art, lucha, lucha libre, Lucha Libre Volcánica, Mexican wrestling, performance, Performance Art, Photograhy, Photos, Seattle, streets, Uncategorized

A New Round of Photos from Jimmy Bazan

…who is kind of awesome. Make sure to check out his other work, which includes subjects such as El Vez and Macklemore! LLV_SET_ONE_WEB-30 LLV_SET_ONE_WEB-7 Continue reading “A New Round of Photos from Jimmy Bazan”

academic, art, Cultural Studies, culture, lucha, lucha libre, observations, performance, Performance Art, Shows, streets

A Brief and Unnecessary Defense of Lucha Libre as Art – Part I

This blog has generally been dedicated to the sharing of various events in my life as a luchador, from shows and publicity events to fiestas. For those of you who have read the “about” section of this blog, you may well be aware that my intent was also to have a sort of cultural studies bend to this blog as well, which—prompted through some recent readings—I now feel prepared to begin undertaking. Continue reading “A Brief and Unnecessary Defense of Lucha Libre as Art – Part I”

lucha, lucha libre, Lucha Libre Volcánica, Mexican wrestling, performance, Seattle, Shows, South Park Seattle, streets

Lucha Libre Volcánica Returns to Seattle on August 17th!

Late Friday night we received confirmation that we will in fact be performing our 3rd annual show in South Park, Seattle! I’ll share more info here as soon as I have more!

lucha libre, Lucha Libre Volcánica, photography, Photos, Shows, South Park Seattle, streets, wrestling school

Photos with Jimmy: Outtakes and Behind the Scenes

We had the pleasure last week of doing a photo session with Los Angeles-based photographer Jimmy Bazan. Continue reading “Photos with Jimmy: Outtakes and Behind the Scenes”

culture, Desfile, lucha, lucha libre, mexico, streets, travel, Zócalo

Más: the Prison, the Party, the Poisoning, and the Parade

Yes, a prison.

Committed for performing ugly planchas.

No, this was not a gimmick match.

…just another day at the office

I actually wrestled in a Mexican federal prison. In front of resident prisoners. Against a resident prisoner.

How did this happen? Apparently funciónes de lucha libre are a regular occurrence in some non-maximum security prisons in D.F.—at least this one particular prison has a history of lucha events. Beyond the yards and yards of razor wire, and packs of strangely nondescript, free-roaming (guard?) dogs, the El Reclusorio Oriente Varonil features sports facilities, a theatre, and classrooms. Despite the setting, everyone we met was exceptionally nice, including every resident, and stone-faced, M16-equipped prison guard.

I witnessed two accidents, which are both the first from any event in which I have participated. One luchador separated his shoulder after landing a plancha incorrectly; another luchador accidentally split his head open, covering himself and all of his opponents in blood. Both of these accidents happened right before my match, which is—as one may have guessed—not at all nerve wracking. In the main event, I teamed up with a luchador dressed as Jack and one other luchador, against Sepulcro, Sepultura Jr., and Sepultura, the latter of whom is a resident of ROV.

On a very different note: the following weekend we descended upon a birthday party for the son of a fellow luchador.


Also featured: new gear!
My birthday parties were never this epic

The card featured a two-hour show, during which I teamed up with another luchador to face-off against Mimo Fantasia and Destino in the semifinals.

*rimshot*
“Have a seat.” Ha!

 

Struttin'
A little strutting after beating Destino with a stray shoe that I had found. But really.

For our efforts we were rewarded with an appreciative crowd, tequila, and tacos al pastor. The party had roughly 100 people, and although I have wrestled in front of much larger crowds, the level of audience interaction at this event was almost unparalleled. In part, this may have been because of the close proximity to the crowd, wherein audience members had to move when we took the fight outside of the ring. It also may have been due to the prevalence of tequila and mezcal at the event. In any case, good times were had by all.

Then came the day after…

Saddest week in Mexico. Ever.
Not pictured: utter despair.

Above? Antibiotics. The doctor I saw three days later blamed the tacos al pastor, but either way I ended up missing an entire week of life—let alone training—due to los tacos. At least it was not as bad as other cases I have heard of, and it afforded me the time to catch up on all the sleep that I have missed since high school.

