Posts Tagged ‘king’

BORICUA FESTIVAL

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

A Festival of Puerto Rican Culture

New Yorks City’s own Boricua Roots Music Crew; Tato Torres & YERBABUENA bring their contagious Urban Boricua Roots Vibes & Rhythms to Celebrate Brooklyn!’s annual Boricua Festival, a celebration of Puerto Rican Culture at the Prospect Park Bandshell, this year featuring an all-day lineup headlined by the Puerto Rican salsa giants SONORA PONCEÑA and boasting the return of the one and only King of Latin Soul, JOE BATAAN, Tato Torres & YERBA BUENA, GRUPO LATIN VIBE, THE CAMACHO BROTHERS, and the STARLIGHT DANCE STUDIO YOUTH DANCERS.

Saturday, July 29, 2pm – 9pm
Cost: $3 sug. donation
(718) 855-7882

Sonora Poncena Joe Bataan
Grupo Latin Vibe

Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre

Sunday, November 1st, 2009
celebrates 10th Anniversary of creating & presenting dance in the Bronx

YEAR-LONG CELEBRATIONS BEGINS WITH A SERIES OF CONCERTS

AT AARON DAVIS HALL’S E-MOVES SERIES – APRIL 22, 28 & 30, 2006

Aaron Davis Hall, Convent Avenue bet. W. 133 and 135 Sts. NY, NY

As part of ADH’s E-moves series Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre will perform ¡Mi Celia! ¡Mi Puente!, a set of 7 energetic, sexy and fluid contemporary modern dance works set to classic 1950’s music by legends Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. The concert also includes dance clips, personal video testimonials and drag king Elizabeth “Macha” Marrero as Arthur’s father. (Tickets $18; $15 ADH members. Call 212-650-7100 or visit www.ticketmaster.com) Reception to follow April 30 event.

The celebration will continue….

Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre

celebrates 10th Anniversary of creating & presenting dance in the Bronx

YEAR-LONG CELEBRATIONS BEGINS WITH A SERIES OF CONCERTS

AT AARON DAVIS HALL’S E-MOVES SERIES – APRIL 22, 28 & 30, 2006

Aaron Davis Hall, Convent Avenue bet. W. 133 and 135 Sts. NY, NY

As part of ADH’s E-moves series Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre will perform ¡Mi Celia! ¡Mi Puente!, a set of 7 energetic, sexy and fluid contemporary modern dance works set to classic 1950’s music by legends Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. The concert also includes dance clips, personal video testimonials and drag king Elizabeth “Macha” Marrero as Arthur’s father. (Tickets $18; $15 ADH members. Call 212-650-7100 or visit www.ticketmaster.com) Reception to follow April 30 event.

The celebration will continue….


Asalto Navideño: A PR X-mas in New York

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

Music from the FANIA Years with Spanish Harlem’s hottest group

*ZON DEL BARRIO*

w/special guests Fania All-Star Yomo Toro, King of the Cuatro, and Cortijo alum Sammy Ayala

Friday, December 28, two shows: 8 & 10 pm

SOBs
204 Varick Street*
NYC

212.243.4990 or visit our website @ www.zondelbarrio.com*

Hear the hot salsa music from the Fania years alongside aguilnaldos, bombas & plenas.
The first 200 people will receive a free Fania music promo CD compilation “Que Viva La Salsa”

Sammy Ayala’s & Yomo Toro’s 75th Birthday

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

…& Sammy Rosa’ & Aurora’s birthdays too
Celebrando los cumpleaños de los leones –y la leona– del Zon del Barrio

* *
Sammy Ayala, Nelson Mathew Gonzalez, Tito Gonzalez, Oreste Abrantes, Luis Arona, David Fernandez, Luisito Ayala, Sammy Rosa, Aurora, & *Yomo Toro*: the King of the Cuatro, El Rey del Cuatro

*Friday, July 25, 2008

*SOB’s*
204 Varick Street @ W. Houston
New York, NY
/Two shows: 8 & 10 p.m/.
For more info & table reservations: 212.243.4940
www.sobs.com
#1 train to Houston St.
A B C D E F trains to West 4

Photobucket

L to R: Mathew Gonzalez; Sammy Ayala; Pedro “Pocholo” Segundo; David Fernandez; Aurora; Tito Gonzalez; Luisito Ayala; Sammy Rosa and up front is Ruben Lopez w/ Yomo Toro.

