on sunday morning, we got up nice and early and headed out to the west side for another fun day. this time, we were off to the l.a. times festival of books at the UCLA campus. there's a new-ish show on nickelodeon called "the fresh beat band," and the bean loves to watch the clips aired on nick jr. and dance along. and, well, the teen might have been interested too. heh.
and as we got off the freeway after breezing through sunday-light traffic, we were greeted by this hotness:
after the usual wrong turn or two, we found our way to the parking structure. the festival is a free event, but i knew they'd get us somehow. and they did - $10 for parking.
i've set foot on this campus maybe once in my whole life. and so as we got the bean settled in her stroller, locked the car, and headed out, i got the teen to snap a quick shot of where we'd parked in the hopes of finding our pri-YES after we were done.
it was just a few minutes before 10, and the place was packed already. although free events tend to attract a ton of folks, and this one's always very well-attended, from what i hear.
we perused the map to figure out where we needed to be. the band's performance was scheduled to start at 10am, and i hoped they were running late. i mean, most everything does, right? don't you usually find yourself rushing to a venue for a show, you get there right on time, and then the performer doesn't mosey out onstage till about 10 or 15 minutes later?
after a thigh-and-calf-burning sprint uphill while pushing the heavy ass stroller, we made it to the children's area. and one of our very favorite stores on the planet was a big sponsor.
and, drat! as we approached the target children's stage, the band was already well into their show and we had to do a little maneuvering to find a decent vantage spot. i put the bean on my shoulders and she craned her neck to see what was going on. when she spotted the foursome on the stage, she clapped and danced along (which was killer on my neck and back, but that was okay). i put the teen to work with the camera, and she did a pretty good job:
i noticed a good handful of pictures of this guy - "twist." yeah, they all have really stupid names. kiki, shout, marina, and twist. obviously, the teen has a thing for the tall white dude.
and then, after about half a dozen songs, it was all over. they waved at the crowd and disappeared backstage. as the audience dispersed, we overheard an announcement that the group would be in a nearby tent to meet fans and sign autographs.
the teen, pushing the stroller, waved me on ahead to weave through the hordes of folks trudging along. as i walked, i noticed a few red t-shirted target employees next to me, discussing the autographing session and watching the line as it grew and grew. when i finally joined the line, one of them stood next to me, having been told that i marked the end of it. the band was only signing for about 45 minutes, and i was the last one that was virtually "guaranteed" to get into the tent. whoo-hoo, score!
as we stood in line and listened to the chatter all around us, another employee came through the line with these pre-autographed cards. she wrote down kids' names on a post-it and stuck it on their card for the band to personalize them, and the teen thought this was super lame. "why even stand in line, then? oh, but i want to meet twist. he's hawt." muahahahahaha. i was also excited to see my friend nanette with her hubby and their adorable toddler - we'd traded a few text messages during the show and she easily found us standing in the insanely long line. i got baby em one of the autographed cards, but they didn't care about meeting the group. we chatted for a bit and then they took off to check out the rest of the festival.
the bean had zero idea of what was going on, but she was comfy in her stroller and munched on her free z-bar that i'd picked up at the clif bar booth nearby.
a few of the kids in front of us had these lanyards. i wondered why they were stuck in the back of the line like we were.
out of the corner of my eye, i saw a woman approach the teen with a handful of brochures. "my husband did a documentary about the mormons and i just want everyone to see it," she said. the teen politely declined, but she pressed on. "do you know anyone who's been on a mission?" she asked. and when the teen shook her head, she drew in a shocked breath and practically shouted "you DON'T KNOW ANYONE WHO'S BEEN ON A MISSION?"
at this point, i was pissed. "we're really not interested, but thank you," i told her. and even then, the crazy heffa wouldn't give up.
"it's just a documentary, i just want everyone to see it," she said.
"i'm sure you're proud of your husband, but we. are. not. interested. we're christians, we have no interest in learning about mormonism." i said. the others in line were starting to stare. not at us, but at the freak who was making an ass out of herself.
"mormons are christian, too." (they are?)
"that's fine. we're not interested. move along, please."
"i'm not trying to convert you."
"great. we're still not interested." we were in a line that we didn't want to give up on, so we were freaking stuck.
"but it's not a religious documentary!"
"WE. ARE. NOT. INTERESTED." i was ready to junkpunch this bitch. i'm getting aggravated again just remembering it.
and finally, she threw up her hands, muttering about how unreasonable we were being, leaving a gaggle of folks shaking their heads after her. i couldn't believe how ridiculously pushy she'd been, and had no clue as to why she'd targeted the teen for her tirade. she's lucky i didn't kick her ass, but i didn't want to make a scene in front of the kids all around us. we got plenty of words of support and sympathy from those around us, including target boy (still stationed next to us, but not exactly lending a hand during the mormon rant).
the line finally started moving, and once it did, it went fast. we found ourselves in front of the tent with 20 minutes to spare before end of the autographing session, and the folks in line behind us cheered and clapped. the autographed card-hand-er-out-er returned to write down their names on post-its, and everyone rejoiced.
the teen plucked the bean out of the stroller and took her to meet the fresh beat band, and i snapped away.
afterwards, she headed to this tent to see what it was all about while i got the bean re-settled.
she came back with a couple of screening passes in hand. guess i know what we're doing on may 6th.
she was also pretty stoked to pick up a movie poster for a certain upcoming flick she's dying to see.
as we cruised the booths, i grinned when i saw that the homeland was representin'.
the lakers' jeannie buss was autographing books, too.
and i really didn't know who this dude was, but i recognized the artwork on the promo poster from seeing kids' books at barnes & noble. the line to meet him was pretty damn long, too.
as we rounded a corner, this giant coffeemaker caught my eye, and i got in line to grab a sample.
i guess it's another one of those single-cup keurig-type machines.
my iced mocha was tasty, but i just can't see taking up valuable counter space for this gizmo.
didn't stop me from hamming it up, though.
the teen went for a jamba juice smoothie. i kind of wanted some food, too, but i really hate paying festival prices for food i can get anytime.
these girls were so excited to take a picture with the UCLA bruin statue with their USC sweatshirt. like, they were squealing with glee. i kind of wanted to smack 'em.
the bean didn't want to come near the thing.
i still don't know who these people were, but there were some super stoked folks in their audience.
i'd hoped to meet up with nanette and a few other friends who were there, too, but we had one more activity for the day. plus, we were sweating our asses off and i lose patience when i'm in the throes of perspiration.
and yes, we managed to find the car with no difficulty. yay!