...color me surprised.
art, lucha libre, Mexican wrestling, performance, Performance Art, school, school of lucha libre, Seattle, Washington

All Politics Is Local – Freeing Lucha Libre in Washington State

As some of you may have noticed on Facebook, both myself and Lucha Volcánica recently expressed support for Washington State HB 2573, which would help to lower the initial costs to host a lucha libre show—for that matter any type of professional wrestling show—in Washington State.

I am in no way a deregulation mongerer, but the rigor of the State’s requirements is as such that opening and maintaining a professional wrestling promotion—both financially and logistically—is nearly impossible. Based upon the requirements, here’s a rough breakdown of expenses a wrestling promotion incurs for a single event:

  • A promoter’s license: $500
  • 6% of the gross receipts paid for admission must be paid to the state
  • …plus $1 per ticket sold
  • Protective guardrail around the ring: $100-$170
  • An ambulance plus 2 EMTs must be onsite for the entirety of the event (usually 2-3 hours): $110 per hour, plus a minimum charge of one hour of drive time.
  • “Adequate” (definition unclear) security staffing, but clearly this could create additional costs.

This of course, is all before the promoter pays any space rental fee, and pays her performers, the emcee, ring announcers, DJs, and so on.

Additionally when a promoter intends to have an event, he or she is required to have an inspection by a state licensed inspector. The DOL site lists only three inspectors: two of whom have expired licenses and one of whom is “pending documentation.” The latter of which illustrates that even if a promoter wants to eat all of the costs to have an event, odds are she would have trouble doing so legally by the State by the sheer inaccessibility of an inspector.

It’s also worth noting that each individual wrestler must be licensed. This Combative Sports License must be renewed and paid for annually by the performer, and requires:

  • a physical examination
  • an STD blood panel
  • a urine test
  • a $25 fee to the state

In my experience, the full cost of this exam is roughly $150-$200 to the performer.

A priori these costs alone appear crippling to a small company. This is perhaps best illustrated by the Washington Department of Licensing’s numbers. Of the 27 promoters licenses for the state, only 2—WWE and TNA—are active. Similarly only two Pacific Northwest announces are licensed, with the remaining 10 or so licenses belonging to WWE announcers. Further, of the 200 viewable wrestling licenses listed, the only active licensed belong to WWE wrestlers°. This lacking diversity within the licensure illustrates a system that prevents small companies from flourishing, or pushes them underground often forcing performers to wrestle in less than ideal conditions. In either case the State is not benefitting financially, and the potential for a lucha libre or pro wrestling scene—and all of the business therein—is being squandered. The net gain for performers, local business, and the State alike ultimately lies in changing the current regulations, which are proving to keep lucha libre and pro wrestling in a perpetual chokehold.

News footage: Seattle-area performers talk about problems with Washington State’s regulation of wrestling.

° Only A-D portions of the alphabet are viewable on the DOL website.

Licensing statistics: WA State Department of Licensing: http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/athletics/prowrestler.html

EMT & Ambulance Pricing Quote: American Medical Response: http://www.amr.net/Locations/Operations/Washington/Tacoma—-Pierce-County.aspx

Guardrail rental quote: National Barricade Co. 6518 Ravenna Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115

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, mexico, observations, travel

Talking to “Foreigners”: A Primer On Not Being an Ass

As many of you may know, I have been abroad in Mexico City for almost two weeks. Unlike the standard “trip to Mexico,” I am living in Mexico City with friends, and therefore I am not isolated from the general populace. I am, instead, right in the middle of Mexico’s capital city, along with: working-class people, professionals, homeless, drunks, artists, hipsters…you know, all of the things that we also have in America.

One thing that has made my adventure interesting—amongst other things—is that I my Spanish is less-than-awesome. Consequently I have had the (un?)fortunate experience of being the foreigner—and an obvious one at times. This means that I am generally escorted everywhere, and people regularly have to translate for me in public—an action that is followed by the obligatory (“El es de los estados unidos…”). An adventure in and of itself, my experiences with learning Spanish through immersion has been simultaneously amusing, frustrating, and enlightening. As the outsider, I have learned some ways in which you, as a non-foreigner, can avoid being an asshat the next time you encounter someone who does not speak English very well, and instead, be helpful.

Really: I don't fuck around.
I have wanted to do this to several people already
  • Do not ruthlessly make fun of someone’s inability to speak the local language: This is particularly important during the first few times you meet. If someone is insecure about their inability to speak the langauge, you will only hinder their progress by repeatedly mocking their attempts to stumble through, which is an important part of the learning process.
  • Do make corrections when applicable: especially if the mistake they are making has the potential to be embarrassing in the future. This happened when I first arrived in Mexico from a non-native English speaker: she kept incorrectly referring to the third-person possessive pronoun in the second-person. This means that she kept referring to “her” husband/cousin/brother, as “my” husband/cousin/brother…
  • Similarly, do not make fun of them for not understanding something you say: turn it into a learning process for both of you: reformulate the sentence to make it less complex, or slow down your speech. Repeating a statement at the same speed will not help them learn, and may ultimately frustrate both of you.
  • As they become more comfortable with speaking, it may be helpful to make light of any repetitive patterns in their speech. For example, maybe they consistently default to a certain response, which they are using as a crutch. Some light jokes may help push them to increase their language capacity, and by joking you may help descrease frustration they have from struggling with their non-native language.
  • Gesturing and miming can be helpful at times: This especially important when you absolutely must communicate something, and can also aide their word retention through action-based word association.
  • …However, it will behoove both of you to keep tabs on the other person’s progress: If they have eaten several meals with you, you probably don’t have to mime shoving food into your mouth every time you want to ask them if they are hungry. Such repetition may insult them. It will however, be helpful when trying to introduce slang phrases for actions that they already understand.
  • Always remember that they merely do not know the native language, which does not mean that they are stupid: I am sure that most cultures have concepts of “food,” and “walking,” amongst other things. Don’t insult their intelligence by asking them if they are familiar with basic actions: just help them learn your words for such actions.
Don’t be this.

The latter two assume some sort of an ongoing relationship with the other person, but still have some application to short, everyday encounters. These are—as the title implies—merely suggestions, and is not an exhaustive list. You may have to use your brain to find other ways to avoid coming off as a douchy American.


El Fénix