An Interview and Vallarta Garden Club Fiesta

Recap: Good Morning From Here, May 03 – 09 

Get ready Vallarta: M Y S I S T E R I S C O M I N G! Dates to be announced but it will be early June.

Forty-eight hours after his explosive debut as Hedwig (and her) Angry Inch, Jordon Carnegie and I sat down for smoothies and a chat. Read that this week in Vallarta Mirror; it will be the first informal interview of a series planned that, so far, includes Eva Jimenez (Pink) and Gloria Fiona (Adele). You are welcome to send me names of entertainers you’d like to know more about.

The First Saturday of the Month is always a blast at the Arte Vallarta Museo. To fortify our spirits beforehand, Sandra Bradley and I stopped in to say hi to owner Roderick and server Fernando, at The Greasy Gourmet and to devour some Canadian poutine. Mine without the godbloodyawful cheese. In western Canada, a hundred years ago when I was growing up, you could find ‘chips and gravy’ on every menu; down east, as we would say, they had poutine, the extra ingredient being cheese curds. Now, however, poutine is standard fare across the country. I won’t eat cheese with my french fries and you can’t make me.

Some rare sightings at the museum last Saturday included Lee and Nancy Chapman, Robert Howell, Elroy Quenroe and Gary Thompson. Newcomers Jerry Jones and Oscar Almeida from Out & About PV magazine schmoozed with everyone, shot lots of photos and enjoyed the gorgeous artwork and the beautiful space the museum embodies. These ‘First Saturdays’ have become the new Rizo’s as far as a gathering place goes, as Selena Luna and Jim and Eva Demetro can attest. If you are in town, your friends will know where to find you. There are only two weeks left in Dove Bradshaw’s exhibit before everything is boxed up and sent back to New York City. Coming up at the Arte VallARTa Museo is Mexican artist Erik Rivera, just in time for Pride. More information on that important exhibition this week in Vallarta Mirror.

In the face of music disappearing entirely in Vallarta three years ago, Juan Alvarado and Bill Williams opened La Catrina Cantina. Between them, they had absolutely no restaurant or bar experience, except they knew exactly what they wanted: a place for their talented musician friends to earn some money during the pandemic.

I was there Opening Night and was so happy to celebrate three years with them. The happiest bar in Vallarta where everyone treats and is treated with love and kindness. And the best music in town.

Gloria Fiona, “La Voz de Catrina,” kicked off the celebrations with her fabulous voice. Young Rise Winner, Angeloo was in the audience with his dad and sang Shallow with Gloria. Watch for her Burlesque Show at La CC, 6:30 pm, May 22, and get tickets pronto, while you still can.

Gorgeous Stella Rosas was up next and got the dance floor hopping with a medley of favorite Spanish-language dance hits. Luis Villanueva emceed the show and sang a C & W duet with Patriz.

Two of my fave entertainers in Vallarta, Tromba Vetusta, aka Dabit Azofeifa and Ale Matus stole the show with their clowning around. Their final show of the season, CIRCONCIERTO, is at Act2 this coming Wednesday at 5 pm.

Congratulations to Juan and Bill at La Catrina Cantina and your long list of grateful entertainers. What on earth would we have done without you?

Have a great start to an even greater week, Vallarta, From Here.

I spent all yesterday afternoon exploring new and uncharted parts of Vallarta with good friends and colleagues. Canadian impresario Merv Buchanan and his brilliant technical sound guy, Julio Angeles, picked me up, and off we went to Paso Ancho. We met up with Kurt Sinner, (remember El Rio BBQ Bar?), switched vehicles, and continued our deep dive into jungle, small villages, the occasional gigantic, walled mansion (!!) and lunch.

Merv has been importing fabulous tribute shows from Canada or the US to Mexico for well over a decade. His shows have been enthusiastically attended throughout the country and closer to home at El Rio, Incanto, The Palm, and Luna Lounge in Bucerias. Part of our lunch chatter was discussing different venues and new and past shows that we thought would be great additions or encore performances.

It occurred to me just now that El Rio BBQ Bar closed its doors a year ago in May. Yes, the 14th was their last day. Please, a moment of silence.

