North America: Heart & Soul
Infinite. Vast. The challenge is daunting: what is the true face of North America? Join us on a journey through lesser-known yet essential havens of music, culture and hipsters.
Text: MARIANO TACCHI @playeroycasual
phOTO: Third Man Records
Third Man Records
When singer Jack White decided to set up his base of operations in Nashville, the country music capital of the United States gained a powerful ally. Not only because his headquarters is strategically located in an up-and-coming neighborhood, but because its presence has also attracted more artists to the city. Third Man Records is three things: an office for the eponymous record label, a recording studio and a record store, the latter being one of its biggest draws. Taking pride in its trade, the store features an impressive quantity of impeccable vinyl selections, with an emphasis on its own productions and artists’ debut recordings. And next to Third Man, The Novelties Lounge specializes in antiques like record players.
623 7th Avenue South
phOTO: ©Dominic Schaefer
Granville Island Public Market
Despite its small size – and the fact that it’s not really an island – Granville is a tourist magnet. Once you get here, it’s tough to leave. Originally an industrial center, Granville Island is now one of the city’s main attractions. In addition to various boutique hotels, seafood restaurants and the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the island is home to the city’s public market. The market’s appeal extends beyond the quality of its products to the variety of its vendors, which range from farmers who come in from the country to sell their wares to enologists who offer their self-made wine, as well as florists, bakers and fishermen. It’s the kind of variety one can expect from a town market located in the middle of a city.
1689 Johnston St.
phOTO: Arturo Quinteros
By day, Arena México is just another building. By night, however, it’s a postcard-worthy Mexico City icon, a cathedral with a wrestling ring at its center, where masked men face off “mano a mano.” But the physical spectacle isn’t just theater, it’s part of the country’s identity. One wrestler represents Good and the other, Evil. One is honorable; the other a villian. One is focused on family and hard work; the other on fame and riches. It’s these dualities that make the arena’s socio-cultural mix so varied; it’s all part of the magic that goes on inside the ring. But the real magic happens outside the stadium, where vendors sell wrestlers’ masks. You’ll find all kinds, from icons like El Santo and Blue Demon to other creations that are more open to interpretation, like the Mexican versions of Captain America and Iron Man.
Doctor Lavista 189, Cuauhtémoc
phOTO: Ari Maldonado
Stand-up comedy culture is a powerful force in the United States, and New York is arguably its epicenter. This city determines whether a comedian is actually funny or not, and the real litmus test is the Comedy Cellar, which can catapult hopefuls to the big leagues. The Cellar isn’t just a stage, it’s something of a test: there’s a very real possibility of being heckled, and the other comedians are never more than three yards away. Luminaries who have performed here include Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, Louis CK and the up-and-coming Amy Schumer. One bit of advice: never – ever – sit near the stage, unless your sense of humor and/or patience borders on the superhuman. This is the frontline for comedians on the warpath.
Nueva York, USA
117 Macdougal St.
phOTO: ©The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
Andy Warhol Museum
It’s impossible to imagine the history of pop culture without Andy Warhol. By the same token, it’s hard to conceive of the artist without New York, a city that figures so heavily into his work. Warhol was actually born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, however, and like any prominent native son, he has one of the finest museums – and the largest dedicated to any one artist – in the United States. Just look at the numbers: more than 88,000 square feet house more than 900 paintings, 200 works on paper, 4,000 photos, 100 sculptures and thousands of hours of recorded work. And that’s not even counting the works on display in traveling exhibitions. Perhaps the most revealing is his personal collection, including the first sketches of the Campbell’s Soup Cans and pieces by other fellow artists from the 1960s.
117 Sandusky St.
The First Starbucks
Rainy Seattle, the capital of grunge, is home to one of the world’s biggest franchises: Starbucks. It began as a simple coffee shop across from Seattle’s main market, where the fishermen deliver salmon caught just hours before. This particular Starbucks has two unusual characteristics. First, the café has retained its original façade, unchanged from the day it opened: the now-legendary local looks like any ordinary coffee shop. Second, the premise is somewhat deceptive: it’s not really the first Starbucks, but rather the second. The first location no longer exists and was just a place for grinding coffee beans.
1912 Pike Pl.
phOTO: ©Cafe Tacuba
Café de Tacuba
It’s true: the Mexican rock band takes its name from this place. Located in the Mexico City’s historic center, blocks from the main square (the Zócalo), Café de Tacuba is one of the city’s most important culinary scenes. Not only because of the quality of the food, but for its rich history. Founded in 1912, the Café de Tacuba has served as a meeting place for intellectuals, politicians, artists and a variety of influential figures from Mexican history. Its colonial style – represented in its architecture and its murals – perfectly complements the menu, which focuses on traditional local fare, including the very popular chiles en nogada.
Calle de Tacuba 28, Cuauhtémoc