Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Feliz 2009 from PRSUN

Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Puerto Rico Sun readers and supporters, I want to thank you.

Thanks for advancing PRSUN's mission of empowering, informing and building community.

Thanks to all those who have contributed to this project in one way or another, including Ismael Nunez, Jose "Boricuation" Medina, Samaris Ayala, the photographers in the Puerto Rico Sun group, and the members in the PRSUN Video group. Thanks to our members in the Puerto Rico Sun social network, the Puerto Rico Sun group at Facebook and the Puerto Rico Sun blog network at Facebook. Thanks to my followers at Thanks to PRSUN TV viewers and guests as well as PRSUN Radio listeners and guests. Thanks to those who have supported the PRSUN for the ASPCA fundraising campaign at All of you help make the PRSUN community more vibrant and diverse, so thank you.
Thanks to all those who visit, comment and vote in our poll posted right here in this blog. Thanks for your feedback. Thanks for staying in touch, letting PRSUN know about your news and community events.

I look forward to a productive new year. I count with your support.

Consider becoming an official PRSUN member. Help take Puerto Rico Sun Communications to the next level.

Remember that Puerto Rico Sun Communications is a boricua-owned community-minded independent social entrepreneurship project. Apoya lo nuestro.

Thanks and God bless from Puerto Rico Sun.

Happy 2009.

Clarisel Gonzalez
editor and publisher

(photo by Clarisel)
Navidad Criolla

Have your kids outgrown toys that are in great condition? Do you have more toys than you actually need? Are you looking to contribute to a great cause?

The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center in NYC's Lower East Side is currently collecting toys to donate to SEA, Society of the Educational Arts, on January 6 where they will distribute toys to children in celebration of Three Kings Day aka El Dia De Los Reyes Magos.

We know that during these trying times, some are not able to contribute or purchase new toys, but if you are able to donate toys, please contact the CSV office at 212-260-4080, ext. 11 or email the Facilities Manager, Jasmine Rosario at

Please make arrangements for delivery either before or on the morning of January 6.

Thank you to all who have already made their donations.

source: CSV

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A King

Navidad Criolla

A King
Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Nuyorican poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez plays one of the kings at the 2006 Three Kings Day Parade in East Harlem.

This year's parade will be celebrated on Tuesday.

Here are the details:
Three Kings Day Parade
10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Tuesday, January 6
Join the Museo del Barrio's 32nd Annual Three Kings Day Parade. March through El Barrio along with our Kings, floats and lively music! Too shy to parade? Line up along the route!

8:30 a.m. Parade Check-In*
11 a.m. Parade begins
Registration forms and more information can be found at

*This year's parade check-in will be at P.S. 72, 131 East 104th Street at Lexington Avenue.

For more information on the parade route and more, go to

Meanwhile, the Three Kings Day Celebration will be from 3-5 p.m.
Saturday, January 10.
All are welcome to join El Museo's exciting Three Kings Day Celebration. This holiday presentation at El Museo's Teatro Heckscher will feature live parrandas by Eddie Alicea y Su Trio de Epoca, and a theatre play inspired by the Mexican tradition of pastorelas.

Free Admission. Space is limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

source: El Museo del Barrio

(photo by Clarisel Gonzalez)

Support PRSUN for the ASPCA


$55 has been raised so far in the PRSUN for the ASPCA drive at Looking for something good to do to make a difference, why not contribute to support the work of the ASPCA, a leader in animal rights?
You can donate as little as $10 to support this cause.
Please think about it.
PRSUN's goal is to raise $500 for the ASPCA.

Thanks and Happy New Year.

(Photo by Clarisel Gonzalez of Sol, the mascot of Puerto Rico Sun Communications)


Originally uploaded by Moliniano.
Today's featured image from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by Moliniano. This shot was taken inside the Cathedral in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mensaje de Aníbal

Mensaje del gobernador saliente de Puerto Rico Aníbal Acevedo Vilá.

(Message in Spanish from Puerto Rico's outgoing governor Anibal Acevedo Vila.)

(Source: anibalacevedopr)

Camuy Train

Camuy Train
Originally uploaded by kikepic.
Today's featured shot from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by kikepic.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Originally uploaded by patdebat.
Today's featured image from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by patdebat. This shot was taken at the festival in Hatillo in 2006.

Puerto Rico Sun wishes you a Happy Holy Innocents Day/Feliz Dia de los Santos Inocentes
That is a big colorful celebration in Hatillo, Puerto Rico, every year. They hold the Festival of Mascaras.

