Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Me ah Mek it Rain Blood

Andy Milonakis/Diplo/Switch/Major Lazer/Autotune/Dancehall/Hollywood/Starbucks=

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Buying Avocados @ Tasquena

This magical little man was selling magical little avocados at Metro Tasquena in the middle of the night when we came home. He probably had come from some little puebla far away where he had grown these special avocados and then brought them into the city because he could get, like, 1 peso more for them there. He may have been standing there all day and night, resolved not to eave until his crate was gone. The avocados were tiny and extra fatty. We ate a whole bag of them straight up like fruit. Some the best avocados ever.

Seriously, how could you afford not to buy an avocado from this man?


In the last post I mentioned Nigga, the Mexican reggaeton/romantic ballad singer, but I thought I should clarify who I'm talking about. In Mexico, this dude is huge!

You probably will not have heard of "Nigga" because he goes under the less offensive (but far more generic) moniker "DJ Flex" in the States. I guess his publicists must have figured out that "Nigga" was not an acceptable name for a latino artist in the US. How they ever figured that Nigga was an acceptable name even in Mexico is beyond me. Anyway I sport my Nigga T-shirt hard and even if I one day get beaten up for wearing it, it will have been worth it.

Al Feria

After the passion in Iztapalapa we went to the feria, ate lots of fried and sweet things, got wasted and went on rides.

I took this photo just to make it look like I had a Mexican ruca. And I wanted to show off the shirt I had just scored: a blinged out portrait of the Mexican reggaeton artist Nigga! It is signed in gold sequins- "Nigga"! Roflcopters!

The Iron-Maiden looking decorations on this should have warned me that this ride was gonna be hardcore. It was dirty, brutally violent and marginally unsafe. I was sick and nauseous all night after this one.

Polka Madre on AL-Jazeera

Wow this feature from Al-Jazeera English actually gets a lot right about Polka Madre. And it portrays them as equals of Instituto Mexicano de Sondia and Nortec Collective, which is hilarious because both of those bands are way bigger than Polka Madre and are made up of snobby hipsters that will absolutely cringe at being lumped in with these rank outsiders.
You can even see me in this video- they show me for a second in the van in a scene ripped from the tour documentary. My friend Alain is pissed that Al-Jazeera used footage from the video he directed without giving him credit or money. He is contacting them for compensation. This prompted me to ask, "So... are you gettin' A-rab money?"

Rappity Raps

There's really not much rap coming out that I could give a shit about, but now and then dudes are putting out some good. This Peedi Crakk came out over a year ago, so I guess you can now say that it was officially "slept-on". I know that Dipset-related stuff doesn't get much commercial airplay in general, but why this was not a hit I will never get. I like to speed this one back up to the tempo of "It Takes Two" when I play and run it like a riddim.

I am looking foward to the new Clipse, too, which will be largely produced by Rick Rubin. The first single is a leak, Kanye produced and with a surprsingly decent Kanye verse on it. It's not bad with the very classic dusty-break-chopped-on-MPC sound, but I think the straight Rick Rubin fire is still to come..

Stillness is the Move

Dirty Projectors are on everybody's lips right now. They are poised to become mainstream-indie-world-famous, which is what Beyonce and Jay-Z refer to as "not famous at all". They are touring with TV on the Radio and getting a lot of blog hype (which I am contributing to by writing about them now by .00241 blog hype points).
At this point in my life I'm more of a fan of songs than I am getting jazzed about new bands, but I am fan of this new Dirty Projectors song "Stillness is the Move". I referred to it on the Hollerboard as sounding like "Mariah Carey produced by Four Tet", which someone responded to by asking "Wait, that is a good thing?". To me it is, as well as the way the song seems to condense all the experimental/pseudo-African guitar and off-kilter rhythmic things the band had been doing up till now, but in a palatable, poppy form.
I like the lyrics and delivery, too- they are filled with dewy collegiate metaphysics and self absorption just as they should be ("Isn't life just a crazy dream?"). I love the patent New York-centrism here too, like when she plays with the absurd concept of "working as a waitress in a diner in some remote city". Lol, what is a "remote city"? Someplace you can't get Vegan cookies at 3AM? Do you think she's picturing somewhere as remote as, like, Trenton, or even.. Philly? This band's parents are probably African-American studies professors at NYU and they are probably talking about their offspring's popularity on the Hype Machine at a cocktail party right now. One thing that no one ever seems to admit about bands like this, The Strokes and Vampire Weekend is that a big part of their appeal is similar to that of Gossip Girl- it's fun to see what rich, privileged ivy league preppies are doing these days to be "weird". That and people like to picture them having sex. It's like reading old Brett Easton Ellis without having to read.
That is part of why I like it when this girl is squealing all over the end of this song, like, "This is just coming right out of me! I am Pablo motherfucking Picasso with an urban twist!" It's like going to see a girls photos at her first group show and being like "Holy Shit! Did you just see that dog and just snap a photo like that? It looks so composed!" and then going back to her loft for mindblowing sex after drinking like 18 little cups of free white wine.

