Block This Thursday Evening!

©5.DSC_0116One of my favorite artists here in Mazatlán, Rafael Avila Tirado, is opening a show at the Art Museum downtown with a reception at 7:00 pm on Thursday, December 3. Sadly, I’m going to be out of town, but I urge you not to miss it! Rafael has an incredible talent and a deep soul. You will not regret meeting him and seeing his work!

Avila art showSponsored by the Sinaloa Institute of Culture, the show is called Un Murmullo Agrio, Dulce y Nostálgico, or “A Murmur Sour, Sweet and Nostalgic.” In the video below, Rafael tells us about how these adjectives capture Mexico today, and also life in general—the sour: the violence and sadness; the sweet: working the fields, enjoying family; and the nostalgic: cows in the field and other scenes of life on the rancho in Robles where he grew up.

The artist opened his taller to give Greg and I a sneak preview of the eleven prints and nine paintings that will be on display through February, 2016. They are gorgeous, and all will be for sale! Below is just a sampling of his work; click on any photo to view it larger or see a slideshow.

 

Rafael began his career as an architect, entering the art world twelve years ago. He started making prints and graduated to painting. The artist has quite a few students, most of whom come on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. He also does commissioned work.

Rafa’s studio is on the First Friday ArtWalk, right on the corner of Canizales and Aquiles Serdán, just down from the cathedral, in an airy second floor walkup above Deportenis. You can call him on his cell at 6699-16-66-56, email him, or, best, show up ready to toast him and his work on Thursday evening! And, please, give him my best, won’t you?

 

Day of the Dead Makeup Class

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My cousins Lori and Mary, and yours truly. I asked my friend Lilzy, who did my makeup, to put a rose on my forehead in honor of my Aunt Rose, my cousins’ wonderful Mom.

Do you love Day of the Dead? We all know Mazatlán has one of the BEST DODs in all of Mexico, what with the callejoneada parade, the incredible show inside the Angela Peralta Theater, the numerous gorgeous altars all over town, and events at the cemetery. Do you love joining in the traditional festivities? Would you like to be able to do your own or your friends’ makeup?

DODThis September and October, our beloved Centro Municipal de Arte/CMA/Municipal School of the Arts has been conducting free workshops in preparation for these big events, coordinated by the gorgeous, energetic and enthusiastic Cecilia Sanchez Duarte (nicknamed China). The latest was yesterday’s class in calaca (skeleton) or catrina makeup, conducted by Delfos dancer and makeup artist, Johnny Millán, with interpretation into English by China herself. It rocked!

The class was held from 5-7 pm in the air-conditioned comfort of the Jonathan Hotel, just across from the CMA, and was attended by about 40 people. China arranged the class in hopes that more and more of the city’s residents will dress up and volunteer to participate in the main events, including the parade and the performance in the theater.

The timing of this workshop was perfect for me, as my two beloved sister-cousins were visiting from Minnesota and Indiana. We get together for a girls’ vacation every October, and we always do a craft. What better “craft” than a Day of the Dead makeup class with a professional makeup artist—for free?!

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Cecilia Sanchez Duarte, director of Fine Arts at the CMA, in charge of Day of the Dead in the theater

Supplies for the Basic Makeup

Prior to the class, China had sent those of us who pre-registered a list of supplies to bring:

  • White concealer (corrector blanco),
  • Black eyeliner pencil (lapiz negro),
  • Black and white powders or eyeshadows (sombras),
  • Eyeshadows of different colors, and
  • Shiny things (e.g., sequins—lentejuelas, or crystals/gemstones). We also brought
  • Fake eyelashes (which we didn’t have time to apply) and
  • Eyelash glue, a couple of
  • Hand mirrors, a box of
  • Kleenex, and some
  • Props—a catrina hat and a couple of feather boas. I rarely put on makeup, so what we forgot to bring were
  • Brushes, Q-tips, applicators and blending sponges, also highly recommended.
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Johnny Millán, Delfos dancer, professional makeup artist, and our teacher for the day

Maestro Millán first talked to us all as we sat theater-style, explaining the different types of makeup, brushes and blending pads he likes to use. He told us that while we can’t get professional-quality white pancake theater makeup here in Mazatlán (he brings his from DF), the concealer works well. We’d just need to break off pieces and mix it into a paste (which we could do on the backs of our hands) till it was smooth and free of clumps.

