Scott Parker, President of A3i Solutions, is the recipient of a free one-year subscription to AQ. He was chosen from those that completed our AQ Spanish online survey.
(PHOTO ABOVE IS NOT AN IMAGE OF SCOTT PARKER)
This fall Parker will enroll in an MBA program at the University of Texas, with a focus on Latin American enterprise. His dedication to Latin America began when he first travelled to Mexico with his parents as a child. “I was enchanted by the warm and friendly people who had a great sense of history and their place in it,” he recalls. “From its architecture to the laid-back, family-oriented lifestyle, Mexico appealed to me on every level. I knew as an adolescent that my life and career would somehow involve this charming, yet dynamic place.”
Parker felt that no other region in the world can parallel the charm, style and history found in Latin America, while simultaneously demonstrating such extreme political and economic challenges. In 2008 he picked up his first copy of Americas Quarterly at a bookstore, and “found the articles to be concise and well-written, offering a variety of viewpoints from top scholars and policymakers on topics that were not covered in other publications.” Now AQ has become a must-read publication for him, offering not only a deeper understanding of the region, but also “a leg up on my competition.”
We congratulate Scott Parker and hope that we continue to serve our readers with the same passion they look forward to in each issue of Americas Quarterly.
The Chase 2011 Latino Cultural Festival kicks off tonight with a performance by the experimental Afro-Cuban dance ensemble group Oyu Oro at Queens Theatre in the Park in Corona, Queens. The performance will be followed by an opening night party.
The Latino Cultural Festival was originally founded in 1997 by Queens Theatre in the Park and the Latin American Cultural Center of Queens to celebrate the contributions of Latin American artists to New York’s arts and culture scene. This year’s festival, which continues through Sunday, July 24, will include a milonga night featuring a free tango lesson and performance by the Los Chantas Tango Quartet, performances by the Colombian comedy duo Tola y Maruja, and an open-mic night hosted by well-known spoken word artist La Bruja, among others. Some events require ticket purchases and/or reservations, while others are free and open to the public. For a full listing of the festival schedule, click here.
“Manos Arriba!” (Hands up!), said the disk jockey who was mixing bachata, cumbia, merengue, salsa, techno, Latin house, and reggaeton to entertain the multiethnic fans at Central Park’s Summer Stage. The enthusiasts were in attendance for the 2011 Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC), which took place from July 6-9 in New York City. Fans were cheering in anticipation of LAMC’s two most highly-awaited performances: Dominican band Rita Indiana y los Misterios and Colombia’s biggest hip-hop group ChocQuibTown.
The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) has established the Luciano Tomassini Latin American International Relations Award. The prize, designed to honor the memory of the noted Chilean international relations specialist who passed away in 2010, will be given on a yearly basis to the author or authors of an outstanding book on the region’s international relations published in Spanish, English, French or Portuguese in the previous three years. The award will be given for the first time at the XXX LASA Congress to be held in San Francisco, California, on 23-26 May 2012. The members of the international jury for the award are Jorge Heine (chair), Victor Bulmer-Thomas, Rafael Fernández de Castro, Mónica Hirst and Julia Sweig. The deadline for submissions is 1 September 2011.
The Latin Alternative Music Conference, a festival-cum-industry meeting for Latin American alternative and indie musicians, is once again descending upon New York. The 12th-annual installment of the conference gets underway tonight with an array of performances by Spanish-language artists at two of New York’s hallmark venues. Barcelona-based rock icons Jarabe de Palo, Afro-Peruvian electronica artist Novalima and DJ Mr. Pauer will perform at Summerstage in Central Park; later in the evening, Venezuelan punk-dance outfit La Vida Boheme and Argentine folk artist Pablo Malaurie, among others, will play at the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
LAMC is the premier conference for presenting and marketing Spanish-language alternative music. Newcomers join established artists (Manu Chau, Calle 13 and Jorge Drexler have all taken the LAMC stage in the past, just to name a few), as well as label executives, retailers, programmers, and journalists who come from across the hemisphere. Afternoon and evening performances are accompanied by daytime networking opportunities and industry panels on topics such as music in the digital age and new patrons in the industry.
The festival and conference continue at various indoor and outdoor venues in New York through Saturday, July 9. Some expected highlights include Argentine-American singer Diego García, previously of the garage-rock band Elefant but who this year released the debut solo album Laura; the well-known Los Angeles-based Chicano rocker group Los Lobos; and Choc Quib Town, an Afro-Colombian soul, hip-hop and funk group that is gaining an increasingly global presence. Some events are free and open to the public, while others require registration. For more information and a full schedule of events, click here.
The Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage will hold its much-awaited annual folklife festival from June 30–July 4 and July 7–11. It will take place outdoors on the National Mall in Washington DC.
This year the festival will highlight Bogotá, Cali and Medellín—Colombia’s three largest cities. The sexy rhythms of Cali, mesmerizing colors of Medellín and contemporary urban culture of Bogotá will be on display in song, art and dance performances, while visitors can also learn about the storytelling, arts and crafts and agricultural practices of the country’s Andean, Amazon, Caribbean, and Pacific regions. The program Colombia: The Nature of Culture will focus specifically on the bio-cultural diversity of the country and explore how cultural expressions are connected to their environments.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is a complex production which draws on the research and presentational skills of more than 1,000 folklorists, cultural anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, and numerous other academic scholars. In addition to the Colombia programming, this year’s festival will also include programming around the Peace Corps and Rhythm & Blues.
Three hundred and sixty million people make up the base of the social and economic pyramid in Latin America and the Caribbean, yet they are often excluded from access to social services (e.g. health, education), formal markets and political participation. This market consumes $500 billion a year but has the potential to grow still vaster.
Next Monday and Tuesday, June 27-28, the Inter-American Development Bank will hold its first-ever Forum for the Development of the Base of the Pyramid in Latin America and the Caribbean in São Paulo, Brazil. Over 500 experts from the fields of business, development, government, impact investing, and entrepreneurship will discuss successful and innovative private-sector models for integrating this segment of the population into the formal economy and lowering the cost barriers for them to access goods and services.
Panelists will include IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno, Brazil Central Bank president Alexandre Tombini and Harvard Business School professor and IGNIA co-founder Michael Chu, among others. For a full list of speakers and agenda, and to register for the event, visit the BASE Forum’s website.
The BASE Forum is part of the IDB’s Opportunities for the Majorities initiative, created three years ago to promote and finance market-based, sustainable business models that serve the base of the pyramid.
Brazilian film took center stage in New York for the ninth consecutive year with last week’s Cine Fest Petrobras Brasil - NY. On Sunday night, an international audience gathered at Central Park’s Summer Stage to celebrate the closing night of the week-long film festival, which included more than 55 screenings of Brazilian independent and yet-to-be-distributed films. People from Brazil, Japan, the U.S., and other countries in Latin America enjoyed a concert by Mart’nália, a Brazilian singer and composer, and the screening of Elza, a documentary on the artistic life and cultural heritage of Elza Soares, a Samba singer born in the late 1930s in a favela in Rio de Janeiro.
Cine Fest Brasil—presented by Petrobras with collaboration from the Consulate General of Brazil in New York and the Agência Nacional do Cinema (ANCINE)—promotes Brazil’s film industry in the United States. This year Cine Fest Brasil screened 14 feature films, each accompanied by a short film, at Tribeca Cinemas in lower Manhattan. Films like Head Over Heels, by Roberto Santucci; Just Like Her, by Flora Diegues; and Boca, by Flavio Frederico, were among the films competing for this year’s Crystal Lens Award—the festival’s jury prize, in which the public chooses the best short and feature films.
Cine Fest Brasil, an official event on New York’s summer calendar, reinforces the notion that Brazil is seeking to complement its economic and political ascension in Latin America and globally with promotion and understanding of its culture. Sunday’s diverse audience shows that the country’s efforts are bearing fruit.
On Wednesday night Toronto punk-pop group We Were Heads, Regina Spektor-esque folk musician Megan Bonnell, and literary band Library Voices kicked off the much-awaited music component of this year’s North by Northeast Music Festival and Conference (NXNE) in Toronto, Canada. They are among 650 bands that will perform in venues on 50 stages across the city through Sunday, June 19.
Patterned after the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, NXNE has become a major draw for emerging and established artists alike, offering them an opportunity to perform, share ideas with other artists and meet with industry representatives. Some notable alumni include Broken Social Scene, Feist, Iggy Pop, My Morning Jacket, and The Raveonettes. The film part of the festival, added in 2001, features screenings of mostly music-related documentaries and videos; an interactive component was added to the conference last year to address the increasing roles of technology and social media in the music world.
A full listing of the festival’s events can be found here.