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Khirad On November - 8 - 2010

I went to the All Souls Procession Sunday night. True, Día de los Muertos was last week, but hey, Tucson operates on its own time. It is no small irony that the liveliest I’ve ever seen downtown Tucson is when everyone is dressed like they’re dead.

Due to my flash not always agreeing with me and gumming up, I missed lots and lots of great shots. I even saw some friends in the parade, but only got the back of a head. So, with all that unnecessary information in mind, you’ll have to use your imagination as to some of the really cool stuff that I missed capturing.

I was situated under this sign of Hotel Congress. For anybody interested in gangsters, this is the hotel where John Dillinger was captured in 1934.

My view of The Rialto across the street at dusk, before the procession has begun.

The crowd gathers down the street looking the other way.

And we’ve begun.

Was goin’ for the main belly dancing girl in the back there shaking her hips, but she was all over the place.

My favorite part, which doesn’t come off well in lower resolution, is the woman in the right corner background looking right into the camera.

That baby better watch out for the guy in the shirt that says “no papers”.

You can’t see it, but they are carrying a mock coffin (as is quite common).

Never got a good shot of the many young ladies in ghoulish corsets and black lace, but I can’t complain.

I did get just plain lucky with some action shots.

By now the incense filled the air with another sensory dimension to the funereal sights and pulsating drumming rhythms.

What’s surprising here is that Tucsonans were able to find their makeshift “parasols” in the back of their closets.

“Undocumented & Unafraid” – somewhere a bagger just shit themselves.

Can’t really figure out what’s supposed to be goin’ on here.

Not much question what these guys are about.

They’re carrying an oily pelican, which you can’t make out from my angle (slow flash not cooperating for the hundredth time).

And so with the parade finished near the beginning of the route where I was, it is time to walk to catch the end of the parade loop, and the party bustle at the stage set up there. I left early without a good view, but thanks to the interwebs you and I both can check out the finale show starting after the 2:00 mark.

One thing the viewers may be happy I didn’t get a shot of  was a middle aged man with beer gut skateboarding – with but a flimsy piece of “shroud cloth” covering his junk in front (it was hilarious, but in a ‘you had to be there’ sort of way).

Palate cleanser. Local band Calexico performing last year in The Rialto:

16 Responses so far.

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  1. bzb says:

    This is the Tucson I wanted see when I was out in Arizona years ago. This reminds me of the Mermaid Festival that takes place here in NYC during the summer out in Coney Island of course minus the dead faces. :) But these are some great pictures Khirad.

  2. brady61995 says:

    That was excellent K. thanks for sharing your night. and you are right Tucson never looked so good :)

  3. escribacat says:

    Great pix, Khirad. I love Dia de los Muertos! I’ve gotten tangled up in several of those celebrations down in Mexico. I love the defiance and zest shown in so many of these pix. The teabaggers think they’re just going to stomp all over the folks who “took their country away,” they’ve got a big surprise in store. Hehe.

    You should start a collection of ladies in their fine dresses … I still remember that great shot you had of southern belles from your DC trip. It would go nicely with those colorful dresses you had toward the top.

  4. Questinia says:

    We have people with skull faces celebrating dias de los muertos here in Connecticut too… every day.

  5. Haruko Haruhara says:

    The one we marched in last week didn’t have a lot of Mexican influence to it because they’re simply aren’t that many Hispanics in our area. I loved the giant puppets.

    It was kind of an odd mix of joviality and seriousness. It was cute to see little kids wearing death mask face paint having fun pretending to be dead. I remember as a child being very terrified of the idea of death, and I think a parade like that is a chance for children to mock death and lose their fear.

    I guess the parade means different things to different people. I know it can be a very sober day in Latin America. It was held on All Souls’ Day, which for old school Catholics can be a very somber day.

    • Khirad says:

      Yes, this is less sober, with more of a Carnival atmosphere. Although, everywhere people stayed to the theme: with pictures of lost loved ones, or a few in fatigues with a picture of their dead buddy lost in Iraq, etc. There’s also a very strong political bent to it. Whether it be deaths of gays, deaths in war, deaths to AIDS, etc.

      As to kids: yes, they had carts going down the route selling all sorts of macabre flashing toys -- or, you can get a little skull candy to lick on. Kids loved it.

      It still has a big Mexican influence, given we’re an hour from the border. But over the years it’s just become something unique to Tucson, absorbing the rest of the community, as well.

  6. kesmarn says:

    What you have put together literally overnight is amazing, Khirad! Thanks so much. This — among many other good things — makes Tucson look like one of the most interesting places in the country to visit. Completely out of the ordinary.

    I love events like this. In a country where death-denial is the rule, it is weirdly satisfying to witness an event that says: “Death, I not only look you in the face, I grin in your face, I sing in your face and I dance — in your face!”

    I’ve often thought that when I take my own personal dirt nap, I’d love to have the old-style “Dies Irae” sung. It’s so somber and — real. And then, after that everyone needs to have a beer and watch a Laurel and Hardy movie.


    • Khirad says:

      I’m glad you think that about Tucson. I think Arizona unfairly gets too caricatured as a whole -- when there are a few liberal oases. This county, by the way, was one of three (out of 15) which voted for medical marijuana and one of four which voted for Goddard over Brewer. Tucson does have a real quirky side to it (even apart from being a college town).

    • Questinia says:

      I remember your posting this earlier. He’s great!

      • kesmarn says:

        Thanks, Q! I love Eriksen. (Sorry for the double-post, but it seemed to fit the article so well, I couldn’t resist!)

        There’s a really creepy rendition of the same song in “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” one of my fave films.

  7. bitohistory says:

    Thanks, Khirad, I have never gone to one, but then I don’t like people, and I’m not allowed out after dark. :-) Looks like it was pretty big this year. Next year let’s see you our there in your garb.

  8. Mightywoof says:

    Do you know what I love about the interwebs? I get to ‘meet’ folks who bring the world into my neck of the woods in southern Ontario!! I live next door to Toronto which is, quite possibly, the most racially diverse citty in the world (a claim that I will not fight over if you wish to dispute it) and I love, love, love all the different ethnicities and their culture and food that they bring with them -- but I have to say, I don’t think we have yet had an All Souls parade. It looks like so much fun that I wish someone would get it going up here but maybe it’s too cold by this time -- we’re already into sweaters and jackets 😆

    Once again, Khirad -- thanks for taking me along with you! I really enjoy photo essays and you have the best!!

  9. whatsthatsound says:

    super cool, Khirad!


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