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September 10, 2006


Friday night began with homemade burritos at my Mama's house. Everything is organic, and the refried beans are made from scratch on her stove. I left full and happy.

I had been sad earlier because the homegirl Miz V had invited me to Mexicali for her cousin's quincenera, and the trip was cancelled at the last minute due to some family trouble of V's. I've never been to Mexico, which is ridiculous really, since my cousin's widow is from Zacatecas and they go all the time to visit.

So Takara decided to take a short break from motherhood, deservedly so, leave the kids with their father and head out for a night on the town with me. We started in the Sunset Junction area at an art gallery called Thinkspace, which was crowded with bohipsterhos up the ying-yang. The art was amazing though, a lot of different mediums in use and a lot of women artists. The highlight was bumping into Mr. Trigger as we left the front door, and me getting the heads-up from him. Then when we pulled the car out to go to our next destination, we got a lovely glimpse of him taking a piss on the tree on the corner. They were serving free beer and wine, so I suppose...

We were headed to Venice (well actually Culver City) to see DJ Daz spinning at some place called Carbon, which I'd never heard of before. So heading south on LaBrea we passed Leonardo's, which I've been passing my whole life, always wondering what sort of night life goes on in there. In the late 80s/early 90s, you would see dozens and dozens of tricked-out SUVs in front of Leondardo's on a weekend night, resplendent with Mexican flags painted on the rear windows, or the name of the owner's hometown "Jalisco", "Oaxaca", "Michoacan", etc. Most of the men would be wearing cowboy hats, some with blue jeans, some in suits. And the ladies would always have on heels, dresses, and a lot of sparkle.

So I said to T, hey, check out Leonardo's, I've always wanted to go in there. Always up for adventure, she hit the block, parked the car, and we slid into the spot with ease as she talked the doorman out of the $12/each cover charge. I felt underdressed in an off-the-shoulder black t-shirt reading "Silence is Golden, Duct Tape is Silver", jeans, and white-and-red Air Force Ones. I was most certainly the only woman, possibly in history, to enter these hallowed halls sans high heels, wedges, sandals, or other fancy footwear.

We sat down and were quickly asked to dance. The music was not our everyday rhythm, to say the very least. It was Norteno night, and the band was playing long sets of songs where I could catch a lot of the lyrics (tales of love lost) and get in the groove of very little of the beat, if there was a beat to be found. My dance partner was a) about 5 or 6 inches shorter than me and remember, I'm wearing sneakers; b) also wearing jeans and a t-shirt; and c) a dance partner's worst nightmare, he had one move which consisted of grabbing me by the hips and two-stepping me around in circles, off beat. Glancing over at Takara, she was doing slightly better in the appearance department, and her partner seemed to be a little bit more in the groove than mine, but I just decided to smile and have fun.

Doing it big at a nightclub in NY or LA means buying a bottle, or four, at a reserved table. Bottle service at Leonardo's consists of a steel bucket full of ice, replete with 12 bottles of Corona Extra and a small platter of lime wedges. The reserved table to the front of us was full of cowboy hats, but my aspiration was to dance with one of the two tallest gentlemen in the club, who were both decked out in white felt cowboy hats, two-piece woolen suits, and cowboy boots. They were definitely the big ballers up in that spot, but they never sat down or took dance partners while we were there.

Every man was a gentleman in Leonardo's. When we went to dance we left our purses on the table, after seeing everyone else's purses on the table unmolested during the dance numbers. A man with red, white and yellow roses walked around the club and did brisk business. The woman who danced with Mr. Two-Step after me got a red rose, and deposited it in her bottle-service bucket upon returning to her seat. Even in my jeans and t-shirt and sneakers, I had many, many admirers and most every man in the club circled our table at least once.

When we left it was still early, and we ended up at the Carbon place. It was a disaster. I don't think Daz was spinning, 'cause the soundtrack was Rap & Bullshit. It was packed. The stressed us at the door and asked us to stand in line by a stinking garbage dumpster. When we got inside the clientele was underage and overhyphy. We walked in one door, and out the other.

Face it, the average rap night at some busted bar could never compare to Leonardo's - a flashback in time to when people danced as couples, music was romantic, women were ladies, and men were gentlemen - even if they were also Caballeros.

VIVA LEONARDO's!! Even though I didn't get to go to Mexicali, I did get to go to Mexico this weekend, after all.