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XelaWho by Issue

Editorial – April

Festivals Primero through Cuarto Sol got nothing on this

What is Quinto Sol?

There are two ways to answer that question. The simple way is that Quinto Sol is a festival. It’s a celebration of art put on by the nonprofit organization Xela Collective that will play out in a dozen different events in and around Xela for the month of April.

The second answer, fuzzier and considerably more complicated, is that Quinto Sol is a period of time outlined in the Mayan cosmovision. The cosmovision our is our reconstruction of time, history, myth, and meaning as understood by the Classical Maya a millenia ago. They were, with apologies to John B. Mcelroy, the ultimate antiquarian horologists. We’ll spare you the maths; the upshot is that the three interlocking wheels of the Mayan calendar came to a sort of reset in 2012, ushering in a fifth eon of history — the Quinto Sol.

The organizers of Festival Quinto Sol see that fifth cycle as a time of balance, and aim to help realize that vision through empowering artists. They’re kickstarting the festivities with a summer staple: a pool party amongst the sunlit greenery of Villa Alicia in Almolonga, just over the hill from Xela. What better way to inagurate the festival with a splash and celebrate the artists involved with music, dance, body painting, and other novel mediums of expression?

A week on from the pool party is Arte en el Parque is a free event in Plaza Japon. Quinto Sol’s organizers picked this underappreciated oriental park because it’s a kind of demographic center of gravity in Xela. It’s accessible not just to Zones 1 and 3, but also to the neighborhoods sloping up towards the Tierra Colorada, families in outlying colonias like El Bombero or El Maestro, and the denizens of Walmart. The hope is that the free event will drawn in members of the public who might otherwise have limited access to the cultural and artistic bounties readily on hand in the centro historico.

Part of the long-term plan for Xela Collective and Festival Quinto Sol is a physical space to build a permanent center for the arts. The scope of the center is ambitious; they’d like to build classrooms, offices, studios, galleries, a small theater, and more. In the meantime, they’re trying to expand their product lines in the United States, ramp up their more fundraising, and establish Quinto Sol as a recurring and financially
sustainable event. If that all goes well, they’ll have a shot at turning their dream into concrete and doing some literal building on the financial foundation that they’ve laid.

Eventually, the minds behind Xela Collective hope to establish more than a physical space. They’d like to grow their organization into an entity that can support artists financially. “The art that they’re producing – all of it has value, and they deserve to be reimbursed for that value,” said board member and cofounder Kiri Glinz. “We’d like to change the perspective in Xela and Guatemala that artists should work for

Sounds like a noble goal to us. Check out our event section for a list of Quinto Sol activities and an article on the art scene in Xela by cofounder Kaleb Olson on pg. 27.

Dr Sabletodo – April

Does Belize belong to Guatemala?

Dear Dr. Sabelotodo,
I heard there’s going to be a referendum on April 15 about the territorial dispute between Guatemala and Belize. What? There’s a territorial dispute between Guatemala and Belize?
Keegan Caye

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Labia Sagrada

The Vagina Dialogues

Jordan Rodas, the head of Guatemala’s national human rights office, can’t seem to catch a break. He caught flack the month of March for getting out into the big wide world, doing his job, and occasionally getting photographed while doing it.

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Popping and Flopping – April



Spraypaint radio future

Our whole issue this month is dedicated to the arts, so we’d like to thank the dudes who hang out in Parque Central and use spraypaint and cardboard stencils to make pictures of planets. Their artwork looks like the covers of power metal albums. That shit is rad as hell. In a similar veing popping this month is Vision — Xela’s most recognizable and prolific grafitti artist. His distinctive squashed mushroom tag is visible in nearly every part of the city. From well-trafficked thoroughfares to busy parks on down to quieter corners, little plazuelas and intersections, obscure residential colonias, and the concrete overpasses and junked car lots on the outside of the city; the little mushroom is everywhere, once you start looking for it.

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Xelebrity – April

La Colocha Curiosa interviews the only female “ayudante” in Xela

Are you originally from Xela or from somewhere else?

I’m from Huehuetenango originally, but I have been living in Xela for 12 years.

