The Flight of the Bat: Theatrical (Re)production and the Unevenness of Modernism’s World Stage
Volume 4, Cycle 3
During the final days of 1919, an exquisite animal unfurled its wings on the stage of the Théâtre Fémina in Paris. Composed of Russian émigré artists, the company known as the Chauve-Souris was directed by a voluble and rotund Armenian named Nikita Baliev, who doubled as the master of ceremonies and regaled the audience in his comically poor French during the intervals between the brief scenes. Among the Chauve-Souris’s colorful depictions of pre-revolutionary Russia was “La Nuit chez les Tsiganes,” in which an ensemble of gypsy women sang for the patrons of one of Moscow’s oldest and most legendary restaurants. “Katinka” featured a buxom young woman wearing a stylized version of a Russian peasant’s garb who performed a stilted polka, her body moving with the jerky motions of a mechanical doll to the cues of a peasant man and woman at her sides. The revue also offered a nod to local traditions with its dramatization of the French folk song “La Clair de la Lune,” and the exoticism of the Orient added to the allure of “La Fontaine de Bakhchisarai,” a two-part tableau inspired by a Pushkin poem about lust and violence in the harem of a Crimean khan. “It is not dramatic theater,” mused an enraptured reviewer who found his skills of classification befuddled, “nor is it lyric theater, or music hall, or cabaret, but all of them at once, with singular power and taste.” Other critics compared the Chauve-Souris’s synthesis of song, dance, dialogue, lighting design, painting, and pantomime to the cinema. Wrote one: “before the eyes of the spectators pass, as in a film, subtle and stylized tableaux of characteristic images that are shaded with barely perceptible but lively touches, intonations, and gestures.”
A few years later and thousands of miles away in Mexico City, critics had comparable reactions to the debut of a spectacle that in some respects was strikingly similar. In his preamble to the performance of the Teatro Mexicano del Murciélago on September 16, 1924, its director openly flaunted the fact that both the name and format of the show had been borrowed from the Chauve-Souris, whose smashing success on Broadway had drawn the attention (and in a few cases the attendance) of Mexican artists and intellectuals.
Luis Quintanilla began his address to the audience by recalling his own encounter with Baliev’s troupe in New York and then coyly noted, “We have titled our spectacle the ‘Murciélago’ because ‘murciélago’ is the translation of ‘chauve-souris.’” Like the Russian revue, its Mexican double strung together succinct scenes of picturesque local and regional traditions in which gesture, music, and dance overshadowed the sparse dialogue. But there were some significant differences. For one, the Murciélago had emerged as a collaboration between figures associated with the avant-garde movement known as estridentismo and two artist-ethnographers who had spent time living among indigenous communities. In place of Slavic peasants, most of the tableaux depicted customs such as the Dance of the Moors, a dance-drama with roots reaching back to the Spanish conquest, or the candlelit offering of food in cemeteries on the Night of the Dead. And whereas the Chauve-Souris was a commercial enterprise, the Murciélago had a different if no less direct relation to capital: its premiere was a special, invitation-only performance held in honor of an entourage of US business representatives who were in the country to rekindle economic ties severed by the decade-long Mexican Revolution.
The Chauve-Souris traveled far from its Russian roots, flitting between Paris, London, and New York and occasionally venturing as far afield as Johannesburg and San Francisco. It exemplifies the idea of modernist performance not only on, but also as, the world stage: over time its Russian babushkas, French shepherds, and Middle Eastern sultans were joined by Japanese samurai, Italian opera singers, Hindu goddesses, and others of the same ilk. In tracking the metamorphoses of this artistic animal and its Mexican spin-off, I focus on their shared preoccupation with the changing status of theatrical (re)production and labor, aiming in this way to illuminate the unevenness of modernism’s world stage. The persistent fascination with cross-cultural imitation, automatization, and mass multiplication registers the anxieties, desires, and pleasures provoked by the commodification of the performing arts—and yet the flight of the Bat also sheds light on the ways in which capital accumulation and development are both driven and riven by geographical and temporal disjunctures.