“ART FOR BUSINESS”

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

TAINA’S TOUCH ARTS ENTERPRIZE. INC.
HOLISTIC CULTURAL CENTER
121 E. 106TH ST.
1-646-506-5606 / 1-212-427-3810

INVITES YOU TO

GIOVANNA’S RESTAURANT
1567 LEXINGTON AVE.
(BET. 100 – 101 ST. # 6 TRAIN TO 96TH OR 103RD ST.)

FEB. 28′ 09 (SAT.) 3 – 9PM

TO CELEBRATE

“ART FOR BUSINESS”
COME OUT TO MEET GREAT PEOPLE, NETWORK, BUY GREAT WINE/BEER…AND SOMETHING TO SNACK ON WHILE ENJOYING:

EXHIBITING ARTISTS: TONYA TORRES, MARISE EDUARD,
SHAWNA MILLS, ELLA VERES, FERNANDO SALICRUP, LAWRENCE JOYNER, APRIL PABON, ELENA “MAMARACCI” MARRERO, SONIA RODRIGUEZ AND PETER M. BULOW

SPEAKERS: JIMMY DELGADO, BAND LEADER; GINA RUSCH, UNION SETTLEMENT CREDIT UNION CHAIR; KING DOWNING, ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER; ALYSSA MONTOYA, WOMEN IN NEED’S EVENT COORDINATOR

ENTERTAINERS: GRUPO COCO RICO, EVA AND NEGRO, PROFESSIONAL SALSEROS, CLIFF HOGAN, BROWNSVILLE POET; D’VILLE, R & B SINGER. & OPEN MIC.

NOTE: THIS IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. PLEASE BRING CAN OR BAG GOODS TO BE DONATED TO JENNIE A. CLARKE RESIDENCE’S HOMELESS FAMILIES.

FOUNDER / EVENT ORGANIZER
TAINA TRAVERSO,
TAINA’S TOUCH ARTS ENTERPRIZE, INC.

PRdream mourns the passing of Manny Oquendo

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

MANNY OQUENDO
January 1, 1931 – March 25, 2009

Bandleader, percussionist Manny Oquendo passed away March 25, 2009 of a heart attack. A self-taught musician, Oquendo was a senior statesman of the Latin percussion instruments of timbales and bongos before founding and co-directing the critically acclaimed Latin music band, Conjunto Libre for more than 35 years.

A member of the seminal recording “Grupo Folklorico Experimental Nuevayorquino” Parts I & II, Manny Oquendo was known for his understated yet aggressive solo improvisations on both the timbal and bongos. His was not a race as to who could play the fastest, or who could do the most paradiddles, excessive drum rolls or “contra-clave,” Manny Oquendo’s style was a school in and of itself. “The Timbalero must always keep the beat,” he emphasized in interviews. “Never overplay,” was his most consistent rule.

His style was found in the roots of Cuban bands such as Arcaño’s or Orquesta Aragon, never flashy, never overstated. For influence and inspiration he looked to the drummers of the vintage Cuban bands such as bongocero, Ramón Castro, who played with the Orquesta Casino de la Playa and later with Pérez Prado or Conjunto Casino’s Yeyito Iglesias or Papa Kila (Antolín Suárez) who played with Arsenio Rodríguez or Sonora Matancera’s Manteca (José Rosario Chávez). Manny Oquendo was known by what he said on the timbal, not how many things he could do to it.

For more than 60 years, Manny Oquendo’s said many things through his percussive strength and musical vision. His profound yet understated sounds were part of the Latin New York music scene from the ‘40s until today.

Born José Manuel Oquendo on South Fourth St. Brooklyn, he was called “Manolo” before he became “Manny” in his teens. The family later moved to East Harlem in 1939 where Oquendo was captivated by the sounds of music. “Music was everywhere,” he recalled.

East Barrio’s first Latin music record store “Almacenes Hernandez” (originally located at 1600 Madison Avenue and opened in 1927) was just one flight down from the Oquendo family’s apartment. The swinging big bands of Machito, Jose Fajardo and Orquesta Aragon became the soundtrack of his childhood. “There was music constantly coming out of that store, and that was my education,” he recalled.

His first set of drums were a pair of “tom toms” with the skin on both ends. Played with sticks from a wooden hanger, Manny played along to records from his parents’ victrola. Spanish language radio stations were always on in his home. Later, when Oquendo visited his parent’s roots in Ponce, he discovered the cuatro through his grandfather.

After the “tom toms,” Oquendo got a pair of wooden timbales and began playing with Sexteto Sanabria but not before taking a few drum lessons at a school on 125th Street at 25 cents per lesson. Later on, he studied privately with Sam Ulano, a well-known percussion teacher. Jazz drummer Max Roach also studied with Ulano alongside Manny. Whenever they’d run into each other they’d reminisce on their school days. Oquendo always kept his set of trap drums.

By the 1940s, the Oquendos moved to Kelly Street in the South Bronx unknowingly joining a community of likeminded musicians. Pianist, Noro Morales lived down the street from Manny on Stebbins Ave.; Joe Loco was by Horseshoe Park; Tito Rodríguez was on Rogers Place; Tito Puente on 163rd Street, while Arsenio Rodríguez and Ray Coén both lived on Kelly Street.

Oquendo began playing with New York’s top orchestras. He played with the Carlos Medina Orchestra, the Charlie Valero Band and Xavier Cugat’s former singer Luis del Campo before playing with the legendary Marcelino Guerra Band.

From here Oquendo played with trumpeter Frank Garcia and his vocalist, El Boy, where he met Chano Pozo who performed with Miguelito Valdes at a local show and stayed to play with the fledging timbalero. Chano remained with the small group until he got a better paying job. Oquendo moved on as well, joining pianist Jose Curbelo’s orchestra where he performed on a full array of drums owing to their diverse repertoire that included tangos, sambas and American swing music. “It gave me the feeling of being a complete drummer.” He mentioned in an interview to Frank Figueroa over Latin Beat.

From here, Manny Oquendo joined Pupi Campos’ band playing many venues on Long Island alongside Tito Puente and his Picadilly Boys. Since they were both working in the same area, Tito and Manny would ride together to their respective gigs with Manny playing in Tito’s band as he waited for his own show to begin. When Tito’s regular bongocero Chino Pozo left to tour with Katherine Dunham, Tito asked Manny to take over that chair. When Little Ray Romero took a job with Eartha Kit, it was Manny Oquendo who Tito Rodriguez called to fill his bongo chair.

Manny had his Afro-Antillian chops chiseled under the bands of Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Johnny Pacheco and others. He had hung with the legendary Chano Pozo, taking the Musician’s Union cabaret license test for him enabling Pozo to work in New York clubs during his stay between 1946 –’48.

By the 1960s, everything Cuban was forbidden. Manny listened to the Mozambique sounds of Pello El Afrokan over short wave radio and on pirated records. Back in his apartment on Kelly Street in the Bronx, he’d practice hitting the timbal with the left and playing the rhythm on the right until he nailed the Cuban genre so well he made it his own.

In 1963, Manny Oquendo joined “La Perfecta,” the conjunto organized by pianist Eddie Palmieri. Alongside congüero, Tommy Lopez, Manny crystallized the Mozambique sound creating a powerhouse rhythm section alongside Palmieri’s improvisational infrastructure.

In 1974 Oquendo and bassist Andy Gonzalez left Palmieri to move in their own direction. Leaving the traditional structures behind, the duo incorporated jazz, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Puerto Rican rhythms while exploring alternatives. The goal was to “free” the music from restrictive content and Libre was born. During 1976 to 1981, Oquendo became a musical historian of the tipico sound he’d perfected with Palmieri. Libre’s first albums included classics by composers Ignacio Pineiro, Rafael Hernandez and Nico Saquito, as well as a traditional Puerto Rican plena by Manuel “Canario” Jimenez.

At the same time, the group attracted a creative crop of innovative young artists in Latin music. The Gonzalez brothers, Andy and Jerry Gonzalez are founding members; Alfredo de la Fe is featured on various incendiary violin solos with singer Herman Olivera making his recorded debut over a Libre recording while flautist Nestor Torres was also a featured guest. At various times, Barry Rogers, Jose Rodrigues, Angel “Papo” Vazquez, Jimmy Bosch, Reynaldo Jorge, Dan Reagan and Steve Turre held down the trombone line, while Oscar Hernandez, Joe Mannozzi, and Marc Diamond rocked the piano chair.

