A New Generation of Latino Artists Update Beyond the Traditional Mexican Lotería Game
SANTA MONICA — There is a particular magic to Lotería, the card game, sometimes described as Mexican bingo and played by generations of Hispanic children, that lasts well into adulthood. It can transport you to an abuela’s house in Mexico, to a cousin’s birthday party in Texas, to a babysitter’s backyard in California.
But it can also make you wince.
Last year, as Mike Alfaro shuffled through an old deck of the game — notable for its folk-art drawings — he blanched at one image of “La Dama,” the lady. The card showed an affluent woman in an old-fashioned full-length skirt-suit, weighed down by flowers and a clutch. It struck him as symbolic of antiquated views about gender and identity within the Latino community. How would this young Hispanic woman identify in 2018, in the United States? He looked at other cards, some with undercurrents of racism and classism. What about those?
So began the process of reimagining Lotería for a new generation in America, with new cards and a message to better fit the times. Drawing on nostalgia and humor, Mr. Alfaro’s parody project, rendered in Spanglish, has caught fire on social media. It has amassed tens of thousands of fans, enough to draw the interest of a publisher that is distributing a full version of the game.
We spoke with Mr. Alfaro, 30, who is a creative director at an advertising agency by day, about how the version..