MORE Bad Ass Méxicana Chingonas!

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OK, hopefully you read about the first batch of bad asses Méxicana Chingonas in my last post. In case not, we will start with the definition of CHINGONA…

A ‘mujer’ is a woman. There you have it. Case Closed. Gracias and Thanks! to our friends at @ChingonaDefinition

NONE of the following chingona cabronas are Frida Kahlo…although Frida and lesbianism was/will be a common theme in this post You will see a little of Frida, but a lot more of her lifelong love, Diego Rivera weaving his way in and out of stories of these magnificent ladies’ lives. First and most closely being the life of our first Grand Dame…

Dolores Olmedo

María de los Dolores Olmedo y Patiño Suárez (yes, that’s her full name 1908-2002) known as Doña Lola- I have a girl crush on this Girl Boss Broad. And yes, I can call her that because when a broad recognizes the broadiness in the soul of another, it must be shouted out.

Mrs. Olmedo loved flaunting her independence. Once asked how she would like to be remembered, she replied: ”Just as I am — a woman who did whatever she felt like doing, and luckily succeeded at it.” #micdrop

Doña Lola (as we will call her) grew up in Mexico City during the Mexican Revolution. Then her dad died and starvation and danger were issues for her and her brothers. Evidently she was always independent, a force to be reckoned with, revolutionary, and basically bad ass from the get go. She credited her mom for everything she did, stating:

I am the product of the efforts of a Mexican woman, taught by another Mexican woman to love her country above all things.

Doña Lola, Bitches!

Our girl was super educated, studying law at a time when few women reached university level education. However, her lifelong passion for the arts and culture of Mexico led her away from law and into a career in art. She quit law to study at the National School of Music and the Academy of Saint Carlos…which is evidently a pretty big deal. 

Doña Lola was 17 when she and her mother had a chance run in on an elevator with Diego Rivera. Then he was a renowned artist in his 40’s working on murals in the building. ”He asked my mother if he could make some drawings of me. She agreed without knowing that I would pose nude.” OOPS!

(Left) Older Doña with her Mexican Hairless dog at her Hacienda Home, now museum and (Right) Younger Doña posing for Diego Rivera for his most famous painting of her | Photos: MXCity

She had a close friendship with Diego, but not necessarily his wife, Frida Kahlo. Rivera painted our Doña as a Tehuana, (see photo above) idealizing her as the beauty of the ultimate Mexican woman…so I’m sure that never went over really well with Frida. We’ll get back to this storyline in a moment.

After Frida died, Diego was a broke ass bitch and so he asked his longtime “friend” to buy all of Frida’s and his collection pieces since he know Doña would take care of the joint collection. Then she was accused of having grossly underpaid for Frida’s shit by other Mexican art collectors. Stories swirled that Doña was jealous and trying to sabotage Kahlo’s legacy. She actually conceded in an interview with The New York Times,

”I was never a friend of Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo liked women. I liked men.”

Diego specifically! #baller

 

 

 

After divorcing some dude in the 1940’s, she became one of the first Mexican women to succeed in real estate development and construction. Women did not run companies in México back then, especially construction companies! She started networking with leading industrialists and politicians which fueled rumors that she was banging several Mexican presidents. Doña Lola coyly denied these rumors, but ended up marrying and divorcing three times.  #queseráserá

All of these factors left her with some serious ‘dinero’ so she bought an 8 acre property where her current kick ass museum is located is in Xochimilco, in the southern part of Mexico City. It’s a hacienda from the 16th century which was named La Noria (The Well) by someone at some point, but is now the Dolores Olmeda Patiño Museum.

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She purchased the “farm” in 1962, remodeled it, and moved in circa 1964. In the mid-1980’s she announced that she would convert her home into a museum and then donate her collection for permanent display there. During the renovations, the architects discovered some serious f-ing problems. Eager to get their grubby hands on her collection and the revenue the new museum would generate…the government paid the renovation costs, and in late 1994 the museum opened.

Mr. TexMex Fun Stuff and I went once and the grounds are as amazing as the collection inside… animals freely roam the grounds: peacocks, ducks, Canadian geese, chickens, turkeys and xoloitzcuintles—an endangered species of hairless, ugly as sin pre-Hispanic dogs called Xolos. Here are some shots…

Xolos hanging out by a statue of a Xolo/ Description of Xolos/ Me and a few friends hanging at the hacienda
/ Sculpture of Diego Rivera’s bust | Photos: TexMex Fun Stuff

As said in MyHero.com…”Doña Lola was not merely an art collector. She was a lover of art, of culture, of tradition. She was a highly successful businesswoman and industrialist. She was the beautiful muse of paintings. She was a philanthropist who bequeathed her collection to her Mexican peoples.” And a big time chingona!!! (they didn’t say that last part, I did).

