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NYC Celebrates Mexico Now

The Celebrate Mexico Now Festival takes place September 21 - October 1mexico-fest, 2011 at King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at NYU and Church of All Nations (CFAN) in Manhattan, and Queens Museum of Art in Queens in New York City.

Now in its eighth year, Celebrate Mexico Now is New York City’s first -- and only -- annual festival of contemporary Mexican art and culture, encompassing cuisine, design, film, literature and music.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Mexico experienced a cultural boom that generated new artists, ideas, and forms of expression. This generation of artists is now presented during the month celebrating Mexico‛s independence, a year into its second century as a republic.

In conjunction with the Festival is Gen Mex: Recent Films From México, screening September 16 - 22, 2011 at Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan in association with Cinema Tropical.

Cinema Tropical is the leading presenter of Latin American cinema in the U.S., founded in 2001 with the mission of distributing, programming and promoting what has become the biggest boom of Latin American cinema in decades.

The films presented are of both renowned and emerging filmmakers, including:

Year of the Nail / Año Uña
Jonás Cuarón (2007)
Cuarón’s debut feature is a compilation of a year’s worth of photos Cuarón took of spontaneous events and day-to-day activities.

Raging Sun, Raging Sky / Rabioso Sol, Rabioso Cielo
Julián Hernández (2008)
The third part of a trilogy by Hernández, this gay romance is the story of two young men whose love is tested in a struggle "in which loss and death are inevitable phases in the journey towards happiness." Winner of the Teddy Award for Best Feature at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival.

Northless / Norteado
Rigoberto Pérezcano (2009)
A young man from Oaxaca makes it as far as Tijuana, but must bide his time until an opportunity arises to cross the border. While waiting, he has enough time on his hands to ponder his life, both past and present. This is a feature debut for the director.

The Cramp / El Calambre mexico-fest-V-Hugo
Matías Meyer (2009)
A young French comedian lands in Chacahua, a fishing community on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Feeling adrift in a world that is completely foreign to him, he meets a local fisherman who will guide him towards spiritual healing. Based on a short story by Gao Xingjian.

Intimidades de Shakespeare y Víctor Hugo / Intimacies of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo
Yulene Olaizola (2009)
Olaizola’s debut film is a documentary about two lonely friends. For years, Olaizola’s grandmother Rosa told stories of a handsome young lodger in the 1980s. "He painted strange pictures on the walls and played an important role in Rosa’s emotional life. But this picture of a pleasant, harmless and creative young man slowly gives way to a shocking end."

Familia Tortuga
Rubén Imaz Castro (2006)
The debut feature from writer-director Castro is about a family that gathers at their mother’s home on the anniversary of her death. At the center is Uncle Manuel, a remarkable man who holds the clan together by doing all he can to help.

Parque Vía
Enrique Rivero (2008)
Beto is the custodian of a house in Mexico City, empty for several years. The solitude and routine of his job have led him to develop a pathological fear of the world outside. He knows only two people: the owner of the house, and Lupe. But when he learns the house is to go on sale, he is forced to face a choice: emerge into life or find a way to stay as he is.

More Than Anything in the World / Más Que a Nada En El Mundo
Andrés León Becker & Javier Solar (2006)
A seven-year-old girl lives in an apartment with her mother. When the mother goes into a depression that makes her sleep for days on end, "Alicia and her friend Lucímexico-fest-parque-viaa decide that an old man who lives next door is to blame; he has a gruesome aspect and is surely a vampire trying to possess her mother. So Alicia decides to go into the neighbor’s apartment to put an end to the curse."

Drama / Mex
Gerardo Naranjo (2007)
Two interlaced stories unfold over the course of the same long, hot day in Acapulco -- one a love triangle, the other a story of interrupted suicide. This is the debut feature by Naranjo, whose latest film, Miss Bala, was a favorite at Cannes.

Other events:

History and Traditions of Mexican Gastronomy
It is easy to think we know all there is to know about Mexican cuisine -- modern permutations notwithstanding. After all, it practically evolved into our "native vittles" alongside the hamburger and spaghetti.

