Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Most Interesting Man Spots for Dos Equis: Stay Thirsty for Next Generation Latino Mannequins

Equally curious as Salma's shilling of Campari in the last micro-post are the doings of actor Jonathan Goldsmith (the latest in a long line of non-Latino "Latino" actors) in Dos Equis & RSCG Worldwide's "most interesting man"/"stay thirsty" advertising blitz:

and, more!

This feo, 'freso,' suave, viejo/patrón actually has a whole website allied to his viejito high society/high sosiégate charms!

The advertising community is following the smooth cabrón closely: the next "Juan Valdez" says a lot. More in the works.

Here's the team behind the ad:

Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World - Intro”
Euro RSCG Worldwide/New York

The “most interesting man in the world” is a party animal whose “beard alone has experienced more than most men” and “whose blood smells like cologne.” He tells us that he doesn’t always drink beer, but his beer of choice is Dos Equis. “Stay thirsty, my friends.”

Creative Credits
Executive CD: Jeff Kling
Creative Directors: Anthony Sperdutti, Nick Cohen
Art Director: Karl Lieberman
Copywriter: Brandon Henderson
Executive Producers: Joe Guyt, Cathy Pitegoff
Sr. Producer: Dan Fried
Production Company: York
Director: Steve Miller
Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt
Editor: Jeff Ferruzzo/Outside Editorial, New York
Asst. Editor: Carmen Maxcy/Outside Editorial, New York
Graphic Designer: Graham Clifford/Outside Editorial, New York
Visual Effects Artist: Steve Mottershead/Outside Editorial, New York
Colorist: Tom Poole/The Mill, New York
Audio Engineer/Mixer: Eric Thompson/Berwyn Audio, New York
Composer: Brett Fuchs/Berwyn Audio, New York
Principal Talent: Jonathan Goldsmith

Friday, June 06, 2008

Salma Hayek: To Embody and Betray a Stereotypical Matrix

Sexy as synecdoche for Latina/o; Latina/o as synecdoche for sexy...

More on this soon. In the interim, a meme spun off of Amazon.

Latina Bombshells, Gypsies, Crime, and Sex

repost: original posting January 8, 2008

Orson Welles never bought totally into the Latina spitfire trope when it came to characterizing the fiery personality of Rita Hayworth--most times, he attributed her volatile character to the "Gypsy" in her. This link between "Gypsy" or Roma peoples and Latinas needs to be studied more--yet another chapter in the ongoing cyclopedia of lived links between sexuality and the "swarthy." I ran across this cover, featuring the homicidal and sexy potentiality that is Juanita Perez, Gypsy Killer, here--it forms part of this sordid bestiary of dark-complected subjects in the cultural arena of accelerated sexuality!

UCR BABEL Notes and Copy of the cineIMAGINATIONchallengeFINALE

Galleryblog readers, pardon the interruption of the regular diet of atrocious Mexican and Latina/o stereotypes, but I promised by UCR Cultural Studies students a copy of my screening notes from Alejandro González Iñárritu's BABEL.

After the four pages of screening notes that run right to left, with chronological-arranged rows, you will also find a link to the cineIMAGINATIONchallengeFINALE document.

Here is the final take-home exam.

KFC's Bandits Commercials

I am not sure I can write about this stuff anymore!

KFC Bandito - Teaser from dpcheong on Vimeo.

KFC-Bandito from dpcheong on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Clichés and Stereotypes

The obsessions of Tex[t]-Mex and the predilections of Eyegiene fold together nicely in the archival work, photography, collage, etc that you find at Her latest series of self-portraits, meditating provocatively on the nature of cliches are more than curious. NSFW if your work finds breasts offensive.

Leon Lanzbom Back in the Mexican Casa...

That incorrigible hack grammarian and Southern California institution, Leon Lanzbom, writes in to lament the fact that Mexicans and their ancestors invented "writing."

Here's his screed:

Oh no! Mexicans came up with writing?!!!! Say it ain't so, slugger, say it ain't so.

Old script rewrites New World history

Slab in Mexico dates to 900 BC

By Gareth Cook, Globe Staff | September 15, 2006

Scientists announced yesterday that they have discovered ancient writing, carved in stone, that dramatically pushes back the dawn of writing in the Americas.

The Cascajal block, a slab of rock named for a site in south central Mexico where it was found, dates to about 900 BC, the scientists said. The text is written in previously unknown script and is four centuries older than any known New World writing, they said. It was authored by the Olmec, a people famous for the massive sculpted stone heads they left behind in the dense tropical forest.

The stone is carved with 62 symbols, some of which appear to be depictions of maize, an animal skin, a fish, and a dart tip. They appear in groups that run horizontally, and some are repeated. It is not known what the text means.

