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Merida Events: The Olimpo is Back!

The Olimpo is BACK!

We cannot believe how much we missed her! This promises to be a great week for cultural opportunities in Merida and in all of Yucatan – and we are just so happy to see both old and new opportunities to enjoy the rich and varied cultural life available to us.

Art Classes: Casa de Los Artistas

Calle 60 #405 entre 45 y 43 Merida, Centro
Taught by Artists in Mexico (
For: Young People and Adults
Dates: Sept. 3 to Oct. 22
Times: Mondays and Tuesdays 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Cost: $3,000 (includes materials and personal attention)
Contact: 928-6566 e-mail: info [at] artistsinmexico [dot] com

TGI Friday’s Bartender Competition

Last Wednesday night, our own Patt Barrington had a bar-side seat at TGI Friday’s Bartender Competition and filed this story:


What a show! What a crowd! What fun! TGI Friday’s held their annual Bartender’s Competition on Wednesday, August 29th coinciding with the 13th Anniversary of TGI Friday’s in Merida!

The competitors, customers and staff were in full party swing! The judges’ occasional smiles and laughs convinced me that they were having a very difficult time trying to remain solemn!



AND THE WINNER: Ricardo Heredia !!!
Ricardo (on the left) and Juan

Contestants were judged on their personalities, as in meeting and greeting the judges, and in taking, making (with bottles, glasses, mixing cups, ice, garnishes and straws all twirling and flying) and serving said judges – on twirled and floating napkins, of course!

Ricardo will represent TGI Friday’s Merida in the next step of the 8 month event of TGI Friday’s World Bartender Championship. This competition, per TGI Friday’s corporate spokesman, begins in August with approximately 8,000 TGI Friday bartenders and concludes with the finals held in Las Vegas in February.

TGI Friday’s has long been credited with having invented the flair style of bartending and the championship honors this charm, talent and their charismatic bartenders around the world!

All funds raised during this world wide event, over $100,000 USD per year, benefit charities. What a wonderful thing!!

Media coverage and emcee duties were courtesy of EXA FM 99.3 and Ms. Jennifer Ramos, who definitely contributed to the carnival style of the night.


Congratulations Ricardo! Good luck in the next round!

Feliz Aniversario Merida TGI Friday’s!!!

Monday (Lunes) September 3, 2007

Yucatan Living Conversaciones con Amigos (Conversations with Friends)
Come one, come all! You do not have to be a member to attend. Come to practice Spanish or English. There are always a few English and Spanish native speakers, helping each other with pronunciation, vocabulary and learning each other’s customs.
Location: Merida English Library, Calle 53 #524 x 66 y 68.

Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Admission: small donation

Yucatan Living VAQUERÍA Folkloric Ballet

Since the 18th century, when cattle ranching was at its peak and the main source of wealth in Yucatan, at roundup time, the cattle rancher would invite all of his friends and neighbors to a fiesta, so he could show off his wealth. At these events, the wives of the vaqueros (the men who worked the cattle) would dance. Thus, the name Vaquería. Merida continues to support the Vaquería, a spectacular ballet, featuring the Jaranera Orchestra and the City Folkloric Ballet & Trova Yucateca.
Location: First floor of the Ayuntamiento in the Plaza Grande (the building with the clock)

Time: All Mondays 9:00 PM

Admission: Free

Tuesday (Martes) September 4, 2007

Yucatan Living Movie: Trainspotting

Directed by Danny Boyle. Cast: Cast: Ewan McGregor ( Renton ); Ewen Bremner (Spud); Jonny Lee Miller (Sick Boy); Kevin McKidd (Tommy); Robert Carlyle (Begbie); Kelly Macdonald (Diane); Peter Mullan (Swanney); Irvine Welsh (Mikey). Synopsis: Trainspotting takes a pragmatic approach to drug use, capturing the exhausting, intensely uncomfortable daily routine of a group of heroin addicts. They stay together because of this common goal and it is not an attractive sight. Nonetheless, Boyle combines the macabre with the comical, and blurs the boundaries between realism and fantasy.

Location: Centro Cultural Jose Marti
Av. Colón X C 20 En el Parque de las Américas, Col.
García Ginerés
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: Free


Yucatan Living Tuesday of Trova: Los Duendes del Mayab

You just can’t miss this! There are no other performances in the world like the trios of Yucatan , and Los Duendes del Mayab is one of the best. For a taste of what you will hear, click here.

