This is the first in a two-part series about low- and moderate-income youth. Part two will focus on the efforts of youth serving organizations in a COVID-19 world.
Events in 2020 are exposing deep-seated inequality in our systems: the COVID-19 pandemic revealed inequality in our health care system, the ensuing financial fallout revealed the inequality in our economic system, and recently, the malicious killing of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers renewed the focus on a racist and classist criminal justice system.
When President Donald Trump sent heavily armed federal law enforcement officers and unidentified officers in riot gear into Washington, D.C. during the height of protests recently, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser responded by painting “BLACK LIVES MATTER” directly on the street leading to the White House.
While many spoke of it as a daring political act, for artists like me, it was also an act of urban intervention, an artistic act intended to transform an existing structure or institution, that reclaimed public space back for the public. And she accomplished this with little physical matter at all.
Her action – expressing dissent by marking an oppressive environment – references graffiti, which has been called the “language of the ignored.”
Art scholars note that most types of graffiti are meant to claim or reclaim territory by those who are systematically excluded. “Writers” often work quickly and at night, when they are less likely to be seen and arrested for painting on others’ property without consent.
Bowser’s action would likely be considered vandalism if not for the fact that it was carried out by the city’s Department of Public Works, using city funds. She wielded municipal services as artistic tools to condemn another state-sanctioned action, the violence perpetrated against Black people.
With a few thin layers of paint, the city now loudly and clearly proclaims to assembling protesters, the public and Trump’s official helicopter lifting off from the White House that BLACK LIVES MATTER, presenting that message in the voice of civil authority: “safety color” yellow.
Bowser is the public face of the work. Acting Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said, in an email to me that explained how the work evolved, that Bowser was inspired to “make a statement at the site where peaceful protestors were attacked to create a photo op on Monday, June 1, 2020.” The “photo op” was the destination of Trump’s walk from the White House, across Lafayette Square, to a nearby church damaged during protests, where he was photographed holding up a Bible.
The idea took form during a brainstorming session with eight artists, Falciccio said, brought together by the Department of Public Works on Thursday, June 4, and who were assigned the job of creating a design to assure protesters of their safety.
The artists and DPW staff began measuring and sketching the letters under cover of darkness at 3 a.m., using the night as a constructive opportunity at a time when cities normally view darkness with anxiety and, in recent weeks, have imposed curfews.
The words BLACK LIVES MATTER emerged from this nocturnal culture. The text was only partially expressed in the early morning light at 6:30 a.m. when onlookers came upon the sketched outlines – the “bubble letters” of graffiti terminology – and pitched in to complete the letters.
Ownership of this collective and democratic work is credited to Bowser, an African American woman and an elected official whom President Trump belittled as “incompetent” on Twitter after she criticized his choice to occupy D.C. streets with federal guards.
Finding herself metaphorically in a spot between armed agents and barbs launched in the Twittersphere, Bowser seems to have answered cultural critic Mark Dery’s question “How to box with shadows” by adopting the tactics of culture jamming, a range of creative practices that include hacking and altering the messages of advertising or urban signs to expose or subvert their meaning.
Like a seasoned culture jammer, Bowser challenged the system by liberating the space from domination. She turned the streets into a canvas.
Bowser situated the phrase BLACK LIVES MATTER as an arrow pointing to Lafayette Square, the one-time marketplace for hundreds of enslaved Black people. The square was the backdrop for Trump’s Bible-brandishing performance and the tableau where Attorney General William Barr directed that law enforcement clear out peaceful protesters to set the stage for Trump’s poorly conceived expedition, which they did with rubber bullets and tear gas.
In graffiti, the location you choose to mark is as important as the content and style of writing. In “Spot Theory,” graffiti writers Jeff Ferrell and Robert Weide point out that the ability to select culturally significant sites and to insert language with precision is an esteemed skill set among street artists.
By making a point of the asphalt’s surface, Bowser’s artwork highlights the street as a site of domination, rebellion and politics: the pavement on which George Floyd’s face was pinned for 8 minutes and 46 seconds by former officer Derek Chauvin; the site of hundreds of thousands of global footsteps marching in solidarity; the turf on which more and more people take a knee to call for an end to racism and police brutality. The yellow street visibly vibrates now.
Bowser’s action is an appeal to reinterpret seemingly utilitarian structures in ways that protect democratic spaces. In a cycle reminiscent of the “call, response, release” championed by author and poet Estella Conwill Májozo, Bowser is “called” by her experiences, and responds creatively. In the “release,” Bowser turns the power of engagement over to the public, entrusting them with future actions.
The day after Bowser caused anti-racist words to be painted on the streets of our nation’s capital, a group of activists showed up with paint and buckets. Commandeering Bowser’s municipal language of “safety color” yellow, they added: DEFUND THE POLICE.
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With Mayor Muriel Bowser set to begin reopening DC after the city’s weekslong closure amid a public health emergency, there are legitimate concerns about the future of our arts and culture industry, including artists and other personnel. Much attention has been paid during this pandemic to the plight of hotels, restaurants and small businesses. However, for the uninformed, nonprofit arts organizations are also businesses. They seem to have been treated as superfluous institutions or fillers to the economy.
They are much more than that, explained George Koch, who has been a leader in the arts and creative economy movement for more than 30 years. He argued the “theater industry” and the “performance industry” are “two important drivers that bring people to a community.”
As a professor of medieval Europe, I’ve taught the bubonic plague, and how it contributed to the English Peasant Revolt of 1381. Now that America is experiencing widespread unrest in the midst of its own pandemic, I see some interesting similarities to the 14th-century uprising.
The death of George Floyd has sparked protests fueled by a combination of brutal policing, a pandemic that has led to the loss of millions of jobs and centuries of racial discrimination and economic inequality.
“Where people are broke, and there doesn’t appear to be any assistance, there’s no leadership, there’s no clarity about what is going to happen, this creates the conditions for anger, rage, desperation and hopelessness,” African American studies scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor told The New York Times.
Medieval England may seem far removed from modern America. And sure, American workers aren’t tied to employers by feudal bonds, which meant that peasants were forced to work for their landowners. Yet the Peasant Revolt was also a reaction brought on by centuries of oppression of society’s lowest tiers.
And like today, the majority of wealth was held by an elite class that comprised about 1% of the population. When a deadly disease started to spread, the most vulnerable and powerless were asked the pick up the most slack, while continuing to face economic hardship. The country’s leaders refused to listen.
Eventually, the peasants decided to fight back.
Surviving letters and treatises express feelings of fear, grief and loss; the death tolls from the 14th-century plague were catastrophic, and it’s estimated that between one-third to one-half of the European population died during the its first outbreak.
The massive loss of life created an immense labor shortage. Records from England describe untilled fields, vacant villages and untended livestock roaming an empty countryside.
The English laborers who survived understood their newfound value and began to press for higher wages. Some peasants even began to seek more lucrative employment by leaving feudal tenancy, meaning the peasants felt free to leave the employment of their landowning overlords.
