Monday, October 20, 2014

A trip to Dreadful Things, 2226 Montana Avenue

My daughter and I finally made a trip to Dreadful Things. I'm kind of ashamed that it took me this long to get there, because this is my kind of place. The store is a really well done blend of Dia de los Muertos, carnival sideshow and freak attractions, natural oddities, gallery and jewelry. The only other place somewhat similar to Dreadful Things in El Paso is the decades-old Dave's Pawn Shop on South El Paso Street, but they really are two of a kind.

Dreadful Things had a very cool cabinet of curiosities that highlights the very colorful shop. There's something exciting to see around every corner and is well worth the trip to 2226 Montana Avenue.

Also, the prices at Dreadful Things are very daughter found an awesome steampunk necklace for only $12! Lots of local artists are represented at the gallery.

Check out Dreadful Things on Facebook!

Dreadful Things' cabinet of curiosities

Detail from Dreadful Things' cabinet of curiosities 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

There are some really cool Dia de los Muertos animations on YouTube. Here are links to some of my favorites...

CGI Student Academy Award Gold Medal Winner Short Film HD: "Dia De Los Muertos" from Whoo Kazoo

¡Viva Calaca! Part 1

¡Viva Calaca! Part 2 - Pink Elephants on Parade

Hasta los Huesos

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos


 The Book of Life Official Trailer


"The Book of Life" movie trailer & brief thoughts...

Well, it certainly seems appropriate that I'm looking forward to "The Book of Life," an animated film directed by Jorge Gutierrez and produced by Guillermo del Toro.  Dia de los Muertos is its primary inspiration! Here's a trailer for the movie, which opens on October 17. 

UPDATE: I was able to catch "The Book of Life" with my 13-year-old daughter on October 19 (my birthday). I have mixed opinions on the film. The animation is really beautiful, and the ways that many of the traditions of Dia de los Muertos are mixed into the film are really well done. However, I felt there were too many one-liners that were trying too hard to be clever. Very typical of animated movies for kids 7-12 years of age. Personally, I wish that the "tone" of the movie had been more like "The Corpse Bride"; more differentiation between the land of the living and the land of the dead. Really, if the whole Dia de los Muertos subplot was taken away, it's a classic story of two guys vying for the hand of a beautiful woman. Still, I'm happy I saw it, and it is a lot better than many other animated films out there. It really is a visual feast. I just didn't feel like I had seen anything REALLY special. 

Dia de los Muertos cakes at the Ranch Market

Saw these cakes and display at the Ranch Market on Yarbrough last week. They also had pan de muerto!

Dia de los Muertos signs at World Market

I saw these very cool Dia de los Muertos signs/posters at World Market. These ones weren't for sale, as they were for point-of-purchase. World Market also has some DDLM-inspired pieces, including items for the film "The Book of Life," which comes out on October 17.

The overwhelming majority of DDLM items in my personal collection are true folk art from Oaxaca and Veracruz. A lot of the items you'll find at stores are now made in Peru or China from molds. They may be hand-painted, but they tend to lack the individuality of items that are made by artisans in southern Mexico.

Dia de los Muertos events at Café Mayapan - 2014

Here's some information about this year's Dia de los Muertos events at Café Mayapan. The Mexican state that is being celebrated is this year is Oaxaca.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Dia de los Muertos events for 2014 are starting to become known here in El Paso!

Dia de los Muertos is just one month away! And here in El Paso, a really exciting new event is starting up thanks to the Borderland Friedas, Dos Lunas tequila and the Alamo Ballroom, 820 N. Raynor St. from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., November 1 & 2. Yours truly is really looking forward to attending this celebration!


Here's a press release, courtesy of the Borderland Fridas!

Day of the Dead Celebration at Alamo Ballroom 

El Paso – The Borderland Fridas are pleased to present their first annual Day of the Dead celebration entitled, “Mercado de los Muertos”, at the Alamo Ballroom 820 N. Raynor St., El Paso, Texas. 


The event will celebrate the lives of loved ones passed with altars, music, food and fabulous vendors selling Dia de los Muertos inspired artwork. The celebration will take place on Saturday and Sunday, November 1st event is free and the public is welcome to be a part this celebration. 


The Borderland Fridas is a group based out of El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM. The members have all been inspired at some time in our lives by the famous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. They share a desire to inform the community about the vibrant Mexican culture and to educate the public through art events, cultural celebrations and craft workshops.  


Members of the Borderland Fridas were instrumental in building the wonderful Day of the Dead event in Mesilla, NM and now wish to bring the celebration to El Paso on a yearly basis. 


Besides the Borderland Fridas, the event is sponsored in part by Dos Lunas Tequila and The Alamo Ballroom.


Info on an altar building workshop from Frank Varela...October 11

Here's some info on an altar building workshop by Frank Varela

FREE EVENT! Join us for this wonderful lecture on the altares of Dia De Los Muertos, presented by Frank Varela... where you will learn the different components of an altare, and the symbolism behind them. You will also learn how to create a beautiful altare inexpensively, and using mostly items that you can find around your home.

ENTER OUR CONTEST: Help us create a beautiful array of altars in the cemetery on Dia de Los Muertos this year! All who attend either one of our FREE Altares Workshops will be eligible to set up their own altar during our Dia De Los Muertos Festival - Concordia Cemetery (Nov 1), for a chance to win a prize for best altar!

Join us!
Saturday, October 11th
108 E. San Antonio
1:00 pm

Dia de los Muertos 2014 - Concordia Cemetery - El Paso

Here's information on events at Concordia Cemetery...

For more infomation, visit

or on Facebook at