Salsa dancing, bring the sexy back!

One of the other things I didn't have in my life growing up pocho was seeing my parents salsa dance. Seems everyone grew up with it. Not me.

I love to dance. I love to dance my way, without rules or boundaries. I think dancing can be liberating, healing, spiritual, sexual, meditative, communal, and fun. Dig in my older posts, you'll see. So, for me the rules and rituals of salsa or any other form dancing that had 'steps' seemed lame, confining and so not fun. "You mean I HAVE to do it THAT way?"

My gf loves to salsa dance. She goes twice a week when possible. She has talked about really practicing with her dance partner and getting into some competition by the end of the year. I knew the day would come when I would have to go with her to a salsa club and watch her dance with her partner and any other man that asked her out for a spin around the dance floor.

Last Friday night we 'practiced' a bit at my house before we would meet up with her friends. I stepped on her toes. I bumped into her. To quote her, "You might be embarrassing." I just couldn't get that basic back-and-forth step that is the root of salsa dancing. back-n-forth, back-n-forth, back-n-forth, spin her, back-n-forth back-n-forth. WHATEVER.

We got to The Granada in Alhambra and fortunately according to her, it wasn't as crowded as it could be. I sat and watched for the first hour how it goes down: good looking guys ask good looking girls to dance, they do their thing, at song's end a good bye and on to the next person, no one buys anyone a drink, no one talks after dancing, they just eyeball and see who they want to dance with next. Thus I saw and felt no sexual tension, very very few smiles, and no attempts to meet anyone new. I thought everyone there was a pro-dancer who just came to practice. On the plus side, no one was doing the back-n-forth, back-n-forth, back-n-forth step I couldn't get. They instead looked like they were all having a yo-yo contest. Everyone just spun around the whole time. Very little eye contact, just spin me round, let me spin you round and on and on. Well I could do that.

When I finally got up to dance with my gf we went to the middle of the floor. I called upon the spirits of Anthony Quinn and all pachucos, I remembered watching 'Grease,' and 'Saturday Night Fever,' and then I busted out. I spun her and myself. We caught our own beat within the beats of Johnny Polanco and I made her smile like I do in private. I mixed kisses on her cheeks and hands as I moved her around me, I touched the back of her knees as I would drop and rise in front of her after a move I can't explain, I stroked her face and neck as I placed her in front of me to swivel like you can't at a Catholic school dance. Together we brought the sexy back to salsa. We had people watching. We made a scene of what this proverbial sexy dance should be: fun, sexy, and experimental with someone you care about.

She was impressed and mentioned that now we should practice in order to compete. Her 'former' dance partner asked me how I learned to spin like that, that he hadn't gotten to that part of the classes that he was taking. I just said "It's all pachucada ese! Be free and do it." What I didn't tell him was the secret ingredient: love makes you float.


Another Awesome L.A. Weekend

It was my last weeekend before the semester starts and correcting papers becomes part of my weekends, so luckily I had a great partner to partake in the fun...

Friday: Started out with breakfast at House of Pies in Los Feliz since we were going to climb up Griffith Park. I grew up going up and down the hills behind the Observatory, I hadn't been there since last year's fires. It was sad to see up close how much had been burned. The view from the top was great as always. Made our way down and out to Venice beach. The parking gods gave us a free spot right near the non-existent boardwalk. Took a nice long walk taking in the sights and smells that only Venice can provide, through the crowd and then along the sand. Drove back in traffic eating oranges, listening to good music and making up our own lyrics to familiar standards. Home to change and go back out to Studio City for dinner with her long time friend for a 'get to know this guy' evening of dinner and drinks. We met at Mexicali which is a good loud party place. We sat outside where it was easier to hear each other. I think I made a good impression.

