Over the weekend, Calacas, downtown SanTana's clothing and culture store on the corner of Fourth and Birch streets, officially dished its ultimate chisme. In a blog post entitled, “The Evolution of Calacas,” owners Rudy and Jackie Córdova started off with the story of how they started their small, local business originally located on Bristol Street but everything was worded in the past tense. Once readers got towards the end of the piece, the reason why was finally spelled out.
“Saying all of this, we are closing down our store space this month to
spend more time with our family and to focus our energy and time on our
new cafe venture,” the Córdovas wrote.
I confess! I knew it was coming. As Chicana punk legend Alice Bag and her musicians were setting up for an after-hours Violence Girl book signing/singing event in mid-March at the store, the owners told me over their wooden check-out desk, where all the best chismes are dished, that they were soon going to be closing up shop and had only told a few people including artists and vendors who relied on Calacas to sell their wares.
Since Calacas first opened in 2005, the number of community events it has opened itself to over the years are too numerous to list in full. From the early days of El Sapo Cancionero bohemian shows to a recent Orange County Dream Team lotería fundraiser night, the Chicano curio shop has helped to make the city of SanTana a better place.
Numerous notables have come through the space including art lecturer Gregorio Luke, author Daniel Hernandez, La Cucaracha cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz and the Weekly's own Mexican-in-Chief, Gustavo Arellano. The store was nice enough to rescue Grrl Fair after an eleventh-hour cancellation in 2010. No write-up of the impact of Calacas would be complete, either, without mention of their role the last few years in helping to organize SanTana's annual Noche de Altares Día de los Muertos celebration which has grown over the years to attract more Mexis and other culture curious onlookers than any such event in OC.
Though it's sad to be writing of the closing, it's an evolution that they're speaking of. As noted before, Cafe Calacas next door will remain open and plans to incorporate some of the arts and crafts merchandise into it. In the meantime, after you share your memories below in the comment section, be sure to
get yourself over to Calacas as they are phasing out their inventory and
holding a 50% percent-off everything must go sale. I hope that piñata shirt hilariously captioned “I'd Hit That” will still be there waiting for me! And you know, the store can't go out with at least one more event giving it the proper send off it so deserves.
Until then, the words of the Córdovas' farewell post will forever ring true:
“Always do your best and whenever possible, support local, independent businesses!”
Cafe Calacas and Calacas are located at 324 W. Fourth St.,Santa Ana, CA 92701, Ste. #A and #B.
Gabriel San Roman is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and tallest Mexican in OC.