Rather than accede to the demands, King Edward III did just the opposite: In 1349, he froze wages at pre-plague levels and imprisoned any reaper, mower or other workman in service to an estate who left his employment without cause. These ordinances ensured that elite landowners would retain their wealth.
Edward III enacted successive laws intended to ensure laborers wouldn’t increase their earning power. As England weathered subsequent outbreaks of the plague, and as labor shortages continued, workers started to clamor for change.
The nominal reason for the Peasant Revolt was the announcement of a third poll tax in 15 years. Because poll taxes are a flat tax levied on every individual, they affect the poor far more than the wealthy. But similar to the protests that have erupted in the wake of Floyd’s death, the Peasant Revolt was really the result of dashed expectations and class tensions that had been simmering for more than 30 years.
Things finally came to a head in June 1381, when, by medieval estimates, 30,000 rural laborers stormed into London demanding to see the king. The cohort was led by a former yeoman soldier named Wat Tyler and an itinerant, radical preacher named John Ball.
Ball was sympathetic to the Lollards, a Christian sect deemed heretical by Rome. The Lollards believed in the dissolution of the sacraments and for the Bible to be translated into English from Latin, which would make the sacred text equally accessible to everyone, diminishing the interpretive role of the clergy. Ball wanted to take things even further and apply the ideas of the Lollards to all of English society. In short, Ball called for a complete overturn of the class system. He preached that since all of humanity constituted the children of Adam and Eve, the nobility could not prove they were of higher status than the peasants who worked for them.
With the help of sympathetic laborers in London, the peasants gained entry to the city and attacked and set fire to the Palace of Savoy, which belonged to the Duke of Lancaster. Next they stormed the Tower of London, where they killed several prominent clerics, including the archbishop of Canterbury.
To quell the violence, Edward’s successor, the 14-year-old Richard II, met the irate peasants just outside of London. He presented them a sealed charter declaring that all men and their heirs would be “of free condition,” which meant that the feudal bonds that held them in service to landowners would be lifted.
While the rebels were initially satisfied with this charter, things didn’t end well for them. When the group met with Richard the next day, whether by mistake or intent, Wat Tyler was killed by one of Richard’s men, John Standish. The rest of the peasants dispersed or fled, depending on the report of the medieval chronicler.
For the authorities, this was their chance to pounce. They sent judges into the countryside of Kent to find, punish and, in some cases, execute those who were found guilty of leading the uprising. They apprehended John Ball and he was drawn and quartered. On Sept. 29, 1381, Richard II and Parliament declared the charter freeing the peasants of their feudal tenancy null and void. The vast wealth gap between the lowest and highest tiers of society remained.
American low-wage laborers obviously have rights and freedoms that medieval peasants lacked. However, these workers are often tied to their jobs because they cannot afford even a brief loss of income.
The meager benefits some essential workers gained during the pandemic are already being stripped away. Amazon recently ended the additional US$2 per hour in hazard pay it had been paying workers and announced plans to fire workers who don’t return to work for fear of contracting COVID-19. Meanwhile, between mid-March and mid-May, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos added $34.6 billion dollars to his wealth.
It appears that the economic disparities of 21st-century capitalism – where the richest 1% now own more than half of the world’s wealth – are beginning to resemble those of 14th-century Europe.
When income inequalities become so jarring, and when these inequalities are based in long-term oppression, perhaps the sort of unrest we’re seeing on the streets in 2020 is inevitable.
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It’s 5 p.m. on who can tell which day, and instead of rushing from work to kids’ activities, I’m unpacking a box of produce while my 7-year-old peels carrots beside me. Rather than grab what we can from the fridge on the way to soccer practice, my family is all sitting down together to a homemade vegetarian meal. On the menu tonight: cauliflower lentil tacos.
Before you get the wrong impression that everything’s going swimmingly at my house, it’s not. But as a registered dietitian and a mom, I’m noticing a few noteworthy patterns amid the pandemic, both in my own family and in what my clients report every day. Some of these food-related behavior changes have the potential to become new habits with long-term benefits. Here are five eating-related behaviors I hope endure beyond the pandemic.
$50 feeds one person for 2 weeks
$100 feeds a family for a month
$300 feeds a family for 3 months
Our Immigrant Food Project has already begun and the first gift certificates are being distributed as you read this.
Our construction companies have been blessed that most are still working. Let's be generous and help those who are struggling to cover basic expenses and have nowhere to go for help.
We have raised $3,000 over the past week and have another $3.5 committed. Our goal is to feed 100 families for 3 months, so we still have a ways to go.
por Luis F. Sánchez Especial/el Nuevo Herald
Para Hugo Marino Romero no había imposibles. La palabra desafío era como un imán para su audacia. Su gran curiosidad y entrega le permitieron transitar sin sobresaltos del linotipo a la computadora. Era optimista, luchador y tenaz, como un boxeador de campana a campana. En la madrugada del miércoles último dejó de existir por un paro cardíaco en Miami y el 25 de abril hubiese cumplido 80 años de edad.
Durante cerca de 20 años integró el plantel de periodistas de Radio Martí, primero en Washington, D.C. y luego en Miami, cuando la agencia mudó sus operaciones a esta ciudad. También colaboró con el Nuevo Herald de 1980 a 1985, entre otras muchas labores que realizó.
Given the time we all now have at home, cooking has become a central activity for most of us. Among the many dishes I prepare is a lentil stew whose recipe was handed down to me by my mother (and I have now handed it down to my son!). It's a pretty free form recipe that depends on whatever ingredients you have around the house, but it was a distinctively Galician recipe I learned from my mother and have embellished over time. When I prepare it for me and perhaps one other person, it can last 3 or 4 days. When my son is around we don't mind eating it for a few meals. So let me share the recipe with everyone here.
The current production of "Exquisite Agony" is a dense, searing, original play expertly written and directed by the current prodigy of the American theatre world, Nilo Cruz. It's difficult to imagine how this author sat down and attempted to write a story about a man who has a heart transplant and the donor's wife who becomes obsessed with the man who has the new heart and wants to attribute to him the characteristics of her dead husband. Although the themes are universal; the fear of death, the longing for lost love, the difficult diva. the abuse of unloved children in a dysfunctional marriage, the theatrical device to express these themes is oddly served by the story of a heart transplant.
Washington, DC – GALA Hispanic Theatre has received eight nominations for the 2020 Helen Hayes Awards, which celebrate excellence in professional theatre in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. FAME The Musical received 7 nominations, and The Old Man, the Youth, and the Sea received one nomination.
