Selena 20th Anniversary Party Country Burger, Dallas Saturday, March 28, 2015
I saw the greatest piece of post-modern, Tumblr-era art on Saturday. It was a plaque-like piece of art featuring a photo Selena's killer Yolanda Saldívar with the phrase "Certified Hater." Naturally, it was written in the type of iconic typography you see adorning the back of custom low riders in Latino neighborhoods throughout Texas. It had a list price of $50; I had to be talked out of purchasing it.
This, friends, is how we celebrate Selena in Dallas.
On Saturday afternoon, Country Burger in Oak Cliff held a day-long party the beloved singer, and it was electric. Families laughed together while tejano music blared from speakers inside. The parking lot was packed with classic cars and the Dallas Cowboys Car Club, the people responsible for all those "We Dem Boyz" videos, were out in full force. And the Selena lookalikes were numerous.
When we reported about all this weekend's activities we made it a point to mention that this wasn't a memorial, it was a celebration. Selena's fanbase remains as passionate as ever, and their sadness over her loss is similarly strong, but this was not going to be a somber affair. And it wasn't.
I was sitting in a booth half watching Furious 6 on Telemundo (thus proving The Ticket's Hardline's theory of exactly who those movies are being made for) taking the whole scene in. An adorable couple of gentlemen were walking around pausing to pose for selfies every few minutes, thus proving that while, yes, there's a shit ton of catholic bigotry in Latin communities, we're moving forward, and becoming much more acceptable of LGBT rights. Selena, you see, unites us all.
One table over from me was packed with 20-somethings, three of whom were in Selena cosplay, one of whom may well have been the most attractive women I've ever seen. Indeed, Latino Thirst Level was at an all-time high in this restaurant thanks to Selena lookalike contest, which had dudes' eyes literally watering all day long. Thank god the burgers are so large, and therefore killed a lot of the raging hormones in the room.
Meanwhile, a group of older couples sat behind me, having the same conversation all older couples have: They discussed their children and grand children and they barely even touched their food. They laughed, shared stories, talked about their favorite Selena songs and raved about how they love new singers like Bobby Pulido.
All the while, music blared inside the restaurant. The Faded DeeJays collective kept the goings-on legit with an eclectic selection of cumbia, tejano and ranchera jams. I tried desperately to explain whom each singer and group is to my friend who tagged along,but I failed.
Easily the best part of the whole affair, however, was the art shown. This is how the cult of fandom for Selena most fully manifests itself. Her image was all over Country Burger. There were news clippings, posters and paintings displayed all throughout the restaurant, but the back has been sectioned off for the DeeJays and various pieces of art. Along with the "Certified Hater" piece, there's a giant piece that shows Selena as the Virgin Mary, below which was a collection of prayer candles adorned with the same image. They cost $15 a pop. Naturally, I started texting friends and family members to ask who wanted one.
There were also several portraits of Selena: one done in gold leaf, one in watercolor and one that was being live painted by a lady in Selena clothing. There were custom T-shirts, including one girl wore the famous Selena shirt done in the Slayer logo that Lady Gaga made famous. This girl is my hero.
The whole event was supposed to end by 7 p.m., but there was no way that was going to happen. Everyone was having too good of a time and everyone was talking about the after party at Crown & Harp later in the night. Another hot topic was the screening of the biopic starring Jennifer Lopez at the Texas Theatre the following afternoon, and the special on Univision Sunday night.
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Before I left, I tried to find out who one the look-a-like contest, having missed it by minutes.(Staying up all night Friday drinking tequila and dancing to Selena was the culprit here.) I end up awkwardly having a conversation with a low rider owner about how he's going to balance the Selena tribute, and Wrestlemania. (My dream is to one day write a book about the Mexican love of wrestling.)
He told me he was sitting up two TVs on Sunday night: Selena would have full volume, wrestling would be muted. His wife and mother demanded it be that way. Thus proving, yet again, "anything for Selenas."
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