El Último Encuentro, the hidden bookstore that sells first editions

El Último Encuentro, the hidden bookstore that sells first editions
El Último Encuentro, the hidden bookstore that sells first editions

The El Último Encuentro bookstore is hidden at the back of a patio, behind the B bell of a gate at La Castañeda 17, in Mixcoac, but it does not intend to remain secret.

“The issue of being hidden, the truth is, was something that space imposed on us. Maybe they could have told us about an incredible place at street level and, if we had liked it, we would have taken it. It happened here and as you can see, you have to walk a few meters to get from the door to the bookstore,” says Emilio Sánchez.

In an interview with Crónica, the founders, Evelio Rojas and Emilio Sánchez, talk about the origin of this initiative that brings together a cultural center and a cult bookstore, as well as an underground concept.

“We are not fighting with the idea of ​​being in a different place, nor do we want to make the bookstore inaccessible. We have played with those rules of the game, which are the ones we encountered at the beginning and we tried to make the most of being hidden,” explains Emilio, regarding the atmosphere of secrecy around the place.

The creators of this space consider that the Bookstore is part of a circle of similar initiatives in CDMX, “which are not Gandhi or El Péndulo, these large ones that sometimes already look like supermarkets.”

“There are many initiatives and I think they are all valuable, they have their niche and appeal to explore different book ecosystems. I feel like we’re part of that group, but I also think we’re a little bit different. You won’t find the latest Sexto Piso book here,” adds Emilio.

THE BOOKSTORE

“The bookstore was born between Emilio and me from concerns about the pandemic, which helped in growth,” says Evelio Rojas regarding the origin of the space. Previously, there was the Siranda bookstore owned by Alex Brook, founder of a gallery in Colonia Roma, whose project grew and moved to another location.

“Alex knew that we were looking for a place” and thus came The Last Encounter, an allusion to one of the books that have united the founders in their love of reading. There they have created a literary space that is characterized by two major editorial lines: Collectibles and Independents.

Collectibles are first editions, signed books, rare or antique books, which they seek to offer at decent prices – at least not excessively expensive – and they assure that “it is an opportunity to get a special piece without spending thousands of pesos.”

“If you want Rayuela de Cortázar, we don’t have it or maybe we have a first edition… we try to have copies that are difficult to find, peculiar and have a reason for being in this space,” says Evelio.

Since the space is small, the intention is to have books that cannot be found in bookstores with more commercial profiles. “Here the emphasis is on the love we have for the books and the care we put into the curation,” adds Emilio.

THE MEETING

In addition to books, in El Último Encuentro people gather for various cultural activities.

“When we talk about the project we think about two things: having a bookstore that is distinguished by special copies and the other is for things to happen, events,” Evelio highlights.

“Since the bookstore is hidden, the only way to make ourselves known is through events,” he continues regarding what has been a purpose of this space.

The friends and partners have talked for 20 years about what to do with their own copies of books, records, etc., so when the project crystallized they decided to integrate into the cultural offering of CDMX.

“I have never been able to go to anything because I am always working, so I have to do something,” Emilio remembers about the first event they organized, which Brenda Navarro attended as a surprise.

“Very soon people began to arrive with proposals, to ask for the space. This allows us to have a practically full agenda for December. They arrive and we have to do them on Wednesday because there are no more Saturdays, many Fridays are busy, the cinema club happens on Thursday and we even have events scheduled for 2025,” she points out with enthusiasm.

Continuously, El Último Encuentro invites concerts, talks, screenings, workshops and other events related to cinema, literature, music and plastic arts.

“Well, there are even stand-up poetic shows,” add the founders, directors and programmers of activities and cycles, who have kept the space active, generated a local community of people who not only live in the surroundings and give rise to a variety of themes.

“When someone comes with a proposal to present a book here, it always forces us to be open to genres. It is an absolutely plural space,” says Emilio. The only thing they do not allow is politics (partisan proselytism) because that already has enough forums where positions can be debated and disseminated.

Soon, the First Youth Clavecín Festival will be held in this space.

For more information about the El Último Encuentro Bookstore follow it on social networks (IG and X).

WHO ARE EMILIO AND EVELIO?

Evelio Rojas studied English literature at UNAM. He later put on a tie and was a bureaucrat for years, in an important position at the United States embassy in Mexico. At some point he started a master’s degree, for which he finished the credits, but he did not graduate due to lack of time. During the pandemic he finally decided to return to books.

Emilio Sánchez studied Communication Sciences (“which was 80% journalism”) and has dedicated himself to cultural management and music journalism, as well as publications in magazines and radio. In addition to having been an official of the Mexican Radio Institute, he has been the creator and host of series such as “Rereference”, a musical initiation program, and “Delta”.

 
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