Things That Matter

Some Mexicans Are Freaking Out Over This Drag Queen Who Dressed Up As La Virgencita To Make A Political Statement

La Virgen de Guadalupe is perhaps the most venerated figure in Mexico. Regardless of religious beliefs, la Guadalupana has become a cultural and national symbol, as it contrasts with the predominantly white images of saints and other religious figures (although if we talk about historical accuracy, chances are that Jesus and his disciples looked mostly Brown, as Middle-Eastern folk).

La Guadalupana is Brown-skinned and symbolizes the mixed-nature of Mexican mestizo culture. On one hand, the Guadalupana is derived from Catholicism, on the other it also echoes Aztec deities such as the goddess Tonantzin Coatlicue, which anthropologists believe the culture around La Virgen de Guadalupe echoes.

Truth is that Mexico is a country that venerates the Virgen de Guadalupe perhaps above all things, in particular each December 12, when millions of worshipers travel from all around the country to venerate her at the Basilica of Guadalupe, the place where Juan Diego, an indigenous man, claims to have encountered her. 

So it came as a shock to some that a drag queen from Mexico City dressed up as La Virgen de Guadalupe.

Credit: margaretyya/ Instagram

Her stage name is Margaret y Ya and she has caused controversy with this very artistic picture that reminds us of the work of Italian photographer Mario Testino. In the image, we can see Margaret y Ya posing with shopping bags.

In the photo shared on her Instagram, she writes an ironic caption: “Bendita seas Santa Virgencita Claus ????????✨ que nos llegaste a evangelizar con consumismo y materialismo estas épocas. ????❄️ ????” This roughly translates as: “Bless you Santa Virgencita Claus, you that brought consumerism and materialism to this time of the year”.

This is more a political and social commentary rather than a religious one, as December 12 has become the kick off of the end of year holidays and its many weeks of frantic shopping. The photo was taken by Mario Aragon and the composition highlights irony. Margaret y Ya told El Universal that her idea was to critique the ways in which religion often becomes a commodity. This is perhaps a slightly blunt way of doing it given Mexico’s sociocultural context, but hey, sometimes the only way of getting people’s attention is being over the top and fabulous. 

And as can be expected, some conservative minds (and many abuelitas, we are sure) pusieron el grito en el cielo, while others just chilled.

We mean, this photograph was meme-ready even from its inception, wasn’t it? So it came as no surprise that some in Twitter used it to expand on the “I’m gonna tell my kids this is…” meme universe!

But it is also clear that Margaret y ya had a very clear audience in mind.

Yes, she wanted to make men and boomers angry, which is exactly what she did! And isn’t art supposed to be provocative in order to make us think, really think about preconceived notions we might need to reconsider?

The question is tough but philosophically interesting: how much of religion is associated with buying and selling stuff? The image was part of Margaret y Ya’s 2018 calendar, but as it resurfaced it got more attention than ever before. 

And some dudes got really angry…

Credit: Valladolid Yucatan Pueblo Magico / Facebook

These two dudes are basically saying that no one messes with La Virgencita and that a sacred symbol should not be tainted. Man, take a chill pill. Comments on the original story at El Universal reveal a deep contrast between those users who yell blasphemy at the first chance, and those who can find a bit of nuance in artistic expression. 

But when it comes to Catholic countries such as Mexico, mixing popular culture and religion with art is prone to cause a lot of controversy. Madonna was almost banned from the country for the “Like a Prayer” video.

A Christ-like figure who was black! That was considered blasphemy at the time, as was the fact that Madonna looked at him lovingly. Seriously, this was a BFD a few decades ago, and for years las buenas costumbres in Mexico dictated that the singer was a persona non grata.

Other works of art, such as Martin Scorsese’s monumental film “The Last Temptation of Christ”, have also been banned and considered blasphemy, as they are interpretations of texts that are considered dogma (infallible truths), and as interpretations they might differ from what the Church says.

This is something similar to the mild scandal involving Margaret y Ya, as she took a longstanding symbol and used it to critique a capitalist way of living that perhaps takes those religiously inclined away from their faith. Although we suspect that in this case some old fashioned homophobia also came into the equation.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

The Mexico City House From Netflix’s “Roma” Is Up For Sale And Could Be Yours For The Right Price

Entertainment

The Mexico City House From Netflix’s “Roma” Is Up For Sale And Could Be Yours For The Right Price

Rodrigo Arangua / Getty Images

Every so often the locations filmed in some of our favorite movies become famous in their own right. Think about the dinosaurs from Peewee’s Big Adventure, the Circus Liquor store from Clueless, or the San Francisco mansion from Full House, close your eyes and you can probably picture them crystal clear.

For the Netflix film Roma, one of its biggest stars has been the house in which many of the film’s scenes were shot. In fact, it’s become a bit of a tourist destination in its own right. And now, as it comes on the market, people are flocking to the property for a chance to see it up close.

The house from Roma is on sale and people are flocking to see it.

Besides being a chronicle of a family during a turbulent moment in history and conveying a complex look at class and gender, Alfonso Cuarón’s award-winning Roma is also that rare film where its primary location feels like a character unto itself. In this case, it’s the Mexico City house where the film’s characters live; over the course of watching, you might feel like you live there yourself.

