Culture

Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Is Celebrating Her 113th Birthday With A Week Full Of Digital Events

Happy Birthday Frida! Were the iconic Mexican artist alive today, she would be celebrating her 113th birthday. Few artists have captured the imagination of the world as Frida Kahlo did – both in life and in death.

The iconic Mexican artist lived a unique life full of success and heartache, which has truly helped create a strong fan base around the world. These days, Frida is still hailed as a feminist, LGBTQ+, and Chicano icon, the beloved artist continues to live on in the hearts of those who love her.

Frida Kahlo’s 113th birthday is full of free events that will help you remember her iconic legacy.

People in Mexico and around the world have shown an enormous interest in learning about the life and work of Frida Kahlo – the iconic Mexican artist. People are eager to learn more about the house where she lived, and which today is the Casa Azul; hear about her diary and how she painted despite her health problems, and learn more about her marriage to the muralist Diego Rivera and their unique relationship.

Well, if Frida Kahlo is also one of your favorite artists – you’re in luck! Her former home, the Casa Azul, has prepared a calendar of events and special activities that you’ll be able to attend from the comfort and safety of your own home.

The events will run from July 6-16 and thousands have already logged on to enjoy workshops, readings, and concerts – all free and online. Through the museum’s Facebook and YouTube profiles, this party can be closely followed along with acts by the Mexican tenor Benito Rodríguez, the soprano Olivia Gorra, the flute player Horacio Franco, the Pasatono orchestra and the Opera Studio Beckmann.

Frida’s Casa Azul will be hosting the events, where she called home for much of her life.

Credit: thatgaygringo / Instagram

Frida Kahlo was born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderón on July 6, 1907 and died on July 13, 1954. She spent much of her life at Casa Azul, in Mexico City’s Coyoacán neighborhood, so it’s no surprise that the museum has decided to celebrate the big day. In fact, it’s between those walls she was born and died.

Obviously, with the continued threat of Covid-19, the museum has decided to host all events online. In an interview with Milenio, museum director Hilda Trujillo said “Culture and art are an indispensable part of the life of society, as has been demonstrated during the Coronavirus pandemic. For this reason, we designed the program ‘Go for Frida!’ in which the Frida Kahlo Museum goes online to request the support of society, so that they can support us with donations to continue creating content for the whole world and continue to highlight Mexico’s art and culture.”

The series of events started on July 6 but will run through July 16 – here’s all the details you need to know about.

Credit: Casa Azul

The program kicked off on July 6 (Frida’s actual birthday) with a concert streamed on the museum’s YouTube channel. But over the ten-day period, the museum will also host various workshops, a reading of Frida Kahlo’s personal diaries, and a drawing contest.

Along with these activities, Casa Azul launched an online donation campaign. This is to help the cultural institution, which closed its doors on March 21 because of the Coronavirus and isn’t expected to reopen until September.

And don’t forget: the Frida Kahlo Museum also has a virtual tour. You can even view the museum’s collection through Google Arts & Culture. So you have no excuses to not celebrate Frida Kahlo birthday and rediscover her legacy.

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

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Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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Latinos You May Not Have Known Were Jewish

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Latinos You May Not Have Known Were Jewish

National Geographic | Getty Images
Photo via Getty Images

Although Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion in most Latin American countries, we all know by now that Latino culture is not a monolith. In fact, Latinidad comes in all shapes and forms, and it’s a total misconception that all Latinos are Catholics. Latinos follow a variety of religions, from Islam to Buddhism to Judaism. And while most people don’t think of Judaism when they think of Latin America, there is, in fact, a small but proud population of Jewish peoples living throughout Latinidad.

Although the Jewish population in Latin America is relatively small (only an estimated 300,000), Jewish Latinos keep their culture alive through tradition and a strong sense of community. The largest Jewish community resides in Argentina, which is considered to be the “center of the Jewish population in Latin America”. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of famous and influential Jewish Latinos who have made their unique mark on the world. Take a look below!

1. Frida Kahlo

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Frida Kahlo was both proud and vocal of her Jewish ancestry at a time when Anti-Semitism was at its height in Mexico. According to Kahlo, her father, Guillermo Kahlo, was a Hungarian-Jew who immigrated to Mexico. In fact, many of Frida’s work have been displayed at Jewish art exhibits.

2. Monica Lewinsky

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Monica Lewinsky’s father is El Salvadoran–born to Jewish-German immigrants who fled Germany during WWII to escape persecution from the Nazi regime.

3. Daniel Bucatinsky

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Beloved “Scandal” actor Daniel Bucatinsky was born in New York City to Argentine-Jewish parents. Bucatinsky has been candid about how his “roots” are in Argentina and how he speaks Spanish fluently. You can even catch him speaking Spanish to his fans on Twitter.

