Archive for April, 2012

The Best of Times we must endure

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Second of 2 parts

Easily the most funny, ironic line of our Coachella trip:

“Let’s get here by 10:30.”

This was uttered optimistically by my son Friday night after a tremendously exhausting Friday on the way back to the hotel room. I had asked him what time he thought we should get back to the Empire Polo Club on Saturday morning. The gates opened at 11. 10:30 was a a reasonable goal.

The second funniest line of the weekend:

“OK.”

This was my response.

Which goes to show just how badly we underestimated our bodily exhaustion after trudging around the music festival for 13 hours, alternating in and out of shade and performances all of Friday. 10:30, not a problem!

We arrived back at the hotel late Friday night and taking my shoes off never felt as wonderful. The minute I peeled my uninhabitable socks from my feet, a day’s worth of Coachella musty foot-fog issued from my throbbing red feet. Earlier, I had planned to at least take a short shower to wash off the day’s bodily refuse. No dice. All I wanted to do was climb into bed and sleep.

We did in fact climb into our beds and the unexplored possibilities of free Wi-Fi meant nothing to my body which had expended the last ounce of energy during the day. I fell asleep quickly enough but some buffoons began talking really loudly in the morning and woke me up since I’m a light sleeper. I don’t know what time it was…I’m guessing 7. My son, who can sleep through a 150 decibel acoustic explosion, continued sleeping. I felt drained but rested. It was an odd combination of sensations. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t. I finally got out of bed. I decided not to wake my son up. He needed the sleep more than he needed to get to Coachella 1/2 an hour early. I began surfing, made the crappy room coffee and attempted to ready myself for another day of music and swampy grass.

Eventually, I woke him up about 10:30 and we slowly got moving. The minute I opened the door, a blast of hot air washed over me. We were about 40 miles from Indio and the temperatures there were assuredly hotter even. We grabbed Starbucks and headed to the festival, day 2, while the car AC slowly brought the temperature into a delicate comfort zone for the ride.

After some security confusion at the entrance followed by the necessity to return to my car to drop off a camera they refused to let in which they strangely allowed the day before, we walked back and forth between the car and the festival entrance about 4 times so that we were already sweating up a storm by the time we entered the festival.

The plan was to see The Vaccines first. They are a good, fun rock & roll band we first saw last year at Outside Lands. At the time I remarked that they reminded me of The Ramones. And sure enough, the opening music today before they took the stage was none other than…The Ramones. The Vaccines are the kind of music you enjoy for the sake of music and is proof that not all music must be tormented or cathartic to satisfy. The Vaccines are energetic performers and their songs have a skillful hook that makes it impossible to not like them.

Saturday was the hottest day of the concert and for the most part, the crowd languished in between sets and during sets. The afternoon sun was relentless and hordes of people rested in the slivers of shade that the sun afforded during its arc across the desert sky. People rested under tents, behind trash receptacles, in the thin shady slivers created by poles and beams. It was hilarious to see groups of festival-goers aligned along the lengths of shade. It reminds me of how civilization clusters around waterways and oceans and harbors. People gravitate to the most convenient and comfortable zones.





Guess where I am!

The way Saturday would work–our “plan”–is that we would get all our resting and band-watching over with by about 6:30 when Noel Gallagher took the Coachella (the main one) stage. We arrived there between when the Kaiser Chiefs had finished and Gallagher took the stage. My son’s game plan is this: we grab a spot a few acts previous to Radiohead and gradually push our way forward until we have miraculously reached the front and this is where he wanted to be for Radiohead. Radiohead is a very good band but not my cup of tea. It’s like I was saying…some bands don’t do it for you, but this a music festival and you don’t fixate on what you don’t like. You just go with the flow. I like a couple of Radiohead songs but the adventure of battling the immense crowd in 100 degree temperatures was the main adventure in itself as far as I was concerned. Noel Gallagher was good, not exactly my cup of tea either, but whatever. He put on a great show.

