Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York

By Agustín Laó-Montes; Arlene Dávila | Go to book overview
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Mambo Montage
The Latinization of New York City
Agustín Laó-Montes*

Carlos y Rebecca dance across the floor. They move in mambo cha-cha that causes the sweat of their bodies to swirl in a circle of tropical love.

Rebecca y Carlos glide across the floor, and two become one in the land of salsa. The sweat of their bodies mingles with flute blowing high over splintered wooden floors, in notes that soar beyond the rooftops of El Barrio.

“Mambo Love Poem,” Sandra Maria Estevez (1990:24)

By what route is it possible to attain a heightened graphicness combined with a realization of the Marxist method? The first stop along this path will be to carry the montage principle over into history. That is, to build up the large constructions out of the smallest, precisely fashioned structural elements. Indeed to detect the crystal of the total event in the analysis of the small, individual moment.

Walter Benjamin, as quoted in Smith (1989:48)

Si se quiere divertir, con encanto y con primor solo tiene que vivir un verano en Nueva York

Justi Barreto (for El Gran Combo)

New York is the capital of mambo and a global factory of latinidad. The booming of mambo dance classes and the increasing popularity of Latin music are visible signs of the latinization of the city. Lou Bega's “Mambo

The author acknowledges the following individuals for their helpful comments in previous versions of this introduction: Karen Backstein, Diana Coryat, Arlene Dávila, Román de la Campa, Jorge Duany, Robert Farris Thompson, Juan Flores, Ramón Grosfoguel, Winston James, Walter Mignolo, Nancy Raquel Mirabal, Tiffany Patterson, Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez, Amilcar Tirado-Avilés, Immanuel Wallerstein, and Kate Wilson.


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Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York
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