Celebrations for Latino Heritage Month kicked off last weekend with several events – among them ¡Viva La Tradición! Palomas Negras at The Ford with Las Colibri, the all-female mariachi group performing with Marissa Ronstadt with Ballet Folklorico Ollin, the northeast valley-based dance troupe.
The annual celebration of Latino Heritage Month officially begins Sept. 15, spotlighting the contributions and cultures of Americans with ancestries from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. With an estimated 4.8 million Latinos, Los Angeles County is home to the largest Latino population of any county in the country, with most living in the United States for generations and others who are newly arrived.
For many residents, Latino heritage is part of daily life, obvious with the names of where they live – San Fernando, Los Angeles, Los Feliz, Duarte, Verdugo, Dominguez, El Segundo and Redondo Beach – and so many city streets and landmarks, like Olvera Street, Sepulveda, Avila Pico and many more.
In the City of San Fernando, with the majority population being more than 90 percent Mexican American, you can readily see the blend of both Spanish and English on the signage of local businesses and on the bilingual marquees at local schools. Celebrating two cultures and languages is embraced and enjoyed for Fiestas Patrias and every day throughout the year. This year among the many events to attend include:
El Grito in DTLA
On Friday, Sept. 15, from 5 to 11 p.m., the City of Los Angeles – featuring Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez as this year’s El Grito Madrina – will host the 81st annual El Grito celebration on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall and at Gloria Molina Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). The event will include the yearly ringing of the bell to reenact the Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores), the call to arms that launched the Mexican War of Independence in 1810. The event will include live performances by Banda Machos, Las Colibrí, Las Cafeteras and Banda Las Angelinas. L.A. City Hall is located at 200 North Spring Street in DTLA.
A Mexican Liberty Bell Gifted to San Fernando
On Saturday, Sept. 16, the City of San Fernando will celebrate Mexican Independence Day by commemorating the historic Grito de Dolores – when Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang a church bell to launch Mexico’s revolution against Spain. The City will unveil a replica of the Mexican Liberty Bell donated by Enrique Mitchell Velasco, owner of Dulces De La Rosa. The bell will be rung for the first time during the festivities, being held 2 to 6 p.m. at the Casa de Lopez Adobe, at 1100 Pico Street in San Fernando. For more information, call (818) 837-2272.
Free Movie Streaming: “Malpaso”
On Sept. 16-24, the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles (LACLA) will offer free virtual streaming of the movie “Malpaso” as part of its 4th annual ‘‘Cine Nepantla’’ film program. Described as an “exploration of border life, family bonds and dreams deferred,” the movie tells the story of twin brothers Candido and Braulio living in a neglected border region between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. To access the online streaming, which includes a Q&A with the director Hector M. Valdez, go to: www.lacla.org/cine-nepantla-2023.
Latino Heritage Month at LAMC
On Wednesday, Sept. 20, the Chicano Studies Department at Los Angeles Mission College (LAMC) will celebrate Latino Heritage Month with an interactive Zoom discussion from 6 to 8 p.m. about the 80th anniversary of the Zoot Suit Riots. On Wednesday, Sept. 27, the department will present “Musical Identity in Mexican Heritage and Spanish Rock,” also from 6 to 8 p.m. via Zoom.
On Tuesday, Oct. 3, LAMC will host an all-day on-site Latino Heritage Celebration in the Quad from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. featuring rock en español in the morning; mariachi, paletas, churros and more in the afternoon; and closing with a screening of the Pixar film “Coco.” LAMC is located at 13356 Eldridge Avenue in Sylmar. To access the Zoom event links or for more information, go to: www.lamission.edu/news/latino-heritage-month.
On Saturday, Sept. 23, The Ford will present a special screening of the 1997 film “Selena” at 8 p.m., featuring a live musical performance by Selenamos, an LA-based Selena tribute band. The Ford is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East in Hollywood. To buy tickets, go to: www.theford.com/events/performances/2571/2023-09-23/selena.
On Sunday, Oct. 1, the Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Recreation Center will host a free concert titled, “Amor Prohibido: The Selena Tribute Show” from 5 to 7 p.m. The recreation center is located 14201 Huston Street in Sherman Oaks. For more information, go to: www.eventbrite.com/e/715081216167.
Latino Culture at the Library
On Saturday, Sept. 23, artist-in-resident Debra Dismathe will lead the workshop “Papel Picado!” from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the Canoga Park Branch Library. Participants will learn how to make a book cover inspired by papel picado, a Mexican folk art that involves cutting detailed designs into sheets of colored tissue paper. All ages are invited and all materials will be provided. The Canoga Park branch is located at 20939 Sherman Way. For more information, call (818) 887-0320 or go to: debradisman.com/events/category/presentations.
On Wednesday, Sept. 27, the San Fernando Library will offer an in-person “Mexican Amate Painting” workshop from 4 to 5 p.m. for kids ages 5 to 12 (with a parent or guardian). Participants will learn about the history and process of amate painting, which uses paper made from tree bark to paint traditional designs. For details, go to: visit.lacountylibrary.org/event/8933636.
On Friday, Sept. 29, the Los Angeles Central Library will stream several consecutive half-hour virtual programs via YouTube as part of its LA Libros Fest starting at 9 a.m. For all ages, the programs will feature bilingual and Spanish-language storytelling, workshops, cultural performances and award-winning Latino authors. For the full schedule, go to: www.lapl.org/libros-fest/schedule.
Hola México Film Festival
From Sept. 29 to Oct. 7, the 15th Annual Hola México Film Festival will be presented at venues in Hollywood and Los Angeles, starting with “Surviving My XV,” a coming-of-age comedy directed by Chava Cartas, at the Montalbán Theater in Hollywood. Hola México will feature 19 films in three categories, including the L.A. debut of the Sundance award-winning film “Radical,” which stars Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez. For tickets, go to: www.vivenu.com/seller/hola-mexico-film-festival-1l4c.
Latino Music at The Ford
On Saturday, Sept. 30, The Ford will present “Canciones de mi Madre” at 8 p.m., with local artists reimagining Linda Ronstadt’s groundbreaking album “Canciones de mi Padre,” which is the biggest-selling non-English language album in U.S. history. On Friday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m., “Al Sur de la Frontera” will present traditional music from the Sierra Zapoteca of Oaxaca combined with experimental electronica and performance art.
The Ford is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East in Hollywood. To buy tickets, for further details and the complete upcoming schedule, go to: www.theford.com/events/performances.
Free Concert and Festivities
On Saturday, Oct. 14, Curacao in Northridge will present a free concert and festivities from 4 to 9 p.m. The gathering will begin with a Latino Women Art Show at 4 p.m., followed by a meet-and-greet with Mexican-American singer Luis Coronel at 5 p.m. The event will close with a concert by Queen cover band Bohemian Queen. The Northridge Curacao is located at 9301 Tampa Avenue.