brief briefing / by Nicole Marroquin

The past three days have been a whirlwind of new food, people and places. Above is Jasso, but I call him Oscar. He works at La Escuelita in the picture below. I had just tried to buy some peanuts with this cien pesos and the guy at the store told me it was fake. hmmm. i asked around. likely the dude just didn´t want to give me change. The store next door took it just fine.

La Escuelita Emiliano Zapata, Colonia Santo Dominguez, Coyoacan.
this is the inside of the Escuelita, the heart of the largest land invasion of all of Latin America. On September 1, 1971, people came from all around, little towns and villages, and just took spots. in less than a month, 31,000 people had moved in. the people in the neighborhood build all their own houses, cracked up the volcanic rock that they lived on top of to build streets and install water lines. from the pictures, the going was REAL tough at first. since the men had to go to work, women were building these houses themselves, pouring cement, and so forth. Escuelita was the center, where the local governing and organizing took place. There is a book of pictures I was looking at, and when I say tough, I mean, breaking volcanic rock with hammers and getting drinking water in buckets from a truck.

After 6 hours of talking about the differences between ritual and theater, motorcycles and La India Maria (and all the meanings of the name Maria here) these guys put on serious faces. Oscar and Julio are theater people. Oscar made some masks with kids who are in this theater troup- first it is the plaster on the face, then they build this paper mache coating, then it is cut so they can play instruments, sing and act more comfortably. What was really amazing to me was that he called this immitation leather. it is remarkably flexible and strong. there are also pads inside for long term comfort. serious stuff. rrrr.

I had a fruitful meeting with the interim director of a national arts new media center, and he is interested in my idea. At the same time, I got a message from a detroit nonprofit arts group who wants to get something rolling. conectamos! turn on the electricity!

For you foreign news hounds, I was not affected by the massive floods. The two other neighborhoods I almost decided to live in (before I heard the amazing history of this place), the ones in pictures in my first entry, are the ones that were hit.

Tomorrow, I go to the university´s Museum of Science and Art to see the exhibition of photos and work by collectives and agitators after the 68 Tlateloco massacre of students. I´ll get my woodcut on after that. brought my tools...

i have a new phone number if anyone needs to contact me, so email me if you need to. and food pictures are coming.