Tag Archives: Governor’s Ball

East Coast Trippin’ Day 14: Droppin’ the ball

7 Jun

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If you don’t like waiting in long ass lines, large crowds of people, and overpriced food, then a music festival is not the place for you. I enjoy none of these things and somehow I forgot that when I bought my Friday ticket for the Governor’s Ball. I would have preferred to have seen Outkast in a smaller, more controlled venue, but that was not an option. They were only playing festivals and if I wanted to see them I would have to get over myself and get out into the world.

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It took me a while to get out there. I had to schlep all my stuff across town to Brooklyn where I am staying for the weekend before I could leave for the waterfront. I got the “midwest okeydoke” pulled on me because I thought a ferry was the only way to get Randall’s Island. I could have saved myself 20 bucks and walked across the passenger into the harbor. I waited in line for an hour and half and missed the entire Washed Out set. Damon Albarn’s whole set was scheduled for the entire performance of Outkast, so that was another act I was destined to miss.

I was able to find my friends at the main stage and catch enough of Phoenix to feel satisfied (after about 6 songs it all started to sound the same, but goddamn they had a bad ass drummer) and decided to get some more free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream:

Ferry ticket to Randall’s Island- 20 bucks

One day pass for Governor’s Ball-115 bucks

Lying in the fairgrounds and eating free cups of Phish Food while checking out the ladies in their festival garb- PRICELESS.

There were so many beautiful women there. I haven’t seen that much tail since my daddy took me to the Fort Worth Zoo. The offset to this little dalliance was that I lost my place at the stage, lost my friends and my cell phone died (which didn’t matter–no one could get decent coverage out there). I was left to meander about and catch a small glimpse of TV On the Radio, a band I feel like I’m supposed to like, but for whatever reason can’t get into them.

There was free water there but only if you had a receptacle, so to save money I found an empty plastic water bottle, washed it out as best as I could and used that (who says I don’t have survivor skills?). I was getting pretty hungry but I didn’t want to incur an 8 dollar ATM fee just to get a 7 dollar grilled cheese sandwich. Later I saw a guy eating one and asked him if it was worth it. He shrugged and told me I could have the rest of his–he’d only taken two bites of that motherfucker. Did I eat it? Of course I did. I had to find out if a 7 dollar grilled cheese sandwich tastes better than a free grilled cheese sandwich. The truth is I couldn’t tell the difference.

I was beginning to regret not selling my ticket to a guy outside the festival grounds when Outkast came onto the stage and blew it up! Shit was krunk. I wasn’t sure if they had the juice to pull off something so big, but it was authentic, it was funky, and they were having fun.

I was hungry, grouchy, and kind of tired from the night before, but Outkast made me forget all of that and the 100 dollars I spent on my ticket just to essentially see them. Once the music started playing, it was impossible to not enjoy myself. Having very little money to piss off left me pretty sober. The edibles I was traveling were starting to go bad back in Carolina, so I had to eat those before I really wanted to. Sure enough during “Spottieodiedopealicious”, the guy next to me in a Jason Gardner Arizona jersey, passed me a huge bomber he’d been puffing on. Since weed is legal here in the New York, I took him up on his hospitality–oh wait it isn’t? You mean I broke New York state law? Well I guess me and Raymond Felton will be bunk mates in prison won’t we?

Within three hits I was taken back to 1998, where I was hanging out with pizza delivery drivers and getting stoned on the regular while listening to “Aquemini” in our cars. I was one of the few old heads who knew all the songs from the first 3 albums, and I couldn’t help but smile I looked around saw someone else dancing, and singing along to “Elevators.”


Some people got loose, others only when they played the hits that they knew from “Speakerboxx/The Love Below.”
I laughed at the irony of some of the younger, prettier girls singing “Roses” not understanding that they were singing about women like themselves.

