Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tijuana Makes Me Happy (Bang, Bang)

It was a late night last Saturday in the original city of sin. Bostich+Fussible, two members of Tijuana’s Nortec Collective, played a launching show for their new disc, Tijuana Sound Machine. For the uninitiated, “nortec” (a style born in late 1990s Tijuana) is a collision of techno/electronic and norteño music –an acquired taste of irony, horns, turntables, tongue-in-cheek loops, and postmodern accordion solos laced with bass-heavy, oompa-oompa polka beats.

Bar at La Planeta Tijuana

Workin' the tables...

The duo spun at La Planeta Tijuana, a former theater downtown and our local haven of urban grit chic. Tijuana’s “warehouse district” is currently occupied by profit-raking multinational corporations –think Sony and Motorola, not starving artists –so after the roof caved in at La Planeta years ago, local musicians found their starry-ceilinged Eden.

All the gringas in Tijuana are named "Kathe/arine"...

A homecoming of sorts, the show was muy nice. Following two opening acts (including a DJ dressed as a disco ball gorilla), Bostich, Fussible, and their brass crew took the stage to rock the crowd. They grinned and launched into some older goldies like “Tengo La Voz” and “Narcoteque,” as well as new favorites like “The Clap,” “Mama Loves Nortec,” and “Tijuana Sound Machine.”

I've had about 1,000 taxi drivers that look like this dude

Large screens flashed iconic Tijuana landmarks: la Bola (CECUT), the twin torres of Grand Hotel, the landlocked lighthouse off Agua Caliente, low-riders, bullrings, bars, donkeys, farmácias. Folks cage-danced, pole-danced, partner-danced. A studly hombre in black leather pants trilled the accordion until my knees buckled with desire. After all, not much beats a few hundred Mexicans singing “Tijuana makes me happy” at full volume. Bang, bang, indeed.

One never escapes the churros

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"Power Tools" Goes to Print

The age of water has landed. Hot off the press, my essay "Power Tools for Justice" appears in this month's issue of Inside México, an English guide to living in Mexico and being a good-hearted ex-pat. Click here to link to their website and download a free PDF copy of the May 2008 edition. My article is featured on The Back Page column, pg. 31.

Inside approached me in February after the Fulbright conference: would I consider writing a piece for their May water issue? I re-tooled my "Power Tools" blog entry (see February folder for the original), the editors coaxed it into something accessible to the general public, and presto: publication and my $50 peso check in the mail. Que padre.

I'm off to catch a plane for Mexico City. Las Fugas will visit the rainwater harvesting engineers in Texcoco and present at an UNAM water conference. May the Tijuana invasion continue, ándale!