Thursday, August 30, 2007

Featured commentary

'Certified Boricua': My Official Puerto Rican Citizenship...
By Tato Torres

Here's an excerpt from Tato's blog on his MySpace site:

"A few months ago, I first read an article which mentioned that there was such a document as a 'Puerto Rican Citizenship certificate', and being the proud hardcore Boricua that I am, I immediately decided to get mine. Until now, the only citizenship, which Puerto Ricans could officially be issued, was that of the United States of America, but that is 'sort'a'' changing…"

For more, go to


Originally uploaded by silversldr.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Boricuas Making a Difference

COMITÉ NOVIEMBRE Seeks Community Award Nominations for Puerto Rican Heritage Month in NYC

Each year, Comité Noviembre recognizes outstanding individuals who are making a difference in the Puerto Rican community – men and women, who through the conviction of their character devote their talents to empowering others and making a positive impact. The purpose of this award is to acknowledge and pay tribute to exceptional Puerto Ricans who are usually our unsung heroes.


Candidate must be Puerto Rican or of Puerto Rican descent.
The accomplishments and contributions of the candidate must directly affect the Puerto Rican community.
Candidates must be agents of change, advocates, or risk takers, individuals who empower others by action and/or help to build organizational capacity.
There is no age limit on candidate.


The Puerto Rican Heritage Month Lo Mejor de Nuestra Comunidad Award is given to an individual, based on that individual's personal achievements and commitment. It is not given to groups of people, organizations or as a memorial award to people who have died.
Letter of nomination and support should highlight why the individual is being recommended for this recognition, how long the nominator has known the candidate and the specific contributions this individual has made to the betterment and enhancement of the Puerto Rican community. The accomplishments listed should not be part of the candidate’s job responsibilities.
The nominator should address any significant obstacles overcome by the candidate (if any), and give example(s) of the candidate going beyond the call of duty.
Candidates should represent a cross section of the Puerto Rican community: educators, health providers, artists, community organizers and activists, business professionals, volunteers, youth, senior citizens, etc.
A complete nomination form includes an application form, a letter of nomination, two additional letters of support, and a black and white photograph.
All items must be received by Monday, September 24.

The recipients of the Lo Mejor de Nuestra Comunidad Award will be informed by Friday, October 5.

Nomination must include the following:

A complete nomination form (go to to download the form)
Letter of nomination
Two additional letters of support for the candidate
A black and white photograph of the candidate

For more information, call (212) 677-4181.
Community Calendar

'An International Migrant Crossroads: The Circulation of People and Money in Puerto Rico'

Jorge Duany, Ph.D.
Chair & Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Puerto Rico

Tuesday, Sept. 11
6 - 8 p.m.
Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund
99 Hudson Street
14th Floor, Manhattan

This is a presentation of the Center for the New Economy latest research report.

Cocktail reception to follow

Please RSVP to: or 212.739.7511

This report, funded by the Ford Foundation, presents the results of the first field study of remittance activity in Puerto Rico and the flow of people and money between the island, the Dominican Republic and the United States.

About the author

Dr. Jorge Duany is Chair and Professor of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras. He earned his Ph.D. in Latin American Studies, with a concentration in anthropology, at the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University. Dr. Duany has published extensively on Caribbean migration, ethnicity, race, nationalism, and transnationalism in major academic journals and professional books in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Asia.

About the Center for the New Economy (CNE)

CNE is a San Juan, Puerto Rico-based private, non-profit, non-partisan, organization dedicated to designing innovative economic development strategies.

source: PRLDEF

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mystery writer and crime novelist Steven Torres

Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Behind the scenes photo of Steven Torres during an interview with PRSUN TV


Originally uploaded by prsuncom
The Concrete Maze. This is the latest book of my friend mystery writer Steven Torres, a boricua. He is author of the Puerto Rico Precinct series and is now promoting his newest book.

PRSUN TV will rebroadcast an interview with Torres, starting at 3:30 p.m. Mondays on Channel 69, Bronxnet, the Bronx. There will be plenty of opportunity to see the show since PRSUN TV repeats on Tuesdays and Thursdays too.