PRSUN Poll: I am Puerto Rican

According to a PRSUN poll, 80 percent of Puerto Rico Sun blog readers identify themselves as Puerto Rican. Ten percent consider themselves Nuyorican while another 10 percent identify as American. None chose the Latino/Hispanic or the other options.

The question posed for this poll was: How do you identify yourself?

Thanks to readers who took part in the PRSUN poll.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Navidad Criolla


Just one of the going ons within the NYC Puerto Rican/Latino community this time of year. We are approaching 2009 and we continue to endure as a people, brought together by some of the simplest things. Prospero Año Nuevo!


Francisco Reyes II

To view Francisco's photos taken at a coquito tasting at the Museo del Barrio in East Harlem, go to

Control Tower - Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport

Today's featured shot from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by kikepic.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Navidad Criolla

Three Kings Party at El Maestro

EL MAESTRO, INC. Invite you to Celebrate
El Dia De Los Tres Reyes Magos/Three Kings Day

2 p.m., Sunday, January 4
1029 E. 167 St., the Bronx

Admission: Bring a wrapped toy to donate to a boy or a girl.

5 En Plena
D.J. Yukiyuboriken
Las Princessas Del Caribe

For info: (646) 337-6775

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Feliz Navidad from Puerto Rico Sun

Merry Christmas and a blessed 2009 from the Puerto Rico Sun familia.

Sol is the mascot of Puerto Rico Sun Communications.

REMINDER: If you want to do something extra special this Christmas season, consider contributing to the PRSUN for the ASPCA drive online via Just look for widget with Sol's photo posted in this blog or go to You can donate as little as $10 to support this cause.


(photo by Clarisel Gonzalez)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Q&A: The Mona Passage's Bonafide Rojas

Q: Please describe what the Mona Passage is, what it represents.
A: The Mona Passage is a musical experiment by painter/illustrator Vincent Ramirez and myself. Our love for 60’s psychedelia and the 90’s Seattle music scene was our first initial admiration. The longer we’ve played together is the more “experimental.” We want to make the music in the overall presentation of The Mona Passage. The Mona Passage represents an outlet for two artists who are multi-disciplined to make their art their music.

Q: Why Mona Passage? How and why is the group named this way?
A: If the reader doesn’t know what The Mona Passage is, then they should research right now. I chose The Mona Passage as the name for the band as a sign of solidarity between two musicians, one Puerto Rican, one Dominican. We are not overtly political with our music, but we are proud of our heritage and how it plays a role in music. We will probably never play a salsa/merengue/bomba/bachata song, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t influence a guitar riff, a bass line or drum pattern. Currently, the lineup for The Mona Passage is all Puerto Rican and Dominican (which is on purpose).

Q: What are the short- and long-term goals of Mona Passage?
A: Our short term goals are recording our first EP by the spring and playing as many shows as possible but with purpose -- not just for stage time. Our long term goals are putting out numerous records and playing all over the world. We want what every band should want: respect.

Q: What makes Mona Passage different to other bands?
A: (Different) the main difference between us and majority of our peers is our foundation in the arts. This band still has its roots in poetry and art. Our presentation is important because we don’t want to just play a show, we want to entertain, so yes, the large flags are there as a symbol of heritage, the posters with sayings on them is our homage to poetry and respect to where we are from, as well as the kind of artist we pay respect too.

Q: So far, what are the top three accomplishments of Mona Passage and why?
A: We have accomplished nothing: we have just started: ask me again next year.

Q: What are some of the challenges?
A: Basic challenges are staying as a five-piece unit, rotating lineups and financial issues. It is also being taken seriously by the music community as well as the Latino community whose relationship with a band which plays a form of American rock & roll is almost non-existent outside of Santana, so that’s indeed a main one.

Q: Who would you consider competition and why?
A: I enjoy competition, but I prefer a network of bands that we could build something with: Alla from Chicago, Los NueroNatas from New Jersey, and Dialectic from San Francisco. I strongly feel that a strong scene would be better than competition. Look at history: 60’s swinging London, 70’s NYC Punk Scene, 80’s LA Strip Scene, 90’s Seattle Grunge, and in hip hop its always a new geographic section of the United States that stakes its claim: NY, West Coast, Dirty South, etc.

Q: So far, what has been your favorite venue?
A: My personal favorite venue that is no more was Sin-E, great sound, great stage and historic spot. But currently I really enjoy the Bowery Poetry Club. It’s a venue that really allows the artist to do what he/she feels and needs to do, No 5 minutes to set up, 5 minutes to set down. It's really a spot that bands/artists who want to expand what they do in a show should look into.

