Straw Bales, Clay and Mariachi Music – San Jose, CA

My account of our Europe trip got temporarily shanghaied due to our recent trip to New Mexico. We were there for the annual Santa Clara Pueblo Feast Day where our 18 year old son Benito was part of the dances and ceremonies. For us it meant cleaning and preparing of food for the all day event. Following Feast Day we spent almost two weeks doing the finish plaster on Athena’s mother’s new adobe house along with Benito, his girlfriend Ariela, Athena’s sister Roxanne and her mom. Long days they were that left no time for thinking, much less writing anything for this blog. However, we’re at home and able to catch up on Europe. There is some nice stuff to communicate about what we did/saw in Germany and Slovakia. For now, I thought I would tell you quickly about a small workshop we have at the San Jose, CA Mariachi Festival towards the end of September.

Ours is a two day event, the 24th and the 25th of September building a small outdoor straw bale seating structure that will be finished with a clay plaster. Should be fun, we worked there last year doing a traditional style adobe oven and an earth floor. Working along with us will be Jim Furness, a California builder who runs Furness Construction and is an active member of CASBA, the California Straw Bale Association. Time each day is 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.

The site is a historic old adobe building named after the Peralta Family at 175 W. St. John St. It is in the downtown area and easily accessible. The workshop is open to the public with no charge. Here’s the link for the workshop. We are the Festival’s “green” workshop, which for us means that we will doing what we always do – straw bales and clay. If you check out the link below, just replace our dark hair with grey as the photo they used of us is from a couple of centuries ago. On Sunday the 27th between 10 A.M. and 6 P.M. we will be building a small portable clay baking oven at the downtown Plaza de Cesar Chavez Market Street which is between San Fernando and San Carlos. During the day at the Plaza there will be three stages of Mexican regional and traditional music, folk dancing, family activities, artisans, Mexican food, and much more.


Photos from last year’s workshop showing the Peralta Adobe and the completed oven.

I have also included a link to the concert events. Friday night is a concert by Joan Baez, Saturday night is built around the theme – “Mariachi Goes to the Movies” and is choreographed by Linda Ronstadt. The music for the evening features Mexican superstar singer Aida Cuevas who put on a fabulous performance last year and will be performing along with Mariachi Cobre and a cast of Mexican dancers. Sunday night’s concert will be a tribute to Cesar Chavez featuring Santana, Los Lobos and Little Joe and La Familia.


This is a photo from last year’s Saturday night concert, Lila Downs on the left, Aida Cuevas in the center and Linda Ronstadt on the right. The M.C. is Jose Ronstadt, Linda’s cousin and anchor for Telemundo.

Last year we had the great opportunity to do a photo exhibit for the Festival at the Mexican Heritage Center called “Borderlands of the Sky Islands.” Not only did it feature photos from the Sky Islands region of the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico, we were able to include a nice selection of images from our Obregon, Mexico work. The link is on the right hand side of the blog page under image prints if you care to see any of them.

And of course, no Mexican event in San Jose would be complete without the classic low rider vehicles for which San Jose is noted. Last year’s Feria had a great collection on display.

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