Come for the natural beauty, stay for the music history.
(This is the first in a five-part series by the Daily News/Viva on the classic fights between Puerto Rican and Mexican boxers, leading up to Cotto vs. Canelo on Saturday, Nov. 21, live on Pay-Per-View.)
When Wilfred Benitez stepped into the ring against Carlos Palomino on Jan. 14, 1979, for a scheduled 15-round bout in San Juan, Puerto Rico, there was plenty more at stake than just Palomino’s WBC welterweight title.
For Benitez, a New York-born Puerto Rican known for his speed, savvy and defensive skills, beating Palomino — a future Hall of Famer born in Mexico and raised in Los Angeles — would enable the young challenger to make a huge and lasting impression on the boxing world in front of his “home” crowd.
In Palomino’s case, defeating the upstart Benitez, the welterweight division’s leading contender, would help cement his place in boxing history and his hold on a championship belt he’d worn for nearly three years and seven fights.
But for boxing fans — especially Latinos — a victory by their chosen warrior would earn them bragging rights in what has evolved into the sport’s fiercest national rivalry:
Puerto Rico vs. Mexico.
“Fights between Mexican and Puerto Rican boxers are like cousins going at it,” says Joseph Santoliquito, president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
This past weekend Latin Recap was at two of the biggest Puerto Rican and Latin celebrations around. Every June, NYC gets fired up for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade on 5th Avenue and the 116th Street Festival in East Harlem. Both great events to enjoy live music, food, entertainment, freebies and all that is Puerto Rican (and Latin) in NYC. New Yorkers and anyone visiting the city during these events have the opportunity to celebrate Puerto Rican culture and party it up with the local latin community.
At the 116th Street festival, it was hard to walk a block without wanting to break into dance or stop for a fried cheese empanada… The festival, with stages on each end, started on 106th street and stretched to 125th street along 3rd Avenue. Tito El Bambino, Don Chezina, Lumidee, Rachel Lorin, NK5, and Lil Dawg were just some of the performers present at this awesome Latin Celebration.
Photos By Nicole Gonzalez
On Sunday, people enjoyed Salsa tunes, played live from the NY Daily News Float by Los Hermanos Moreno. As we rolled gently on the 5th Avenue route people waved their flags and had their Puerto Rican pride on full display.
Photos By Nicole Gonzalez
Ricky Martin in this interview talks about how before he came out he was very confused about his sexuality and even bullied gay people.
“I was very angry, very rebellious,” he says in the October issue of GQ Australia about being sexually confused when growing up in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “I used to look at gay men and think ‘I’m not like that; I don’t want to be like that. That’s not me.’ I was ashamed.”
The 41-year-old mentor on Australia’s “The Voice” remained in the closet for many years with fear of criticism for owning up to who he knew he really was. The secrecy translated into fury, which he took out on others around him.
“When you’re told you’re wrong by everyone, from society, from your faith – – my self-esteem was crushed,” he adds. “I took my anger out on those around me.” Read More Eonline.com
[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH2xUoI9I4M” width=”560″ height=”315″]
Salsa in its purest form can only be performed by an artist who has done it solely for an entire career. In Radio City Music Hall, on the evening of June 29th, this reporter witnessed, under the classic overhead arch, it manifested in the form of Victor Manuelle.
Dressed to the nines in black suit and open collared white shirt, and short close-cropped haircut, as he represented a simple yet effective style. He melted the women with his voice and seduced them with his steps that expressed a cool confidence. And why not? The theme of the concert was a look back at 20 years in the music business.
At 44, provided a sophisticated show that impressive technological displays behind stage. He even displayed an interactive program that narrated vignettes from his career while speaking in a sultry womans voice. Victor feels it’s important to perform well in New York. “Radio City is super important. First, it’s very large, second, it’s in the City of New York. I recorded a live album in Carnegie Hall (2004) and hosted a Latin Grammy in Madison Square Garden.(2006) and now Radio City for my 20th anniversary.” Manuelle explained. “It’s important, it’s different. The people of New York are mixed, it makes it special to me.” So much so that he serenaded the audience with “New York, New ,York” in spanish.
If you closed your eyes you could recall visual moments aplenty this evening. A dance set with four male dancers holding mirrors and shadowing their four female counterparts as they surrounded Manuelle. Victor’s dash up the side balconies on each end of Radio City with the Puerto Rican flag as he paid tribute to the island as crowds of women flowed to the corners with cameras upheld and clicking away at close range.
But the most poignant moment of the show was actually unplanned. A woman walked out uncertain appearing to be a fan who got through security. But when she got close, it was made clear that she was a Sony rep, as two more people arrived with a plaque, it was announced that Victor was being honored for having the most #1 singles on Billboard Tropical. (He is actually tied for the top stop with Marc Anthony with 22 apiece.)
