What Would Madonna Do?
Since I’m barely 5 feet 1 and not the easiest to spot in a crowd of 50,000, it was inevitable that I would lose all my friends at Coachella. I was watching the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Sunday and had foolishly edged deeper into the crowd than I should have. Suddenly, my girlfriends were nowhere to be found. As Karen O grinned manically down at me from a big screen, I realized I was on my own. With no map or band schedule. No cell-phone reception. No entourage. It was just me, myself and my shrooms.
Feeling panicky, I did the only thing that seemed safe — I searched for Madonna. Following the sea of gay men to the dance tent, all I could see were hairy backs. Warm sweat hung in the air and stuck to my face. Twenty-five minutes later, the bitch still hadn’t come on stage. The crowd was booing and someone stepped on my foot. At that moment, I hated Madonna, the world and my friends. Most of all, I hated Coachella.
Then Madonna skipped on stage with her dancers. She wiggled her leotard-clad behind and yelled, “This is my first festival. Does my butt look big in this?” Madonna, I realized, would never be a crybaby if she lost her friends. She’d dance into the night and find some beautiful strangers to play with. So that’s what I decided to do.
I went to the tiny rave tent and partied like it was 1992 with 300 friendly Marines and glo-stick kids. I wandered into the Snow Globe Igloo Dome, where foam cascaded from the ceiling and festivalgoers clambered over a glittery-white pirate ship. I headbanged to Coheed and Cambria and watched Coldcut (five laptops, I counted ’em) play “Pump Up the Volume.” I wandered around the VIP area and met the blond drummer girl from Eagles of Death Metal, fed shrooms to a Hollywood hipster, and gave some love to Coldcut’s MC Juicy. In three hours on my own, I met more people than in the entire previous day at Coachella. By the time I met a long-haired, high-cheekboned 19-year-old boy who asked, “So you wanna hang out and see some bands together?” I thought about it for just a second. “Nah,” I told him. “I fly solo.”