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Thursday, May 11, 2006 

Coachella | Mr. McDonald

I know, I know, (enough already) finally a Coachella Report. It's taken some time to let it all soak in. The festival, once again this year, did not disappoint. I witnessed enough memorable music to last me all year. A perfect weekend vacation, the Indio desert was HOT, however, overall much milder than in years past. Nearly 100,000 music lovers showed up each day of the festival! (All of which wanted a picture with yours truly, but more about that in a bit.)

Friday afternoon, me and my friends drove out to Palm Springs and then to Joshua Tree. I've been before several times, but it's always a tranquil and spiritual experience (even without the mind-altering substances.) We climbed around on the rocks and took in the other-worldly scenery- like no place else on earth. This region is also famous for it's DATES, even more specifically, THE DATE SHAKE! My friends had never tried a Date Shake before, so on our way out to Joshua Tree we stopped by a quaint little market to have some mouth-altering enjoyment! I admit, I felt a little guilty about turning my friends on to the creamy delights because they are equivalent to Crack Cocaine in addictiveness..... Well, of course I'm exaggerating, but man, are they DELICIOUS! Don't pass up the opportunity to try one the next time you're out in these parts. After Joshua Tree, we headed to a local restaurant / bar in town called "PAPI & HARRIETTE'S", they have live music and great B-B-Q. Consequently, another friend of mine had jammed on stage at Papi & Harriette's with Robert Plant a couple month back. You never know who's gonna come through. The desert has a constant eb and flow of musicians who record and perform and find inspiration in this grand oasis.

This year's Coachella festival was different for me in many ways. First difference was that I didn't camp out this year at the nearby campgrounds. I was able to stay at my friend's friend's house just a few miles away from the Indio Polo Fields where the festival takes place. Second BIG difference was that in years past, I was able to run around the festival in anonymity without a care in the world. This year's experience I will liken to what it's like being Ronald McDonald at a 5 year old's birthday party. Boy, am I popular! (more about that in a bit.)

Finally, Saturday morning, Day 1 of the Coachella Festival! We make another quick pit-stop at the Date Shake spot (Addictive?) and then we are on our way. The sun is kickin' and I realize that none of us brought any sunscreen. (ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!!) It's fine, I know that they sell everything inside of the festival grounds. The price will be highly inflated but, sunscreen, nonetheless, they will have for sale. I'm actually surprised that they even let you bring your own in? The biggest travesty regarding Coachella is that they don't allow you bring in your own water! (even unopened) So, all day long you either pay for $2 bottles of water or dehydrate and die! Anyway, so we park, we make our way into the festival and almost immediately, at intervals of about every 5 seconds, someone is screaming my name and / or grabbing my arm and making a German spectacle of themselves. ( Happy Meals, anyone?) I understand it goes with the territory now, and it's all PURE LOVE..... However, I look over to my friends that I'm with, and I instantly feel bad that they have to deal with walking around with me. It was painfully obvious that this was just the tip of the McFlurry. I've grown accustomed to similar situations, so I knew to expect my fair share of this attention. My friend's however, didn't pay $160 to not be able to take 10 paces before someone jumped in front of them to slow their roll! I would've completely understood, had they ditched me, but they didn't and we all tried to just have a good time and make light of some of the crazy commotion! I had the option of V.I.P. backstage access but declined because it was only plus 1 and I was with 3 friends. Also, V.I.P. at Coachella completely defeats the purpose. Just buy the fuckin' video, if you're gonna go and hideout backstage! Yes, Yes, there's an open bar and free catered food, but whatever, I've come to have a great time with friends. I want the real experience. We persevere and witness great music from the front of the stage, just like I've done ever year. Fuck, We need sunscreen!!! We're baking and I start trading photo-ops for rations of sunscreen. Not just for me, for me and my crew.... It ain't no fun if the Homies can't have none! We locate the general store and purchase 2 bottles of sunscreen ($10 not too bad) and commence to lathering up. (Foiled again, Mr. Melanoma!) The heat and my concern for my crew has zapped my energy and we haven't even seen any bands yet! I need some coffee....or better...... Nothing quenches your desert thirst like a "LEMON-ICE!" At $5 a glass, this refreshing treat is another reason why you should head to Coachella next year even if Flock of Seagulls is headlining both nights. (Yeah, that good!) Oh, but this year I discovered something that tastes better than a "LEMON-ICE!" "What tastes better than a LEMON-ICE?" you ask.....

