BEST LATIN DANCE NIGHT 2005 | Saturdays at Club Dwntwn | La Vida | Phoenix
Benjamin Leatherman
You'll find the hottest Latin club in these parts is wedged amongst the high-rises of downtown Phoenix. Without fail, Club Dwntwn draws an enormous crowd -- 1,500 people on a Saturday! -- and in just three years has expanded from two rooms to three. Even then you can barely walk through without bumping into someone. In the main room, DJs Mixxman and Czr3ro energize a crowd of well-dressed partyers with a hybrid of Spanish pop, Top 40, and tribal tunes. Elsewhere, DJs Joey and Ponk spin pure reggaeton, where, in the back room, dancers writhe under a gorgeous chandelier to salsa, merengue, bachata, and cumbia played by DJ Roberto or the occasional live band. This hopping hot spot has even drawn big-name producers and DJs from Mexico like Pelos, Mijangos, Macsi, and Bolillo. And partygoers can keep shaking their cans until the sun comes up, because the music pumps 'til 5 a.m.
Club Karamba steams up its own windows every weekend with Kaliente Saturdays, a party packed wall-to-wall with queer Latin lovers dancing to the beat of DJs Tranz and Melo. The jockeys throw salsa, merengue, cumbia, rock and pop en español into the mix while Latin music videos project onto an enormous screen. It's a sexy backdrop for a high-energy crowd that's there to party 'til 4 a.m. And if you get there before 10 p.m., it's all free, mica!
Every month, on the night of the full moon, Nancy Lewis and her crew of Spanish-language champions convene at South Mountain's Javelina Trail to sweat out basic grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary under a glowing light other than a fluorescent one. Fluent speakers and Spanish-language newbies meet monthly to participate in a physical and linguistic workout en español. The sociable atmosphere is led by a number of hiking guides, including natives of Mexico and Ecuador as well as locals who teach the language professionally. Participants meet monthly at sundown in the Beverly Canyon parking lot, 46th Street south of Baseline Road, for the moderately challenging two-hour jaunt that is a longer yet less grueling version of Piestewa Peak. The events are English-friendly, so if you can't quite roll your tongue rapidly enough while screaming soy perdido! ("I'm lost!"), somebody will be there to guide you. The hike is free; just show up and glow.

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