Houston’s Angelucho CopaCabana: A Commanding Voices on the Tropical Music Scene

If you love Cuban culture and are lucky enough to live in Houston and don’t already know the area’s long-time Cuban singer Angel “Angelucho” Bermúdez, now is your opportunity. He has long been dubbed among locals, Houston’s most elegant Salsa artist, boasting one of the most commanding voices on the tropical music scene: a graceful baritone that handles slow Boleros with romanticism and lively Salsas with verve.

His vibrant interpretations of the hot modern Latin rhythms with resonating brass and piano runs hearkens back to the golden age of Cuban music of the 1950s as well as the brassy and modern sounds of the New York Salsa and Cuban-influences Miami-sound rhythms. Angelucho’s excellent timing, unique inspirations, and his overall Latin soul have made him a favorite in Houston and other parts of the nation for many years.

Cuban music lovers will delight in sample tracks like “Realidad Y Fantasia” from the CD “Soy Latino” and his compilation on SoundCloud, or check out his new recording under the guidance of producer/composer Rainel Pino features such great artists as the one and only Papo Lucca of “Sonora Ponceña” fame on piano, René Lorente on flute, and Kachiro Thompson on congas. He is also accompanied by Douglas Guevara on timbal, Jorge “Cro Cro” Orta on congas, and Ernesto Camilo Vega on saxophone.

The musical production is entitled “Soy Latino” and contains ten songs that range from Montuno, Bolero, Cha Cha Cha, Charangón to today’s popular Salsa. As always, Angelucho’s voice is endearing and the arrangements are modern and swinging, making his new Compact Disc a must for serious “Salsero”.

Get to know more about Angelucho’s CopaCabana. For more information, visit his website at angeluchocopabana.com or call 281-799-1922 for bookings.

11 Japanese Kaiten Sushi Destinations Making Heads Spin Near You

Recently, I learned that Kaiten style sushi – think: the automated sushi-train – was created in the 1950’s. Immediately, I recalled a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant Wasabi in Northern Virginia’s Tysons Corner Mall when we were living nearby. It was a first-floor fixture right under the escalator—so that as my feet moved up, my eyes moved side-to-side as I watched the dizzying, captivating and beautiful belt in motion!

Kaiten style sushi (aka, Kaiten-zushi), known for its low cost but satisfying (and fun!) fish-fare, is served off the moving belt and is usually available ‘all-you-can-eat’ for a set fee, or the color or type of plate determines the price. Want to give it a try locally? There are several other US sushi bars and restaurants offering a similarly authentic Japanese Kaiten sushi experience in NYC, Miami, Houston, Austin, and San Francisco.

Here are some ideas for enjoying Kaiten style sushi near you.

NEW YORK CITY

East Japanese Restaurant
366 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10016
212.889.2326
Website

Kido Sushi
90-15 Queens Blvd.
Queens Center Mall
Elmhurst, NY 11373
718.271.3688
Website

WASHINGTON DC

Wasabi
Tysons Corner Center
1961 Chain Bridge Rd.
McLean, VA 22102
703.388.0646
Website
@SushiByWasabi

Matuba Japanese Restaurant
4918 Cordell Avenue
Bethesda, MD
301.652.7449
Website
@MatubaSushi

MIAMI

Katana Japanese Restaurant
920 71st Street
Miami Beach, FL 33141
305.864.0037
Website

Blue Ginger
15791 Sheridan Street
Southwest Ranches, FL 33331
954.680.9998
Website

HOUSTON

Sushi Choo Choo
1675 S. Voss Road
Houston, TX 77063
713.783.1368
Website                                 

Sushi Sakura Express
1014 Wirt Road
Houston, TX 77055
713.263.7552
Website

AUSTIN

Korean Garden
6519 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78752
512.302.3149
Website                                         

          

SAN FRANCISCO

Katana Japanese Restaurant
920 71st Street
Miami Beach, FL 33141
305.864.0037
Website

Blue Ginger
15791 Sheridan Street
Southwest Ranches, FL 33331
954.680.9998
Website

Go out and try this fun sushi soon. In the meantime, be inspired by the Kaiten sushi eye candy that Erika Owen features in her article which highlights successful Japanese restaurant Muten Kuraszushi in Tokyo. 

P.s., the image is courtesy of rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Six 2017 International Film Festivals You Gotta Catch in America

Spring and Fall brings with it several international film festivals in America, especially in metropolitan and culturally diverse cities like New York, Washington DC, Miami, Houston, Austin, and San Francisco. During these international film festivals, goers will be treated to the best in cinema from more than 80 countries in some cases. These festivals offer a glimpses into the cultures, life experiences, and visual artistry of people from around the world.

Below is a list of upcoming international film festivals that you don’t want to miss if you like- or are curious about international cinema. If you love to travel or are curious about the way of life of people from around the world, you’re bound to find so many ways to live vicariously through the beautiful and compelling stories in these international movies.

