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Biggie Hits the Comarca

In the "Cult of Escapism": Biggie Hits the Comarca

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Biggie Hits the Comarca

“Jack, what does nigger mean?”

I recently gave two community members some music from my iTunes collection and have since had to define the N word and explain why AIDS was considered the “gay” disease in the 80´s.

Juicy
Adan is one of a few community members with a computer and he asked for some music. I carefully picked a few hundred from my roughly 8,000 song collection and at this point I think he´s only listened to Juicy by Notorious B.I.G. and Dear Mama by Tupac. (Btw, Adan is 30 years old, very mellow and not at all interested in the thug culture, there´s just something about those songs; also, he speaks fluent English). So naturally, he asked me about this word so often used by those two rappers.

A history lesson followed, along with a recommendation to simply drop the N word from his vocabulary. He found it funny that a word existed that white people can´t use.

Perhaps more difficult was explaining to him that Juicy is widely considered Biggie´s best song and there simply aren´t many other songs in its class. This is after showring him nearly every Biggie song I have and him saying, “No, more like Juicy.” There is nothing like it, so let´s move on.

But my smile still stays on
Reading Lady Gaga´s Wikipedia page was one of the best things I could have done before joining the Peace Corps. My friend and work counterpart Juan loves Lady Gaga and 80´s pop and we frequently talk Gaga. He´ll see somethign about her in the paper, share it with me, and I´ll respond with a Wikipedia fact about her. For example, did you know that her name was inspired by the song Radio Ga Ga by Queen? Neither did he. But he´d also never listened to Queen.

So I began with Another One Bites the Dust and built up to Bohemian Rhapsody (btw how the hell do I translate that title?). As we listened, I explained Queen´s unique rock/showtunes sound, their cultural significance in the 80´s and when we go to Show Must Go On, I told him all about Freddy Mercury.

Yes, Juan is gay. I knew this within five minutes of meeting him and it was recently confirmed when he came out to my site mate, Laura. He hasn´t come out to me, but I think he knows that I know. Hell, he introduced me to his boyfriend the other day. Anyway, this added an interesting dynamic to the conversation. Juan, already mesmerized by Mercury´s outstanding vocals, sucked up everything I said about him like an industrial vacuum cleaner. By the end of Show, Juan knew about AIDS in the 80´s and that Freddy was dying when he wrote the song. “I can feel his emotion” said Juan as Freddy forced out a powerful “Ooooooooon with the Shoooooooowww!!!”

And now, it snows
The next day, I brought the DVD Edward Scissorhands to a house with a TV (and about 50 people crammed around it each night to watch movies...people are so enamoured by the TV that they will stand across the street looking through the window; I tried this and realized you can only see, basically, that there´s a TV on but not make out anything that´s happening, yet people will stand there for the entire movie). No one mentioned the style or the heart-punching story, but they loved the shapely bushes. I guess that´s something.

Goal 1 of Peace Corps is to share cultures.

I brought Biggie, Freddy and young Johnny Depp to Soloy in two days. Booyah.

1 Comments:

At July 10, 2011 at 7:51 PM , Blogger Joy said...

The poor people probably didn't want to offend you and say they thought it was weird! Although, the shrubbery is pretty magnificent in that movie. Starting out on Edward Scissorhands--bold move, Fischl.

 

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