Here is an English description of her museum… http://www.revistascisan.unam.mx/Voices/pdfs/3014.pdf

Rosario Ibarra de Piedra

Rosario (1927-present) is alive and kicking at 93-ish years of age. She is a four time candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize and was twice a candidate for the Presidency of México with the Revolutionary Workers Party (PRD). She never actually won either of them, but that never stopped her.

She and her husband and 4 kids lived in Saltillo, Coahuila, just 85 kilometers from Monterrey. Her work as an activist and politician began when on April 18, 1975 her son Jesús Piedra Ibarra was kidnapped for political reasons while he was studying medicine in Monterrey.

The second oldest of her four kids, 21-year-old Jesús was accused of belonging to a communist armed movement known as the Communist League September 23. He was arrested and was “disappeared” by federal police after the murder of a policeman, Guillermo Valdez Villarreal. We can only assume they used the murder of this officer to justify arresting alleged communists. Hard to say though, because Rosario’s husband (Jesus’ dad) had officially been affiliated with the Mexican Communist Party, but not Jesus to all known documentation. He just happened to be in Monterrey on April 18, 1975 …#badtiming

Fighting Lucha Mama Style! Take it to the streets, cabrona!! | Photos: Mexico Desconocido

Wkipedia tells us that…When her cries for resolution were unheard she formed the Comité Eureka de Desaparecidos (“The Eureka Committee of the Disappeared”) with about 100 other women in 1977. As a result of her efforts, including several hunger strikes, 148 out of 557 political prisoners on her lists were liberated during the López Portillo administration (1976–1982).

Their mantra was…

“They took them alive, we want them alive!”

#hellyes!

The movement was dedicated to protesting against the illegal arrests and killings of militants in opposition to the government in the chapter of Mexican history known as the Dirty War….Guerra Sucia…six-years of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz and Luis Echeverría Alvarez, following the persecution and illegal detention of militants of armed and social political movements.

45 years later, information on the fate of the poor kid has not been clarified. However, some files indicate that the young man was imprisoned and tortured in various underground prisons. The kidnapping was carried out by members of the Federal Directorate of Security in Monterrey….yikes.

Also, Rosario has fought for indigenous communities and against violence against women and electoral fraud. She joined the struggle to demand clarification of the women killed in Ciudad Juarez and the killings of indigenous people in Chiapas and Guerrero, during the six-year period of Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León.

She even went on a hunger strike for the release of political prisoners. In late 1978, the government issued an amnesty law, but the whereabouts of the disappeared persons were not clarified. The amnesty resulted in the release of 1,500 prisoners detained with irregularities, the return of 57 exiles and the cancellation of 2,000 arrest warrants.

In 1982 she became the first woman in Mexico to run for the presidency with the Workers Revolutionary Party (PRT), a Trotskyist party (remember Trostsky?). In 1988, she ran for the presidency a second time, again with the PRT. In 1994 she became a federal deputy of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Needless to say, didn’t happen, but not for lack of trying.

In the current Prez of Mexico (AMLO)’s closing remarks during during his 2018 presidential campaign, he stated that on election day he would cross out his name on the ballot and, as a tribute, write in Rosario Ibarra de Piedra. …In 2019, AMLO and the Mexican Senate decorated her with the Dominguez Belisario Award (the highest award that Mexico gives to citizens for their contribution to the country) for her political activism and defense of human rights.

Read more about Rosario Ibarra de Piedra

Silvia Torres-Peimbert

Silvia (1940-present) is the first Mexican woman to obtain a Doctorate in Astronomy. She is one of the most internationally recognized Mexican scientists for her research on interstellar matter.

When she was in high school, a teacher encouraged her to take science. So at 18 she began to study Physics at the Faculty of Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

The Astrophysics course that was taught at UNAM was attended by just four students: two men and two women. She was one of them. Silvia was already captivated by astronomy and had decided to get a doctorate. She soon found out that all the prestigious universities were in the United States AND that they only admitted men! #CHINGA!

Shoot for the skies, sister!! | Photo Credit: Mujeres Con Ciencia

Silvia tried to enroll at Caltech because she had a chance of being accepted there because her husband, Manuel Peimbert, also wanted to study astronomy and she could attend as his wife. Pfft.

