Wednesday, July 06, 2005

when i say "ozo", you say "matli"

This past weekend was a blast. Friday afternoon I was rushing to chop up a huge bag of fruit from Grand Central Market for the huge cauldron of sangria I was making. Angel and I were headed over to CalPlaza's Watercourt Stage for the free Ozomatli concert, but we needed to get the sangria started because this was shaping up to be a thirsty weekend. My cousin and her friend flew in from Portland Friday night and were joining us after the concert, as was Craig, the astrologer, the cinema greek, and Kitty and her crew.

The Grand Performances staff really know how to throw a party. We walked over to the Watercourt and found our reserved seats in front of the water (thanks Dean and Kitty!) just in time for the show. I'm glad we had reserved seats because the place was packed - the announcer said that this was their biggest crowd ever. I can't say enough about Ozomatli - they put on a great live show. The last time I caught them live was maybe 1997 or 1998 at the Santa Monica Thursdays at the Pier concert. Ozomatli really know how to work a crowd, but this crowd didn't need much encouragement. The band made reference to the water, saying, "Welcome to SeaWorld! I feel like Shamu is coming out of the water any time now." Throughout the concert, staffers were swabbing the deck, trying to keep water away from the instruments and bandmembers.

There were so many people packed into the designated dance area next to the amphitheatre seating, I was wondering how long before someone wound up in the water. The show was already a memorable one when two women made their way into the "island" next to the dance area so they'd have more room to dance. Then another couple jumped into the water and started dancing in front of the band, prompting other rabid Ozo fans to do the same. The wading pool was swarming with people, throwing off their shoes, rolling up their pant legs and dancing with abandon. I was worried about the ducks that I saw swimming in the water earlier, so while the crowd was yelling their approval, squealing in pleasure, and encouraging more fans to do the same, I was yelling, "The ducks! Watch out for the ducks!"

They eventually stopped the concert to ask everyone to get out of the water. Something about the membrane at the bottom of the pool getting damaged, which would cost $100,000 to repair and severely impact their ability to schedule free concerts during the summer. That got most of the people out of the water, leaving a few diehard bozos to be coaxed out. The last guy out took his sweet time, he didn't give a rat's ass that half the audience was booing him. The concert eventually continued, but all semblance of order was gone. It was a madhouse. As it drew to a close, the members of Ozomatli danced through the crowd and up the amphitheatre steps, chanting, "Ozomatli, si se fue!" with members of the audience joining the end of the line, chanting and dancing.

Then he was back, that guy who didn't want to come out of the water. He waded over the middle of the water and danced with his back to the audience. He was giving security and everyone booing him the finger when suddenly, he dropped his pants. The crowd went wild. He wiggled his bare ass for a little bit, then he pulled his pants back on and got lost in the crowd. At that point I figured it was time to move along, nothing more to see here. What a great show, all of it.

The Ozomatli after-party was at Little Pedro's, but I didn't feel like hitting it. My cousin G called - her group was at the Standard, but they hated it and wanted to go elsewhere. Craig called to punk out. My astrologer called to say he and the cinema greek would be at the penthouse after midnight. Kitty didn't call, she was probably passed out in a bathroom at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. I was going to have a lot of leftover sangria on my hands. My cousin called again, asking if her group of friends (six in all) could join in the penthouse festivities. Somehow, six friends grew to three carloads and I was glad I made a lot of sangria. Somewhere around 4am, we found ourselves at the Pantry eating eggs, hash browns, grilled sourdough and pancakes until we couldn't eat any more. It was shaping up to be a good weekend.

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