Talking Shit

¿Que Pasa, M.I.A.? Looking Back at the Poplife

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A summer night in 1999, my friends David, Cali and I rode out to Mezzanote in Coral Gables. He said it was a party, but it looked like a restaurant and sounded like cool music. The DJ was in some corner by the door to the busboys chamber, his name was Alex "Cookie Heads" Caso. Cookie Heads was funny and had an amazing collection of records.

I was very confused by the whole evening. A restaurant in the Gables, people dressed like rockers and most importantly: new music I'd never heard and everyone else was singing along. I sat down at a table to soak it all in. After a few more songs we headed home, smiling. Cali told me to watch the speed limit, Cali has excellent five-oh spotting skills. Still reeling with giddiness, I stared at Cali blankly and told him, "I can speeeeeeeed!"

We wanted to go back the next night! Mezza ruled! We returned, looking for a party and found a restaurant closing. Seriously, bro! We had been at the same place, at the same time the night before, but there was no party going on. Nobody told us that Mezza was actually Poplife that night. And, if they eventually did, we did not understand the concept of a weekly party.

A couple years later I heard that Mezza moved to Picadilly in the Design District. We danced. We made out. I liked this place better than Mezza, there were girls to touch and one who even touched me back!

When I beeped a girl the next day, my friends said I was crazy. She didn't call back, I didn't get it. We kissed! Wasn't she automatically going to turn into my girlfriend? No sir. This is the game. Poplife taught me about the games boys and girls play.

I saw her again a few weeks later. Awkwardly tried to move my way back into her heart, and she stopped me from kissing her, said "you dance funny!" and walked away. Poplife taught me about dance-floor rejection.

I kept popping in and out of Poplife for the next few years, it moved to this place then that place and back to Picadilly but they called it the District. I understood, finally, that Poplife isn't a place, it's thing to do.

This is when, in one night: the DJ played my "We Are the Players" demo version for the first time, and the crowd kept dancing; a girl told me that I "look like Colin Farrell. Wanna make out?" Yes! "You French great!" and on the way to my car a young girl showed me her chest without clothes!

Poplife had become a machine. There was a  slide show on the wall with pretty girls and guys with funny hair. Should I get funny hair? Poplife is more than a thing to do, it's where to be seen.

The line to get in was insane, luckily, Lara my friend from skipping class at FIU had some sort of skip-the-line power and got me in. Free! Was I cool, yet?

Poplife shuffled around town a bit more, and now home base is Saturday at the White Room. They've got dozens of spin-offs now.

Performing at Poplife was a milestone, I'm gonna be honest, a fair amount of the kids that go don't look like they like to smile. They smiled and laughed when I played.

Thanks to Poplife, I get to dance funny and  make out with strange pretty girls.

Poplife, I bought you a present, follow me to my car, so I can give it you in private.

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Jose el Rey