Dear Proprietor

The Coffee ShopI had three consecutive meetings set up in a new coffee shop. Two of these were set for me. The third I set up because it made sense to just piggy back it onto my morning schedule. What this meant was that I was going to spend 3-4 hours in this (in your) coffee shop. From experience I know that this is never completely pleasant. I’m just not a “work from the coffee shop” kind of person. I like my little desk with all my tools.

If it’s left up to me I’m not going to choose the cute little coffee place I’ve never been to as the place to hold a meeting, or series of meetings. I would pick a known place where all my wants are met. This was not my choice, but I’d made the decision to give you a chance, because I’m just nice that way. That didn’t go well. Maybe I’m too old for new places?

You only have street parking. In Houston, really?

At 8am the place was already warm. I understand that allure of setting up a coffee shop in an older building in a hip neighborhood, but if you’re going to do that you at least need to make sure that the air conditioner is working. And I mean actually cooling the establishment to a comfortable temperature and not just blowing cool air in one or two spots.

The music was much too loud. If I’d been sitting by myself this wouldn’t have annoyed me as much, I think. But, wow was the music loud.

I had to ask for the Wi-Fi password, and then it kept dropping me.

Your limited food menu has all cutesy names and you mocked when I got mine wrong. Even if I hadn’t already been grumpy from the 8am time and the other stuff, this one would have catapulted me into a bad mood.

And the coffee wasn’t all that.

The name of the establishment has been withheld because, really, this rant is about more than just Saturday’s experience. I acknowledge that the early hour (and the fact that my first meeting stood me up) made me cranky.

dance with me

DANCE WITH ME is the new movie starring Chayanne and Vanessa Williams.

It’s a tame little movie set primarily in a dance studio in Houston. In case you see the movie, that skyline is ours — Houston has a very impressive skyline and I want to make sure that you understand that the one in the movie is ours. That said, there is no chemistry between Chayanne and the talented Ms. Williams. They do a good job with their characters, but I never believed that the romance was real. And before any of you think that “it’s a movie, girl” thought that you’re bound to go through, I know that it’s a movie. But I pay good money to watch and, for the moment, believe that what’s going on might be plausible. And a romance between the stars of this movie just didn’t make the cut. I’ll admit that maybe, just maybe I was too harsh — I did just see HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK last week and the chemistry between Stella and her young lover was sizzling. DANCE WITH ME suffers by comparison.

As a writer I also have to point out that there are major holes in the writing of this movie. I won’t spoil the movie for you, but I will say that the plot is just an excuse to set up some elaborate dance scenes. Dance scenes that I enjoyed very much, thank you. Vanessa can really move and I love salsa and merengue. Just listening to the music makes me want to get up and dance. Did you know that Vanessa refused to use a body double for any of the dance scenes? There are some complicated and dangerous moves you really need to see to believe. The dance scenes alone are worth a matinee viewing.

The sheer enthusiasm Chayanne demonstrates in this role is almost enough to get me to commend his performance. Almost, but not quite. Chayanne isn’t an actor. I don’t think that a seasoned actor could have done more with the two-dimensional character we were shown, but there was an awkwardness to his performance that could have been ironed out. To his credit, his scenes with Vanessa were very natural and his dance scenes were exceptional. Also to his credit, he didn’t cop out and do a singing scene. For those of you who have never heard of him, Chayanne is a Puerto Rican singer, an ex-Menudo. And if you need to have someone explain who Menudo is, then I wash my hands of you right here and now. You are beyond help.

I am, of course, recommending to all of my friends that they go out and watch the movie. And I’m not encouraging them on the basis that the movie is entertaining or that the dance scenes are incredible or that Vanessa Williams looks great or that Chayanne has this boyish charm thing going. Nope. I’m telling people to go to the movie so that the numbers for the movie look decent and when the next producer goes to a studio to do a “Hispanic” movie the studio can’t use bad ticket sales on this movie as an excuse not to fund it. Unfortunately, as a Chicana I have to look at the big picture.