How's it slangin'
If you really want to learn about the street slang all the kids are so hip to these days, it helps to go straight to the source. Not MTV. Not Carson Daly. I'm talking about the dangerous urban jungle known as Fort Lauderdale beach during spring break. Some people are too scared to interact with jittery college kids, what with their baggy jeans, highlights, and penchant for indecipherable bursts of excitement. But do these hormonally overloaded boozehounds really have the 411 on the jibber-jabber?
A California company has developed Slang Flashcards (the slang word is printed on one side, then used in a sentence on the other side) to help those of us not in the know. I approached these subjects with caution to study them in their adopted habitat on a breezy March evening. What follows are the words, the definitions, and the, um, responses.
janky (adj.) unpleasant, unattractive, usually in reference to material possessions. A tall, bony guy sporting a thinning mullet lends a hand. "Janky," he says with a snort. "That means nasty, right? Wait, wasn't that what Wilma always said on Scooby Doo?"
His friend, an older German man whose attire is somewhere between a wizard and a pimp (white bell-bottoms, red, glittery button-down shirt, a ridiculously large gold medallion) pipes up: "Is that a fish?"
play (v.) to trick, cheat, or fool; to manipulate in order to gain sexual ends. Tom, an excitable 19-year-old student from Connecticut with a white puka shell necklace and Teva sandals, inexplicably claps his hands twice in a "let's make it happen" gesture before delving in. "Play, yeah like a playa!" he exclaims. "Hell yeah. My friend Joey used to be a playa. Then he started going to church a lot and reading the Bible. He still goes to strip clubs, though. So I guess he's still a playa, but, like, a playa for God or something."
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bounce (v.) to go away from, depart. A blond with an ungodly amount of body glitter smeared across her bottled tan and white jeans so tiny they make her legs look like two wobbly toothpicks offers this gem: "There's a club in New York called Bounce! I saw Ethan Hawke there once!"
Christian, a five-year-strong Broward Community College English major holding a plastic cup of something red from Fat Tuesday and wearing a satin baseball jacket three sizes too small, takes a stab. "It means to get up outta there. I'll give you an example. The other night, a bunch of us were sitting around my friend Casey's house. And, ya know, we're smokin' and listening to some Metallica -- old Metallica -- and we decide to have a staring contest. And my friend Mike and I are staring at each other for about two minutes, and then it just gets weird, ya know? So I crack up. But Mike's keeping a straight face still, and I'm like, 'Dude, come on.' And I go over to the fridge to get a beer, and 'Jump in the Fire' comes on, and that's like my favorite song. Then I notice Mike's standing behind me now, staring, and I'm starting to wonder if I'm just really stoned and think he's being weird or if it really is weird. So, yeah, I guess I wanted to bounce. But after the song was over."
crunk (adj.) excited, as in reference to a party. Most often used as "to get crunk" or "crunked up."
Two Gap-approved guys are standing at the bottom of the steps of BeachPlace, laughing so hard they're falling into each other like teenage girls at a sleepover who just prank-called a boy. "Oh man, I think we just saw a vampire!" squeals one guy wearing the traditional White College Guy Uniform: white dress shirt with three buttons undone, carefully ripped Diesel jeans, and a backward baseball cap. His pupils are the size of coasters.
He points up the stairs to a pale man with a long, black ponytail and a briefcase who is now chatting with two teenage girls. So was Dracula trying to, get them crunked up?
"Crunk?" he repeats, his smile suddenly fading. "Crunked up? Um, I don't know."
On a Sunday night in January, downtown Fort Lauderdale was the scene of a rock 'n' roll block party. Secret P.E. Club and Mr. Entertainment were playing at Tavern 213, while AC Cobra, the Heatseekers, and Canadian band VaGiants blew the greasy, silk-shirt crowd out of Murphy's Law.
Alas, Murphy's closed three Sundays ago, adding to the mass grave of decent rock clubs on Himmarshee in the past five years. But don't fret. Maguire's Hill 16 on Andrews Avenue, has begun hosting shows, including a recent gig by the bowel-shaking Pandabite, every Sunday night.
And it looks like the former Chili Pepper will get new life. A new club called Revolution and run by the owners of House of Blues is slated to open as an "all rock venue" by the end of May. Let's get crunk.
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