Music, Dance, Books, Films and More Highlight SFPL Exhibition on Latinos in Popular Music

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July 29, 2011

Music, Dance, Books, Films and More Highlight San Francisco Library Exhibition on Latinos in Popular Music

American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music, on view in the Skylight Gallery, Main Library, Aug. 27-Nov. 13

From free music and dance performances, to film screenings, album art and literature talks, the San Francisco Public Library will be humming with activity from August to November, thanks to more than 25 special events in support of the exhibition, American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music.

The traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian, on view in the Main Library’s Skylight Gallery, Aug. 27-Nov. 13, presents the musical contributions of U.S. Latinos from the 1940s to the present, exploring the social history and individual creativity that produced stars like Tito Puente, Ritchie Valens, Celia Cruz, Carlos Santana and Selena.

Developed by the Experience Music Project and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), American Sabor travels to 12 cities through 2015. The exhibition, its national tour and related programs are made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund.

Among the exciting programs coming to the San Francisco Public Library in support of the exhibition is an opening event, Aug. 27 at 3 p.m., in the Main Library’s Koret Auditorium, featuring Grammy-nominated and USA Fontanals Fellow John Santos and his stellar Sextet.  They will perform and provide educational insights on the historical and cultural significance of Latin Jazz, as well as its aesthetic characteristics pertaining to instrumentation, rhythm, interpretation and improvisation.  Chelis Lopez of KPOO radio station will serve as the emcee.

Family and children’s programs include From Latin Beats to Tiny Feet, a free performance on Sept.24 with La Familia Peña-Govea and youth ensemble Futuro Picante. On Oct. 21, children can help build a Dia de los Muertos altar at the Bernal Heights Branch Library. And the Library’s third annual Tricycle Music Fest West has a special Latin theme this year with three free concerts featuring Lucky Diaz and The Family Jam Band. On Nov. 5, teens will participate in a special Latin dance competition at the Main Library. See a complete list of programs below. 

The exhibition, American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music, focuses on five major centers of Latino popular music production—New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio and San Francisco—that represent the remarkable diversity of this music. Each city section explores the broader histories and cultures that created the music from those areas, including how the musical innovations of Latino youths crossed ethnic and racial boundaries and helped shape American popular music, how immigration and migration influenced Latino and U.S. popular music, and the ways in which Latinos have musically expressed their experiences as Americans.

With dynamic bilingual (English and Spanish) text panels, striking graphics and photographs, and compelling listening stations and films, the exhibition celebrates the true flavor of Latin music in the United States.

The exhibition is complemented by an interactive website——that includes expanded exhibition content, historic photographs, lesson plans, video oral histories from Latin music stars, a jukebox featuring a special “American Sabor” playlist and a mixing-board interactive activity.

The exhibition and related programs coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month commemorative activities in the fall.  For more information, please visit

American Sabor Program List

Opening Public Program-John Santos Sextet

Four-time Grammy nominee and USA Fontanals Fellow, John Santos, and his stellar Sextet will perform and provide educational insights on the historical and cultural significance of Latin Jazz, as well as its aesthetic characteristics pertaining to instrumentation, rhythm, interpretation and improvisation.  Chelis Lopez of Rincon Literario of KPOO radio station will serve as the program emcee.

Saturday, Aug. 27, Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 3 p.m.

September Thursday at Noon film series about Latin music

Sept. 1 - Latin Music U.S.A. -- Part 1 (2009, 120 min.) 

Sept. 8 - Latin Music U.S.A. -- Part 2 (2009, 120 min.)

Sept. 15 - Tocar y Luchar (“To Play and To Fight”) (2006, 70 min.)

Sept. 22 - Lalo Guerrero (2006, 54 min.)

Sept. 29 - Selena (1997, 127 min.)

Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 12 p.m.

Canta con Susan Peña / Sing with Susan Peña

La Familia Peña-Govea will screen their new DVD, Canta y Aprende con Susan Peña's Favorites,  an illustrated, 30 minute educational  video of the previously released audio CD.  Following the screening, La Familia will perform songs from the video and light refreshments will be served.    Free copy of the DVD for each attending educator or family!

Thursday, Sept. 15, Bernal Heights Branch Library, 4 p.m.

Bachata Dance Class

Learn how to bachata dance with tips from a professional dance instructor in this free dance lesson. Bachata is a partner dance originally from the Dominican Republic that has spread all over the world and developed different styles in various regions.

Saturday, Sept. 17, Mission Bay, 1:30 pm

The Architecture of Sound

Panelists discuss and explore the relationship between architecture, acoustics, and the live performance experience.  Their impact on San Francisco Bay Area musical venues (traditional and non-traditional) that have contributed to unique and memorable musical performances will also be addressed .  Panelists include architect Marc Cavagnero, whose projects include the new SFJAZZ building; Kurt Graffy, Associate Principal at ARUP’s acoustics lab; five-time Grammy nominated musician and producer; Wayne Wallace; and moderator, John King of the San Francisco Chronicle.  A brief audience Q & A will follow the panel discussion.

Tuesday, Sept. 20, Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Latin Beats and Tiny Feet Come Together

A performance of Latin music for the whole family featuring La Familia Peña-Govea, followed by youth ensemble Futuro Picante  

Saturday, Sept. 24, Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 1 p.m.

Lights, Camera, Mission

Join us for a retrospective of San Francisco Video Fest --an annual showcase of independent Latino and Latin American video featuring short drama, experimental, animation and documentary forms, produced by the staff of the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.

