Monday, October 27, 2008

Sir Knight of the Rueful Countenance

"There once was a man who read so much he went crazy."  So begins a children's version of Don Quixote that Noah picked up in Donkey Jote, the English language bookstore here.  Originally published in 1605, Quixote is the man who read of knights and chivalry, then decided to style himself as a knight and go adventuring with his "squire" Sancho Panza.  It is Sancho who dubs Quixote "Sir Knight of the Rueful Countenance."

With a museum here dedicated to all things Don Quixote, Guanajuato began celebrating Quixote and author Miguel de Cervantes in the 1950's.  The festival called Cervantino has become a three-week celebration of the arts, and some of the venues offer free seats, so we are sampling music and dance, particularly at the Alhondiga outdoor stage - that's where Dana is in the photo.

Noah's favorite event so far, The Aluminum Show, was a modern dance extravaganza from Israel involving, yes, aluminum.  Dancers variously moved a metallic-looking two-story tall robot through the audience, shot space blanket looking material through a cannon out into the audience, and gyrated energetically. We've also seen several folkloricos, two focusing on traditional Mexican dances and another a Mexican dance group doing a tribute to Israeli folk music, and a ballet/modern dance mix.

We joined the young and hip of Guanajuato at Instituto del Sonido's techno-funk concert.  Tom caught Makossa & Megablast from Austria, and we all liked La Troba Kung Fu because they had a lead accordionist and ska beats. We have also heard a costumed punk band playing on a street stage, various folk guitar groups, and the ubiquitous Peruvian panpipe group.  They were playing Simon & Garfunkel's "I'd Rather Be a Hammer Than a Nail."  Or did Simon & Garfunkel steal a traditional song?
Cervantino means lots of people and vendors wandering the city.  If you suddenly need a Don Quixote fake moustache, you'll find sellers of them on every corner.  There are plenty of street performers as well, from the Insectos (see photo) to various mimes.  Dana's favorite mime is the guy in cowboy attire who is spray-painted silver.  Completely.  He even wears mirrored shades so you can't see any hint of unpainted skin around his eyes.  This type of street performer reminds us of Hollywood Boulevard, except here they stand on a soapbox and don't speak a word.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to read, in English, Cervantes' epic tome.  My copy of Don Quiote is 1142 pages of Three Stooges humor and the longest sentences I've tried since Faulkner in college.  This means it will be finished long after the Cervantino festival concludes.  I decided it is better to read leisurely than have a rueful countenance myself.

1 comment:

TomWart said...

It's been awhile since I've been updated on your adventures, so I thank Amy for the October forwardings. The only Quixotic tales we hear up north come from the oratory of Sarah Palin -- and they're rarely chivalrous or inspirational. I'm delighted to read of all the family explorations. Have a grand Dios de los Muertos!
Tom Wartelle