1.19.17: Soul Food

Tonight, a potluck dinner at Elena’s with members of the Laboratorio Experimental de Cine (aka LEC) to strategize about ways we can move forward to together as analog filmmakers, as artists, as comrades and community members. Times may be tough (and getting tougher!), but with so much love, laughter, dedication and creativity in the room, I know we can use art to make this world a better place.

1.18.17: SWS:CDMeXpanded

Because everything in Mexico City is over the top, The SWS:CDMX is having not one but TWO PREMIERES! Tonight’s screening at Espectro Electromagnetico–a beautiful former convent that is now an artists collective space with studios, exhibitions and performances–was a special expanded cinema event with a triple projection version of The Sound We See: CDMX followed by Spectrum, a dual projection piece by Argentinian experimental filmmaker (and SWS participant) Ernesto Baca. The place was packed, the mescal was flowing, Ocho worked the crowed, the images were mesmerizing, the live soundscape by Ezequiel Guido was electrifying and the applause at the end was thunderous.

Felicidades and muchas gracias to all the incredible SWS realizadores–Naomi Uman, “Morris” Manuel Trujillo, TzuTzu Matzin, Elena Pardo, Derek Badillo, Pedro Modenando, Gregorio Rocha, Ernesto Baca, Andrés Pardo, Andrés Pulido, Annalisa Quagliata, José Antonio Cordero, Amaranta Sánchez, Maria Rojas, Sejen Luna, Daniel Valdés, Rafael Balboa, Dalia Huerta, Ivonne Fuentes, Ivan Avila, Jael Jacobo, Magali Montero and Andrés Jurado–for creating a truly stunning piece of cinema together!

And what more perfect way to cap off a perfect night than four perfect tacos from the stand on the corner followed by a stroll home through the warm midnight air? We are falling in love with this city…

1.17.16: Island of the Dolls

While Paolo borrows Naomi’s bike to ride around the city (with pitstops for a screening of Rogue One and a few cervecitas), Naomi, Ocho and I head off on our own adventure.

A 90-minute journey by metro and light rail brings us to Xochimilco, the magical neighborhood where you can rent a trajinera to cruise the canals that once occupied much of present-day Mexico City. There’s floating food stalls, floating Mariachi Bands, places to buy plants and a general air of holiday levity every day of the week.

We hire a gondalier named Julio Vallarta who’s been steering trajineras through these waters for 30 years. First order of business: procuring a giant bottle of beer that will keep him “fuerte” for the duration of the trip. Because we’re not just cruising the canals today; we’re going to the mystical Isla de las Munecas.

Right at the 8-trajinera party flotilla, left at the gaggle of ducks, disembark while the boat goes through a little rusty lock powered by an unseen hand (“Panama Canal!” Sr. Vallarta yells over and over.”), and then into the quiet canals of the nature preserve where there are tree nurseries and snow white cranes and old timers steering boats and graceful trees on floating gardens. Dogs bark, rats scurry. Heart of Darkness meets African Queen.

At last we reach our destination. A man greets us and tells us the story of his uncle Don Julian Santana Barrera, a drowned girl, the dolls gathered and displayed to soothe the dead girl’s ghost and the death of Julian in 2001 at the same spot where the girl drowned so many years before. Whether the tale is fact or fiction, the hundreds of dolls definitely possess some intense juju!