Where I gear up for what will no doubt be a hellish experience (but still, I’m going because sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone).

Down the Rabbit Hole

Two months ago, I said I was way too old to go to Coachella, and now here I am, packing.  Coachella is upon me.  My boyfriend and I are leaving tonight after he gets done with work.   I have no idea what to expect, and I won’t lie – I am full of trepidation.  Let’s be honest: Where does a forty-one-year old, divorced mother of two, attending the event with her twenty-four-year old boyfriend fit into this mix?   Does this ritual hold any context for me?  Will I be the High Priestess?  The Tribal Elder?  The Medicine Woman?  Or am I the old lady clutching her purse worried that her credit cards will be stolen.  I can’t say for sure.  But there will be plenty of  obstacles to overcome, that’s for certain.  For starters, I will be trapped in the desert (once we park, we cannot leave).  Never mind trying to get the shuttles to the various stages, and trying to coordinate my set list with that of my boyfriends (I refuse to go hear the Cribs), there are other very serious obstacles that must be overcome.  Procurement of food, tent sleeping, and public bathing come to mind.  Twenty-five thousand people in the desert, a couple hundred porta-potties, this will be no simple feat, and per my mother’s advice I’m bringing toilet paper.

The screenwriter in me can see it all so clearly.  There’s ME — the befuddled heroine of this misadventure trying to control her urge to give career advice to throngs of 20somethings while simultaneously beating off young, nubile girls bent on attacking my boyfriend.  There’s the BEST FRIEND in Brooklyn on high ‘text message’ alert.  I should add that she is busy working on the edit for her latest book READING WOMEN: How The Great Books of Feminism Changed my Life – which seems sort of ironic to me for some reason.  There are the RANDOM WACKY PEOPLE I’m sure I will meet in the pursuit of music, food and felt hat making (ever since I saw the Cooper Hewitt exhibit on felt I’ve been hooked).  And of course  there is THE LOVE INTEREST,  my boyfriend, who will be doubling as THE GUIDE (my Virgil if you will), although this is assuming he doesn’t get completely smashed and disappear on me, which he promised he won’t do, but he’s English and likes to drink, “It’s cultural,’ as he likes to say… so who knows.

Finally there’s the higher purpose for my character.  Loosely defined:  My ‘want’ or my ‘need’… And after considerable thought I’ve decided that my ‘want’ from Coachella is a perfect moment of the Spalding Grey variety.  If it can’t be ‘perfect’ I’ll accept transformative, or at the very least, I’ll settle for a sign.  I want to know that everything will be all right in the big sense of the word.

But of course as we all know, that kind of stuff only happens in the movies.

I guess the real me would settle for a little growth.  I’d like to stop being so self-aware for a moment and lose myself to something bigger than me.  I’d like to have a really fun time, or make a really great memory…

I don’t know if this will happen either, but I’m going, and I think that’s the main thing.  I’m not going to be a victim of inertia and habit.  I’m stepping outside my comfort zone, and at any age, that has to count for something, right?

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Right on Schedule

3 days to go… I feel I spiral coming.

I find free time to be problematic, as if I’m wasting time and I shouldn’t do that.  I’m not exactly sure why, but keeping busy, and being productive is sort of a mandate with me.  It’s not like I’ve got some Puritan Guilt thing, nor am I someone who has issues with pleasure, I guess I just find pleasure in being busy.  The problem is I exhaust myself, which is what happened today.  Seven loads of laundry, and the car is filled to the brim with stuff for Goodwill since I decided to rip apart the garage, and two closets.  Why can’t I just be the type of person who just comes home and has a cup of tea and glances at a magazine?

Oh well.  I did manage to get my Coachella schedule together.   Yes, I had to make some choices, but none of them were that tough.  Spoon vs Mutemath would have been tough – but thankfully I wasn’t forced into that corner.

p.s. – If you haven’t ever checked out Hypnotic Brass Ensemble I suggest you do.  They’re sort of like Blood Sweat and Tears without the vocals.  Hard not to love a band that has the tuba laying down all the grooves.  They remind me of Jaco Pastorius for some reason.

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Enter At Your Own Risk
 or… How Roller Skating Leads to Prostitution

Was there a time when Roller Skating was considered wholesome?