However, instead of choosing Caltech, Señora Silvia scored a scholarship to University of California, Berkeley, where she could study for a doctorate in astronomy. This was at a time when women were not expected to have a career, so caring for their two children while continuing her career was a bit of a challenge. #GirlGoals

Silvia Torres was a pioneer in the use of satellites for her important observations. In early 2011, she won the L’Oréal-Unesco Prize awarded by the United Nations Organization in the category of “Women of Science”, due to her research on the chemical composition of planetary nebulae (?), which is considered essential to astronomer’s understanding of the beginning of the cosmos.

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In 2012, she was chosen by the General Assembly of the “International Astronomical Union” to be President of the organization from 2015 to 2018- she is the first Mexican to be honored with this position. Basically the IAU comes up with the names of planets and other celestial objects, as well as standards in astronomy. #nottooshabby

She is also the past editor of the Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the past President of the International Astrological Union being only the second women to preside over this organization based in Paris, France that brings together more than 11,000 specialists from 90 countries. Plus she raised two kids. How on earth?

Read more about Silvia Torres-Peimbert

Dolores del Río

Dolores El Río (1904-1983) was an actress, singer and dancer who’s career spanned more than 50 years. She is known as the first Latin American actress to cross over into Hollywood and who paved the way for María Félix and Katy Jurado. Some films include The Fugitive with Henry Fonda and Flaming Star with Elvis.

When Dolores was 15 years old she asked her mother if she could take dance lessons, but she was stricken with insecurity because she felt like an “ugly duckling”. Her mother commissioned famous artist Alfredo Ramos Martínez to paint a portrait of her daughter to show her how beautiful she really was.

The portrait helped Dolores overcome her insecurities and she is now considered a mythical figure of American and Mexican cinema, and a quintessential representation of the female face of Mexico in the world. She was considered a female Latin Lover…here’s why…

“The most beautiful, the most gorgeous of the west, east, north and south. I’m in love with her as 40 million Mexicans and 120 million Americans who can’t be wrong”

Diego Rivera
(Left) with Orson Welles (Center) Original portrait of DDR by THE Diego Rivera and finally (Right) Diego, Frida and Dolores – Frida looks thrilled. |Photo Credits: Google Arts & Culture

In 1930, Dolores met Cedric Gibbons , artistic director of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer at a party at Hearst Castle. The couple began a brief romance that culminated in marriage months later. Dolores’s marriage to one of the most important Hollywood Hombres helped her career for a while (as the infamous “they” say).

In 1940, with her career declining, she met actor and director Orson Welles . Welles had been hot for her for several years and feeling a mutual attraction, the couple began a torrid affair, which lead to the divorce of old Cedric. For Welles, Dolores abandoned her acting career to be by his side during the filming of his masterpiece: Citizen Kane.

Later Welles went to South America, as a Goodwill Ambassador to counter the spread of communism…Buuuuut, Welles went really wild at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, like a crazy whore. Dolores then decided to dump his ass through a telegram that Orson never bothered to answer. #brutal

Then came the death of her father in México. Faced with this situation, the actress decided to cancel Hollywood altogether:

Divorced again, without the figure of my father, a movie where I hardly appeared, and another where they showed me the way of art. I wanted to follow the path of art. Stop being a star to become an actress, and that could only be achieved in Mexico. I wanted to return to Mexico, a country that was mine and that I did not know. I felt the need to return to my country …

#vivamexico

She was never nominated for an Academy Award, but on the day of her death, she received in the mail an invitation to attend the Oscars. #alittletoolittlealittletoolate Buuuuuuuut, she banged Orson Welles for 3 years…so there’s that.

Read more about Dolores del Río

Elena Poniatowska

Again with these crazy names… Hélène Elizabeth Louise Amélie Paula Dolores Poniatowska (1932-present) or Elena as we will call her, was born in Paris after her mother fled México during the Revolution. Luckily, she was born into French and Polish (distant) royalty! Sadly, the whole family had to escape back to México when Elena was ten because of the start of WWII in Europe. She never went to college, BUT is trilingual (English, French, Spanish) and a bad ass writer! Shit ain’t gonna write itself! #chinga!

She got married in 1968 and then on On October 2, 1968 she was in México City at home with her 4 month old and outside there were protests. 10,000 university and high school students were marching and protesting against México investing $150 million to bring the Olympics to the city.

There was a heavy police presence that night and helicopters circling above the crowd when a large white sheet was thrown from one of the helicopters towards a section of the crowd. The white sheet was a signal to the snipers on the rooftop to start firing where the sheet lands. That was the night of the Tlatelolco Massacre when federal snipers killed 300-400 people/presumably students in the crowd.

Elena raced to the scene and with blood on the streets she started interviewing people. Her book titled, La Noche de Tlatelolco (The Night of Tlateloco )…translated to English readers as “Massacre in México” was the only book published about this night for 20 years…contradicting the government’s account of the events and the number dead.

