photography, San Miguel de Allende

Happy birthday, Ignacio Allende!

Happy 254th birthday, Don Ignacio de Allende y Unzaga, Lieutenant Colonel of the Insurgent Army and hero of the revolution.

San Miguel de Allende, named in part after its favorite son, has been celebrating all week with music, cultural dances, and more — and today, the annual parade which is a most interesting merger of military might and marching school children. The parade also celebrates first responders, marching bands, the conservation corps, civic leaders, beauty queens, and equestrians.

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San Miguel de Allende

Give us this day our daily mariachis

Not every procession in Parque Juarez has to do with a wedding. Tonight an exuberant crowd of teens, parents, and friends followed a donkey, two mojigangas, and the Amistad band through the park and eventually back to the gazebo.

A lot of the processioners were carrying paper mariposas on sticks. At least, I don’t think it was a wedding.

I can’t begin to explain the purpose of the procession but it seemed quite life-affirming and the enthusiasm of the group was contagious.

Certainly, the Amistad band’s infectious rhythms and glittery-pink jackets helped spread the joy.

Here’s a sample of the music.

Enjoy.

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Put more magic in your life!

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San Miguel de Allende

Dusk settles on Parque Juarez, as dulcet strains of ‘Ave Maria’ float through the trees

As I was saying the other day, you walk out the door in San Miguel de Allende and open your heart to the infinite possibilities, and something magical will happen.

Tonight, it was opera in the park. I ask you, where you live, how often do you take an evening stroll through a beautiful park and encounter a quartet of opera singers?

I did. In Parque Juarez. Right next to the basketball courts, just down from the gazebo so brightly lit up with twinkling fairy lights.

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Reviews, San Miguel de Allende

With the stroke of David Mendoza’s bow across his violin, the holiday season begins

David Mendoza on violin and Sharon Itoi on keyboard on Monday night at Tres Fuentes hotel in San Miguel de Allende.

Sometimes you do a thing over and over because it is simply fun. The next thing you know, years pass, and the thing you enjoy so much becomes a tradition.

Last night, David Mendoza’s annual Christmas concert solidly became a tradition.

Imagine our surprise in realizing that the stunning young violinist has been producing his family Christmas concert for three years now, in the garden setting of Tres Fuentes hotel. We — Rose Alcantara and I — haven’t missed a one. But, oh, how time flies. Three years!

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

¡Que tengas una feliz navidad!

The Christmas tree went up yesterday in the public square. Right beside the pink gothic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel here in San Miguel de Allende.

Bit by bit, the city begins to embrace the holiday.

All of the streets leading into the Jardin Principal are strung with tin stars and twinkling lights. The gazebo and trees in the little park are a Christmas wonderland.

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Rants and raves, Reviews, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Movie review: ‘Spirited’ away

Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell sing and dance their way through “Spirited” en route to making a classic holiday comedy movie.

Let the Christmas movie season begin!

Contrary to first impressions, not all holiday movies this year are about:

  1. A high-powered, stressed out, high-pressure, mid-30s, professional urban woman who …
  2. Returns home to Hickville to help her Mom/Dad/kid sister/orphaned niece …
  3. To move into a rest home/restore a failing business/take over the family B&B/adopt a child …
  4. And falls in love with the hunky fireman/hunky plumber/hunky school teacher /hunky yoga teacher …
  5. Who really has a PhD/feeds the poor/is secretly wealthy/makes Christmas toys for needy kids/builds wooden boat/is Santa.
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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Czech this out

The Janáček Quartet continued the celebration of its 75th anniversary by performing exhilarating compositions from its namesake Leoš Janáček, as well as Antonin Dvořák and Béla Bartók, at Casa Europa in Centro on Wednesday night.

“Of course, we are the second generation,” said Milos Vacek, first violinist, with a sly grin.

That explains the youthful vitality, seasoned with the wisdom of veteran performers and the intuitive interplay of long-time partners.

Their performance was transportive, to say the least. At times it felt cinematic, film noir cinematic. Deeply cerebral, psychologically probing, introspective. A crisp roller-coaster of a conversation between melody and dissonance.

The finale, Dvořák’s “American Suite” was a low-elevation drone flight across the continent (the continent of 1895), inferencing the vast Western expanses and hustle of bustling cities, masted ships in harbor and prairie schooners in search of new lands.

The musicians are (from left) Miloš Vacek, first violin; Vítězslav Zavadilík, 2nd violin; Břetislav Vybíra, cello; and Jan Řezníček, viola.

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Glorious voices lift heaven-ward in the San Miguel premiere of Michael Hoppé’s ‘Requiem for Peace and Reconciliation’

Michael and Monica Hoppé watch the performance of his “Requiem for Peace and Reconciliation.” on Wednesday afternoon in the Templo de la Tercera Orden in Centro.

“You know, I haven’t even heard it yet. I’m as clueless as everyone else today! I don’t know what to expect.”

The speaker on Wednesday afternoon was Michael Hoppé and the occasion was the San Miguel de Allende premiere of his sonorous and introspective Latin Mass for chorus and strings, “Requiem for Peace and Reconciliation.”

The perfect music for Dia de Muertos and these very troubled times.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Sunday sunset over San Miguel

People are taking to the rooftops of San Miguel like never before. Some head there to dine. Some to drink and dance. Some to watch the sunset. Some to watch the center of San Miguel transform into something else almost on the hour. Some, just to stop time for a little while.

We were on a rooftop on Sunday to watch two dear friends get married.

The sunset, the incredible cloud formation, the view — that was all extra.

I couldn’t resist rushing this photo onto Facebook to share but now it is in its proper place — a big and beautiful display on the blog.

If you like people-watching, those people dining across the street are there for you. Notice the two women with their Dia de Muertos headdresses on, the couples dining alone, the tables of friends. The unspoken anticipation that soon lamps will be lit and seats will be filled with banter, laughter, quiet sips of wine, brow-knitting scans of the menu, scurrying waiters, and exuberant music.

The audience is assembling. The air will soon cool. The lights are about to dim. The curtain is about to rise.

And the show — and San Miguel is a bona-fide long-running show — is about to begin on another night in Centro.

The photo was taken from Terraza Trinitate on Cuna de Allende 10, Zona Centro, San Miguel de Allende.
The view across the street is part of the lively rooftop dining scene in Centro.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Into the woods

I was walking in the park, late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For creatures appeared just over the rise
And suddenly to my surprise

They did the mash, they did the San Miguel mash
The San Miguel mash, it was a graveyard smash
They did the mash, it caught on in a flash
They did the mash, they did the San Miguel mash

— Apologies to Bobby “Boris” Pickett


Tell me. And be honest. When you go for a walk, do you come across sights like this?

Now, I’m not talking about those days when you light up a ginormous blunt, or drop way too much Psilocybin or Ayahuasca. Lord knows what can be seen on those days.

No, I’m talking about your normal everyday walk through the woods when you encounter dancing skeletons, talking rabbits, bobble-headed Scotsmen, cabbage-headed kings and queens, and struttin’-stuffin’ dogs. Accompanied by a Mariachi band with some pretty hot licks.

You know.

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