘surf’ down. The 400m high volcano lacks vegetation, with one side made of large rocks and the other side of black volcanic sand.

The hour-long hike is steep, and carrying a wooden surfboard doesn’t make it any easier, but the 360-degree panoramic view at the top is more than worth the effort—as is the rush of surfing down the ashy slope in less than ten minutes.

For those less keen on surfing, there’s also an option of running down the side of the volcano—just make sure to wear good hiking shoes and clothing to protect against being scraped by small lava rocks.

Essential Information: Vapues Tours (505 2315 4099/ offers the Cerro Negro Express Tour, leaving from Leon at 8:00 am every day and returning at 12:30 pm. The tour costs 12GBP—including transportation, a bilingual guide, and refreshments—and an extra 6GBP for sandboarding.

2. Partying on a Bald Bus If the thought of flying down a steep volcano sounds too treacherous, riding the topless Bus Pelon (“Bald Bus”) is a tamer way to take in the sights of the city of Leon.

While cities like London and New York have double-decker bus tours, Leon has its own uniquely Latin American twist on what would otherwise be just another bus tour around the city. Take an old school bus, paint it vibrant colors, torch off the roof, string up multi-colored fairy lights, and you have the Bus Pelon.

More party bus than tour bus, Bus Pelon also has an impressive sound system that thumps Latin club music throughout the entire journey.

And with its open-alcohol policy, it becomes the city’s only nightclub in transit. If you go on a Friday night, you can enjoy a tasting of quesilleros, Nicaragua’s famous fried cheese.

Essential Information: Bus Pelon runs once an hour, all night long. The pick-up point is right in the heart of Parque Central. It costs 5 Cordobas (15p) Sunday through Thursday, and 10 Cordobas (30p) on Friday nights.

3. Swimming in a Crater Lake Nicaragua has many crater lakes, but most of them are not clean enough to swim in. However, the idyllic Laguna De Apoyo—a 30 minute drive from Granada—is one of the cleanest bodies of water in Nicaragua.

And, as the deepest measured point is 200 meters, it is the lowest point in Central America. The thermally vented crater lake, which was formed over 20,000 years ago when a volcano imploded and filled with water, retains a perfect temperature all year round.

If you work up an appetite from swimming, the perimeter of the lake is also dotted with small restaurants offering typical Nicaraguan dishes. Crater’s Edge Restaurant and Hostel makes delicious platanos fritos (fried plantains) and Nicaragua’s national dish, gallo pinto, which can be enjoyed while lounging on a hammock overlooking the lake.

Essential Information: Crater’s Edge Restaurant and Hostel ( (505) - 2552 – 8006) offers daily transportation to and from Granada. The microbus costs 2 GBP return and leaves Hotel Oasis (C. Estrada 109, Granada/Tel:505 552 8006) at 10 am and 4 pm, and departs Crater’s Edge at 10:30 am and 4:30 pm. If you’re not staying at Crater’s Edge Hostel, you can pay 3 GBP for water access and use of on-site facilities.

4. Monkeying Around in Granada

Thousands of years ago, the Mombacho Volcano erupted and threw huge lava rocks into Lake Nicaragua, in Granada. 365 islets were formed because of this eruption, and the area is now known as Las Isletas.

Ranging in size from a hundred square meters to over a hundred hectares, Las Isletas is home to local fisherman, wealthy expatriates, an 18th century Spanish fortress—built to protect Granada from pirate attacks—and Isla de los Monos (Monkey Island).

Boat tours include a stop by this simian sanctuary where, if you bring local fruit (such as mamon, similar to a lychee), you may be lucky enough to hand feed one of the adorably furry spider monkeys.

Just across from Isla de los Monos is El Restaurante, which serves freshly-caught fish alongside other Nicaraguan dishes, and also has a bar, sun deck, and swimming pool open to restaurant-goers.

Essential Information: Tierra Tour in Granada ( 505 2552-8723) offers a 2.5 hour tour, 5 GBP, that leaves from Cathedral, Street la Calzada, 2 blocks away from the lake, every day at 10 am and 3 pm.

