Former CNN head visits Semanario Laguna and talks local news
Patrick O’Heffernan Ajijic (JAL) Teya Ryan, the former Executive Vice President and General Manager of CNN, recently visited the offices of Semanario Laguna to see how local news is gathered in Mexico and to talk with Mexican journalists about the state of newspapers. She was impressed not only with the quality of the reporting of newspapers in Lakeside, but with their independence. “Semanario Laguna and other independent newspapers are so important because they keep the ideal of truthful, accurate, unbiased journalism alive at a time when newspapers in the United States are under attack and closing down,” she told the staff. “What you do here,” she said, “is not only excellent reporting but vital to independent journalism everywhere.”
She explained that falling advertising revenues, competition from online news and sales sites, and corporate takeovers have drastically reduced the number of newspapers in the USA. In fact, a study of newspaper coverage in the United States found a national total of 1,810 papers ceased publication in the past 15 years – one fifth of all papers in the country. Ryan stressed the importance of papers like Semanario Laguna that survive on advertising and remain independent.
Teya Ryan, former head of CNN, with the editors of Semanario Laguna.
The Laguna staff explained to her that the basis of reporting in Lakeside for Semanario Laguna and other publication is local area news – Ajijic, Chapala, Jocotepec, and so on. They explained that people want to know what is going on in their town and their neighborhood, so Semanario Laguna and other news sites segment themselves by areas and have reporters who know the local scene and people in each town. This also attracts local business for advertising, the lifeblood of papers here.
Responding to questions about running CNN, she told them she managed a revenue budget of over a billion dollars a year and reporters and crews around the world. She said that her position came with some awesome decisions– especially in wartime when her reporters were imbedded with military units at the battle front and video was streaming live.
“What would you do if your medical reporter, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is a pediatric neurosurgeon, is at the battlefront with a military medical team and injured children start coming in, including one with brain damage that only he can operate on – would you tell him he can operate and save lives, and thus become part of the story, or would you tell him no, you have to remain a neutral reporter?” (she told him to operate).
Teya Ryan, former head of CNN, with the editors of Semanrio Laguna.
That question, and others like censoring live broadcasts to prevent the enemy from seeing where Coalition troops were, led to a lively discussion. Of course, these are decisions the staff of Semanario Laguna is not likely to face, but they discussed other decisions involving hard-hitting investigations of local government and institutions where similar decisions could be involved.
Ryan was in Ajijic visiting friends including this writer, and was pleased with the opportunity to talk with local journalists. She now is President and CEO of Georgia Public Broadcasting, where she manages multiple TV and radio stations and produces television documentaries and entertainment programs every year. Although she manages a large statewide network, she works to insure strong local coverage, including high school sports, on the part of her stations, much like Semanario Laguna’s hyperlocal coverage.
Ajijic celebrates its tenth years as an official representative of “Thrill the World” in Mexico
Photo: Jasmine Stengel.
Arturo Ortega and Patrick O’Heffernan (Ajijic, Jal). – Over 300 people watched as Ajijic hosted its tenth annual Thrill the World dance exhibition on the Malecón last weekend when 50 zombies danced on the boardwalk and then paraded to Seis Esquinas square for a repeat performance amid a sprinkling of snow. While not connected to the Day of the Dead weekend of celebrations, Thrill the World is a popular event that fits well with the other holiday parades, costumes and fiestas.
Thrill the World Ajijic took place on the basketball court of the Malecón in a cordoned off area, as over 300 spectators watched and cheered. The 7- minute dance was based on the choreography of the Michael Jackson video premiered on Music Television Video (MTV) in 1984. Around 5:30 in the afternoon, the dance was performed for the second time in the Seis Esquinas square on the west side of Ajijic. Snow was given to a hundred children and adults who had fun pelting each other amid the dancing of about 30 zombies.
Thrill the World! is an international event, originally launched by Ines Markeljevic in Toronto, Canada, in 2006 in an attempt to set a Guiness world record for the “Largest Thriller Dance”. Sixty-two people showed up, setting the record; over 3 million people watched videos of the dancing giving it global popularity. The following year the Thrill the World Project recruited 1552 people in 52 cities for a new record.
Photo: Jasmine Stengel.
