Every year in January, the various comunas (sectors) of the city come together to plan out a month-long celebration of free and cheap cultural activities in downtown Santiago and the surrounding areas. Santiaguinos flock to these events, and in recent years, some of the spectacles have become truly gigantic, including last year’s Pequeña Gigante, which enthralled spectators large and small as a puppet made her way around the city, taking naps, waking up, meeting her deep-sea-diver uncle and walking off towards the ocean.
While this year won’t feature the Pequeña Gigante, the powers that be (and the sponsorship of Minera la Escondida, a mining interest) have put together some promising events for the coming weeks. It all kicks off on January 3rd, in front of the Moneda Palace with “Lluvia de Violines” (Raining Violins: original Lacher de Violons), a French production by the company Transe Express, which promises a visual and auditory treat high up in the air, which will be visible and audible by a wide swath of people. It consists of a parade followed by a 40 minute aerial spectacle of music and acrobatics, as the actors are suspended from a giant mobile which dangles and moves as they dance in the air and interact to create music. The spectacle will be performed both the 3rd and 4th of January, after dark in front of the Moneda Palace, and for smaller crowds, seeing it on the 6th across from the municipal building in Puente Alto (equidistant from Metro Las Mercedes or Protectora de la Infancia on the blue line) or on the 7th or 8th in PAC or Peñalolén (no metro access, busses available).
There will be a total of 18 free performances throughout the event, which lasts from January 3rd to 30th, the more heavily-touristed areas of Santiago, and Las Condes, ones that are slightly farther afield including Independencia and Quinta Normal, as well as Pedro Aguirre Cerda, Puente Alto, La Florida, Peñalolén, Lo Prado, Cerro Navia, San Joaquin, La Granja, Isla de Miapo, Quilicura and Lo Barnechea. Watch this space for events in the days leading up to them. Be prepared for crowds, and crowd control that may differ from what you know at home. Conditions on that front are improving, but you still need to be aware. Consider standing further away or where you might be able to get a good view without the crowds if you’re claustrophobic.
Visit the event website, and on the right, use the pull-down menu by “fecha” (date) to find out what’s happening on any particular day. The listing is not complete (it doesn’t list the lluvia de violines, for example), but for the performances featured, you can download descriptions in English if you’d like.