Tag Archives: Spalding Gray

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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Perfect Moments (of the Spalding Gray variety)

57 days and counting…

Okay, so my big goal with this whole Coachella Experience is to have some sort of Perfect Moment of the Spalding Gray variety.  Of course, I’m not greedy.  If it can’t be ‘perfect’ I’ll accept transformative.  At the very least, I’ll settle for a sign.  But this means I have some homework to do.

My boyfriend, Tubbs is making me a daily playlist on our Sonos system.  This way I can get to know all one hundred twenty bands on the lineup.  There are going to be five stages, with bands playing simultaneously all day.  From what I’ve read, the most you can check out is eight to ten full sets a day.  I’m going for the low-ball at eight, but I need to find the right eight bands.  The plan is to listen to everything and take notes, judging the music on three criteria:

Does it make my heart pound or cause me anxiety?  If it does, I scratch that band off my list.

Does it make me happy?  I’m talking about a general feeling of joy similar to what I experience when I look at polka dots or multi-color stripes (Crate and Barrel has a line of striped table linens that brings me serious joy).  If so I put it on the list for both of us to check out.

Is it sufficiently dreary?  Tubbs was the first to name my ‘dreary’ side.  This isn’t a depressive thing, rather it relates to my secret desire to be a character from a Wes Anderson movie and/or a long lost member of the Glass Family.

These bands also go on the list, but there is the possibility that I may attend solo, in the event that Tubbs wants to go hear one of the heart palpitation bands.

So, if I do my homework, and establish a basic frame of musical reference, I will be leaving the door open for musical transformation (you can’t have a moment, if you don’t know the songs). With any luck, after three days, I’ll get my perfect moment (of the Spalding Gray variety), where I commune with the godhead and my Coachella experience ends on a joyous note of hope.

Next Up: The lineup, and what it means to me.