Screening: Watch PBS “Latino Americans” documentary with us Wednesday!

PrintAre you interested in the history of Latino Americans?  Come to Mt. Pleasant Library for the first episode of the PBS documentary series  “Latino Americans” on Wednesday, July 22, 7 p.m.to 9 p.m. Come at 6 p.m. and hear about Hola Cultura’s local Latino history investigations and record an oral history interview.
Esta usted interesado en la historia de los Latino Americanos? Ven a Mt. Pleasant Library el miércoles, 22 de julio de 7 a 9 p.m.! Llega temprano y graba una entrevista para nuestro proyecto de historia oral. Hola Cultura presenta el documental de PBS “Latinos Americanos” que explica la historia de los latinos en Los Estadios Unidos de America. Una historia de resistencia y fuerza. Únete a nosotros y ven.  A continuación: Ve el trailer!

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Latino Americans: 500 Years of History. Help us kick off the first of a series of occasional screenings and discussions of Latino history in the U.S.

SHOWTIME Wednesday, July 22, at 7 p.m. See you there! Bring the popcorn!

Episode One: Foreigners in their Own Land (1565-1880)
This story begins a century after Columbus’ landing in the Americas. Spanish missionaries and dreamers in a California gold rush, while in New Mexico Hispano culture flourishes even English-speakers begin encroaching on the region. Mexicans and Mexican-Americans face increasing discrimination and racial violence as the U.S. government pursues Manifest Destiny by pushing into Mexican territories in what is today the U.S. Southwest.

The PBS documentary series is a great compliment to Hola Cultura’s exploration of our collective story right here in Washington D.C. Come early and record an oral history interview and contribute to Hola Cultura’s Special Research Project on D.C. Latino History! Doors open at 6 p.m.

Wednesday’s event is the first of several screenings and discussions Hola Cultura will host this summer and fall with the support of the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Stay tuned to this site for more details.

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July 16! DC Latino history + affordable housing

Oral Histories and Online Mapping

Join us July 16 for a work-in-progress presentation at the Mt. Pleasant Library!

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 At Hola Cultura this summer, we’re investigating where Washington D.C. Latinos live and have lived over the years, and what people have to say about this history.

We’ve been taking the Oral Histories of our friends, families and neighbors—and invite you to share your story too!

11thSt2We’re also mapping how the city’s Latino neighborhoods have changed—from residents to rents—and talking with activists and experts about how to preserve affordable housing. Our work is still in progress but we’d like to share what we’ve learned so far. Join us tonight for a work-in progress presentation at the Mt. Pleasant Library!   7 p.m. presentation. Come at 6:30 to record your own oral history.  Invitation here
Acknowledgements: We’d like to thank the funders and supporters who make this project possible.

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The Washington D.C. Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs which has included Hola Cultura in its 2015 Summer Youth Employment Program, enabling us to include DC teenagers to our team of interns.

 

 

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Humanities DC, (formerly the Humanities Council of Washington DC) which awarded Hola Cultura with a Soul of the City grant this summer.

 

The University of Maryland: We’d like to thank the University of Maryland and UMD professors Dr. Ana Patricia Rodriguez and Dr. Ronald Luna who lead, respectively, the oral history and online mapping segments of the program. The University’s Department of Geographic Science also provides crucial support.

 

PrintWe are honored to have won a grant from the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities to host screenings of the PBS documentary, Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, a six part PBS documentary that will be a great compliment to Hola Cultura’s exploration of local Latino history. Come watch an episode. The first screening is next Wednesday, July 22, at 6:30 p.m.

Hola Cultura is a frequent user of the DC Plublic Library—from our LEER DC book reviews to trainings and special events in library spaces. So we’re excited to partner with the DC Libraries on the  Latino Americans screenings and discussions at the Mt. Pleasant, Petworth and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial libraries this summer and fall. (stay tuned for more screening dates!)

We’d also like to thank the 14th Street NW Trader Joe’s for donating healthy snacks to help keep interns going during our busy summer schedule.

AU2_summ2015OUR TEAM: Leading our investigation into local Latino history are Dr. Ana Patricia Rodriguez and Dr. Ronald Luna of the University of Maryland; Hola Cultura’s Christine MacDonald; and Senior Intern Byron Marroquin. Drs. Rodriguez and Luna designed and implemented the Oral History and GIS mapping components, respectively. Marroquin, a UMD graduate student, completed the initial research in the Spring of 2015. We also have a group of high school, college and graduate school interns working on everything from mapping and web design to interviewing, writing and presenting our findings. Hola Cultura’s Summer 2015 Interns are Antonio Garcia, Cristian Cruz, Emily Birnbaum, Elvis Herrera, Esteffany Lemus, Ingrid Serrano, Jasmin Avila, Julie Hollinsed, Nancy Reyes, Nicholas John, Oliver Garretson, Raul Guerra, and Ronal Reyes. (You can read more about them on our Meet the Interns page.)

