If you’re keen on experiencing the arts and culture of Michoacan without going on the road, don’t miss the annual Unión de Pueblos Purépecha Festival, running Friday, December 12 through Sunday, December 14 on the Ajijic plaza.
The event offers a perfect opportunity to catch performances of the state’s colorful folk dances, sample typical cuisine, and purchase unique crafts from the towns of Capula, Ocumicho, Patzcuaro, Tocuaro,Tzintzuntzan, Jarácuaro, Jiquilpan, Patamban, Angahuan, La Granada, Morelia, San José de Gracia and Cocucho.
A highlight of the program will be the first ever local demonstration of the Pelota de Fuego, a Purépecha ritual ball game dating back to the pre-Hispanic era, to be presented Saturday, 3 p.m. at the plaza, and again at 7 p.m. in a spectacular after-dark performance on the beach just east of the town pier.
To help defray festival expenses, selected items from each of the participating artesanos and works by several local artists will be auctioned off on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 1 p.m.
Music, art and a relaxing afternoon of social interaction at the edge of Lake Chapala are the enticements of the Ribera Jazz show on Saturday, December 13, 4 p.m., organized by the young entrepreneurs section of the local Chamber of Commerce. The event will take place at the Tahawi Club del Lago, located on the waterfront at the corner of Calle San Jorge and Paseo del Lago in Riberas del Pilar.
The program includes an exhibition of works by a number of lakeside’s leading artists, along with live musical sets performed by the Blue Velvet Jazz Trio and the Instituto Internacional Band. Bar service will include free margaritas poured from 4 to 6 p.m.
Tickets are 150 pesos and are on sale at Yoly’s Hair Salon, Plaza Bugambilias; Hotel Ajijic, Calle Colón opposite the plaza; La Sangrita Mezcal, Morelos 12 just north of the Ajijic pier; or Wings Army at Centro Laguna. Ten percent of the proceeds will be set aside for the Instituto Internacional scholarship program.
Lakeside residents Jack and Krista Andersen will present the jewelry and art pieces they create from semi-precious stones in a special showing on Saturday, December 13, from noon to 4 p.m. at Sol Mexicano, Colón 13 in Ajijic.
The Andersens have named their work and their business Stone Circles Lapidary; a term they feel expresses the creative process of working together to create smooth reflective jewelry pieces from rough rock. Stone Circles Lapidary shows and sells work on the internet and in Tuscon, Arizona, as well as from the couple’s new Mexican home.
Renowned Guadalajara artist Balo inaugurates a collection of his new work on Saturday December 13, 7 p.m. in the Studio Galería Metzcalli at Carretera 40 in San Juan Cosala.
The music of Fernando Zamora, “El Terruño,” will be featured at the cocktail opening, which is open to all.
Cecelia Calderon will direct the Ballet Troupe Studio Olimpia when they join forces with the Jocotepec Department of Art, Culture and Tradition to present “The Nutcracker” on Sunday, December 14, 7 p.m. in the Jocotepec plaza.
The Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara Theater Company will appear Sunday, December 14, 7 p.m, at the Ajijic Cultural Center to perform Pastorela Tapatia, a traditional Christmas Shepherd’s Play with a modern-day twist. Admission is open to the public free of charge.
The pastorela dates back to Mexico’s Colonial period, when Spanish missionaries staged dramatizations of the Christmas story as a method to woo converts and teach Christian doctrine to the natives. The plot revolves around the shepherds’ trek to Bethlehem to adore the new born baby Jesus. It opens with the Archangel Michael announcing the birth of the Messiah. But along the way the Devil and his entourage of demons pop in, intent on interrupting the journey by baiting the travelers with earthly temptations.
Contemporary versions staged by amateur and professional acting troupes are often loaded with humorous antics and dialogue tying in current social and political themes.
Janice Kimball is hosting a wine reception on Tuesday, December 16, noon, at Aztec Art and Weaving Studios in Ajijic.
