El Barrio’s La Casa Azul spreads the word

Aurora Anaya-Cerda, La Casa Azul Bookstore, El Barrio - Spanish Harlem

For countless years, Latino authors have been creating beautiful stories that has captured diverse audiences. Gabriel García Márquez, Paulo Coelho, Isabel Allende and Junot Díaz are names recognized across many borders.

However, there are many other Latino writers who are also creating remarkable work yet aren’t being distributed in mainstream bookstores. La Casa Azul in East Harlem is filling that gap.

BEGINNINGS
The bookstore’s founder, Aurora Anaya-Cerda, says she recognized a void existed for providing access to unknown Latino authors and artists and worked to make La Casa Azul the “literature hub in the neighborhood” of East Harlem.

“I needed something like this to exist for myself because I recognized very early on how books impacted my life in general,” said Aurora. “All books shaped me but then learning about books that reflected my culture and my language and my history – that had a very different impact on me.”

In 2011 Casa Azul launched a successful $40,000 Kickstarter campaign to fund a permanent home for the bookstore, which was a true labor of love for Aurora. Six years had passed from the store’s beginnings as an online store to its storefront ribbon-cutting ceremony, as Aurora labored to raise her presence through community board meetings and other events.

CREATING COMMUNITY
In a time when major booksellers are shutting their doors or downsizing, community-driven efforts like Casa Azul are flourishing precisely because of the relationships they’ve built and nourished.

As Aurora says, “in an era of digital everything, I think people still want and need that space to come together and just talk.”

While La Casa Azul is first and foremost a bookstore, it does much more than just sell books. Averaging around 20 different events a month, the bookstore has recently held a crowdfunding workshop along with more traditional events such as book clubs and writer panels.

La Casa Azul is also embracing its future and has expanded to include a coffee shop in its space on 103rd Street and rented a space this past summer with East Harlem’s La Marqueta, a food market that is revitalizing the area. This partnership gives them further visibility and allows them to connect with the greater East Harlem community.

GAME-CHANGER
Leading the way in a cultural renaissance, La Casa Azul is shaping future generations. It serves as a reminder about the permanency of the Latino experience by not only giving rising stars a voice, but by also creating a community that embraces them.

“It’s wonderful that people like Junot are getting recognition for their talent and it’s well-deserved.  But it shouldn’t be that next year we don’t talk about any other Latino writer,” says Aurora. “In fact, there are other very talented young writers that are out there and that’s where Casa Azul comes in.”

CONTACT INFO:
Website: www.lacasaazulbookstore.com
Address: 143 E. 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029
Tel: (212) 426 – 2626

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FREE Latin Events at SummerStage 2015

SummerStageheaderOur Latin Thing / DJ Afro
In association with The Latin Alternative Music Conference
Where: St. Mary’s Park, BX – SummerStage
When: Tuesday, July 7 at 7pm
FREE
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Compass / Systema Solar / Helado Negro
In association with The Latin Alternative Music Conference
Where: Central Park, MN – SummerStage
When: Wednesday, July 8 / Doors at 5pm
FREE
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Ismael Miranda
Where: St. Mary’s Park, BX – SummerStage
When: Wednesday, July 8 at 7pm
FREE
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Cano Estremera
Where: St. Mary’s Park, BX – SummerStage
When: Thursday, July 9 at 7pm
FREE
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Vicentico / Ximena Sariñana / No Te Va Gustar
In association with The Latin Alternative Music Conference
Where: Central Park, MN – SummerStage
When: Saturday, July 11 / Doors at 2pm
FREE
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Cesária Évora Orchestra / Mayra Andrade / Dino D’Santiago
Where: Central Park, MN – SummerStage
When: Sunday, July 12 / Doors at 2pm
FREE
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Family Day: Mister G / Soul Street Dance / DJ ASHO
Where: St. Mary’s Park, BX – SummerStage
When: Sunday, July 12 at 4pm
FREE
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Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros / Screening: Celia: The Queen
In association with ImageNation
Where: St. Mary’s Park, BX – SummerStage
When: Sunday, July 12 at 7pm
FREE
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Jorge Drexler / Diego Garcia / Danay Suárez
Where: Central Park, MN – SummerStage
When: Sunday, July 19 / Doors at 6pm
FREE
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Jose Peña Suazo y la Banda Gorda
Where: Highbridge Park, MN – SummerStage
When: Saturday, July 25 at 7pm
FREE
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TKA / Flaco Navaja and the Razor Blades / Tony Touch
Where: Clove Lakes Park, SI – SummerStage
When: Saturday, August 1 at 7pm
FREE
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Nação Zumbi / Nation Beat’s Carnival Caravan featuring Cha Wa / DJ Vinil Pompéia
In association with Brasil Summerfest
Where: Central Park, MN – SummerStage
When: Sunday, August 2 / Doors at 2pm
FREE
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The Felix Hernandez: Rhythm Review / Screening: Get On Up
In association with ImageNation
Where: Clove Lakes Park, SI – SummerStage
When: Sunday, August 2 at 7pm
FREE
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Tito Nieves
Where: East River Park, MN – SummerStage
When: Tuesday, August 4 at 7pm
FREE
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The Felix Hernandez: Rhythm Review / Screening: Our Latin Thing
In association with ImageNation
Where: East River Park, MN – SummerStage
When: Sunday, August 9 at 7pm
FREE
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The Brazilian Film Festival of NY: Live Performance by Baby Do Brasil / Screening: Samba & Jazz
Where: Central Park, MN – SummerStage
When: Saturday, August 15 / Doors at 6pm
FREE

