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!
Metro DC Hispanic Contractors Association, a 501c6 non-profit organization headquartered in the Nation's Capital, is proud to announce the selection of Joshua Lopez to the Board of Directors of our DC based business guild. Of Guatemalan heritage, Mr. Lopez is a product of the District public schools and attended UDC. He began his career in public service as an aide to Mayor Adrian Fenty and ran the operations for two successful District wide campaigns including Mayor Bowser's first run for Mayor. As one of the youngest persons ever to run for City Council, he was unsuccessful in his campaign for an At-Large position.
Nevertheless, Josh has excelled as an up and coming Developer/Advocate in DC. He is Founder and CEO at Olimpic Strategies, a digital media and business development firm and Lopez and Associates, a government relations firm based in Washington DC. As a liaison for artists, developers, entrepreneurs, and community leaders, Joshua’s experience affords him a unique view of the intersection of urban politics, development, entertainment and community. A Native Washingtonian, Joshua is a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia and has served many roles including ANC commissioner, mayoral appointee to various boards and commissions, and political strategist for local and national campaigns.
We know Josh for the many good works he does within our small business community. He demonstrated his commitment on behalf of Latino owned construction firms during his brief tenure on the Housing Authority Board and again with his work on behalf of various important general contractors including Keystone Plus, the company of our Board Chair, Carlos Perdomo. Here is what Carlos has to say about him:
"Joshua Lopez has been a community based advocate for our small businesses for a very long time now. We look forward to creating a stronger, more prosperous Hispanic Contractors Association with him on our Board and sharing opportunities to create a broader based, more skilled, prosperous and sophisticated construction community. He is one of us. We have seen him grow and mature in our community. Having Joshua on our Board of Directors will enhance and improve our members standing and increase their opportunities. We enthusiastically welcome him to our business guild. Hopefully this will be a long and fruitful collaboration."
I first met 'Dani' selling albums outdoors on the corner of 14th & Park Road NW when there was a big empty lot there. Now it's the commercial center that includes Target, Best Buy, Marshalls, et. al. It was the early 70's and he was standing on the corner with a pencil in his ear and a clip board under his arm surrounded by a bunch of cardboard boxes with his merchandise. LP albums he had brought with him from New York City.