5. Blissful Blind Massage After trekking around Nicaragua’s lakes and volcanoes, there’s no better way to relax than with a full body massage—performed by a blind masseuse. In the open-air courtyard of Granada’s Euro Café, a charity called Seeing Hands runs a blind massage parlor for blind Nicaraguans otherwise unable to work elsewhere. As you’re led to your massage station, by the parlor’s only full-sighted employee, you’re met by a blind, Spanish-speaking masseuse. Unlike typical massages, this one starts out with the masseuse lightly feeling around to see where your back and limbs are located. Once you’re relaxed from the blissful hour-long massage, indulge in a scoop of the bistro’s homemade, all-natural gelato, which comes in Nicaraguan flavors like pitaya (dragon fruit) and cacao (cinnamon-spiced chocolate).

Essential Information: Seeing Hands Blind Massage Parlor is located in the back of the Euro Café (505 2552 2146/Esquina Noroeste del Parque Central) just off the Central Square, and is open every day from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm. A one-hour, full body massage costs 7 GBP, but the company also offers shorter chair massages (starting at 15 minutes for 1GBP).

Getting There:

Journey Latin America (020 8747 8315; offers a 13-day ‘Highlights of Nicaragua’ tour, which includes stops in Granada and Leon, starting from 2,095 GBP per person; including b&b, flights, transfers and excursions. Tailor-made, including flight-only, options are also available.

If you are traveling independently from the United Kingdom, there are no direct flights. Continental ( flies from Heathrow, via Houston, Texas, to Managua International Airport. From the airport, there are local buses and taxis for hire that go to Granada (45 min/1 GBP bus/7 GBP taxi) and Leon (1.5 hr/1 GBP bus/8 GBP taxi).

Passing Clouds documentary

Friends, Family, and other readers of 'The London Scene': you may have noticed that I still haven't posted anything in ages, but there are two very distinct reasons why: 1. Since my laptop broke, I've barely been online. My replacement laptop came in about a week ago, but it's painfully slow, making me avoid computer usage unless absolutely essential. Instead, my nights have consisted of intense "Lost" and "Queer As Folk" marathons. 2. We've been working really hard over the past 6 weeks on our documentary for one of my courses here at Westminster University. Many hours spent filming, scripting, and editing. Far too many. But, it's been worth it because we're finally done!

The documentary is called "Passing Clouds", and it's about an alternative arts club--hidden in a back alley in East London--with the same name. In a nutshell:

"Fed up with present-day commercialism, a group of people from different countries gather to build what they believe is a better way of living. They created a place called Passing Clouds, in London, to introduce a more communal and responsible lifestyle."

And you can watch the documentary here:


In terms of production, there were three of us working on it. I initially found out about this place from a blurb on Time Out. After making contact with the organizers, we filmed over a period of three days.

I did a lot of the camera work, as well as editing (though we all took turns with different tasks, and worked together closely to produce this final version).

This was the first documentary I've worked on since the Nicaragua one ("Mano Por Mano") that I produced for USF in 2008. I forgot how much work goes into such a little amount of time, but I love doing it.

So what are your thoughts on the documentary? Would you visit a place like Passing Clouds? Do you agree with their way of life? Do you think it's better to live a more communal, rather than individually-minded, lifestyle?

Leave comments with your thoughts!

Lady Luck, that evil wench!

Do you believe in luck? That all good and bad things that happen to us by chance, happen beyond our control? I remember when I was little, my dad would take us to this Christmas party with his square dancing groups. At the party, they would always do a raffle.

I used to get a raffle ticket, always making sure to say, "Give me the winning ticket, please!" to the person selling them. Almost every time, I would win. Granted, they were small prizes, but they were prizes nonetheless.

On a few separate occassions, I was also picked out of a crowd of hundreds of people to participate in different on-stage events. For example:

  • Age 8: I went to see the killer whale show at Marine World. During the audience participation segment, the presenter chose me to come down and get kissed on the cheek and splashed by a whale.
  • Age 11: I was chosen as a contestant for a Nickelodeon children's gameshow at Great America Amusement Park. It combined two of my favorite things at the time: answering trivia questions and getting a cream pie thrown in my face!
  • Age 16: I was chosen to participate in one of the bits for an improv comedy show at Comedy Sportz. I had to make sound effect noises for the actors to riff off of on-stage.

It's not like I've ever won the lottery or anything, but I'd like to think that luck has always been on my side.

Academic Luck

Another form of luck that seems to follow me is academic luck. Throughout my years of school, luck has followed me when I needed it most.

There were a few instances when, for some reason or another, I completely forgot to do a homework assignment.