Q: Where is your dream place to perform and why?
A: The Fillmore because it’s the Fillmore, Park West in Chicago for its acoustics and Carnegie Hall only because of Miles Davis “Dark Magus” record and Bob Dylan’s Live at Carnegie Hall. Yeah, I would enjoy letting my guitar feedback in there!

Q: Please tell me anything else you'd like to say that I didn't ask.
A: Feel free to visit our MySpace, say hello when you see us in the street. Take a look at Vincent Ramirez’s art. We’re very big supporters of his work. And yes, I am still performing poetry, but this band takes a lot of his time. So, take time out and enjoy.

Check out these sites:

-- Clarisel Gonzalez

Editor's note: Definitely visit Mona's Passage MySpace. There is a sampling of the band's music at the site and information on upcoming shows.

(Photo courtesy of The Mona Passage)

Last minute gift ideas

Get a gift certificate from the PRSUN store at Give the gift of creativity and support the PRSUN community media project at the same time.

You can buy a gift certificate for as little as $25.

Merry Christmas and Thanks for your Support

Dear Readers and Supporters of Puerto Rico Sun Communications,

On behalf of Puerto Rico Sun Communications, which publishes the Puerto Rico Sun cultural news and photoblog at and the Bronx Latino lifestyle blog at, I thank you for being a loyal reader and supporter and wish you a Merry Christmas.
Puerto Rico Sun Communications is a boricua-owned social entrepreneurship community media entity aimed at empowering, informing and building community.
I write to ask you to help support the Puerto Rico Sun and Bronx Latino independent community multimedia projects. Visit the blogs and see what we have done so far in community.
There are several ways you can help. These include becoming an official PRSUN Friend, Family or Angel and having your name publicly listed in our contributor's honor roll, making an individual contribution online or by mail, and shopping at the various PRSUN/Bronx Latino stores. Check out the blogs for the links.
As you know, Puerto Rico Sun Communications' cause is animal rights. Another way you can support our work is by contributing to PRSUN's fundraising drive for the ASPCA with a minimum $10 donation. Help PRSUN do good. Visit Or, look in this blog for the PRSUN for the ASPCA widget with the photo of Sol, the mascot of Puerto Rico Sun Communications, and click.
Your gift will be helpful in taking the Puerto Rico Sun and Bronx Latino community multimedia projects to the next level.
I hope you will step up and help me keep publishing Puerto Rico Sun and Bronx Latino. This is community media pa' ti.
Again, thanks for your readership and your support.

Clarisel Gonzalez
Puerto Rico Sun Communications
318 E. 149 St. #106
Bronx, NY 10451

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Musician

The Musician
Originally uploaded by Moliniano.
Today's featured shot from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by Moliniano of The Musician at the Universidad de Puerto Rico.

Moliniano recommends viewing this photo on black. Click on image to go to his flickr site.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My recent visit to Avenue of Puerto Rico

Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Avenida de Puerto Rico is in Brooklyn, NY.

I am wondering why East Harlem or the Bronx do not have an Avenue of Puerto Rico.

Bueno, Brooklyn has one.

Go visit.


Originally uploaded by Mi nombre no es cLaRa bOw.
Today's featured shot from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is a photo collage by Mi nombre es cLaRa bOw of Christmas in Calle San Francisco in Old San Juan, PR.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Holidays to All!!!

Today's featured image from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is a Christmas greeting from artist and designer Carlos N. Molina.

Check out his site at He has some interesting paper artwork
He does everything from shoes to nativity scenes.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bomba para las Navidades

Navidad Criolla

Bombazo @ el Puente in Brooklyn tomorrow

(Click on image to see larger text.)
In the Mailbox

Christmas greetings from our friends at Pregones Theater in the Bronx.

Cast of Migrants during the 2008 Summer Tour. (Photo by Erika Rojas)

Navidad Criolla

Cultura, Salud, Y Prosperidad Concert
Mario Torres Productions & Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture present Cultura, Salud, Y Prosperidad Concert celebrating Three Kings Day - Annual Toy Drive featuring: Tato Torres & Yerbabuena, Bomba Yo & Kips Bay Dance Company.
7:30 p.m., Saturday, January 3

Admission: $35, $25, $20
Main Theater
Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture
Hostos Community College, the Bronx

Please bring and donate a gift/toy for a needy child ages 1- 16. Toys collected will be distributed to Bronx based organizations helping families and children.

For more info.,

Help PRSUN do Good this Holiday Season

In this time of holiday giving, consider donating to the PRSUN for the ASPCA drive. In these tough times, many animals are being abandoned.

Thanks to those who have donated to this cause so far.

Help PRSUN do good.