She did it again in 1985 after the Mexico City earthquake with Nada, Nadie, Las Voces del Temblor (Nothing, No one, Voices from the Earthquake). This book was a compilation of eyewitness accounts not only to the destruction of the earthquake, but also to the incompetence and corruption of the government afterwards. #Cabronamove

Then and now! | Photos Credit: El Claustro and Local.mx

These books cemented her as the voice for the disenfranchised people of México uncovering social and human rights atrocities against women and the poor especially. Despite the lack of opportunity for women from the 1950s to the 1970s, Elena wrote essays and articles in newspapers and magazines and books both fiction and nonfiction:

Two of her short stories were about Diego Rivera (again with that guy). The first one was Dos Veces Unica (Twice Unique) about his relationship with his first wife Lupe Marin and then Querido Diego, Te Abraza Quiela (Dearest Diego, Quiela hugs you) about his second wife, Russian painter Angelina Beloff.  Elena’s goal was to “de-iconize” him since he was so douchey to Lupe, Angelina (nicknamed Quiela)…and all of his wives. #takethatdiego

And in one of her most bad ass moves, she turned down the title of Princess of Poland that she inherited through her father’s royal family! Very Meghan Markle of her.

She is considered to be “Mexico’s grande dame of letters” and is still an active writer living in Mexico City. She was the first woman to receive the National Journalism Award and is one of the founders of La Jornada newspaper, Fem, a feminist magazine, Siglo XXI a publishing house and the Cineteca Nacional, the national film institute. For over thirty years, she has taught a weekly writing workshop, cuz girl gets shit done. SO THERE!

Read more about Elena Poniatowska

Norma Romero Vázquez, Her Cuñada and Las Patronas

Norma Romero Vázquez and her family live in the town of La Patrona, Veracruz. I didn’t know where the hell that was either, but evidently all trains from Central and South American countries eventually pass through it and specifically they pass 1/2 block away from Norma’s house.

“The Route”. All northbound routes go through their town in Veracruz. | Photo Credit: Arquitectos con la Gente

On October 8, 1994 Norma and her sister-in-law were returning from the store with food for breakfast when the train passed by slowly. The train was packed full of people migrating from the southern border of México to the US in search of the “American Dream”. These people were screaming and begging for food so Norma and her sis-in-law threw what they had just purchased to the strangers on the train. #instinctiveactofkindness That was just the beginning…

Since then, Norma, mama, sis-in-law and a group of volunteer gals prepare between 15 and 20 kilos of beans and rice and deliver about 300 daily lunches. They are now known as “Las Patronas” or the Patron Saints of Migrants. This train route has many names, Las Patronas call it “Death Train”, but most call it La Bestia (“The Beast”). It is basically a network of cargo trains that carry fuel, supplies and about 400,000 to 500,000 migrants annually up north.

When La Bestia passes, Las Patronas approach the tracks and have approximately 15 minutes to throw the bags of food they have prepared, as well as bottles of water, so that the migrants can catch the food from the moving train. After so many years, they now have sponsors and numerous donations, among them are large companies such as MASECA MEXICO and CHEDRAUI….it ain’t easy for a pinche gang of chingonas to get this type of corporate assistance!  

In 2013, Norma was awarded México’s National Human Rights Award and the Sergio Méndez Arceo National Human Rights Prize. In August 2015, Las Patronas were nominated for the Princess of Asturias Award in Spain which recognizes outstanding achievement in cultural, social and human work. They’ve also been the subject of numerous documentaries, including De nadie (2005) and Llévate mis amores (2014).

Norma and Las Patronas serving thousands on their way to the US of A. via the Train of Death| Photo Credits: Wikipedia

Read more about Las Patronas

Lydia Cacho

Lydia Cacho (1963-Alive and Hot) is described by Amnesty International as “perhaps Mexico’s most famous investigative journalist and women’s rights advocate” and her reporting focuses on violence against women and sexual abuse against women and children. She is an expert in research into gender-based violence, health, children and organized crime. She is also a renowned specialist in journalistic coverage in risky situations and survivor of police torture due to her professional work.

She’s been threatened, persecuted, kidnapped and tortured for uncovering and calling out child sex trafficking and femicide (or feminicide is a sex-based hate crime term, broadly defined as “the intentional killing of females (women or girls) because they are females). In fact her efforts resulted in Mexico’s first conviction for child pornography and sex trafficking.

