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The Mesmerizing Walter

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kay.qxd

About time that the mesmerizing Walter Mercado landed in the Reader! John Sanchez's article (3/13) was astutely funny, but why the debut delay?

I was at Borders' Clark and Diversey store last June 20 for Walter's Beyond the Horizon book signing. When the elevator doors finally parted, there was Walter making a very grandiose entrance along with three huge walkie-talkie-totin' bodyguards plus additional staff entourage (including una artista de maquillaje)--to an appallingly diminutive waiting crowd of maybe 25 people tops, mostly native Spanish-speakers. Granted, Borders screwed up royally in not having even a single copy available en espa–ol, let alone not better publicizing the event, but if I could see their in-house signage posted earlier in the week and show up hungover for a priceless roll of snapshots, where was the Reader? New City? Chicago Tribune? How about just one of the gay papers? Nobody.

Walter handled it all very graciously, after a few moments of quite deserved initial incomprehension, but will he really just forget how this initial crossover attempt was received in Chicago? He regularly draws hundreds, thousands at his typical Spanish-speaking-oriented appearances.

Enclosed is a copy of Michael Musto's TWO-YEAR-OLD Village Voice column blurb and photo of La Mercado. Why doesn't this stuff get printed here sooner?! (The ultra-fab Colombian music group Aterciopelados was similarly ignored by local English-speaking press here for their June '97 Aragon show, although they too had repeatedly been covered in more world-oriented English-speaking NY publications.) What really prompted this letter was seeing Lewis Lazare's lament in the same 3/13 Reader issue about Chicago's recent loss of Feigen Incorporated and Phyllis Kind galleries to New York. Gee, I wonder why.

ÁArriba Walter!

Lee Kay

N. Halsted

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