November 14 to November 27
Free Programs in the Fields of Literature, Photography, Folk Story, Film, and Music
Presenting in person programs for the first time in over three years, Celebrate Mexico Now, the inclusive and groundbreaking festival elevating Mexican and Mexican American creative innovators, returns to New York City in November with a sizable roster of unique talks, performances, meals, gallery shows, concerts and screenings. Programming for the festival includes events in the fields of literature, photography, folk story, culinary arts, film, performance art, mariachi and classical music. In keeping with the festival’s populist ethos, most events are free to attend.
Founded in 2004 by award-winning curator and producer Claudia Norman of CN Management, Celebrate Mexico Now (CMN) is New York City’s first and only independent arts festival spotlighting contemporary Mexican culture. Over the past decade and a half, Ms. Norman has brought literally hundreds of native Mexican artists – sculptors, musicians, poets, chefs, filmmakers, actors, dancers, painters, and directors – to perform and show at venues across New York City. Her continuing goal is to share both the rich ancient traditions and vibrant new ideas emerging in Mexico’s vital arts scene by showcasing Mexican and Mexican-American creators alongside US artists embracing Mexican traditions.
CMN is made possible through its partnerships with venues and cultural institutions across Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, whose engagement creates a platform where established and emerging artists can reach the city’s varied audiences. These close collaborations seek to connect and deepen the relationships between organizations like Americas Society, Baxter Street, Center for Fiction, Cinema Tropical, La Nacional, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sobre Masa Restaurant, and Pangea with the diverse Mexican communities of New York City. Since its inception, CMN has collaborated with over 100 cultural institutions, more than 300 artists and, most importantly, tens of thousands of New Yorkers.
Moderated by Naief Yehya
Presented in Collaboration with the Center for Fiction
Monday, November 14 at 6PM at Center for Fiction – 15 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn
Every day in the most dangerous states of Mexico, adolescent girls and young women are abducted from bus stops and schoolyards. Some become the slave-mistresses of drug lords and their armies of assassins. This is the horrific reality behind the acclaimed novel by American-Mexican writer Jennifer Clement, Prayers for the Stolen. Clement lives in Mexico City and was president of PEN Mexico during a time when Mexico became one of the most dangerous places in the world to practice journalism, and also a place where the news media routinely represses information. In partnership with the Center for Fiction (Instagram / Facebook), Celebrate Mexico Now, invites you to be part of an intimate conversation about the novel with author Jennifer Clement and moderated by Mexican journalist and writer Naief Yehya.
Jennifer Clement is an American-Mexican author who addresses the crucial issues of today through the lens of fiction. Her books sit on an “iceberg of research” that brings a breathtaking realism to her stories. Clement is also known for Widow Basquiat, her beautifully written biography of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s partner and muse, Suzanne Mallouk. In 2015, Clement was elected president of PEN International, the first woman to be elected to this role since the organization was founded in 1921. As president, she created the PEN International Women’s Manifesto; her manifesto has since transcended PEN and has been adopted by organizations around the world.
Naief Yehya, born in Mexico City in 1963, is an industrial engineer, journalist, writer, pornographer, and cultural critic who has lived in Brooklyn since 1992. He writes for several publications in Mexico, Spain, and Latin America, and has published four novels: Sanitary Works (Grijalbo, 1992), Going Home (Planeta,1994), The Truth About Life on Mars (Planeta, 1995), and Ashes and Things (Random House, 2017). Yehya has also published two short stories collections (Tales of Bad Women, Plaza & Janés, 2002 and Slices, Conaculta, 2012), and the collection of essays The Transformed Body.
Presented in Collaboration with Baxter St Camera Club of NY
Tuesday, November 15 at 6PM at Baxter St Camera Club of NY – 126 Baxter Street, Manhattan
For the fourth occasion, Celebrate Mexico Now and Baxter St Camera Club of NY (Instagram / Facebook) partner to bring you a conversation with Mexican photographer and visual artist Martha Naranjo Sandoval to discuss the actual panorama of Mexican photography and the impact of it in the art circuit of New York City and the world.
Martha Naranjo Sandoval is a Brooklyn-based photographer and visual artist from Mexico City. Her work focuses on the materiality of image; in the difference between how time is portrayed in moving and still image; and in how images gain significance culturally. She makes stereoscopic collages, light installations, multimedia installations, slideshows, and books. She works with different mediums using obsolete technology designed to remember. Most of her pieces start with family recordings (home videos, family albums, travel postcards) because it is a kind of vernacular photography that is important to whoever took it but not to a lot of other people.
Presented in Collaboration with Pangea
Saturday, November 19 at 9:30PM – $20 Ticket at Pangea – 178 2nd Avenue, Manhattan
Join us in a solo-show along with Psychedelic Spectacular, a duo of live projection artists including Mexican artist, Carlos A. Cruz Velazquez, in which they invite the audience into a journey of self-acceptance through music, dance, costume reveals, and dramatic stupidity.
