Our Wildly Wonderful Week!

Recap: Good Morning, From Here, May 31 – June 07

Last Friday afternoon, festivities started with a pop-up concert at La Catrina Cantina with Spencer Day and Luis Villanueva. It was absolutely fantastic! They only had a few hours to rehearse, but the result was 90 minutes of gorgeous vocals, superb duets, tons of laughter, and interaction with two great entertainers that the audience adored.

I love the ‘end’ of season in Vallarta; all the hoopla dies down and we are left with fabulous, often spontaneous concerts that leave us breathless. Check VallartaCalendar.com daily to see what surprises are in store for those here year-round.

David Sabella, the new General Manager at Act2PV, threw a cocktail party in the remodeled Ovation Bar and invited a few local business owners over for drinks to introduce himself and his dreams for the future of Vallarta’s most extensive entertainment complex. After a lifetime on and behind the scenes on New York City’s stages and many others worldwide, David plans to bring his talented friends to Vallarta to perform; exciting personalities, to be sure. Stay tuned for (big!) names and dates!

I had mango smoothies with Georgia Darehshori late Saturday afternoon. It was lovely alone time with her. She went home for a nap, and I continued to Arte Vallarta Museo for their First Saturday of the Month fiesta. The food looked delicious, and, of course, the wine flowed. It was so nice to casually spend time checking up on summer vacation plans with friends. I had to leave early, just as dear friends arrived, to not be late at The Palm for their closing night.

Holy cow, what a party!!! It was The Palm’s most successful season ever, with sold-out shows being the norm rather than the exception. Every year – and number 25 is coming up! – they get better and better. Nacho Granados emceed as only he can; so funny and such an integral part of the Palm’s onstage superstructure. As is Chris Lopez, Roy Cruz, Daniel Celis, and Hueco Colectivo. Extraordinary newcomers sang – Eva Jimenez, Waleska, Jordon Carnegie, and Mama Tit’s powerful voice brought the house down. Odd and beautiful mashups worked: Roy and Nacho, Jordon and Eva, Prescott Seymour and Mark Hartman(!), and an all-male pas de deux from Swan Lake. Like I said, what a party! The sold-out, standing-room-only, with a waitlist of people lined up outside the doors, gave 1,000 pesos per ticket to the Gay+ Community Center. This is typical of the Palm, starting and ending their seasons with a charitable organization reaping 100% of ticket sales. Well done, Matt Karimi and Pedro Lopez!

The Palm also announced the upcoming opening of its new theatre, The Coco Cabaret. Stay tuned for details—Palm owner Adriana has promised me a tour as soon as possible!

Some quiet time was in order Sunday morning as David Duvall and I sat over mango smoothies discussing the past season and his terrific Composer Series, which ran monthly in the Casa Karma Red Room. I was so happy to introduce David to Roy Cruz, whose Freddie Mercury shows at The Palm are amazing, and to thank him for his wonderful performance the night before at the Palm’s closing. I am so blessed to call these talented people my friends.

And now, boys and girls, I must go shopping, then head to the airport to pick up my sister! Clear a path, Vallarta, she’s baaaaaaack, From Here.

It was a day of perfect timing. I walked into the busy, as always, airport, bought tickets for the taxi, turned around, and Patrice was walking toward me. The total wait time was five minutes! A miracle!

My sister met Bogie and fell in love with him; he is with her, so life is ducky. We stayed in making plans for the week that include tonight’s benefit for Mercurio’s staff at Nacho Daddy. Doors open at 7. Find us and say hi.

In an hour or so, Patrice and I will be in Coapinole at that fabulous tianguis that happens every Tuesday morning. You can buy everything from a single, used screw to a brand-new ball gown, the freshest, most beautiful produce and clothes galore. A note to newbies when hunting for clothes: always look for tables with a price overhead; otherwise, the sky is the limit. Anything on a hangar will likely cost more than the same thing in a pile, but it is your choice. It is always fun, frenzied often, and a good place to practice speaking Spanish while immersing yourself in a decidedly Mexican way to shop. And it’s addicting!

Then, there will be La Comer, Costco, lunch, a nap, and Nacho Daddy. Please find us there and say hello from here.

