Thursday, April 22, 2010

SABADO:: Dia de la Mujer

Zoe, I love you but I'm not in love with you. I couldn't get it together to want to leave my comfortable home to support a 1:45 time slot. We got in when Jason Bentley was doing his thing in the Rave Tent. This gave us a chance to check out the Rose Garden VIP where the fancy food trucks from LA were stationed, so they say. Me vale... on to the Mojave.

Camera Obscura were so great to watch. Beautiful women, with beautiful dresses singing beautiful songs on beautiful instruments. I hope my camera obscura caught that (cheesy joke day, thanks to compadre).

Beach House I've been missing out and now I must see them at the Hollywood Bowl, this music carries you on a lullaby over broken rainbows. Her voice is haunting and managed to zone us out a bit (in a great way) even though it was hot and we were far. That's an accomplishment.

The Gossip's Beth Ditto is not Paquita la del Barrio. Yes, they're both shiny dressed big girls who can belt out the jams and have a loyal gay following (well before Paquita's comments) but that's it. Beth Ditto let us have it, how does she do this? Song after song with so much grace and ease. Before they started anonymous shirtless kid asked if they were good, my reply was "yeah, just wait". I left as the boy was losing his mind dancing to Lady Marmalade; converted.

I think I would have been more in love with the Raveonettes set if they were at night. I wanted to hear their fuzzy calavera surfer sound bounce off walls and I wanted to sway back and forth slowly as I surrendered to the noise. That didn't happen, instead we were happy to encounter our friends here and we made a scene. Sorry other fans.

Oh the XX and their "Wicked Games" wannabe song. They had such a huge crowd that I couldn't even give them attention. Instead we escaped the exxodus by having hamburger sliders round 2 and waiting for Hot Chip. Hot Chip, real laid back. They got us dancing but not nearly as hard as !!! did that one year in that tent. Remember? That was great. We left early because we had a date with Andrea at 8:10 back at the Mojave.

Aterciopelados why have I forsaken thee? Really I've been missing out. El Dorado is one of my favorite albums of all time. I made it a point to play Aterciopelados on every show of KCSB's La Onda Radial. But for some reason after that pink album I stopped following. Seeing her in my home giving respect "para los indigena de Indio" made me swoon. TE AMO!! She's on this mother earth tip that I'm loving. It was hilarious to hear the crowd chant "te dige que no y te cagastes de rrrisa". The white kids just bopped along sin saber nada. Jajajajajaaa.

We walked around thinking that Andrea should have kept singing. The fans screamed 'otra otra' and then 'cuuulero' to the roadie dudes already setting up for Major Lazer. Carlos and Ivan stuck around for Diplo's non-stop touch of gold. Apparently the tent went wild while the girls and I caught MGMT from afar. 'Time to Pretend' was playing while I was trying to get the line of four girls into the flushing toilet portables. It was a bunch of 'andale no sean malos...' to get in before they cleaned them. If you plan it right you never wait too long nor enter a porto potty ever. Trust.

Muse is a band made for stadium performances. Their music is immense and can be compared to those bands of yesteryear. Watching them play with lasers while his voice carried into the desert wind took me to the era of Queen. Obviously I was never at a Queen show, but he could be our Freddy Mercury. It all would've been perfect until the desert wind also kicked up the allergies. DAMN! We retreated for some Odwalla and nutrition. As we walked over to our spot to watch Muse closer to tissue accessibility we noticed how trashed the grounds were. Worst ever.

The Dead Weather are amazing. Jack White seems to do no wrong and this group is also on the side project honor roll. The girl from the Kills rocks hard with the the men she's on stage with, she was great. Mochi was on the text and live stream (in Iowa) loving it. Next time you're in town and they're in town, we're there.

Sia I don't know how I ended up by myself here but I was. Because I wanted to and I knew all roads met at Devo next door. Sia is cute, her songs make you smile and she herself was so full of energy while I was not. Everything was upbeat until she began to sing Madonna's "Oh Father". I can't relate to that song but I couldn't help and get a bit emotional. There's always one performer that gets you, I walked away when song ended, I just didn't want to go there. Devo was being Devo, we watched them from our secret exit and said good night to day two.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

VIERNES::India Pata Rajada

We parked with no drama next to Mountain Vista elementary in lot 2. I didn't realize it was a school day today until I saw the kids at recess clinging on to the chain link fence to sneak a peek at the pink skinned music fans slathering sunblock and drinking from coolers. A fan with massive amount of chalk and time created a welcome sign up on the wall, it was time.

