Archive for September, 2009

Sarah Brightman at Chichen Itza Gets Tee-vee Commercial

September 25th, 2009 by ejalbright

Because you asked for it!:

The Sarah Brightman “Concert of the Pyramid” will be Oct. 31, 2009. Tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster Mexico over the telephone by calling in Mexico 942-19-31 and 942-19-33. Ticket prices are $8,000 ($616 U.S.), $6,000 ($462), $3,000 ($231), $2,000 ($154), $1,000 ($77), and $500 ($39).

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Permission Granted to Hold Sarah Brightman Concert at Chichen Itza

September 24th, 2009 by ejalbright

The federal Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) gave the state of Yucatan permission to hold an annual concert at Chichen Itza, which paves the way for singer Sarah Brightman to perform on Oct. 31.

SEP oversees INAH, the federal agency that in turn has oversight over the ruins of Mexico. Yucatan Governor Ivonne Ortega Pacheco reported that the agreement not only covers Chichen Itza but other Maya sites in the state such as Uxmal and Dzibilchaltun. Under the conditions of the agreement, concerts can be held every four months.

Sarah Brightman’s “Concert of the Pyramid” is scheduled on All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween). Tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster Mexico over the telephone by calling in Mexico 942-19-31 and 942-19-33. Ticket prices are $8,000 ($616 U.S.), $6,000 ($462), $3,000 ($231), $2,000 ($154), $1,000 ($77), and $500 ($39).

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Clouds Chase Away Kukulcan at Chichen Itza

September 22nd, 2009 by ejalbright

Visitors to Chichen Itza yesterday did not get to see the light-and-shadow effect of the feathered serpent crawling down El Castillo because overcast skies failed to clear.

Here’s hoping that today, being the fall equinox, they will have better luck.

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Fall Equinox Arrives at Chichen Itza

September 21st, 2009 by ejalbright

Twice a year, in the spring and in the fall, the feathered serpent god Kukulcan crawls down the side of the great pyramid named after him (or as the Spanish named it, “El Castillo,” the castle). The angle of the sun glinting off the northwestern corner of the pyramid projects a shadow on its north staircase that resembles a wriggling serpent, made even more explicit by the carved serpent head at the base of the staircase.

The light-and-shadow phenomenon is occurring as we speak, and will reach its peak tomorrow (Sept. 22) on the fall equinox. Because this is the rainy season, visitors find it more hit-and-miss to catch the effect, but still many hundreds show up hoping to see it.

You can learn more about how the Maya configured the pyramid to take advantage of the sun HERE. And here is a 10-minute video shot six months ago at the spring equinox:

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New Excavations at Chichen Itza Reveal Old City

September 18th, 2009 by ejalbright

Photo courtesy Tony Rojas.

For the first time in many years, archaeologists are Chichen Itza are excavating next to El Castillo, and have found that the city had been rebuilt maybe as many as five times in the past.

This spring the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History or INAH), an international team of archaeologists and archaeology students, and an extensive crew of laborers excavated some eight trenches between the giant pyramid and the Temple of Warriors.

According to archaeologist Rafael Cobos, member of INAH Archaeology Council and supervisor of the project, the aim of the project was to determine the origins, development, and architectonic evolution of three of the most emblematic structures at Chichen Itza, El Castillo, the Temple of Warriors, and the Court of 1,000 Columns.

What they found was a substructure that predates all three of those structures and is estimated to be from between 8th and 9th centuries.

The excavation team has uncovered 12 linear meters of the substructure, including a building corner, a cornice and a slope wall. “It is not known where it ends or if it has a staircase,” reports Cobos.

An extensive report of the excavation, with photographs taken in July, can be found in the American Egypt Feature section HERE. An update on the excavation with photos taken more recently can by found at Erik Boot’s “Maya News Updates” Web page HERE.

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Sarah Brightman Concert at Chichen Itza Won’t Benefit Maya, Laments PAN

September 16th, 2009 by ejalbright

The state legislator who oversees the cultural patrimony in the Yucatan state legislature yesterday lamented that the Sarah Brightman concert on Chichen Itza on Oct. 31 will not benefit the Maya.

At the same time he did not say what he intended to do, if anything, to remedy the situation.

Ramon Salazar, president of the Comision de Patrimonio Cultural (Cultural Heritage Commission) of the Yucatan state legislature, said that many of the communities surrounding Chichen Itza remain in poverty and do not share in any economic or social benefits from concerts of this type.