Her book, The Demons of Eden: The Power that Protects Child Pornography specifically called out rich businessmen and Mexican politicians who coordinate rings to kidnap, traffic, generate child pornography and sexually abuse children. #boom

She has written 12 books in her 25+ years as a journalist, and is the most awarded Mexican journalist with 55 international medals. Newsweek and The Daily Beast consider her one of 100 women that move the world.

Lydia doin’ what she does: Busting Balls and Lookin’ good doing it! | Photos: Público.com

Main Photo Cred: Guillermo González

She is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Agency on Drugs and Crime. For 25 years she has been an editor and contributor on radio and television as well as in various national and international newspapers and magazines. She is co-founder of the Network of Journalists of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. She founded the women’s care center and her victims of violence CIAM Cancun A.C., certified by the National Training Center for Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Some of my favorite quotes from this Latina Lovely are:

Prostitution is a social instrument to give pleasure to men and to subdue women.

The cost I have paid to be a good reporter and human rights defender is enormous.

Being a feminist is to accompany girls and young people, show them paths of freedom, teach them to discuss and argue their own ideas; share the secrets of how you overcome obstacles and then withdraw. Yes, let them shine with their own light, show their leadership style, see them break their teachers’ schemes. That is the true liberating feminism

#wellsaid

Read more about Lydia Cacho here…

Martha DeBayle

I would be remiss if I did not sneak in Martha Debayle.

My Mexican bestie, Julissa Garcia, would fucking kill me for not mentioning MB.  After all, it is her podcast that led me to the Wellness Clinic in Mexico City that diagnosed my hypothyroidism and gluten intolerance!

Also, Martha Debayle is hot and a powerhouse broad known to women and men all over Mexico.  She talks about girly things, sexy things, motherhood things, womanhood things, you get it.  Everyone who listens to her loves her.  

Martha Debayle: Power Boss & Podcaster | Photo Cred: Encacha.mx

Buuuuuuuuut, as Julissa says, Martha was born in Nicaragua and raised in Long Island, NY before being brought to Mexico City at the age of 12.  She has a great voice and is bilingual which has led to her amazing radio, podcast and TV presenting career.  Buuuuuuuut, that does not make her chingona…it makes her talented, smart and hot.  Please take note that I mentioned her.  My thyroid and I thank you.

THE END

So there you have it. Are these chingonas bad ass or what?! Thank you for reading and agreeing.

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Who Knew “God’s Eye” Was So Sexy? The Huichols Did, That’s Who!

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Who Knew “God’s Eye” Was So Sexy? The Huichols Did, That’s Who!

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Kids constructing the Huichol's ojo de Dios from popsicle sticks.

Y’all probably know that I am a big fan of Mexican Pueblos Magicos and of Papel Picado. The one town that puts these together well is Sayulita, Nayarit just north of Puerto Vallarta on México’s Pacific coast. In fact, Sayulita is most known for its rainbow rows of papel picado. So much so, that locals call the main avenue “Selfie Street” because so many touritsts ‘selfie’ themselves under the never ending rows of the colorful flags that line the main drag.

I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of why Sayulita digs papel picado as much as I do, but recently the town has taken on a new project that caught my eye…In addition to lining the streets with waves of papel picado they have added a massive amount of Ojos de Dios to color their sky! “WTF are Ojos de Dios?” you ask! Welllllllll…

Gracias and Thanks to Sayulita Luxury Transportation for this combo shot of papel picado and Ojos de Dios! This is “Selfie Street”

Once upon a time in a land far, far, OK fine, right up the street from us…Huichol Indians lived in peace and harmony. The Huichol (pronounced: hwee-chol) are a tribe of Native Mexicans that descended from the Aztecs in the western/central part of México. A small (20,000), but still strong tribe, the Huichol primarily hang out in the Sierra Madre mountains within the neighboring states of Jalisco (home to Puerto Vallarta) and Nayarit (home to Sayulita). Rumor has it they fled to the mountains to escape the Spanish Conquest carnage and some still live very isolated lives in the mountains of Zacatecas and Durango. #social distancing

?? Shop for Papel Picado at TexMex Fun Stuff on Amazon ??

Anyhoo, when the Spaniards came to conquer México’s land, indigenous folks and generally cause a big shit show, they couldn’t properly pronounce this tribe’s given name. Shocker. The tribe name was actually ‘Wixaritari’ which means ‘healer’ in their original language, sooooo they shortened it to Huichol. Not really Spanish, but a little easier to say.

Same street in Sayulita, just from a different view. #papelpicado #ojodedios | Photo: Sayulita Life

This tribe is known for 3 things: peyote, bead weaving and Ojos de Dios. Peyote sorta goes without saying….it’s basically trippy shit from a hallucinogenic cactus. The intricate bead work is a blog post for another time because it’s sexy as hell.