Since 2002 NYC-Based, artist Carlos A. Cruz Velazquez has been creating performance experiences inspired by an array of emotions. Currently focusing on solo-works, Mr. Cruz Velazquez uses modern dance, contemporary movement techniques, music, and performance art to create pieces where the gentle and grotesque meet.
Carlos Cruz Velazquez is a performance artist, formerly a Mexican Folk Dance performer and teacher, who uses modern dance, physical theater, music, and performance art as tools of inspiration to tell his personal stories. Carlos holds an MFA in Modern Dance from NYU-Tisch School of the Arts, a BFA in Dance, and a BA in Communications both from the University of the Americas Puebla. Mexico. He is a Fulbright Grantee, and a FONCA-CONACULTA scholarship recipient.
Storytelling / Music
Storytelling from Valentina Ortiz
Music from Los Mariachi Angeles de New York
Presented in Collaboration with Literacy Inc., NYC Reads and City’s First Readers
Saturday, November 19 at 3PM at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center – 530 W. 166th Street, Manhattan
Sunday, November 20 at 3PM at El Barrio’s Arts Space PS109 – 215 East 99th Street, Manhattan
Join us alongside Literacy Inc., NYC Reads and City’s First Readers for a celebration of Mexican traditions of central Mexico, one of the world’s great cultural epicenters.
Quetzalcoatl: Aztec Tales, Legends, and Music feature Mexican storyteller Valentina Ortiz as well as Los Mariachi Angeles de New York. Valentina will share stories of Quetzalcoatl, the agile and cunning plumed serpent; the essence of life and wisdom who is often at the center of the tales about the origin of the world, the cycle of the sun, the creation of humans, and the birth of music, food, and happiness.
Storytelling will be followed by Mariachi Angeles de New York, music from the hearts of young people, who from childhood gathered in the community to learn the musical traditions of their ancestors and preserve the art form for future generations. Literacy advocates from Literacy Inc., Reads, and City’s First Readers will welcome families with fun activities and children’s books!
Valentina Ortiz is a Mexican multidisciplinary and multilingual storyteller, musician, and writer with extensive experience in community-based work. Four books and four records show her intense work registering personal and community stories. She has toured and implemented workshops and long-term artistic community projects in diverse settings and local contexts, in Mexico, the U.S., and across the globe. Her repertoire includes theater, music, visual arts, and multilingual storytelling in Spanish, Nahuatl, English, and French. Ortiz is the recipient of Mexico’s Ministry of Culture Grant for her production Canción para Omecihuatl.
Mariachi Angeles de New York is a group of young musicians between the ages of 11 to 20 who have participated in events such as SummerStage, Art Space, and other cultural events across New York City. The group was officially formed during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by students who wanted to keep taking classes virtually, despite closures and interruptions. The group emphasizes education above all else.
Literacy Inc. (LINC) works at the intersection of education and community development to make literacy a value and a right of all children. LINC’s mission is to equip children with foundational literacy skills essential for academic achievement by empowering families and mobilizing the community. Create your own home library and sign up for our free and fun programs available for families with children, five and under, here.
NYC Reads combines the collective effort of 11 partner organizations with local community resources to enhance literacy culture and increase the number of children who enter school prepared to learn and to sustain academic achievement. At the heart of Reads is the belief that literacy is the key to all future learning and a shared commitment by all partners to work together to support children in attaining and exceeding reading proficiency. Receive a free children’s book. Take the Reads Pledge here.
The New York City Council’s Early Literacy Initiative, City’s First Readers, uses the power of early literacy and the strength of collaboration to create equity for children in every New York City neighborhood. Together we ensure that children from all backgrounds have a solid foundation to start school successfully, thrive academically, and succeed beyond their school years.
with Chef Zack Wangeman and Diana Wangeman
Sunday, November 20, 4 to 8PM – $65 for admission and meal at Sobre Masa Tortilleria & Restaurant – 52 Harrison Pl, Brooklyn
Celebrate Mexican Revolution Day with us at Sobre Masa Tortilleria & Restaurant! Mexican chef Zack Wangeman and his wife Diana Wangerman created a special three course menu for the occasion. We will reveal more details of this special gastronomy experience soon.
Zack Wangeman, founder and chef behind the beloved Brooklyn tortilla brand and cafe, Sobre Masa, opened with his wife Diana Wangeman, in Bushwick. The vibrant space features a tortilla factory that sells fresh, house-made tortillas alongside Mexican groceries and goods, a morning coffee shop with Oaxacan coffee and house-made Mexican pastries, as well as a taqueria with a variety of traditional taco styles and cocktails highlighting Mexican spirits. Zack’s mission and ethos behind Sobre Masa Tortilleria and Restaurant (Instagram / Facebook) is to promote conversation around Mexican culture, the rich history of heirloom corn, the hardworking producers and growers of Mexico, and his home, Oaxaca.