Flying out of the Dark
What would become the Chauve-Souris first began to flutter its wings in Moscow prior to the Russian Revolution. According to a story frequently rehearsed for the press, its origins lay in the legendary kapustniki, or “cabbage parties,” held by the Moscow Art Theater during the Lenten season when most public performances were prohibited and many actors and artists faced lean times. The kapustniki were private, closed-door affairs that transformed the theater into a cabaret, with members of the company playing the parts of waiters and spectators in addition to taking their turns onstage, where they performed short, comic skits and musical numbers peppered with in-jokes and satirical allusions to the more serious scenes they performed with the MAT. Nikita Baliev, the son of a wealthy Jewish Armenian family, was a secretary and minor actor in the company who earned the role of emcee with his droll wit and powers of improvisation. In 1908, he and his partner Nikolai Tarasov turned the cabbage parties into a business venture by opening an intimate, invitation-only club with some forty seats called Letuchaya Mysh, or The Bat—a name possibly inspired by the famous Cabaret Fledermaus in Vienna, though it was all the more apt given the subterranean spaces in which Letuchaya Mysh and other similar clubs were housed.
In a discussion of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, a play written for the MAT, Nicholas Ridout remarks on the intense industrialization of Russia during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and draws a connection to what he describes as the “incipient Taylorization of the theatrical production process.” Indeed, Ridout suggests that one of the MAT’s principal innovations was to reconceptualize and rationalize theatrical performance as a production process, a change reflected in its moves to reorganize theatrical labor according to a model distinctly reminiscent of factory work. The rehearsal phase was extended (and actors and stagehands were now paid for this time), a more formal training regime emerged (the famous “Stanislavski Method”), and the director came to be conceived as an industrial manager whose task was to coordinate the ensemble in the interest of achieving a “unified vision.” Yet even as it converged with broader economic imperatives, the new emphasis on professionalism also fostered anti-market impulses, including a craftsman-like dedication to the work for its own sake and a degree of creative autonomy from the demands of regular wage labor.
Letuchaya Mysh and its later incarnation, the Chauve-Souris, betray these same tensions in even more dramatic form. Like the cabbage parties out of which it grew, the club hosted spectacles where artists entertained one another after their official workday was done—an exemplary illustration of Ridout’s notion of the theater artist as a “passionate amateur” whose activity calls into question the distinction between leisure and labor. The kapustniki had served a redistributive function, since all profits were divvied up among those who were struggling to get by during the off-season, and even after 1912, when Letuchaya Mysh moved to a larger space and opened its doors to the general public, Baliev continued to cultivate the fantasy of a self-sustaining enclave of art by letting audiences in on some of the artists’ self-referential humor, casually insulting spectators as if they were old friends, and featuring increasingly polished numbers of a type referred to in Russia as teatr miniatyur (“theater of miniatures”) or teatr malykh form (“theater of small forms”). Particular favorites were one-act adaptations of plays and stories by Chekhov and Gogol, along with theatricalized songs and dances of the Russian peasantry and other ethnic groups whose ways of life were coming to be seen as obsolete in an era of industrialization and revolution.
In 1919, Baliev left Russia and eventually wound up in Paris, where he was joined by several former members of his company and recruited other Russian expatriates, among them the set designer Sergei Sudeikin and the prima ballerina and choreographer Elizaveta Yulievna Anderson, who had worked with the Ballet Russes. Rebaptized as the Chauve-Souris, the revue made a splash when it opened at the Théâtre Fémina, a locale known primarily for its offerings of operettas, though for a time it had also hosted Lugné-Poë’s symbolist Théâtre de l’Oeuvre. In this new context, the dramatic scenes were reduced to as little as three minutes, and the dialogue (much of it performed in Russian) waned in importance as music and dance took on a greater role; the nostalgic, memento-like quality of the peasant scenes grew even more exaggerated, as did the Orientalist tendencies of tableaux such “La Fontaine de Backshisarai” (fig. 3). The show proved an instantaneous hit among the smart set of Paris, winning praise for its marriage of intellect and affect, its artistry and attention to detail (said to distinguish it from spectacles with more mass-produced appeal), and its achievement of that quintessentially modernist virtue of “synthesis,” a quality evident in its ability to mobilize “all the resources of aesthetics: words, mimicry, music, dances.” Most impressive of all was the economy of expression on display in its brief acts, which were described in one review as “condensations, crystallizations, cells” ¾a depiction oddly similar to Marx’s description of commodities as “crystals” or “congealed quantities of homogeneous human labour.”