Last year, Puerto Rico’s Radio Station, Z93 dedicated its National Salsa Day to Manny Oquendo.

Manny Oquendo is survived by four sons and two sisters.

According to Manny Oquendo’s wishes, there will not be a viewing. We will post any information regarding a memorial in the future.

A video from Salsa Sunday’s Conversations with the Masters has been posted on our website at www.zondelbarrio.com/Press.php

About Aurora Flores:
Twenty-first century Renaissance woman Aurora Flores is the recipient of numerous awards and is included in Who’s Who in Hispanic America. Currently the President of Aurora Communications, she was the first Latina editor of Latin New York Magazine and the first female music correspondent for Billboard Magazine. While attending Columbia’s Journalism School, she broke into mainstream journalism and today has thousands of articles to her name.

A musician by training, Aurora founded her own septet, Zon del Barrio, bringing together modern music genres, Afro-Boricua folklore and Afro-Cuban salsa. She lectures on Latin music, has composed bilingual songs for Nickelodeon’s “Dora the Explorer,” and recently edited and wrote the foreword for ¡Salsa Talks! A Musical Heritage Uncovered. Aurora can be seen in BET’s Pasos Latinos; BRAVO’s “Palladium, When Mambo was King;” the Smithsonian’s “Latin jazz, La Combinación Perfecta;” and in Edward James Olmos’s “Americanos: Latino Life in the U.S.” alongside the late Tito Puente, playing a composition she co-wrote. She is a proud descendent of Puerto Rican visionary, Eugenio Maria de Hostos.

Why does Sonia Sotomayor call her parents “Puerto Rican immigrants” and other thoughts

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

PRpic.jpg
From the Culture Kitchen blog

I cannot understand the brouhaha in some circles on the left around Sonia Sotomayor’s description of her parents as “immigrants”. And I certainly cannot believe that people on the right are so petty as to not call her the first “Hipanic”/Latina to the Supreme Court by calling Benjamin Cardozo, a man of Portuguese ascendancy, “Hipanic”.

Many of my readers know how I feel about the word “Hispanic”, so let me put this to rest: The census document quoted in my infamous article expressely describes the word “Hipanic” as used by the agency to describe Puerto Rican and other Americans of Latin American origins who did fall into the category of Mexicans. Citizens of Spaniards and Portuguese backgrounds were not “Hipanics” because they were Europeans. Same with Spanish and Portuguese -speaking African and Asian immigrants.

So people, let’s lay this one to rest: Benjamin Cardozo is not a Hispanic or Latino. Period.

Yet let me get to the issue of whether Puerto Ricans can be called immigrants.

I am appalled that in some mailing lists used by liberal bloggers there’s a rush to accuse right-wing commentators and even Sonia Sotomayor herself for calling her parents “Puerto Rican immigrants”. The logic behind this? That since Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States where Puerto Ricans have US citizenship, that this invalidates calling Puerto Rico a “foreign country” and it’s people as “immigrants to the United States”. The fight is to accuse the right of smearing her parents with the word immigrants because Puerto Ricans, allegedly, have no immigrant experience.

And what baffles me most is that the people pushing this line of thinking are “immigration activists” for whom it is a nuisance to fit Puerto Ricans in their “comprehensive immigration reform” narrative. In the past few years all the talk of immigration laws has been about how it is used to attack Mexicans and other mostly Central Americans. Yet the reality is very different.

You may want to call Puerto Ricans “migrants” because they we live in a US territory, but the peculiar political status of Puerto Rico as a pseudo-”Free Associated State” (aka: Commonwealth) has made many define Puerto Rican identity in the United States as one of immigrants with no immigrant status.

Rene Marques’ La Carreta (the Oxcart) became in the middle of the 20th century “the play” that captured this migrant/immigrant ethos of the Puerto Rican experience. In the play, a family of sugar-cane field workers sets out of the plantation looking for a better life. They not only end in a slum when in San Juan, but their penury there pushes them to New York City, where they only find ruin, despair and a death that returns them to the land they had previously fled from.

The play became an allegory for Puerto Rican identity because it describes the Puerto Rican experience as one that is fundamentally migrant inside the island and immigrant when in the United States. Rene Marques’ neo-realist theater was cemented in history and in this case, in the historical context of Puerto Ricans being a nation of immigrants.

