Britta Phillips, of Dean & Britta, with Andy Warhol’s screen test of the late actor Dennis Hopper.
Really, way too many things to list here…
♥ The food.
♥ The people. Here at CityLife, we have some collective experience with festivals, rock concerts, and huge masses of people. These were among the more polite, well-mannered and cooperative we’ve yet to see. Also, they were invulnerable to crass sucking-up efforts.
♥ The smell of cannabis wafting over Ogden Street from the artists’ trailers or from the crowds at the Downtown Stage. It smelled like freedom.
♥ A crowd of about 70 people, many sitting on the cobblestones, in front of the El Cortez watching the World Series baseball game. Coachella doesn’t have World Series games!
♥ UNLV beating UNR at football, which I also learned at the El Cortez. Paint that cannon red!!!
♥ Beck breaking into an extended treatment of the Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” It was brilliant.
♥ Janelle Monae doing another song popularized by Michael Jackson. the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” An electric moment in a short but outstanding performance.
♥ Dean & Britta doing an unintentionally secret show with screen tests of people who hung out at Andy Warhol’s Factory in the 1960’s, among them Edie, Dennis Hopper, Nico and Lou Reed. At times, the band sounded very much like Luna (their former band), at other times, they sounded very, very Velvet Underground (their obvious influence), especially “Venus in Furs.” Overall, a beautiful performance. Even better because there were fewer than 60 people in the Fremont Country Club for the performance’s start, and 30 by the time it ended 65 minutes later.
♥ Parking. It wasn’t nearly the headache that locals and media had feared. Those of us who were too cheap to buy a $40 pass to the World Market Center lot were able to squeeze into parking within three or four blocks of the festival perimeter.
♥ The public art. As our friend Brian Paco Alvarez notes, Las Vegas has always been a home for murals and public art pieces, but LIB has transformed much of the downtown area. We are hoping that the murals won’t get tagged right away (save that for empty walls or canvases, perhaps).
♥ The Ferris wheel. Did you see how high those picnic tables get? We’re sure that those without fear of heights got a great view of the festivities.
♥ Various and sundry efforts, mostly successful, to honor the late king and founder of indie rock, Lou Reed, who died Sunday. Vampire Weekend’s treatment of the Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” made us want to start bawling right then and there.
♥ The beautiful weather. The wind waiting (mostly) until Monday to start blowing stuff around.
(Somewhat but not really) Uncool Things!
Just a couple of things so we can say we were working…
✇ The smell of cannabis wafting over Ogden Street from the artists’ trailers for the crowds at the Downtown Stage. Tease, tease, tease.
✇ The sun was brutal after a couple of hours. First-aid tent could have stocked small containers of sunscreen, as they do at other festivals.
✇ A large and unruly crowd at the bar of Backstage Bar and Billiards boisterously socializing during a talk by Steve Brown, Intel’s futurist and “chief evangelist.”
✇ Hearing the chefs in the culinary tent - “Chefs on Stage” - over the blasting of the air conditioners, with microphones that were going in and out. Either that or our ears were shot from the music.
✇ Parking. Though, as noted, it wasn’t as bad as we feared, that five-block walk back to the car late at night felt like a death march.
✇ The Ferris wheel, especially after we heard about the five people seriously injured at a ride in North Carolina. Do you see how high those wheel-based picnic tables got? But of course nothing bad happened here - we’re just afraid of tiny little cars dangling by a slim collection of wires and rods hundreds of feet in the air.
✇ Lou Reed dying. For many of us, it put a weird twist on a bright, sunny Sunday.
✇ Losing our newspaper ID at the Beck show and no one could tell me where the darned lost and found booth was.
✇ The wind that knocked over a pillar - or sort of made it slowly, slowly lean over - and sent techs scrambling Sunday night. Still, not much of a problem and the LIB staff were all over it.
✇ Trash, trash everywhere. Although the organizers tried desperately to get the festival goers to pitch in for keeping the grounds clean, it was obviously a lost cause. We fear to think what might have happened while the wind kicked up Sunday evening and blew heavily through Monday.
Things that were just a wee bit weird!
^ Dealers from the D giving lessons on how to play blackjack at the Homegrown Stage. No money involved; just a come on. But still, why taint a Las Vegas cultural festival with the presence of gambling? Oh wait, this is Vegas. CL