A few months back, a German documentary filmmaker approached me asking for my help in doing a film about my napkin selling sweetie, Isabel. Isabel and I breakfast on Saturdays for years and ours is a tumultuous relationship you may have read about in earlier articles.
Since she was hit by a car last year, (don’t ask, I have no idea how one hits an elderly woman that moved at a snail’s space, it’s not like she ran out into the street after her ball) her mobility as gotten even worse. My whole point to the director was she barely moves so there would be little motion in his motion picture making the piece visually dull.
Instead he switched directions, and started photographing interesting local faces for a future exposition and wanted to include Isabel in his work. To date he has had 100 models but is shooting for 200 before putting his work in a show. I was all for it but insisted he photograph Isabel in the street while he insisted on only doing studio shots.
On the day of the shoot I was walking to meet my sweetheart when I passed a group of three men who were obviously indigenous dancers wearing the bells around their ankles. One man, in particular, was very animated and I thought if I didn’t have to meet Isabel in a few minutes, I’d follow them to see where they were going as they were a fun crowd.
Well, as my lady friend and I slowly inched across the courtyard to the photographer’s studio I learned my merry band of gypsy dancers were going to the same place to have their images taken by Carlos G. Maier also. Whereas, my super model simply removed her hat and the magic happened, the lads needed more time in hair and makeup than I thought possible.
Once recorded for prosperity, I knew my exhausted pal could not walk another step, so I found a chair in the courtyard for her and went to buy tamales, fruit and empanadas for all. Then she and I sat back to enjoy the best show in town on any Saturday morning!
The lads really had male makeup to an art form. They painted their legs much like a 1930’s Teutonic movie star once did to pass as Arabian. I was spellbound thinking I could never do that, I’m much too hirsute. Then in dawned on me the lads were wearing nothing more than a cock sock and they featured as little body hair as a newborn making this whole makeup process way more applicable.
Next they used their Cover Girl sized compact mirrors to do their faces. Again, the level of detail, and subsequent transformations, were amazing.
The most animated lad, Skull Face, was a chatty bloke and lived for compliments. At one point he turned to me and asked, gesturing to the three of them, who was the most handsome man there.
“That’s obvious” I replied “me”.
Unhappy with that response, he asked Isabel for the lady’s opinion, to which she replied “That’s obvious” while pointing towards me, “him.” Then, pointing to my dog, “Then him.”
Following their time in the studio the dancers proceeded to the jardin for some money making photo opportunities with tourists (though where they put their cash, baffles me) and I escorted Isabel home.
I’m really looking forward to Carlos’ exhibit as he has a really keen eye for faces and selecting models thus rivaling Tyra Banks’ talents.
Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkin