Shoreline: The Skin of the Sea is the closest I can get to translating this year’s rich Carnavál theme, which will unite Mazatlán with the Mardi Gras of New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Cuba, and Venice, which are all located on the water, of course. Are you getting excited? It’s hard not to, with lights already hung along the Avenida del Mar parade route, and all the great photos people keep sending me. February 27-March 4th is coming soon!
Two great pieces of personal Carnavál news for me this year! One is that our recently departed dear Maestro Rigo’s two wishes, which we reported to you last year, will be realized! This year’s float for the Queen will be 15 meters tall! Secondly, on this 400th anniversary of Japan-Mexico relations, we will have a Japanese float and comparsa/dance troupe in the parade this year! And, they will do a tequila-odori!
While we have lost Maestro Rigo to this life, his two carrozas, for Queen and Child Queen, are about 60% finished. His sister, Ana Lewis Rodríguez, is continuing his legacy, at least for this year. She says that Rigo’s dream was to have the Queen’s float (with a Brazilian theme this year) crowned with 300 ostrich feathers. Since each one costs 100 pesos, there will perhaps be some fundraising involved to make that happen. The 15 meter height for the float, which Rigo dreamed of, also requires special materials, not just the standard papier maché. So, here’s hoping…
This morning I received photos of the seamstresses working on the royal costumes, which seem to get more luxurious and fantastical every year. Enjoy the sneak peek! Sodelva Rios de García and her team have been making the royal costumes for almost 40 years. You’ll remember that we showed you the King of Joy’s vestments she made last year.
Do you know that CULTURA’s costume department produces over THREE HUNDRED costumes for Carnavál each year?! Our kudos to Elisa Espinoza, head of the costume department! While the women are primarily in charge of the costuming, props are coordinated by two gentlemen: Adrián Javier Ledesma Ruíz and Jesús Julio Robles Jaramillo.
This year the Child Queen will be dressed with a French influence, in honor of New Orleans, in gold, silver, purple and green. Some of the vestments for the dancers, which have to be comfortable as well as free-moving, will be finely detailed with airbrush. The King of Joy’s theme is Cuba—the colors will be vivid, tropical colors with a lot of shine and ruffles.
The election of the Queen this year will take place on Saturday, February 15th, in the Angela Peralta theater. As in recent years, the candidates will model designer evening dresses and clothing designed by Jacobo Borge and Sandra Vite, and jewelry designed by Gustavo Helguera (whose designs have been worn by Naomi Campbell and Carolina Kurkova).
Are you trying to plan your trip here or your friends’ stays? Or how you’ll navigate all the Carnavál events? Check out this “Why We Love Carnavál” so you can pace yourself and your energy. Remember that this year El Recodo will play Monday night, which is traditionally the night of the fireworks on the malecón and the light parade—even more events than in a normal, very full Carnavál year.
I keep wanting to make it over to Maestro Jorge González Neri’s taller, to see what he’s up to (LOVE seeing the works in progress!), but life has just been too busy (5 sets of visitors over the holidays, the 25th anniversary of my business in 2014, and the 10th anniversary of my Cultural Detective project coming up in February, plus just so many events in town)! Here is a peek from last year at this time: Monigotes—The Making of a Giant Statue. The work these artists do for our pleasure is truly remarkable!
I’m excited with all the musical acts this year, and that amidst the international-caliber classical music selections we also see three major banda that originate in our hometown: El Recodo, Los Recoditos, and Chuy Lizárraga. What a proud reclaiming of our roots! Say, do you recall the songs of Carnavál from recent years? While, to my knowledge, there is no annual “official” Carnavál song, each year there seems to be that song that gets played and replayed so much that it comes to represent our memories of that year. Greg wrote a post about that, read it here and test your memory.
I suppose the next thing is to wait till the monigotes or giant statues get put up, as well as the flags along the parade route. While we wait, I suggest we all get our “skin of the sea” wear in order!