After he finished, a new push erupted and we were pressed so tightly into the the heart of the crowd that we couldn’t even lift our hands. And it was hot as shit. Not for the faint of heart! Standing there is uncomfortable because you can’t sit or even shift your stance that freely. Your legs and feet begin to rebel. The heat, the human swarm and the forward push strikes in waves. Each wave leaves you in a different spot and hopefully, closer to the front. Between Gallagher and The Shins, claustrophobic sensibilities (if you have them) begin to plague. It’s furious, this crushing wave which catapults you deeper into the crowd and you find yourself wondering WHY? For a front row Radiohead seat! When you’re pressed in like this, everyone becomes an intimate neighbor and people talk and laugh and joke. At one point, there was one more push and we found ourselves maybe 7 or 6 people from the front. Then a lady yelled “Does anyone have a plastic bag!” loudly. Evidently there was a girl in her vicinity who needed to get sick. I glanced at my son, a bigger emetophobe than I. I could see he was becoming nervous. I didn’t see it happen, but he told me later that a plastic bag did indeed make its way to the girl and she stuck her face in it and the rest is history. What absolute torture for the poor girl. It’s not like you can run to the bathroom, and in fact you have an audience as you toss your cookies in this most inopportune of spots.

In the midst of this crowded chaos, you look to the sky for release, to forget your cramped surroundings. You see a tail of balloons hovering in the sky, spanning the width of the field, each end of the tail anchored in place at distant points far way from here. You watch the balloons float freely in the sky and you long to soar in the wind as well, far from here. They look so pretty and you get lost in their abandon. For a moment.

Then reality revisits. You are not floating in the sky. You are immersed in a mass of unrelenting humanity. There is nowhere to go! It is hot and people are pushing you en masse toward the front. Everyone wants to get to the front. You are helpless. You will be squashed. And a girl is puking in a plastic bag and your legs yell “I’m dying.”



Ah. But it is so beautiful! This is electric. This is grueling and trying but you feel stronger for it. You are sweaty and tired and hot and you feel precariously lucid. But there is nothing like it in the world. You await the next group, The Shins, whom you know nothing about.

The crowd condenses again.

Some clown yells to a friend, “The Shins are going to be sick, dude!” Well, with that kind of confidence, how can I not look forward to The Shins? As they take the stage, there is yet more crowd condensation. We are being pushed to the left and toward the center. This is good, I suppose.

The Shins. Uh.

OK, like I said, you need an open festival mind to enjoy it. You can’t judge music. You can’t be some high-maintenance priss. You gotta let your hair down! Still…there is nothing worse than seeing a band you absolute loath while stuck in the middle of thousands of clamoring fans. The Shins stretched the limits of my patience. How can people like this band? How could that guy promise us that they were going to be “sick?” Why on earth does the term “sick” connote “good” in modern jargon? I stood there helplessly, nowhere to go, and The Shins droned on.

I bring you…The Shins. Imagine you are surrounded by thousand of fans, little to no airflow, and this music.

After one particularly savage crowd condensation following The Shins’ final song, my son turned around, and in a classic anti-climactic moment, suggested we leave this crowd. OK. So we turned and head out. But making your way out of a crowd like this is best accomplished with a smile on your face while wearily avoiding stepping on feet, hands, faces, and all manner of bodily appendages. The crowd space between where we originally stood and the outer perimeter of the standing crowd was a morass of human detritus of every shape and form in every possible configuration and shape possible. It took minutes to finally escape the crowd. My son was tired, the vomiting chick rattled him, and it was obvious that we would never reach the front row at our present pace.

We walked around a little and allowed the night air to invigorate us and the walking allowed us to stretch out our legs again. We ate and then came back later to watch Radiohead’s performance from afar. At one point, 3 people in our vicinity collapsed from the heat. They were dropping like flies and I stared at the heart of the crowd near the stage and thought…I could be down there still.

Don’t let it fool you. These are the best of times!

