photography, San Miguel de Allende

Give us this day, our daily mariachis

Just kidding. I couldn’t possibly post a video of mariachis performing every day.

Or could I?

No. An occasional mariachi video is quite enough.

I like these guys who can be seen and heard in Centro, San Miguel de Allende, on many evenings. They have style and elegance, multi-generational, and the white suits stand out in a park filled with tourists in T-shirts and too-tight shorts.

At any rate, enjoy.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Midnight serenade in Colonia San Antonio

The sound penetrated a deep sleep and scattered dreams. A car radio? The cantina on the corner? A passing boom box?

No, no, and no.

It was the real deal. At midnight a mariachi band was poised in a half-circle in front of our neighbor’s door serenading her in song here in Colonia San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende.

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

I love a parade … and a circus, and a rodeo, and a county fair, and a horse race … but mostly a parade

So sue me. I’m a sucker for a good parade.

Well, these days, I’ll take any parade — or a procession. You know, the kind we used to bump into on what felt like a daily basis back in the good old pre-Covid days.

Parades say “This is who we are. This is what we believe. This is the best of us, otherwise, why bother having a parade?” And, oh, we’ve had some wonderful parades in San Miguel de Allende.

Haven’t we?

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San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel Salon debut is all about the music

Jam session to open the first official San Miguel Salon at the home of Ben and Margaret Gall in Colonia Buenavista, San Miguel de Allende. From left: Ruben Garcia, Nelo Hurtado Rojas, Angie Ciss, Alfonso Medina, and Stephy Loren.

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Went to Ben Gall’s first official San Miguel Salon on Sunday night at his home, Casa Sentosa de las Serpientes, in Colonia Lindavista. Ben has been building toward this day for many months.

Actually, for years when you consider that he designed and built his house so that he could hold intimate concerts in his courtyard. There is a raised patio that serves as a stage and seating for as many as 50 people in the courtyard and 20 more on the roof of his casita.

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San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel’s Pro Musica Youth Orchestra is back, with a holiday concert in a new setting

The Pro Musica Youth Orchestra is back after a 20-month hiatus because of the pandemic and the tragic loss of the orchestra’s founder and Pro Musica vice president, Tim Hazel, who passed away on Feb.3 from stomach cancer.

An exciting new youth music director and conductor, Robert Mari, has assumed the podium and the popular orchestra has been in rehearsal for more than a month.

To celebrate the return of the orchestra, Pro Musica has set its first concert for Sunday 12 December 2021 at 3 pm. This will take place outdoors with socially distanced seating in the delightful gardens of the Arts School of the Instituto Allende on Ancha de San Antonio.

The youth orchestra’s previous home, in the Belles Artes complex, has yet to re-open. In the old days, Hazel would conclude each concert with a wry tale of his need to feed his 12 children — or 8 or 6, it varied. A scruffy straw hat with a pink ribbon would be passed among the audience and the money, of course, went to supporting the orchestra which grew in size and capability over the past three years.

Now, Pro Musica is asking for a $300 peso donation from attendees. Tickets can be purchased through the Pro Musica website at  www.promusicasma.org . Proceeds will go to the orchestra members, according to Pro Musica.

“This will be a wonderful opportunity for you to show your support for the orchestra under its new conductor and to see how the young musicians are performing,” says Michael Pearl, president of Pro Musica, in a press release. “I have attended rehearsals of the orchestra and they are sounding excellent.”

The program will include works by Mozart and Haydn.

The centerpiece of the concert will be Mozart’s wonderful Symphony No. 35 in D major, the “Haffner”, written in 1782. And just for fun, ours and theirs, the orchestra will also play Mozart’s K.552, known as “A Musical Joke”. (A loose translation of the German title, “Some Musical Fun.”) The work satirizes other composers’ styles and is “a masterclass in using wrong notes and compositorial comedic devices.”

Pro Musica calls it, “an ideal piece for a youth orchestra.”

From Haydn, the orchestra draws on his Symphony 99 in E-flat major, written in 1793 in Vienna for performance during his second visit to England. It is the seventh of the ultimately twelve “London” symphonies.

