Posts Tagged ‘President’

Halt to Puerto Rico’s Northeastern Nature Preserve

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: November 1, 2009

SAN JUAN, P.R. (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor on Friday canceled the designation of part of the island’s northeastern coastline as a nature reserve, opening the door to large-scale development along a white-sand beach where proposals for hotel resorts have sparked bitter protests.

The order signed by the governor, Luis G. Fortuño, directs environmental authorities to evaluate 3,240 acres of public and private land and identify the most ecologically sensitive areas. Those sections would be preserved, while others could be opened to developers.

Currently, only small, eco-friendly projects are allowed in the reserve.

“There should not be any doubt that a nature reserve will be established here,” the planning board president, Hector Morales, said at a news conference.

Conservation groups have fought to keep hotel projects out of the Northeast Ecological Corridor, which includes a beach fringed with tropical forest used by endangered leatherback sea turtles as a nesting area. Proposals for resorts rallied opposition from celebrities including the actor Benicio Del Toro and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer.

Mr. Fortuño’s predecessor, Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, ordered the preservation of the corridor in 2007, and his administration had begun seeking financing to buy private parcels from their owners.

But Mr. Fortuño faced pressure from officials, including the mayor of Luquillo, José González Ortiz, to open the region to development that would create jobs.

Looking for Crew for Bronx 3M

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

Looking for Crew for Movie to Film in September
Seeking the following crew members for an independent film to start shooting in NYC: director of photography and camera operator with knowledge of the Panasonic AG-DVX100A, production designer (who will serve as set designer and art director), makeup artist, hair stylist, sound recordist and boom person. Grips and production assistants too.
Bilingual (English-Spanish) a plus. Experience necessary. Deferred payment.
Please send resume to:
PRdream/MediaNoche
Attn: Clarisel Gonzalez
161 East 106th Street, First Floor
New York, NY 10029
Bronx 3M is produced under the auspices of MediaNoche’s Digital Filmmakers Program and is made possible with the support of the NY Foundation, NYSCA, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, NYC Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito, NYS Senator Jose Serrano, and individual donors.

Opening Night CIRCA Puerto Rico ’06

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

CIRCA

CIRCA Puerto Rico ’06

The First International Art Fair in the Caribbean

At the Puerto Rico Convention Center San Juan

Opening Night – May 25, 2006

Roberto J. Nieves, President Anabelle Lampón, Executive Director Elvis Fuentes and Celina Nogueras Cuevas, Artistic Directors Celia Sredni de Birbragher, Paco Barragán and Fernando E. Gutiérrez, Consultants
www.circapr.com

Deadline for Exhibitor Applications: March 27, 2006

Circa Puerto Rico ’06, the first international art fair in the Caribbean, will launch on May 25 – 28, 2006, at the new Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan. The fair will feature some 100 exhibitors from Puerto Rico, Latin America, the United States and Europe.

Scheduled to occur shortly after arteBA, the Buenos Aires art fair, and opening on the heels of the Latin American art auctions in New York, CIRCA Puerto Rico ’06 will bring the best of Modern and contemporary art to a local and international audience of collectors. It will be the first and only art fair of its kind in the Caribbean and Central America, where an important group of collectors has emerged in the past few years, in response to the region’s burgeoning and dynamic artistic community and prominent museums and galleries.

For galleries who wish to apply, please visit www.circapr.com or contact:
CIRCA Puerto Rico
Portfolio FIAC, Inc.
Drive-In Plaza 2135 Carr. #2
PMB 455 Suite 15
Bayamon, PR 00959-5259
USA

Tel. +1 787 279 7675
Fax. +1 787 797 4502
info@circapr.com
www.circapr.com

Deadline for Applications: March 27, 2006
A committee will then gather to select a final list of exhibitors, which will be made public before April 1st.

Latina Legacies

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

LATINA LEGACIES
Book presentation and panel discussion

Virgina Sanchez Korrol, Ph.D.
Nelida Perez
Victoria Nunez, Ph.D.
Lisa M. Sanchez, Ph.D.

