[Blog] ‘Celebrate L.A.’ at Grand Park: Bill Clinton, Antonio Villaraigosa, Eric Garcetti, Placido Domingo + Stevie Wonder (+ Video)
*BLOG / *VIDEO / LOS ANGELES / Urban Issues

[Blog] ‘Celebrate L.A.’ at Grand Park: Bill Clinton, Antonio Villaraigosa, Eric Garcetti, Placido Domingo + Stevie Wonder (+ Video)

What do Bill Clinton, Antonio Villaraigosa, Eric Garcetti, Placido Domingo and Stevie Wonder have in common? They were all on the same stage last Friday evening at City Hall for “Celebrate L.A.,” a so-called “block party” — free and open to all — honoring cultural heritage month and Villaraigosa’s final days as L.A. mayor. (See post for video of Bill Clinton’s comments and Stevie Wonder’s performance.) Continue reading

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[Blog] Colburn School Dance Recital May 24: Danish “Flower Festival” to Cuban “Manteca” (+ Video)
*BLOG / *VIDEO / ARTS / Ballet / Cuban / Cuban / DANCE / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / MUSIC

[Blog] Colburn School Dance Recital May 24: Danish “Flower Festival” to Cuban “Manteca” (+ Video)

My 15-year-long ballet “career” has introduced me to astounding music, from Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings in C major” (from George Balanchine’s “Serenade”) to Danny Elfman’s “Beetlejuice” score (from a funky piece by my amazing Westside Ballet teacher Veronica Apodaca). Now, I’m again adding to the list. In a recital this Friday at The Colburn School’s Zipper Hall, I’ll perform two pieces with Colburn’s adult ballet class – and our music ranges from 19th century classical to 20th century Latin jazz. Continue reading

[Blog] Making Panuchos at Chichen Itza (+ Video)
*BLOG / *VIDEO / FOOD / Latin American food / Mexican food

[Blog] Making Panuchos at Chichen Itza (+ Video)

Looking for an introduction to Yucatecan cuisine? Try a panucho. Panuchos begin as traditional corn tortillas, but then are grilled to form crispy exteriors that shelter tender black beans that have been nudged inside. It is then topped with shredded turkey, pickled onions, and avocado. The dish is a staple at Chichen Itza – not the monumental Mayan pyramids of Mexico, but a quick-serve restaurant tucked inside Mercado la Paloma in South L.A. near USC. [keep reading…and check out the how-to video from one of Chichen Itza’s chefs.] Continue reading

[Blog] Masanga Marima Brings “Guantanamera” from L.A. to Zimbabwe and Back (+ Video)
*VIDEO / African / COUNTRIES & CULTURES / Cuban / Latin American / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / MUSIC

[Blog] Masanga Marima Brings “Guantanamera” from L.A. to Zimbabwe and Back (+ Video)

The simple tune and patriotic lyrics of “Guantanamera,” Cuba’s signature song, have traveled to numerous far-flung corners of the planet. Even unlikely ones, I learned last Friday at a concert by Masanga Marimba at MacArthur Park’s Levitt Pavilion. Masanga Marimba blends African and Latin American musical styles, mostly played on seven Zimbabwean marimbas ranging from … Continue reading

Los Jornaleros del Norte: Day Laborer Band Sings for Immigrant Rights (+ Video)
*BLOG / *VIDEO / COUNTRIES & CULTURES / Immigration Issues / Latin American / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / MUSIC

Los Jornaleros del Norte: Day Laborer Band Sings for Immigrant Rights (+ Video)

On the cover of the latest Los Jornaleros del Norte album, Que No Pare la Lucha (May The Struggle Go On), a drawing portrays a mustachioed man wearing a cap stitched with the word “dignidad.” His right hand is clenched in a fist above his head. The stance depicts pride and defiance, the same attitude the group has taken in response to Arizona’s controversial immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, which shines through the band’s entire repertoire… Continue reading