Jerry Rivera serenades me in Central Park

Ok, so Jerry Rivera didn’t serenade me in particular.  More like all of the swooning women that braved the unforgiving heat of midsummer to see him.  Central Park’s Summer Stage series brought some Carribean flavor to the Park with Jerry Rivera, Magic Juan, Bachata Heightz, and N’Klabe.  I arrived late, not quite knowing where  to find Rumsey Playfield, the site of the Summer Stage, but when I entered the park, all I had to do was follow the music.

I ended up missing the first act, N’Klabe.  I got there as the mcees, a chubby short man and two hot twins from a radio station show (Lulu and Lala from 105.9, Luis Jimenez, I believe…) were stalling between artists.  Next up was Magic Juan, who was a good performer and sang his song, “Baby Come Back,” in addition to “El Tiburon” (sigue! sigue! no pares!), which everyone but me knew the words to.  I had to laugh when he asked the audience to put up L’s  for “Latino”…you know, the 90s hand signal for loser.  So, we had a crowd of latinos flashing loser signs.  My friend and I joked about starting that trend back at Vandy, because we’re kind of retarded like that.

Magic Juan
Magic Juan

Next was a group called Bachata Heightz that played Bachata music (Imagine that!).  They had that typical whiny effeminate Aventura voice, but bachata is bachata so I danced and enjoyed anyway.  As a side note, I do like Aventura, but damn, that whiny “mio mio mio mio mio mio” gets on my nerves! …and now it’s stuck in my head.

Finally, after a very long break, Jerry Rivera came on stage, and the crowd when wild 

He did his thing, which is basically singing well and looking fine.  I didn’t really know his level of fame since I really don’t know much about Latino music.  (Actually, Shakira and Wyclef Jean sampled his “Amores como nuestro.” You’ll recognize the tune instantly.)  It was only when I told my mom I was going to a concert earlier that day that I found he’s well-known.  Went something like this:

“Oh, who are you going to see?” she asked.
“Jerry Rivera.”
Pause. “Is that a rock band or something?”
“Uh, no. A salsero.”
“…Wait.  The Jerry Rivera??  Cara de Niño???” she asked.
“Yeah, that’s the one!”
“Oh wow!  He’s really famous!  I’m going to tell all the people at the barbecue…they’re going to be so jealous!!!”

A girl losing her shit over Jerry Rivera

A girl that was pulled on stage, losing her shit over Jerry Rivera singing Quiero

The crowd was interesting.  I really wasn’t sure I was prepared to be around that many Latinos  in one place(NYC Latinos, at that), but it was fun.  The orgullo was off the charts.

We met another girl from Vandy, who was there with her brother, his friend, and her boyfriend.  They were one of those creepy couples that match their outfits; she had a red and white dress and he, a white shirt and red baseball cap.  There was a couple next to us downing Coronas like nobody’s business and dancing nonstop all over each other.  Some women opted to wear bikini tops to beat the heat.  Unfortunately one of them was at least 65 years old.

Despite the heat, I danced with my friend.  As I’ve mentioned in a different post (Tavern on the Green), he’s a good dancer, so all I have to do is move and pretend that I’m not awkward.  I saw a couple of girls eyeing us, or him rather.  I think they wanted a turn.  Ha, I really should have handed him over, but I didn’t think of it.  Selfish of me.

The day was fun, overall.  I almost didn’t go because of my lingering cold, but you gotta “get busy livin or get busy dyin,” right?  (Yes, I JUST watched Shawshank Redemption today.)  It’s strange…whenever I go to events like that, Latin events, I always feel included and excluded at the same time.  I think that was part of my reluctance to go.  It’s a weird sensation.   It’s probably my convoluted cultural identity: I’m Cuban (born), American (raised), Northern (born), and Southern (raised).  Ah, well.  I’m just a complicated woman.  ^_^


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