Day of the Dead calaveras that honor your loved ones

Calaveras
Danny Cobos
Former calavera mural at Mexic-Arte Museum, Fifth Street & Congress Avenue. Photo by Danny Cobos

By Nancy Flores

I can’t wait for bright marigolds, pan de muerto and sugar skulls. Day of the Dead remains one of my favorite holidays, which honors the lives of our dearly departed. Mexic-Arte Museum has a cool way to remember someone you loved. They’re featuring 101 hand-painted images of calaveras (skeletons) on the exterior wall of the museum on Congress Avenue and Fifth Street.

You can purchase a $25 calavera that highlights the name of a loved one you’d like to honor here.

Mexic-Arte Museum’s Day of the Dead celebration this year honors the 101 year anniversary of Mexican engraver and political satirist Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913). Posada is best known for creating one of the most famous images frequently associated with the Day of the Dead Holiday, “La Calavera Catrina.”

Suns of Orpheus band celebrates Austin-Brazil sound on Aug. 23

Austin’s Brazilian music scene on the rise
Federico Geib of Macaxeira Funk performs on Brazilian Samba Funk night at the Saraha Lounge.

By Nancy Flores

Austin-based band Suns of Orpheus, an international psychedelic pop band led by Brazilian-born frontman Frederico Geib, will celebrate “Suns of Orpheus Day” with a special show on Aug. 23 at the Sahara Lounge. Two years ago, the group received a City of Austin proclamation honoring their musical excellence and community involvement and were recognized with a “Suns of Orpheus Day” on Aug. 23, 2012.  Now the band celebrates each year by throwing a benefit concert supporting arts education.

The trilingual band, which features Portuguese, Spanish and English lyrics in its hybrid music, is among a growing group of rising local Brazilian bands in Austin’s music scene. Suns of Orpheus helped strengthen the Austin-Brazilian sound by recording the well-received album “Amoris Orbita.”

Suns of Orpheus will be special guests at the Sahara Lounge’s weekly Africa Nite showcase with African band Zoumountchi. Doors open at 9 p.m. and show starts at 10 p.m. Tickets are $6, and a portion of the door and bar proceeds will benefit arts education group Grounded in Music, a local nonprofit organization. Visit saharalounge.com for more information.

Leticia Rodriguez EP release party Aug. 16

New Spanish-language music gives nod to nostalgic sound
Contributed
Leticia Rodriguez Garza is a singer, bandleader, dancer, choreographer and the producer, writer and director of the one-woman show “Canciones For Generations.” To develop the show, she spent two years interviewing family members and, in the process, rediscovered the music of her aunt, Eva Garza.

By Nancy Flores

Austin-based multidisciplinary artist Leticia Rodriguez Garza will present her latest Spanish-language EP “Sagüita al Bate” this Saturday at the Sahara Lounge at 10 p.m.

The new music also pays homage to her aunt, Eva Garza, who is considered one of the first internationally recorded bilingual artists to cross over in the U.S. During the 1940s and 1950s, her aunt recorded about 200 songs and appeared in more than 20 films.

“While I was researching material for ‘Canciones For Generations’ (Rodriguez Garza’s one-woman show) my mother and aunt told me I needed to record a song of Aunt Eva’s called ‘Sagüita al Bate,’” Rodriguez Garza says. “They let me know that, of the many songs my Aunt Eva recorded, this was the one song they felt I absolutely had to record.” It’s about a man who can’t take his wife’s baseball obsession.

Doors open at 8 p.m. with Sahara Lounge’s free dinner buffet.  World music artists Roberto Riggio and Angel Ibañez, along with members of the World Music Jam, kick off the party at 9 p.m. Rodriguez Garza  performs at 10 p.m., and African band Zoumountchi closes out the night at midnight.

Catch Tejano icon Manuel “Cowboy” Donley on Tuesdays at El Gallo

Manuel ‘Cowboy’ Donley receives national honor
Nancy Flores/ American-Statesman
Manuel “Cowboy” Donley is often called the “Godfather of Tejano Music.”

By Nancy Flores

At 87, beloved Mexican-American singer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer, Manuel “Cowboy” Donley still performs weekly. It’s not at a fancy venue with a pricey cover charge, but instead at the  Mexican restaurant El Gallo on South Congress Avenue, where he has a longtime residency. Checking out a Donley performance, which typically starts at 7 p.m., is one of those uniquely Austin must-see experiences.

Donley has blazed a trail in the Mexican-American community inspiring many musicians with his influential music that’s earned him the nickname the “Godfather of Tejano” music. Donley recently won the National Endowment for the Arts’ lifetime achievement award for folk and traditional arts. He will be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in September.

Catch Donley perform Tuesday evenings at El Gallo restaurant, 2910 S. Congress Ave., www.elgallorestaurant.com.