Kimball’s previous book was called “Three in a Cage.” She is known locally for her photography, painting and original designs for woven rugs and wall hangings.
The annual abbreviated production of “The Nutcracker” will be presented by students from Instituto Loyola de Chapala on Wednesday, December 17 in the Auditorio de la Ribera, with performances at 5 and 6:30 p.m.
This event is annual school tradition and has become a much-anticipated event of the lakeside Christmas season. Director Wayne Palfrey is the designer of the production, while teachers choreograph the various colorful scenes. More than 200 students participate in the 45-minute production.
Tickets with assigned seating are available for 50 pesos at the door or in the reception area of the school which is next door to the Lakeside Little Theatre. It is advisable to purchase tickets at the school or to arrive early, as both performances traditionally sell out.
The Lakeside Carolers will visit three assisted living homes on Thursday, December 18 to share the music of the Christmas season with those residents. Organizers are urging other area residents to wear holiday garb (scarves, mittens, caps) and to meet at the Little Chapel by the Lake at 10:45 a.m. to organize car pooling.
Carolers will visit Casa Nostra at Santa Margarita 8 in Riberas del Pilar at 11:30 a.m. and then break for lunch at the food court of the Laguna Mall at about 12:30 p.m. The afternoon will begin with a 3 p.m. stop at Alicia’s Convalescent Home at Paseo del Lago 7 in La Floresta. The final caroling destination will be at Abbeyfield Casa Cariñosas at Privada Independencia 9 in Ajijic.
Carolers have been invited to take snacks and beverages and join the Abbeyfield residents for refreshments after the caroling.
Lakeside artist Julie Mignard hosts a Champagne reception at Ajijic Cultural Center on Saturday, December 20, 4-7 p.m. to launch her one-woman show, ”Visual Music – Songs for Your Eyes Only.” Saxophonist Enrique Ibarraran provides the music. The show will remain up through January 3.
Classical guitar duo David Peralta and Rudy Smith perform Sunday, December 14, 12:30 p.m. at the Centro Cultural Gonzalez Gallo in Chapala. The program will include some works by Mexican composers featured on a recent CD they recorded.
Viva la Musica will present a gala holiday concert at the Auditorio de la Ribera on Thursday, December 18, 7 p.m. Featured in concert will be the celebrated Hermosillo family, with friends Patricia Hernandez and Hector Lopez singing and playing a repertoire of sacred, operatic and Christmas music.
The program will include vocal and instrumental works by Bach, Beethoven, Bizet, Donizetti, Franck, Verdi and Vivaldi, as well as audience favorite show tunes. Antonio Hermosillo, baritone, and his wife, Gaby Zepeda, pianist and soprano are accomplished well-trained musicians, but the children, Mariana, Lucia and Jorge, are talented and charming show-stoppers who have already performed as soloists with the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra.
Tickets for the concert are 200 pesos and can be purchased at the Auditorium, Diane Pearl Colecciones and the LCS box office, or at the door before the event.
The master lecture series Art Xik Xik on Friday, December 19, 5 p.m. will focus on Antonio Lopez Vega, an Ajijic Legacy Artist who was given the opportunity to paint in Neill James’ original children’s after-school workshops.
Lopez Vega followed Javier Zaragoza to the Instituto Allende in San Miguel Allende, where he excelled way beyond the expectations James placed on him. He was eventually selected to be a member of the renowned school’s faculty. He continued creating his own art and teaching until he retired a few years ago and returned to Ajijic.
Lopez Vega strives to combine materials and hues in innovative and provocative ways to leave the viewer with a sense of awe and inspiration.
“Art is life,” he says. “My greatest satisfaction as an artist has been freedom of expression.”
During next week’s lecture, Lopez Vega will show some of his new works, as well as favorite canvases and sculptures.
A limited number of tickets are available for the event, which will be held at a private Ajijic residence. Buy them at Diane Pearl Colecciones for 200 pesos each. The cost includes a cocktail, appetizers and music.