He demonstrated the steps to a basic catrina makeup on a model, doing just half her face in order to save time on his explanation. After his demonstration, those of us attending got to either apply makeup to one another or to ourselves. We were all so excited to get started! He had some supplies to sell us, and was happy to share Q-tips and other applicators.

In the 90 minutes or so that we had available to do one another’s makeup, the most any of us were able to achieve was the basic makeup, with a teeny bit of customization. While we were working on the basic steps explained below, Maestro Millán finished up the makeup on the model. You can see what she looked like in the final photo in this post. Needless to say, the Maestro was fast, made it look so easy, and had really great results. That’s why he’s the professional, right?

Steps to the Basic Makeup

  1. Johnny showed us that the first step to creating a catrina makeup is to apply a thin white base coat. For this we used the concealer that we’d made into a smooth paste. He told us to apply this with our fingers or with a sponge, and that we don’t need to blend the white to cover the face perfectly; later when we apply white powder or eyeshadow over the concealer to fix it, the coverage will become much more perfect. He told us to be sure to avoid applying white to the area around the eyes, as we’d later paint them black or in colors, and to think about the costume we are going to be wearing: if our hair will be up, we should paint our ears; if we’ll have a plunging neckline, we’ll need to paint our chest, etc. Be sure not to put the white on too thickly; you can see in the photo that the base coat is very thin.

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    Step 1: White base coat

  2. Next we took a brush and set the base coat with a dusting of white powder or white eye shadow. This step was incredible. It really made the base coat look well blended, and it made the color pop! Not being a makeup queen myself, the power of the powder over the makeup really astounded me.

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    Step 2: White powder to seal the base coat

  3. Once we had our white face on, we proceeded to the eyes. Johnny told us to use the black eyeliner pencil and, in the direction of the growth of hairs on our eyebrows, to trace the brow line and then around the cavity of the eye, following the bone of the eye socket. Once we had the outline, we were to fill the area in with the black eyeliner pencil. Again, we didn’t need to worry about perfectly blending, as we’d next cover this area with black powder or eyeshadow. If you want to put colors on the eye area, you can apply glitter or shadow over the black, or you do it directly to the skin, depending on your creativity.

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    Step 3: The eye sockets

  4. We now needed to seal the black eyes with shadow or powder. Again, our rough-looking black eyes suddenly became velvety smooth and perfectly blended. It was amazing.
  5. From here Johnny told us to work on the mouth. This was by far the most difficult part of the basic makeup for most of us in the class.  He told us to follow the upper and lower lip lines, and extend the line out to where the teeth actually end in the back of the mouth, squaring off the outside. We then needed to make a center line, right where the lips meet, painting inside the lips a bit so the pink didn’t show. After that we made vertical lines to create teeth. One trick here is to round the roots of the teeth a bit with the eyeliner pencil, so they are not square but more natural looking.

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    Steps 4 and 5: Sealing the eye sockets and outlining the teeth

  6. It was important for the teeth to be bright white, so at this point we took an applicator and applied another dot of white concealer to each of the pearly teeth. This really made the teeth look real.

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    Step 6: Making the pearly whites pop

  7. The final main feature was the nose. We drew triangles over the nostril area, to look like the holes in a skull.

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    Step 7: The nasal cavity

  8. To finish the basic makeup, we needed to use the pencil to draw the jawline, and then seal that with black powder. We also dabbed black powder around the hairline, and used it to hollow under the cheekbone.

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    Step 8: Shadowing and contouring the facial outline and bone structure

  9. From here, Johnny told us our creativity could take free rein. We could put sequins around the eyes (he said we could use eyelash glue or even normal white Resistol water-soluble glue), liquid eyeliner to paint some cracks or decorative detail (sealing those details with powder), adding colored eyeshadow or glitter to the eyelids, or detailing the neck and chest. Click on any photo to enlarge or view a slideshow.

Fortunately most of us attending felt that the makeup was pretty easy to do, and it was really fun! While 45 minutes for each face (our group painted one another) isn’t much, we were pretty psyched with the results.

12115980_943243912409327_3970495844696971161_nDay of the Dead Parade and Theater Event in Mazatlán 2015

While having a professional do your makeup here can be very affordable, now that I know how to do it, I’m so looking forward to opening a bottle of bubbly and sitting down with a few friends in front of the mirror on October 31.

That’s right! The callejoneada is on Halloween this year. Cecilia told us that’s because we normally do the parade on November 1st. This year, that date falls on a Sunday. CULTURAL didn’t feel they could ask all the volunteers to work on Sunday, and they’d have to pay overtime to those who are paid, so instead they’ve switched it to Saturday this once. Next year, she tells me, it’ll be back to the regular November 1st.

The theme of the Dia de los Muertos events this year is Mictlán, a tribute to pre-hispanic culture. The events in the Angela Peralta Theater will start at 7 pm, with aerial dance, concept art, poetry readings, singing, ballet—it’s an event not to be missed. Free tickets will be handed out in the Plaza Machado starting at 10 am Friday, though the official announcements say Saturday. Be sure to be there early or on time, as the free tickets run out quickly and are limited to two per person. The parade itself starts about 8:00 pm from the Plaza Machado; route map is above.

Please Share!

Many of you have made yourselves up for years, so you are experienced. Not sure if any of the above will give you a few pro tips or not. I would love to hear your favorite makeup techniques and tips; please also share a photo of yourself in your favorite catrina outfit. For our group, it was all new. Now we know to buy some good brushes, blending sponges, and sequins. So, watch out Mazatlán! Here come the catrinas!

Thank you, China!!!! Thank you, Johnny! We so appreciate your generosity and talent!

We’re Going to the World Series!!!

team shot 2 It’s not every day you hear that around Mazatlan, but such has been the case since April, when the Mazatlan Pony League baseball team (Colt Division) won a tournament in Guadalajara with 8 wins and no losses and the chance to represent Mexico in the World Series in Lafayette, Indiana, USA from August 7 to August 12 of this year.

Competing in the World Series requires a lot of commitment by players, coaches and their families. Also, making a trip like this requires money. The good news is that the kids will not have to pay any hotel costs, but instead will be hosted by local families as part of a global outreach for international sports. However, the team has many other hurdles to jump in order to make this trip happen. By winning the tournament, the team received $3,000 USD to help with transportation costs. The team has also received a verbal commitment from the State of Sinaloa for $10,000 MXP. They will need more, and the team has held some fundraiser events and has been selling tacos every weekend since the big win.

The cost for the bus to Indiana (36 hours each way) has been negotiated down to 187,000 pesos. The team has managed to collect in cash and pledges 119,000 pesos, including the tournament winnings and the Sinaloa support. The rest has come from families like ours, local businesses and fundraising. That leaves the team short 68,000 pesos. For this, they are asking for some assistance.

Readers of this blog can show support by dropping off a donation to Post & Ship in the Golden Zone or by contributing via PayPal by clicking on the link below the video. The team did not have time to set up a special bank account for donations via PayPal, so instead, we asking you to donate to my PayPal account trusting that all of the funds collected will be given to the team.

In addition to transportation-related costs, the team also has to purchase a special uniform and has hired a professional trainer to aid the coaches. The team has a commitment and at this point they will go. If they do not raise the needed funds, the families will find the money themselves, somehow, some way—most likely by high interest credit. Please help them out if you’re able and willing!

Here is a little video of these great kids.

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Thanks in advance for your support.

Gracias

Virginal Zarandeado

P1280223You most probably love zarandeado—the barbecue fish that is so iconic here in Mazatlán—as much as we do. We’ve ordered it from our friends at Pili on Stone Island for at least l5 years, and in Costa Marinera and other restaurants here for about 30. It is generally cooked over an open wood fire, and it ROCKS!

