Go on, say it out loud. I won't mind --shoot, I'm thinking the same thing.
W. T. F!!
This notorious examples of shoeware come from Matehuala, a northeastern Mexican city. They have attained huge notoriety lately due to the fact that, like everything else, they have slowly found their way to the streets and night clubs across the border.
And there's of course, the natural drive of all cultural manifestations (wink wink):
"At the beginning I didn't like them very much, but the girls wouldn't dance with you if you weren't wearing pointy boots," said university student Pascual Escobedo, 20, his own covered with hot pink satin and glittery stars (Source)
The more we change, the more we stay the same, right? ;)
They dance to "tribal" music, a mixture of Pre-Columbian and African sounds mixed with fast cumbia bass and electro-house beats. In Matehuala, all-male teams compete in weekly danceoffs at four nightclubs that offer prizes of $100 to $500, and often a bottle of whiskey.
The troupes are so popular, they're hired to dance at weddings, for quinceaneras, celebrations of the Virgin of Guadalupe, bachelorette parties and even rosary ceremonies for the dead. One group, Los Parranderos, or The Partiers, filmed a wedding scene for "Triunfo del Amor," or "Love's Triumph," a prime-time soap opera on the Televisa network.
"At the beginning there were people who would criticize us and would say, 'How tacky that you are wearing that. I wouldn't wear them,'" said Miguel Hernandez, 20, of Los Parranderos. "But we feel good dancing with the pointy boots."
Ok, so they look stupid. But you know what? like every genuine youth expression, it's supposed to elicit those reactions to outsiders.
This reminds me of the Jazz-era craze of the zoot-suiters, that proliferated in Southern California in the the 1940s. It was a clear rebellion to standard conventions, and eventually it was attacked as immoral behavior --think about it: wearing long suits was considered immoral!
Expect to see some dumb-ass Republican rallying the public opinion against the pointy boots worn by dope fiends in the years to come ("they smuggle drugs inside those unholy shoes!!") :-/
But getting back to the zoot-suiters: In Mexico and in the Chicano community, those who wore those long suits were called pachucos. And their image was forever immortalized thanks to German Valdéz 'Tin Tan', one of our most memorable comedians of the golden era of Mexican cinema.
Tin Tan is also the theme of one of my favorite songs, composed by La Maldita Vecindad y Los Hijos del Quinto Patio --yep, that's their whole name!-- it's about a fight between a punker kid and his dad who can´t stand the way his son wears his hair or his clothes, and the kid tries to remind his dad that HE was young once, and had fights of his own with his father for dressing like a pachuco.
"To each their own like those tribal dancing kids say, and that's exactly right. In the end, however, nothing will impede some Jean Paul Gaultier mofo from robbing their genuine fashion manifestation, repackage it in some flashy way, and resell it to the novelty-hungry masses. Oh, well...
Have you had your own experiences of scorn and criticism for the way you dressed or kept your hair in you rebel years? how about you share it in the comment section :)
I guess I this had been a Disney movie, the ending would have been a tad different...
Some time ago I wrote about a young college girl, Marisol Valles, who decided to accept a job nobody wanted: chief of police of her hometown. It was a story that sounded surreal and a bit out of place amid all the depressive news of violence caused by the organized crime; but in a sense, it kind of give the Mexican people a sense of hope —hope that there were still young idealists with the courage to stand up and help steer the course of the nation.
Alas, it was not to be:
She served the town of Praxedis for a few short months. Then came the death threats.
"They threatened to kill me, my family, my baby boy. I was scared ... couldn't even sleep ... always wondering, when are they coming to get me."
Unfortunately, fear and intimidation have scored another victory along the U.S.-Mexican border, and Valles Garcia is now in the United States, pleading for political asylum.
Armed with only her ideals —and ZERO or money support from the State government— she sought to make a difference and not let Fear win.
She speaks for the people she's left behind in that beautiful but violent Mexican valley.
"Don't ever lose hope," she said in a message to them. "Continue fighting for your children. I'm sorry I had to leave, but it's better to be safe and alive here ... than to be dead in Mexico."
So what's the moral of the tale here? That Fear will always win? That to dream for a better world is naive?