Written and directed by Nilo Cruz, this poignant and witty story explores a woman's obsessive quest to find the recipient of her late husband’s heart. Her journey of self-discovery will unleash emotions and revel dark family secrets that will change their lives. Nilo Cruz Returns to GALA Triumphant
Escrita y dirigida por Nilo Cruz, esta conmovedora e ingeniosa historia explora la obsesión de una mujer en la búsqueda del joven a quien se le trasplantara el corazón de su esposo. Su camino de auto-descubrimiento desatará emociones y revelará oscuros secretos familiares que cambiarán sus vidas. Nilo Cruz Returns to GALA Triumphant
This summer I'm making a trip to Spain with a few select friends. I'm calling it my Spanish 'dream' journey and invite those of you interested to come along. Let me share the highlights with you.
The trip is planned for August 14th thru 28th, precisely 14 days and 13 nights. The journey starts with 6 nights in Galicia, on the rugged northwestern coast of Spain above Portugal with the best seafood in the world, a breathtaking coastline and dozens of beautiful beaches with cold, rich waters that chill the body and refresh the soul!
Just a couple of weeks ago, on Sunday, December 9th, I was able to attend a jazz concert in Baltimore at the new Keystone Corner Jazz Club and listen to the incomparable Eddie Palmieri and his Jazz Sextet. It happened to be the day of Eddie's 83 birthday and he was in fine spirits and even better form. We celebrated together backstage since my good friend, Rene Lopez, a close Eddie friend for more than 40 years, had come down from NYC to attend the concert as well.
Eddie Palmieri is the last remaining great salsa and Latin Jazz planer of the golden era of New York salsa. Gone is his brother Charlie Palmieri, Machito, Tito Rodriguez, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, all great musicians who lit up the salsa scene from New York City from the early 50's through the new century. Palmieri remains a working musician who tours with his Sextet. He also performs with his big band salsa orchestra when the occasion permits and continues to travel the world (he is booked here in DC in June of 2020). He has surrounded himself with a tight, highly skilled group that includes the gifted trumpet player Jonathan Powell and saxophonist Luis Fouché, he of Late Show with Colbert fame. His percussionists are always famous top of the line guys (Jerry Rivero and Luisito Quintero in this case) and his offerings mostly self compositions. He began the evening with a jazz version of 'Adoracion', one of his most classic tunes and extended into a piano solo riff that all of us who know the tune and follow his music could understand and relate to. The group played everything from bossa nova to Cal Tjader and Thelonious Monk.
It was my second visit to the Keystone Corner Club (both times to see Eddie) and we were very pleased to see a thriving new jazz club down in the new neighborhood of Baltimore they call Harbor East. Palmieri is one of those 'swinging' music legends like Tony Bennett or Willie Nelson who just dazzles the public with his virtuosity, joy and sense of humor eon stage.
Eddie recently put out an album with Gilberto Santarosa and Carlos Santana. Still going strong, with a fabulous sense of humor and strong chops, it's a wonder to just watch him play. Generations of Puerto Ricans were influenced by his recordings such as; 'Muñeca', 'Vamonos P'al Monte', 'Nada de Ti', 'Oyelo que te Conviene' and many, many more. Music that has defined our times as Latinos living in the U.S.
Paso Nuevo, GALA’s Youth Program, is proud to present Intimate Revelations/Revelaciones Íntimas, an evening of original works on Friday, December 6, 2019 at 8 pm at the GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC. Intimate Revelations explores the feelings, problems, and idiosyncrasies that occur in the daily lives of our youth. Performed for the public in English and Spanish, the presentation is a culmination of a three-month intensive performing arts training program provided by GALA. Admission is free.
“Paso Nuevo,” states Paso Nuevo director Guadalupe Campos, “has provided a safe space for Latinx and multi- cultural youth to engage in creative writing, movement, and performance workshops, and learn about the technical, production, and administrative aspects of theater. For more than a quarter of a century, the youth participants have used their creativity to explore issues they and the community face. The fall semester had over 50 participants and 43 of them are participating in Intimate Revelations.”
“Intimate Revelations,” Campos added, “is the result of the dedication and countless hours of work by Paso Nuevo participants. In a world that is often stacked against them, they choose to channel their emotions and energy into art filled with laughter, love and Latinx pride.”
“I continue to be amazed and proud of the creativity of the participants in GALA’s Paso Nuevo youth program. They demonstrate how the arts can truly transform lives,” comments Jackie Reyes, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs, which provides ongoing support for Paso Nuevo. “We celebrate their commitment as young leaders in their schools and community to grapple with issues that affect us all.”
GALA Theatre is located at 3333 14th Street, NW in Washington, DC. Parking is available behind the theater in the Giant Food garage on Park Road, NW. The theater is one block north of the Columbia Heights Metro station on the Yellow and Green lines. For more information, call 202-234-7174 or visit www.galatheatre.org
ABOUT PASO NUEVO
The GALA Paso Nuevo Youth Program is an intensive performing arts program that immerses participants in writing, acting, dance, and music classes. Skilled teaching artists guide students ages 13-18 through the process of creating a performance, starting with an idea, through the rehearsal process, and concluding with tech week and opening night. Through exposure to a wide range of artistic practices, students explore issues of identity and cultural differences, articulate their values, increase self-esteem, and gain bilingual skills that will enhance their academic performance and future career opportunities.
There is an exuberance of talent in the cabaret; "We Have Iré", showcased this past weekend at GALA Theatre. An abundance of powerful artists who dance, sing, recite poetry, perform hip-hop, play jazz and timba and typical Cuban music... A dizzying whirlwind of rich, cascading voices. It was almost too tiring to watch.
The project originates with Paul Flores, a west coast Cuban poet at the heart of the concept. It revolves around two stories one of a Cuban woman and family trying to escape the island and the other of a Cuban émigré returning home. Add to that a 'kick-ass' jazz band headed by the incomparable Yosvany Terry, a major Cuban contemporary jazz artist; Christin Eve Cato a soulful sister who sang 2 beautiful ballads, DJ Leydis who transforms into the Goddess Yemaya and a sexy, provocative dance group that does a mix of Cuban folk dance, modern jazz and Brazilian capoeira. Oh, and did I mention Ramon Ramos Alayo and Denmis Bain Savigne who very capably danced and recited. Whew! So much stuff!
With less than one half of the show presented here at GALA on Friday and Saturday night you could build a full Broadway musical. It was too much!! Just when you enjoyed a sax solo from Yosvany it was gone. When Ms. Cato finished her ballad you wanted to hear another. When Paul Flores spoke of his experiences you wanted him to slow down and tell you more. When you watched the dance numbers you wanted them not to stop.
The Director, Rosalba Rolon has some experience with this type of show. It is similar to the recent, 'Dancing in my Cockroach Killers' which premiered at GALA that she directed a while back. 'Iré' seems to me to be in need of some editing, perhaps a few less intriguing talents and a more focused approach. Mind you it was a glorious fun filled night and this reviewer enjoyed himself immensely, but there were too many loose strings, you couldn't take them all in.
Am always so amazed at the versatility and challenges GALA Theatre takes on. They are truly becoming a National Performing Center. 'Iré' follows a week of movies from Latin America and in less than a month comes the traditional 3 Kings celebration. The Theatre is always on the move and deeply involved in the community.
