Good Vibes at Viva La Vida Fest

A recap of Frida Friday’s artful celebration of Frida Kahlo

An altar for Frida Kahlo by Olivia Tamzarian (Photos by Cassie Arredondo)

On Saturday, July 23, Lustre Pearl South was overtaken by art – bright, beautiful, and befitting of the day’s patron saint, Frida Kahlo. Viva La Vida Fest went from 5pm until 1am, hosted by Frida Friday ATX with the intention of celebrating Kahlo’s life, work, and activism.

Qmmunity Editor James Scott

My part in the event was small – tabling for The Austin Chronicle and Qmmunity – but I was happy to participate in what was an entirely awesome event. Having been to one or two Frida Friday markets before, the grand scale of Viva La Vida was unlike anything I’d seen before. Not limited to just a variety of vendors, there were also many different representations of artistic tributes. Two altars to Kahlo stood at the event entrance with candles and paintbrushes among portraits of the artist. Also on display were multiple live painting demonstrations of folks creating murals of Kahlo, nature, or whatever occurred to them on the spot.

While I and the other Chronicle crew on-site spent most of the event at our table handing out pins, stickers, and can coolers, Event Coordinator Cassie Arredondo and I managed to sneak away for a bit to explore the various vendors and installations. There were myriad options for one’s buying pleasures, from handcrafted sandals to CBD dog treats, CBD people treats, shaved ice, and much more. I grabbed a shirt from Con Safos Print Co., a print and illustration vendor out of Laredo, Texas, as well as a few Kahlo-themed items for my mom. Cassie checked out the gallery wall curated by Monica Ceniceros of atxGALS, which displayed multiple Kahlo tribute pieces, all done by local artists.

We also took each other’s portraits in a Kahlo-themed photo booth – an installation by M. Navarro Photography inspired by the artist’s 1938 self-portrait. My photo is a bit windswept – in addition to the temperatures being hot as ever, the breeze was super strong. More than once we had all our Chron swag blown away due to a gust of wind. That was less disruptive than some drunken dudes who loitered around our table space, but despite the inebriation, they were friendly enough. Perhaps the communal spirit of Viva La Vida kept their buzz on the genteel side.

Dancers with Grupo Folklorico de Bendiciones

Several dance and music performances spotted a day mostly characterized by the brilliant DJs Supermcn4sty, Rosez, KickIt, and Chorizo Funk spinning upbeat tunes. Grupo Folklorico de Bendiciones, a professional dance group out of San Antonio, performed under Lustre Pearl’s pavilion with emcee David Gonzales and dancers Anthony Salazar, Jennifer Agostadero, and Samantha Lafuente, wowing the crowd with colorful dresses and traditional Mexican dances. Being able to enjoy multiple forms of Latinx art was what truly set Viva La Vida apart from most events and brought its inspiration, La Frida, to the forefront of all festgoers’ minds.

Check out more photos from Viva La Vida Fest in our photo gallery. Find more Qmmunity events at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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