CasaQ is Tapped to Create Original Film and Foodie Events for ¡VivaFest! Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Like Water for Chocolate and End of the Maya Calendar

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Darlene Tenes of CasaQ will host Cine y Cena dinner and movie events with Grammy award winner Lila Downs, Award Winning Film and TV producer/writer Rick Najera, Maya Spiritual Leader Tata José Soc Chivalán, and World Renowned Scholars of the Maya Calendar for ¡VivaFest! Mexican Heritage and Mariachi Festival from September 8-30, 2012 during Hispanic Heritage Month.

This year, when ¡VivaFest! was looking to expand the 21st Annual Mariachi and Mexican Heritage Festival during Hispanic Heritage month, they turned to none other than Darlene Tenes of CasaQ, who is renowned for creating exclusive events and cultural experiences which incorporate the traditions and customs of Spain, Mexico and Latin America.

“¡VivaFest! is proud to be partnering with Darlene Tenes of CasaQ who is producing unforgettable events that will celebrate the foods, films and history of Mexico and Latin America", remarks Marcela Davison Aviles, Mexican Heritage Corporation President and CEO. This collaboration provides us an opportunity to expand our offerings and provide a richer experience for our patrons and partners."

Two significant occasions this year gave Tenes the inspiration for four of the many events planned in September: the 20th Anniversary of Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) movie and the end of the Maya Calendar.

Like Water for Chocolate is an award-winning film based on the best-selling novel by Laura Esquivel, with a cult-like following of romantics and foodies making it the highest grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the United States. The romantic fable from Mexico centers on a young woman who discovers that her cooking has magical effects. The original film will be shown at The Tech Museum along with a chocolate tasting by Casa de Chocolates, and on a separate evening, a multi-course dinner at the Fairmont San Jose. Diners will indulge on an incredible menu of Mexican cuisine based on recipes in the book with special guest Grammy award winning artist, Lila Downs who is currently working on a musical adaptation of Like Water for Chocolate for Broadway.

Additional events will examine the end of the Maya Calendar phenomenon with world-renowned experts of Maya spirituality, astronomy, language, culture, science and philosophy. The Tech Museum in Silicon Valley will host “Maya Calendar Revealed”, an event which will feature the documentary 2012: The Beginning by filmmaker Shannon Kring Buset along with a panel of experts including Dr. Isabel Hawkins, an Exploratorium astronomer and Maya expert, Doña María Ávila Vera a Maya elder from the Yucatán, Mexico, Dr. Jean Molesky-Poz author of Contemporary Maya Spirituality: The Ancient Ways Are Not Lost and Dr. Michael Grofe a specialist in Maya hieroglyphic writing and archaeoastronomy. One special guest, Tata José Soc Chivalán, a Maya spiritual leader, will be traveling for the first time not just outside his country of Guatemala but also outside of his village.

The “Maya Empire Feast” will take place at the Fairmont San Jose and will feature Living Maya Time, a multi-media presentation by the Smithsonian Institution. Dinner guests will be presented with indigenous Maya foods exploring the rich abundance of fruits, meats and vegetables native to the Yucatán region of Mexico prior to the Spanish Conquistadors arrival in the Americas. The event has been billed as a “dining experience for the most adventurous foodies” and is rumored to have an iguana course.

CasaQ’s Cine y Cena will also include an evening at The Tech Museum with award-winning producer/writer Rick Najera best known for his work with In Living Color, MadTV, Latinologues and Nothing Like the Holidays who will give guests a behind the scenes look at his latest film offering Taco Shop. This comedy centered on a young man, played by Tyler Posey of Teen Wolf fame, who quits his taco shop job to open his own shop across the street and ends up finding himself in an all-out war when a gourmet taco truck parks across the street. There will of course be dueling taco trucks to start off the evening.

“I am excited to create and be a part of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” said Darlene Tenes, CasaQ founder, “and am fortunate to have the opportunity to bring together such an array of interesting people to share their knowledge, talents and gifts with others.”

CasaQ events for ¡VivaFest! range in price from $5 to $250 per person, and will be take place between September 8 through 30, 2012 at the Fairmont San Jose, The Tech Museum and other locations in San Jose, CA. Discount tickets are available for The Tech Museum members on films and CasaQ subscribers on dinner events.

Tickets, menus and information on additional CasaQ’s events can be found at http://www.casaqevents.com or by calling 1(877)82-CASAQ.

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About CasaQ
CasaQ is a San Jose-based Hispanic lifestyle company, founded in 2005 by Darlene Tenes that is dedicated to providing unique products, services and content geared toward people who embrace the Latino culture. Ms. Tenes is renowned for planning festive and creative Hispanic events, which incorporate the traditions and customs of Spain, Mexico and Latin America. http://www.casaq.com

About the Mexican Heritage Corporation:
Now in its 21th year, VivaFest! is Northern California’s leading Latino cultural destination event. With a mission to affirm, celebrate and preserve the rich cultural heritage of the Mexican community and showcase multicultural arts within the region and nationally, MHC both presents and produces a vibrant array of multi-disciplinary arts programs in theatre, dance, and music education and in the visual arts. Visit http://www.mhcviva.org or http://www.vivafest.org.

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Jill Arnone

Lily Tenes
CasaQ
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