Dia de los Muertos breathes life into Point Reyes

David Briggs
11/06/2014

POINT REYES STATION: The sixth annual Dia de los Muertos procession drew unexpected numbers of costumed and painted revelers on Saturday. It was an energetic display of the area’s Latino and Anglo communities’ ability to come together, and it began one month ago in weekly art workshops with Ernesto Sanchez; families drew close around work tables in his studio, generating paper-pulp mementos and other pieces of folk art that would be hoisted high and held with pride (one piece carried by Mr. Sanchez’s collaborator, Ana Maria Ramirez, for the entirely of the night) during the march through downtown and subsequent “Blessing of the Angels” at the Dance Palace in which five winged children, some boys sharply dressed in tuxedos, crossed under a gateway, which Mr. Sanchez said itself was blessed by moonlight for several nights and placed their votives on a community altar commemorating the dead. In between was a drum beat-driven offering by the Aztec Dancers, who smudged the packed hall, and on its heels a performance of “Oratorio de los Muertos,” a song written by musician Tim Weed when he lived in Tuscan, Ariz. and would attend all-night cemetery gatherings on the occasion. Painted green and grizzled, and flanked by his partner, Debbie Daly, garbed in a wedding gown, Mr. Weed seamlessly stitched together the traditional dancers and his own Common Voice choir with an evocative instrumental opening. The event, which is funded by a grant from the Marin Community Foundation, seemed on its way to becoming the town’s most-awaited celebratory gathering of year.