A group of 8 of us from the hostel went out to see a Mariachi band tonight. Entry was free: they were counting on making up for this by selling us plenty of Corona, and that they did do!
The Mariachi is the quintessential, stereotypical Mexican entertainment. A bunch of señores, all wearing their fancy suits (with their metal-adorned pants) and big sombreros. Playing guitars, trumpets, and violins, and singing old-skool Spanish love songs in operatic voices.
The show that they do seems to go on for a long time, with various interludes — such as Aztec dances, and cabaret singing — and after a while, for the uninitiated, it gets a bit repetitive. We stayed for about 3 hours, then we called it quits.
After seeing the Mariachi, I realised why Mexicans get made fun of so much (mainly by Americans). They're kind of asking for it. I always thought that the old-fashioned music, the quaint over-dressed outfits, and the laid-back enthusiasm were just the way they depict Mexicans in Hollywood. But that is not so: Mexicans really are like this! And it's not just a show for the tourists, either: most of the people at the Mariachi were locals; and you could tell that they come regularly and that they can't get enough of it.