30 May 2012

My favorite Tijuana dance hall is now dead to me

rip estrella mural

La Estrella's mural immediately branded itself into my personal collection of Tijuana icons when I first laid eyes on it years ago. A continuous dance party starring members of every subgenre of Mexican folklore sprinkled with various specimens of 1970s pop latina, it wrapped around the bar's entire interior before climaxing in an elaborate coronation ceremony in which the townsfolk of some unnamed pueblo are in the process of bestowing their princess with her crown.

As of two Saturdays ago, this was all that's left of it. The rest has been drowned in a layer of concrete. The owners have apparently decided to remodel what was inarguably one of the city's most quintessential, classic dance halls, no doubt because it sits smack dab atop La Sexta ground zero and they feel the need to keep up with the surrounding Jones of nouveau-cool (I won't drop names but it's pretty obvious if you stand on the street and size up the neighbors).

For me, it's over. The loss of the neon red star back in '09 was barely bearable. But this, I fear, is the absolute end, an emotional Armageddon upon a world of ashtrays carved into Formica tables, random drag acts and male stripper shows, 4 a.m. buckets of Tecate that led to 5 a.m. Payaso de Rodeo dance-offs and silver-toothed women old enough to be your grandmother who kiss you on the mouth without even asking first. Didn't the Mayans say all this would happen?

RIP, querido mural. I can't wait to see what goes up in your place. Maybe a nice big Aeropostale logo or something.

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