(photo of Sol by Clarisel Gonzalez)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mira como va...

Mira como va...
Originally uploaded by Moliniano.
Tonight's featured images from the Puerto Rico Sun photo is a collage by Moliniano.

Centro's latest Policy Brief is now available on the website at "The Economic Consequences of Inadequate Education for the Puerto Rican Population in the United States" was conducted by Dr. Clive R. Belfield of the Economics Department of Queens College, CUNY.
Belfield uses demographic data to calculate the economic costs to the individual, state, and community of each Puerto Rican in the United States who does not graduate from high school. He shows that increasing funding for programs that would increase high school graduation rates in Puerto Rican communities would be far cheaper and more efficient than allowing so many young people to leave high school early. The report is available for downloading.
Check it out.

source: Centro

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the Puerto Rico Quarter

Que cool. La Isla del Encanto will soon have a U.S. Mint commemorative quarter. The U.S. Treasury earlier this week approved the design of the coin, which will be part of the popular U.S. states' series and will feature a little Spanish. I like that!

I can't wait to get my peseta, which also will feature a garita looking out to the sea and Puerto Rico's official "state" flower, the hibiscus.

The coin will begin circulating in March.

One of the biggest movers and shakers to get the Puerto Rico quarter approved was boricua Congressman Jose Serrano who represents the South Bronx.

At his Facebook site, Serrano states that he is "happy that, as a result of his law, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and all the territories will now be included in the quarters program."

For more information about the Puerto Rico quarter, go to -- Clarisel Gonzalez

Editor's Note: Here's a link to a report I wrote on this topic last year:

Cemi Cinema kicks off with Corretjer film

Cemi Underground, the boricua/Latino shop in NYC's El Barrio, is launching its Cemi Cinema with Yo, Juan Antonio Corretjer Montes, a short Spanish film about Puerto Rico's national poet. Cemi Cinema will showcase independent films.
3 p.m., Saturday, December 20
Admission: $7

For more information on this and other events going on at Cemi Underground, go to

Welcome to PR

Welcome to PR
Originally uploaded by cintron22.
Today's featured shot from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by cintron22.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In the Mailbox

Saludos from our friends at the National Institute for Latino Policy

Why I Cherish the Parranda en El Barrio

Navidad Criolla

Last weekend I went to the Parranda en El Barrio and had a great time. For those that missed this year's Traditional Puerto Rican Christmas celebration in East Harlem, mark your calendars for next year. Once again the Parranda met and exceeded my expectations. The place was beautiful, the food was plentiful (and good!!) and the songs timeless! The band Cholo Rivera y Salsa typica (which sometimes goes by the name Charanga Blues) was exceptional.

We were greeted with coquito and bowls of candy from Puerto Rico. The host, Dr. Anna Villafane, made everyone feel at home. This year guests were also given beautiful maracas, which I will cherish forever!

Because of the Parranda's growing popularity, organizers might have to move the event next year to accommodate the increasing crowds. It will be great to keep the Parranda in El Barrio though.

Despite the Parranda's growth, the key ingredient that must remain the same is the welcoming and giving environment that Villafane offers. As my home body Aunt Lucy who shocked us by joining us to the Parranda said, “I’m coming next year!”

It was a difficult decision for my family to go to this year's Parranda due to my brother's death. But I’m glad we went because we need to celebrate life and the things that bring us joy.

It was great to see good friends from Jersey City. Sonia, it was especially wonderful to see you. Thanks for the beer girl. I really needed it!

Last year, I met Iris Barreto at the Parranda and am honored to now have her as a friend. She sat at my family's table this year.

My friends, I hope to see more of you at this wonderful traditional event next year. You too might make a great friend or get the chance to reconnect with old friends.

Merry Christmas! -- Rosa Valentin

Rosa Valentin contributed this article to Puerto Rico Sun.

Editor's note: Organizers say that proceeds from this year's Parranda will go to Escuela Dr. Jose Ramos Lebron Sector de la Playa de Fajardo, Puerto Rico. See related November 19 entry in this blog.

(Photos by Clarence Elie-Rivera)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Boricuation Honors PRSUN Communications

Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Boricuation honors me with a certificate of appreciation for my work with the Puerto Rican community as part of Puerto Rico Sun Communications. I was a guest on Boricuation's Cultural Afternoon radio show last Sunday and was given this nice surprise. I was interviewed as part of Boricuation's Boricua Entrepreneur Series at the radio station located on Avenida Puerto Rico (aka Graham Avenue) in Brooklyn. Boricuation says I am the first guest they have honored with this certificate. Que honor. Gracias.
From left, Jose Medina, founder and CEO, Boricuation Cultural Foundation and, me, and painter and Boricuation radio co-host Aguilar Marrero.
Thank you Boricuation for your support of Puerto Rico Sun Communications, a community-minded independent multimedia social entrepreneurship. -- Clarisel

(photo by G-Positive)

Featured PRSUN Video: A day at the beach

Today's featured video is by NeitherFanBoy of the PRSUN Video group at flickr. This was shot at a beach in Manati, Puerto Rico.


Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Yomo Toro plays the cuatro @ the Mis Banderas (Puerto Rico and Cuba) concert, Hostos Community College.
For more photos of Saturday's concert, go to Click on the Bronx '08 set.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Michael Reyes of 'Crime Against Humanity'

Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Michael Reyes, who co-wrote and acts in "Crime Against Humanity" at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, talks with audience members after the New York premiere of his play about Puerto Rico's political prisoners last Friday.

Check out an interview with Michael Reyes right here at (December 10 entry)

Reyes says he hopes to add more NY performances at smaller, more intimate venues.

For more photos from the New York premiere of "Crime Against Humanity," go to Click on the Bronx '08 set.

Cerro de Punta

Cerro de Punta
Originally uploaded by brendon.m.
Today's featured image from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by brendon.m.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

PRSUN @ Boricuation Radio

PRSUN @ Boricuation Radio
Originally uploaded by clarisel.

I will be a guest on Boricuation Cultural Afternoon Internet Radio Show at 4 p.m. tomorrow. I will be speaking about Puerto Rico Sun Communications, a community-minded independent multimedia social entrepreneurship. This is part of Boricuation's Boricua Entrepreneur Series.

Tune or call in.

For more information, go to or

Support community media.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Noches de Invierno Caribeño

Noches de Invierno Caribeño
Originally uploaded by haymaco.
Today's featured shot from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by haymaco. Photo depicts a winter night on the island.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Special Tribute to Corretjer Tonight

Community calendar

'A Special Tribute to Poet and Puerto Rican Patriot Juan Antonio Corretjer'

Artist Mia Hernandez "Art by Mia" will be collaborating with poets & dancers Myrna Nieves, Nancy Mercado, Jose Angel Figueroa, Rafael Landron & Hilda Pantoja-Rivera, founder of Danza Fiesta. Hilda will do a dance interpretation of "Oubao-Moin". Profs. Jose R. Hernandez (Assoc. Dean) and Jose Irizzary, who knew Corretjer personally will be doing the "Personal Testimonials."
This event will be at Boricua College (3755 Broadway, bet. West 155th & 156th Streets in Manhattan), on Thursday, December 11th from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Free.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Q&A with Michael Reyes of 'Crime Against Humanity'

"Crime against Humanity" is a play based on the real life experiences of 14 Puerto Rican political prisoners who spent more than two decades in prisons for seditious conspiracy -- two of whom are still incarcerated. Written by poet and activist, Michael Anthony Reyes Benavides and former Puerto Rican political prisoner Luis Rosa, the play brings us into the U.S. prison system and the experiences of these prisoners for more than 27 years. The New York Premiere of the play is this Friday at Hostos Community College in the Bronx. PRSUN contributing writer Ismael Nunez talks to Michael Reyes.

Q. How did you come up with the name “Crime Against Humanity”?

A. “Crime Against Humanity” has two meanings. The first is that the United Nations states its a crime against humanity to have a colony, and Puerto Rico is still a colony of the United States. Also, prison is a crime against a person’s humanity. All of the
prisoners kept referencing the issue of maintaining
and holding onto their humanity, so it was an organic
choice to select the title. It just kept coming up.

Q. Why did you co-write the play with former political prisoner Luis Rosa?
A. True. Luis had a very similar idea when we
visited Puerto Rico and we decided to create it
together. Since his idea was more about a day of a prisoner and my ideas were about years, we fused the ideas to create the play. He was a big help in the entire process because he was coming from a space that experienced prison as a political

Q. You were given the opportunity to interview Oscar Lopez Rivera and Carlos Alberto Torres. Did you get a chance to interview Haydee Beltran as well?
A. Haydee Beltran has made it clear that she does not
want to be included in any of the campaign materials and such, so I fully respect that decision. Since this play is to further the campaign to free them, I did not attempt to include her.

Q. The play pulls no punches. Why did you decide to leave the profanity and nudity?
A. Yes, it was the only way we could present it honestly and truthfully. I decided to go all out with it, so I wanted to show the true brutality of the prison industrial complex and the only way to do that was to reflect the truth.

