Sights & Sounds: Aya de Leon
Sights & Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene. Poet, novelist and activist Aya de Leon told KALW’s Jeneé Darden about three fantastic arts events happening around the Bay this weekend.
- Amazing Grace at the New Parkway Theatre (OAK) Thur 6/20
- El ”Dia de San Juan" Salsa Festival at Swiss Park (NEWARK) Sat 6/22
- SABOR! Fiesta Internacional at La Peña Cultural Center (BERK) Sat 6/22
The concert documentary Amazing Grace chronicles the late Aretha Franklin recording her live gospel album of the same name. The film's footage is from 1972 but it remained in the Warner Brothers vaults for almost 40 years due to sound syncing issue. New producers arranged with the Queen of Soul's family to have it released after her death last year. The film opened to rave reviews. Watch it on Thursday night at the New Parkway Theatre in Oakland.
She was very connected to the Black Power Movement even though she’s not always one of the folks that is always associated with that movement. She at the time, said some pretty edgy things politically, and I appreciate that about her history.
On Saturday the Western Region Puerto Rican Council presents their annual El "Dia de San Juan" Salsa Festival. Join the Puerto Rican community for a day of live music, authentic food and lots of entertainment at Swiss Park in Newark. Proceeds from the event will go toward college scholarship funds for students.
For me, as a Puerto Rican who was raised in the Bay, I had no idea that there were other Puerto Ricans here besides my family. I was like, “My family are the only Puerto Ricans that I know,” and so it’s always been amazing to go to this festival.
La Peña Cultural Center celebrates its 44th anniversary during SABOR! Fiesta Internacional. The night starts with a Latin rhythms dance class. Then DJ José Ruíz will spin a variety of rhythms from Latin America and around the globe. Dance the night away this Saturday night at the La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley.
La Peña Cultural Center for me as a young artist starting out was my home, and it was a place of intersectionality.