Observant Angelinos may notice that on one, or for the past few years 2, weekend(s) in April, the malls, trendy eateries, and farmers markets usually teeming with teens and coeds become effective ghost towns. Don’t even get me started on Intelligentsia or other hipster hotspots– I’m surprised Silverlake doesn’t officially completely shut down. For those of you clueless enough as to wonder why this is, I have three words for you: COA. CHELL. A. Though a hipster mecca, this music festival isn’t just for the oversized, lensless Ray Ban Wayfarer and ironic tee clad anymore. The pull of the Chella on the “with it” millennial is so strong, I even flew in from Philly this year. If you don’t know what Coachella is like you’re obviously a square, jk, but for real go look it up.
Weekend At Coachella
On our first day at the festival, I witnessed something so ridiculous, yet entirely representative of the Coachella experience. I saw a full-on Weekend At Bernie’s situation happening. No lie, a man was completely slumped over, his weight being carried by two friends on either side around whom his arms were resting. He had dark Ray Bans on, but I have no doubt his eyes were closed underneath. I can say with almost complete certainty, he wasn’t dead, but rather too messed up on an assortment of drugs and booze to move (nothing out of the ordinary at “Drugcella”). Either way, it was quite a sight to see. The guy was obviously not dead, but it made me think that if this were ever going to happen in real life, Coachella could very well likely to be the place. I can’t quite wrap my head around relating the plot specifics of the movie, but I did come up with a couple of scenarios. I would not put it past a devoted Chellite to make this their last request– one last hurrah. Yes, people are that diehard about Coachella (pun not intended). Also, if someone’s ticket was dependent on arriving with a certain, suddenly deceased, person (guest of an artist, for instance), I would not blink twice if that person Bernied their late friend… Coachella is sooooo worth it. Clearly the moral of this story is do not let me near your deathbed or funeral home unless you want to become a flesh and bones marionette….AND HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE!!! (ugh, pun was unintentional again).
Festival Fashion Faux-Pas
Festival fashion is an experience on its own. The grounds are a sea of crop tops, high-wasted shorts, neon, tribal prints, and topless (and bottomless) girls in nothing but pasties or bikinis. The quintessential Coachella accessory, however, is headgear. Headbands have always been a staple, but last year they were elevated to a new level with the flower crowns. I swear, 80% of the girls wore them last year, it was ridiculous. Then this year, they got even bigger (physically). It hurts me to even thing how uncomfortable it would be with all those giant roses on all day. Culturally, however, flower crowns are harmless…unlike the other two trends this year. (You’ll notice the Weekend At Bernie’s gang sporting all 3 trends at top)
Last year, among the flower girls, there was a smaller, but prominent, trend of wearing Native American inspired headdresses. While we’ve always looked to Native American style as inspiration for fashion, especially for festivals, the appropriation of an important cultural symbol, was deemed racist and offensive. I don’t want to get into my politics here…. that’s not what this is about…but you’d think after the uproar last year, Chellites would have stayed away so as not to offend, whether intentional or not. Well, you’d be wrong. Feather headdresses were even more common this year, even being sported by the Queen of Coachella, herself, Vanessa Hudgens (pictured above).
You may have asked or been asked to clarify “Indian” with “dot or feather,” well if that was feather, this is dot. The new trend that popped up this year was bindis. Celebs and regular folk alike were sporting crystals on their forehead all around the desert last weekend. Again, this is not about my personal views, but this must be considered offensive cultural appropriation as well, no? The internet seems a lot more divided on these than they do on headdresses, but they seem pretty similar to me. They are both culturally and religiously significant. While Ms. Hudgens of course rocked a bindi as well (in addition to a flower crown!), perhaps the most surprising, or at the very least, interesting, instance is Selena Gomez (above).* Since sporting a bindi and sari during a performance at last year’s MTV Movie Awards, Selena has been the target of protests by Hindu activists. Look, I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I definitely see why pretty stick on crystals are appealing (more so than headdresses), but I just know I’d sweat it off within minutes.
Personally, I’m just waiting for the big trend of Coachella 2014 to be yarmulkes!
“Bernie” and fashion were just the beginning of a string of ridiculous things. Here are a couple things that made me laugh:
GET A ROOM
I’m sorry, but no matter how high you are, you should know better than to have sex in the middle of a highly populated, but not densely packed, field. Yes, we walked past a couple(?) literally going at it in the middle of the grass, in full view of everyone– missionary, natch. It’s like, Hello, that’s what Port-A-Potties are for!
THE ROYAL KISS UP
This may be one of those “only funny if you were there” but it’s my blog and I can do what I want and I want to tell you what made me laugh. As we were backstage at Pharrell, my group and I were talking to a family friend about the acts we had seen. The friend told us, “I didn’t see Lorde. I didn’t really care about it so I just didn’t go to Lorde.” Not 5 seconds later, Lorde walks right up to where we are and the same guy turns around and says to her, “Lorde, I just have to say, you were so good today. Your set was absolutely amazing!” It was one of the funniest things I’ve even witnessed. While you may not be cracking up like we were, it is worth it to notice the level of ass-kissing that goes on in the music business and with celebrities in general. Speaking of Lorde, watching her dance to Happy after Pharrell pulled her on stage was one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever witnessed.
Update: Since posting this entry last night, the Selena Gomez instagram with a bindi has apparently been deleted. It’s clearly because Sel Sel reads this blog, duh. I’ve gone ahead and replaced it with a different instagram, let me know if you have any problems with this one too.