By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
Solid concept, but it wasn't the theme that we were feelin' so much as the price tag: $4 Stoli martinis, $2.75 Fat Tires, and $2.50 kamikazes. Smells like a pre-payday party zone to me. Plus, three DJs spinning a mix of jazz fusion, hip-hop, reggae and rock, as well as spontaneous outbursts of break-dancing, cee-gar smokin', and so on, were promised. Only thing that could make it better would be some fly bitches willing to cut at the drop of a dollar. But hell, not even a PHX playa can have everything he wants.
Bruno Mali's, of course, sounds like the expensive Italian shoes made infamous by the O.J. Simpson affair, though the footwear's spelled "Bruno Magli." According to Mark Desimone, owner of Hidden House (the bar of which Bruno Mali's is a section), the name comes from Desimone's late father Bruno and his wife Mali, though he meant the moniker to be a verbal play on the bloody loafers from the O.J. case. Hidden House has been at 607 West Osborn Road, in a lot on the southeast corner of Seventh Avenue and Osborn, since 1963. Desimone took over in 1990, and about three years ago the northernmost part of the building became Bruno Mali's, serving some tasty barbecue for lunch and dinner, and afterward turning into a lounge.
Hidden House itself is a large, working-class pub with pool tables, a jukebox, and dartboards. A wall separates HH from BM, but they're basically part of the same building, albeit with way-different vibes. When we hit the spot late on Sunday night, HH is deader than Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown, but BM is bumpin' with DJ Delicate on the decks. There's a mix of hipsters in their early 20s, getting their drink and groove on, some lounging on the couches, or on chairs near the walls puffin' on stogies provided by the Cigar Warehouse, while others sway on the dance floor to the beats. Lights are low and candles are glowing. The J-unit and I step to the bar and order us up a couple of martinis and a pair of kamikazes to boot.
"Yo, Kreme, check the break-dancer with the big tits," says the Jettster, nudging me. On the corner of the dance floor, there's this hot white chick doin' 360s on her head. After spinnin', she hops up and breaks into some moves I haven't seen since Fred "Rerun" Berry laid them down in What's Happening!!. Talk about everything old being new again. After she's finished, she parks it nearby at the bar, and we ambulate over. We discover she goes by "Diva," and not only is this hella-fine squalie not sweatin', she's not even breathing hard.
"I like your necklace," I remark to Diva, referring to this black-and-white tribal piece she's wearing.
"It's a Zulu Nation symbol," she explains. "I've been part of Zulu Nation for quite a few years now."
"Zulu Nation?" wonders Jett. "Like, with, uh, spears 'n' stuff?"
"Negative, ghost rider," I spit. "She's talkin' about the collective of artists founded by Afrika Bambaataa, one of the pioneers of hip-hop."
By this time, Diva's homie and fellow break-dancer Lorenzo, a.k.a. "The Ruckus," has pulled up a chair, and I ask them both what they're doin' out on a Sunday night.
"I came to get down," Diva tells us. "You know, meet new people."
"Cool, I came to get down, too," coos the J-girl, lasciviously.
"She doesn't mean like that, ya dope," I croak at my horn-dog on heels. "How 'bout you, Lorenzo, are you gonna put your skills on display?"
"Nah," he says, pointing to his feet. "I got the flip-flops on tonight, man. My boy Hiram -- he's doing this event, so I figured I'd stop in and see what's up. I wasn't expecting an interview."
The almost-barefoot b-boy is explaining that he also reps this dope clothing company called Phoenician Wear (www.phoenicianwear.com), when I notice that the bi-Vanessa Marcil has eased over to the other side of the bar. Over there, I see her rubbing against this gorgeous model-type with black hair and bangs. I quickly bid the break-dancers adieu and head over to peep that lezzie action from closer up. Now, Jett's fine, but this chica's hotter than Paris Hilton in that Carl's Jr. commercial, and it's all I can do not to have my tongue flappin' in the wind while I'm eyeballin' her. I grab a barstool and watch Jett put this squirrel through about half of the Kamasutra, albeit with their clothes on, until they're both so worked up they have to take a breather.
"Kreme, this is Ashley -- Ash for short," gushes Jett, playfully.
"Let's get this out of the way -- are you bi, bi-curious or . . . ?" I ask Her Royal Ashiness.
"I like women," states Ash definitively.
"What do you do for work?"
"I go to school, and I model," replies the captivating catwalker. "I model for Ford, but when the modeling is over, you've got to have something else going on."
"Where do you live in town?" inquires the J-unit, in full stalker mode.
"I just moved from Scottsdale to Phoenix," answers Ash. "I think Phoenix is a sexier town. There's more going on here, more nightlife. Scottsdale's more like fake people, fake places."
"What places do you like to hit in Phoenix?"
"Sky Lounge, and Amsterdam -- I probably go there once a week," she states. "I've been here a couple of times. Bruno Mali's is cool. The people here are very diverse."
"As a woman who likes women, do men do anything for you?" I query hopefully.
"Oh, yeah. I've slept with more men than women. But women are sexier than men. Men are too easy. I could get any man in here if I wanted," Ash asserts.
When I ask, pray tell, how she would achieve this, she suddenly lifts up her black tee to reveal a nearly perfect pair. "I'm very proud of them," she confesses.
"L-l-l-lovely," I stutter. "Nice of you to share."
"You're welcome," she says, smiling. "One is slightly larger than the other, though."
"That's natural," Jett assures her. "I asked my doctor about mine, and he says most women have one breast bigger than the other."
"Oh, all of us gay men know that," brags a rather fey fellow, a handsome chap who's accompanying Ashley, though he seems to have materialized out of nowhere. "Gay men see way more breasts than straight men."
"Oh, really!" I remark.
"I tell you, I have so many more straight women friends than I ever wanted, and they're always showing them to me, asking me to touch them." He tosses his head, sounding a tad disgusted. I find out his name is Jonathan, an interior designer by trade, and a rather wicked caballero. He's hanging at the bar getting sauced, as are we all.
"Jonathan, let me take your picture," Jett asks of him.
"Okay," he says with an odd trill in his voice, turning his back to us. "Take a look at this!"
That's when Jonathan bares both glutes, pulling his belt down below a juicy badunkadunk that I swear most straight males would love, despite the XY owner.
All of this scandalous nakedittity has gotten me hot and bothered, so I excuse myself to hit the head and splash some cold water on my face. Back outside, I bump into this curvaceous mama named Nicole, and strike up a polite confab with her. Before you know it, she asks me to dance, and pulls me out to the floor. We're out there with her girls Desiree and Nicole (yep, two Nicoles in the group), until I notice I'm the only dude in da house showing off his two-step. Time to exit stage left, where I run into Hiram, the man of the hour, who has put this night together. Hiram's a stylish cat, with a sort of golfer's chapeau on, an orange Hawaiian shirt, and a pair of tinted aviator sunglasses. I think, actually, one of the Nicoles may be his shorty, but apparently he doesn't consider a fat boy who can barely dance much of a threat to his game, and I don't blame him.
"Tell me, Hiram, how do you get so many people to come out and live it up on Sunday?" I ask.
"It's not too bad tonight," he responds. "Hopefully, in a couple of weeks we'll pick up and be even more active. Everyone's invited. It's just a little night to have some light drinks and some socializing."
Out of the corner of my eye, I spot Jett doing shots with her new gal-pal Ash, tryin' her damnedest to get in the chick's pants. So, I chuckle, "Hiram, considering the kind of socializing goin' down, the only thing light about the drinking is how much the hooch weighs as they pour it down their throats!"