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Out and About With Marcia Blondin – Shopping and Strippers

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Selena Luna was on a mission to find two specific items for daughter Patriz to wear in her upcoming duet with Alejandra at Act2PV. We ventured to the ex-Regional tianguis last week but came home without the two items Selena wanted. Coapinole at the crack of Tuesday morning had us knee-deep, happily digging through mountains of clothing, and, yes, we found exactly what was needed and got out of there for under a hundred pesos. You HAVE to love that kind of responsible shopping, no? I am going again this week with Susanne Beique, another newbie; yay!

Joaquin Camarero and his talented quartet wowed Marsha's Red Room with their homage to Carlos Santana, born just south of Vallarta if you didn't know! Joaquin did an excellent job of choosing songs to play for us - the Santana repertoire spans 50 years, and honestly, I have NEVER heard a 'bad' Santana song, have you?
Joaquin Camarero and his talented quartet wowed Marsha’s Red Room with their homage to Carlos Santana, born just south of Vallarta if you didn’t know! Joaquin did an excellent job of choosing songs to play for us – the Santana repertoire spans 50 years, and honestly, I have NEVER heard a ‘bad’ Santana song, have you?

Joaquin Camarero and his talented quartet wowed Marsha’s Red Room with their homage to Carlos Santana, born just south of Vallarta if you didn’t know! Joaquin did an excellent job of choosing songs to play for us – the Santana repertoire spans 50 years, and honestly, I have NEVER heard a ‘bad’ Santana song, have you? It was a fine warmup for his next concert with his band; look below for details. It was wonderful to see Gary Beck out and about again, taking notes by hand and thoroughly enjoying himself. He looks absolutely terrific! Welcome back, my friend and colleague!

Wednesday’s Greatest Show at Marsha’s Red Room Cabaret finally reintroduced one of my all-time fave shows at Act2PV, “It’s Raining Men.” With a delightful addition of one of the most superb dancers in Vallarta – Angel. He is perfect(ly) named, so run for tickets for their show every Friday night at 8. Be prepared to be swept off your feet!

My friend, portrait painter and neighbor, Lisa Cham, called to me as I was crossing our beautiful new bridge last week. She wanted me to try her latest culinary magic – roasted garlic and lemon hummus. Wowie! As much as I love limes, there is such delight in lemons and the splash of summer that hits the back of your throat when there is the perfect amount of fresh juice in a recipe. Lisa has found that astringent/creamy balance. She has a Facebook page, “Buenas Botanas: Good Eats,” with various types of hummus made in small batches from scratch. I am feeling the love! I think my sister Patrice will approve; of course, I will have to try the other types Lisa makes, or maybe order them all and let the sister pick and choose!

Paco Ojeda's Music Appreciation series, which takes place at Joint Coworking Hotel once a month or so, is stuffed full of information and guidance to open your ears and discover a whole pile of layers in a piece of music you likely had never thought about.
Paco Ojeda’s Music Appreciation series, which takes place at Joint Coworking Hotel once a month or so, is stuffed full of information and guidance to open your ears and discover a whole pile of layers in a piece of music you likely had never thought about.

I would love to live in Paco Ojeda’s brain for a day and listen to music through his ears. His Music Appreciation series, which takes place at Joint Coworking Hotel once a month or so, is stuffed full of information and guidance to open your ears and discover a whole pile of layers in a piece of music you likely had never thought about. He is, off the chart, full of quirkiness combined with a rare ability to speak succinctly and TEACH what he loves about music. An amazing talent; I have the most extraordinary friends. His latest, “Goodbye: Farewell Songs for every Occasion” – the title itself shows the wonderful weirdness – who thinks about these things! Paco Ojeda does, and we are so grateful to him. See below for his upcoming presentations!

setac community meeting

From Goodbye Songs to a pop-up fundraiser at Studs Leather Bar, about a five-minute walk apart, shared the same underlying feelings of love, community and sharing. I had not been in this cool bar since it ate the beautifully appointed Therapy Lounge. Apparently, more guys are into leather and spiky accouterments than sushi on comfy sofas. The main floor of Studs is open to women (some curious items in the gift shop), but upstairs is not. I heard clothing is optional.

Mike Owens
Mike Owens – Photo by Oscar Almeida.

Anyway, Georgia Dareshori and I were there to listen to Mike Owens outline the new, exciting changes coming to SETAC, an organization for the LGBT+ community in Vallarta. We hoped to hug founder Ed Thomas, but he could not join the fiesta. You were sorely missed, my friend! As with all charitable organizations in Vallarta, volunteers are needed for various jobs, and the most critical need is money. A new drop-in, Safe Place, is being built as we speak on Insurgentes, which will go a long way in extending open arms to Vallarta’s youth that may be in jeopardy. I will let you know when the Open House will be! Mike Owens announced that Don Pickens, owner of Vallarta’s first Gay Resort, Casa Cupula, offered to match all donations raised that evening.

Christopher Maluck, the new owner of Swede’s Bar & Bistro, wrote a check and Casa Karma did the same. The night was off to a great start! Lovely to see Julie Guerrero, Jerry Jones and Gerwin Rutter from Out &About magazine and Tim Wilson of the Gay PV Magazine.