Saturday: The morning began with tamales at La Mascota, and a car wash at the super East Los 'Bob's Hand Car Wash,' with fresh squeezed orange juice for her and carrot juice with apple juice for me. Bob's is total Mexican kitsch with paintings of sombrero wearing car washers, pictures of old Mexico, various artifacts like old wagon wheels and rusted horse bridles. It's like if Knott's Berry Farm had a Mexican themed car wash. Along with the parrots and Koi fish, fresh squeezed juices and CD and DVD sales, Bob's offers the best place to get your car washed. Time flies with so much to look at.

Later that night we met up to make a stop at her cousin's b-day party at Element. I was supposed to be on the VIP list, but when we got to the door, bypassing the long lines, I wasn't. Fortunately, I think we looked too good to say 'No' too, so they let us in anyway. That's love in L.A. Bought her cuz a drink, hung out for about 45 min. then we had to get out to hear some good house by DJs that don't sound like they are playing the top hits from the history of Power 106. We walked two blocks east to King King for Balance. Balance is promoter Sue Dread's club that features the best deep house DJs on a Saturday night in the heart of Hollywood. This night our boy Raul Campos would be the guest after resident DJ Kemal warmed up the place. We danced the whole time we were there, which is typical since the music and energy is always so good at Balance.

Sunday: I entered the Midnight Ridazz into the Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena, so I got there around 10:15 am. In talking with Doo Dah organizers I had told them we should have between 100 and 300 ridazz, but unfortunately for a variety of reasons, we only had 25 peeps. Que sad. Because of my so off the mark prediction they gave us the lead position. We made the most of it, riding in circles, having pillow fights with our child participants, handing out Ridazz info flyers, blasting music on portable sound systems, dancing in the streets, and basically being Midnight Ridazz at midday. We had a blast. Some pics and stories.
Met up with my partner in crime/love/fun and her good friend and watched the whole parade. She noticed how the majority of participants were older folks. I think it maybe that having whimsical fun and not taking yourself so seriously was lost on the more recent generations. After the parade we got some food at CPK and then saw the scariest movie I've seen in long time, "El Orfanato" (The Orphange). I felt chills and I never feel chills at movies!
Later, to cap off another awesome L.A. weekend, we had to dance it up, give praise and thanks at my church DEEP. Guest DJ from N.Y.C. the legendary Timmy Regisford rocked it, like he usually does keeping the international crowd in a frenzy throughout his 6 hour set.

Thanks to all that crossed my path and joined me in another awesome L.A. weekend. I feel blessed. I hope you all have awesome weekends and great memories wherever you may be.


MLK day

If MLK's dream were alive or had come to be, would we be at war?
... would we have free health care?
... would the Jenna Six not exist?
... would we have a national Malcolm X day too?
... would Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal be free?
... would schools be free all the way to Phd.?
... would we have ever have had a Bush in office?
... would Oprah have Latino/as on her show?
... would black people have afros? ('cause the ones I see on TV don't)
... would Tupac and Biggie been killed?
... would we have ever needed hip hop?
... would humans be labeled illegal?
I hope you had the day off to think about these things and more...


Boyle Hts. Viejitos

I love my Boyle Hts. viejitos. At least the ones who get I to sit near at a restaurant when they are in a group and I am alone and can eavesdrop in on their conversations.

I heard about how during WW2 this veterano looked at everyone in the belly of the boat he was in and it was "Pura raza. We were the first to land and more than half were dead before we even got off the boat." There was a dead silence at his table that made me feel tears well up in my eyes. I looked sideways and saw they all had their heads down.

I heard how Al & Bea's was around before 1966, even though their sign says 'since 1966.' These two went on about all the other spots they loved to eat like The Hat, Philipe's, and The Pantry. Made me hungry!

I've heard sordid stories of sex in the pre AIDS world, eating steaks for 10 cents (no hormones), dancing at the Paramount Ballroom, Carpenter's Hall, All Nations and Kennedy Hall. The real veterano/as talk about the speak-easys, during prohibition, in downtown L.A. and the jazz and pachuco music they would hear.