FREE LEMON-ICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, Fame can be a nuisance sometimes, but it's the Love from fans and lots of free shit that make it all worth while! Any vendor that recognized me as I walked up to their stand and said,"SANTINO?" I would immediately inquire back, "Does that mean it's FREE?" Indeed, in most cases, it did mean it was free. Except in one case, the young lady serving me said, "Well, no- it's not free, but it's on me!" "Whatever makes you feel better," I said. I didn't really care how she worked it out, just so I didn't have to part with another $5 for lemon-flavored ice shavings! Several dozen more photo-ops and finally we make it to our first band of the day: Hybrid featuring Perry Farrell. Perry is pretty much responsible for this festival as he had been with Lollapolooza prior. He's performed in one way or another since the festival began 7 years ago. After Hybrid the rest of the day went in this order: Lady Sovereign, Wolfmother, Common, Kanye West, Sigur Ros. Then we got a bite to eat while catching a bit of Damien "Jr. Gong" Marley, the end of Carl Cox's set, Audio Bullys, and then the reason why I showed up at all, DAFT PUNK! Daft Punk hadn't performed in the U.S. for like 9 years or some shit? So, they came to remind everyone just how bad-ass they are. Their performance was a collage of sight and sound. I would see them again in a heartbeat, INCREDIBLE! Everything Daft Punk does is perfection, there's no band like them. Day one has ended and now it's time to make it to the car without too much fanfare. Not a chance! Even under the cover of night, my big, red afro and yellow jumpsuit shined like a beacon of light to all the ships at sea. Several more pictures and then we were tired so we literally ran to the car. "Ladies and Gentlemen, Ronald McDonald has left the building!"

Sunday, Day 2! Wake, Shake, Bake..... We head out for the festival again and second verse same as the first, the day begins in similar fashion as Saturday. Here's the run-down of bands I saw: Phoenix, Matisyahu, Bloc Party, Gnarls Barkley, Paul Oakenfold, Madonna, Dungen, Massive Attack, Scissor Sisters for a few songs and then TOOL. I really enjoyed Madonna and Massive Attack's performances. Madonna was all over the place and engaging, while Massive Attack was chill trip-hop that soothed the crowd. When Sunday was over, I felt exhausted but my soul was recharged. I just went back and was reading this post aloud to myself and I wondered if it sounds a little harsh, I'm hardly whining about my poor life or some shit like that. I'm just telling you how it went down. It's as simple of a conclusion as any, by stating, there's a RIGHT way and a WRONG way to engage in some type of interaction with a stranger, celebrity or not. Those that lack the proper etiquette should take heed when approaching someone they want to talk to. It was alarming to me that it was a 60/40 ratio of positive to negative requests that I experienced. 40% is a lot and fucked up, especially because I obliged to pose in 2000 or more pictures. The following are some guidelines to help all of those that need it. If you're out somewhere and you see Ronald McDonald.... Don't freak the fuck out! BE COOL, take a deep breath. If you want a picture to prove that you've seen Ronald McDonald, now is a great time to get your camera out of your purse or bag, out of it's case, turned on, flash turned on, oops don't forget the lenscap! Don't yell Ronald's name to get his attention! At this point, Ronald has grown deaf to hearing his own name. So, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT draw anymore extra attention to Ronald McDonald by yelling his name. If you do, in many cases 20 or more fans standing right next to Ronald will be asking for pictures and grabbing at him before you could even get close enough for your own personal encounter. And personal is what it should be! Try to have your own special, intimate moment with Ronald McDonald. Casually walk up to Ronald, try to make eye contact with Ronald. Whatever you do, DO NOT touch Ronald's hair or face! Understand that what ever you're planning on doing to or with Ronald, multiply it by 1000, because that's what it's like for Ronald McDonald. Even 1000 blowjobs in 1 day is overkill for Ronald! Respect Ronald's personal space until you've properly introduced yourself. DO NOT MESS RONALD"S THREADS! Ronald is always happy to meet cool, polite, confident, young people. A great way to introduce yourself is, for example:

"Excuse me, Mr. McDonald, may I have my picture taken with you?" "Call me Ronald," he'll reply. Being low-key and polite is very important when introducing yourself. Never poke Ronald McDonald, it's not cool to poke anyone. You're just going to piss Ronald off. Don't grab or hug or bite Ronald, unless you've been granted permission and Ronald is down for creating just the right mood for the camera. Again what ever you're planning, multiply it by 1000! Trust me, you will not surprise Ronald in the least. Ronald McDonald has seen it all! Having social skills is a plus when requesting a moment with Ronald McDonald. If you spy Ronald McDonald in a crowd dancing and enjoying himself at a concert, don't be a buzzkill by disturbing Ronald's groove! Interupting Ronald's fun for your own selfish needs isn't cool. Respect Ronald's fun times as if they were your own. Wait until the song is over, or start dancing along with Ronald. If you're not in a dancing mood, wait until the song is over, there is always plenty of time to talk to Ronald between songs or even between acts. At that time Ronald would love to take a picture with you! Again, never neglect Ronald's personal space. While eating, NEVER touch Ronald's Happy Meal. Grabbing at or trying to insert Ronald's Big Mac into your mouth or demanding to taste his "Special Sauce" is completely inappropriate tablemanners. Hopefully these guidelines will be remembered and are not too complicated. The next time you see Ronald McDonald out and about, know that he will appreciate that you admire his work and would be honored to pose for a picture with you!


Such a long, interesting post!!! One less thing to nag you about. ;-)
Since this one will probably be up awhile (deservedly), I'll save some of my comments for later, but my favorite line has GOT to be:
"Demanding to taste [Ronald McDonald's] 'Special Sauce' is completely inappropriate table manners." LMAO!

Oh Ronald, where to begin. First, thank you for this ode to the precarious nature of fame. I mean, not only was I entertained but informed. For example, I learned that suncreen is a which sometimes requries the turning of tricks, or to use your euphemism...the taking of pictures. I also learned that you're an excellent friend and that only douche bags take the V.I.P. Oh yeah, and thanks for your diverse diction...the homies appreciate it. What else?, oh yeah. And thank you for telling everyone that they must keep their hands and feet inside the ride at all times when encountering Ronald. How dare fans think they can give you a blowjob without identifying themselves first...amateurs. There are other points to address, but I'll save those for a later play date.

Soooo, you're being nice but it sounds like you encountered a number of people that were simply rude assholes. As a fan I apolgize...not all of us would be that disrespectful and some of us even have good home trainin'. Keep in mind idots will be idots, that will never change.
Lastly, your myspace site; do people ever write anything other than that they love you or want to fuck you....nothing wrong with that but enough already we get the point. If not, I think I will be forced to point out the fact you have pussy and dick hurled at you like frisbees everytime you leave house...I'm sure DUCK or IN COMING would be applicable these days.


Mr.McDonald, loved it. Glad to see such a long entry.

Kermit the Frog sang "It's not easy bein' green," but it seems that's nothing compared to bein' pasty-white faced and red-afro'ed, with huge feet and a funny suit! (Or 6'5" with a real deep voice and a half-truth/half-fiction rep that precedes you).
That truly is a great little essay, Santino. Is there ANYTHING you can't do?!?