It's such a shame that more people don't know about GALA and don't attend. It is a cultural jewel here in the nation's capital and produces enough enjoyment for one to visit more than 36 times a year. We should begin a 'Fundme' campaign to raise money for GALA so they can market their product stronger and farther. This theatre is glorious!
It has been 15 years now since the experiment of presenting, on a yearly basis, the finest flamenco in the world began at GALA Theater in Washington DC. Conservatorio Flamenco Casa Patas, the renown center for the study and promotion of the authentic expression of flamenco, has been at the center of this initiative from the very beginning. This Madrid based foundation is among the most serious and dedicated preservationists of the folkloric music of Andalusia. The study of the art form is limited to a few highly distinguished performance sites throughout Madrid, Barcelona and southern Spain. The roots of the music trace back to Moorish Africa, gypsy populations of eastern Europe and the Middle East and as far as India. Each year the Casa Patas performing group tours the United States and Latin America with performances that test the limits of flamenco expression and expand the range and artistry of the music.
On this tour the performers, led by Director / Choreographer and dancer Rafael Peral, dig deep into the origins of the music with a traditional ensemble that includes a female dancer, guitarist, two singers and a percussionist. In prior journeys to the new world the Casa Patas ensemble has included violin, clarinetist, saxophonist and multiple and sundry percussion players. This year "Raiz de 4", title of the performance, is a much more classic and basic flamenco ensemble, one you might find in the 'tablaos' of Madrid, Seville or Cadiz.
There are, nevertheless, interesting features to this latest work. What "Raiz de 4" does is pare back flamenco to its most basic elements and break them down. Each performance within the show highlights a different aspect of this beautifully passionate, emotional and inspiring music. They begin the show with two dancers swaying and swirling to the guitar, the singers and percussionist. They proceed with a solo guitar performance and then the 2 singers and percussionist take turns at their own solos. Mr. Peral returns by himself doing a breath taking pieces without the singers and then Marisa Adame, the female dancer, performs alone on the stage as well. Then at the end of the show all of these elements are fused back together once again and the company leaves the stage in one boisterous, cheering finale.
The presentations of flamenco at GALA Theater, including its own repertory company headed by the remarkable Edwin Aparicio, represent a rare and highly qualified opportunity to preserve and present the artistry of flamenco to local audiences. They enrich and amplify Spanish culture and make Washington DC what it is, a truly international urban center. It is a remarkable effort achieved under great strain. GALA not only stretches to bring a company such as Casa Patas to Washington DC, but through its local work attempts to popularize the art form in our community. The partnership with Casa Patas guarantees a top quality result.
Pocas son las personas que se identifican en la imaginación popular por un solo nombre como por ejemplo, Messi' o 'Madonna'. En el pueblo de Washington DC, y en particular el barrio de Adams Morgan, por los últimos 50 años con decir 'Lujan', o simplemente 'Pepe', ya todos; blancos, Afro-Americanos y Latinos, sabían que se trataba del inconfundible Pedro Lujan.
Ha muerto nuestro Pepe!
Era hijo de Peru, pero en realidad era un padre nuestro. Trajo a toda su primera familia desde Perú a DC y empezó otra aquí. Era hombre de familia. Convivió con nosotros en el barrio capitalino de Adams Morgan gran parte de su vida. Compró casa en la Calle Lanier, abrió su primer comercio, la heladería 'The Scoop' en la calle 18, estuvo entre los fundadores de la Corporación Latina de Desarrollo Económico (también situada en la calle 18) y por unos años fue el dueño del famoso Café Avignone Freres en Columbia Road. Y por supuesto su inolvidable (y larga) temporada frente a Havana Village, también en Columbia Road.
Pero sobre todo en un principio asistió a Sonia Gutierrez en el Programa de Instrucción en Ingles para Latino Americanos (PEILA por sus siglas en Ingles) lo cual se convertiría en la Escuela Rosario del día de hoy. Ayudar a la población Hispana a superarse a través de la educación sería quizás el legado más importante de su vida. Sin embargo, Pepe era un hombre polifacético.
Lujan dedicó buena parte de su vida a la obra social. Fue de los mejores 'organizadores' que se hayan visto en esta ciudad. En los años 70, te llenaba un salón o una protesta en la calle con cientos de personas en cuestión de horas. Fue la mano derecha de Carlos Rosario, el primer gran líder de esta comunidad, y compañero y amigo de todos los líderes Latinos de su tiempo. Pepe ha sido instrumental en los movimientos pro-Hispanos de DC. Incluso, a nivel internacional, fue operativo de la campaña de Mario Vargas Llosa en Estados Unidos cuando corrió para Presidente de Perú, tal era su valor como organizador. En un tiempo, Pedro y su esposa Jeannie fueron representantes del Cuerpo de Paz en Costa Rica. Lujan fue exitoso a todos los niveles.
Pepe también fue un gran empresario. No solo su compañía de construcción, su heladería, Avigñon, Hellers Bakery, etc., pero su tiempo al frente de lo que es todavía el 'night club' Latino preeminente del barrio de Adams Morgan; Havana Village. Por cerca de 15 años casi todos los fines de semana a Pepe se le encontraba en una mesa frente a la puerta donde llegaban un sin número de amigos, compañeros de negocio, lideres políticos y personalidades comunitarias a tomarse un trago o discutir algún proyecto, pedir consejo o referencias o simplemente reírse con el gran Pepe y bailar salsa en el segundo piso. Havana Village, como Avignone anteriormente, se hizo el sitio más reconocido y famoso de la noche Latina en DC!
Mi amistad, y mis choques, con Lujan empezaron desde un principio cuando yo era Director del Centro de la Juventud. A veces tosco -y terco- Pepe siempre se comportó con honor, honestidad e integridad conmigo. Muchas son las referencias que me hizo y los consejos y apoyo que me dio. No puedo contar la cantidad de cafés, mojitos, ceviches, pasteles y helados que me tomé con él. Siempre amable y jocoso, Pepe fue un gran amigo y lo he de extrañar el resto de mi vida.
Grande Pepe, ahora a discutir con los ángeles y ver el legado de tus acciones y los éxitos de tu familia. Lo hiciste bien "Cholo". Siempre te recordaremos. Tu muerte trae a mi mente un verso de Machado:
"Algunas veces encuentras en la vida una amistad especial:
ese alguien que al entrar en tu vida la cambia por completo.
Ese alguien que te hace reír sin cesar;
Ese alguien que te hace creer que en el mundo existen realmente cosas buenas.
Ese alguien que te convence de que hay una puerta lista para que tú la abras.
Esa es una amistad eterna..."
