>From the Editor's Dashboard&
By Bob Alvarado
During the past three months I have logged more than 6,000 highway miles, visiting both new towns and old friends, placing El antiQuario in the hands of fellow aficionados. Support and enthusiasm for the magazine have been very positive. The entire staff appreciates the good feed-back from our readers, and have expressed their continued commitment to quality reporting.
My travels led me to some wonderful new antiques markets and people. Among one of the shows I dropped in on was a brand new market in Egypt, Texas, about a half-hour drive south of Houston. Bud Northingham and Melody Peacock are responsible for the creation of the Egypt Plantation Antique Trade Days, which is held during the second weekend of each month. They plan to be able to host 7,000 vendors once the market reaches full capacity. Along with a good mix of antiques dealers, with everything from Mexican primitives to fine glassware, their spread also houses the Northingham Saloon, a cozy little locals pub decked out with old metal signs and cowboy memorabilia. The saloon is registered as the oldest bar in Texas, built in the late 1880's.
One of the strangest questions that I'm constantly asked by folks interested in traveling into Mexico to buy is, "How do you get that stuff out?" (Anyone who takes offense easily should skip this part.) The question is just plain old dumb! It is on par with, "Where do you get all this stuff?" (Everybody knows that little elves drop the goods off on my doorstep each morning at 10:15 sharp.)
How do I get that stuff out? I ship it to the border, complete my manifest, pay the US Customs import taxes, and go along my merry way. How else would I get it out? Via flying carpet? Where do these questions come from?
NAFTA has helped eliminate a lot of the red tape involved in importing and exporting goods between Mexico and the States. In fact, I just recently read that 1997 turned out to be a record year for production and sales of hand-crafted goods from Mexico for export into the U.S. (I guess a lot of other guys out there have flying carpets too.) This is great news, and further proves that interest in Mexican arts is on the rise internationally.
Another positive sign of the growing popularity of our favorite collectables is the release of several fabulous books on Mexican antiques over the past twelve months-- ranging from charrería (cowboy stuff) to Taxco silversmiths. One of these publications is the book "Mexican Country Style," which looks at the origins of traditional and indigenous Mexican country style furniture. You'll find our review of this full-color book in this issue of El antiQuario.
Many baby-boomers may be too young (do I get brownie-points for that?) to remember the role Teddy Stauffer, Mr. Acapulco, played in attracting international visitors to Mexico during the 1950's, but thanks largely to his visionary ideas for Acapulco (among which included building the first swimming pool in that resort town), Mexico has become an important destination for vacationers and business people from all parts of the world. Even if you don't know who Mr. Teddy is, I think his recollections of Acapulco, in our interview "King of Swing, Chattin' with Mr. Teddy," will bring back fond memories of Mexico for anyone who has ever ventured south of the Rio Grande.
Alicia Villaseñor has outdone herself again with the article, "Traditional Toys of Mexico." Her bright imagination brings life to the whimsical playthings of Mexican childhood: paper maché dolls, cloth puppets, wooden carts and brightly painted rattles.
In "Tamale Safari" Kathryn Crosby (wife of the late entertainer, Bing Crosby) lets us ride along with her on adventures through the Mexican sierra, digging for ancient artifacts. It is a must read!
For history buffs, "Legend Larger that Life," by Jim Tuck, explores the myths and facts behind Cristero rebel leader Victoriano Ramirez, El Catorce (The Fourteen). The photos in this story are from an old album I recently picked up, and have never before been published.
We've added a new department in this issue, "El antiQuario Philosophy Viewpoints." I hope it stimulates dialogue between our U.S. and Mexican readers. Send us your comments!
Teddy Stauffer brought international attention to Acapulco during the 1940'sand 50's. His nightclub was a gathering spot to watch the cliff divers andrub elbows with celeberties such as Errol Flynn, Hedy Lamarr and RitaHayworth.
Victoriano Ramirez, better know as El Catorce, is still a legendary folkhero in the western state of Jalisco.