Fortunately I had mostly recovered by the following Saturday for the Desfile Alebrijes parade!

To the right: paper maché monster!

We were invited to the annual parade, which features a procession of artists, musicians, and—most importantly—huge paper maché beasts. The Museo de Arte Popular hosts a display of the pieces for a month on both ends of the parade before facilitating the epic march through downtown.

Preparing to *march*

We were later tricked into briefly dancing to Gangnam Style in the street with a troupe of 15 year-olds. Fortunately no photos or videos have surfaced.

Until next week…

Saludos!

Authors note: cameras were not allowed in the federal prison, thus the first three photos have been borrowed from other websites and are not my intellectual property. Clicking the images will direct you to the respective original web pages of each image.

arena mexico, culture, lucha, lucha libre, mexico, observations, streets, travel

The First Month: A Short Story In Photos

This week will mark the end of my first month in Mexico City. The myriad experiences thus far are many: from the excitement of training in the birthplace of Lucha Libre Mexicana, the fear of a new country, the frustration of lacking communication, the anguish of a terrible performance, to delivering a great performance on the same card as Hurican Ramirez. In lieu of attempting to–and undoubtedly failing to–capture my experience in prose, I have elected to share some photos.

 

More to come. Other photos can be found on my Instagram @ luchadorfenix.

 

culture, lucha, mexico, santo, streets

Mexico: Week One

It is the end of my first week here in Distrito Federal, Mexico. Despite feeling overwhelmed for the first 3 days, I have begun to settle in. My friend and the designer of my gear–Miguel–has managed to already schedule a fight for me on September 15th, which may be followed by a fight against Sepulcro the following Tuesday. I am a tad bit nervous, but confident.

Win.
Miguel Ruiz: designer a creator of both of my masks

I have been training at the Guerrero Gym, which is the home to luchadors such as Rush and Astral. I have had the pleasure and honor of training with Sepulcro, Hurrican Ramirez, and Pierroth–all three in one day, in fact. Although the original plan was to try to get me into CMLL’s training school, this seems a bit of a stretch after some of the talent that I have seen.

Now, for some (very) surface observations.

The differences between the US and Mexico and vast and are far too great in number to enumerate here, but I will explicate a few notable differences, some of which may be specific to my region/barrio:

  • Lucha libre is, in fact, widly popular–at least in Distrito Federal: Although barely bigger than a breadbox in the US, lucha libre events are chronicled in several dedicated magazines, and is even reviewed by sports analysts. Luchador masks are a huge cultural signifier, and are depicted in everything from graffiti to advertisements.
El Santo
Really big. Like, bigger than this.
  • This also means that there are a ridiculous amount of luchadors: In the US, especially my home near the Puget Sound, lucha libre is truly a novelty. For luchadors, this means that there is a large subculture of luchadors. It also means that lucha libre is exceptionally competetive.
  • In Mexico, at least in this area of DF, we spend a lot of time just hanging the fuck out: Really though, college life has nothing on what I have experienced here, whether in the street, in Miguel’s taller, or in someone’s house, we spend a lot of time just…bullshitting.
  • Strict regimented schedules, often referred to as “western time,”seems to have little merit here: By most standards in the US, I am considered to be quite relaxed about punctuality–perhaps to the frustration to some of my friends I am sure–but am quite punctual by any standards that I have witnessed.
  • We don’t go to bed early. Ever: party or not, going to bed after well after midnight is a pretty standard affair, whether or not one has to work in the morning. This is nothing new to college students or people that work swing-shifts, but for an entire un-isolated portion of the population…
  • People actually connect: Not only to neighbors know each other, people–strangers–actually say “hello” in the streets (Okay, “Buenos dias/tardes/noches”).
  • The streets are pure, unadulterated chaos: imagine that laws of the road were merely…suggestions. Stoplights included. Motorcyclists split lanes, cars don’t stop at intersections, and the lanes appear to bear no meaning. This type of anarchy is every road that I have encountered thus far in Mexico. California drivers have nothing on drivers in DF…

I would not use the phrase “culture shock”, but it has been an adventure thus far. Next week: Guerrero Gym: photos and a comparison of Lucha Libre Mexicana and lucha libre in the US.

Cuidate,

El Fénix