New Year’s Eve parties, Billiards lessons, Electric violinist Geoffrey Castle in three concerts, Gringos needed for Day of the Innocents parade

Dec 31, 2018

If you plan your time around what’s happening in Cuenca’s creative community, then this column is for you. Published every Monday, “What’s Happening Under the Domes”highlights the exhibits, concerts, workshops and other not-to-be-missed artistic events scheduled for the coming week. We cannot guarantee a complete listing, but we’ll try our best to keep you informed.

This week

¡Feliz año nuevo! Cuenca knows how to celebrate the new year – enjoy the fireworks, music and street bonfires!

Monday, December 31
Santa Canela is offering blues in bringing in the new year

Santa Canela Hotel, Bar and Grille is celebrating New Year’s eve with one of Cuenca’s best blues band, Gatos Negros. Three talented Ecuadorians in guitars and drum. A fun band to dance with. Bring your dancing shoes and be ready. At midnight you can watch Cuenca’s sky light up with fireworks.

$5 cover. Music starts at 7 p.m. Dinner from 6 p.m. Special dinner menu includes: BBQ ribs with potato salad and BBQ beans, Orange chicken or shrimp, Burgers with fries, and BBQ wings. To make reservations, email at santacanela2016

Santa Canela is located at Calle Larga 3-82 y Vargas Machuca.

New Year’s Eve Hearts of Gold Happy Hour and Great Monigote Contest

Manigote arrival 8 p.m. Bring your own Manigote and enter the contest. Here’s your chance to join Cuenca’s NYE tradition.

Happy Hour from 8 to 9 p.m. Mama Linda’s Basil Gin Smash or Cuenca Libre – Only $5. Includes one vote for your Favorite Monigote. (All proceeds plus tips go to Hearts of Gold.)

Live Music 9 to 10 p.m. by Guayaquil-based Band: Libelula
Manigote Contest 10 – 10:30 p.m. Vote Count, Prizes and Manigote Burning.
Party continues through midnight with more live music, party favors, midnight champagne toast.
Free raffle drawing midnight. Lucky person will win one of two original paintings.
$10 cover charge.
Party held at Boogalo Forever at Av. Francisco Moscoso 3-31 y Nicanor Aguilar, near 911 Building.

Live Music with ‘Sinatra King’ Robert Sanders and David Zoerinig at Hotel Los Balcones!

The evening will start at 7 p.m. through midnight.

Special dinner menu: Calamar salad, cream of red peppers and croutons, pork ribs in tangerine sauce with baked potatoes and special salad, grilled trout and king prawns in a caper sauce with baked potatoes, and chocolate cake.

Robert Sanders at the Malibu (California) Inn

Cost for the whole evening including dinner is $25. Be sure to RSVP by emailing info or calling 284-2103.

Hotel Los Balcones (the old California Kitchen) is located at Luis Borrero 12-08 and Gaspar Sangurima, right on the corner.

Windshield Cowboys Band at Common Grounds

A fabulous evening of Americana music by the Windshield Cowboys from San Francisco, CA. Founding members Jeff Trump and Jennifer Snarr have teamed up with some of Cuenca’s finest musicians to perform original music that spans rock,bluegrass,country,blues, and roots music. Bolivar Salmiento, renown guitarist from Cuenca will also be there!

Showtimes are 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
$5 cover for band. Excellent food and drink available!
Common Grounds is located at Eduardo Crespo Malo y Gran Columbia.

Tuesday, January 1

And your resolutions begin . . .

Wednesday, January 2
Open pool/billiards lessons!

Everyone is welcome to come join in the fun at the new home of the Cuenca Pool League, located between Gran Colombia and Mariscal La Mar, two blocks East of El Rocio Apartment Building near The Quads. Brian Brown and Martha Mays will be instructing all levels from very beginners on up. Cost is $7 with special prices on beer, wine and drinks.

4 to 7 p.m.

Please contact Martha,, to reserve your seat and receive a location map. Space is limited.

Saturday, January 5 and Sunday, January 6
Electric violinist Geoffrey Castle is playing three concerts in Cuenca!

