a Valentine para todos, por todos

The collaboration that we’ll all soon be celebrating actually began four years ago at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Latin American Studies  annual Latin American & Caribbean Festival, where Jean Pierre and I first met Jesus and Jose Luis of La Palapa when they made their debut. Coincidentally, it was where we also had made ours. He gave them and their work a very rarely given seal of approval, and just a few months later, he was gone, but the legacy that he and my late mother and father in law left to us has enabled the foundation for all that has ensued since. For four years we have encouraged and supported one another, through sorrows, hopes and joys, trading our skills and talents in many ways. I have never for even a moment doubted their dedication and abilities.  I’ve observed their devotion to their families and to their employees and their calm in the midst of clamor, so when the opportunity came at last to co~create a larger space where people could gather to relax and enjoy all that we offer as emissaries of Mexican food, folk art and culture, the leap of faith was made to re-envision the space that used to be occupied by Ibiza. With the owners of Mallorca as landlords and neighbors, the guys already knew they were in excellent company. But this Valentine of a sort that we are preparing belongs equally to the artists I represent, to the customers that we share, and to the dedicated crews behind the scenes every step of the way, some of whom worked for decades alongside Jean Pierre making magic happen in film and theatre. Walls that are 30 feet high do present unique challenges! But the very 1st item is up, and most fittingly it’s a tree of life weaving from Teotitlan del Valle in Oaxaca. In the branches of the community tree of life where we all have often perched together, so often many of us spoke of a place such as this, where more magic can happen, where #foodisart and #artisfood.

The first special event there has already been booked (a wedding!), the new drinks menu is being lovingly curated, and offerings of Mexican mezcal, tequila, wine and beer will also feature some cherished favorites from beloved local breweries. A diverse selection of workshops and classes will be held  and by god, there will be mariachis and there will be boss cross cultural beats. Thanks to so many, so much that is a celebration of Life will be.  Please stay tuned for further details coming soon! I’ve just finished the new revised menu cover, and here it is:

Holiday Tidings

¿What’s under the tree?

The Octopi lurked by the chimney with care, unsure of the jaguar that guarded his lair.
(Octopi by Armando Jiménez Aragón and Antonia Carrillo Hernández)

Wishing for each of you a holiday full of comfort & joy. A very special thanks to all of the longtime customers that contacted me this week for their last minute shopping. It wouldn’t have felt complete without seeing you. Abrazos a todos!

 

Small Biz Saturday with the North Side/North Shore Chamber of Commerce

Hola Friends, Amigos! Tomorrow you can find me celebrating #SmallBusinessSaturday with the North Side/North Shore Chamber of Commerce at the corner of Western and Galveston Avenues, where you can take part in a fun scavenger hunt and be entered to win some swell swag (see info below)! In the spirit of the occasion, I will only be bringing miniature things, and many of you who collect them know that this includes the much beloved mice engaged in shenanigans, and bobble heads, perfect stocking stuffers. Other Big Things are in the works, as well. But if I told you now what they are, that would ruin the surprise. So just take my word for it: something’s coming. 

meet me at La Palapa for Dia de los Muertos

Meet me at La Palapa on the Day of the Dead everyone! Due to space and time limitations, I’ll make a very small ofrenda, but you will be able to add the names of your loved ones as always! And I’ll bring a few things in case anyone is in a shopping mood :)

Save the dates: Skull Painting with Artist & Craftsmen Supply

…back by popular demand, because we all had so much fun last year! Another skull painting playshop with my friends at Artist & Craftsman Supply Pittsburgh! I’ll bring some beautiful painting examples for your inspiration and answer your questions about the #DayoftheDead. Very kid friendly, of course! And free, free, free! What’s better than that? And guess what? Another event for #DiadelosMuertos is in the works as well, with my friends at La Palapa, Mexican Gourmet Kitchen, on November 2nd. Details coming ASAP, stay tuned!

Puro Muerto ~ Market Square Night Market September 30th

It’s my last Market Square Night Market for the season everyone, and this time I’ll be featuring a huge variety of my muerto themed things! (and those who know, know that’s saying a lot!) If you have any special requests, bring ’em on, and I’ll do my best. The night market sponsored by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is filled with so many great vendors, fun, music and food. If you haven’t yet experienced it, now is the time. See yinz soon!

Meet Me in Market Square, Yinz

Pittsburgh! I’ll be back in the saddle for three #PittsburghDowntownPartnership  night markets this summer in market Square, beginning this Friday evening in conjunction with a #PittsburghCulturalTrust #GalleryCrawl. Those of you who have missed me and the store (a few of you, I hope) may feel free to make special requests of items for me to bring and I’ll do my best to find them. Each market will have a particular emphasis on two categories of my merch. Friday we’ll be looking at jewelry in all price ranges and of course, #OaxacanWoodcarvings. The hours will be from 5-10 pm, and I look forward to seeing some old friends and making some new.

Mexico Lindo, Mundo Lindo

When Jean-Pierre died in 2013, everyone, customers and artists alike insisted vehemently to me: “You must continue! You are needed! We will support you!” Knowing even then the unlikelihood  of financial success when after almost 10 years we had never once made a profit, I was hesitant, but I was determined to throw in all that I had to give and it a try. I increased the advertising budget significantly, I brought two Great Maestros as visiting artists and collaborated with local organizations to introduce them to as many people as possible, I commissioned one of a kind masterpieces and I introduced some wonderful new clothing lines. I Facebooked, I Tweeted, I Instagrammed, I blogged, I emailed. Quite often couldn’t do much in my grief stricken state, and then we lost Jean-Pierre’s mother as well. This world is very different than it was when I began my site and then 2 years later opened the store; there has been a perfect storm of circumstances beyond my control, all pointing to the same conclusion: this cannot be sustained in this fashion with just one person being chef, cook and bottle washer. The rise and fall of the latest “it” shopping districts have incurred a sharp decrease of traffic in my beloved neighborhood, and I have never been willing to pass the price of higher rents on to my customers for the sake of  more traffic or more recognition, whether that would have been wiser or not. I have been fortunate in my landlords at Equity Real Estate, who have not raised my rent for years, yet even that isn’t enough. More and more of our shopping is done from our homes. The influx of inexpensive Chinese imitations of categories of work such as muertos has significantly curtailed my sales as well. I will close the Murray Avenue locale at the end of February. It will make more sense for me at this time to go back to where I began, and the site re-do that I began in July is well underway. I will let you know when the relaunch is official. But before that, I have a much neglected house to attend to, with clutter and things to be sold and redistributed in all manner of ways. I will finally begin paperwork to bring to life my non profit, which will be called Mundo Lindo, so that I can find a way to continue doing what I love within the framework of multicultural collaborations. I will do some local events as a vendor, and I will be creating some product lines that I have long desired to, with the hopes that there may yet be a way for Mexico Lindo and the artists whom I represent to preserve their traditions, for all to prosper and grow. I have a dream: a location that has room for vendors representing various countries, dedicated space for changing exhibits, visiting artists, workshops, dance and performance. In the middle of that is a cafe and there is ample parking for food trucks for outdoor events. An international mercado. Whether or not this dream is based in a reality that can be manifested will depend on many factors, and it is a long range plan. A developer with deep pockets and similar vision will be needed. I truly don’t know if it can or should be done, or if I am the person to do it. Nonetheless, I’m compelled to ask: are you with me? Then please stay tuned and stay in touch. 

with all of my love and gratitude,

Lisa

 

Program for Amor Eterno

Amor Eterno program

Amor Eterno ~ Open House for Dia de los Muertos

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