Seeing Victor both confused and vulnerable and near tears was a.priceless moment. Manuelle responded on stage. “It was a surprise. I was not expecting this.” Manuelle recalled. “I was very touched. When you prepare a show you have to practice to put it in a way where everything is planned. This was nor part of it.” The crowd cheered this classy artist who has never deviated from this genre.
There were a lot of light and comedic moments. He poked fun at himself through his early photos. He mentioned tongue-in-cheek that he always wanted to be in Menudo, a very popular boy band from Puerto Rico in the 80’s.
What followed was a video clip of Menudo performing in concert except Victor Manuelle’s head was superimposed on one of the Menudo artists. This brought convulsions of laughter from the crowd. But it didn’t end there. When Victor sang “Ella Lo Que’ Quiere Es Salsa” he sang as well as doing Voltio’s part rapping with exaggerated street poses that surprised the audience in its smoothness.
But the final set of the evening was a tribute to Héctor Lavoe. “El Cantante de los Cantantes” as Victor announced him. He sang several of his hits as video footage of Lavoe performing played in the background. It was on this day 20 years ago, that Hector died. This drew the most emotional collective response of the evening.
Victor Manuelle as the show was coming to a close told the crowd. “I can sing all night if you want.” He performed one more number and with a twist of his hand said goodbye. As the fans filed out it was just as vibrant as when they arrived. Victor Manuelle, for twenty years entertained his fans, but this evening he left something enduring for those who witnessed his passion for the music as the link between the two were fused forever.
Photos by Marlene Amaya-Vazquez [View photos on Facebook]
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This weekend we celebrated the Puerto Rican Day Parade with Miguelito and Danny Garcia on the NY Daily News float. 5th avenue was full of people, and not just Puerto Ricans, we also saw latinos from other places showing their #latism. The National Puerto Rican Day Parade is in its 56th annual celebration this year. Every year the parade picks a theme and this year it was Celebrating Your Health. There was an estimated one million spectators in attendance along 5th avenue from 44th street to 79th street.
Every year the parade picks a theme and this year it was “Celebrating Your Health”. There was an estimated one million spectators in attendance along 5th avenue from 44th street to 79th street.
Miguelito the young Latin Grammy award winner performed his new song on the Daily News Float. The young prodigy made everyone wave their flags while showing pride for being Latinos in this great city. He shared the stage with Danny “Swift” Garcia, WBA, WBC, and ring magazine world fighting champion. Other notable people at the parade included Carlos Vives, Daddy Yankee on La Mega float, Dayanara Torres, Farruko, Tito El Bambino, Sensato,Wilmer Valderrama and Frankie Negron.
Click through the pictures below to see all the sights of the national Puerto Rican Day Parade.
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This past weekend we celebrated the 28th anniversary of the 116th Street Festival in East Harlem. The festival was in full red white and blue mode to celebrate Puerto Rico all along 3rd avenue, from 106th street to 123rd street. All along the festival route we experienced music coming from those performing on stage, street vendors with foods of all kinds and booths selling and promoting Puerto Rican culture.
The Daily News and Amor 93.1 stage on 106th street showcased a variety of talent from those new up and coming artists to the youngest future stars, some displaying their talents for the first time to an excited and very receptive audience. At the Daily News and Amor stage performances by Eli Palacios, Maluma, Juancho, Ruina Nueva and the Sidekixx were among the long lineup of performers.
The Mega 97.9 and AT&T stage on 112th street catered to the older party audience with performances by Alexis y Fido, Taina, and Farruko to name a few. Among the normal festival activities and sights there where many attractions and goodies for people coming to enjoy the festivities. A popular attraction was put on by the folks at the Monster booth. People lined up to receive free cans of Monster energy drinks and to receive a sexy printed book from official Monster girls Magda Angel and Carissa Rosario. We also caught a special show from professional bmx riders who displayed incredible skills while riding their bikes up and down the monster ramps and in the air maneuvers that had spectators going wild.
The 116th Street Festival was a grand success, view our full photo recap below.
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A term coined in 1971 by a group of teenagers called the Waldos in San Rafael, California has become known as the national day of cannabis celebration. The teens met at 4:20pm to light up in secret. On April 20 people in the US, as well as around the world come together to celebrate their love of cannabis. A major focus point of the unofficial holiday is to advocate the legalization of cannabis. Many states have legalized the use of medical marijuana. The message was heard by numerous state legislatures and the trend of legalization rages on. In 2003, when the California legislature codified the medical marijuana law voters had approved, the bill was named SB420.