Ojos de Dios are decorations that hang from windows, trees and signs across México. They are commonly referred to as ‘Mexican Mandalas’ and are similar to Tibetan Mandalas because these colorful ‘sticks and yarn combos’ symbolize the Eye of God in both groups.

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The Huichol believe that these more or less ‘religious instruments’ protect their young. In fact, it is tradition that when a baby is born, the father begins weaving the first layer of that child’s Eye of God by winding colorful yarn around a simple wooden cross to figuratively tie together all of the earth’s elements (land, air, fire, water) and directions (north, east, south, west) so that the newborn will be protected in all ways by all the Huichol gods. Got it? It’s a sweeter gesture than giving a baby a shitload of diapers at a baby shower…

Ojos de Dios can be made as simply as like when we had arts and crafts time with yarn and popsicle sticks! | Photo: Mandalas Web

Each year the father weaves an additional layer of the Eye/Ojo on the child’s birthday and provides the completed Eye/Ojo to the child upon their 5th birthday. This is a big time Rite of Passage for Huichol children. It basically means they are on their own…well, not that dramatic…but these dudes believe that after the age of 5, the child is no longer under the protection of the father, but of God(s).

This gang really embraces nature/earth/multiple gods and the like. And the number 5 holds a massive significance to them. For example: There are 5 points on their map, 5 colors of corn, 5 colors of peyote, 5 colors are used in each Eye/Ojo and there are 5 rain gods. Let’s face it, the Huichol really like the number 5! #cinco

Ojo de Dios hanging at the beach. | Photo: Mandalas Web

At the age of 5, the child throws his or her Eye of God into the sea as a sacrifice to the gods and as a “Gracias!” for their protection. This also signifies that the child is now old enough to protect him or herself. The age of 5 seems a bit young to “Let the damn kid roll on his own!”, BUT the Huichol usually marry between the ages of fourteen and seventeen, so there’s not a lot of time to be on their own anyway.

BTW, marriages are arranged by the parents when the children are very young. I’m guessing age 5? #damnthatsyoung

?? Create Your Own Ojo de Dios With This 36 Pack Craft Kit ??

The Ojo de Dios symbolizes the ability to see and understand unseen things, focusing their worship on nature and the earth.

Faith Lopez, Visual Arts & Ojo De Dios Mandala Workshops

As with all ceremonial items made by the Huichols, colors are important and each is identified with a particular god or sacred object. The original 5 colors in each Eye of God/Ojo de Dios are blue, black, white, red and purple…

Blue represents the sacred lagoon of Chapala and Rapawiyene, the god of rain and water. Maybe I should have had more respect for Rapawiyene when I danced like a crazy women on Lake Chapala in Jalisco. Ayayay. #notproud

Yep. Not proud. On the Malécon on Lake Chapala| Video: TexMex Fun Stuff

Black represents the Pacific ocean…which makes sense because Jalisco and Nayarit are both on the Pacific. It also represents Tatei Armana, the Mother of the Sea. And finally it represents (rather counterintuitively) life. Seems like a lot to represent, but hey. #dontjackwithblack

White represents the wind and clouds, but on the downside it can also be associated with death (again, super counterintuitive).

Red represents Parietekúa, which is the peyote god. I’ve never smoked peyote and that is probably one of my few good life decisions.

A “Mandala” version of an Ojo de Dios – set on a mountain to bless the people below. | Photo: Recognizing México

Purple is all encompassing and represents the Huichol as a society. Lots of Ojos de Dios have other colors obviously, but these 5 are of particular importance to the Huichol. Everything else is just pretty.

Tradition has evolved enough for this art form to become a money maker.?? Huichols now make Ojo de Dios patterns into earrings, wall hangings and ornaments which are both pretty and thought to bring protection against evil, danger or disease. Hey, might as well make some cash as you spread color and joy. And there is A LOT of color and joy in Sayulita! ? ?

One of the main streets in Sayulita, Nayarit – how cool is this?!?! | Photo: Casa Vecino Sayulita

According to a local Spanish newspaper, educational campuses, senior groups, independent artists, shops, and associations from Sayulita decided to showcase this marvelous art form all over the town in honor of the 9th Annual Dia de los Muertos celebration. All of these groups participated in setting up altars for Dia De Muertos and participated in the design, creation and placement of more than 16,000 “Eyes of God”. All of this was to get Ojo de Dios into the Guinness Book of World Record in late 2019! #failuretolaunch #yesImserious

Sweet ass night shot from the Dia de Los Muertos Festival in Sayulita | Photo: Mexico News On Line

I mean, seriously! There were 16,000 of them and they didn’t score?! #chinga #timeforresearch

So I went to the Guinness Book website to see if this had ever been attempted before and there is no record currently set. Based on the submission rules, it is probable (but not confirmed) that they submitted the paperwork too late to get in for the 2019 edition. Which is to say that if you submit paperwork “in time” the registration is free. I’m guessing they didn’t have enough funds for late submission. But still, all 16,000 were done by the hands of the Sayulitans – pretty impressive! #2020?