Torres, who grew up in the Bronx and now lives in Connecticut, will come to Cemi Underground in East Harlem in early September to promote his latest book, which features the Bronx as the setting. Go to for more information or go directly to

Here's the description as listed in the back of the book:

"The Bronx can be a tough place. And Luis Ramos can tell you it's even tougher to raise a daughter there. How can he keep her safe when every street leads to a new threat, an unseen danger? Now his daughter, Jasmine, is missing, and Luis will stop at nothing to get her back. He's a desperate man, willing to do whatever it takes to find her in the endless maze of the city. Nothing -- and no one -- will stand in his way. Whoever took Jasmine is about to find out just how tough the Bronx can get."

For more information on Steven Torres, go to

Friday, August 24, 2007

Community Calendar

La Bodega De La Familia
Annual Block Party!

Wednesday, August 29
12 - 4 p.m.
East 3rd Street between
Avenue C and Avenue D on the Lower East Side.

Enjoy a day of art, poetry, music and dance presented by
La Bodega De La Familia
Visit The People's garden for an afternoon of poetry hosted by
Poet/Author/Community activist
Bobby Gonzalez.

Scheduled to perform: Artist
G Positive
Adele Ramos
Melinda "Poeta Guerrera" Gonzalez
Jaime "El Maestro" Emeric

The mic will be open to the public after the performers.
Sign up at entrance of The People's garden for the Open Mic.

This event is sponsored by Poets & Writers and

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

El Cantante

El Cantante
Originally uploaded by prsuncom

Review: El Cantante
By Robert Waddell

In Marc Anthony’s and Jennifer Lopez’s star vehicle “El Cantante,” Marc Anthony sings and looks like legendary salsero Hector Lavoe; Lopez embodies a 1970s sensibility in portraying the singer’s wife. However, as with the 1970s, Marc Anthony, Lopez and director Leon Ichaso have successfully revived the drug crazed morally deficient characters that demoralized Latinos in films like “Fort Apache, the Bronx” and Ichaso’s “Pinero.”

Marc Anthony’s Hector Lavoe is a great artist who falls victim to drugs and temptation right from the start of the film. As with many musicians’ biographies –“Bird,” “Ray” and “I Walk the Line” – a great artist is thrown into a pit of despair and drugs. The more famous he becomes the worse his vice. In “El Cantante,” Lopez’s character Puchi, Lavoe’s wife, said that the bigger Lavoe became an artist, the less human he became.

To many Puerto Ricans, Lavoe has iconic status. Marc Anthony reproduces all of the familiar Lavoe images on screen, but there’s little depth. On the other hand, Lopez has more to grab onto.

Trouble starts in the ominous moment when Lavoe meets Willie Colon who looks like a mafioso in sepia colors. The scene is dark and the ambiance is menacing and heavy handed for the beginning of a creative collaboration that catapulted the Fania All-Stars into international celebrity.

Lopez looks beautiful as always except for the character she plays. She has a lot to sink her teeth into as the worst kind of manipulative, rapacious, money grubbing, enabling delusional villain. Puchi is simply not likable.

The film is told in flashbacks from the perspective of an unreliable narrator. The flashbacks are based on an interview that the real Puchi did. The interviews are recreated in black and white.

Puchi recalls how her first time with Lavoe was so special and nothing was too good for her. But in the next scene, one sees the exterior of a parked car tossed side to side and Puchi cries, “It hurts.” The couple is in the back seat of the car, having sex. While Puchi tells her interviewers that she never did drugs until she met Lavoe, the movie shows she was the person to introduce Lavoe to marijuana.

As with Ichaso’s “Pinero,” “El Cantante” is true to the drugging 1970s Nuyorican salsa groove. Doing drugs looks sexy. But, like a prude, this reviewer wonders why Hollywood will only bankroll films about Puerto Ricans when we’re seen as drug addicts, pimps, whores and criminals? Isn’t this passé already?

Filmmakers need to think in the vein of Gregory Nava’s “Mi Familia/My Family” or Selma Hayek’s’ “Frida.” In reality, no one is 100% good or 100% evil. So, why must Puerto Ricans consciously be demoralized?

