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The Great Wall of Mexico

Everyone always talks about how dangerous Mexico is, but I saw nearly no evidence of this--it was all wild parties at Monica, sacred art, and atheist angel ruminations.

As recounted in part last week, I was invited to attend Guadalajara International Film Festival as a special guest of their new GLBTTI section Premio Maguey, where I received the Cult Film Award. Andrew Logan, another Maguey honoree, has been holding a crazy, intense event, Alternative Miss World, since the early seventies, boasting a roster of judges over the years that includes Carroll Baker, the late Ken Russell, Tim Curry, and David Hockney. The scene he has accumulated around him, and his wild, baroque style, has influenced the likes of director Derek Jarman, Rocky Horror Picture Show creator Richard O'Brien, and Brian Eno. He is also an artist who works largely in the medium of broken glass. Last week we saw Andrew Logan zombified. Here, he poses with the reproductions of his own gigantic flower sculptures that the festival whipped up for his party at a crazy gay bar called Monica. They look like gay Triffids!


This fellow showed up to Andrew’s party dressed as a piñata!

Andrew and epic-sized drag artist.

Hot drag artist at Andrew’s party.

Behind the curtain at Monica: a dirty rendering of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, with butterflies, of course.

Andrew with sexy drag artist. You should get him to tell you the story about when Hollywood legend Carroll Baker was a judge at Miss Alternative World and she ended up afterwards shoeless and disoriented on London Bridge!

Dorigen, who teaches writing to criminals in jails in London, poses with the super-sized drag queen.

The super-sized drag queen did a mean Divine routine.

If you squinted your eyes, you really did think it was Liza herself.

I liked the fact that this entire building was for rent. It would make an amazing bachelor pad.

One of the main University of Guadalajara buildings. My sold-out L.A. Zombie screening was held in a large theater in the basement.

Fernando was sweet enough to come to the screening of my gay zombie movie Otto; or, Up with Dead People dressed as the main character, Otto! As a committed atheist he was also very proud to be escorting a godless gay pornographer around his very religious city.

Famous mural commemorating the Mexican Revolution by artist Clemente Orozco in a lecture hall on the campus of the University of Guadalajara.

Mural on the dome of the Hospicio Cabañas, considered to be Orozco’s masterpiece.


Orozco mural (detail). His murals feature political themes and often depict human suffering.

Strange spider-people by absurdist artist Alejandro Colunga on the downtown campus of the University.

Fernando, my proud atheist "angel," or guide, pointed out that Moses is always depicted as having horns and generally looks pretty demonic.

The second grooviest Christ I’ve ever seen in a church (the first was in Havana) at the Templo Expiatorio (Temple of Atonement).

The century-old gazebo in downtown, ultra-religious Guadalajara, a naughty gift from France featuring lots of naked ladies, of course.

Crazy fountain in downtown Guadalajara. The story goes that the Devil himself appeared to people on this spot, so a fountain featuring naked children was erected to ward off the Evil One. Go figure. Interestingly, La Niña Blanca (the White Child) is another name for Santa Muerte, the creepy Saint Death that is worshipped mostly by criminals and drug cartel types who feel queasy about praying to the more virtuous saints. Also interestingly, the Devil is called El Charro Negro, which is also another name for tequila and coke, my drink of choice during my Mexican visit.

The head of the serpent in downtown Guadalajara. It's a representation of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered snake, chief of the Aztec gods. The Mayans called him Kukulkan, and he was their god of wisdom and the wind.

Apparently the head was supposed to go with the body, but it was too heavy, so the body and head are displayed separately. Interesting symbolism there, Mexico! Cutting off the head of the chief god of the Aztecs and the Mayans, and the god of wisdom to boot!


Karen Black angel (self portrait).

Imagine my surprise when I came across a variation of Darren McGavin’s leg lamp from the cult Xmas movie A Christmas Story in, of all places, a Mexican gay bar.

This department store window display could have been a tribute to the victims of the drug cartels, but I’m not sure.

Everyone always talks about how dangerous Mexico is, and how much violent crime there is, but I didn’t see any evidence of it until my last day there. As Fernando and another one of my angels, Sergio, were escorting me to the airport along the "Carretera a Chapala" (road to Chapala), we noticed several large plumes of smoke and a lot of police zooming around in open vehicles brandishing machine guns. Apparently a drug cartel had set 26 cars and buses on fire in 16 different locations around the state to make “narco-blockades.” Our driver managed to get us to the airport just before a huge traffic jam closed off the route. Also, after my departure, word came of a horrific hate crime involving a transsexual human rights activist named Agnes Torres who was brutally murdered and left on the side of the road in the state of Puebla.

This incident makes it all the more important that festivals like FICG in Mexico are not only starting to add GLBTTI sections like Premio Maguey, but also treating them as vital and equal components to their programming. Like many countries in the world, Mexico still has a long way to go to end violence and discrimination against gays, lesbians, and transgendered people. I dedicate this column to Agnes Torres. (And thanks to Viva Ruiz for spreading the word about this tragic incident.)

Previously - Wondering… The Great Wall of Mexico