Cervantes announces its King and Queen of Mardi Gras Mambo 2016
Kenner, LA- Cervantes Fundación Hispanoamericana de Arte announces Aurelio Gonzalez and Dr. Annie Gibson as its King and Queen of Mardi Gras Mambo 2016. The carnival ball will take place on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at Club Silhouette located in Metairie. The evening will be filled with musical and dance performances highlighting the rhythms of Carnival in Latin America and New Orleans, homage to the King and Queen and a silent auction. Some of the rhythms will include Conga, Samba, Punta and Second-line. Pre-sale VIP tickets to the event are $30 per person with access to the Pre-Party from 7pm to 9pm, food and a champagne toast and early access to a silent auction. General admission after 9pm is $15 per person in advance and $20 at the door. Party attire is suggested and masks encouraged. Advance tickets are available at Chilangos Seafood on Williams Blvd. in Kenner and through members of Cervantes.
The objective of Mardi Gras Mambo is to incorporate the various styles of Carnival that is celebrated around the world, mainly Latin America, and fuse them to New Orleans Mardi Gras, showcasing it in an evening of celebration. It serves an educational purpose while providing enjoyment to the diverse community of Greater New Orleans. The King and Queen are chosen based on their merits and contributions to the New Orleans community as well as the Hispanic community of the area.
“As an organization that promotes the Hispanic arts and culture in this state, we always try to incorporate the fusion of our cultures with Louisiana culture and traditions. Mardi Gras is a great opportunity to do this and still celebrate the season as it was intended to be celebrated which is with lots of music, elegance and fun,” said Javier Olondo, director of Cervantes.
King Aurelio Gonzalez was born in Cuba 57 years ago. From an early age he leaned on two activities that later would mark his professional life: teaching and art. Serving as a teacher’s assistant throughout his middle and high school years, it influenced him to embrace a teaching career. He went on to obtain a Bachelor of Education, specializing in Biology in 1980. At the time he had already served as a professor for 17 years, while attending college. He practiced his specialty until 1994 where he also taught nutrition, marketing, interior design and bartending. While studying he got involved with the Amateur Artist’s Movement, and started taking a few courses in visual arts and theater. It slowly evolved into dance and folk dances, especially in college. After graduating, he got more involved in the Movement as a dancer and assistant director and was in charge of costumes, props and makeup for different groups. He kept this up until he was doing this professionally eventually working in the international tourism field from 1994 until he left Cuba in 1999.
In the United States, specifically in New Orleans, he has held diverse jobs but has not forgotten his hobbies. A few months after his arrival, he found in the School of Hispano-American Art "Cervantes", the ideal place to resume his artistic activities as a teacher of Latin dances, and participated in theater as an assistant director. Today, through his dance classes with his group Raices, he is committed to transmitting his knowledge and love of Latin music and dance in general and Cuba in particular to the entire community of New Orleans. Presentations at churches, schools and festivals and working with other dance schools and supporting institutions such as, Unidad Hispanoamericana and Que Pasa Fest, have marked his recent years of artistic work in this city. Aurelio hopes that to continue this for a very long time.
Queen Dr. Anne (Annie) Gibson is an Administrative Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Education at Tulane University where she teaches courses in Latin American Studies, Spanish, and in Portuguese. Her areas of specialization include Cuban and Brazilian performance cultures and immigration to the United States. Her first book, Post-Katrina Brazucas: Brazilians in New Orleans (2012), is an ethnographic study of the Brazilian immigrants who relocated to New Orleans during post-Katrina reconstruction. Her research on Brazilian Mardi Gras culture in New Orleans has also been published in an edited volume entitled Performing Brazil (2015). Her second book, Hispanic and Latino New Orleans: Immigration and Identity Since the 18th Century, was coauthored with Andrew Sluyter, Case Watkins, and James Chaney, and was released in December, 2015. Annie has always included community outreach into her undergraduate teaching. She has led her students in diverse projects such as putting on a free health clinic for Brazilians in New Orleans, training students as teaching assistants for Tulane’s community ESL program, and leading students through a video narrative project to document the lives of Brazilians in the area. These stories were broadcast on WTUL as a way to reverse Brazilian invisibility in Greater New Orleans. This semester Annie is teaching a course on Latin American Dance traditions and her students will be conducting fieldwork with representatives of the Latino Dance scene. She has been involved with the Brazilian dance and capoeira with groups such as Casa Samba and Bloco Sereia. Annie also directs Tulane study abroad programs in Latin America. She has been the resident director for Tulane in Cuba, Costa Rica, and Brazil. Outside of Tulane, she has worked for various People-to-People organizations in Cuba, including Insight Cuba and National Geographic, as a tour leader and resident expert. In 2014 Annie co- directed and produced a short film in Cuba with her brother, the Duke filmmaker Josh Gibson, entitled, Tempo of Tomorrow, which contrasts Cuba in 1959 with the Cuba of 2014.
Cervantes Fundación Hispanoamericana de Arte was created in 1982 with the mission to promote modern and classical Hispanic arts and cultural traditions. This includes music, dance, literature, fine arts, and culinary arts, among others. Cervantes has had a major impact in the Hispanic community and the Louisiana community in general. Cervantes is a 501 (c) (3) tax- exempt organization. For more information regarding sponsorship opportunities for Mardi Gras Mambo or Patron tickets, call Javier Olondo at 504.905.6925 or Brenda Melara at 504.615.9070.