Posts Tagged ‘Guelaguetza Auditorium’

From top to bottom, Guelaguetza preparations are in full swing.  There is yet another attempt in the Never-ending tale of a velaria, as workers scramble hundreds of feet in the air to add the missing “wings” to the Guelaguetza Auditorium canopy.

Guelaguetza Auditorium velaria

Workmen are prepping buildings in the Historic District for fresh coats of paint.


Construction is underway in Llano Park (aka, Paseo Juárez “El Llano”) to ready it for the XIX Feria Internacional del Mezcal 2016.


Near the top of Macedonio Alcalá (aka, Andador Turístico), puestos (booths) have been erected for artisans, invited from throughout the state, to display and (hopefully) sell their wares.


And, everyone is holding their breath and making offerings to the gods overseeing phase two of the García Vigil pedestrian walkway that the work will be completed before the first Guelaguetza desfile (parade of delegations) on July 23.


And, me?  I just bought tickets to the Mole Festival degustación at the Jardín Etnobotánico on July 22!  Yummm…


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The program of delegations for Guelaguetza 2016 is out and, according to all reports, the show will go on!  And, at long last, this year the Danzantes de Promesa from Teotitlán del Valle have been invited to perform.  It was the talk of the village this past weekend; the pride in their history and traditions and in this new group of dancers was palpable.

delegaciones guelaguetza 2016 (1)

As you can see above, they will be performing on Monday evening, July 25.  Though I won’t be there in person, I will be rushing home from the Guelaguetza celebration in Reyes Etla to watch the live TV broadcast.  Hopefully, as in past years, both the morning and evening performances on both Mondays will be live-streamed.  I will post the link, once I know.

delegaciones guelaguetza 2016 (2)

To whet your appetite, here is my short video of the Guelaguetza 2014 performance I attended at the Guelaguetza Auditorium on Cerro del Fortín.

If this tempts you to come, please do!  Hotels have experienced a 32% cancellation rate, so you should have no trouble reserving a room.  And, the restaurants and artisans could really use your support.  While there are only a few reserved seats available through Ticketmaster at the performances up on Cerro del Fortín, local communities in the valley host their own Guelaguezas that are small, free, and provide an up-close and personal view.  In addition, the delegations dance their way through the streets of Oaxaca on the two Saturdays prior the performances, there are artisan ferias and food festivals in the city and surrounding villages to experience and enjoy.


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I usually don’t spend much time walking along Crespo — the bus fumes and traffic noise are enough to have one holding one’s nose, covering one’s ears, and detouring to another street, as soon as possible!  However, a (not-so-little) birdie told me to check out the stairs up to the Guelaguetza Auditorium.


Yikes!!!   An improvement project has been underway from Crespo all the way up to the Auditorium since the end of April.  Runners, walkers, and residents need to use an alternative route.  As the sign says, “Sorry for the inconvenience.”


I spoke to one of the workmen and asked, if the project is going to be finished in time for the Guelaguetza.  After all, the first performance of Donají la Leyenda is scheduled for the night of July 24 and la Guelaguetza begins the following morning — that’s less than a month away.  He assured me the work would be completed.


Speaking of the Guelaguetza…  Vive Oaxaca has a notice (in red, no less!) essentially saying, that because of the number of messages they have received regarding information about the current conflicts in Oaxaca, they feel compelled to announce that they have no information about the cancellation of Guelaguetza.  As far as they know, everything is continuing as planned, but advise visitors to monitor official information from the Ministry of Tourism and Economic Development of the State of Oaxaca.



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To watch or listen to this year’s Guelaguetza performances live from Cerro Fortín today (July 20), and next Monday (July 27), at 10 AM and 5 PM (Central Daylight Time):  http://www.viveoaxaca.org/2015/07/Guelaguetza2015EnVivo.html

2015_07_20 delegaciones2015_07_27 delegaciones


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Three weeks from today, despite the Never-ending tale of the velaria, the 83rd annual Guelaguetza performances on Cerro Fortín commence.  Yikes, was it really almost a year ago that one of my childhood BFFs and I walked up the hill to the auditorium to revel in the music, costumes, dances, view, fireworks, and all-around conviviality of festivities?  There is always so much going on during the last two weeks of July, that I only got around to posting a few photos from that evening.  Today, and for the following two Mondays, I’m going to attempt to remedy that.  Better late than never!

