The Man Without a Mask, The New Yorker on Cassandro and the role of the exótico within lucha libre.
“It was Baby Sharon who encouraged me to step out of Mister Romano,” Armendáriz said. Baby Sharon was an exótico—a luchador who wrestles in drag. Exóticos have been around since the nineteen-forties. At first, they were dandies, a subset of rudos with capes and valets. They struck glamour-boy poses and threw flowers to the audience. As exóticos got swishier and more flirtatious, and started dressing in drag, the shtick became old-school limp-wristed gay caricature. Crowds loved to hate them, screaming “Maricón!” and “Joto!” (“Faggot!”). The exóticos made a delightful contrast with the super-masculine brutes they met in the ring. Popular exóticos insisted that it was all an act—in real life, they were straight. Baby Sharon was among the first, according to Armendáriz, to publicly say that, no, he was actually gay.[more inside]
Crates in video games. (previously) Trains in video games. Birds in video games. Wall art in video games. Luchadores in video games. Foliage in video games. (previously) Logic in video games. Easter eggs (secret content) in video games. Normal eggs (and other food) in video games. Toilets in video games. Improved women's armor in video games (slightly NSFW). (previously) Bears in video games. Mickey Mouse in video games. Love in video games.
The Pen is Mightier than The Diving Elbow Drop Lucha Libre is Mexico's answer to wrestling. Fighters put on masks an duke it out in the ring. In Peru they have Lucha Libro where aspiring authors put on masks go on stage where they are given 3 random words with which they are given 5 minutes to write a short story. The loser has to take off his mask. The winner goes onto another round. The grand prize winner receives a book contract.
You know how it feels when you're trying to cross the street and a driver comes through the intersection as if you’re not even there? Like he’s muscling through with that big box of metal as if to say, “Hey, get out of my way, you little flesh-and-blood weakling!”
Wouldn’t you just love to have a superhero sweep down, stand up to the jerk behind the wheel, and block the car so you could cross safely?
Enter Peatónito, the masked Mexican defender of pedestrians!
The history of lucha libre in Mexico is hard to pin down, some citing the French invasion of 1863 as a origin of modern wrestling in Mexico, with two Italian business men making it commercial in the 1930s, while others take it back to the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures and credit the modern rebirth with a retired revolutionary army colonel from the United States. But no matter who gets credit as the father of the Mexican sport, El Santo was it's hero for decades, in the ring, in comics, in the movies, and in life. [more inside]
English-speaking fans of lucha libre may have gotten hooked through MST3K's take on "Samson" versus the Vampire Women (prev), or seen the Incredibly Strange Film Show's el Santo episode. [more inside]
Perhaps most famous luchador of all time is El Santo (aka Samson), who starred in, amongst many other things, the MST'd Samson Vs. The Vampire Women (Google Video). He even had his own photo comic and bag figure. However, even El Santo himself would gasp at the phenomenal athleticism of today's luchadores. Skeptical? Well check out some highlights here, here and here (YT + Warning: obnoxiously rawkin' music) and then decide.
Super Amigos is a new documentary about five masked wrestlers from Mexico City who fight for social justice. Featuring Fray Tormenta, the luchador/priest who was the inspiration for Nacho Libre; indefatigable community organizer Super Barrio; environmental activist Ecologista Universal; homophobia smasher Super Gay; and the matador's arch-nemesis, Super Animal. And they aren't the only ones--El Hijo de Santo is fighting for the sea turtles.
Striking photographs of the masked wrestlers of Mexico, Lucha Loco by Malcolm Venville. [via the amazing everlasting blort] [more inside]
In Japan it's a sport. In Canada, it's tradition. In Mexico, it's religion. In the US - it's a joke (NSFW language). Perhaps rightly so. In step with it’s history, American professional wrestling has a sordid, carnival-like backstage atmosphere, replete with insider slang. Extensive travel schedules and backstage politicking (QT movie, NSFW language) take their toll in the form of drug abuse and an unusually high mortality rate. While a few transition into mainstream careers, most don’t. A billion-dollar industry , it has seen a fair share of success (NSFW image) over the years: Books, movies, video games, cartoons, records (not to mention an ECW nod in the lyrics to El Scorcho) and even punching John Stossel in the head. But it’s inconsistent and never seems to meet the level of popular acceptance as in other countries. It is, by and large, dismissed as a novelty for the NASCAR crowd, barely respected enough to be kitsch. In truth, it’s a back-breaking, death-defying, colorful soap opera of questionable taste that is anything but fake