Ajijic Culture Center art exposition honoring Daniel Acosta opens Saturday
Photo: Eukarya. Print by Daniel Acosta
Patrick O’Heffernan Ajijic JAL. Prolific Mexican artist and printmaker Daniel Acosta will be honored at the opening of “Resiliencia”, an extensive exposition of Mexican artists at the Centro de Cultural, in Ajijic, Saturday.
Acosta, Born in Mexico, has trained in fine art both in his home country and in eastern Europe, where he studied animation, print-making, and portraiture. He has enjoyed successful solo and group shows in his home country, as well as exhibiting in the US, eastern Europe, and Tokyo. This show will be the first at the Centro de Cultura in Ajijic to honor him.
Co-sponsored by the University of Guadalajara and the Graphics Center, it will feature prints, paintings and graphics, Twenty eight artists will be represented, including Acosta. The exposition will run through July 15. The Center is located on the Plaza in Ajijic .
Tickets now available for Lakeside Little Theater opening production Marjorie Prime
Cast of Marjorie Prime: L to R: Mark Donaldson, Peggy Lord Chilton, Debra Bowers, Brian Fuqua.
Tickets are now available online for the Lakeside Little Theater ‘s first production of Season 57,Marjorie Prime, a future tale of a love story embedded in a tragedy surrounding a committed family dealing with loss of memory in age of artificial intelligence.
Written by Jordan Harrison and directed by Lynn Gutstadt, the ART reading stars Peggy Lord Chilton, Debra Bowers, Mark Donaldson, and Brian Fuqua. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize of Drama, Marjorie Prime is produced through an arrangement with Concord Theatricals, LTD on behalf of Samuel French Ltd.
Marjorie Prime runs May 28, 29 and 30 at 4 pm on the LLT Angel Terrace in San Antonio Tlayacapan. Tickets available at the LLT theater online box office https://lltmex.sales.ticketsearch.com/sales/sales. COVID-19 precautions are in place .
Ajijic iconic Camaleón Bar Reopens
Rolf Stengel in the doorway of the newly reopened Bar El Camaleón.
Patrick O’Heffernan, Ajijic. Music and cocktail aficionados, not to mention a loyal drinking crowd, were crestfallen in March when the iconic Bar El Camaleón closed, unable to stay in business because Covid restrictions and its owner’s husband’s illness forced it to cut its businesses and eventually close. But they can now rejoice because it has reopened, slightly reconfigured, but with music, art and of course mixed drinks, tequilas, mescals and beers.
Bar El Camaleon was opened in 1995 by a group of Guadalajara artists led by Germán Adolfo Villa Guzmán. It was originally a bar-restaurant-gallery located at Marcos Castellanos #2. Food gave way to drinking , music and art about three years later and the bar/gallery/music venue continued on uninterrupted for two decades until March of this year when it shut down, reportedly permanently.
But icons never die – they reopen and keep going. Long-time bartender/manager Rolf Stengel sat down (at the bar, of course) with Laguna to report that the owner had decided to reopen it February 8. What made a new start possible was the remodeling to create a space for the new Gallery 2 to open onto Marcos Castellanos (also known and Ramón Corona) and shifting the bar entrance to its other side, 29 Constitución. This enabled the bar and the gallery to split the rent, making it possible for the bar to make ends meet, despite still slow business.
“Business is still very slow”, Stengel told Laguna, “but I think it will catch up now that the restrictions have been lifted. We are seeing some of our old customers return,” he said, adding that they have music which brings in business. Bands are scheduled for the next two weekends.
What used to be the back half of the bar and the upstairs area is now occupied by Gallery 2 which is operated by a long-time customer of Camaleon. Because the wildly painted exterior of the Bar El Camaleon wraps around the building from Constitución to Marcos Castellanos, catching the eye of art-shopping tourists who see an opportunity to refresh themselves after a hot afternoon of gallery-hopping, or to come back later for beer and music.
Rolf is happy to be back and looks forward to his regulars trickling in as news spreads that the Bar El Camaleon is open, and to greeting new customers who come for the weekend music… another sign that Ajijic is starting to change its colors, chameleon-like – from closed down to exciting.
Restauran mural de las escalinatas del barrio de San Miguel
Pablo Mojica del colectivo artístico “Chiscodelia” y el director de Turismo, Gastón de la Torre.
Arturo Ortega (Chapala, Jal).- Gracias a la iniciativa de un grupo jóvenes, desde el mes de enero se trabaja en la restauración del mural de las escalinatas del cerro de San Miguel, que se ubican sobre la calle Degollado, en su esquina con la Avenida Francisco I. Madero.