We also love Pescadería del Mar in Playa Norte. We’ve visited the fishmongers there three times a week every week that we’ve lived here. In addition to fresh fish brought in from the fishermen across the street, they make fresh paté of marlin and tuna that’s the best in town, and only 50 pesos a pack. They also have some of the best fresh-smoked marlin and tuna around. They are so helpful to tell us what’s in season, what’s fresh, and even how to best prepare our different local fish. Of course, I also teach them a bit about how to prepare more international dishes, but that’s beside the point. NOTE: the photos below were not taken today, but on an earlier visit. Click on any photo to enlarge it or see a slideshow.

The point is that this morning we got to the fishmonger rather late. The only thing that looked good to us was fresh pargo, and it was huge for two people—over two kilograms. Perfect for a zarandeado! But what’s the catch? In all these years, we have never before prepared a large zarandeado at home, and we were, honestly, a bit intimidated.

You perhaps prepare this lovely dish at home all the time. With the low price of it in restaurants, there’s no real need to do so. But, our fishmongers gutted and split the pargo, all ready for us to take home and barbecue.

I washed it and sprinkled spices on top. Greg then put it in the fish-griller-thing-a-ma-jiggy that our friend gave us years ago, and put it on the grill.

It turned out perfect—juicy and succulent and oh-so-savory—and it couldn’t have been easier!

If you have by chance not yet tried to do zarandeado on your own, please, don’t worry. Greg tells me to be sure to heat the grill and the fish holder well before cooking, and remember to oil the fish holder. He warmed the grill on high heat and turned it down to medium to cook the fish. After about 20 minutes—oilá! It was magnificent. And we now have terrific fish for the next couple of days.

I made the rice like Spanish rice, with diced tomatoes, but today I added a few chipotles to the mix. The rice was incredible! Really, really good. Ashamedly, we haven’t gotten to go grocery shopping since our return from Las Vegas over the Easter break, so we didn’t have fresh veggies to put on top of the zarandeado. That’s why the raw carrots. 😉

Thank you, griller extraordinaire. It’s wonderful to have a “virginal” experience with you today. I know we will be barbecuing many more fish over the summer, thanks to this success!

OMG What a Nite! Cuerpo Gourmet

11038736_1397250817255943_3422775490219867973_n Last night was incredible. Honestly and completely. I arrived back from Venice and Milan in the morning, and was jet lagged but oh-so-excited to attend Delfos’ annual fundraiser, this year titled “Gourmet Body.” The event did not disappoint. In fact, it rocked so much I’m tempted to attend again today. Bless Omar, Claudia, Diego and everyone involved! This was an avant-garde performance that we would have been privileged to see in any major world city, and here we were, right in our very own Mazatlán! According to the program:

Gourmet Body is a hybrid performance that heightens all five senses. A game of chance where the viewer decides what to see and taste. It consists of eight scenes and eight tastings happening simultaneously in different spaces at Casa Garcia. It’s not just a dance performance; it’s not just a tasting; it’s not just a meeting among friends; it’s an entirely new way to experience art, food and social gatherings!”

It combined performance art—modern dance, music, lighting, acting—with delicious degustaciones made by Chef Diego Becerra and staff, and it took place in the beautiful surroundings that are Casa Garcia. There were eight “tours” we could take, and each person attending was able to do four. That’s the reason to go again—to do the remaining four. Last night’s event was attended by a good mix of locals and expats, and equally enjoyed by all. Everything was conducted bilingually, in Spanish and English. Click on any photo to view it larger or see a slideshow.

The Delfos troupe is one of the most renowned in Latin America, and we are blessed to have them based right here in our beloved Mazatlán. The group was founded in 1992 by Claudia Lavista and Victor Manuel Ruiz. Last night’s unbelievable event was an annual fundraiser (different each year) to support Delfos’ and the Professional School of Dance of Mazatlán’s social and educational projects. That includes community outreach to local colonias such as Urías, where kids without shoes are given the chance to learn the Delfos philosophy, joy of life, as well as dance.

