Don't Eat The Brown Sno-Cone
On Saturday, my friends The Sippy Cups were playing a charity event in Beverly Hills, and they got Elijah and me onto the guest list. This event was called Kidstock, and it benefitted something called One Voice, a Santa Monica-based nonprofit that, among other things, helps obtain college scholarships for poor kids. Naturally, the event was sponsored by Lucky Jeans and was held at the Greystone Mansion, a castle and public park that got to play Wayne Manor in Batman and got to host James Woods' wedding in real life.
Kidstock featured a lineup of several bands, of which The Sippy Cups were the most professional. They played in the castle courtyard, like minstrels in a Renaissance-era play about wretched bourgeois excess. Other groups included The Jack Bambis, which was basically The Patti Smith Group, but from Silver Lake, and also everyone in the band was 12 years old. They were legitimately terrible, but at least they looked like an actual rock band. This being Hollywood, there were at least two other kids groups, one of which had a "rap" name like Kidz4U and the other one sang and danced like they'd come from a pre-motherhood-era Britney Spears training camp run with Al-Queda-like rigorousness. Also, it's not really a rock festival if the DJ plays "Barbie Girl" and "Oops, I Did It Again" between acts.
The catering, while no New Orleans Jazz Fest, was still top-notch considering the average age of the audience. Just like at Woodstock, adults got to eat sandwich boxes catered by Urth Caffe. There was a cart that sold cooked churros and soft pretzels as well as a sno-cone stand and a stand offering unlimited ice-cream bars. Entertainment booths included one where kids could put on a rock star wig and sunglasses, one where they could get their hair spray-painted, a fake tattoo stand, and various places to make beaded necklaces and musical instruments. The 150 or so kids in attendance certainly seemed to enjoy themselves, and their nicely-coiffed parents snapped digital pictures bemusedly. Let them eat churros, their poses seemed to say. It occurred to me that for rich kids in L.A., this kind of event is a weekly occurrence, and I found myself worrying that my son would grow up with twisted values. Regina and I, after all, are such kind, simple people. We're nothing at all like anyone else in Los Angeles.
Because we were special guests of the band, Elijah and I got to hang out in the "green room," which contained the exact same goodies as the rest of the festival. He ate some M&M's, half a cookie, a Sno-Cone, and a soft pretzel. When I told Regina about this later, she said, "He ate WHAT?" For lunch, I'd given him broccoli, carrots, and smoked whitefish, and he'd eaten it all like a good little Jew. I had nothing to prove. Yes, four treats was excessive, but how often does a boy get to go to Kidstock?
Elijah danced a lot to The Sippy Cups, though I think that was mostly because he discovered that if he jumped long and hard enough, his shorts would slide down around his ankles. Also, we devised a game that seemed to involve me hitting him over the head with a beanbag chair. The mothers and children around us, most of whom seemed to be busy putting lip-gloss on one another, were oblivious, even when Elijah started hitting me with a beanbag chair.
Other than the band and the snacks, Elijah showed no interest in other Kidstock activities. All he wanted to do was hang out at the koi pond and watch the turtles. When we arrived, a boy a little younger than Elijah was reaching into the pond and attempting to flip turtles onto their backs.
"Shouldn't be doing that there, sport," I said.
The child's mom awoke from her cell-phone-induced haze on the lawn adjacent to the pond.
"Are you flipping turtles again, Kyle?" she asked.
And then she leaned down so they could flip turtles again.
"Stop flipping turtles, dummy!" Elijah said.
"Elijah," I said. "Don't call a stranger dummy. Even if they are one."
We walked away quickly after that. At the exit, one of a seemingly infinite army of beige-shirted female volunteers handed us our mandatory gift bag, bright orange and emblazoned with the Lucky Jeans logo.
"Thank you for coming to Kidstock!" they chirped.
"Elijah," I said. "What do you say to the ladies?"
"Thank you for having me!" he said.
"Good boy," I said.
We went to the car and looked at our bag. Inside was a Celebutard Whore Training Kit: Lotions, soaps, a red Lucky Jeans bandanna, some sort of fruit energy drink, and a little plastic doll that kind of looked like Paris Hilton and came complete with small plastic dog.
"This is girl's stuff," Elijah said.
"Thank God you're not a girl," I said.
"I would like to keep the candle, though," he said.
The candle was a soy candle, mint-scented, from a reputable manufacturer. It was definitely a worthwhile piece of swag. We left the rest of the bag in the parking lot. I turned the Dodger game on in the car, and Elijah started looking at the library books we'd picked up earlier in the day.
"Who would win in a fight: A Triceratops or a bull shark?"
It was nice to be back in reality.