The Theater: Authentic Pachuco

Every night last week flashy, rowdy crowds formed around a dirty Mexico City music hall called the Folies Bergere. Even at ii o'clock, when the second show began, they stormed the doors and raced up to the gallery. They were there to see Mexico City's popular clown—zoot-suited, 27-year-old Tin Tan (real name: German Valdes), billed as "The Only Authentic Pachuco."*

Tin Tan can plummet his voice from coloratura soprano to Chaliapin bass. But-it is not his voice that enthralls his fans, it is his lingo. For Tin Tan is a master of pocho,...

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