Monday, April 30, 2007

Patty Dukes

Patty Dukes
Originally uploaded by Nuevo Latino Life.

'I Love My Money'

'I Love My Money'
Originally uploaded by Nuevo Latino Life.

Featured artist

Patty Dukes Puts Up Her Dukes for Art

By Robert Waddell
A strong Latina poet and self-described "hip-hop head," Patty Dukes remembers she put up her dukes to get where she is today.

Patty Dukes, whose real name is Patricia Marte, recalled a fist smashed into her right arm, shocking her with bone rattling pain. Feeling stunned and frustrated, she left El Puente in Brooklyn, but she then bumped into Lemmon, the guy who had just hit her, outside on the street. She came up behind him and smashed him on the head with a fist.

According to Dukes, he said, “‘Who do you think you are Patty? Put up your Dukes.’”

And, the name stuck. Patricia Marte became Patty Dukes. That was 10 years ago.

Dukes said she later learned that Lemmon, a poet who became her mentor, hit her as a way of getting her out of her shy shell and it worked.

While in high school, Dukes recalls meeting poets like Lemmon, who would win a Tony Award for Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, the group Universes, La Bruja and Mariposa.

Although she felt as an outsider, she discovered she also was a poet, an emcee, a hip-hop fanatic and an actress.

Recently, Dukes showcased her poetry at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in New York City with a lineup of Latina poets that included La Bruja and Mariposa. She has also performed at SOBs. She’s now working on a CD and will appear in Danny Hoch’s latest play “Til the Break of Dawn.”

Dukes was born to Dominican parents in Puerto Rico and was raised near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. She attended Hunter College and now works as a poet in schools.

Dukes represents the mix of Dominican and New York cultures as well as the hip-hop and poetry scene. She offers a whirlwind of sexy intellectualism, hip hop savvy and spoken word awakening.

She credits poets like Reg E. Gaines and Piri Thomas for their inspiration. One of Dukes’s poems harkens to a Gaines poem about someone getting killed for their sneakers. The poem is socially and politically relevant.

“The poem was written for the 80s; those issues are still going on today,” Dukes said. “As far as consumerism and keeping up with the Joneses, the products may have changed...I had to tell this story with a more modern twist. This is my re-mix.”

Dukes sees a strong connection between poetry and hip-hop.

“I’ve taken a lot of risks,” Dukes said. “I didn’t realize that being an artist you could be sustainable...An MC moves the crowd, a rapper is someone who can rhyme. A lyricist is someone who can rhyme but put some heavy lyrical content….at the end of the day to be a good lyricist you have to be a poet.”

Poetry has had to go beyond the academic setting...poetry needed to be infused with hip hop-isms, she said.

“I need that performance element and that mixture of poetry and the content of words,” Dukes said. “I need to get their eye contact; I need to feel what they’re saying…I want to feel you and I want you to move me and by nature that is hip-hop.”

One experience that helped Dukes understand that she was part of the hip-hop poetry and theater movement was when she wrote a play about women in prison and presented it to her professor and class. She said they just didn’t get it. They didn’t understand the nature of Dukes' words and where her ideas were coming from.

That inspired her to go on the road, perform and become a hip-hop dramatist.

Although painful, Dukes is grateful for that punch in the arm that Lemmon gave her years ago because it helped bring her out of her shell and gave her a nickname that has stuck.

“You have to find where you connect to the world,” Dukes said. “If you don’t find that first connection, you’re not going to open up.”

Robert Waddell is a freelance journalist based in the Bronx who contributes his writings to the Puerto Rico Sun.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Community Calendar

BRONXNET & Hostos Center for Arts & Culture
Invite you to a free sneak preview screening of a docu-concert

(Puerto Rican coastal folk music and dance rooted in African Culture)

*Wednesday, May 2, 6 p.m.
at Hostos' Repertoire Theater
450 Grand Concourse, Bronx


Admission with free ticket

*Info & tickets: 718-518-4455*

source: Bronxnet
Community Calendar

The National Institute for Latino Policy
invites you to a roundtable

The State of Puerto Rican
Politics in New York City

A Conversation based on
José Ramón Sánchez' new book, Boricua Power:
A Political History of Puerto Ricans in the United States

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The Puck Building
2nd Floor Conference Room
295 Lafayette Street (and Houston Street), New York, NY 10012-9604
(B,D,F,V to Broadway-Lafayette, N,R,W to Prince Street, 6 to Bleecker Street)

Roundtable Participants
Alicia Cardona
Author, Rambling on Random Thoughts and New York Puerto Rican Women Achievers