6 de noviembre de 2019 (Washington, DC).– El Teatro GALA prosigue su poderosa temporada 20192020 con la décimo quinta edición del Festival Fuego Flamenco, que expone a excepcionales artistas de España y los Estados Unidos en Washington, DC. Reconocido por presentar figuras estelares en un ambiente íntimo que recuerda al tablao, el festival tendrá lugar del 7 al 17 de noviembre en el Teatro GALA, ubicado en el 3333 de la Calle 14, noroeste, a una cuadra de la estación de Metro Columbia Heights (líneas verde/amarilla). Hay disponibilidad de estacionamiento por solo $4 en el garaje del Supermercado Giant en la Park Road.
Con el valioso apoyo de sus productores honoríficos Lynne y Joseph Horning, Fuego Flamenco XV explora el flamenco tradicional, y su amplitud y diversidad, a través de expresiones contemporáneas. El programa de este año incluye: el espectáculo Entresueño de Flamenco Aparicio Dance Company; y el estreno en los Estados Unidos de Raíz de 4, con coreografía e interpretación de Rafael Peral y Marisa Adame, y presentada en colaboración con la Fundación Conservatorio Flamenco Casa Patas de Madrid, España. Entresueño es una nueva versión del aclamado trabajo que representa los elementos esenciales del ser a través del flamenco, mientras Raíz de 4 evoca las raíces del flamenco y sus diversas expresiones.
El programa también abarca el evento gratuito para niños y familias Flamenco en Familia, una demostración interactiva sobre diversos aspectos del flamenco, el 9 de noviembre a las 11 am y 1:30 pm; así como la presentación especial para estudiantes Colores de Flamenco, a cargo de Flamenco Aparicio Dance Company los días 6, 7 y 8 de noviembre a las 10:30 am.
La Noche de Prensa y Recepción para Flamenco Aparicio Dance Company es el viernes 8 de noviembre; y para Rafael Peral y Marisa Adame es el viernes 15 de noviembre.
El Festival Fuego Flamenco XV es posible gracias al apoyo de Lynne y Joseph Horning, la Embajada de España en Washington, D.C., SPAIN arts & culture, Maggio & Kattar, la Comisión para las Artes y Humanidades de DC y el Hotel Normandy.
FLAMENCO APARICIO DANCE COMPANY
Fuego Flamenco XV inicia con Entresueño, por la Flamenco Aparicio Dance Company. Entresueño se estrenó en GALA en el 2006, antes de su gira nacional. En esta nueva versión, la compañía explora los sueños como un medio desinhibido para la psicodinámica, un estado en el que el soñador puede desasociarse y experimentar el ser a través de sus fuerzas compuestas, haciendo del entresueño no solo un estado de transición si no también un diálogo entre lo consciente y lo inconsciente.
Dirigido por Edwin Aparicio y Aleksey Kulikov, Entresueño presenta a Aparicio, curador del Festival Anual Fuego Flamenco de GALA, y los bailarines Norberto Chamizo, Alex Milton, y Jeanne D’Arc Casas; a los cantantes Francisco Orozco “Yiyi” y José Cortés; al guitarrista y compositor Richard “Ricardo” Marlow, y a José Moreno en la percusión.
Las funciones son el jueves 7, viernes 8 y sábado 9 de noviembre a las 8 pm, y el domingo 10 a las 2 pm.
Edwin Aparicio (Coreógrafo, Co-director y Bailaor) se formó con los renombrados maestros de flamenco Tomás de Madrid y La Tati, haciendo su debut en la legendaria Casa Patas de Madrid en el 2001. Aparicio se presentó varias veces con la Washington National Opera en el Kennedy Center, incluida su más reciente producción de Carmen, y participó en la obra Hemmingway The Sun Also Rises con el Ballet de Washington (2013). Se ha presentado como solista en todo Estados Unidos, con grupos como el de José Greco Spanish Dance Company, y compartió escenario con las celebridades internacionales Elena Andújar, Carmela Greco, Pastora Galván, La Tati, Ana Martínez y José Luis Rodríguez.
Edwin es el director artístico y coreógrafo de 12 aclamadas producciones, incluyendo “Íntimo” con Carmela Greco, la cual se presentó en Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Pittsburgh y Portland; “Entresueño”, la cual marcó su debut como director en Nueva York; y “Flamenco Flamenca”, también presentada en el Instituto Cervantes de Chicago. Es el co-fundador y artista del festival anual de GALA Fuego Flamenco; forma parte de la facultad de la Escuela de Ballet de Washington y fue nombrado uno de los “25 bailaores a ver” por la Revista Dance en el 2009. Aparicio recibió el Premio Protagonista en el 2012 por parte de GALA por sus logros y contribuciones a la comunidad latina, y le fue impuesta la Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil del Rey Felipe VI de España en el 2015.
Aleksey Kulikov (Co-director) inició estudios de danza a los 9 años en Kiev, Ucrania. Formado en danza de salón, participó en competencias a escala semi-profesional y se presentó con un grupo infantil de danza de salón hasta que emigró a los Estados Unidos en 1996. Poco después, estudió flamenco con Natalia Monteleón y viajó a España, donde se preparó en Granada con "La Presy" y en Sevilla con José Galván. También estudió con "La Tati," Carmela Greco, Manuel Liñán, Domingo Ortega y Edwin Aparicio. Kulikov ha bailado flamenco en diversos teatros en el área de DC, incluyendo el Millennium Stage del Kennedy Center, y en las producciones “Yerma” y Flamenco Deconstructed de Edwin Aparicio en GALA. Junto a su esposo Edwin, Aleksey ha co-dirigido “One Plus One” (2013), “Flamenco Men II” (2015), “Salvador” (2016), y “Flamenco Extranjero” (2017).
Richard “Ricardo” Marlow (Director musical, compositor, arreglista, guitarrista) fue iniciado en la guitarra por su padre, el eminente guitarrista clásico John E. Marlow. Diplomado por la Escuela de Música James Madison, estudió guitarra flamenca con el maestro Gerardo Núñez en Sanlúcar de
Barrameda, en España. Se ha presentado con la Compañía de Flamenco Danza del Río, Ana Martínez y Paco de Málaga, Anna Menéndez y la Compañía de Arte Flamenco. El señor Marlow también participó en las producciones de Edwin Aparicio Uno más Uno, Bailes Inéditos, Encuentros, Íntimo y Flamenco Men II, donde compartió el escenario con Jesús Montoya, Alfonso Cid, “La Truco” y Carmela Greco. Participó también en “El amor Brujo”, de Manuel de Falla con la Baltimore Symphony Orchestra en Strathmore y la Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall en Baltimore; y en Hemmingway: The Sun Also Rises por el Washington Ballet, en el Kennedy Center.
RAFAEL PERAL Y MARISA ADAME
Fuego Flamenco XV continúa con el estreno en los Estados Unidos de Raíz de 4, presentada en colaboración con la Fundación Conservatorio Flamenco Casa Patas. Esta imaginativa pieza de flamenco está coreografiada e interpretada por Rafael Peral y Marisa Adame, quienes hacen su debut en Washington, DC. Dirigida por el Sr. Peral, la producción tiene como director musical y guitarrista a José Almarcha; los cantantes Trini de la Isla y José del Calli; y a Epi Pacheco en la percusión.
