Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Riding the Tijuana Taxi

Newly minted profe/dr./catedratico and sdsu alum, Marc García-Mártinez visits the Tex[t]-Mex Gallerblog to leave a guest follow-up piece on the Tijuana Taxi and more...

As Grand Inquisitor to all these the ubiquitous representations of Mexicans and Latinos, Billy, you got to adjust your keen scopic lens on this “Tijuana Taxi” model kit by Monogram—a peculiar and (apparently) undying artifact best explained as an unholy semiotic matrimony between Hot Wheels, the Arellano Félix cartel, and Disneyland’s Mr. Toad's Wild Ride:

From gallos to sombreros to bare, dirty human patas sticking out the window, this model takes its place in the annals of your gallery. Oye, the URL for this toy may be accessed right below, Profe, but make sure to note some of its Saussurean-ripe description: “EET EES ONREAL! Would you believe Tijuana Taxi? Ole' In Tijuana, South of the border, gringo car designer Tom Daniel spotted an antique taxi, the makings of a real, unreal show car….”

And speaking of “Tijuana Taxi,” this provocative model toy’s visual partners-in-crime include these record albums—from the same late-1960’s era. The first is a promotional album from the Taco Bell “restaurant” with the music of Señor Herb Alpert. The second is roughly the same, however it was promoted by the now-deceased supermarket chain Alpha Beta:

I don’t know exactly why, but looking at these album covers I’m suddenly reminded of Roland Barthes' Mythologies…hhhmm.

But let me leave you with one more Textual-Mexical artifact—a kind of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In meets the border city music video. Get ready for Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’ hit “Tijuana Taxi”:

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