Out and About with Marcia Blondin – Lavender Rain, Scrabble and More!

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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, October 27, 2023).

Lavender Rain

Marcia Blondin
Marcia Blondin

I got to Incanto for Open Mic for the first time in ages last Sunday night. It was one of those rare over-the-top, magic evenings when everyone’s voice was fairly flawless. We were still dealing with Hurricane Lidia’s aftermath, so a soft and certainly melancholy vibe ran through the song choices. Then, Associate Professor of Music from Berklee College in Boston, Cindy Scott, made her way to the stage with her guitar and told us about living in New Orleans when Katrina hit; she and her partner lost everything. Cindy’s sister sent a well-intentioned care package containing only bath products because “lavender will help with healing.” And it did. Cindy wrote Lavender Rain a decade after that devastating ordeal. She captured our current fragility by recalling her own from 2005 and singing this beautiful ballad to ease our fears and assure us that it would pass. We are grateful, Cindy; thank you.

The lovely Mary Zack is back in town at last. I got to hug Mark Hartman and listen to him play for a handful of singers, including a rousing blues number with Cindy Scott. So many familiar faces were in the audience and on stage, including Gloria Fiona, Enoch, Gabe, Jordan, Dashs Robles and more. It’s great to see Tracy Parks back from Oklahoma, looking rested and raring to get on with the season.

Close up of random scrabble alphabet letters

Wednesday’s Scrabble at Qulture was short and sweet, with one win and one loss; however, I made out like a bandit at the Bingo fundraiser for the Colina Spay & Neuter Clinic at Nacho Daddy. In honor of my sister’s imminent arrival, I chose gift certificates for Langostinos, Awaysis and Whiskey Kitchen as my prizes.

The penultimate Greatest Show at Casa Karma’s Red Room at Act2PV was nearly sold out and was loaded with – again – stellar performances by all. Hosted seamlessly by the star of Mamma Mia, Stephanie Wright Watts, surprises kept popping up as entertainers stepped out of their boxes to dazzle us. The most unexpected bolt from the blue was Rafael Velasquez, our operatic baritone, who actually ambled onto the stage in cowboy boots, hat, and jeans and sang a Country & Western song PERFECTLY! The audience went nuts! It was so out of character and so well done there have been murmurs of a C&W show! If anyone could make me love the genre, it would be Rafael!

Next week will be the final Greatest Show as Act2 plunges head-on into season, with the opening of Rocky Horror on October 31. The aforementioned Rafael plays Rocky. Just get your tickets!

boys on fire temptation

“Temptation” is the latest Sebastian Coronel- choreographed show at The Palm Cabaret. As we filled the theatre, the dancers were draped across tables and scattered throughout, welcoming us to our seats; warming them up, as it were! Sebastian has added three women to his Boys on Fire male burlesque-type show and has created a very sexy temptation, indeed! The women soften the dance moves with grace and powerful, exotic interactions with their partners. See Temptation every Wednesday night at 9:30; just be over 18. It is terrific with Nacho Granados as MC and dancer. I can’t look at him quite the same way anymore. You’ll understand what I mean.

My dear friend Sandra Bradley is finally home after weeks away in Canada. We celebrated as we do over two (!) mango smoothies each and hours of easy conversation. We are missing our Miss Chatelaine, Georgia Darehshori, who is galivanting all over NYC and is due back soon. That circle will again be complete!

marcia awaysis

I met up with Sharon again at Awaysis to cheer on Ale Matus as she debuted as the lead singer of Las Mambas, Vallarta’s only all-girl band. Ale, half of Act2PV’s Circoncierto, did exceptionally well her first time out and after only three weeks of rehearsals! Rob Burton and Jan Dorland joined us in the cheering section for drinks. See Las Mambas at Awaysis every Friday from 3 to 6 pm.

I caught up with those two darlings later in the evening at La Catrina Cantina, where we converged for popcorn, onion rings, cocktails and Remake, three Argentine singers, Nacho Granados, Max Prado and Chris Lopez. Listening to them harmonize is like angels singing. As Rob said, “REMAKE is outstanding. They are nearly beyond human together.” I concur. Catch them every Friday at 7:30 at La CC, where there is never a cover, and the show changes weekly. They take requests and hugs!

The unstable weather caused more cancellations and postponements of shows and events that will be rescheduled eventually. Remember events appearing in “Coming up” are MY calendar, not THE calendar for the week.

Speaking of…

Coming up:

October 29, Sunday, 6 pm, La Catrina Cantina. Another in the series of Navigating Health Care in Mexico. This week features reps from some of Vallarta’s clinics and hospitals. Also, insurance tips when hurricanes, etc., happen. There is no charge, but get there early. 

October 31, 8 pm, The Palm Cabaret. Spirit Medium Kennedy Morgan presents “Beyond the Veil.”

November 01, Wednesday, 1 pm, Qulture. Our eighth Scrabble Tournament. 4 pm, Nacho Daddy. Bingo Fundraiser for Colina Spay & Neuter Clinic

 4 – 10 pm, Isla Cuale’s 2nd Annual Dia de Los Muertos Festival. Non-stop music, food and drink, altars, face painting and much, much more. It’s all free!!!

5 pm, Joint Coworking Hotel’s event space. Paco Ojeda on Music explains the Day of the Dead!

9 pm, The Isla. The debut of friend and colleague AJ Freeman’s band, The Pleasant Uprising. Come and dance!

November 02, Thursday, 6 – 9 pm, Open House at Ernesto Guerra’s gallery, Constitucion at Basilio Badillo.

8:30 pm, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Director Aquiles Morales presents Mozart, Greig and more with the Vallarta Symphony Orchestra; Kathy Overlea, soprano; Aldo Olivar, tenor; and two choral groups. 300 pesos at the door.

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

November 04, Saturday, 6 pm, Vallarta Arte Museo. First Saturday of the Month fiesta!!

Vallarta lost an amazing woman this week, Nelly Wulff, wife of Guillermo, the engineer whose name is all over Gringo Gulch, and also wife of Ramiz Barquet, whose sculptures adorn the Malecon and elsewhere. She was a Sports Illustrated cover girl, clothing designer, shop owner, restaurant owner, mom, grandmother and a cultural icon of Vallarta for decades and decades. You are irreplaceable, Nelly. Rest in Peace.

Catrina in dress

It’s going to be a busy week, and I believe the rains are finished. Be sure to visit the Malecon for Halloween and get to the Isla Cuale for their huge FREE festival celebrating Mexico’s Day of the Dead on November 1st. The fun starts at 4 pm. Wander around the gorgeous grounds of the restored island and honor all those who have gone before you by being the absolute best you can be every day From Here.

Marcia Blondin Can be contacted via email at marciavallarta@gmail.com +322 159 9675.

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