Terror in the Underground

I would like to know whom subway ads are marketed towards.  Not me, surely.  My guess is that it’s for people that watch the local nightly news.  Grim people with a sick obsession for knowing about every stabbing, neighborhood rape spree, and other various horrifying things that are generally out of one’s control.  These are the people who don’t realize that the awareness of such only inspires them to be a suspicious apartment hermit.  Or maybe they do and they’re okay with that.  In which case, these people are truly sick.  I prefer to remain blissfully ignorant.  Safe in a bubble of naivety, because, in the end, what the hell can I do about anything?

The subway walls as of late have been well, rather depressing.  The first time I noticed the fear mongering I was subconsciously absorbing every time I traveled via subway was a series of photographs depicting the indecipherable interior of an open body next to a person wearing an oxygen mask.  There were other images that I have blocked out of memory.  The moment was very reminiscent of one time at Valley Bob’s Driving School, when I spent one air-conditioned afternoon watching Red Asphalt with twenty other fifteen year olds.  For those of you know don’t know, Red Asphalt is a midcentury scare tactic classic “documentary”.  It’s is pretty much like watching that scene from American History X involving a sidewalk and a man’s face being split in two over and over and over again until you need to leave the room.  The purpose of course being to inform teenagers of the dangers of driving, as well as a real graphic education on what your insides look like when worn on the outside.

Aside from all of the unsolicited gore, my main problem with this subway message was that whatever it was trying to communicate was lost on me because the words were in Spanish.  There was no context for what I was looking at, and that made it ever the more disturbing.  The image of moist, red, veined flesh being poked by some silver instruments was enough to make me throw up.  Literally, I didn’t eat all day after I saw it.

There comes a point when marketing is overtly invasive.  This was one of those times.  I refuse to watch medical shows on the Discovery Channel because I am overly squeamish.  I flip through the channels and if I accidentally catch a squirt of blood coming out of a body tarped with a thin blue paper sheet, I close my eyes, scream “Oh my God!” and press furiously on the channel changer.  The fact that I have to sit underneath this photograph for eight stops against my will makes me both nauseous and totally peeved.

I got off of the subway that day wondering if what I had been subjected to was actually legal.  If so, it shouldn’t be.

Later, on yet another subway ride, the same series of images was plastered above my head, only this time it was accompanied by English subtitles.  The gruesome tactics were apparently being used as an anti-smoking campaign.  I felt a little bit better for a few reasons:

1)   It gave the gore context.

2)   Smoking is, in fact, bad.  Sorry, dudes.

Even though I am a die-hard nonsmoking advocate, I still don’t want to get on the subway and see this shit.  I’m just trying to get from Point A to Point B.  Just because I buy a MetroCard doesn’t mean I’m signing up to be a captive audience for preachers with a high tolerance for the sight of blood and open-heart surgeries.

Yesterday, while riding down from Chelsea, I saw a poster I had seen before.  On it was a solemn looking African American male, his eyes downcast and his mouth in a pensive, droopy frown.  The accompanying pseudo thought bubble read, “I wish there was something I could have done to help her” next to the campaign slogan “Abortion changes you.”  There should be an ad for antidepressants next to it because that’s what I’m going to need after taking public transportation for the coming years.

Next time I take the subway, I’ll just make sure to stare at the passengers and not at the walls.  Then again, sometimes that gets pretty depressing, too.

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Burnout

The morning looks hot outside of my window.  It’s one of those New York days where the sky is a vibrant periwinkle and the light reflects off the sidewalks like it does off of snow.  Overexposed.  Hyper bright.  When you live here you quickly learn that sun does not equate warmth.  Despite the fact that sun bounces off of windows and glares in through my curtains, it’s probably below 50 degrees, depending on the month.  Usually the days that look like these are the coldest ones – probably because you go out into it unprepared and underdressed.

I put on a pair of brown jeans and a gray tank top.  I put black high heels in my black canvas bag and I grab a pair of lavender socks to hide in the lace up boots I’ll be wearing until I have to put on the heels for a casting.  Look taller, look thinner.  That type of thing.  I button one button on my cardigan, pull on my leather jacket, wrap a giant knit scarf around my neck, and walk outside.

It’s seventy degrees out.

Within steps from my building, I’m already stripping off layers.  I was specifically instructed to wear pants for this casting otherwise I would turn right back around and give this day the shorts it deserves.  In addition to avoiding the beads of sweat that will inevitably accumulate, I would like to tone down the piercing shade of alabaster my skin has become.  But I’m late for my casting so I continue on, making my way through the depths of southern Chinatown.