Last installment of the Coachella trip, the Sunday finale, to follow at a future date

Twenty years later, a requiem for my innocent soul

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

 

Damnit, I woke up thinking about this. How can it be. Does the torment run so deep?
20 years.
How psychically ingrained can an event be that you wake up to it?

 

I woke up thinking that it’s been 20 years. Twenty goddamned years ago.

 

Where does it all go. So much has happened since.

 

Twenty years ago, I was unemployed. I had lost a job the previous March which I was strangely unqualified and unmotivated for.

 

I more or less sought employment. But it was 1992 and I was 27. The urgency didn’t seems as pressing as it should have. I loafed. I had a friend at the time. He reinforced my bad habits. He was a bad friend habit. See, I can’t blame him because we ultimately choose our friends, right?. We choose those we associate with and live out our petty life with. Our friends reflect our values, I’ve always thought.

 

Still, I…can’t blame X.

 

All I can say is that me and X spent too much time together and we both got loaded off my collective unemployment benefits.

 

We didn’t do squat.
No one called me out on it. I was terrible

 

Looking back now, I’ve lived both sides of that fence. I’ve lived the life of those I despise now. The freeloaders, the opportunists. That is how I rolled. I loafed. X and I played handball and racquetball most weekdays at a court in Arcadia. I drank lots of Kern’s fruit drinks, listened to Howard Stern on morning radio, and did little else. The good old days. At night, we got mostly drunk. There was not much to live for in the next day as far as we were concerned.

 

X had no real job either. I tried to find one but I didn’t care enough. My efforts were placid.

 

We loafed a lot.

 

I got turned down for a few jobs. One of them told me they couldn’t interview me becaue I had been unemployed more than 2 months. I lit into the the guy on the phone. I let him have it. It felt great. I was despondent. I felt I could have murdered him at that moment. Venting frustration is an aweome thing! Amazing to think that in 1992 blogospheric relief was years away.

 

I remember the day. But I don’t because I wasn’t home when the verdicts were read. In fact, I had hardly followed the case or the televised court trial.

 

I was at Freddie’s 35err in Pasadena drinking with my friend X.

 

We were no-gooders.

 

You were all working. I was drinking, and most of it was paid for by the state unemployment department. The 35er was a dark, grimy bar. We sat there drinking idly on a Wednesday morning. We watched as they announced the verdicts on local television. We kept watching the television. We watched as Los Angeles erupted. The unrest sprouted up everywhere. Even people in Hollywood and the Valley were sweating. This was all happening just 15 miles down the road.

 

Fires, overturned cars, storefronts torched, absolute mayhem…

 

Pasadena was a major hub. Lots of late night drinking happened there, but tonight they kicked us out. Out of the town. Riot police stormed a little town miles from the Reginald Denny epicenter. We had to get out now. Normally X and me would have sat there all night drinking. We didn’t give a shit about Rodney King. But the Pasadena police pushed all the wrong buttons.

 

What else could 2 drunken Mexicans do in such a situation? Have a town meeting?

 

Why…we headed toward the action.

 

I was driving my 1988 Honda CRX Si at the time. The cops drove us out because they were trying to protect their own enslaving tax-paying masters. This is what sworn police do. They protect the tax payers and beat you down once in a while. After we were driven out, X and me jumped in my Honda and jammed. We were buzzed off our ass. Actually, we were becoming very drunk because we didn’t stop drinking. Driving? Ha! Get real. We headed to the Pasadena Freeway and down to the Harbor. The rest is history.

 

I remember driving down grids of South Central streets I didn’t know.

 

The fires were intense. Your could feel the heat through the open car windows.

 

Everyone’s windows were open that night. It was complete chaos and anarchy!

 

We were snubbing society in our own greedy way. But it wasn’t quite so high-minded.

