Weekend Event Guide: Puerto Rican Day Parade Edition

Puerto Rican painter Sofia Maldonado usually works in abstraction but for this Saturday's solo show at Point Green she will return to her roots.  Photo: Sofia Maldonado, 'Bienal de Asunción,' 2015. Courtesy of the artist.

Puerto Rican painter Sofia Maldonado usually works in abstraction but for this Saturday's solo show at Point Green she will return to her roots. Photo: Sofia Maldonado, 'Bienal de Asunción,' 2015. Courtesy of the artist.

New York City’s 60th annual Puerto Rican Day Parade is this Sunday, June 11th. Nearly two million people come out to witness the giant event which celebrates Puerto Rican heritage and honors those who have made a lasting impact on the culture. This year, the parade’s organizers have chosen to emphasize unity in these divisive times. The 2017 parade theme is “Un Pueblo, Muchas Voces (One Nation, Many Voices).”  

In honor of the NYC Puerto Rican community, Point Green Zine’s weekend guide for the first week of June includes happenings that feature PR institutions, artists and musicians for the best events leading up to the parade.

Artist Sofia Maldonado is showing at the Whitney Biennial as part of Occupy Museums' Debtfair. The biennial closes on June 11th.  Photo courtesy of Occupy Museums. 

Artist Sofia Maldonado is showing at the Whitney Biennial as part of Occupy Museums' Debtfair. The biennial closes on June 11th. Photo courtesy of Occupy Museums. 

FRIDAY, JUNE 8th

Femme Nation @ Taller Boricua Gallery
12 - 6pm
1680 Lexington Avenue, NYC 10029
Taller Boricua first began as the Puerto Rican Workshop in 1969 in El Barrio. It helped fuel the Nuyorican Movement and today continues its legacy of providing a platform for marginalized artists who have typically been ignored by the mainstream art world. The gallery’s current show, Femme Nation, features Lizzy Alejandro, Sandra Ayala and Maria Extevez. The three artists use photography to explore themes of femininity, sexuality, and motherhood. Femme Nation was curated by L.C. Stephenberg and runs through June 30.
Website

The Whitney Biennial
10:30am - 10pm
99 Gansevoort Street, NYC 10014
The Whitney Biennial is one of the foremost exhibitions in contemporary art. It closes this Sunday so check it out on Friday before the weekend crowd descends. This year’s roster features many Hispanic and female artists, including Sofia Maldonaldo. See her piece in Occupy Museums’ Debtfair ahead of the opening of her solo show at Point Green on Saturday.
Website

Friday Night Poetry Slam @ Nuyorican Poets Cafe
10pm
236 East 3rd Street, NYC 10009
The Nuyorican Poets Cafe began in 1973 in the East Village living room of poet and writer Miguel Algarin. It soon began a haven for marginalized writers, visual artists, and musicians of color. Today the cafe continues to use performance as a means of social empowerment and is especially known for spoken word and poetry events. This week marks the perfect moment to check out the Friday Night Poetry Slam or head over on Sunday night for some post parade revelry.
Website

SATURDAY, JUNE 10TH

Fem Trap @ Point Green
5 - 9pm
260 Java Street, BK 11222
Puerto Rican artist Sofia Maldonado returns to her graffiti and skater roots with Fem Trap, her solo show at Point Green, a new gallery in Brooklyn. The exhibition is an exploration of young Hispanic female trap musicians and features new drawings, a visual playlist, skate decks, and a special pop-up shop stocked with special edition merch. Fem Trap opens Saturday and runs through June 30.
Website

33rd New York Salsa Festival @ Barclays Center
8pm
620 Atlantic Avenue, BK 11217
After checking out the ladies of trap at Sofia’s show, keep the music going at the New York Salsa Festival which is part of the annual programming of the Puerto Rican Day parade. This year’s lineup features Eddie Palmieri, Tito Nieves, Grupo Niche, Fruko y Sus Tesos, Tito Rojas, DLG, Eddie Santiago, Frankie Negron, Domingo Quiñones, and Nuyorican legend, Willie Colón.
Website

SUNDAY, JUNE 11TH

The Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC celebrates its sixtieth anniversary this year. Photo courtesy of National Puerto Rican Day Parade inc.

The Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC celebrates its sixtieth anniversary this year. Photo courtesy of National Puerto Rican Day Parade inc.

Puerto Rican Day Parade
11am - 5pm
Fifth Avenue from 44th to 86th, NYC
Don’t miss the main event of the weekend! Dubbed “America’s largest cultural celebration,” the parade is a choice way to set off summer in the city vibes. Since its 1958 debut, the Puerto Rican Day Parade has attracted massive crowds so get to Fifth Avenue early to secure your spot. This year’s edition marks the 60th anniversary of the event so it’s bound to be one for the books and the Snaps.
Website

Artist Profile: Beatriz Santiago Muñoz

Still from La Cueva Negra, 2013, digital color video with sound. Courtesy of the artist and Galería Agustina Ferreyra, San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Courtesy of BOMB Magazine)

Still from La Cueva Negra, 2013, digital color video with sound. Courtesy of the artist and Galería Agustina Ferreyra, San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Courtesy of BOMB Magazine)

By Christina Di Biase

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, born 1972 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, unveils truth through what is an inherently distorted medium. Film, appearing observational and objective, also holds a sense of romanticism that is difficult to avoid. Film naturally dances a line between fiction and reality. Visual imagery is powerful in that it expresses things that language cannot. Muñoz utilizes this dynamic in powerful short films that focus on the revealed histories of Puerto Rican landscapes.

“La Cueva Negra” (The Black Cave, 2013) is a vision of Puerto Rico’s sacred past and complicated present. The film is non-linear, with segmented narratives that are a balance between spoken word and quiet visuals. Two young boys adventuring through jungle interact with every part of their environment, while simultaneously noting the forgotten cars, graffiti, and what else has been left behind. The boys play on the ground of El Paso del Indio, a religious burial site in Puerto Rico, uncovered through road development. A sense of reflection is invoked regarding the history and myth of the land. The tension between the material present and a discovered knowledge of the past creates the crux of the film. It forces the viewer to think about how we interact with our landscapes and the history they hold. That interaction of past and present creates a new history of it's own. 

Muñoz’s films all share these themes. They are beautiful to look at, but also invoke a deeper narrative. She leaves room for the audience to process information, refraining from filling in every blank. The information she relays directly is not overwhelming. She engages with the real world by consistently using locals in her films. She avoids a contrived narrative by allowing for improvisation. Her subjects' genuine interaction with their familiar environment creates a sense of authenticity, accessing a deeper self that Muñoz uses as a tool for transformation. Through Muñoz's work, we learn that one's personality is shaped by their relationship to their environment.