During the recent presidential campaign, a dire prophecy spread throughout the media: if we were not careful, there would be taco trucks on every corner. This, unfortunately, has not happened. Yet. The fact is that Mexican food and its purveyors are a permanent fixture in the United States food scene. The San Antonio Chili Queens and the San Francisco Tamale Men of the early 20th century shaped local and national food culture and introduced spicy flavors into an otherwise bland meat-and-potato culture. Today amid innumerable joints hawking burritos, enchiladas, tostadas, and the occasional torta, the mark of authenticity is the so-called “street taco”—a lackluster English translation for tacos de la calle—which can be found in small homemade stands and foo trucks in most major cities or, paradoxically, in sit-down restaurants and supermarket frozen food section. In this globalized food market, the taquero reigns supreme.
Chicano cartoonist and activist Lalo Alcaraz has taken the taquero and conferred guru status upon him. The Taco Cart Guy, who frequently appears in Alcaraz’s syndicated strip La Cucaracha, is both street sage and critical observer on the idiosyncrasy of American culture. This exhibition, A Taco Cart Guy on Every Corner, hopes to bring attention to the ways that Alcaraz’s reflections on food and culture offer a concise and witty interrogation of today’s political discourses about race, equality, and citizenship.
—— Brian L. Price, BYU Department of Spanish and Portuguese
This exhibition is in conjunction with the 26th Conference on Spanish in the United States at BYU on April 6-8, 2017. Additional conference organizers: Scott Alvord and Greg Thompson, BYU Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
Lalo’s Homepage: http://laloalcaraz.com/