Coapinole was such fun; I scored a vintage Italian leather handbag that cleaned up beautifully. My 50 pesos is far from the 350+ USD new price tag. Patrice and I relaxed on the terrace at La Comer over coffee and complimentary sticky pastries and discussed our numerous other purchases and immediate plans for Costco. We had time to unwind and get ready for the star-studded benefit for Mercurio at Nacho Daddy. Organized by Fernanda Hernandez and emceed by Alison Lo, the concert kicked off with Mexico’s Liberace, Salvatore Rodriguez, from Garbo (Where P and I are headed tonight!). A few standout duets were had with Davids Duvall and Sabella, Bing Young and Enoch, and Fernanda and her husband Carlos. Joan Houston’s solo was hilarious; Steven Retchless’s sweet and poignant, Powerhouse vocals from Amy Armstrong, Nacho Daddy owner Sean Moore, and Kevin Anthony kept us engaged for well over two hours.

Thanks came from Paul Crist to Tammy, Sean, Janathan Rios on sound and lights, Starla Kane, overseer of the donations, all of the organizers, performers, and the jam-packed house.

It was a full and lovely day that left me soaked in gratitude for my life here and the caring individuals who make up our amazing, talented community. Keep on sharing the love, Vallarta From Here.

Our overcast skies have vanished, leaving the morning cool, fresh, and full of starling chatter. A sleepy city is stretching and ready for a new adventure. I wonder how many people will arrive in Vallarta today for the first time and be absolutely smitten with the abundance we live with daily? If that’s you, then welcome to paradise!

I was sure Patrice would love Zumo, and she did. We did. Both of us are vegetarians, so we stuck with the regular menu over their Restaurant Week offerings.

Zumo service, while leaning to the formal side, is refreshing rather than stilted and fussy; our heavily inked waiter effortlessly wielded brass tongs and divided the roasted veggies between us tableside, making sure to keep the scattered gold leaf on top. An exquisite mix of exotically colored veggies roasted just enough and served on a carrot puree. Heavenly and will be my main course next time! Patrice’s mushroom risotto sans brisket and my tricolored fusilli without the shrimp were augmented by teeny veggies and eaten completely, leaving plates naked and us in culinary bliss. Dessert was impossible; we were so perfectly full.

Two hours later, we went to Garbo’s Bar next door to join a pile of friendly faces and sing along with Sargento, who belted out Broadway favorites, ably accompanied by Bing Young on piano and backup vocals.

Coached during the So, You Think You Can RISE? Talent Competition by Jan Dorland and Rob Burton, Sargento has landed his Wednesday night spot at Garbo’s for the summertime. Patrice said she felt like she was in someone’s living room. Overwhelmed with Zumo food and the late hour, we didn’t (couldn’t!) stay very long, but it was fun and different. Don’t know the lyrics? No worries; they are all downloadable easily on your phone with the handy QR code. It was another wonderful vacation day with my sister. It had great food, fun entertainment, long walks, and non-stop chatting with the best company in the world. Thanks, Trice, From Here.

After five or so thousand steps, Rob, Jan, Patrice and I left the zoo just south of Vallarta in Mismaloya. We spent nearly three hours slowly wandering through the jungle on the sturdily built walled walkways.

It was so quiet; it seemed we had the entire place to ourselves. It was midday, and the animals were far smarter than us, buried in whatever shade and/or water was available. Almost all the animals came to visit us, hoping for and receiving appropriate treats purchased at the beginning of our self-guided tour.

It is clear from the get-go that this is no ordinary zoo. For one, it is a non-profit and receives absolutely nothing from any government agency, meaning every centavo received goes back to the animals. The flip side of that coin is that there is no monetary incentive for tour operators, hotel concierges, or private contractors to “sell” the zoo to anyone, as there is nothing in it for them.

If you are coming to Vallarta, especially if you have kids, plan a day spent wandering this unusual, interactive, and essential facility. And, if you live here, you owe it to yourselves to go and have a visit. Two entry fees are available: general admission is 200 pesos; 1,700 pesos will get you a date with a baby wildcat. Under supervision, of course, but if you are a cat-lover, this gentle adventure takes you to a whole new level.

The bottom line is that we share this planet with all living things. The Vallarta Zoo introduces people to its animals; then, they learn to see us as friendly creatures who will do them no harm and maybe even share a carrot or two 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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