Thursday, Sept. 29, Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 5:30 p.m.

Orquestra La Moderna Tradicion

From the first note, you'll want to jump out of your seat at this musical performance! Since 1996, the San Francisco-based Orquesta La Moderna Tradición has thrilled audiences across the country with a mix of contemporary timba-infused arrangements of Danzón music. Originating in the late 1800s, Danzón still remains one of the most important musical styles in Cuba, and it was the music of choice at the Havana social clubs of the 1950s.

Saturday, Oct. 1, Mission Branch Library, 2-4 pm

Francisco Herrera-Singer & Guitarist

Francisco Herrera is an accomplished guitarist and has recorded several Spanish children's music albums. Francisco's charisma and talent captures children's imaginations and lets them immerse themselves in the world of music.  He will perform Latin music inspired selections.

Wednesday, Oct. 5, Main Library, Fisher Children’s Center, 10:30 a.m.

La Bamba: Latinos in Vintage Rock, Pop, and Soul

Local rock historian Richie Unterberger will present this curated video-program of Latino performers from the 1950s through the 1980s focusing particularly on Latino music from New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, and San Francisco. Included will be clips by artists such as Santana, Malo, Ritchie Valens, the Sir Douglas Quintet, Linda Ronstadt, Jose Feliciano, and Los Lobos, among others

Saturday, Oct. 15, Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 3 p.m.


Wednesday, Oct.26, Excelsior Branch Library, 6:30 p.m.

Salsamania: San Francisco Trolley Dances Performances

As part of the annual San Francisco Trolley Dances site specifics performances by  one of the Bay Area’s finest dance companies, Salsamania will present slasa, mambo and other Latin dances to music from the American Sabor exhibition.  SF Trolley Dances is produced by Kim Epifano Productions.  For more information, visit,

Main Library, Sixth Floor Terrace (Outside Skylight Gallery)

Saturday, October 15: *11:30 am, 12:15 pm, 1 pm, 1:45 pm, 2:30 pm, and 3:15 pm

Sunday October 16: *12:15 pm, 1 pm, 1:45 pm, 2:30 pm, and 3:15 pm

*Trolley Dances performance times are approximate, performances are 10-12 minutes long, repeated six times on Saturday and five on Sunday.

Jazz, Rumba, and the Latin Music Craze

SF Jazz Director of Education Rebeca Mauleón and others discuss the deep impact of Afro-Caribbean music on the development of jazz.  Listen to some amazing audio, watch classic video clips, and discuss how Latin music is still evolving and reverberating across cultures today.

Wednesday, Oct. 19, Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 6 p.m.

Dia de Los Muertos Alter Workshop

Children can join Anita De Lucio for a hands-on workshop and help create a Dia de los Muertos altar for the Bernal Branch Library.

Friday, Oct. 21, Bernal Heights Branch Library, 3:30 p.m.

Tricycle Music Fest West –Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jazz Band are the headline performers with additional performance by the Time Outs.  Lucky Diaz is a first generation immigrant from Mexico who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and now resides in Los Angeles.  Lucky Diaz is a hip shaking, head bopping Los Angeles based band.  Their library performances will include Latin inspired selections. 

Saturday, Oct. 22, Main Library, Fisher Children’s Center, 11 a.m.

Saturday, Oct. 22, Bernal Heights Branch Library, 3 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 23, Mission Branch Library, 12 p.m., in partnership with Sunday Streets Mission


Salsa with Corey Raynor

Learn to salsa with Cory Raynor.  Salsa is a music and dance rooted in Cuban traditions heavily influenced by the Nuyoricans in the 60’s and 70’s and has spread around the world in various forms and styles.  Corey Raynor has been principal dancer of world-renowned dance companies including Salsamania and Beyond Dreamz.

Wednesday, Oct. 26, Bernal Heights Branch Library, 7 p.m.

Santana Album Design Lecture with Michael Rios

Bay Area native and artist Michael V. Rios began creating murals in the Mission neighborhood in the 1970s.  In 1986 he began working with Carlos Santana and created a mural in his honor, “Inspire to Aspire” located on South Van Ness and 22nd Streets in San Francisco.  Mr. Rios’ work for Santana included concert backdrops, custom clothing designs, guitars and several album covers.  Mr. Rios will provide a lecture overview and workshop about his work. 

Wednesday, Oct. 27, Main Library, 6 p.m.

Writing, Loving and Dying to Music

Acclaimed poet/author and LitQuake Festival curator of Spanish-language readings, Alejandro Murguia, Associate Professor of Raza Studies in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University will lead a lecture about Latin music and the Day of the Dead.  Mr. Murguia is a two-time winner of the American Book Award and was also the founding member and the first director of the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. 

Wednesday, Nov. 2, Main Library, Latino Hispanic Community Room, 6 p.m.

Teen Dance Contest

Bay Area High School students will create and perform dances inspired by Latin American music in a judged contest with cash prizes.

Saturday, Nov. 5, Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 2 p.m.

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for almost 60 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at

Experience Music Project

EMP is dedicated to the exploration of creativity and innovation in popular music. By blending interpretive, interactive exhibitions with cutting-edge technology, EMP captures and reflects the essence of rock ’n’ roll, its roots in jazz, soul, gospel, country and the blues, as well as rock’s influence on hip-hop, punk and other recent genres. Visitors can view rare artifacts and memorabilia and experience the creative process by listening to musicians tell their stories.

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and American heritage and community life. The Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. For more information, visit

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