A MONTH SPENT IN MEXICO-41 experienced the thrill of the dered through the market, which I mountains. Perhaps because I’ve was not so colorful and plentiful After having read Lea, Conrad, Hemingway on the bull fight, I had imagined myself a fearless and majestic killer of the brave bulls. Thus I became a spectator at a bull fight. The professional season hadn’t started, and a program of six young toreros was offered. Two of the fighters won ears, put principally because they were not afraid, not because of skill, and I’m not attacking them, for I would have been afraid. The sensation of the afternoon was the sudden and dramatic appearance of a boy of about sixteen in the ring. He took the lull away from the matador and handled him with more courage Gail Mount and grace than any of the others, despite the fact he got his blue jeans ripped. The crowd cheered madly. When the boy tried to return to his place in the stands, the police grabbed his britches while his supporters tugged at his arms. The crowd thwarted the police by pouring beer on them. The crowd then turned its attention to women climbing the stairs, whistling and catcalling at them. After the fourth match, the fight started, beer was thrown and missiles heaved into the ring. One of the beer hawkers sat near us the entire program drinking and giving his beer to his friends. The streets of Mexico City are quite varied from the wide boulevards and avenues of Reforma, Insurgentes, Chapultepec, Tacuba to the narrow tiny streets of the Merced and Loganilla markets. Reforma is the most spacious boulevard, adorned with monuments to national figures. Insur San Antonio Sets Opera Festival SAN ANTONIO San Antonio’s thirteenth Grand Opera Festival, presented by the Symphony Society at the Municipal Auditorium Feb. 2, 3, 9, and 10, will be under the musical direction of Victor Alessandro and stage direction of Anthony L. Stivanello. The schedule: “Der Rosenkavalier,” Feb. 2, 8 p.m.; “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “I Pagliacci,” Feb. 3, 2 p.m.; “Rigoletto,” Feb. 9, 8 p.m.; “Martha,” Feb. 10, 2 p.m. Lisa Della Casa sings Princess von Werdenberg and William Wilderman appears as Baron Ochs, opening night. Einleen Farrell stars in “Cavalleria.” Canio’s role in Pagliacci’s role will be sung by Donald Dickson, Nedda’s by Lucine Amara, and Tonio’s by Cornell MacNeil. Jan Peerce is the Duke in “Rigoletto.” Dorothy Warenskhold sings Lady Harriet’s role and Eugene Conley, Lionel’s, in “Martha.” FOLLOWS A POEM .. . Follows a Poem Which Took Me All of the Last Five Minutes to You May Have for Your Art Page for Free, Stipulating Only That You Supply Philosophical Title Several Lines Long, WordsworthStyle” A virginal poor poet from Frisco Viewed crass worldly goods with tsktsko, Till he ran out of bread, Turned to crackers instead And got rich selling rhymes . to Nabisco. .gentes leads to the National University and to the Plaza de . Mexico and is probably the busiest street. The boulevards are kept clean and have benches where you may rest or court at night if your companion can escape her chaperone. In the morning they are so clean that when you walk across you leave footprints. The markets are unlike anything we have in. this country as far as I know. Perhaps Maxwell Street in Chicago compares with them. I visited the Merced, Loganilla, and Tacubaya markets. Merced and Loganilla are dense, interlaced labyrinths. The Tacubaya is being rebuilt. The Merced is the largest market; Loganilla is called the Thieves Market. I do not know how many blodks the Merced market covers, but I believe a person could easily disappear in it. The huts jam the sidewalks; the walls and roofs are so close they sometimes obscure the sky. The *aces are spread out in any fashion. The people must jostle each other in order to move. I had a constant regard for my pocket book. I have a sentimental attachment for it. Parts of the market are set aside for certain products; for example, we ran across areas selling nothing but bananas, then an area of oranges, then one of onions. The people yell and chant after you. There is much chattering and sales initiative. There seems to be ‘the common realization that life is hard and poor and that whatever one can do to live is all right provided he doesn’t infringe on someone else too cruelly. The people yell, cajole, scream and even urinate on the street, and it was all right as long as they didn’t ruin somebody else’s product. The Loganilla market is similar, but smaller. Near to it is the supposedly 1 wicked Garibaldi Plaza, where the underworld hangs out. Dope and other forms of vice are supposedly abundant