“Lucha libre is something very dear and personal to all Mexicans,” continues Arau. “All of my work, be it music, animation, film or art, is about popular Mexican culture and lucha libre is one of the most visible things there is. Compare that with the culture here, the gringo culture, where a mask is usually something associated with terrorism, with sadomasochism. There’s no tradition behind it whereas in all of Mexico, the Indigenous communities use masks, all of the fiestas in every state utilize masks, there are museums dedicated to masks made of different materials. For us, masks are something very natural.”
The space features a store that sells custom lucha libre merchandise including apparel such as shirts, hats and leggings printed in-house at the Republic of Lucha Print Shop. There are small baskets filled with plastic-mold action figures of masked wrestlers. Two large, glass cases contain mannequin heads adorned with various wrestling masks worn in official matches by wrestlers such as Fenix, Penta, Psycho Clown, Tinieblas Jr., and others, all for sale. They also host the Lucha Movie Club most Saturdays each month when the rooftop is converted into an outdoor movie theater to screen classic lucha libre films, such as the ones featuring El Santo and Blue Demon, and more.
Below is a link and an excerpt of a paper I wrote a few months ago for a course in Mexican history. It is a historiography on the development of the San Diego/Tijuana region of southern California + Baja California as separate territories with an emphasis on people’s understanding of the territory as a separate & unified territory.
Early writings and writings of the San Diego/Tijuana (or vice-versa depending on which side of the literal fence one stands from) border region’s early history after the Mexican-American War illustrate the growth of the region as the emergence of two distinct zones that lures the citizens on each side with different promises. This non-symbiotic relationship between the two nations then steadily changes into a symbiotic one as scholars and academics begin to study the region’s evolution from a pair of separate and individual states to a pair of separate and strongly interconnected states. This interconnection occurs on multiple levels but is most typically understood via socio-cultural and economic lenses.
In recent years, new understandings of the border region have come from the experiences of people, Mexicans and Americans, whose daily lives consist of nearly equal time spent on each side of the US/Mexico border. Some of the writings on this topic began with the analysis of the flow of workers and consumers of both regions that began blending the flow of each country’s economics and labor with one another. Beyond this phenomenon, scholars have also recently defined the experiences of some of these citizens as a “ transborder/transfronterizo” persons who have experienced a lifetime of bi-nationality, that is, a lived experience of traversing a physical, international barrier that begins in childhood and extends into adulthood. Finally, activist groups that understand the border region from a highly politicized lens have also established their own framework of thinking about the border region in SD/TJ as well as other borderland areas.