...Or maybe that we shouldn't leave our kids alone to fight our fucking wars for us.
On May 14th I, along with 111 000 other souls, witnessed the landing of a spacecraft hailing from planet U2.
The spaceship's crew then proceeded to amaze the audience with the biggest show this world has ever seen.
Almost 9 hours of wait in the merciless sun. And it was well worth it.
The friendly aliens promised to return some day. I hope they do.
PS: In case you were wondering, yes --that tall dude is yours truly :)
It seems that NBC decided not to option the new remake of the Wonder Woman TV series. Via The Daily Mail:
Despite months of hype, NBC have declined to option the super hero series by David E. Kelley and Warner Bros. TV. Kelley had penned a script that updated the comic book classic to have the heroine as a hard-headed businesswoman by day and a baddie botherer by night. However, U.S. industry magazine Entertainment Weekly says that the show's completed pilot garnered mixed reviews at test screenings. It also reports that there were concerns about the character's updated superhero costume, which had lost the Stars And Stripes and amped up the Greek goddess instead.
Is anyone shedding tears over this? I must confess: I never really got the concept of Wonder Woman. Sure, it's obviously a feminine counterpart to Superman —and that's fine by me— but I never really saw anything in the character aside of some weird dominatrix fetish out of the Disco era —which was further reinforced by the remake's choice of latex for the new costume.
That doesn't mean I didn't actually watched the original show when I was young, but probably for all the wrong reasons ;)
Maybe the moral of the story is that you can't bring back a pop culture icon that doesn't reflect the Zeitgeist of the times. In this day & age, I just can't buy the idea of a demi-goddess running around the streets fighting crime in THAT outfit. I would rather choose something like this for the costume: [Source]
You could still use the red & blue colors to appease the sensitivities of 'traditionalists' —read jingoists :P
The show producers could have also consulted with Alex Ross and Mark Waid. Their magnum opus Kingdom Come is IMO the best rendition of Wonder Woman you could ever find: a cold detached super-being with a warrior's mentality who looks down upon humans and sees force as the best way to resolve conflicts; it brilliantly interprets DC's unspoken philosophy that the only way to keep the gods' powers in check is by having them learn to appreciate life from a human level.
But hey —I could be wrong. maybe there's some Wonder Woman hardcore fan out there who can make a strong case about why this show deserves air time... anybody?
"Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children."
William Makepace Thackeray
The Mexican lexicon is full of colorful uses of the word 'mother'. With it, you can say just about anything; perhaps it's only fitting, since 'mother' is the root of all things.
One if the most common is 'hasta la madre'. It's meant to to convey exasperation —and then some: to be fed up, "had it up to here", etc. Like many popular expressions, it's not a phrase that you would considered proper or civil.
And yet that is precisely the title of an open letter written by a poet, and published by a very prestigious magazine. The only way to express the inexpressible: the murder of a son, another one among the 40,000 victims of this folly called "the war on drugs".
Javier Sicilia —the man who wrote that letter— is an artist, novelist, essayist and journalist; he has been actively involved in social movements of various kinds, and regularly contributes with publications like the newspaper La Jornada. His verses are infused with his strong Catholic convictions and the moral humanism that stems from them. The day that he received the news of the death of his son he was in the Philippines, invited by the Mexican ambassador to read some of his poems.
Since then Sicilia has sworn never to write another poem. Instead he's risen to become a moral leader with the goal of making the members of the political elite how displeased we are with their negligence.
"We've had it up to here because the only thing that matters to you, besides an impotent power that's only good for the managing of sorrow, is money, the promotion of free enterprise, of your fucking 'competitiveness' and unrestrained consumption, which are other names for violence."
"With you, the criminals, we've also had it up to here, of your violence, your loss of honor, your cruelty, your nonsense. In the old days you kept codes of conduct. You were not so cruel in your score settlings and you did not touch civilians or their families. Now you do not make distinctions. Your violence cannot be named because, like the pain and sorrow it provokes, it doesn't have a term or purpose. You have even lost the dignity to kill. You have turned into cowards like the miserable Nazi Sonderkommandos that without any human sense murdered children, boys, girls, women, men and the elder —in other words, innocents."