I liked that they paid homage to some of the NYC Hip Hop pioneers and reveled in their opportunity to perform in the city where hip hop was birthed (Big Boi even kind of looked like a young Afrika Bambaataa). You could tell they got it, and they were having a good time. If you’ve ever been to a Flaming Lips show, then you understand how fun concerts can be if the artists are intentional about their shows. Outkast was on that level, cool graphics playing behind them, and a live band onstage (along with with a DJ);they did not miss a beat.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself until the very last song when I realized that everyone (they momma and they cousin too)would be heading for the exits and onto the ferry. I booked it to exits and left before the set was over and STILL ended up waiting for an hour to get onto the ferry. People were lollygagging, and taking their sweet ass time, chatting it up alongside other lollygaggers. I had no gumption at all about skipping in the line (its New York–you can do anything).

I was finally able to relax and be stoned for the evening ferry ride across the East River, taking it all in before
arriving at the island. I found a couple of 7-11 hot dogs on the way to the subway, scarfed them down, fell asleep, on the C train, and ended up on Rockaway Avenue. This cost me at least another hour of sleep, and when I finally made it to Crown Heights, I slept like a baby, but woke up dehydrated this morning. Today’s objective: drink plenty of water,stay out of the sun, and take a nap. Gotta rest up for pickup ball tomorrow. Below I posted more pics. There was a lot of eye candy yesterday, and I don’t just mean the ladies. I saw so many sweet throwback jerseys. In fact the guy who almost bought my ticket was wearing an old school white with gold trim, Warriors’ Chris Webber jersey–just like the one I wanted as a kid.

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All in all a pretty good day, but I’m way over budget. I may have to whore myself out on Craigslist on Monday and Tuesday to recover some ill advised purchases. I’ve got the clothes for it, t-shirt, shorts, and dirty sneakers. I ain’t scared. I’ll go up to a stranger’s house and help them move furniture to another apartment. Wait a minute what were you thinking I was going to say? Tsk. Tsk. You’re one sick fuck you know that?

I’m out.


East Coast Trippin’ Days 10 and 11: Built vs. Bought

6 Jun

This trip has been a game changer in so many ways. My definition of hospitality and generosity has broadened in some degree because of my time spent on the road. It is one thing when friends allow you access into their homes and lives, that is a natural result of knowing someone for so long that trust becomes preternatural. It is another thing to allow a stranger into your home, provide them with a key to get in whenever they need to, pick them up when they are lost in a strange neighborhood, cook them delicious meals, and introduce them to all of your friends Some people have not only given me directions, but physically taken me to the place where I needed to go–and without even asking my name. Almost everything I originally generalized about east coasters has been wrong. I am very happy to admit that.
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My good time continued as some old friends from Austin flew up for the Governor’s Ball Festival on Friday. Today we played pickup ball at the elementary where our buddy teaches at. We were able to use the gym and get some shots up. It was fun to have that leather ball in my hands again, but it was just as nice getting to hang out with my old Austin homies.

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The night before we tried unsuccessfully to get into the free show out at Prospect park. Everyone and their mom was out their trying to get their Janelle Monae on. It was a little insane. It felt like we were at free show at SXSW without a name badge. I ended up leaving and visiting a friend out at Crown Heights. We visited a little bit. I met her roommate and then split for Queens. On my way out I ran into a crap game with like 6 fairly fit black dudes. I was on my phone, and I could tell they were sizing me up. I was a little inebriated and was in no shape to run so if they were going to be beat my ass, the best I could do was make it difficult for them (at best). I just kept walking to the end of the block and tried not to look back at them. After I crossed Franklin Ave. I picked up my pace and then crossed to the other side of the street so I could sneak a peek behind me to see if anyone was following me.

Even if Brooklyn is safer than it used to be, I’ve lived in too many bad neighborhoods to know that all it takes is to slip up once, and that’s your ass. You’ll never catch me slipping like that. That is why I never sit with my back to the entrance of a restaurant, and I always hatch an escape plan at the movie theaters–shit happens, and people be tripping.

