I tend to frame almost everything in terms of sex. I’m not fixated with sex, but sometimes the structural march of ebbs and flows in life remind me of the typical dome-shaped rising and falling crescendo that outlines the sex act. For instance, a 3-day music/food/arts festival like Coachella mimics sexual intercourse if you think about it. Like I do.
Friday is the foreplay. You’re fresh, smell good, and you’re ready to get it on.
Saturday is the orgasm. It is the penultimate form of release of all the tension and titillation Friday promised and prepared you for.
Sunday is the drawn out, lackadaisical, leisurely, refractory let down that visits after you’ve exhausted your stamina and energy.
Sunday was not so much a let down as much as it as a cooling down period. It was a day to behold the exhaustion and excitement of the previous two days and prepare through idle retrospection. Did she like it?
This is obvious in my dearth of Sunday photographs and recordings. Sunday was a day of DJ performances and lots of bands we weren’t too keen on or that we’d never heard of.
We arrived at the Empire Polo Grounds about noon and instantly dived into the porta potties, so to speak. This is the thing about porta potties. I don’t mind outhouses as a long as I’m only practicing #1. The moment you need to affix any portion of your body to the outhouse surfaces is when the fun is over. I have this strategy for avoiding having to take a dump in them. Especially on really hot days, of which Coachella had 3. First, I refrain from ingesting fiber early in the morning or the afternoon because my digestive system has short turnaround. If I eat something sufficiently fibrous, I will typically need to expel it within 6-8 hours. So at music festivals, I usually stick to pizza or rice and other solidifying carbs. The stuff that plugs you up. I don’t mind being plugged up when outhouses are my only bathroom choice. It works well for me. On Saturday, I made some questionable dietary moves, however. I ate a roasted corn on the cobb in the afternoon and a wedge of watermelon before that. I ate nothing else so I presumed I would not be attacked by those fiber triggers any time soon, and indeed, I didn’t need to practice # 2 the rest of Saturday.
Sunday morning when I awoke and drank some coffee, I had the largest morning dump of the trip in the hotel and I was reasonably certain I had evacuated all remnants of stubborn corn kernels and watermelon flesh in that movement. Unfortunately, I was dismayed to note that my stomach began gurgling in the afternoon shortly after we arrived at the festival. Oh oh. Then I released some gas (known in some circles as a “fart”) and was more dismayed to note that there was a “heavy presence” behind that gas waiting to jet out my bowels.
OK, when you gotta go, you gotta go. I steered us to the nearest outhouse farm (I call each group of porta potties this…they are scattered in bunches all over the festival grounds). I found a convenient one that wasn’t riddled with vomit or misfired shit and sat down and let the cascade of day-old fiber detritus flee my butt. It was a large movement but I didn’t look because I just wanted to get the hell out of that literal shithole. I finished, wiped, and jammed. No reading the newspaper in Coachella outhouses for me! I wiped too fast however, because I noticed that the rest of the day my butt was in a mild state of burn…I had done a sloppy wiping job in my haste. Haste leaves waste! Sigh. Nothing a good shower wouldn’t hurt, but that wouldn’t be for a long while. The entire hot Sunday afternoon I walked around with irritated butt cheeks.
Burdened of my pulp backlog, I skipped forth anew into the meat of the festival. Sunday was mainly populated by DJ acts and a lot of bands I’d never heard of. We killed time at the Gobi, Sahara and Mojave stages where most of the DJ’s perform. The stages were packed. We walked around some more, rested in the shade, ate some non-fibrous food, and drank bottles of water in seconds.
Sunday was a kicked back kind of day. It was the beginning of the end, the nature of my photos says it all. Here I am in silent, shady repose.
In fact, the nature and volume of my Sunday photography speaks precisely of my state of mind that sunny day. My sense of photography was lazy and it dwindled. I didn’t feel like doing anything, quite frankly. I took 3 photographs all day.
