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Mexpert's Blog

Travel news and information on Mexico from Mexico.

Standing tall: this six-foot pair of feet served as a column base in pre-Hispanic Mexico

Children of the Plumed Serpent, a major exhibit of pre-Hispanic artifacts, opened this week in Los Angeles. More than five centuries old, the 200 pieces on show are on loan from collections around the world, including the UK, Austria, Canada, Germany, the US and Mexico.

Among the prized works are the Nutall Codice, which may have been among the first batch of gifts Hernan Cortez shipped to Spain’s King Carlos V in the 16th century as proof of the marvels of the New World; it was borrowed from London’s British Museum. Another featured relic is also the show’s largest: a six-foot-tall (1.8 meters) column base in the shape of the feet of an Atlante, or giant; borrowed from the museum at Tula, in central Mexico.

Made of jade, turquoise, gold, seashells, pearls and other materials, these objects depict the way various cultures in Mexico, including the Maya, Toltec, Zapotec, Mixtec and Nahua, venerated the Plumed Serpent god, Quetzalcoatl. The show will travel to Dallas before arriving in Mexico towards the end of 2012.


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The Color of Spring in Mexico City

Blue jacarandas signal springtime in the capital

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Painter Johan Falkman

Many of us are inclined to think that, with the advent of photography, the art of portrait painting has gone the way of the dodo bird. Not so, proves Swedish painter Johan Falkman, whose newly inaugurated one-man show at Mexico City’s San Ildefonso museum features more than 90 of his “psychological portraits.”

Touted for reinventing the genre through his expressionist style, Falkman says his greatest inspiration has been Mexico’s muralists, including Siqueiros, Orozco and O’Gorman. Their influence is evident in his group and individual studies in oil featuring bold strokes, highly textured surfaces and vibrant colors more typical of tropical Mexico than northern Sweden, where artists tend to use more muted shades, says exhibit curator Leticia Lopez Orozco.

Falkman’s subjects are other Swedes, from well-known doctors to actors to members of the royal family, and occasionally himself. “All of the characters I have painted in this exhibition are experts at playing their roles,” says the artist, which is one reason he selected them. Are his subjects generally happy with the end result? “Some are quite happy, but there have also been people who have been completely destroyed by it,” he admits with a laugh. “Some people have been very shocked by my depiction of them, probably because I have focused on an aspect of their personality they were not aware of.”

Falkman talks with art critic Robert C. Morgan about his career and artistic process Saturday, March 24, at 1pm (in English, with simultaneous translation). Also, art students and teachers are invited to watch the artist at work, from Tuesday, March 27, to Thursday, March 29, 10 am to 1 pm; reservations required by calling 5789 2505 or emailing

  • Johan Falkman, La alteridad en el espejo
  • Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso
  • Justo Sierra 16, Centro Historico
  • Until July 15, 2012


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Mexico City’s booming western suburb of Santa Fe is really a city within a city, with its own business district, schools, restaurant row(s), shopping centers, residences and hotels. Already home to a Sheraton Suites (the area’s first hotel), Fiesta Americana and Fiesta Inn, Westin, Camino Real, NH (Spanish chain), Novotel (French chain) and Distrito Capital, a Mexican design hotel, Santa Fe will soon see the opening of a 223-room Marriott and a Presidente InterContinental, along with branches of its top restaurants Au Pied de Cochon and Palm. For more new and noteworthy developments in the neighborhood, read on.

LUCY SHANGHAI: Sleek, spacious and with a ceiling reminiscent of Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium, this modern “Oriental urban kitchen & bar” borrows from East Asian cuisines, including Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese, to create its own signature dishes. Choose a roomy table indoors or out on the wide covered terrace and let Memorias de una geisha, a sweet-and-sour cassis-and-cranberry martini, or Bali Waves, a refreshing blend of gin, lemongrass, ginger, lime and ginger ale, welcome you to the Lucy Shanghai experience.

No relation to Joe’s Shanghai, a favorite NYC spot for pork dumplings, Lucy nevertheless serves a spectacular version of her own. A Latin-Asian fusion, the Dumplings de Pancetta are rice-flour empanadas filled with soy sauce-and-wine marinated pancetta sautéed in a spicy chipotle chili sauce (100 pesos). There are six dumplings to an order so you can share if you must. Other mouthwatering starters include the Shanghai fish ’n chips (bass tempura with a citrus mayo dip; 170 pesos) and Min Pao de Cerdo o Pollo (sweet-and-sour minced ribs or chicken thighs served with steamed Chinese-style tortillas; 80 pesos).

Star dishes include a fabulous Asian chicken almondine made with breaded chicken breast in a crunchy toasted almond crust (180 pesos) and smoked Peking duck three days in the making served with wok fried rice flavored with duck juices, sesame seed tortillas and plum sauce (260 pesos). Leave room for dessert. Like everything else on the menu, the desserts are infused with the flavors and aromas of the orient, including the seasoned tapioca and ginger chocolate mousse.

