Sliding into place…
September 29, 2011
… the last pieces of the puzzle as we prepare to open two weeks from tomorrow.
Today was particularly exciting – one of the small things that feels like a big leap forward. Artist Paul Lozano has been a friend of mine almost since I first moved here. He’s a Mexican raised in Nicaragua, and then Canada – Mexican father, Canadian mother – about a decade younger than me, and in some ways so much like myself that we occasionally want to throttle each other. I knew he was well-read, and we instantly found we had a common purpose here: Paul was the first person to tell me I wasn’t an expat, to refer to myself an immigrant.
But I had no idea Paul was an artist until he started making ties. After the 2001 Seattle City Council campaign somebody’s making a movie about or something, I swore I’d never wear a tie again. But Paul’s stuff – see it at http://mexicocitytraffic.blogspot.com/ - made me want to change my mind. Then I was seeing his paintings, some fine as a dream, others crudely executed with an obscene wit that was straight-up punk rock. When I found the location for the store, split as it is by an arch that unevenly divides the front of the late Deco house at the end of Cerrada Chiapas, I started thinking about how to document our visiting writers and pay tribute to our supporters — on the ceiling. Perhaps it came to me in a dream, I don’t recall: the two most important cacti in the country, the blue agave from which tequila and mezcal are made, and the maguey, the source of pulque… growing opposite from the central beam, the spiky agave with the names of the writers on its long leaves, the maguey – the holy plant, thick at the base, with the names of the twenty-odd people who made this happen at its root.
Paul came over today to do the sketches for the ceiling murals - and save the stolid bookcases that have been appearing wall by wall, fashioned under the strong hands of our friend and landlord Sylvain Missemer – I watched the first artistic touches in the store come to life.
I am absolutely thrilled. Pictures of the process coming soon.