The back entrance was a waste, small tight lines only to get searched again at the main entrance. Carlos, Jimmy and I have been coming to Coachella since 1999 (every year) so we immediately and annoyingly start to take mental notes of the new/old. The posters of Coachella past were up on the trees, a huge ferris wheel welcomed us, that robot that chased me out years ago was harassing someone...yes we were home. We picked up a stack of little guides and headed towards the Sahara tent.

DJ Lance Rock and the entire Yo Gabba Gabba gang were dancing to the bass heavy beats. I felt a rush of mama guilt knowing how much my babies love this show, it went away quick when I realized that there were no kids around me. I picked up some paper glasses for them as souvenirs and walked to the next act, so yummy so yummy.

Sleigh Bells (signed to MIA's label) were funky cool with a screaming female lead singer but the first full set we had to catch was on the main stage.

Calle 13
desde Puerto Rico gave a great show but the sun had no mercy and dancing like I wanted to dance only lasted 3 songs. Totally relating to this lyric from cumbia de abburridos "Mira la gordita metiendo la barriga, mira como se fatiga" Yep, I got overheated pretty quick. They had about 11 musicians on stage playing everything from a teapot to a water bottle. Residente, Visitante and their sister are raw talent, loved them.

She and Him vs. Street Sweeper Social Club Zooey is absolutely adorable, Jimmy fell in love with her. She and Him songs could have also been welcomed at Stagecoach festival, folksy acoustic jams that sound like her cotton commercial. Once the main stage begun I was able to hear the mash-up of funk coming from Tom Morello and Boots Riley. Sounded good from afar.

The Specials are legends, they've been around since 1977 and they give a great show. Original ska beats that may sound like one long song after a while but an awesome long song. Well deserved time slot on the main stage.

We explored the recycling tent to get my free bottle of water and stumbled into the Kin Lounge to play some Ms. Pac Man and charge Carlos' phone a bit. We passed by living legend Gil Scott Heron to hear him restart a song like 3 times and walked towards the Passion Pit at the Outdoor Theater; they're a band I could really get into.

Them Crooked Vultures consist of Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, and John Paul "Fucken" Jones as Carlos kept calling him. I fell in love with Dave Grohl here, his beefy drumming tattoed papa arms. Arrrr. Loud stoner desert rock, made me feel like an ant caught in those dust devils sonically swirling as the song got bigger and bigger...then stop. Josh Homme was happy to be playing at home, gave us locals a shout out. It was great, best band of the night.

We left TCV with one song to go towards Echo and the Bunnymen and to indulge in our first round of Ruth Chris' hamburger sliders. Damn you little burgers! I was so happy to hear my two favorite songs back to back 'Lips Like Sugar' and 'Killing Moon' which Ian introduced as "the best song in the world" and yes at that moment it was.

LCD Soundsystem Oh James Murphy, you pasty son of a bitch. I don't know if he's really like this or he plays it up but he's the most non-chalant, bitter man. He always acts as if he'd rather be somewhere else, then he talked crap about being followed by Jay-Z then he thanked us saying 'it was an honor to play for you all'. See!! It would suck to be in love with him. His music made me dance barefoot since by this time I was almost in tears because of ankle blisters (all my fault). He had one song left since Jay-Z was next (he kept reminding us) and had us decide LCD::"Do you want New York?" US:: "Nooooo!!!" LCD::"Ok, you want Yeah?" US:: "YeaaaH!!!" He then started the longest funkiest version of that song which got me super happy. Then that New York song started. See!?!? He's a roller coaster, one that makes you beg for more.

We left to check out the art at night, the balloons were lit up, the Do-Lab had their erotic city going on, muralists at work, the giant bong thing. There was a massive crowd for Vampire Weekend and they all went crazy for that one minute song. Whatever. We walked back to Jay-Z only to be stuck next to a speaker tower full of stupid kids turning it into a human totem pole. That thing was swinging and I was ready to go. Made plans to meet Carlos at Fever Ray and walked back to the origami crane. Saw like three Jay-Z songs but walked away as he chanted 'either love me or leave me alone'. Pues si, leaving you all alone with your 50,000 fans.