4. Sammy Davis Jr.

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One of the most talented and charismatic performers of the infamous “Rat Pack”, Sammy Davis Jr. was a Latino born to an Afro-Cuban mother. Citing a strong connection to the Jewish faith due to its people’s history of oppression, Davis Jr. converted to Judaism in 1961 and remained devout until his death.

5. William Levy

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Cuban actor and all-around heartthrob William Levy was born in Cojimar to a single mother, Barbara Levy of Jewish descent. At the reported urging of his friends, he converted to Catholicism in 2009

6. Diego Rivera

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Celebrated artist and husband to the venerable Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter Diego Rivera was descended from a Portuguese-Jewish family. Of his roots, Rivera said: “My Jewishness is the dominant element in my life. From this has come my sympathy with the downtrodden masses which motivates all my work”.

7. David Blaine

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Born to a Puerto Rican father and a mother of Russian-Jewish descent, famed magician and illusionist David Blaine is of both Jewish and Latino heritage.

8. Geraldo Rivera

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Journalist and television personality Geraldo Rivera was born to a Puerto Rican father and a mother of Russian-Jewish descent. He was raised “mostly Jewish” and had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Rivera affectionately describes himself as “Jew-Rican”.

9. Bruno Mars

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Bruno Mars was born in Hawaii to a father of mixed Puerto Rican and Ashkenazi Jewish descent, while his mother is Filipino. Mars has referred to his ethnicity as existing in a “gray zone” of neither black nor white. Of his ethnicity, Mars has said: “I hope people of color can look at me, and they know that everything they’re going through, I went through. I promise you.”

10. Sara Paxton

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Sara Paxton was born to Lucia Menchaca Zuckerman and Steve Paxton in Los Angeles. Paxton’s mother was originally from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, where she was raised in a Jewish family. Paxton’s father has since converted to Judaism.

11. Cecilia Roth

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Acclaimed Argentine actress and “muse” of Pedro Almodóvar, Cecilia Roth was born to parents Abrasha Rotenberg and Dina Gutkin in Buenos Aires. Like many European Jews in the 1930s, Roth’s father fled Europe to escape the rising tide of anti-Antisemitism.

12. Eduardo Saverin

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Facebook co-founder, tech entrepreneur and multi-billionaire Eduardo Luiz Saverin was born in São Paulo, Brazil to a wealthy Jewish family. In 1993, the Saverin family immigrated to Miami. Interestingly enough, he was portrayed by the British actor Andrew Garfield in the acclaimed movie “The Social Network”.

13. Jamie-Lynn Sigler

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Known for her role as the spoiled daughter Meadow on “The Sopranos”, Jamie-Lynn Sigler was born to a Cuban mother and a Jewish father. Sigler’s mother converted to Judaism upon marrying Sigler’s father. Sigler has revealed that being raised Jewish, she both attended Hebrew school and had a bat mitzvah.

14. Joaquin Phoenix

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Joaquin Phoenix was born in Puerto Rico to a Jewish mother and a (lapsed) Catholic father. At the time, his parents were acting as missionaries for the cult “Children of God”. Phoenix’s father currently lives in Costa Rica. Of his Latino roots, Phoenix says, “I do like Spanish culture…I like to practice my Spanish when I am working with any actor who speaks Spanish or with members of the crew”.

15. Don Francisco

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Cultural stalwart and host of Univision’s “Sábado Gigante”, Don Francisco was born in Chile to German-Jewish immigrants who fled their home country to escape the Nazi regime.

16. Gabe Saporta

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Cobra Starship lead singer Gabe Saporta was born in Uruguay to a Jewish family. Like many of the entries on this list, Saporta’s grandparents fled Europe during the WWII era to escape anti-antisemitism. His Instagram bio currently reads “I was a terror since the hebrew school era” and he frequently interacts with fans on the account in Spanish.

17. Joanna Hausmann

via johaus/Instagram

Joanna Hausmann is Venezuelan-American comedian, Youtuber, and TV personality. Hausmann is the daughter of Venezuelan intellectual and Harvard professor Ricardo Hausmann and CNN en Español host, Ana Julia Jatar. Hausmann has a series of videos called “Joanna Rants” on Flama where she covers a variety of issues affecting Latindad–from differences in accents to cultural stereotyping.

18. Kayla Maisonet

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Known for playing the sporty sister in Disney Channel’s “Stuck in the Middle”, Kayla Masionet is a biracial actress of Puerto Rican and Russian-Jewish descent. On dealing with criticism in the industry, Maisonet has revealed that she chooses to embrace what makes her different as opposed to “conform[ing] to what people say I should do”.

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