Salazar, a member of the National Action Party (PAN), called the concerts “elitista.” He said that earlier concerts promised access to indigenous peoples, but this never materialized.

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Trinket Vendors at Chichen Itza Demand Maya Get Share of Sarah Brightman Concert

September 14th, 2009 by ejalbright

The vendors union at Chichen Itza is demanding that local Maya benefit from the Sarah Brightman concert slated for October 31, and any other event held at the ancient Maya city.

The union, which now calls itself “Sindicato de Artesanos Nueva Kukulcan” (Union of New Kukulcan Artisans) have called for all major concerts and artistic events at Chichen Itza to benefit the Maya communities in the area. The members of the union, which claims to be 800 strong, every day invade the archaeological zone at Chichen Itza to sell trinkets and crafts to tourists.

“Only the organizers benefit from the concert, as has happened with other shows at Chichen,” said secretary of the union, Silvia Cime Mex. Last year’s concert headlined by Placido Domingo “would have improved the lives of hundreds of families living in poverty.” The concerts are for the rich and powerful, “but not descendants of the ancient Maya,” he said.

Several months ago the vendors union tried to reach an agreement with Cultur, the state agency that has some oversight in the management of the Chichen Itza archaeological zone. According to Cime Mex, nothing has come from that effort, because Cultur has not acted upon it.


Chichen Itza Vendors Offer Six-Point Compromise

Leaders of Chichen Vendors Prepare for April 17 Meeting

Momentum Growing for Movement to Expel Vendors from Chichen Itza

Vendors Seek Protection, Appeal to Federal Executive on Indigenous Peoples

Vendors Fear Eviction from Chichen Itza Is Nigh

CNN Mexico Awakens to Chichen Disputes

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Chichen Itza Closes–In Los Angeles?

September 8th, 2009 by ejalbright

Chichen Itza is not only an ancient Maya city, but it is also the name of a terrific restaurant in Los Angeles–or was, until last week.

Chichen Itza in the Westlake section of L.A. closed last week, despite consistently excellent reviews for its Yucatan-inspired menu. While the food was good, apparently the location on W. 6th Street was not, and last week the restaurant served its last meal.

Fortunately, there is another Chichen Itza restaurant owned by the same people in the Mercado La Paloma on South Grand Avenue. With the closing of the 6th Street location, the Grand Avenue restaurant will now be open for dinner instead of just lunch.

If you happen to be in L.A., don’t miss Chichen Itza’s cochinita pibil (pork cooked in citrus and achiote) or the amazing habanero salsa. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Restaurant Chichen Itza, Mercado La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Ave. No. C6, Los Angeles, 213/741-1075.

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Vienna Boys Choir Visits Chichen, Ignores Monuments for Iguanas

September 7th, 2009 by ejalbright

The Vienna Boys Choir reserved their excitement during a recent visit to Chichen Itza for the fauna versus the monuments.

According to the Diario de Yucatan, “It was not the great pyramid of Kukulcan, or the Ball Court, or the sacred cenote, but a ‘xla toloc’ [Maya for iguana] that the Vienna Boys Choir marveled.”

The boys had been performing throughout Mexico and on a day off following a performance in Merida took the day and visited Chichen Itza.

Upon seeing the reptile sitting a rock, the boys all grabbed their cameras and ran to it, the newspaper reported.

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Sarah Brightman to Sing at ‘Concert of the Pyramid’

September 4th, 2009 by ejalbright

Politicians and officials from the state of Yucatan took a few moments yesterday to roll out the red carpet and put their official stamp on next month’s Sarah Brightman concert at Chichen Itza, now called “El Concierto de la Pirámide: Sarah Brightman en Chichén Itzá” (“The Concert of the Pyramid: Sarah Brightman in Chichen Itza”).

Governor Ivonne Ortega Pacheco, as well as representatives from the agency Unidades de Servicios Culturales y Turísticos (Cultur) gathered yesterday at the Yucatan convention center to officially kick off the Oct. 31 concert of the world famous soprano.

Jazz Band Merida performed at the media event, which according to the Diario de Yucatan, was pure chaos, the festivities and media overwhelming the limited space. The show must go on, and the governor and Jorge Esma Bazan, director of Cultur, made speeches formally announcing the concert. Also in attendance were the filmmaker Raul Araiza and concert producer Leon Dario Pereira.

In what the Diario described as “an emotional speech,” the governor declared that the concert was the lever to revive tourism in Yucatan. “It will never be a matter of vanity to convert our heritage … into a lever for development,” she said.

Tickets for the event are available from Ticketmaster (only in Mexico).

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