Showing posts with label multicultural. Show all posts
Showing posts with label multicultural. Show all posts

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Los Voladores de Papantla.

Today there were a lot of questions about los voladores (the flyers).  I thought I'd share some of the information here on my blog.

1. Is the Caporal's flute and drum one, connected instrument (he holds them in one hand)?

This was the subject of a lot of debate in the Placita today, with people offering various opinions.  When he puts the instruments away to climb or change position, I noted he reached down twice, which made me certain they were separate.  This afternoon I blew up some photos to look, and this is what I found:

in this photo (blown up WAY to far to be clear) you can make out a band around the hand holding the flute.  The band apparently is connected to the drum, allowing the Caporal to hold the flute and drum at the same time with one hand, while the other hand strikes the drum.

2.  What is the origin of this ritual?

I lifted the answer to this directly from the Los Voladores de Papantla's website:
A Totonaca myth tells of a time when there was a great drought, and food and water grew scarce throughout the land. Five young men decided that they must send a message to Xipe Totec, God of fertility so that the rains would return and nurture the soil, and their crops would again flourish. So they went into the forest and searched for the tallest, straightest tree they could find.

When they came upon the perfect tree, they stayed with it overnight, fasting and praying for the tree's spirit to help them in their quest. The next day they blessed the tree, then felled it and carried it back to their village, never allowing it to touch the ground. Only when they decided upon the perfect location for their ritual, did they set the tree down.

The men stripped the tree of its leaves and branches, dug a hole to stand it upright, then blessed the site with ritual offerings. The men adorned their bodies with feathers so that they would appear like birds to Xipe Totec, in hope of attracting the god's attention to their important request. With vines wrapped around their waists, they secured themselves to the pole and made their plea through their flight and the haunting sound of the flute and drum.

I did manage to take a few more photos today than I did yesterday, however, even after charging both batteries, I was unable to get more than a few shots and a brief video, with a horrendous sound and loss of focus when I changed my zoom:

Most of the rest of the photos were comparable to the ones I took yesterday.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Voladores de Papantla, Viva Mexico!

I've been a bit remiss in posting lately,  my health hasn't been the greatest.  While I've been keeping up with the things going on around me, my home time has pretty much consisted of crashing on the couch and a few rounds of Candy Crush Saga (a sure sign that I've sunk to new lows).

Today, however, the girls and I went out to Viva Mexico at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, and although I don't have the energy for an extended blog (maybe tomorrow?)  I do want to get up a few photos.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Let's Go Fly A Kite!

Today Ellen, Carlos and I went to the International Folk Art Museum. The big rotating display was on kites...

OK... so not quite kites like this. More kites like this:

Carlos and a battle kite

There were kites of all kinds. Different shapes from different regions, and each shape and design had different meanings or were flown for different things, like this kite flown as protection against chicken pox:

There were many different kites depicting characters and animals, ranging in size from what we Americans usually think of when we think of a kite, all the way up to the huge battle kites.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Matsuri 10

Today was Santa Fe Jin's annual Matsuri.  I'd gone to one a few years ago with the girls, and we'd had such a great time... I expected that one or both girls would go with me this time, but Tay decided to stay home, and Cay had to work.  While I considered not going (I wasn't sure I wanted to go alone) I decided that I needed to get used to doing some of this stuff solo.

And I had an AMAZING time.

This year there was a wider variety of demonstrations and performances, and an even bigger crowd.   Most of my camera battery was spent on the tea ceremony, which I finally got to see.  Later I went to the tea room and whisked my own tea.

I also participated in the silent auction and won tickets for next year's ArtFeast on Canyon Rd.  It's ll months away, but it's one of the events I've wanted to go to and simply haven't gotten tickets to in the past.

As for today... here are some of the photos:

Preparing for the tea ceremony

whisk the tea and view the whisk

tea is served!

Games and crafts for the kids in the lobby


vendors with all sorts of wonderful items, like this beautiful kimono

Assorted dancers

and Kyudo (the Way of the Bow)

I purchased some Hawaiian rice wafers in various flavors, including Nori (seaweed) which didn't taste at all over salty and 'seaweedy'.  I also purchased a small variety pack of papers for my collage class.

