As ¿Que Pasa, U.S.A.? Today rolls up to it's 2nd (and final) weekend at the Adrienne Arsht Center's Sanford & Dolores Ziff Operahouse it's a celebration of all that our Cuban community in South Florida is and has been. Gen ñ founder Bill Teck spoke to fantastic actresses Martha Picanes and Vivian Ruiz about their standout roles as Violeta's momther and aunt, Encarnacion and Asuncion - their lives and careers in theater and on screen, and Gonzalo Rodriguez, who's been directing ground breaking theater in Miami for decades - about bringing their craft to both Que Pasa and the South's greatest stage.
Martha has starred in Spanish language versions of plays like Uncle Vanya and The Women among many more and national soap operas like Mariaelena, Anita no te rajes, and plus her show a radio show on Radio Marti for over 20 years to her scores of fans in Cuba and her show on Radio Caracol cement at her reputation. She has a leading role in Tric o tri , a Spanglish film premiering this Halloween.
Vivian has also been acting on stage all her life, she was the voice of Cartman, Kyle and Chef on South Park in Spanish, starred in A Dolphin's Tale with Morgan Freeman and Pain and Gain with The Rock as well as appearing as Soladad Diaz on the Netflix series Bloodline.
Gonzalo Rodriguez has staged acclaimed Spanish language productions of works like The Diary of Anne Frank, Steel Magnolias, Agnes of God and groundbreaking productions of Man of La Mancha and Cecelia Valdes and his adaptation of the Cuban film Fresa y Chocolate was greatly lauded. With interests in the world of production, lighting and post production, in this conversation we celebrated his side as maverick and visionary theater director.
John Leland is an acclaimed writer for the New York Times who’s new book, Happiness is a Choice You Make: A Year Among the Oldest Old is a New York Times Bestseller. In a series of profiles with a diverse group of older Americans Leland shares what he’s learned about living from this fine group of folks. In the book, he traces the life lessons he’s picked up from them – in a way that old comes with wisdom. For this former Rock writer for Spin, opening his heart this couldn’t have been easy and certainly was scary. Still – Leland’s fearlessness as an author and investigator of life shines through. The same guy who put Lisa Lisa and Sa-Fire on the cover of Spin mag, and co-profiled (with Veronica Chambers) Generation ñ in Newsweek – brings the critical eye he brought to books like Hip: A History and Why Kerouac Matters to this beautiful and hopeful tome. It was a blast to talk about his new book, with my old friend John, who I first met back in 1999 when he wrote that Newsweek article on gen ñ. If you’re in Miami he’ll be at Books & Books on Monday. He’s in Broward on Tuesday – check your dates. And for quick wisdom, give this podcast a listen.