However, when I would go into class on those days that the assignments were due, by some good fortune the teacher would either be ill, they would have decided to change the due date, or they would have completely forgotten to ask us to hand it in.

And in classes that had consequences for tardiness, the teacher would end up showing up later than I did, or else not at all.

This little instances have followed me throughout my academic career, from kindergarten until even my Masters course now.

When Lady Luck Betrays You Sadly, the past few days for me have been filled with a series of unfortunate events:

  1. Snow Slow-Down: When I arrived back to London from San Francisco, I took the tube to get to my house. The closest station is normally about a ten minute walk. Being Californian, I didn't take snow into account. My walk ended up taking over half an hour, and a 67-pound suitcase doesn't exactly roll through inches of snow.
  2. Locked Out: I felt a sense of accomplishment upon arriving, out of breath, to my front door. I was ready to put my bags down, and knock out. I put my key in the door, and heard the satisfying click! of it becoming unlocked. I pushed on the door, but it wouldn't open. Turns out, the bottom lock had been locked. And I didn't have the key. I ended up having to wait a few hours for one of my housemates, who had been staying at his family's house in South London, to bring me the key. (Thanks, Ardo!)
  3. No Running Water: When I finally did get into the house, I discovered that a plumbing problem had not been resolved. So we had no running water for about a day and a half.
  4. The Laptop Incident: My laptop had started making a really loud grinding noise. It had done it a couple of times before, but never that badly. It sounded like little gremlins were gnawing away at the hardware inside. Last time, everything was fine after I turned off my computer and restarted it. This time, it wasn't enough. My laptop is now completely dead, and it took some of my important files with it.

Maybe Lady Luck felt like I was getting too greedy. Or maybe it's because my 'lucky year', the Chinese Year of the Tiger doesn't officially start until February 14th.

Maybe I should pull a Harry Potter and take a dosage of Felix Felicis.

Or maybe I should just forget about luck, and focus on getting my Issues in Journalism paper completed... ;)

Snow Showers

Sometimes, the best remedy for a serious bout of jet lag can be something as simple as a long, hot shower. The kind of shower that steams up the entire bathroom, and melts away the stress from a transatlantic journey. That's exactly what I needed after traveling from San Francisco back to London. Especially after lugging my 67 pound suitcase, plus backpack, about half a mile from the tube station to my house---through the snow.

Unfortunately, our house was having a problem with some of the plumbing. One of the pipes on the outside wasn't attached properly. If we turned the water mains back on, water would come flooding out of it.

The person who was supposed to fix it that day didn't show up. Great.

So what do you do when you're in desperate need of a shower, and there's no running water? Yes, my friends, you take a snow shower!

Showering With Snow: Amanda's Handy Tips

As the great Scottish mountaineer J.H.B. Bell once said:

"Whoever indulges in a snow bath on a mountain crest will continue his progress along the ridges with renewed zest and vigour"

Inspired by my trip to Nicaragua last summer, in which we took bucket showers (the village of Goyena has no running water), I decided to apply this technique to snow.

The following are my handy tips for those of you crazy desperate enough to want to try this:

Step 1: Gather Snow We had plenty of clean snow in our backyard, so I gathered up as much clean snow as I could into every available pot.

Step 2: Melt Snow Using every burner on our stovetop, I melted down the snow. As it starts to melt, you can add more snow to maximize the amount of hot water you'll get in each pot.

Step 3: Make Snow Transportation-Friendly Rather than taking each small pot back and forth, up and down the stairs to the bathroom, it's better to pour the hot water into a larger container and take that up.

In this case, my large container was a big, unused plastic bucket. I poured all of the hot water into it, and carried that up to the bathtub.

Step 4: Gather Bathing Supplies To actually clean yourself, you'll need a small hand towel (or a loofah), soap/shampoo of your choice, and another small container for rinsing your hair.

I used a mug, but if you're feeling cannibalistic, why not try a ladle?

Step 5: Wash, Rinse, Repeat Now that you have all of your supplies gathered in the bathtub, you're ready for a snow shower!

Use the mug to pour hot water all over yourself, making sure to get your hair as wet as possible.

Then, dip the small towel or loofah into the bucket, and pour soap on it. After you're all nice and soaped up, dip the mug into the bucket and rinse yourself off.

Now it's time for washing your hair. No matter what length your hair is, it's best to just dunk your whole head in the bucket. Once it's soaking wet, you can shampoo away!