Q. Did you write this play before the clemency by President Bill Clinton to release some of the prisoners in 1999?
A. No, this play is less than a year old, so it’s really in its infancy.

Q. Would you say this is a educational play?
A. It deals with the issue of political prisoners. It is an issue the legal system never mentions. That's the reason it was created to educate
and spread a message that shows the truth about the United States and the issue of political prisoners and prisoners of war. With this play, we can reach thousands of people in a different way. It has been a great tool.

Q. What has been the response of the other Puerto Rican political prisoners toward the play?
A. Mostly they love the production and are grateful. Almost all of the prisoners that have seen it say it is a very accurate dramatization of their experience. Ninety percent is their actual words and that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to tell their story, so they really enjoy it. As hard as it is for them sometimes, they have been very supportive.

Q. What type of feedback have you received from this play so far?
A. People love it. But the most important thing for me is that the Puerto Rican community loves it. That's who we are speaking to and so that’s who is important. If other people get something out of it, then we have truly created something special. The play does speak to everyone that has to struggle to maintain humanity. For now, we are happy spreading the word through the many communities we reach. And I hope we do get to write a sequel, which will be based on the rest of the prisoners coming home and telling the story of that
journey. – Ismael Nunez

For more information, click on image for larger text or visit

A Reflection of El Pueblo


Puerto Rican traveling
theater is having
an anniversary
party today
the theater is a
reflection of el
we need to teach
fine arts to our
hispanic children -- Samaris Ayala

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Originally uploaded by haymaco.
Today's featured image from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by haymaco.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Catedral De Ponce

Catedral De Ponce
Originally uploaded by kikepic.
Today's featured image from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by kikepic.
Community calendar

The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre in New York City celebrates its 40 years of artistic excellence with a fundraising party this Wednesday. Proceeds will help finance the costs for the theater's Training Unit for young people and its free of charge summer tour.

To view details, click on image.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Clemente's Memories of El Barrio

Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Watercolor artist Clemente Flores at his opening reception at the East Harlem Cafe. His paintings capture the Barrio of his Memories. This Nuyorican says he envisions images from his youth and paints them. He doesn't use photographs. He says he remembers the pictures from his mind and memories. Check out his work currently on exhibit at the cafe.

Also, tune in to my most recent PRSUN Radio show in which I speak about Clemente Flores' exhibit at

Segun baja el sol en la calle Noragazy

Today's featured image from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by haymaco.

Feliz Navidad.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Legacy of Ramon Velez and the Social Amnesia of a Community


The news of the death of South Bronx power broker Ramon S. Velez this past week left me a bit divided in my feelings. He was such a huge figure in stateside Puerto Rican politics, leaving behind a major institution he built in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, that he is hard to ignore. However, the amnesia about how controversial he was by the likes of what were his mortal enemies at the time, such as Herman Badillo, Ed Koch, Juan Gonzalez, Wayne Barrett and others (are they all getting too sentimental in their old age?), took me aback.
Velez was genuinely proud of his Puerto Rican heritage and his homeland, Puerto Rico, but his legacy, represented in the sorry state of Puerto Rican politics in the South Bronx today, needs to be examined much more critically.
Whether you liked him or not, he had a major influence on the shape of Puerto Rican politics today, and his death, after battling Alzheimer's for so long, should be a time of reflection of the man and his impact on our community. While it is much easier to just say nice things about him now that he has passed away (and, hey, I got along with him fine), we owe our younger generations a more honest accounting of his legacy. Alzheimer's is a terrible disease for an individual and his or her family, but a self-inflicted social amnesia is worse for a whole community. I think Don Ramon would agree with me.

Un abrazo,
Angelo Falcón, president and founder
National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP)

This article was originally published in the Latino Policy newsletter.

