Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rincón, Puerto Rico

Rincón, Puerto Rico
Originally uploaded by Oquendo.

In the Mailbox

News from the Artists Foundation

Dear Media Reformer,

If you're getting this e-mail, you already know that universal, affordable high-speed Internet access is critical to our future.

Unfortunately, most of us have been left out of the debate over the future of the Internet that is happening right now in Washington. High-priced lobbyists have no trouble bending the ears of lawmakers in Washington. But you and I rarely get the
chance to be heard.

That's about to change. On Wednesday, Senator Kerry is holding a hearing on improving Internet access for all Americans. He has pledged to listen to your ideas and respond via the blog. It is crucial that you add your voice to this debate.

Join Senator Kerry in a Conversation about the Future of the Internet:

"It's almost hard to wrap your head around the fact that seven years into this century, more Americans than not have either no Internet access at all or are still stuck on dial-up," Senator Kerry writes. "It seems like so long ago that the buzzword was the 'information super-highway,' but much of America is still
bouncing down a country lane. That is just unacceptable."

America continues to fall further behind the rest of the world when it comes to fast, affordable Internet access. That's because we don't have a national broadband policy dedicated to bringing the benefits of the Internet to everyone.

Share Your Ideas About How to Connect America:

"Previous generations put a toaster in every home and a car in every driveway as signs of economic progress," Senator Kerry explains. "To stay competitive, we should strive to do the same with nationwide broadband. Our economy, our businesses and our
families are counting on us to deliver."

This could be the start of a truly public conversation of what the future of the Internet should look like. Please join us and share your comments and ideas.


Timothy Karr
Campaign Director
Free Press

P.S. Please help spread the word about this important
initiative. Tell your friends today:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

El Morro's Defense

El Morro's Defense
Originally uploaded by donnacorless.
El Morro's Defense. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Digital watercolor artwork by Donna Corless.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

'East Harlem Focus'

Hope Community, Inc. and Manhattan Neighborhood Network
to Screen Documentary: “East Harlem Focus”
@ MNN Studios, 537 West 59th Street
Wednesday, September 19, 6:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, September 19th, Hope Community, Inc. - in partnership with Manhattan Neighborhood Network - will screen its documentary, "East Harlem Focus: A Community Facing Transition." The screening will be held at 6:30 pm at MNN Studios, 537 West 59th Street, followed by a 30-minute public discussion on gentrification and displacement in East Harlem.


Produced by the Hope Community’s community programs department, “East Harlem Focus” is the culmination of a 12-month, community-based research project that documented a neighborhood threatened by rapid and transformative change.

The research team interviewed with over 30 neighborhood residents to capture their observations, opinions, and feelings about East Harlem. The team also drew from a wide range of sources — including the U.S. census, records from three city agencies, and private data on real estate sales — to describe and analyze demographic trends and flows of investment in local real estate.

“The goals of the research project were to identify and explain changing forces, highlight concerns of local residents, and propose practical courses of action for positive future development,” explained Hope’s Executive Director, Robin LeBaron. “We hope the film and panel discussion will shed new light on the issue of displacement and lay the foundation for an alliance with local partners to preserve East Harlem’s historic standing as a vibrant, affordable neighborhood for working class families.”

In addition to the video, Hope staff produced an accompanying published report available online at For more information visit:

source: MNN

Friday, September 14, 2007

Community Calendar

Assemblyman Jose R. Peralta
District 39, Queens
In Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic & Latino Book Fair of NY

Opening Sept. 21, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 22, 12 to 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dedicated to Gregory Rabassa
(Translator of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

@ Renaissance Charter School
35-59 81 St., Jackson Heights, Queens
(7 train to 82nd St, two blocks to 37th Ave. & 81st St., next to the public library)

In cooperation:
Hispanic & Latino Cultural Center of NY
Journalists & Writers for Tourism, Art & Culture
Latin American Immigrant Alliance

Coordinated by Juan Nicolas Tineo
718 458-5367/718 710-6154/718 335-1339)

El Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Community Calendar


Friday September 14,7 p.m. to midnight
Hip Hop Culture Center (at the Magic Johnson Theater)
2309 Frederick Douglass Boulevard @ 124th Street, 2nd Floor
Suggested Donation $20
Please rsvp to

Sunday September 16, 5 to 10 p.m.
La Plaza Cultural Community Garden
9th Street and Ave. C
East Village
Free Admission

LCLFF’s annual presence at the garden enriches the surrounding residential and business community both artistically and financially — as artists and festival-goers stream into the area to shop, eat, and experience the best of Latino culture.