Now, the house in question is on the market — and cinema buffs and architecture fans alike might be intrigued.

The now famous house doesn’t really standout among the neighboring homes – except for a commemorative plaque.

Credit: Rodrigo Arangua/ Getty Images

Although the house is located in one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods – Roma – it’s located in a quiet corner of the colonia and doesn’t really stand out from any of the other houses. Although upon further inspection, you’ll see a plaque that commemorates the most celebrated Mexican film in decades, Roma.

In the 2018 film, Tepeji 22 stood in for Alfonso Cuarón’s boyhood home, and its facade and patio featured in some of the most memorable scenes.

Cuarón spent the first years of his life in the house across the street, Tepeji 21, but preferred the light in the house opposite to shoot his film and the family agreed. The production designer, Eugenio Caballero, changed the window grilles and retiled the patio, which serves as the set piece for the film’s first scene introducing the film’s protagonist, Cleo, the family’s maid, as she washes dog waste from the floor with soapy water.

The home was painstakingly recreated a set to match Cuarón’s memories.

Credit: Carlos Somante / Roma / Netflix

In a Netflix documentary about the making of the film, Cuáron describes how he tried to find as much of the original furniture as he could, contacting relatives across Mexico to ask them to borrow pieces. And it worked, since so many people who saw the film spoke about its authenticity and beauty.

The home’s owners have put it up for sale but aren’t publicly disclosing the price.

When Roma was nominated for 10 Oscars – and won three, including one for Best Director – the Monreal family (who own the property) welcomed tourists who tracked the movie’s locations through Roma and the rest of the city.

“It hurts,” Monreal told The Guardian, of the decision to sell the house, preferring to keep the reasons for the sale private. “It has given us great satisfaction, we love it. You can’t measure everything that we have lived through here, everything this house has given us: shelter, closeness, a united family.”

Despite the rumors that are swirling across social media, the Monreal family has not publicly shared the asking price for the house. A listing for a four-bedroom house on the same street, which is only two blocks long and not much changed since the 1970s, cited an asking price of about US$760,000.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Is This Peak 2020? La Virgen De Guadalupe Allegedly Appears Inside A Mexico City Pothole

Culture

Is This Peak 2020? La Virgen De Guadalupe Allegedly Appears Inside A Mexico City Pothole

Omgitsjustintime / Instagram

In one many are calling a miracle, some Mexico City residents say that an image of La Virgen de Guadalupe has appeared in their neighborhood, in the middle of a pothole.

Many are so convinced that they’ve turned the site into a holy shrine and visitors from around the city are flocking to the area to pay their respects and offer prayers. But not everyone is convinced with many on Twitter responding with their own supposed visions of the virgin in everything from tacos and heads of lettuce to clouds and tortillas.

Could it be? Did la virgen appear in a Mexico City pothole?

Despite stay-at-home orders, faithful Catholics have been flocking to a pothole in the Mexico City suburb of Nezahualcóyotl. Why? They’re convinced that la Virgen de Guadalupe has made an appearance in a pothole, thanks to an image which residents say bears a miraculous image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

According to neighbors, the image appeared on December 9 soon after the pothole was filled for the second time in a row.

Locals told the newspaper El Universal that the pothole had been left unrepaired for two years, but then workers showed up to repair it last week. When traffic caused the hole to reopen, a worker came by a second time to fix the hole. That evening, neighbors say, the image of the virgin appeared on the fresh concrete.

Residents in the area have already turned the new holy site into a shrine.

Local resident Beatriz Noriega Ramírez was one of a group of neighbors who taped off the site and surrounded it with candles and flowers in tribute.

“News is already circulating about the appearance of the virgin and people have begun to arrive to say prayers,” she said. “Even sick people have been asking from their cars to be healed.”

Neighbors of the new virgin told reporters that they felt blessed to have Mexico’s most beloved holy figure make an appearance in their neighborhood.

“In these such difficult pandemic times, it’s a message that the virgin is with us,” said a visibly emotional resident.

And the discovery comes just as Catholics celebrated the virgin’s holy day.

The image appeared on December 9, a holy day for Mexican Catholics for it is the day the virgin is said to have first appeared in Mexico, in 1531, to an indigenous man known as Juan Diego.

Catholics just marked the Virgin of Guadalupe’s feast day on Saturday. Her basilica, in a zone of the city known as Villa Guadalupe, usually attracts 8–10 million visitors in the days leading up to December 12. However, this year police-manned barricades kept all but locals from accessing the streets near the basilica on Friday and Saturday. All church activities on both days at the basilica were canceled to discourage large crowds.

However, many Twitter users reacted with skepticism.

Honestly, we’re just waiting for our tías and abuelas to start sending this around with a blessing attached. It is only a matter of time before we see this photo all over our newsfeeds because of the very family members mentioned above.

And let’s be honest. This isn’t the first time people have claimed to have had a religious figure appear in strange places.

In 1977, a Latina mother in New Mexico became the first person to spot Jesus Christ on a tortilla. As Angelica Rubio recalled for The Eater, the discovery of the tortilla convinced her mother to set up a dedicated shrine to the tortilla to make sure people could come to see the miracle. The tortillas, made by Rubio’s mother every morning, held a surprise one morning as she saw a burn mark in one tortilla that looked just like the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com