Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cuba, Puerto Rico y ¡español!

New Orleans Initiative Celebrates Cuban Culture

By Lydia Gil

NEW ORLEANS – The Crescent City is paying tribute to Cuban culture with the months-long “¡Sí Cuba!” initiative, a collaborative effort among New Orleans museums, universities, galleries and art organizations that will run from early January until late March.

The series of activities is being organized by Tulane University’s Newcomb Art Gallery, that institution’s Stone Center of Latin American Studies and the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Although “¡Sí Cuba!” will not officially get underway until next month, NOMA kicked off its participation in the venture on Dec. 18 with an exhibition of works by Cuban-born, New Orleans-based painter Luis Cruz Azaceta.

Miranda Lash, NOMA’s curator of modern and contemporary art, told Efe that the museum decided to inaugurate the exhibition, titled “Luis Cruz Azaceta: Swimming to Havana,” during the holiday season to add more luster to “¡Sí Cuba!”

The exhibition is made up of 10 recent works by the artist in which he shows the 90 miles of ocean separating Cuba and the United States to be an excruciatingly difficult barrier to overcome and one that thwarts the longings of Cubans on both sides, who are either eager to forge a better life in America or to return to their homeland.

With his paintings, which are both abstract and figurative, Cruz Azaceta hopes to inspire people to imagine their own journey, while also calling to mind the historical links between the cities of New Orleans and Havana.

Cruz Azaceta, a resident of New Orleans since 1992 who has not been back to Cuba since leaving as a teenager in 1960, uses his own experiences as inspiration for his work, which has also been displayed at world-famous venues such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian in Washington.

A second exhibition, a joint presentation of NOMA and the Newcomb Art Gallery titled “Polaridad Complementaria: Recent Works from Cuba,” will focus on recent artistic production on the communist-ruled island.

To be on display until March 14 and overseen by Havana’s Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center, the traveling exhibition features more than 50 paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, video and installation art by 27 contemporary Cuban artists, including Rene Peña, Luis Enrique Camejo, Ricardo Elias and Douglas Perez.

The exhibition will be inaugurated simultaneously on Jan. 16 at both NOMA and the Newcomb Art Gallery.

In connection with the exhibit, noted art historian Gerardo Mosquera will give a talk on Cuban art on Jan. 28.

The following day, Mosquera will join a panel of critics, art historians and artists for a discussion on that same subject, part of the Collecting Cuban Art symposium being hosted by Newcomb, NOMA, Tulane’s Cuban & Caribbean Studies Institute and the Tulane Center for Scholars.

Other participants in the panel discussion will include Ricardo Viera, Holly Block, Sandy Levinson, Daniel Cameron and prominent Cuban artist Antonio Eligio Fernandez, better known by his nickname “Tonel.”

Other New Orleans galleries and museums have also joined on to “Si Cuba” and will either host exhibitions of Cuban artists or highlight part of their collections that relate to the theme of the initiative.

They will include the Heriard-Cimino Gallery with an exhibition of the work of Cuban installation artist Jose Bedia; the Arthur Roger Gallery, which will display paintings, drawings and sculpture by Cruz Azaceta; the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery with a presentation of new works by Cuban artist Angel Delgado; and LeMieux Galleries, which will host an exhibit of drawings by Paul Ninas from his time in Cuba and the Caribbean in the 1930s.

Meanwhile, The Historic New Orleans Collection will focus on the historical and recent ties between Cuba and Louisiana with an exhibition of maps, documents and photographs titled “Louisiana and Cuba: Multiple Perspectives,” which will be on display from Jan. 19 to April 17.

A month-long series of Latin American films also will be shown as part of “¡Sí Cuba!” at the Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center from Feb. 19 to March 11. Special emphasis will be placed on the work of the late Cuban documentary filmmaker Santiago Alvarez. EFE

This is is as close to my heart as it gets...

Attention all Boricuas (and all aspiring Boricuas): You don't want to miss Su Teatro's February presentation of bomba y plena sensations, Los Pleneros de la 21. Trust us. This is the best musical concert you will see all year. Punto fin.
Los Pleneros

Los Pleneros de la 21: Puerto Rican street music meets African rhythm when the sizzling hot sounds of the foremost bomba y plena group from "El Barrio" in East Harlem takes the stage. It will knock your socks off and get your nalgas shaking.

Los Pleneros

Los Pleneros de la 21 are a Smithsonian Folkways Featured Artist. Read what the Smithsonian has to say about them HERE.

Los Pleneros

Catch Los Pleneros de la 21 in a special limited engagement at Su Teatro, one weekend only: February 19 - 21, 2010.

Friday, Feb 19 @ 7:30pm (special opening night reception)
Saturday, Feb 20 @ 7:30pm
Sunday, Feb 21 @ 11am (special matinee brunch)

Please call Su Teatro for pricing and other information.

El Centro Su Teatro
4725 High Street
Denver, CO 80216

(303) 296-0219

Industry News- From "America Reads Spanish"

Digital books take off in Spain
Date: Jan 12, 2010
This spring, the digital Web site established jointly by the Planeta, Random House Mondadori and Santillana publishing groups will make its debut. Almost 7,000 titles, including newly published works, will be included in the group of books selected to kick off the e-book phenomenon in Spain.

The publishing houses, very cautious at first, have now gotten involved in the endeavor. Their fears, however, have been inherited by the retail booksellers, who are afraid of being left on the sidelines of a business that facilitates literary distribution without intermediaries. The publishers, though, depend on them.

The year 2010 will be key for the digital platform created jointly by the three Spanish publishing giants. Other Spanish publishers, like Anagrama and Tusquets have also been invited to join the effort.

The recently-created Web site will not sell its books directly. The technology will be offered to booksellers to offer their titles online. They will have to list their titles online so that their customers can view them. Contrary to what is occurring in England or France, in Spain it’s rare for publishing houses to sell their titles via their Web sites.

According to Spain’s National Federation of Publishers, or FGEE, in 2008 bookstores took in revenues of 3 billion euros (about $4.3 billion). Sales on the Internet totaled only 20 million euros ($28.6 million). In any case, booksellers will have to deal with a technological adaptation. The Frankfurt Book Fair announced two years ago that by 2018 e-books would surpass traditional books in sales. But today, in Spain, e-books don’t even have 1 percent of the market.

The bookstore will continue to be the key location for choosing books. About 70,000 titles are published each year and nobody is going to look at all the 2,000 Web sites describing them. The earnings will be lower from online sales but so will be the expenses. The average bookstore has 200,000 euros ($286,000) worth of regular paper-bound books in stock at any given time.

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