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By Bob Alvarado

From the Editor’s Desk...
The Cantina Issue

In our efforts to make El antiQuario more than just an interesting publication on the arts of Mexico, we have maintained a policy of light-hearted yarn spinning, capable of challenging the wryest of imaginations and attitudes. We purposely attempt to not mirror the mainstream antiques publications’ stodgy style in our quest to bring aboard the younger reader and collector, while accommodating the requests of our core readership as well. Your letters tell us El antiQuario’s delivery of the inside scoop has been well received. In the past 11 issues you’ve read some fact, some fiction, all somehow whimsically interlaced.

This issue promises to be no different. The Cantina Issue brings us two interesting stories, one is nostalgic and romantic while the other is rip-roaring fun and quite hilarious. Both pieces share in bringing us a little closer to real life in Mexico with unpretentious people. The first starts with antiques aficionado and history buff Lic. Guillermo Perez’ interview, “From the Bar to the Cantina”. Memo has taken to the task (like a fish to water) of reporting on the drinking establishments that embody the spirit of post-revolutionary Mexico.
Cantinas, as most people know them, are also referred to in Spanish as antros, bules, and other more colorful monickers — danger zones of ill-repute, which I am quite sure a lot of you guys can remember visiting during leave in Old Tijuana while in training to go fight in Viet Nam. Did I hit a tender cord? Awh, come on, it wasn’t that bad ( the cantinas, I mean). Memo invites us to imbibe, not in a cantina, but a museum exhibit, DEL BAR A LA CANTINA, now on display at the Museo de la Ciudad, in Guadalajara, Jalisco. His story is a colorful and nostalgic journey to old Mexican cantinas and on the poet laureates who imbibed there. This story is generously peppered with vintage photos and memorabilia of an epoch past. We invite you to come visit with us for a libation or two or go on your own. The exhibit will be on-going ‘til July.

In the same spirit (or should I say, spirits) our ace correspondent and famous novelist from San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Lou Christine, has penned a yarn regaling the funky night-life of one of that town´s most famous cantina, La Cucaracha. Memo’s piece will enlighten and Christine’s whimsical foray will make you roll on your belly with laughter, even if you aren’t drunk. Well, maybe just one tequila.

In total contrast to our last two issues depicting alluring Mexican girls au’ natural on the covers, this time the spotlight belongs to a dear old man made of wax (Puebla, circa 1930). We don’t know his name or exactly where he came from, but at a glance it’s apparent he’s humble. Like many campesinos, he’s had his share of ups and downs. He wandered into our lives a few years ago in pretty good shape until a curious visitor picked him up carelessly and crumbled his hollow body. Ever since, we’ve been in search of a wax artisan to bring him back to health. Carlos Maciel, to our knowledge, is the only active cerista (wax sculptor) in Guadalajara. Maciel’s love for this art is superseded by his knowledge of the history behind it. His remarkable ability to convert beeswax and paraffin into realistic wax gumbies that rival those of the days of yore unfolds in this issue.

Also featured is the story of Jorge Wilmont, an innovative ceramicist, designer and philosopher. What William Spratling did for the silversmiths of Taxco, Jorge Wilmont has done for the potters of Tonala. Because of Wilmont’s influence, Tonala now enjoys a creative renaissance. Read the saga, “A Nagual in Tonala”, written by our steadfast reporter and academician Lic. Oscar Ibarra.

Austin, Texas is the most recent spoke in El antiQurio’s growing circle of cities to report from. Check out our newest dispatch, MEXICAN TEXACAN. Alicia Lopez hooks up with our new associate editor, Mary Jane Garza, to keep us abreast on Texas— Mexican style. And we promise not to use the phrase Tex-Mex, not even once.

Our long-awaited No. 12 issue actually marks an important milestone for us by closing volume 2. Yes, I’ve done the math and realize that it took us three years to complete what should have taken two. Our advertisers are grateful: they get a year and a half of advertising for the price of one. But in fact, we are the most appreciative ones. We have received much-needed encouragement and good will from many readers and sponsors, and for that we thank you kindly. Please don’t forget to renew your subscriptions— and to our really close friends, please stop asking for a free copy and SUBSCRIBE!!!!

Kick off your shoes, prop up your feet and enjoy the stories. And for my more somber colleagues at Artes de Mexico, Art & Antiques Magazine, Art in America, Tribal Arts, Tradición Revista, Et Al, this Bud’s for you.