sábado, octubre 20, 2007

The War on Los Días de los Muertos

Posada's Catrina

Okay, ignore that Right-wing drivel about the War on Christmas. We have a serious problema going on at craft stores across the country. At least the mainstream ones: Michael's Crafts, Joann Etc, Beverly Fabric.

(I won't even start with Hobby Lobby. Which I usually refer to as "Hobby Lobby which is closed on Sunday so that their employees may worship with their families" Several people to whom I have said this respond with "Lots of places are closed on Sunday. That doesn't make them überChristian." Ah, but Hobby Lobby has a sign by the front door, specifically saying "We are closed on Sunday so that our Employees may Worship with their Families." I always want to go after that sign with a sharpie and write in "even the Jews." But you know that's a big lie: I'm sure the employee application has a question about worshipping with your family on Sunday.)

Okay, but back to my point: La Guerra contra los Días de los Muertos.

Admittedly, it is already the middle of October, which means fifty percent of the floor space at these craft stores is devoted to...yes, Christmas.

Now, L* and I have been enjoying The Crafty Chica's Collection. Now you know Crafty Chica rocks for los Días de los Muertos. One of the great pieces she has in there is this fabulous little shrine with Calaveras. She says to buy a "dollhouse cabinet" from a craft store. Between us, L* and I have been to all three of the big craft stores in the area, and no luck on the dollhouse cabinets. Nor were there any wooden boxes that would work for shadow boxes or shrines. That's a little suspicious, don't you think?

Here's what's more suspicious: no marigolds. There's a lot of fake flowers to be found and Michaels crafts, and at this time of the year, many yellows, golds, oranges, and reds. Chrysanthemums, sunflowers, black-eyed susans. No marigolds though. That's odd, isn't it? this is really the season for marigolds. But no, none.

Nor are there any skulls or skeletons to be found. Mummies, ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, tombstones, black cats, witches, cobwebs, yes. all of those. but calaveras, no.

I'm beginning to sense a conspiracy! It's like they're going out of their way to make it impossible to build a traditional altar. Okay, so if there's no marigolds, we can always make them out of crepe paper and florist wire and tape. Except, hmmmm, no crepe paper. Yeah, something's rotten in the state of craftilandia!

No molds for sugar skulls (and I totally want to try filling them with plaster of paris and seeing how they come out.). And you can find those everywhere online and at Oakland's El Corazon del Pueblo (support your local arts stores and panaderías!) But not at any of these crafty lady stores. Which have an obscene amount of wedding swag.

In fact, I'm sensing a whole heteronormative narrative here: bridal-to-baby. I would suspect an anti-queer agenda. If it weren't for all the feather boas. And glitter. And rhinestones. And spangles. And Christopher Lowell.

Crafty Chica has good directions for papier-mache skulls, by the way. That's on our list.

Anyway, I think we need to launch a soldadera campaign to reclaim the days of the dead. It's not just about white kids parading through the Mission! It's not just about hipsters and art galleries. It's about serious rasquachi home-made altares.

Soldadera Calavera

(You think I'm exaggerating, but some cemeteries are now coming out with reglas for what you can put on a grave--no food, no tin can containers, et cetera. Clearly targeting fabulous people-of-color ceremonies)

Note: This is my 400th posting to this blog!

5 comentarios:

Crafty Chica dijo...

Awesome post, and muchas gracias!! i'm so happy you appreciate my struggle to bring the beauty of dia de los muertos into mainstream culture. as humans, we all have to deal with death and this celebration offers a way for us to heal and honor our loved ones and ancestors. and you will be happy to know that your wishes might just come true sooner than you think! i have a national product coming out this spring, and while it is still top secret, all you have to do is check out my books and site and you'll get the gist of what it is all about :-) anyway, thanks again for the shout out and for speaking out about your feelings! and always remember that even though there are not specific products now, you can buy just about anything and embellish it for your ofrenda. michael sno longer sells the small wood dollhouses, so i've moved on to wood boxes with hinged lids and turn them on their side - they work great too! in fact, any kind of box will do the trick!! don't let anything stop you from creating ART!
hugs con glitter, kathy :-)

cindylu dijo...

They don't even have orange crepe paper? Come on, orange is a Halloween color!

I'd like to be more crafty, but I get too distracted to actually complete a project.

bint alshamsa dijo...

I hadn't heard of her before. I've just visited the Crafty Chica blog and found some nice directions for a shadow box project to do with my daughter.

bint alshamsa dijo...

By the way, I'd LOVE to see a cemetery here in New Orleans try to get away with those rules. It would never work. We have too many Voodun and Catholic believers here for that to ever work.

belledame222 dijo...

ahahaha. *holds breath waiting for Fox News to cover that War* *expires* *thinks better of it*

yeah, it's the Most Wonderfullest Time of the Year now; you'd think the Christmas Warriors would at least start on the godawful music we're all subjected to all month. I mean I'm sure the truly awful songs are all too y'know secular for 'em. I tried to get a campaign going the other year, but no soap.