New York City, NY

New York City International Film Festival, April 3-7, 2017

Known nationally, as well as internationally, the two-week long New York City International Film Festival (INYFF) brings world cinema to NYC from filmmakers around the globe. You’ll find movie showcases with artistic merit and scope from several countries and regions, including two days reserved for films from Latin American countries and China. For more information on tickets, the awards night, and schedule, visit the NYC International Film Festival site.

Houston, TX

Houston WorldFest, April 21 – 30, 2017

Houston’s International film festival, WorldFest Houston, is happening as I write. At WorldFest this year, you can catch more than 50 feature films and 100 short film premiers, at the City’s AMC Studio 30 Dunvale Theaters. The film festival emphasizes American and international independent feature films and features an annual spotlight on an individual country and it’s films–this year it’s China. For tickets, schedule of films and more information, click here.

cinema by caixa de luz, on Flickr
cinema” (CC BY 2.0) by  caixa de luz 

Miami, FL

GEMS Festival of Miami International Film Festival, March 3-12, 2017

The city of Miami’s International Film Festival took place March 4-13, 2016, but international film enthusiasts can catch the GEMS Festival in the Fall. Among its goals, the mission of the Miami International Film Festival has been to bridge cultural understanding through film. The four day film event, GEMS, will be held at MDC’s Tower Theatre Miami, and is slated to feature a specially curated program of new international movies, las joyas de la corona (the crown jewels) as it says, ahead of the Spring festival in 2017. For tickets, schedule and more information, visit the Miami Film festival site.

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5 – 19, 2017

This is longest running film festival in the Americas, and features a wonderful showcase of over 150 films. It’s rooted in an appreciation of film as both art and agent of social change for world citizens in the Bay area, and treats festival goers to narratives, action and animated shorts, as well as documentaries and more from over 80 countries. More than 70,000 people attend this international film festival each year. For more information, tickets, and film guide visit the San Francisco International Film Festival site here.

seeing is believing at sunset : castro, by torbakhopper, on Flickr
Castro Theatre where San Francisco International Film Festival is held “seeing is believing at sunset : castro,” (CC BY 2.0) by  torbakhopper 

Austin, TX

Austin Film Festival, October 26 – November 2, 2017

The Austin Film Festival (AFF) takes place in mid-October, and will feature 8 nights of international, short and feature films. Festival goers will enjoy over 150 regional, national and world premieres and advanced screening, from Hollywood to wonderful independent cinema, in the form of narratives, animations, documentaries and more.  For badges, passes and more information, visit the Austin Film Festival site.

Washington, DC

Washington DC International Shorts, December 9, 2017

Washington DC International Shorts is a year round film festival that collects and then screens selected movies at the end of each season. You can explore world cultures through comedy, drama, and animations collected, and then watch them when the festival launches in December. For more information on tickets and schedule of events, visit the festival here.

(Feature photo: “AMC Theaters” (CC BY 2.0) by  pasa47).

Go See These 11 Texans Rockin’ International Music

A few months ago, the SXSW Music Festival and Conference took over Austin, Texas, and 11 Texan performers joined over 150 internationally-inspired acts that converged from more than 30 countries to showcase their music. Plus, the city enjoyed live performances from several Texan musicians and performers of international music.

But, world music lovers in Texas don’t have to wait for next year’s music festival to enjoy live performances from these Texan musicians and their ensembles. Take a journey into numerous cultures through music in your backyard through the sounds of the world near you. Here are the bands to check out from across Texas and several international music genres.

1. 1001 Nights Orchestra, Austin, Texas, describes itself as a “buffet of colorful music showcasing Middle Eastern cultures’ diversity and unity,” and beyond; known for music including Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Armenian, Russian, and more.


1001 Nights Orchestra, Austin, Texas


2. Atash
, Austin, Texas, creates a powerful, worldly and original sound through it’s use of musicians from around the world, as part of spreading it’s message of love and peace.

3. Eddy Kenzo, Dallas, Texas, a Ugandan native, music was a safe haven for Eddy, whose life story was short of magical, and bred a talent that led him to an international audience of thousands.


4. Gina Chaves
, Austin, Texas, Gina’s band has won audiences throughout the U.S. and abroad, as a multi-ethnic Latin pop artist, who is also Austin’s 2015 Musician of the Year.


5. Hard Proof, Austin, Texas,
an Afrobeat ensemble that’s become known for its great sense of rhythm and melody, this group is internationally-inspired from Nigeria to Ethiopia in its adventurous jazz.

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#Austin its your own fault if you missed this magic.

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6. Intocable, Zapata, Texas, 
creates music because of its belief in it’s power to transcend boundaries- of genres, of borders, of languages, and that’s what we love to hear. You can catch the Mexican-inspired band play Norteño Tejano style of music.

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Coqueta desde Bryan, TX. Gracias por un #llenototal

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7. Joel Laviolette & Rattletree, Austin, Texas,
 takes electronic music onto the live stage, featuring giant wooden marimbas (xylophones), customes, lights, video, and more in his trance inducing music of Zimbabwe.


