Around this time last year on a Sunday, late summer, I made a trip to Tepito with the homie Mazaki from Japon. Strolling through this legendary, chaotic, historical, and powerful black market, one thing ( in the mountains of sneakers, clothes, DVDs and .99 Store musthaves) grabbed my eye . The Tepito owl.
There was a young street kid, hustler, with a bird cage strapped around his neck. I disregarded the other exotic birds sitting in the cage as regular parrots, which they probably weren’t. The thing that seemed unreal to me for the first minute, was the miniaturized owl perched on the edge of the cage. No way. I snapped a quick flick with my BlackBerry , slick as can be.
Or so I thought. Photos are prohibited in this (black) market area. About an hour later the same kid walks up to me. Was he tracking me down? I thought he might try to get his Education of Sonny Carson (1974) on, really step on my line. But he basically told me off for taking his picture while he was illegally pushing exotic animals. It was cool to see the baby owl again, though.
I just told him that was a dope owl and it needed its picture taken. He understood, I think. And no one was cut.
Makes me marvel at the market savvy of these Tepito hustlers. I’m thinking they were building off the popularity of Harry Potter. How serious would that be for a kid if her dad brings her home a pet owl, just like the characters in the book?
Well, now you know where to go America.