Ceu was being beautiful and Brazillian in her shiny dress in the Gobi tent, I got to experience one complete song and wished I had seen her more. This is when I saw that the Mojave tent was a mess for Fever Ray so I moved up in the Gobi. The tent began to fill with Mexican flags and I wondered why, the band next was The Whitest Boy Alive. I scooted to the front surrounded by fans, I was told that they have a huge Mexican fan base because of their label but they hail from Berlin Germany. Since I had battery life and I was in a prime spot I have the most footage for a band I discovered that night. Coachella gold. They were so good and genuinely honored to be playing that night.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Coachella I Love You, but You're Bringing Me Down

Survived day one with cut ankles and blisters, wore the wrong shoes. First day was long, started at the Best Western with the volunteer mess, then to the Paul Tollett encounter a la Huell Howser with no cameras this time, I just had to say thanks for bringing all this music home to me.

Music:: DJ Lance Rock and the Yo Gabba Gabba Gang, Sleigh Bells, Calle 13, She and Him, Street Sweeper Social Club, The Specials, Passion Pit, Gil Scott-Heron, Them Crooked Vultures, Echo and the Bunnymen, LCD Soundsytem, Vampire Weekend, Jay Z, Ceu and the Whitest Boy Alive.

Food:: BBQ chicken sandwich, Pizza for the People, Ruth Chris' sliders, churro.

Good day until the end of the night. I lost Carlos when his phone died, feet were killing me and the parking exit was horrendous. I blame the City of Indio, really it's your fault. I'll work on this later because it's time for day 2 and I don't want to miss the Gossip.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Strange Rumblings in Aztlan

Coachella is a massive event, it doubles the population of Indio annually. Even though this is true, you don't feel it because you are on flat land. The only slight elevation you experience is that little bump in the entrance/exit gates. Just look back when you exit to see the mass exodus of thousands upon thousands behind you. That's crazy so don't get lost.

1. Parking

If you're carpooling, take some time to make a sign that says CARPOOLCHELLA. Every year carloads of people are picked out and given Coachella tickets for life. Yes the chances are small but you and your party may be the lucky winners. People go all out, look out for them. Give yourself plenty of time for parking, you don't want to miss out on the show. Seriously like an hour for traffic, parking, drinking and hiking to the fields. Make sure the sober one takes note of where you parked. All the cars are covered in dust when you make your way back out and there are plenty of horror stories of walking in circles trying to find your car. Parking sucks all the time.

2. Cell Phones

For the most part will not work so don't rely on them completely. You'll get no service, or your text messages will come late it's just what happens when you're in the middle of the desert.

3. Meeting Spot

If you get lost and your phone doesn't work then you'll probably never want to come back. I had a 20 minute feeling of that in 2008 when I lost Carlos from Kraftwerk to M.I.A. I was pregnant and I said I would wait for him 'right here'. Those 20 minutes felt like hours, it was dark, everybody was on crack, phone didn't work and I imagined myself alone all night. Don't let that happen to you. The worst case scenario was 2002. The group I rolled with decided to get hella drunk in the parking lot. There was pissing in between cars, panic attacks during Bjork, lost friends, friends that didn't find car and took a taxi home- it was a mess and no one returned the next day (except me). Make a plan, because it's crazier now.

4. Food

We've managed to sneak in sandwiches every year but really the food is yummy here. Pizza, garlic fries, Indian, local, BBQ everything is good. Try to time your meals when no one else is eating and when someone you kinda like is playing the stages so you can get your money's worth.

5. Beer Gardens

Coachella makes you feel high without anything in you, trust. But if you must, and it's that important to you then get your drink on. Beers are like 6 dollars, maybe more now. I've been hella swollen from the heat and beer intake and it's not fun so just stick to what you can handle. You don't want to be throwing up in a porto-potty.