Robert Rodriguez Launches Latino-Focused Diversity Council

 

Made up of members from leading national Latino advocacy organizations who have collaborated with El Rey Network, the group aims to provide the entertainment industry with guidance and leadership when it comes to employment, procurement, programming and community outreach. The group will be spearheaded by El Rey Network’s Dawn Holliday-Mack and Theresa Vargas Wyatt.

“It has been my personal commitment from the beginning for El Rey Network to not only set very high standards for the kind of quality entertainment we provide our viewers, but also to set industry standards and high benchmarks for diversity both in front of and behind the camera,” commented Rodriguez. “As a creator of content, I feel an obligation to our community to advocate for inclusivity. This group will creatively approach issues, build a community of like minds and big ideas, advocate for change and work diligently to have our voices heard.”

The news comes a few days after Lifetime announced Broad Focus, an initiative aimed at finding more roles for women creatives behind the scenes.

Source: Variety.com | Whitney FriedlanderTV News Editor@loislane79

McDonald’s Honors Latin Music Legend Juan Luis Guerra

Juan Luis Guerra McDonald's

McDonald’s NY metro announced today the kick-off of the second edition of “Celebrando Nuestras Leyendas” an annual initiative celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month that pays tribute to Hispanic musical legends and cultural icons from September 15, 2013 to October 15, 2013. McDonald’s will engage their customers through a series of fun and surprising digital and interactive components at its restaurants and on its website. All during this month-long celebration that will end with a surprise concert to be announced at a later date in New York.

After a successful first edition of “Celebrando Nuestras Leyendas” in 2012; honoring the legacy of super star Celia Cruz and benefiting the non-profit efforts of the Celia Cruz Foundation, there were very high expectations for this year’s celebration. To match that, for its second edition, McDonald’s “Celebrando Nuestras Leyendas” will honor a living legend, one of the most influential figures in world music, the one and only, el Maestro Juan Luis Guerra.

“The Hispanic Heritage month celebration, Celebrando Nuestras Leyendas has great meaning for McDonald’s”, said Jessica Meléndez, McDonald’s Regional Marketing Manager for the New York Metro Region. “It’s about honoring our Hispanic consumers, celebrating diversity, recognizing the impact of legendary Latinos and giving back to our community. Juan Luis Guerra has an extraordinary career that is an inspiration to all of us”, added Meléndez.

The Dominican singer, composer and producer who has sold over 20 million records around the world possesses an incomparable talent and heart. His “Bilirrubina” has gotten people around the world to dance, regardless of nationalities. His professional, cultural and philanthropic accomplishments make him an exceptional humanitarian that deserves to be honored. Juan Luis Guerra exemplifies the influence of Hispanic culture in the United States and around the world. “It’s a great satisfaction to be recognized as a Hispanic legend by the McDonald’s 2013 “Celebrando Nuestras Leyendas” program”, said Juan Luis Guerra. “I appreciate the love and support from McDonald’s New York tri-state area owner/operators to the children of my foundation”, added Guerra.

Link to dedicated page: http://www.mcdonaldsnytristate.com/es/juanluis

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