there. The streets are narrow, dirty, and unlit. Robbery is said to be one of the main professions. I walked through the area a couple, of times alone at night but was not accosted. A few tourist night clubs there make excellent use of the B girL Panama Street is the wide-upen prostitute area. The women are called ladies of the street and, more romantically, ladies of the happy life. Panama Street rivals old w ide op en Galveston. The street itself is poorly lighted, chug holed, and dirty. The women are on both sides; they cross their legs, ‘grunt at you as you pass, and may even chase you and bargain and try to drag you inside. They make the sign of cheapskate and call you a dog if you refuse them. On Saturday night people throng the street, and the street is filled with cries and laughter. Many of the drunks fall asleep in the doorways. In the middle of the block there may be a man with some scales so you can weigh. A residential area surrounds the street. It is a poor one. but the people try to work. Now many of the buildings are being demolished, and a new building program is underway. He again I saw that the Mexicans are trying to improve their living. Once more I saw the need for more machinery, for the buildings are torn down by hand, with pick and sledge. Men clamber over the building and destroy it brick by brick; new buildings are erected just as slowly. No View for $1.20 I didn’t get to see all of Mexico City, much less to know it, but I decided to visit Vera Cruz. Traveling by bus, I once again lived most of my life in Houston, I was always amazed at the sudden cliffs and sharp rises, at the startling peepholes revealing the extent of a valley or a mountain range. At times, when I couldn’t see in front of the bus I felt like I was traveling in a box around curves, but then there would be a break in the mountain, and I would be startled by its height the quilted fields below it. I marveled even more at the steep slopes and winding roads. I played at seeing a city below me and guessing the route the bus would take to the city. I craned my neck to see the banana tree orchards. A mountain fog enclosed the bus so densely that we seemed to explode from it when we finally left it. But the land gradually rolled to the ocean. The port city of Vera Cruz is resplendent with tall palms, a hillside cemetery, a residential building program, a small downtown square, and romantic sidewalk cafes, a crescent shoreline harboring fishing boats and modern docks for freighters. The wind was blowing hard, the palms were waving, the blue green Atlantic rose and crashed against the jetties, but the people and the pelicans went on with their fishing, and downtown the cafes were open and the people sold their shrimp, oysters, and crabmeat cocktails undaunted. Marimba players patrolled the cafes, vying with the violinists for the customer’s money and appreciation. I stayed downtown in a hotel that offered me a clean room with private bath, hot and cold water, and no view, for $1.20 a day. In my walking tour of the city I saw new apartment houses being built, stumbled through old and narrow streets. I was spotted by the children immediately as a flowing source of money. I wan AUSTIN In case the impending session of the legislature and the up-coming race for the Senate fail to supply sufficient diversion, I suggest to you the French film, “Rififi,” a minor but beautifully tooled melodrama that is only now reaching the art houses of the larger cities. We provincials here in Austin sampled it sometime ago and thought that surely our metropolitan cousins would have had it Harris Green as those of Mexico City. In Vera Cruz as apparently over all Mexico, Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” is very popular. Inadvertently I found the prostitute district; most of the women were old and fat. Perhaps the young ones lived and worked in another part of the city. The women sat at a window, embroidering or attending to their children, talking and calling as I walked by. The sight of the children unnerved me at first. Some Impressions I could not speak Spanish, as I’ve said, and this hampered me a great deal in finding out what the people thought. However, I did meet a few people who could speak English and who were eager to thlk about Mexico and the United States. Through my American friend and guide, I met a young Mexican cartoonist who tolerated me after I had fallen under the influence of rum and a sip or two of tequila. He was a strange combination of Roman Catholic, Mexican nationalist, and socialist of sorts. He disliked America but apparently liked most Americans. He thought I of American