How will you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month 2013? Jarana music, museum exhibits and film screenings are only a brief sampling of the many ways to celebrate this national holiday that begins on September 15. Keep an eye on local media for concerts, street fairs and restaurant specials, especially in the outer-boroughs. The month long celebration (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15) celebrates the culture and traditions of those who trace their heritage to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. September 15 was chosen because it is the independence anniversary of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Hispanics are the nation’s largest minority, with New York City boasting the second largest populations after California, according to a recent US Census Report.
Checkout the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, (Bowling Green, NYC, free) September 9-15, 1-2pm, for a daily screening of “Eye On Oaxaca.” It includes animation produced by Triqui children (with English subtitles). Also, an amazing Brooklyn band will perform in concert at this same venue, Saturday, September 14, 2-3pm. “Jarana Beat,” will feature its dynamic fusion of Mexico’s African and Amerindian traditions musical elements that also incorporates contemporary influences.
Further uptown, El Museo Del Barrio is always the go-to venue for this holiday. Check out: Presencia, (now through December 31, 2013, 1230 5th Avenue, NYC)) from El Museo’s permanent collection. This exhibit investigates the visibility and invisibility of the human form through the presentation of the body in literal and conceptual ways. The featured artists play with their figures, showing bodies revealed and obscured, evidently displayed or camouflaged. Featured artists include Luis Mendez, Shaun El C. Leonardo, and Oscar Muñoz. Others artists on view include Benvenuto Chavajay, Christian Cravo, Roberto Juárez, Fernando Salicrup, and Rafael Tufiño.
Mark your calendar for El Museo’s PBS documentary screening of “Latino Americans,” (September 17, 8-10pm) a landmark three-part, six-hour documentary series that chronicles the lives and experiences of Latinos in the United States from the 1500s to the 21st century. Narrated by actor Benjamin Bratt, it is the first major documentary series for television of its kind. Following the screening a discussion will feature Juan González, a journalist and author who is interviewed in the series and Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent, PBS News Hour, and author of Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation, the companion book to the PBS series. Check your local listings.