Many of the boricuas of the 20th century were descendants of immigrants themselves. Spain had given to many Europeans indentured labor contracts for settling in Puerto Rico back in the 19th Century. Through these contracts the King of Spain leased the land to whomever wanted to work it and buy it back with their revenues. Many non-Spanish speaking Spaniards ended in the country, especially Catalanes, Basques, Canarinos and Gallegos along with other European groups like Italians, Irish, along with Roma from many Eastern European countries. Even under Spanish rule Central land South Native Americans were imported as the preferred group of household servants for the Spanish elite.

Even though the task of defining what it was to be a Puerto Rican had been taken up by many artists and thinkers by the time Puerto Rico was invaded by the United States in 1898, the Puerto Rican criollo movement (aka, Spanish/European identified Puerto Ricans) was stronger and more influential than their nationalist counterparts and when compared to the separatist nationalist movement in Cuba and at the other corner of the fallen Spanish colonial world, the Philippines.

It explains in many ways why the United States furiously aligned themselves to these criollistas and unleashed a wave of violence against the mostly brown and black nationalist movement in Puerto Rico; even going as far as torturing the leader of the nationalist movement, Don Pedro Albizu Campos, by using him for radiation experiments.

Yet it’s Puerto Rico’s weird constitutional framework that muddles the migrant/immigrant debate. Here’s the preamble to the Constitution of the Commomwealth of Puerto Rico:

We, the people of Puerto Rico, in order to organize ourselves politically on a fully democratic basis, to promote the general welfare, and to secure for ourselves and our posterity the complete enjoyment of human rights, placing our trust in Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the commonwealth which, in the exercise of our natural rights, we now create within our union with the United States of America.

In so doing, we declare:

The democratic system is fundamental to the life of the Puerto Rican community;

We understand that the democratic system of government is one in which the will of the people is the source of public power, the political order is subordinate to the rights of man, and the free participation of the citizen in collective decisions is assured;

We consider as determining factors in our life our citizenship of the United States of America and our aspiration continually to enrich our democratic heritage in the individual and collective enjoyment of its rights and privileges; our loyalty to the principles of the Federal Constitution; the co-existence in Puerto Rico of the two great cultures of the American Hemisphere; our fervor for education; our faith in justice; our devotion to the courageous, industrious, and peaceful way of life; our fidelity to individual human values above and beyond social position, racial differences, and economic interests; and our hope for a better world based on these principles.

I want to stop here a moment because there are no accidents with this preamble: At no point does it say that Puerto Ricans take an oath of loyalty to the United States. At no point does it say that Puerto Rico is part of the United States. On the contrary, this document goes through great pains in defining Puerto Rico as a separate nation and a separate country without acknowledging Puerto Ricans’ right to self-determination, autonomy and sovereignty. On the contrary, the nation of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans aspire continually to enrich our democratic heritage in the individual and collective enjoyment of of the rights and privileges that come with having US citizenship.

Can you understand why constitutionally many Puerto Ricans make the case that we are a nation recognized by the United States and thus a separate, albeit not foreign country?

And it’s this contradiction that defines the Puerto Rico experience in the United States. An experience that even though has been defined by US citizenship since 1917 (Puerto Ricans who emigrated between 1898 and 1917 to the US actually had PR passports), has always been one of emigration to the United States not just migration from the island.

So please, stop wasting time in debating whether it is OK to call Puerto Ricans immigrants. We are. Get over it. Now go and get Sonia Sotomayor confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Further Reading : Puerto Rico: A Colonial Experiment by Raymond Carr is an excellent resource and place to start reading about the development of the Puerto Rican commonwealth. So is Jose Trias Monge’s Puerto Rico: The Trials of the Oldest Colony in the World and Puerto Rico: A Political and Cultural History by Arturo Morales Carrion.

Use this url to link to this page

Ask the Locals, Yes, but Which Ones?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

By David Gonzalez
City Room Blog
New York Times (May 27, 2008)

Five celebrities were featured when the “Just Ask the Locals” campaign, with tourism tips, started in August.You know you’re onto something when even Brooklynites extend a compassionate hand to their mainland rivals in the Bronx. Yet that is what happened after my City Room post in mid-May about hotels, tourism and the Bronx. Boosters of both boroughs know they are often seen as provincial outposts that could never rival the imperial majesty of Manhattan Island.

Yeah, right. As they say in some parts of the city — actually, many parts — “Que si que?” That’s Spanish for “Say what?”