solely in. terms of American business, which he did not like or trust. Though the Mexican government is friendly to the U. S., there are many Mexicans who feel the way he does. Perhaps I should be skeptical of my impressions, because ‘I wasn’t in Mexico but a month, but I believe I saw several forces often Paradoxical if not contradictory growing. Industrial Mexico is expanding, the population is growing, the need and uses of machinery become more apparent day by day as Mexico faces , its chief problem, poverty. The new President is said to be an honest and cau hand that they prove equally bloody and fatal for both. The criminals are thwarted by a rival gang. Director Dassiii, though, is foiled by a script that, after giv ing him plenty of line in the opening scenes, merely pulls him and his show up short and leaves them dangling at the denouement. Thanks to this, “Rififi” lacks that satisfying irony of “The Asphalt Jungle” where the criminals were brought to bay each by his own weakness. Still, now that you have been alerted to expect a certain softness at the finis, you should find the show fairly diverting. For, to this novice at least, its scenes of the Paris underworld seemed quite vivid indeed. And surely during the long, wordless robbery sequence, director Dassin, who under another name played the little Milanese safe-cracker, has contrived a cinematic, tour-de-force that is quite satisfying in itself. There are a couple of re-issues in circulation, too, that might hear watching; thought I for one would be wary of anything, except the work of Lapra or Ford, that originally appeared prior to 1940. Certainly after “Citizen Kane,” even the most unimaginative director was well aware of the possibilities of his medium and had abandoned for good the crutches and trappings of the silent era. Yet walk into something such as Metro’s 1935 production of “A Tale of Two Cities,” which I walked out of, and you won’t be able to see the storming of the Bastille for the titles on tious man. Many say that Aleman was corrupt, but that he put money to work; most of the poorer Mexicans adore Cardenas. The Mexican government now appears to be faced with the problems of how and about whom should it orient its policies. A middle class is growing, one which worships the American middle class even to the point of adoring its bad technicolored melodramatic movies and imitating its styles and patterns of behavior. The Party of the Revolution is in office now, and it is faced with the question of how to cope with this new class. A Roman Catholic party is gaining strength, and the Communist Party is strong and possessed of intelligent leadership. Polytechnic schools are growing; universities are growing, yet many of the Mexican children are forced to leave school to work as shine boys, laborers, or farmers hampered by the absence of both the machine and knowledge of the machine. Entwined with these problems is the attitude of the Mexican worker, who is sometimes curiously indifferent, yet other times capable of great industry, of literally shouldering neck straining and back breaking loads. I do not know exactly or how deeply the people think in political or industrial terms. Yet they appear concerned with the industrial problems of Mexico; most of them, especially the workers, still feel the power and nationalism of the revolution. Perhaps my judgments are not accurate, but Mexico is a country that demands response. She is alive and vigorous, her land is rugged and looks, as Cortes said, like a crumpled piece of paper. She appeals in many ways, in individuality, elaborate graciousness, , sly comic spirit, child-like delight with many forms of living, and self-realized seriousness. The problems and wonders of her several histories and civilizations are open to whoever wants to see and know them. the screen informing you that it is July 14, 1789, and that these peasants are angry. For that matter, the scenes weren’t worth seeing anyway. Though we had been assured that many were made on the spot by French technicians, most were obviously done on the Culver back-lot in the fine old DeMille tradition of millions for extras but not one cent for editing. Of the cast, only Edna May Oliver and Reginald Owen had the Dickensian lilt. I wish I could tell you the name of the old valkyrie who played Mme. Defarge’s constant companion, but I fear that 1 her “penchant for repeating everything in a high, grating cackle sent me flying from the theater long before the characters were credited. Ronald Coleman as Carton appeared throughout to be on the verge of ineffa
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