There were some other items I briefly considered, but they were items I could have gotten at other events from local vendors.  For now I'll keep my money in my pocket.

Tickets for the event were $3 and parking was free at the convention center, so this was one of the best values in events I've been to in a while!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Last Night at the Lensic

Last night was the first time I've been to the Lensic here in Santa Fe.  It's a small theater, but amazingly beautiful.  I want to go back just to photograph the theater, it's AMAZING...   Here's a photo from that gives some idea, but really doesn't do the theater justice:


We were there to see Tao: Phoenix rising, a modern Taiko group from Japan.   Their performance goes beyond taiko, and includes modern interpretations of Japanese music and traditional instruments.

We were enchanted even before the show started, when the Rock Paper Scissors Samurai came into the audience and offered anyone who could beat the Samurai at the classic game a green tea Kit Kat.  Cay, by the way, beat the Samurai by cleverly playing rock first, after, I suppose, noticing that the particular Samurai she played against always opened with scissors.

There were also elements of humor though out the show, and it was amazing to see the traditional instruments used in ways that were playful and dramatic.  There was also a lot of dance and martial arts movement during the show, and amazing costuming and simple but extremely engaging special effects.

And when the flag twirlers (for lack of a better name) came out, Cay about lost it.

Yes, it was THAT GOOD.

We've been to a lot of Taiko shows, and I have to say that this was absolutely the best.

I think that part of what made it so good was that it seemed that the performers themselves were having a really great time.  In some parts it was as though we were just watching people at play, and in others they involved the audience in that play, either by responsive clapping, or, as earlier in the show, by direct interaction.

You can learn more about Drum Tao on their website, as well as purchase their dvds and cds.  Because of the great amount of visual artistry that goes with the music, I strongly urge readers to buy the dvds!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

America The Beautiful: It's the Real Thing

The one Super Bowl commercial that brought me to tears wasn't the one with the Budweiser clydesdales and the puppy; it was hearing America the Beautiful sung in different languages.

Of course, the conservative right was offended, even more offended than the blunt slap in the face offered by a second Cheerio's ad featuring a biracial family.  The "Speak English" crowd came out in force, reminding us all that English is the ONLY language Real Americans speak, and that we shouldn't be glorifying all those illegals.

And we know how the influx of illegals has had a negative impact on the country...

from smallpox blankets to alcohol to the mass extermination of American bison.

But I don't think that's what they're talking about, is it? Because W.A.S.P. Americans, Real Americans,  have that whole manifest destiny thing going for them.   And if they didn't, they'd just be another group of aliens who took liberties in the land of the free.

And Coca Cola apparently recognizes that to some degree, because I've seen and heard various songs of American pride sung in Spanish before, I've never heard the unifying statement that Coke made:  singing America the Beautiful in multiple languages.  What makes it even better, is that one of those languages was first nation, making English the non-native or historically least American language in the set.

I was gratified to see that the indigenous population was finally recognized in the great melting pot, and that it was one of our local youth, a young girl from Albuquerque singing in her native language, Keres, that represented the First Nations in this ad.

The commercial is one of a long line of Coca Cola commercials that features love and unity, going back decades to this campaign:

Of course we can't totally lose sight of the fact that this is an ad campaign, but Guardian Blogger Jill Fillpovic totally misses the point when she states that this is about selling Coke to minorities.   It's not about that.  Coca Cola is smarter than that.

Instead what they've created is a social statement that is being repeated over and over and over again.  On the web.  On TV news. On the radio talk shows.  In political meetings.  And it's all the same thing:  "Coca Cola did...."

Back when Coca Cola aired that other ad, they taught the nation to sing in perfect harmony, and what they were singing was "I'd like to buy the world a Coke".  We didn't have social media, but word of mouth, and people humming on subways and standing in line at the movie theater, would constantly remind us of that brand name.  It was the viral campaign of the time.

Thinking it's just about marketing to Arab-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Pueblo Peoples is ignorant.  It's about inflaming the right and having them talk talk talk, and the words "Coca Cola" being repeated over and over again, while both staying consistent to a theme the brand practically invented in advertising (diversity singing in perfect harmony) and warming the hearts of the liberal left is a win/win for Coca Cola.

