As the 33rd annual book fair in Tijuana was coming to an end, a completely different book fair was starting up. The first fair of independent publications hosted by Raices Infoshop, Food Not Bombs, Publicaciones #0, and other collectives took place in the plaza by the arch (El Reloj) in downtown Tijuana on July 3rd, 4th, and 5th. With no sponsorship of any kind, the fair was as DIY as it could possibly be.
The independent/vegan/anarchist/feminist fair kicked off on July 3rd at 1:30 p.m. with a workshop aimed at women (“taller de copa menstrual”) while the animal-friendly documentary Cowspiracy played in a nearby basement. It was followed by a workshop to create your own zine, while a presentation of another zine (titled “Stories from the West Bank from a Queer Chicana Against Occupation”) was being displayed in the outside plaza.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, workshops and presentations included: how to make your own feminine towel, a photograph exhibition and film printing with “selfie time,” anarchist discussions, bike rides with the homies, and anti-border migrant solidarity rally. Once it got dark, the fair moved to music venues for after-parties with bands and musicians from Tijuana, Rosarito, Monterrey, San Diego, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Denver.
“We had hundreds of people between Friday and Saturday, though not that many on Sunday,” said Boyd Calvert, co-founder of Raices. With New Orleans Saints tattoos decorating his arm, long blond hair, and blue eyes behind rimmed glasses, it is obvious that Calvert is not a local.
“We had over 15 tables of merchants mostly selling fanzines, used books and their own art on Saturday. People came not only from the border area, but also from all over Mexico and the United States. For being our first fair, it went really well. We sold out on food, sold a lot of books and zines…it was great. It will definitely be better next year.”
Besides doing the vegan cooking, Calvert taught people how to make soap on Sunday.
Calvert moved to Tijuana in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. After a short stint in San Diego, he then moved back home a year later. He moved back to Tijuana in 2014 to open a collective with his friend Ivan Gallardo. They acquired space near the arch in downtown at the beginning of 2015 and quickly partnered with other collectives.
Though the fair is over, the space still has many fanzines, a lending library, public computers, community events, DIY workshops, ESL classes, as well as free meals for at-risk migrants in Tijuana.
You can find Calvert and his pitbull, Curtis, as well as the rest of the collectives and collaborators, near the arch in downtown Tijuana every day after 11 a.m. and until dark, in the pet- and family-friendly space that is Raices Infoshop.