Álamos Cine Festival

april 3-6, 2014 alamos film festival header

Come One, Come All… It’s movietime!

A Magical moment in a Magical Pueblo.  Photo: Joel Gastélum

A magical moment in a Pueblo Magical. Photo: Joel Gastélum

r for the fourth annual alamos film festival, small.The photo above is from the closing ceremony at the Palacio.  The theme of the festival was “100 years of Maria Felix” and Miguel Castillo is singing “Maria Bonita” with Maria Felix’s eyes projected onto the screen behind him.  After he finished singing we played the movie “Yerba Mala” which was filmed in Alamos two years ago.  There were 700 seats filled in the Palacio for the closing ceremony.

Audience inside the palacio for the 4th annual alamos film festival.  alamos, sonora, mexico. 2014. photo - Joel Gastélum

What is a festival without an audience? Photo: Joel Gastélum

Meanwhile outside in the streets

line of people waiting outside the Palacio, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico to watch the film festival.  photo by Joel Gastélum

They came to be part of the film festival. photo- Joel Gastélum

More people were lining up outside and we were out of seats, so we made the announcement that we would also show “Yerba Mala” in the Plaza.  An additional 500 people showed up to see it in the plaza.

Outdoor Cine on a plaza side street.  photo - Joel Gastélum.  alamos, sonora, mexico.

Outdoor Cine on a plaza side street. Photo: Joel Gastélum

Maria Felix exhibition

inside the Museo Costumbrista de Sonora.  april 5th, 2014 opening of an Maria felix exhibition.  alamos, sonora, mexico.   photo - Joel Gastélum

Inside The Museo Costumbrista de Sonora. Photo: Joel Gastélum

On Saturday, April 5th there was also a Maria Felix exhibition in the museum. The exhibit was organized by our festival president, René Solis and was put together by a curator from the museum of Popular Arts in Mexico City. The exhibition will stay in the museum for at least a month and then will go to Mexico City and Paris this summer. Seen here from left to right are Benjamín Anaya (Presidente Municipal), Maria Duran (Representante de IMCINE) and Monica Luna (representante del Intitudo Sonorense de Cultura).

Inside museo costumbrista de sonora.  april 5th.  maria felix exhibition. photo - Joel Gastélum

History is for us all, young and old. Photo: Joel Gastélum

Here are some of the people that make the Festival happen.

caroline Duarte, larissa veg, joel gastélum, john sheedy and Andres Montiel.  alamos film festival april 3-6 2014. alamos sonora mexico.  photo by joel gastélum.

Hard work and good friends help make a festival happen. Selfie: Joel Gastélum

This happy moment is shared by some of the folks involved with the Festival. From left to right: Carolina Daurte (Festival coordinator), Larissa Vega (Maestra de ceremonia), Joel Gastélum (festival tech guy/ photographer), John Sheedy (Festival director) and Andres Montiel (actor, workshop teacher). This looks like a place to be having fun.

It takes a community to present a film festival

A group portrait of alamos film festival organizers taken in the Alamos Museum. Photo: Joel Gastélum.  alamos sonora mexico. april 3-6, 2014.

A group portrait taken in the Alamos Museum. Photo: Joel Gastélum

The Festival organizers in the photo above from left to right: Rosario Alvarez (El Turismo del Palacio), luz del Carmen Parra (Representante del Turismo del Estado), Angel Flores (Representante de la Educación), René Solís (Presidente de FICAM), Monica Luna (representante del Intitudo Sonorense de Cultura), Benjamín Anaya (Presidente Municipal), Maria Duran (Representante de IMCINE), Antonio Estrada (Director del Museo), Sandra Bustillos Sheedy (Secretaria del Festival), John Sheedy (Director del Festival), Carolina Duarte (Coordinadora del Festival), Marisol de Vega (amiga del festival). This group portrait was taken in the Alamos Museum on April 5th during the inauguration of the Maria Felix exhibit. The exhibit is sponsored by FICAM and will go on to Mexico City and Paris this summer.

now and then spacer

Notes courtesy of John Sheedy. John is a teacher at the United World College as well as Director of the Alamos Film Festival and a filmmaker.