The delegation from the Cañada region of the state, Huautla de Jimenez, danced to Sones Mazatecos…
IMG_4701IMG_4707IMG_4708The dancers from Santiago Juxtlahuaca, in the Mixteca, performed the rip-roaring Danza de los Rubios…
IMG_4778P1010286IMG_4785And, from the Istmo de Tehuantepec region, the beautiful women and dashing men from Ixtepec presented Vela “Esmeralda”…
IMG_4717IMG_4724P1010283IMG_4759IMG_4761That’s all folks!  But, more to come next Monday.

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La Guelaguetza is coming.  However, the drama/comedy/telenovela/fairly tale (you take your pick) that is the Guelaguetza Auditorium velaria (canopy) has again grabbed Oaxaca’s headlines.  “Why?” you might ask.  Good question!  Perhaps a little history is in order…

Once upon a time and for a very long time, the auditorium, perched on Cerro del Fortín high above the beautiful city of Oaxaca, was velaria-less — no canopy to protect spectators and performers from sun and rain.  However, in 2009 the Big Bad Wolf, who was then the governor and in need of some good PR, decided to spend 104 million pesos to build a roof over the auditorium.  The people did not like the governor, they did not like the expense, and they most certainly did not like the design — the word, el pañal (the diaper) frequently tripped off the tongue of many when describing it.  Alas, the workmanship left much to be desired and the 2010 Guelaguetza had to be relocated to the university soccer stadium.  The people were not happy!

By July 2011, a Prince Charming had replaced the Big Bad Wolf as governor, a new velaria was in place (though it still looked like a diaper), and La Guelaguetza returned to the hill overlooking the city.  Cue mild applause.

Guelaguetza AuditoriumAlas, the lackluster clapping came to an abrupt halt one evening in March 2012, when a moderate wind ripped the right wing (I kid you not) off.  A sign?

Guelaguetza Auditorium with missing wing. A poll at the time ran 2:1 against replacing the velaria.  Of course, no one listens to the people, though a week later, for the safety of all, the left wing of the cover was also removed.

Guelaguetza auditorium without the wings; Mexican flag on the left.Guelaguetzas 2012, 2013, and 2014 came and went and not much more came to pass.  Yours truly even experienced the abbreviated velaria at last year’s performance, though I kept glancing up at the structure to make sure it was still intact.

IMG_4933 The end of our story?  No, of course not!  In January, Sinfra (Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Land Management) declared the saga must go on.  Thus, in March of this year, it was trumpeted throughout the land that work on a brand new velaria was to commence.  There would be no cost to the people, as the original company, the Big Bad Wolf’s friends at Lonas Lorenzo, would be footing the bill, and work would be completed in time for this year’s Guelaguetza.  Though the people did not cheer, down came the old…

P1090865Completed in time for this year’s Guelaguetza, did I write?  Well, into every tale a little drama must fall — today’s Noticias heralded the news that, alas and alack, due to a labor dispute, the work will not be finished in time for next month’s Guelaguetza performances.  The people are not surprised.  The world turns and the saga continues…

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Live streaming of the Guelaguetza performances at the Guelaguetza auditorium atop Cerro del Fortín, July 21 and 28 at 10 AM and 5 PM (Central Daylight Time).


Update:  La Guelaguetza 2014 is over, however you can view all the performances on Vive Oaxaca’s YouTube channel.


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Live and direct from Oaxaca’s Guelaguetza Auditorium; see what all the fuss is about!  Watch the July 23 and 30 Guelaguetza performances, along with the July 29 production of the Legend of Donají, stream live on the internet at:

Night shot of colored smoke billowing from Guelaguetza Auditorium.

View from the terrace…  The Guelaguetza Auditorium during last night’s Legend of Donají show.

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With all the excitement about yesterday’s earthquake, I didn’t even notice the south wing of the infamous Guelaguetza auditorium velaria (cover) had been removed.

Guelaguetza auditorium without the wings; Mexican flag on the left.

According to an article in yesterday’s Noticias, the central cover will be reinforced and remain through July’s annual Guelaguetza performances.  After that???  The fate of the velaria is up in the air.  😉

And, yes, the sky is that blue today!

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From today’s walk…

Side view of missing wing of Guelaguetza Auditorium

Just a sliver of canvas (or whatever the stingray is made of) left hanging from the missing wing of the Guelaguetza Auditorium.

Chris, over a Oaxaca-The Year After, also has photos.  This is big news!

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Remember the Guelaguetza Auditorium?   July 25, 2011…

Guelaguetza Auditorium with full cover

After moderate winds Friday night,  Guelaguetza Auditorium, March 11, 2012…

Guelaguetza Auditorium with missing wing.

Something missing here?  “Stingray” missing a flap???