 

Everybody was there for a few days’ supply of free groceries. Me and X grabbed liquor. We stole beer, we stole liquor, we filled up my CRX’s hatch. I remember we crawled under those gated barriers store owners drew over their businesses at night. They were rendered useless now as we all crawled under them like frantic roaches. Everyone was crawling under them in swarms of manic thievery. It was awful. We had no shame. Police cars roared up and down Figueroa but there was no order. We ran from liquor stores with our arms full of liquor cartons. The police roared by but none of them stopped because the flood of looters was so immense. Essentially we were allowed to burglarize in front of police and they didn’t do a thing about it.

 

It was absolute anarchy. I’d never (and never have since) seen anything like it. It was the a glimpse of the domestic war ahead of its time. The only survivors were the Koreans who took arms on their rooftops. Each for himself.

 

X and me came home that night and my CRX was loaded with stolen alcohol. X took a whole bunch, I took the rest.

 

The “unrest” continued for a few days. I was a vermin. I stole and looted on the night of April 29, 1992. Am I evil? An opportunist? Perhaps. At heart, I am no better than the refuse who gutted Los Angeles that night.

 

There was no ideology, there was no revolution. We just wanted free shit.
The next Revolution will be about free shit.

 

In every flurry of a memory train, there is one strange scene that affixes itself. Mine had happened much earlier.

 

After we were driven out of Pasadena, X and I were sitting at a Jack In The Box in San Gabriel. We had stopped in for a quick eat.

 

As we ate, we noticed that outside the front glass door stood an old lady pointing at us. We started to laugh because she just stood there pointing and neither of us got it…at first. She looked helpless. X got it before I did. I just wanted to laugh. I was having a good time laughing at her spastic eruptions. We thought she was crazy but X realized she was just really old and couldn’t open the door herself. He got up quickly and opened the door for her. I kept laughing.

 

The true character of man.

 

I’m so sorry for everything I’ve ever done, and failed to do.

 

 

Peacekeeping Men: Wooly Mammoths are history. Women are your next enemy.

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Great thoughts from the writers over at Patriactionary the other day while I was recovering from my trip. The article was a biting indictment of the overwrought “Take You Daughters To Work Day” cultural meme that has ingratiated itself with gullible parents in recent years. Patriactionaries joked that perhaps it’s time to have a “take your daughters to the kitchen day” in order to teach them the proper housekeeping duties they were designed for after millions of years of evolution. But no. Women won’t hear of it. Try telling a modern woman her place is in the kitchen. Ha! They like overturning such an incomprehensibly lengthy legacy within the span of…a few decades. The female soul is impatient and short-sighted. She would always rather have it now than later. That’s a woman’s thinking. Instead of refusing however, modern man caves.

One thing that strikes me every time I read about these obsolete gestures of female equality is the unspoken understanding that there are men behind this ruckus! What are men thinking? Take your daughter to work day when then there are more women at work then men? How is this? Take your daughter to work day when the mass media will happily spout this hypnotic illusion itself? The mass media does a good job of indoctrinating girls with an unquestionable right to flourish in the corporate world. What is the use of take your daughter to work day in the year 2012? Modern culture takes care of this for you.

Stay home. Your daughter is in good hands.

But no, men continually react to the demands of overbearing women. Women who demand archaic gestures that only reinforce the new paradigm.

Men need to learn a word that women were once trained to use: NO.

Men need to say No. Men need to learn to disappoint and rebut women’s unrealistic demands. Men need to grow balls and thicker skin against the bitter lashings to entitled female culture.

Men have been trained to cave to every woman’s stupid nonsensical desire. In so doing, women have lost respect for men, whether they recognize it or not. A woman is like a child. She will respect authority figures who erect limits and barriers. 21st Century man doesn’t do this.

For too long men have learned to cave and relinquish, and now…they have nothing left to relinquish. Yet they still allow women to dictate the gender framework. Men are fools! They are so pussified that any time a woman yells or throws fit, they reactively do whatever it takes to maintain the peace.

The peace is your death, MEN.

Learn to love the fight. Men must retrain their killer psyche and learn to love battle instead of lazily fixating on idle activities like the Super Bowl or prime time TV.

