Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Kites in the Reservoir: My Day in Darebin
If the Melbourne CBD is 'like New York' and St Kilda is 'like L.A.', then the City of Darebin is totally like Southeast Detroit. After an epic Sunday trip along the 112 tram line, I arrived at the Darebin Kite Festival, excited at the fact that I actually left the inner suburbs. It's a rare occasion.
Strolling across the grass with my travelling companions, Megan and Marcus, I found myself bemused at the scene.
"So here's where all the brown people are!" my inner monologue exclaimed. Scores of children of all colors ran around, with younger ones wandering glassy-eyed and overwhelmed at the excitement, while older kids' gazes were fixed at the kites in the sky. Weirdos on stilts got out a giant jump rope while 7 year-olds scrambled to queue. It was like a Benetton ad, without the clothes marketed to white people, and if you threw in women flying kites in burkhas.
We'd come all this way for a friend's birthday picnic, and it was well worth it. I do love a good community festival. We parked ourselves off to the side of the fray so as not to get garotted, and sneakily popped the champers, adding some orange juice for justification.
There was some un-authentic sounding gypsy music on stage, followed by African dancing. I zoned out for awhile and we went to go examine the wares for sale. There seemed to be an inordinate amount of politically incorrect kites for sale, such as the "Midget" kite:
As well as what was obviously the "Gay Shark" kite:
Still, all was going well until it became suddenly clear that one of the guys on stilts was on a dangerous course of his mushroom trip. By this time several kites had gotten stuck in trees, so the Ren Fest reject decided to climb a tree on stilts. You know bad shit's going down when you hear moms going, "really, it's okay! Just leave the kite up there."
Naturally, I wasn't going to let this go undocumented.
Sadly, he didn't die. Or maybe I got bored and left before the end, I don't remember. Anyway, everything was wrapping up and the cable-access trained Emcee for the day was blathering on and on into his microphone. A little girl of about 9 climbed up on stage, which prompted the Emcee to lean over and condescendingly ask her, "would you like to say anything about the fun you've had here today?"
"Bite me," she replied.
My day was complete.