Friday, March 20, 2009

Elvis Lives!

A sock hop right here in Queretaro.

As I was (optimistically) trying to take my afternoon siesta (silly me!...not in this noisy hotel room above a retail store that blasts music all day long) I hear the jumpy refrain of "Jailhouse Rock" and "Rock around the Clock." Am I dreaming about my misspent youth? No, it's a city-sponsored high school dance performance out in the town square, just around the corner from my window. So, all the screeching young girls ISN'T my imagination. Giving up on any idea of sleep, I throw on some jeans and head down to watch. Up on the elevated stage, specially set up for the event, were girls in poodle skirts and boys in white tee shirts and black jeans. Wow! Flashback. And they were doing a pretty darned good rendition of classic rock & roll.
The town square was filled with their classmates and families, all vocalizing their support. The city's arts and culture department is really good about programming public events. Every weekend, you can count on at least 3 different things going on in Jardin Zenea (by my hotel), in the main Plaza de Armas, and the Jardin Guerrero. And the best part, they're all free.

I think that's the way the arts ought to be. Not confined to rich folks or upper class patrons who can pop for $60 for a ticket. Open the doors! Let everyone come on in!

My cultural calendar for this last week reads like this. I went to:

Last Friday: The Queretaro State Philharmonic Orchestra ($7). A good concert of Ravel, Debussy, and Ives.
Last Saturday: Municipal Band concert in the park (free)
Last Sunday: Vertige, a Cirque du Soleil-like circus/dance thing at the City Museum ($7). Just wonderful. And I met and chatted with the artistic director out in front. He'd been a clown with Cirque du Soleil in Montreal. Great experience, and it showed in this local performance.
Monday: Indigenous (Indian) Women documentary film series "Interweaving Stories" about making of handmade artisan paper....starting with peeling bark from trees. (free)
Tuesday: another in the Indigenous film series.
Wednesday: An open-air performance in the courtyard of a former convent (now an art museum) of "Music of the Vice-Regency" period in Mexico (1600-1700's). A small chamber group in period costumes. Plus a high school dance company. Completely filled. ($2.80)
Thursday: The Queretaro Municipal Chorus and Chamber Orchestra, performing an "Opera Gala" with selected opera arias. Three top caliber soloists. (free)
Friday: Elvis Presley & friends dancing in the park.

If you can't find something to do in Queretaro, it's your own lazy fault.