6. First Aid Tent

Dr. Paul will let you rest from heat exhaustion, smoke inhalation or over dosing. This is the only place you get free water bottles. Your basic meds (tylenol) go for 50 cents for a dose. If you need them use them. I've been in one once, because I was tired and someone was smoking and a pregnant lady with a contact high is a paranoid one. Awesome staff who take of you to the max. Make a mental note of where they're at.

7. Police

You'll see the biggest show in force by the Sahara dance tent (Rave tent). We've seen under cover cops take out pot smokers here so be careful. Pretty much the cops are just strolling the fields and directing traffic to get you out. Haven't had issues with them.

8. Crowds

We manage to get towards the front by the stage almost always by sticking to the right. We walk around the huge audience and make ourselves close. Last year I was pretty bummed at the Coachella stage because of the lack of energy of the 'fans' surrounding me. They just seem to take up space and stand there waiting for their band to play next. Argh! Or the people that just sit in the middle of a crowd piss me off too.

9. Kids at Coachella

We've been taking our girl to Coachella for 3 years now. She only goes to one day, the day where we feel we could leave early and not miss out on much. We stick to the outdoor theaters mostly and stay away from chusma. We look at all the art and take a stroller to let her rest and be able to sneak in food. It's a good time, just make sure you keep them close to you at all times. I would die if I lost my children here. Ni lo pienses.

10. Ear plugs

Bring them. Last year My Bloody Valentine provided them, you don't even know. Bring your own because every stage is different and it can get loud. Check out the Do-Lab for cooling down and be sure to stroll through the domes and different DJ spots that are not on the main line-up.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Survival Mode and the Bare Essentials

1. Bring your own shade.

Sunglasses, a wrap, a Chinese fan, an umbrella stashed in secret purse pocket. Remember that you're not supposed to bring an umbrella so make it a cheapie one you can toss if it gets caught. Those collapsible kind from the 99cents store are great.

Turbans are cool because they're light and you can wrap them around your head, wet them for cooling down and lay on them later in the day. Also if you're prone to allergies you can cover your face when you're walking from dusty parking lot to fields and back. Hats are cool, but they suck to carry at night so I wouldn't recommend them unless you can bear to lose it once the sun goes down, you also don't want to be blocking people's view during the day.

Bring the shade, don't be shady.

2. Chapstick, lotion, SPF sprays, tiny hand sanitizers.

I just bought this fresh cooling SPF Neutrogena spray with 45 SPF . I like to bake because my skin doesn't turn color (beige Mexican) so I slather on the coconut sun tan cream at home and retouch with sunblock throughout the day.

3. Candy, gum, water, gatorade.

You are allowed to walk in with a sealed bottle of water but you're not supposed to walk in with sports drinks. The key is to stay hydrated without paying 2 bucks for every bottle your body needs. Keep sweets to keep your dry mouth happy. Also think about carrying a plastic bag (grocery) to collect empty water bottles. Coachella has a recycling program where you trade in 10 empties for a new bottle.

4. Porto-potties

Not fun but manageable if you stick to the trailer potties behind the regular ones. Once in, there's a little fan on top of your toilet, use it. Take advantage of the running water and wash your hands good (not to drink). Toilet paper may run out so carry some tissue/napkins with you also.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Heat, Heroes and Spicy Pie

Carlos and I have been going to shows together since 2002. We've followed our favorite musicians to the bay area, to San Luis Obispo, to Mexicali and all over the Los Angeles area to support the music we love. Then we got pregnant and our dates with the night became less frequent. Coachella changed for us, what was first a place to see the bands we had been fanatical about on the biggest stage of their career has become the space for us to discover or reconnect with bands we love. It's fun to see other musicians as fans. We've seen the members of Cafe Tacuba walking the fields every year since 2001, we've seen Thom Yorke gush over the fact that he's playing right after the Pixies. It's cute to see, but here are my top 3 favorite encounters:::

The Arcade Fire- I had just found out I was pregnant and Carlos had just had gall bladder surgery a week before. We still were there, slow motion and on a different level. The Arcade Fire had been given the honored sunset time slot at the Outdoor theater. They gave a memorable show and later on during Bright Eyes set there they were there. I told Regine this was my home and thanks for playing, I rambled happily. They shook our hands, she felt my belly.

