Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Dia De Los Muertos Party To Cherish

Rose Portillo has spent her whole life creating her beautiful, colorful home in Silver Lake, and each year opens its doors to friends and family, both living and gone for her annual Dia de los Muertos gathering. The celebration had a couple year hiatus due to logistics and health issues with Rose's dear husband, Roger, so it was with actual joy and excitement that we got in the car to drive across town in 6 p.m. Los Angeles traffic - in the rain.

When we arrived in Silver Lake two hours later, the joy and excitement were remarkably intact, if helped along by the now richly deserved red wine we cracked the moment we walked in the brightly lit jewel box of a home.

Ever the gracious hostess, Rose immediately set us up with tamales and other traditional Latin American delights, and the traffic was forgotten in an instant. The rain stopped just in time for the party, and Rose pointed me outside to the new bar installation added this year. A friend created a bar that you look down into to see the faces of those dearly departed lit up within by glowing skulls. It was awesome, and let you know who you were toasting even as you were pouring (including a little extra out on the ground for them).

The main altar inside the living room is truly something to behold. Years of friends have added to the creation with photos of loved ones, bottles of their favorite booze, candy, flowers, funeral announcements, jewelry, candles, and all the ever-present little skeleton people that traditionally decorate this holiday. It's truly just so beautiful, and also emotional, as you contemplate all those dear and lovely souls no longer physically with us.

The wind and rain leant a bit of a spirit-filled vibe to the already wide open portals we had open for them, should they like to show themselves. I'd like to think they were there with us, or could at least see the fun we were having in their names.

There was an empty bridal gown floating over the proceedings, with a skeleton groom flying across the other side of the room. It was both haunting and great.

There was so much to look at for the little kids, it must kind of blow their little minds. My friend Beckett was going a mile a minute looking at everything, most of the night with little bird watching goggles (though the pet bird, Courage, didn't really dig his watching).

The house got more and more packed with revelers as the night went on, many in full Dia de los Muertos regalia, blurring the lines between the living and the dead in the most lovely way possible.

The best part of celebrating the dead is always the deep realization that YOU are LIVING, and lucky to be doing so. Anytime things get you down, you just remember that a lot of people don't GET to be here anymore for things to get them down, so even in your down moments, you're lucky. SO lucky.

Lucky to have wonderful people like these in the world, that know the importance of life, and of coming together to cherish and celebrate exactly that.


Thank you always to Rose and Roger. All I can really say every time is "Wow!" And MUCHAS GRACIAS!!! XXX.

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