Until last night, if you were a Spanglish-speaking hipster in Orange County with a burning desire to dance to Menudo under a strobe light, you've been shit outta suerte. That kind of entertainment could only be found at Automático, a monthly downtown LA event that regularly draws crowds of 300 or more to jam out to the Debbie Gibsons and Paula Abduls of Latin pop.
Feeling nostalgic for his early days promoting events at Anaheim's JC Fandango, Automáticos founding DJ Ané chose a venue in the same city for the events maiden OC voyage. Xalos Bar (Un poco de Jalisco en el Corazon de Anaheim) still has a mariscos sign out front from its seafood restaurant days but the inside looks more like a meat market with fountains, V.I.P. booths and 20 plasma TVs. Its not exactly a likely place for a Spanglish alt-scene revival, but its entertainment manager, Jaime Muñoz, is optimistic.
"It's all about the music and the DJ. If we do 200 [people] I wont cry," he said, as a crowd of about 20 grew impatient beyond the clubs Bedrock-inspired stone walls.
After a crazy lengthy sound check by the nights headliner Mexico City indie rock group, Hello Seahorse, (Like its L.A. contingent, Automático OC will bring big name acts to top off hours of Culture Club-style swaying) the actual number of attendees was around 100, many of whom were Automático LA loyalists.
One of the pilgrims was Los Angelino Beto Fobos, a 23-year-old armed with a leather satchel, severe bangs and a hankering for an Amy Winehouse tattoo.
"I think this is the first time I've come down here to party," he said. "We were on the freeway and just kept driving. I thought, where the fuck are we going, San Diego?"
Fobos' friend, 25-year-old Claudia Lavini wasn't hearing it. Despite the tiny turnout, the 25-year-old who was behind Fabrica, a rock en Español event in Santa Ana, was relieved to only drive about 15 minutes to Anaheim.
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"Once they hear the music, its gonna catch on," she said. "The first time I went, it instantly reminded me of my childhood."
The often cocksure Ané was a bit more humble.
"This isn't what we expected. I think I was too confident coming in to Anaheim," he said. "But, I'm not throwing in the towel yet."
Automáticanos, we're feeling your mission, but you gotta meet us halfway. No, not Long Beach. Start with the small details like getting rid of the $7 parking. Clearly, there's not a huge demand for spots in the north Anaheim industrial zone. And please, please, please dont put your super chingón headliners on at nearly 1 a.m. on a weeknight, even if its because you had to drive to Azusa to pick up an amp. Some of us have 9 a.m. deadlines.