Thursday, April 22, 2010

"tall as the dunes on the shore"

At nighttime you could look up and if you waited a few moments, the dozen-plus searchlights that swept across the desert sky would come together, shining simultaneously towards the middle of the stars. Whether I was sitting in the grass swaying my head to lilting piano melodies, holding the hand of a friend as we weaved our way out of the dance tent and on to the next stage, or jumping up and down to the beat of the headliners, I would look up there pretty frequently... it was settling and stable, yet fantastic and out-of-reach. It was a fleeting mental escape from one of the most intense sensory experiences I've ever had... one that pushed hard against our capabilities for handling sight, sound, touch, and the rest. And even as it pushed, we wanted more, and knew that we'd never have the time to see, hear, feel, or do it all. And as we drove away we were already remiss that it was over. Showers, silence, clean clothes, sleep, sanity, be damned.

To remember every moment would be most desirable. I would love to recall exactly the way Temper Trap opened their set. I wish I knew how we ended up talking to some Australians after the Gorillaz played. It would be great to remember what songs we laughed at and sang to when they came on at the club in the campground. But of course, life is not designed to remember everything, it's impossible. So much is a blur. But there are some extremely vivid moments that I think I'll hold forever.

* Our group of five was zooming through the crowd, led by tall Jonas who had his fist in the air so we could keep track of him by our stay-together method of wearing glowing wristbands. There was a thick frenzy of excitement pressing down on us, the final act of the festival was taking the stage. Movement, movement, lights, bodies, cheering... Jonas was running faster and faster. He kept repeating, "this is it guys. let's do this. this is IT!" and all we could do was keep our eyes trained on his glowing fist and clasp hands tight, Sabina and Jodie and me, and follow. Then we got near the front. And then the beat dropped.

* Without expecting it, I found myself falling for LCD Soundsystem. The tunes were fantastic and the energy incredible. And several songs in, they started one song, I can't remember if it was Someone Great or All My Friends... Then I could see a fierce jump forward from a guy to the right and back of me, and his face was elated. He cried out, to noone in particular, or maybe all of us, or maybe just for himself... "THIS IS WHY I'M HERE! THIS BAND...THIS SONG! THIS IS WHY I'M HERE!!!.... this is why I'm here..." he trailed off as he began to sing along. I smiled at that for hours. His moment, I could so identify with it, became one of mine.

*She danced and waved her hands, not as crazy as some around us, but she was enjoying herself. She was in a two piece bathing suit only, with some body paint and maybe some feathers in her hair, not unusual for the festival. It was nighttime at one of the headlining acts. Since our groups were pressed in close to each other, the usual festival camaraderie came easy. We hadn't exchanged any words at all, just bumps and laughs and sing a longs. She was younger than me, and looked not crazy or hipster but sweet. At one point she leaned back, wanting to say something, so I leaned forward. "This is my first time really letting loose. The first. I don't ever look like this, I never have, I'm so conservative," she said, gesturing to all her bare skin. "I came here to be free." Her innocent face, somewhat buzzed, seemed to hope for acknowledgment that it was okay. It was. "You look great. And this is the most fun. Be free," I smiled at her and hugged her. She grinned and turned back and wrapped her arms around the girl next to her. I wonder about her.

*We could hear that they'd started a few minutes early. We started to run. It wasn't fast enough. Sabina and I broke into a full sprint, leaving the rest behind. We couldn't miss one more note without being as close as possible, this was one of the main bands we came for. When we reached the more tightly woven crowd, she persisted as she always did by pulling us through, winding past. Then somehow, after my pointing it out and her daring assertiveness, we got ourselves up on a concrete platform, only big enough for the two of us and a fellow Passion Pit fan. Our feet were at least seven feet higher than the heads of the crowd. We were right in the center of thousands. The sun was going down, and the colorful festival lights came on; the orange ferris wheel, purple folded crane, green and blue palm trees... Passion Pit sang, "let your love grow tall, tall as grass in the meadow, or the dunes on the shore, like the buildings in the city, and your children on the floor..." And the wind was warm on my face and Sabina and I waved our hands and it was unbelievable and THEN they played Moth's Wings... one of the songs I set my 2009 video to, and images of some of the best times of my life flooded over me, mingling with the images and feelings before me right then. There were tears in my eyes. It one of those perfect and stunning moments when you feel that it's possible that all your dreams will come true. You forget about the scholarship decision waiting in the mail at home, you forget about everything except for the moment.

That was Coachella.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

desert bound, unfettered and free

and away we go...

more friends than I can count, from across California.

music lovers and good timers from across the country and abroad.

cars packed with summer dresses and bathing suits and sleeping bags and lanterns and beers.

spirits full and thrilled in anticipation of the next four days, of which we've been counting down the days since triple digits.

we arrive tonight after a road trip of a multiple car caravan. for days and nights we will...

run between concerts, set list in hand, smiles wide with excitement.

pump our fists to the beats of djs playing under the stars where hundreds move in time with us, warm breezes blowing by.

sit in the mornings and before bed with friends old and new in a tent city, telling stories, taking pictures, playing games, sharing snacks and coors light.

soak up the hot desert sun and the fact that life is beautiful and we are so blessed and these are the kind of adventures that you seize to make things as memorable as possible along the way.

See here to see what Coachella will look like. See this website next week to see what it looked like through my eyes.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


To Do List For This Week:

1. finish my taxes
2. complete my Coachella band research
3. secure tent and sleeping bags and outfits fit for the desert for Coachella
4. buy a new camera
5. all my clients are back from spring break. figure out new work schedule.
6. check the mail. try not to think about it too much.
7. new debit card was sucked into atm... must replace
8. sleep
9. confront the tangled web that is Tuesday night co-ed kickball
10. purchase plane tickets to Uganda. yep.


up in the air

"So tell me the story!" S said eagerly. "I just know there was kissing in a treehouse, and I want to hear all the details! From the time we left, how did you end up there? Sounds awesome!"
I grinned. "It was really awesome." It was a good story, but more than how it sounded cool, it had really been a genuinely great time. Once we were all sitting down with menus in hand, they had me tell the tale.
"So after you guys left, I had to take E and him home, and of course E is so close, so I dropped her off first..."


"Do you want to come in?"

I had just pulled into his driveway. I looked directly in his eyes, looking for some hint of smirk. None. We'd been coyly flirting all night, under the radar of all the outright flirting and jolly mischief that regularly goes on with our team during the food and drinks after kickball. It was only a matter of time before we'd confront the fact that he was obviously interested. Which is interesting to me.

"How about... I come in and we go to the treehouse?" I suggested. I'd wanted to see this treehouse since he'd mentioned it a couple weeks ago... two different levels, ocean view, it sounded like it was right up my alley. It was still an early night...and, this way, I wasn't actually "coming in the house to hang out." The treehouse was the purpose...not something else.

So inside we went. After some chatting with the roommates we went out to the backyard. It wasn't a treehouse like your dad made for you when you were a kid, with a straight ladder and walls or a fence around the platform, all safe and storybook-like. This was a twentysomething-plus treehouse. Less safe, more adventurous. Kinda tricky to climb up to the first level, quite a bit of careful foot placement and upper body strength was needed to get up from the ground. Then you had to climb skillfully around the thick branches upwards... until you got to the second level. It was a perch, high above the ground, with a perfect view out to the ocean. A long strand of little white lights wound carefully from branch to branch, illuminating the inside of the tree where we sat. It was perfect.

We talked and talked. About the funny, the serious, the random... we even debated. At one point he placed his hand over mine very deliberately, laced his fingers through, and pulled our hands towards himself. Later there was a break in the conversation. I leaned forward to see if I could see any constellations through the gaps in the leaves.

"So, how do you feel about kissing in a treehouse?" he broke our comfortable silence. I didn't look at him and kept peering upwards, but could feel a laugh trying to break through my lips. "Well, I don't want to fall out of here..." I stalled. The laugh escaped.
"Well I'm not going to lay you out over this branch!" he laughed too, pointing to the 5 inch diameter bit of tree coming out from under our platform. I laughed harder. When I stopped, I said finally, "I feel good about kissing in a treehouse."

And then we did.


Then a few days later, amidst too many people and too much noise, a kiss happened again.

Shortly afterwards he said this: "When I kiss you, I can see in your eyes beforehand that you are thinking 'What am I doing?' You really have to think about it first. It's so obvious. What's the deal?"

He was absolutely right. I didn't think I was so transparent. I was thinking that... I have been.

It's just cause there's so much else going on... so much unknown, so many people to consider, I don't know who or how much I want. It's not you... it's me.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

what's to come

a drive home, north on the 101, for a holiday. oh how many times i have done it.

but my favorite time to do it is during the daylight of spring. the hills are greengreengreen... rolling and gentle and lush. the rains have worked their magic on "golden" california and made it clear that we sorta do have seasons. and this one is the very green one.

i've been a few places and i still think california is one of the most beautiful there is. so many different parts of it. and i love that to go to family means that i must drive up through vineyards, along the ocean, past fields of yellow, mist swirling around the massive hills dotted with round bits of forest. i enter the bay area and the hills slope down to a shimmering bay, bridges rise in the distance, and i marvel at how lovely it is and wonder if i'll ever live here again.

with all the rain this winter, this drive was one of the most amazing i've done in the last ten years. despite the crippling allergies all this blooming has brought me, i could still gaze in awe. i sipped on a peppermint tea, while some of my new tunes played over my wandering thoughts about all that April has in store for me...

"never wanted time for looking back
for a moment i look down and wonder
and of what's to come today
girl, i wonder where you are..."

-Ra Ra Riot, who I will see in two week at Coachella.