Las funciones son el jueves14, viernes 15 y sábado 16 de noviembre a las 8 pm, y el domingo 17 a las 2 pm.
Raíz de 4 ahonda las más primitivas raíces del flamenco, evocando las convergencias de culturas del folclore de España. La esencia del flamenco -romances, martinetes, fandangos y soleares- son la base de esta presentación, con un impresionante despliegue interpretativo de sus talentosos artistas que transmiten un genuino amor por este arte.
Rafael Peral (Coreógrafo, director y bailarín) hace su debut en GALA. Nacido en Barcelona (España), comenzó su carrera con José de la Vega; fue miembro de la Compañía de Antonio Gades, donde interpreto el rol del “toro” en Torero; participó en Gitano y Bengue, dirigido por Luis Pascual, y fue artista invitado en la producción Serranito, dirigida por Víctor Monge. También ha bailado con las compañías de flamenco de María Pagé, Guito y Manolete, Adrián Galia, Eva la Yerbabuena, Sara Baras, Juan Andrés Maya, y con El Flamenco Vive. Se ha presentado en notables escenarios de España y Tokyo. Junto con Marisa Adame, ha creado Jonda Emoción y Raíz de 4, que se estrenó en el Teatro Nacional de Algiers y presentado sucesivamente en Orán, Constantine y Madrid. El Sr. Peral tiene un diploma en danza española del Conservatorio Profesional de Danza del Instituto del Teatro de Barcelona, y se ha entrenado con maestros como El Toleo, La Tani, La Chana, Manolo Marín y Antonio Canales, entre otros.
Marisa Adame (Coreógrafa, bailarina) nació en Barcelona (España) y ha bailado en Carmen, con la Compañía de Danza-Teatro de Luis Dávila, y como solista en Romeo y Julieta; en Los Tarantos, con la compañía de José Greco; Juana la Loca y Sueños en la Compañía de Sara Baras; Mis Recuerdos y De Madrid a Sevilla en la Compañía de flamenco de El Guito; y 4 Estaciones en la Compañía de Danza Flamenca. Con Rafel Peral creó los espectáculos Jonda Emoción y Raíz de 4. La Sra. Adame ha actuado en números tablaos de España y El Flamenco en Tokyo. Ha recibido el Primer Premio en la Competición de Coreografía de Madrid por su trabajo en Color Danza Española y tiene un diploma en danza española del Conservatorio Profesional del Instituto del Teatro de Barcelona. También se ha entrenado con maestros de flamenco como La Chana, Ciro, La Toná, Manolete, La China, La Yerbabuena, Javier de la Torre, y Adrián Galia.
Casas Patas es un tablao madrileño de renombre mundial que presenta el mejor y más auténtico flamenco en España. Grupos famosos y jóvenes talentos comparten algunas veces su escenario en memorables presentaciones. La Fundación Conservatorio Flamenco Casa Patas ha crecido tanto que hoy patrocina talleres, seminarios y exhibiciones que promueven el arte del flamenco alrededor del mundo. FLAMENCO EN FAMILIA
Flamenco en Familia es un evento gratuito de demostraciones interactivas sobre zapateo, castañuelas y abanicos flamencos, que se lleva a cabo el 9 de noviembre. La bailaora Sara Jerez y el guitarrista Ricardo Marlow, junto a otros artistas locales, realizan dos funciones: una de 11 am a 12 pm y otra de 1:30 a 2:30 pm en el Teatro GALA.
Los boletos regulares para Fuego Flamenco XV cuestan $45 para jueves, y $48 para sábado y domingo. Las entradas para adultos mayores (65+), estudiantes y militares tienen un precio de $30. Los boletos para las Noche de GALA los viernes 8 y 15 de noviembre cuestan $55 por persona y $95 por pareja. El Pase del Festival, que incluye un boleto para cada una de las producciones presentadas, cuesta $80. Para mayor información o adquirir entradas, llama al 202-234-7174 o visita www.galatheatre.org.
Day 3 of the Madrid portion of the trip. A visit to the new Atletico de Madrid stadium with an exciting come-from-behind win.
aving completed the Galician part of my trip I returned the rented Fiat 500 and flew from Oporto to Madrid. The small, diesel powered car reminded me of a story about my father when he first returned to Spain
Today I visit the Isle of Ons where they fish some of the richest, most savory seafood in the world along w/wonderful beaches and icy waters.
Yesterday I visited the Castle of Soutomaior. It gave its name to folks like Supreme court judge Sonia Sotomayor. In the 15th century Angel Suero
This is the gentleman I call the last hippie on Silgar beach. Mr. Otero owns a quirky souvenir shop
Yesterday visited the 'Dunas de Corrubedo' for the first time ever. The dunes are not of sand but rather grasses and pine forest. Stopped at a fishing port named Aguiño for lunch (some delicious 'pulpo a feira'). Although they didn't know it, the town was made famous by mystery writer Domingo Villar who writes Gallego mystery novels
My first evening in Galicia, ate at a little 'Chiringuito' on the beach. Couldn't resist the typical grilled sardines and Padron peppers (the real ones since I'm about 30 miles from Padron).
Landed in Lisbon, waiting for the flight to Oporto.
Latin music is rich with great singers and composers. I'm partial to songs that combine personal or social poetry with complex rhythms and harmonies. In particular I admire and listen to four favorites who delight me over and over again, they are; Juan Luis Guerra, La Mari, Rosario and Ruben Blades.
Recently I had the pleasure of attending the Caobas Foundation dinner and shared an evening with 2 of my favorite people. That evening Daniel Bueno received an award for his lifetime of achievements and Franklin Garcia, DC's Shadow Representative and its most active crusader for DC Statehood, was present as well. The picture that accompanies this feature was taken that evening.
The East Potomac Park swimming pool is an outdoor, Olympic size pool used by families and lap swimmers since 1937. Located just across from the National Mall, near the Jefferson Memorial, I've used it for over 30 years. I would take my son and his friends there over the summer when they were kids. I also came to use it extensively during the summer for lap swimming as part of my weekly exercise routine. It was an important, vital part of my physical routine.
I consider myself an avid reader. I keep a number of books open and usually read them late into the evening before bedtime. I have friends who've switched to kindle books on a computer screen, but it's my long established habit and a great pleasure to buy a real, printed manuscript, open the cover and begin reading.
I came late to tennis, only starting to play when my son was 11 years old. I had played the game only infrequently during most of my adulthood favoring soccer more than tennis. I was a soccer referee for 14 years and wanted to dedicate time to that, but at some point it didn't fit my schedule. Then I discovered the game of tennis. As the great writer David Foster Wallace said it is, 'the most beautiful sport there is'. At first I would compete with my son (he beats me regularly now when we get the chance to play), then gradually I began to play with friends and in 'leagues' at the courts in East Potomac Park and at Carter Barron.