“Waterweavers”: A new exhibition that explores the role of rivers in Colombian culture–and art

 A waterfall of azure linen string is the first thing you see when entering the new exhibition at the Art Museum of the Americas. The piece, “Nudo Azul XIII” by Olga de Amaral, exemplifies the spirit of the show, “Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture.”

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Curated to highlight the importance of Columbia’s waterways historically and in modern times, “Waterweavers investigates the intricate ways in which culture and nature can intertwine across disciplines,” according to the curator’s description, which decodes the river as “a conceptual device to explore the intersections between design, craft, and art.” Continue reading

Ficción: La brecha que nos separa

RedAngryManSMTuvimos una gran pelea sobre el dinero y eso derivó a las mismas disputas de siempre: cómo mantener la casa limpia, alejar a las malditas cucarachas de la cocina y por qué debían meterse los trastes sucios a la máquina lavatrastos antes de irnos al dormitorio. Aquella noche se pintó una línea imaginaria en nuestra cama que nos mantuvo a cada quien en su lado. Al día siguiente y como el dinero no crece en los bolsillos, volvió a salir el tema de la plata, las cuentas que seguían acumulándose en la cesta de la entrada de la casa. Mi argumento fue el mismo, que carajos quería que hiciera si el salario no da para más, el trabajo es una mierda y el maldito sistema capitalista está más podrido que nunca; los ricos ganando más y el resto, todos, muriéndonos de hambre. Su respuesta fue que por qué no buscaba yo otro empleo entonces, y de ahí las cosas saltaron, nuestras voces cobraron intensidad y salieron a relucir las palabrotas. Esa noche pinté una línea con el dedo sobre la sábana y me mantuve en mi área sin moverme. Nuestra dieta por supuesto fue más pobre, dejamos de comer carne. Ya antes habíamos dejado de consumir pescado, los paquetes dentro de la alacena se redujeron a bolsas de pasta, de garbanzos y habichuelas. Comíamos en silencio uno frente al otro, como si estuviéramos cumpliendo una manda, ni rastros de verdura en el refrigerador y ni siquiera el olor dulce de una manzana o una naranja. ¿Qué hacer cuando el salario de dos personas no alcanza para mantener a dos personas? Seguro algo anda mal en el sistema tributario, o al menos, en el de los valores. Por varios días el silencio fue nuestro compañero y la mejor forma de mantenernos juntos sin llegar a ofendernos. Noté que me sentía molesto con ella, su presencia comenzó a exasperarme, y supuse que el sentimiento era recíproco, pues lo que siente uno el otro igual, el caso es que la línea en nuestra cama fue haciéndose más y más profunda y ancha. Una noche de regreso del baño me di cuenta de algo, era amplísima y en ella habían crecido yerbajos, y el eco rebotaba en las paredes. Me metí debajo de las cobijas y noté que algunas alimañas comenzaban a alimentarse de nuestro odio, y el espacio árido entre lo que fue primero una zanja y después una hondonada, era tan gris y deprimente que bien hubiera podido filmarse una película de vaqueros, u otra de horror; en la que el malo hace agujeros para enterrar los cadáveres de sus víctimas. Continue reading

Local Peruvian culture featured in FolkLife Festival starting June 24

A South American-style outdoor fireplace, or fogón, on the National Mall. Hot dogs and charqui de raya, a dish similar to beef jerky but made from stingray meat. La Marinera, a classic Peruvian dance, against the backdrop of the Washington Monument. All of these unexpected pairings, and many more, will be found this summer at the 2015 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a 10-day annual party on the National Mall that each year celebrates the homegrown cultures of a few different countries or U.S. regions. This year, the festival features Perú, including some U.S. residents from the greater Washington area.

 

The festival, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, will run from June 24-28 and July 1-5, and include live performances, discussion panels, workshops, Peruvian food stands, and much more.


Download festival map from Smithsonian website.

Two of the ten days —June 29 and July 5—are designated “Festival Community Days” and will spotlight the experiences of Peruvians in the United States. Naturally, Peruvians who reside in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area will play an important role, bringing the local voice to an international event.

“The topics covered on June 29 and July 5 will be centered around immigration and migration, identity and other such things that resonate with the local Peruvian community,” says Alexia Fawcett, the community engagement officer for the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

To come up with the Festival Community Days’ program, the Center invited members of the U.S. Peruvian community to join a Community Advisory Group. Fawcett says it “was important to Peruvians living in the US.”

Here are some of the local groups that will be present at the Folklife Festival.

Centro Cultural Perú
June 28 – 2:45 p.m. at the Plaza

Centro Cultural Perú, a nonprofit organization based in Virginia with the goal of “spread Peruvian culture and music to the kids who are born in the United States, but still want to carry the Peruvian tradition on,” said Centro Cultural Perú’s secretary Rosanna Gutierrez.

