Friday, July 31, 2015

Quinceañera business? Yeah, it's the Scene cover story.

Nashville Scene, July 23, 2015. Photo by Angelina Castillo.

The name of U.S. President Jimmy Carter standing in a tiny corner, the July 23, 2015 Nashville Scene cover (you've probably already seen it) features a full-size photo of 15-year-old twins Stephanie and Melanie Angel, smiling and raising glasses in the middle of their quinceañera birthday party, wearing matching aquamarine-colored dresses that their mother picked out for them. The debutante party market is booming in Hispanic Nashville, according to the feature with the straightforward title, Quinceañera!

Scene staff writer Dulce Torres, who won Conexion Americas' inaugural young writer essay contest in 2008, interviewed suppliers feasting on the strong and growing local quince demand - including photographer Dalila Duarte of Miyagui Photography and Video, Andrew Vallomthail of Bridal and Formal Wear by RJ, and Rocio Zenon of Coreografias Rocio Zenon. The price tag on these Middle Tennessee parties reaches the $10,000 to $20,000 range, so much that parents are offering to buy their daughters cars instead, according to the story.  Family members who treat it as a reunion are prone to defray the cost to the proud parents.  From the story:
"I tell my daughters that this will be something beautiful. Apart from your 15th birthday, the family you've never met will be reunited," Enrique says. He says many relatives are coming just to see long-lost family.
The business reporting is interspersed with a narrative window into the fraternal twins' dance prep, party theme compromises, and the chants of jubilant attendees cheering on friends and family.  Read the full story here, illustrated by Scene photographer Angelina Castillo.

Nashville quinceañeras used to be featured on the cover of and are still featured in the pages of HolaTN. But a quinceañera cover story on the Nashville Scene - now that's the sign of a city growing up. Party, anyone?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

See artwork, then hear opera in Spanish: "Florencia en el Amazonas"

The first opera to be presented in Spanish in Nashville will be "Florencia en el Amazonas," performed by the Nashville Opera at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on January 23, 25, & 27, 2015. "Florencia en el Amazonas" was composed in Spanish by Daniel Catán and is inspired by the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the musical romanticism of Puccini and Debussy. The opera is sung in Spanish with easy-to-read projected English supertitles.

A related preview of the opera, via visual art, is open now through January 17 at The Arts Company, 215 5th Avenue of the Arts in downtown Nashville, during regular gallery hours, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The exhibition features nine local Hispanic artists. After the opera performances conclude on January 27, the exhibition will move to the Noah Liff Opera Center and will complete its run in April and May at Casa Azafran (specific dates to be announced later). The exhibition is supported through a Metro Nashville Arts Commission grant to the Nashville Opera, and presented in cooperation with Conexión Américas and The Arts Company.

The plot of the opera is set 105 years in the past, on the Amazon River:
In 1910, seven people board a small steamboat for a voyage down the Amazon River toward an unexplored jungle paradise. But soon the characters find themselves on a surreal journey that dares to venture deep into the mysteries of the human heart. Among all the passengers, Florencia seeks the most desperate love of all: Lost love. A true love she long ago let slip through her fingers, and now vows to find again.
“It is a privilege to help discover and present artists in the Nashville Hispanic community,” remarks Anne Brown, owner of The Arts Company. “Especially to work directly with the Nashville Opera and Conexión Américas, tying the artwork to the theme and style of an opera written in Spanish, as well as to the personal experiences of Hispanic artists living and working in the Nashville area."

Participating artists include Liliana Velez, Jorge Arrieta, Orlando Garcia-Camacho, Antuco Chicaiza, Yuri Figueroa, Mandy Peitz, Mike Quinones and Jorge Yances.

Mandy Peitz described her art and its connection to the exhibition and the opera:
My Hispanic roots flow deep inside my creativity – beautiful and dangerous like a river meandering through the jungle. Vibrant shades of red, blue and orange saturate my work, dancing with shadows below. This Kansas girl is thrilled to be part of a show where I can exhibit the fantastic and magical scenes that permeate my mind.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Guantanamera Restaurant closes, taking with it "most memorable" paella and leaving only banquet and event business

The closure notice posted on the restaurant's Facebook page

The same week that Nashville Scene food critic Carrington Fox listed owner Alfonso Nieto's paella as one of "2014's most memorable mouthfuls," on December 26 Guantanamera Restaurant posted on Facebook that it has closed.

Starting with its April 2013 debut, the Cuban, Caribbean, and Latin American menu had featured a variety of food and drink including fried plantains, tamales, empanadas, maduros, and mojitos.

The closure announcement cites location (near the intersection of Nolensville Road and Harding Place) as the economic culprit.

The announcement goes on to say that the banquet and events business will survive, and that a second chance for the restaurant - at a different site - might be in the cards.

Three days before it posted its closure notice, Guantanamera's paella was praised by the Nashville Scene as one of the top ten Nashville tastes of the year

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