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fair, which starts at 9 a.m. and lasts until 5 p.m., is free and it will feature conferences, videos, art expositions, historical documents and old cars.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.
Posted in Arts & culture
Tagged border, carlos santana, cecut, culture, festival, javier batiz, mexico, music, Tijuana, tijuana events, tourism
People often ask me whether Tijuana is really dangerous. Well, the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives apparently thinks the drug violence is dangerous enough to warn university students about visiting Tijuana and Rosarito Beach during the popular Spring Break period. Some universities have also taken up the “don’t go south” mantra. I have mixed feelings about these advisories from my experience living and working in Tijuana as a reporter. I wrote about some of the region’s most gruesome crimes – but I never got caught in the crossfire. Here is a recap of a recent, non-newsworthy Saturday evening spent in Tijuana.
I arrived at Tijuana’s main cultural center, the CECUT, at 6 p.m. to attend a presentation by Mexican scholar Marco Antonio Samaniego on his new book, “Nationalism and Revolution: The events of 1911 in Baja California.” The presentation had a late start (Mexican time frames are typically looser than ours) so I wandered outside and bought some warm cooked corn, called elote or esquite. I like mine plain, but most Mexicans prefer the works: Chile, butter, cheese, lime, salt, you name it.
Samaniego talked about the significance of the Mexican Revolution along the Baja border and how chaos basically created a volatile mix of interests that collided and intersected, and that some of this was fueled by the perceived or real threat of a U.S. invasion. More of that in a future blog posting…
Afterwards, I went to the restaurant Tabule to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Tabule is located along the main entrance to the Beverly Hills of Tijuana, a neighborhood called Chapultepec. There is also a Tabule in San Diego. I munched on assorted cheese, duck tacos and a tasty mushroom appetizer. By the time we left at 11 p.m., the place was just starting to get busy (Night life starts late here).
I think I saw some police sirens at one point during the evening – but they were way in the distance.
To get another glimpse of life in Tijuana during a typical weekend, check out Derrik Chinn’s blog where he recently posted an entry on what he did on a Saturday in Tijuana.
The blogger over at Tijuana Bible, Lynn DeWeese-Parkinson, recently went to a soccer game in Tijuana.
And Masa Assassin, an unidentified San Diego-based blogger, dishes about eating some birria tacos in Tijuana before heading to Ensenada this past weekend.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged baja, border, cecut, dining, drug violence, drugs, mexico, safety, spring break, Tijuana, travel advisory, travel warning, violence
Tijuana’s Festival Hispanoamericano de Guitarra continues through Nov. 15th at the CECUT cultural center. This festival draws artists from around the world – Mexico, Hungary, Spain, to name a few places – to perform a range of pieces and styles.
This Friday night, Jason Vieaux (United States) performs at 8 p.m.
This Saturday night, Cesar Olguin y Cuatro para Tango (Argentina and Mexico) performs at 8 p.m.
This Sunday evening, Rafael Elizondo (Mexico) performs at 6 p.m.
Tickets are less than $15 per person.
See the schedule here.
I wrote about the Tijuana Cultural Center, CECUT, in a recent post. Known affectionately as La Bola, it’s a cultural and arts center not far from the San Ysidro port of entry that gained architectural notoriety for the giant ball that esconces its IMAX theater.
Now it’s time for an update: This weekend, the center opens a $9 million section that adds 16,145 square feet to the center’s exhibition space, according to an article in The San Diego Union Tribune. The new section is dubbed El Cubo for its contrasting 90 degree angles, and the first two exhibits feature Buddhist sculptures and a show called “Civic Project.”
El Cubo (not to be confused with the Casa del Tunel) opens to the public this Sunday, Sept. 28, (10 a.m. to 7 p.m), according to the CECUT website. The CECUT’s regular hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Check my previous CECUT post for directions.
Screenshot from CECUT page
The last time I went to the Centro Cultural Tijuana, called “la bola” for its ball-like shape, I saw a photo exhibit by Los Angeles Times photographer Don Bartletti about immigration and the border. The cultural center (known more formally as CECUT) often highlights regional themes like this through the works of Mexican and local artists, making it a good starting point for exploring Tijuana.
The rotund part of the CECUT is actually its IMAX theater. The main building has a permanent natural-history type exhibit that details the history of the Baja California peninsula. The rotating exhibits, according to their website, currently includes Photosintesis, a series of photos by Baja California photographers, and an exposition by Baja California artist Jaime Ruiz Otis.
This Saturday night, Sept. 13, the CECUT is featuring a presentation by the Mexican folklore group Compania de Danza Ticuan with mariachis, jarocho groups, and all the colorful costume trappings. Shows are scheduled for 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and tickets cost about $20 per person.
The CECUT is also the starting point for a city bus tour that takes you to various Tijuana landmarks (I’m not sure if this is offered during the week, too). You can zoom through the tour in one hour, or you can get on and off the 13 stops and catch the next hourly bus. For more information go here.
The cultural center is located on Paseo de los Heroes, and it’s just a few minutes from the Mexican port of entry at San Ysidro. You can take a cab from the border, or you can drive.
Photo from Flickr contributor El Randy under creative commons license.
*My strategy of how to get to the CECUT by car: Cross into Mexico at San Ysidro. Drive past the Customs area and avoid the first exit to the right. Continue with the flow of traffic and stay on the right-hand lane as you start crossing the bridge. Avoid any merges or turns that veer you left or right off of this road. You will see a CostCo straight ahead. Drive as if you are trying to go to the CostCo and you will find yourself on the major thoroughfare of Paseo de los Heroes, which curves to the east. Keep driving along Paseo de los Heroes until you reach the traffic circle. You will see the CECUT on your left and should be able to figure out how to get there OK.