Location: The Auditorium at the Olimpo
Time: 8:30 PM

For: Adults and Children over the age of 6
Admission: Free

Yucatan Living Mérida Men’s Club

Would you like to join an informal group with no dues, no officers and where the sole purpose is camaraderie? The Merida Men’s Club is a multi-national, English-speaking group here in Merida that meets for coffee, breakfast and friendly conversation on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Tuesday of every month from 9:00 to10:30 am. Speakers are invited to address the group on subjects of general and local interest. The venue often changes, although lately they have been meeting at the Cafe Bistro Kaapej on Prolongacion Montejo, a half block north of the Circuito Colonias, more commonly known as the “Burger King Circle”. To learn more and to put your name on their email list, contact Dan Ninburg (928-3866) or Roger Bowie (924-6792). You can also contact Dan via email at bushninburg [at] yahoo [dot] com
Location: Cafe Bistro Kaapej on Prolongacion Montejo
Time: 9:00 AM

Yucatan Living Remembrance Musicals

This is a weekly dance, held since every Tuesday night since Valentine’s Day, 1984. There is plenty of space in the park for dancing and food vendors. The original band was the Band of Memory and the first song played here was "Musical Workers.” Today, we listen to the Big Band sounds of the forties, provided by the wonderful Jaranara Orchestra. Best of all, this is a great place to practice your chachachá and your mambo , or to just sit and watch the people of Merida enjoy dancing under the open skies.

Location: Parque de Santiago, Calle 72 at Calle 59
Time: Every Tuesday at 8:30 PM
Admission: Free

Wednesday (Miercoles) September 5, 2007

Yucatan Living Wednesday’s at Peon Contreras Theater:
Costumes and Traditions of Yucatan
The Folkloric Ballet of the State, The Infantil Folkloric Ballet (ages 8 to 12), and the Jaranera Orchestra. This is not your ordinary Folkloric Ballet. It is an extravaganza and well worth seeing. It is especially important to come out and support the children of the Infantil Folkloric Ballet. They begin their training at a very young age and practice diligently, in addition to their school work and chores at home. They are so talented and look forward to the attention and appreciation they get from their audiences. Let’s all go out and let them know just how wonderful they really are.

Location: Teatro Peon Contreras

Time: 9:00 PM
Admission: $50 General Admission, $30 for teachers, students, ISSTEY and INAPAM

Yucatan Living Wednesday en Concierto
We literally do not think anyone can find finer music anywhere in the world than in Yucatan . Jesus Armando is a phenomenal voice for both traditional trova and contemporary Yucatecan music. Spend a little time on his website and there is no way you will miss this performance. The website itself is a concert. One can only imagine how fine the performance will be!

Location: The Auditorium at the Olimpo
Time: 9:00 PM For Adults and Children over the age of 6
Admission: Free

Yucatan Living Wednesday’s Regional Theater

This week’s Location: Colonia Cortes Sarmiento

On the Basketball field: Calle 8 x 63-B y 63-C

For the entire family
Time: 7:00 PM
Admission: Free

Thursday (Jueves) September 6, 2007

Yucatan Living Recital of Voice and Piano: Julio César Velázquez Castillo and Alberto Alvarez Iñiguez

In 22 year old Julio César Velázquez Castillo, we very well may have a combination of his idols Plácido Domingo and Enrico Caruso. This young man will be leaving soon to represent Mexico , with four other vocalists, in Dresden , Germany , in the Competition del Opera, so we all need to attend this performance to let him know how much we appreciate him and that our best wishes go with him to Germany . Alberto Alvarez Iñiguez, an accomplished pianist in his own right, is currently Julio César Velázquez Castillo’s teacher. This will be their last opportunity to perform together before Julio heads off for D.F. to take a short course under mezzosoprano Susan Young before the competition in Dresden on Sept. 20 th . This is a must see performance!

Location: The Auditorium at the Olimpo
Time: 9:00 PM
For: Adults and Children over the age of 6
Admission: Free

Yucatan Living The Double Feature is Back!
Location: Videosala at the Olimpo

First Show: Midnight Cowboy (United States, 1969).