El director de turismo, Gastón de la Torre, informó que de manera voluntaria un grupo de jóvenes acudieron al lugar para solicitar trabajar en la restauración del mural, cuya imagen de Quetzalcóatl desciende del barrio de San Miguel.
El alcalde de Chapala, Moisés Alejandro Anaya Aguilar, manifestó su apoyo y después Pinturas Prisa de Ajijic se sumó al proyecto, donando parte de los materiales para restaurar el mural de las escalinatas.
Pablo Mojica del colectivo artístico “Chiscodelia” y otras cuatro personas quienes trabajan en la restauración detallaron que se busca contar con la misma tonalidad de colores que se utilizaron de manera original.
La idea del mural fue del actual regidor Javier Degollado González, quien siendo alcalde de la administración 2015 – 2018, gestionó la rehabilitación de las escalinatas que tuvieron una inversión de recursos federales de 3 millones 97 mil 65 pesos.
El trabajo para restaurar el mural que mide 60 metros cuadrados y que se extiende a lo largo de las 193 escalinatas, tomará alrededor de tres meses para concluirse.
Little Lakeside Theater ART production of Moonlight and Magnolias opens at this weekend
Moonlight & Magnolias 2020.
Patrick O’Heffernan (Ajijic). – Little Lake Theater’s Ajijic Readers Theater (ART) will open the laugh-out-loud comedy Moonlight and Magnolia this weekend, in matinees Oct. 16, 17, and 18.
Presented by special arrangement with Dramatist Play Services of New York, the play is inspired by actual events surrounding the behind-the-scenes story of Gone with the Wind as seen through the eyes of producer David O. Selznick, director Fleming and writer Ben Hecht.
The play, a live read by LLT actors, opens with the film’s producer five weeks into the shoot of Gone With Wind when he realizes that the script is awful and the director doesn’t have a clue. Over the next five frantic days the script is rewritten by a writer who has not read the book, resulting in some of the most hilarious situations in modern drama.
Tickets are available for all performances at 150 pesos at the box office. Covid protocols including social distancing will be in place.
Corn leaf artisans devastated by Covid-19 tourism bans.
The creation of the corn leaf products has been on hold since March.
Miguel Cerna.- “Sin chamba” – without work – is how the nearly 200 artisans of San Cristóbal Zapotitlán describe themselves because they had to stop the production of corn leaf crafts due to the lack of sales when tourism stopped in March.
The situation is especially difficult for the artisans like Laura Flores Damasco, who has been working in the corn leaf technique for 20 years and relies on it to support her family. Damasco stopped producing due to the lack of buyers so she resorted to doing household chores with her relatives to survive the pandemic. It will be difficult to start again due to the increase in the cost of the materials she requires to produce the dolls, birth announcements, flowers and other items she makes.
Febronia Leal Arce, 58, also a corn leaf artisan and the head of a family of 10, explained her plight. «We are now in this situation because we have no jobs; we don’t even have tortillas, ”she said with resignation. She was echoed by Herlinda Anguiano who runs the “Creaciones San Cristóbal” cooperative of 10 women, who she said now are all out of work.
So far, the only support that this union has received was the delivery of 70 food despensas by the Ministry of Economic Development through the General Directorate of Artisan Development; however, as of our deadline, no support has been announced to restart their work or revitalize their market.
Jesús Carlo Cuevas González, director of Tourism and Crafts of Jocotepec.
This devastating economic blow to corn leaf artisans has been caused by the virtual disappearance of the tourist sector nationwide as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the travel bans enacted or urged to combat its spread, as explained by Jesús Carlo Cuevas González, director of Tourism and Crafts of Jocotepec. Corn leaf crafts had a strong presence in Tonalá, Chapala, Mazamitla and the neighboring state of Michoacán , and at the Jocotepec pier, which, is still closed due to contingency.
“The corn leaf artisans have no sales now because their main market is people from Guadalajara or the ZMG, who come to buy their crafts to take home. The issue is that with the paralysis of the tourism sector, there are no people who buy handicrafts because it is not considered an essential item,” he said.
Although not all artisans are heads of the family, most contribute considerably to the livelihood of their homes, so some have chosen to migrate to the countryside in order to restart the production of their crafts. (translated by Patrick O’Heffernan)
Ajijic’s arts and crafts community is most affected by the pandemic
The heart of Ajijic, where artists and artisans coexist, today is empty.
