Monthly Archives: September 2008

Voladores De Veracruz

The first time I saw a group of voladores performing their ritual in Chapultapec Park, I thought, “Hey, I could do that!” It turns out, not so much. Not only am I paralyzingly, pee-in-my-pants afraid of heights, I also don’t have an entire pueblo of friends to help me cut down a sacred tree in the jungles of Veracruz and drag it back to civilization.

Last weekend I had the privilege of visiting the Centro de las Artes Indígenas Xtaxkgakget Makgkaxtlawana (And you thought “chilangabacha” was a mouthful!) While I was there with a group of reporters from Chilangolandia, we got to tag along for a ceremony in which the voladores community trekked into the jungle to chop down a sacred tree that would be used for a new pole at the voladores school.

Before the voladores put the tree into the ground they had a ceremony where they threw a black chicken into the hole, where it would be crushed and systematically sacrificed under the weight of the pole. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried, folks. Consequently, the chicken that had been sacrificed earlier for the sake of my mole dinner, was absolutely delicious.

Check out the pics from the rest of the day-long ritual!

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Guess who’s not coming to DF?

If you said Pope Benedict XVI, you’re correct. He was invited to attend World Family day here in January, but according to The Press Association, the Pope’s peeps gave it a no go.

“The pope is in good health, but he’s no longer a young man,” one Ennio Cardinal Antonelli said. “The problem, aside from the travel distance, is the altitude of Mexico City.”

Can’t they build him some kind of pressurized Pope-Mobile?

Man, I miss the days of good old Juan Pablo Dos.

The Old School Pontificate

The Old School Pontificate

Not only was he my most famous polyglot (in addition to his native Polish he spoke Latin, Ukrainian, Croatian, Greek, Dutch, Spanish, French, German and English), but he managed to make it to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Bascilica when he was 82 years old. Granted, he didn’t come in crawling on his knees like most folks, but he made it nonetheless!

Also, thanks a lot ,Vatican, for giving tourists another excuse not to visit. “Yeah, I was totally going to go check out Mexico City. I’m not worried about the kidnapping or the polution, but gee Susan, I don’t know if I can stand the altitude!”

LAME!

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Hold on to your pesos, folks!

Back in May the major media outlets all their chones all in a bunch about the story that Americans were going to TJ to buy cheap gas. I always thought it was sort of a non-story since, come on, you’ve got to fill up somewhere after your viagra/vicoden run, right?

Since Mexico only imports about 40 percent of it’s oil, the government has been able to stave off the economic bleeding by providing massive energy subsidies and decent prices at the pump. So, while Americans have been forgoing botox injections and caramel frapuchino lattes in order to afford a tank full of unleaded, Mexicans have been blissfully filling up their vochos with government-subsidized petrol.

That’s about to change – a few pesos at a time. According to Reuters, government officials have announced that starting this Friday they will start implementing a weekly 2-3 centavo increase in the price of fuel.

I’m no expert, but I can imagine this will mean having to stick your nose in a lot more armpits in the metro.

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Hail to the Queen

I may be getting ahead of myself here by assuming that Lila Downs would be cool with being referred to as a Chilangabacha, but the electrifying folk singer with a Mixtec mother and Scottish-American father was based for a time in Coyoacan and she spent much of her life in Minnesota and for a while even followed the sacred gabacha tradition of following around the Grateful Dead. Her latest album, “Shake Away” was recorded here in Mexico City as well as in New York

Anyway, I’ve been a fan for years and have even had the pleasure of interviewing her. Her albums are great to listen to after you’ve had your heart broken or even just a bad hair day. Downs has the uncanny ability of expressing every possible emotion with her range of deep groaning laments to high staccato exclamations. I don’t want to say , “Shake Away,” is her masterpiece because that would mean we can’t expect more greatness, but it comes pretty darn close. I listened to the album all the way through on my metro trip to Tabacalera today and so far I’m really digging her interpretation of “Black Magic Woman” as well as the Honky Tonk-ish track, “Minimum Wage,” and the rollicking “Perro Negro,” featuring Ixaya Mazatzin Tleyotl aka Rubén Albarránfrom Cafe Tacuba.

Miss Downs will be performing three nights here in October. You can expect more gushing when those dates roll around and as soon as I can figure out how to post music on here I’ll get some of her songs up.

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Look Busy, Uncle Chuey is Coming!

There are so many reasons to love this picture that I took near Parque Mexico. The first of which is that the guy in the vest is actually taking the suggestion seriously. “Uh crap, look busy, eh? I guess I’ll look at my watch and act like I’m late for an appointment.” I also appreciate the graffiti artist’s use of the ellipses. A comma would have been sufficient, but those three little dots signify that something has been omitted from the original sentence. What an intriguing mystery! Maybe the original writer said, “Jesus is coming in ten minutes, look busy,” or, “Jesus is coming in a pimped out ’79 Chevy, look busy.” Finally, the Jesus in question could be one of hundreds of thousands of Mexicans. I mean, I’ll admit, at first I thought the message was referring to my Uncle Chuey from Fullerton and I got all excited for a second because it’s been a while since I got to sit down and watch a Dodger game with him, but since the message was written on the side of a church, I assume the writer was referring to the o.g. Jesus and I guess that’s cool, too. I’ll start gettin’ busy like the dude in the vest.

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Mexico’s Next Top Model

The news that the Tyra Banks juggernaut, America’s Next Top Model, will now have a Mexican version was the most exciting thing I heard all day. In fact, I was burning with Trya fever all day long until I read this little tidbit about the already-popular Brazilian version on Wikipedia:

“it was decided that the general approach to the candidates would involve “less cruelty” in comparison to the example set by Tyra Banks in the United States.

Nooooo! Mexico producers, listen up. I demand eye rolling, castigations, foot stomping and all out Tyra-style madness. Get someone from “La Madrastra” in there to tell it like it is. Just don’t let me down!

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A Patinar, Güey!

So it’s Friday night in the world’s biggest Metropolis and what could be better than heading to the south of the city to an underground reggae skateboard party. Aside from the dudes dressed as straight-up cholos, the sweetest part of this pachanga was this kid who couldn’t have been more than 12 years old totally out-skating all of his older homeboys.

Does anyone happen to know the name of this kid? I left my reporter hat at home and neglected to find out. Also, right after I took this video the electricity went out in the building and I took that as my cue to leave.

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