I'm going to applaud Coca Cola for acknowledging diversity in this country, even if it's part of an ad campaign, and for taking that next step in acknowledging First Americans.  The message of the ad, the first level message, not the "buy Coke"message, is beautiful.

And I don't see anyone analyzing or condemning Budweiser for using a cute puppy in their ad "Puppy Love", which was, after all not just a story about a puppy who found a friend in the Budweiser clydesdales, but was an ad to sell beer.   I suppose it's easier for the right to love an ad for the narrative and ignore the advertising perspective when it's a narrative they want to embrace.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Viva Mexico

A few photos from Viva Mexico, a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage at El Rancho de las Golondrinas in Santa Fe, New Mexico:

For me, a lot of Viva Mexico is about the shopping:  clothes, art, food... There's a wonderful selection. 

This year, different Mexican states had their own booths representing the art and culture of their particular regions.

the opening ceremony including representatives from the US and Mexico, as well as a flag ceremony on horseback by a rodeo group from northern NM. 

Women were an important part of the Mexican and New Mexican histories, and their part in
war is remembered during the Charreada (rodeo) with skilled sidesaddle riding.  Women would
ride into the camps of the enemy with alcohol and seduce the plans and secrets from the soldiers,
then return home to give the information to their men.

 there was a lot of fancy rope-work, almost like a dance... beautiful to watch.

and even the horses danced.
 There was a lot of Viva Mexico I did not see:  the dancing by various groups, some of the musical performances, the chocolate and mole demonstrations, the curandera, and Bulmaro Mendoza's public workshops (the last of which I'd seen a more extensive version of earlier in the week).  Today I may be able to attend some of that... chocolate certainly is on my mind this morning!... but much of the day I expect to be in the Golondrinas Placita, weaving.

For me there is a great deal of excitement about seeing the intersection of Mexican and New Mexican culture, and the rich history of Mexico and the traditions dating back to when both were New Spain.

Friday, August 17, 2012

More Tallahassee History: Mission San Luis

I knew Mission San Luis was a living history museum, so I was a bit dismayed to roll past the gates to a modern looking museum, with no older buildings in sight.

It had been raining for hours, and was closing in on 4pm when we arrived.  We figured that gave us only an hour, and paid the admissions price before finding out that we had minutes to view the museum, since they closed at 4, not 5:00. To say I was upset was an understatement to say the least, but Cay and I bolted though the back door of the big building to see the older buildings on the property.

Cay standing in front of the meeting house, to show scale

One of the big concerns I had at that point was that because of the hard rain, all of the docents would have gone home.  But as we left far and away we could see one volunteer, dressed in native garb, heading toward the indigenous meeting house.

I was skeptical, at first, about the size of the structure, but all of the recreated structures on the property were built on the footprints of the original structures.  None of the original structures actually remained. The entire village was burned to the ground by the residents, both Spanish and Indigenous, when British forces far outnumbering their own approached the village.

As we passed from building to building, as well as the fields of the property, we found a volunteer in every location.  That's just about unheard of, especially immediately after a huge storm and minutes before closing.

Some of the volunteers had stories to tell, completely in character.  Some of them explained the workings of life in the village and the unique relationships of a village made up of two very different cultures.  With the little time we had, we wished we could stay and listen to everything, but it was run, photograph, and run again to try to get everything in.

By the time we were about 3/4 of the way through, I was no longer upset about having paid the admission price to run through the museum in 15 minutes.  I loved this museum SO MUCH, that even that was worth it to me.

By the time we got back to the main building, they were ready to close, but the staff pulled me aside to talk to me about what had happened, how they felt bad about me having to race through the museum, and that they wanted to refund my money.  Instead, I took two passes to the museum for my daughter and son in law.  They also decided to stay open an extra 15 minutes so that Cay and I, as well as another family of late arrivals, could view the movie on the history of Mission San Luis.  I highly recommend seeing the movie before going out on the grounds, because it really gives a good foundation for what you'll see in the village.

Inside that modern building that greets you when you first enter the property is the theater, gift shop, and offices, as well as a modern museum which shows original artifacts and some of the archeological research that went into rebuilding the site, including portions of the original ground showing some of the footprints of the buildings.

One of the things we missed because of the weather and time that day was some of the demonstrations by the volunteers, including brewing of the tea the indigenous population made from the local flora.

