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In the past, we highlighted WPFW DJ Jim Byers’ first annual “Metro Mambo” series of free concerts and lectures, panel discussions, and dance parties at the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum, and starting tomorrow, it’s back for a second season, this time with an opening event including “Mambo on Film,” and a concert and lecture featuring longtime local band Orquesta La Leyenda. Byers, a knowledgeable, personable, and entertaining host, has indicated that the hour-length film program on Saturday will show:
how cinematic images have alternately distorted and crystalized our perception of Latin music through the decades, using examples in both Hollywood and world cinema. During the first hour, you’ll see clips ranging from rare Latin-themed “Soundies” and “Scopitones” (early forms of ‘music videos’), and key scenes in Hollywood films where Latin music and/or dance is used for specific ‘effect.’ We’ll also closely examine the recently-resurfaced 1956 film “Cha Cha Cha Boom,” featuring Perez Prado, Manny Lopez and Luis Arcaraz. This obscure film was made as a companion film to the well-known movie “Rock Around the Clock,” which itself ‘hedged its bets’ by prominently featuring mambo.
The second hour will allow the audience to watch and dance to the salsa and Latin jazz of Orquesta La Leyenda. This D.C. combo is led by Ted David, who has played in local R&B and Latin bands for decades.
The event takes place tomorrow from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Place SE. Space is limited. RSVP at (202) 633-4866.