Be men again, learn to love fierce combat. And today’s woman is now your fiercest combatant. The wooly mammoth is dead, but the bitch is alive and she wants your blood. Slay them, guys.

In search of a deliberate masculinity

Friday, April 27th, 2012

This morning I stopped at a popular gas station in order to fill ‘er up for hopefully another 2 weeks. This is how long a full tank of gas typically lasts me. My car gets reasonably good mpg, and combined with my frequent public transportation habit, the span between fill-ups is mercifully long. It was early in the morning and this is when people drive the fastest and most aggressively because they are all invariably late because people are also invariably idiots and never allow themselves enough time to get where they need to be at an appointed hour. People, ill-equipped, rush, because they are late, they drive fast, they tailgate…this is the typical morning rush hour commute.

I pulled into the gas station and strolled over to the cashier to lay out some cash for my petroleum purchase. I strolled, I didn’t speedwalk like some dork. Only dorks walk fast. This is the gospel of David.

Dorks and women walk fast.

Anyways, I don’t walk fast because generally I have my shit in order and there is no need to rush. I have the whole morning laid out in my head before I embark on it so there is no need for me to high-tail it to the gasoline station’s cashier because I have a course planned out long before I pull in. I stroll. I’ve integrated that lackadaisical “eat me” strut. Nothing controls me. Absolutely nothing. I’m an “unmarried man,” get it? I control my world.

Well, it’s not quite so simple, of course, but as they say, your mind will follow where your body goes. A man, if he wants to appear a man, and in control, must take his time. A man must never rush through casual situations. I walked with an attitude that said “I’m taking life at my own pace. Nothing controls me.” This is how a man does it. Women are different. Women walk fast because they are convinced of the unquestionable import of their existence; it’s all self-perceived and hardly warranted. For instance, at the gas station, a girl got out of her Jetta as I walked by. She was fine! Asian chick, Filipino or darker Chinese. She wore tight jeans and she had a very nice ass (for an Asian girl). It was big and round and she wore heels and a black top. She had that long sexy, silky Asian hair that looks wonderful to wrap around your appendages. She rushed out of her car, rushed to pump to pay with her ATM card, rushed back to the car to gas up. She was nothing but rush. She was a typical pretty, feminine girl. Always walking fast, flailing about like the weight of the world depends on them, and the faster it is done, the more fitting is their superior role on this planet. Hot feminine chicks always walk fast with their high heels and self-conscious machine gun strut. That’s fine for women.

It’s a sign of helpless femininity when pretty girls do this. The trademark of femininity is helplessness after all, and nothing spells helplessness like hurrying.

Men should never rush. The wise man does not dart about.

The man in control of himself and his world, the man of self-assurance, does not walk fast or act as if the environment is demanding his immediate attention. This is the anti-masculine. The real man lives in a self-enclosed world and your demands and capricious desires are the fodder of comedy to him as he…struts.

A man who walks too fast for no reason is demonstrating helplessness and an inability to control his physical reactions and emotional manifestations. He is a wuss. Same goes for men who needlessly drive too fast. Whether it’s the hipster accelerating around in his Prius or the teen-aged jock in a Dodge Ram, a man who drives too fast is merely displaying an inability to conquer his own mindset.

A real man snubs his nose at situations that demand his frantic attention like a cumbersome mommy-figure.

My advice to you, as a man, even if you feel like rushing around, stop. Stop and listen to your own racing heart and its motivations. Examine your thoughtless quest for nothing, because that is exactly what all your rushing around accomplishes.

Be a man of peace, a man of serenity.

Be a man who walks purposefully but at his own pace. If the situation calls for you to rush, fine. However, don’t rush for the strange disembodied sake of rushing. If the building is on fire, rush. If you’re rushing to the theater because you’re late, you are a wuss. You planned badly, you were in the wrong location, and thus, you are not in control of your environment. You have been caught rushing! This is why you need to slow down.

A real man dictates his environment. By rushing, you betray that you are a worm, a mushy man; not a strong, powerful man.

