Can We Judge The Aztecs?

By David Johanssen

According to Aztec legend, in 1323 on the shore of Lake Texcoco, the “Mexicas” were shown a vision of an eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus, eating a snake. The location of this vision is where they would build their home and capital city Tenochtitlán. The Aztec culture had rich and complex mythological and religious traditions, as well as remarkable architectural and artistic accomplishments. Even so, the Aztec culture is abhorrent to modern cultures because they believed in the need for human sacrifices to keep the Sun moving. According to the Aztec “Legend of the Five Suns,” all the gods sacrificed themselves so that mankind could live, and it is because of this that man is forever indebted to the gods and must offer continual sacrifice. Were the Aztecs an advanced civilization or purely savages? Are we in a position to judge them?

Join us for a discussion on this compelling topic Tuesday, December 2, at 5pm as Shelter Theater continues its documentary series with Blood and Flowers in Search of the Aztecs. This BBC documentary explores the Aztec civilization and culture from its rise and domination of southern and central Mexico between the 14th and 16th centuries to its fall in the face of Spanish conquest. 40 pesos.

On Friday, November 28, 7:30pm Shelter Theater presents The Beatles Live at the Washington Coliseum. At the first Beatles concert in the United States on February 11, 1964, George, John, Paul, and Ringo gave an explosive performance in front of thousands of screaming fans intoxicated with Beatlemania. 50 pesos.

On Saturday, November 29, at 7:30pm, Shelter Theater presents live and in concert, Mexgitanos Trio. The charming gypsy jazz musicians Almitri Tzigane and Al D’yolanda Camarena Quiros are back, this time with a talented bass player from Mexico City. Their new project is titled Red Vintage. 150 pesos.

On Sunday November 30, at 5pm, join us for an unforgettable presentation of The Odd Couple, one of the greatest films ever adapted from the stage! In the original 1968 film based on the play by Neil Simon, starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (reprising his Broadway role), two friends try sharing an apartment but their ideas of housekeeping and lifestyles are as different as night and day. 50 pesos.

On Wednesday, December 3, at 5pm join us for Steinbeck’s masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath. In this 1940 film directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda, a poor Midwest family is forced off of their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression. 50 pesos.

On Friday, December 5, at 7:30pm don’t miss an exhilarating presentation of Norah Jones Live in Austin. This stunning Austin City Limits performance was recorded on June 14, 2007. Jones’ music has touches of smoky jazz, country twang, and Memphis soul that permeate her original songs. Her emotional, seductive performance is captured on the ACL stage. This recording contains previously unreleased performances. 50 pesos.

Visit us at for more information. Shelter Theater, Vicente Guerrero #4, Colonial San Rafael.


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