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Thursday, August 8, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Lollapalooza 2013: Drunken
fans and -floral..headbands

Thursday, August 8, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

I5

NOUR SABANI F
Switching sides

Three crazy days
at Chicago's largest
music festival
By PAIGE PFLEGER
Daily Arts Writer
When writing about a three-day
festival attended by thousands, it's
difficult to find a place to begin.
So many things could make great
introductions - the five-foot nin-

squeak of a girl asking if we've seen
her friend Mary, getting mauled
by Lana Del Rey fans, something
a man said on the "L," a conversa-
tion from one frat br to the next
about Major Lazer and getting
ass, or even drunken performers
terrifying sober fans. But, it's best
not to start with your best stories
first. Instead, what I present to you
are stories in chapter-like install-
ments, with a special treat at the
end for those of you patient enough
to get there.

Friday: Attack of the Floral
Headbands
When first arriving at Lolla-
palooza, I feltlike a freshmen in col-
lege again. I asked about 30 people
where I was supposed to be going
and then still managed to get lost.
I was taken aback by the droves of
girls in floral headbands, thinking
maybe it was the new indie thing to
do and I missed the memo (in real-
ity it was basically a gang sign, but
more to come on that topic soon). I
drifted around the crowded streets
until I heard something familiar
- the Smith Westerns. Walking
to the stage, my Toms were slowly
consumed by mud puddles dotting
the ground (RIP, Toms). Smith
Westerns closed out their set with
fan favorite, "Weekend," and the
crowd dispersed.
Being a Fleet Foxes fan, I then
headed over to watch J. Till-
man, Fleet Foxes' former drum-
mer, perform under his new stage
name, Father John Misty. Till-
man himself was one of the most
entertaining artists I saw at the
festival - his sarcastic wit and dry
cynicism was lost on most of the
attendees, but he spent a fair time
belittling the festival, with quips
such as, "Lollapalooza! I want to
ask you how you're doing in my
best I'm-playing-a-festival-camp-
counselor voice and I want you to
go, 'eh' as apathetically as possible.
Got it?" or "I would be remiss not
to thank Lolla's number one spon-
sor, unicorns." His set was strong,
performing "Hollywood Forever
Cemetery Sings," "Funtimes in
Babylon" and even new songs such
as "I Love You, Honey Bear," ironi-
cally about death and dying.
The rain continued to fall, but
the fans barely noticed, clapping
their hands to the indie star's low-
key, rock-infused music. "I heard
a girl say fuck the rain earlier,"
Tillman said to the audience, ciga-
rette in one hand and mic in the
other. "But ya know what? The
rain makes it so we can have civi-
lization, civilization makes it so we
can have group think and group
think makes it so shitty music can
be huge." The audience laughed,

cheering him on. "So you know
what? I love the rain."
Afterward, I headed tothe Grove
stage - appropriately named for its
location in the middle of a wooded
area of the park. I was basically
giddy to see Scottish band Fright-
ened Rabbit. I got to the stage just
in time to secure a good spot close
to the front. Surveying the audi-
ence around me, I was surprised
at the demographic - mostly tiny
white girls with floral headbands.
After further investigation, I dis-
covered that Lana Del Rey was the
next act on the stage after FR, and I
was the only person in the immedi-
ate vicinity there for just the band.
Despite obnoxious shouts for Lana
from the audience, the foursome
rocked out their set with a good
mix of old and new songs. Scott
Hutchinson, the band's lead vocal-
ist and lyricist, even dropped some
adorable Scottish banter about the
song "Late March, Death March":
"It's like, you go to bed after get-
ting in a fight with your mate. You
wake up, shake hands ... or fuck,
whichever you're into."
Immediately after FR closed
out its set, the headbanded bandits
closed in on the stage, sandwich-
ing their five-foot bodies on top of
each other like shrimpy sardines. It
seems that Lana fans have an obses-
sion with the atmospheric croon-
ing of their own personal goddess,
and this obsession caused them
to cut down everything standing
between them and the stage. All
floral head bands, teenage angst
and sharp elbows, the mob was
merciless, and even when I tried to
escape, they clawed their way past
me, ripping my backpack and leav-
ing me shaken and a bit worse for
wear. That was when I learned my
first Lolla lesson: beware of anyone
crowned with a floral headband.
They may appear like the peace-
loving, flower-power girls of the
'70s, but they are heartless and
have sharp nails. That is all.
Saturday: Drunken
Shenanigans
Saturday's lineup promised a
lower-key affair, with indie high-

