|I've never seen anyone move their bodies the way they could. It was like watching them in fast-forward. Every jiggle, every shake was hypnotically sexy.
There were four of them and they came out wearing a different costume every other song. I'll never forget the way she looked at me, smiling as I pulled out my camera. I was close enough to see the beads of sweat on her tight exposed abs. The sweat rolled down her thighs and dripped onto the stage. She slowed down for me, spread her peacock like feather headdress and allowed me a single flash, imprinting the image in my mind forever. She smiled, I smiled, and for a good two seconds we stared at each other like two curious souls from completely different worlds. Then the dancers switched places. Each had a unique style. So different, so sexually explosive; it's no wonder all our eyes were glued to the stage.
The band was called Marchinas, and the singer sported a sparkling silvery jacket covered in sequins just like the rest of the band. He controlled the mic, controlled the beat, and controlled our suspenseful uproarious fits of dancing that mimicked the high energy of the performers.
Waves of excitement and calmness in the music gave off a roller coaster-like thrill, a comfort that spread like wildfire throughout the crowd. Grown men, some foreigners, some surfers from down the block, jumped around completely off beat, but we all cheered them on, as we did the same. It was intense to say the least and definitely made me question what I've been missing at the real Brazilian Carnival.
It's February 22nd, 2003, Saturday night - 4th and B is hosting San Diego's 11th annual version of Brazil Carnival; the mix of people was diverse and the vibe was exciting. Typical San Diego clubs are filled with attitude, plastic fashion gurus, and the rhythmically challenged. It was different here.
Scattered about were men flaunting their green Brazilian T's, dancing up a storm with the many costumed guests. Everyone danced with everybody. It wasn't about hooking up, or buying drinks or taking people home. It was about getting crazy, letting the music infuse your soul with the beat of the drums on stage.
For those who couldn't hang, there was a VIP break room not far from the action. There was complimentary food catered by local restauranteurs Pat and Oscar's and Rei Do Gado Brazilian steakhouse. I loaded up with some BBQ chicken pizza, and a couple of breadsticks before heading over to the Brazilian cuisine.
Rei Do Gado, I can only describe as something totally different. It was an excellent taste of Brazil ranging from fried yucca plants which tasted somewhat like a tasty cheese-filled bamboo shoot, to baby-back ribs. Inside that same break room were some couches and places to sit.
Most of the people there were dressed in some sort of costume, usually full of color, feathers, and tons of strings and streamers that would exaggerate each step or dance. Others had on shockingly sexy outfits just shy of undergarments and swimsuits. Actually, they were probably smaller and definitely hotter.
Later, I headed up to the balcony to get a bird's eye view. Out came the Samba dancers, snaking through the crowd like a river of spinning blue, purple and white. Everyone clapped and stomped to the beat. You had to; you'd have to have been dead to not feel the excitement. I suddenly felt like I wanted to go back with them to Brazil, to learn their culture, their way of life. I decided that next year I definitely would go to the official Brazilian Carnival, held in Rio de Janeiro, a week later than San Diego's. I couldn't imagine a week's worth of what I had barely experienced a taste of this night.
The bands rotated again and Reggae Brasileira took the stage. It was reggae, but with a twist of lime, or should I say salsa. Very interesting, something I could see myself listening to outside a Brazilian restaurant. You have to realize that this is music and culture flown in from thousands of miles away, and I couldn't resist a trip to Brazil - right in my backyard.
- By Josh Edelson, San Diego Correspondent. Read the Jetsetters Magazine Feature on the San Diego Street Scene.