Counting Days, Cooking, and a Christmas Chorus


Patrice and I went to the Friday Market on the Isla Cuale to stock up on Ricardo Mazcal’s herbal merchandise. One of them – Maz-mix, a pre/pro-biotic – has been a daily go-to for me for ten years, and it has kept me at my healthiest.

He is in the midst of a major overhaul of one of the Isla’s oldest structures that will eventually become a coffee shop and permanent store for his myriad products.

Ricardo has been creating herbal remedies for over 60 years and brings his knowledge weekly to Vallarta Mirror in his column ‘Healing Power of Plants.’ Look for it.

As the Tribute to Bruno Mars was postponed last night for two weeks, I joined a small Lightworkers Gathering at dear friend Sandra Bradley’s home. (Be sure to read Sandra’s weekly column in Vallarta Mirror!)

A few of us gathered at Casa Karma a couple of years ago for a three-day retreat that most certainly changed my life, and I know others feel the same. We will resume weekly meetings starting on January 19 from 7 to 9 pm. More details as we get closer to the date.

Eight more days until Christmas; are you ready for it From Here?


While my sister was learning all about cooking seasonal desserts from Sharon Gerber Scherer, the Air Fryer Queen, dearest friend, and Vallarta Mirror columnist Sandra Bradley and I met for mango smoothies.

We have tried (and failed) to schedule time together over that sweet, icy-cold delight, but life keeps getting in our way, so when we actually can get together, it is a precious gift of time well spent.

Our busy morning segued into a relaxing holiday concert at The Palm Cabaret and Bar, which hosted the Puerto Vallarta Gay Men’s Chorus with special guest artist Patriz. Choir Master Adrian has done a super job guiding this ten-year-old group that was nearly undone because of the pandemic.

The chorus honored Broadway with a delightful mash-up of traditional Christmas carols, movie themes, and Broadway musical notes. It was a joy-filled afternoon, and my sister Patrice won the 50-50 raffle!

Our day wound down late at the gorgeous River Cafe over delicious risotto and ravioli.

This afternoon at 2 pm is David Duvall’s salute to Cole Porter at Act2PV, and tonight is Vacare and our third time to see this masterpiece unfold in all its brilliant magic From Here.


Cole Porter fans enthusiastically welcomed David Duvall’s interpretation of this American composer’s music yesterday at Casa Karma’s Red Room. Barefoot and smiling from behind the piano, Duvall shared delightful Porter backstories and tap-dancing videos as he wove his way through the Maestro’s lengthy repertoire that shaped the Great American Songbook. David will return with his considerate jazz drummer and Sheila on double bass for another matinee next month to salute the legendary Burt Bacharach. Keep your eyes here for details.

Between shows, Patrice and I walked up to the Greasy Gourmet for a quick dinner of Roderick’s delicious wild mushroom chowder; for the second time in a week, we enjoyed this terrific little diner on Lazaro Cardenas.

Back to Act2PV 90 minutes later for the third presentation of Vacare; I cannot say enough about this beautiful collision that happens every Sunday afternoon on the Main Stage.

The simple story is: a man trapped in a dreary, thankless job goes on a tropical beach vacation, falls in love with everything that surrounds him and, tearing up his return ticket, decides to stay. Sound familiar?

The understory, of course, is the critically important love of self and Mother Nature set to original haunting music with song, dance, acrobatics, juggling, gymnastics, humor and mime artfully presented in brilliant costume design, sound, and light.

This production by Patricia Macias will go far beyond Puerto Vallarta, and while I would deplore our city losing this creative, cohesive team of artists, the world needs and will embrace Vacare with love From Here.

P.S. Join Patrice, me, and the children from the RISE orphanage on Sunday, Christmas Eve, at 5:30 pm on the Main Stage at Act2PV for the fourth and final performance of Vacare for 2023.

P.P.S Don’t miss the Sam Smith Tribute tonight ONLY at 9:30 at The Palm Cabaret and Bar, starring the exquisite Chris Lopez. Find us and say hello.


The Palm Cabaret was full for Chris Lopez’s one-night-only tribute to Sam Smith last night. Every entertainer in town who wasn’t working was in the house supporting their friend, mentor, and fellow singer.

That A-list would be so long I wouldn’t have space to talk about Chris, plus I would inadvertently leave someone important out, so enough said!

Chris debuted his tribute to Sam Smith about 18 months ago; it was the most beautiful Opening Night and Chris’s first solo show.

In keeping with Sam Smith’s growing outspokenness, last night was edgy and full of kinetic energy, with three dynamic headliners (all dear friends of Chris) – Eva Jimenez, Nacho Granados, and Max Prado – as backup singers. New, richly detailed, and exquisitely colored videos formed the stage backdrop – all created by Lopez.

The sound was terrific and perfectly consistent throughout the concert at a comfortable decibel level. I love the new laser lights at The Palm, and the red is particularly fabulous! Kudos to Colectivo Hueco for those crucial elements.