Monday, June 8, 2009


To get back to my Mexican trip where I left off, I had just gotten back from a weekend the state of Hidalgo, filming a video with friends' band Polka Madre. One town that we visited was a dusty working class village called Appan, where we drank a lot of Pulque. Pulque is an alchoholic beverage made from fermented maguey, the same cactus-like plant that they make mescal out of. Although Pulque is available in the city and many parts of Mexico, my chilango friends told me that Hidalgo is the best place to drink it. There, you are closer to the source and the drink goes through a natural, organic fermentation process. The Pulquerias in Mexico city are mostly nasty and there are a host of urban legends about how they get the Pulque to ferment quicker, including using cow and even human shit.

Even when created in the most wholesome, pastoral environment, Pulque is still a thick, slimy, milky substance that many non-Mexicans would be wary of. It has a mild tangy flavor like plain yogurt with a bit of grassiness. The locals drink it mixed with juices like coconut or mango plus yogurt or fruit soda. Pulque has a low alcohol content, so the idea is to get as much inside of you as possible. Once you do this, you begin to get a goofy, blissed-out buzz, more like being stoned than drunk. It was a laid back but giddy feeling that I couldn't quite separate from the natural buzz I had from being drenched in the desert sun of Hidalgo all weekend.

The Pulquerias themselves that we visited in Appan were mostly behind unmarked doors- semi-clandestine spots in the courtyards of peoples homes, or, once, in a barn with chickens and dogs running around. There, the Pulque drinkers, mostly men, sit all day and drink incredible amounts of the stuff. They talk about Pulque with a pious reverence. At one point we were told by a drinker that two days after drinking Pulque a man will have superhuman virility and vigorous sperm. Later, another gestured to our skinny forearms and told us that if we kept drinking pulque we would get thick wrists like him and his buddy. Often in these places there would be old men intermittently laughing and crying, slumping over or getting up to sing along with the ever-present guitarist. The in the Pulqueria you buy it by the pitcher, which is then dipped into an open barrel of the stuff and sometimes mixed with an even thicker, nastier liquid from a smaller barrel which must be some kind of Pulque concentrate or residue from the fermentation. The cost of a pitcher was something like 12 cents U.S., and once we had bought a few of them, people kept coming around and refilling our mugs from their own pitchers, not letting us walk out of there without drinking our own weight.

Im not not sure if it was all the Pulque or a few of the dodgy tacos that I had while in Appan, but when we got back to the city I was sick, along with a few other from the film crew, for days. There defintely is a high bacteria content in homemade Pulque, and drinking it in an open vat in that barn surrounded by livestock probably wasn't a good idea to begin with. I'm not sure if I'll be pushing Pulque as the next big thing, or even ever drinking it again, but it defintely was something I wouldn't want to have missed.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


1991 is the new weekly dance party that Mark Louque, who also throws the wildly popular italo/electro night Fagbash here in P-town, and I are doing every friday night at Vixen. Come out, wear your Z cavaricchi shirts, Skidz, Cross Colors, and Reebok Pumps.
We are playing Hip House, New Jack Swing, Europop, Middle-school Rap, Acid and maybe a left field into the Alternative Nation if you're lucky.

A word to new visitors

This Blog seems to be getting a lot of attention because of a link posted on the NY Times blog by Matt Gross in a article he wrote about me and other travellers, ("bums" as some of the commenters on there would say). I've been getting a lot of positive feedback from people which I truly appreciate, and some negativity, which I completely understand. One commenter on the article accused me of being insensitive and even racist in some of my posts about Mexico and Mexican people. That I would like to respond to.
First of all, new visitors here should know that up until now this blog was pretty much only read by people that know me (my hit count is up 253.33% since yesterday) and know my sense of humor, which is ruthless and sometimes offends. People who know me and read this blog also come with the pre-knowledge that despite my sometimes harsh tone, I am filled with love and deep respect for virtually every culture and people that I have had the honor to be the guest of. If I make flippant offensive remarks they are almost always based in the affection and wonderment I have for people and the strange world they have made.
As for what I said specifically about Mexican people that offended at least one person was about how eating Chicharrons while watching a passion play couldn't "be any more Mexican". If that commenter had read on he would have also read something I wrote earlier about "the quitoxic mix of sentimentality and irony that Mexicans have for their own culture", which is a feeling that I sort of share, as much as you can as an outsider. One thing that impressed me over and over while travelling in Mexico was the Mexican people's self-awareness and sense of humor about themselves and "Mexicaness". While I know that it is sort of inappropriate for a gabacho to make these kind of jokes, while in Mexico I was so entrenched with my Mexican friends that I started to joke around just like them about the culture that they loved/hated and typified.
That being said I don't think there is or should be anything wrong with being stereotypically and proudly Mexican. Now that I'm back in the States I miss those folks and their loud, funny, ancient, sacred and profane culture the way I sometimes miss Americans and their big stupid trucks, big egos, big food and arrogance when I am away for too long. There is something funny and adorable about all peoples and cultures, and I would expect that a Mexican would be one of the first laughing at others and themselves.
There is a way you can joke about a people and place only when you have gotten to know it well and fallen a bit in love. Although these jokes can sometimes sound mean or offensive to some, I would say the truly offensive thing would be to never get to know those cultures at all.