Dia de los Muertos Comes Alive

Ofrendas 2010 Calavera Fashion Show & Walking Altars at Tropico de Nopal Gallery & Art-Space, November 6

By G. Torres
Published on LatinoLA: October 27, 2010

Dia de los Muertos Comes Alive

On a certain, nondescript weekday evening in Echo Park, a gathering of Los Angeles artists filled Tropico de Nopal Gallery Art-Space with creativity, remembrance, laughter, and a twinge of good-humored drama. They assembled to prepare for Tr??pico's annual Ofrendas ÔÇô Calavera Fashion Show & Walking Altars to be held on Saturday, November 6.

2010 marks the 11th year for Ofrendas and the 7th year for the fashion show. Created by Reyes Rodriguez, founder and curator of Tropico de Nopal, this event is the only one of its kind anywhere, "We believe that this event is the utmost Ofrenda, a couture for the deceased."

In fact it is a gathering of community that takes the traditional Dia de los Muertos ritual of building altars to another level. In a sometimes irreverent, but beautifully executed twist, the memories of the dead literally walk among us in colorful, elaborate, ornate and sometimes funny, art, costumes and props.

After sharing some food and getting through the nitty-gritty details (like how to make it safely down and back a 32-foot catwalk) for a smooth-running show, one by one each of the twelve the artists present shared their vision for their walking masterpieces.

Without giving it all away, some artists will pay tribute to other artists and LA city landmarks, barrio iconography, revolution and Mexico, Mother Earth and mothers, lost memories and recovered family ties. I sat there observing, mesmerized by the collective creativity and the ability to transform this Mexican ritual into living, walking art.

As is tradition with Dia de los Muertos altars, they are dedicated to friends, family members and any loved ones that have passed on. However, on the Tr??pico stage they will represent and honor the death of someone or something particularly close to the artists' hearts and consciousness.

Hosted by nationally syndicated cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz and television host Vivian Vigil, this year's evemt will include walking altars by the following artists: Abel Alejandre, Edith Abeyta, Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, Miguel Barragan, Joe Bravo, Carolyn Casta??o, Elena Esparza, Consuelo Flores, Juana Flores, Katiria Gomez Daniel Gonzalez, Cici Segura Gonzalez, Jose Lozano, Poli Marichal, Gilbert 'Magu' Lujan, Lilia Ramirez, Sandy & Guadalupe Rodriguez, Robert Quijada and Orquidia Violeta.

Seat tickets usually sell fast and general admission tickets (standing only) will be available first come, first serve on the day of the event (get there early). For more information, contact Tr??pico de Nopal Gallery Art-Space, 213.481.8112, www.tropicodenopal.com.

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