...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.

Sources:
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

interview, lucha, lucha libre, Lucha Libre Volcánica, Mexican wrestling, mexico, performance, school of lucha libre, Seattle, Shows, training, travel, wrestling school

The “End of the Year” Post: Onward Towards 2014

In the spirit of expected tradition, I spent some time over the past few days reflecting on 2013. However because I am not one to dwell on retrospective, I almost immediately shifted my thoughts to the coming year, as in the future lies only potentiality.

Continue reading “The “End of the Year” Post: Onward Towards 2014″

art, interview, lucha, lucha libre, observations, performance, podcast

A Podcast Draws Near!

I’ve been kicking around the idea of starting a podcast for some time, and as of today, I have officially ordered a microphone…which at the very least illustrates a modest financial commitment to recording things. Continue reading “A Podcast Draws Near!”

lucha, lucha libre, Lucha Libre Volcánica, nonprofit, Shows

The “We Broke the Attendance Record” Post-Show Post

2013-03-17 17.20.10
After parties: because we can.

On March 9th the University of Puget Sound hosted the 2nd (now annual) Lucha de Sound, which as far as we know, is the only annual lucha libre show at any college in the United States.

If I am allowed to say so, Lucha de Sound II was AWESOME. Los luchadores brought their A-game, the audience was stellar, and our ring announcers–one of whom was local personality Jake Stratton–were top-notch. We debuted 4 luchadores, including our first luchadora and our first exótico, in front of over 1000 fans who came from as far away as Texas (gracias a mis padres!), but mostly from Tacoma and the surrounding communities. Photos from the event can be found on the Lucha Libre Volcánica Facebook page.

In the main event, I teamed up with my partner from last year, CMLL alum Astro Imperial, to take on Prófugo & current LLV Champion, X-Man. After a long and arduous battle, we came out on top–with the help of Astro’s son. Video to follow.

We also debuted a new “remix” of our logo:

2013-02-13 10.58.41
Designed by Mike Martin

Shirts and bumper stickers are available now. Our online store is a work in progress.

In other news, we made some excellent contacts via the show, and I am happy to announce that we will be doing a photo shoot with Jimmy Bazan this June. Jimmy is an exceptionally talented photographer, and has shot for talents such as El Vez and Macklemore.

Being involved with event coordination always makes for an exhausting event. But alas, I’m back in La Escuela de Lucha Libre…

Not that I didn't take *some* time to relax.
Not that I didn’t take *some* time to relax.

More to follow, including: LLV performing with local burlesque performers, update on LLV’s nonprofit venture, and my eventual return to Mexico!

PS: If you haven’t checked it out already, take a peek at our media coverage surrounding Lucha de Sound in the Seattle Times, Tú Decides, La Raza NW, and The Weekly Volcano. No big deal.

lucha libre, Shows

Lucha de Sound 2013: Post-Apocalypse Extravaganza!

Design courtesy of Mike Martin
A lil’ bit of flair, lil’ bit of badass, a LOT of color.

We’re less than a month away from one of our biggest annual shows, Lucha de Sound, which is held at the University of Puget Sound. Lucha de Sound bears particular personal significance for me, as Puget Sound is my alma mater and I personally worked tirelessly to organize the first LdS in 2012 during my senior year of college. LdS 2013 promises to exceed the theatrical intensity and highflying action, and–despite drawing around 500 people last year–we expect an even larger turnout this year. The uninitiated can check out photos from last year’s event here.

The show will consist of 5 matches. Confirmed matches are as follows:

  • Vagabundo & Angel Eyes (vs) Vago & Rey Jaguar
  • La Avispa & Viento (vs) Chicano & (unconfirmed Exótico)
  • Kevin Bereta (vs) Chris Rysek (American Pro Wrestling Special Event)
  • Cromo & Hero (vs) Peligro & Sónico
  • El Fénix & Astro Imperial (vs) Prófugo & X-Man
Hell yes.
The on-campus promotional poster.

I am both honored and ecstatic to be working alongside Astro Imperial, an alum of Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, for a second time. Other things of note, are the debuts of Rey Jaguar, Angel Eyes, and La Avispa, the latter being Lucha Libre Volcánica’s first luchadora. We will also be covering the event via Instagram & Twitter.

lucha libre, nonprofit, philanthropy, Shows, South Park Seattle

2013: Lucha de Sound and Beyond

As is evidenced from my first batch of posts, 2012 was a big year for El Fénix. After 2-months, 4 shows, and countless hours of training in Mexico, I am now back with my family at Lucha Libre Volcánica preparing for one of our largest annual shows: Lucha de Sound. 2012 marks the second year in which we will be invading the University of Puget Sound, in a diversity event which we began to simultaneously melt-faces with awesomeness, and increase the visibility of the Latino population and culture on the University’s campus. As an alum of UPS, Lucha de Sound special significance for me, as it enabled me to perform in front of colleagues and professors during my senior year of college. Furthermore the show was a resounding success: we drew over 500 fans from all over Tacoma and the surrounding communities.

While certain elements of the show are still in the works, I can currently confirm that El Fénix will be teaming up with longtime contemporary Corazón del Águila, against seasoned veterans X-Man and Prófugo. It is also noteworthy that current UPS student La Avispa will also be debuting this year, marking not only the debut of LLV’s first luchadora, but the debut of the first luchadora in the Pacific Northwest as well. The LLV gym is already starting to buzz with nervous energy as we begin rolling forward into 2013.

We will be posting regular updates as the show develops, along with intermittent updates on the upcoming nonprofit project, of which I can now share some details. Lucha Libre Volcánica will be meeting with a nonprofit lawyer in this month to determine the feasibility of a fitness-based, community gym/lucha libre facility in the South Park neighborhood of south Seattle–a community that is also home to our annual Lucha Libre en la Calle show. At a recent meeting of South Park Service Providers, we received the verbal support of other community organizers to move forward, as well as explicit confirmation that LLV would be providing a much needed service to the largely underserved area. I will share more information as we move forward with this exciting project.

More to come! Feliz año nuevo a todos mis amigos!