Had my picture taken with The Ronald once ... I'm 6'0" and apparently there some rule about how RMcD can't be shorter than the tallest person in the photo ... so now I have a photo of me in 3" heels, with Ronald McDonald standing on a chair. True story.

Oh Santino... I don't know you except for tv and your blog but you're such an interesting cat.

Stars: They're Just Like "US"! They don't like to be poked or screamed at!

This is my third time reading this post, and it has literally brought me to tears with laughter. Hands down my favorite line is, "Even in the cover of night, my big red afro and yellow jumpsuit shined like a beacon of light to all the ships at sea." Hemingway couldn't have written it better. I didn't say this earlier, Santino, but I'm sorry you were accosted by fans in an inappropriate way. Meeting your favorite celebrity, TV personality, etc. should be enjoyable for both parties. Hopefully, your next outing will be better. And who are the imbeciles that go up and touch, grab, poke, etc. the body of a 6'5 stranger anyway? Didn't their parents ever give them the stranger danger speech?

So glad I had something lengthy to read! I love the way you describe your experiences! I particularly appreciated the stuff about the fans and guidelines, and I'm not being sarcastic, I think in general, we tend to think that celebrities are these unbreakable, somewhat inhuman creatures placed on this earth for the sole purpose of entertaining us and distracting us from our own mundane lives, we want to believe that they are "above" us in some way, and yet we treat them as if they are beneath us, completely ignoring the fact that a "celebrity" is in fact a real human being, and not some larger than life untouchable god, we ignore their ( your)privacy and feelings that need to be respected for the sake of our own ( as you stated) self centeredness, I know this comment is probably one of the longest I will ever leave you, but as I was reading the post, and I felt bummed for you and your friends, ( kudos to them for not bailing on you though! and to you for declining the VIP) closing of this tangent, I do solemnly swear that if I Naomi, were to see you, Santino Rice on the streets of NYC ( or Long Island), I will take a visual inventory of who you are with and what you are doing to see if it is an appropriate moment to extend my hand to you and introduce myself. It aggravates me to see people being disrespected in the name of "adoration" and I refuse to take part in that type of pandemonium, thank you for being so honest!!! on a side note, I love Joshua Tree!! I will definitely try the DATE SHAKE next time I'm out there. keep being beautiful!
(p.s I'm also going to be more respectful in the comments I leave on this page)

Hey Santino! I was at Coachella, and saw a lot of the same bands you did, but I didn't see you! Not even with that big ole red wig and clown makeup. :) Wasn't the music great?

Wasn't Sigur Ros fabulous? I cried, it was so beautiful.

And Gnarls Barkley ROCKED MY SOCKS!!!

World to your mutha.

Sadly, if I had seen you, I probably would have asked for a picture. But I am not a screamer.

Love ya.

You really painted such a clear picture of your experience. I love the personification of yourself as Ron McD. Sr. Mar. would be so proud!

I will be tracking your amazing career.

With love from the StL,
Your former classmate.

Hi Santino :)
Now I know the proper way to greet you when I see you!
Of course, i'll never meet you!
I never go anywhere!'
I will definitely treat those rules with respect!


So glad you enjoyed Coachella and for enlightening us in how to approach Ronald - you put it well and maybe it will increase the positive approaches percentage - who knows you may have helped a lot of celebrities who have this same problem - now you should work on world peace

Well still missing you and keeping my fingers crossed that we will get an opportunity to see you somewhere on TV soon

I love the comparison with Ronald at a kid's birthday party. I'd imagine that it's very much like that.
sounds like a wonderful weekend out there in the desert!
And I'm glad to know from your description of how to approach you that I managed to do right when I met you at the yard sale.

you are a cool cat always.


I have never left a comment before to ANYONE but I must congratulate you for ALLWAZE being yourself no matter what. As far as I am concerned you were the best and most original one in the PJR show.
I am happy to find that you are happy and fine.

