¿Que Pasa, M.I.A.? Too Miami for NYC

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Miami! My Miami! I missed you so much. I missed you like the deserts miss the rain. No, I miss you more than that; the desert has no idea that it's missing the rain. On my trip to America, I started getting worried. Especially, when I left you alone for your biggest weekend ever, WMC. I heard you did some things when I wasn't looking that weren't very safe or ladylike. But, that's okay. It's none of my business what you do when I'm not looking at you. What I do when you're not looking at me is your business. I am a self-ordained ambassador of Miami-Dade County.

This New York City is very wonderful. It has the skyscrapers and the subways and the bright lights. The people are not as mean as my parents said they would be and the muggings do not happen on every corner. They have bars with taco trucks inside of them, clubs with full size arcade games, pubs that give you a free pizza with every drink you order (even if it's Diet Coke!) and lounges with Bocci ball courts.

New York definitely has a lot more fun things to do than Miami. And please, do not be one of those people that gets mad at just one sentence in an article, allow the next sentence to make me make myself clear: Miami has more fun than New York. ¡Punto!More »

¿Que Pasa, M.I.A.? ¡Time For Lent!

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Catholicos, it's Lent time! Cuaresma, baby! Time for to behave really good. Time to make up for all the sinning and loving ladies and inappropriate gyrating. Time for me to undo the damage of having become a Cuban-American Idol.

In Catholic school I was told to give up something during the 40 days of Lent. Kids were giving up candy, chewing gum, and playing with He-Man toys. I'd usually give up things that were easy to let go. No G.I. Joes. No Watchamacalits. No frituras de bacalao. Easy stuff. Child's play.More »

¿Que Pasa, M.I.A.? Miami in Pop Culture

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Seeing Miami in a movie or a TV show or music video turns on my internal geek switch. I'm super excited to see the 305 represented on the screen, but I approach America's assessment of Miami like one of those guys that knows the names of the different kinds of robots in the movies about Star Wars.

Take the song, "I'm in Miami Bitch" by LMFAO, which is very vague about the city. The dudes party all day and night, which is very true about Miami. But where are the shout outs to Opa-Locka, Hialeah, Henry Flagler, Julia Tuttle, and Metrozoo?

When the Fresh Prince grew up, he did not become the Fresh King, and just like parents, he don't understand. Every time I hear Will Smith sing about taking his jet ski to the "west Keys," I wonder if he means "Key West" or a series of land bound mini-islands west of Miami. Either way, Key West is not in Miami. Are there are secret keys west of Miami that only famous rappers know about?

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¿Que Pasa, M.I.A.? Valentine's Advice From Jose El Rey and Debbie D.

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Contrary to popular belief, I am capable of love. Many ladies have loved me, and I love myself as strongly as they did. I know how to show las señoritas a lovely time. I know how to love their bodies, but I can only say "I love you" to myself, and that makes Valentine's Day very challenging for me.

I need outside help. So, I sat down with Debbie D., of the now-defunct group Avenue D. We had a long talk with her about life, love, and most importantly, what to do to make a woman feel loved on Valentine's. More »

¿Que Pasa, M.I.A.? My Excuses For Being Late

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Not too long ago, as impossible as it looks, sounds and seems, I held a day job. It was a mundane era of wearing socks, shaving, and having far fewer groupies. Sometimes, I needed to call this day job of mine and tell them I was not feeling so good. Every time I called in sick, I felt a sense of doubt from the other end of the line that made me want to act more ill than I really was.

It is an awkward position to be in. It was not unlike when you're on your way to meet a girl's family, and right when you get off the Palmetto in Hialeah, she sends you a text message that says, "If my parents ask, u r 20."

Whenever I woke up sick, I felt a panic, a need to emphasize the feeble sickness in my voice. I would hope that my boss wouldn't ask me to explain why I couldn't come in to work. I'd think about it for 10 minutes.

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¿Que Pasa, M.I.A.? Why I Sold You Out, Bro

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You sold me out, bro!  What the hell? What happened? I'll tell you what happened: I got an e-mail from some dude from the New York Times. He said he was in Miami to cover some sort of terrible crime spree, complete with beheadings. He wanted to write about something fun, so the worldwide press corps pointed him to me, José el Rey.