Arlene Davila
Professor, Anthropology, Social and Cultural Analysis (American Studies),
New York University: author, Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos and the
Neoliberal City; Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People; and Sponsored
Identities: Cultural Politics in Puerto Rico

David Diaz
Distinguished Lecturer in Media & Politics, City College (CUNY); formerly
senior correspondent and anchor on WCBS and WNBC-TV

José A. García
Senior Research and Policy Associate, Demos: A Network for Ideas
and Action; and author, East Coast Latino Voting Rights Act Reauthorization Manual

Mickey Melendez
Author, We Took the Streets: Fighting for Latino Rights with the Young Lords

Councilmember Melissa Mark Viverito
Democrat representing District 8

Joseph Wiscovitch
President, Wiscovitch Associates

José Ramón Sánchez
Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of Urban Studies,
Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus

Angelo Falcón
President and Co-Founder, National Institute for Latino Policy; and
author, Atlas of Stateside Puerto Ricans, and co-editor, Boricuas in Gotham:
Puerto Ricans in the Making of Modern New York City

Co-sponsored by the
Women of Color Policy Network at NYUWagner

RSVP with 212-334-5722 or wlamour@nlcatp. org

Boricua Power: A Political History of Puerto Ricans in the United States,
by José Ramón Sánchez (New York: New York University Press, 2007)

www.nyupress .org/books/ Boricua_Power- products_ id-4973.html

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Watch trailer of Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony in "El Cantante."
Featured story

P.R. statehood debate gathers force
By Jeff Patch

The District of Columbia may be a step closer to statehood as the House voted last week to give D.C. a voting member in the House, but another battle over statehood -- one that has lingered for more than a century -- is emerging.

Capitol Hill is debating two proposals to determine the status of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean island that has been part of the United States since 1898. Although obscure, the issue could certainly affect perceptions among Puerto Rican voters, who represent a significant segment of the Hispanic vote.

For more, go to
Community Calendar

Thursday, May 3rd

Taller Boricua, and Sery Colon present
BarrioCinema with the upcoming film screening…


Post 9/11 definitions, ideas and notions of terrorism are challenged in this highly controversial and experimental film. Machetero is an allegorical narrative that follows French journalist Jean Dumont played by Isaach de Bankolé (The Keeper, Ghost Dog, Coffee and Cigarettes, Manderlay) to a New York prison where he interviews Pedro Taino a so called "Puerto Rican Terrorist" played by Not4Prophet (lead singer of the Puerto Punk band RICANSTRUCTION). Pedro is a self-described Machetero fighting to free Puerto Rico from the yoke of United States colonialism. He is obsessed with freedom, freedom for his country, his people and for himself. Jean questions Pedro about his decisions to use violence as a means to achieve that freedom. As Jean and Pedro speak, another story unfolds. A ghetto youth played by Kelvin Fernandez (in his first starring role) grows up in the ghetto streets and crosses paths with Pedro. Pedro sees potential in the ghetto youth and reawakens a revolutionary spirit instilled in from childhood by a mentor in Puerto Rico played by former Puerto Rican Prisoner of War Dylcia Pagan (who did 20 years in US prisons). Pedro tries to provide the means for the ghetto youth to grow into the next generation of Machetero.
The film is structured around songs from the album, “Liberation Day” written and performed by RICANSTRUCTION. The songs are interwoven into the film as a narrative voice. RICANSTRUCTION also provides an original improvised score that moves from hardcore be-bop punk to layered haunting and abstract Afro-Rican rhythms.

was written, edited and directed by Vagabond.

Thursday, May 3, 2007 @ 7:00PM
Julia de Burgos Theater at 1680 Lexington Ave., at 106th St., NYC
For more info go to

Friday, April 20, 2007

'She's Like the Wind'

Puerto Rico Sun received a courtesy copy of Lumidee's new CD. She teamed up with Tony Sunshine to sing one of my favorite songs from back in the day: "She's Like the Wind" from the "Dirty Dancing" days. Lumidee, a Puerto Rican R&B rapper and singer, gives this old song her special touch, making it her own.

Here is an article "Spanglish Magazine" recently did on Lumidee.