This will be followed by the “Toy” symphony. This 18th-century work is variously attributed to Joseph Haydn, Leopold Mozart, Michael Haydn, and Edmund Angerer. As the title suggests, the performance includes various “toy” instruments, such as a toy trumpet, a ratchet, and bird calls. 

The Canadian native Robert Mari conducted the Cowichan Consort Orchestra and Choir starting in 2011 and recently retired. He is no stranger to youth orchestras, having started his own studies at age 3 on the piano. He first performed in public at age 5 and conducted his first symphony at age 13.

He holds masters and doctorate degrees in music and orchestral conducting respectively from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University among other music-related studies. He is a composer, recording artist, conductor, and performer.

You can read the entire program for the Sunday concert here.

(Correction: The post originally said Robert Mari has been with Pro Musica since 2011. He is just beginning a new career with Pro Musica. My apologies for the error.)

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Where you been, bro? It has been a year, yeah?

Sure sign that tourism is back — hot-air balloons dot the early morning sky in Colonia San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

So here we are now at 6,200 feet enjoying incredibly mild weather yearlong, a severe drought and growing water shortage, unrestrained development, and a once-exuberant city that has almost withered away under the relentless grind of Covid restrictions. 

Signs of life are returning to San Miguel de Allende.

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, The Log, Writings

The Log for June 2: Binging on depressing podcasts, ‘Space Force,’ and my own House Hunters Int. drinking game. And your day?

IMG_1832LOOK UP IN THE AIR! IT’S CLUELESS MAN!: Took Moppit for her morning walk and I must say, there are far, far, more people with masks on than without. Are morning people more considerate of their own health and that of others?

I wouldn’t know since I usually take the evening walk but yesterday a woman was mugged two blocks over and I immediately went into Superman mode.

“I’ll walk Moppit in the morning,” I said. “It isn’t safe out there. You can go running if you like. You can outrun most anybody that would mug you. Can’t do it with a little dog on a leash.” Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, The Log, Writings

The Log for May 29: A podcast fest, shopping in-person & online, someone likes my blog, Lovett & Hiatt sing, and summer job memories

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After a wonderful dinner in a friend’s backyard last night, I felt the gentlemanly thing to do is walk Moppit this morning. It was a reunion of Casa de las Poetas former residents. John & Linda and Jimmy & Gina moved elsewhere in town.

Then the pandemic hit. It was good to sit around a table again, outside, and safely distanced.

I had my first fake-meat burger — whatever they are called. It was quite satisfactory and if I ever go vegetarian, I will order a case.

So, Rose usually walks Moppit in the morning and I take the early evening shift. Today, I hoped she would sleep in for once. Naturally, she was preparing her yoga mat before we even hit the street. Dedicated. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 16, 2020 — U2’s R&R Hall of Fame concert, the funniest TV sketch ever, and Barack Obama speaks to 2020 grads

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IT’S ONLY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: Back when I wrote about rock ‘n’ roll for a living, I was sometimes able to take one or two of my sons “to work.”

As young high schoolers, Brendan and Ryan got to see Pink Floyd from the nosebleed seats at Jack Murphy/Qualcomm/San Diego stadium — but even up there, the band’s impact was powerful.

When U-2 played the same stadium, the experience was a bit different. A traffic jam made us miss the start of the show. Still, walking my sons down to 20th-row seats on the floor, next to the band’s runway proscenium — it was like landing in Oz. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 13: Hey, brother, can you loan me a dime for a ride into the mystic?

IMG_1672Oh, this day has begun all right — an All-Music Morning for Wednesday.

#1  “The Girl In Byakkoya,” Susumu Hirasawa,  from the animated film “Paprika.” This is the music that gets you up and moving. Check out the movie, too — anime magical surrealism at its finest. A mad enormously ballooning parade that absorbs everybody, everything — all energy  — as it progresses. Who can stop it? And how?

#2  Delbert McClinton channels his inner-Tony Bennett and sings about “San Miguel”! (Even mentions San Francisco in the first line … (Thanks for the tip, Robert Cooksey.) Continue reading

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