lights from Ben Howard, Local
Natives, The National, Lumineers
and good-old classic Postal Ser-
vice (if you never loved the Postal
Service, you're wrong). At Local
Natives, I found my way up to
the front of the stage, only a row
back. The people lining the fence
had been waiting for Mumford &
Sons' 8:15 p.m. show since 11 a.m.,
which surprised me. I see the draw
in Mumford's folk-inspired rep-
ertoire, but I personally wouldn't
wait an entire day to see them.
Again, I was one of the only people
in the vicinity actually there for
the smaller names that preceded
the closers.
The LA indie rockers, Local
Natives, delivered an entirely
impressive live show. The musi-
cians and the fans were equally
invested in the performance, with
the band feeding off the audience's
enthusiasm. The three-part har-
monies were flawless and executed
effortlessly. New songs like "Break-
ers" off of the album Hummingbird
showed off the musicianship of the
band members, and old favorites
like "Airplanes" and "Sun Hands"
were given new life through the
live performance.
Next up was The National. The
show began as expected, with the
sleepy droning of lead singer Matt
Berninger supported by an impres-
sive backing band: piano, drums,
guitars, trumpet and trombone.
The set was eerily similar to that
of Radiohead's from Bonnaroo
2012, with live footage of the per-
formance fed through filters, then
projected onto a big screen in the
background. After a few songs,
Berninger pulled out "Afraid of
Everyone" from High Violet, as
well as a bottle of champagne.
By "Squalor Victoria," the singer
was clearly intoxicated, scream-
ing lyrics to the point of inaudibil-
ity. Berninger continued his bad
behavior, climbing across the stage
with his drink and the mic, falling
backwards onto the Lollapalooza
banners adorning the sides of the
stage, and even throwing him-
self into the audience during "Mr.
November," screaming "I won't
fuck us over, I'm Mr. November"

I'm only 19 years old, but about six
months ago - over Winter Break - I
had what some would call a mid-life
crisis. I finally dropped the pre-med
plans I carried for most of my life,
and committed to the dangerous
waters of humanities, social sciences
and academia. .
Mywinterschedule consisted not
of Animal Physiology and Organic
Chemistry II like I had planned,
but of Rhetorical Activism and the
Civil Rights Movement as well as
a seminar on Cities in the Global
South - classes that matched up
with my newly declared major and
minor, English Language and Lit-
erature and International Studies.
As word spread among my fam-
ily and friends, I received a whole
spectrum of reactions - there were
the sympathizers who expressed
disappointment at my wasted
"intelligence" (clearly these people
didn't see my grades the semes-
ter I took Organic Chemistry), the
new-found allies (fellow students
of Humanities and Social Science)
who cheered and gave me high-fives
and the snide science majors who
smirked and assumed I couldn't
handle the heat in the lab. Most of
all, though, I was bombarded with
this question: "What are you going
to do with that degree?"
It's not that I mind the ques-
tion. In fact, it's nice when people
are interested in learning about my
goals and future aspirations. Rath-
er, what bothers me is the tone of
skepticism that often accompanies
it. Because sometimes when peo-
ple ask, "What are you going to do
with that?" I can almost see them
pitifully imagining my penniless,
struggling, "wasted" future.
I have to admit - I imagined it
too. Many times I think it would be
much easier to stick to a tried and
tested career track and save myself
the trouble of worrying about a sta-
ble job market and income. But then
I think about the world we live in.
The world we live inis one where
the state of the environment is the
worst it's ever been, where the ice
caps are melting, the polar bears
are dying and the wildlife is
becoming extinct.
The world we live in is one where
hunger is prevalent, and the gap
between the very rich and the very
poor is extreme, and continues to
widen. It's one where people don't
have enough to eat, let alone to
afford adequate shelter or luxuries
like education.

The world we live in is one where
racism and prejudice are alive and
well. It's one where mainstream
media and pop culture perpetuate
stereotypes and profit off of divi-
sive, marginalizing rhetoric.
The world we live in is one where
politics are corrupt and driven
by money. It's one where tyrants
and oppressive leaders hold power
while the people demand justice
and liberation.
The world we live in has a lot of
problems - problems that won't
be solved by tried and tested solu-
tions. We need solutions based in
justice, integrity and strength of
will. We need actions driven by
sincere intentions, teamwork and
unified visions. Perhaps most of all,
though, we need creativity.
The issues we face today are com-
plex - they require people with
bright minds, and, more importantly,
the passion and energy to use them.
Shouldn't we be encouraging this
generation of high school and college
students to pursue what interests
them, in the hopes that their love for
a subject - whatever it is - will give
them the momentum to use it to cre-
ate a positive change? Shouldn't we
value the risk-takers, the ones who
prioritize big dreams and revolu-
tionary ideas, over money and stabil-
ity? Whether it's writing, art, music,
chemistry or math, every discipline
has the potential to solve a prob-
lem - directly or indirectly, inter-
personally or structurally.
Yes, it's harder to find a well-pay-
ing job as an English major than as
a doctor. And I probably will have to
be in school longer than an engineer
would in order to receive a promo-
tion. But rather than meeting these
less clear-cut academic pursuits
with doubt, let's challenge ourselves
to become confident with the idea
that it doesn't matter what some-
one does - what matters is that it's
something the individual believes
in, will become a leader in, be their
best at and employ to improve life
for future generations. Rather than
place implicit pressure on students
to choose a career that will assure
comfort and stability, let's culti-
vate a norm where discomfort and
instability are admired, because we
understand that if we want to be
comfortable in the long run, we need
to have the courage early on to be
inspired and to take the risk of fol-
lowing our hearts - all the way.
NourSabani is an LSA junior.

