in November, musicians/promoters Michael Mannino and Arian Banki threw a party called Inner Vibration at a private residence near Vista in celebration of a close friend who passed away in June.
Preston Grover was a great inspiration to friends in his electronic music community and to me personally. His invariably optimistic Facebook updates would often set the tone for my day, tipping my outlook toward the positive even on the most unsavory of mornings. Preferring outfits of all white, making friends everywhere he went, and generally radiating warmth and vibrancy, Preston was dedicated to bringing out the best in the people around him by bringing out the best in himself.
In the year that I knew Preston, he actualized his dreams as a musician with a passion I’d never seen before or since. He saw where he wanted to be musically, personally, and interpersonally, and he went for it, with gusto! We shared many a poignant moment, and Preston, often goofy, usually rambunctious, and always good-hearted, came to feel like a younger brother to me.
Shortly after Preston passed, he had been scheduled to DJ a show with Eskmo, an artist who had greatly influenced his direction as an electronic musician. Michael, Preston’s roommate in South Park and a buddy since high school in Poway, played his set in his place — a symbolic gesture that I only began to understand the full weight of at Inner Vibration. Having left Michael with a legacy of transformative friendship and, among other things, 25 gigabytes of music, Preston had passed on a brightly burning torch to his close friend.
“I was really inspired by Preston’s influence on me as a person,” Michael told me a few days prior to the event, “our relationship as friends, and how he really believed in me and what I was doing with music. He saw my direction with school and how I wasn’t really fully submitting myself to music. That inspiration has really led me to love myself and open up, and open up others as well.”
Standing in a circle with maybe 30 others at Inner Vibration’s opening ceremony, it became apparent that Michael has found his calling, like Preston had, in guiding friends to actualize their potential. I felt a sharp mix of joy and sorrow as Michael spoke gently into a microphone, setting the tone for the event — the first of many under the banner of his self-actualization foundation, RealEyes Events.
The name and logo were Preston’s invention.
Inner Vibration, held on Preston’s birthday, unfolded into a long and powerful day of yoga, playshops, and ecstatic dance parties facilitated by Michael, Alex Ortiz, Osal8, Nikroma Aragon, Tropo, and Kaminanda.
In the evening, a light rain fell over the hundreds of friends who had come to celebrate Preston’s life, and each other’s, as we danced among the garden’s fire sculptures and pomegranate trees.
“Preston helped me realize and recognize my potential,” Michael said. “He’s done that for so many people, I feel that I want to put something together that recognizes that. To remind people how wonderful they are. That’s the intention — to bring your vibration up and recognize your true potential and take life by the horns.”
Grab them horns on January 20 at the Kava Lounge, where RealEyes Events is curating “Resonance,” featuring Drastik Park, Celerity, Squama, Brandon Vasquez, and Michael Mannino. A $5 minimum donation goes to local artists “for things like stolen computers, lost artwork, and broken controllers. We want to help these artists get back on their feet to do what they love.” ■