Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today in Another Latino Washout...

So the next big Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises -- the third in director Christopher Nolan's trilogy -- features a character who in the comic books was Latino.  According to Wikipedia:
Bane was born in the fictional Caribbean Republic of Santa Prisca, in a prison called Peña Dura ("Hard Rock").
His father was a British mercenary who died leaving his rebel girlfriend pregnant with their baby.  She was thrown in jail and he was born and raised there.  

The character's gone through many name changes.  He was a minor (and stupidly used) character in the execrable Batman & Robin movie with the real name of Antonio Diego.  He's been played, or voiced, by veteran Latino actor Héctor Elizondo and in next year's Justice League Doom by Argentinian American actor  Carlos Alazraqui.

In Nolan's universe, the character will be played by British actor Tom Hardy.  I've yet to come across anything about the new film's character origin and fear that Nolan has just wiped clean any of his Latino roots.  

Is this the right way to put it?  Yes.  I guess it is.

That's it for today's Latino Washout Report.

Monday, November 28, 2011

BOTD - José Iturbi

Born on this date, the pianist, composer and movie music maker José Iturbi.

He made his American debut in New York City in 1929. He made his first appearance as a conductor in Mexico City in 1933 when presented by donon Ernesto de Quesada from Conciertos Daniel. In April 1936, Iturbi was injured in the crash and sinking of Pan American Airways' Puerto Rican Clipper in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. After the incident, he said he would not be able to play "for some time", and "I may not be able to conduct again." Later that year, however, he was named conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in upstate New York, serving until 1944. He also led the Valencia Symphony Orchestra for many years. He often appeared in concert with his sister, Amparo Iturbi, who was also a renowned pianist.

He appeared in several Hollywood films of the 1940s, notably playing himself in the 1943 musical, Thousands Cheer and in the 1945 film, Anchors Aweigh. He was involved in a complex family custody battle in the 1940s that culminated in his former son-in-law kidnapping Iturbi's two granddaughters.

Here he is in the 1945 film Anchors Aweigh leading a group of classical pianists in Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody.  Watch for Gene Kelly.


A Book Blog Begins

This blog is being born out in the hillside of Central Virginia.  I am here on a writer's residency working on a new book of poems.  The themes of the book loosely deal with the dynamics of Latin@ identity, emigrant experience and familial and historical inheritance.

The research for this book has exposed me to fascinating aspects of Latino culture and history and it's my hope that this blog can serve as a way to share some of those discoveries with a wider readership.