In fact, one especially striking aspect of the Chauve-Souris is the way so many of its scenes allegorize the subsumption of the ostensibly “unproductive” labor of performing artists under capital—along with the way it persistently links performance to racialized and gendered forms of labor that were similarly regarded as unproductive or reproductive. The scenes of domestic work, such as one unidentified number of two Parisian washerwomen (fig. 4), are a case in point, as are the serenading gypsies (fig. 5) and the undulating concubines of the Crimean khan (fig. 3). Perhaps most notable, however, are the metatheatrical tableaux in which human actors played automatons, porcelain figurines, or puppet-like dolls. Take, for instance, “Katinka” (figs. 6 and 7). One of the most popular numbers among Parisian audiences, it was also a smash hit in San Sebastián (Spain), where the Chauve-Souris performed for a few weeks before a short stint in London, and then a longer run in New York, where it debuted at the Forty-Ninth Street Theater on February 3, 1922.
The peasant man and woman stationed on either side of the eponymous protagonist were her mother and father, and throughout the scene they remained almost motionless, using only slight hand gestures to cue her dance to the rhythm of a polka; like a miniature music box figurine, Katinka moved with abrupt, angular gestures, until a young man in a soldier’s uniform arrived and she gradually began to break rhythm, spinning frenetically out of her parents’ control before leaving on her suitor’s arm. On the one hand, the scene clearly evokes the transfer of control over women’s (reproductive) labor power from the traditional peasant family to the modernizing forces of the state, and yet the mechanical motions of the dancing Katinka also uncannily evoke the mechanization and Taylorization of factory labor: here, the virtuosity of the actress lies in her ability to mimic a machine. What this tableau and so many others in the revue represent is the subjection of the living body of the performer to the (re)productive demands of capital, though in place of objects, Katinka and her companions are manufacturing affects—while also (re)producing the very distinctions of ethnicity, class, and gender they perform.
The revue similarly subverted the distinction between production and reproduction in its obsession with mimesis and replication, and by evoking the phenomenon of mass mediatization (as suggested in the comparisons to film). Figure 8, for example, shows a backstage workshop where six men and women in paint-covered frocks are bent over their desks, brushes in hand, while all around them cut-out soldiers of varying sizes stand at attention. Props for the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” a scene that featured human actors dressed in identical attire, these anthropomorphic objects (made by hand yet also en masse) conjure the specter of mass (re)production, yet the craftsman-like manner in which they are produced also points to the essential difference of artistic labor. Meanwhile the small size of the soldiers exemplifies the Chauve-Souris’s preoccupation with miniaturization—a dynamic doubly underscored by the miniature models of two scenes (including “Katinka”) in the lower left-hand corner.
South of the Rio Grande
In New York, the Chauve-Souris quickly became a favorite among celebrities such as Al Jolson and Lilian Gish, both of whom participated in the company’s much-hyped benefit for “starving artists” back in Russia, which revived the legacy of the cabbage parties by having cast members and their famous fans play the off-stage service labor roles of coat-check attendant, bartender, etc (fig. 9). Dorothy Parker, Tallulah Bankhead, Robert Benchley, and other members of the Algonquin Round Table even wrote and performed in a parody of the show called No Siree!, and in 1926, the African-American cabaret singer Florence Mills led a chorus line of black singers dubbed the “Plantation Cossacks” in a spoof on the Chauve-Souris as part of the Blackbirds revue staged in London by the Broadway producer Lew Leslie. Yet little did Baliev and his crew know that south of the Rio Grande, in a post-revolutionary country with certain parallels to the one they had left behind, a group of writers and artists associated with the estridentista avant-garde would join up with two artist-ethnographers to form a very different version of the Chauve-Souris.
Although the members of the Murciélago cheekily acknowledged its derivative status, they simultaneously promised to prove that Mexico boasted more “color” than Russia. Much like the Chauve-Souris, the Murciélago was hailed for its ability to amalgamate all the arts, and for distilling in its short scenes an emotional intensity lacking in both bourgeois dramas and spectacles aimed at a mass audience. As one especially effusive reviewer raved after the group’s debut, the performance conveyed a sense of “the dramatic, the frivolous, the tender, the melancholic, the reminiscence of childhood, everything a man can experience in his passage through life in these times when everything is synthesis.” Rather than scenes of Russian peasant life, the Murciélago featured indigenous traditions such as the “Danza de los viejitos” (Dance of the Little Old Men) (fig. 10) and the “Danza de los moros” (Dance of the Moors) (fig. 11). Still, it indulged the same penchant for actors playing animated objects, and in a coy allusion to its own role in commodifying “immaterial” emotions and affects, it was billed as a tienda de juguetes para el alma, or “toy store for the soul” (Quintanilla and González, Teatro Mexicano del Murciélago, 2).
