Guadalajara Feature


Slowly Shaking Off Stereotypes

Guadalajarans have begun to come into their own. Called Tapatíos (a name possibly derived from the Nahuatl word tlapatiotl, a pre-Hispanic measure of payment), Guadalajarans admit to a long-standing rivalry with chilangos, a mildly derogatory term for Mexico City natives. Decades of official neglect from the government have made this derision commonplace in the "provinces," the term used by capital dwellers to refer to the country outside of Mexico City. As Mexico's second city, the provincial stereotype dogs Guadalajara. Despite having a population of 4.1 million (with several million more living in the greater metro area), Guadalajara lacks the plethora of culture synonymous with the D.F. (for Distrito Federal, or Mexico City). Major art expositions rarely open here, in part due to a dearth of galleries and energetic curators. Plans for a new Guggenheim museum in Guadalajara recently fell through due to the economic downturn. But a large, vocal gay community is steadily establishing a niche with bars and other establishments. And non-Catholic congregations hold celebrations with little protest from the public, which is more than 90% Catholic. And while most touring musicians choose the capital for their Mexico stops, more mainstream groups (The Killers, Alanis Morissette, and Peter Gabriel all played shows in 2009) are dropping in on the Tapatíos.

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