Metrodiversity.com is a portal that represents the work, ideas and thoughts of Jose Sueiro and those who share common interests and curiosities. Together with partner and collaborator, Omar Cornelio, we've been posting to this site now for over 10 years.
GALA Theatre concludes its 43rd season with the U.S. premiere of a bilingual version of the unforgettable FAME, The Musical. Conceived and developed by David De Silva, with book by Cuban writer José Fernández, music by Steve Margoshes and lyrics by Jacques Levy, FAME is directed and choreographed by Luis Salgado. Salgado returns to GALA with the creative team from the theater’s hit production of In The Heights, which garnered nine 2018 Helen Hayes Awards. Foremost in that team is Music Director Walter “Bobby” McCoy, who will lead a nine piece band. The production will be performed in English and Spanish and will have subtitles in both languages.
¿Qué hace que se reúnan un famoso jugador de fútbol como Mario Kempes, la presentadora de Univisión Arely Pérez, un diplomático de la sección consular de la embajada Argentina o el alcalde de Arlington County, entre otras celebridades, un sábado de mayo en el área metropolitana de Washington DC?
If for no other reason, you should take in the latest show at GALA Theatre, 'The Old Man, The Youth and the Sea', to witness the tour-de-force performance by Horacio Peña who inhabits the main character of Miguel de Unamuno with authority, grace and charm. The play is a recreation of the 4 month exile in 1924 of the formidable Spanish writer and public figure to the island of Fuerteventura by the Spanish dictatorship of Primo de Rivera.
GALA Hispanic Theatre continues its 43rd season with the world premiere of "El viejo, el joven y el mar" by Irma Correa, which was commissioned by GALA. Directed by 2016 Helen Hayes Award winner José Luis Arellano from Spain, 'El viejo, el joven y el mar' is performed in Spanish with English subtitles from February 7 through March 3, 2019 at GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
I recently returned from a visit to Mexico City (CDMX) for the first time in over 40 years. I'd lived there for an extended period during my adolescence with my father, Jose 'Pepe' Sueiro. My father emigrated to the United States when he was a young man married, and later divorced, my mother whom he had known since childhood in the town of Pontevedra (Spain) where she was from. Born in the seaside village of Sanxenxo, he was a merchant marine when he arrived in New York City and ended up remaining in the country, based in the United States and Latin America for the rest of his life.
Washington, D.C. – GALA opens its 43rd season with the U.S. premiere of Como agua para chocolate/Like Water for Chocolate, adapted for the stage by Garbi Losada based on the internationally best-selling novel by Laura Esquivel. Directed by Olga Sánchez, Como agua para chocolate runs September 6 through October 7, 2018 at GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20010. Parking is available at a discounted rate in the Giant garage on Park Road, NW.
Think the energy of West Side Story, the language of the Nuyorican poets with a pinch of Kafka and a twist of Joe Cuba and you get an idea of what the new play at GALA Theatre, "Dancing in my Cockroach Killers", is all about. Six young Puerto Ricans, mostly from the Bronx, dance, sing and recite poetry from the heart of the Boricua repertoire.
Think the energy of West Side Story, the language of the Nuyorican poets with a pinch of Kafka and a twist of Joe Cuba and you get an idea of what the new play at GALA Theatre, "Dancing in my Cockroach Killers", is all about. Six young Puerto Ricans, mostly from the Bronx, dance, sing and recite poetry from the heart of the Boricua repertoire.
You will find echoes of West Side Story in the heartbreaking poem about domestic abuse sung by Caridad de la Luz and appropriately titled, 'Maria'. There is the flaming beat of 'Madre de Bomba' performed by master percussionist Nicky Laboy and danced to by Yaremis Felix. In between the 6 member cast cavort around the stage to the sounds of Joe Cuba's 'Bang Bang' and whistle the theme of another great Joe Cuba classic, 'El Pito' (I'll Never go Back to Georgia). It's the mixture of movement, poetry and song that moves the evening along at breakneck pace.
The blend of old and new, sassiness and sadness brought tears at times and goose bumps throughout. Magdalena Gomez, the poet has captured the essence of the 'Nuyorican hood' with passionate, soaring poetry and dramatic backdrops. She is the poet laureate of Bronx Latin, the sorceress of quixotic Boricua quests. Among the most poignant moments was a plea for the 4,625 islanders dead as a result of Hurricane Maria which became a cry for help and respect for Puerto Rico. The entire night was spent as if in one of those dance halls under the 'Bronx El', where sashay skirts and ultra-high heels abound and salsa erupts from 2nd floor clubs with busy dance floors and plenty of shouting and drama!
Conceived and directed by Rosalba Rolón in collaboration with Pregones Theatre/PRTT in New York City, GALA concludes its 42nd season with this lively musical that will run Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm and Sunday matinees at 2 pm until July 1, 2018. Go see it, you'll have a good time. More information about the show at GALATheatre.org, or by phone at 202-234-7174.
Regular tickets are $45 on Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets for students, military, seniors (65+), and 30 and Under are $30. Additional discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. To purchase tickets, call 202-234-7174 or visit www.galatheatre.org.
FOR TICKETS: Call (202) 234-7174, or visit www.galatheatre.org
GALA Theatre is presenting its most overtly political play in a very long time. Political in as much as it deals with the real life events of three martyrs of modern Dominican Republic history and their battle against the tyrant Rafael Trujillo. The play 'In the Time of the Butterflies' is based on the novel by Julia Alvarez adapted for the theatre by Caridad Svich. It is the story of the three most famous Dominican women in modern history, the Mirabal sisters, brutally assassinated in November of 1960 on the way back from a visit to their jailed husbands. Months later, after more than 30 years in power, the Trujillo dictatorship would fall as the 'caudillo' was murdered in an ambush.
The Argentine Festival is celebrated this year on Saturday, May 12, 2018 from 3:45 - 10:30 PM at Kenmore Middle School Theater (200 S Carlin Springs Rd., Arlington, Virginia 22204)
La Foto: A Selfie Affair is a humorous and entertaining play that touches upon modern themes of technology, privacy, and internet relationships. The selfie, that ubiquitous and vain yet satisfying picture, is the catalyst for a series of events that ends a marriage, drives a daughter to leave her school in shame, and ruins a friendship.
“It’s not the world in your hands...It is you in the hands of the world”
GALA Hispanic Theatre is proud to present the world premiere of the dark comedy La Foto by Gustavo Ott. Directed by Abel López,, La Foto is performed in Spanish with English surtitles from February 1 through February 25,
“We are delighted to stage our seventh play by Gustavo Ott,” comments Hugo Medrano, GALA Producing Artistic Director and co-founder. “Full of zany characters who seek to navigate contemporary life and all of its absurdities, Ott’s work reflects on our humanity even as we laugh.”