Six weeks ago, I was out of this campaign. I
thought it was over."
-Detroit mayoral candidate MIKE DUGGAN, who advanced Tuesday in the Democratic
primary election. He faces Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in the November general election.
A note to igno ramus

Dear Ignoramus,
Hello. I hope you are
doing well. I'm writing
you not only
to check up on
you, but also
to explain
something
to you that I
don't think
you fully
understand. PAIGE
I overheard PFLEGER
you talk-
ing to your
friend the other night at that
party we were at. You might
not even remember, because I
know that everyone was drink-
ing by that point and you may
have been quite drunk. How-
ever, I remember what you said
and it isn't something so easily
forgotten by me - nor will it be
forgotten by him.
I just want to bring this back
into your memory because it's
important for you to recognize
that the guy you called a faggot
is subject to judgment in almost
every area of his life because he
is gay, and the last place he needs
to receive such ignorance would
be from somebody like you -
with your heterosexual ideals
and your majority standing.
Maybe you misspoke, maybe I
misheard, but the next time you
are at a party I hope you'll realize
that regardless of how you feel
about the situation, your igno-
rance is best left unsaid. Openly
airing your discomfort with the
situation isn't going to change
it, regardless of how much you'd
like it to. Being gay is still going
to be acceptable in society, with
or without your support. Belit-
tling others because of their

homosexuality isn't going to
change anything, and any dis-
comfort you feel about the situ-
ation lies in your own insecurity
or naivete.
The thing about you is that you
know nothing about what that kid.
has to face in his everyday life. If
his parents had found out he was
gay, maybe he would have ended
up on the streets. Had his room-
mate found out he was gay, maybe
he'd be bullied. Had his boss
found out he was gay, maybe he'd
be fired. Though beinggay is gain-
ing acceptance in the public eye,
people like you still have preju-
dices against it and grow up to be
the parents who kick him out, the
roommate who beat him up, the
boss who fires him. You, however,
don't live in any kind of fear. Your
life has been shrouded in the bliss-
fulness of being ignorant.
I'm sorry if any of this seems
scathing, but I felt it my place to
say something because I didn't
stand up for him and he isn't one
to confront people, no matter how
much they may have wronged
him. That is one of the hard-
est parts to recognize - it isn't
that he can't confront people, it's
that he's met your ignorance one
too many times and the fight has
deflated inside of him like a week-
old birthday party balloon. I'm
not being accusatory, and I hope
you don't find this offensive. I
just thought it best that it be put
on your radar before any further
damage was done.
In the novel "1984," George
Orwell writes, "A lunatic is just a
minority of one." You may wonder
what that has to do with you, or
why I would tell you such a silly
little quote. I will explain itto you,
in simple terms that you might be

able to understand regardless of
your veil of ignorance.
Being gay isn't wrong. Regard-
less of how against basic civil
rights you are, one day homosex-
uality won't be a thing gawked
at on the street, or made fun of
drunkenly. Faggot won't be said
by anyone as ignorant as you to
anyone as innocent as him. His
rights as the minority won't be
denied to him by your ignorance
as a majority.
"A lunatic is
just a minority
of one."
One day, when you are old and
haggard, lulling yourself to sleep
with the back and forth of your
rocking chair, drooling on your
shirt and existing in a shroud of
your own slow, human decay, you
will be the last one living that
carried such an ignorant hatred
in your heart for something you
never really had the brain power
to understand. One day you will,
be the minority, and you'll look
like a raving lunatic - still trying
to stop a train that will not cease
to move forward towards equal-
ity. I hope you keep your shred
of brainpower until that very
moment when you look around
and feel completely alone, and
then you may speak about how it
feels to be the minority.
Until that day, keep your
drunken ignorance to yourself.
-Paige Pfleger can be
reached at pspfleg@umich.edu.

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column during the fall semester. Applications for these positions will be available within the
next few weeks. Email opinioneditors@michigandaily.com for more information.

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