To see why TONY is stressing me out, look here.
Of all of my Time Out New York excursions thus far, the Indian festival of Holi was the one I was looking forward to the most. Every year in India, thousands of Hindus celebrate the beginning of spring and its abundant colors, by dancing in the streets and pelting one another with vibrantly tinted powders. Now it seemed, with Brooklyn’s Festival Of Colors, I would be able to enjoy the festivities without actually having to travel half way around the globe which was really cool because I LOVE Indian things. Especially the music. Anytime I hear that dinga dinga dinga dinga beat I get all snake charmy and can’t help but move my head back and forth and bounce my shoulders up and down and all of it looks ridiculous, but hey, at least I’m giving my whooty a break.
But ANYWAY, I was so excited, I wrangled up all of my friends (four people) and even convinced my brother to fly in from Milwaukee for what I was expecting to be one of the coolest things I would do this year. Just look at the pictures from last April’s event I told them!
In retrospect, the fact that a Taj Mahal type structure is sitting in the background of the header should have been a dead giveaway that they weren’t taken in New York but alas, I did not consider this when telling everyone I knew how awesome this thing was going to be.
Even if the images weren’t exactly accurate, the invite still listed a venue suitable for holding the fifteen hundred people who bought tickets, a variety of bands and DJs and “world food”. Fantastic!
About a week before the event, the exact location was posted on its Facebook page. I had never heard of The Yard at the Cultural Performing Arts Center, but I assumed it would be a similar setup to the Celebrate Brooklyn shows in Prospect Park with a big stage and lots of grass to roam around on, or at least like the charming space on the Gowanus canal that used to host Sunday parties a couple of years ago.
I was wrong.
“The Yard” was essentially a parking lot, waaaaaaaay the fuck out in the middle of East Flatbush. There are parking lots all over Brooklyn. Why the organizers decided to hold their party in one that was a mile from the closest train station is beyond me, but I tried to remain optimistic, even after a half-hearted robbery attempt was made on the group I was traveling with on our way to the grounds.
Approaching the site, I was becoming even more skeptical. It was only an hour after the start time and people were already leaving. They didn’t exactly look like the fun-loving vibrant revelers that I had seen in the promos either. They looked like zombies. And the music, while not bad, was not Indian. Inside the gates, was what looked like a frat party on acid.
This was nothing like I had expected.
First of all, we had to be the oldest people there by a decade. Everyone looked like they were on spring break.
And it’s not like I have anything against white people, hell, I am one. However I was kind of thinking that at an Indian festival there would be, I don’t know, Indians? Instead it felt similar to when shows like Law and Order try to depict what a “rave” looks like. You know how they always go overboard with a bunch of super hyped up white kids jumping around with painted faces, sunglasses and weird head gear?
Luckily I’ve got a group of friends who can roll with the punches, so once we had drinks in our hands we got to work making the most of the situation by dousing each other in colored cornstarch. However the novelty wore off pretty quickly after I hammered my brother square in the eye with a handful when he wasn’t expecting it. Jeff said if he learned one thing about himself that day, it’s that he doesn’t like being hit in the face with stuff over and over again by strangers, or family for that matter. Fair enough.
Next we decided to eat. Jeff White and I were starving since we hadn’t had dinner in anticipation of all of the world foods that would be available to us. I was looking forward to some samosas, maybe a paneer curry, Jeff wanted tandori chicken. So we walked to the end of the parking lot opposite the stage to seek out all of the different Indian fare.
They had a taco truck.
Now, I suppose technically tamales do come from “the world” but I was thinking more Bangalore, not Baja. Once we were done with our Mexican food, we decided to call it a night. A whole ninety minutes spent filthy in the freezing cold was about as much fun as we could stand.
Our next obstacle however, was trying to get a cab looking like The Walking Dead.
Fortunately this kind soul agreed to give us a lift back to Williamsburg, but only if we took off our top layers and stuffed them in the trunk.
To be fair, it’s not like this was a terrible experience overall. The people around us all seemed to be having a good time. It just wasn’t what was advertised. Instead, it seemed like the promoter wanted an excuse to shower a bunch of people in techi-colored dust at his kegger, so he decided to call it a Holi fest. I suppose if I wanted a more genuine atmosphere, I could have attended the Phagwah Parade in Queens but we decided to skip that event due to its no alcohol policy.
At the very least I got to see my brother for the weekend and true to form, I’ll probably have the best pictures for my cousin George’s Flat Stanley project.
Yup, it seems I’m the go-to for adventures with cartoon characters now. This is Flat George. Don’t worry, I promise there won’t be another saga, I’m still reeling from the result of the last one.
At any rate, Time Out, you’ve finally let me down. With your next delivery, I can at last relax a little, knowing not everything in this city is worth getting off my couch for. Thank God.