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Sights & Sounds: Aya de Leon

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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.

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkKOIQwTiKE

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Credit Western Region Puerto Rican Council
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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.

  

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Credit La Peña Cultural Center
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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.

 
You can meet Aya de Leon during a book signing, reading, & conversation for her latest novel Side Chick Nation on Thursday, June 27th at Pegasus Books in Downtown Berkeley

Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She hosts the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds and covers East Oakland for KALW. Jenee has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.