I am surprised by how little I know my neighborhood.  I can attribute this largely to the weather hindering my sense of adventure.  Moving during the dead of winter doesn’t necessarily inspire one to take in all of the sights all at one time.  There are more parks than I knew about.  They are putting in new blue and red play sets for children in one of them.  It’s fenced off for now.

The trees are starting to grow leaves and the city looks calmer, greener.  You forget that these trees have leaves at all until spring comes around.

I keep walking east and I pass Forsyth Street and remember that just weeks ago there was a terrible fire here that destroyed two buildings and killed an old man.  I scan the skyline, looking for some indication as to where those buildings might be.  My eyes rest on a closed off street filled with giant metal dumpsters and a crane coming in and out of view, dumping mouthfuls of rubble and then disappearing to bring back more.  I turn to walk away, debating as to whether my curiosity has been satiated or not.  I can do see it later, I think to myself, but then I realize that there’s a very real possibility that there won’t be a later.  They’re already tearing down the building; it might be gone entirely by the time I walk home.

There is a crowd of predominately Asian people watching the demolition from the sidewalk of the baracaded street.  Where there once was a building is now a giant gaping hole in between the rectangular brick walls of the surrounding structures.  A man from the top of the adjacent burned out building – a building that is going to be torn down after this one – uses a firehose to spray down the ash and dirt being kicked up on the site below.

The giant yellow crane comes back with more debris, its contents burned and crumbled beyond recognition.  Everyone’s things turned into ash and disintegrating particles.

I stand and watch a few minutes, saddened by the sight of such an old building being forced to come down.  It’s so strange how we perceive New York to be this nearly static infrastructure.  The buildings and streets give the false appearance of infallibility and permanence.  Everything has been here so long that you can’t imagine it any other way.  The brick and concrete and bodies and mess turn into this organic thing, even though this dense city was once just a small patch of land, covered in trees and surrounded by water.

I watch and I am overcome with the same feeling I get when someone dies.  There is confusion and shock.  Your brain argues with rationality and irrationality.  You know that everything must come and go but when it happens it seems so…so impossible.  The finality is almost too much to comprehend and no matter how much you try, you never fully do.  Your brain eventually tires of thinking about it, and so you stop thinking about it and time passes and the person’s lack of presence just becomes part of the norm, allowing your life to regain an adjusted sense of homeostasis.  But you never, ever understand the end.  Because that would just be too much.

The water sprays down and the people watch and I stand squinting for a few second longer and I leave to continue my day until the details become fuzzy and irrelevant.

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President Obama is in the Building

The job is at the Regent Beverly Wilshire.  We’ve been given an absurdly early call time.  The sun is barely rising as I drive through Los Angeles sans traffic; this is pretty much the only time I don’t hate this city, which means that the other 355 days a year that I don’t wake up at 5 AM are spent grinding my teeth and praying for some obscure plague to come through Hollywood and wipe out half of the population with driver’s licenses.  This would be a welcome genocide.

The girls have been notified that Mr. Barack Obama will be staying at the hotel and that we should be prepared for heightened security.  I walk down Wilshire Boulevard, holding an iced coffee and managing the hair flying in my face, and watch as a police officer stands behind a car barricading the south side of Rodeo Drive, eyeing me as I pass.  As I bend down to fix the zipper at my heel, I am seized with the irrational fear that this police officer is not watching me because I am wearing leggings with revealing holes all over them, but that he suspects me of subterfuge.  Does he think I’m going for a gun?  Does he think I am a diversion for some terrorist plot?  I stand back up slowly, making no sudden movements, like one does when in front of a rabid dog.

Further afield, a group of tan uniformed officers stand in a huddle formation, discussing what I assume to be a safe exit strategy for our president.  Neither party accidentally takes me out.  Imagine that.

I enter the front part of the hotel, the smell of a seven AM cigar being carried with me, having attached itself to my trail after passing an older gentleman outside who has pretty much decided that his life will be spent doing whatever the hell he wants – including smoking a stogie before breakfast and a wearing a navy pinstripe suit.

The hotel is all marble and wood.  Giant floral arrangements.  It always feels impossibly grand, but today, the presence of Obama in the building gives the place an undeniably heightened sense of importance.  I walk past silent hotel concierge, everyone hushed and reverent on account of the early hour and the president.  It’s like being inside of a mausoleum.