Similar phrases are probably being uttered in Mandarin, Urdu, Arabic and any other of the dozens of languages spoken in this city by the locals. Yet, one advertising campaign intended to encourage tourists to “Just Ask the Locals” has a lopsided view of who the locals actually are.

Granted, the campaign (the ads for which can often be seen in the small black-and-yellow rectangular box on the top-right of the City Room blog front) is big on celebrities, fashionistas and people who are famous and fabulous in some circles. And to be fair, some of the advice posted online by nonfamous New Yorkers actually reflects city life and attractions on the other side of the East River (as do a few of the celebrity videos on the site).

But back to those celebrities. According to NYC & Company, which is behind the campaign, 27 people were chosen to participate in the campaign’s first two phases. Of those, six are black, one if half Korean and the rest — about 80 percent — are white (or, appear to be, anyway). That’s non-Hispanic white, by the way.

Mind you, the actual percentage of non-Hispanic whites in the city is 35 percent, according to the 2000 Census. Hispanics, who can be any race, accounted for 27 percent, black/African-American 24.5 percent and Asians accounted for 9.7 percent.

Jane Reiss, the chief marketing officer at NYC & Company, said the campaign was committed to representing more of the city’s diversity in terms of people and places. The personalities featured in the first two phases — “citizens of the city” who donated their time and wrote their own copy — were found through personal connections, a public relations agency and recommendations from partners of the tourism group.

Willie Colon, the salsa musician and sometime politico, has been working with the group for a while now, she said, and he is scheduled to shoot a video for the ad campaign soon.

“This campaign is evolving,” Ms. Reiss said. “We have a list of people we like to reach out to. It is very diverse. Ugly Betty is coming to the city, and we’re reaching out to America Ferrera.”

Ugly Betty is a New Yorker. America Ferrera, however, only plays one on television.

However, the cast of civic boosters was assembled, the travel tips seen on parts of the Web site hew toward the tried-and-trendy in Manhattan, by and large. Alan Cumming suggests a club on the Lower East Side, Sean Combs favors drinks at the Mandarin Oriental. One designer raves about custom-made shirts at Barneys, while another suggests that tourists check out the bargains in the flower district.

And while Deborah Harry recommends a club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, she also promotes Kenkeleba Garden in the East Village as “one of my favorite little-known places.”

By these standards, the other four boroughs could be called “little-known places,” too.

The absence of any Latino celebrities — even Jennifer Lopez, though she and Marc Anthony live on Long Island now — is disheartening but not surprising to those who notice such things.

“Latino culture is invisible in this city,” said Arlene Dávila, a professor at New York University who has written about the intersection of culture, ethnicity and the city. “You have this whitewashed city, a very upscale city, free of ethnicity. This is a city which is more than a quarter Latino, and you cannot find a celebrity who is Latino? Hello!”

If by celebrity you mean someone who appears on television, another scholar has some bad news. Clara E. Rodriguez, a professor at Fordham University, looked at the casts of the most popular prime-time shows and found that even those set in New York featured few recurring Latino characters (as opposed to the janitor who shrugs and keeps sweeping when being questioned by a police officer in some cop show).

“People want to envision New York as Manhattan, where it is white, urban sophisticates and well-to-do,” she said. “It’s an old view of New York City, even if the shows are set in modern times.”

The 21st Century City – Five Borough Edition – has a little more flavor and fun. While the Bronx Tourism Council has yet to return a phone call from two weeks ago, regular e-mail messages from the Bronx Council on the Arts consistently laud dance, theater, exhibits and concerts from the borough that gave the world doo-wop, salsa and hip-hop.

The history of those last three genres can actually be traced, just by walking up Prospect Avenue, starting at Samuel Gompers High School (where Grandmaster Flash got his start), past Casa Amadeo (where Mike Amadeo still presides over a music store that has attracted generations of Latin artists), and into Morrisania (where vocal groups once harmonized on street corners and stairwells).
That’s just one street.

Then there is Brooklyn, whose borough president, Marty Markowitz, apparently never misses a chance to promote its people, neighborhoods and attractions. He thinks the “Just Ask the Locals” is a good start, and he praises the city for promoting tourism in recent years.

But, he added, consider these locals:

Mos Def, the actor and rapper? Brooklyn.
Jhumpa Lahiri, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist? Brooklyn.
The Mighty Sparrow, King of Calypso? Queens, mainly.

