In which I try to digest a visual feast at The 2013 Buku Music + Art Project held March 8-9.
Enter through mammoth Mardi Gras totems and into a windy teen gauntlet of neon leggings and tank tops. Inhale spray paint wafting along graffiti wall as scent morphs from toxic to grilled fish tacos and fresh plastic (my wristband, I'm guessing). Board a docked boat as beefy sunglassed security guards inspect my credentials, enter a Heineken-sponsored lounge with Bloody Mary bar and Hot 8 Brass Band members wailing from outside. Hear dubstep fumes from the outdoor stage onshore. Action Bronson appears and descends to the crowd, pounding through his Ghostface Killah-inflected lyrics. Earl Sweatshirt joins onstage and a bowl cutted and brace-faced teen lunges into his friends as if he just received every Christmas gift he has ever received all at once. A guy wearing Native American-cribbed patterns on board shorts paired with a "Cool Story Babe, Now Make Me A Sandwich" shirt picks his nose.
Enter ballroom filled with ironically worn cut-up Tupac T-shirts, flower crowns and the fog of garbage weed lit by glowsticks and rainbow lightsabers. Sweden's Icona Pop shoots literal lasers from the stage into pulsing crowd. The familiar "Manners" hook morphs into minor key and the party crashes and resurrects for four-on-the-floor anthem "I Love It" in which the duo sings, "You're from the '70s but I'm a '90s bitch."
Enter tin roof structure crumbling, possibly, under droning drum and bass and a foggy nightmare lit by light-twirling, rainbow-colored teen girls and a Deadmau5 fan with seemingly a sister-wife situation snaking behind him. The bass shakes my guts. Dash to media room for Wi-Fi access and a cold drink — options are Red Bull, Red Bull, Red Bull, also Red Bull, and Red Bull. Drink a blueberry Red Bull and peer into sunset as dueling DJs mash up Green Day with a billion other things.
The lone carnival truck offering french fries, nachos and french fries with nacho cheese has no line, nor does Woody's Fish Tacos or the snoball stand. Vodka and Red Bull is the exclusive cocktail. Everyone still is wearing sunglasses.
A high school couple grinds to Kendrick Lamar and makes out for the first time, only to be interrupted by a bro crashing in for a high five — the girl scurries a few steps away to giggle with her friend. Lamar commands every person's raised hands. His "Swimming Pools (Drank)" loses its introspective significance revealing hip-hop as a self-destructive cyclical cult and becomes a drinking anthem for smiling young people.
Enter ballroom. alt-J hypnotizes crowd then snaps its fingers as Preservation Hall Jazz Band blasts over its precious pop. Everyone loves it.
The Internet later tells me that Passion Pit and Big Freedia killed it. Same for Diplo's ultra-late-night after-party at Republic. Make note that next year I'll drink more caffeine.