For more information, go to

Gathering Around the Plaque

Gathering Around the Plaque
Originally uploaded by mamarazzi1.
Check out mamarazzi1's photo set titled "Tito Puente Post Office" at flickr.

Post Office in El Barrio Dedicated to Tito Puente
By Ismael Nunez

In East Harlem, there’s a street, there's a school, there's talk of having a statue one day, and now there's a post office that bears his name: Tito Puente.

After all, Puente is considered one of Latin music’s greatest band leaders and musicians. A plaque was recently unveiled in Puente’s memory and it hangs in the lobby of the post office at 167 East 124 Street.

Congressman Charles Rangel, who had introduced the bill to have the post office dedicated in Puente's honor, was among those who attended a Sept. 10 ceremony to celebrate.

“Tito Puente was more than a musician, more than a ambassador," Rangel said. "The personality he had (brought) people of different colors and cultures together.

"Young people and adults will have the honor of knowing who this person was, and people who knew him can share who this great musician was," he said. "Most importantly, (they will know) that he loved people."

Patricia McGovern, spokeswoman for the postal services in the New York Metro Area, said, “It’s a great honor to have this building dedicated to him. Many are not aware he was born/raised in the neighborhood. This dedication was solely appropriate."

As the dedication shifted to the Taino Towers Crystal Ballroom where live music filled the air and Latin food was served, several community people shared their thoughts.

"It is great; the best thing currently to have happened in this community was to name a building in his honor," said Charley Diaz, head of the Stickball Hall of Fame. "I know and the community knows there will be more dedications like this taking place."

Nina Olson, director of Development/Publicity/Community Outreach for the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts, described Puente as "an amazing profound musician/bandleader."

"He took this music all over the world," she said. "He was also very concerned about musical education. The conservatory was one of the sponsors for the Tito Puente Scholarship Fund, the conservatory was a favorite of his. His generosity, his music, the conservatory will continue to educate the next future generations of musicians."

Joe Conzo, who is in charge of the “Tito Puente Legacy Project” at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, said, “He would’ve loved this dedication; he’s watching it now."

As the band started to play some Puente's classics, Conzo said, “He’s playing the drums, leading the band, he’s still with us in spirit and heart."

Ismael Nunez is a freelance writer based in El Barrio who contributes his writings to Puerto Rico Sun.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Featured article

Cemi Underground is a new cultural haven in El Barrio.

Check out today's New York Daily News:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Originally uploaded by prsuncom
Joe Falcon and Bobby Gonzalez Form a Marriage of Music and Poetry
By Robert Waddell

Bassist Joe Falcon and poet Bobby Gonzalez describe their collaboration as a mélange and merger of poetry, various styles of Latin music and Taino and jibaro traditions. They join words and melody in their soon to be released CD “Encuentros” or Encounters. They bring years of personal experience to the genre and form a marriage of poetry and music.

“An Encuentro (an encounter) is something that comes together,” said Falcon, “either naturally or because you seek it; could be a friendship or an encounter with your past.”

Falcon stands at his bass and sways his body, playing fine mellow tunes to Gonzalez’s poetry, which talks of Puerto Rican and Taino culture. Falcon gives a smooth touch of jibaro cords as Gonzalez's tenor tells of ancient Taino gods in a contemporary setting. And Alto saxophonist Ricardo Strobert adds and improvises ideas, Falcon said.

“I’m always careful to acknowledge our African ancestry,” Gonzalez said, “and our Spanish culture...I was told by my mother that there are ‘African, Spanish and Taino spirits walking behind you so you should honor all of them.’ ”

In one of Gonzalez’s poems, he honors a Taino goddess called Atabex-gurra-pita, which is the goddess of the waters like the Yoruba Yemaya.

“Our culture is still here," he said. "We are still a dynamic force in the Caribbean and the United States. I want to communicate pride and love in who we are today that will empower people if they know this history.”

Falcon takes Gonzalez's words and conceives music that fits. For example, Falcon and Gonzalez take listeners to the past or a different place as with “El Yunque,” the Puerto Rican rain forest.

They both describe the feeling within their collaborations as surreal.

“Something far out, something real and unreal,” Falcon said. “The form is not direct. There’s no straight line. There are many lines.”

And, they are adding a jibaro and Taino contribution to this genre.

Falcon reads Gonzalez’s poetry, grabs onto an image and flies with the music.

Falcon recalled that he first saw Gonzalez in the Highbridge section of the Bronx, where he was giving a talk on the history of the Taino. And what struck Falcon were the images.

Falcon said he plays improvisational salsa that doesn’t speak to one approach or style. He lives up to Duke Ellington’s definition that music should go beyond category.

“I could play just one style,” said Falcon, “but if I’m not careful, we arrive there without really wanting to be and we’re boxed in. If you stick to only one style then you’re stuck to that one style.”

And Gonzalez's poetry compliments the music.

Gonzalez said his words come from his family traditions of going to El Barrio on the weekends, eating rice and beans and listening to salsa. They also come from Native American pow-wows and his Taino roots.

The poetry songs take the listener on a voyage,” said Gonzalez, who grew up in the Bronx. “This voyage takes them through the past, present and future.”

Falcon and Gonzalez said “Encuentros” tells and re-tells personal and collective Puerto Rican stories. Their poetry and musical come together, forming a dance that has a touch of jibaro, Taino, salsa, jazz, poetry and collective discovery.

“In a way, I’m fulfilling my fantasy of being the lead singer in a rock band,” Gonzalez said of "Encuentros."

Robert Waddell is a freelance writer from the Bronx who contributes his writings to Puerto Rico Sun.

For more information, visit
Coming soon
Friday, Sept. 28
"ENCUENTROS" A jazz/poetry collaboration featuring Bobby Gonzalez (poet), Joe Falcon (bass) & Ricardo Strobert (saxaphone/flute) Admission: $10 at Cemi Underground in East Harlem. Visit


Originally uploaded by clarisel.
@ Cemi Underground in El Barrio

Boats to Build

Boats to Build
Originally uploaded by silversldr.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Community Calendar


Wed., Sept. 5, at 6 p.m.
Book signing and presentation with Prisionera introducing her newly published book “Puro Ritmo Y Patriotismo.”
Admission FREE!

Fri., Sept. 7, at 7 p.m.
"El Boogie Down Comedy Show" with comedians Arnold Acevedo and Eric Nieves.
Admission $8

Sat., Sept. 8 at 3 p.m.
Book signing and presentation by best selling author Steven Torres of the popular series Precinct Puerto Rico and his newly released book The Concrete Maze. Admission FREE!

Cemí Underground
1799 Lexington Ave., at 112th St., El Barrio
Visit: and

Pigeon Park - Old San Juan, PR

Pigeon Park - Old San Juan, PR
Originally uploaded by avpjack.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Originally uploaded by clarisel.

In the Mailbox

Dear friend:
LaMicro Theater and Teatro IATI will present a workshop reading of On Insomnia and Midnight by Edgar Chias on September 7, at 7 p.m. at 59-61 East 4th Street #4E in Manhattan. Edgar Chias is an emerging playwright and his play On Insomnia and Midnight was produced by the Royal Court Theatre in London last year.

We hope you can make it.

Sponsored by NYC DCA and LMCC!

Thank you
Pietro Gonzalez

For more information visit: