Coachella pt. 2: hipsters, robots, ravers, steampunk, 122 bands.

Photo: A child meets "Hotshot the Robot" at Coachella (Shot by Xeni, cc-licensed).

Above and below, two performances at the event. Photo above: Wu Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah. Photo below: DJ XXXL, MC Dino, and DJ Question Mark.
(Shot by eecue of, more here, cc-licensed).

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I'm writing this post from the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival in Indio, California. Specifically, from a pimped-out, wired-up, biodiesel tour bus driven by my friend Wayne Correia.

The gear you see further below at left is the guts of "Renegade Radio," a pirate station broadcasting on-site at the event. Between the deep house and experimental trance sets, we're hearing important public service announcements, like, "Things not okay to bring in to Coachella site: drugs, weapons, video cameras, bad vibes and DRAMA."

Some of the performances we caught bits of yesterday: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gotan Project, The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem, Ghostface Killah, and Blonde Redhead. I missed !!! (say: "chik chik chik") yesterday, but a friend says they destroyed.

Photo below: Wayne's pal Alfred Martinez stuck a Wintec GPS tracking device (Amazon product link) in his pocket when he, Wayne, and I walked around the Coachella grounds together on Saturday. This is the resulting tracking map, via Google Earth.

Alfred says, "There are some errors in the trail, since there were
times when the we lost contact with the sat — remember, that tiny unit was
in my pocket — but this should give you an idea of our walking tour."

Photo Below (Shot by Xeni): That same Wintec GPS device (in Alfred's hand), shown with cold bevvie, tortilla chips (in my hand), laptop, and seven-layer dip, for social context and physical attribute evaluation.

Photo above: The inner workings of "Hotshot the Robot, the World's Only Living robot." Shot by eecue, who explains:

When I shot that photo of the robot with his guts hanging out, I had a few drinks in me and asked if he was autonomous. The operators told me he was the singularity. A few minutes later I actually listened to the voice coming out, and it was a guy 10 feet away on a walkie-talkie.

Photo below (Shot by Xeni), Hotshot, up close.
Videos of the robot at Coachella are here.

Hotshot behaved pretty well around children and most other carbon-based life forms earlier in the day, but he demonstrated a darker personality in the wee hours, when in the proximity of adult females — let's just say there were surprise appearances by a certain hydraulic part. Here's a video of him kissing a girl.

Photo above, the Fire-Pod at Coachella. Below, the pyro sculpture's controlling interface. (Shot by eecue). More about the creation, from its makers:

Fire-Pod is a steel sculpture standing 11' high with a 20' diameter footprint. Six claw-like tendrils jut out of the ground to define a spherical negative space from which fire performers emerge. Each tendril hosts two propane cannons; one at the top facing upward/outward, and another at the bottom facing inward, for a total of 12 firing points controlled through a midi interface.

I learned more about that cool steam train mentioned here yesterday, and shown below (shot by eecue).

It's called "A Clockwork Menagerie," and it's a project from Kinetic Steam Works (KSW), a Bay Area-based collective that aims "to bring steam power and kinetic art together."

The coal and wood-powered train engine doesn't move here at Coachella, but it does produce steam that powers a wild little merry-go-round that carried many candy-ravers to ecstasy last night when Tiësto's crowd overflowed.

The KSW crew here at Coachella included Zachary Ruckstella, Sean Orlando, Greg Jones, and Stephen Rademaker, some of whom are also involved in the Crucible industrial arts school in Oakland, CA.

KSW project member Jeremy Crandall uploaded a bunch of great photos, including the night shot at left: Link to more, alternate link, alternate link.

Photo below, KSW's Zachary Ruckstella. (Shot by Xeni)

The one photo I can't post, but encourage you to visualize:

An unknown, beautiful girl-stranger in a diaphanous floral minidress found her way in to the bus and passed out on our sofa last night while checking email on her Blackberry. Just frozen there, head facing the PDA in her outstretched, manicured hand, mid-download. We'd walked in after a late afterparty and found her, still and silent, eyes closed. We poked and talked at her, but she wouldn't wake up. We checked her pulse and made sure she hadn't OD'd or anything. When it was clear she was not dead or in danger, I threw a blanket on her and her Blackberry, and crawled off elsewhere to sleep.

She did wake up eventually, and turned out to be a pretty nice person.

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    Coachella 2007 liveblogging part 1.
  • More around the web:

    Live (time-delayed) webcast, YouTube uploads, Flickr "coachella" tagged photos, technorati, LA Times coverage, band lineup, Wikipedia entry,