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La Manzanillo Memo – March 7, 2014

The high winter season is pulsing along at a rapid pace.  Here’s what a typical week looks like in our little fishing village.

Monday evening La Manzanilla’s Bare Bones Readers’ Theatre presented their second performance of, “Two Bits & The Whole Shebang.”  Arleen Pace once again proved her ability to find, direct and cast pieces that are not only funny but perfectly suited for her audience.  The evening commenced with an aging bank robber and the bank teller who’s been stalking him for over forty years, their first meeting being a holdup early in his career.   After their faithful first meeting the teller spent her life going from bank job to bank job hoping to meet him again.  The audience then giggled their way through the tale of dating services for the age sixty plus set.  The final piece, The Whole Shebang, found God as a female MU, Masters of the Universe, candidate defending her creation of the heavens and Earth.  Her review committee was very impressed by much of her work, sighting the miracle of flight in birds, the wonders of fish and of course the venerable cow.  The committee saw the cow as true triumph, this animal secretes a magical liquid that is not only nutritious but extremely versatile, yogurt, sour cream, butter and the endless varieties of cheese; they honored the cow as a crowning success.  As far as the committee was concerned the only defect in the overall project seemed to be the destructive and seemingly useless creatures called Humans.  And so the fun began examining the flaws, idiosyncrasies, fragility and ultimate beauty of the human race.   The readers’ theatre performs several times during the season; funds raised at performances go to local community projects.

Throughout the week, mornings are filled with Yoga, Zumba, Cardio and Chigong classes, many are held at Activos gym and others at private studios around the village.   We have to keep fit to keep up with all these social events.

Thursday evening Café de Flores hosted guest chef, Joseph Rutherford, for a tapas night.  Rutherford, born in Malaga, Spain, grow-up in La Manzanilla and now lives in San Francisco. The evening was an exploration of the diverse flavors of the different cultures he was exposed to growing up.  His creations included a spicy Ahi tuna poke with mandarin segments, peanuts, scallions, roasted chili oil and shredded mint over puffed rice paper, oyster ceviche – local raw oysters mixed with spicy pico de gallo with an avocado crema, anchovy tapenade with fresh avocado, Parmegianno Regianno and fresh parsley, Guayaba Semi Freddo – fresh eggs & cream dessert with fresh guayaba and coconut, and a decadently rich Marscapone dark chocolate torte with fresh blueberries & blackberry whipped cream.  Please see the above paragraph and the bit about keeping fit.

Early Friday evening Artis Lounge and Gallery hosted a cultural event featuring pre-Hispanic food, contemporary works of art from Mexico City artist Héctor Villagrán, an experimental Felliniesque film and the evening concluded with an interactive dance performance by modern dancer Mayan Henze.  The very pregnant Henze, dressed in a brown sheath dress danced among the audience, the interaction came as she approached people offering her body as a canvas.  Audience members were invited to create quick pieces of art or write messages on her as she paused near them.  Henze, who grew up in La Manzanilla, is an accomplished dancer and teacher and her performance was moving and magical.   

Friday evening continued with dancing to the old time rock-and-roll of the always entertaining The Tall Boys Band from Ajijic.  The band is working on a third CD and the evening featured not only the covers they are known for but a few original pieces as well.  They will be back on the Pacific coast at the end of March with shows at Concha del Mar in Melaque on March 27, The Oasis in Manzanillo March 29th and look for them in La Manzanilla Friday, March 28 at Yolanda’s.  Can’t wait to see them live?  Visit their website and download a few songs at

The last open-mic of the season at Palapa Joe’s was a very entertaining fete.  The enthusiastic crowd packed the house and was treated to perhaps the most varied talent of the year.  The lineup featured more solo acts than usual which produced an evening full of new tunes and lyrics to include; Lyle Lovett, Little Feat, Ben E. King, and even a rocking version of “Six Days on the Road” right out of the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.  The crowd also clamored for an encore performance from Roberino, a fixture in La Manzanilla each winter, who skillfully pens songs with local flavors, events, and characters. 

His tune, Vendors on the Beach, implored the gringo set to look closely at the hard working beach venders who offer absolutely everything they could ever want and to buy from them.  Local beach restaurateur Pedro (Pedro’s Fish Tacos) serenaded the rapt crowd with his pursed lip whistling of a medley of Mexican classics.  Performers are limited to three songs and with a full lineup that caused some to be turned away; it was well past closing hours before the crowd was ready to leave.  Smiles, well-watered patrons, perfect weather and a full dance floor that spilled out the wide front doors was what you missed if you were not here, but not to worry there is always next season.

Sunday afternoon Chantli Mare hosted an art opening highlighting Gabriela de la Vega’s newest collection of paintings called Prometheus’s Fire. The venue was a perfect complement to her colorful and bold new works.  Vega splits her time between La Manzanilla and Mexico City and has been instrumental in the creation and success of the La Catalina Educational Foundation here in La Manzanilla.  Art and education are her life’s work and judging by the attendance of the opening she is well loved and respected in this part of the Pacific coast.

These are just a few of the weekly happenings in La Manzanilla.  There are also ongoing games of bridge, writers’ groups, art classes, films and live music nearly every evening at one venue or another.   We still have one more month of merriment before the weather starts to sizzle and we go back to being a quiet fishing village.

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