Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dia de los Muertos, San Francisco 11/02/09

altar at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

beautiful altar at MCCLA

walking calacas at MCCLA

enthusiastic group in Mission St. procession

procession on Mission St.

- if you'd like to see more of my photos of dia de los muertos in San Francisco, please click on title or go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estudiomartita/

It was a beautiful, warm night in San Francisco with a full moon in bloom - a perfect night to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. I attended the Dia opening at MCCLA last night with my husband Gary and daughter Gaby. Gaby at 19, quickly disappeared with all the recent and not so recent friends she connected with there. My husband and I stayed together but separate as he gave me room to take pics and chat with friends. As you would expect in this town, Dia de los Muertos was a diverse, multi-cultural event. There were a few Asian influences in the altar installations as well as some more traditional venues. My favorite altar was what appeared to be a wood tree carving of a woman. She appeared to have roots with skulls and her "trunk" covered in leaves. Out of the trunk grew a beautiful face of a woman with her eyes closed. In my usual haste and without glasses, I failed to read any of the descriptions of the pieces. I have no idea who did this unusual altar but it was fantastic! Another favorite of mine at MCCLA were the walking calacas. People had made these giant skull masks and were walking around with them held to their faces. It appeared they had ENORMOUS HEADS and tiny, tiny bodies. The effect was hilarious!Just wonderful. In MCCLA's gallery, they had an exhibit of Jose Guadalupe Posada's actual newspaper prints. I was salivating over the images which I have admired for so long. It was amazing to see the originals!!

Once outside, the procession started down Mission street. The streets were blocked off to cars and an Azteca dance group began the procession. Lots of conch sounds and drums and feathers filled the streets. Really beautiful to see. Then a procession of what appeared to be very tall palms, held by various people made their way. The palms or flowers appeared to be iridescent and the image of these moving palms / flowers was breath taking. You almost expected an Aztec god or goddess to be walking behind this procession of tall palm- holding people. After that there were lots of calaveras. The couple that caught my eye were holding a sign that read, "Long live gay marriage."A wonderful sentiment. They turned their sign around for me which stated the same thing in Spanish. Ah, San Franciscans, my multi-cultural, leftie city....I sometimes just LOVE this town. Mixed in with all this were local families carrying photos of loved ones who had passed on, candles or their children on their shoulders. As the procession continued, the crowd became a little more wild and a little more like mardi gras in New Orleans. Well, Dia de los Muertos is supposed to be a celebratory event and the crazies did fit in! Whatever the reasons for the crowds of processioneers, all were welcome at Dia de los Muertos. As San Francisco is a city of diverse lifestyles and cultures, so too was our celebration of Dia de los Muertos.

There's no place like home!!

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