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Yesterday, a couple of us here at Collaborate Philly got the chance to interview the co-founder of Chikara for a forthcoming web series! If you have never heard of Chikara, and you have any interest whatsoever in storytelling and creativity, then you are sorely missing out.
Chikara is basically a lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) outfit located here in the Philadelphia area. Now, you may either be thinking, "I used to be into wrestling, but not since I was eight-years-old" or, "No. Nope. Never."
Get those thoughts out of your head! I used to watch the typical American wrestling programs as a child. I would sit in front of our television and watch with glee as the Undertaker did his super Undertaker move on his fellow spandex-wearing opponent. I can't remember too much about any of it. I wasn't too invested in the whole WWE or WWF or whatever it was called back then, and lost interest pretty fast.
I say all of this, because the next time Chikara has a match, I will be right there, glued to my seat, as I watch mask-wearing, ice-cream-weaponized, absurdist characters fight for truth, justice and, well, like I said, absurdity.
Staying true to lucha libre history, these matches include story lines, character building and real stakes on the line. When a luchador is forced to remove his or her mask, it is a truly devastating moment in a Mexican wrestler's career.
Chikara's use of media really impressed me. They have a comic book series in which their luchadores are featured. They had one of the first wrestling podcast, have their own Youtube page and the blog on their website is written by the wrestlers themselves. It's a great way to get inside of these characters' heads in ways that American wrestling storytelling just doesn't allow.
You don't have to be a fan of wrestling to enjoy Chikara. You just have to be a fan of creativity.
Look for our piece about Chikara soon!