And how old are you? 14

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Trendy – April

We read Guatemalan Twitter so you don’t have to

With the highest number of Facebook users in Central America and a Twitter population growing by the thousands every month, social media can be a great place to find out what’s buzzing in Guatemala. Of course, there’s also a whole lot of nonsense posted online too, but at XelaWho we like nonsense so here are some of last month’s social media trends, with the interesting & the informative alongside the vacuous & the ludicrous.

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Art in Xela

Slouching towards Jerusalem, paintbrush in hand

As the founder of Xela Collective, a local art organization, and co-founder of Festival Quinto Sol, a local art festival, I believe Quetzaltenango has the potential to be the art capital of all of Central America. People travel from all over the world to visit the jungles, volcanoes and reserves of Costa Rica, why shouldn’t people look at Guatemala, or even Xela in the same way but for art and culture?

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Happy 150th Anniversary XelaWho!

Honey, I redesigned the magazine

It’s been a long strange trip but XelaWho has defied the odds and is still here after 150 glorious editions, 143,874 puns and 243 strongly worded letters to the editor. From black and white, to colour, to black and white, and back again – XelaWho has undergone more facelifts than Mitch Mc­Connell. Through all the makeovers, Xe­laWho has stayed committed to original content made by folks right here in Xela (and occasionally travelling in Peru, Aus­tralia, England, the Lake etc). So in honour of this mildly impressive milestone, here’s XelaWho’s guide to XelaWho!

XelaWho started more than a decade ago as the brainchild of Lucas Vigden, an Aussie from Melbourne and long-time Xelebri­ty. Lucas started the mag to pay the rent, make a little tortilla pisto and test the crazy idea that spurring locally written content might just contribute to life and culture in ol’ XelaTown. While still the owner of the mag, Lucas has now moved on to that great whimsical revista in the sky (read: Mel­bourne, with a steady job, kids, and a car). Such is but a dream for us lowly editors left slaving away in the salt mines each month so that you might stay abreast of the latest and greatest about Tortrix’s newest flavour.

Over the years, XelaWho has covered mo­mentous changes in Guatemalan political and cultural life. The rise and fall of our favourite Rambo III villain Otto Perez Mo­lina. The fall and fall of Jimmy “had a TV show with way too much blackface” Mo­rales. XelaWho has been there each year when Zona 2 is flooded due to tons of our uppercrust Zone 1 Tortrix bags clogging their sewers. Through countless San Mar­cos jokes, regular updates on the pretty predictable climate when we can’t think of anything else to write, and a pulped red­wood forest of questionable political com­mentary, we’ve brought you the best and worst of Xela life.

Despite our best efforts, the XelaWho team occasionally steps into actual journalism, or better said, we stumble into something actually substantive and interesting which then becomes a story – the journalistic equivalent of the fish jumping into the boat. There was that time we got the scoop on Xela’s Marching Power-esque jail in Cantel, countless hard-hitting issues on corruption in Guatemala, and when this editor had the honour of interviewing some local LGBTI movement leaders in July 2016 to bring some extra attention to some wonderful local activism and change in our community. Never forget XelaWho ‘s most cited and like article of all time, “My Guatemalan Boyfriend” – definitely worth a Google.

Between the quips and the puns, we hope that there is the occasional nugget of cul­tural insight in this vida xelita that brings us all together in this great city? town? vil­lage? glorified-truck-stop? So hopefully we can explain the occasional odd happening while splitting the occasional side.

So thanks for reading! Thanks for writing in! Thanks for being part of the strange lit­tle town we love!

To 150 more!

XelaWho HQ

Popping and Flopping


Lenin did nothing wrong

Popping this month is the late, great Lenín Fernández. He died relatively young, at 59, after an illustrious career drumming for Alux Nahaul — one of Guatemala’s longest-lived, best-known, and hardest-rocking bands.

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Dr Sabletodo – March

What’s up with Guatemala’s new travel advisory?

Dear Dr. Sabelotodo,

In January, the U.S. State Department came out with a new travel advisory system in which they gave every country a number from 1 to 4 based on how dangerous it is. They gave Guatemala a 3 for “reconsider travel.” So is it safe here or what?

read more of  "Dr Sabletodo – March"