A Year to Remember

First things first: Happy New Year! May 2010 bring nothing but bigger and better things to you and yours. Get Cultured is set to evolve in the new year, so stay tuned for some exciting changes!

Secondly, we need some sort of closure on 2009. While some big things happened this year, like, the economy falling apart and Mexico’s narco trade spiraling out of control, it’s the small things that count, in my mind. So I compiled a list of my top 15 Get Cultured items of the past year, in no particular order:

Latin Music USA: It was a daunting task, but PBS rose to the challenge with this four-part special chronicling our contributions in music, from Tito Puente to Pitbull.

Fania Records gets a makeover! The legendary salsa label finally joined the 21st century and with financial backing, launched a proper website where Faniaticos can listen to free radio and read up on the history of Celia, Willie, Ruben, Johnny, and more.

Gustavo Dudamel rocks the house: The newly minted Director of the LA Philarmonic proves he’s the coolest classical dude since, like, ever (btw the DVD of his inaugural concert is now on sale).

This Is It: Lucky for us, the inimitable Kenny Ortega directed a documentary that’ll render the King of Pop immortal.

Joaquin Cortes dances again: Albeit for one night only in NYC. And I was lucky enough to be there, even if he says arrogant things like, “There’s flamenco before Joaquin Cortes, and there’s flamenco after Joaquin Cortes.” He’s got a point!

Fast & (even more) Furious: the fourth installment of the high-octane franchise brought in a record-breaking $71 million over the weekend of April 3–5, proving to studio execs worldwide that we are, indeed, the fastest growing movie audience and a group they need to pay more attention to.

The Angel’s Game: Spain’s literary star Carlos Ruiz Zafon unveils the gothic prequel, set in 1920s Barcelona, to his hit The Shadow of the Wind.

Santana sets up shop in Sin City: Starting in May 2009, Carlos Santana treated visitors to his new rock residency at the recently remodeled The Joint venue at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Bolivia’s Fighting Cholitas: Mickey Rourke would be proud of these indigenous, multilayered skirt-wearing female wrestlers.

La Dolce Rita: Moreno, that is! The 77-year-old legend performed on Little Tributes, a solo cabaret show in which she pays homage to those Broadway singers and composers she most admires, and offers a taste of her own repertoire.

Fonovisa turns 25! Take a moment to salute the Motown of regional Mexican music.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona: “Three is a charm/two is not the same,” as Britney would put it.

El Norte 25th Anniversary DVD: El Norte, from acclaimed director Gregory Nava (My Family, Selena), is just one of those flicks you own if you’re Latin.

The Prado Museum goes digital: Spain’s Prado Museum partners with Google Earth to allow art lovers to see 14,000-pixel, 360-degrees worth of art and is thus the first to allow this type of unprecedented access and high-res navigation.

Guayasamin exhibit at the MOLAA: The prolific Ecuadorean artist (and my compatriot) gets an exhibit worthy of his work at the Museum of Modern Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA.