November is a schizo time of year. Your living room is still trashed from your Halloween monster mash, but you're expected to abruptly put away all things dark and spooky and make with the yuletide holly-jollies. Thank God we have Thanksgiving to serve as a kind of dress rehearsal for Christmas. Otherwise, the transition from gruesome to wholesome could give you whiplash.
Well, even if you can't go anywhere without hearing Let It Snow, maybe you're just not in the mood to start your Christmas shopping yet. No matter how relieved you are about the election, maybe the last eight years of governmental incompetence, lies and needless bloodshed have left you feeling more mournful than merry. Well, the good folks at the 2nd City Council Art + Performance Space have just the show for you: their Dia de los Muertos exhibit runs through December 4th and features dozens of artists having some fine, post-mortem fun in the tradition of the Latin holiday celebrating the spirits of the dead. The spooks have shown up for a swinging wake, and what do they care that Halloween has come and gone?
The show is full of eye-catchers, but Fransico Alonzo's woodcut Las Calacas is a particularly morbid charmer, depicting the aftermath of a grand skeleton battle in a style that's Frida Kahlo by way of Edward Gorey. In a forest where skeletons are crucified on the trees, one warrior skeleton stands over his vanquished skeleton foe as an army of skeletons cheer. It's the stuff of nightmares, but the childlike stylization makes the scene almost cute. That's the beauty of Dia de los Muertos: it encourages us to find the funny in life's terrors, to laugh at our tragedies. Christmas can wait until December. Don't miss this dead man's party.
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Dia del los Muertos at 2nd City Council Gallery + Performance Space 435 Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach (562) 901-0997 Open through December 4th.