Lifting Spirits with Laughter
Irrespective of where we live or what we do for a living, the stresses of daily life are something we all entertain begrudgingly. Sometimes the coping mechanisms used are suspect and frowned upon. Sometimes they are practical and beneficial to our struggles. Whatever method we employ to deal with the burdens of life, one thing is certain: it takes more effort to frown than to laugh!
Putting a smile on the faces of a crowd in Mexico City is what gives “Chicolin” job satisfaction. For 36 years this man behind the makeup has lifted, soothed and aided in people’s escape to a more “happy place”. “It’s a name I was given when I first started doing this work because I was short and it fit my persona”, he shares.
Content to share only his “stage name”, Chicolin is one of several hundred, if not thousands of street performers who oftentimes serve a function not unlike a psychologist or social worker. He belongs to a group that doesn’t ask you about your problems or issues, but instead, helps you put them aside for a short bit while your mind is tethered to a pure and unhindered moment in time.
The Mexico City native, who can often be found on pedestrian-friendly Calle Madero with a small ensemble of performers, knows all too well what works with certain crowds and what flops with others. The content sometimes borders on racy or risqué subjects, yet it’s wholesome for the most part and speaks to “picaros mexicanos”. As he points out, “picaros Mexicanos are what we know as common, everyday folk humor delivered through “chistes” (jokes). This is what people love to come out and hear us talk about. It’s what they recall the older people, maybe grandparents or uncles sitting around the table chatting about. It’s a past-time, it’s something that’s gotten us by and has helped us endure. As for the kids, especially the real young ones, some cry when they see our vibrant costumes and makeup, but for the most part, we bring smiles and laughter. It’s definitely a family attraction! And, we want to keep it that way.”
Mexicounmasked.com would like to thank “Chicolin” for his time and for doling out laughter in times when it’s become more necessary than ever! Keep laughing and smiling everyone!
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