Sofía Medeles/Domingo M. Flores (Ajijic, Jal.).- If you drive through Ajijic you see closed signs on the gallery of the painter Jesús López Vega, the textile crafts store of Sofía Marquez, the Fiaga Ajijic workshop, the shop where Bruno Mariscal works with his father and the restaurants where Daniel Tejeda entertained patrons with songs at his keyboard. Even the Heart of Ajijic gallery, where many artists and artisans coexist, is empty.
The have succumbed to the now obligatory home confinement in the State of Jalisco due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The confinement order has helped keep Chapala free of confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far, but it has caused economic havoc in the business community. It is the art sector in Ajijic, cradle and home of many creators, that has been most affected in Lakeside. Semanario Laguna talked with artists in Ajijic to see how they are faring.
The renowned painter Jesús López Vega, one of the pioneers in Ajijic’s artistic movement, called the local artist economy an “alarming situation”. He said that, «Many of my clients returned to the United States because they began to close borders, so art sales dropped noticeably».
Jesús López Vega, painter who has been in his workshop for more than ten years.
He was somewhat relieved that the pandemic arrived at the end of the high season in the Chapala Lakeside, which cushioned the economic blow for artists. If COVID-19 had arrived in Mexico in winter — high season in Ajijic, it would have been even more devastating. «The start of the pandemic began more or less at the time when the art sale season begins to wind down in Ajijic, although in Easter season sales are usually steady,” Vega said, “but nothing has been sold since then». Fortunately, he added, “I have a job in a home decorating business and I have been able to carry on». Vega firmly believes that with the cooperation of everyone the health problem will not worsen.
For Sofía Márquez, who has her own artisan clothing brand and owns Fiaga Boutique in the heart of Ajijic, it has been difficult to cope with this situation, especially since she has a team that helps her produce and sell her clothing. “I gave the girls a month’s salary, but this month it is going to end», she told Semanario Laguna. “There is no way to continue supporting them because there are no sales, the store is closed and there is no income». Sofia added.
Sofía Márquez, who has her own artisan clothing brand and owns Fiaga Boutique in the heart of Ajijic.
Her expectations are not the best for the following months. «The truth is I expect more bad news and an economic crisis because there are no resources, there are no tourists and there is no job. I feel that this will last until the end of the year, and currently my husband is the one who takes care of our needs», she said.
Artist and musician Bruno Mariscal Jr. is very aware of the economic impact on the community, since the Easter holiday season is usually a strong income season for merchants and artists like him, as tourists are good art buyers. Bruno’s income currently comes from the business where he works with his father on Marcos Castellanos street, a few meters from the main square. «We continue to offer printing as well as the production of merchandise with the image of Ajijic, and I also create artistic works from home, hoping that they will popular», said the young man.
Artist and musician Bruno Mariscal Jr.
Bruno understands that the pandemic is serious but he doubts that people will remain in confinement for the two months recommended by the authorities (April and May). The young artist gave Semario Laguna a message of hope and unity to send: » I would like to ask that all of us as a nation become aware and take care of ourselves, go out only as necessary and follow the rules of care. It depends on us as a society to ensure that this ends soon and does not unleash a greater tragedy».
Daniel Tejeda, singer in the versatile group «Sol y Luna», is in a more difficult situation. His income depends on his musical performances, which have been canceled until further notice.
versatile group «Sol y Luna»
«They have canceled all the performances. Music is my only work, doing solo acts in several restaurants, which have already closed», said Daniel. He is now supported by his daughters who currently cannot visit him due to the health emergency now in phase three, the most critical of the pandemic. «We as artists are not helped by the government or the bosses», he adds, noting that there is no safety net for musicians. (translated by Patrick O’Heffernan)
Renowned Mexican singer Jaramar in intimate house concert in Ajijic
Jaramar Soto created a magical night of 15 songs in a unique, intimate concert
Patrick O’Heffernan (Ajijic).- The renowned Mexican singer Jaramar Soto made a surprise appearance in Ajijic Friday night, at an intimate concert organized by singer-songwriter Yanin Saavedra at her home. Supported by her long-time accompanists Luis Javier Ochoa on guitar and Alejandro Fernández Figueroa on violin, the Latin Grammy-winning Jaramar treated the audience in Saavedra’s living room to 15 stunning songs, mostly composed by her.
Clad in a simple black lace dress, she swayed, sang, smiled and mesmerized the people on folding chairs only feet away from her with a voice that everyone in Jalisco knows and loves. From the mischievous “Máquina” to the soulful “Echar el Ancla”, she filled the house with music usually heard in grand theaters in Guadalajara, Mexico City or Los Angeles. In between songs, she told stories of the songs, her life, art and her dreams.