Now the event is organized worldwide through a website, www.thrilltheworld.com, and serves as a fund raiser for the Red Cross. Last year over 3000 people danced in 63 events around the world, raising almost $400,000. Thrill the World took place this year in 45 cities in Austria, Brazil, Canada, England, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States. Ajijic has participated since 2010 in the Thrill The World and this year was the only city in Mexico participating.
Thrill the World, which requires weeks of practice and costume-making, is largely supported by the Ex-pat community in Lakeside but enjoys enthusiastic acceptance by the locals, a few of whom take part. This year’s event on the Malecón was accompanied by a fund-raising dinner for 100 people who also got reserved covered seats, but even those without dinner tickets had plenty of room to watch. The proceeds from the Thrill The World lunch and seat sales in Ajijic will help support the Chapala Red Cross.
Lakeside’s first Karaoke Gong Show for Charity is a repeatable success
Ed Toasca announces the finaist, Patti Gates and Gayla.
Patrick O’Heffernan Ajijic (Jal).- The first and apparently not the last Karaoke Gong Show for Charity came off as a great success last week at The Spotlight Club in San Antonio Tlayacapan. The event sold out, raising almost $16,800mx for the Programa pro Niños Incapacitados del Lago A.C, Love in Action and animal rescue organizations. Based on the long-running Emmy-winning goofy talent contest, the Spotlight event featured 15 amateur (but many very talented) singers competing for a grand prize of a table and drinks for 4 at any show at The Spotlight. Mark Rome, owner of The Spotlight donated 100% of the night’s ticket proceeds to the Gong Show’s designated charities and provided the grand prize.
Finnaist Patti Smith.
The event filled up early with holders of reservations arriving as the doors opened to claim great seats and a few people appeared at the door asking to compete (they were too late – the lineup had been set weeks earlier). Many of the contestants brought friends and family who occupied “cheering sections” at tables stage left, where the contestants mounted the stag when called by Master of Ceremonies Ed Tasca, columnist for the Guadalajara Reporter. The all-volunteer show was produced by the informal group, the “Lakeside Karaoke Singers”.
The judges, however, were not amateurs. Chief Judge Cindy Paul is a professional singer, Patrick O’Heffernan is a music critic as well as a writer for Laguna, and Wayne Watson is a professional musician. The judges analyzed the contestants on the basis of pitch, key, costume, stage presence, audience connection, song selection, and skill in tracking the lyrics on the screen. Contestants were “gonged” after a discussion among the judges, rather than on the opinion of a single judge.
A full house at The Spotlight.
The level of talent was impressive. Most of the singers were extremely well-prepared and rehearsed and many wore costumes to match the songs, changing costumes as they advanced in the contest. Two finalists remained at the end of the show, Gayla, and Patti Gates. The audience chose the winner by clapping and cheering for their favorite. Gayla was the clear winner and, after congratulating her runner up, entertained the crowd with a final song.
The impressive fund-raising success of the event and the favorable audience feedback (though not necessarily from all the losing singers) have persuaded the organizers to consider a repeat performance early next year with a few tweaks to the program to give the singers more time and the audience more entertainment.
Lakeside Día de Muertos: skulls, Katrina horses and 3 days of remembrance
Photo: Patrick O’Heffernan
Patrick O’Heffernan Ajijic (JAL).- Dia de Muertos, the Day of the Dead and Mexico’s biggest holiday, is approaching. Day of the Dead is actually a three-day holiday which involves cemetery visits, fireworks, processions, private altars called ofrendas, calaveras, Aztec marigolds, the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and fiestas. In some parts of Mexico, like Mexico City and Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos, major gatherings of thousands of people take place with parades, contests, and music. The same is true NOB, especially in Los Angeles where over 40,000 people gather at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for altars, music and food.
A single Day of the Dead was celebrated in summer by the Aztecs until the Spanish invaders imposed Catholic religion and holidays on them. The Church moved Day of the Dead to coincide with the Catholic Allhallowtide, a 3-day celebration of All Saints’ Eve (now Halloween), All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. However, despite the proximity to Halloween and the commercial pressures to institute a Mexican Halloween celebration, Day of the Dead has nothing to do with Halloween.
Photo: Patrick O’Heffernan.