Once I was on the train again I allowed myself to relax and consider what it was like to live in New York during the early 90’s during what some think was the golden age of Hip Hop. You had the Beasties Boys back and forth between NY and Cali working on that “Ill Communication” album. Wu-Tang was beginning to take over the hip hop world. A Tribe Called Quest was representing. Nas dropped “Illmatic”, and De La Soul was throwing out some ill shit. The Rangers won the Stanley Cup, the Yankees were about to start their dynasty, and the Knickerbockers were competitive year in and year out.
I would like to sit down and talk with New Yorkers about this time period–it’s a conversation worth listening to. The world was changing and I was too young to even realize it.
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I’m really digging Queens though–especially the Woodside neighborhood. It feels like another country and is definitely the most diverse of the boroughs I’ve visited. The other Boroughs seem more socially segregated. In Williamsburg, you see the same types of people dressed the same way, having the same kind of tattoos. In Harlem there are mostly blacks. Manhattan seems more for the wealthy or the Chinese business owners. I feel like Queens is the most authentically New York spot right now, in terms of diversity. I dig it. If I were to move to New York in five or six years, Queens would probably be the spot for me.
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Tomorrow is the big day that I have been waiting for. Outkast and Phoenix are two groups that have been on my wish list for a long time. It’s going to be fun. Taking the ferry over to Randall’s Island and gonna drink a lot of water, and try to find an edible to enjoy for the show. I could be like “Rimjob Brown” for Grantland and have mammoth expectations, or I can just go, get fucked up, and have a really good time seeing music with some good friends. Now tell me, which option do you think is best?

East Coast Trippin’ Day 9: Heightened Sensations

3 Jun

“I’m going back to New York City I do believe I had enough”

~Bob Dylan

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I never thought a city with so many universities could be so whack. The minute I got on that 4:45 Megabus for New York I fell asleep in relief. It was getting muggy and my head was pounding. Outside of my time spent at the MET (a really awesome organization that helps youth find alternatives to regular high school), I didn’t do much smiling. I found the locals to be either stuffy, or sketchy. Imagine a town like Topeka, Kansas suddenly having a couple of universities built downtown. That is what Providence is like. The buildings and architecture were neat, but the people themselves??? No thank you.

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I had a roommate in Oakland who attended Brown university and he said that he hated the east coast and had no desire to return. Now I can understand why. 4 years in a place like that would ruin my perspective forever. That being said, I had two random strangers (one a Peruvian woman, the other a bald early forties, white man) offer me rides to my hotel and my campus tour. Which proves to me that even in hostile environments, a positive attitude will attract the right kinds of people.

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After my meeting and lunch, I took advantage of my remaining free time and did some busking along the canal on Rhode Island School of Design campus. Then I jumped on the bus to New York, thus fulfilling the last leg of the David Byrne east coast swing.

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Our bus driver was a professional and he got us into the Bronx in 3 hours, when it was supposed to be a 4.5 hour drive. The bus dropped us off on 7th Ave and 28th st. I deftly navigated the Times Square traffic and found my subway train without any problems (I only had to ask one cop for directions to the Flushing train).

Can you believe it was only 20 years ago, when the Rangers and and Knicks were both in the Stanley Cup Finals and NBA Finals?
I was looking around at all the lights, tourists, billboards, and hockey jerseys, and happened to pass Madison Square Garden. I was 15 years old when Adam Graves and Mark Messier (who has the same birthday as me–no wonder he was my favorite hockey player of all time) hoisted the cup. That was the summer of OJ Simpson and the white Bronco, the Beastie Boys’Sabotage video, and my mother getting free Pay Per View.

I spent that summer alternating between watching “A Perfect World”, “Dazed and Confused”, and taping every single lesbian scene I could stay awake for on the Spice and Playboy Channels. I had yet to venture outside of Texas, and at that time never dreamed of visiting New York (or traveling anywhere outside the state to be honest). Now I’m in the NYC–a place where the senses are heightened ten-fold.

This has already been the best US vacation I’ve ever taken. The Stanley Cup Finals (which the NY Rangers are back for), the NBA Finals ( GO Spurs! GO!) and the World Cup (Cameroon anyone?) all kick off in within days of each other this week. There is also something being held out on Randall’s Island called the Governor’s Ball. I’m only going to Friday night’s festivities featuring Outkast, Damon Albarn, and Phoenix among other acts (kind of wanna see Washed Out). I can’t think of a better place to end up during the first week of June. This is a going to be a really good summer–been pretty kick ass so far. I fucking love this place.