Use the mug to rinse out most of the shampoo from your hair. If you're feeling particularly indulgent, you can use conditioner at this point.

Finally, the best part of all, you can now take the whole bucket and pour the remaining hot water all over yourself.

Congratulations! You've now taken your first snow shower!

Now go forth and enjoy your renewed zest and vigour!

Christmas Crooning: Top 5 Indie Christmas Songs

Alongside dodging crowds of shoppers at the mall, and elderly family member's long-winded, eggnog-induced stories, one of the most traditional aspects of Christmas is the music. Sure, we have the traditional Christmas songs that have been around since the early 20th century. We have the songs that you'll hear on every radio station, at every party, and in every shop in the days leading up to Christmas.

I have to admit, I have a soft spot in my heart for Christmas music. Maybe it's because I never worked in the retail sector, and never had to endure the same songs on loop for hours on end.

Or maybe it's the copious amounts of Who Hash.

Whatever the reason, I can't help but get the warm fuzzies when I hear something like Nat King Cole's rendition of "The Christmas Song."

Or when I watch the deliciously cheesy music video of "Jingle Bell Rock", by everyone's favorite half-mustachioed duo, Hall and Oates: [youtube=]

Over-the-top grins, gleeful head-bopping, and Santa popping out of thin air like magic?? Oh yes, Hall and Oates have the ability to make even the Grinchiest of hearts grow thrice its size!

A Very Indie Christmas

In recent years, it's become common for indie bands to cover classic Christmas carols, or to even put out their own original Christmas songs.

The following are my top 5 'Indie Christmas Songs.' Some have been around for awhile, and some have just been released this year.

5. allo, darlin'-Baby, It's Cold Outside

Originally written in 1944 by Frank Loesser, this song has become a pop standard duet that has been sung by, well, just about everyone.

One of my favorite versions of this song is from the movie "Elf", when Zooey Deschanel's character sings it with Will Ferrell's goofy Elf character. [youtube=]

This version by British artist Elizabeth Morris, a.k.a allo, darlin', was done in 2008. It's very lo-fi, and is noticeably missing the male part of the duet. However, this stripped-down rendition is still subtly beautiful in its own right.

Scroll down about halfway down the page, and you can listen to it here.

4. The Raveonettes-The Christmas Song

It may share the same title as the aforementioned Nat King Cole tune, but the similarities end there.

Although the Danish duo released this song a few years ago, like the most overly rum-soaked fruitcake, it's still just as fresh today.

They take aspects of 50s/60s, Phil Spector-esque music, and put a darker twist on it. Listen here.

And if that tickles your tinsel, you might also enjoy their cover of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)."

3. Coldplay-Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Although I've never been a huge fan of Coldplay, there are certain songs of theirs that I can't help but love.

This cover of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" is one of those songs.

It's very simple, with just a piano accompaniment to Chris Martin's vocals, but it's emotional and sweet nonetheless.

2. Julian Casablancas-I Wish It Was Christmas Today

Lead singer of one of my favorite bands of all time, The Strokes, Julian Casablancas released a solo album this year: Phrazes For The Young.

Alongside putting out his own album, he decided to cover this comedic Christmas song from Saturday Night Live, a famous sketch show from the U.S.

The song was originally performed as part of a Christmas skit by Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kataan, and Tracy Morgan. In the original skit, the comedic value lies in the intentionally silly lyrics, and out-of-tune singing. However, Casablancas manages to put a cool and sultry spin on it, that oozes his New York attitude.

Here is Julian's version, and here is the original, for comparison.

1. Jomel-Untitled Christmas Song, 2009

Today, I logged onto Facebook to find a notification that I had been tagged in a video.

Curious, I clicked 'play' and found that it was an impromptu song by one of my best friends, Jomel, written and performed in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve.

The song is filled with inside jokes, over a background of acoustic guitar playing. It definitely put a huge smile on my face when I watched it!

I have to say, there is no better Christmas present than something that comes from the heart; something unique and not mass-produced.

And that's exactly why this is my number 1 indie Christmas tune of 2009!

What are your favorite Christmas songs of this year? Leave a comment with your top tunes, the reasons why, and links!

Merry Christmas to all!

Flying Home: The Long Journey

After four different modes of transportation, and over seven hours in the air, I’m finally back on US soil. My journey began by leaving my house in London in the early hours, when it was still dark outside. I stupidly left my packing until an hour before leaving, so was unable to get even a small wink of sleep.

