Category Archives: Arts & culture

The Day of the Dead’s literary tradition

calaverasThis is the time of year when people in Mexico  – and in other Latin American countries – honor the dead by visiting graveyards and creating homemade altars to departed family members and friends. But the “Day of the Dead”  festivities also have a literary tradition. Pick up the local newspapers and you will find short poems called calaveras that are written as epitaphs for the living.

It may seem a little morbid to find such a poem for U.S. President Barack Obama, but these clever and often politically-motivated calaveras are simply reflections of the cultural differences in how Mexicans view death and the deceased through playful mockery. The subjects of these poems are often picked for their relevance to current events, and sometimes reflect inanimate characters such as ” the 3 percent telecommunications tax.”

The poems start appearing before and on the Day of the Dead celebrations, which occur Nov. 1-2. In the most recent edition of the Tijuana newspaper Frontera,  the featured poems include one  for Mexico’s president Felipe Calderon, Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Secretary of Labor Javier Lozano. Here is a snippet from the one for Barack Obama:

“Although the Nobel prize he won surprised them all, death wasn’t perturbed. It took him anyways…The death of the president was in difficult moments because he left many people with poor health and without documents.”

 

Screen shot from Tijuana’s Frontera newspaper Calaveras section.

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President Obama shares some dance moves with Mexican singer Thalia

Thalia is a well-known Mexican singer and former TV soap star. I remember watching her in the Maria la del Barrio series that was on Mexican television in the 90s in which  she portrays a trash picker rescued by a wealthy benefactor and  eventually finds true love after tearful betrayals and misunderstandings. In real life, Thalia Sodi Mirana married music executive Tommy Motolla.

In this video, she decorously dances with President Barack Obama for a few moments before concluding her song at the Fiesta Latina concert that was held at the White House on Tuesday.

According to The New York Times, the event will be rebroadcast Thursday on PBS stations as part of the series “In Performance at the White House.” It is also to be shown Sunday on the Telemundo network.

QUESTION: Was the president’s dance out-of-bounds? There seems to be a lot of chatter on the Internet about whether or not Michelle Obama looked annoyed or gave him the cold shoulder afterwards. Thoughts?

YouTube video from The Daily Beast.

Tijuana events for the weekend of July 17-19: Opera, Beer and Erotica

 

 

Credit goes to the Tijuana Convention & Visitors Bureau for compiling this trio of things to do in Tijuana this weekend of July 17 (Friday) through July 19 (Sunday). I was aware of the beer festival and the Opera festival – but not of the Annual Exxxpo Erotica. Here are snippets from the press release:

Tijuana’s 6th Annual Street Opera Festival takes place on Saturday with performances by 150 artists, singers, actors, dancers and musicians. This free street fair attracts thousands of people each year from Baja California and California. The Festival starts at 12 noon on Saturday, July 18, lasting until midnight, and is located along Calle Quinta (5th Street) and Aquiles Serdan streets in Colonia Libertad (just a few blocks east of the Pueblo Amigo Shopping Mall, south of the San Ysidro Border Crossing). Learn and hear more about Tijuana’s opera scene through this documentary produced by Stories de la Frontera:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JOiQwWHva8

 

 5th Annual International Craft Beer Festival – Check out more than 70 types of beer from 15 breweries in Mexico and around the world. Participating breweries include San Diego’s own Stone Brewing Company, Port Brewing Company, Tsingtao, Paulaner, Bear Republic, Carlsberg, Baja Brewing Company, and Cerveceria Tijuana (Tijuana’s own, award-winning micro-brewery). This three-day event (lasting Friday July 17 through Sunday, July 19) will be held at the Tijuana Caliente Casino and Race Track. Live rock, music and local singers – and local food. 

