Things That Matter

22 Photos That Serve As Proof That The NYC Subway Station Is A Whole Underground Culture

Global metropolia are a microcosm of the beauty and pure weirdness of human existence. If you walk the streets of main capitals and urban epicenters such as New York City, Mexico City, Paris, Tokyo, Madrid or Buenos Aires or Los Angeles, you will find all sorts of characters. Some dare to be themselves amidst the sometimes monochromatic urban landscape, while others are just minding their business but are out into situations that are frankly uncanny (for example, see the lady casually transporting her calaveras further down this article!).

We have taken un clavado in the depth of the Internet to find some of the many odd situations that city dwellers have encountered while taking the subway. Yes, a subway line is a world within itself!

1. When a Spanish grandma that looks like outta Game of Thrones suddenly offers abuelita advice

Credit: Instagram. @nicolachoo

This surreal scene from the Madrid subway features a maiden known as “chulapa”, which is a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. Muy maja la viejecita, joer!

2. When you turn around and there is a human unicorn crouching beside you

Credit: Instagram. @subwaycreatures

This man in the Tokyo subway certainly wanted to make an impression with his big hair horn that doesn’t even fit in the carriage. Hey, nothing against hipster culture, pero este dude just goes a step too far. Again, cada quien con su pelo, but we can’t help but wonder what led this caballero to turn his long melena into a horn!

3. When you realize your fellow passenger is VERY confused

Credit: Instagram. @subwaycreatures

So shall we break the news to him that he is not Black and that reading this is like, extra creepy? No, dude, you do not look cool reading this.

4. When chance delights us with an unexpected artistic performance

Credit: Instagram. @subwaycreatures

What a delightful moment The perfect timing and the ideal snapshot by @melanietaylor126. This woman has a nicely trimmed beard and a tie… or does she?

5. When the contents of a box labeled books is basically… un pollo

Credit: Instagram. @thechicrew

It is odd enough to see a live chicken in the NYC subway, but the box labeled “BOOKS” gives this scene an extra touch like out of a Twilight Zone episode, doesn’t it?

6. When Pikachu is in da house!

Credit: Instagram. @subwaycreatures

We wonder if this huge botarga even fit through the door. We hope the little yellow dude didn’t miss his station. And wait, does he have Ryan Reynolds’ voice?

7. When you casually showcase your cyborg body modification art in the NYC subway

Credit: Instagram. @aunhelden

Aun Helden is a Brazilian artists that creates confronting characters using body modification and latex bodysuits that make her look like out of a nightmarish David Cronenberg film (did y’all watch the classic 1980s version of The Fly?). Well, she decided to take her art to the insides of the city, very fitting for her cybernetic approach to bodies and art.

8. And people start filming you… or run for their lives!

Credit: Instagram. @subwaycreatures

Yes, it is art, but we can only imagine el pinche susto that her fellow passengers experienced by seeing her in this alien costume. Ay nanita, un bolillo pal susto, porfis. 

9. When an old karate master travels around with a figurine of himself

Credit: Instagram. @subwaycreatures

Is he a ventriloquist or just someone totally obsessed with himself? Whatever the case, we just can’t stop staring at this strange sensei.

10. When you are not sure whether the creepy girl from The Ring is following you around

Credit: Instagram. @subwaycreatures

Talking about small twin figurines. We would storm out of the carriage if we faced this creature that comes out of our darkest nightmares. Samara, please do no take us with you!

11. When you bump into famous actor Paul Giamatti and you don’t know if you should ask him for an autograph or give him un abrazo de oso

Credit: Instagram. @subwaycreatures

Paul Giamatti made a name for himself by playing depressed middle-aged dudes in movies like American Splendor and Sideways. Well, this photo makes us remember his iconic characters. We would have approached him and offered him una chelita y un cotorreo. He just looks so lonely.

12. When you see someone holding a live rat with his teeth. Is that Remy from Ratatouille?

Credit: Instagram. @subwaycreatures

You are going back home and suddenly you see someone carrying a live rodent with his teeth. Is it a pet or just a recently rescued stray ratita? 

13. When there is a pokemon right in the middle of the tracks at the Mexico City crazy and chaotic subway

Credit: Instagram. @metrocdmx

The Mexico City subway is now famous for containing a lot of special creatures from the popular geolocative game Pokemon Go! Just don’t try to catch them all during rush hour!

14. When you see your childhood favorites boarding your wagon

Credit: Instagram. @metronautas_

This vintage photo comes out of a promo shoot featuring the characters from Odisea Burbujas, a show that many Mexicans and Latinos from all over the continent grew up with. Ask your uncles or parents and se les sale una lagrimita.

15. When a woman travels with her calaveras, that seem to be spying on you

Credit: Instagram. @metrocdmx

Strange thing is: this is a totally normal scene in the highly surreal Mexican capital. It is just a woman minding her own business, transporting her calaveras.

16. When you encounter the absolute champion of manspreading 

Credit: Instagram. @bandita_chilanga

Seriously, pendejo, you are taking three seats, including one reserved for people with mobility issues! If there were pendejo Olympics, this champion manspreader would take home two or three gold medals.

17. When the subway turns into a quinces!

Credit: Instagram. @bandita_chilanga

What is more chilango (Mexico City native) than having a photoshoot for your quinces in a subway carriage? Look at the contrasting expressions in the fellow passengers’ faces.

18. When you suddenly meet Shaun the Sheep!

 

Credit: Instagram. @subwaycreatures

It is not enough to bring a gorgeous sheep on the train, you have to add a baseball cap put on backwards to increase the hilarity factor!

19. When this grandma has had enough of those pinches effboys

Credit: Instagram. @subwaycreatures

We wonder if this woman even knows what “No time for fuckboys” even means. Anyway, we love the message. Strong, independent women unite!

20. And the pothead version of Santa Clós makes a guest appearance

Credit: Instagram. @subwaycreatures

OMG, this dude is equally hilarious and adorable. A Santa Claus for those who enjoy un toquecito.

21. When a dude thinks he is Spider-Man in the middle of the trip

Credit: Instagram. @emiliotrevino

OK, then. We just hope the train didn’t come to a sudden halt or the fall must have been bien pinche dolorosa.

22. And when the Mexico City subway turns into Venice, Italy!

Credit: Instagram. @bandita_chilanga

Many stations in the enormous Mexico City subway network need an urgent manita de gato. When it rains in CDMX it really pours, as shown in this photograph that evidences the solidarity of Mexican people. This is a great moment out of an unfortunate situation.

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Luis Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Luis Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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