Luis Villanueva

Meanwhile, over at the World Karaoke contest, Gloria Fiona had won a spot in the Finals, but going to Panama in November to represent the entire Republic of Mexico, is our very own Luis Villanueva! Felicidades, Luis. You have already made us proud!

The last Retro Movie Night for the summer was held in Incanto’s Theatre last Friday. Little Shop of Horrors turned out to be just that – a horror story with a completely different ending than the movie we had seen nearly 40 years ago. All of us were squirming in our respective seats watching the horror unfold and thinking, “WTF? None of this is familiar!” Turns out Selena Luna had inadvertently ordered the Director’s Cut. She kindly put the original ending on Facebook a day or so later so we could all move on and smile again! 

Tonny Kenneth and Luis Villanueva had their last show in Incanto’s Piano Bar until October; Incanto is officially on vacation starting tomorrow.

Our friend, Ray (Vallarta) Drew’s fight against dementia is over. His family posted that he died peacefully in his sleep at his mom’s home in South Carolina. His family has asked for donations to Lewy Body Dementia in lieu of flowers. In his life, Ray fought long and hard for many causes and deplored injustice in any form, particularly in the US prison system. He won a few of those battles but was overcome finally by his illness. Rest in Peace now, Ray. You really did fight the good fight.

Bingo with Aunt Pearl at Incanto started late due to the tremendous but welcome storm that dumped much water in an hour or so. I won the blackout – woo-hoo, then went to the Cuale Cultural Center on the Island to watch “Eumenides a Flor de Piel,” a short film by Alberto Sosa to commemorate the second anniversary of Hurricane Nora. With that reminder of the terrible destruction Nora wrought on my neighborhood, in particular, fresh in my brain, I walked the length of the island’s east side on my way back to Incanto. There was not a speck of sand on the new walkways; lamps softly lit the pathways, and the Island cats were sprawled on great swaths of bright green perfect grass that @Guy Weeks was determined to make happen! Newly planted trees are neatly framed with gently placed rocks, the playground for little kids is quiet now in the night while people walk their dogs and listen to the river roaring by as the island prepares to sleep. Then, up the stairs of the new bridge that I love with all my heart – the most significant disconnect the city suffered for six long months after the river debris smashed the old one to bits. And back I went to Incanto for their pre-vacation party.

Aunt Pearl finished her bingo duties and slid straight (sorry) into ordering three strippers around the Piano Bar like she owned the place. As one of three invited women to the party, we kinda stood out in the sea of lovely gay men, but the objective was the same, appreciating the fine bodies of these dancers. If you thought it was hot outside, O.M.G. Lots of teasing and tipping, laughing and leering (me!), wishing and hoping—a superbly enjoyable evening. I was struck by how differently straight and gay married couples react in these kinds of situations. I am coming back as a gay man next time! 

Voice of Vallarta, Season Six has ended after eight weeks of competition, with former Miss Colombia 2019 Sol Reyes as the Winner. She is beautiful, an innovative entertainer with a lovely voice and a great sense of style. Her future is just starting, and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here. Congratulations to Act2PV for providing a nail-biting series of Sundays mid-summer; the judging was outstanding this year, better than ever, and Juan Pablo Hernandez, the perfect host as he has been from Voice’s first days. The competitors all shone; I hope to see them entertaining around town and never giving up on their dreams. And to Joseph, Sol’s husband, who flew in from Calgary and brought champagne for everyone on stage – and me – mil gracias!

A quick drop-in at Incanto to listen to the tail end of Open Mic was in order after Voice concluded. I wanted to see owner Tracy Parks and give him big hugs to carry home to his mom and dad in Oklahoma. What a fantastic season Incanto has had. So many incredible performers – David Maiocco, David Ajax Sabella, Joe Posa, Francesca Bavaro, Lady Zen, Kevin Anthony and more. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness to me all season long.

Coming up:

September 02, Saturday, 6 pm, Arte Vallarta Museo. First Saturday of the Month Fiesta. Three new pieces of art will be unveiled! There is always food, a cash bar and live music!

September 05, Tuesday, 5 pm, Marsha’s Red Room at Act2PV. International Music World. Fabulous quintet celebrating music from everywhere.

September 06, Wednesday, 1 pm, Qulture. Scrabble Tournament.

September 08, Friday, 5:30 pm, Marsha’s Red Room. Feeling Good – a Celebration of Soul Legends by Renata, Voice of Vallarta, Season Five winner.

                                      6:30 pm, Presidencia, Main Square. Exposition of art featuring extraordinary Vallarta painter Javier Niño.

September 09, 8 pm, Marsha’s Red Room, Trombo Venusta. The circus is back!

I am grateful to the Facebook Groups inviting me to share this column on their pages and websites. My only reason for writing weekly is to share my love of Vallarta, and it is so beautiful to be able to reach more people through a variety of different publications. There is only gratitude From Here.

———————Marcia BlondinCell 322 159 9675

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