Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Well, the Semana Santa silent processional with crucified Jesus no sooner cleared town than we had an alebrije and a black pottery festival in the appropriate villages. Having gotten a chunk of freelance work, I finally bought some bigger pieces of artesania, like a hand-painted alebrije-style chair for Genevieve and an intricate necklace of black pottery beads wrapped in silver wire.

Next up was the festival of the Tercera Raiz, a festival of the culture of black Oaxacans. There was live dance and music in the public plazas, including a band with percussion played on the giant jawbone of a horse or a cow.

After the spring break crush of tourists cleared out, I thought the hype might die down a bit, but then I got word of the CuentaCuentos festival, a series of storytelling events around the centro. I took Max to the stately library building with its massive courtyard and creeping vine giant plants and we heard stories by Peruvian and Brazilian storytellers. I was excited because of my sister Jenny's illustrious career as a folklorist, performance artist, storyteller and front porch gossiper, but I also worried that Max might feel too old for the scene which was full of little ones.

I needn't have worried. The performers unrolled these beautiful story quilts and, lo and behold, they were three-dimensional, with pockets and puffy parts hiding and holding props, figures and all sorts of surprises. Max was entranced and we stayed until the end. I imagined Jenny sitting with us, taking mental notes, because she would want to discuss every little thing later on the living room couch. Which is where I sit now, having the conversation with my blog, hoping that at least one little detail of the evening I experienced would resonate with her.

Coming soon are the Humanitas Festival, celebrating the cultures of the Mixteca, Puebla and...Spain?...and the Guelaguetza Infantil children's folk dance festival, in which Genevieve and her classmates from Colegio Teizcali are supposed to participate but Geni may choose instead to burst into tears or stand like a deer in the headlights.

And, if you're in town, do not forget Steve's annual mole enchilada party this Sunday at 3pm, a great new Oaxacan tradition.

1 comment:

j.d.h. said...

ooh, oooh. i am so coming to the mole party (in spirit!).