Category: El Celso

Photo Diary: ¡No Habla Español! at Pandemic — an all around good time.


Celso’s wall of chicha, with C-Monstruo shout-out. :-)


Internacional Privados: An original chicha poster from northern Peru.


A view of the mini chicha disco. Sensory overload in a mere 16 square feet.

Opening night for Celso’s ¡No Habla Español! at Pandemic was all kinds of fun. Thanks so much to everyone who came out. We danced, we drank, we danced some more — in a teeny weeny discoteca — into the night. The show is up through April 2nd, so you have plenty of time to shake some ass in the mini-disco. Plus, there’s always the closing party (April 2nd at 7pm). See you there!

An addendum: Public Radio International’s show Afropop has an excellent show on the history of cumbias. They have a whole section devoted to Peruvian chicha cumbias, describing their origins and their use of those super duper psychedelic surf guitars. If you want to get a sense of what these Peruvian chicha posters are all about, give this program a listen. Also, here’s a photo essay devoted to Elliot Túpac Urcuhuaranga, of the family behind Publicidad Viusa — makers of chicha posters.

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This Friday: ¡No Habla Español! at Pandemic in Williamsburg.


Celso y C-Monstruo: Amores Perros. A Peruvian chicha poster — imported to Brooklyn. (Photo by C-M.)

One of my ongoing fascinations with Lima (which I’ve touched on in the past) is the soup of fog that covers the city about six months out of the year. It’s a phenomenon that seems to soak up all brightness and makes the desert ecosystem (already harsh) look even more apocalyptically inhospitable. It’s alluded to in countless works of Peruvian fiction (from novels by Mario Vargas Llosa to Daniel Alarcón), and is even discussed in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick — in the chapter on whiteness. (It is “the strangest, saddest city, thou cans’t see,” he wrote. “For Lima has taken the white veil; and there is a higher horror in this whiteness of her woe.”)

Which brings to me to my ongoing interest in Peruvian chicha posters — the cheaply-printed band posters produced in an array of neon-colored inks. As Celso pointed out to me during our last trip around Peru, it’s almost as if they produce their own light. Perhaps a requirement in a place where sharp edges are often dulled by the perpetual mist.

This Friday, Celso is going to be showing a collection of these — along with collages and a mini chicha/cumbia disco installation that accommodates two people for dancing (I helped with the soundtrack!!) — at Pandemic Gallery in Williamsburg. But we wanted folks to see what the posters look like installed around the foggy Peruvian capital, so we made a short video about it (see below). It includes a bit of footage from our trip to meet Fortunato Urcuhuaranga at Publicidad Viusa, the family-run studio that originated this look in the ’80s. (It is now widely copied all over the country.) And features some spectacular audio of me mumbling. If you want to learn more, Creative Review also has a great video on these wonderful folks.

Anyhow, please come to the opening this Friday to check out the show! It should be a ton of fun.

El Celso
¡No Habla Español!
Pandemic Gallery
37 Broadway (btw. Kent & Wythe)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Friday, March 11, 2011
7-11pm

For more info, click here.

The Digest. 02.09.11.


¡Sin Esperenza ni temor!, by El Celso, a poster made in the chicha style — a collaboration with the esteemed Fortunato Urcuhuaranga at Publicidad Viusa, in Lima. (Photo by C-M.)

Congrats to JP for winning the C-Mon Giveaway for Skateboarding.3D.