More OdD Beauties found in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco | Photo: TexMex Fun Stuff

Nevertheless, the good people of Sayulita gave it the old college try and will hopefully have the opportunity to try again during the upcoming Day of the Dead festivities. May 2020 be the year that Sayulita and Ojo de Dios go down in the record books! Because 2020 owes us something, goddamnit! #freaking2020

By the way, we don’t sell these, but here is the place you can score 1 or 16,000: Etsy

Are you looking for more inspiration from México? Check out the TexMex Fun Stuff Blog for more sights, sounds and badass-ness uncovered while exploring México searching for handmade fun stuff for you!

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What’s the Deal with these Badass Mariachis?

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The badass all-female mariachi band Flor De Toloache.

Mariachis are a combo of Western movie outlaws, Mexican folklore and a little bit of rock and roll with polka and waltz mixed in. These musicians are always in groups of 3-10 and dressed up in emblazoned costumes ready to kick ass and look and sound FABULOUS doing it. You know, like Lucky Day, Dusty Bottoms and Ned Nederlander?! #thethreeamigos!

“IN-FAMOUS! That means ‘More than Famous!'” I Photo credit: HBO and Orion Films

The first time I was introduced to the concept of mariachis was the 1986 movie, ‘¡Three Amigos!’ and I’ve never been the same. Freakin’ Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short in their matching charro outfits, huge sombreros and musical mastery had me laughing and singing along wondering where the hell the writers got the idea from. “MY little buttercup, has the sweetest smile…..”

OK, so they were more of a comical crime fighting team than a true mariachi band, but the classic scene at El Guapo’s birthday was performed by a group of real mariachis that kill it! Aayayayayayayay!

They’re not the best looking group of musical outlaws, but their sound is perfect!

This scene (as well as “Blue Shadows on the Trail”) prompted me to check out good old Wikipedia for more info on these classical Mexican musicians. I learned that…

‘Mariachi’ is a style of music and musical group performance that dates back to at least the 18th century, evolving over time in the countryside of various regions of western Mexico. It has a distinctive instrumentation, performance and singing style and of course, clothing. To say the least.

Armed with trumpets, violins, cellos, guitars, crazy high voices and charro suits, these bands are torn from the pages of Mexican history books, turning any event into a raging Mexican fiesta. As a matter of fact, in 2011 UNESCO recognized mariachi as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. The listing cites that: “Mariachi music transmits values of respect for the natural heritage of the regions of Mexico and local history in the Spanish language and the different Indian languages of Western Mexico.” And you don’t dick with UNESCO.

A Mexican mariachi band dressed in traditional charro costume perform in front of the Santo Domingo de Guzman Church November 5, 2013 in Oaxaca, Mexico. | Photo paid for in full 🙂

The term ‘Mariachi band’ is also a redundant term for a Mariachi because the word ‘Mariachi’ itself in Spanish implies a group of musicians playing Mariachi music. The music originated in center-West-ish Mexico. Most claims for its origin lie in the state of Jalisco but neighboring states of Colima, Nayarit, and Michoacán have also claimed it. However, by the late 19th century, the music was firmly centered in Jalisco.

And guess where I was now living?! YEP. In the birth canal of Mariachi-dom…Jalisco, Mexico. Time to start tracking down some bands and getting some answers to the question…How did this musical genre get to be so badass? When you hear it…all you can think of is Mexican westerns and Cinco de Mayo parties. I stepped out my front door and started searching…

Hanging out in the first natural place to look. I Photo credit: TexMex Fun Stuff

Clearly my first stop was the Plaza De Los Mariachis in Guadalajara, which is a pedestrian-only plaza in the historic center. This plaza has over 100 years of tradition, but was officially dedicated to Mariachis in 1962 by the then President of México, Adolfo López Mateos. The plaza got a second resurgence in 2009 when Gustavo Ruiz Velasco Nuño invested $7 million pesos (about $350,000 USD) to revitalize the facades, arches and the colonial homes facing the plaza.

