Let Me Coach You: Fast Times at Coachella
A young white man with a shaved head was touring the grounds of Coachella wearing a neon green tank top with a charming photo of Carlton Banks screen printed on it. On top of the T-shirt, he had a wool cardigan sweater akin to the signature threads worn by the character immortalized on his chest. This ironic display was so calculated, yet so unexpected. The only thing that would have made it more appropriate would be if it was worn by a black kid, actually FROM Bel Air. They must exist at least not just in Ladera Heights—the Black Beverly Hills referred to on Frank Ocean’s, “Sweet Life.” Rather than shake my head, or scoff at how convenient homeboy wore his raging ’90s nostalgia, I chased him down and just asked him to confirm for me what I just caught a glimpse of out the corner of my eye. He opened up his sweater as wide as his smile. My only response was a smirk, and I replied, “I see you. I see you.” My camera dangling from my neck, iPhone in hand, I had no interest in taking his photo to later exploit him like so many others do in this culture vulture business. I was taken back because I saw something out of the ordinary even though the wild outfits are to be expected at Coachella.
There was this one girl dressed like Little Bo Peep, who stepped on the back of my boo’s ballerina flats, and kept it moving. I wanted to roll up to her like the Big Bad Wolf to get an apology. It’s not like anyone walking through the fields is elbow-to-elbow where stepping on someone’s toes is inevitable. The New York side of me playfully wanted to admonish Bo Peep for her transgression. But nothing about Coachella is about confrontation. You’re here to coexist (P.S. The XX is playing tonight). I was just playing at the end of the day about getting tough with a character from a nursery rhyme. I also have to remember, I’m a newcomer to Coachella. I’m on their turf popping my cherry at the biggest music festival I’ve seen in my life. I’m not even gonna Google what could be bigger in scale. The ride on the Ferris Wheel with my boo proved that the amount of space Coachella covers has to be over a few acres. And one of its greatest accomplishments is making everyone a slave to the rhythm to a cornucopia of music and art.
I walked in to see a giant snail being spray painted. Hours later, the snail was mobile, moving around Coachella with people touching its squishy, reflective exterior. When’s the last time you stopped and looked a snail, at least before contaminating it with our fingertips, or salt. Maybe this is a sign to use snail mail. Everything is so fast now, take a moment to move at the snail’s pace. What if Kobe Bryant just shot a turnaround jumper instead of driving to the hoop which would result in injuring his Achilles Heel. This is a man whose every step is under the microscope. To think, regardless of speed, or in the absence of it, there are forces beyond your control. Kobe will be alright, despite how damaging this is his hopes and dreams; all the hard work that went into this season’s journey. This is me, a Knicks
fan lifer saying this. Robert Randolph and the Family Band, who scores Friday Night Knicks, has a catchphrase, “doing it just to get there.” The process of experiencing Coachella has made it all worthwhile. Every detail has been consumed. Except trying to articulate it in a matter of sentences amidst the feeling of cotton mouth is damn near impossible. Using big words to summarize a flurry of sentences is how I resort to keeping the conversation going. That’s just day one.
By the way, Palma Violets is the band you should know.