Jaramar, born in Mexico City but now based in Guadalajara. Is a singer, dancer, composer and visual artist who has recorded 15 solo albums, among them El hilo invisible (with el Cuarteto Latinoamericano, for which she won the 2016 Latin Grammy for Best Classical Music Album.
Her visit to Ajijic is the result of her friendship with Saavedra and her continuing desire to develop new projects and touch new audiences. Yanin Saavedra and her partner, bassist Gilberto Rios, produces a continuing series of intimate concerts bringing artists from around Mexico in genres, ranging from electric dream pop to folk to classical. Jaramar earlier appeared on the Ajijic-based radio program Music Sin Fronteras.
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Patrick O’Heffernan (Ajijic).- The former Director General de Actividades of the Secretaría de Cultura of Jalisco, Santiago Baeza has a broad knowledge of art in Mexico and other parts of the world and it’s interplay with government, society and economics. He is a renowned abstract artist whose works are shown in New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Guadalajara and other major cities.
His sculptures reflect the urban nature of abstract art-simple, minimalist, honest. They range from small table-top objects to installations large enough to stand in (he encourages it). They interweave empty space with strong shapes and undulating forms, sometimes leading the eye in circles, sometimes deeper into the piece and sometimes out of it to turn around and see it from a different perspective. Walking through his outdoor studio, strewn with his children’s toys as well as with sculptures in various stages of construction for a major show later this year, he tells how his role in the government and politics and culture of Mexico has contributed to his focus on abstract art. “I love abstract art because it liberates me from the politics –I make art for the people to enjoy. When I do art, I give the people the opportunity to get out of this sick society, to leave the political behind”, he says thinking about the role of art in Mexico. While his forms are abstract and flow from a history of abstract art in Mexico that pre-dates the Spanish, he prefers that the viewer has to bring a personal meaning to each piece. ”All art has to tell a story, but my case is different; I have always separated my politics and my art. When I am working on a piece of art, it is mine, but when I finish it, it doesn’t belong to me.” This spirit carries over to his emphasis on art that is for people, not government commissioned. “Artists have to live from the market, and not from the government”, he says. It also contributes to his disdain for titles on his art. “I hate putting titles to my art. It is very difficult – I don’t like to box people in… I want the piece and the people to have that liberty.”
People in Ajijic can follow Santiago Baeza on Facebook, to find out when his new show will go up in Guadalajara and other cities.
Artist of the Week: Rigoberto Navaro
Rigoberto can be found on most Sunday mornings in the Ajijic plaza with his sculptures for sale.
Patrick O’Heffernan (Ajijic).- Rigoberto is a young sculptor from Ajijic who works mostly in volcanic stone from local quarries and with the cantera stone from other parts of Latin America. He likes volcanic and cantera stone because it is ideal for the highly detailed carving and cutting that characterizes his work and the fact that it lasts for centuries. It also exhibits different colors which he considers in his work. “Almost all of my rocks are volcanic and the minerals in them can change the color so I am always looking at the color of the rock” he says of his process.
His carvings focus on mythical animals and human-animal forms as well as abstract shapes that often incorporate Aztec and other indigenous designs. “Animals are part of my imagination as are the traditions of Mexico. I think about the history of Mexico when I work, and about the gods of the early people. I am still learning about the many Aztec gods,” he says of his fantasy shapes.
His family is one of the Charro/Charrería leaders in Ajijic, as his grandfather founded the Ajijic Bullring and his sister, Erika Robledo, trains future female riders at the Escaramuza Pedigogica Las Portranquita Ajijic. But he decided to take another path. “ I like art. I like the charro and charrería of my grandfather and father and family but I just liked different things,” he says. But he actually trained as an engineer before turning to sculpture.
He sometimes sees the final sculpture in the rock, but usually it reveals itself as he cleans and examines the stone. He often sketches out what he is planning and explores photographs of animals and gods and designs first. “I draw a picture of what I am going to do to get the proportions right. Unlike clay or painting, you cannot add back in when you do sculpture,” he explains.
Rigoberto can be found on most Sunday mornings in the Ajijic plaza with his sculptures for sale. He will take commissions, but he won’t accept payment in advance – if you like what he does, you can pay for it, if not you don’t have to buy it. He also sells his sculptures in local galleries and as part of art collective shows at La Cocherrá Cultúra in Ajijic, including the Sangre Viva art festival Jan 31, and at events like the Mexican National Chili Cookoff this year at the Tobolandia Water Park. He can be reached through his Facebook page or at email@example.com.