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From besos to books, February proved a carnival!

By Gregory R. Gunter

What’s not to love about February? My favorite Aquarians celebrate birthdays—thanks, Mom!—while Carnival enlivens our winter blahs, and Dia de San Valentin makes lovers of us all, mi amor. Robin Loving’s Carnaval de Amor fundraiser for the girls of Santa Julia—emceed by Valentin himself—did just that at the Hotel Matilda, showering valentines of support on those most-deserving young ladies. Anita’s Art Party bestowed love on Arno’s Amigos de Animales, while the Two Tenors audience at Opera San Miguel threw flirtatious kisses at Tosca tenor Rodrigo Garciarroyo.

Book lovers proved equally joyous, setting attendance records for the San Miguel Writers’ Conference while letting their hair down for the lit fiesta’s magic, mojigangas and margaritas; see our ample coverage of the conference elsewhere in these pages. And finally, February in San Miguel would not be complete without Chili & Charros, this year benefitting the San Miguel Community Foundation. The entertainment topped the charts, from David Garza’s stage return to Gene’s chap-wearing tabletop dancing (trust me, you had to be there). Ah, if music be the food of love, play on!

Photo Captions:

1.         Santa Julia supporter Lucy Martin and volunteers Patricia Genereux & Lorraine Flett cheer on a costumed GravityWorks performer.

2.         DaNisha Sculpture rep Dawn Gaskill and jewelry designer Karen Wight donated proceeds to Santa Julia’s Carnaval de Amor.

3.         Meson de San Jose restaurateur Ezequiel Lopez hosted Anita Hernandez’s Art Party, benefitting Amigos de Animals.

4.         The Two Tenors: Opera San Miguel Artistic Director John Bills hosts Rodrigo Garciarroyo. (PHOTO CREDIT: Alberto Pacheo)

5.         Newest Opera San Miguel Angels Kate & Greg Lowenstein.

6.         San Miguel Writers’ Conference Executive Director Susan Page dances a jig with a mojiganga at the event’s fiesta.

7.         Nashville singer, songwriter and actress Beth Hooker sang with Sting, Elton John, Don Henley and James Taylor at Carnegie Hall but counts the Writers’ Conference fiesta as among her favorite gigs!

8.         (no caption)

9.         Joe Collerain enjoys the treats from Jardin ice cream wagon vendors Karla & Kayla Lorch at Chili & Charros.

10.       Stephanie Mantooth Turner lights up the Chili & Charros stage with SMA favorite son, David Garza.

11.       Claudia & Bob Thomas (far left & right) pal around with The Spanish Guru, Eli Hans, and the SPA mascot at Chili & Charros.

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