Tuesday, November 4, 2008

La Bomba de Tiempo

Up until last night we spent our Monday evenings in Buenos Aires relaxing idly in our apartment, usually cooking a big dinner that will last us into the week. Besides the fact that leftovers are always fun and cost effective, we have frisbee practice Tuesday nights and the last thing we want to do us come home after running around for two hours and have to do more than just heat up food to eat. But we made our big meal (a HUGE pan of delicious eggplant parmesan that only gets better with age) Sunday night, we felt at liberty to hit the town for a little bit, still returning home for our usual 10:30-11:00pm dinner. Lucky for us, there is the perfect event that fits these tight specifications: La Bomba de Tiempo. Apparently, Julia knew about this get together for quite some time but failed to share it with me. It takes place every Monday night at the Konex Cultural Center in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Once. Our friend Nick (for those who don't know him, the viking from Julia's Halloween post) advised us to arrive around 7:30 because it sometimes sells out by 8:00pm, which is still half an hour before La Bomba de Tiempo even begins. He described the show as a big percussion event, but I still didn't know what to expect. I initially envisioned something akin to the drum circle at Malcolm X Park in Washington, D.C., where everyone was welcome to dance, drum, sing, stand or sit on the side as they pleased, except that you had to pay an entrance fee.

We stepped off the bus, which took us from door to door, at around 7:50pm and found a line of people waiting to get in stretching around the block. The temperature had cooled down by that point (someone flipped the hot switch on Saturday because it's been sweltering down here the past few days), so it was quite pleasant outside, especially with a bottle of Quilmes in hand. We also bought a snack from people walking up and down the line, which might prove to be a form of employment once Julia finishes her class this Friday. Our thirty-five minute wait gave us the chance to examine the population that frequents La Bomba de Tiempo, which was mostly hippies and hipsters but also a large group of run-of-the-mill porteƱos and foreigners like us. By the time we got in and met up with our friends, it was obvious that La Bomba de Tiempo was not what I expected. First of all, it was actually a performance, not an interactive event, in the open square outside the center. I thought La Bomba de Tiempo was the name performance, when it is the name of the main act. They sit and stand on a large, orange stairway that begins near the middle of the square and runs towards one of the top corners of the buildings (see the pictures included, it's hard to describe). The band plays multiple forms of percussion, not to mention some horns. Some form of accompanyment joins them every week, this week's guest being a guitarrist who provided another level to the already multi-layered composition. There was a good deal of barefoot and "shoed" dancing going on, we chose the latter variety. And of course, the process of buying beer involved waiting in multiple lines, none of which had any semblance of order to them. Overall, it was a really fun, easy night that didn't get out too late. I'm not sure if it will become a Monday tradition, but I can definitely see us catching many more shows in the future.

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