It's hard to explain the acoustics of Querétaro Centro, where all the walls are made of stone, everything's laid out in a grid, and most buildings have central courtyards, but suffice it to say that the vocal stylings of Bruno Quinzá now echo through Burro Hall every Sunday just as loudly as if we'd invited him to set up in the patio.
(The people in the photo above represent the entire crowd for the concert, so this level of amplification seems to us completely absurd, but for the fact that Mexicans are incapable of hearing noise. To get the full sense of the imposition on all of El Grito's neighbors, visit Quinzá's MySpace page, Facebook page [here he is with busty Mexican tv personality Niurka], or check him out on YouTube. And don't be put off - what he lacks in talent he makes up for in volume.)
This is only the second Sunday this crap has happened, and from what we can tell he appears to be contracted to warble for just a couple of hours, from 3-5 in the afternoon. But Bruno Quinzá isn't just some hired cabaret singer - he's all about the music, man. So today, when the restaurant closed at 5, he hung around for several more hours, braying his way through endless duets with female customers who - and this is significant - are not professionally-trained vocalists like him. We'll freely admit the juxtaposition flatters Bruno Quinzá. And did we mention this is all happening through a pair of really, really big fuckin' speakers?
As it happens, the city has just passed a noise ordinance that would prevent businesses from cranking the volume above 68 decibels. We're not audio experts, but 68db is supposedly a little louder than normal conversation. If something a block away is making normal conversation in our own offices impossible, we're guessing it's a violation of the ordinance. Here's how this shit sounds out on street level:
Remember, the Centro is a place with so many rules and regulations that friends of ours who have been running a legitimate and thoroughly respectable restaurant for four years are still unable to get permission to sell beer, and where the facade of our own office building was declared too historically valuable to move the goddamn electric meter. But somehow this new, unprofitable restaurant in a former residence is able to get permission to set up a roof deck cafe and offer live, heavily-amplified entertainment? You don't have to have been in Mexico very long to understand what's going on here.
We're just not entirely sure what to do about it.