There aren’t many phrases in the English language that can compete with “free beer.” I crash weddings for it. I go to parties hosted by people I can’t stand for it. And last Friday, I sat in Los Angeles traffic at 5 p.m. for it. Indio, the drink of choice on my senior trip to Guadalajara, teamed with VICE Media to kick off Casa Indio, a Mexican art and music showcase with, you guessed it, free beer.
I violated my personal code by showing up early, but was rewarded by no lines at the bar and the freedom to wander around and bug staffers for the wi-fi password. I was also lucky enough to chat up DJ Chico Sonido about Latin house and the resurrection of Tijuana as a tourist destination. I frequented Tijuana until I turned 21, which coincided with the rise of drug violence that gripped the country. Warnings of “Don’t wander off of Revolución” gave way to “Don’t go there at all.” But Tijuana has rebounded in the past two years, with its improved safety aiding its development as a cultural hotspot of Baja California.
As Chico Sonido spun his first set, I met Antoine and Matt, some L.A. cats who are veterans of VICE events around town. I didn’t peg them for Latin music fans, and they informed me they were “here for the beer.” They raised concerns over the sparseness of the crowd at 8:00, saying that these events are usually packed by then. As the lone Latino in the conversation, I assured them that we operate on a more relaxed timetable. Arriving to a party on-time is almost a bigger faux pas than showing up empty-handed.
By 10:00, I was proven right as the venue filled up as Los Macuanos took the stage. After a delightful conversation with a quirky-cute Chief Keef fan in a Catwoman mask, I headed inside to catch the Tijuana trio. Their brand of electronic music is one of the most unique I’ve heard: dance music that combines the dark, gritty edge of Tijuana’s drug war with ancient Mesoamerican music, as police sirens share space with Mayan homs.
Chico Sonido closed the evening with his second set, as the mood lightened and the dancing continued. After shutting down the dance floor with my flawless hip movements, I bid farewell to my new friends and hit the road back to San Diego, tempted to drive right through it and hit the border, although the closest I got was Taco Bell. As Mexico still fights the stigma surrounding it due to the drug wars, Casa Indio showed that there are still many beautiful things about the country that you can’t find on a taco shop menu at 2 a.m.
The contest: Enter to win VIP tickets to the following two weekends of Casa Indio and more. This includes both the May 30 weekend and the June 5 weekend. Full dates and details can be found at the Casa Indio website.
How to enter: Simply leave a comment in the comments section below telling us you live in the Los Angeles area and that you would like to win a VIP prize pack. Make sure you let us know what your email is when you are entering. Good luck!
Full prize details are listed below:
- Guaranteed access (winner +1) to all CASA INDIO LA events, with VIP access where available (without the need to sign up for all activities individually)
Photos by Steven Andrew Garcia.