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A Night Out with Najera!

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By Marcos Najera

A year ago this month. That’s right, one year. That was when Latino Perspectives announced the first ever Najera Nites poetry contest. Never run a contest for Brown divas if you are on deadline. Scheduling takes 12 months. That said, CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS!  I love you!  Misty Cisneros of the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission and Bianca Lucero from ASU Public Events were the winners! The prize: a night out with Najera.

The girls won with their saucy team limerick about how we would paint the town red. I would share their winning entry with you, but it is on my old 1998 laptop. I now have a new laptop and remain unwilling to fire up the old one. Nonetheless, their words went something like:  “Don’t play/we are shaking our moneymakers in the Brown-low way. It’s the art of sharing/so loosen up your buttons and put some flowers in your hair/by the end of the night/you’ll eat your flowers and not have a care.”

Actually, their poem went nothing like that, but I told them I would use quotes they captured on a cocktail napkin during our night out. We started our night out adventure at the new Mondrian Hotel by having dinner at the whimsically tragic Asia de Cuba. There is an interesting sculpture there: egg-shaped, with a rooster.

Go there. It used to be the James, but now it’s part of the hip hotel line that includes the original Mondrian in Los Angeles and the Delano in South Beach, Fla.

When I decided to take the girls there, I knew I had to call in some hardcore accomplices. Enter Luis Avila and his chic posse: Nuvia Enriquez and Laura Saurez. This is the crew from Radio La Onda’s über-popular bilingual show: El Break.  El Break is the bomb.com. You have to check it out on 1190 AM every Sunday at noon and on www.myspace.com/elbreak.  It is renegade radio Latino at its finest. They are a smart trio who happens to be funny, hip and naughty.  Besides, Luis looks great in a bustier. Nuvia has the same birthday as me.  And Laura lets me give her lap dances.

Speaking of lap dances! I feel perhaps I won the contest, because I got one from the girls in the limo. (Nobody saw.) Misty was too busy having dance-offs in the limo and swilling rum and Cokes. Bianca was answering the limo phone with her kick-ass suede boots and our other friend, Jacob Pantoja, was making out with Luis or Nuvia…. it’s a blur.  Jacob is a straight friend I lugged along because he works at Electric Ladyland; the butch factor there cracks me up.

Oh, the limo!  I forgot to mention that El Break rolled up in their white stretch to take us clubbing after dinner. (Note to LPM CEO Ricardo Torres: Why does El Break have a limo and I don’t? I grow tired of tramping around in my Altima.)  But I digress …. you guys, we were so high school that night.  We even went to Circle K to buy booze, mixers and limes. Ghetto glam. I don’t know why we bought more. At Asia de Cuba, Bianca had two drinks and couldn’t finish either. Misty tore up some blue martinis and was all about kisses for everyone. Meanwhile, I made people play musical chairs at the table and give impromptu toasts. It was fun until Bianca got in a catfight with the frat boy waiter because he threw ‘tude about the rock shrimp. I missed it because I was staring at Jacob and Nuvia salsa dancing with the restaurant general manager. Asia de Cuba didn’t know what to do with us, so they just joined in. Somebody, either Luis or Misty asked, “Do you think they’ll let us take a picture next to the big (rooster)?”

In the end, we didn’t, because our limo was calling us for the cabaret show at Jackrabbit Supper Club. I started dancing with Nuvia at the bar. I did a backbend and accidentally punched Bianca in the face. Or was it Misty? It’s a blur. We tried to force Luis to get onstage. He refused.

After the show, Luis was ready to let loose. We piled back in the limo to head for Tropicana. Laura jumped out and tripped, her purse spilling everywhere. Jacob laughed. Me, Misty and Bianca were stuck in the limo with the second round of our dance-off, which I think included singing. Eventually, we made it inside Tropicana, where we heard the DJ announce our entrance by saying something in Spanish like, “La la la, blah blah, Latino Perspectives a la blah blah Marcos blah Misty blah la la Bianca la ten cuidado borachas la la, blah blah – ¡Bailandose!

We cheered and started to salsa. My contest winners can drop it like it’s hot! So can El Break.

I stole Jacob’s crucifix that night.  Misty warned me with a gorgeous smile that I had to sit on a selection panel with her the next day and Bianca worried she would miss a wedding in the morning but in the end, the drum beat got the best of her. Luis, meanwhile, was trying to pair up Nuvia and Laura with some fat dudes at the bar. It was such a randomly fabulous night. We all agreed poetry is a good thing. And to think, we could have had this fun a year ago!

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