March 8, 6:30PM – 8PM

Hunter College
President’s Conference Room
East Building, 17th Floor
East 68th Street and Lexington Avenue

For info: 212.772.5714

Center for Puerto Rican Studies

THE SIXTH ANNUAL HANDBALL COURT SUMMER FILMS SERIES IN WHITE PARK

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

THE SIXTH ANNUAL
HANDBALL COURT SUMMER FILMS SERIES
in WHITE PARK
(106th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues)
SATURDAY NIGHTS – AT SUNSET (approx 8PM)

For information: 212.828.0401 or info@medianoche.us

“Political Animals”, this year’s curatorial theme….

MediaNoche presents the free Handball Court Summer Film Series at White Park beginning Saturday, July 12. “Political Animals” is this year’s theme. Curator Judith Escalona brings together a set of fictional films, dramas and comedies, examining the U.S. electoral process. The Candidate (1972), which looks at how a young politician slowly gives up his ideals to be elected, is as relevant today as when it premiered 36 years ago! In the more recent Head of State (2003), a young politician who knows the ropes finds his voice and a way to embrace his ideals. The last film in this set is actually a documentary entitled An Unreasonable Man, a moving portrait of America’s greatest public advocate Ralph Nader that includes a critical view of the entrenched two-party political system.

“Hazardous to your health” groups films dealing with health and the environment. Not to be missed are: Sick Around the World, comparing health coverage in five capitalist democracies, and The Medicated Child, how troubled children are over-prescribed medicines that have unknown long term effects. Lastly, An Inconvenient Truth, screened last year but presented here again, to stress the urgency of global warming.

MediaNoche is a project of PRdream.com. Some program notes were provided by rottentomatoes.com and pbs.org.

“Political Animals”

July 12
THE CANDIDATE (Drama, 1972)
Director: Michael Ritchie
Runtime: 1 hr 54 mins
An idealistic young lawyer and son of a famous governor is pushed into running for the U.S. Senate against the popular incumbent with the assurance that he will lose and not have to give up his integrity or ideals. As the campaign deepens, he finds himself giving in, allowing himself to be manipulated as the polls slowly change and swing in his favor. Soon his backers decide they want him to win after all. By the time Election Day arrives, the young lawyer has become the person he used to speak so vehemently against.

July 19
VOTE FOR ME! (Comedy, 1998)
Director: Nelson Denis, former New York State Assemblyman
Runtime: 1 hr 15 mins
Mad as hell and can’t take it anymore? Become a candidate of the people, fighting for better schools, litter-free streets, more jobs, and less crime! A tenement superntendent Leo Rodriguez decides to make a clean sweep of things in Spanish Harlem by throwing his hat in the ring to help his community. A satirical look at New York City politics – funny and unfortunately based on real events. The names have been changed to protect the guilty!

July 26
HEAD OF STATE (Comedy, 2003)
Director: Chris Rock
Runtime: 1 hr 35 mins
Just weeks before the nation is about to elect a new president, one of the top candidates is killed in a plane crash. Plotting a future run in 2008, U.S. Senator Bill Arnot convinces his staff to pick a replacement who has no chance of winning. But he gets more than he bargained for when he selects Mays Gilliam. At first thankful to be in the spotlight, Mays plays the puppet, but eventually he uses his power to actually say something meaningful. Everyone is shocked to discover that Mays is giving the people exactly what they want.

August 2
BOB ROBERTS (Drama, 1992)
Director: Time Robbins
Runtime: 1 hr 43 mins
Right-wing folksinger Bob Roberts is the anti-Bob Dylan, wowing his supporters with tunes such as “Times Are Changin’ Back” and “Wall Street Rap”. With his clean-cut good looks and squeaky-clean image, Roberts appears as American as apple pie. Yet, he harbors some nasty secrets such as illegal drug trafficking and bank scandals. Roberts’s political trickery fails him when an innocent man is accused of attempting to assassinate the candidate.

August 9
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN (Comedy, 1992)
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Runtime: 1 hr 52 mins
A small-time con artist goes big time when he hustles his way to the U.S. Congress. Once elected he reaps the usual benefits, and enjoys the perks of power. However, he decides to clean up the Capitol and ends up doing to Congress what Congress has been doing to its constituency all along.

