TACO Visits Buenos Aires y Mendoza
8:00 AM PDT on August 27, 2007
Even los pibes de Boca know that L.A. TACO is the sheeit! TACO spent a few weeks in Argentina back in April and found an astonishing barrage of aerosoled thoughts, protestations, classic design, and incredible details covering the cradle of dulce de leche, tango, Maradona, mate, guachos, and phenomenal grass-fed steaks up the lomo.
2001 saw massive revolts against another failed system in Argentina. Stencils were a big part of this explosion, helping citizens finally express a pent-up fury, with everyday citizens asserting their ownership of the city by literally taking the streets back in countless teams of two, yanking power back from the sham-artists ruining the country. Every agenda, belief, or thought seems to have its own stencil here.
The lasting stencil scene here is so off-the-chain, there is even a stencil backlash expressed THROUGH STENCILS! That's enough of a mindfuck to confuse Borges himself...check out some of the street-art we snapped in Buenos Aires as well as the views we had into this country's considerable history and culture. (These will take a minute or two to load after the jump, so go get a glass of water, you really don't drink enough water).
"Poetry is in the street"
"WE DESTROY THE CITY"
In 1976, shortly after the death of President Juan Peron, a military junta took over Argentina in an attempt to subdue "terrorism" and the rampant political violence between the left and right wings. This dictatorship turned out to be a repressive right-wing terror squad itself.
Officially dubbed the National Reorganization Process, an estimated 30,000-plus citizens, mostly in Buenos Aires, disappeared into secret and not-so-secret torture chambers and murdered in execution rooms. Citizens were constantly intimidated in attempts to eliminate their desire to protest. Many were harrassed, spied on, arrested, pulled over, kidnapped and thrashed, and even robbed at home for no reason, in what is now known as The Dirty War. With support from the U.S., the atrocities by the right-wing continued until 1983, shortly after the loss of The Falklands War. Over 100 military leaders were pardoned and released by President Menem in 1989, angering many. Today, the spirit of resistance seems unshakeable.
"31 Years--JUSTICE AND PUNISHMENT"
"Punk's not dead!"
The Tango, a seductive waltz origniated in the slums of Boca and quickly rose to become the national dance. It is very sexy, with the man taking aggressive steps, then slightly demurring, with mind-bending flourishes and constant grace. These murals on 'Tango Corner' in San Telmo are dedicated to some of tango's superstars like Carlos Gardel, the most famous.
This very flirtatious streetside tango between an older gent and a young cutie was the best tango I saw. They kept lightly booting each other between the legs.
"WHERE IS HE?"
"Saint Pablo"--Medellin, Columbia's Pablo Escobar (1949-1993)
"Who killed Dario? Who killed the streetkids?"
Ernesto "Che" Guevara (1928-1967) was born to one of the most prominent, wealthy families of Rosario, Argentina. He gave up a promising medical career and a life of relative comfort to assist Fidel Castro in overthrowing the Batista regime in Cuba. Castro's men nicknamed him 'Che' because Argentines say that a lot, sort of like how us Cali boys call friends "dude" and "homie." He was killed attempting to spark revolution in Bolivia, part of his dream to unite all of Latin America under one system. A hard-core socialist, Che is revered by many world-wide for his idealism, sacrifice, and solidarity with the suffering. In many other people's eyes, he was personally responsible for mass executions of hundreds of Cuban citizens, supporting the oppression associated with its Communist government, and more recently as a symbol popularized without people knowing it has any meaning at all. The above image from San Telmo is casting Che as a homosexual and says "For love Use a Condom."
I got this photo in Palermo and assume it's WATCH OUT! loved and admired for terrorizing Los Angeles' west and south-westside.
This is Rio Plata (Silver River), the estuary separating Uruguay from Argentina which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Argentina itself means silver from the old Latin.
This is a park dedicated to protest. Argentines seem generally very politically active, with people marching and services shutting down in complete solidarity against rights and power abuses.
A march in the streets, one of many we saw, for a teacher killed in a prostest.
"Neither forget nor pardon"
"1976--30,000 disappeared. 2007--millions excluded."
"For Love Use a Condom"--Freddie Mercury
U.S. Imposter-in-Chief Dumb-ya had just been in Argentina weeks before our visit for the Summit of American Presidents.
"If he comes, I'll go on strike"
Due to certain allegiances I can't and wouldn't want to ever change, am an avid BOCA Junior fan. One of the weekends I was in town saw the match between River Plate and Boca, possibly the greatest rivalry in sports anywhere and widely considered the world's best sporting event. TACO's B.A. chief regaled me with the tale of sitting with the true BOCA fanatics, basically a massive crew with psychotic little kids packing. And you thought hosting the Giants at Chavez Ravine was hardcore.
This steak was like $3-4 and was incredible. I think it was a mariposa ("butterfly") for the way the cut is splayed out like that. Unfortunately for Argentines, one U.S. dollar assumes the value of $3 down there, the pound being 8-1, there are people living like kings on the British dole down there. So if you're feeling the pinch in the U.S., a move should be considered if you wanna eat like this for next-to-nothing.
Roots Marley O.M.
"Are you the player or the piece?"
1978 was the year Buenos Aires hosted the Olympic Games during their military dominated terror.
"Smile--We're filming you"
We were sitting at a bar in Palermo, B.A., called Chronico, and there was a table full of guys in suits and nice clothes sitting with this one guy dressed as a Smurf!! It was blowing my soused and sleep-deprived mind, so finally I went to ask what was up. Apparently, when Argentine dudes get married, their friends make them do crazy shit like strapping them to the front of cars and driving around like maniacs and when that fails, forcing them to dress like Smurfs.