Dia de Muertos was initially celebrated in central and southern Mexico, but the 2015 James Bond film, Spectre, featured an opening sequence of a Day of the Dead Parade in downtown Mexico City (there was no such parade). One year later, the government used the popularity of the film to promote the pre-Hispanic Mexican culture by organizing an actual “Día de Muertos” parade attended by 250,000 people and later declaring it a national holiday.
As anyone who has seen the Disney film Coco knows, Dia de Muertos (the los is an alternative form of the original Dia de Muertos) is a festive day in which people gather to remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey with gifts and prayers. In Mexican culture, death is viewed as a natural part of the human cycle, so it is not a day of sadness but a day of celebration with their deceased loved ones who return from the other side of life to celebrate invisibly with them.
Lakeside takes these celebrations very seriously. Ajijic’s celebration begins on the first day of November, the Day of the Little Angels, El Día de los Inocentes, which is reserved for families who have lost children. The night before, the children make an altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. Families often believe that the spirits of the departed children run ahead of the families to these altars to be there when the families arrive with gifts. By the afternoon of Nov. 2, when the Dia de Muertos celebration has begun in earnest, altaras in the main cemeteries in Ajijic and Chapala are extravagantly decorated and at night lit by hundreds of candles.
Celebrations in Ajijic are mostly at the altars in the cemetery and later in the main plaza with altars and colorful sawdust carpets. A activity unique to Ajijic is the Katrina Ride, a parade of horses and riders dressed as Katrina, the apparition immortalized by the artist Diego Rivera in a 1940’s satirical mural drawn from cartoons of José Guadalupe Posada. A possible inspiration for Katrina was Mictēcacihuātl, the Aztec goddess of death who ruled the underworld Mictlān. The ride will begin at 1 pm at on 16 Septembre in La Floresca and will proceed through Ajijic for an hour or more, looping through Seís Esquinas and returning to La Floresca. Timing will depend on the number of times the horses stop for photos and selfies. The Katrina Ride is not part of any official activities, but s planned communally and any woman or man with a costume and a decorated horse can join. Over a dozen horses and riders are expected this year in homemade costumes.
The official Ajijic “The Night of the Dead” parade will leave from Aldama and Constitución, move west to Seís Esquinas and end up at the Plaza. A highlight of the Ajijic celebration is the illumination of the hundreds of terracotta skulls across from the Parroquia San Andres Aposto, created in 2016 by the artist Efren Gonzalez to honor residents who have passed away. Each skull plaque is lit by a candle, turning Calle Marcus Castellanos into a blazing celebration of Dia de Muertos.
Photo: Patrick O’Heffernan.
Chapala’s Celebration of Dia de Muertos is spectacular with many altars, sawdust carpets and a nighttime parade that begins after 7:00 near the Malecón at the Church San Francisco. Earlier in the day, the riverbank receives a collection of life-sized Katrinas exhibited by the Jalisco state Secretary of Culture in the towns of the Chapala riverbank. The Chapala regional high school constructs elaborate altars as a 20-year old school tradition, displaying them in the center of town, which is filled with altars, Katrinas, artistic exhibitions and sculptures dedicated to the Dia de Muertos.
The Katrina Ride, the parade and the many Dia de Muertos parties throughout Lakeside have created a demand for costumes and especially makeup. The New Look Beauty Salon on Hidalgo in San Antonio Tlayacapan is one example of a local business thriving by preparing its clients for the celebrations by painting their faces with the perfect Katrina mask, Make-up expert Rous Ruíz reports that Katrina make-up has been popular for the past decade. Predicts that between this Saturday and Nov 2 they will paint at least 20 women a day. The shop is holding a costume and make-up contest for its staff, clients and anyone who wants to attend on Oct 31.
Five a.m. fireworks in Lakeside: an explanation from Ajijic
Victor Rochin launches a cohete during the opening procession for the Fiestas of San Andrés in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico. The Rochin family are coheteros, one of Mexico’s thousands of families who dedicate themselves to the production of fireworks, including Mexico’s famous fireworks castles. Photo and text: danestrom.com
Patrick O’Heffernan, Ajijic (JAL).- Its five o’clock in the morning and you are awakened by the sound of a skyrockets going off somewhere in town. The explosions also woke your dog who is starting to hyperventilate and look for something to hide under. About 15 minutes later you have calmed the dog, gotten back in bed and started to drift off when more fireworks explode. This goes on until around 6 am when you hear a string of fireworks accompanied by church bells that last for several minutes. What is going on?
