DOWNEY -- The “Casa Calaveras Experience,” a dazzling walk-through theatrical presentation that merges the ancient art of storytelling and myth with modern technology and special effects, has been added to the entertainment roster at the 5th annual Downey Dia de Los Muertos Art Festival, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 29, in and around the Downey Theatre, in the downtown Civic Center area.
“Casa Calaveras” presents a diorama of vignettes that display life-sized paper mache, happy, skeleton figures immersed in eye-popping colors, in exciting locales: Mexico, Japan, Chinatown; musical backgrounds help create an immersive experience for the audience.
The show is the creation of George Newnam, a Chapman University MFA graduate in film. He’s staged “Casa Calaveras” at the Bowers Museum for 10 years, and also at the Museum of Latin American Art, LA Plaza in L.A., Old Town San Diego, East L.A. and San Juan Capistrano libraries and the historic Newland Barn House in Huntington Beach.
Newnam began creating Halloween exhibits as a child in his Fountain Valley family’s garage, but when a grandmother of Mexican decent gifted him a book about Dia de Los Muertos, he gradually transitioned his vision to that tradition. Today his shows take up to 4-days to set up, include up to 21 paper mache skeletons, and tell the story of the ill-fated yet still happy romance of Jose and Gloria and their experience on Dia de Los Muertos.
Show creator Newnam commented, “It’s a great way to introduce your kids to Day of the Dead.”
The “Casa Calaveras Experience” will be staged inside the Downey Library, on the festival grounds. Other festival attractions include continuous entertainment on three stages: dance, music and film, plus wine and beer garden, shopping, artisan demonstrations, face painting, skull decorating, arts and crafts, Urban Art Alley, car altars, traditional altars, food trucks, and more.
Downey Dia de Los Muertos Art Festival is free to attend and runs from 11 am to 8 pm.