Best Piñatas, July 2005
The piñata is the ultimate in counterfeit entertainment, an unapologetic collision of pop and folk cultures. It is at once artful and disposable, handcrafted and mass-produced, a paste-and-tissue knockoff of every kiddie icon Hollywood has ever copyrighted. In L.A. the piñata universe is centered along a stretch of East Olympic Boulevard, just off Central Avenue, on the fringes of downtown’s toy and garment districts. A dozen storefronts compete for business, their papier-mâché SpongeBobs and Teletubbies and Shreks spilling onto the sidewalk. None boasts the labyrinthine splendor, though, of Tapia Produce, with its aisles of spices and nuts, hardware and pottery—plus grown-up piñatas in the shape of Tecate cans.