Big Birthdays to Gay+

Recap Good Morning, From Here
February 17 – February 23, 2024

Warm sunshine has returned at last; the rain is gone, tourists are lining the streets and filling up the beaches, and all is right with the world.

I went up the street to my neighbors last week to hug Shirley on her 80th birthday. Surrounded by friends, her new husband, Karl, her son Sean Carey, and son-in-law Jim Lee filled the house with love, fabulous food, and libations. Shirley fairly sparkles with lovely energy; congratulations on 80 – you make it look good, darlin’!

From that love fest to another! A walk to the Palm Cabaret to see and hear Christopher Faison reprise his tribute to Luther Vandross from two years ago. Christopher had the packed house eating out of his hand with stories about the ‘Love Doctor’ and kept us spellbound.

After the show, backup singers Enoch and Fernanda were asked how many years they had been touring together; the three had spent mere hours creating a concert of perfect harmonies. Fans mobbed Christopher after his show elicited two well-deserved standing ovations. It was lovely to hug him again and to welcome him back to Vallarta. I floated home, buoyed by positively beautifully voiced lyrics, love songs all; hurry back, Christopher!

Sunday was busy with another N.I.A. dance class at the IFC, taught by my lovely, graceful friend, Deborah Darr. We had some celebs in the class with Georgia Darehshori and Jill Davis, a certified Non-Impact Aerobic teacher. It’s a genuinely joyous hour of movement that’s fun and energizing rather than taxing. Men are encouraged, and beginners will not be discouraged by the routine; the importance is movement, not precision. Join me next Sunday at noon.

I went virtually straight from there to Act2PV for the highly anticipated monthly concert series presented by pianist David Duvall. For two hours, David extolled the virtues of the music and history of Rodgers and Hart. Special guests included singers Kami Desilets, Gene Berube, and Robert Ryan. Backed by sensitive percussionist Aron Hernandez and a new-to-me bass player, Carlos, who kept the rhythms soothingly underlined. Stay tuned here for details on March’s concert.

Sunday night, Vallarta Mirror’s graphic designer, Kevin Feltner, and I were ready for the So, You Think You Can Rise? Finale at Teatro Vallarta.

The SYTYCR talent contest culminated after weeks of auditions, rehearsals, and four elimination rounds at The Palm Cabaret. Seven contestants delivered their best to nearly 900 people in the audience. Judges singer/realtor Kim Kuzma, Juan Alvarado, owner La Catrina Cantina, and Mark Rome, Entertainment Director of The Palm, selected their top three finalists, who each performed one more time. The audience, by applause, chose delightful 10-year-old Angeloo as the first prize winner of the 20,000 pesos.

The evening’s emcees, Brenda Gaviño and Branden James, seamlessly oversaw the event. To Lisa Manoogian and Billy Pilawski, bravo on accomplishing Year Three; I can’t wait to see what will be next, From Here.

Vallarta Mirror is adding a Rainbow Bridge column to our Life section of the paper. And, it won’t be just for pets. Writing about loss can be highly therapeutic. Articles, between 500 and 750 words can be submitted, with three photos (or so), will be subject to gentle editing, and will cost significantly less than NOTB.

See you later today at Act2PV for David Duvall and Kami Desilets in the Red Room for ‘Heart & Soul’ at 5 pm, From Here.

What a treat and an emotional roller coaster yesterday, listening to Kami Desilets pour her Heart and Soul into an afternoon concert at the Casa Karma Red Room. With uber-sensitive David Duvall on piano and backup vocals, there was more than one occasion when there was no dry eye in the house. How Kami kept it together was a miracle to watch through my tears.

Her story – many of us knew the significant points – was told honestly and frankly with that underlying excitement that being deeply in love produces. That super dazzling shine kept bumping into health problems – his, not hers – that nearly took his life.

I had never heard more than half the songs, but they fit perfectly into the narrative. Kami has a very old storytelling soul, and she never got mired down in self-pity. She is a fighter, a strong voice with a heart and soul bursting with love. She will win this one.

I flew from Act2PV to L’Angelo di Napoli to meet up with Barry and Debbie Kessler for pizza, pasta and long-overdue conversation. They are busily making preparations to move to Vallarta permanently this summer! I am so happy for them and Vallarta; they will be a great addition to our city. 

It’s a beautiful day, people! Enjoy, enjoy, From Here.

Once again, Vallarta’s population has gathered together without hesitation and has kick-started a vitally important project – the Gay+ Community Center. The pre-party fundraiser at Matt and David’s condo overlooking the city sparkled with the incredible energy of dozens of residents determined to make the Community Center a reality.

The festivities continued in the massive lobby of Oasis with silent auctions and a concert with the brilliant duo Branden and James. More nuts and bolts details here when I have them.  

We were a smallish group at Scrabble and welcomed newcomer Robert Howell; we didn’t get a chance to play together, perhaps next week at Qulture.

The season’s biggest crowd turned up for bingo at Nacho Daddy for Colina Spay & Neuter Clinic with the blackout payout of over 3,000 pesos!

Vallarta Mirror is looking for the top ten restaurants in the city, so we need your input. Everyone is welcome to send in their fave resto with a brief why they are to:

Tomorrow is Friday (of course it is!), which means Ricardo Mazcal’s Weekend Artisan Market is open from 10 to 3 on the Isla Cuale. Ricardo, a fourth-generation herbalist, creates all his products, from amazing face creams to herbal tinctures. His Maz-mix has kept me alive and thriving for over a decade. Be kind to your gut and get some; you can thank me later From Here.

This just in from Matt Karimi and David Smith, who hosted the first major fundraiser for the Gay+ Community Center: 80,000 USD was raised in one night! An amazing accomplishment for our small and clearly committed city. Bravos everybody!

A busy weekend is in store: Happy Birthday greetings to one of our influential Vallarta Mirror writers, Herbalist Ricardo Mazcal. His busy Market on the Isla Cuale opens at 10 this morning. He has promised bday cake! A small Lightworkers Gathering with another VM writer, Sandra Bradley, is this evening. 

Tomorrow afternoon, Saturday, I finally sit down with Dove Bradshaw, an extraordinary artist from New York. Dove and the crew from Arte Vallarta Museo are preparing the museum for her grand opening—exact dates and times when I have them. 

Tomorrow night, the long-anticipated Tribute to Adele, starring Gloria Fiona, opens at The Palm Cabaret.

Sunday is Non-Impact Aerobics with Deborah Darr at noon at the IFC, then cocktails before the closing show of Vacare at Act2PV at 4:30. After Vacare is the Opening Night of Cate Valcic’s tribute to Lisa Minelli in the Casa Karma Red Room.

See you here, there, and everywhere for hugs 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.

    View all posts

Most Popular