Drugs and crime are a part of life, but there are also uplifting and joyful stories, real and fictional human stories of Puerto Rican life. The problem is reality and perception: the reality is that Hector Lavoe did do drugs, but the perception is that Puerto Ricans seem to be always portrayed this way. An example of a positive story is Sonia Gonzalez’s stickball documentary which showed a firefighter who loved the street game and bravely gave his life on September 11. Stories by Nicholasa Mohr, Junot Diaz, Piri Thomas and Ernesto Quinones would also make interesting and bankable films.

One positive note about “El Cantante” is that Marc Anthony and Lopez have each put their best foot forward in recreating a story based on one point of view, but they forgot how important and iconic Lavoe is to the Puerto Rican community, not unlike Julia de Burgos, Pedro Albizu Campos and Roberto Clemente. They’re heroes.

Still, there are private moments in the acting of raw emotion and real acting in this movie. One forgets about the stars and sees real fleshed out characters in these scenes. One forgets that these superstars are married in real life and one sees true dedication to craft, story and music. If only it weren't all so dark and bleak.

The problem for Marc Anthony is that his portrayal is two-dimensional. He looks and sounds like Hector Lavoe, but there’s no depth. If the actor were to go deep, he would have shown a real, flawed human being who was also a great artist. Marc Anthony’s Lavoe takes no responsibility for his addictions or his demons.

Lopez, on the other hand, has so much to sink her teeth into. She gives her Puchi depth and complexity. It must have been fun for Lopez to play the villain and not the soft girls she usually plays. Puchi is a grown-up, a woman. Lopez is beautiful, stylish, sneaky and corrupting, but she takes no responsibility for her actions in enabling Lavoe’s drug addiction. Every man needs to see Lopez’s Puchi to know this is the type of sexy woman your mama warned you about.

I bet the producers of this film are banking on Oscar nods for Lopez, but the Academy Award should go to sound editing and mixing. The sound vibrates the best of "The Voice."

The problem with this film is truth and reality; the truth hurts and the reality is too undiluted. The situation of drugs is common and the stereotypes too familiar. The music here is amazing; it’s the flawed portraits that need re-mixing.

"El Cantante" is in theaters now.

Robert Waddell is a Bronx-based freelance writer who contributes his articles to Puerto Rico Sun.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Community Calendar

115th & 116th Streets/Park Avenue
August 25 (SAT.) 12 - 6 p.m.








For an application and questions about the August 25, call Taina Traverso at
Community Media

Manhattan Neighborhood Network 2008 Community Media Grants are available to 501c3 nonprofits and community organizations based in Manhattan. The grants fund the innovative production and use of community media and television. For more information,

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bomba y Plena

Bomba y Plena
Originally uploaded by Elaine Puerto Rico.
Check out Elaine Puerto Rico's photos on flickr. She has a nice array of photos from Puerto Rico.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bomba y Plena

Bomba y Plena
Originally uploaded by rude bwoy.

Artist Opportunity

Press release

Heineken Competition Seeks Talented Hispanic Artist to Spotlight and Design Music-inspired Murals Exhibit

Hispanic Artist Community in New York Invited to Submit Artwork for Finalist Exhibit and Ultimate Prize: $20,000 for Creation of Murals in NY, Miami and LA

White Plains, NY – Heineken taps into the wealth of talented Hispanic artists in the New York tri-state area with a local search to identify one skilled artist for its national murals project themed, “Inspirado por la Música Latina.” Part contest and part exhibit, this search consists of a call for entries which will culminate in a private event and exhibition on September 19th at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City. The winning artist will be announced at this event and awarded $20,000 to design four large-scale murals for Heineken in New York, Miami and Los Angeles which will be unveiled in the fall.

With this effort, Heineken is celebrating the great contribution Hispanic artists have made and will continue to make on the artistic landscape in the U.S. “For years, the Heineken Murals have displayed the works of several talented Hispanic artists in large cities across the country, providing each local community with an extraordinary piece of art that celebrates Latino culture,” said Paul Smailes, Hispanic Brand Manager for Heineken USA. “With the search and exhibit this year, Hispanic artists will again have an opportunity to showcase their talent to the local art community. We are excited to identify one winning New York artist, and provide them an opportunity to exhibit his/her artistic vision among Latino neighborhoods in New York, Miami & Los Angeles in the fall.”

Heineken Murals Finalists Exhibit
Of the total entries received, up to 50 artists will be selected to showcase their work during an exhibit on September 19, 2007. The exhibit will be on display for one evening during a private event at the cultural epicenter, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, an affiliate of The Museum of Modern Art. The highlight of the exhibit will be the announcement of the winning artist, who will be selected by a panel of judges.

Heineken Murals Project Contest Submission Guidelines
"Inspired by Latin Music” invites artists to express their passion about Hispanic music and cultural traditions; to capture the energetic vibe of the Latin rhythm, remembering the legends of Latin music, and how it has inspired your life. Original artwork may be submitted by anyone 21 years or older, who is of Hispanic descent and a legal resident living in the New York Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut).

Each entry should represent the theme "Inspirado por la Música Latina” and integrate Heineken imagery into the design (Heineken green and red colors, Heineken star, Heineken bottle or logo).

Submissions are limited to one per person. Artwork should be two-dimensional, in color, minimum size 18” X 24” and maximum size 36” x 48”, sent in an envelope inside a double board (one board for front and one for back). Folded paintings will not be accepted.  Entries will be judged by originality, creativity and adherence to the theme. All entries must include artist’s full name, home address, day and telephone number and email address (if applicable).

Entries should be sent to Heineken Murals Project c/o RLPR 27 West 24th Street, Suite 901 New York, New York, 10010.

All entries must be received by Friday, August 31, 2007.

For more information about the contest and Official Rules go to or send us an email to:

About Heineken USA
Heineken USA Inc., the nation's premier beer importer, is a subsidiary of Heineken International BV, which is the world's most international brewer. Brands imported into the U.S. include: Heineken Lager, the world's most international beer brand; Heineken Premium Light; Amstel Light, a leading imported light beer brand; Heineken Dark; and Buckler non-alcoholic brew. Heineken USA is also the exclusive USA importer for the Tecate, Tecate Light, Dos Equis, Sol, Carta Blanca and Bohemia brands from FEMSA Cerveza of Mexico. Please visit

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Community Calendar

Art and Dance Fest in the Streets of NYC's El Barrio

Community Board 11 and State Senator José M. Serrano will host the fourth annual East Harlem Arts Festival on Saturday, August 18, from noon to 5 p.m. at 106th Street from Third to Park avenues.

Free music, dance and theatrical performances will take place on the Third Avenue stage. This year's headliners include Aurora & Zon Del Barrio who will perform at 4 p.m.; The Jazz Museum in Harlem All-Star Quartet, and the Mexican music and dance troupe Semilla.

This year, local designer Nicole Romano will present a special fashion show on the Third Avenue stage. Romano's work has appeared in "Sex in the City" and a variety of fashion magazines. Celebrities, including Alicia Keys and Eva Mendes, have worn her creations.

The Puerto Rican Intercultural Drama Ensemble (PRIDE) will perform excerpts from playwright Eugene Rodriguez's "Our Times," a mix of Nuyorican poetry and salsa.

For more information, contact Chris Bell at (212) 831-8929 or .

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Community Calendar

Carnival Masquerade with Live Music

Pregones Theater's 9th Summer Stage Tour is now underway with FREE outdoors performances of LA CARAVANA/THE CARAVAN in metropolitan NY, NJ, and CT, as part of the 2007 JPMorgan Chase Summer Arts Series.

Dressed in colorful banners and traditional Puerto Rican "vejigante" (carnival masquerader) costumes, the play is based on the poem "The Saltimbanco's Elegy" by great Puerto Rican poet Luis Pales Matos and on the folk legend of Maria Sabida as told by award-winning author Judith Ortiz Cofer. PERFECT FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES!

Go to for more information on show times.

The Old Lighthouse Ruins

The Old Lighthouse Ruins
Originally uploaded by silversldr.