By Eva V. Tweet to @evahvargas
In the midst of an intense debate over vaccinations, I still remain a non-believer — for the flu-shot, that is. To me it’s all a conspiracy. But do not think for a second I neglected my child. Oh no! He got all of his shots. But not me. Nope. You are not going to get me. The fundamental reason behind my strong anti-vaccination policy is simple: I hate needles.
But this time, the flu got me so hard, I will trust in anything that can help me to never experience what I lived this past week — even if it has to be intramuscular. I will get the shot, for reals.
So among other things I missed while sick (like work and several dance practices), I missed the Making Movies show at Ashkenaz. And that hurt even more than my achy bones.
I was told that I missed a really great show. However, this is what I’m told happened:
Thanks to some NPR videos, Making Movies gained a lot of popularity amongst a more hipster crowd, so the audience at Ashkenaz was very mixed, yet everybody was united by the beats of cumbia. To start the evening, Alúna came representing the early, folkloric cumbia. With the lovely, amazing Ye-Ye Suarez, their unique, powerful energy got everybody dancing to the beats of traditional cumbia played with handmade instruments from Colombia, which served as a great intro to the Afro-Latin beats, for those not familiar with them.
Bringing the mood to a gradual crescendo, Say Bobby came next, the Afro-Latin highlife band with more modern beats that got everybody grooving. Around midnight, Making Movies came out and left everybody very amazed by their youth, their energy and the many rhythms and genres they mix, with tunes of rock, salsa, cumbia, and son, even some zapateado by Juan-Carlos Chaurand. Amazing when a band reaches to people of completely different backgrounds, nationalities, or musical tastes. We definitely see a great future for this band! Here are some pics from my bro Jesus Contreras. Thanks Chucho!
So that was Thursday, my 3rd day sick. By Saturday, I thought, I would be doing better. Wrong! Or sort of wrong, I was doing better, but just to a 60%. Someone with better judgment would’ve stayed home. Not me. I packed my antibacterial gel and tissues, a bandana and my camera and around 10PM I headed to Leo´s, located just a few blocks from my place. ¨You can do this,¨ I told myself. “Son las Cafeteras, carajo.”
To make optimal use of my energy, I decided to head there on the late side, I was not going to hang out. I could barely speak so I didn’t really need to be there early. Wrong again. I got there and hand-written signs announced a sold out show, people outside asked me, begged me, for my ticket. “Sorry, I can’t.” The place was packed — it was insufferably hot inside. I could barely breathe already but in there I just started progressively getting a little more sick. I later learned that people actually left the place because it was too unbearably hot. Leo’s really needs to pay attention to this ventilation issue.
Friends of mine had secured a corner on the right side of the stage that surprisingly had some air flow going but I can’t imagine how the middle of the venue was. I could feel the heat radiating from there though. And here is were you realize you’re sick. I pulled out my camera and the screen announced in orange letters “No Memory Card”. So bummed! I hate that. I could’ve left and found a card but I really didn’t want to miss Mass Bass, the revolutionary hip-hop, rock, reggae, soul music collective based in Oakland by way of the Philippines, and I’m glad I didn’t. These guys rock. Kiwi Illafonte raps with angry force contrasted by the sweet vocals of Tina Shauf. It pumped everybody up. Great energy!
Between acts we learned about the different organizations present, like the “Black Lives Matter” collective, Causa Justa, The BlackOut Collective, Trust your Struggle and CultureStrike. After a brief break Las Cafeteras took the stage. On a previous chat I had last year with band member Hector Flores, he mentioned how important it is for the band to deliver a community event in every concert, to create a place where you can connect with activists and organizations and celebrate. This indeed happened on Saturday, and I felt like I was part of something transcendental. And even though the politics were there, they were kept on a light and celebratory tone; after all, we were there to dance, and the organizers knew how to maintain a good balance of activism and party.
As I mentioned before, I failed to take photos, but I did manage to get a nice video of Las Cafeteras last song “La Bamba”. Definitely a show you must attend if you haven’t already.
Photos: Aluna & Making Movies at Ashkenaz, By Jesus Contreras
Video: Las Cafeteras at Leo’s by Eva Vargas