Oct. 30 2013 11:25 AM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

From last year’s Casa Familiar Dia de los Muertos celebration


The Walt Disney Company filed an application earlier this year to trademark the name “Dia de los Muertos.” As you can imagine, the Latino community got mad enough to raise the dead.

“As soon as people got wind of what was happening, it was a huge social-media frenzy,” says Leticia Gomez Franco of Casa Familiar. “Chicanos and Mexicanos were very offended.”

Dia de los Muertos is the ancient Mexican holiday in which people gather to remember their dead with ofrendas, or gifts. The tradition includes an altar, marigold flowers, sugar skulls, food and objects the deceased loved in life. Seeing a massive American company attempt to take ownership and profit off the honored custom didn’t sit well with the Mexican community. Amid the backlash, Disney withdrew its petition.

In celebration of the victory, Casa Familiar will throw an extra-special Day of the Dead celebration with Dia de los Muertos Panteon Fronterizo, happening from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at San Ysidro Community Park and Civic Center (212 W. Park Ave in San Ysidro).

This time, Casa Familiar is taking a back-to-basics approach to the holiday, creating a mock Mexican-style cemetery to remind people what the day is truly about.

“There are all these things that most people don’t know about Dia de los Muertos,” Franco says. “Even the people upset about the Disney thing don’t know why it’s worth protecting. If we don’t celebrate it and pass it on to the kids, it will be owned by Disney and won’t be ours anymore.”

The indoor / outdoor fiesta will feature mariachi music, ballet folklorico, danza Azteca, food from vendors and the Mariscos German truck, craft vendors and a performance by Nortec Collective’s Bostich to get the party going.

Artists and others are also invited to create mock graves and decorate them in traditional Dia de los Muertos fashion, with cash prizes going to the most original. Get details at facebook.com/casafamiliar.


When the ghouls and goblins go back into hiding, the annual Mexican tradition of Dia de Los Muertos begins. As noted above, it’s a day of reverence for the deceased and a time-honored celebration that involves elaborate shrines topped with offerings like pan dulce, calaveras (sugar skulls) and candles. Save Our Heritage Organisation and Old Town Chamber of Commerce are partnering this year to showcase a variety of Dia De Los Muertos altars in Old Town. Shops, restaurants and vendors in the historic district are all participating, each offering a unique presentation.  The altars will be on display to view for free from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, and Saturday, Nov. 2. Maps for self-guided tours are available at otsdguide.com.


Mad Men does a great job of depicting 1968, but if you want to see the real thing, you must see Detroit 1968, an exhibition of photographs by Enrico Natali that opens with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at Joseph Bellows Gallery (7661 Girard Ave. in La Jolla). The demise of the once-great city of Detroit is a sad story, and Natali’s images take us back to the time before the fall, capturing a biracial, black-and-white society in black-and-white photos. Home life, work life, tumult and serenity, joy and melancholy, the people, their clothes and their diverse environments—the pictures seem to cover the full spectrum of one place at one time. The show will be on view though Dec. 21. josephbellows.com

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email our events editor, Alex Zaragoza. You can also bug her on Twitter.