Yet this permutation of the Chauve-Souris, I would argue, illustrates even more clearly than the original the unevenness of artistic labor and the ways in which (theatrical) production is always also a matter of (social) reproduction. Much of the material incorporated into the show came from the prior work of the composer/musician Francisco Domínguez and the painter/set designer Carlos González, who had started out working under the anthropologist Manuel Gamio in the indigenous community near the Toltec pyramids at Teotihuacán. The founding head of the national Department of Anthropology, Gamio employed artists as part of his broader project to encourage tourism and economic development in the area, which in the case of Domínguez and González (working with the playwright Rafael Saavedra) entailed crafting short pieces about the daily lives of indigenous people that were performed in an open-air theater by indigenous actors and musicians for audiences of their peers as well as tourists from the capital (figs. 12 and 13). Domínguez and González then moved on to the Purépecha (also known as Tarascan) communities in the Lake Pátzcuaro area of the state of Michoacán, and it was during their studies of this region that they came into contact with Luis Quintanilla, a Guatemalan-born poet and diplomat for the Mexican government who was affiliated with the bold and brash estridentista avant-garde.
Unlike its Russian alter ego, the Murciélago never succeeded in becoming a commercial venture, but this isn’t to say its affects and emotions had no economic importance—on the contrary, its debut performance was a special function funded by the Mexico City Council and the Chamber of Commerce for a visiting delegation of US businessmen called the American Industrial Mission, which had been invited down to Mexico to reestablish economic ties disrupted by the Mexican Revolution and forge new opportunities. Whereas the Chauve-Souris offered nostalgic representations of peasants and exotic “others” that were typically set in what was portrayed as a receding past, the Murciélago was far more directly tied to a modernizing project that sought to economically incorporate the indigenous population into the national market and transnational circuits of commodity exchange. (Indeed, several indigenous musicians and dancers came from Michoacán to Mexico City to take part in the performance). And if the Chauve-Souris’s ethnic impersonations of gypsies and samurai raise concerns about what is now called cultural appropriation, no less questionable is the Italian-born (future) photographer Tina Modotti’s role in the scene “La Ofrenda” (“The Offering”), in which she portrayed a Purépecha woman enacting a mourning ritual on the Night of the Dead (fig. 14).
Yet to an even greater degree than the Chauve-Souris, the Mexican Murciélago also betrayed signs of what Ridout diagnoses as a mode of “romantic anti-capitalism” (Passionate Amateurs, 11). In “Aparador” (“Store Window”), the only tableau set in an urban milieu, a man and a woman played mechanical dolls that represented “typical” figures from the Guadalajara region dancing the jarabe tapatío (which had gained international fame as the Mexican Hat Dance after the Russian dancer Anna Pavlova visited the country in 1919 and incorporated it into her repertoire); outside on the street, a blind man performed by the Swiss writer and anarchist Gaston Dinner played popular melodies on a flute as a police officer strolled by on foot patrol (fig. 15). When speaking to the press, Quintanilla and González always made a point of distancing the Murciélago from commercialized traditions such as the jarabe tapatío. Still, even the businessmen and government higher-ups in the audience might have caught on to the self-reflexive irony of this scene, which renders literal the claim that the Murciélago was a “toy store for the soul.” The only sound was the flute, but the text in the show’s illustrated program speaks for the objects in the window: “To display their force, men have imprisoned objects in cages of thick glass, as if they could escape. Therefore hides, metals and fabric, shawls, sarapes, and saddles are slowly dying of melancholy, and it is in vain that the jewels, sparkling from sorrow, beg for commiseration” (Quintanilla and González, Teatro Mexicano del Murciélago, 7). These strangely sentient commodities have been stripped of their use value and are now simply aesthetic objects. But the text puts a Benjaminian twist on the fetishization of the commodity by asking the audience to look and listen to their silent cry with the animistic eyes and ears of a child. “—Who will free us from our slavery?— say the poor paralytic things. —Who? and when? when?” The closing lines read: “But in the shadow of the jewelry stores, like mysterious conspirators, the clocks do not cease to chatter, disorderly, like politicians on the eve of revolution” (7). Adding a note of hope—or fear?—to the sly cynicism underlying its oft-noted irony, the Murciélago reminds its spectators of their own (and its own) complicity, even as it hints that the fate of the mechanical man and woman in the window might depend on a liberation of things.