Pasteles and Rice


are our pastry
We even have 
rice on holidays -- Samaris Ayala

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

One-on-One with Broadway’s Natalie Toro

Broadway actress and singer Natalie Toro reflects on growing up in the Bronx and her professional journey. During Puerto Rican Heritage Month in November, I had the pleasure of listening to Toro sing and to hear a little of her story at an event in the Bronx. Toro recently spoke with Puerto Rico Sun about her mom, her Broadway career and her new CD.
Q: Please tell me a little about you. Where do you live?
A: I live in Manhattan on the Upper West Side.
Q: You recently were honored during the Bronx Puerto Rican Heritage Month celebration. What does having that honor mean to you?
A: Being in this business, being a woman and being a Latina, makes it difficult to achieve certain things because you are always judged by the color of your skin and ethnicity. But in the theater, you can go beyond the color of your skin. You have to think outside the box, but I never forget where I come from and what my family (especially my mom) had to go through to help me realize my dream. And being honored because I realized my dream is a double honor. I am a very proud Puerto Rican, and I let everyone know it.
Q: Please share a little about your Bronx experience. What was the best and worst part about growing up in the Bronx for you?
A: Because I am a "dreamer," I don't think I live in most people's realities. Since I always find the "positive" in almost everything, I found the Bronx to be a very positive environment. I started to take the subway, the number 2, at a very young age. I became very independent and since I love people, I would be the one smiling at everyone even though I would always hear that sometimes smiling at the wrong person can get your killed! I never adhered to that warning, so I had a wonderful time growing up. Also I think since I grew up in apartments, it would be very hard to move into a house. LOL
Q: You mentioned that your mom named you after Natalie Wood. What does that mean to you? Are you a fan of Natalie Wood?
A: Well, my mom looked like Natalie Wood and just as beautiful. I remember just staring at her all the time. And since my absolute favorite musical is "West Side Story," I became an instant fan of Natalie Wood. And since my mom didn't give me a middle name, I feel just as special as Natalie Wood changing her name.
Q: Your mom seems to have played an instrumental role in your career and keeping you focused early on. You have said that after your big performance at the age of 5 at the Apollo, she enrolled you at the†Manhattan School of Music, which started it all for you. Could you please elaborate on this?
A: Manhattan School of Music is a private college that has a preparatory division for children on Saturdays. I went for 10 years since I was eight years old. I studied piano, voice and music theory. I got my first taste of big production values when I was in the cast in the operas there. I was around children that excelled in music. I participated in Concerto competitions, which to this day, kind of flips me out that I was able to do that.
Q: In your professional career, what are you proudest of so far and why?
A: My opening of "Les Miserables" on Broadway. That was my way of feeling "I've made it." I held on to the role of Eponine for three years. I remember fans writing me and telling me how much I've changed their lives. From then on, I realized how much I do affects people when I sing and perform, and I never take that for granted. My motto is that if I can change one person's life, then I did my job! The other thing I am most proud of is my new CD. I produced it myself with the help of a friend.
Q: What has been the hardest, most challenging part of your career and why?
A: The most challenging is being seen to audition for something you feel in your gut your are right for and can't get an appointment because of politics or just that your timing is off or the people in power don't feel like you are right. But I have an amazing agent now and they will work their tail off to get me in an appointment.
Q: You recently had a CD release party. Tell me a little about your CD and what it is about. Where could people purchase it?
A: My new CD is awesome! It's pure Broadway music and a little more but with a twist. I wanted something different not just the ordinary Broadway CD. I hired seven different arrangers and had meetings with them about how I heard whatever song they were going to do. They took my ideas and went off to write some of the most beautiful arrangements I have ever heard. I had a small budget and with that, I hired some very talented musicians. I recorded the CD right here in the heart of Manhattan. It just was released on November 23rd to a crowd of 150. I sang about eight of the tracks and people seem to love it.
I was able to show off a part of my voice that many people don't get to hear often because I am considered a "belter." So there are many beautiful acoustic songs that make me happy. There is a NY number with a NY flair and beat. It's really cool. Anyone that wants to purchase one can go on my website at and click on CDs or go direct to
Q: What's next for you?
A: I am focusing on promoting the new CD. Since the release party was so successful, I have to start to book myself into venues to sing some tracks to get the word out. Since I am my own company, this will be a challenge. But I am confident that with my Broadway status and the quality of the CD, that I will be able to let people know about it. Fans are amazing and they are very dedicated. When I meet a new fan, I give them the personal attention as if I were meeting a new friend. They are making me feel special and I want them to feel special as well. I am also now available for concerts, which I do in between Broadway gigs. I sing for private parties and corporate events as well as solo concerts in various halls around the country.
Q: Please tell me anything else I didn't ask that you'd like to share.
A: I think it's important for me to tell young kids or anyone that wants to get into this business, from the Bronx or anywhere else to first get your education. Go to school and involve yourself in any type of the arts that interest you. You may not get paid, but the experience is worth gold. And you never know who you might meet in the process that will give you your first professional job. I did four years at a Conservatory and it paid off.
To listen to Natalie Toro’s music or for more information about this empowering Latina, go to – Clarisel Gonzalez

(Photo by Clarisel Gonzalez of Natalie Toro performing at the Bronx Puerto Rican Heritage Month celebration last month; photo of the cover of Natalie Toro's new CD)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Community calendar

December events at Cemi Underground in NYC's El Barrio:

7 p.m., Thursday, December 4
Book Presentation -
The Accidental Santera by Irete Lazo

