Monday, September 28, 2009

How Do You Say "Quirky and Cool" in Spanish?

Photo courtesy of Casa Ramirez

The quirky diversity of our neighborhood never ceases to amaze me.

This weekend, I went to my Spanish class, which meets in a back corner of Cricket's Creamery & Cafe on 19th Street. Then I walked a few doors down to attend an El Día de los Muertos workshop for teachers at Casa Ramirez.

Have you been there already? If not, what are you waiting for? It's such a treat to meander among the aisles, touching handcrafted, colorful pieces and flipping through books with vibrant images of Mexican culture. It's a mini-vacation without the plane ride, hotel expense, and risk of bacterial infection. Did I mention the rolls of oil cloth available for purchase?

I found my way to the back room for the workshop. Because of my pre-existing commitment to my Spanish class, I was an hour late. I caught the tail-end of the presentation about the rituals and customs of El Día de los Muertos, which was free to teachers and presented by the owner of Casa Ramirez.

After the formal presentation, however, some members of the Brooke Smith Art Coalition spoke about the El Día de los Muertos they are planning for Sunday, November 1 from 4-8pm at Montie Beach Park. I didn't even realize there was such an active group of artists living just across N. Main. One of the members talked about how his house functions as an impromptu art studio for the community. Folks can use the hidden key to let themselves in and start working on some art.

Several of the artists volunteered to come to our schools to help our students work on pieces for El Día de los Muertos, and they volunteered to help us find porches for any altars we wanted to construct for ourselves along the processional route.

I was so inspired by their friendliness, commitment to bridging the divide between different cultures, their desire to preserve ritual and create new traditions, and their quirkiness. I can't wait to participate in the events in some way. For those of you who are also interested, here's a a list of related events:
  • Tuesday, October 20-Sunday, November 15: El Día de los Muertos Altar Exhibit at Casa Ramirez
  • Saturday, October 24, 6-9pm: Opening Reception
  • Sunday, November 1, dusk: Procession in honor of los muertos
  • Sunday, November 1, 3-8pm: El Día de los Muertos event in Montie Beach Park
If you want more information about the holiday to honor the deceased:
  1. Go to Wikipedia for a description of the holiday
  2. Learn how to make an altar to honor the deceased
I love our neighborhood. I really do.


  1. casa ramirez doesn't have a webpage, but they are on Facebook.
    to see their page

  2. I love Casa Rameriz - Macario and Krissy are so dang nice!!