Friday, January 15, 2010

that's what I get for bragging

It has been raining for three days now. I still went last night to the first night of Fiestas de la Calle, although all the events and mask parades had been cancelled and there were a lot less people expected. There were still plenty of people on the street of San Sebastian. It was rainy but by 10pm, plenty of drunken bachanalian revelry. It was interesting to see that the festival did have heavy sponsorship by beer companies, especially from Medalla, the local Puerto Rican beer. Most interesting were the yellow and black hats that people wore...

San Sebastian was a martyr who was said to have been shot by arrows so many times, his body was completely covered but he did not die. Among the usual assortment of miracles and healing the sick and dying, he was killed by romans for his Christian faith.

The hats? Well, blazoned with a Medalla logo for starters, the hats also screamed out SAN SEBA with an arrow logo underlining the word "san." The irony and double meanings with this little adornment are palpable. I'm hoping to find out a little bit more on how the festival started and why the choice was to hold it on San Sebastian street. I managed to get some footage of the street action (which basically reminded me of Bourbon St NOLA on your average night) except for one thing:

While there were plenty of bars blasting latin rock, bachata, and reggaeton, the real action, the real frenzy, was focused on the street. Three pleneros were beating a rhythm on their panderetas and the street was clogged, by people staying out in the rain, singing along, dancing, and not just for fun, but out of love, or adventure, or connection or, something else. Yes they were drunk. Yes, it probably made the rain less of an issue. But, there were plenty of bars, with plenty of room, and plenty of indoor dance floors. But these people chose differently and here is where the interesting part is. How can I define it, explain it, or analyze it? I still don't know what to make of it myself, its just an instinctual feeling that in these street gatherings there is a nexus of meaning of something, I just seem at loss of words for it right now. To make matters even more difficult, how do I transmit this onto a video? I got some footage but did I really? I felt something great watching it take place, but on video does it just look like people dancing in the street? I think its important, but will anyone else care? Is anyone else happy that Medalla and Coors Light parties are not enough? That corporate sponsorship can't encompass meaning of festival?

Oh and did I mention that for the first time, the city is imposing a curfew on the fiestas? Nothing major happened last night, the cleaning trucks came, and the police told people to go home. For the most part, they did. But many have said that other things could happen, and to be ready to run.

Tonight will be different, I am going to a paranda! So a different kind of party.

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