By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"Damn, Kreme, peep all the chicas calientes and fly papis in line to get into Coach & Willie's," spits the still-switch-hittin' Shakira of the PHX, a.k.a. the Jettster. "I'm goin' home with something fine tonight, for real."
"Yeah, Pan Dulce pulls in more brown-skinned eye candy than a Daddy Yankee concert," I tell her as I parallel park the Impala about a block or so down from da club. "It's one of the hottest nights in the Valley. Been going strong for about three years now. I heard their Thanksgiving party was bangin', and to judge by that line we just passed, I heard right."
"Mmmm, I can't wait to sink my teeth into some of them sweet buns," pants the J-Unit, rubbing her hands as she imagines the fleshy equivalent of those sugary Mexican breads of the same name as the night.
"So I reckon all this talk about you giving up hynas has been just that -- talk," I observe.
"Can I help it if the squalies and stick-bandits be all up on me every time we go out?" the Jettster cries, steppin' to the curb and smoothing her dress over her ass. "It's not my fault if they all want a piece of this."
"Once a puta, always a puta," I grumble as we sashay our way to the front of the line. There we meet up with our man Noel Serrato of www.AZEntertainment.tv, the company that puts on the Pan Dulce parties, as well as other Latin-themed events around town.
"Whenever we have our parties here at Coach & Willie's, the management tells us this is when they make the most money," contends Serrato, standing before the entrance to Coach & Willie's huge patio, next to a small stage and tall white screen where a couple of the curvaceous Pan Dulce go-go gals are doing some sexy shadow dancing. "We usually draw about 700 to 750 people. It gets really packed, as you can see."
"Looks like a fairly young group, too, mostly twentysomethings," comments the Jettster. "What sort of music do you guys play?"
"We aim it at the Chicano crowd," answers Serrato. "You know, people who are Hispanic, but born here in America, not in Mexico. They like the Spanish music. Everything from Spanish pop and reggaeton to cumbia. But they also love the hip-hop and R&B."
Right at the moment, DJ Kool-A is on the decks, droppin' some Mike Jones, and I believe I recognize the delicious odor of sensi wafting past my nostrils from parts unknown. We step inside and make note of the organization in place. Plenty of security outside and in, but nothing thuggish, like you get at some spots.
There's a solid, positive party vibe throughout, with the ground-level patio being the main dance area, and folks grinding to a mix of hip-hop and various Spanish styles. Up the steps and past the doors to the main bar, this cat Tranz is spinning hardcore reggaeton and cumbia. There's also a second story with a wide balcony up two more flights, where there's a smaller bar and a VIP lounge.
Other DJs with sets tonight include DJ Melo, who spins Saturdays at Jackson's on Third, DJ Villin, and DJ Astonish, who we last ran into over at the Hidden House and who now does the Drive at Five spot for KISS-FM 104.7. A dude named Junior is on the mic, pumping up the crowd, telling them which DJ is throwing it on the wheels of steel, and even announcing the presence of the Kreme Team in the hizz-ouse.
Up on the DJ rise, we eyeball the boyish Astonish conversatin' with these two Pan Dulce dancers who look like they wanna pop the baby-faced 20-year-old into their mouths like a hunk of butterscotch and suck all night long. As for Jett, she can't decide who she'd rather bed, Astonish or the fishnetted wiggle-smiths cuddlin' him.
"Dang, he's cute," she comments.
"Girl, you've got bunions the same age," I snort.
"Asswipe," she curses, smacking my arm. "I'm only a year or three older, and I ain't got no bunions, blubber butt."
"Whatever, sucia, just don't be taking yer boots off, you'll scare the talent," I state, then, addressing Astonish, "Yo, Astonish, how 'bout a preview of what you're gonna drop later?"
"I see you're keepin' it popular," I tell him. "So where did you learn your skills, playa?"
"When I was 14, I bought some cheap-ass turntables and began practicing," replies the Arizona DMC (Disco Mix Club) champ. "I also hung out with a bunch of other DJs, listened to them scratch, and stole their moves. Then I started entering DJ battles. The really expensive equipment I have now, I all won in battles."
"Nice," coos the Jettster. "Tell me, do you prefer wax, CDs or downloads?"
