Saturday, October 28th
Today was a full day in the workshop working on our projects. My actors are starting to come together.
Lunch today was at Casa Conzatti Hotel.
Michael is well aware that this is Oaxaca during Dia de los Muertos and that means parades or comparsas. Today's class interuptus was the children's parade.
I know that my friends Tim (cool hat) and Kim Abler (basket on her head) go to Oaxaca every year for Dia, but it is whole other thing to see them walk past you IN the parade
Remember I had seen a poster for a show that sounded pretty darn good? I talked a bunch of folks into heading over to the Teatro Juarez for Catrina.
The theater is a short walk from our hotel so in the afternoon I walked over there to buy the tickets in advance. What I found was a man with a card table and a pad of tickets which offered festival seating as the option at either a $300 or $200 peso level. ($15 or $10 dollars). In some sort of broken language, hand-signalled way, I managed to find out that the doors opened at 7:00 p.m. and the show would be at 8:00 p.m.
The show had a cast of 100 local performers and one prima donna lead singer. She was pretty good but the production was at the level of community theater. We saw things like a dancer’s mask fall off, the orchestra was not always in tune and one poor ballet folklorico dancer fall flat on his face when he slipped on the cempasúchil (marigold) petals some one thought was a good idea to spread all over the stage. Despite these shortcomings I liked the show for the sheer magic of participating in a local piece of theater in a foreign country.
This opinion was not shared by the rest of the attendees.
Sunday, October 29th
Every year when we come to Mexico we get one extra hour of life as they fall back earlier then in the United States. Today I finally got another walkabout into my schedule. For whatever reason I have been unable to get going in the morning but today was different. I walked up the hill from our hotel through the streets and alleys looking for great street art.
Outside the Templo de Santo Tomas Xochimilco an artist was preparing the wall for some new street art.
I was back to the hotel in time for the workshop start at 10:00 a.m. The ofrenda (or Dia de lost Muertos altar) is taking shape in our classroom.
The whole group walks over to lunch at the Argentinian place El Fogoncito.
We worked on our projects during the afternoon before a number of us walked to the studio of artist Humberto Batista.
In 2014 we were able to go to an art opening featuring Humberto's paintings (one of which hangs on the wall behind my back as I sit here typing this now). Humberto Batista is an assemblage artist as well as a painter. His house is just what you would image a Mexican surrealist assemblage artist would live in.
After this visit, I walked over to the area of the city where there are tallers (workshops) of print makers.
What makes this so odd is that I have a print of this very image hanging right in front of me as I type this. How cool is that.
What the streets look like when a comparsa comes by
Tonight I had dinner with Tina Berrier at a quiet little spot off the acala. Here is our dinner story. Language is always fun when as Americans we don't speak the lingo. Tonight was especially cute: I ordered my food and Tina ordered a Margarita pizza. The waiter brought my drink and a Margarita for Tina. She did not want the drink but I decided to keep it. She asked the waiter if she still was going to get her Margarita pizza and he said, "No." That made us laugh and agree to split my food after it came. Then...the Margarita pizza showed up--which we also shared. It was great to spend some down time with just one class mate and I learned more about Tina in that time than all the class time we shared. Thanks, Tina.
Now it was time to wander down the alcala for the nightly activities.