"While eating, NEVER touch Ronald's Happy Meal. Grabbing at or trying to insert Ronald's Big Mac into your mouth or demanding to taste his "Special Sauce" is completely inappropriate tablemanners"

Truer words have never been spoken.
I'm going to teach my kidlets that :)
Glad you found sunscreen though....Skin Cancer is a B*tch.

Santino, that was an awesome post!
I can think of a few "fandoms" that might benefit from the whole Ronald MacDonald analogy ;)
Glad you had a great time!


Wouldn't it be a really good idea, for both humanitarian and public relations reasons, for one of the big bottled water companies to have a tent at these kinds of festivals, offering free cold bottles of water to attendees?

just thought i'd share.

In regard to the photo posted by Emilya, it's nice to know that after dishing out happy meals to rude and drunk 5 year olds, that sometimes Ronald McDonald is allowed to remove his big yellow jumpsuit, floppy shoes, and red wig; so he can party hearty with the kids.

The Top 3 Reason I Have Not Added Captions To The Pictures In This Post As I Usually Do:

1.The picture lay-out hangs together so beautifully that I don't want to interfere with the integrity of the design.

2.The Santino picture in the upper righthand corner is so breathtaking (Those lips! Those eyes!) that I am unable to think clearly enough to write captions.

3.I don't want to piss off Ronald McDonald. A HAPPY Ronald is creepy ENOUGH! - I don't think I want to see that clown when he's angry!

Santino, you have such strong talent, sew on!

ha, i love reading your blog. you rule.

i wish, wish wish i could go to Coachella, im glad you seriously lived it up.

In regard to the linked post, I find the blogger's disfavor a bit much. The vendor gave you an opportunity to avoid paying $5 for ice in a cup, and you took it. Who among us has never taken advantage of an opportunity for free stuff, or what I prefer to call the "hook up!" I don't think it's right to fault you for being honest and basically being Santino.
The vendor did a nice thing, and I'm sure you were grateful. It's not as if the vendor paid your down payment on a car, and you in turn told her to go to Hades. It was ice shavings in a cup that cost $5. $5 that people could have used on more sunscreen. If people must take issue with something, take issue with having to spend $5 on lemon flavored ice, instead of sunscreen, which cost $10. Way to help combat cancer, Coachella vendors. Did a free pack of cigarettes come with the $5 lemon ice?

...and sew on...and sew forth...

Should one of the challenges on the next season of "Project Runway"
be to design a new outfit for Ronald McDonald or should he keep his current whimsical yet classic look? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Could you post your Instinct magazine interview?

Nice Blog....

TOOL was there? Sweet.

People have bitten you?!

I'm so jealous - I want to go to Coachella every year.. not to mention I have yet to see Massive Attack in concert and I'm a huge fan. Jealous, jealous, jealous!!!

I've had strangers bite me more than once and I'm nowhere near famous. Now *that's* a lack of manners. In the case of Santino in the flesh, I'd have to wonder how many folks would be able to keep their composure if Jesus showed up at the Madonna show, and how many would stick a hand in his wound before they even realized they were doing it. Sometimes the brain just shuts off... Dare I say this proves it's time to go underground for awhile and make some clothes? My dedicated bank account's only up a hundred dollars right now, but I'm counting!!!

So all poking bad and immoral and irrehensible? What about poking badgers with spoons? Oh well, I will say my five Hail Mary's and six Hello Dolly's. (That was an Eddie Izzard reference)

shit son!!! man, i was also at coachella and even though i would have been just another one of those annoying people coming up to you and getting all up in your grill i still would have died to see you. i would have given you a huge high five because santino is absofreakinlutely the shit. oh and i have to agree with you there about daft punk. It pretty much changed my life and my feet are still recovering from the damage of all that dancing. santino and daft punk under the same roof? that's what i like to call a good time. once again, you are the shit and keep on making amazing clothing.....

you...never cease to amaze me. please send some specimen so i can have amazing bearded babies.


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About Me:
I'm Santino Rice, a fashion designer living and working in Hollywood California. I was a contestant on Bravo's Project Runway Season 2. This is my personal journal.