Brilliantly mundane. I couldn’t even get off my burning butt to take decent photographs. We didn’t set out to watch any specific bands on Sunday. We flitted in and out of random musical acts. We wandered to the Outdoor stage late in the afternoon to watch the band “Wild Flag” perform. We arrived early and stood near the front but behind the VIP section. The band was alright. I liked them more than my son did. They had a nice driving girl rock sound which was just fine on this hot, lazy Sunday afternoon. The lead singer spent some time jiving with the audience and she made the funny joke of the weekend. She was speaking of the scorching weather and said she thought today would be a nice day to be a hologram. I was one of those people who laughed loud at this allusion to Tupac’s holographic performance which was to take place during Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg’s nighttime performance (something my son and I had absolutely no interest in staying to watch). I thought she was funny and kinda goofy. What guy wouldn’t dig a goofy, nerdy girl rocker? I took some video, but even by my standards, it was of poor quality and I was too far away. I spent too much time studying the VIP section and wondering if the extra few hundred bucks was worth it. You get to sit in a pen that is isolated from the prole crowd but it’s kinda soulless as well. You are a little too insulated from the crowd’s electricity.
This frame of a video I took of the VIP section explains the isolated nature of paying a lot to have your own space at a music festival.
We left that performance and killed some more time. Amazing how time flies when you’re doing nothing but walking around in circles, laying in the shade, eating, listening to random bits of music. Before we knew it, we were back on the grass area by some food stands where we could be privy to several different bands playing simultaneously as darkness fell. As had happened the previous days, one of the bands I heard caught my ear. It was a loud thumping rave sound coming from the main stage. I fumbled with my program and pulled out my little flashlight. “Justice” was playing. I’d never heard of Justice but their sound of high energy eletro-thrashy mania lulled me in that direction like a snake trailing the piped piper. Justice, as I learned, is a French electronic duo characterized by a marriage of guitar and turntable, and a brilliant lit white cross motif adorns their stages. As we neared the stage, the beat enveloped me and the electricity of their music and the immense partying crowd energized me again. What a fantastic way to end the festival. I would have liked to have danced but my butt burned and I was tired plus I felt funny dancing in front of my son. Still, it was a great band discovery, even for Sunday.
This was an intensely great show. It was an awesome way to end the weekend. After Justice finished, my son and me were ready to head home. While we walked to the exit, the performance still rang our ears. People were beginning to arrive for the Dr. Dre/Snoop Dogg concert. I don’t like rap and this was not the way I personally would have wished to end Coachella. Luckily my son feels the same way. Outside the gates and all the way back to the car, scattered groups of people were trying to get us to give up our bracelets but that’s nearly impossible. Coachella security rules state that the bracelet must worn tightly (one-fingered clearance) and cannot be taken off during the 3 days. You’re sleeping, showering, eating, with that bracelet for the full time. If it’s too loose, you don’t get in. The people trying to get in for the rap performance were a considerably different breed than the normal concert-goers we’d seen for 3 days. These people were largely thuggish, a lot of my people. One Mexican guy walked up to us with his hand hidden behind his back in a menacing manner and asked if we were leaving and I lied. I told him we were coming back for “the big show” and he said OK. The dirt road back was dark and there was no festival security to speak of whatsoever. I was actually feeling a little scared being that my son was with me. These were some shady people waiting to rid us of our clasping bracelets. I was waiting for someone to pull out a meat cleaver and chop my arm off…this would be the only way to get the bracelet off a wrist without destroying it (the bracelet, that is).
My favorite moment of the scary Sunday night ghetto escape from Coachella was the Asian girl who was standing in the dark and asked if I could give her my bracelet if I was leaving. I showed her and said “it’s on too tight.” To which she instantly responded, “Oh, that’s OK, I know how to get them off.” I shook my head and continued walking. I wondered what my response would have been if she had said instead, “Oh that’s OK, I know how to get you off.”
We might have had to find a way to unfasten this cuff…