The Galleryblog is in Sir Lanzbom's debt for bringing this to our attention! mazel tov!

It's Time for The Che Cafe to Have a Line of Products!

Martha Higareda to Play Chicana Opposite Keanu Reeves

I love this interview (or here, practice your Spanish!) with Mexican actress Martha Higareda in the modestly anemic Keanu Reeves/Forest Whitaker romp, Street Kings. It is so squeaky clean and normal, it might have appeared in the pages of the St. Augustine Knights, my first writing/editing gig back in high schoool. The only fly in its ointment? The interviewer's amazement and glee over Higareda erasing her Spanish accent for the role. Hell, if Rita Hayworth can undergo a year of electrolysis to shed the phrenologist's/eugenicist's curse of a swarthy hairline, the least our latter-day Latina miss can do is elide her curséd Mexican traces! Luckily, the cultural genes of this latter-day trodder of boards are hard and down.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

William Nericcio, Author of Tex[t]-Mex and the Inventor of the Textmex Galleryblog Has Utterly Lost His Mind

update 8/08/2008
I have closed this etsy store--something new will turn up soon!

I was on the cell phone with regular Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog contributor, that madhatter Michael Wyatt Harper--that in itself was a bad omen. So, on the horn, I get the bright idea to market stylized, unique, one-of-a-kind, autographed, tagged, and altered copies of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America. My sister Josie, also a regular contributor, had visited and mentioned this past weekend.

The rest, as they say, is history!

The Birth and "Autopsy" of Speedy Gonzales!


The original version of "Autopsy of a Rat"--a peculiar critical retrospective on animated and animatronic "Mexicans" that chaotically marries the fields of ethnic studies and cultural studies--is now available again through the magic of pdf documents. Hit Speedy with your mouse to have a taste!

I was particularly proud of this article when it appeared in 1996 as it was, at the time, the longest thing I had ever written (over 50 pages with footnotes*) AND the amazing editors (gracias gracias again to Sharon Willis!) at Camera Obscura commissioned me to design the cover of that issue, featuring a digital collage by Guillermo Nericcio García entitled, "Mexicanesque Maus or Autopsy of a ©Rat."

The most bizarre thing about the Speedy piece is that it began its life as a short segment of a longer essay on Pee-wee Herman, transvestism, Medical Center, and more--this essay did not see the light of day till the Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies threw me the proverbial bone and published it in 2004--while the printed edition of the journal had tiny images, the online version features pretty good color and black & white reproductions of key materials. There, wistfully looking out the window to your right, is Robert Reed, the pater familias of the Brady Bunch clan (left) reborn as Pat "Patricia" Gaddison, transsexual, from the memorable episode of Medical Center** that foregrounds my Pee-wee meditation on celebrity masturbation.

*Nericcio, William Anthony. "Autopsy of a Rat: Odd, Sundry Parables of Freddy Lopez, Speedy Gonzales, and Other Chicano/Latino Marionettes Prancing About Our First World Visual Emporium." Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies (January 1996), 37:193, 230n15.

** “ The Fourth Sex.” Medical Center. Dir. Vincent Sherman. By Rita Larkin. Perf. Robert Reed. CBS. 15 Sept. 1975.

Original Posting, November 22, 2007 | "Mexicans" Out of the Trash or The Tamayo Tres Personajes Caper

A fair part of my work on the figuration of "Mexicans" in American mass culture finds me pondering the domain of sanitation workers, mobster hitmen, the poor and homeless, and rats (ersatz "Mexican" mouse Speedy Gonzales included): the trash.

For whatever reason, American artists, illustrators, writers, and their ilk spend a fair amount of time picturing Mexicans living in trash--scenes likes these fill the mise-en-scène of Speedy Gonzales cartoons and even late 20th century "masterpieces" like Pixar and John Lasseter's A Bug's Life where Mexicanicity and detritus, and, not incidentally, criminality and lasciviousness, go hand in hand in hand with a transparency befitting Cold-War era propaganda. This scene here, featuring Kevin Spacey's vocal talents as "Hopper," is the most crucial and provocative in the film, as it all unfolds in a straw-woven sombrero remade via CGI into a standard Hollywood cantina.

So it is that the recent tale of Rufino Tamayo and his stolen painting Tres personajes (scroll down) brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face.

Yes, here again a tale is told of Mexicans in the trash, but here at least the tables have been turned and high art by genius Mexican hands is being saved from the indignities of the dustbin. The New York Post, of all rags, has the best rendition of this curious moment in art history.

A page from the original "Autopsy of a Rat" article from Camera Obscura appears here opposite to your left; a revised version of it appears as Chapter 3 of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucination of the "Mexican" in America available from,, and a host of other cyber hawkers of ink and paper.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Holy Shades of Freddie Lopez: Mexican Muppets on the Horizon!

