Category Archives: Art

Graffiti as Social Commentary in Temuco, Chile

Guest post by Marmo, April 2011

Graffiti in Temuco, Chile, by Marmo ©2011Cachando Chile readers know I love graffiti–good graf–and spend a lot of time photographing it. Today we have a guest post from Marmo–a long-time Cachando Chile friend who lives in Temuco and who took up the cause, his camera and a pen to share a bit of the Temuco graf scene. Thanks Marmo!

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Old

Yes, I’m getting a late start on last week’s challenge, but better late than never! This past week’s WordPress Photo Challenge theme was Old, and having just returned from Italy, I had plenty of “old” to choose from, but I wanted to shoot for the less obvious, so how about this: Old Graffiti!

Old graffiti in the Vatican, Italy

Graffiti dates back to the 19th century in Raphael's Rooms in the Vatican

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Valparaíso by Trolley

What’s summer without a bit of travel, exploration, fun, and tourism? “Valparaíso en un Trolley” dishes out a bit of all that and more. Theater troupe Teatro de la Historia fills the seats of a 1950s-era green and yellow “trolebus” and rolls out on a tour that takes delightful jabs at the city’s characters while simultaneously conveying pride in this one-of-a-kind city.

Trolebuses de Chile in Valparaíso date to 1952 Continue reading

Good Graf: Santiago Graffiti-Villavicencio

I love good graf. Graffiti art, street art, urban expression, bright colors, and freedom in design. And,in my opinion, Chilean graffiti is some of the best. As promised, I will be posting some of my “Good Graf” photos from time to time. (Remember Río Mapocho? And the “official” mural in front of Diego Portales?)

Graf fans… lucky day! Continue reading

Sandro: Adios to a Legend

Sandro Album: Después de Diez Años (1973)

Latin America is in mourning today. Argentine singer Roberto Sánchez—much better known as Sandro—has died. His fans waited in long lines outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires tonight to say their final goodbyes, and the government has announced that the building will remain open all night to accommodate the millions who have made the trip to honor their hero.

The dark and steamy “Latin Elvis” began his singing career in the 1960s and has driven his mostly female fans wild for more than 40 years. Tonight’s news showed these aging fans, or “Nenas de Sandro,” grandchildren now in tow (as well as many impersonators), clutching prized photos and mementos, weeping in the streets, outside his home, and waiting in the searing sun (followed by evening rain) to file past his coffin.

Born in Buenos Aires in 1945, Sandro was one of Latin America’s first singers to venture into the field of rock, although he later developed his own melodramatic-romantic style of very latino love songs and ballads. In his early years he was inspired by Elvis Presley—and dressed in tight pants and a ruffled shirt, he took his idol’s quiver and shake to heights Presley never dreamed of. Check out the action—from twitching toe to writhing torso—in the opening segment of his 1975 performance of his hit song “Rosa Rosa” in Viña del Mar…

I’ve been hearing about Sandro since I first met my husband, who told me the news with a long face this morning. How he began his career as a young teenager in the 1960s and was huge in the 1970s, how he was known as El Gitano (the Gypsy) for his sultry dark and handsome look, what a great voice he had, how romantic his songs were, how many people swore they fell in love to the sound of his voice and the words to his songs . In fact, the Guachacas blog posted a piece in his honor tonight that said:

How many Chileans owe their very existence to Sandro’s seductive powers? He is one of the few people responsible for our own baby boom in a decade in which freedom and romanticism played hide and seek. (translation mine)

Sandro in "Gitano" (1970)

I have also been told (repeatedly) how he wrote all his own songs, recorded 52 albums, and starred in some 16 movies over the course of his 4-decade career. And then there’s the part where his fans haunted him day and night until he finally built a bunker-like complex in Banfield outside of Buenos Aires and hadn’t left his house more than 3 times in 10 years. And how he smoked 4 packs a day and still managed to keep his voice,  how in later years he adapted a special microphone with a tube that blew oxygen to his mouth so he could keep singing despite his ever-worsening emphysema, and how he was on a waiting list for a lung transplant.

He finally had his surgery—a heart and lung transplant—in Mendoza in November. His Nenas and other fans formed and joined “prayer chains” (cadenas de oración) for his health. At first his recovery seemed to go well and hopes were high, but he took a turn for the worse. At 8:40 PM on Monday, January 4, 2010, Sandro, aged 64, made news for the last time.

RIP / QEPD (Que en Paz Descanse) Roberto Sánchez—Sandro—Sandro de América—el Elvis Argentino—el Gitano—el Hombre de la Rosa, (August 19, 1945–January 4, 2010).

