Quick view from the top of La Grande Wheel ferris wheel on the festival grounds…
As temperatures rock into the triple digits, the water-sprayers in The Do LaB are becoming one of the biggest Coachella hangout spots under the sun.
In their eighth year at Coachella, The Do LaB is a Los Angeles based company specializing in interactive environments, using creative lighting and structures to create an experience. But the most important experience they’re offering right now is a continual spray of cool water from their post-apoctalyptic-looking stage where DJs’ beats thump, and at the other water-spraying stations they’ve set up.
Ariela Mashiah, 16, of Los Angeles, attended “Cool-chella” last week, with its much milder temperatures, but still enjoyed the Do LaB, she said. “Now it’s perfect,” she said, dripping with beads of water in a tangled group of overheated Coachella-goers straining to reach the spray.
(Tip: Like a golfer, check the wind. The spray tends to hook to the right.)
Even after the sun goes down, the Do LaB is worth sticking with, Mashiah said, for The Lucent Dossier Experience, a Cirque de Soleil-type show featuring a live band, singers, aerialists, dancers, acrobats and more.
In the middle of the vast venue hosting the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival is a transcendental retreat for concertgoers where aural and visual stimulus is plenty.
In its 8th year at the concert, The Do LaB has become a concert staple and a place where festival fans can drape in the shade, convulse to electronic beats and get lost in art.
Water is also an important part of the environment whether it’s getting blasted with a hose from the stage or lightly sprinkled from the mist floating out of the various structures.
The creators of The Do LaB are the Flemming brothers — twins Jesse and Josh, both 33 and Dede, 32.
The goal is that once concertgoers stumble in they won’t want to leave.
“It’s an oasis. We have water. (It’s) a place of escape that’s otherworldly,” said Dede Flemming.
“You’re fully immersed in our environment,” said Josh Flemming.
Each year the environment
which includes a stage and huge interactive art installations, change.
This year’s creation is inspired by ancient ruins.
It includes a series of 25-foot tall pyramid tent structures with brightly colored “squigglies” that extend up to 55 feet in the air.
The brothers, all from Los Angeles, starting working on a concept about 6 months ago.
They went through five different ideas before settling on the current one which then took a month to build.
Throughout all three days of the festival are stage acts that include various up-and-coming DJ’s and the Lucent Dossier Experience which is a cross between Cirque du Soleil and vaudeville.
The robot that roams the Empire Polo Grounds during Coachella is aptly named — Hotshot.
It asks fans their names, flirts with the ladies (“you’re beautiful, Jessica,” it once told a L.A. Times reporter) and high fives kids. Its masculine voice also delivers sassy retorts, and its yellow-rimmed eyes seem to widen as people snap photos.
Hotshot the Robot — a life-size machine that rolls smoothly on three wheels with neon blue lights leading the way — was created to entertain at festivals or parties and can DJ or MC a special event.
In one of its most regular gigs, Hotshot has entertained the masses at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival since 2006, an experience its creators describe this way:
Whether he’s being mobbed by Daft Punk fans, cooling the overheated crowd with his water jets, lurking around the artist camp and polo fields, or enthusiastically greeting for hours on end, HTR still can’t erase the unfortunate “unit” malfunction with Mr.Lee from the Crue. At least HTR can find solace having been commemorated in a stellar EMEK design….
Remember how I said I love The Do Lab? Here are my top three reasons why:
1) Inhibitions are checked out the door.
2) The Do Lab has water, and for photographers water makes everything more dramatic.
3) I’d probably never go in there myself and shooting from on stage keeps me dry, entertained, and I get to live vicariously through everyone with more guts and less clothing than I.
Here are some highlights of my Sunday trip to ‘The Do’…
Other than Danny DeVito, of course…
The Cauac Twins aren’t here either.
You know them as the giant Tesla coils that build up an electric charge and then fire off lightning bolts, making the entire festival swivel toward them at night.
They’re iconic of Coachella, having been here for the past several years. Even though it took awhile for them to build up enough charge to blast off, their size made them a major landmark on the fest map. I sure hope they make a comeback next year.
OK, Shrine is the guy, “Shacks” is the structure.
Allow me to elaborate.
I blogged yesterday about a beautiful structure labeled “Shrine” in the Coachella set-list handouts. Today I caught up with the Los Angeles artist, who gave his name only as “Shrine.”
“Everyone calls me Shrine except my mom, my grandmother and my daughter,” he said.
Every day for seven weeks (minus two rainy days) he worked with recycled-materials to build the art piece, he said. There’s one central structure, tall and reverent, with dangling aluminum canisters and lids hanging from tires. Dotting the circumference are lounges that, to me, look like giant Moroccan lanterns.
Shrine titled the work “Shacks,” but today mused he should call it “Empire of Love Shacks.” His goals for the piece were beauty and function, he said.
“I’ve been to Coachella a lot, so I have an idea of what is needed there: a place for people to congregate and meet each other and people-watch,” he said.
Shrine has built stages for past Coachella concerts. Two years ago, he created two structures in the same spot that “Shacks” occupies now, near the Gobi and Mojave tents. One was a similar lounging spot and the other was an “alter-ish shrine” displaying hundreds of drawings and paintings he and his two children had created over 20 years.
To gather materials for “Shacks” he’s been illicitly dumpster diving at Caltech in Pasadena — every day for a month, he said — and at an Italian restaurant near his home.
“Sauce, olives, pineapple, mushrooms, the central chandelier is all out of those kinds of cans,” he said.
The tires are a new feature. He collaborated with artist Natalie Goldfinger, who used 48 to fashion 16 chandeliers.
After weekend two of the festival, parts of the piece will travel to other festivals. Other pieces will become part of a permanent installation in Northern California — a painting studio Shrine will own.
“It’s gonna be really great,” he said.
Feathers, crocheted tops, high-waisted shorts – they’re all staples of the “Coachella” look. The fest is also a good time to bust out that item in your closet that makes you smile and “when would I wear that?.” Today. It’s today.
A few that have made me smile:
On Arenas Rd. back in Palm Springs? Par-for-the-course pride. At Coachella? Rainbow shoelaces are hipster and hot.
Even when the sun’s not blaring, you can still rock your shades at Coachella. Just ask this chick – she’s got shades for her shades. No squinting in her future.
Alligator hat. Never leave home without it.
And one most-likely unplanned accessory:
It’s chilly, you have a knapsack full of jean shorts and tank tops. Get cold or get creative? Your call. This guy borrowed socks from his jammies (a guess) to warm his hands. High-five for innovation. Oh wait, socked fist bump better for you?
Nighttime at Coachella brings about a whole new side to the festival’s installation art. I just love to see how vibrant the artwork becomes once the sun goes down. Here are a few quick frames from tonight.
The “Gateway” uses 3D projection mapping to display images and also lights up in bright hues.
Here is another look at the “Gateway” artwork:
… and here is one full shot so you can see it top to bottom: