Visit Denver For Dia De Los Muertos

If a ticket to Mexico isn’t in the cards for Dia de los Muertos this year, you might want to consider Denver. It may seem strange that a non-border state throws down so hard, but Denver is, after all, in the Southwest, and as such, has a thriving Hispanic community, as well as arts and culture scene. This colorful, oddly joyous holiday dates back to pre-Columbian times, and has its roots in pagan rituals celebrated by indigenous peoples, including the Aztecs.

If you want to skip the Halloween hangover (sugar or otherwise) and instead spend the Day of the Dead (which is technically November 1) honoring dead ancestors (it’s okay if they’re not yours) with dancing, eating and looking at traditional holiday arts and crafts, here’s the lowdown on what’s going on in Denver.

Today (Oct. 27), from 5 to 8 p.m., the Denver Botanic Gardens is hosting a flower-rific celebration that will include live music, art, dancing and traditional face painting. Flowers, and marigolds in particular, are a big part of Dia de los Muertos imagery.

On October 30, the Dia de los Muertos Celebration and Tattoo Artist Skull Show and Charity Auction will be held at El Diablo restaurant, starting at 8 p.m. Expect lots of “art skulls,” food, special cocktails, face painting and a silent auction.

The Chicano Humanities and Arts Council Gallery is displaying Dia de los Muertos artworks in various mediums, now through November 3.

On November 2, the Museo de las Americas will commemorate with altars and classes on making Dia de los Muertos crafts, such as elaborately decorated sugar skulls.

[Photo credit: Flickr user moonchild studio]

Museum Junkie: Manga and Moctezuma at the British Museum

Trust the British Museum to have two completely different but totally cool special exhibitions at the same time.

There’s still time to catch Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler, a dazzling collection of art from one of Mesoamerica’s greatest civilizations. It focuses on the reign of Moctezuma II (1502-1520), who died at the hands of the Spanish conquistadores. He ruled over a large, complex civilization from his capital at Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City. While generally known for their bloodthirstiness, the Mexica, as they called themselves, were accomplished architects, administrators, and artists, creating vast cities and delicate carvings. This show closes January 24, and it’s advisable to book tickets well in advance.

Another interesting show is just starting. Manga: Professor Munakata’s Museum Adventure showcases a series of Japanese manga cartoons featuring leading manga artist Hoshino Yukinobu’s most popular character exploring the British Museum, along with other adventures by the professor. There will also be a special “manga coffee shop” area where visitors can sit and leaf through a selection of manga books. The show runs from November 5 to January 3.

So if you’re passing through London make some time for the British Museum. There’s plenty more than just mummies, although those are amazing too.