San Francisco -- To Cuba, With Love, the inaugural event of the new International Center for the Arts (ICA) at San Francisco State University, highlights a rich array of Cuban cultural tradition, music and visual arts March 4 and March 5 in San Francisco.
The program opens with the West Coast AfroCuban All-Stars, an ensemble of nationally and internationally renowned bandleaders and stylists assembled specifically to venerate the inventor of Mambo, Israel "Cachao" Lopez (Friday, March 4 at 8:00 p.m. in the Forum at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; pre-concert talk at 7:45 p.m. - SOLD OUT). Also on the program, a special guest appearance by Cachao, the ICA's first Marcus Prize winner for Lifetime Achievement. Next, the art exhibition AfroCuba: Works on Paper, 1968-2003 opens on the SFSU campus (Saturday, March 5 at 11:30 a.m.). An all-day event, the opening features music, dancing, film, Cuban food and a special music and video installation.
In the evening, the ICA presents a rare opportunity to view the 2004 documentary film Paraiso, focusing on Cuban hip hop band "Madera Limpia," followed by a concert headlined by Cachao and backed by his working and recording band (Saturday, March 5, 7:30 p.m. film, 9:30 p.m. concert, doors open at 6:30 p.m. in Bimbo's 365 Club).
See schedule of events below for details.
Coast AfroCuban All-Stars venerate Cachao
Cachao will make a special guest appearance with the All-Stars when he is awarded the first George and Judy Marcus Prize for Lifetime Achievement.
AfroCuba: Works On Paper, 1968-2003
Organized by the SFSU Fine Arts Gallery under the direction of curator and SFSU art history Professor Judith Bettelheim, PhD, a scholar of the African Diaspora, the exhibition includes a catalog with essays by Bettelheim, an invited essay by Cuban artist and curator Alexis Esquivel, and excerpts from David Mateo's Looking at Cuban Printmaking (Havana 2001). Cuban artist and critic Tonel (Antonio Eligio Fernández) served as curatorial consultant. The fully illustrated catalog ($24.95, softcover, 88 pages, 33 color plates) is distributed by University of Washington Press. (Show runs from February 26 through March 30, 2005 in the Fine Arts Gallery at San Francisco State University; Gallery Hours: Tue-Sat, noon to 4 p.m.; Wed, noon to 6 p.m.).
Opening Celebration, Saturday, March 5, 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., SFSU campus, Fine Arts Building: AfroCuba: Works on Paper, 1968-2003 opens with a special all-day program, beginning with a traditional Lucumí, an AfroCuban blessing, by Rosa Parrilla, Esu alaiwoî, and Maria Concordia, Oggun Gbemiî. Parilla and Concordia are ìyalochas (mothers of Orishas) in the Lucumí (AfroCuban) religious tradition, and the founders of the Oni Ochun Cultural Center, an Oakland non-profit dedicated to preserving AfroCuban Lucumí traditions in music, dance, and other arts. Next, a series of documentary films commences with the educational documentary When the Spirits Dance Mambo (2002), a film by Marta Moreno Vega and Bobby Shepard and presented with The Mexican Museum, followed by Mambo (2004), the story of Pérez Prado, with career highlights and film clips, by Yves Billon. Closing the series are two historic shorts on great Cuban musicians of the past: We are the Music (1965), by Rogelio Paris, and We've Got Rhythm (1967), by Sara Gomez. The opening is punctuated with a one-day-only presentation of ¡Que Rico El Mambo! and "Concierto Para El Hombre Foca," a sound and video installation by Julio Cesar Morales with friends exploring the legacy of Pérez Prado, considered the King of Mambo for popularizing the form. A concert by Bay Area-based Cuban 'Son' group Palenque will provide grooves for plenty of dancing, and Cuban food and refreshments will be served all afternoon.
in concert and the film Paraiso
For six decades, Cachao has influenced a wide range of Cuban genres and styles, from subtle charangas to the fiery sound of the conjuntos. Born in Havana in 1918, he was a child prodigy in a family driven by music, especially that of the acoustic bass; the extended Lopez family boasts a phenomenal 40 bassists, including Lopez's father, mother, brother and sister. In 1938, Mambo, a variation on danzón invented by Cachao and his brother, Orestes "Macho" Lopez, first aired on Cuban radio. Mambo incorporated a series of syncopated bass riffs, punctuating the traditional danzón melodies, and the result was a heady new rhythm, el nuevo ritmo, sparking a worldwide musical renaissance. In 1957, Cachao again revolutionized Cuban music in the famous Cachao Descargas or Jam Sessions in which he brought together the best musicians from Havana clubs and produced a series of after-hours recordings that have become textbooks for Latin musicians. After a magnificent run in pre-revolutionary Cuba, a good stretch in New York's newly exploding salsa scene shortly thereafter, and years of playing Las Vegas, Cachao moved to Miami in 1978. Like many other living legends of Cuban music, Cachao lived in relative obscurity for a decade, performing at weddings and parties, until a call came from Cuban actor Andy Garcia. Garcia, a long-time fan of Cachao, was interested in getting together with the musician for a documentary. The two artists collaborated and the end result was the highly acclaimed 1993 documentary, Cachao...Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos. The film caused such a stir that Cachao has been highly sought after as a performer and recording artist ever since.
Admission is free to the AfroCuba: Works on Paper, 1968-2003 opening celebration on the SFSU campus, Saturday, March 5 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tickets for Cachao and film Paraiso on Saturday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Bimbo's 365 Club are $25 (General Admission). For tickets, call Bimbo's at 415/474-0365. Tickets also are available in person through the SFSU/Creative Arts Box Office, located next to McKenna Theatre in the Creative Arts Building, 1600 Holloway at 19th Avenue, Monday-Friday, Noon to 4:00 p.m.; phone 415/338-2467.
Please note, images available: Call or email Ariane Bicho at 415/338-1442 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new International Center for the Arts (ICA), created with a $3 million gift from SFSU alumni George and Judy Marcus, will celebrate some of the world's most innovative art and artists, with a focus on documentary films and visual art. Based in the University's College of Creative Arts, the ICA will add international zest to the Bay Area arts scene with festivals, exhibits, documentary film screenings and prizes showcasing the artistic life of regions and countries worldwide. Drawing upon an international pool of talent, the center creates a venue for artistic creation, a laboratory for established and emerging artists, a training resource, access to the professional arena, and a point of intersection inspiring innovation for students and the general public. Every year the center also will present the George and Judy Marcus Prizes, three juried awards each worth up to $50,000. Artists whose work demonstrates excellence, emerging talent or lifetime achievement will earn the award. The center's regular programming will include a Documentary Film Institute, International Celebration of the Arts and Biennial Visual Art Exhibition.
presenting partners are The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD),
The Mexican Museum, and San Francisco Center
for the Book.
The SFSU College of Creative Arts/Art Department
Art is a department of the College of Creative Arts, which has the only academic program primarily devoted to the creative arts in northern California. Under the direction of Dean Keith Morrison, an internationally acclaimed faculty directs more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students in seven disciplines: art, cinema, broadcasting, music, dance, theatre arts, and design. The College of Creative Arts is part of San Francisco State University, one of the 23 member universities comprising the California State University, the largest system of higher education in the nation. SFSU is a highly diverse, comprehensive, public and urban university. For more information about the College of Creative Arts, visit www.collegeofcreativearts.org. For an application, please call SFSU Admissions at (415) 338-1113.
1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132 415/338-1111