I lugged my suitcase the fifteen minute walk to the bus stop, took the bus to a tube station, and then caught the tube to Heathrow airport.

While transferring stations, a kind stranger helped me carry my suitcase up a large flight of stairs to a different platform.

The same thing happened when I first came to London. It’s nice to see that there are still kind and helpful people in this world.

Eventually I made it to Heathrow, only to find out that my flight was delayed by a few hours.


After wandering around aimlessly for about an hour, I discovered paradise within Heathrow’s Terminal 4—there is a ‘quiet prayer room’ that has, wait for it… RECLINING CHAIRS!

And they turn down all of the announcements to keep the atmosphere peaceful.

Anyone who has ever had to endure the long layover, especially running on no sleep, knows how irritating those constant announcements can be.

Apparently not too many people know about this prayer room, so I was able to land a prime seat in the darkest and most private corner.

After a couple of hours of intermittent sleep, it was time to board the flight to my layover destination: Newark, New Jersey.


Unfortunately, there is no hidden oasis near my gate here in Newark. The announcements are loud and constant. A steady stream of background noise comes from people walking through the terminal.

There are all types of people rushing through. Business men dressed in suits, glued to their Blackberries and laptops, unable to lose a minute’s worth of work.

Harried-looking moms trying to simultaneously keep on eye on their luggage and their rambunctious children.

Young tourists, speaking in their native tongues and appearing excited to be in the United States.

Weary travelers, trying to find the most comfortable sleeping position on Newark’s hard seats. FLIGHT DELAYS

My flight to San Francisco keeps getting pushed back. Apparently there was a mechanical problem with the first plane, so we have to wait for a second plane to be ready.

I’ve discovered that, besides people-watching, blogging is a good way to pass the time. Who knew?

This has been a long journey so far, and I still have a while until I’m back in San Francisco.

I’m looking forward to the sweet sensation of those wheels landing on San Francsico’s runway.

But even more so, I’m looking forward to that moment of bliss when I’ll be able to plop down on my bed and pass out for as long as possible.

In the meantime, I’ll let my distaste for Newark airport fester until this plane is ready to board!

Best Headline EVER!

'Stoned wallabies make crop circles': As I was browsing the top news stories on the BBC's website, this headline immediately caught my eye. Many of the news stories that we read every day are simply factual, and far from entertaining. Day in and day out, we hear of the horrors and injustices going on around the world.

Bombs exploding, and killing innocent bystanders. Women being stoned to death for extramarital affairs. Floods tearing apart entire towns.

Not to say that we shouldn't hear about these things, but it was refreshing to see this silly headline as one of the day's top stories.

As journalists, we become like sponges in our quest to soak up as much information about the world around us as possible.

We're always looking for the next story to share with the world. Most of the time, these stories portray the uglier side of human existence. After awhile, you can't help but become at least a bit hardened from everything you hear.

'Stoned Wallaby' Headline

I'm not sure who wrote this article, but I can imagine that this was their highlight of the day.

I can imagine the scenario of what it must have been like to read through all of the copy stories, and land upon that gem:

Supermarkets start fuel price war

Climber dies in mountain accident

Stoned wallabies make crop circles...hang on a tick...what?! Stoned wallabies? Crop circles? Jackpot!

So what's the story all about, anyway? Basically, wallabies in Australia have started roaming into poppy fields. They eat the opium poppies, get high, and run around in circles.

Have we cracked the mystery behind crop circles? The article says that sheep have been known to do this as well.

Crop circles: the mysterious work of aliens, or the result of stoned animals? You decide!

The End of the World Cult

"When people ask me if I've been brainwashed by Michael, I say, 'Yes I have been brainwashed. Michael has washed my brain of all my sins.'" This was just one of the chilling quotes that struck me while watching The End of the World Cult documentary on Channel 4's website.

The documentary by British journalist Ben Anthony, from 2007, gives a glimpse into the lives of the Strong City cult. The cult, which is in a remote town in New Mexico, believed that the world would end on October 31st, 2007.

A man named Michael Travesser, formerly known as Wayne Bent, is their leader. Their 'Messiah.'

He claimed that he was the 'chosen one'. That God spoke to him and told him the date for the end of the world. That our human existence is doomed, and the only way you can be saved is if you follow his word.