August 16
AN UNREASONABLE MAN (Documentary, 2007)
Directors: Steve Skrovan and Henriette Mantel
Runtime: 2 hrs 3 mins
A close look at how one of the 20th century’s most admired and indefatigable social activists, Ralph Nader, became a pariah among the same progressive circles he helped champion. The film takes the form of an impassioned public debate when it tackles the contentious 2000 and 2004 presidential runs that elicited accusations of splitting the Democratic vote and enabling the election of George W. Bush, making enemies of Nader’s most ardent supporters. Once again, Nader exposes the undemocratic structure imposed by an entrenched two-party system.
Hazardous to your health

August 23
SICK AROUND THE WORLD (Documentary, 2008)
Producer/Director: Jon Palfreman, Correspondent: T.R. Reid
Runtime: 60 minutes
Can the U.S. learn anything from the rest of the world about how to run a healthcare system? Five Capitalist democracies are profiled: England, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan. See how they do it!
Viewer comment from healthnet blog: “I watched Frontline’s Sick Around the World documentary last night and really recommend it to all as a sober examination of the healthcare issues that are such a high priority in America today. What I found most insightful about T.R. Reid’s reporting was the clear and practical way he looked at the pros and cons of the national health systems in the U.K., Japan, Germany and Switzerland. Even more impressive was learning how Taiwan went about reinventing their healthcare system by drawing on the best elements of programs around the world.”

THE MEDICATED CHILD (Documentary, 2008)
Producer: Marcela Gaviria
Runtime: 60 minutes
The availability of medication for children who are suffering from psychiatric problems is widespread, but how much research has really been done on the long-reaching effects of these drugs? This program in PBS’s FRONTLINE series speaks to a number of experts in the field, revealing some alarming facts and figures about the lack of research into the effects of commonplace drugs such as Ritalin. In particular, the show focuses on the growing numbers of kids who are believed to be suffering from bipolar disorder, questioning whether these diagnoses are correct and looking at the potential long term damage the medications they are taking could cause.

August 30
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH (Documentary, 2006)
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins
According to most of the world’s scientists, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tailspin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced. Since losing the 2000 presidential election, former Vice President Al Gore has been an outspoken figure against this potential environmental disaster. For Gore we can no longer afford to view global warming as a political issue – it is simply one of the biggest moral challenges facing every person in our times.

35th Anniversary Gala Dinner Dance & College Awards – August 21

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF PUERTO RICAN WOMEN, THE NEW YORK CITY CHAPTER, INC.
(NaCOPRW)
P. O. Box 268, Patchogue, NY 11772-0268
Founded in 1973 – Non-Profit, Tax-Exempt Organization
Information: 516-380-8714
Email: ediebrookhaven@att.net
Website: www.nacoprwnyc.org
Edith Padilla, President

Save The Date !
35th Anniversary Gala Dinner Dance & College Awards Presentation
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Marina Del Rey Caterers
1 Marina Drive
Bronx, New York 10465

NaCOPRW NYC

Honorees:

Woman of the Year: Dr. Aida Rosa, Retired Principal
Man of the Year: Richard Arroyo Izquierdo, Founder/President So. Bronx Charter
School for Intl. Cultures and Arts
Lifetime Achievement: Denisse Oller
Educational Achievement: Luis E. Torres, Principal, PS 55X
Woman In Entertainment: Choco Orta
Community Service: Luis W. Osorio

Women In Education:
- Amy Andino, Founder and Principal of Academy of Public Relations
- Roxanne Cardona, Principal P.S. 48, Bronx
-Jacqueline Gonzalez, Exec. Officer for Instruction , ICILSO
-Linda Amill Irizarry, Superintendent Dist. 8, Bronx
-Carmen Jimenez, Retired Principal
-Mary M. Padilla, Principal P. S. 5, Bronx
-Yolanda Torres, Superintendent Dist. 7, Bronx
-Yvonne Torres, Retired Superintendent Region 1

Price: $125.00/person, after August 11th, $150.00/person
Make check payable to: NaCOPRW NYC Chapter
and mail to:

Ms. Edith Padilla
P. O. Box 268
Patchogue, NY 11772-0268

FOR INFORMATION ON SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AND JOURNAL RATES see attached or
E-mail: ediebrookhaven@att.net

Cultural Survival, Political Resistance and Sustainable Development in Contemporary Puerto Rico

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

A Seminar and Discussion presented by Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture

Tuesday, October 7, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Hostos Art Gallery
Hostos Community College/CUNY
450 Grand Concourse (at 149 St.)
The Bronx

Admission is free. To register, call 718-518-4455

Transp: IRT 2, 4, 5, Bx1 & Bx19 to Grand Concourse & 149 St.