Elefant- Diego Garcia is a tall gorgeous Argentino. We had seen his band like 5 times in 2003, Carlos and I told him after a show that we would be seeing him at Coachella one day. That's true, we really were into that first album and believed in him. Then guess who comes up to Carlos while we're walking through Coachella but Diego himself. Like what?!? Nos saluda con besito y abrazito y todo. Ahhh great.

Huell Howser- This is the most recent OMG moment of celebrity status. I may have strutted/skipped my 8 month pregnant belly towards him but I just had to. I wanted to thank him and then I end up on his show. Great time.

It's not just about the people you encounter, or the friends you spot out in the mass of thousands, or the complete beatdown you get just from walking from the parking lot... it's the total experience. I'll stop when it's not fun for me anymore. I look forward to the sunny cloudless day, the tent to stage shuffle, the $6 pizza slice. Doesn't bother me yet.

Plan smart for the sun set. Some of my favorite memories are watching the sun go down as the magic begins. When the sun goes down it becomes a different party.

Chuntster's Guide to Coachella

The Coachella Valley is my home, doesn't matter where I live. When I was a student at Indio High School I always wanted cool shows to go to. The date festival concerts, the Art Laboe killer oldies concert, the POWER 101 summer concert jam, the backyard and palm grove 'raves', the all ages clubs and the many 15neras were my only musical outlets.

The real Coachella is a hard working Mexican community. In the 90s it was known for its banda clubs and the Chalino/cowboy look was born and bred here. This is the city that boasts Pollo Dieta buy one get one free chicken Sundays and the original Toda Moda. Coachella also had a mala fama of being a cholo hangout. So this is why it boggled my mind when in 1999 a music festival down the street from my home base was going to be called COACHELLA. It's still hilarious to me that Coachella is on the map, it's a true international word now synonymous as a meeting place for music lovers. Really? Really.

I'm in love with this festival and I have ten years worth of stories to share. I'll be posting up some tips for newbies, there are some essentials to survive the desert. I have been victim to mistakes: wearing black pants that made my sweaty legs turn purple, the chafing situation (come on big girls you can relate) losing cameras and friends. Coachella 1999 made me so happy, but I left thinking "this is never going to happen again". The landscape seemed so huuuge then since there weren't that many of us, now you literally sweat other people's sweat.

Monday, April 12, 2010


we are days away from our musical pilgrimage. i think i'm sharing too much on facebook and i guess most of my 'friends' don't care. this week i get excited, we'll be back to the sunny blue skies, the soft green grass and 3 days of non stop music. how is that not the best?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

buried alive

i watch the show hoarders, a little too much. it just intrigues me to see people become possessed by their possessions. some of us are owned by our homes and cars, working hard to pay them off but this hoarding thing is a little different. it's trash to us, but to them it's theirs.

i'm always making up stories about my neighbors (in my head) and this morning the jungle house with the parked car full of trash had visitors. on his way to work carlos saw the cops outside that house. i went out to see a sheriff and several cops outside still talking, animated with their hands. i asked the postal worker dropping off mail if she knew what happened. she said the coroner was there-they found a dead body. i didn't ask much, i just said that we really have to take care of our elders. in my head, the person found is an older man, his house full of papers, junk mail, books and cats. his home became a great tomb like the pharaohs of egypt. what is trash to us, is gold to them. rest in peace.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

the earth quakes

it's been in the back of my mind since i was in high school. the MEChA central conference at UCR had a workshop on the end of the world, i forget but the long haired xicano power told us teenagers that 2012 was it for us. perhaps. i remember reading somewhere, or maybe i heard it on cristina, that our calendar was 2 years off. so this year would indeed be 2012. perhaps.

what we know is that there has been major earthquakes this year. i remember telling my earth science class last year that there is only one major jumbo quake a year (7.0+). it's only april and there has been haiti, chile, mexicali and now indonesia. i'm not even checking the official stats, it's been a lot.

i'm thinking that i should not care about my awesome fico score anymore and just play with the credit again. i want to go to the hollywood bowl all summer and watch dudamel at the walt disney hall. i want to travel to mexico and guatemala and show off the babies before they can protest. i want to a house in the desert. i want a long weekend in santa barbara. i want to eat fancy. simple little dreams, i just want simple for a while before it all gets complicated.