Sunday, March 10, 2013

Los Gritos del Grito de Dolores

There's a mediocre and thoroughly unnecessary Mexican restaurant a block or so from our offices called El Grito de Dolores which, in the year or so it's been open, has not, to our knowledge, ever had a customer.  So, in an effort to make their appeal somewhat "less selective," they've decided to enlist the services of a local crooner named Bruno Quinzá to karaoke his way through some mediocre and thoroughly unnecessary Mexican classics, backed by a cheesy pre-recorded synth track. On the roof.  With a pair of really, really big fuckin' speakers.

Nice gig.

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.


Vecino del Barrio Por Alla said...

Evil me, I know what you can do about it. Download this (link for MP3 below) and blast it at 'em. And as one who has suffered similar indignities at the hands of the "delegacion," in another to-remain-unnamed Mexican City, and for reasons too labyrinthical to detail here, unable to do a danged thing about it, I would very sincerely RELISH hearing all about the adventure on your blog.

Here is the link to the SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN #1 most disgusting sound in the world:

P.S. It wouldn't hurt to gather signatures from neighbors while you're at it and deliver them cc to the owner and the Delegado-- and post it on TripAdvisor and facebook and twitter with a cc to the Secretary of Tourism for the state. That might at least get those cabrones to turn off the amplifiers. (And isn't parking another issue for the barrio?)

Crazy Rita said...

It's a Mexican conspiracy specifically designed to persecute you.

After one too many karaoke parties held by my Reynosa neighbor, I nearly blasted my collection of Czech polkas one Sunday morning. But I decided against it because Czech polkas sound suspiciously like Mexican music and they would probably like it. In fact, after further research, I discovered that Mexican music was originated by German and Bohemian immigrants to Mexico. That's right, you can blame my people for this abomination.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the roof will cave in, what are the odds?

Mexfiles said...

Um, Rita... that's NORTEÑO music, specifically Tejano music that's based (partially) on Czech polkas... a small, and particularly annoying, sub-set of the whole.

FWIW, we have a downstairs neighbor whose baby-sitter is given to gritos. Repeating what she said through a megaphone seems to quiet her down.

Crazy Rita said...

Mexfiles, it all sounds the same to me.

Anonymous said...

Now you complain about noise from 3pm to 5pm on a weekend? Dios mio. Pancho, I remember when you used to be cool.

One of my very favorite people from high school and college now runs Human Rights Watch -- I'll alert her to your plight.

That being said, if you want to join me at several local churches on Easter Sunday and light off fireworks during their moments of silence (as opposed to them doing it from 2Am to 5AM on any given morning), then I would welcome your dorky company.

Burro Hall said...

Kenneth Roth is a woman now?