According to reports in Sunday’s Noticias, experts at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) will conduct an analysis re what happened to cause a part of this controversial and (seemingly) cursed covering to collapse.  The report further states, there is a possibility that the warranty will “cover” a replacement and, no matter what the result, the annual July Guelaguetza shows will go on!

A poll on the Vive Oaxaca Facebook page is currently running about 2:1 against replacing the velaria (cover).

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In August 2011, Vive Oaxaca launched a campaign to showcase the best of the state through a series of video shorts.  Two have already been released online:

Esto es Zaachila

and, Esto es Guelaguetza

I’m looking forward to Monday night’s online release of, Esto es Oaxaca de Juárez.  I guess you know what my Tuesday morning blog post will be!

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What can I say about last night’s Lila Downs concert at the Guelaguetza Auditorium?  It was one of those clear, mild and star-filled Oaxaca evenings.  The glowing auditorium beckoned and encouraged us as we made the steep walk up the street and then stairs to the hillside site, that overlooks the city.

Guelaguetza auditorium glowing with red lights at night

In true, “hey, it’s Mexico” style, we were unsure of the time…  The posters, billboards, and concert’s Facebook page said, 8 PM.  However, our tickets (purchased from TicketMaster… ugh!) said 7 PM.  Needless to say, we were in line by 6:45.  Our, off to the side, front row seats left much to be desired, but once the Afro-Caribbean rhythms of Columbiana, Totó la Momposina and her way hot band began, it didn’t matter.

Totó la Momposina

Although, she initially confused Xalapa with Oaxaca (with the expected laughter and a few catcalls), Totó la Momposina won the crowd over and all were well warmed up for Oaxaca’s favorite daughter.  Lila opened with an offering of mezcal and track number one, “Mezcalito,” from her new CD, Pecados y Milagros (Sins and Miracles).

Lila Downs in white

Totó la Momposina joined her on stage, as on the CD, to sing “Zapata Se Queda,” a tribute to the spirit of Mexican revolutionary hero, Emiliano Zapata.  Other songs followed, a rebozo (shawl) was added, and the lighting changed…

Lila wearing a magenta rebozo with orange/red lighting

Lila then donned a beautiful serape from one of the master weavers of Teotitlán del Valle to sing, “Fallaste corazón.”

Lila Downs wearing a serape.

She dedicated, “Palomo’s Comalito,” to all the women who make tortillas in Mexico.  A knowing smile crossed our faces.  On Wednesday, we had been invited to the home of Emilia and Zacarias Ruiz in Teotitlán del Valle, where we honored the souls of their departed, by savoring Emilia’s delicate tamales and silky smooth and complex mole AND where we were informed by son, Antonio, that Emilia is featured in the music video for “El Palomo del Comalito.” (She’s the woman making tortillas.)

This was my first time seeing Lila Downs live.  I’d listened to last year’s free concert, at the Plaza de la Danza, from my terrace, but it doesn’t compare with seeing her in person…

Lila Downs kneeling, wearing traditional Tehuantepec headdress

I think this was the costume change for her beautiful and haunting rendition of “La Llorona.”  I can’t resist also showing the back of this traditional Isthmus of Tehuantepec headdress, known as a “bidaani quichi.”

Back of the headdress

A sublime and spectacular evening to close a sublime and magical week…  ¡Muchisimas gracias, Oaxaca!

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Gazing up at the Guelaguetza Auditorium tonight from the terrace, as Guelaguetza 2011 came to a close…

Guelaguetza Auditorium with lights glowing at night


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After 35 days up in the USA (and yes, I was counting), I’m back in Oaxaca.  The old stove still “decorates” the driveway of my apartment compound, apparently following in the footsteps of the two refrigerators which graced the driveway for almost a year.

Old stove sitting on the side of driveway

However, there are a few changes in the ‘hood.  I arrived home yesterday, to discover a delightful new neighbor moving into one of the apartments below me; the stump of a tree across the street that must have toppled during one of the recent storms;

Tree stump in front of building

and a new canopy atop the Guelaguetza Auditorium.

Sun-shade on the Guelaguetza Auditorium

This is a “take two” attempt at this controversial sunshade; the first tore before it was even finished, causing last year’s Guelaguetza performances to be relocated to the university’s soccer stadium, across the city — making yours truly a very unhappy camper!  With family visiting, it was the first time I had shelled out the big bucks to attend and, not only could we not just walk up the hill to the event, we weren’t able to enjoy the fabulous views of the city and the mountains to the east, that the Guelaguetza Auditorium provides.

FYI:  Over the past week, Chris at Oaxaca-The-Year-After, has been blogging about the controversy.

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