“Geoffrey is the coolest and best electric violinist I have ever heard. His repertoire spans Celtic jigs to Jimmy Hendrix.  Having played with Roger Daltrey of The Who, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Alan White [from progressive band Yes] . . .  Geoffrey’s credentials are world class.” ~ Rick Hubbert

Saturday, January 5, 7:30 p.m. at AZUAY COMMUNITY THEATRE, next to the Oro Verde Hotel on Av Ordoñez Lasso.   Almost sold out!
Wednesday, January 9, 7:30 p.m. at LIRÓN LIRÓN, on Gran Colombia 9-41 y Benigno Malo with Gatos Negros.  Almost sold out!
Friday, January 11, 7:30 p.m. at VILLA SAN CARLOS, on RemigioTamariz 1-85 y Av. Solano with Gatos Negros

Tickets are $20 and are available at Sunrise Cafe on Calle Largo, Thursday, January 3, from 9 to 11 a.m. or at idiomART on Presidente Córdova 1-77 y Manuel Vega, January 2 through 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Innocences Parade with expats!

Fishbon del Sur theater company is the first group of foreigners, along with Gringos with Kazoos, participating in Cuenca’s Annual Innocences Parade on January 6!

Nothing is sacred during the Day of the Innocents parade.

Cindy Benson is the parade mistress and has created a sound track with snippets of pop culture songs to include simple choreographed moves for those that want to dance. There are also roles to act out some of the songs with pantomimes! It’s mostly improv and playing off each other, but also a great chance to learn mime from Cindy, a New York Broadway singer, actress and dancer!

Of course, the more people moving together, the better. If you come to all the parade rehearsals it’ll kick off your new year feeling good, dancing and laughing with new friends.

Do you want a part? Do you want to dance, walk or ride?

Next workshop will be Wednesday, January 2 at 11 am. They will be creating the dance and mime numbers and those who want to work on costumes can do so.

Anyone good with a paintbrush, they could use your help with the sign.

For more information and to volunteer, email:
Fishbon del Sur islocated at 14-25 Mariscal Lamar y Estevez de Toral.

This is the last week to see Evelyn Johnson, winner of CuencaHighLife Christmas Photo contest, stunning photography exhibition

“ECUADOR Y MÁS: Su Tierra y Su Gente”, by Michael Hamilton, Burt Johnson and Evelyn Johnson continues until January 7.  Each photographer has a unique and different style – all beautiful and exciting!

Located at the Miguel Illesdas C. Galleria de Arte on Calle Larga 1-209 y Miguel Angel Estrella.  Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Coming soon!
The Jazz Society of Ecuador 2019 International Jazz Festival!

January 9 through 12, and January 16 through19 the Jazz Society Café, located in the heart of the UNESCO Historic District of Cuenca, Ecuador.

Featuring renowned Jazz Musicians from around the World!

Purchase tickets now at

Azuay Community Theater Auditions

A.C.T. will be auditioning for “Sylvia”, a comedy by A.R. Gurney, directed by Tony Harding. Staged/Memorized.

Monday, January 21 from 10 a.m. – noon
Tuesday, January 22 from 2 – 4 p.m.

Open auditions, nothing to prepare.
Performances weekends of March 30, 31 and April 6, 7.
Contact Tony with questions at   tonyharding999

Synopsis: Greg & Kate have moved to the city after twenty-two years of child rearing in the suburbs. Greg’s career as a financial trader is winding down, while Kate’s career, as public school English teacher is beginning to offer her more opportunities. Greg brings home a dog he found in the park – or that found him – bearing only the name “Sylvia” on her name tag. A street-smart Labra-doodle, Sylvia becomes a major bone of contention between husband and wife.

Cast needed:

Sylvia—female  A labra-doodle. Must be fit and agile, the part is physical, getting up and down off the floor, up and down stairs, moving through the theatre. Note: the actor walks as a person but acts like a dog; you won’t be crawling around on all fours, but you will be “sitting”, “begging” and “rolling over”.
Greg—male A man coming to the natural conclusion of his career and struggling to cope with the changes in his world and in himself.
Kate—female Greg’s wife, a woman coming into her own in her career and in herself; the last child gone to college, career recognition and opportunities opening up for her.

One person, 3 roles, either gender 1) a “dog person” animal lover that Greg befriends in the park  2) an Upper East Side socialite and old school friend of Kate’s   3) a marriage counselor/psychotherapist

Azuay Community Theater is located on Av. Ordonez Lasso next to Hotel Oro Verde.

What’s Happening Under the Domes is a weekly column by Sara Coppler. Sara has lived in Ecuador for over 5 years. She is an architect by training, who has worked for more than two decades in the field of international development and poverty housing. She is a co-founder of idiomART, a creative community center in Cuenca. Having admired the creative process throughout her life,she describes herself as a “Head Cheerleader for the Arts.” It’sthis enthusiasm that she hopes to bring to this weekly column. You may contact her at and feel free to check out her Under The Domes website at

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