Directed by John Schlesinger. Starring John Voight. This movie is one of those classics that should be seen at least once in every decade of your life. Joe Buck goes to New York to seek his fortune and ends up on the gritty side of life. This movie has been described as cinematic perfection and really “belongs” to those of us who came of age in the 60s.

Time: 6:00 PM
Admission: Free




Second Show: Le Procès (France, Albania, Italy, 1962) Orson Welles Screen Play from a Franz Kafka novel. Synopsis: Josef K (Orson Welles) wakes up in the morning and finds the police in his room. They tell him that he is on trial but nobody tells him what he is accused of. He tries to figure out how to extricate himself from the Kafkaesque justice system.

Time: 8:00 PM
For: Adults and Adolescents
Admission: Free




Yucatan Living "To Remember is to Live"

Live music under the trees in one of Merida ‘s oldest parks. What we really love about this dance, next to the fact that it starts early and ends at a reasonable hour, is that members of the Jaranara Orchestra play for this one too! These musicians have a range that is unbelievable! Come on down and enjoy the Big Band sound, something you’re not likely to hear anywhere else but in Merida these days. And unwind beneath the big trees.
Location: Parque Zoológico del Centenario (The Zoo), Calle 59 at Avenida Itzaes
When: 4:00 PM
Admission: Free

Yucatan Living Yucatan Serenade

This is a real serenade that has been a fixture in Merida , every Thursday night, for over 40 years. If you haven’t seen it, you have really missed something wonderful. This is the center of Merida ‘s romantic heart – and has the alter to prove it. If you are a visitor, make sure to get to this particular serenade. It is well worth being part of your first memory of Merida .
Location: Parque Santa Lucía, Calle 60 and 55, Downtown.
Time: 9:00 PM
Admission is Free

Friday (Viernes) September 7, 2007

Yucatan Living Artistic Weekend: "Dolores or Happiness. Contemporary Mexican Theater"
Created by the dramatist David Olguin, under the direction of Francisco Solis

Location: The Auditorium of the Olimpo
Time: 9:00 PM
For: Adults and Adolescents
Admission: $50 General Admission; $30 Students and INAPAM

Yucatan Living Mexican Cinema: An anthology of Mexican short films

It is getting to be that time of year again. The short film competition will soon begin and we will be able to enjoy some of the best cinematography in the world. These short films are one of the artistic treasures of modern Mexico and well worth seeing.

Location: Videosala at the Olimpo
Time: 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM
For: Adults and Adolescents
Admission: Free

Yucatan Living Baila Merida (Merida Dances)

Are there any other kind? And remember – this is free musical expression with a romantic theme. This particular park, with it’s central gazebo, it’s cobbled streets, the colonial facades surrounding the park and the lovely little church at one side is romantic, even without the music!
Location: Parque de la Ermita de Santa Isabel (Calle 66 and 77)
Time: 9:00 PM
Admission: Free

Yucatan Living Noches Románticas en La Ermita (Romantic Nights in the Hermitage)

Are there any other kind? And remember – this is free musical expression with a romantic theme. This particular park, with it’s central gazebo, it’s cobbled streets, the colonial facades surrounding the park and the lovely little church at one side is romantic, even without the music!
Location: Parque de la Ermita de Santa Isabel (Calle 66 and 77)
Time: 9:00 PM
Admission: Free

Saturday (Sabado) September 8, 2007

Guitar music in MeridaYucatan Living Ciclo de Guitars 2007:

Closing Performance of the Season:
Omar López Cambranis and Gerardo Romero

Omar López Cambranis is from Campeche and is a perfect example of the influence good music can have on the next generation. This young man was self-taught, then heard the music of Joe Pass and Andrés Segovia – Jazz and Classical, does it get any better than that? After that, his feet were firmly planted on the road to UADY and he is now one of our most talented guitarists. Gerardo Romero proves our point that Merida collects her own, and from any place she chooses. If they are the best, they are here. Gerardo Romero is from Mexico City . He began his studies there, and was even a member of a guitar orchestra before coming to Merida . Today, he is working on finishing his degree in Music at ESAY and has been a member of our Guitar Orchestra since 2005. If you have not seen one of these performances, they do have them once a month at UADY, but this season is a special event and the last performance is one that we have to label as “must see.”

