Last Saturday, Steve and I participated in another of Derrik Chinn’s Turista Libre tours — this one focusing on Tijuana’s street art. In some ways it was very different from the wacky Lucha Libre tour we took last summer. But there were also similarities. Derrik’s outings are as far from the canned Standard City Tour as one can imagine. They feel almost impromptu — a little chaotic, a lot genuine. They don’t always follow the script. Saturday’s event had been billed as winding up around 6 p.m., while in fact we didn’t actually get back to the border till 8. We never did reach Anulacion, a downtown building that supposedly has been tranformed into “a monumental work of minimalist sculpture.” Still, we covered an awful lot of ground.
Sharing the guiding duties with Derrik for the day were the artists Paola Villasenor (aka Panca) and Once Cero Dos, a sweetly earnest young man who explained that his nom d’aerosol can was inspired by his passion for the Mexican Day of the Dead (which takes place on 11/02 — once cero dos in Spanish). We saw a number of the duo’s works — in a makeshift temporary gallery thrown up a partially completed house designed by rising architectural star Jorge Gracia, in an inner courtyard of the diviest of TJ dive bars, in Panca’s Zona Norte penthouse, and — of course — on the street.
Panca, who spent the most time on our bus, could have an alternate career as a stand-up comic. Her riffs were a highlight, as was our quick stop for tacos at Los Paisas (off Boulevard Aguascalientes and recently hailed by Anthony Bourdain). Most of all, I appreciated the chance to see things I’d have a hard time finding on my own.
Some of the images from our adventure: