Butterflies and Swans Rule!

Recap: Good Morning, From Here, April 20 -26, 2024

Warning! This is going to take some time – the weekend was chock-full of exciting things, and while it’s great to have a couple of mornings when I don’t write first thing in the day, it does create a long missive Mondays!

Friday began with old home week, saying hello again to Nathan Frye and Allen McMullen, just off the ship to spend time with us after a five-year break. It was great to see Omar, formerly at Act2PV, in his own fine eatery in Versalles called Dadá. It is a charming cafe on Francia with local art covering the walls. The drinks looked fabulous!

A few hours later, I was back at Zumo Pto Vallarta for dinner and meeting dear friend Kurt Sinner – he of El Rio BBQ Bar fame. We spent a couple of hours catching up – Kurt is working on some exciting ideas that revolve around live music. Keep your eyes here for details as the plans come to fruition. Zumo was hopping, owner Vanessa and Kurt reminisced about Boca Bento and San Miguel de Allende while I happily devoured the succulent, lemon-infused fusilli one more time. Hours later, we scrambled out of Zumo and up the block, just in time for the start of the Epic Freddie Mercury show, starring Roy Cruz, at The Palm.

It doesn’t matter how often I see this show; changes are made with little tweaks here and there, and the production morphs even closer to sheer perfection. It is evident that Roy loves his job and considers it an honor to pay homage to Mercury. The dancers are amazing, and the pas de deux with my fave Paco will leave you absolutely breathless.

I had a brief respite from flying around on Saturday when I met with artist Miriam Aroeste for smoothies and chit-chat. She was born in Mexico City but has spent as many years in Canada as I have in Mexico – 33. She and her husband, David, are in the process of relocating full-time to Vallarta, and saying adios to Vancouver. I am not! Repeat- NOT, following her example and returning to MY Old Country!

The Maripoza Butterfly Experience celebrated its Grand Opening last Saturday, helping to finally set Puerto Magico on firm footing after the pandemic nearly derailed the entire project. Maripoza is enormous in scope, with soaring ceilings, hundreds of trees and plantings, and soon lots of butterflies. Because we were there at night, the focus was on entertainment, food, and champagne. All of it is gorgeously put together, and I can forsee Maripoza becoming the entertainment destination for Vallarta North.

Oh! And I was delightfully surprised when Patty Macias, producer of Vacare, tapped me on the shoulder from behind. She had seen me from her sound booth way up in the rafters and scampered down for hugs and a quick exchange of promises to get together soon. She was bursting with enthusiasm for the Maripoza project. I will have more delicious details after our tete-a-tete.

I will return soon to the Maripoza Experience during the day to take a tour and have a good look around the growing community inside Puerto Magico. In the meantime, bravos, and many thanks to Dean Regehr and Wes Haws.

In his monthly celebration of composers, singer, and pianist David Duvall put together a most enjoyable couple of hours of entertainment with Duke Ellington music and stories. Fernanda Hernandez sang a couple of songs sola, and a rousing duet with David. Duvall will have at least one more afternoon concert before taking a summer break. I’ll let you know what and when soon!

Lastly, Kevin and I saw Swan Lake at Act2’s Main Stage. Vallarta has been buzzing since its debut last Sunday, and I expect close to full houses for the balance of the run. This ballet has always been a classical standard—a benchmark in traditional dance that has been parodied by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and imitated and performed by every single boy and girl on earth who wants to be a ballerina.

This is a new Swan Lake. They danced with extreme care, balance, diligence, strength, love, and a whole pile of courage. It has been pared down in scale and scope from the original and expanded into previously uncharted LGBQ+ waters, with only male dancers seriously fleshing out the roles of good and evil, male and female, with sensitivity, grace, and fine choreography. Kudos to Edgar Sanchez, James Wolburg, and the corp de ballet.

Happy Earth Day! Take a few minutes today to tidy our planet, pick up some trash, plant a tree and/or hug one hard with love From Here.

I love when Universal Energies collide with perfect precision, when each person is exactly where they should be at the proper time and place and, most importantly, with one another.

Such exquisite timing happened yesterday at Los Mangos Library for an Earth Day Press Conference hosted by John Benus, creator of the Campaign Against Trash. John’s reputation preceded our formal meeting last week at the Vallarta Garden Club board meeting, and I saw him on Vallarta’s streets dressed in a cross between safari fatigues and an MP’s uniform. John Benus is Person One

A couple of months ago, as Vallarta Mirror’s editor, I received an intriguing letter outlining a well-thought-out plan for trash containment in Vallarta’s colonias, with a question on how to advertise these Cubos. After a few emails back and forth, we met and launched a modest advertising campaign to introduce this sturdy, attractive community ‘garbage can’ to the public. I invited him to meet me at Los Mangos because it seemed a perfect fit. Hans Brinkerhoff is Person Two

As it turned out, the ‘Press Conference’ became a fascinating brainstorming session with two ex-pats who are brothers at heart, hammering out a rough outline on coordinating efforts to meet the same end – a clean Puerto Vallarta. Then Jessy Ruiz arrived from CPS Media’s Asphalt TV news and tied everything up with a pretty bow.

John is looking for volunteers to help him clean up canals throughout the city before the rains carry everything into the ocean. Hans needs sponsors, a few condominium buildings, for example, acting with a green consciousness to buy a Cubo or two. Considering they will last a lifetime, they are incredibly inexpensive. Another way to help would be to sponsor a Cubo adorned with your company logo, to go into a specific colonia.

I am barely scraping the surface here of what these two gentlemen are dedicating their lives to, so please find out more at the following links and help if you can be a part of the solution From Here.
Cubomx.com and www.GuerraContraBasura.org

Mid-week and Game Day! Scrabble at 1 pm at Qulture and Purr Project Bingo at Nacho Daddy at 4 pm. A couple of days ago, I had a lovely reunion with Deirdre Morgan over mango smoothies. Vallarta Mirror will serialize her first book, Heart Speak, which is coming soon. Deirdre will publish two more books this summer. You will find her style easy, loving, and warm, like her hugs.

Selena Luna and I had lunch at Coco’s Kitchen yesterday – the food and service were excellent, and, of course, I forgot to take photos! I found what Selena had on Coco’s Facebook page, but take my word – my spinach and strawberry salad was as delicious as it looked. As Selena is working up at Art Vallarta these days, we will be meeting more often at Coco’s to play in our ‘Waldorf and Statler’ Bubble. (It’s a long but funny story!). Tomorrow night at Art Vallarta, in the Moonlight Theatre, Selena is presenting Azafran – flamenco to live music. There are still a few seats left in this intimate, cozy theatre for the show that will be fabulous!

Speaking of fabulous, have that kind of day, Vallarta, From Here!

Last night, a few of us converged on La Catrina Cantina to listen to Patriz sing some of her fave songs while brother Artemis caught up on some texts and mom Selena welcomed each one of us. Together we celebrated their second anniversary of moving to Vallarta.

We all remember that day. The first time we stepped out of the icy cold airport into the tropical muggy air, that deep hug welcomed us to our new home. Part absolute exhilaration – the other part, terror.

But here we are, our gorgeous and loving expatriate community, welcoming one another, helping the newbies settle in, reaching further into our adopted city, sharing our resources, and creating one helluva extraordinary lifestyle.

Yesterday, the city released some numbers of the economic impact the gay community had on Vallarta last year. Two million LGBTQ+ tourists visited Vallarta in 2023, leaving 17 BILLION pesos behind. That represents nearly half of our tourism revenue. Thanks to Jerry Jones, owner of Out & About PV Magazine, for sharing that information.

Tonight is a flamenco extravaganza at Moonlight Theatre at Art Vallarta. The show starts at 7:30, up the hill from the Andale, past the Swedes, and left at the top of the Olas Altas hill. See you there From Here.

And here it is, Friday again. We must be having fun, people; the days are barely countable, and then another one arrives! Last night could have gone on for days as far as the audience at Moonlight Theatre was concerned.

Azafran is an authentic Flamenco Experience: Juan Ramirez, guitar and vocals; Daniel Renteria, cajon, backup vocals, and palmas; and then there is Sol.

Sol Maria is an exact portrait of a flamenco dancer. Shut your eyes, paint a picture of a quintessential Spanish dancer, open them, and there she is—tall, willowy, lean, strong, defiant, in red ruffles with a matching fan, dark hair, flashing brown eyes, and perfectly lovely.

This trio is so tight that there was not a single misstep or beat left over—it was absolute precision. The acoustics in this tiny theatre are excellent, and I was struck by how clearly I could hear Sol’s hands brushing against each other; even her earrings made tiny sounds when she twirled on the worn box under her feet.

The artistry was mesmerizing; the only things missing were a roaring bonfire and some Spanish brandy being passed around and taken straight from the bottle. The show lasted ninety minutes without a break—a spellbinding, spirit-lifting, heart-pounding gypsy music festival. 

Bravos to Azafran, Selena Luna, and her crew at Moonlight Theatre and ART Vallarta for providing an intimate evening of music and dance with no distractions—just pure, raw, gorgeous energy and immense talent 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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