Buena suerte.
Community Calendar

Havana Film Festival @ Centro
April 24, 5 pm
Ida K. Lang Recital Hall -Hunter College- North 4th Floor, NYC

Film: "Ladrones y Mentirosos"
Producer Poli Marichal will be present for Q & A moderated by Prof. Joelle Gonzalez-Laguer, (Film Department, Hunter College )

For more information on the Havana Film Festival:

source: Centro

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Featured story

Community still divided by island, mainland origins

Judy Wang
Staff Reporter
With her red hair and freckles, Elise Brau ’08 surprises many Yalies when she tells them she is Puerto Rican.
“I look like an American kid,” she said.
Hailing from San Juan, Brau is one member of the small group of Puerto Rican Yalies who grew up on the island.
Students and alumni who attended last week’s 35th anniversary celebrations for Despierta Boricua, the Puerto Rican undergraduate student organization, used the occasion to reflect on the significant growth in size and diversity in their community since the first Puerto Rican students arrived on campus in the middle of the 20th century, students said.
While several current members and alumni of DB said differences within the Puerto Rican community are often embraced as ways to spark dialogue about culture, others said the differences can divide groups within the larger community. But many said the past 35 years have seen efforts to bridge the Yale and New Haven Puerto Rican communities and to spread the message of Latino unity.

Coming to Yale

For more, go to Yale Daily News

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Originally uploaded by markwolgemuth.
Photo by markwolgemuth who says this is a "rural farm not too far from Arecibo."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Featured story

San Juan struggles to save historic wall
Built from 1539 to 1641, structure is symbol of pride for Puerto Rico

By Ray Quintanilla
Chicago Tribune
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico · The network of thick sandstone walls surrounding the second oldest city in the Americas has withstood the bombardment of warships from England, Holland and, most recently, the United States during the Spanish American War.
But the structure, called La Muralla in Spanish, is no match for its latest enemy: erosion, neglect and the push of development into the oldest section of San Juan.
For more, go to,0,3949768.story?track=rss

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Elizabeth Marrero

Originally uploaded by Nuevo Latino Life.
is known as Macha


Originally uploaded by Nuevo Latino Life.

Profile: Elizabeth Marrero
This Drag King is Sinfully Delicious
By Robert Waddell

Actress and comedian Elizabeth Marrero was once described by the New York Times as delicious. They got it wrong: she is sinfully delicious.

In her various performances as the Bronx premiere Drag King, Marrero tackles issues of religion, sexuality, personal growth and personal responsibility. And she is hilarious on her takes on people from the hood trying to make it. Marrero makes her one-person show fresh with hilarity and frivolity to spare every time she brings back and breathes life into characters like Petronelia, who enjoys getting tipping the bottle and who has a heart of gold.

“I keep coming back to these characters because I want to see them grow,” Marrero said. “They're real in my heart and part of my soul, part of the fabric of who I am.”

With great material, Marrero's characters include Petronelia, a woman who is experienced in the ways of the world and like a drink once and a while; the B-boy, named MC DJ Guilly-Guiso-Jugo, with a cell phone fetish; Wakateema Shaquasha de la Rodriguez, a young woman who can be a heartless gold digger who wants much and gives very little.

And finally there's Macha, the super Latino stud who loves women. Marrero always ends each one of her shows with this smooth papi chulo Drag King who dances in a shiny white vanilla ice cream suit.

Marrero bases all of these characters on members of her family. In her shows, she said, the characters have grown and become more than who they started out to be. They have shown wisdom, experience and ambition. In a show, “Santa Macha,” Pertronelia started her own religion.

“I love them all so very much,” Marrero said. “They still exist in me. These people grow and progress. They're getting smarter each time around.”

Directed on many occasions by Arthur Aviles at the Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, Marrero is a wonder woman of heart and soul making her characters come alive without apology or phony pathos. In between costume changes, there’s video of Marrero bringing her characters to the streets of Hunts Point, on the avenue and in the subway.

The idea of being a Drag King shows a character based on her father. The character is based on a love of women giving Marrero an opportunity to explore how she feels about women.

“The most basic is that Macha is a male impersonator,” she said. “Being a Latin lover is just extra.”

Marrero’s characters are dysfunctional but not distant; they are real and never stereotypes. Her words are bullet blazes of comedic talent.

Marrero said her intention is always to get her audiences to laugh. If they are encouraged to think after seeing her perform, then that is an added bonus, she said.

“I don't consciously go in there with a theme or statement,” said Marrero. “I don't make fun of these working class people. This is my experience...Latinos are behind in education and sometimes very loving families can stop us from growth.”

Now, Marrero wants to spread her wings professionally and move up to the next level. She has found a manager, is building a website, and working in Manhattan comedy clubs to gain more exposure.

She joked, “J-Lo left the Bronx so somebody has to take over.”

BAAD, where Marrero has presented many of her shows, is dedicated to free expression and art and is a gay friendly arts space in film, theatre, dance and art. It is a theater that brings quality shows to a community otherwise starving for art and culture. And Marrero learned a long time ago that as soon as you hook an audience with humor, they can be given, not force fed, a message or an idea.

“Now I'm in spread my wings mode,” Marrero said. “I want to go to a theater to present my shows, get discovered and become a star. BAAD will always be with me, but I was feeling a little too comfortable. I need to branch out. Spread it out some more.”

