mexico city

Silverio

I saw Silverio play at Pasagüero, a club owned by my friend Ricardo in the Centro neighborhood of Mexico City. Silverio is the alter ego of Julian Lede, a music producer member of the electronic band Titan

I would categorize Silverio as being somewhere between abrasive electro punk performance art. As the show progresses (or digresses) he slowly undresses until he is in nothing but his signature red underwear and black leather boots. 

He dances around the stage, runs in place, freezes, makes deranged faces and taunts the audience. Ricardo told me that this night the audience seemed a bit mellow compared to some of his other shows. At points he seemed tired, perhaps not receiving the energy from the audience he needs to fuel his high energy performance. 

I wondered if this had to do with the increasing tendency for people to want to share their experience of art with a greater audience. By trying to engage a larger audience than the one present in the room the spectator becomes less engaged themselves. Of course we see this happen just about everywhere in daily life. Whether it’s experiencing a meal, witnessing a fight, going to a concert, seeing art, cuddling with your dog, looking in the mirror, etc… 

Because Silverio’s performance is so dependent on what the audience gives him this kind of disengagement is made painfully clear. Silverio needs the audience to be there with him, to fight with him, to dance with him in order for him to give his all. At one point Silverio took a phone from a member of the audience and rubbed it all over his sweaty, beer soaked groin and rubbed it between his ass cheeks. 

I felt vulnerable, like I could be the next victim, my precious line to the outside world, my personal PR station at risk by this madman on stage. And of course I was guilty myself, feeling compelled to document it all on my iphone to write this blog, to share it to my IG story.  

Check out Silverio's videos on YouTube

 

Mercado de Sonora

Mercado Sonora is a traditional market near the center of Mexico City. Sure you can find traditional pottery, colorful balloons and balls and toys but what makes this place unique are the traditional herbs, occult objects, and live animals. 

If you have a difficult time seeing animals mistreated I recommend you don’t walk through the center of the market. Stick to the passages on the outer edges or go around to the back and enter from there. From the backside of the market it is more obvious where there are animals and where there aren’t. 

What kind of animals? Dogs, cats, goats, chickens, reptiles, birds, and fish mainly. The craziest thing I saw was probably baby alligators. It smells bad and the animals are not well kept. There are Pit Bull and Chihuaha puppies everywhere; cats piled on top of each other; crowded goats; I could go on. It wasn’t pleasant but I am glad I saw it as it is real, and it really is happening. I would rather be informed than ignorant. 

Okay, now that we are past the animals the reason to come here is for all the occult objects. Statues, dolls, candles, soaps, potions, incenses, amulets, etc… Everything you need for a proper ritual. Also lots of herbs, dried flowers, bark, thorns, dried fish, toads, reptiles, pelts, horse hair, you name it. 

I don’t practice Santeria and I’m no anthropologist but I know that Santeria has its roots in the Carribean and is a mix of West African and Catholic religious rituals. It made its way to Mexico via Cuba in the 1960’s when a lot of Cuban Revolution exiles settled in Mexico. Since then Santeria in Mexico has taken on the local traditions of a deeply catholic nation as well as elements of indigenous traditions. 

What this looks like to the outsider visiting the market is a hodgepodge of every occult and religious symbol you can think of. Seeing statue after statue all lined up and countless burlap sacks of herbs, I can’t help but think of all the people who work to manufacture and harvest all this stuff. What role besides economic does Santeria play in their lives? 

It can seem a little kitschy until you see people walking around with their lists buying what they need to do who knows what. 

If you go, be aware of your belongings and surroundings as there can be pickpockets. Don’t try and take pictures of the live animals unless you want to engage in some kind of confrontation. Asides from the animal peddlers most of the merchants were tolerant if not friendly and many of them are happy to answer questions. You can even get a cleanse which involves being hit with leaves, spun around and having alcohol spit on to you. Be respectful as a lot of people take this very seriously.