What is going on is the Fiesta de San Miguel, a tradition that was abandoned 200 years ago and brought back by the people of Ajijic in 2016. What you are hearing are cohetes, fireworks exploded to celebrate the Fiesta de San Miguel – Saint Michael the Archangel. This fiesta celebrates one of Ajijic’s patrons, the other being the Virgin of the Rosary and Saint Andrew’s – Ajijic’s principal patron-. San Miguel is the patron saint of the neighborhood that bears his name, located at the foot of the mountain above Perry’s Pizza and the Hotel Lindo.
The celebration begins on September 29 late in the afternoon with a procession that starts in the San Miguel neighborhood and winds through Ajijic. Worshippers carry the statue of San Miguel from La Crucita, a hillside cave above the San Miguel neighborhood, through the barrio Seis Esqueinas, around several other neighborhoods and then back to barrio San Miguel where a fiesta begins. Fireworks are part of the fiesta, especially a bull-shaped rack of fireworks that people hold up and run around with like el torro in danza folkloríco (for a map and photos of the celebration see the Lakeside Guide’s free downloadable book of holidays and celebrations in Lakeside).
The early morning fireworks begin the next day about an hour before morning mass. They are set off by neighborhood organizations, often affiliated with workers comunitades, who use them as part of the celebration of the saint. Although they start an hour before mass and lead up to it, the church does not support the cohetes or endorse them as a call to mass.
What you are hearing are cohetes, fireworks exploded to celebrate the Fiesta de San Miguel. Tradition that was abandoned 200 years ago and brought back by the people of Ajijic in 2016.
“We ask the people not to make the cohetes, but they say it is for the fiesta and fire them even though we tell them they are bothering the people – están molestando – and should not do it,” says Padre Everardo of the Parroquia San Andrés Apostol, the Catholic Church on Calle Marcos Castellanos. The bells are rung by the church to accompany worshippers as they enter, but the church opposes the fireworks.
According to the Ajijic Delegado, Juan Ramón Flores organizations must obtain a permit from the Ajijic bomberos to ignite the fireworks from locations like the Plaza or the Malecon. A bomberos permit specifies how many, what kind, and what size cohetes can be, but it is unclear if they cover early morning fireworks in the neighborhoods. But the processions, masses and cohetes are a treasured tradition in Ajijic, which is why the neighborhoods worked hard to revive them after 200 years.
The celebration of San Miguel continues for nine days, so there is mass every morning for nine days and for nine days the neighborhood organizations shoot off cohetes. But the end of the Fiesta de San Miguel is not necessarily the end of the fireworks.
Ajijic also celebrates its other patron, the Virgin of the Rosary, whose 400-year-old image resides in the Capilla Nuestra Señora del Rosario, the small church on the Ajijic Plaza next to the Centro Cultural. It begins with a procession at 5 p.m. carrying the image of the Virgin of the Rosary on September 29th that moves to the Church of Guadalupe in barrio sies esquinas on Calle Ocampo in West Ajijic. The next day, the image is carried in a procession from the Church of Guadalupe to the Parroquia San Andres Apostol. The procession begins around 6:30 pm and may entail fireworks. And the community cohetes may start again the next morning at 5am along with music and singing as the parishioners serenade the image of the Virgin. The cohetes can continue every morning until October 31 when the fiestas for Dia de Los Muertos begin. In addition, the 20 of November begins the party or the Saint Andrew’s – Ajijic’s principal patron-.and goes through the end of the month. Moreover, yes, there is more fireworks.
Ajijic Singer Yasmin Saavedra releases her debut album to international acclaim
Foto: Patrick O’Heffernan
Patrick O’Heffernan, Ajijic (JAL).- Yanin Saavedra formally released her much-anticipated debut album, Búsqueda, at a CD party in Guadalajara’s Creaturas Anónimas venue Thursday night. Reviews of the album are ecstatic, predicting that Saavedra will continue her ascent as singer-songwriter. The album was previously previewed at a private event in Ajijic and some of the songs have been available online for weeks.