Colorado and Washington States went even further and legalized the recreational use, this year the Cannabis Cup, a pot-themed convention normally held in Amsterdam, will be held in Denver. Denver’s is also the home of the 420 rally is the largest pot-themed celebration in the world. The rally takes place every year on April 20, a day pot smokers regard as a holiday. This is the first 4/20 celebration since Colorado passed Amendment 64, which makes it legal to have up to an ounce of marijuana.
With states making their own decisions of decriminalizing marijuana’s recreational use, many countries in Latin America are following with proposed drug regulations of their own. Countries that have already garnered some support for new marijuana-reform bills include Uruguay, and now maybe Puerto Rico. Additionally, marijuana in small amounts (when considered personal use) has been decriminalized in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico.
Miguel Lopez organizes Denver’s rally and said they’re expecting about 80,000 people to attend this weekend’s event at Denver’s Civic Center Park. Read more
“We’ve already met people from all over the country,” said Lopez.
Check out this video from ABC 7 News The Denver Channel
The Puerto Rican duo J King y Maximan have a smash hit with “La Noche Está De Fiesta” a club mix that will make you hop around like you’re wearing a pair of mexican pointy boots. Mexican tribal sensation 3ballMTY also collaborate on the track, apparently we can’t get enough of these boys! Mexico and Puerto Rico have joined forces to make this happen! It represents a new trend in recent years of genre-bending musical collaborations that are becoming popular. The song was officially released last year but is just now blowing up on radio where it is now #1 on Urban stations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Could this song be this summer’s party anthem? As the lyrics say “Hoy si que se bebe, la noche está de fiesta, hasta que amanezca” meaning “Today we drink, the night is a party until the sun rises”. What do you think about this fusion?
[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZ4vSjqr_vE” width=”560″ height=”315″]
What seemed like a cancelled show due to snow storm Nemo turned into a sold-out show for Ricardo Arjona at the World’s Most Famous Arena. Over 20,000 New Yorkers expressed their love for this multifaceted singer/songwriter at MSG and Nassau Coliseum.
There was euphoria among the attendees when Ricardo appeared on stage after his artistic intro. The stage was a theatrical playground, with scenic transformations that started in form of a house, the streets of NY, a bar and then a circus.
The lights display was key to setting the tone and the mood for fans as they sang their hearts out with emotion and tears.
“Metamorfosis” is a show that has created euphoria among his followers. Ricardo entertained the audience for more than two hours. He is one of the most far-reaching Hispanic artists in the market today.
Ricardo Arjona’s tour has been a complete and utter success. The quality of his performance, his interpretation, elaborate stage sets, and his interaction with the audience exceeded expectations in Washington DC and in New York where he performed for more than 27,000 people in three venues.
After filling the Patriot Center to capacity in the country’s capital, with a storm threatening, Arjona sold-out in the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden and had a full house at Nassau Colliseum the next day, exciting more than 20,000 New Yorkers in two days. Spanish-Language newspapers in the “Big Apple” echoed concert highlights, mentioning the delicate way in which the artist portrays themes such as immigration, to the point that he defines himself as a “Mojado”, a term that is used to refer to illegal immigrants.
The press also made notes on the opening performance by fellow Guatemalan Gaby Moreno, with whom Ricardo Arjona shared the stage to perform “Fuiste Tu”. Gaby Morena is signed to Ricardo Arjona’s label and is the opening act on this tour.
“Arjona Live U.S.A. Tour: Metamorphosis” presented by SBS Entertainment started the tour with sold-out shows in Puerto Rico and now in New York City and we think these are the first of many sold-out shows.
This is what Ricardo had to say about the first leg of the tour:
“I’m happy, I think it’s one of the best jobs I’ve done in my life”
~ R. Arjona ~
The tour “Arjona Live U.S.A. Tour: Metamorphosis” by SBS Entertainment, is on its way to “Ako Theater at Rosemont ” for a Valentine’s Day concert, on Thursday February 14 in Chicago, IL, place where he had to open a second date since the first date sold in its entirety.
If you’re on the west coast check out the dates below to see if “Metamorphosis” he will be in your city.
14 Feb – Rosemont, Illinois
15 Feb – Rosemont, Illinois
20 Feb – Grand Prairie, Texas
26 Feb – Phoenix Arizona
28 Feb – Las Vegas, Nevada
2 Mar – Los Angeles, California
3 Mar – Los Angeles, California
9 Mar – Miami, Florida
For more information visit: RicardoArjona.com
PHOTOS: Madison Square Garden 2/9/13 [View on Facebook]
PHOTOS: Nassau Coliseum 2/10/2013 [View on Facebook]