In the official follow-up report on its sojourn in Mexico, the American Industrial Mission made no mention of the Murciélago. Instead, it touted the country’s large labor pool and the fact that “the supply of raw materials is greatly varied and almost unlimited”—though one wonders if it was in the theater where its members caught a glimpse of “the inner life attitude of mind of these people.” Meanwhile, the members of the Murciélago tried to make a go of their venture with the general public, but in the absence of government or corporate funding, the Mexican Bat was forced to fold its wings after one (possibly two) more performances. Not long after, Quintanilla published a wistful reflection on the experience in which he retraces the transnational travels of this inscrutable animal. He recalls: “Bat, little bat. I brought it from New York without paying customs duties. But on its first Mexican night it died from the light. The light killed it!” The avant-garde poet sustains this conceit throughout the entire text, affectionately addressing his murcielaguito while also noting with a hint of bitterness: “The businessmen paid two thousand pesos to caress your wings, but the black mystery of your little velveteen body must have filled them with fright” (Quintanilla, “El murciélago mexicano,” 31). Constantly shadowing the circuits of capital yet eluding its grasp, the bat is now on its way back to “Nikita” (Baliev), though rather than the Russian snowflakes that once dusted its wings, it carries “pineapple and lemon snow” and speaks Spanish as well as the indigenous Tarascan (Purépecha) language (32). At some point in the future, Quintanilla envisions, it will wind its way back to Mexico—though in an allusion to the recent sindicalization of the city’s theatrical workers and the financial woes that led to the Murciélago’s demise, he warns, “When you return you may not find so much as my cadaver among the bills from the Union of Stagehands Set Designers Electricians and So on of Mexico City” (33). In this post-apocalyptic scenario, the theatrical synthesis has dissolved, each individual aspect of the art has succumbed to the logic of capitalist production, and only a fuzzy black beast is left to witness the ruins, its elegant flight impossible to capture as commodified labor.
 J. K., “Théâtres: ‘La Chauve-Souris de Moscou,’” Jornal des débats, December 24, 1920, 2. Quoted in Lawrence Sullivan, “Nikita Baliev’s Le Théâtre de la Chauve-Souris: An Avant-Garde Theater,” Dance Research Journal 18, no. 2 (1986–1987): 17–29, 21. Unless otherwise indicated, all translations are my own.
 “Les curieux spectacles de la ‘Chauve-Souris’ au Théâtre Fémina,” Le Matin, January 9, 1921, 4. Quoted in Sullivan, “Nikita Baliev’s Le Théâtre de la Chauve-Souris,” 22.
 Luis Quintanilla and Carlos González, Teatro Mexicano del Murciélago (Mexico City: Taller Gráfico de la Nación, 1924), 1.
 On the cabbage parties see Konstantin Stanislavski, My Life in Art, trans. Jean Benedetti (London: Routledge, 2008), 309–313.
 Nicholas Ridout, Passionate Amateurs: Theatre, Communism, and Love (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 50.
 For more on Letuchaya Mysh and other similar cabarets, see Anthony G. Pearson, “The Cabaret Comes to Russia: ‘Theatre of Small Forms’ as Cultural Catalyst,” Theatre Quarterly 9, no. 36 (1980): 31–44.
 A. N., “Avant-Première—‘La Chauve-Souris’ au Théâtre Femina,” Bonsoir, December 20, 1920, 3. Quoted in Sullivan, “Nikita Baliev’s Le Théâtre de la Chauve-Souris,” 21.
 Régis Gignoux, “Les Premières,” Figaro, March 23, 1921, 4. Quoted in Sullivan, “Nikita Baliev’s Le Théâtre de la Chauve-Souris,” 22; Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. 1, trans. Ben Fewkes (New York: Penguin, 1976), 128.
