Thoughts on the retirement of Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez. I am extremely grateful for his contribution to our community in Humboldt Park, to the Puerto Rican community as a whole, for the leadership in the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera. Luis has fought for the rights of us Puerto Ricans as well as the rights of those with no rights whatsoever.
I am extremely grateful for his contributions to the well being of Puerto Rico after the hurricane. I am grateful for his sacrifice during the Vieques period.
In the wake of being part of a tragedy I am left to make sense of it. Last night when I went for a walk, the stores were opened, the music was playing in Vegas, however I felt the emptiness, the pain. I saw numb empty stares that did not want to stay in their room and mourn. They went out as to say “We believe in you, Las Vegas”. Today I saw a wedding in the hotel’s garden and I saw gamblers return to the tables of the Tropicana’s casino.
I had not felt much in the matter of emotions until today where I am consumed with the grief that in front of me 59 souls lost their lives and many more injured. I am so grateful for what I have, My wife, my loving children. I am saddened that many do not have that any longer. I can not stop thinking about the images of panic in the faces of the victims. Their tears today are mine.
Today I call on a ban for assault weapons. We can not be deterred by members of society that demand to have their weapons and justify their existence by saying that this was an isolated incident.
Here are some more images from Las Vegas.
Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas Blvd. Across the road from Route 91 Harvest Festival venue. Note opening in window. This is where gunman shot victims from.
Route 91 Harvest Festival Stage as seen from Tropicana Hotel
Every 2 years I make the pilmgrage to Colombia, a land that after Puerto Rico has become my second patria. Everytime I come to this country is see something new but at the same time something that I have experienced before. I saw the lizards in the porchlight at my mother in law’s house, it evoked memories of my grandmother’s house in Puerto Rico, It make me remember feel the summer heat at my grandmothers hous, I remembered the beach, I felt like if I was walking in my beloved Calle Loiza, except that is different because there are other places, other sensations here in Colombia. This time around I started in Medellin. I am still thinking of my feelings toward this enchanting place. So I will have post in a later article. But enjoy the images for now and stay tuned.
Sometime in the year 2000 in my former life as a suburbanite far removed from Chicago’s cultural scene I walked into the former Borders bookstore in Oak Park and as I was purchasing a book I noticed in the checkout counter a Putamayo CD on display titled “Latinas”. I bought it and it instantly became my favorite. In this CD the performers were none that I recognized, but through the years of owning the CD one of them became the voice of who I am now. It turns out that that performer was none other than Toto la Momposina a woman that will become a personal tradition in my life as much as La Lupe, Celia Cruz, Graciela and others. Toto represented an area of Colombia that with the passage of time will become my second Patria. Tonight 17 years after that encounter in Borders I was face to face with the Caribbean Diva. As I heard her sing “Yo me llamo cumbia” in her unmistaken voice that at her age feels like a good wine, I was overcome by an emotion that only comes from loving Colombia as my own country.
Her performance was impeccable and she not only embodied her very regional musical genre she also personified the whole Caribbean in several of her titles. Her band was extremely polished and they had the command of a Cuban style that evoked a bygone era. I particularly enjoyed her porro numbers like “Los sabores del Porro” which evokes the memories of listening to Porro on the porch with my late father in law.
I took this image last weekend at a Bombazo which is a gathering of people that dance the ancient Bomba dances from Puerto Rico. During the summer months in Chicago, one of the places that Bombazos take place at is at the Casita de Don Pedro on Division Street in Humboldt Park. I was using a 35mm lens on a Nikon D7000, so I did not have the luxury of very wide angles to capture crowds and overall vistas so I was looking at individuals on a short range. So I photograph without being able to imagine the final result.
On this day I was using a 35mm lens on a Nikon D7000, so I did not have the luxury of very wide angles to capture crowds and overall vistas that I so much like, so I was looking at individuals on a short range. So I photographed without being able to imagine the final result. When I put this image on the computer it became evident that besides the drums the symbol of Bomba dancing are the skirts.
On this day I was using a 35mm lens on a Nikon D7000, so I did not have the luxury of very wide angles to capture crowds and overall vistas so I was looking at individuals on a short range. So I photograph without being able to imagine the final result. When I put this image on the computer it became evident that besides the drums the symbol of Bomba dancing are the skirts, your skill level in many ways are determined by how you handle the skirt.
Felicitas or Fela the individual on the image, handles the skirt gracefully and with skill which shows many years of learning and dedication, in fact I think the skirt becomes her and she express what she feels with the skirt. The skirt and her are one.
We decided on a quick getaway with the kids so after all the rain anything to do with rivers and Starved Rock was out the question. So we took a sleepy drive to Michigan and our first stop was South Haven after driving through Saint Joseph.
The beach is absolutely spectacular and pristine as well as the town. What makes South Haven special to me is the unique pier along the river and the lake with it’s unique lighthouse. Great getaway with many bed and breakfast.
I have been in a funk since the election. I went for a long walk this morning and after meditating and prayer I came up with these images of one of my favorite places Montrose Harbor. I will resist through my art, which cannot be silenced. I love Chicago, I love what we have. We opposed Trump, and we drove him out of town. Let’s keep strong. Let’s keep a strong mental attitude because we have a long battle in which we are fighting for the soul of this country.