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©2014 Alamos-Sonora-Mexico.com and Joel Gastélum, all rights reserved.

Roof Repairs

39 … Workers on the roofs, a common sight for those looking down …

Workers repairing roofs, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Above a ceiling there is hopefully a working protective roof.

1750 was a hard year for Alamos with 6,000 people dying from the plague. King Charles III of Spain responded to the disaster by sending Inspector General of the Interior Don Jose Rodriques Gallardo who reported that Alamos has no jail, Municipal buildings or squares. Orders were given to layout streets, align houses and build a jail. A new Alamos street-grid was designed with houses that had adjoining walls to keep squatters out of Centro Alamos. The result is what exists today, Andalucian architecture built by imported maestros from Southern Spain. The mansions’ floor plans, patterned after Roman homes, were either square, U or L shaped surrounding walled courtyards. Then is now.

Worker painting roof in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

From a distance this could easily pass as modern art.

To have a roof one needs walls. Alamos walls started with four feet of rock and rubble. On top of the “foundation” adobe bricks stacked up to reach fifteen feet high and were two to three feet in thickness. Much of the hard labor was done by Mayo Indians. The wide walls would insulate the interiors and help support the coming roof along with plaster covered columns made of stone or fired brick.

Workers on roof, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Roofs can be nice places, in good weather, to work with their views and privacy,

In an coming journal entry we will look at how roofs were made by examining ruins and restorations. Flat roofs do not work that well in Southern Sonora when heavy rains that can not be removed fast enough. It becomes a ever-present vigil to spot leaks before they cause damage to the permanent structure. It is a dance brought on by squalls and summer torrential downpours. It is also wise to watch where one is walking on old roofs, since footsteps can create new leaks. And so it is…

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Álamos Bandstand – Kiosk

76… Quiet days in Plaza de Las Armas as stewardship continues on…

Kiosk- band stand with green roof, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

1984, It is a quiet day in the well-maintained Plaza de Las Armas.

All sight lines lead one to the Kiosk, the visual centerpiece of the
Plaza de Las Armas. In days of old, traveling dance bands would
donate an hour public performance in the Kiosk to avoid paying a
municipal tax and also help promote their evening concert. The
elevated bandstand Kiosk offers a wonderful vantage point of Plaza
activities and surroundings.

Looking down at the Plaza in the Spring of 1982. Photo: Kit Nuzum.

Bishop Reyes Cathedral and Sierra de Álamos as a backdrop, especially
with magic sunrise-sunset light, is a stunning vista from the Kiosk.
Here, curious imaginations can sense the past. The kiosk, which was
built in Mazatlán, Sinoloa and moved in sections and pieces to
Álamos, was dedicated on September 15, 1904.
And the music continues on.

Summer day in the Plaza de Las Armas, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

1996, large rose bushes filled up the park surrounding the Kiosk.

Twelve years have passed from the first photo to the second. Much is
the same and some has changed. The landscaping is different: roses
cover much of the bare ground have replace small trees and scattered
bushes. A decorative backdrop for a drinking fountain has been added
to the northwest corner of the park. And the kiosk’s canopy is now
painted red. Many of my North American friends in Álamos were
displeased with the change, they felt it was a cheap move to make the
plaza more touristy. Ah, the hands of change move in synchronized
concert with the hands of time as man restores, rebuilds and remodels.

restoration work on the Kiosk in Plaza de Las Armas, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Restorers begin work on the inside panels of the Kiosk canopy.

The cloth painted mural panels in the Kiosk were badly deteriorated
and pigeons nests were inside the torn fabric and the canopy
ceiling. Museo Costumbrista de Sonora’s director Tony Estrada
was in charge of the restoration project. Osvaldo Contreras Cantu,
the man in red, did the reproductions of the quiosco paintings in
1996. Another restoration took place in 2008 and there will be
more in the future – just another day in the life and upkeep
in a Colonial town.

alamos sonora mexico kiosk torn fabric panel, 1996, photo by anders tomlinson

Music is part of the fabric that is daily life in Álamos.