. . . a bilingual (English-Spanish) one-day seminar on the effects of development and globalization on traditional cultures in Puerto Rico focusing on the recent history of the coastal communities of Loíza and Piñones and the island of Vieques. The participants represent a cross section of leaders in the struggle for cultural and environmental survival: educators, cultural activists and advocates of alternative strategies for development.

The seminar serves as an introduction to BomPlenazo 2008, the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture’s biennial celebration of Afro-Puerto Rican culture. This year, the festival will focus on the bomba and plena music and dance traditions as they are practiced in the communities of Loíza and Piñones, two of the principal centers of Afro-Puerto Rican culture.

Founded by runaway slaves and freedmen in the 19th century, Loíza and its neighborhood of Piñones, with their beautiful coastline and coconut groves, have become a symbol of cultural tenacity as many loiceños have bravely resisted development efforts that threaten their cultural traditions and the beauty of their communities.

This seminar will also focus on the recent history of Vieques, the struggle to end naval bombing of the island and the implementation of a strategy for sustainable development. The island’s recent history, characterized by military and economic assaults, mirrors that of Loiza and Piñones.

Program

8:30–9
Registration, coffee

9–9:30
Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Juan Flores, Ph.D., moderator, Professor, Black and Puerto Rican Studies, NYU
The Hon. José Rivera, New York State Assemblyman

9:30–10:30
Piñones & Isla Verde, the Historical Context
Juan Giusti, Professor, University of Puerto Rico

10:30-10:45
Break

10:45-11:45
The Struggle for Piñones: Political & Economic Aspects
Maricruz Rivera Clemente, President, Corporación Piñones se Integra

11:45-12:45
The Struggle for Vieques: Post Navy Bombardment
Robert Rabin, Director, Museo Fuerte Conde Mirasol, Vieques

12:45-1:30
Lunch

1:30-2:30
The Role of Popular Action in Environmental Preservation
Alberto de Jesús, a.k.a., Tito Kayak, Environmental Activist

2:30-3:30
Microenterprises: A Strategy for Sustainable Development
Nilda Medina, Director, Incubadora de Microempresas Bieke

3:30-3:45
Break

3:45-4:00
Observations and Conclusions
Juan Flores, Professor, Black and Puerto Rican Studies, NYU

4:00
Acto Cultural

Raúl Ayala
This seminar was made possible by a legislative initiative grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation through the offices of New York State Assemblyman José Rivera. It is an integral part of the Hostos Creative Campus Project, a collaboration between the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture and the Hostos Community College/CUNY Humanities Department. The creative campus project has been funded by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

ED VEGA YUNQUÉ, PRDREAM’S TRIBUTE TO THE AUTHOR

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

LAMENTABLEbig.jpg

“THE LAMENTABLE JOURNEY OF OMAHA BIGELOW INTO THE IMPENETRABLE LOISAIDA JUNGLE”
BY
ED VEGA YUNQUÉ

A TRIBUTE TO THE AUTHOR
NON-STOP READING OF THE NOVEL

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 3PM – 7PM

MediaNoche
1355 Park Avenue, Corner Store
(at East 102nd Street)
New York, NY 10029
www.medianoche.us
212.828.0401

BRING YOUR COPY! IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN READING, CONTACT US
AT info@prdream.com OR CALL US.

MediaNoche is a project of PRdream.com. Its programs are made possible with the support of NYSCA, DCA, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, NYC Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, NYS Senator José M. Serrano, NYS Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, and others like you!