 

The Festival hours are Friday from 7:00pm to 1:00am, Saturday from 12:00pm to 12:00am (noon to midnight), and Sunday from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. Tickets are $5 ($60 pesos) per person, and include a threesome of your choice of beers. For more information: http://www.tjbeerfest.com/

 

Tijuana’s 2 Annual Exxxpo Erotica showcases adult entertainment, sexy fashion shows, educational workshops, sdance performances (for him and her), and a spicy collection of lingerie from the largest adult stores in Northwest Mexico. Held just a 10 minute drive from the 

border at Mezzanine Events Hall (near the intersection of the Via Rapida and Blvd. Insurgentes) – or a quick taxi ride from the Craft Beer Festival. Cost for adults 18 and over is $170 pesos (approximately US$13) at the door, with show hours from noon to midnight each day.  Event lasts Friday through Sunday. If you are old enough, go here: http://exxxpoerotica.com/Exxxpoerotica_17,18_y_19_de_Julio_del_2009.html

 


Tijuana activities for the weekend of July 11-12

A short list of Tijuana-based events for the weekend of July 11-12…

Go to a binational art and music festival on Saturday:  An art and music festival will be held at the CECUT cultural center, which is easily reached from the border. For more information on the festival, refer to  http://tijuanaprogresivo.wordpress.com/ and to find it on a map go to http://www.tagzania.com/pt/cecut/

Run a half-marathon on Sunday: Get more information at this Meetup group web page. Looks like you need to register before Saturday, but that may  be flexible.  http://www.meetup.com/SanDiegoRunning/boards/thread/7230114/

Tijuana’s Avenida Revolucion rocks this Saturday (June 27)

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If you happen to be in Tijuana this weekend and find yourself caught in a crowd of young people converging towards the sound of very loud guitars then you probably have stumbled upon RevNMov, a production of Revolucion en Movimiento, which takes place on Tijuana’s tourist strip of Avenida Revolucion June 27 with groups from Mexicali, Tijuana and Ensenada. The border region’s alternative music scene puts another face to the complex tapestry of Tijuana. It gets going at 2 p.m. with Indie, Rock and Electronic music –  and it’s free.

Get a taste for some of the groups here:

Astro de Rumba on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRc9lKkgz7w

Antemortem on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtKbVlGhcOk

Get a taste of Baja in Los Angeles this weekend

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I usually get my taste of  Baja California south of the border, but this weekend  – Saturday, June 20 – the border is coming to those of us who live or work in the Los Angeles area.

Baja tourism officials are holding “El Sabor de Baja en LA,” which will feature food, music and artwork from the peninsula cities of Tijuana, Ensenada and Rosarito Beach. The event lasts from noon to 6 p.m. and it will take place at Plaza Mexico at 3100 E. Imperial Hwy, in Lynwood.

And, in case you didn’t know, some really good wine is produced in Baja that would be worth tasting.

Baja tourism officials did something like this in San Diego recently, too. I am all for promoting this event since it’s the yin to the yang of less savory subjects that make Baja such a fascinatingly complicated region. Thanks to Bill Esparza over at his blog, Street Gourmet LA, for the heads-up on this one.

Mexican ‘rockero’ Javier Batiz performs in Tijuana March 29

Javier Batiz is one of Tijuana’s musical legends, and he is frequently referred to as someone who taught Carlos Santana how to play guitar. In Batiz’s web page, and in other sources, he is identified as a major figure in the development of Mexican rock. I heard him play once at the Tijuana brewery and he regularly re-appears around the city. This Sunday, March 29, he will perform at the CECUT at 4 p.m. as part of the 5th Annual Tijuana History Fair. The fair, which starts at 9 a.m. and lasts until 5 p.m., is free and it will feature conferences, videos, art expositions, historical documents and old cars. For more information on the fair  (in Spanish), go here. 

The CECUT  – Tijuana’s cultural center –  is just a few minutes from the San Ysidro border. For directions to the CECUT, go here.

*Don’t forget the time difference is still in effect. 4 p.m. in Tijuana is 5 p.m. in the United States*

YouTube video originally posted by rockandroll1968.