This was the 40th Tucson Meet Yourself, an annual festival celebrating Tucson's ethnic diversity. Neighbor Roy, Friends Dr. Larry and Dr. Jean from Maryland, & I spend many hours enjoying dozens of performances Saturday & Sunday.
(Saturday AM) Our first exposure to Tucson Meet Yourself was these partially exposed young lovelies. According to the schedule we printed out before leaving home, this was some sort of Arabian Dance. There were no male dancers in this performance, and I wondered if, back in Arabia, the ladies danced for an all-male audience. ??? Certainly the gentlemen in the audience seemed transfixed.
This Folklorico Dance troupe was as energetic as their costumes were colorful. All the girls seemed to be delighted to dance for this appreciative audience.
Dukes Low Rider Club
The Duke's (Lowrider) Car Club is the oldest of its kind in continuous existence. The Chicano culture of the 1940's barrios was well represented here. There may have been as many as 30 classic lowriders on display. Exceptional workmanship and creativity.
The most amazing vehicle in this classic car show was not yet a classic. This 2012 Harley trike pulls a fully functional hearse trailer.
The owner told me that his hearse is in continuous use ferrying caskets from funeral home to cemetery. Well, it would be one heck of a last ride.
He says that family members of the deceased come up to him all the time and say things like, "That's the way Dad would have wanted to go."
From paint-job to white walls, the lowriders' attention to detail is remarkable.
This is the "Al Capone" black Chevy. Both sides and the rear display images from the gangland '30's. Art upon art upon wheels. Delightful!
Having enjoyed our stroll through the Classic Lowrider Car Show, we continued on to El Presidio.
The last time Neighbor Roy & I were here, we created a video with storyteller Jean Baxter. On the video she tells the true story of the 1782 Apache Attack that nearly wiped out the fort and thus most of Tucson. The Spanish solders won the day, barely, because they had a secret weapon. You will find this original video and 50 others at Home > Videos & Slideshows.
Two seconds after the Comandante shouts "FUEGO", the cannon roars. If you didn't cover your ears, you will next time.
I took a picture similar to this last year only it was at twilight. Because the sky was darker, the orange sparks from the blast were clearly visible.
Next we headed across Alameda Street and into the courtyard behind the Old Courthouse. Here's were most of the food trucks were parked and doing a land-office business.
Here's were you can taste the grand diversity that is Tucson. Almost every type of cuisine imaginable: Hawaiian; Laotian; Danish; etc., etc.
This is the scene behind the Old Courthouse BEFORE it got crowded.
Land Of The Taco. One expects to find tacos at every Tucson festival. This is, after all, the Great American Southwest; once Mexico, and before that, New Spain.
I didn't sample any Filipino cuisine, so I don't know how it differs from Hispanic food. Do You?
The Turks seemed to be doing the most business. Notice the guy in the far left of this picture. He was like a carnival barker shouting, "Kee-bobs; get your kee-bobs here."
The term shish kebab comes from Turkish words literally meaning "skewer" and "roast meat," and it is a signature Turkish meal. I saw more people feasting on kee-bobs than Sonoran Dogs. For Tucson, that says something about our diversity of tastes. Or maybe our commonality.
Turkish back-office worker. She seems to be pounding out a tortilla. I wondered what they call a tortilla in Turkey?
Turkish front-office workers.
These two ladies were serving Turkish dishes about as fast as they could be created.
The Turks even managed to corner the ice cream cone market. It was BIG business on a pleasantly warm Saturday afternoon.
Buddha-Food was also popular. Particularly their vegetarian dishes.
They don't come cuter than this little one. She was here to represent her culture, which she did splendidly.
Of all the ethnic diversity represented at Tucson Meet Yourself, none was more joyously enthusiastic than these young Chinese ladies. They gave it their all and it was beautiful to behold.
This was the conclusion of our first day at the festival. But we will be back tomorrow.
(Sunday AM) Our first performance was The Redhouse Dancers from the Navajo Nation.
Maria Redhouse is 88-years-young. She danced and sang with her children. Her daughter is the family's lead singer; and her two sons are the principle dancers. As her daughter sang the Lord's Prayer in Navajo, Maria performed it in sign language. Beautiful!
Following the Redhouse Dancers were the South Hopi Dancers. "South" Hopi because they live in Tucson rather on the Hopi Reservation in Northern Arizona.
For whatever reason, my camera will usually seek out the little ones. This little one was struggling to keep her headpiece from falling off. That's why she looks so worried.
I just liked the contrast ... the little one's feet trying to keep up. I must say, she did very well.
This is as close as any of the Hopi children came to a smile. I don't know why, but to me they seemed sad little creatures.
By contrast to the somber South Hopi Dancers, this Mariachi band could not have been more upbeat.
She plays the violin and sings. She has a powerful, beautiful voice. 'Tis hard to be within earshot of a Mariachi band and be sad. It's a joyful expression of the best in Mexican culture.
After listening to several Mariachi songs, we changed venues and came across this Cuban group performing their final song of the day.
As soon as the bongo drums started pounding out the beat, several young (I assume) Cuban ladies came forward out of the audience and started dancing in front of the stage.
It seemed a completely spontaneous expression of joy.
It was as if they had been holding back their emotions for a long time and suddenly, encouraged by the beat of the music, they felt a sense of freedom and just let it all out.
Wild abandon and, dare I say it, a little erotic.
Following the Wild Cuban Women were these Puerto Rican lovelies whom my camera caught just before they went on stage.
These young Puerto Rican dancers had so much energy I got worn out just watching them. Great performance! Colorful, Authentic, Joyful!
Jo's Bar. Jo is the owner of La Cocina Cantina in the courtyard of the Old Town Artisans. This is were Neighbor Roy & I went to get a bite to eat. True, there was food, food, and more food at the festival. But neither of us like waiting in long lines and then having to eat while walking around.
We wanted a place to sit and relax after two days of street photography. Besides, La Cocina is the closest place to get a beer in general, and Old Monkeyshine in particular.
Dr. Jean & Dr. Larry are friends visiting from Maryland. They, and Ms. Karen, had just come from the Art Museum were they saw the fabulous William Shepherd still life paintings. Through the magic of cell phones we were able to connect at La Cocina and enjoy some music a a few beers together.
A fine way to finish a very festive weekend in Tucson.