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SUPER EGO The sun-bleached suede pump lay abandoned in a tattered jumble of grasses, beneath a grove of swaying palms, next to a ruined hacienda. Vermillion nasturtiums burst through the hacienda's broken crimson bricks. Embossed on the pump's inner sole, one word: predictions. Suddenly, a pair of untethered horses flashed into view one black, the other sweet caramel, weaving their way to a freshwater lagoon at the tip of the white sand beach just beyond us. The grove lit up like a David Lynch interior. Both horses froze to inspect me and Hunky Beau, their glittering eyes four obsidian orbs, the clang-clanging cowbells roped to their well-muscled necks all echoing ancient disco and shit.
Ah, Mexico. Pass the lip balm.
Fearful of my sustained pallor nightclub, laptop, nightclub, laptop, head shave, rehab Hunky Beau had whisked me away for a week on the beaches of sunny Baja, to the tiny Pacific outpost of Pescadero, brimming with surfers who'd congregated for wave season. (Two words: Mexican surfers. Delicioso.) "But you'll miss the season premiere of America's Next Top Model! Church of Tyra! Church of Tyra!" a tiny voice in the back of my head had protested, the one I call Tiki La Shot. "Big whup, lady," said another, the one I call Mann Coulter. "You're also missing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. Wanna cry about it?"
Turns out I had the dates wrong for both. Then Anna Nicole collapsed. Predictions!
Despite my extended geography of lovers, I still can't speak a lick of española which of course only adds to my mysterious attractiveness. The language of sexy is silence. So the only information I could glean from the gorgeous local populace for you is this: if you ever find yourself in an old-fashioned paleteria in the dusty, delightful village of Todos Santos, don't ask them to scoop your purplicious uva ice cream into a sugar conio.
Also, horrid faggot fashions have truly gone global. While the nuevo dinero flowing in from all the unfortunate American second-home development has triggered a growth market in mid-'90s gangsta baggies among the more macho Baja-anians, abruptly blooming on the street corners are packs of mincing teen Mexican queens with tie-dyed mullets, pink cell phones, and embroidered denim flares. Flacas, please.
Toward the end of our sojourn, we avoided the awful, gringo-polluted Disneyland of Cabo San Lucas and took off to the raucous Carnaval parade and festival in the state capital, La Paz. (Will someone please, please solve the riddle of Middle American female hair? Why are white ladies in Cabo still working the frizzy bob thing, squished into yellow Dress Barn stretchiness, and screaming for "peena coladas"? Tufted bangs, even! I almost had to love it.)
There we swooned over the hundreds of handsome caballeros who'd descended from their mountainside ranchos in impeccably spotless Stetsons, Wranglers, and mustaches to hoof it to banda sinaloense, the breathtaking polka-style Mexican dance music. There were so many tuba, trombone, and accordion ensembles oompa-pahing away mere inches from one another I thought I was being squeezed through an awesome Lawrence Welk mashup tube.
As the gangs of muy guapo musicians waltzed the night away and the blanket sellers hawked their tiger-striped and Virgin of Guadalupedecorated wares, the pink sliver of the moon dipped below La Paz Bay. I turned to Hunky Beau and sighed. Fuck the fruitless Carnaval cruising, I thought. I'm the real princess here.
Funny how sometimes the hardest nightlife things to find are the ones right under the mirror beneath your nose. So I get back and want to hear some banda on the home team dance floor, right? But ... where? Seems any night of the week I can get freaky to Southeast Asian, Brazilian, Moroccan, and Afro-Caribbean beats, but, despite the recent explosion of norteño music (the "gangsta rap of banda"), an early '00s club interest in electronic-tinged banda by groups such as Nortec Collective, and our own estimable population of Mexican folk, the only reliable finds on my banda radar are occasional events at clubs such as El Rincon, Cancun, the Make-Out Room, and, of course, that reina wonderland, Esta Noche.
In this way, banda is like hyphy: everywhere in the media and streets but rarely on the dance floor. I'm the first to admit that I'm a mite too white sometimes. Just because I don't know about it doesn't mean it's not banging. Therefore, I vow to go immediately to the Discolandia and Ritmo Latino record stores in the Mission and follow the plethora of flyers for live banda to Latinate bliss. Meanwhile, hey, all you worldly and alternative DJs: how about slipping some slices from Banda el Recodo de Cruz Lizarrága in your mix? Huh? *