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Lucha VaVoom

Picture a Mayan temple in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. At this Mayan temple, imagine a series of ritualized bloodsports between gladiators dressed to represent allegorical figures that are champions of cultural ideals or fears. In between the bloodsport matches, the crowd is titillated by purposefully heretical ritualized sex-acts by strippers wearing costumes that poke at society's sacred cows, gender roles, and mores.

What you are picturing is not something from a Tim Powers novel, or a Harry Dresden story, or Unknown Armies. You are picturing Lucha VaVoom. Unfortunately, I was really sick that night and didn't stay for the tranny strippers and midget wrestlers, but I did see men dressed as chickens, living calaveras, a firefighter and a flying fox fighting each other. Also two women doing an astonishing stripping/trapeze act, as well as various other burlesque acts. If, ahead of time, you had asked me whether I'd rather see luchadores or strippers, I'd have said the answer was obvious. It turns out, though, that "burlesque" is often women you don't really want to see naked, getting nearly naked in outrageous costumes. The luchadores, on the other hand, were crazy gymnasts that put on an amazing acrobatic show. I was amused at how they had to "sell" the fact that certain things would stun them long enough to just stand there and sort of waver, like a video game character waiting for the fatality, while their opponents would wind up some ridonkulous act of violence by bouncing off ropes, each other, the front row of the audience, the mat, or all of the above. Not only was it an impressive athletic display, but it involved a lot of physical comedy and acting to be at all "convincing". Convincing here must be understood to be internally consistent with the cartoon logic of wrestling, rather than reality.

And all that, in a Mayan temple. Wish I'd seen the whole thing.

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