The major American music website IndiePulseMusic reviewed a preview copy of the 12-song CD, calling it “a stunning debut album that shimmers with promise.” The California-based Music Junkie Press said “the album Búsqueda stands on its own as a work of musical artistry but promises much more to come”. In the United Kingdom, the music platform Artist Echoes said Saavedra’s Búsqueda” is a debut album that capitalizes on her outlier voice and shimmers with wonder.” In international music site Vents wrote that when you listen to Búsqueda “your ears are in the presence of a unique and exquisite talent.”
Saavedra is well-known in Lakeside where she teaches music in schools and plays in local venues like La Mezcaleria and in her hometown, Guadalajara. She has toured Mexico and Europe, playing festivals and clubs and even streets across the Continent. Influenced by traditional sound from around the world and contemporary Latin music she writes original songs with an up-to-the-minute Latin flavor and a global mixture of traditional rhythms and sensibilities.
The album is available for download or streaming on Bandcamp at https://yanin.bandcamp.com/album/b-squeda
Crime in Lakeside a problem? What do Expats think?
Patrick O’Heffernan (Ajijic, JAL).- In the past few months, a Pemex station in Chapala was robbed at gunpoint; the President of Jalisco admitted that home robbery was one of the Lakeside region’s most frequent crimes, especially in mountain communities like Chula vista Norte and Riberas de Pilar and robberies of three businesses and two private cars were reported. So, is Lakeside becoming a dangerous place? Does the Expat community worry about crime? Do they worry that Ajijic is now crime-ridden?
Recently, an Expat shopper at Walmart left his wallet sitting on a counter and walked out of the store. He had barely made it to the parking lot when no one, but two Mexicans told him he forgot his wallet and that it was inside. His comment after the incident was that in the US, where he was from, not only it is likely that no one would have told him, they would have probably kept the wallet. His perception of crime in Lakeside – at least against Expats, was that it is rare. He knew of one person who had been robbed and a few people who had been the victims of theft over the past couple of years.
His opinion is both substantiated and disputed in Lakeside’s general discussion boards (this excludes the dedicated crime discussion board on Facebook) which offered a range of views on crime. Many conversations focus on scams, thefts of ladders, and warnings not to open your door to people you don’t know, but there is little paranoia. Those who complained of crime and said they were leaving because Lakeside was no longer safe were contradicted by others who pointed out that crime exists everywhere and they felt very safe in Lakeside.
An very informal, very non-scientific, four- question survey conducted of Expats in Lakeside (all questions asked of people in Ajijic, although some lived in other towns) found that 95% think it is a safe place to live, but respondents were split almost evenly on whether or not crime was rising in Lakeside. Two mentioned a personal experience with crime (petty theft), most referred to stories on Facebook or in the media when asked if they knew of specific incidents of crime. The majority said they take routine precautions to protect themselves and their property as they would anywhere.
The perception of safety voiced by the respondents closely matches data. Statistically, Mexico and Chapala are very safe. The website NUMBEO aggregates and analyzes crime reporting from states and cities around the world and scores Mexico at 32.41, a rank of low. Its data show that crime in Mexico has been increasing at a low to moderate rate, but that concern about crime remains low, except for moderate concern for property crimes and vandalism, and a high concern for government corruption.
Closer to home, NUMBEO scores Ajijic with a low 29.73 Crime index – low, and a high Safety index of 70.27. NUMBEO’s survey data show that the perception of safety in Ajijic is high to moderate; examples include the perception that daylight walking alone seen as 92.6% safe and walking alone at night as 58.33% safe. A theory voiced b y a website dedicated to helping Expats move to Lakeside is that two groups in Mexico work to keep crime away from Expats: However, there are at least two groups who try to see to it that crimes against expats and other Americans in the Ajijic / Lake Chapala area are as low as possible: people who work for Expats or the local governments because both benefit from Expats, and organized crime which sells little to Expats but realizes that crimes against Expats could bring in investigations from the US or Canadian government, which are serious problems for cartels.