Welcome to Cultura en Austin, a new Latino cultural arts blog

Welcome to Cultura en Austin, a new blog focusing on Latino cultural arts. I grew up in the Texas border town of Eagle Pass, and have been covering Latino culture for the American-Statesman and Austin 360 since 2011. Before that, I covered Latino issues as a journalist in Mexico City.

You can find my monthly column highlighting the best Latino events every last Friday of the month in print and online in Austin 360.

So, let’s deep dive into the richness of Austin’s Latino culture from art to music. Know of a cool cultural event? Is there an inspiring Austin-based Latino/a in the arts that we should know about? Let us know, and let’s explore the city’s cultural gems together.

Teatro Vivo presents ‘Vecinos,’ a bilingual romantic comedy

 “Vecinos” at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center This bilingual romantic comedy from Teatro Vivo explores the question, “Is it ever too late to fall in love?” Don Roberto is a feisty 70-year-old widower and colorful barrio icon who chooses to spend his days watching TV and threatening to scare off the young graffiti taggers with his antiquated gun that has no bullets. His regular routine rapidly changes when a new neighbor moves in across the hall. Seventy-year-old Doña Maria catches his eye, and they become more than vecinos, or neighbors. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 17. $10-$20. 600 River St. vecinos.bpt.me.
“Vecinos” at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center
This bilingual romantic comedy from Teatro Vivo explores the question, “Is it ever too late to fall in love?” Don Roberto is a feisty 70-year-old widower and colorful barrio icon who chooses to spend his days watching TV and threatening to scare off the young graffiti taggers with his antiquated gun that has no bullets.
His regular routine rapidly changes when a new neighbor moves in across the hall. Seventy-year-old Doña Maria catches his eye, and they become more than vecinos, or neighbors. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 17. $10-$20. 600 River St. vecinos.bpt.me.

It’s the last weekend to check out Teatro Vivo’s latest production, “Vecinos” at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. On Thursdays, audience members can “pay what they wish.”

Austin playwright Rupert Reyes, best known for his popular Petra plays (“Petra’s Pecado,” “Petra’s Cuento” and “Petra’s Sueño”), has brought a bilingual romantic comedy to life.“Vecinos” tells the story of Don Roberto, a feisty 70-year-old widower who spends his days chasing young graffiti taggers with his old-fashioned gun sans bullets. His routine gets a shakeup when new neighbor Doña Maria moves in and captures the grumpy old man’s attention. But sparks really fly when their adult children find out.

Check out this heartwarming bilingual comedy at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays from now through Aug. 17. Tickets cost $14-$20, and are available at vecinos.bpt.me or one hour before the performance. For more information, visit teatrovivoatx.wordpress.com.

Are you in this classic Little Joe y La Familia album?

Dancing into Tejano music history
Image of front album cover “Las Viejas de Little Joe and the Latinaires” by La Familia.

By Nancy Flores

About 80 Austin women made Tejano music history when they participated in a 1972 photo shoot at the Austin City Coliseum. Find out about that night in my story about “Las Viejas de Little Joe and the Latinaires by La Familia.” If you or someone you know were featured in that album cover, share your story with us for an upcoming follow-up article.

We’ve already heard many memories about how hot the Coliseum was, how women spent hours fixing their hair before a dance and how many men were returning from Vietnam at the time. So if you have a memory you’d like to share about the day of the photo shoot, let me know at nflores@statesman.com or in the comments section here.

And check out this album cover interactive for some pop-up fun facts:http://www.mystatesman.com/interactive/life/entertainment/music/las-viejas-de-little-joe/la-familia/

 

Red Salmon Arts benefit Aug. 2 at Resistencia Bookstore

A new chapter unfolds for Resistencia Bookstore
Resistencia Bookstore has moved to East Cesar Chavez Street.

By Nancy Flores

Resistencia Bookstore has nurtured artists, writers and social justice activists for more than 30 years and has become a treasured part of Austin’s Latino/Chicano community.

On Aug. 2, Red Salmon Arts, the nonprofit that creates programming for Resistencia Bookstore in East Austin, will host a benefit filled with food, music and, of course, poetry.

Special guest poet Ire’ne Lara Silva, author of “Flesh to Bone,” which won the 2013 Premio Aztlan award will share her words as well as Liliana Valenzuela, author of “Codex of the Journeys/Bendito Camino.” (Full disclosure: Valenzuela is also a reporter for Ahora Sí, a Spanish-language publication of the Austin American-Statesman.)

Red Salmon Arts’ Tranformations/Transformaciones fundraiser also will also  feature music by Son Jarocho group Fandango Tejas.

Swing by Resistencia Bookstore at it’s new location on 4926 E. César Chávez St. Unit C1 at 6 p.m. Suggested donation is $7 for a chalupa plate. Snow cones and refreshments will also be for sale. Visit http://salmonrojo.tumblr.com/ for more information.