Zack Wangeman was born and raised in Oaxaca, and has worked at some of the world’s most acclaimed restaurants, including Celler de Can Roca, Etxebarri, and Per Se, all while consistently traveling back to Oaxaca to immerse himself in Mexican food and culture. As a result of nostalgia for the food of his hometown, Zack started hosting pop-ups in New York that featured quality, authentic ingredients. He developed his nixtamalization techniques, gained a deep understanding and respect for the process, and tapped into the Mexican corn farming community to shine a light on the varieties of heirloom corn and the role it plays in his culture.
Diana Wangeman, who graduated from medical school with a surgeon degree, was also born and raised in Oaxaca, where her mother is the well-recognized chef and owner of Tierra Antigua. She grew up around corn and has always been cooking with her mother traditional dishes from generations.
Presented in Collaboration with Americas Society
Monday, November 21, 7-8PM at Americas Society – 680 Park Avenue, Manhattan
In collaboration with the “Music of the Americas” program of the Americas Society (Instagram / Facebook), Celebrate Mexico Now presents a celebration of Mexican musical diversity with the chamber group Mexamorphosis. Join us for an evening of music connections between contemporary regional Mexican styles and European early music, drawing out influences from Iberia and West Africa. Led by Guadalupe Peraza, Mexamorphosis perform cross-cultural concerts that feature solo and polyphonic western early music in dialogue with traditional African, Turkish, and Mexican instrumentation. Music transitions between styles are made considering their historical and stylistic influences on one another, making the combination harmonically and instrumentally logical.
Mexamorphosis present cross-cultural programs that question the boundaries drawn between folk and high art, the street and the concert hall, old world and new. Mexamorphosis makes room for each artist to speak their tradition freely, to see themselves in their colleagues and to find new/remembered modes of expression. Each performance introduces a rotating cast of highly talented guest artists from different backgrounds. Previous interdisciplinary performances have brought together musicians and dancers from traditions like Son Jarocho, Irish Trad, western early music and Turkish music, as well as multimedia elements from artists in live video mapping, traditional visual art and aerial dance.
Film Screening / Closing Cocktail Reception
and Celebrate Mexico Now Closing Cocktail Reception
Reception Free with Registration – Cash Bar
Tuesday, November 22, 6PM at La Nacional – 239 W 14th Street, Manhattan
For the final performance of Celebrate Mexico Now Festival 2022, join us at La Nacional for our closing cocktail reception and enjoy the screening of Los Guardianes del Maíz (The Keepers of Corn), directed by Gustavo Vazquez and produced by Jonathan Barbieri.
The film tells the story of native corn told by the indigenous farmers, artisans and cooks in Mexico whose ancestors shepherded the ever-evolving seeds from the dawn of agriculture into the 21st Century – a story of collective labor spanning more than 350 generations.
Their voices are joined by community leaders, scientists, chefs, and others whose knowledge and activism stand not only in defense of food sovereignty and the genetic integrity, diversity, and community ownership of native seeds, but in defense of a durable cultural legacy and a way of life. In Spanish, Zapotec and Chinantec with English subtitles (Gustavo Vazquez Orozco, 2021, 58 min.).
This event is made possible thanks to the support of La Nacional and Gustavo Vazquez, Jonathan Barbieri and Yira Vallejo.
About Celebrate Mexico Now
Since 2004, Celebrate Mexico Now has been the only independent arts festival spotlighting contemporary Mexico in New York City. Every year, CMN disrupts the often-narrow definitions of Mexican art and culture by exploring the way artists and creators are reshaping, envisioning, and reflecting on their identity in the ever-changing global context. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the arts. As creators keep facing profound uncertainty, CMN held space to present and remunerate their work. The 2020 and 2021 online festival editions employed over 60 cultural workers and reached wider audiences through international partnerships. In 2022, CMN embraces the opportunity to expand that experience while bringing the Mexican community together again– live and in person!
Celebrate Mexico Now’s presenting partners are Americas Society, Baxter Street, Center for Fiction, Cinema Tropical, La Nacional, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sobre Masa Restaurant, and Pangea. CMN’s media partner is PIX 11.
Celebrate Mexico Now 2022 is made possible thanks to the support of the NYCT/Mosaic Network & Fund, The Mexican Studies Institute, Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, and our backers around the globe. Special thanks to CMN’s fiscal sponsor The Field.
Founded by award-winning curator and producer Claudia Norman of CN Management, Celebrate Mexico Now Festival has brought over 300 groundbreaking artists and projects to over 100 of New York’s leading cultural venues in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island. This citywide partnership network has included The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, New York University and Columbia University, among others.
Due to the complications of international travel, this program is subject to change.
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