Sunday, September 12, 2010

Naked Women, Fandango Dancers, Bullfighters and Beer Signs…

Thanks to serendipidy and an old book, today’s post is for Will Rust, ECD at Ogilvy in Budapest:

     The Laredo is a pleasant, restful place, known to only a few Anglos. The walls are painted a kind of smoky aquamarine and are hung with many fine commercial lithographs, of such subjects as horses, bullfighters, naked women, fandango dancers, vaqueros swinging their reatas at stampeding cattle, and scouts in charro dress following Indian sign across the llano.

The most spectacular print is a large calendar from the Tecate Cervezaria of Cuidad Mexico that hangs over the back bar. It represents, in brilliant color, an Indian youth bravely mounting the stairway of an Aztec pyramid to become a human sacrifice, while a beautiful maiden crouches at his feet, imploring him to save himself – presumably for her.

So after he hung the calendar, Don Antonio decided to remove it. It was too pagan, too dolorous. But several patrons protested and so he left it. Now three signs tacked to the wall overlap the edges of the print, and so it has become a permanent part of the Laredo’s décor. The signs are in Spanish and, translated literally, say: WE DO NOT SERVE MINORS OF AGE; A PEARL, AS A FAVOR (which refers to another brand of beer); and BARBECUE, TRIPE, AND TRIPE SOUP.

Sig Byrd’s Houston by Sigman Byrd, Viking Press, New York, 1955.

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