Nov 3 – 12, 2017 Washington, D.C. – GALA Hispanic Theatre continues its 42st season with the thirteenth international Fuego Flamenco Festival that brings leading flamenco artists from Spain and the United States to Washington audiences. Recognized for the presentation of stellar artists in an intimate tablao setting, the festival will run from November 3 through November 12 at the GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street, NW, one block from the Columbia Heights metro station on the Green/Yellow lines. Parking is available behind the theater at the Giant Food garage for a rate of $4 with validation at GALA.
- This rise in Spanish creativity has immigrated as well ... and America is starting to catch on.
The simple meaning to this complex looking title is on display at the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain (the mansion at 2801 16th St. NW) as part of a fascinating, month long exhibit titled: #EatSpainUp. Essentially what Spain Arts and Culture, the cultural arm of the Spanish Embassy, has done is present the plain, daily ingredients and elements of Spanish food in an exalted, artistic fashion complete with art exhibit, designer chats and culinary presentations at various Spanish restaurants around town.
I met him at the Whitman Walker Clinic sometime in the spring of 1997. In typical fashion he had contacted our Spanish language newspaper to ask if we were interested in writing a story about the work of Whitman Walker. They had already opened the Elizabeth Taylor annex across 14th St. three years earlier. Jim had been in the news and was becoming something of a celebrity in the city. The profile of WWC had been heightened and financially they were in the best shape of their 15 year history.
Spain Arts and Culture closed out its performance season in Washington DC on Saturday, June 15, 2017 with a lively concert of flamenco tinged, Latin Jazz music with the consummate Spanish jazz pianist Chano Dominguez and his trio. This is the fourth jazz concert of the season at the charming, intimate, 'Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain', a long title for a boutique performance venue that seats barely 100 people at a beautiful ballroom in the rehabilitated mansion along 16th St.
Produced in collaboration with the DC Jazz Festival and followed by a question and answer session with the artist that was moderated by the inimitable Jim Byers, he of WPFW fame with his Latin Flavor Classic Edition program and his passion for vintage cars. Byers is perhaps the single most influential 'salsa' expert in town, a virtual cultural anthropologist of Caribbean music.
In The Heights En Español, directed by Luis Salgado, is a bilingual adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s mid-2000’s original musical. Colorful, humorous, and at times somber, the play centers around the struggles and romances of a primarily Latino community in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. Usnavi (played by Juan Luis Espinal) shoulders the legacy of his parents: a convenience store in “the barrio,” while looking after his younger cousin and his dear “abuela.” Meanwhile Nina (played by Laura Lebron) returns from Stanford to tell her parents that she lost her university scholarship. Once considered a star student, Nina deals with the guilt of having disappointed her parents and her community. Nina and Usnavi grapple with these issues while simultaneously pursuing their respective romantic passions. Usnavi musters up the courage to talk to “popular girl” Vanessa (played by Veronica Alvarez) who works at a beauty salon. Nina develops affection for Benny (Vaughn Ryan Midder), an African-American employee at Nina’s father’s Taxi/Limousine service.
I first met Javier Colina in one of those smoked filled jazz nightclubs in Madrid, don't remember if it was Cafe Central, Sala Clamores or the old Whiskey and Jazz. What is certain is I first heard him with Jerry Gonzalez, my friend the trumpet and conga player who has achieved iconic status in Spain as one of the finest jazz, or more specifically Latin Jazz, players on the Iberian peninsula.
The prolific Mexican playwright, Emilio Carballido's, "I Too Speak of the Rose", a forceful montage of realistic and dreamlike sequences wrapped around a multi-layered plot, recently had its Washington DC debut at GALA Theatre where it will be performed through February 26th. It is a fine example of his theatrical legacy and one of his most popular works. In as much as it is stylistically and thematically central to his vision and message it is a key component of modern Mexican theatre, studied and performed with frequency across the country.
There is a new Spanish restaurant on Capitol Hill with the original title of, "Joselito; Casa de Comidas". It is a sparse, airy space with simple marble tables and first hand view of Pennsylvania Ave. The owner is Javier Candon who also owns SER Restaurant in Arlington. The concept is a menu of Spanish staples served in a nouveau cuisine style. Spain's rich culinary scene has given way to a great many modern variations of typical Spanish food. At Joselito there are Sardines in a frothy cream sauce and 'boquerones en vinagre' (small sardines in vinegar) covered in a tapenade which includes mushrooms and olives. We also tasted a very modern version of 'huevos rotos' (broken eggs) served in Spain with french fries, here with grilled baby shrimp.
Spain Arts & Culture (www.spainculture.us), a new and rising force in Spain's cultural diplomacy arsenal, is putting together an unprecedented calendar of performances throughout the United States in 2017. Here in Washington they've been active for some time at the 'Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain', a distinguished mansion on 16th St. NW which is ideal as an exhibit space and includes an intimate performance venue and lovely patio for cocktail receptions as well. Spain/culture.us has grown into an interesting force for the promotion of cutting edge architecture and design, photography and art exhibits, literary soirees and plenty of classical and popular music from Spain.
Washington, DC – GALA Hispanic Theatre continues its 41st season with the U.S. premiere of the modern Mexican classic of Yo también hablo de la rosa/I Too Speak of the Rose by Emilio Carballido, directed by GALA Producing Artistic Director Hugo Medrano. Yo también hablo de la rosa is performed in Spanish with English surtitles from February 2 through February 26, 2017 at GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. The theater is one block from the Columbia Heights metro station on the Green/Yellow lines. Discounted parking is available behind the theater at the Giant Food garage.
It has been twelve years now since Madrid's; "Fundacion Conservatorio Flamenco Casa Patas" began sending flamenco groups to GALA Theatre and on U. S. tours. Each year they design a new project and perform some of the most innovative and ingenious flamenco shows you will ever witness, with brilliant musicians and top notch performers. The shows are always intimate mixtures of polished dancers, fine musicians and the most typical singers of the idiom bringing to life the feeling and passion of Andalucía.
They walk in with a look of lost bewilderment, many of them children searching for family, and all of them with tags indicating they've been through the detention center just a few miles away on the border with Mexico, and suddenly everyone in the room breaks out in thunderous applause. It is a daily ritual. This is what happens each day at the Sacred Heart parish in the small town of McAllen under the watchful eye of Sister Norma Pimentel, a woman who has become a legend in south Texas. These are the most recent refugees crossing the border at the southernmost tip of the United States, dozens of whom get routed daily through this refugee center where they get to wash up, eat some food, find comfortable clothing and manage a few days rest before they're sent on their way to family, friends or resettlement in a new city.
The talented Edwin Aparicio is the closest Washington has to a flamenco master and his yearly productions at GALA Theatre are the equivalent of a flamenco conservatory located and nurtured right here in Washington DC. He has once again created a 'flamenco musical' based on the story of his life. It is astonishing to witness the improvement and maturity of Aparicio's productions over the years and how his shows become more theatrical and less of a concert as he explores his artistic roots.