In between the north side and the south side of the hotel is a cobblestone driveway I am accustomed to seeing expensive cars breeze through while finicky old women adjust the clasps on their diamond tennis braceletes, waiting for their Maybachs.  Today is comparatively silent.

The security detail is on the other side of white painted French doors.  A man holds back a hungry looking German shepherd.  Three men stand at a table, collectively manning a temporary metal detector.  I put my purse down and say something along the lines of “This is so exciting” and pass under the cream plastic frame with nary a beep.  I collect my belongings, pulling my purse over my shoulder, as the German shepherd behind me jumps to attention, gnashing his teeth and barking like a canine sociopath.  “RESPECT!” the handler yells, placing a strong leg in front of the dog’s chest.  I move quickly towards the safety of the staircase, imagining that this dog would have no qualms about killing me before this job.

Dear Barack Obama, thank you for spicing up the beginning of an ordinary day.

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Trending: Coachella 2010

It’s that time of year again, time to see what the “hip” kids are up to.  There’s no better place on earth to see how today’s “counter culture” is acting out against things like health care policies, our country’s participation in wars, how Haiti’s doing after the quake.  Oh, wait.  I forgot there is no counter culture these days, only people who dress like they’re anti-establishment.  Bring on the feathers; I’m a fucking free love hippie!

With that I bring you this year’s Coachella 2010 trends.

1.  The Neo-Hippie

Largely a trend with the female population, these girls went all out trying to embody what it looks like to be part of the “free love” movement.  It doesn’t matter if they don’t know what the whole era was actually about.  What matters is that their suede leather headbands get wrapped around their tousled hair just so and their long jersey dresses drag along the ground just enough to prove, “Hey, man.  I don’t really care about things like dirt.”

On the positive side, this borderline trend in conservative hemlines meant that I saw fewer ass cheeks this Coachella season.

2.  Animal Costumery

There was a certain demographic this year that had perhaps been subconsciously influenced by Miike Snow’s delightful tune “Animal” circa 2009.  Bear witness to my bunny ears!  I’m still an animal.  See me?  In my full-body pony suit?  I’m still, I’m still an animal!

3.  Straw Hat Fedoras

Look at any picture from the fest and it’s like finding Where’s Waldo in the BahamasCasablanca for the summer of our youth.  The look is both dapper and casual.  A perfectly sensible and fashionable way to protect your delicate man-face from the hot Indio sun.

4.  Coachella or Bust!

Maybe it’s due to the extreme glacial pace in which I entered the polo field’s parking lot, both seriously impacting my attitude and observational skills, but I was noticing way more awful enthusiastic Coachella car art.  “Coachella or Bust!” being the phrase of many.  I understand where these people are coming from; when I was on my travel softball team in elementary school, we’d get real geared before a good game.  Tear it Up Turquoise Terrorers!  Hit That Ball, Femme Fetales!

But, hey, who am I to harp on the delight of children grown adults.

5.  The Street Hostess

In effort to serve the really fucking bored people idling away on Jefferson Blvd, I watched two ladies waft from car to car greeting people.  These are the types of people that get up during airplane rides and wander the aisles silently.  The difference is that these ladies take every open window as an opportunity to make casual conversation.

I don’t know if they were really the most popular girls on the block or if they came with a caravan of two hundred cards, but I’m sure these girls contributed to the general maintaining of order on the agonizing drive in with their smiles and cans of soda pop.  Fans of The Whitest Boy Alive can get pretty rowdy.

6.  Not Having Tickets

Despite what I consider to be Coachella’s biggest faux pas to date (trumping even that Jack Johnson headliner accident) in which Goldenvoice decided to no longer sell show dates a la carte, the concert still sold out.  Much to the surprise and chagrin of quite a few Los Angeles friends, long used to waiting until the last minute to score some tickets, many were left grasping for straws.

Were the promoters of Coachella 2010 secretly trying to champion the virtues of responsibility and forethought?  Is planning in advance the new waiting ‘til the last minute?  Is Goldenvoice attempting a stealth mission to reshape the blasé attitude of our hipster youth?  My prediction for next year, assuming Coachella will stick to their one ticket for the whole weekend policy, is that the polo field will be littered with young lads and lasses rocking some serious pastel Izods and Sperry Topsiders (non-ironically).

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Coachella as a Labor of Love

As a (now former) Angeleno and avid music lover, Coachella has always been an annual “Must Do.”  In theory, the festival presents itself as the ultimate opportunity to fulfill every ADD musical taste bud you’ve ever had.  Countless bands over the course of three days take multiple stages and play to everyone’s respective heart’s delight.  It’s an audio orgy.

