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Just Beyond the Edge

Just returning from a successful multi-city book- tour, local author and playwright, Michael Hager, has come back to his roots in San Miguel. Michael will be giving a presentation to discuss his highly praised novel Just Beyond the Edge.

Just Beyond the Edge, w/Michael Hager, Tue, Jan 17, 4pm, Sala Quetzal

Set in colonial Mexico in the 1980s, this conflict-filled saga follows the exploits of three fiercely determined individuals as they struggle to prevent the destruction of both their professional and personal lives.

Having started out his creative career as a songwriter who has had over 30 songs recorded by various artists, Michael soon found that his real passion resided in wanting to tell more extensive stories about the unexpected encounters that life can sometimes bring. Michael earnestly started working on his first novel soon after moving to San Miguel in 2001. Just Beyond the Edge was released in 2011.

“I didn’t want to create the stereotypical characters that are found in most suspense-oriented genre, and that’s how I landed on the main protagonist being a Mexican Olympic fencing champion. This also holds true for the central female character, a rising flamenco star determined to break the mold of a being a classic victim of her parents’ strict upper-class Mexican upbringing. Yes, there is plenty of action involving an FBI agent, a kidnapping, and underworld criminal activity, but the real drama is how each of these singularly obsessed professionals battle to survive as they’re confronted with the first real emotional crisis in their lives.”

Aside from discussing his process for developing his complex characters, Michael will also share his perspectives on the challenges he faced writing in two different time periods and distinctively dissimilar cultures, the United States and Mexico. Michael will also share his thoughts on being a first-time novelist and what it’s like being on the road trying to promote and market in this new, ever changing publishing environment. 

“Being a co-presenter at book events with multiple best-selling authors, such as Catherine Coulter, who has a huge marketing machine behind her, can be very intimating when you’re out there on your own,” Michael acknowledged when he was recently interviewed by Sacramento TV KCRA. Never one to let the threat of Goliath stop him from playing the role of David, Michael persisted and it has paid off in high praise for his first efforts as a novelist.

A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to support the Biblioteca and its important programs. Admission is free.

 Cañada de la Vírgen

Lecture: There are thousands of pyramids in Mesoamerica, the majority of which have not been excavated. Mesoamerica is a large area that extends from central Mexico to the northern boundaries of Central America. It includes the southern part of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and the western parts of El Salvador and Honduras.

Cañada de la Vírgen: San Miguel’s Pyramid, Thu, Jan 19, 1:15pm, Teatro Santa Ana, Donations 60 pesos

The names of the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica are well known: Aztec, Maya, Olmec, Teotihuacán, Toltec, and Zapotec. All of these cultures built pyramids. Which one made San Miguel’s pyramid? Actually, we are not supposed to have pyramids this far north. Most diagrams of Mesoamerica place San Miguel de Allende outside of its northern boundary. Nevertheless, San Miguel has a pyramid. Well, is San Miguel’s pyramid worth visiting? Definitely, yes! Spanish-speaking guides take groups of about 20 to the site on comfortable buses from the visitors’ center about 40 minutes from San Miguel. From the visitors’ center to the site is a short ten minute ride and a 15 minute walk.

This lecture explains the history of the pyramid from the Olmec culture, which flourished over a thousand years ago, to the Aztec civilization, which built the Templo Mayor pyramid located in the center of Mexico City. Lastly, San Miguel’s pyramid will be analyzed and compared to the Mesoamerican pyramid tradition. Mexican archaeologist, Gabriela Zapeda, who devoted several years of her life to working at the site, believes its founders were Otomí. Though not as well known as the other Mesoamerican cultures, the Otomí culture may have played a vital role in the development of some of the better-known ones.

Over 200 digital images illustrate the religious, symbolic and political functions of the pyramid within the Olmec, Maya, Zapotec, Teotihuacán, Toltec, and Aztec cultures.

Lecturer: Guillermo Mendez is a retired professor of Humanities and San Miguel resident. He donates his fee to the Biblioteca’s general fund.

 The Cubist Movement

Lecture: The importance of Cubism as an Advanced Art Movement in that it modernized European painting and sculpture in the early 20th century.

The core essence of Cubism is that instead of viewing subjects from a single fixed angle, the artist breaks them up into a multiple aspect, so that several aspects or features of the subject can be seen simultaneously. It is a wonderful way to express the complexity and depth of the world in a simplified manner.

History of Art, Art Movements: The Cubist Movement, Wed, Jan 18, 3pm, Teatro Santa Ana, Donations: 60 pesos

Cubism is a unique format where square shapes and rectangles are formed together. In a cubist painting, the square shapes are softened with curves. In cubist artworks, objects are broken up, analyzed, and reassembled in an abstracted form. The artist depicts the subject of his painting from a number of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint.

One of the characteristics of Cubism is that the background and object planes interpenetrate with one another to create the shallow ambiguous space. The Cubist style emphasizes the flat and two-dimensional surface of the picture plane. It rejects the traditional techniques of perspective, foreshortening, and disproving the time-honored theories of art as the replication of nature. A cubist painter presents a new reality in paintings that depicts radically fragmented objects, whose several sides can be seen simultaneously. They do not copy the form, texture, or color.

The work of Picasso in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon truly introduced cubism as an art movement. His painting has been noted as the 20th century’s most significant painting. His work depicted women through a deformed style never seen before. The painting was an anti-idealist representation of un-ideal subject matter.

Picasso is of the opinion that it is a direct analysis of the awareness, the process of vision and the relationship of one’s unconscious that is based on one’s personal experiences. Cubism represents the process, which the mind undergoes in order to create a classical art from the past. Picassos Cubist art is the first aesthetic representation, which accurately conveys the process of reflexivity the human mind.

For the Cubists, the quest for truth was to be undertaken nor merely with the aid of what we see, but of what we conceive. Painting of solely external perception is inadequate and never sees all dimensions at once. The realistic value of a work is completely independent of imitative quality and these and other concepts are what the Cubist painters, mainly Picasso and Braque, sought out for their artwork, as they evolved into other phases of Cubism.

Come and join us in our exploration of what these important art movements in 20th century art contributed in the development of Modern and Contemporary painting, and will definitely take the edge of misunderstanding of what visually changed the way we see and think.

Lecturer: By Gabriel Sensial

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