7 p.m., Friday, December 12
Taino Open Mic Poetry Hosted by La Bruja

7 p.m., Saturday, December 13
Book Presentation -
Friends 'Til The End by Julie Ojeda Nin

noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, December 14
Olga Ayala's Polymer Clay Workshop for Beginners-
Workshop Fee: $60 includes materials

7 p.m. Friday, December 19
Open Mic Poetry Hosted by Raul 'Kahayarix' Rios

For more information or to purchase books,

Editor's Note: The following titles are also available online at the Puerto Rico Sun aStore. Just click on these links:

Remember that shopping at the PRSUN aStore is a way of supporting the Puerto Rico Sun project. Shop PRSUN.
Navidad Criolla

Capicu Poetry Hosts Second Annual Holiday Toy Drive To Benefit Headstart School In Brooklyn


Capicu Poetry in association with Notice Lounge have partnered to host our second annual "Pa'L Pueblo" holiday celebration and community toy drive in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Toy donations and 100% of the proceeds from the door will benefit children of the Brooklyn's Bushwick United "Toys For Head Start" program, located at 153 Johnson Avenue. This special event will be hosted by co-founder PaPo Swiggity and will feature live "Parranda" style music, Nuyorican / Urban poetry, comedy and community.

Sponsorship development is currently underway, so contact if you are interested in being a part of this event.

Event Details

7-11 p.m., Friday, December 12
Notice Lounge & Cafe, 198 Union Ave (between Broadway & Montrose) Brooklyn, NY
Admission: $10
The organizers will also collect unwrapped toy donations in the 1-3 year old range.

(What's Included: Free "Cuchifritos" with donation and after party admission.)


About Bushwick United Headstart

BUSHWICK UNITED HEAD START is a non-profit organization that provides low income families and their children aged 3-5 years old the opportunity and services that they need and may not be able to receive because of limited income. The agency has five centers located within the Williamsburg/Brooklyn communities.

source: Sofrito PR Wire


Originally uploaded by carlos aviles.
Today's featured Old San Juan shot from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by Carlos Aviles.

Monday, December 01, 2008

RIP Ramon Velez, a South Bronx legacy

Featured story

A South Bronx Story Ends

@ Framing AIDS

@ Framing AIDS
Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Spoken word poets Emanuel Xavier and La Bruja strike a pose before a piece of artwork at the opening reception of the Framing AIDS exhibit program at the Queens Museum of Art. Framing AIDS is a multimedia exhibit program in honor of World AIDS Day.

Framing AIDS continues this month.

For more information, go to or

Today is Cyber Monday

Consider shopping at the PRSUN online stores. Support independent community media pa' ti.

Go to the PRSUN Stores listed in this blog and click on the links.

Remember that shopping at these stores is a way of supporting this social entrepreneurship project aimed at empowering, informing and building community.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Puerto Rico Flag

Puerto Rico Flag
Originally uploaded by kikepic.
Today's featured shot from the Puerto Rico Sun photo group is by kikepic.
Community calendar

Jibaro Si! fiesta in New York City in support of
Claridad, "the newspaper of the Puerto Rican nation"

(Click on image to see larger text.)

For more information on Claridad, go to

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Navidad Criolla

The National Conference of Puerto Rican Women
The New York City Chapter, Inc., (NaCOPRW) presents its

Annual Christmas Luncheon & Toy Drive

12:30 p.m., Sunday, December 7

Lots of Door Prizes & Free Gifts!

Joe's Place Restaurant
1841 Westchester Avenue, the Bronx
Tel. (718) 918-2947
(Parking across the street.)

Menu includes: Rotisserie Chicken, Roast Pork (Pernil), Guineos en Escabeche, Rice with Pigeon Peas (Arroz Con Gandules), Pastelillos, Flan o Tembleque. Coffee/Tea.
Special Treat: Coquito

Cost: $35/person
R.S.V.P. & Payment by December 3

Make check payable to: NaCOPRW NYC

Mail to:
Edith Padilla, P.O. Box 268, Patchogue, N.Y. 11772-0268

Payment Must Be Made Prior to Event.

R.S.V.P. & Information:
Edith Padilla, President: (516) 380-8714
Rosalind Reyes-Medina, Secretary: (718) 648-3850 /(917) 432-4043

Toy Must Be Unwrapped!

Navidad Criolla is a new section that Puerto Rico Sun is introducing. Do you have any Christmas celebrations with a Puerto Rican flavor? Pues send your Christmas news my way to be considered for the Puerto Rico Sun blog. E-mail me at to have your event listed. Feliz Navidad.

Friday, November 28, 2008