Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Longest Story Ever Told

Holy shit, we had no idea that something as simple as a crucifixion would involve so much standing around under the searing hot Mexican (semi)desert sun. But rather than just jumping into the part everyone came to see, the Via Crusis at La Cañada first acts out the entire last half of the New Testament, without omitting a single word or detail. We were worried Jesus was going to die of natural causes before the thing was over. Anyway, our staff photographer sent back these pictures.

Jesús was played this year in an unbilled performance by Luis Guzmán.

Music by the USC Trojans Marching Band (also unbilled - this has got to be some sort of union issue).

Driving the money changers from the temple was easy. The taco vendors, not so much.

Here, the Querétaro State Police watch as the centurions flog and torture Jesús. Because the Bible has something to teach everyone.

After about four hours of Passion Play - which, let us say here, is obviously the biggest, most expensive event of the year in La Cañada, and is actually very well done; the costumes are authentic, the actors can kinda sorta act - the scene shifts from the center of town to a parched, craggy hilltop about a mile away.

The crowd was appropriately reverent. The gentleman above almost left the house wearing his "I Choked Linda Lovelace" t-shirt, but at the last minute, thought better of it. During the actual crucifixion (and by 'actual,' we mean 'fake'; Mexicans are crazy, but not, like Filipino crazy [note: don't click that link]) the silence was broken several times by vendors crying "paletas-paletas-paletas..." of which the Fenway Park equivalent would be "heyICEcream heah..." Given the bread-and-circus culture that prevailed in the Roman Empire, this was probably an authentic touch, but jarring nonetheless.

Jesús thinks you're a jerk! Seriously, we've been standing on this god-forsaken rock for an hour and a half waiting to see a crucifixion, and when it happens, you open up a beach umbrella? Homeboy's dying for your sins, and you can't stand a little direct sunlight on the top of your pumpkin?

Anyway, this forced our photographer to move lightly to the left, allowing him to capture the one artsy image this no-talent hack managed to shoot for us.

He wanted to call it "Crown of Thorns," but our editor preferred "The Mexiah."

Update: What is it with Good Friday and Girls Gone Wild?

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