Monday, September 7, 2009

Right between the lustful and the greedy

Saturday night, the Village Voice sent me to Electric Zoo, an electronic music festival on Randall's Island just south of the Bronx, right between the circles of Hell reserved for the lustful and greedy. I don't want to rip on anybody who might enjoy the un-tah un-tah un-tah beat of synthesizers and computer blips, but electronic music fans who were at this festival are now officially my least favorite people.

I knew I was out of my element as soon as I got off the bus on the island. Electric Zoo had five different stages and I could hear the music from every single one of them as I stood in line for my press pass. The conflicting basses were so loud my guts ached with the vibration. Oh no, I thought anxiously, I'm going to hate this.

When I got inside the festival grounds, I contacted my Street Team partner and asked where she wanted to meet. She didn't. "We don't really need to be together, do we?" she asked. "We can just walk around on our own. I'm sure we'll bump into each other eventually." Yes. In this crowd, we will "bump into each other."

Unlike most Voice events I've worked this summer, the paper didn't have a table or stall for us to crouch behind while we volleyed our merchandise at the slavering masses. This time, they gave me a Voice tshirt and a clipboard and told me to just "walk around" inviting people to sign up to win tickets to a Moby concert or to Hard NYC, another electric music festival. So my partner abandoned me, with a clipboard, dressed like an idiot, in a churning maelstrom of hipsters.

These were my fellow festival goers. Don't they just look like the most intelligent and articulate people you've ever laid eyes on?

In all fairness, it wasn't too bad at first. I targeted the people resting underneath the trees because they looked like they were hanging out at a really big picnic, and that seemed pretty non-threatening. Only about 40% were noticeably high and most were pleased to get the Voice pins I handed out like Halloween candy to protect myself from their hipness.

And then it started to get dark.

Now, I don't pick what the Voice promotes. If they tell me to go out there and give out tickets to a Conway Twitty concert, I'm gonna get out there and hand out Conway Twitty tickets like they're manna from Heaven. The Electric Zooers didn't see it this way. As the sun went down and the drugs started to kick in, they started to abuse me for promoting Moby.

"Moby sucks!"

"F*** that s***head!"

"Get that s*** outta my face!"

To recap: I'm alone with my tshirt and clipboard in a crowd of 100,000 electronic music fans, and increasingly the only person not high. No part of this situation was making me happy, and then I met this guy. I don't have an actual picture of him. But this is essentially him, with the offensive parts like his middle finger and his face censored out.

"F*** Moby!"

I was used to this by now. "Hey man, I'm just doing my job. Have a Voice pin and enjoy the concert."
"The Voice? The Voice?! Man, f*** that liberal rag!" He hurled the Voice pin on the ground like it was covered in swine flu, and I left, continuing my wanderings through the other 99,999 people just like him.

I don't like to be negative, but honestly, this sucked on so many levels that I think I have to put up the picture of Hell again, as a visual aid for how I felt going home on the subway after attending Electric Zoo.

Oh, and did I mention that the women who sat next to me on the subway had just come from the hospital? Where her husband had just died after falling out of a three-story window and splitting his head open on the sidewalk? And she needed to tell me all about it? Where's that visual aid?

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