Baila where you still can
Yesterday, Manuel Ramos's post ended with a small poster about the Denver Valentine's Day Dance at Rick's Tavern. Last year, Sec. of the Interior Ken Salazar and two-time Grammy award winner Ruben Ramos recognized Rick Garcia for his contribution to Tejano and New Mexico music. The inscription on the award reads: "in recognition of keeping Tejano and New Mexico music alive in Denver."
The Mambo Club, The Doghouse, The Keg are long gone from North Denver's nightlife, places where you could swing a samba or toss your chanclas about the dance floor to the beat of mexicano accordion music or unas rancheras, whether or not the place had a license for dancing. Those and other Chicano clubs were replaced by gentry joints filled with those who invest in neighborhood homes because of their charm, much of which comes from its being an ethnic neighborhood. The entrance of the gentry of course razes a community, whitewashing its unique identity. In the end, there's nowhere for us to go for a baile on a Friday or Saturday night.
If you're a Chicano or something similarly latino, you know what such places mean, how la música mexicana can carry your body and alma to another place--one where spirits soar and prides swell with self-awareness. It makes you "feel like a Mexican." Maybe it reminds you of your Tío Ramón who would let out with a grito of "ay-yay-yay" whenever the band played Puño de Tierra. Or maybe after you had enough cerveza in you, you found you could actually sway your hips almost as sensuously as your Tía Consuelo seemed to be able to do so supernaturally.
That was all a thousand years ago. Yes, there are new mexicano clubs opening across the country--thanks to the influx of gente fleeing the societal plagues of Mexico--but at least in Denver most of those are relegated to the outskirts of town, where housing for the lowest-paid classes is almost affordable.
Things may be different in San Anto or Albu or East Los. But like Rick Garcia's plaque states, his tavern (it's actually a little north of North Denver) is one of the last "keeping Tejano and New Mexico music alive in Denver." Who knows for how long.
So, whenever you're in the Denver area, if you're looking for a place where gritos can still be shouted as politically correct, a club where everybody else dances better than you--like they were raised on bottled cumbia--make sure to hit Rick's Tavern, before the gentry discover the area. And maybe we'll bump hips at the Valentine's baile.
The Valentine's dance: Sunday, Feb. 12, 6–10:00pm, 6762 Lowell Blvd. (north of North Denver)
About the band: "The Rick Garcia Band performs a signature blend of Tejano, New Mexico, country, rock and oldies music. Rick Garcia is considered one of the finest entertainers in the Denver area, due to his vocal ability and range, stage presence, and showmanship." For more info, including booking the band for your next pachanga or tamalada, go here.
Stories wanted and a book on marianismo
Courtesy of Marcela Landres, comes the following:
Cosmo Latina Magazine
Cosmo Latina seeks: 1. Your wildest sex fantasies. Have you ever wanted to
do something so bad it consumed you? And then actually made it happen?
Yes, you can be anonymous. 2. Sh*t my mami says. Remember all the funny, outrageous things your Mami has been saying to you all your life? Now's your
chance to get even. Share her worst quotes on everything from men to
fashion. This can also be anonymous. 3. Most awkward party fouls and hangover cures. What's the worst thing you've ever done at a Cinco de
Mayo bash? What weird Latin-American dishes do you swear cure your
hangover? Please submit all ideas to Editor-in-Chief Michelle Herrera Mulligan, email@example.com
The Maria Paradox
Now an E-book
by Drs. Rosa Gil and Carmen Vazquez
The Maria Paradox is a unique self-help guide for Hispanic women and the men who love them. The
authors challenge the machismo-reinforcing idea of "marianismo," a centuries-old belief system that in effect tells Latinas: "Don't forget a
woman's subservient place; never put your own needs first; sex is for making babies." Filled with self-help exercises, this clearly written manual offers practical advice on how to build support networks, overcome passivity, forge career paths, change or get out of abusive relationships, and increase sexual fulfillment. Available for sale at all major online retailers.
Kweli seeks submissions
Deadline: April 1
Kweli, a literary journal by and for writers of color, pays the writers whose
work it publishes. They seeks stories, essays, and poems inspired or informed by the following topics: Celebration of Mothers, Gay Pride, Travel/Global, Blue Collar/Labor. For more information, click here.
[excerpted from Latinidad® © 2003 by Marcela Landres]