View the webcast at blogtv.com at 3PM on Saturday, November 15!
GO TO:
MediaNoche- Broadcast your self LIVE

PRdream mourns the passing of José “Chegui” Torres, 1936 – 2009

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

Boxing’s renaissance man Jose Torres commanded ring & respect
by Mike Lupica

torres-jose.jpg

For the old-timers, the ones who come out of fight nights at the old Garden and out of a much older New York, it will always be 1965 for Jose Torres, when he was young. It will be the night at the old Garden when he beat Willie Pastrano, dancing and jabbing and finally body-punching his way to a TKO. He became the light-heavyweight champion of the world that night and seemed to have won the championship of the city as well. Jose Torres came from Puerto Rico, but by then he was more here than there.

The next day he made his first stop as champ at 110th and Lexington Ave., climbed up on a fire escape and addressed a crowd of thousands.

“This is for everybody,” he said, and told the crowd that if he could do something like this in the city of New York, anything was possible.

But he was so much more than just a prizefighter, even if that is how the world first knew him. He became the first Latino columnist in town, at least in an English-language paper, when my old boss, the great Paul Sann, put him to work at the old New York Post. He would later become a commentator on television, and radio host, and in the 1980s even became the New York State Athletic Commissioner.

He was a friend to Norman Mailer, who was once brave enough to get into the ring with him, and Pete Hamill. He once said that Pete had given him his first book and how he now owned more than 800 of them, and was confident that “Pete’s responsible for six or seven hundred.” He had a good enough voice to sing a ballad one time on the Ed Sullivan Show.

“I keep telling you,” he used to say to me, “I am more a lover than a fighter.”

Jose Torres wrote books about Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, and spent so much time trying to save Tyson from himself and what he called the “parasites” around him. And became a friend to Robert F. Kennedy when Kennedy became the U.S. senator from New York.

Kennedy wanted to learn about the city, to know the city, and not just the avenues of power in Manhattan. So Hamill and the late Jack Newfield became guides for him in those years. So did Jose Torres. They would get in the car at night and drive the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, get out and talk to the people who lived in them. A Kennedy doing this, and the kid from Puerto Rico who had won a silver medal in the ’56 Summer Olympics, won the 160-pound division of the ’58 Golden Gloves, would later end up in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y.

And Kennedy and Jose Torres would talk through the night. One of the things they talked about was what Robert Kennedy talked about in speeches in those days, about how within 40 years a man of color would be President. It was why Torres thrilled so much to the run Barack Obama made to the nomination and finally to today, even though he was back in Puerto Rico by last year, there to write and grow old as gracefully as he had fought once.

Pete Hamill said Monday that the last time he talked to Torres, his dear friend of half a century, was 10 days ago.

“It’s amazing, Pete, this country – what a place. What an amazing place,” Torres said to Hamill on the phone that day. He was talking, of course, about Obama.

Jose Torres did not make it to Obama’s inauguration. Did not make it to today. Did not live long enough to hear Obama, whom he believed was the heir to Kennedy’s ideals and compassion and spirit, give his speech today.

Jose Torres died in his sleep early Monday, at the age of 72. He suffered from diabetes and his friends believe that his body was never right after the pounding he took from Tom McNeely, a heavyweight, in Puerto Rico in 1965. It was a non-title fight and Jose ended up winning it, but McNeely brutally worked Jose’s body that night.

Jose finally lost his title to Dick Tiger, a future Hall of Famer the same as Willie Pastrano, the same as Jose. It was some amazing time in their division. Then Tiger beat him a second fight at the Garden, even though that one nearly caused a riot when it was announced that the decision had gone against Jose. He fought twice more after that and then retired.

And this wasn’t the beginning of some slow, sad ending for a retired boxer who had taken too many shots to the head. This was the beginning of a joyful, amazing life, one so well-lived and so well-enjoyed, in the city of New York.

For the next four decades he lectured and wrote his books and became Commissioner Torres finally. His last columns were for El Diario. At the boxing Hall of Fame, he is described this way: “Boxing’s renaissance man.” He was all that, a splendid ambassador for the island of his birth and the city he adopted and of his sport.

He was a lover: of his boxing career, of being a champion, of being a writer, of knowing that books he wrote, in his second language, would be on library shelves forever. More than anything he would have loved Barack Obama’s speech today, about the world Jose Torres imagined once from a fire escape on 110th Street, one where anything really is possible.

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.