“But he’s got a place in Brooklyn, too!” Mr. Markowitz said. “Whatever Brooklyn doesn’t have, Queens does. Between Brooklyn and Queens, we represent the world.”

Quick, somebody call Staten Island.

EL CANTANTE – the movie

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Don’t waste your money! Don’t waste your time! This movie was no movie at all. I felt assaulted and disrespected.

Let me tell you what it was. It was one dragged out drug-ologue. Every other scene was about him doing drugs. EVERY other scene! There was no storyline whatsoever.

“I love you Pucchi” “I love you Hector” Why? Was there one scene that showed “love” or why they loved each other? No.

Why was he famous? I don’t know. I know my Mom used to play his music. That’s all I know.  That he filled up Madison Square Garden. Oh I think I saw that in a quick clip in the movie between him snorting and him shooting up.

That him and Willie Colon were friends? I guess.  All the movie showed was Willie Colon in the background in almost every scene. Why were they friends? How did they meet?

How did Hecor LaVoe become famous anyway?  Wouldn’t know from watching the movie. His first hit? Don’t know. It wasn’t in the movie. It was more important to show 3 scenes of him in the bathroom half comatose.

What was his contribution to Salsa? My Mom says he was one of the pioneers of Salsa. Really? No mention of that in the movie AT ALL.

For those that say, “But that was his life… if that’s what he was, then…” Please! He was so much more than drugs. When people packed Madison Square Garden, did they go to see him get high or did they go for his music?

StatCounter - Free Web Tracker and Counter

Where was the music in the movie? A few clips here and there. Him rushing on the stage – stoned and belting it out. That’s it. Tu Amor es un Peridico de Ayer Never played that song. How is that possible?

The song Yo Soy El Cantante That song should have been the triumphant culmination of the movie. Instead you feel like noooooooo. You’re just depressed by the time they get around to that song. Ruben Blades wrote the song for Hector LaVoe and in the movie he dedicates the song to “his friend” LaVoe who of course is by the bar. As Ruben Blades starts singing it, LaVoe, turns around and looks toward the stage like – Wow! What a great song! Should I take that to mean that he had a moment of soberness.

Latinos have enough drug addicts on mainstream media. We don’t need to portray ourselves in such denegration. You don’t see red-blooded Americans saying “Elvis Presley – the King – the drug addict. Wasn’t he the biggest druggie? No. We just hear about his rock and roll music, how he changed music forever, and that’s what made him KING. Not the drugs, not that he died on the freakin’ toilet bowl. (Read the bios of both LaVoe and Presley on wikipedia and see what I’m talking about.  Elvis was the KING. La Voe was strung out.)

Meanwhile, Jennifer Lopez with her fame and fortune could have done right by her people and given us someone to look up to. Now every time we hear, LaVoe’s version of the Puerto Rican “anthem”, Que Cante Mi Gente ” or Yo Naci en Puerto Rico all we can do is cringe.

Thanks Señora Lopez. Thanks a lot.  You also did a disgrace to your husband who is I dare say: the “Hector Lavoe” of our time. But now how can I compare if all Lavoe was an addict? But anyway, Marc Anthony has been struggling to act now for years. First he is type cast as a s p i c, gangster, drug dealer, and now you just officially graduated him to play the role of a junkie.

For those that say, “Hey she’s just trying to make money and that’s the bottom line.” If she wanted to make a quick buck you either cater to mainstream white America, or you give us a movie to be proud of. After all, WHO went to see that movie anyway? There was a line all the way around the Whitestone Multiplex in the Bronx. Was there a line at the Beverly Hills Multiplex? I didn’t think so. It was hard enough getting my Dominican friends to go. There’s no way a white person is going to say, “Let me see L Con-Ton-Tay. Not going to happen.

The movie starts off with “Nuyorican Productions”. Here I am feeling proud! Damn it! Don’t be putting my race all up on the face of Drugland.

J-Lo, ¡no sea tan tonta! It’s like someone making a movie about you 20 years from now and only talk about your mistakes. Never mentioning that you were the highest paid Latina in Hollywood. Never saying that you had a top selling movie and top-selling CD at the same time. Never saying anything except about all your failed relationships. How would you like that?!

Jenny, M’hija, ¡¿qué hicistes?