In practice, Coachella is a litmus test for life.  Just how bad do you want this?  Just how bad do you want to party, to dance, to see bands that you’ve been listening to religiously for weeks or years?  What are you willing to do to make this work?  Coachella isn’t just about music; it’s about a test of mettle.  In this way, Coachella is a lot like love and the getting there is like a relationship.  Love being the goal, of course, and everything else being the navigation of bullshit that it requires.

Coachella vs. Love

1.  Money

I’ve never been the boy in a relationship for obvious reasons, but I’ve heard rumors that dating a bitch can be quite costly.  These are the early stages, of course, when courtship and con-artistry is key to the panty dropping that sometimes leads to accidental love.  Whoops.  These are the first dates, the ones that boys insist on paying for to assume the role of “chivalrous gentleman.”  Dinners, movies, general gallivanting.  Boys, it’s pricey to get laid these days.

Coachella is much like the aforementioned “bitch.”  They’re both expensive.  To get there, you need to fill up your gas tank to the brim.  It’s over a 300-mile round-trip, not including the idling you’ll do for hours on end, burning fuel like we’re not in the middle of a global warming epidemic.  Next, you’ll need some sort of ticket.  That’ll cost you just shy of $300.  Lodging is also required.  Food, unless you’re a tweaker, is yet another expense.  Drugs, if you are a tweaker, will cost you some cash.

Be prepared to break that piggy bank, boys and girls.  This bitch ain’t cheap.

2.  Primping and Preening

In order to get a gentleman or lady friend, it is preferable to have good taste and grooming.  Look like you shower sometimes.  Have your clothing free of obvious stains and sweat circles.  Oh, nevermind.  None of these things are an imperative at Coachella.  Allow me to rephrase.  In both situations – in dating and Coachella – playing the part is part of the game.  You want to marry a rich dude?  Look like a rich dude’s bitch.  You want to look like really fucking super hip?  Do that.

The only way you’ll ever make it onto the subsequent Coachella fashion blogs is to dress as cool as you possibly can.  Out cool the cool people, as it were.  Don’t match on purpose.  Pull out eight of your favorite vintage lace pieces and layer the hell out of them.  Cover yourself in body paint.  Shave your head.  If you don’t feel like shaving your head, find a unicorn costume and wear that.

I can assure you, despite the way it might appear, Coachella is not about the effortless cool.  You have to try.  I know people who plan their festival outfits weeks in advance.  Each item is a carefully chosen, thought out item that the wearer believes best represents them as an individual.  Fashion as depth [insert entertained laughter here].

3.  Effort

Be prepared to work.  As the cliché goes, the best things in life ain’t easy.  The best things in life require effort.  In life, in love, in Coachella.  If your girlfriend is a hard-core Vegan and you’re madly in love with her, you’re going to have to chow down on some seitan a few times to prove it.  If you dream about Jay Z in your sleep and you’d rather die than miss him rap while wearing sunglasses at night, you’re going to have to deal with the fact that it’s going to take you time and money to do so.  If it means that much to you, you’ll do it.

Trust me, being single is a lot easier than being in a relationship (with the occasional bout of self-confidence obliterating loneliness) and going to Coachella is a shit ton more work than not going.

4.  Selective Amnesia

Every year, there is inevitably one point during Coachella – maybe in the midst of heat stroke, maybe after accidentally peeing on your own foot in a Porta Potty, maybe after forking out $40 in bottled water – when you think, Maybe this year will be my last year…Maybe I’m just not cut out for this.

Despite whatever amazing bands you’ve seen over the course of the last 48 hours, you’ll be driving the 150 or 1000 miles back from whence you came, your eyes barely open and a free hand rubbing aloe vera on your sunburned shoulders, smearing Neosporin on your blistered feet, and nursing some impending anxiety about your upcoming credit card statement.  Somewhere in that moment, you’ll question your sanity.  Who the hell does this to themselves?

Such is with love.

After someone you love – someone you’ve watched in their sleep just to see what the person you’re in love with looks like in total baby-like repose, someone you’ve cooked dinners with, met the family of, cuddled night after night after night – when that person says to you, “Hey, uh, yeah, I don’t think I love you anymore,” your heart shatters and you cry and you say to yourself, “Never again…I mean, not [sob] for awhile [sob]…Or maybe ever…I don’t know [wail].”

But inevitably, enough time passes and you forget the bad things about loving someone so much, the hurt that comes when it doesn’t work out, and you remember what love feels like when love feels good.  And you do it all over again.

