Argentina’s Dante Zaballa made this music video for his primo Tall Juan who was born in Argentina but now lives in Queens. CONTEXT: In Buenos Aires, semi-organized squads of cuidacoches — guys who ask for “tips” to “watch your car” — are a way of surviving on the street for some, and an extortion racket in the eyes of others.
Flashy and bouncy hand-painted stop-motion animation, a short and sweet tune, and a pop and punk performance make for a hella music video. Tall Juan is on Facebook.
In a year of increased hate crimes against immigrants and people of color, and also rampant xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, and anti-Semitism, I’m not surprised that the ire of mouth breathers has turned to street vendors.
I just was a panelist at San Diego Comic Con, where Chicano artists like me discussed our role in art and comics.
We talked about the importance of Chicana and Chicano characters in media, and how it represents us as a community.
Representation is a key aspect in our work, and after watching the video where bearded villain Carlos Hakas is harassing street vendor Benjamin Ramirez, I was reminded of the value of not only representation of our bodies, but representation of our stories.
We don’t know anything about where in Mexico or when or who is selling Tacos de Canasta (tacos in a basket) in this video. That voice, though!
Jonathan Omar Ramirez (Facebook profile pic, right) had been a teenage paletero, he said. We asked him for his story:
POCHO: So what led you to become a paletero?
Well my friends from high school told me about it. Many did it before and they said there was a lot of cash involved and within a couple of hours of work. Also I was very poor.
POCHO: Was this right after high school?
No [it was] while I was in high school. Still I got money to go to the movies and for food or whatever I wanted to buy
POCHO: Wow, cool! So were you allowed to eat your own ice cream? Did you just have to pay it back?
East Los band Quetzal dedicates this video to the street vendors of L.A., the only major U.S. city where street vending is illegal. To learn more about the efforts to help hard-working families like the ones in this video, check out the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign on Facebook. Quetzal is the collaborative project of Quetzal Flores (guitar), Martha González (lead vocals, percussion), Tylana Enomoto (violin), Juan Pérez (bass), Peter Jacobson (cello), and Alberto Lopez (percussion).
La Quirky Nancy discovers mangos in East LA and lives to tell about it. #laQuirky #Columbusing
PREVIOUSLY ON DISCOVERING MEXICAN MANGOS:
Quirky food video blogger katie q discovered this totally delicious new healthy food treat LOL OMG. Latino-style people eat this all the time, I’m so sure! It’s a fruit they call a “mango” and they squeeze lime juice on it and add hot sauce, just like you put mousse on your hair when you go out clubbing. Srsly, is this quirky or what?
This cartoon, from 1894, is by Archie Dunn. The tamalero seems to be wearing a chef’s hat (?) and using a charcoal burner to keep the tamales hot. What do you think his medallion signifies? And aren’t the “Gay Nineties” couple elegant? Are they daredevils eating exotic street food or just another drunk couple with the munchies, hanging out at the food truck of the era?
PREVIOUSLY ON TAMALES:
7. Takes the freeway to work with three dudes riding on the top of push cart.
6. Works downtown but has lunch in Mexico.