I was honored to be considered his personal Miami tour guide, and I had an evening of hot night-time fun all lined up for him and his team of foreigners. We were gonna go shopping at a botanica, and if he was up for it we'd get our souls cleansed, my treat! We were gonna eat some pan con bistec and I'd show him how to speak to ladies. Teach him how to use eye contact and smiling. I'd show him dance moves: Roger Rabbit, Kid-N-Play, and the Running Man.More »

¿Que Pasa, M.I.A.? Bros Vs. Rockers

quepasamia.jpgThe events that happen in childhood shape us, haunt us and turn us into the men and women that will lead the world. It's sociological science fact. When I borrowed a taped copy of Appetite for Destruction from Enrique Fernandez at age nine, I had no idea that 2 Live Crew and NWA were on side 2. I listened to both sides religiously. Sacrilegiously, really. I felt so guilty. So wrong.

These rockers on side one were worshiping the devil and those rappers and the other side were talking about killing cops and all-night sex motels. I loved it and hid it from my parents.

I was at my "cousin" Marco Serna's house later that summer. (He's not really my cousin, but the topic of Cuban cousins, and pretending that people who are not related to you are part of your family, will be elaborated on in a future column.) He walked up to me, giggling, and asked, "José, are you a surfer or a bro?"

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¿Que Pasa, M.I.A.? The Best Late-Night Snacks

Thumbnail image for quepasamia.jpgI like an afterparty as much I like playing Ms. Pacman. But, just like Ms. Pacman, afterparties have no ending. I love Ms. Pacman, but level after level, ghost after ghost -- they just keep on, until I die. Afterparties are cool but hour after hour, smoke after smoke -- they just keep on, until I leave. So, I started skipping out on afterparties and visiting the late-night eateries.

After playing a show, nothing sounds better to me than snacks. So I gather my sweaty silken blouse off the stage. Then I grab my eight to 10 closest friends, bodyguards, and lovers/ex-lovers, as well as my accountant, my manager, and my historian. I hop into my car and get some pan con everything.More »

¿Que Pasa, M.I.A.? Jose Goes Camping

quepasamia.jpgTo get an introduction to Jose El Rey (if you actually need one!) and to read previous installments of his weekly Crossfade column, Que Pasa, M.I.A?, click here.

Against my better judgment and sense of comfort and convenience, I went camping. Into the woods. Into the night. With fire. And "beware of bears" signs. Bears that want to open my sleeping bag and eat me like a pastelito de carne.

A group of friends of mine invited me up to Wekiwa Springs State Park. They promised I'd have a relaxing time. I really needed a weekend away from photographers and night clubs full of ladies who try to steal my clothes and men who want to be in my clothes. I wondered if I could handle a weekend away from Miami and Cuban coffee, but my friends also promised to bring a cafetera.

The first step in camping, I realized, is to pack for warmth and safety. I brought some special shoes called "moccasins" made by the American Indians. Instead of my glitter-coated normal clothes, I brought "jeans." Jeans are pants that don't shine and don't have sequins or jewels. To keep insects away from me I brought a mosquitero and a fly swatter. I also brought night-vision goggles to see scary creatures in the night.More »

¿Que Pasa, M.I.A.? New Year's Resolutions

quepasamia.jpgTo read past installments of ¿Que Pasa, M.I.A?, click here.

Trying to make a New Year's resolution stick is like trying to get all your friends to call you by a self-appointed nickname. (Dudes, bro, from now on call me  Shatterstar. ) This year, I'm gonna buckle down and really stick to my resolution. Of course, I say that every time. I've kept a few resolutions, but not until years later.

In 1999 I swore on my collection of San Lazaro candles that I'd quit Coke (the soda); that resolution came true in 2003, when I discovered diet Jupiña. In 2002 I promised Papa Dios that I'd quit coke (not the soda); I didn't stick to that one until 2005. In 2006 I resolved to only date ladies born later than 1970 and before 1987; mission accomplished in 2008. More »

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