P R O LO G U E
field notes: thursday, may 22, 1997, 8:00 p.m.
the Pista Arena Revolucion, in the colonia Mixcoac,
crowd is still pretty thin. The ﬁrst few rows are full,
and there are a few groups of spectators scattered among
the upper rows. In the front, small groups of older men sit
together and joke with the concessionaires. Groups of four
or ﬁve teenagers—some male, some mixed, one female—
talk among themselves or buy drinks and snacks from the
vendors. In the southeast corner, a stern couple in their
sixties or seventies sit perfectly straight in their usual seats.
She wears a black housedress, her hair tightly coiffed. Her
husband wears short sleeves and tan work pants, and a
gimme cap that reads pri. The second and third rows are
ﬁlled with families as well as more groups of adults. Tod-
dlers are passed from lap to lap, and fathers buy child-sized
wrestling masks for their sons from a vendor who wanders
from aisle to aisle, a dozen glimmering examples dangling
from a stick, a few more perched on his head.
At 8:05 the lights dim in the arena and focus on the ring
in the center of the room. A muscular young man dressed
in a Powerhouse gym T-shirt, black and white striped