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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    All Souls Procession unites Tucsonans

    Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Residents and visitors to Tucson join Many Mouths One Stomach for the 2010 All Souls Procession Sunday, Nov 7. The organizers of the event encourage everybody to participate either from the sidewalk, or to join in the body of the parade.
    Gordon Bates
    Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Residents and visitors to Tucson join Many Mouths One Stomach for the 2010 All Souls Procession Sunday, Nov 7. The organizers of the event encourage everybody to participate either from the sidewalk, or to join in the body of the parade.

    The 21st Annual All Souls Procession took place on Sunday. It was a collective gathering of more than 20,000 Tucsonans who painted their faces, created floats and played music to pay homage to the dead, whether they peacefully passed or met untimely deaths. A grand finale in which live haunting music played against backdrops of kaleidoscopic images followed the procession. A cauldron filled with notes, pictures and beloved things were lit on fire and sent into the heavens. But it was so much more than that.

    “”To me, this is Tucson in all its best,”” said Tucsonan Stephanie Duisberg. “”Here the spirit of Día de Los Muertos in the cross-cultural procession captures its essence while instilling it with the vision, needs and souls of 21st century Tucsonans and their vision of death and loss. It is truly spectacular.””

    This year, the floats included a dark, drooping pelican, a gathering of people who attached strings to their limbs, giving them the appearance of marionettes, flowing gowns and faces decoratively painted to look like skulls along with colorful paper flowers and huge papier mâché structures resembling faces. A crane lifted the cauldron onto a platform while dancers performed beneath it. It also lifted a white jellyfish-like structure into the air over the cauldron as acrobats and drum players were suspended onto the platform.

    “”The only place I’ve seen (this) is Cirque du Soleil,”” an onlooker said.

    The strongest acrobat attached herself to a long piece of fabric and dangled from it, spinning high above the crowd.

    Norbert Lawson, the owner of Hook Crane, was its operator Sunday night. “”We have done this five years in a row. It is exciting to help the performers do their job. It is interesting to help create an exciting performance.””

    Sunday was Tucson at its finest, filled with “”crazy masks and sheer numbers,”” according to aerospace engineering senior Colin Miller. Filled to the brim with the finest examples of creativity and motion, the All Souls Procession is a uniquely Tucson event. “”They could have found a corporate sponsor,”” said Duisberg. “”But it is to their credit that they refused what would have been the subjugation of community by corporate figureheads.””  

    The cathartic effect that such deep emotional expression can have was played out to the fullest on Sunday. And as is true of so many of Tucson’s best traditions, everyone present — whether in body or soul — was reminded of the power Tucson’s artistic community has when coming together.

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