Any doubt I have about Coachella eventually gets trumped with memories like Jose Gonzalez’s guitar picking under a tent, dancing barefoot to Arcade Fire, lying down under the stars during Sigur Ros, watching Bjork’s bizarre costume essentially dance itself on stage.  The excitement takes over like tingles.  The potential for magic is so readily there, you just can’t say no to it…even if it does kick you in the ass sometimes.

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Coachella 2010: Getting there is (way freaking more than) Half the Journey

It’s Friday at 11 AM.  I get a phone call from a friend saying he has a ticket for me and, even better, it’s free.  I want to leap through the phone and squeeze his cheeks but I can’t so I resort to saying “I fucking love you” while sitting next to my mother driving on the 101.  The shows start in an hour and I’m already late.  It’s go time.

Before I left New York I had packed specific items for my Coachella adventure.  Coachella is like a fashion battleground.  Be prepared for war.  The first was a see-through calf-length black lace skirt from The Limited 1987 Collection and the second was a see-through cheetah print skirt, also knee-length and with an elastic waistband.  Kelly Kapowski dreamed about this shit in her sleep.

But, as is the case sometimes, my stylistic impulses go unrewarded and in the end I can’t be bothered with picking the right undergarments to put on display for 75,000 concertgoers.  In a rush, I throw on the first thing I see rolled up in a ball in my old bedroom: a leopard print, tie-at-the-waist dress that I tear the shoulder pads out of while standing next to my sink.  When I turn around I remember that I need to pin up the slit in the back of the skirt that allows a full view of both butt cheeks.  Now, that won’t do.

By the time I leave, it’s already 1 PM.  I have wasted two hours farting around and drinking lattes while my mom walks me through her new and improved backyard.  The first band I want to see goes on around 4 and Indio is only two and a half hours away.  What’s the rush?

As I pull onto the 101 from Woodland Hills, I already see brake lights.  Unless there is an accident in the next two miles causing the holdup, this is generally a bad sign.  It’s twenty-five miles to downtown and if my jumpstart into this journey is off to a roaring 18 MPH, I’m pretty much screwed.  But as I continue driving I realize there’s no accident, there’s just a billion people living in Los Angeles now and every one of them feels the need to be on my damn freeway.

The 101 is so bad that when the 405 presents itself as a potentially faster moving option, I get on it.  Anyone who has ever lived in LA knows that to fully commit to the 405 is borderline suicide.  But today, I mean business.  I’m getting to Indio, no matter what.

While the 405 is actually 1/10th of the hideous beast it usually is, the 10 proves to be a real bitch.  It takes me so long to get from the Fairfax exit to the La Brea exit, that I’ve forgotten I’m even on the 10 Freeway.  My brain is actually having difficulty perceiving just how slow I am traveling.  Frankly, I could walk faster.

Two and a half hours later and I have traveled 48.2 miles.  I’m honestly contemplating just heading back to LA and calling it a day.  My average speed has been a paltry 20-ish MPH.  The prospect of seeing a few of my favorite acts perform in the flesh is becoming a total fantasy.  I’ve got over one hundred miles to go.  La Roux at 5 PM?  Yeah, let me know how that goes.

Had I known I would be in the car for this many consecutive hours, I would have packed provisions.  All I grabbed from my mother’s house was a box of gluten free brown rice crackers and some trail mix, both of which fall between my legs and get stuck in the cracks of my seat.  I have run out of water hours ago, but that’s probably for the best.  As Puffy once said, “More water, more pit stops.”

Only when I am thirty miles out of Indio am I actually able to get my car up to 60 MPH.  Sweet release.  I drive past the giant windmills while rubbing life back into the sides of my legs that went numb around 4 PM.  When I exit the freeway at Washington Blvd.  It is roughly 6 PM.  Five hours.  Five freaking hours.

But wait, there’s more.

Getting off at Washington turns out to be a brief and blessed accident.  The road is suspiciously clear and for a second I think, Is Coachella even happening today?  The lack of parking-lot dense traffic is both welcome and confusing.  When I reach 48th Avenue I remember I need to take a left and head in the direction of the polo fields.  Still clear.  Weird.

Nearing Jefferson Blvd, traffic begins to grind to a halt.  From this point forward, I could theoretically turn my car off, put it in neutral, and push it for the next mile – a journey that takes me another two and a half hours.

What do you do while sitting in a car for that long, you ask?  Allow me to enlighten you.  The following are from notes I took in my Moleskin while driving.

