From The San Francisco Chronicle
By Christine Delsol
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
For those who won’t get to Mexico this year, the Mexican Consulate is bringing its Bicentennial Celebration to us. From Ballet Folklórico to a tequila and tamales festival to Mexican sci-fi classics (who knew?), the scheduled events fit seamlessly into the mix of favorite Bay Area cultural pursuits.
These events are designed to appeal not just to Hispanic residents of the Bay Area but to anyone interested in Mexican culture and history. A special Web site, www.Mexico2010SF.com, has a calendar with further details, as well as background on the bicentennial of Mexican independence and the centennial of the Mexican Revolution, plus a section on Mexico’s role in shaping Northern California.
A performance of Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández in Marin and an appearance of Mexican poet/environmentalist Homero Aridjis at City Lights Bookstore have already taken place; here’s a sampling of events coming up:
April 18: Tequila and Tamales by the Bay
Fort Mason Center’s “A-Maize-ing Benefit Event” for Benchmark Institute is a chance to sample tamales as they should be made — be sure to check the Web site for recipes and cookbook recommendations — and discover tequila beyond Jose Cuervo. Mixologists will vie to concoct the best tequila cocktails. Heirloom beans, specialty nuts, coffee and other Mexican delicacies will also get their turn.
April 22-May 5: SF International Film Festival
The longest-running film festival in the Americas will feature four Mexican films in its 2010 edition, including the ever-fascinating Tilda Swinton playing an alcoholic kidnapper spinning out of control and a poetic story by new director Rigoberto Perezcano of a young man who tries over and over to cross the border into the United States. Two of the films are documentaries, one following a Maya father and his half-Italian son’s last summer together on the Caribbean coast, the other an expose of Mexico’s dysfunctional criminal courts.
May 13-18: Hola Mexico Film Festival
This touring festival of the best recent Mexican cinema comes to San Francisco for the first time this year. The line-up is still being finalized, but at least one of the SF festival films will be included: “Alamar” (”To the Sea”), the documentary about the Maya father and son, which has won top honors in nearly every film festival it has entered. The handpicked selection from major festivals around the world will be a mix of documentaries, features, shorts and “Sexy Comedies.”
June 12-13: Tribute to the Bicentennial, 2010, San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival
Mexican folklore organizations have been one of the strongest presences at this festival for 32 years running. This year, the festival’s second of four weekends commemorates Mexico’s bicentennial and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. This new work, focusing on revolutionary heroines, the courageous soldaderas, will bring together renowned choreographer Zenón Barrón and dancers from six local companies: Ballet Folklórico Alma de México of South San Francisco, Ballet Folklórico de Carlos Moreno, Compañia Mazatlán Bellas Artes, Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco, Los Lupeños de San Jose and Raíces Grupo Folklórico.
June 24-27: El futuro esta aquí: Sci-fi Classics from Mexico, Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley
The Pacific Film Archive has scheduled the following Mexican films as part of its Mexican bicentennial program: June 24, “The Ship of Monsters” (La nave de los monstruos), Rogelio A. González, 1959; June 25, “The Stronger Sex” (El sexo fuerte), Emilio Gómez Muriel, 1945; June 26, “The Aztec Mummy versus the Human Robot” (La momia azteca contra el robot humano), Rafael Portillo, 1957; June 26, “Santo versus the Martian Invasion” (Santo vs. la invasion de los marcianos), Alfredo B. Crevenna, 1966; and June 27, “Planet of the Female Invaders” (El planeta de las mujeres invasoras), Alfredo B. Crevenna, 1965. In mid- to late August, PFA will screen films related to the Revolution, including “The Fernando de Fuentes Trilogy (Prisoner Number 13, El Compadre Mendoza, and Let’s Go with Pancho Villa!), Jose Bolanos’s “La Soldadera” and “Revolución.”
July 25: San Francisco Symphony Celebrates Mexico’s Bicentennial
The Symphony’s annual free concert in Dolores Park includes a special tribute to Mexico with an afternoon of musical favorites conducted by rising star Alondra de la Parra, a native of Mexico City now based in New York, who is founder and artistic director of Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas.
Details remain to be finalized for the following events. Check the Mexico 2010 – San Francisco Web site or individual venues’ sites as the dates draw nearer.
July 31: Mexico in the Gardens, Yerba Buena Arts Center
Sept. 7: Celebrating Mexico, Bancroft Archives, UC Berkeley. The Bancroft Library opens its archives for a public celebration of Mexican history.
Sept. 15-16: Fiestas Patrias – El Grito
Independence Day celebration at San Francisco City Hall on Tuesday, ceremony at Hidalgo statue in Dolores Park on Wednesday.
Sept. 17: Mexico Twenty Ten, De Young Museum
The museum’s Cultural Encounters: Friday Nights at the de Young will honor the bicentennial with tributes to Mexico’s artists, live performances, art-making activities, a special dinner menu at the cafe and a no-host bar.
Nov. 7: Day of the Dead Concert, San Francisco Symphony
For the third straight year, the symphony will perform a Día de los Muertos Family Concert. Last year’s concert was conducted by Alondra de la Parra and included a reading by author Laura Esquivel (”Like Water for Chocolate”).
Events in 2011:
Exhibit on Northern California missions at the Museum of California at Oakland ; Olmec exhibition at de Young Museum.
Read this article at www.SFgate.com.
Christine Delsol is a former Chronicle travel editor and author of “Pauline Frommer’s Cancún & the Yucatán.