Allison Nevins boss lady at TexMex Fun Stuff in the Plaza de los Mariachis.
Caption Not Needed | Photo: TexMex Fun Stuff

Today, these former homes have been converted into restaurants, musical supply stores and clothing/accessories shops for mariachis to buy their unmistakable costume gear. There’s even a tequila and “tequila paraphernalia” store which is where I I presume they stock up and where I certainly stocked up for later.

One thing that I didn’t find on this Sunday in the plaza were actual mariachis playing music. Weird right? Maybe Sundays are their day to drink tequila and cerveza and spend time with their families? Oh well. The plaza was adorned with colorful papel picado flags decorating the sky so I was okay listening to them flutter in the breeze instead. Plus, I had tequila so it was going to be a Sunday Funday with or without mariachis!

Allison Nevins in the Plaza De Los Mariachis in Jalisco. v2
Super cool shot in the plaza taken with my hubby’s GoPro, yo. | Photo: TexMex Fun Stuff

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My next research stop was none other than the town of Tequila, Jalisco – the birth canal of tequila. It’s only a one hour car drive or a 2 hour train from Guadalajara, so why the hell not. Two great tastes that taste great together! I needed to interview an insider and if there weren’t any inside the Plaza of Mariachis for God’s sake, I figured there HAD to be some in Tequila!

I wasn’t wrong (as per usual ;). Here is what I discovered as I stepped off of the Jose Cuervo Express train…or as I like to call it, “Allison decides to drink booze before 9am because it’s all inclusive”:

Forgive my throaty drunk voice. It’s not sexy and it WAS trouble.

IMMEDIATELY as we stepped off the train, these dudes started playing. And playing hard. I was already wasted as you could probably tell from the video so I wasn’t in interview mode at the time. I decided to just record and commentate instead.

This mariachi band’s secret weapon were the two adorable boys in the front. I don’t even like kids (as I mention in the video), but I was ready to take them both home if they promised to never ever talk and only play mariachi music. Instead of kidnapping them, I opted for the Jose Cuervo distillery tour because I was getting thirsty. Again.

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My day in Tequila went something like this….Tequila, mariachis and singing, Jose Cuervo distillery tour and singing, super filthy cantina and singing. And then back to Jose Cuervo’s agave field with dancing and more singing. I was thinking that what these mariachi bands really needed was a female singer (aka me), but what I discovered next was even better…

(After waking up from day drinking in Tequila) I continued my quest to discover how mariachis became synonymous with pretty much all fun things Mexican. In my mind, I’ve always pictured mariachis as these hombres with cool mustaches, machismo costumes and these booming voices projecting Mexican folk songs to party goers. My mind was blown when I discovered an article from the NY Times from 2013 titled, “An All-Female Band, Making Its Way in the World of Mariachi.” Holy fuck, GIRL POWER MARIACHIS!!

“There’s something about putting on a mariachi suit that makes you feel like a badass.” – Mireya Ramos, Founder Mariachi Flor De Toloache

All-female badass mariach band.
Como se dice ‘BAD ASSES’ en Español? | Photo: GRAMMY.com

The New York-based, GRAMMY award winning and all-female mariachi band, Mariachi Flor de Toloache, was founded by Mireya Ramos in 2008 as a way for women to join forces in a safe environment and create and perform mariachi music. They have gone on to win the Latin Grammy Award for Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album and are the most diverse mariachi group in the world. The members hail from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Australia, Columbia, Germany, Italy and the United States!

Although only one of these ladies is Mexican, these worldwide badasses took a musical genre that for generations had been steeped in Mexican machismo and owned it as a path to empowerment, diversity, strength and fame. Y’all know I dig that. #TheFutureIsFemale

Their most recent single was released on Valentines Day, 2019. Besos De Mezcal – ‘Kisses of Mezcal’ was produced by Camilo Lara, who produced all of the music for Pixar’s “Coco” (and I do love me some Coco!).

Mariachi Plaza in Santa Cecilia where Miguel gets advice from a REAL Mariachi! | Photo: Disney’s Pixar Studios

So basically, after all that tequila and web surfing I didn’t get a whole lot of information that Wikipedia hadn’t already told me, BUT I did get rip roaring drunk and made a pretty neat girl power discovery! So saludos mis amigas! Now I’m going to go find me a kiss of Mezcal and celebrate. Again. Ayayayayayayay!! BTW…this here below is a little bonus!

Bonus Material! Tequila…it’s like beer.

I would like to dedicate this post to Ashlei Mars Austgen and Becky Fabra Beach for reasons they know.

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Papel picado hand made in Mexico inspired by Coco the movie.

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Are you looking for more inspiration from México? Check out the TexMex Fun Stuff Blog for more sights, sounds and badass-ness uncovered while exploring México searching for handmade fun stuff for you!

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