4 days to go… and this is what I’ve just seen on the Coachella website:


Please join us at the Down & Derby: A roller skate rink and party in CAMPING. It’s the best old school roller skating party this side of 1979!  Down & Derby will be open from 10PM to 3AM, Thurs night.  Free to all early campers!

DJ’s will be rocking your favorite roller rink hits from the 70’s and 80’s.
Enter at your Own Risk

Enter at your own risk.  Five very ominous words.  I’m sure you think that the “risk” they are referencing has to do with broken bones, but I know better…

A little background is probably in order.  In 5th grade Chip Marshall asked me to go roller skating.  Apparently there was a roller rink somewhere near where I lived in New Jersey, but I would be hard pressed to tell you where exactly.  Why is this?  Because my mother, a lapsed, yet repressed, Catholic, believed that the words “roller rink” were in fact code for “orgy”.  While my mother enjoyed the trappings of the free-wheeling 70s, (i.e. anti-war posters, batique art,  and chunky platform shoes) she had major issues with nudity, sex and roller rinks.  In her opinion, girls who went to roller rinks became prostitutes.   As a result, I was not allowed to go to the roller rink with Chip Marshall.  The romantic implications of this were swift.  Chip quickly moved on to Nancie McDonnell whose mother had no issue with her going to the roller rink, and for the record Nancie did not become a prostitute.

Of course it wasn’t the skating that my mother objected to, it was the roller rink itself that was problematic.  Apparently a roller rink was like a bordello with wheeled footwear.  My mom was very certain of this, “Things happen behind the bleachers,” she would say pointedly as if I were supposed to know exactly what was going on.  But I didn’t know what she meant.  Were they smoking? Or engaging in knife fights. I pictured it like West Side Story starring Pinky Tuskadero.

Still, I wanted to know what they were doing behind the bleachers (and why were there bleachers?).  From her tone, I thought that maybe she meant they were having sex, but when I said this to my mother she looked at me like I was crazy, “Not sex,” she said, “blow jobs.” Continue reading



Life’s Been Good To Me So Far…

Joe Walsh... the epitome of the bloated, addle-brained rock star...

8 days until my sonic imprisonment begins…


Going to see DEVO is really just an exercise in nostalgia. I think what the kids don’t realize is that back in the day none of us wanted to go see Devo.  Sure, you might sit through a show when they opened for someone (like I did with Flock of Seagulls when they opened for The Police) — but back then MTV was actually fresh and cool, and Devo had a few good videos that we all enjoyed, but that was pretty much it.  Now, if they have decided to have some sort of 80s panel at Coachella, during which they show Devo videos along with maybe Kim Carnes’Betty Davis Eyes and Video Killed The Radio Star, I’d be happy to follow up with an in-depth explanation of the cultural importance of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but otherwise I think I’m going to skip Devo.


Grammatical issues aside, I have to take this band seriously because it is Dave Grohls new endeavor and it will surely be on Tubbs’ Coachooser.  But as I listen, I’m already thinking that Them These Those Crooked Vultures seem to lack a relevance factor.

Two song titles include Scumbag Blues and Caligulove. Really?  I can see them sitting around Dave’s home studio just giggling at the genius of those titles.  This is what happens when overinflated egos collide with arrested development.   It just feels too cute somehow.

The thing that made the Foo Fighters great was that they emerged from the wreckage of KC’s death all raw and real.  They were full of emotions that couldn’t really be articulated because they were too fresh.  Believe me, I’m not saying that rich rock stars have to just disappear into the abyss or become recluses in their mansions –  but there is something to it.   The only alternative is to become self-aware about the whole thing, the way Joe Walsh does.

As I listen I find myself asking what’s their pain?  What are they angry about? Where is the quiet pathos or the screaming anger?  Where is the context?  Now that I think about it, what do they have to be angry about?   Nothing.  And maybe that’s the problem.

I suppose I will have to go to this, but fingers crossed they’re on at the same time as Florence+The Machine because I’d rather hear the rantings of an emotional twenty three-year-old who thinks she’s got it all figured out, than the self-important musings of a bunch of millionaires.

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9 days til Coachella.  

