April 20, 2012 aka 4/20
5:30 p.m. – The weed was definitely in full swing when we arrived at Coachella during the tail end of Jimmy Cliff’s set. He sang his classics “I Can See Clearly Now,” which was sadly killed by that damn commercial, and my personal favorite, “The Harder They Come.” With record-breaking heat recorded at 104 degrees, we made history as being one of the hottest Coachella day ever. Eff you weekend 1ers, who frolicked in the desert comfortably with a high of 71, wearing cute boots and long socks, sweaters and scarves. I’m from L.A. and hadn’t felt heat like that since I was 10 and walked around in a bathing suit all summer. (Thanks to global warming, we’ve been spared over the years.)
6 p.m. – Dehydration hit us hard, so our first task was to find a drinking water station to fill up our water bottles. Everyone must have had the same idea because at 6 p.m. the lines were longer than Disneyland on a Saturday. We sucked it up and threw down $2 bucks for a small water bottle. Rehydrated, we passed through an interesting GIRLS set. Then I remembered KCRW’s segment on the best food at Coachella being the Asian BBQ. I ordered the combination plate, which came with a tasty BBQ chicken skewer, crispy egg roll, fried rice and chow mien. Living next to Monterrey Park, it was good, but not great. We demolished it with our backs to the sun as it slowly sank.
7 p.m. – With our bellies full, we were finally able to enjoy Coachella at sundown. Caught some of Madness, who randomly declared, “Welcome to Mexico,” which was weird considering they’re from England. Bounced back to the main stage and caught the rest of Arctic Monkeys’ set.
7:30 p.m. – H&M set up a cute Kiss for a Cause photo booth in honor of their 5th Fashion Against AIDS collection and donated $1 to AIDS research for every Foursquare, Twitter or Instagram user that posted a kiss pic with hashtags #kissforacause and #hmusa. Similar to the Ladies’ Powder Room in VIP, where chicas freshened up with spray deodorant and perfume, and got their hair done by stylists hired to doll us up. Kiss for a Cause set up beauty stations with all the toiletries one can ask for in an air-conditioned room filled with water beds and couches.
8 p.m. – We hit up the ecstasy-fueled Sahara Tent, where Alesso reigned supreme on the ones and twos. Tripped out on an impressive light show, and tried to remember how to dance. It’s been awhile since my rave days. Asian finger light dancers entertained their friends with fancy handwork as they zoned out on a combination of drugs and heart-pounding electronic music. I stared in envy as a cute Armenian girl in high-waisted jean shorts and a neon orange bustier that glowed in the dark danced to the beat like she created them.
8:50 p.m. – By far the highlight of the night was reuniting with my long-lost teenage idol Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. Homegirl got me through high school with her 1996 emo-centric album Among My Swan. Representing East L.A. (she went to Mark Kepple High School), the bluesy gypsy-like singer, who I can’t believe is 46, incited the lighting of a celebratory 4/20 joint when she practically whispered in her soft-spoken high-pitched voice, “So glad it’s 4/20.” Some dude yelled, “I love you Hope!” to which she replied, “You’re silly.”
God, I love her. Especially since she’s stayed true to her melancholy, soulful sound. Sporting an all-black lacy dress and vintage pearl pinky ring and her hair in a signature wavy split-down-the-middle part, she sang classics like “Fade Into You,” “Hallah,” “Ghost Highway,” and the recently-released “Lay Myself Down.” Just bought her new album on Amazon. Her dark moody set was just as she wanted it, and she even let out a request: “Can we keep it this dark the whole time?” Alternating between a maraca and tambourine, by far the most memorable Coachella moment was her harmonica solo.
Ended the night with the best ice-cream sandwich I’ve ever eaten: LA’s own Coolhaus truck’s Snicker Doodle Cookie with Fig, Mascarpone and Almond Ice-Cream. The perfect way to satisfy my combination of PMS and munchies.
Missed Opportunities (So Sue Me):
Hello Seahorse: Van Nuys-born, Mexico City raised leader singer Denise Gutiérrez’s “Velo de Novia” performance was described as otherworldly.
Ximena Sariñana started the sleuth of “It’s hot as hell” statements that many female performers would state throughout the weekend when she shouted the obvious: “It’s really fuckin’ hot.”
Neon Indian: The Texas-based ambient electro ’80s retro psyche-pop group that’s at the forefront of the “chillwave” movement is composed by Mexican-born Alan Palomo (formerly of Ghosthustler and VEGA) and is getting tons of buzz right now.
Thanks Martha Garcia of Chinese Laundry for sending me these cute Rock Steady silver sandals to rock out in for Day 1.