Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dia de Los Muertos at Polanco

Many businesses have lived and died over the last twenty years in the gentrified Hayes Valley neighborhood, but there are a few stalwarts who have somehow survived.

One of my favorites is Polanco, a "Gallery of Mexican Arts" opened in 1990 by the partners Aldo Picchi (above) and John Camarillo, a couple who adore Mexican culture and who have a home in the Mexican central highlands city of Queretaro.

The small store, next door to Caffe Delle Stelle on the corner of Gough and Hayes, has always stocked a mixture of inexpensive craft items...

...along with antiques and high-end contemporary art from Mexico.

This time of year is devoted to the very Mexican holiday "Dia de Los Muertos" which has recently become so popular in San Francisco that it seems to be threatening Halloween's cultural primacy.

November 1st is the Catholic All Saints' Day, and in Mexico it is dedicated to dead children ("Dia de los Inocentes").

November 2nd, All Souls' Day, is Day of the Dead and involves feasting, parties and communication with the souls of beloved dead ones.

There is also a considerable amount of humor involved in the holiday, which you either embrace or find completely grotesque. I tend to laugh, nervously.

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