Location: Teatro Merida Calle 62 #495 entre 59 y 61, Col. Centro

Time: 8:00 PM

Admission: Free

Yucatan Living Artistic Weekend:
"Dolores or Happiness. Contemporary Mexican Theater"

Created by the dramatist David Olguin, under the direction of Francisco Solis

Location: The Auditorium of the Olimpo

Time: 8:00 PM

For: Adults and Adolescents

Admission: $50 General Admission; $30 Students and INAPAM

Yucatan Living Noche Mexicana (Mexican Night)
Each Saturday night, there is a performance on an outdoor stage here, often from a musical or dance group from another part of Mexico. Chairs are set up for the audience, but it’s often standing room only. Booths selling food and handcrafts are set up in the park. The purpose of this performance is to bring all of Mexico to our own backyard here in Merida.

Location: Beginning of Paseo Montejo, Calle 56 A between 47 and 49

Time: 8:00 PM

Admission: Free

Yucatan Living En El Corazón de Mérida (In the Heart of Merida)
Live music, including jazz, salsa and even the trova, held on various stages around the Plaza Grande. Many of the streets leading to the Plaza are closed to all but foot traffic, and the restaurants and bars put their chairs and tables outside in the streets. This is a night designed for that Saturday night date, but they’ve got all of the shops open for business too.

Location: Plaza Grande, Centro

Time: Saturday nights, from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM

Admission: Free

Yucatan Living Movie: Love Around the Corner (Mexico, 1985)

This movie is for adults only and is in Spanish.

Location: Videosala at the Olimpo

Time: 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM

Admission: Free

Sunday (Domingo) September 9, 2007

Yucatan Living Regional Comic Theater:
The Pig King

Under the Direction of Erik Avila

Location: The Auditorium of the Olimpo

Time: 1:00 PM

Admission: $30 General Admission

Yucatan Living Artistic Weekend: Raul Simon in Concert
Raul Simon is a cantautor from Argentina . Cantautors are artists who write and interpret their own music, which usually has a political, social, or philosophical theme. For a time, it looked as if this type of music would be lost, but there is a new generation of cantautors who have come along and we have a new appreciation for this art form. This is yet another in the varied offerings of cultural Yucatan and one that is worthy of attendance.

Location: The Auditorium of the Olimpo
Time: 7:00 PM
For: Adolescents and Adults
Admission: Free

Yucatan Living Documentary: Life Between the Water and the Mud!
Every Sunday, at noon, the Museum of Natural History presents a documentary, mostly centered around themes associated with animals and the environment. The show for this week looks like a winner for children of all ages.
Location: Museum of Natural History, Calle 59 near Avenida Itzaes
Time: 12:00 Noon
Admission: Free

Yucatan Living Sunday mornings is for Dogs
Dogs in Merida Mexico

Speaking of Athletic Animals, if you are a dog owner (or owned by a dog…), come join the rest of us for an hour of running and playing in a safe place. An informal group has started meeting on Sunday mornings from 7:30-8:30 AM in the grass-covered parking lot behind the Hyatt Hotel. Get there by going north on Calle 60 and turning right on Calle 35, just after the Siqueff restaurant. The parking lot entrance will be on your left. Bring water for you AND your dog. If there aren’t a lot of dogs, it isn’t as much fun… so come and bring your pups for a little bit of old-fashioned running around.


Yucatan Living The Bici-Ruta
Bicycle Route on Sundays in MeridaThe Bici-Ruta is part of a national plan to get people out for physical exercise, as well as for community building activities and it’s alive and well, even in the middle of summertime. It begins early, at 8:00 AM, and ends at noon. There is a set route that begins in Ermita and San Juan Parks, passes through Centro and then travels down Paseo Montejo, to include Fiesta Americana, and Paseo de Montejo at the corners of Calles 45, 43, 31, and 29. If you want to play chess, go to the sidewalk outside the Museum of Anthropology on Paseo Montejo at 9 am and pick up a game!
Location: Begins at Parque de la Ermita, through the Plaza Grande, out Paseo Montejo, and Ends at the Glorieta on Prolongation Paseo Montejo (by Burger King).

