Tag Archives: Culture

Hamilton in Puerto Rico

The 58th GRAMMY Awards - Photo by Theo Wargo/Wire Image

Do not throw away your shot to see the musical Hamilton… while on a Caribbean vacation…while contributing to rebuilding Puerto Rico.

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, knocking off power to the entire island, devastating homes and landscape, and creating a humanitarian disaster on the U.S. territory.

By August 2018, the death toll had risen to 2,975. (The number of casualties has since increased.)

But while the devastation was vast, Puerto Rico has been steadily rebuilding, reopening and reviving its tourism market. In an effort to continue his support for the island, Lin-Manuel Miranda will once again star in the title role of Hamilton, when the Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winning musical plays San Juan from January 8 to 27, 2019.

As expected, general ticket sales (which went on sale November 10) quickly sold-out, but limited tickets are still available through trip packages offered by Discover Puerto Rico. Additionally, premium tickets sold for $5,000 each, will raise money for Miranda’s Flamboyan Arts Fund, dedicated to strengthening arts on the island.

Puerto Rico wants visitors to know they are open for business. Remember the S.O.S. photo that went viral immediately following Hurricane Maria? The plea has evolved into an invitation and a message that we are “Bienvenidos” on the island. Catch a glimpse of the progress in the touching video below: 

 

You can play a role in the rebuilding effort merely by visiting. Be in the room where it happens and let the theatricality of Hamilton affect you while effecting positive change in Puerto Rico.

…And Peggy!

*For additional travel information, visit DiscoverPuertoRico.com.

 

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Wakanda on Tour

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Photo from Black Panther film (Source: Heroes & Sheroes) 

The badass looks of Black Panther are bringing a blast of Wakanda to Pittsburgh, before embarking on a world tour.

Currently on display at the Heinz History Center, “Heroes & Sheroes: The Art and Influence of Ruth E. Carter in Black Cinema” showcases the costumes, career and inspiration behind Academy Award and Emmy-nominated costume designer, Ruth E. Carter, the woman who helped create the cinematic worlds of Malcolm X, The Butler, Selma, Amistad and Black Panther, among others. “The exhibition is a celebration of film culture, Black culture, African culture, American culture,” said Carter.

The multi-media exhibit uses sketches, stills, behind-the-scenes media and (of course) costumes to celebrate a thirty-year career, while tackling the complicated ways in which underrepresented communities are displayed in film. “I will have to rethink ever dressing a young African-American man in a hoodie in a film ever again,” Carter said after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Heroes & Sheroes” will be on exhibit in Pittsburgh until December 2, before touring to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Paris, with additional cities planned.

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Cleveland Triennial – “The American Library”

Photo©FieldStudio2018

Photo courtesy of FRONT International

This summer, the contemporary art world is converging in Cleveland.  Through September 30, the city hosts the inaugural FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, engaging the region with over 100 programs by international, national and local artists. From traditional museums to repurposed spaces, the Cleveland Triennial is enabling art lovers to explore the city’s major attractions and travelers to revel in world-class contemporary art.

One of the highlights, The American Library by artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, fittingly displayed in the Cleveland Public Library, celebrates the diversity of the United States—never more topical than with the backdrop of the immigration debate, the President’s controversial travel ban and the recent outcry over the separation of families at the border.  The American Library consists of approximately 6,000 books, each wrapped in a traditional African textile and stamped in gold with the name of a first- or second-generation immigrant to the United States. And the featured Americans will surprise you: from Leonard Bernstein to Scarlett Johansson to—yes—Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump. Though the backgrounds are all different, each person shares a common bond, they are the American product of immigration.

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Curious about an individual’s background?

Head to theamericanlibraryinstallation.com to research the cultural heritage that has shaped each of these Americans. I was particularly drawn to the stories of those who are actively fighting against immigration, though they themselves have greatly benefitted from our nation’s history of welcoming other cultures. For example: Ted Cruz, born in Canada to a Cuban father; or Donald Trump, whose mother is from the U.K. and paternal grandparents are from Germany.

Chances are, you have your own immigration tale. Visit the website to add your story and photograph to the expanding narrative.

For more information and help planning your Cleveland experience, visit the websites of FRONT International and Destination Cleveland.

And follow @TravelingIQ on Instagram to see more of my travels through Cleveland and beyond.

 

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San Antonio Keeps the Mex in Tex

Charreada (Photo: Al Rendon/SACVB)

Charreada (Photo: Al Rendon/SACVB)

Spend a day exploring San Antonio’s Mexican heritage, dating back to 1821 when the area officially belonged to our southern neighbor.  Less than three hours from the border, the city continues to be a cultural gateway between the two countries.

Rent a car for the day to facilitate exploring outside the city center, then make a pit stop for a Tex-Mex breakfast of chorizo and egg tacos at Tito’s Restaurant. Next, let the music move you–regardless of your religious beliefs–when the traditional mass incorporates the music of a Mexican mariachi choir at the historic 18th century Mission San José (Sundays at 12:30 p.m.).  Afterward, make your way to Charro Ranch for a Charreada (usually once monthly at 3 p.m.), a Mexican rodeo featuring rope tricks, music, dance, and impressive synchronized horseback choreography by sidesaddle-riding women in traditional dress.

Head back downtown to peruse the shops of Market Square, the largest Mexican marketplace outside of Mexico, for authentic souvenirs ranging from artisanal pottery and brightly-painted dolls to kitschy “lucha libre” masks and bedazzled sombreros. Steps away, feast on heaping plates of chicken enchiladas in móle sauce at the 24-hour Mi Tierra Café and PanaderiaFamily-owned since 1941, Mi Tierra serves classic Mexican dishes with a wide selection of tequilas and margaritas.  Finish your meal with a cinnamon-laced Mexican hot chocolate and the signature pan dulce (sweetbread) while listening to the sweet serenade of trovadorers.  Stick around at the bar to tackle a jumbo margarita or two, then cab it over to Alamo Street Eat Bar, the city’s gourmet food truck park, serving beers and mobile eats till 2 am on Fridays and Saturday nights.

(A version of this article first appeared in New York Magazine)

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