Some readers may remember the most memorable line from the film Dumbo. While we are on the subject of elephants, let’s have a moment of silence for Indra, 40 years old, five tons in her stocking feet, who broke free from her feeding at the Circo Unión in the wee hours last Monday night. The circus was in Ecatepec, near the Teotihuacán pyramids just outside of Mexico City, and poor Indra stumbled onto the traffic of the Mexico-Tulancingo highway, where she was hit by a bus. Witnesses say that the crash was inevitable – who expects to suddenly encounter an elephant while hurtling along the highway? The driver, Tomás López Durán, 49, also died a few minutes after the crash. But not until he managed to stop the bus in the mud beside the highway, thus saving all 41 passengers.
Forgive the poor quality of the photo, but it is worth publishing because it is emblematic of Mexico City’s 21st-century identity problems. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard would have us believe that the city is, to use the government’s word, “liberal” – in the sense of being on the forefront of cutting-edge social and cultural thought and action. A case in point is the Mexico City law that permits women to have first-trimester abortions. (Most of Latin America, including the rest of Mexico, only allows abortions in cases of rape.)
However, this subway ad, for an organization called Vifac, purports to help pregnant women – according to its website, by shepherding them through their pregnancies and, in some cases, finding homes in which the babies can be placed for adoption. One citizen scrawled across the top of the ad Mejor no cojan – “better that they don’t fuck.”
Which perhaps demonstrates that it is hard for a city to be liberal when most of its most important institutions – such as the church and the family – still equate any woman who exercises her sexuality with a prostitute. About a month ago, Mexico City’s Catholic archdiocese suggested that woman should not wear miniskirts or provocative clothing, as those sort of outfits provoke men to rape.
Burlesque has come to Mexico City. Burlesque of the postmodern, ironic, nudge-nudge variety, made popular in certain venues in New York and San Francisco.
Here was a rendition of Miss Liberty from last Saturday night’s show in the lobby of the Hotel Virreyes.
Here is what she had on under the tunic.
The number pictured above seemed clearly inspired by a Sergio Leone movie.
While this one below seemed to be a 21st century take on the scene from Blonde Venus in which Marlene Dietrich showed up in a gorilla suit. The Teutonic star was probably turning in her grave.
The show was great fun, and the Virreyes – Mexico City’s closest cousin to the Chelsea Hotel, with 1950s furniture and would-be artists who rent rooms by the month – the perfect venue. It’s in the centro histórico, on the corner of Izazaga and the Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas. Next Saturday, the 20th, there will be a different show. If you get there by 9 p.m., you’ll likely score the best seats in the house.
Labels: gay nightlife
For those who don’t understand Spanish, the sign in this photo, outside a small grocery store in Coyoacán, offers kosher ice cubes for sale. This is notable for a couple of reasons. Coyoacán is a section of the city with hardly any Jewish population, so why kosher ice cubes would be a big draw is anyone’s guess. Also, I was pretty sure that all drinking water is kosher, so there would be no such thing as “non-kosher” ice cubes. Just to make sure, I asked some Jewish friends who are more observant than I, and the very idea of kosher ice cubes provoked yells of laughter. Still, perhaps hedging their bets, they suggested I ask a rabbi. I didn’t go that far, but I checked the web site www.askmoses.com. According to which, “Water is kosher — as long as it’s just plain pure water and hasn’t been boiled in something used for cooking non-kosher foods or used for sacramental purposes in some non-Jewish rite.”
Service in restaurants in Mexico City is, to say the least, idiosyncratic. The other day I went to a place called Matisse in the Colonia Condesa. There were various salads on the menu, and I asked the waiter if they were appetizers or main courses. He looked at me with an inscrutable expression for a long minute, as if trying to figure out what I had really meant by asking that question. Finally, he said, “yes.”