Want to know more about Sandro?

Watch the news over the next few days, the TV (at least here in Latin America) will be full of stories, biographies, documentaries, and old movies in his honor. You’ll find dozens of his songs on You Tube or take a look at Wiki: Sandro de América, for starters.


Santiago Graffiti: Río Mapocho

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Classic graffiti on the north bank of the Río Mapocho, Santiago de Chile. Continue reading

Lost Dogs: Quiltros and Heros (Updated)

Vanessa Shulz came to Chile looking for the "Hero Dog" and took home 7 others (Foto from FECIPA- see below)

The topic was Quiltros—dogs—on last night’s Cachando Chile on the Air**. Anyone who’s ever spent any time in Chile knows why. The streets are full of them. Playing in the park, sleeping on the sidewalk, pilfering the trash, and doing just about anything they want to anywhere they want to.

Quiltro (pronounced KIL-troh) is the Chilean (not Spanish) word for “mutt”- a mestizo dog—one of mixed race. Our guest for the evening’s show was documentary filmmaker Vanessa Shulz (thanks to the wonders of technology and Skype). She saw the now famous “Chilean Hero Dog” clip that aired around the world in December 2008 (check it out below if you haven’t seen it). She was so struck by what she saw, that 2 months later she was here and filming.

Chilean Hero Dog:

Vanessa Shulz and the Lost Dog project:

Animal lover and documentary filmmaker Vanessa Shulz didn’t know a thing about Chile when she saw the Hero Dog clip on the news. But it stuck with her. She began to investigate.

She learned that there were 200,000 dogs on the streets of Santiago, and 2.5 million in the country, although it is uncertain how many are abandoned and how many have homes and are free to roam at will. Chile’s leash laws are not enforced, and many clearly well-fed, well-groomed dogs sporting collars wander the streets with their rag-tag buddies by day and night (see It’s a Dog’s World).

Vanessa saw a story to tell in Chile. One that could be told in many parts of the world—throughout Latin America, Asia, and Africa—but Chile was calling her name, and in February 2009 the South African born-and-bred filmmaker—now a resident of the US—packed up her gear and headed south. She and still photographer Chris Mortimer (neither of whom speak Spanish) arrived with the idea of tracking down the Hero Dog—a feat that proved impossible—but a walk through the Plaza de la Constitución in front of La Moneda (the Presidential Palace in downtown Santiago) was enough to shift their focus.

“There were all these dogs there playing and running around. We couldn’t believe it!” she says. In fact, few newcomers do. It’s something that strikes everyone that right there, in front of the seat of national government, the park is always—always—full of dogs running loose.

The fact that she was excitedly filming them caught the attention of Chilean dog lover David Gómez, who just had to approach her. The gates of fate were thrown wide and the people who had to meet to make this film happen were drawn together.

They met Gabriela Jarpa of the CDA (Coalición por los Derechos de Animales), who took them to a la Rinconada de Maipú, where she and others care for hundreds of abandoned dogs. They went to the other famous dumping ground in the Cajón de Maipo east of San Juan de Pirque. They went to the Veterinaria Trinidad, where volunteers work around the clock to tend to and sterilize animals. They interviewed Luis Navarro, former director of the Animal Protection Society who was denounced for maltreatment of animals… and then they went to Chaitén, where the residents who were evacuated after the volcano erupted were ordered to leave their animals behind.

Vanessa made the local news when she took 7 abandoned dogs back to Oregon with her. “Lan Chile said I could fly 6 dogs back, and I had 3 from Chaitén and 3 from Rinconada. Then at the last minute, someone from Lan asked me if I would take a 7th dog, one who lived at the airport.” See the “Perros de Chaitén Viajan a Estados Unidos,” which includes a video clip of the news story that aired in Santiago the day of her departure.

She found homes for 6 of the dogs, but Fumarola, who was born in Chaitén after the evacuation and who had therefore never known human contact, remains with her.

Fumarola, being rescued from Chaitén (left) and living happily ever after in Oregon (right)

Why fight for dogs?

When there is so much human suffering in the world, why worry about dogs? It’s not an uncommon question, one she gets asked a lot.

“I fight for the dogs—for animals—because they have no voice; they are not yet part of our moral universe. Women were once excluded from this moral universe, as were children and blacks. But today no one questions that they are a part of it,” she says with conviction. “If we can’t be kind to our best friends (the dogs) then what does that say about us as human beings?”

“Just because you can’t do everything, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything,” she says, “and if we each do a little, we can make a difference.”

