Lucha libre smackdown returns to South Park

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Lucha Libre Volcánica wrestlers at the 2012 South Park exhibition. (Photo by Latino Cultural - Mauricio Ayón / Seattle Department of Neighborhoods)(Photo by Latino Cultural Deportes – Mauricio Ayón / Seattle Department of Neighborhoods)

Looking to get some culture this weekend? The best little neighborhood in South Seattle has the ticket for you.

If you’ve never witnessed lucha libre before, you’re in for a treat. This Saturday Lucha Libre Volcánica is presenting South Park’s 3rd annual exhibition of Mexican-style professional wrestling.

Lucha libre (literally “free wrestling”) is the second most popular sport in Mexico, behind soccer, and although there are some similarities to WWE-style American professional wrestling, the two developed completely independently. The Mexican version has a proud history dating back to the 1860′s and growing popularity in the U.S., U.K. and Japan.

No disrespect to my childhood hero, Nature Boy Ric Flair, but Lucha Libre is superior to it’s northern neighbor in 3 key ways:

1. It’s more acrobatic: The most popular luchadores tend to be in smaller weight classes and there’s an emphasis on high-flying aerial moves rather than just giant guys beating on each other.

2. Masks: Lucha Libre masks are said to be inspired by Aztec art. Also they’re funny when you put them on a small child or a dog.

3. It’s more democratic: Sure, there are big stars and televised matches in Lucha Libre just like WWE. But the beating heart of the sport is at small exhibitions like the one in South Park on Saturday. Anyone can become a luchador (yes, even you grandma). In fact, there’s talk of Lucha Libre Volcánica opening a fitness-based community gym in South Park.

And finally, while American professional wrestling is staged to play up the drama and violence, Lucha Libre is one hundred percent real. No, really kids. Completely real.

Come down to the free show at Duwamish Waterway Park, 7900 10th Ave S, to find out for yourself. The action starts at 6pm on Saturday, August 17th following the Duwamish River Festival.

Lucha Libre Volcánica wrestlers at the 2012 South Park exhibition. (Photo by Latino Cultural - Mauricio Ayón / Seattle Department of Neighborhoods)(Photo by Latino Cultural – Mauricio Ayón / Seattle Department of Neighborhoods)

Luchador Mike "El Sonico" Jacinto poses with a fan in 2012. (Photo by Latino Cultural – Mauricio Ayón / Seattle Department of Neighborhoods)(Photo by Latino Cultural – Mauricio Ayón / Seattle Department of Neighborhoods)

(Photo by Latino Cultural – Mauricio Ayón / Seattle Department of Neighborhoods)(Photo by Latino Cultural – Mauricio Ayón / Seattle Department of Neighborhoods)

(Photo by Latino Cultural – Mauricio Ayón / Seattle Department of Neighborhoods)(Photo by Latino Cultural – Mauricio Ayón / Seattle Department of Neighborhoods)

Lucha Libre Poster

Alex is a cofounder and editor of The Seattle Globalist. He's a visual journalist whose work has been published by PBS, The Seattle Times, FRONTLINE/World and the Seattle Weekly.  Alex teaches journalism in the University of Washington's Department of Communication and recently directed the documentary film Barzan.

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