Sunday, September 2, 2012

Our Hangout Stories--Part One. (Edited.)


At various times throughout my life, I am reminded of a scene with Val Kilmer (playing Jim Morrison) in the movie, The Doors.  In the scene, Jim is surveying his surroundings, taking it all in and marveling at it all, (I think he's at a birthday party--but I could be wrong) and is heard to say:  "This is the strangest life I've ever lived."

This has always stuck with me.  And I've found myself embracing this exact same sentiment more times than I can count.  So I will openly admit that this same sentiment crossed my mind more than once during our 3-day, hiking, sunbathing (or sun-"scorching," depending on whom you ask), good-vibe, Brazilian Carnivale'-ish atmosphere that WAS our first Hangout Fest.  And it was jam-packed with every conceivable persuasion of person:  Guys dressed like Super Heroes, girls in bikinis with their bodies painted in every beautiful and imagineable color. . .  Girls in tutus, girls in knee-length fur boots, girls in bikinis that appeared to have very personal-seeming, dancing relationships with their oversized hula-hoops.  --("GET A ROOM, HIPPIE CHICK!!!")-- 
". . . It's not just a hoop, man.  It's like. . . it's like an extension of ME, ya know?"  (I DID NOT know.  Not even remotely.  What I did know, however, was that she was pretty obviously on mushrooms, and was probably going to feel pretty gross in about an hour or so.  Just saying.  Now it would appear that I have become the Festival Mom: Been there, done that, and now feel it's my duty to protect the younger generation from themselves.  Also?  That was an actual quote, ya'll.)
And it is ALL I can do to NOT place a smiley face at the end of that last sentence.  

(. . . So I'll just do it here.  =)

And, in any place OTHER than a music festival, you would probably be inclined to stare, glare, snicker, or disdain.  Or, at the very least, believe that each and every one of these people were quite obviously QUITE mad.  (And yes, they are.  You kind of HAVE to be, in order to actually GO to a music festival.)  But the music draws us, all these different brands of weirdos, and in the beat of the drums and the squeal of the guitar. . . we all find each other.  And we all rediscover that we really AREN'T all that different after all.

But I've been chasing rabbits.  This blog DOES have a point. 
Somewhere. . .

Michael and I loaded the car and went down early that Wednesday morning.  (We got to eat sausage biscuits in the car!!!  I was THRILLED.  Not sure why, but for my entire life, eating sausage biscuits in the car has always been the very personification of giddy joy and luxury.  Not to oversell it, but it was awesome.) 

We got there in time to have two full days on the beach!! ---just the two of us!! =)  . . . So we parked our respective heinies in his and hers beach chairs and/or towels,

took shade under the umbrella when needed, revelled in the not-quite-drowned-out-by-the-ocean (and quite AWESOME) playlist that Michael had been kind enough to prepare for us,

listened to the sea, the sand, the surf, the music, the world!  And to add the icing on the cake, my husband was there, enjoying it all with me, not three feet away.  =)

                   And NOT to mention!!! 
                 --People Watching--!! 

Dark-lensed sunglasses were a prerequisite, and were firmly fixed to my face the entire trip,


 in an attempt to deceive other beach-goers into believing that I was NOT, in fact, watching THEM.   . . . "WHAT??  You think you're the ONLY one with a hot body on this beach?!?  Maybe I was simply taking in the majestic scenery!  Maybe I was enjoying a private moment of personal reflection!!!  Did you ever think of THAT?!?  Huh??  Did ya?!?  Huh????"  (But by the way, in the interest of honesty, and because I believe very deeply that truthiness really is the best policy (when applicable), then yeah.  I was totally checking you out.  And, with surprisingly little hesitation, I would gladly kill you if it meant that I could possess a stomach  that flat.  Nothing personal, mind you.  Just business.

Did I just say that?  I take it back.  (Frankly, I'm ashamed of myself.)  How do I know that you aren't currently training for the Olympics, and subsisting on 215 meager calories a day?  Who am I to judge you?!  Really?  You rock that Olympian body girl!!  . . .So what if you never get your period again?  Those things are WAY overrated in my opinion anyway.  You know how the old saying goes:  "People would gladly kill you for a stomach that flat."  I *think* that's how it goes. . .  I forget.  (But I'm pretty sure it's a famous quote, and was probably written by some wry and witty genius.  PRETTY sure.)  Lesson:  Flat stomachs are DANGEROUS.  Life's funny that way. . .

Michael and I came to Hangout Music Festival for the first time in May, 2010.  (Posing on the Hangout Chair was pretty awesome, and pretty much required, and pretty much has the makings of a family tradition.)