The first part of my chapter on Speedy Gonzales, the fastest mouse in all Mexico, actually focuses on another animated (more animatronic than animated) character by the name of Freddie Lopez; Lopez is the half-troll/half elf malcontent who almost destroys Santa Claus and Xmas in Bernie Brillstein's A Very Retail Christmas--a 90s Christmas special from the makers of Alf.

So imagine my glee when I ran across this story that promises to fill the airways again with Mexicanistic CGI Muppets of all stripes!

La excursión de los mandados: Armando Camacho and Rafael González Manjarréz

Eduardo Santacruz, ace internet detective, also just zapped me work of this short La excursión de los mandados directed by Armando Camacho and written by Rafael González Manjarréz. Imagine a bizarro-world version of Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck animating a movie, and you'll get where it's coming from.

... A detached and moving meditation on the nexus of undocumented immigrants and narcotraficantes in Mexico and the United States.

Regarding Che

In case you missed it, The Los Angeles Times ran a decent piece on Che Guevara, the man, the myth, the "sign" this past Sunday. Definitely worth a peek; hit the Che image here for the link.

And, on another semiotic note, I am in receipt of a link to a YouTube posting, a Mexican entry short subject from this year's Cannes festival, that is worth a screening--gracias to faithful galleryblog reader and correspondent, Eduardo Santacruz, for this tip!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Calaca Video by Voltaire.

Thanks to KPBS for the Rerun: Orson Welles's Touch of Evil

KPBS, our local San Diego NPR affiliate, recently replayed an interview with me on Touch of Evil and Tex[t]-Mex; click the image below to tune in!

Mex in the Sex in the City

I will have to more about this in the days that follow but the producers of Sex in the City owe the nation of Mexico a huge apology. Between the jokes about Mexican water and food and would-be primitivity (Miranda demands of a Mexican bus-boy, "Is their wi-fi" [here in the sticks\), this has to be the most offensive panoply of Mexican stereotypes in a mainstream American film since the Greaser film series--when Charlotte craps her pants in front of her botoxed cronies (whether from "Montezuma's Revenge" or all the damned pudding she's has mainlined) it is a moment of allegorical fitting justice.

Couple to this the neo-Aunt Jemima role of Jennifer Hudson as Carrie Bradshaw's (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) girl Friday, and Darren Star et al are in for a tar and feathering of a special sort. More soon! Others are on this as well.

Ham Fisher's Palooka and Lupe Vélez

The Lupe Vélez chapter of Tex[t]-Mex features a brief, close-reading of Palooka, a movie starring James Cagney's brother (perhaps one of its only claims to fame), Jimmy "The Schnoz" Durante, and the one and only Mexican Spitfire! The movies were based on a popular comic strip by Ham Fisher--this became a comic book in the 1950s. All this as preface to the posting of a striking cover from an issue of Palooka--one that features the ham-faced gabacho in a wild-west fight with a swarthy-looking desperado (aka "Mexican"):

OK, maybe he is not "Mexican" but he sure is "dark," roguish, acne-scarred, etc. More on this soon.

And, lastly, a brief Lupe-dedicated film-short novelty:

Sunday, June 01, 2008

XicanOsmosis, Gilbert Hernandez and Frida Kahlo

UPDATED: original post, October 23, 2007

One of my favorite chapters to write in Tex[t]-Mex has gotten short shrift in this Galleryblog, Chapter Five, "XicanOsmosis: Frida Kahlo and Mexico in the Eyes of Gilbert Hernandez." This is the place in the book where the focus zoom out OFF of the pathologically mangled figuration of "Mexicans" by U.S. mass culture ONTO Latino 'self' figuration--here, a Chicano illustrator and writer, Gilbert Hernandez conjuring an illustrated biography of Frida.

The original version of this chapter was published by New York University Press in Michelle Habel-Pallan's and Mary Romero's Latino/a Popular Culture. A massive pdf of the original essay, revised and extended for the UT Press book, appears here.

I recently ran across the cool compilation of newsreel and home videos of Kahlo, with Diego as well in some shots (the cad!), and thought I would share them here:

Here, as well, are three illustrated pages from the NYUPress edition of the essay:


I have not always been kind in these pages to Kahlo biopic that Salma Hayek starred in, based largely on the noteworthy if too earnest Hayden Herrera biography of Frida Kahlo--Diego's Movidas is my alternative title for the movie. But critics can change their tune when they get fish-slapped in the face with new evidence. With that, a behind-the-scenes video on the music in Kahlo that has me rethinking elements of my reading of Julie Taymor's film:

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