Words from Hades:

“Wind blows through palm and citrus trees and through my sort of natural blonde hair.  An hour on Jefferson so far.  8 billion people walk past me.  The sun goes down.  No need for sun block today.   A man the color of old cheap chocolate rides past me on a bicycle.  I wish I drove a Prius.  Two emaciated boys in front of me play Chinese Fire Drill in a blue Honda Civic, although “drill” infers a sense of urgency, but there’s nowhere to go so that’s hardly the case.  People throw cigarette butts out of windows.  Some boy in obnoxious neon glasses yells for me to give him my ticket because I’m by myself and “going solo to Coachella isn’t cool!”  I resist the urge to get out of my car and punch him in his stupid face.  They pass by me quickly.  I get out and stretch my hamstrings.  I turn on my headlights.  Somewhere on my dashboard “2:00h” blinks for the third time today.  Six hours.  Motherfucker.  I’m approaching about the same travel time as my flight from New York to Burbank yesterday.  Yesterday!  Good Lord, my hips hurt.  I get out and stretch again.  I feel like taking a piss in the rosebushes because it’s already been two hours since I got off of the freeway.  A girl most likely on drugs sits down on the side of the road in protest while a boy in a green shirt, presumably her boyfriend, pleads with her to get up.  He pulls on her skinny arms attached to a skinny torso barely covered with denim overalls and a bikini top.  She pulls herself upright and travels lazily forward.  Oh youth.  Fuck this traffic.”

At 8:20 PM I pull into a parking spot in the last lot at the polo fields, totally ready to not rabble rouse.

Sigh.

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LCD Soundsystem – Webster Hall

We manage to snake through the crowd, settling in a spot I would classify under the heading “Pretty Damn Good.”  Our positioning for the glory that is LCD Soundsystem is about five feet away from the stage and directly under some serious speakers.  It is clear by the end of the first song if I don’t purchase some protection in the form of bright orange expandable foam, my ears are going to be permanently wrecked within the hour.  As much as I would love to listen to this band unfiltered and unadulterated, I still want to be able to hear the coos of my future grandchildren in fifty years.

Boys in plaid tune instruments onstage.  All of them are fairly nondescript, Brooklyn dudes.  A little round around the edges, hip because they’re not hip at all, that type of thing.  After I’m done staring at the man wearing all tan and a perfectly groomed and hallowed, half-visible cheekbones, I turn my attention to people behind me.  For the most part, the demographic tonight is predominately male, an observation I find surprising because I never thought of LCD as being the purveyors of theme songs for testosterone.

The lights come down and everyone takes that as their cue to get real enthused.  A few of the boys that I thought were roadies are actually in the band.  Keeping it real, as it were.  The rest of the band comes out in pieces.  The petite Asian keyboarder with pretty black hair that gets matted and clumpy by the end of the set, heavy and damp with sweat.  The drummer reminds me of someone from the Mamas and the Papas for whatever reason.

When James Murphy, the lead singer, comes out, I am surprised.  He has dishwater blonde hair – the thick kind that is hard for boys to figure out what to do with; it’s not thin enough to style, it’s not curly enough to fro-pick it, it’s just…there.  His shoots forward, straight past his forehead, pitching out and down like the edge of a cliff.  He is a little out of shape and older than I imagined.  None of this is distracting or bad or relevant in the slightest.  What threw me the most is realizing I didn’t have a preconceived picture in my head for LCD at all before I saw them.  There are some bands that so well articulate how you feel at a particular moment in life, whether through a song or, if you’re lucky, through an entire album, that their voice essentially commandeers your own.  Your memories are not narrated by your own account of things, but through the lyrics of a song or the thudding of a baseline.  Seeing a band in the flesh is like seeing your thoughts personified, the soundtrack of your life physically manifested.

I can’t remember what they perform first.  LCD’s songs are long-winded dance epics that are so masterfully crafted they read like three act plays.  The entire night becomes this series of seven-minute stories that I can only ride beside, dancing in a sea of people who change colors on the whim of lighting cues.  The wood floor beneath us groans with the weight of bouncing bodies and when I stand still I feel like I am on a wooden trampoline.

When the opening beats of “Someone Great” pulses through the speakers, I am immediately hopping up and down even though the song doesn’t call for more than agreeable techno soft shoeing.  The lyrics, like most of his lyrics, are simple and repetitive and they simultaneously resonate with both exuberance of youth and the wisdom of old age.  I feel like I’m listening to the process of growing up.

Something I’m kind of doing right now.

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