This was the first year of the festival, and every music-lover across several states had their fingers crossed that this would become a yearly occurrence.  A music festival?!  In Alabama?!?  As in, only a 4 hour drive from our FRONT DOOR?!?!?

(*Four hour drives are tougher on some of us than others.*)

At the BEACH??  What's NOT to like?  =)

. . . Except for maybe that Gulf Oil Spill, that had happened only one month earlier.  But, if the promoters were worried about it causing turnout to dwindle, they have a LOT to learn about music lovers.  We don't just NOT GO to a festival.  We camp out in the rain, we get filthy, we play in the mud, we survive Nor-Easters from the quite-flimsy safety of a QUITE flimsy tent, we turn over ankles, we sweat, we dress like we were at Carnivale' in Brazil, and we pay WAY too much for Maui Wowies. 
But we GO.  Because the rain, the crowds, the heat---THEY DON'T MATTER.  We only came for the music.  It is our release, and it is our way.

And by God, we are better for it.

But the reaction to the spill, particularly it being as new, and as worrisome, as it was, was, and this is no exaggeration:  insane.  News organizations were set up on practically every corner doing interviews, requesting sound-bites from all the dirty, bleeding-heart hippies, donations were being taken up, and random kids were wandering around with signs that proudly, AND angrily proclaimed:  "CLEAN IT UP!!"

In addition, the weather got rather angry on the second day, and intermittently on other days as well, but Michael and I grabbed a couple of ponchos, parked out butts on the soggy wet beach, and refused to let it ruin our good time  =)

  (*Me.  Being a trooper.  And waiting for Keller.*)

As evidence of such, here I am in my ever-so-attractive poncho, heading BACK out into the POURING RAIN, to see yet ANOTHER show!  (Michael says I look like The Happiest Hazmat Worker in this pic.  I tell him that that sounds like the title of a Disney Movie.)

(Note to self:  Remember to pitch this idea to Disney.  Don't settle for less than billions.)


Sadly, by the time we got back and found a spot on the beach, the rain had turned into a DELUGE.  But Keller Williams TRIED, bless his heart, standing at the very back of the stage, so as not to get drenched.  And every so often he bounced up and down so that we could see him over all the equipment that was now covered in tarps.  And, above the sound of the thunder, we got to hear him play this (which we thought was VERY appropriate):

Anyhoo. . . the official festival didn't kick off until early Friday morning, but we managed to get tickets to a late-night Thursday show of Keller Williams doing his (experimental) 'electronica' show.  And we got to see this show INSIDE the actual Hangout!  It's a restaurant/bar/venue, and has the MOST enormous ceiling fan that I have EVER seen, turning overhead.  And we needed it!  I was hot as hell, people were crammed ass-to-elbows, but, as is the way with most festival-goers, nobody got out of sorts, wanted to start a fight, or got miffed when his girlfriend's butt bumped into someone else.  (We festival people are a fairly mellow bunch.)  But wait. . . did I mention?  WE got to see Keller Williams INSIDE the Hangout!!!  HE was awesome, IT was awesome, and Matisyahu even joined him onstage for a few songs!!  Here's some video that Michael took from the show:

    Me.  Around 2 a.m., after the Keller and  Matisyahu show.  Exhausted, ears-ringing, but SO VERY HAPPY =)

So, when we WEREN'T catching live music, we just ate lots of Buffalo Wings, soaked up LOTS of sun, frolicked in the ocean (in all fairness, *I* was the only one frolicking.  Michael merely 'dipped'.  I shook my head sadly at him.  *sigh*  What a waste of a perfectly good ocean-frolicking opportunity!!), spent time JUST THE TWO OF US, and got to leisurely sit on the beach and enjoy the musical stylings of the Black Crowes, and . . .

(*insert drumroll here*)

WE GOT TO SEE OK Go!!!!!!!  One of our FAVORITE bands at the time!!!!  (And they do still, in fact, rock!)

We were THIS CLOSE to the stage, ya'll!!  And if I had had an extra pair of (clean) panties . . . well, *I would've thrown them.*  It's not something I'm proud of. . . but it's not something I will deny, either.  Michael would probably not be highly enthusiastic about this "tossable clean panty idea," but really, he is just SO unsupportive sometimes. . .  Besides, I COULD throw something else!  Like chocolate bars!  Everybody likes those, right?  But then maybe later OK Go gets back to their bus and they're all, "Who threw the chocolate bar?  Don't they know I'm allergic??   Does NO ONE read my blog?!?!?!!"

And all this could easily be avoided with one simple pair of clean (preferably cotton), pair of panties.  Cotton, NATURALLY.  I mean, come ON!  . . .I don't want them to think I'm a slut or something.  =) 

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