Tapia Produce

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.