Strong men do not rush because they control the race from the beginning.

105 degrees and a reunion with an old flame

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

(1st of 2 parts)

I’m convinced of it.

The sadistic Coachella gods were mocking me. For the first time, the Coachella music festival in Indio, California, was broadened to encompass 2 twin weekends. The first weekend which took place April 13, was one of the coolest on record for the annual music and arts festival. The weather was gray and rainy, and temperatures dipped into the 40s at night. My kind of weather. I longed for similar weather for week 2 which would begin April 20, the weekend I would be going. Alas, it was anything but. Saturday turned into one of the hottest festival days on record with a reading of 105 degrees on the thermometer. Friday and Sunday were just as bad. Each of the 3 days brought murderous triple digit daytime temps. It was the last thing I wanted…but the gods laughed.

And so, we awoke Friday and prepared…



I used to be under the hazy impression long ago when I didn’t think of this very much that the Coachella music festival was literally in the middle of nowhere. Which, figuratively, to the city dweller, is not far from the truth, but not quite. The festival takes place at the Empire Polo Club, a really fancy upper crust parcel of hot desert land surrounded by affluent homes and dwellings and horse stalls. So the festival is surrounded by a population of humans but the festival exudes the aura of isolation due to the lush palm trees and distant desert mountain peaks lining the horizon. Even the residents seems to keep a healthy distance from the youthful revelry which visits their town once (now twice) each year. In fact, at night, when the concert is finished, you are guided to exit routes which quite clearly take you out of the neighborhood and away from mistakenly encroaching on the local wealth. Residential streets are closed and you can only hop on some major streets that guide you clearly out of town and quickly, to the freeway and beyond. Do not bother the natives!

Walking to the festival from the distant parking is done on old dusty dirt roads, past dried brush and horse stalls, and when the weather is tipping 100 degrees, the organic scents of animal waste clog your nostrils. It seems you must walk forever. Surely the campers and bus-shuttled visitors don’t have to endure this walk. Every effort is made encourage people to utilize every form of arrival at Coachella besides driving. Even people who drive are encouraged to carpool. If we hadn’t gotten these tickets at the last minute, I might have attempted to use other forms of transportation, but when you’re trying to plan Coachella within a month’s time, chances are you can’t afford to be as meticulous as you’d like.


Walking to the festival grounds

As soon as you reach the front security gate, you are subjected to arbitrary and random searches and frisking. I was asked questions and told to reveal backpack compartments, none of them consistent from day to day. One day the security guard sniffed my sun block and he spent a lot of time smelling one tube of Banana Boat I bought last year when I went to Outside Lands in San Francisco. I guess people somehow sneak drugs in this way, but the way he kept smelling the Banana Boat told me he was playing the part of Bloodhound a little too aggressively. I had no drugs, I have no idea what he was smelling…maybe he just liked the smell of sun block. Security guards are weird that way. One day they let my son bring his camera in even though it had a detachable 35mm lens, which is a no-no. The next day, they wouldn’t let him in, so we had to walk all the way back to the car, put it in the trunk, and walk back. Thoroughly exhausting when the temperature is over 100 degrees. And it was Saturday, which meant it was going to be our late Radiohead, 1 in the morning, day, meaning…about 13 more hours of this. Still, you persevere.

When you finally are cleared through by the security goons, you step onto the vast grass tract which has very, very, very little shade. Early in the day it is vast and not crowded and there is a leisurely vibe since no one is rushing around or grouped in swarms yet.



If you arrive later, you will hear music emanating from some of the stages for the unfortunate afternoon bands will have begun playing already. The early scheduled bands are the “leading acts” and usually not very well known or on their way out. It’s a great time to catch some music because the crowds are sparse and you can make your way to the front with little effort. It’s also a great time to catch some unknown acts that may very well one day play the prized “nighttime” slots of such festivals. For instance, while I was eating lunch on Friday, I heard some hard-core rap music booming from nearby. I told my son that we needed to go look. We rustled off and found the band “Death Grips” playing in the Gobi stage. This is a clip of the hard-driving band. I dislike rap in general, but I do have a “soft spot” for some hard-core, thrash-infused rap. I think back to the Beastie Boys’ short union with Slayer back on their License to Ill album in 1986.