On June 28, Centro Cultural Peru students will dance and play traditional Peruvian instruments, such as the cajón, a traditional Peruvian percussion instrument shaped like a box.

“When most people think of Perú, they think of Machu-Pichu, but Machu-Pichu is not the only interesting thing in Perú,” Gutierrez said. “We are proud of it. We want to show what Perú is all about—we have a rich culture, we have beautiful dances, we have such unique instruments, and we want to share all this with people.”

To learn more about Centro Cultural Perú, visit its website.

Grupo Etnia
June 28 – 11:45 a.m. on La Juerga
June 5 – 11:45 a.m. on La Juerga

EtniaGrupo Etnia, a Peruvian music group with members from Rockville, Gaithersburg and Germantown, will perform on both Community days. Similar to Centro Cultural Perú, Grupo Etnia’s mission is to showcase the diversity of sound within Peruvian culture.

“We cover a wide range of styles,” the group’s violinist, Fernando Cadrejo, said. “We want everybody to see the distinction between what is traditional in the Andes compared to what is traditional in the rainforest, and more. Hopefully, we can transfer the message that each region has.”

Cadrejo will also participate in the opening ceremony taking place at 10:30 a.m. at Rasmuson Theater on June 24. The ceremony will consist of approximately 100 performers playing Peruvian instruments.

To learn more about Grupo Etnia, visit its Facebook page and check out the band’s music.

Read Hola Cultura’s story about the band.

Todavia Somos
June 28 – 2:45 p.m. on El Hablador

Todavia Somos is a theater performance based on Jose Maria Argueda’s poem “A Nuestro Padre Creador Tupac Amaru.”

The cultural group that created it, Abya Yala Arte y Cultura, is based in New York City. According to their website, they strive to “present diverse art projects that maintain Andean cultural expressions and promote cultural awareness” in whatever capacity possible. They host events, put on workshops and sell merchandise in order to ensure the survival of the Andean narrative in pop culture.

The play, which combines theater with live music, dance and spoken word, is “a theatrical interpretation of questions of identity, how people feel being in the US and how they keep their connections to Perú,” Fawcett said.

For more information on Abya Yala Arte y Cultura, visit its website.

—Emily Birnbaum

Music Review: Meridian Bro’s Colombian psychedelia at Tropicalia last week

If it were not for the vibrant stained glass window and mosaic tiled stairway, passersby would not notice the Tropicalia: a basement on the corner of 14th and U Streets NW, carved out into a trippy dance club. The Meridian Brothers, a psychedelic band, fit perfectly with the venue’s vibe.

On the evening of June 18th, DC’s youth filtered into the dimly lit cellar to groove of bass guitar. The opening act, Time is Fire, energized the audience with their funky fervor. The next band, Cigarette, slowed things down with their downbeat rhythms, melodic soft vocals, and ambient shimmering guitar.

By the time the Meridian Brothers took the stage, the place was packed. The young and well- dressed crowded the stage under the glow of blue and purple lighting. Latin beats pulse through the club, and dancing infectiously spread.

MeridianBros2The band, which has been together for the last seven years, is known for its avant-garde music.  Their sound is psychedelic—swirling synthesizer melodies built over a solid foundation of bass guitar and drums. The heavy synthesizer riffs blend smoothly with the lush, modulated guitar effects. Salsa and cumbia rhythms cut through everything, providing its danceable quality. Overall, the music is driven by strong instrumental rhythm and melody, rather than vocals. Though Eblis Álvarez’s and Maria Angélica Valencia’s vocals add a hypnotic flourish to their unique sound.

Despite their name, the Meridian Brothers are not brothers. The group consists of frontman Eblis Álvarez, who sings, plays guitar, and uses some synthesizers, but also writes and records all the music himself, touring with the following musicians: César Quevedo, bassist; Damián Ponce, drummer / percussionist; Alejandro Forero, the primary synthesizer player; and Maria Angélica Valencia, who sings, plays a synthesizer, Clarinet, saxophone, and several percussion instruments. After their first song, Álvarez announces they are from Bogotá, Colombia.  This is the third show of their first U.S. tour, which began June 16th in Philadelphia and will take them to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, and Minneapolis, before they head to Europe later this summer. Their set consists of original music with the notable exception of the “Colombian version” of the Jimi Hendrix classic Purple Haze.

Their pastel and neon silken shirts glowed brilliantly in the black lights as they played past midnight on a stage backed by ten-foot-tall imagery depicting a neon explosion of a kaleidoscopic rainforest. The backdrop seemed only to magnify the group’s captivating effect on the audience. The Meridian Brothers are impossible to lump into one genre, but they put on a mesmeric show.

 —Oliver Garretson