 According to his biographer Richard Taruskin, the Russian composer Igor Stravinksy became enamored of Yevgeniya Nikitina, the actress who played Katinka, and ended up composing four short pieces for the show (including a new song for the Katinka number) that later served as the germ for his Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra. Shortly thereafter Stravinsky became involved with the wife of Sergei Sudeikin (the Chauve-Souris’s main set designer), whom he later married. See Taruskin, Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions: A Biography of the Works through Mavra (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), 1546–1549.
 “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” (performed to a tune written by the German composer Leon Jessel in 1897) was one of the Chauve-Souris’s most popular numbers. It served as the inspiration for the Rockettes’ chorus-line version, first performed in 1933 and still featured in their annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
 See Oliver M. Sayler, “The Strange Story of Balieff’s Chauve-Souris,” in F. Ray Comstock and Morris Gest Have the Honor to Present Balieff’s Chauve-Souris, Bat Theatre, Moscow (New York: Dancey-Davis Press, 1923), 20–21.
 On No Siree!, which ran for a single night at the Forty-Ninth Street Theater, see Billy Altman, Laughter’s Gentle Soul: The Life of Robert Benchley (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997), 198–209. For the reference to the Blackbirds revue, see Jayna Brown, Babylon Girls: Black Women Performers and the Shaping of the Modern (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008), 208.
 Estridentismo, led by the poet Manuel Maples Arce, was Mexico’s first self-identified avant-garde; its core group included writers, visual artists, sculptors, and musicians, and figures such as Diego Rivera and Tina Modotti were frequent collaborators. See Tatiana Flores, Mexico’s Revolutionary Avant-Gardes: From Estridentismo to ¡30-30! (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013); Elissa J. Rashkin, The Stridentist Movement: The Avant-Garde and Cultural Change in the 1920s (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009); and Vanguardia estridentista: Soporte de la estética revolucionaria (Mexico City: Museo Nacional de Arte, 2013).
 For a more extended discussion of the Teatro del Murciélago and its anthropological antecedents, see “Primitivist Accumulation and Teatro sintético” in Sarah J. Townsend, The Unfinished Art of Theater: Avant-Garde Intellectuals in Mexico and Brazil (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2018), 63–98.
 “Crónica de Jacobo Dalevuelta,” El Universal, September 18, 1924, Sec. 2, 1.
 Gamio, who studied with Franz Boas at Columbia University, is a towering figure in the history of Mexican anthropology. For an exposition of the ideas that informed his work, see his Forjando patria, trans. Fernando Armstrong-Fumero (Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 2010). At Teotihuacán, he not only supervised a massive anthropological study of the region but also employed engineers, teachers, and laborers in an attempt to reconfigure indigenous life and work patterns by opening schools, forming collectives to encourage peasants to “industrialize” handicraft production, and drawing up plans for wells and dams. See his doctoral dissertation, Introduction, Synthesis ad Conclusions of the Work “The Population of the Valley of Teotihuacán” (Mexico City: Dirección de Antropología, 1922). For more on the theater project at Teotihuacán, see Townsend, “Primitivist Accumulation and Teatro sintético,” and Aurelio de los Reyes, Manuel Gamio y el cine (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1991); see also Gamio’s own description of its methodology and objectives in his introduction to Roque Ceballos Novelo’s play “La tejedora,” published in the anthropology journal that Gamio edited, Ethnos (February–April 1923): 49–50.
 The American Industrial Mission was led by William Wallace Nichols, president of the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, and included representatives of the U.S. Steel Corporation, General Electric, H. J. Heinz, Nestlé Food, Mack Trucks, and Westinghouse (among others). During their visit to Mexico City, delegates visited factories and met with President Álvaro Obregón as well as Mexican business leaders; they also engaged in cultural activities, including an outing to the pyramids at Teotihuacán and the commemoration of the Grito de Dolores, or Mexico’s independence day.
 The artists involved in the Murciélago had plans in the works for other urban tableaux, and the illustrated program (see Quintanilla and González, Teatro Mexicano del Murciélago) includes images and texts describing numbers such as “Camiones,” about the trolley buses in Mexico City, and “Fifís,” a term for upper-class pretty-boys who copied US customs.
 American Manufacturers’ Export Association, “The American Industrial Mission to Mexico, 1924” (unpublished report, New York Public Library), 3.
 Luis Quintanilla, “El murciélago mexicano,” in La pajarita de papel: P.E.N. Club de México 1924/1925 (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1965), 30.