End of the World, End of Innocence

And what is his word, exactly? Based on what this documentary shows, it includes giving up 'our world' and doing whatever Michael--the Messiah--says.

This includes sleeping with his son's ex-wife. Taking two women as his 'witnesses', and sleeping with both of them. Forcing everyone to give up their possessions to him. And most disturbing of all: him laying naked, in bed, with teenage virgins.

Some people were smart enough to escape the cult. However, some children were left behind. There were three teenagers whose parents forced them to leave, but the stronghold of Michael's brainwashing was too strong.

Once they left Strong City, they went on hunger strikes. They harmed themselves. Some even threatened to kill themselves. And so, they ended up back into the clutches of Michael.

One of the most haunting things about this documentary was the look in the eyes of his followers. When speaking with or about Michael, they all had the same wide-eyed look of complete and utter devotion. 100% certainty that his word was as good as God's.

'This is the end. My only friend, the end.'

Obviously, the end of the world did not come. It's nearly 2010, and we're all still here.

So what happened with the Strong City cult? Sadly, the cult still exists. On the bright side, Michael Travesser was jailed for 10 years for sexual misconduct with minors.

But even in his prison cell, he's able speak to his followers.

It's hard to tell what his followers are thinking, and how they felt about his false prediction of doomsday. Obviously, there are those that will follow his word no matter what the actions are (or aren't, in this case).

Going back to the Ben Anthony documentary, I can't help think back to the crazed looks in their eyes. Although this was a controversial documentary, I think anything that can provoke such intense reactions is something worth watching.

Better take the time to watch it before the world comes to an end...

Christmas Lights (Out)

On my fifteen minute walk home from school, through a residential neighborhood in Wembley, something seemed off. I couldn't put my finger on it. Something just wasn't right about the scene unfolding around me. Then it dawned on me: here I was, at the beginning of December, and I didn't see any houses decorated with Christmas lights.

In the suburban neighborhoods of the United States, especially near my home in Santa Clara, the Christmas frenzy starts around Thanksgiving.

People try to outdo each other with their lavish and over-the-top exterior Christmas decorations.

Case in point: the house down the street that goes all out every single year. It's as if Santa had a little too much Christmas cheer, and this is what came out.

I guess Americans really do live up to our reputation of wanting to outdo everyone else!

Baby, When The Lights Go Out Londoners are known for their British reserve. I mean, go on the tube and you'll never see more people trying to be as invisible as possible.

I suppose this applies to Christmas decorations as well. Nobody wants to be that house. The one that so blatantly draws attention to itself.

As cheesy as Christmas decorations can be, and how detrimental they can be to your electricity bill, it is something of a cultural tradition for me.

To not see houses bedazzled with lights and other ornamentation makes it feel a little less Christmas-y.

As I pondered all of this on my walk back, I rounded the corner down the street from my house. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimmer of surprise.

There it was: one single house with a string of modest Christmas lights around the window. It may not have been much, but it was enough to put a little smile on my face, and to add some Christmas cheer on an otherwise unassuming walk home.

D'oh! 'Simpsons' Creator Curates Music Festival

The cartoon world and the music industry have come together in an odd twist on convergence. Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons", will be curating the next ATP music festival. While browsing ThisIsFakeDIY, I came across this unusual piece of music news.

ATP, which stands for All Tomorrow's Parties, is a London-based group that promotes concerts. Most of the big music festivals that happen every year are usually sponsored by huge corporations.

For Harry Hipster or Sally Scenester, this means paying exorbitant prices for tickets, being subjected to corporate branding at every turn, and line-ups based on everything but the music itself.

One thing that sets the ATP festival apart from other festivals, however, is that it's always curated by important people in the music industry. 2009 was curated by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

So why was Matt Groening, not exactly known as a key player in the music industry, chosen to curate a day in 2010?

The Simpsons has always featured various acts from the music industry.

One iconic episode that stands out in my mind is when Lollapalooza came to Springfield. The Smashing Pumpkins and Red Hot Chili Peppers were among a few of the 90s alt-rock bands to be featured in the episode.

The show has always incorporated special appearances from artists spanning all genres of music. Perhaps its impact on pop culture, and how music has been incorporated, is a reason why Groening was chosen.

No matter what the reason Groening was chosen as a curator, it's nice to see two of my favorite forms of media coming together.