icpiticayotl caja de audio toques transitio mx festival from arc-video on Vimeo.

The ancient Mexican tradition of electro (toque) therapy, once thought to have disappeared, is making a come back and is much needed in these dire times.
Toquero in Mex

A friend recently called me about info on Toqueros. I don’t even know if that is the correct term for men who would carry a small electric generator, and for a small fee, you can hold on to two metal bars connected to the generator and get an electric shock. My homie had looked around and didn’t find much. I told I would ask around. Then he sent me this site.

As a child I saw Toqueros in Olvera Street, TJ and even in Hermosillo, Zacatecas. As an adult, sadly, I never noticed them if they were around. I enjoyed doing it. My dad would see them and we’d go over to see. My dad would do it. Sometimes he would hold one bar and hold my hand as I would hold the other bar and both get shocked.

There were claims that these low watt shocks (for as long as you can bare it) as being good for your blood, to cure hangovers, to sober you up, invigorate your libido and maybe curl or straighten your hair.

I haven’t seen them as an adult.

If I ever find myself at Di)))_land I will go into the Penny Arcade and use the “Electro Shock Machine” before I leave. It wakes me up and gives me a boost for the drive home.

I bet they would work well in the saturated LA bar scene.

4 thoughts on “Toques

  1. Crossing the border from El Paso to Juarez we would see “los toques” throuhg Juarez’s downtown area. Many, many years ago

  2. Yep, growing up in on the Tijuana/San Diego border, I saw many a sailor, boracho, valiente proving their manhood with the roving Toque car-battery. In the 90s a Cal-Arts grad from Texas, Ismael de Anda made a short film “Toque” as an art project. He filmed it in an El Paso bar and that was about the last time I heard of or saw one of those things. Not so “ancient” or “Mexican”, Pachuco. I think one of the first toqueros was Benjamin Franklin. He got hooked flying kites during electrical storms, then moved onto the 1749 first battery apparatus, which he named “battery”. It’s all about the Benjamins.

  3. Ben Franklin heard about ancient Chicanos giving each other toques and so he stole the idea, packaged and marketed. Typical, usual appropriation and capitalization of our art and culture.
    If we don’t make our own myths, who will?

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