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¡Vivan Los Muertos! at the Autry

Day of the Dead festival features lively music, dance, storytelling, and elaborately decorated altars, Oct. 27

By Yadhira De Leon
Published on LatinoLA: October 9, 2012


¡Vivan Los Muertos! at the Autry


The Autry National Center will present its third annual Day of the Dead festival on Saturday, October 27, exploring ancient Aztec rituals and modern Mexican artistic expressions to remember loved ones who have passed and to interact with death in a humorous and mocking way. The Autry's Day of the Day observance and celebration is a collaboration with Lore Productions and the Office of the Oaxacan Secretary of Culture.

¡Vivan Los Muertos! provides an immersive experience in the pageantry and lore of this ancient tradition dedicated to the cycle of life. The event begins with a sacred Aztec blessing by Danza Azteca Xocoyote followed by an extravagant performance by Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet, a dance company gaining recognition for its artistic flair, elaborate costuming, and pride in Mexico's rich culture. Storyteller Michael Heralda will journey through the Aztec underworld of Mictlan as he sheds light on the ancient ceremonies from which Day of the Dead derives, and singer Linda "Violeta" Straley will perform haunting Mexican ballads. Danza Azteca Xocoyote will close the festivities by leading a spectacular procession through the Autry. An after-party will feature Bay area Latin alternative/hip hop/rock band Bang Data, which will perform a mix of traditional Latin music with contemporary sounds, including songs off their new first full-length album, La Sopa.

"Our annual ¡Vivan Los Muertos! festival brings to life the wondrous traditions that have evolved from ancient Aztec culture into contemporary observances across communities in Mexico and the U.S.," said Luke Swetland, Autry Interim COO. "The folklore, pageantry, and reverence seen on this day highlight the importance of remembering our past and honoring those that came before."

Elaborate altars--piled high with ofrendas (offerings) such as food, drink, marigolds, papel picado (decorative papercuts), and family photos, and constructed by local families and community organizations--will welcome guests outside of the museum, while Raul Cortes, director of the Oaxacan cultural group Nueva Antequera, together with Rogelio Santibáñez Arellanes from the Secretaría de Cultura de Oaxaca and his team of cultural consultants, will help create six elaborate altars and one large community altar inside the museum. The large-scale community altar will invite visitors to honor their loved ones by placing photographs of those who have passed on the altar. The public is invited to submit electronic images via e-mail to robert@loreproductions.org prior to the event for inclusion.

In addition to dance, music, and storytelling, the festival will showcase whimsical Day of the Dead sculptures atop elaborately decorated altars by artist Luis Villanueva. Painter Heriberto Luna will display his large-scale Mayan hieroglyph works. Spectacular decor by multimedia, award-winning artist Marcus Pollitz of Fiesta Floats will be on view throughout the museum grounds.

The Autry Store and an outdoor mercado will feature an array of contemporary Latino artists and their works. Hands-on activities and face painting will be available for children and their families. Traditional Day of the Dead food in the Autry Cafe and by Plancha Tacos will be available for purchase.

¡Vivan Los Muertos! is made possible in part by Ralphs Food-4-Less and the James Irvine Foundation with the generous support of Lore Productions, Villanueva Art, the Oaxacan Nueva Antequera community, and Fiesta Floats.

Saturday, October 27, 2012
Museum Hours: 11:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
Festival Hours: 3:00–9:00 p.m.
Museum Admission Rates Apply / Free for Autry Members and Children under 3

About Yadhira De Leon:
The Autry is an intercultural history center dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West.
Author's website




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