Cuerpo Gourmet was conceived and produced by Delfos’ Omar Carrum. The architectural beauty of Casa Garcia, plus the fresh night air and clear sky in the courtyard were, of course, stars of the show. Having just come from Venice, where it is normal to pay US$40 for the privilege of good atmosphere or a scenic view, tonight I paid $40 for great views PLUS four incredible performances, four mouth-watering tapas, three glasses of full-bodied red wine, and the enjoyment of reconnecting with a whole bunch of friends.

Each of the eight performances had a theme and costumed tour guides. Each tour was limited by the number of people who could attend: between ten and 25 each round. Tour guides stood in line with their signs and tickets, and when a bell was rung, they handed out the tickets they had for that round. A program told those of us attending the theme of each performance, so we could approach that tour guide to get our tickets. In theory, each of us should have been able to attend any of the eight, but in reality the kids had so many friends and family there that some of the tours—such as #1, which took place in the bathroom, and another, which took place in the kitchen—were “sold out” each and every round before the bell even rang to begin giving out tickets. I will say, however, that every tour was wonderful—the performances, the costuming, and the food. It’s just that some were obviously more popular than others, and people were definitely pushy and psyched when they got tickets to their choice of tours!

The event had sold “VIP tickets” so that people could attend both nights. I had not heard about this option prior to tonight, probably because I was traveling. Since we were only able to attend four of the eight performances, attending both nights via the VIP option sounds smart, indeed. I assume they have a way to ensure that you get to see all eight tours. The first performance we went to was #8—Family Portrait: Sweet sighs of a layer hen. It took place on the second floor of the patio, in a small room with a terrace. Our seats were nests with eggs, and our degustación was a chocolate egg that was oh-so-delicious! Two dancers (Roseli Arias and Renato González) with masks and eggs danced in (and through) a window facing the audience.

Below is a video clip of this performance:

The second performance we attended was #7—At the Edge…The Oblivion: Hot passion served cold. This was also on the second floor, in a small room laid out with a long table dressed with white tablecloth, red roses and candles, on a balcony overlooking the floor below. Two girls (Aura Patrón and Karla Nunez) danced in a window, then we met two guys (Daniel Marin and Johnny Milan) dancing down on the floor below. Finally, all four were together down there in a ball of passion; the performance was a wonderful use of the architectural space in Casa Garcia. The tasting was a wet and spicy ceviche.

Here is a bit of video of this station:

Our third performance, #2—The Secret Ingredient: How people don’t know what they are eating—took place on the roof, and was the most energetic performance we saw. Also the funniest. Performers dressed as a chef, sous chef and cooks (Julio César Rendón, Sofia Ramírez, María de Lourdes Melo and Christian Jiménez) danced around with fry pans, and then served us a wonderful warm taco filled with chorizo.

Here’s a clip of this performance; enjoy! Our final performance, #3—Little Dudes: Four-creature cocktail in a fresh indulgence sauce—also took place upstairs on the roof, past the room with the pool table. It involved four performers (Alejandra Juárez, Francisco Herrejón, Jorge Luis Rebollo, and Ashley Pietro), and we were served a shrimp cocktail with a citrus dressing.

Below is a video of this performance:
I met two young dancers from the US last night, both of whom are doing a one-year residency with Delfos. The first, Olivia Fauver who studies at Smith College in Massachusetts, and the second, who I interviewed, Hillary Grumman from Seattle. Below is my interview with Hillary:

The performances we missed included:

  • #1—Anthropophagy: Dreams of meat in the sauce of craving and hunger
  • #4—The appointment: Meat pie of two religions with plantains and suburban pigs
  • #5—Bleeding in the sky: Blames of the cattle sandwich with BBQ sauce and farmer’s corn bread
  • #6—Absences: Memories of forbidden fruits covered with chocolate nostalgia

Hearty congratulations and many thanks to Claudia, Omar, Diego and everyone involved! What a wonderful, jet lag-filled welcome home to Mazatlán! Get your tickets to tonight’s event at Casa Garcia (Calle Niños Héroes #1511) or LOOK Gallery.

Part of the #MyGlobalLife Link-Up