Don Quixote de la Mancha
"Neither Right Nor Left" Stenciled: Former President Juan Peron, whose hands were stolen from his grave
Diego Maradona (1960--) is contemporary Argentina's biggest hero. Former star player for Boca Juniors and highly awarded through four World Cups. When we were in Argentina, he was admitted to the hospital yet again for addiction-related health problems which have plagued him. The man likes his yay, he's kind of like a Darrel Strawberry with significantly more talent and appeal. The only guy we saw getting up was painting a billboard across from the hospital Maradona was at, my friend said no cop in the country would bust him.
Che is drinking the nationally popular yerba mate above Diego in this photo from the trendy, fantastic luxury Faena Hotel's breakfast nook.
"1 diploma--$15. Robbing the children--priceless."
Chemical structure of LSD
Plaza de Mayo
"Suburban Resistance--Confront Babylon"
"It's all a lie." ~ Manu Chao
Mothers of the disappeared circle the central Plaza de Mayo every Thursday
This is a touristy section of the hard-scrabble port neighborhood Boca, birthplace of tango and traditionally home to these colorful yardie-style houses.
"Hunger is a crime "
"Dimebag'' Darrell, slain guitarist of Pantera
"What side are you from?"
The stunning cemetary for the city's elite, full of elaborate crypts
Many come to see Evita's crypt
This reminded me of 7th Letter's PERSUE'S Bunny Kitty
"Argentino is an anagram of ingorant"
These are both images of police cars in Argentina, the one on the left the feared secret squad responsible for kidnapping, torturing, and 'disappearing' Argentine intellectuals, dissenters, and daily citizens.
"Stencils are over, little boys."
"We will win!!" Slogan of the Cuban Revolution. Stenciled: Elian Gonzales
"Trigger happy," playing on the word "gatillo-trigger" which sounds similar to gato and it variants
El Tamalito Loco in Villa Crespo and the below gate were the most Los Angeles things I saw in Argentina in 2 1/2 weeks, and weren't very far apart. Coincidence?
"The Vatican holds the blame" "IT'S TRUE!"
Nestor Kirchner is Argentina's current, lazy-eyed president, which many artists riff on
This example is by TEAM MORMAII, one of the country's biggest stencil crews
This made me think of our friend Subhumanoid from RTH Crew
This building I believe is where Evita Peron did the whole "Don't Cry for Me" thang.
Police, Church, Press
I had the pleasure while in Argentina of spending my time with close friend and Porteno (a resient of B.A.) Fernando Gil Cwilich. This is one of his paintings on clear vinyl. He is very talented, a decade ago I watched him use said talents to cover about half a Subway compartment in giant Sharpie.
These above images are from Proyectarte, the art school Fernando started in Villa Crespo for kids that lack opportunity.
"No more blood for oil"
These above stencils are from Argentina's biggest feminist stencil crew, I forgot the name
This was a mellow young people's tango bar. Sexy!
"WHAT HUMAN RIGHTS?"
"That your trip is going to be long..." Odysseus facing Harpies. Or Sirens or some shit.
Lie plus repression equals Opus Dei, Sick Number
"Get Out Bush"
"We treat tourists well"
Mao ZeDong (1893-1976)
We remember Marcus Garvey
Comedian Capitan Piluso--I never did see any salutes to my favorite Argentina Comedian Porcel, who here rememebrs "A La Cama con Porcel" fromTelemundo's early days?
The Simpsons are on like 22.5 Hours a day in Argentina.
"Hello Mr. President. I campained with the other candidate but I voted for you..."
"In the basket"--take on incest
"2,114 people murdered by the FFSS" "Each day the FFSS murders one kid."
"Abortion is infanticide"
Sigmund Frued, "Superman"
Ex-President Menem, a play on My Enemy and Menem
Free Tibet !
Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez were widely thought to be underused on Argentina's not-so-victorious World Cup Team.
Earring and dependent
These reminded me of TACO buddy Brandy Flower's Mark of the Beast work
This sloppy stencil work should read "No Entiendo/I don't understand"
All this stuff was under a bridge in Boca.
A Patriot. An Idiot
"Santa is an anagram of Satan"
"This is a piece of shit"
"Get out of here artists"
"A fag place"
"I'm a faggot and I'm happy"
"Lesbians--We are your mothers, daughters and sisters"
"Kiss whomever you want"
Fernando is holding a Quilmes, the signature beer of Argentina. This is Hugo on the right. Argentine dudes love to touch one another. A lot. Fernando is often seen demonstrating the miraculous abilty Argentine fellas have to remain attractive to females while rocking curly mullets and a shirt that hasn't been removed in 6 years.
"Expression is our running form of combat"
"More than 600 assassinations by Kirchner's police"
"You're not yet equal"
Mendoza, Argentina ~ Wine country
Order without government
The foothills of the Andes in Mendoza
The Pope of Park Slope ~ Brooklyn-division TACO Capo The Frailman with a helluva Argentine asado behind him at the wedding of Fernando's brother, SEBAS.
After literally about 17 hours of drinking at a wedding, I thought it would be an awesome idea to join a full-force gut punching contest with this dude Andy and Tony Swafford, the former Marine who wrote Jarhead, and who looks like he eats Gyllenhalls for breakfast. This was Day 1. It got worse, also destroying my oh-so-cut six-pack.
Back to B.A.
"No experimenting on animals"
"Enough lies. Enough of war."
For a more detailed look at Argentine stencils, I highly recommend checking out the book Hasta la Victoria Stencil. I think Giant Robot might have it.
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