To help us regain our dignity as a nation, Sicilia called the public to participate in a march that concluded in the Zócalo square of Mexico city last Sunday.
Will they ever listen? How high does the river of blood must rise until they finally decide to rethink their strategies? What do we have to do to make them understand that WE do not work for them, that it is THEM who work for us?
When will our mothers stop crying for their lost children?
When will dawn come?
Come on! You know it as well as I do that it would make perfect sense.
Besides, who would you prefer having its paw on the Nuclear button —a veteran dog (that is also house-broken) or a grizzly mom? ;)
[UPDATE 17/05/11] The name of the quadruped combatant has been revealed: Cairo. Pity it's foreign, yes --but we can still work a campaign, right? after all, that sort of thing is not exactly impossible to overcome ;)
You gotta fight!
For your right!
Sure, it's a bit of a senseless celebrity smörgåsbord, but personally I find refreshing the celebration of a distant long-gone era, when rappers cared only about having a good time —even if they acted like hooligans— instead of promoting the latest god-damned smartphone with every new video they release.
Or maybe I just miss the 90s... or big-ass stereos... or my youth :)
As any fan of Frank Herbert's Dune series should now —and in case you forgot, you can always invoke the Wiki-djinns— the indigenous inhabitants of the planet Arrakis lived in communal dwellings called sietchs; giant cavernous abodes where the Fremen tribes could be safe from the inclement conditions of the desert.
And lo and behold! there's an architecture firm intending to build just that kind of place, albeit with a suave five-starred twist:
Florida-based practice Oppenheim Architecture + Design have released these images of their proposals for 47 desert lodges at a resort in Wadi Rum, Jordan.
The lodges will be carved directly into the sandstone cliff face and the building elements will be made from rammed earth and cement mixed with local red sand.
The project merges silently with its wondrous setting, exploiting and enhancing the natural beauty of the desert to establish accommodations that are uniquely elemental and luxurious.
I'm ambivalent to this kind of project. Naturally it's aesthetically breath-taking, but —like many others commenting on the Dezeen page— I'm somewhat skeptical about its 'ecological' merits (what about all the water and services that it will require? the waste produced by the guests? will the rooms need A/C?)
More than that, I can't help to find highly ironic how in ancient times, the only people who bothered to live in the desert were ascetic hermits. And now they will be replaced by jet-set members of the Forbes list. Will the Dead Sea scrolls be replaced by the Dead Sea iPad?
Hope they don't end up invoking the wrath of Shai Hulud with their exploits...
The news in 2011 are getting so bizarre, God knows what's in store for us next year...
The red-caped avenger, long mythologized as the embodiment of American strength and values, shocks readers in the comic's 900th issue by telling a White House official that he's changing allegiance.
"Which is why I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my US citizenship," he says. "'Truth, justice and the American way' -- it's not enough anymore."
The super spat -- sparked in the comic by Superman's disillusionment at reactions to his support for democracy protesters in Iran -- has spilled far beyond the pages and speech bubbles.
Republican potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee weighed in over the weekend, saying Superman's threat is no laughing matter.
"It is a comic book, but you know it's disturbing that Superman who has always been an American icon is now saying, 'I'm not going to be an American citizen,'" Huckabee said in a Fox News television interview.
"It's part of a bigger trend of Americans almost apologizing for being Americans."
Conservative media personality Bill O'Reilly raised the issue on Fox television's The O'Reilly Factor, slamming the "unbelievably dumb" plot.
"You don't tug on Superman's cape," O'Reilly warned.
And among the flood of newspaper editorials and blog entries, the teaparty.org blog saw nothing less than the hand of President Barack Obama.
"Superman now says he denounces his citizenship of America and is only a citizen of the World. This is very socialistic of Superman wanting a Socialistic world with people like Obama at the helm of this movement," thundered the blog.
Back in 2009, there was a bit of a news hysteria over rumors that Sarah Palin was going bald. Proof that Life is always imitating Art.
London designer Dominic Wilcox created this stylus that straps over his nose for using his touch-screen phone in the bath
Mac Tonnies would have gotten a kick out of this techno-proboscis. At any rate, 'tis really a sign of the times, that is.