Although Mission San Luis is much smaller than our local el Rancho de las Golondrinas (which is, to be fair, at 200 acres the largest living history museum in the US), I found it compared well.  Should I return to Tallahassee (and I hope I will) along with spending more time at St Marks, I'd definitely carve out an entire day to spend at Mission San Luis.

It's the volunteers and staff who make a living history museum come to life, and Mission San Luis was definitely one of the most alive living history museums I've ever been to.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Museum of International Folk Art

Today was a free Friday for our local museums, so Cay and I headed down to the Museum of International Folk Art, a museum I've wanted to visit since I visited Santa Fe some time ago during a Zoo to You trip.   We finally got there, and it was worth the wait.

I was awed by the variety of folk art represented in both the permanent and traveling displays, including the Young Brides, Old Treasures display of Macedonian embroidered dresses.

I think the gallery that touched me the most, however , was The Art of Gamen: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946.   The art in the gallery was all made from materials on hand in the camps, from sticks, to broken furniture, to stones, to other found objects.  Women gave up their kimonos to make dolls, one man carved a wooden katana for his son, then ended up carving more for other boys at the camp.  There was lovely animal and nature jewelry carved from wood or made from shells.  There were functional pieces like small chairs and tables, and artistic pieces, painting and lovely sculptures.  It was hardly believable to think of the talent, spirit and ingenuity of these men and women, who created such beauty in the midst of such hardship.

During the summer, there is also a program called Arts Alive which is shared among several of the museums, including this one, which on Tuesdays and Thursdays offers a hands on art workshop with a different theme or project every week.  This week the Folk Art Museum hosted a program to make Uchiwa (Japanese Fans). Several  other programs are scheduled, from tours, to Taiko drumming (Aug 19th) and a documentary film, From a Silk Cocoon on September 9th and 12th.

Of course there is no photography in the galleries, so I don't have any of the exhibits to share here.

Upon leaving the museum, we heard jazz playing in the Museum Hill Cafe, located between the Folk Art Museum and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

We'll leave dining at the Museum Hill Cafe for another day.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

El Rancho de las Golondrinas

El Rancho de las Golondrinas is a 200 acre historical site just southwest of Santa Fe.  There you will find buildings from different time periods, reflecting ranching and village life in the region.  The buildings range from the earliest, made of stone and mud (because they took less time to build than the adobe) to adobe homes and buildings, to log buildings and sheds, to cut wood homes.

The staff of the ranch are mostly volunteers, who each have different specialties.  All are generally knowledgeable about the ranch, and are among some of the most friendly and personable educators I've  met at any venue.

My biggest problem in writing about the ranch is that it's so rich in history and has so many interesting features and quirks that I could probably do an entire blog just on the ranch, the events held there, and it's history.  Today I find myself focusing more on the beauty, but want to give some idea of the general operation of the ranch.

First, some quick info:

Anyone remember the bicycle scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?

The outdoor scenes (you can see where things are cut away for the Hollywood sound stage) are shot at the ranch... and
the house (which is on wheels) used in the film is still at the ranch, although it's been relocated.

CORRECTION: Butch Cassidy, the Early Years was filmed here. See comments

Another interesting fact about the ranch is that it donates the food it grows to the Food Bank of New Mexico, which provides food for several pantries.

It would be unwieldy to put all of my favorite photos from the ranch here, but I'll whittle it down to about 8 (still a mite too long) and put the rest in a slideshow at some point.

a horse drawn wagon provides hour long historical tours on the weekends, except during special events, where the tours are much shorter. 

Cay poses with a volunteer who generally does a program:
From Slavery to Superstar.
Today he was teaching about the work of a tanner.

One of the volunteers with one of the many burros on the ranch.

A volunteer discussing the blacksmith's shop.

The mill

Cay in the corner of the oldest school house in NM,
relocated from Raton.

On the top of a hill, overlooking the entire property, fields and villages, is the shrine to St Francis 
Twice a year, in spring and for the harvest festival, there is a procession where the saint is moved
from his summer home here on the hill, to the family chapel (where mass is celebrated) and to his
winter location on the site.

The meeting house, where the villagers came for religious education, meetings and prayer, is located on one of
the taller hills on the site.  Across the valley (and the village) is the shrine of St Francis