April 25, 2007
Coachella Valley Music Festival
Artists’ Parking Lot
Everyone’s in town at the big pre-festival shop. After a good few sunny hours spent unloading the rides and bikes onto Coachella’s midway, we at Cyclecide — half of whom hadn’t slept or eaten — went into Indio for some Denny’s and ice cream and air conditioning. Now the crew’s out at Home Depot and the grocery store, avoiding the heat and stocking up on supplies for the coming weekend.
ITEM!: Lest anybody be mistaken, Big Daddy would like all yall to know that there is only one catsup and that is Heinz. All other brands are ketchup and they are an abomination of nature. “Put that in your blog,” he said. Doing what Dad says.
We got the easy job: guarding camp to make sure nobody encroached on our space while the town-errands were done. So after some chicken fried steak we dipped into the coffeeshop in Indio, California, where we caught a ride with a Goldenvoice promotion company worker back to the site.
This woman we rode “home” with just finished filming a “fantasy-reality show” called Pirate Master, which premieres on May 31 on CBS, in which she and a dozen or so others got to dress up in period-correct pirate gear and sail a real ship around the Dominica Islands in the West Indies for three weeks and search for buried treasure.
We know, huh. Lucky duck.
We already lost our parasol, but found an Internet connection. The sun is going down and the houseflies won’t let us nap. More rich-guy RVs just pulled into the fenced-in Paul Frank lot (he’s doing all the merch — talk about bucks).
The sound engineers are blasting Gwen Stefani and bland testosterock out of Coachella’s mammoth speaker arrays at errant intervals to check the system. And some hippie standing outside his old van across the way from us right now is doing the weirdest version of yoga we’ve ever seen. It’s not qi gong or anything cool like that. It looks more like he’s stirring a couple invisible pots, or rocking the earnest lead-singer power-clench while he plays a hair-metal ballad in his mind’s eye.
Half of the SF freak-arts scene is slowly trickling in to set up camp — expertly, efficiently. Everything in its place. We’re all old pros now, cuz of working at the Burning Dude too. Carnies.
Jarico loathes it when people call him a “carny.” He insists he’s a “showman,” and that we’re “showpeople.” We say we’re both — one when we’re performing, and the other when we’re loading and unloading. But we digress.
We’re not even sure who’s playing at this festival. We just hope somebody in the Bike Rodeo remembered to bring the clown makeup before tomorrow’s first show.
Chicken’s bus will leave San Francisco shortly. In theory. By sometime tomorrow morning, this area of artists’ camping will be overtaken by clowns.
Time to work all night, on the under-side of showmanship.
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