Education / Adoption / Sterilization, the three pillars of establishing dignity for animals.

Educate people about proper treatment, and get the government to enact laws that prevent maltreatment of animals.

Adopt homeless animals. Quiltros (mixed breeds) are often much better pets.

Sterilize your pets. Prevent the increase of abandoned

Vanessa Shulz is now in the post-production phase of her film Lost Dogs, which involves countless hours of editing as well as the endless tasks of the fund raising necessary to make the project a reality.

If you’d like to help and/or know more about Vanessa Shulz and her projects, see her website

Or more on the film, see: Lost Dogs Film.

And while you’re at it, take a look at the trailer for Lost Dogs:

To help in Chile, contact:

CEFU (Coalición por el Control Ético de la Fauna Urbana)

FECIPA (Federación Chilena de Protección Animal)

CDA (Coalición por los Derechos de Animales)

Veterinaria Trinidad

For more Cachando Chile posts on dogs, see:

Sigall’s Surprise: Classical Guitar Competition ends on unexpected note

One of the things about competitions is that they are prone to surprises and upsets. They don’t always turn out as expected and often not as desired. Proof enough was the very unexpected twist of events at Saturday night’s final round of the Dr. Luis Sigall Classical Guitar Competition in Viña del Mar. (See “Classical Guitar in Viña del Mar: 36th Dr. Luis Sigall Competition” for information leading up to the finals).

Eighteen young guitarists from 12 countries were invited to participate in this prestigious competition. Eight made the semi-finals, and the 3 finalists, Marco Sartor of Uruguay, Sebastian Montes of Chile, and Daniela Rossi of Argentina, performed with orchestra on Saturday night.

Marco Sartor of Uruguay

Marco Sartor, 30, of Uruguay

The finalists were assigned the piece they would play.

Luck of the draw.

Marco Sartor was the first to take the stage and performed Concierto para guitarra y pequeña orquesta, by Héitor Villa-Lobos of Brazil. His execution was flawless, but unfortunately his guitar was drowned out by the orchestra, and even during the solo passages it was hard to hear, a fact that the judges neither missed nor dismissed.

Sebastian Montes, Chile

Sebastian Montes, 30, of Chile

Sebastián Montes followed with Fantasía para un gentil hombre, by Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. He played beautifully and moved the audience such that they applauded until he returned for a second bow.

I am not impartial. He is my favorite. We, his family, were there en patota.”


Daniela Rossi, 25, of Argentina

Daniela Rossi closed the show with the most famous of all pieces for guitar and orchestra: Joaquín Rodrigo’s Aranjuez. She played with confidence and personality, and those in the know commented on her creative interpretation.

Intermission. Nerves. Tension.

The audience voted for their favorite.
Smokers smoked.
Hair was combed; lipstick reapplied.
The evening’s 3 stars paced.
The public congratulated them.
Some asked for a photo or autograph.


The remaining 15 participants speculated.
The musicians in the audience opined.
Everyone commented.
What was taking so long?


More pacing.
More smoking.
More commenting.

Time drags on–3 0 minutes… 45… an hour–and this can only mean one thing: the jury is not in agreement.

The lights flash, we return to our seats. One look at the jury, now on stage, and we know. They have done serious battle. Our hearts begin to sink.

The usual round of speeches begins. Why is it that every speaker has to repeat interminable lists of Illustrious Toms, Esteemed Dicks and Honorable Harrys, along with their mothers and brothers and cousins and important neighbors? All the blustering blah-blah must have added at least another 20 minutes to the already torturous suspense.

Finally, the awards:

Best Chilean non-finalist Award: Renato Serrano (29) (trip for 2 to Laguna San Rafael)

Audience Favorite: Sebastián Montes (Yay, Seba!)

3rd Prize: Marco Sartor… surprised murmurs…

2nd Prize: Sebastián Montes… shocked audience response…

1st Prize: Daniela Rossi… stunned

Sartor and Montes were far and away the favorites going into–and coming out of–this event. Those who had been following the competition considered it a toss-up for first and second. The final outcome was completely unexpected and frankly, unexplainable.

And with that, I will refrain from further comment, lest I be accused of sour grapes. Not the case. There is much to be said about the outcome of this event, but I will wait for others more qualified and less involved to say it… while I bide my time, mulling this mystery and weighing my words.

El Mercurio: “Un duro round vivió la final de “Dr. Luis Sigall

El Mercurio de Valparaíso: “La compleja votación en la final del Dr. Sigall

El Mercurio de Valparaíso: “Final de “Dr. Luis Sigall” envuelto en la polémica”