Comparisons between the US and Mexico reveal that for the most part, Mexico is safer than the US, with differences in some types of crime – more rape in the US, a higher murder rate in Mexico although very rare for Expats. Mexico’s overall crime level is ranked by NUMBEO’s Crime Index by County, Mid- Year 2019 at 35th globally while the US is ranked at 49th (higher ranking equals more reported crimes). Researchers note that crime reporting in Mexico is not as robust as in the USA – something the President of Chapala has complained about because it complicates prosecution – so the actual numbers in Mexico may be slightly higher.
Ajijic’s march to stop climate change – a conversation with the organizers.
Photo: Patrick O´Heffernan.
Patrick O’Heffernan (Ajijic, Jal) Last weekend Ajijicans joined with over 8 million people who thronged streets in capitals around the world to demand action to slow climate change. The march was organized by the Lake Chapala Chapter of Democrats Abroad, the largest of the 7 Mexican Chapters of the global organization Democrats Abroad. The march in Ajijic along the Carretera paralleled marches, demonstrations and strikes organized by Global Climate Strike, a worldwide coalition of hundreds of organizations and spearheaded by 16-year old Greta Thunberg of Sweden.
Seminario Laguna talked separately with the organizers of the Ajijic March, Democrats Abroad Executive Committee Member Stephanie Sedway and Board Chairman John Boothby
Ajijic’s march to stop climate change.
Laguna. Stephanie, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. How did you go about organizing the march in Ajijic?
Stephanie Sedway. It was not difficult. The national Climate Strike organization provided us with graphics and information. We posted them to social media, to all of the Ajijic/Chapala Facebook groups, and some of our members even made presentations in schools.
Laguna. How many people turned out?
Stephanie. I don’t know exactly, but when I did a head count there were 125. More may have joined, as we walked by.
Laguna. Were you in touch with the national Climate Strike organization?
Ajijic’s march to stop climate change.
Stephanie. Yes. Like I said they provided graphics and information. They have a very useful organizing website ( https://globalclimatestrike.net/). I send them photos of our march, but I have not seen them on their follow up posts yet. (Climate Strike continues to post photos and videos from marches around the world, so Ajijic may be on the site at some point.)
Laguna. Were any local Mexicans involved in the organizing or in the March?
Stephanie. Not in the organizing, but we did see some Mexicans at the March, although they may have already been there and joined us. Some of our members did make presentations at local schools.
Laguna. What can people in Ajijic do to slow climate change?
Stephanie. I preach against single use plastic and try to do my part avoiding plastic bottles, straws plastic containers. I try to use electricity and water carefully and encourage recycling. That is a good start.
Laguna. Do you know if climate change has affected Lakeside?
Stephanie. I don’t know about Lakeside but it affected Las Vegas and Los Angeles where I grew up. My friends who used to comment on 102 degrees in Vegas now talk about 115, and the occasional heat waves of my childhood in LA are now almost constant.
Laguna. Is this what motivated you to organize the march?
Stephanie. We each need to take responsibility to do what we can to stop the imminent crisis and save our children and grandchildren.
Laguna. John, you are Chairman of the Lake Chapala Chapter of Democrats Abroad. What is Democrats Abroad?
John Democrats Abroad represents Americans living temporarily or permanently outside of the USA. We are a constituent member of the Democratic Party. We are the 51st state. We have delegates at the Democratic National Convention and we have our own primary.
Laguna. Why did Democrats Abroad take up the issue of climate change and organize a March in Ajijic?
John. Several, if not all, of our board members were aware of the upcoming Climate Strike. At the Executive Committee Meeting we decided that we wanted to have a presence here in Ajijic and to alert the community and educate people about the strike and the global climate crises.
Laguna. Do you know if Lakeside has been affected by climate change?
John. I am not sure we know, but it is logical to say if we don’t feel it now, we will feel an impact in the future. Storms are getting more dangerous and frequent around the world. It will affect us at some point. Reports of serious impacts by 2050 should be sobering to everyone. The current Administration is actively trying to accelerate climate change through regulation rollbacks, policies, and Executive Orders to make the climate crisis worse.
Laguna. What can the people of Lakeside do to slow climate change?
