¡Artes y Cultura! – Do you believe in miracles? There’s a true milagro unfolding on a wall in downtown LA on Calle Olvera, the birthplace of Los Angeles. The milagro being the long awaited conservation and exhibition of America Tropical, the epic mural by Mexican master David Alfaro Siqueiros unseen for more than 70 years. Siqueiros lived in LA for many months back in 1932 and was commissioned to paint something to celebrate “tropical America” that might give a boost to tourism on Olvera Street. If anyone was expecting lovely palm trees and exotic birds, forget it. Suffice to say in this short space that the politics featured in the mural facing City Hall, of all places, created an uproar and an almost instant whitewashing of the masterpiece followed by deportation of the maestro when his visa ran out. The local artistic and political communities have driven many attempts through the decades to save the mural and it’s finally happening thanks to the Getty Conservation Institute, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City of Los Angeles.

The Siquieros Mural Center will include a protective shelter, a viewing platform and an interpretive center set to open to the public in October, 2012. I got a recent sneak preview thanks to Chris Espinosa of the Mayor’s office along with my Amigos de Siqueiros advisory board co-chair Dalila Sotelo and Pueblo Commissioner Carol Jacques. One word – Wow! Amigos de Siqueiros is proud to be on the team as a programming partner for this cultural landmark. www.amigosdesiqueiros.org


¡LATINO HOLLYWOOD! – Is the big screen ready for La Magnifica Salma Hayek teaming with El Intenso Benecio del Toro as jefes of a Mexican drug cartel? ¡Ay, Chihuahua! Actually, Baja California is where the two headquarter. Things get rough and ugly when a couple of California pot growers start to crowd Salma and Benecio’s lucrative turf in idyllic Laguna Beach. They all eventually have to watch out for a ferocious John Travolta as the DEA agent after the whole bunch. Controversial director Oliver Stone (“Platoon,” “Natural Born Killers) is the man behind the cameras in the aptly titled “Savages” set for release in the fall. Throw in the elegant and mysterious Uma Thurman who played with Travolta in the classic “Pulp Fiction” and you get a helluva film dripping with big stars, drugs, sex and steam. ¡HASTA PRONTO!