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December 16, 2012 – 3:09 pm | 17 Comments

Childhood memories are vivid, almost indescribable in their detail, and impossible to forget. A Christmas memory I have is that of a black velvet dress  a family friend gave to me for my seventh Christmas.
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Cuban Ballet, Latin Stamps and Honeysuckle

Submitted by on January 7, 2011 – 11:10 am3 Comments

Happy Friday, gente!

We hope you have some good tiki tiki going on today and that you’re buzzing about a couple days out of routine.

Here’s what caught our attention this week.

A recent story in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune focused on Cuban ballet dancers Octavio Martin and his wife, Yaima Franco. They defected from Cuba and he now is the principal dancer with the Sarasota Ballet company and she is an instructor, the assistant ballet mistress.

Their story personifies what is described in a new book called Cuban Ballet by Miami-based arts critic Octavio Roca: That dozens of dancers have left el Ballet Nacional de Cuba and are lending their talent to dance companies all over the world, influencing ballet with a particular Cuban brand of dance.

“Cuban Ballet is a tale of revolution in a country as well as in ballet. It is a tale of a people’s tragedy and hope, of dance and of life. In Octavio Roca’s hands, these dancers’ stories reads like a novel that happens to be true,’’ states the publicity material.


And, a book with a forwards by the Soviet-era dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and Alicia Alonso, the famed head of the ballet de Cuba, the company and country from whom these dancers have fled, has to be spot on.

See the Cuban ballet dancers in action:

It is possible that by now you’ve heard about the beautiful Latin music heritage U.S. stamps coming out in March? Si? The ones with Tito Puente, Selena, Carmen Miranda, Carlos Gardel and Celia Cruz?

Well, let me tell you a little more about the talented Mexican artist who created the stamps: Rafael Lopez

You can visit his blog to see the photos he used as inspiration and sketches he made of these cultural icons.

Of the Celia stamp he wrote:

“¡Azucar! What made Celia Cruz, the Queen of Salsa so unique? I wanted to celebrate that electrifying voice, those elaborate wigs, flamboyant costumes and dazzling smile that made you feel like you were part of her family.”

Lopez has done a great variety of work, and he is the illustrator for Samantha Vamos upcoming book, “The Cazuela That The Farm Maiden Stirred” (Charlesbridge). The book will be released February 1 and you can see Lopez’s colorful illustrations for the book on his blog.

Vamos, by the way, wrote a sweet bilingual book called “Before You Were Here, Mi Amor,’’ which is a favorite in my house. In 2009, Vamos allowed me to do an audio recording of the book for the blog, Cody’s Cuentos.  (You can download the free Mp3, by the way).

You can see Lopez’s illustrations for the Farm Maiden book here.

OK, Remember Rick Sanchez de CNN? Seems like he’s got something new going on.

Hey, Honeysuckle, a reddish-pink, is the Pantone Color of the Year. Last year it was turquoise. Check out these honeysuckle finds. Que lindo, but sadly, that color looks blah on me.

Celebrity talk: Penelope Cruz is very Pregnant.

OK, here’s something crafty, especially if you’re looking for something fun to do with your own the kids:

Share, por favor!


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