They had some wild times. I try not to look at them and just imagine how they must have looked back then. As I leave I look and see missing fingers, the canes, no hair, humped backs, wrinkles and crooked stands, they had a good life. If we should all be so lucky.


Who should you vote for?

All the polls are wrong, all the candidates are bought by corporations, a lot of people feel our vote doesn't matter, since voting machines which are made by Diebold, gave Bush Co. a ton of money to get the contract to make the machines in the first place.

So who should we vote for, or should we vote at all?

I think we should vote, but really vote for who stands with our beliefs. Sure that candidate will most likely lose, but it sends a message that at least I am not swayed by the 'I gotta side with a winner mentality.' If you really listen to the news about the Presidential race it sounds like a sports report. This guy is leading by X points and this one is making moves to close the gap of X points. It appeals the American idea of cheering for the winning team. Screw that.

Check out this website and see who you should be voting for.



DJ Rant

I'm not teaching or preaching about some important issue or past
I'm not painting, reciting or calling the gods with ancient drums
I'm not filming and showing some reality I think you need to know about
I'm just the DJ

I'm not doing public therapy
I'm not claiming I know the truth
I'm not asking for the mic or spotlight
I'm just the DJ

You don't have to pay me
-I'm a selector who just loves showing off his collection
You don't have to bill me on the flyer
-I know no one is coming just to see and hear me
You don't even have to know my name
-I don't care
I'm just the DJ

I'm a God when I play your favorites
A devil when I don't take requests
I can make your body move in ways you do only when naked
I can hurt your ears and make you wish you were dead
I am the DJ

Just because I don't jump around claiming revolution everyday
Doesn't mean I just know a turntable's revolutions
I don't need a gun or mask
I can crack a record or CD and slice your ass
I can throw a speaker and crush your face
I can tie you up in wires do what I please and what you fear
I am a DJ

I play old stuff and new to make you remember and escape
To say what I got to say I use recorded sounds combined in new ways
I speak in a language you may not know today
I don't rely on images of calaveras, virgens, lowriders, gangsters, dead revolutionaries, and Aztec pasts.
What are you trying to say over and over and over, again and again and again?
What do I know, I'm just a DJ.

I don't splash paint and say it is deep
I can't hide my mistake of going off beat
I don't write on walls and expect it last forever
I know my mixes are temporary, you just had to be there
I don't write a play or book and think no one has said it before
I know some one some where is playing the same record I am
I am a DJ

I am a dime a dozen
One of me is born everyday
So little talent is required
...right (?)
Play the same records
Don't care to learn how to mix
All that scratchin is makin me itch!

Gays in the disco honor me
Hip hop disowned me
Rockers now wish they were me
Ravers of course hail me
Couples in weddings need me
Promoters under pay me
Users use me
Promoters over pay me
Dancers love me
Dealers like me
Club owners bare with me
Outsider, second thought, background noise, lord of the dance...
Postmodern nightmare
I am a DJ

(Happy B-day Bowie! 1/8)


En Red...

We began by ice skating in downtown
Trusted each other that neither would allow the other to fall

Walked through the Biltmore
Made mental notes to return for tea amidst the ancient gringo facades

Dined at an old favorite bathed in red lighting
Home to rest and reinvigorate

Out for two birthdays at two bars, one an old friend, and a newer one
The rain always seemed to break, just for us, to walk umbrella free
(gracias Tlaloc)

East L.A. Love promised and delivered,
nothing else like this... en red


Pessimistic Optimist

I consider myself a pessimist, or jaded, but I have hope.

I believe we will hit a major recession this year that will change a lot of the ways we do things around here. But this will be a good thing.

I believe it will get very bad, before it gets very good.

Maybe because I am also a procrastinator and do good under pressure, I think we collectively need the s*&% to hit the fan for us to wake up out of our shopping, Brittany and Paris induced haze and do something to heal the world.