John. Democrats Abroad does not have an official position on that, but the consensus among members was the need for a drastic reduction on the reliance on fossil fuel, the US re-engagement in the Paris Climate Agreement, recycling like Reciclaje Ajijic, and emphasis on renewable energy sources. Being an organization that represents ex-pats, the most important things they can do is register and vote for candidates who will support laws and policies that slow climate change. That is the easy step. We also need to educate ourselves and work with the local Mexican population.
Laguna. Does the Democrats Abroad plan to continue to promote interest in climate change?
John. You can count on it. Many of our members are interested and Stephanie has a passion for it.
Rebozo Para at the Ajijic Plaza displays Mexico’s “cultural blanket”.
Photo: Patrick O’Heffernan.
Patrick O’Heffernan. (Ajijic, Jal). The Mexican-American writer Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs called the Robozo “our cultural blanket”. That was clearly evident at the Usos y Costumbres de Rebozo Parade Saturday afternoon at the Ajijic Plaza where a dozen women and girls showed off their Rebozos and paraded around then Plaza in the late afternoon sun.
Mistress of Ceremony Paola de Watlerlot explained to the diverse crowd that overflowed the red, green, and blue plastic chairs in the Plaza that the Rebozo is thought to have ancient roots, possibly from India, possibly from Spain and definitely from native peoples in Mexico and the tilma – the muslin cloth around the Virgin. The making of a Rebozo, she said, is an art form involving spinning the yarn, dying the threads and weaving and cutting the final shawl. There are many types of Robozos and throughout their history they have been made from everything from rough fibers to the finest silk (which she said to test by pulling it through a ring).
Photo: Patrick O’Heffernan.
Led by Las Pohanquitos de Axixic maéstro Erika Navarro Robledo, each woman or girl strode down the runway, twirling and holding out her arms to reveal the beautiful tapestries they wore. During the ceremony the renowned Lola LaTequilera took the stage with a guitarist and serenaded the crowd with the soaring ballads she has been famous for 25 years. Later in the decades-old ceremony, prizes were handed out and the two littlest girls were crowned with flowers by Ajijic’s Princesses while LaTequilera’s songs provided a musical backdrop. After the parade, she reappeared center stage and once again filled the Plaza and the neighborhood with her unforgettable voice.
Photo: Patrick O’Heffernan.
Rebozos also went on display Saturday evening at the San Antonio Tlayacapan Plaza in the Dia de Muher Indígina exhibition.
Photo: Patrick O’Heffernan.
Ajijic guitarist to be on JaliscoTV and radio
Juan Castañón is a musician’s musician who constantly expands the boundaries of his art and the world of jazz.
Patrick O’Heffernan (Ajijic) .- Celebrated Ajijic jazz guitarist Juan Castañón will be featured on jaliscotv.com next week after a taping of his performance at Guadalajara’s Chango Vudú Club. Sara Valenzuela of JaliscoRadio.com interviewed Castañón and his band members live at the club’s bar before the performance. A packed house was on hand for the interviews and the music with patrons serving as a live audience for the cameras and the radio interview.
Castañón is well-known to residents of Ajijic and Chapala for his jazz band Acasia, but he played the Chango Vudú Wednesday night with the experimental jazz trio D/zazter. The same band played the next night in Ajijic at the La Mezcalaria bar on Colon near the Malecon. JaliscoTV.com brought in a full three-camera crew with a mobile editing bay to tape both the music and the interview with Sara Valenzuela. The tape will be edited into a program for broadcast next week (check jaliscotv.com for time and date). He will also appear this Friday on the Ajijic-based radio program Music Sin Fronteras.
Juan Castañón is a musician’s musician who constantly expands the boundaries of his art and the world of jazz. A superb guitarist, he also plays the sarod, has studied at the Monterrey School of Music, the Universitá della Musica di Roma Italy and participated in numerous courses and workshops on improvisation with prominent artists such as Michael Godard, Reggie Workman, and Stomu Takeishi, among others. His list of collaborations in Mexico and Italy is long and varied and ranges from free jazz to traditional Jarocho (music from Veracruz), to experimental and electronic music. His projects include guitar and percussion improvisation in DEMUSE, Radical Freejazz with Classical Music of North India, and electronic and circuit-bending sound art and the Electricity Noise Experiment. D/zazter is an experimental project with Itzam Cano and Gabriel Lauber.