Essential Culture: Weekend of March 30, 2012

“Paraísos Artificiales” is a new feature film by Mexican director Yulene Olaizola. (Photo/Courtesy

What to watch, read and enjoy this weekend in Latino USA.


“Five Hours with Mario” at the GALA Hispanic Theatre (Washington, D.C.)

Actress Maria Victoria Peña will deliver a witty Spanish language monologue based on the humorous musings of a deceased author’s wife in 1960s Spain. Performances on will be held both on Friday and Saturday.

“Spring Fiesta!” at the Latino Culture Center (Dallas, Texas)

Dancers from the Dallas Black Dance Theatre will be performing gospel-inspired, Latin-music infused numbers this Saturday.

Museums & Art Exhibits

“Photography in Mexico” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, California)

Art, politics, society and identity combine in a unique exhibit of contemporary photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. More than 150 photographs taken by Manuel Carrillo, Graciela Iturbide, Elsa Medina and Pablo Ortiz Monasterio and other artists showcase life along Mexico’s northern border and will be on display through early summer.

Festival of the Arts at the Corpus Christi Art Center (Corpus Christi, Texas)

More than 10,000 people are expected to attend this weekend’s Festival of the Arts in Corpus Christi, and with good reason: the three-day event will include a variety of local artists, businesses, performers and musicians. Tex-Mex and Latino culture will be weaved throughout the event with exhibits by the Museum of Hispanic Culture and performers like Lorissa Chapa and Quince Cero Nueve.


“Paraísos Artificiales” (now playing in select theaters nationwide)

Art house-style films take on a Mexican identity in this movie by first-time director Yulene Olaizola. Dreams in an artificial paradise (fueled by intoxicants) are explored against the backdrop of lush Veracruz, Mexico.

The Latino & Latin American Cultural Film Series at The Seasons Performance Hall (Yakima, Washington)

Latino films across a variety of topics will be screened and discussed in a moderated panel discussion with an evening of salsa dancing to end the event.

Books & Literary Events

“The Roots of Style” by Isabel Toledo (Penguin Group USA)

Cuban-American fashion icon Isabel Toledo’s muses on love, creativity and business in her new book, “The Roots of Style.” Delightful illustrations by husband Ruben Toledo accompany the thought-provoking pages in this easy-to-read volume.

“Mightier than the Sword” at the BAAD!Ass Women Festival (Bronx, New York)

Janis Astor del Valley, Amber Atiya, J. Skye Cabrera and others are among the powerhouse of Latina queer writers who will be presenting an evening of poetry at the BAAD!Ass Women Festival Friday night.


Orquesta GarDel at Cat’s Cradle (Carrboro, North Carolina)

Classic Cuban salsa will be the star of the show in a show this weekend at famed downtown music joint Cat’s Cradle.  Orquesta GarDel – a musical ensemble under David Garcia, a University of Chapel Hill-North Carolina graduate – will be performing a set aimed to appeal to a variety of musical sensibilities this Saturday.

Eva Ayllón at William Patterson University (Wayne, New Jersey)

Acclaimed Afro-Peruvian singer Eva Ayllón will perform at William Patterson University as part of its Cross-Cultural Arts Festival: Latin America and the Caribbean line up. The prolific artist (who has produced more than 20 albums since her debut in the 1970s and has been honored with several Latin Grammy nominations) is bringing her unique sound to suburban New Jersey Friday.

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