Antonio, a fine-art sculptor in his own right, has strived to maintain
the colonial integrity of Centro Álamos. As I write this post I
realize I have images in one of my Álamos books of un-scanned slides
of the panels just before these men started to remove them.

torn kiosk fabric panel, 1996, alamos sonora mexico. photo by anders tomlinson

There is wear and tare as days, becomes months, become years.

Earlier today I scanned the slides and added them to my digital Álamos
image database. I saw on the beautiful tourism site Álamos, Pueblo Magico
that the panels were restored, and maintained, to their original
magnificence. Stewardship in the face of advancing time and the hands
of unrelenting gravity is never done until there is no more to steward.

Plaza de Las Armas seen from Mirador, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A bird-eyes view of Plaza de Las Armas as seen from Mirador.

Even from a great distance the Kiosk draws the eye as one takes in the
Plaza from up high on Mirador to the east. The colonial charm of
Álamos, and the interaction of its citizens, is evident in this photo.
On November 23, 2000, President Zedillo declared 188 Álamos, Sonora,
Mexico structures as National Historic Monuments. The buildings seen
here were built in the last half of the 18th century on older existing
sites. I am certain that a photo taken today from the same place with
the same lens will be much the same. Plants and paint may be
different but the historic structures will be the structures that have
been here for over 200 years.

The Kiosk-Bandstand in Plaza de las Armas, Álamos, Sonora, México from Guadalupe hill in the Summer of 1996.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Kiosk scenes and details from 1996.

The Kiosk can be a place to be seen and a place to look out and see.
At times it is a place to roost or talk or play or take photos or
embrace life.

Kiosk/Bandstand in Plaza de las Armas, Álamos, Sonora, México.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson, late February 2017.

Carnival come to the Plaza in late February 2017.

It is another year and another day in the Plaza. The kiosk/bandstand
remains. There have been changes to it and much has remained the
same, this is true for much of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Detail of the Kiosk in Plaza de las Armas, Álamos, Sonora, mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson, late february 2017.

The beauty is in the detail for all to see and appreciate.

I believe the restoration project in 2008 accounts for the kiosk’s
present color schemes. The surrounding bushes and trees have gotten
larger. The last time I visited, the kiosk was surrounded by rose
bushes, several palm trees and mucho bare ground. Often the first
person I saw in the morning was the gardener tending roses at

Nighttime is coming to the kiosk andPlaza de las Armas, Álamos, Sonora, mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson, late february 2017.

Nighttime is a special time in the Plaza, most weekends there is an event.

There are magical moment awaiting the kiosk as the sun is going down
and stars will come out and move slowly across the Sonoran sky. One
of the biggest changes I saw since visiting in 1996 was the amount of
decorative municipal lighting in Centro Álamos including the staircase
leading to the top of Mirador. It is beginning to cooldown. Food
aromas, music and conversation fill the Plaza. The kiosk is here
for another night as it has been since 1904.

Estudiantina de Álamos performs before a packed Plaza
as a film crew captures the event.

It is a big day in the Plaza. A TV crew has come to town and is filming
a music concert. Estudiantina de Álamos, a crowd favorite, is
performing. They will also back up several other acts. The bandstand
is surrounded by adolescent girls and an scattered smiling mothers.

Spring Day in the Plaza – Part Two: Getting Ready for another Day.
In the cool of the morning folks go about hand sweeping and cleaning
the streets and sidewalks of Álamos, Sonora, Mexiso. Residents take
pride in the town’s appearance. Enjoy a 360 degree pan of the plaza
from the gazebo-bandstand in its center. We end with the garbage men
making their rounds.

This is a Blessed Season for a Multitude of Reasons.
In mid-afternoon the air pressure begins to drop and a stiff wind
sweeps the valley from the west, a storm is coming. Night falls and
showers start. We go from the Plaza to the Alameda and back. The
following day the sun comes out and then is covered by clouds. Kids
play and men work gathering sand in the arroyos. A summer day can be
complex in its textures and atmospheres.

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All photos by Anders Tomlinson unless noted.
©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.