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Weekly Photo: Mothers of Plaza de Mayo

by Elena on April 14, 2010

Abuelas de Plaza de MayoEvery Thursday you will find women with white scarves tied around their heads marching around the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires.  The white scarves symbolize baby blankets, in memory of the lost children of the Dirty War.  During this war, people mysteriously “disappeared,” and were often tortured and then killed.  The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo met in an effort to find their missing sons and daughters.  The mothers have since turned into grandmothers, and while the motives have changed over the years, you can be certain to see women marching on Thursday.Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo



Weekly Photo: Tango in Buenos Aires

by Elena on January 6, 2010


Photo © Elena Vazquez

This picture was taken in the basement at Cafe Tortoni, one of the most popular cafes in Buenos Aires.  Each night you can watch a tango performance in this legendary peña, a place where people come together to eat, drink and watch performances.  Cafe Tortoni is also a part of Argentina history with impressive clientele like literary great Jorge Luis Borges and tango legend Carlos Gardel.



Weekly Photo: Art Student In Buenos Aires

by Elena on November 12, 2009

Student in Buenos Aires

Photo © Elena Vazquez

Smile we are filming you.
Blow me a kiss.

Art Project.



Move Over Busker

by Elena on September 9, 2009

Well the rest of my life lay in front of me
I was pedaling down the road
When I saw nell gwynne and her oranges
And I’ll have one of those
She said move over busker, don’t bang your drum
Move over busker, your time will come
-Paul McCartney

After posting about street performers, I perused through my photo collection and picked out some more of my favorite busker photos.

In the southern Spanish city of Granada there is a rich amalgamation of three very different cultures, histories, and religions: Islam, Catholicism, and Judaism. Home to the Moorish palace La Alhambra, Granada has a flavor that sets it apart from the rest of Spain. The Mirador de San Nicolas (lookout point) faces the magnificent Alhambra, and I highly recommend to anyone visiting this small city to go here just before sunset. The lookout is located in the Albayzin, a neighborhood with small winding streets and white-washed houses with colorful gardens. Set upon a hill, the Albayzin is a perfect location to view the old palace.

Flamenco Performers sing near Alhambra
At Mirador San Nicolas there are always people singing and playing guitar. The group we saw this particular day really epitomized every stereotype I was looking forward to: the raspy voices (most certainly due to years of heavy smoking), the incredible strumming of the Spanish guitar, the rhythmic clapping, and the melodic improvisation of flamenco singing. Those c

ouple of songs, played to accompany the sunset, were enough to send a chill down my spine, and toy with the idea of quitting my day job in order to sit around these hills, smoke cigars, and learn to play flamenco guitar.Flamenco performers near Alhambra
No one else could wear a mullet and a white turtleneck cutoff and still look as badass as this man right here.

Flamenco Performer near Alhambra One of my favorite things to do in Mexico, or in any place for that matter, is to roam around the local markets. They are full of life and delicious food. I also find that they are a great way to see the people of the city go about their daily routine. I took this picture in Tepotzlan, Mexico around the time of the Day of the Dead. You can see a bushel of marigolds in the foreground of the photograph. These neon orange flowers are prevalent around this time, when people use them to decorate altars and pay homage to those who have passed. Right after I took this shot, the guy in the bright yellow shirt chased me down for a small tip and some friendly flirtation.

Performers in Tepotzlan Mexico MarketJust outside of Vancouver, about an hour or so on bus, you will find Capilano Park, home to the 450 ft long and 240 ft high Capilano Suspension Bridge. When we finished crossing the bridge and exploring the park we noticed a 3 person band getting ready to play. They weren’t buskers in the traditional sense, (look at the name tags) but rather park employees. Nonetheless people gave them tips after they sang some Elvis, Johnny Cash, and other crowd favorites.

Vancouver BuskersBarrio La Boca in Buenos Aires is known for its brightly colored facades, its Italian immigrant population, and a slightly dodgy reputation. If you ignore the obvious tourist traps and souvenir shops, you can almost imagine the immigrants painting the houses bright colors, in order to give life to this rundown part of town. Nowadays it has become somewhat commercial, but you can still enjoy the tango performances at one of the many cafes.

Tango Dancers in La Boca Buenos AiresTango Dancers in Buenos Aires La BocaGrauman’s Chinese Theatre is exactly what you picture it to be, tacky, commercial, over the top, and just a bit uncomfortable. My discomfort is mostly due to an overzealous Elvis impersonator who got a little handsy. Nonetheless there is probably no other place you can see Jack Sparrow, Elvis, Zorro, Spiderman, Minnie Mouse, Jessica Rabbit, and even Chucky (you know the maniacal, homicidal plush toy that made you fearful that your toys would come to life in the middle of the night) all in the same place.

Los Angeles Chinese Theater Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles provides quite the contrast to the massive structures that crowd around the business sector. The performers, street vendors, restaurants, and cafes serve as a taste of Mexican culture a small tribute to a community with such a large population in this city. It is small and unassuming, but I tend to love areas such as these. I really enjoyed the fact that I could get a peeled mango on a stick, a massive dulce de leche stuffed churro, and agua de jamaica at one of the nearby vendors. The headdress of the performer below was amazingly massive, and from what I can tell there are many performances such as this one taking place nearby.

Downtown Los Angeles