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  • Paula Tiberius

Vivisection Of A Taco Stand

When we moved to the valley recently, Violet started at a new daycare, en route to which is this taco stand.

I’ve had the opportunity to really examine this disturbing mural, as the intersection of Oxnard and Laurel Canyon is a busy one, and we’re often stopped at the light. Violet finds it fascinating, and has asked me several questions about every detail of it. Often I can only answer with guesses, or further questions.

For example:

Violet: “What is that pig doing, mama?”

Me: “Well I guess he’s being cooked in the pot.”

Violet: “Is he peeing when he’s not in the pot?”

Me: “I think that’s water dripping from the pig after he’s cooked, but now that you mention it, it does seem like he’s still alive, and peeing.”

Violet: “That man is mean who has the knife.”

Me: “Well he probably has to harden his heart to be able to kill the pig.”

Violet: “We kill pigs, Mama?”

Me: “We don’t, but people do. We eat pigs. Well, I don’t, but Daddy does.”

Violet: “Yes, Daddy eats pigs, but you don’t eat pigs. Do I eat pigs?”

Me: “I don’t know, do you? You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”


Me: “And the guy making soft tacos looks kind of nervous, or shifty.”

Violet: “Danny Rebus has shifty eyes on The Electric Company. That’s what Francine says.”

Violet: “Is that a popsicle, Mama?”

Me: “Where?”

Violet: “The pink popsicle where the man has a knife.”

Me: “No, it’s not a popsicle. It’s the pig meat, after they slice it.” But dear god it looks like three penis heads stacked on top of each other. How could the artist not notice that? “Also, that guy with the knife looks really stupid.”

Violet: “Mama, we don’t say stupid.”

Violet: “And what’s wrong with that cactus?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Violet: “It has two — things. Why does it have two things?”

Me: “It’s true they usually have three in pictures, but I guess this one has two.”

Violet: “And the other one has two.”

Me: “Right. They both only have two arms – that is kind of weird.”

And let’s be truthful here, people. The whole fucking mural is weird! It’s disturbing, and weird. Any genius three year old could tell you that! Every time I pass by Tacos El Toro, I am so grateful to be a vegetarian.

UPDATE! April 2, 2012

After I posted this, my cousin’s curiosity got the best of her, and she posted this update on Facebook. Thanks Liisa! Who knew you were so impatient? I have the same weakness, yet it didn’t occur to me to call the place, let alone walk in!


Liisa Priyanka Lugus ah, i have no patience and free long distance, so i called. it wasn’t a manager, the owner or a family friend. they hired an artist and paid him to do it. the inspiration for the images were entirely the artists’. and he died 3 years ago. unsure if the two facts are connected.

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