Dilettante 29: Mexican Bus

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A “party bus” may not be the most original idea, but 20 years ago it sort of was. Especially when done like this. Trust anyone who says San Francisco’s Mexican Bus has represented for and even preserved Latinx culture in the Citay. And fashionably.

The Mexican Bus fleet, since “El Volado” took flight in 1990, has also singlehandedly transported virtual hordes of non-Latinx people into a state of relative education about the rich Chicano roots of the neighborhood they’re drinking in.

yes this is my ticket from that night. no I’m not a hoarder I just knew I would use this piece of paper again 20 years later for a computer diary, so that tales of the mexican bus would survive the transfer to digital life

Complaints about gentrification in the Mission District over the past 20 years are real, persistent, and city-threatening. Such is the state of the world at a time when income inequality is as high or possibly higher than it was during the Great Depression.

On the other hand, the Mission is now recognized as an American neighborhood treasure, a vibrant and colorful celebration of Mexican-American and Latinx heritage and tradition. Day of the Dead goes off down there, and people come from all over the world to partake in Carnaval as well. This cultural continuity despite obvious obstacles is all thanks to a handful of organizations who have held down the Mission since the days of Cesar Chavez.

In this hood, if you want to know about the murals that surround and overwhelm you, you go to Precita Eyes Mural Center. And if you want a ride that impresses all your friends, you catch the Mexican Bus.


Click through to read “Ms. Burkes’ wild Mexican bus ride,” originally published in the SF Bay Guardian on October 20, 1998.

This is the 29th entry in my “twenty years ago this week” project from when I was a nightlife columnist at the Bay Guardian, once the country’s largest family-owned weekly newspaper. These “Dilettante” clips, compiled on my portfolio page, create a serial portrait of San Francisco culture at the turn of the century (1997-2001).

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El Volado


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