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A Scary Place

teens
Teen Angels: Girls cut loose at the Boo Bomb event held at the San Jose Arena.

The Boo Bomb rap show brings cops, hip-hop and teens together

By Traci Hukill

A FLEET OF POLICE CARS lines the middle of Autumn Street next to the San Jose Arena. Outside the building hundreds of kids mill around, waiting to go through the metal-detector-and-pat-down line so they can get inside to see Da Brat, Immature, Ice Cube and a few other rappers. Stony-faced police officers walk deliberately through their midst in pairs, watching.

Inside the arena walkway the atmosphere is thick with perfume and bravado. The girls wear tight black pants, spaghetti-strap tops and glittery eye shadow. The boys stalk around in baggy jeans, huge white tennis shoes and team jackets. Everybody's checking everybody else out and pretending not to. Or else they're checking their pagers.

Keesha and Kelli, both 14, go to Independence High. Kelli smiles and lets Keesha do the talking.

"There isn't anything to do," she says bluntly of being a teenager in Silicon Valley. "We go to Great America sometimes. We used to go to the skate rink, but they raised the price. We just hang out at Eastridge, mostly."

Lisa and Abby are both seniors at Mission San Jose. If her trendy clothing, darting eyes and ebullience indicate anything about Lisa, it's that she'll be rushing a sorority this time next year.

"There's so much to do downtown," she bubbles. "It's like the Marina!" She praises Club 47, the coffeehouses and the city lights. Abby, who is wearing camouflage pants, is a tougher sell.

"No," she figures, "I think there should be more clubs that are into hip-hop."

Three good-looking guys with dark gelled hair lean against the wall, coolly observing the groups of girls who go walking by. Tony and Mike, 16 and 17, go to Gunderson. Carlos is a senior at San Jose High.

"Mostly we drink, party and go cruising," Carlos says. "I have a '90 Honda Civic. It's sweet."

"We go to our friends' houses," Mike adds.

"Or parties in Fremont," Tony says.

I ask them what they drink.

"E&J," Carlos answers. "Or JD."

"Mickey's sometimes," Tony says.

Mike thinks for a second. "Bombay."

Straight?

"Yeah."

They're looking for sexy girls right now, they tell me. They usually meet them at San Jose Live--in the summer, anyway--or at other schools' dances. The mall, they inform, is strictly for shopping. Suddenly the crowd contracts at a spot near the entrance: a fight. The cops are on it almost instantly, and the crowd falls away.

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From the Nov. 26-Dec. 3, 1997 issue of Metro.

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