Robert Waddell is a freelance journalist based in the Bronx who contributes his writings to the Puerto Rico Sun.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico

By Fernando Cuevas
Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico
This particular beach was rated as one of the top ten in the world by The Travel Channel...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Community Calendar

Save the Date and Pass the Word…April 19

“The American Dream: Puerto Ricans And Mexicans In New York ”

This documentary examines two migrant experiences, one from the Caribbean and one from Latin America, which comprise an important part of the Hispanic experience in New York . It addresses issues of cultural identity, racism, discrimination, economic misery, legal vs. undocumented workers, and the political disenfranchisement of Mexicans. While the video discusses shared interests between the two communities, it also reveals tensions between the Caribbean and Latin American immigrants.
Directed by Sonia Fritz
2003, color, 30 minutes

“En El Vientre Del Monstro / In The Belly Of The Beast”

In September of 2005, the president of the Bolivarian Society of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez Frias, did what only one other head of state has previously done, visit the South Bronx .

The documentary is a chronicle of President Hugo Chavez' visit to the South Bronx, his interaction with residents, organizers, artists, and entrepreneurs, his country's commitment to using national resources for the improvement of the standard of living in the U.S., including Native Americans.
A documentary in progress, directed by Felix Leo Campos
2007, 30 minutes

Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 7:00PM

At the Julia de Burgos Theater (2nd floor) at The Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center, 1680 Lexington Avenue, El Barrio, NYC (corner of 106th St .)

$7.00 entrance

For information, go to and/or

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Community Calendar

Latino Studies All Star Lineup to Discuss and Celebrate the Release of None of the Above
Puerto Ricans in the Global Era, a volume edited by NALIP Executive Board member, filmmaker/writer Frances Negrón-Muntaner

This coming April 11, New York University's Latino Studies Program and The Hispanic Scholarship Fund-Latin@ Scholar Chapter will host some of the best minds writing about Latinos to discuss Frances Negrón-Muntaner's latest book, the edited volume None of the Above: Puerto Ricans in the Global Era (Palgrave).

The book is already getting rave reviews. Literary and globalization scholar Bruce Robbins (Columbia University) has called the volume “a totally compelling collection” by “arguably the most brilliant among an impressive cohort of Puerto Rican cultural critics.” For New York University's Arlene Dávila, an anthropologist and key figure in Latino Studies, the book offers “some of the most important and original Puerto Rican studies scholars working -- a must read on Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, and on the working of contemporary nationalism and colonialism more generally."

Based on a series of conferences organized by Negrón-Muntaner from 2000-2004, None of the Above is a state-of-the-art volume about contemporary debates regarding Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans, both in the United States and on the Island. The title simultaneously refers to the results of a non-binding 1998 plebiscite held in San Juan to determine the Island's political status, the ambiguities that have characterized Puerto Rican political agency, and the complexities of boricua ethnic, national, and cultural identifications in the global era.

Arnaldo Cruz Malavé, literary scholar and associate director of Latin American Studies at Fordham University, will lead the presentation. Negrón-Muntaner and several of the volume's collaborators, including Christina Duffy Burnett (Columbia University), Juan Flores (New York University), Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel (University of Pennsylvania), and Raquel Z. Rivera (City University of New York) will join him.

Volume editor Negrón-Muntaner is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and scholar. She is the co-editor of Puerto Rican Jam: Rethinking Colonialism and Nationalism and author of Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of America Culture. Since 2003, she teaches at Columbia University. For additional information on Negrón-Muntaner's work, see

The event will be held at New York University's Kimball Hall Lounge, 246 Greene Street, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. A reception will follow.

Contact (Presentation):
Daniel Nieves (646) 307-502

Contact (Palgrave):
Cheryl Vawdewy

source: NALIP

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Originally uploaded by I take a pic a day....


Puerto Rico's Rossello: Federal voting rights an unfinished business

H.R. 900, the extremely promising Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2007, is the subject of hearings in the House.

Pedro Rossello | Special to the Sentinel
Little by little, over the course of many generations, the American people have achieved a broad consensus on a topic that arguably should never have divided them. Arduously (and entirely too gradually), our body politic has reached the conclusion that second-class citizenship is simply wrong.
For more, go to,0,6066089.story?coll=orl-opinion-headlines

Monday, April 02, 2007

Community Calendar

Art Exhibit - Through April 15
Mi Puerto Rico! Master Painters of the Island 1780-1952
The first major exhibition in the continental United States devoted to Puerto Rico’s three greatest masters: José Campeche, Francisco Oller, and Miguel Pou. 49 Washington Street, Newark, NJ. On the web go to website.

source: newsletter