The well-deserved standing ovation left the audience reluctant to leave the theater. Patrice and I lingered and finally hugged Chris with great thanks. I handed him a small bouquet; it was his first as a solo performer. He cried, I cried, we hugged some more, then let him get to his after-party.

The walk home was subdued as all that tremendous energy slowly slid away, leaving us euphoric from witnessing the genius in Puerto Vallarta called Chris Lopez.

It’s Tuesday, so this must be Coapinole and the tianguis! A busy day as Patrice winds down her vacation; join us at Act2PV tonight at 7:30 for a repeat performance, XTC by Steven Retchless, From Here.


With various appointments scattered throughout the day, Patrice and I arrived early at the tianguis in Coapinole to find it crawling with people! The atmosphere was festive as we hunted for treasures with the voices of hawkers over our heads, loudly trying to outdo one another in their pleas to visit their tables. There is only one more shopping day until Christmas!

We had a lovely lunch with Sandra Cesca at Veggitalia on Corona Street; read her column coming soon to Vallarta Mirror. We were enthralled listening to her recent harrowing hurricane experience.

A quick survival nap refreshed us for Steven Retchless’s ‘XTC,’ in the Casa Karma Red Room at Act2PV. It’s the second time we have seen this brilliantly written, beautifully presented show that mixes drag with metaphysics!

Steven is lithe and incredibly strong and agile. At first, I couldn’t wrap my head around how he could add pole dancing and singing to a futuristic theme, complete with perfectly created costumes, and pull it off. He has made it work seamlessly, which is a wonder to watch.

Stevie Hart is the alter ego who is witty yet wise, gently sarcastic with “I Hate People,” yet incredibly kind and drop-dead gorgeous to boot. This one-person show could easily be dropped onto the Las Vegas Strip and instantly create a traffic jam – it is that fabulous.

Wednesday means Scrabble at Qulture and Purr Project Bingo fundraiser at Nacho Daddy, and tonight, Patrice and I will dine with the Air Fryer Queen of Puerto Vallarta, Sharon Gerber Scherer. It doesn’t get much better than that From Here!


I had a rare few minutes of quiet conversation yesterday with my painter friend Angelo Sannasardo. Angelo recently opened a studio at Qulture Galleries, where we play Scrabble every Wednesday. After touring his small studio, he invited me to see more of his work at Casa Cupula on Christmas Eve. Angelo will be on hand to answer questions about his 30-something paintings that are scattered throughout Vallarta’s premiere Gay Hotel for their Big Gay Brunch poolside.

Only a half-dozen Scrabble Freak(s) (a great book, by the way!) came to play yesterday; I fared way better there than at the Bingo Fundraiser for Purr Project! Still, we raised some money at Nacho Daddy for the kitties, and that’s all that counts.

Patrice and I spent a glorious evening at Casa Cabo eating, drinking, and being continually delighted with this gorgeous house and the spectacular terrace views.

Sharon proved why she is the Air Fryer Queen of Vallarta (and teaches classes every month) and the perfect hostess in all ways. Rob kept my sister in fine red wine, and the star of the evening and namesake of the house, their dog Cabo, kept us amused until we bored him to sleep.

After a delicious warm peach cobbler, Patrice and I were introduced to Yahtzee, which Rob and Sharon play daily. This complicated dice game of chance has been around since the late fifties, but somehow, our family missed it completely. With expert coaching from our hosts, they let me win, which always puts me in fine humor!

Patrice and I waddled down the hill towards home, stuffed with pasta, Greek salad, and the aforementioned peach cobbler. We were armed with leftovers, and Patrice carried another of Sharon’s paintings to add to her art collection in Canada.

Speaking of the Old Country, we are down to Patrice’s last week of vacation in Puerto Vallarta. I can hardly bear the thought of her leaving, From Here.


Another busy day with my sister – appointments and shopping for her return to Canada in a few days. We stayed in for dinner last night, made a platter of crudites, perused Netflix, and settled down to watch ‘Cowspiracy.’

That documentary cemented my decision to become vegetarian after watching Game Changers, co-produced by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan.

I only watched Game Changers because it had Arnold’s name on it, and I had just returned to the gym in earnest a couple of years ago. I remember watching bodybuilding films with Arnold scarfing down steaks the size of his thighs decades ago and listening to him embrace a no-meat diet really caught my attention.

Cowspiracy heads straight to becoming vegan, eschewing dairy and eggs; a new goal I am aiming for and will get there eventually.

The statistics are staggering, and I won’t bore you with them. It is critical, however, that everyone become aware of the food chain and our role in it.

Can one person’s decision to stop eating animals (take note, all you environmentalists out there) change the world? Of course, it can! Our consciousness is rising; one less hamburger purchased at McDonald’s leaves 7,000 liters of water for us to drink instead. It is your choice; make it an informed one 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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