Month: May, 2008


Saturday, May 24th, 2008 | All Things, Music, Travel

At the Sasquatch Music Festival. More to come…

Taking in this view, it’s easy to see why Pollstar magazine readers voted The Gorge the best major outdoor concert venue in North America for the third year in a row.

All festival photos up on flickr. Day 2: Rogue Wave, The Blakes, Mates of State, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Death Cab For Cutie, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, and The Cure.

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The road to The Gorge

Saturday, May 24th, 2008 | All Things, Travel

Picked up the PT Cruiser at SeaTac, “The Hospitality City” — so-called for the intense concentration of hotel chains clustered around the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. I was able to walk with my luggage from the Radisson lobby up to the rental car counters across from baggage claim in less than ten minutes, a journey which would be unthinkable at any of the NYC area airports.

The most arduous part of this leg of our travels was finding the exit out of the multi-tiered parking garage. (Most confusing signage ever!) But once we hit the I-90, it was a straightforward and breathtaking two hour drive to The Gorge Amphtitheater.

I heard on the local news this morning that area ski lodges would remain open for Memorial Day weekend. I was incredulous until we passed through these snow-capped mountains, a mere hour out of the city.

Once through the mountain pass, the climate warmed considerably, and the landscape gave way to an almost Southwestern vista: flat lands of sagebrush that seemed to stretch for miles. Just the place for a wind farm:

At the turnoff to The Gorge, preparing for an amazing lineup of music.

Sasquatch Musical Festival photos up on flickr! Beirut, Ozomatli, The Whigs, Fleet Foxes, Kathleen Edwards, The New Pornographers, M.I.A., Grand Archives, The National, The Breeders (Kim Deal!), and headliner R.E.M.

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Don’t even leave the airport

Friday, May 23rd, 2008 | All Things, Travel

Memorial Day weekend: the unofficial kick-off of summer! Though I usually try to avoid airports (and the L.I.E.) at this time, the Sasquatch beckoned, sending me to join the ranks of the estimated 4.35 million Americans traveling by plane over the long holiday weekend, thereby substantially increasing my carbon footprint. (I’ll have the chance to plant flowers for my block association on Tuesday to atone.)

I read about DelayCast — a new site which has built mathematical models of the U.S. air transportation system to predict on-time and cancellation probabilities — in The Times last month. Earlier today, I plugged in my arrival and departure airports, one hour flight time window and airline; DelayCast predicted a 44% chance of leaving as scheduled. That did not bode well. And when I arrived at JFK after a 90-minute traffic-clogged ride from my apartment, I discovered that holiday congestion is not limited to the Van Wyck or to TSA security checkpoints.

Yes, that’s the queue of planes waiting for take-off.

We ended up hitting the skies two hours after the official departure time. In what has become industry standard, passengers sat through the entire cross-country trip without an in-flight meal. I did have the opportunity to buy an $8 sandwich. (I passed — perhaps for the best.) The nickel and dime-ing didn’t end there: headsets were offered for $2, and could be used to watch the basic cable satellite broadcast, but premium HBO programming ran extra: $6 for feature length films (like La Vie En Rose), somewhat less for HBO show episodes and comedy specials. I could have relived Bob Saget’s “That Ain’t Right” (which we saw taped at Skirball last year) for another $2.

Well, at least I was able to check my one bag for free. And though I probably could have settled in for the beef jerky episode of “Good Eats,” I found “Deal or No Deal ” was actually improved on mute.

Tomorrow, or rather: in a few hours — The Gorge in George!

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