Out and About With Marcia Blondin – Juggling the Changes

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You can also read Marcia’s column “From Here” each week in the Puerto Vallarta publication The Mirror. You can view their online PDF of this weeks issue here. (First published online in the PV Mirror, by Marcia Blondin, November 3, 2023).

Juggling the changes

From Here with Marcia Blondin
From Here with Marcia Blondin

Everybody knows that the only thing that never changes is change, but we do shuffle our feet in stutter-step when we try to keep up with so many happening simultaneously. Mother Earth appears anxious to move on to new horizons quickly, so pick up your feet, people; we are going in!

Alberto Ponce revised last season’s tribute to Ricky Martin at The Palm Cabaret a week ago. The Starboy dancers outdid themselves with new costumes and choreography. Producer Chris Lopez created some fabulous videos, and sound and light by Colectivo Hueco was, of course, superb. I love the new lasers! The packed house rose as one in a standing ovation for the exhilarating finale.

I stopped in at Kooky Karaoke to bid farewell to Ray Witter, who now lives in British Colombia. This Jamaican/Irish/British poet/artist/singer/busker will be missed about town. I hope he will send some poetry on how he deals with Canadian wintertime, which spans far too many months on the calendar. All of Vallarta and Pat-Rice send love and luck to you, Ray; keep in touch.

I caught the tail end of the last Open Mic at the current location of Incanto. I wanted to hug Francesca Bavaro, who cohosted the ultimate Open Mic with Incanto owner Tracy Parks. Francesca (Effie Passaro) and I share the same birthdate, November 9, precisely 40 years apart! I wanted to find out if she would be here to celebrate, but no, she will be on the road, so happy day, Birthday Sister!

A festive mood settled in Casa Karma’s Red Room for the OPENING NIGHT – CIRCONCIERTO starring Ale Matus and Dabit Azofeifa. This Costa Rican duo has enchanted audiences all summer with snippets in the weekly Greatest Show on Earth at Act2PV. See the entire seamless, poignant, sweet, funny circus cum Cirque du Soleil/vaudeville extravaganza every Wednesday at 5 pm at Casa Karma’s Red Room and be delighted!

Juan Pablo Hernández Salcedo emceed the last Greatest Show on Earth last Wednesday on the Main Stage at Act2PV. You will remember Juan Pa’ as the flamboyant host and producer of the The VOICE of Vallarta. All eight Editions! It was wisely decided to move the GSOE to the larger Main Stage to accompany the expected sold-out crowd. And what a happy crowd we were! One of the highlights was Dabit playing accordion to his lovely Alejandra, who sang La Malagueña in a style I had never heard before. It was haunting, with notes so high and pure few sopranos would even attempt it.

patriz at la catrina

La Voz de la Catrina finalist Patriz had her first solo show at La CC last week. She chose a 90s theme, aced the song choices, and then dedicated Because You Love Me to her mom, Selena Luna, leaving them and most of us in the audience a hot mess. Patriz is an unfolding superstar; keep your eyes here for her future concert dates.

opera an intro

Paco Ojeda did the impossible last week at Joint Coworking Hotel: He made sense of Disco Music! He had the 5Ws squared and cubed to his audience’s delight, explaining the Cultural Evolution of that decade of music whose influences and many, many of the hits from that era remain popular today. My Scrabble-playing buddy, Tom Nussbaum, enjoyed Paco’s presentation immensely, as did all of us. Paco’s Introduction to Opera is being re-offered soon. See below!

Chris Lopez outside The Palm Cabaret. Photo by Oscar Almeida.
Chris Lopez outside The Palm Cabaret and Bar. Photo by Oscar Almeida.

I sat down for the first time with Chris Lopez and got to know this boy genius a little better. We met a bit before noon, and he began the conversation by saying he usually didn’t speak English that early in the day. He is funny, articulate, endearing and kind to a fault. His praise for coworkers is unending. He couldn’t say enough about Roy Cruz, Nacho Granados and Max Prado, Maru Prado Conti (Lady Gaga) and Cecile (Beyonce and Rhianna). The video work that Chris does at The Palm is amazing, and he’s completely self-taught. He is an honest and knowledgeable critic, singer, producer, director, actor and all-around excellent friend. He is only in his thirties and has decided to make Puerto Vallarta his permanent home. Chris will bring his papa – his only remaining immediate family – here to live from Argentina in January. Meanwhile, he is crisscrossing Mexico doing shows in Mexico City and here at La Catrina Cantina (Remake) and The Palm Cabaret. If you ever see the words “produced or directed by Chris Lopez,” on a venue poster, just go. It will be fabulous.

The Grand Opening of “Collective Practices in Contemporary Graphics” was held at Oficina de Proyectos Culturales (OPC) last Friday on Calle Juarez in Centro Vallarta. Dozens and dozens of artists are involved from all over Mexico. Director Pilar Perez pointed out work by Marta Gilbert and María José Zorrilla, a founder of Vallarta’s first printmaking workshop, Taller La Raya, who was there maintaining her perfectly artistic self. It is lovely that these talented women are overseeing these critical, historic events and sharing them with the public.

Michael Tolleson Robles
Michael Tolleson Robles

I stopped in at Galeria Robles on Juarez to say hi to painter-owner Michael Tolleson Robles, who I rarely see anymore. His gallery was, as always, full of light and the brilliant colors of his canvases. His new gallery is opening soon in Zona Romantica, and his muy chi-chi resto, Savante Fine Cuisine, has added vegan wine to its brand new vegan menu additions. For an extra special night out, consider Savante and start with a tour downstairs of Michael’s gallery. You will find him as colorful as his paintings!

I caught Remake at La CC on Friday and sat so happily listening to these three Argentinians sing anything and make it wonderful to hear. It also occurred to me that this week, my sister Patrice arrives, and everything gets ramped up times two!

Coming up:

November 03, Friday, 8 pm, The Palm Cabaret. Epic Freddie Mercury starring Roy Cruz.

November 04, Saturday, 6 pm, Arte Vallarta Museo. First Saturday of the Month Fiesta. Food, wine, music and art are everywhere. See you there!

November 05, Sunday, 10:30 am, Hacienda San Angel. The SPCA Puerto Vallarta Fall Fundraiser. Quite likely sold out, but you can try!

November 06, Monday, 5 pm, Nacho Daddy. Derek Carkner tells me there is great fun playing Trivia games every week!

November 07, Tuesday, 5 pm, Joint Coworking Hotel. Paco Ojeda on Music reprises Opera. I loved this show!

7:30 pm, Casa Karma’s Red Room. Steven Retchless‘s Opening Night, XTC: a Journey to Ecstacy.

November 08, Wednesday, 1 pm, Qulture. Scrabble – bring your brain.

November 09, Thursday, all month, my birthday and the Opening of Festival Gourmet International!

November 11, Saturday, 9 pm, Act2PV. Rocky Horror Show.

For those who don’t know, Incanto closed its doors this week at their current address on Insurgentes. We wish Tracy Parks tons of luck finding a new location and a million besos for all the memories made on the Rio Cuale (except THOSE ones!)

With my sister by my side, we’ll bump into you soon for hugs. Take care of one another as we begin this Season of Plenty. Be sure to share yours with love, From Here.


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