photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Night of the living-it-up dead

Parading around as elegantly dressed skeletons is so much fun in San Miguel de Allende that apparently, it takes two parades over two days to fit it all in this year.

In the past, it was sufficient to stage one parade of promenading Calaveras, Catrinas, and Catrins — and a variety of other-worldly subsets in various manifestations of theatricality.

Last year, after the wastelands of Covid had subsided and a rebirth of traditions signaled a new dawn, the annual Dia de Muertos parade was a joyous traffic jam of humanity. Skeletons paraded en mass down the Ancha. Preciously costumed Catrinas and their cohorts, led by a masterful and exuberant Mariachi band, exited the sanctuary of the Rosewood and paraded toward the Ancha.

The two masses converged and ground to a halt as paraders funneled up the narrower Zacateras, made narrower by the density of the watchers on both sides of the road. It was a slow slog up to the Jardin where seeing and being seen is the endgame of the evening.

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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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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

That time Jerry Lee Lewis talked to God atop the Peabody Hotel in Memphis — and God listened

This is Jerry Lee Lewis, live in England, in 1964. It is all-video, all-animal energy, all-Jerry Lee. Punk before punk was ever a word.

Like the kids in this video, I stood at the very edge of Jerry Lee’s piano while he played. Inches from the 88th key and his left hand.

The year was 1989 though, not 1964, and the setting was more subdued.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Farm fresh, a fountain fantasia, and ‘love lies bleeding’

Life is like a box of farm-fresh vegetables. You never know what you are going to get.

I know. I know. I can hear Rose Alcantara’s voice already, “Don’t play with your food!”

I can’t help it. Such an abundance. It demands a shot at Still Life before it is reduced to gourmet.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

The things you see in San Miguel de Allende

My name is … well, never mind my name.

Just know that I walk these cobblestone streets and … I see things.

Things I can’t explain. Things that need no explanation. Things that are new to me but are as old as time. Things that are marked down 20 percent for this day only. Things that are here today and gone tomorrow, probably back to the United States. Things that say something. Things that have nothing to say but will buy you a drink, just for the company. Things that I find interesting but my dog doesn’t.

You know, things.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Festival de Vivos Y Muertos: Kids bring art to life in the Belles Artes

Give a child a paintbrush … and you’ll be wiping down walls for months.

Ah, but give a child a paintbrush and a mission and soon enough the child will be creating art.

On Sunday at Belles Artes, there was a whole lot of art going on. Two stories worth of bristling, carefree, happy kids unleashed into a crafty and colorful world of creativity.

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

That time I tried to overthrow the local government at a Tiblisi puppet show

Editor’s note: In a newsletter for former Union-Tribune newspaper staffers, a colleague in San Diego recently recalled a review I once wrote that outraged the mayor and her staff. Jack Reber, the editor of the newsletter, asked if I would fill everyone in.

Glad to do it. But, as in my online days with SignOnSanDiego.com, I take great pleasure in scooping mainstream media. So, you will read it first, here on my own blog. My newspaper friends may get it at midnight tonight. (Sorry, Jack. I can’t help myself.)


Ah, the Russian Arts Festival of 1989. Gather round kids and I’ll tell you as much as is permitted by the several nondisclosure agreements I signed to gain a generous separation bonus from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Obviously, I kid. There was no bonus.

My one assignment during the Festival was the Tiblisi State Puppet Theatre, under the direction of the great and late-Rezo Gabriadze (below with some of his creations). Georgean puppets aren’t like the Muppets, Shari Lewis and Lambchop, or Punch ‘n Judy. They tell real and elaborate stories, often tragic, and even violent or sexually mature.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Hey, let’s play some Doors and Hot Tuna — with photos, it’s all rock and roll to me

Do not look for rhyme nor reason in these photographs.

If they have anything in common, you could file them under “things that caught my eye this morning.”

That, and the fact that they were all taken in San Miguel de Allende.

Did I mention they were all taken today?

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