I had a high-school Spanish teacher who was Yosemite Sam personified. Seriously, I was convinced the guy modeled his mustache after the cartoon character. And that mustache could be quite frightening at times, especially after I'd pulled a Jeff Spicoli (you know, Sean Penn's stoner in Fast Times at Ridgemont High) on the way to school with two guys a few classes ahead of me.
Showing up to Spanish class completely baked was not the best way to start the day — or to learn a foreign language, for that matter. But somehow I was able to pass the class, and I continued to study Spanish into college.
Fortunately, I've retained some of that knowledge, and it came in handy when I went to Streets of London (1502 East Colfax Avenue) for its weekly Wednesday-night Gringo Bingo. I had no idea how it all worked, so when I heard the host call out "el gallo...the cock," I didn't know what the hell was going on until I saw that the game was played with Lotería cards that have pictures for Spanish words. The host has a corresponding set of cards, and when she said "el gallo," she showed a picture of a rooster.
I grabbed a card and a cup of raw pinto beans, and when the host called out "la chalupa," I looked for a picture of a little boat. It was my first Spanish lesson of the night: Apparently a chalupa is not just a deep-fried tortilla item you can get at Taco Bell. My card was chalupa-free, but it had the next word she read: el melon, beside a picture of a melon with a slice suggestively cut from it. I took one of the beans and put it on the picture. To win (Streets of London was giving away free drinks, bar tabs and gift certificates), I needed to get enough matches to create a "Z" with beans.
While the game was going on, the jukebox was kicking out some great stuff, everything from the Clash and the Ramones to Public Enemy and James Brown. A guy wearing a Dead Kennedys shirt walked by. A few minutes later, a guy wearing a Motörhead shirt came in.
After finishing off a very tasty shepherd's pie, a couple of rounds of Boddington's and a few games of Gringo Bingo, my friend and I headed out with a few new Spanish words. The night was definitely more entertaining than learning Spanish with Yosemite Sam.
Club scout: Mash-up genius Z-Trip and house producers Astro & Glide invade Beta on Friday, July 4. And on Saturday, July 5, The Roxy (2549 Welton Street) will host a Livin' the Low Life party, featuring the Casuals Crew, DJ Manos, the Union Station, One, Dent and Spoke in Wordz; there'll be a lowrider bike contest with a $5 entry fee and a $50 first prize. Also on July 5, groove to a night of electronica and dance music at Pyrotechnics One, which happens at the Grand Paladium Event Center (1400 West 62nd Avenue) with DJs Paul Anthony, Kinesis, Split, XLR8 and more.