Time: 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 PM

Admission: Free

Yucatan Living Mérida en Domingo
Sunday downtown is a spectacular tradition in Mérida. Start at the center of town, where booths are set up all around the Plaza Grande. Inside the plaza, you can find huipiles, guayaberas, honey, dolls, bags, tee-shirts… and Dancing at Santa Lucia Park on Sunday morningeverything is made for sale by the local people of the Yucatan. The outer ring of booths are selling food: marquesitas, tacos, cochinita, ice cream (try the coconut), fruit, drinks, etc. There’s also usually a musical concert in the garden at the MACAY Museum, just off the Paseo de la Revolución next to the main cathedral. If the crowd starts to get to you, go to the museum (entrance is free). Sit around the fountain or walk through the galleries and listen to the live music. Or wander up Calle 60 to Santa Lucia Park, where you can also find antiques, old books and other curiosities. At that lovely park, there is also food, live music and lots of dancing. The dancing and music is guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
Location: In the Centro Historico: Plaza Grande, Parque Santa Lucia (Calle 60 x 55) and MACAY Museum (Calle 60 between 61 and 63)
Time: 9:00 AM until 9:00 PM

Yucatan Living Sunday at the MACAY
There is a musical concert in the garden at the MACAY Museum, just off the Paseo de la Revolución next to the main cathedral. If the Merida en Domingo crowd starts to get to you, go to the museum (entrance is free). Sit around the fountain or walk through the galleries and listen to the live music.
Location: In the Garden at the MACAY (next to the Cathedral)
Time: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Admission: Free


Coming Soon!

Yucatan Living The Works of Samuel Barrera!
After a decade of touring the United States and Europe, the work of Samuel Barerra is back home in Merida ! On Sept. 21 st , his work will be part of the collective known as “The Seven Generations,” in the new Museum of the City. His work will also appear in two collective shows at the MACAY, “Panoramic of Yucatanense Painting from 1916 to 2007,” which begins on Oct. 19 th , and another collective called “University Impulse” which does not yet have a date. If you are not familiar with the works of Samuel Barerra, you really must see them. They are surrealistic, with haunting themes directly connected to the nature and characteristics of the Mayans, as well as to ecology. This man’s work is so distinctive that you can recognize it anywhere, without any identification at all. I actually recognized it in paintings on the wall in an apartment that was for rent in Merida years ago. Remember those dates – Sept. 21 st at the Museum of the City and Oct. 19 th at the MACAY. Seeing the work of Samuel Barerra is an experience you will never forget.

Mark your Calendar!

Yucatan Living October 27: Wine tasting for "Brazos Abiertos"
Brazos Abiertos is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the State of Texas that is dedicated to bringing a state of the art HIV center to Merida . The center will include everything from education to testing and the latest treatments available. This is an ongoing effort that is supported by donations. This year, the event is a wine tasting that will pay for the shipping of half-a-million dollars worth of medical supplies to Brazos Abiertos in Merida . Tickets are only $200 pesos per person and 300 people are expected to attend. Please plan on being there and make any additional donations you can. This is important work and should be supported by the entire community. For more information, go to the website for Brazos Abiertos.

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4 Responses to “Merida Events: The Olimpo is Back!”

  1. Note: when you go to Jesus Armando’s website (see Wednesday), just click on his name and let the site do the work – it has its own pace – but the end is well worth the wait. Enjoy!

  2. Hi there! Ellen and Jim? I am sorry, I am not sure If this is your website, but I had a phone call from Sandy, who told me about the covering of the up-coming events I will be part of. Thank you very much for the attention and the great reviews about my art. It is always so nice to know good appreciation of someone’s work. The short note couldn’t be nicer, and coming from such nice people like you, it makes it even better. Lo bueno que haces siempre regresa a Ti, corregido y aumentado. (Honestly, I had never visited this site, but I am amazed by the acurate selection of the images to depict our culture, localism, and traditions,) For a site directed to gringos, I blush for the close identification I have with the articles and photos. Bravo!, and thaks again. Ah!, the quality of pictures, amazing.

  3. What is the address of the Olimpo?

    Thanks for the weekly events column. I use it every week to plan my week filled with music and art.

  4. Samuel: it’s a pleasure, thanks. Hope to see you and your work soon!

    ML: the Olimpo is located at the corner of Calle 62 and 61, in the centro, on the zocalo (Plaza Grande).


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