Blondie's on Calle Muerto
Blondie's is a bar on the corner of Myrtle and Cotton on the edge of downtown El Paso, about seven or eight blocks from where Cinco Puntos has it's offices. Blondie's is an old-fashioned Mexican bar. Probably best, if you're a gavacho, to go in Blondie's with a Chicano friend. Or at least know how to speak Spanish. The sign is hand-painted, and it possesses that essence of fronterizo aesthetics, what Chicanos call "rasquache," where too much is never enough. In the Cinco Puntos anthology Puro Border we did a whole section on rasquache. But I don't want to get into a long riff about rasquache right now. I just wanted to put this picture on the blog. I love this picture.
And to add a note about Myrtle Avenue. It's known by los viejos in the neighborhood as Calle Muerto. Death Street. Jesus, I thought, what a gruesome name. I asked a friend of mine, Why is Myrtle called Calle Muerto? He laughed at me. "Because we couldn't say 'Myrtle,' that's why."