Last fall, the UNESCO Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage inscribed Mexican Cuisine on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. To celebrate this achievement, chef Daniel Ovadía will prepare representative dishes from the Zoque-Coleto (Chiapas) cultures in a panel demonstration about the history and traditions of Mexican gastronomy.

Attendees will learn how these dishes have been prepared over the last 600 years -- and yes, tastings will be served.

México se escribe con J: A Celebration of Gay Culture in Mexico
The ball of "The Famous 41" held during the Porfiriato, considered Mexico’s Stonewall, the emblematic figure of Salvador Novo (a flaming queen in a country of machos), the struggle for civil rights, the image of the homosexual in film and the relevance of an artist’s sexual orientation -- all these themes are made manifest in a culture that is still under construction.

Writers, editors, and artists discuss the groundbreaking book about the contributions of the gay community to Mexican culture, including Nayar Rivera, Michael Schuessler, Alejandro Varderi and Earl Dax.  

Hecho en Mexico: Estreno Nacional / Made in Mexico
Conceived and directed by Miguel Vaylon, Hecho in Mexico is a multidiscimexico-fest-Botellitaplinary reflection on the stereotypical headlines from contemporary Mexico: the economic crisis, war against narcotics, rise in kidnappings, and swine flu.

The popular, everyday stories of Mexico are told using theatre, dance, video and music. Working from a minimalist approach inspired by the methods of Grotowski, Made in Mexico is developed and performed by local artists in each host city.

Combi: Electric Cathedral
Combi is a community of artists who prove that their culture is more than Enrique Iglesias and Shakira.

The evening features Mexican electronica, courtesy of Sweet Electra, which originated in Guadalajara, the cradle of Mexico’s electronic music scene. Songs from the latest album, Contramano, led by Pablo Cubarle, are set against the backdrop of an original short film.

Other music performances are by:

Botellita de Jerez – One of the most influential bands in contemporary Mexican rock, their music is a mash-up of past, present and future.  
Rey Trueno: Radio Soap Opera – Radio Soap Opera is based on the legend of pilot Reymundo Alvarez Trueno, who was granted the power of rebellion and rock by a Mayan deity and entrusted with putting together an orchestra.

Rey Trueno: Radio Soap OperaRadio Soap Opera is based on the legend of pilot Reymundo Alvarez Trueno, who was granted the power of rebellion and rock by a Mayan deity and entrusted with putting together an orchestra.

Pasatono Orchestra – Dedicated to the musical culture of the Mixtec people of Mexico, this ensemble of the "people of the clouds" is a reincarnation of the traditional ethnic folk orchestras of strings, winds, and percussion that were once ubiquitous in rural Mexico. The music incorporates many elements of the folkloric music of the region in addition to American Jazz of the 1920’s and 1930’s.mexico-fest-Trajinera

Trajinera Xochitl Project
Mexican artist/designer Natalia Porter presents "trajinera Xochitl, a reproduction of an iconic boat typical of Xochimilco, an area in Mexico City. Known for its canals and chinampas, the extensive lake and canal system connected the settlements of the Valley of Mexico to Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire in the 15th century.

This “trajinera Xochitl” is designed to share the history of Xochimilco and its chinampas, a method of ancient Mesoamerican agriculture still valid today, and also to be a platform for the discussion of different issues concerning Mexico and New York.

Porter recreated this boat as a site for cultural exchange with the help of Ramon Flores and Antonio Bergua, design students from the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana - Xochimilco, who researched the design and construction techniques of these boats, and the guidance of boat builder Ben Cohen at The Gowanus Studio Space in Brooklyn.

As part of a workshop involving the Mexican community in Queens with music, flowers and food, this "trajinera Xochitl" will be launched in the waters of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

For more information, go to

Celebrate Mexico Now Festival
September 21 - October 1, 2011

King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center
at New York University
53 Washington Square South
New York City

Queens Museum of Art
New York City Building
Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Church of all Nations (CFAN)
417 W 57th Street
New York City

Gen Mex: Recent Films From México
September 16 - 22, 2011

Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue (2nd St)

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