Re: Ex-Director for Salsa Museum was...
I'd like 2nd Ana's commentary and also add a few insight of my own of this so-called SALSA MUSEUM. Prior to Mr. Obando and Ana Flores' involvement with the museum as the Communications Directors, I was very excited at the prospect of there finalyl existing a Museum for SALSA. In particular to the fact that it was located in my beloved East Harlem section known as "El Barrio."
I decided to stop by for the opening and see it for myself. What I found was a storefront that read MADE IN PUERTO RICO which sold products made in Puerto Rico or that were geared towards Puertoricans in particular. Towards the back of the store was the actual musuem location. It was room tight and not much space, but I thought "Hey, you gotta start somewhere right?". Why not support a project made FOR us BY us? I was even doubly excited as I saw Mark Weinstein, the former legendary Salsa Trombonist and now current legendary Afro-Cuban Jazz flutist-extraordinaire, donate a head-piece of hsi trombone to the Museum. Next to Weinstein was teh then Museum director, Chino Melao, whom for those not aware was a bandleader in the 1960s & 70s who emerged during the Boogaloo period and early Salsa movement of the 70s. He was also one of the first bandleaders to go up against the powers that be who controlled the latin music nightlcub scene known disdainly with the negative connotation of "The Cuchifrito Circuit." He was blacklisted by the powers that be and subsequently ended up in a mental institution for a number of years. I had heard he was out, yet still hadnt'recouped "All of his marbles" yet here he stood before me as director of the Salsa Museum. Photos of CHino and Efrain Suarez grand opening of the Salsa Museum can be found in a East Harlem local magazine/newsletter known as EL BATÚ. I'm not too sure if it is still in print or has been discontinued but nonetheless it was somewhat the equivalent to what the local neighborhood's "SIEMPRE" Newspaper is, albeit a bit crude and on occassion would focus on matters relating in neighborhood outside of East Harlem such as The Bronx.
I decided I had wanted to help the Museum in any way I could. By donating photos or videos from my own personal collection. My sister had just gotten married and was moving out of the house and was leaving her huge 32 inch TV Monitor. I came upon the idea that would incorporate some visual aspect to what this music was all about. Since I was planning on donating some videos of some classic SALSA Footage, I was also going to propose to Chino how with the use of this TV monitor they could somehow have the Monitor on a table or someplace within the eyeshot of the patrons entering the "museum", where they could witness seeing Charlie Palmieri playing Piano with his younger brother Eddie, or see Celia Cruz singing in Venezuela with La Sonora Matancera during the early 80s. Or some footage of La Lupe on Myrta Silva's TV Show. I figured it would be a great addition to the musuem since it was self-explanatory and if you had any questions regarding this music and what it was about, there you had it in front of you on a TV screen.
Chino was all for the idea. Unfortunately, Mr. Suarez had other ideas as he saw $$$ signs with these videos. To make a long story short, my purpose for donating the materials were for the benefit of the community and to educate those who had a sincere interest to discover the roots of our music and the legendary figures who dedicated a lifetime to interpreting and exposing this music to the masses. Not for the intention to distribute for sale and personal profit. So that idea never came about as I completely pulled away from having anything to do with them.
But then Chino Melao would not last as the Director and was pushed out in favor of anotehr legendary Barrio resident, Gilbert "Sonny" Calderon AKA Joe Cuba.
I'm not sure whether it was before or after Joe Cuba's taking the position of director, but subsequent to Chino's departure, Joe Obando joined the Museum and was named it's Communications Director.
From afar I could see that Joe Obando was the right person for the job and was taking the Museum in the right direction. Despite Efrain Suarez & Joe Hernandez initializing the concept (NOT Creating it because EVERYONE had that same idea, but never got around to acting on it) of a Museum for Salsa, these two couldn't run a "Socks Only" laundromat, much less a Museum. They even assembled an Orchestra that featured prominent musicians of the Salsa scene. Until the events transpired which Ana described previously that led to their departure from the Musuem.
From what I understand Joe Cuba is now VICE-President of the Museum. As to whom the President is, I can only assume it's either Hernandez or Suarez, both of whom are not qualified to tell anyone what this music, and the culture stemming from it, is about.
The best thing that could've happened to both Joe Obando and Ana Flores, and ourselves the public, was their departure from the Salsa Museum and creating their own institution where they could go about demonstrating to the public at large the proper platforms in which to educate the masses on "Our Latin Thing" as it deserves to be. WITHOUT any inteference from selfish individuals who are doing nothing more than exploiting a culture and deepening their own pockets thru it to fulfill their own personal fantasies.
The sad thing is that these folks are our very own.
I look forward to the upcoming events (Such as the Cuatrisimo Project) and educational workshops regarding our music by the Int'l Salsa Sight founders, Jose Obando and Ana Flores.
¡Que Viva La Musica!....
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ana
[B]Before Mr. Obando came into the Salsa Museum, it was basically just a novelty shop. Mr. Efrain Suarez, ONE of the "founders" of this Museum, had a sign outside his business with the word MUSEUM on it. Here's a little information for those who may not know. The government does NOT allow you to post a sign that reads 'MUSEUM' without you registering/CHARTERING it through the State's Department of Education/Regents.