Earlier, at the same stage, we had specifically come by to watch “EMA” (aka, Erika M. Anderson) a girl-powerish alternarocker from South Dakota. She has an awesome, petulant songstress aura as she sways and bends and bounces across the stage singing, undulating in her sultry, tormented voice of cynicism. She has received disproportional critical acclaim considering relative obscurity. Her anthem-like song “California” is astounding and biting for its vision of the Golden State’s self-absorbed culture.

The official video:

And this is my decidedly non-professional clip of her performance at Coachella.

By now, the heat was beginning to fray my well-being and I needed to keep a continuous stream of water flowing into my throat. At $2 a bottle, this becomes expensive. The other alternative is free spigot (filtered) water but…the line you must endure leads you to closely examine the worth of $2. Is $2 worth standing in a long, hot line? I found many times it was much easier to write $2 off for convenience, but if you have nothing to do that moment and thirst is not blinding you yet, standing in line for water doesn’t seem like the most foolish thing in the world.

You need water in this heat. You need rest and shade, but some of these kids were tremendous. Where did they get the energy? There was already a little daytime rave about noon when we first arrived at the LA Riots (DJ) performance at the Sahara stage. These people had another 8-12 hours to go. I was tired just from watching them. Standing there and barely moving (other than some geeky self-conscious dance moves) I still sweat about a bottle of water it seemed.

There’s something unnatural about a show like this taking place in the bright hot day. Seems out of place. Not congruent with our expectations. In this video you can see another middle-aged father dissolving into the barrier while his young son enjoyed the music. The unnatural environment didn’t stop a lot of the partiers from dancing and jumping while 100 degree temperatures fell heavily on our chests.

Throughout the day we saw a few more bands but I didn’t care for them. That’s the thing about music festivals. There are lots of performances to choose from and obviously they won’t all be to your liking. But you won’t know until you try. Music festivals are about immersion and experimentation. Music fills the air from all directions, all kind of music and noise and you follow that which beckons you and sometimes you find something you really like and other times you stumble upon something you truly don’t care to hear more of. Music festivals are not a time to be judgmental. It’s about free expression and going with the flow. Music festivals are the ultimate embodiment of the axiom “if you don’t like it, change the channel.” Except, in this case, you move on to the next stage or go get something to eat. No one is holding a gun to your head to make you stay at a stage where the music sucks. There is no good or bad…there is just what you like and what you don’t like. Personally, I did not care for Friday bands Abe Vigoda, GIRLS, Pulp or Arctic Monkeys. However, these bands have large followings, so they are doing something right. I just moved on.

Or I napped. This is all you can do when your body spends more energy at rest than you can possibly salvage.

The most magical time at festivals is dusk when the animals come out to play!
The air lightens, the music seems louder, energy is restored, and even though it is still in the 90s, the sun is leaving and its curse is vanishing for another night. We dance on the cooling grass and embrace the darkness for its splendor hides and emboldens and enlivens our spirit.

Finally, after the sun had left for the day and darkness settled in, we headed over to what I knew would be the highlight of the weekend for me: a glimpse at long last of one of my favorite bands of the last 20 years, Mazzy Star. With dark Pixie temptress, Hope Sandoval, reappearing after a long absence, this was my chance to see a band I somehow never got around to seeing years ago when they performed regularly. Now my long awaited opportunity was unfolding here in the desert, a fulfillment of an elusive musical yearning.

It was Mazzy Star!

Hope Sandoval floated out, as darkly mysterious as I remember her from the 80s and 90s. Hidden by the night darkness of the Outdoor stage and her wavy-haired darkness and black clothes. So much has not changed, and the past revisited for 3 or 4 glorious minutes.