  • Lucy Shanghai
  • Juan Salvador Agraz 97
  • T: 5292 4022

WONDERFUL WORLD OF WINE: You’re probably familiar with the concept of food and wine pairing, but do you know which varietal brings out the best in a Habano? Delving a little deeper into the wonderful world of wine, the Sheraton Suites Santa Fe Hotel this week kicked off the first of eight Wednesday night wine workshops that go beyond the cursory to reveal a little more about wines from around the world and why we love them. Each session showcases a variety of grape, from Chardonnay to Shiraz, and a different winemaking region, along with related topics like the health benefits of wine, the increasing popularity of artisanal cheeses, and changes in wine production. Coming up next week is Spanish wine tasting, featuring “guest grape” tempranillo. Side dish? Spain’s legendary aged ham, Jamon Iberico, also known as pata negra, how it’s made and why sybarites the world over make such a fuss over it. Each workshop costs 390 pesos per person (free for hotel guests), including discounts on purchases; dinner/workshop packages are available.

PLAZA SAMARA: The area’s newest shopping center has a smart collection of shops, as well as a select gourmet supermarket. When complete, the complex, which includes office towers, will also house Santa Fe’s Marriott hotel.

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The discovery of the New World implied the discovery of a new world of no-no’s, a recently inaugurated exhibit of religious art shows. Transgression and Temptation in New Spain, now showing at Tepotzotlan’s National Viceregal Museum near Mexico City, illustrates the array of sins, peccadilloes and offenses that preoccupied the clergy and ruling classes in colonial-era Mexico, including some that were never an issue before, such as indulging in too much chocolate or pulque, two staples of the pre-Hispanic diet that were unknown in Europe. Both were believed to boost your energy levels, but also your libido if taken in excess, so prohibitions soon followed. This novel exhibit brings together artwork from major collections, including Mexico City’s Franz Mayer Museum and the Guadalupe Museum of Zacatecas, as well as major artists from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The 74 pieces on show, ranging from oil paintings to banned books, are grouped into four themes, including the struggle between good and evil and the road to salvation.

  • El pecado y las tentaciones en la Nueva España
  • Museo Nacional del Virreinato
  • Plaza Hidalgo 99, Tepotzotlan, Estado de Mexico
  • Until April 29, 2012

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On January 6, three South American passengers land at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport only to get sucked into a bureaucratic black hole generated by baffling immigration procedures and the bungling or corrupt officials handling them. That’s the premise of the play “Juarez 6.01,” a hilarious and hard-hitting political farce in which nothing is clear and no one is innocent, including the alleged offenders, each of whose motives for being in Mexico is murkier than the next.

“Nobody comes off looking good in this play,” says director Ernesto Alvarez, an Uruguayan who has lived in Mexico for the past 15 years. “Deceit is a constant theme throughout the story, but it also touches on the Latin American exodus, fleeing the dictatorships, searching for better opportunities abroad, the expatriate experience.”

Written by Mexican actor-director Eduardo Castañeda, “Juarez” features well-known Argentinean-born actor Juan Carlos Colombo, who has lived in Mexico since 1975 and appeared in the groundbreaking 2003 film “La Ley de Herodes” (released in the U.S. as “Herod’s Law”). The play stars Juan Carlos Medellin as an affable yet rotten-to-the-core immigration agent eager to profit from the misfortune of others.

  • Juarez 6.01, El respeto al derecho me es ajeno
  • Teatro Casa de la Paz, Cozumel 33, Colonia Roma
  • T. 5286 5315;
  • Until April 15: Thursday/Friday at 8 pm, Saturday/Sunday at 6 pm
  • General admission: 150 pesos

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Maria Ines Pintado as the young American activist

My Name is Rachel Corrie,” a play about the life and tragic death of the young American peace activist, will be showing at Mexico City’s Foro Shakespeare starting Monday, March 6. Corrie was crushed to death in March 2003 by an Israeli army bulldozer as she was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza. The 23-year-old Olympia, Washington native was volunteering at the time with the International Solidarity Movement.

Derived entirely from Corrie’s diary entries and email letters, the play was written by English actor-director Alan Rickman and journalist Katharine Viner. It premiered at London’s Royal Court Theater in 2005, winning awards for Best Director, Best New Play and Best Solo Performance. It has since been staged by a variety of theater companies around the world. This Spanish-language production features a brilliant performance by Maria Ines Pintado under the direction of Edgar Alvarez Estrada.

The play is a gripping personal account of life in the occupied territories and a fascinating portrayal of a college student so motivated and aware of the world around her that she is compelled to respond to a conflict that brings a measure of violence into all of our lives.

  • Me llamo Rachel Corrie
  • Foro Shakespeare, Zamora No. 7, Condesa
  • Mondays at 8:30 pm from March 6 to 26

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