Winter Videos

44 … A multi-faceted crew for a sparkling season, Christmas 1993 …

Film crew  as ghosts, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by gary Ruble.

Our crew as ghosts on a quiet night in Centro Alamos.

Calle Aurora connects the two busiest areas in Alamos: Alameda and Plaza de las Armas. It is an one-way street for cars and two-way passage for pedestrians, bicycles, and animals. It is my favorite street in Alamos, long and narrow with a gentle climb to the Plaza. Most of the night it can be still, homes sleeping as peaceful ghosts come out to loiter and reminisce. This is our crew doubling for ghosts and providing scale and detail to a night portrait frozen in time.

This is the crew that captured Alamos-Christmas-1993 and our hosts the Nuzums.

From left to right: Chaco Valdez, painting of Christina Vega by Jim Wison, Anders Tomlinson,
Gary Ruble, Donna Beckett, R. L. Harrington, Robert Ganey, and the Nuzums: Jolene, Kit,
Elizabeth and Pember. At this moment we were all together and thankful.

Gary Ruble photgraphing passerby from a ruin in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Gary Ruble photographs a passerby on Calle Hildalgo.

Gary Ruble took slides, shot 16 mm film, primarily single-frame time lapse, and helped with audio recording. He also disappeared into the arms of Alamos. Often the question would be asked, ” where is Gary?” and the answers were ” we last saw him headed off with some folks”. This is a good example of a ruin’s interior. Since our 1993 shoot the population of Alamos has nearly doubled. Looking at Alamos from space with Google maps I can see new construction and new neighborhoods. Alamos has been part of the southwest’s now dormant building boom. Another factor for Alamos’s growth is the same as its beginnings – silver. A large silver mine to the north reopened in 1999. I wonder how many ruins are still available for purchase and renovation?

Crew walks to town from Puerta Roja, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by unknown.

Part of the crew starts the day walking to town down Cerro Guadaloupe.

The crew was staying in two places a ten minute walk apart separated by Cerro Guadaloupe. In Alamos, the greatest joys maybe the unanticipated twinklings en-route to a preconceived destination. For R.L. Harringto, Robert Ganey, Donna Beckett and Anders Tomlinson this was one of those moments as they came out of cool winter shade at Puerta Roja and walked into warm sun as they approached Alamos Centro.

Kit Nuzum videos crew creating shadow dance, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Kit Nuzum videos the crew creating an impromptu shadow dance.

Within in every artist there is a child that will not be silenced. At times, the child will take control and a sense of humanity is produced. This is one of those moments: human shadows dancing across a wall of time. There was the wall, the sun was setting, why not dance holding hands? This recreated a moment from a 1983 Alamos film shot by Anders Tomlinson and Kit Nuzum of kids dancing by the camera, holding hands, with their shadows racing across the ground.

Kit Nuzum standing, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Kit Nuzum, as the sun bids adieu, contemplates the meaning of meanings.

Christopher, his friends know him as Kit, Nuzum first introduced me to Alamos. We met on a beach while filming and helping with a preproduction setup of a Suzanne Lacy public art performance, Whispers, The Waves, The Wind, featuring white covered tables with white chairs and women, all over the age of 65, dressed in white discussing their lives. The women’s reflections would be broadcasted over speakers up on the bluffs surrounding the cove. An interesting moment in time of age contemplating time.

A couple of months later, spring of 1985, he invited me to go on a Mexico road trip. All he said about Alamos was that he knew I would like it. We arrived in Alamos hours before sunrise. Driving up Calle Aurora into, and around the Plaza, to Calle Comercio #2 and entering the front courtyard of the Casa Nuzum was a step into a place I had never been before. Kit walked me through three garden areas, fountains gurgling under the stars, to a guest room waiting for me in the back. I went to sleep in a dream, I awake to Alamos.

Today, 2013, Kit Nuzum is off the grid and brewing beer outside Puerto Varas, Chile.

Here are 1993 Winter Alamos videos filmed by this crew.

To see more Alamos, Sonora, Mexico videos by Anders and his associates.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Casa de los Santos

32 … Christmas on the road came home at Casa de los Santos

Living room at Casa de los Santos, 1992, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Gary Ruble.

A quiet moment in a beautiful space, the workers are gone for the holidays.

Years of neglect during the 20th century chipped away at Calle Molina #8, yet another grand Almada family mansion turned to ruin. Jim and Nancy Swickard purchased what was left standing in 1988, a central section minus two wings that once surrounded the courtyard on three sides. A four year renovation effort commenced with as many as twenty workers on site at any given time. When we arrived in 1992 the project was nearly finished, a new spirit had taken up residence in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. Our photographic crew of five, led by internationally renown Gary Ruble, prepared to light the living room, kitchen, interior portales and pool area. Casa de los Santos was ours for a couple of hours.

Kitchen at Casa de los Santos, 1992, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo Gary Ruble.

A maestro was brought in to create a dramatic domed brick kitchen ceiling.

Kitchens are the engine rooms of Álamos. Here, is where living starts anew each day. Here, is physical and social sustenance. What struck me about Casa de los Santos was its majestic scale anchored by reverent detail. There was much to see but nothing was crowded, everything had its special place, space flowed from here to there as the interior decorating became a pilgrimage in and of itself.

Interior portales at Casa de los Santos, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by gary Ruble.

The inside portal, and climate, provides an inside – outside way of life.

The interior portals are an Álamos way of life. Arches support roofs without exterior walls and protect residents and casa from the elements. Here, under shade, gardens, views and furnishings come together providing living and dining areas. Imagine sitting here, outside the wall are the muffled sounds of town, a dog barks, children play… Inside, bird sings and wings flutter, breezes come and go, water features provide soothing sound, music and guest voices travel across the courtyard. This is now and then, Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Pool area at Casa de los Santos, 1992, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Gary Ruble.

It is still, a winter squall has passed. Breathe deep, relax.

Our crew was staying at Puerta Roja Inn on Calle Galeana and Casa Nuzum on Calle Comercio. Though we were separated by only a short walk, mere minutes, we were worlds apart. And this another aspect of Álamos, behind each front door is a social universe unto itself. And it is easy to become lost in the moment and swept away by chance meetings and impromptu invitations. I, as director – producer, was starting to lose control of our efforts. The photo shoot at Casa de los Santos was the first time in days we were all together and on the same page. This moment was my Christmas, we were doing what we came to do. December 1992, Casa de los Santos, and our team in action, priceless.

Hacienda de los Santos 2015 Update

Everyday is history, here the Hacienda's main pool lives on.

Everyday is history, here the Hacienda’s main pool lives on. Photo: Amy Haskell

Casa de los Santos has grown over the years, expanding into other colonial mansions
all interconnected by walkways and maturing gardens.

casa de los santos, alamos, sonora mexico. the largest fountain which was originally the sugar mill's 'Mill'.  It had oxen and a stone wheel to crush the sugar cane.  The operation went into bankruptcy in 1710 and we are the second owner's of record.

Listen closely and one may hear the past come alive. Photo: Amy Haskell

“The Hacienda goes back into a construction mode in July, 2015 with some remodeling work on the sugar mill property to create a true, and long awaited, gift shop adjacent to the Cafe Agave. A new Spa will be ready to open in the Fall and the present spa. We hope to have three totally new Master Suites for next season, plus two inner connecting Hacienda Guest Rooms for families. Our total room and suite count will be 32 for next season. We will have some exciting news this summer about some international recognition for Hacienda de los Santos…” Jim Swickard

To see it as it is today visit Hacienda de los Santos Resort and Spa.

For more 2015 summer updates visit Jim Swickard notes

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.