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Fiz - 6.14.06

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Wrestle mania

"Whether out of fear or self-protection, we rarely present our true face to the world. Mexicans are secretive by nature. Our formality is a shield against scrutiny. We use masks all the time," says Father Sergio Gutierrez. Perhaps this explains the wildly popular sport of LuchaLibre, or free-style fight in Spanish.

Throughout human history, wherever two or more have gathered, wrestling has followed. Seventy years ago, professional wrestlers in Mexico began wearing masks, subsuming their own personalities to a character inspired by their new face. Records do not convey whether the acrobatic style associated with LuchaLibre immediately followed, though one can well imagine the freedom engendered by hidden identity. Soon, luchadors were flying through the air and appearing in innumerable films.

Hulk Hogan and the Rock can only dream of a film career approaching the greatest of all screen luchadors. El Santo (1918-1984) first starred in El Emascarado de Plata(The Silver Masked Man) in 1952. Within a decade, he was an action star ala Batman or James Bond, with his Bentley and his amor de dia. El Santo chose to remain enmasked throughout his public career, only revealing his identity (Rudolfo Huerta) after retiring. Thousands followed his funeral procession through Mexico City to the Mausoleodel Angel,where he was buried in his mask.

Father Sergio Gutierrez began his ministry caring for children on the streets of Veracruz. After seeing the wrestling films Fray Tormenta and Fray Tormenta in the Ring, Gutierrez began raising funds for his orphanage by wrestling as Fray Tormenta [Brother Storm]. In recent years, he has become a mentor to a younger group of devout wrestlers, such as Sagrado and Mistico. And he inspired the new Hollywood movie Nacho Libre, starring Jack Black, which opens Friday.

--- Craig Brownlie


Audioblogs: radio reborn

Audioblogs are about discovering new music. A lot of new music. You can listen to the endless wellsprings of music available until your pinna starts to ache, but if you don't know what to look for, it's like shooting spitballs against the side of battleship. This should you give you a jumping-off point with a few reliable sites that will lead you out into the garden of forking paths that is audioblogging.

A fun place to start is FillesSourires (fillessourires.blogspot.com/) which --- according to the site's host --- is defined by: "Girls. Singing in French.Making me sigh." That means Francophonic ditties to make you happy. There is a nice sampling of French bubblegum and ye-ye music from the likes of Francois Hardy and her disciples, but there's also good representation from modern French vocalists like FrancoizBreut and Austine.

'Buked and Scorned (buked.blogspot.com/) is posted by west-coast publisher and writer Mike McConigal, who edits the wonderfully eclectic music journal YETI. McGonigal's site is unique in that he provides in-depth background information about the artists he posts, which is an element most audioblogs lack. 'Buked and Scorned is nicely genre-less, and on any given post you can hear gospel choirs, Jamaican ragtime and emerging neo-folk artists.

Honey, Where You Been So Long (prewarblues.org/) is posted by Peter Patnaik and is a keenly specialized site that collects nothing but esoteric blues from the pre-war era. The site is intelligently organized into sub-categories like Country Blues, Piedmont Blues, Texas Blues, etc. You won't find much by Robert Johnson or Son House, but you can hear loads of curious obscurities like Bo-Weavil Jackson and Henry Spaulding.

A site making recent headlines is Music For Robots, (music.for-robots.com) which posts music from unsigned and independent music acts and which recently got the greenlight from the Warner Brothers label to post one of its budding acts. Bookmark this site for the absolute newest in new.

The mother of all audioblogs is the mp3 aggregator Hype-Machine (hype.non-standard.net), which samples from the best audioblogs and provides an endless, 24-hour stream on a fast, clean, customized Flash player. This is the Rosetta Stone for music available on the web.

The catch with audioblogs is that most music is only posted for a short period of time. However, most allow you subscribe to updates, which allows you to be informed each time there is a new posting. It's like subscribing to a magazine with an eternally free subscription.

--- Michael Neault

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