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Two of our good friends in Puerto Vallarta are Kevin and Beatriz Simpson who own the folk art gallery Peyote People and the upscale ancestral contemporary art gallery Collectiva. Over the past years we have purchased many wonderful pieces from Kevin and Beatriz. Like Gil and Lucy Gevins, two other friends, they are among a small group of folk art aficionados who understand the power and beauty of the indigenous arts of Mexico.
Few people other than collectors understand the magic and talent associated with the alebrijes (painted wooden animals) from Oaxaca and the beaded and yarn creations from the Huichol Indians of the Mexican state Jalisco and its environs let alone the many other unique and original creations of the Mexican people.
One group who does understand are the producers of popular animated movies at companies like Pixar/Disney. One of our favorite carvers, Julia Fuentes, was hired by Pixar. She displays some of her work at Peyote People. The movie people have traveled to Mexico for years to commission local artists to create the unique styles that bring many of your favorite animated characters to life.
We stopped in to chat with Kevin today and of course we had to buy yet another prize piece for our collection now verging on the obscene … nearly 200 alebrijes from some of the best artists in Mexico.
What we love about Mexico is the serendipity, stories that move us and restore our faith in the human race. This is especially true in times like today where depression can easily set in if we don’t fight back.
Kevin told me about a friend/relative who was a simple taxi driver in Puerto Vallarta. One day the taxi driver was approached by a man, an American, who asked if the driver would take him on a full day tour of Puerto Vallarta and its surroundings-a taxi driver’s dream. “Of course,” the delighted driver responded.
Off they went, all over the town from the fanciest to the ignored out-of-the-way places. Into the hills, along the rivers, out to the sea and through the barrios. After a long day the taxi driver suggested it might be time to take his client back to the hotel.
“Oh no,” said the man. “I want to see your house.”
“My house,” exclaimed the stunned driver. “Oh, I don’t think it’s appropriate sir. It’s very simple, very plain. There is nothing there for you.”
“I want to see it,” said the man. “Let’s go.”
When they arrived the man asked to use the toilet.
“I’m afraid it’s not up to your standards, there’s no toilet seat.
The man went in anyway. When he finished he told the driver to take him to a hardware store. There he bought a toilet seat and covers for the light switches and many other items he noticed were lacking in the taxi driver’s home. When they returned, the family was preparing dinner. The man went into the bathroom to install the toilet seat. While he was working the taxi driver’s family gathered around confused and full of questions.
“Who is this man?”
“I don’t know,” said the taxi driver. “He just wanted to drive around the area and see everything.”
It turns out the mysterious man was Kevin Costner. He was in town filming the movie “Revenge.”
You see, it doesn’t take much to connect with another human being. It’s a talent too long neglected by many so absorbed in themselves. From time to time everyone, rich or poor, needs to take a sh*t. Make those few minutes payoff and the world will be a better place.