Moving forward, it was exciting to ponder the possibilities and probabilities. Stay tuned here for details as they present themselves, From Here.

Coapinole’s Tuesday Tianguis had Sandra Bradley and me there before 9 am, searching for treasures; we did well…especially Sandra. We left there with her two backpacks, full to overflowing. Our next stop was Shalom Nursery, across the street from La Comer. I had never been; no reason with my practically non-existent gardening space. However, I bought some climbing thingies I will plant today or tomorrow.

The next stop was Costco, which again appeared as though Christmas was tomorrow morning. My cheesecake and I made it home in one piece, and after I had a long nap, headed to the gorgeous, new resto in Versalles that is a sister to Makal – Raiz y Maleza. Built on three levels, this beautiful space held the Press Conference celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Vallarta Lifestyle’s Restaurant Week. From the rooftop bar, Juan Pablo Hernandez did as he had done from the get-go and emceed the proceedings. Waiters circulated with brightly colored cocktails, and video cameras rolled as the enlightened panel discussed the myriad of benefits that come from this gastronomic event. Running almost a month, Restaurant Week begins May 15 and ends June 10. When I mentioned to Juan Pablo that he really should rename it Restaurant Month, Jerry Jones from Out & About PV magazine piped in, “It’s a Mexican Week,” with laughter all around. 

The 44 participating restaurants are scattered from here to Sayulita and – drum roll, please! – The prices remain the same as last year. It is a sacrifice for the restaurants as everyone knows about the increased food costs. An excellent opportunity for residents and tourists to try new places at significant savings. Three courses, with three choices of each for either 459 or 575 pesos.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ulises Rodriguez, the new Director of Public Relations for Vallarta Tourism. We have promised to keep in touch.

One last word, Juan Pablo is fairly sure the hilarious Princesas Desesperadas will be coming back to Vallarta in December. All I can say to that is YAHOO!, From Here.

I don’t know how gay communities are in other cities around the world, but ours in Vallarta is full to overflowing with creative, resourceful minds and a seemingly endless supply of love and affection for our city and one another. Yesterday was a perfect example of community – a thank-you party at Casita & Garden, instigated by Matt Karimi for sponsors that donated over a million pesos at the first fundraiser in February to build a new Gay+ Community Center. That Center will open next week! The determination of this group to keep medical treatments available first and foremost is unstoppable.

Owner Francie Nguyen oversaw a steady stream of various finger foods that were passed through the crowd of business people and retirees enjoying cocktails. Diego Guerrero sang, short speeches were delivered, new contacts were made, business cards were exchanged, the Board of Directors was introduced, the hugs did not stop and the love never will, From Here.

I could hardly sleep from the overload of carbs I inhaled at John and Barb McKinney’s penthouse Vallarta Garden Club fiesta last night. The food was so lovely that I dug in instead of photographing it. Then, when Chiara came to tell me she was cutting the cakes (plural and from Pavlova!), I followed and consumed a slab of chocolate mousse cheesecake covered in fresh berries. I am not going near a set of scales until next week.

Handcrafted cocktails preceded the buffet, enjoyed by all, including Bob Price, Curator of the Botanical Garden south of town and founder of the VGC. Also enjoying the views and the company were Frank and Lupe Patterson, Sunny and Robert Rossi. Sunny is the Garden Club’s new President, taking over from John McKinney. Tom Montante, Andre Lategan, Clint Harris, Chair of Dems Abroad, and Ron Harmer, President of Paws and Claws, engaged Mike and Tricia Lyman in a little political banter. Jonathan Bailet joined Kimberley Bennett, the always exquisite Angela Curley, and me in a quick discussion on fashion and the often general lack thereof in Vallarta. Bill and Marcia Makley, Pilar, Sayuri and many more indulged in the wonderful food, libations, sunset, and more importantly, one another, From Here.


  • Marcia Blondin

    I am a Canadian expat who has lived in Vallarta for over 30 years. Becoming the editor of Vallarta Mirror is a dream come true, spending my days extolling the virtues of the city I love. An environmentalist in my lifestyle, artistic endeavors, the clothes I wear and the love I share.

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