"I play nothing but vinyl," the turntablist tells us. "I've tried CDs, but I don't get the same energy from it. I've got over 50 crates of LPs at home. I'm always excited playing records. With CDs, I'm just not into it."
The J-Unit and I require a beverage, so we head for the bar and snag me a Crown-'n'-Coke and her a vodka-tonic. Nearby, we bump into that funky, bearded mixmaster DJ Melo, who tells us he's a fan of the Jettster's bi-liciousness. We kick it with Melo for a minute, and Jett quizzes him on the same issue of wax versus everything electronic.
"I used to prefer vinyl," he states. "But now you can loop on CDs and all that good stuff. I still play records, but I download CDs for free, and buy the shit I really like. Problem is, I don't have gigs where I get to play the shit I really like."
"Prolly a lot of good DJs have the same dilemma," I chime. "Just because you like it, doesn't mean the club will be feelin' it."
"Hey, I've got a request. Can you put 'Smello' in there somewhere for me?" he asks, smiling. "It's kind of an inside joke with my friends."
"Smello?" wonders the Jettster. "What, did someone smell your dirty socks or somethin'?"
"Yeah, my smelly toes," he says, laughing. "You want a whiff?"
"Peee-yew!" yells the Jettster, pinching her proboscis. "No way. Let's go, Kreme, before he takes his shoes off."
I tell Smello to keep it grimy, though I doubt he'll have a problem doing that. We make a tour of C&W's innards, and observe all the honeys bumpin' to the cumbia, sometimes with an hombre, but more often with each other. Everyone's got Mardi Gras beads 'round their necks, as that's the eve's theme. Jett's jonesing for another vodka-T, so I tell her I'll buy if she'll fly, and she disappears with my scrilla.
Next to me happen to be one smokin' pair of señoritas, blonde Betty and voluptuous Ventura the brunette. Normally I'd have to scrape Jett off these two like fungus off my bathtub, but being that I'm presently all alone, I figure I can have a civilized confab with these cuties.
"You lovelies been to these Pan Dulce events before?" I start out after the intros.
"Yes," replies Ventura, the "Ace" of Hearts (get it?). "They're the bomb! They always bring a new crowd out with each event. It's the true party people who show up."
"So do you ladies give out digits when you're here? Or do you just blow all the guys off?"
"No, we give the digits," says the sultry Ventura. "But you have to be a gentleman, and be willing to dance."
"We can hang here, but they still have to ask me out on a real date," Betty adds. "Take me out to dinner. Sweep me off my feet."
"So what are you doing next Saturday night?" I inquire.
"Hopefully, going out on a date," she responds, oblivious to the fact that she's just been asked on one. To save face, I change the subject.
"What do you preciosas like to dance to?"
"Hip-hop," they both answer.
"No reggaeton?" I query.
"Whoa-whoa-whoa," interrupts Jett, back from wherever she'd been with my drink money. "R. Kelly? You mean the dude that whizzed on the 14-year-old?"
"We just like his music," argues Ventura. "What he does on his own time is his business."
Ventura and Betty Boop are itchin' to shake it on the floor, so we let them go. I look at the Jettster, both of her hands empty.
"So where's my cocktail?"
"I kind of, uh, drank it," she mumbles, sheepishly.
"Well, consider yourself kind of, uh, cut off for the night," I inform the bizz-atch. "Unless you can find another sucka ready to front you."
"That shouldn't be too hard," she brags, popping a button on her blouse to expose more flesh. "Hey, isn't that Ali from After 9 Events? Maybe he'll buy me one."
Indeed, it is the ever-suave Ali, on site pimpin' his Pink Sundays at Camus and his reggae-centric Riddim Wednesdays here at C&W. He's chillin' with his bro D-Smooth, a Professor of Flow-ology, who hits us with some lyricism while Jett pumps Ali for a drinky-poo.
"I'm a true Hispanic MC, trying to pave the way/Open doors so we can see a greater day/Of successful young Hispanic rappers/They can write a book on us, and hopefully we fill the chapters/I'm tryin' to step it up in our class/So we can be the homeowners, and not just the ones cuttin' the grass."
"Tight," I compliment him, watching the Jettster trying to schmooze some booze from poor Ali.
"Now check this rhyme: 'See Jett over there lyin', tryin' to sell her ass/Don't listen to her, homies, cuz all she wants is to fill her empty glass.'"