Okay, this is fast approaching and there’s more music to check out so without further rambling…

Kate Miller Heidke

It’s very gynopop. I feel like she’s the bastard child of Sarah McLoughlin and the blonde lady from ABBA.   How else can I describe this?  Hmmm… let me see: The Soundtrack from Chicago meets Paloma Faith?  Alternative pop folk with a theatrical twist? I don’t know really.  It’s all very harmless but to be honest I’m currently in the throws of a real estate depression.  I need to move, but at the same time I’m not seeing anything I like in my price range.  I want to go higher, but I have the fortune and misfortune of never knowning how much money I will earn a year, and therefore this presents an entirely new level of stress where gambling on future income.  I’m not in the right state of mind for this even though the song Are You Fucking Kidding Me? is sort of funny.

Faith No More

Funk Metal.  Bleh.  I could live without them.

Miike Snow

Swedish band.  Enough said.  Actually, here’s a fun thing to do if you find yourself dining with a Swede.  When the waiter asks ‘Are you finished?”  quickly blurt out, “No, he’s Swedish!”.  (Get it? Finish/Swedish…) This never gets old for me.  If only I had more Swedish friends to do that with.

Florence + The Machine

This is the stage name of Florence Welch, and despite her unfortunate name, which sounds like some sort of dishpan version of Raquel Welsh, I think I like this.  It’s got a raw quality that I appreciate. Oh! and I just found out that Flo’s mother was both a Renaissance scholar and a regular at Studio 54 (be still my beating heart).  I imagine her popping out in her DVF wrap dresses and Ferragamo heels with a copy of Calderon’s Life is a Dream tucked in her purse.  It doesn’t get more late70s glamourous than that – at least not in my book.  I also just learned (as I’ve been listening, and p.s. what did we do before Google?), that Florence suffers from OCD, ADD, insomnia, and dyslexia – so it’s good that she can sing, because honestly what else could she do?

But in all seriousness she has a great voice.  She’s sort of tortured but in an intelligent, strong-willed way.  I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve and therefore I appreciate it when others stand up and rail against misfortune (or real estate depression).  One click and I have just purchased her latest Lungs.  I’m actually excited to see her, which is shocking, given my current frame of mind.

Next up: A deconstruction of aging rock stars.

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Gary Numan’s Car

Vince Noir is friends with Gary Numan... I love that!

11 days to Coachella, and my mother’s mantra is… bring toilet paper

I love how in a way I’m becoming my mother.   I say this because I had this huge conversation the other night with a friend about why Gary Numan was an unintentional genius and how his patented synth slap from Cars was like some sort of bekon call to my generation, and how I also believed that it was a pre-curser to the Law and Order chung-chung.

My friend of course seemed confused, which I dismissed as idiocy, until I realized later that I kept referring to Gary Numan as Randy Newman.  This means that for the entire conversation my friend thought I was talking about the slightly bloated, raspy-voiced singer who opines that short people have no reason to live; and that in mentioning Cars he thought I was talking about the animated Disney movie.  So, this is really something of a clarification, although in my defense I knew who I was talking about. Continue reading

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My Parents on Coachella (Mom: There is no reason for you to read this post)

My mom hung this poster in my room when I was really little.

Somehow I managed to forget to tell my parents that Tubbs and I were going to Coachella.  Actually, I didn’t forget, I just avoided because I knew somehow it would get all mangled.  But it happened to come up the other day while we were at my son’s baseball game.

There’s a lot of chatting at baseball games, mostly because they take hours to complete and my mom, who was a teacher for years, enjoys critiquing the players who stink (i.e. ‘Does that boy have a learning disability?  or ‘The boy with the hat seems to lose focus, has he been tested?’).  Behind closed doors this doesn’t bother me, since I talk shit about everyone,  but when sitting amongst their parents it can make for tension, so I try to engage both my parents in conversation to keep them from veering off-track.   ‘Off-track’ can also include public neck rubbing (my mom will ask my stepdad to rub her neck)  and/or ear cleaning (my mom will jam her finger in my stepdad’s ears in a chimp like fashion) , so it’s important that I sit between them.

I should probably give you a quick visual as well.   A typical ensemble for my mom involves some sort of oversized billowy Eileen Fisher type top with waterproof sweatpants (the type with zippers on the bottom) from Marshall’s. In addition, she enjoys wearing Jesus sandals (as my sister likes to call them) with dark socks.  To top it all off, she wears cataract sun-glasses over her regular glasses. Continue reading

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