Sunday, August 19, 2012

¡VivaFest! Mexican Heritage and Mariachi Festival Forms Partnership with CasaQ for Curatorial Cultural Events

San Jose, CA - August 8, 2012 - This year when ¡VivaFest! was looking to expand the 21st Annual Mariachi and Mexican Heritage Festival they turned to none other than Darlene Tenes of CasaQ, who is renowned for creating exclusive events and cultural experiences which incorporate the traditions and customs of Spain, Mexico and Latin America.

“¡VivaFest! is proud to be partnering with Darlene Tenes of CasaQ,” remarks Marcela Davison Aviles, Mexican Heritage Corporation President and CEO, “who has created  memorable events that celebrate the foods, films and history of Mexico and Latin America.”

Two significant occasions this year gave Tenes the inspiration for four of the many events planned: the 20th Anniversary of Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) movie and the end of the Maya Calendar.

Like Water for Chocolate is an award-winning film based on the best-selling novel by Laura Esquivel, with a cult-like following of romantics and foodies making it the highest grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the United States. The romantic fable from Mexico centers on a young woman who discovers that her cooking has magical effects. The original film will be shown at the Tech Museum along with a chocolate tasting, and on a separate evening, a multi-course dinner at the Fairmont San Jose. Diners will indulge on an incredible menu of Mexican cuisine based on the book with special guest Grammy award winning artist, Lila Downs who is currently working on a musical adaptation of Like Water for Chocolate for Broadway.

Additional events will examine the end of the Maya Calendar phenomenon with world-renowned experts of Maya spirituality, astronomy, language, culture, science and philosophy. The Tech Museum will host “Maya Calendar Revealed” event which will feature the documentary 2012: The Beginning by Shannon Kring Bruset along with a panel of experts including Dr. Isabel Hawkins, an astronomer and Maya expert from the Exploratorium and Doña María Ávila Vera, a Maya elder from the Yucatán, Mexico and Dr. Jean Molesky-Poz author of Contemporary Maya Spirituality: The Ancient Ways Are Not Lost. One special guest, Tata José Soc Chivalán, a Maya spiritual leader, will be traveling for the first time not just outside his country of Guatemala but also outside of his village. “The Maya Empire Feast” will take place at the Fairmont San Jose and will feature indigenous foods of the Maya exploring the rich abundance of fruits, meats and vegetables native to the Yucatán region of Mexico prior to the Spanish Conquistadors arrival in the Americas. The event has been billed as a “dining experience for the most adventurous foodies” and is rumored to have an iguana course.

CasaQ’s Cine y Cena events will also include an evening with award-winning producer/writer Rick Najera best known for his work with In Living Color, MadTV, Latinologues and Nothing Like the Holidays who will give guests a behind the scenes look at his latest film offering Taco Shop. This comedy centered on a young man nicknamed Smokes, played by Tyler Posey of Teen Wolf fame, quits his taco shop job to open his own shop across the street and ends up finding himself in an all-out war when a gourmet taco truck parks across the street. There will of course be dueling taco trucks to start off the evening.

“I am excited to create and be a part of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” said Darlene Tenes, CasaQ founder,  “and am fortunate to have the opportunity to bring together such an array of interesting people to share their knowledge, talents and gifts with others.”

CasaQ events for ¡VivaFest!  range in price from $5 to $250 per person, and will be take place between September 8 through 30, 2012 at the Fairmont San Jose, Tech Museum and other locations in San Jose, CA.

Reservations and more information for CasaQ’s exclusive events for VivaFest can be found at

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About CasaQ
CasaQ is a San Jose-based Hispanic lifestyle company, founded in 2005 by Darlene Tenes that is dedicated to providing unique products, services and content geared toward people who embrace the Latino culture. Ms. Tenes is renowned for planning festive and creative Hispanic events, which incorporate the traditions and customs of Spain, Mexico and Latin America.

About the Mexican Heritage Corporation:  Now in its 21th year, VivaFest! is Northern California’s leading Latino cultural destination event. With a mission to affirm, celebrate and preserve the rich cultural heritage of the Mexican community and showcase multicultural arts within the region and nationally, MHC both presents and produces a vibrant array of multi-disciplinary arts programs in theatre, dance, and music education and in the visual arts. Visit or

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