Joel Laviolette & Rattletree


8. Khali Haat, Austin, Texas
, is a seven-piece collective that recently self-released its debut album of afro-beat, afro-pop and psychedelic-funk.


9. Los Skarnales, Houston, Texas
, performs a true-to-the-root mix of ska, cumbia, and rockabilly, with a punk attitude, throughout the U.S. and Mexico.


10. Henry Brun & The Latin Players
, San Antonio, Texas, a native of Puerto Rico, Henry is a Grammy award-winning Latin Jazz artist, and master at congas, bongos, timbales, and percussion instruments of Africa, Brazil and the Middle East.


Henry Brun & The Latin Playerz


11. The Chamanas, El Paso, Texas,
is a 5 member Latin Indie pop fusion ensemble possesses a unique combination of styles and genres from traditional Mexican folkore to pop, Brazilian Bossa Nova, Indie, Danzon, and more.

8 Quaint International Tea Rooms in Houston You’ll Love

When it comes to visiting tearooms in Houston, some people chose tea for its health benefits, while others enjoy it for its other more sensory qualities like taste, smell, and the way it can trigger relaxation. In many part of the world, tea is eve a daily ritual, like in the British Isles and Asian countries for example, where over the centuries it has become a quintessential part of the cultures by being infused in societies.

Houston tea rooms, parlors and bars vary from those paying homage to British rituals of high-tea and afternoon tea, to expansive Asian varietals. It was Chinese scientist Shen Nung who was known to have initiated the first tea break during his travels sometime in 2700’s B.C., and today Vietnam and China are among the three largest tea exporters in the world. Couple that with Chinese and Vietnamese Americans making up the largest Asian groups in Houston, and you’ll see how easily Houstonian’s can find great places for tea locally.

Below are 8 places where tea lovers in Houston don’t have to steep long to find a cuppa (as the Brits call it).

1. Tea For Two | English culture

This quaint English-inspired tearoom has two locations; one in Houston and another in Cypress, just outside of Houston’s beltway, and makes visitors feel transported to a simpler way of life. The hideaway features a variety of specialty teas, a gift shop and serves lunch of delectable tea sandwiches and desserts, as well as offers a dinner menu. 8475 Hwy 6 N, Houston and 13115 Louetta, Cypress

2. McHugh Tea Room & Gifts | English culture

An English tearoom that believes your cup should be filled with happiness, creativity, peace and life, at their homey shop. Each teacup at this Houston tearoom is unique, seeking to brighten your day with premier organic teas steeped to the right time and at the perfect temperature. You can enjoy a lunch of salads, soups, quiches and desserts. 

3. Tea Cake French Bakery & Tea Room | French culture

You’ll enjoy the first butter croissants and French pastries to be introduced to the Spring neighborhood at this Houston tearoom and bakery. This French-inspired shop features breakfast pastries, pies, cakes, and lunch is sure to be a treat.  820 Cypress Creek Pkwy #19, Houston

4. Serenitea Tea Room | English culture

A classic English-style tea room and gift shop featuring soups and salads, where you can enjoy lunch or an afternoon tea in an elegant and relaxed setting. At Serenitea, tea is an experience from far away lands and memory of flavors; an exotic drink and sophisticated beverage for comfort, relaxation, socialization and of course health benefits. 13889 Southwest Fwy, Sugar Land

5. The Path of Tea | Japanese culture

A Japanese-inspired place for tea and only totally organic tea shop in Houston, The Path of Tea features over 150 certified and carefully crafted and selected fair trade teas. Beyond great tea, it’s owners include Texas’s first and only certified Tea Master in Texas, and sought to create a shop where community is celebrated, relationships are cultivated in a place of acceptance and tolerance. 2340 W Alabama St., Houston

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Take your pick! #tea

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6. Tea Bar & Organics | Chinese culture

This Chinese-inspired tea bar has a few locations, but we recommend their Bellaire Chinatown shop for a real taste of China. The cafe features organic teas and even inspired dishes with organic rice, if you decide to stop in for a bite to eat. Customers rave about the green tea, traditional bitter Asian teas, and fruity milk teas featuring strawberry and mango flavors, as well as plates like the fish cakes and Takoyaki (a ball-shaped stuffed seafood snack). 9889 Bellaire Blvd. E211, Houston

7. Tapioca Place | Vietnamese culture

This bubble tea and Vietnamese cafe is known for its boba (tapioca) drinks, including favorites like lavender and strawberry boba, taro and coconut milk teas. Boba drinks are refreshing and healthy, containing tapioca balls that are soft, chewy and fun to eat. The cafe also known for its Vietnamese sandwiches, Banh mi (baguette sandwiches), featuring chicken, pork, beef, and more.  10226 Hammerly Blvd., Houston

8. Sharetea | Taiwanese culture

This Taiwanese cafe in Houston’s Chinatown makes its tea drinks from ingredients shipped directly from Taiwan, and prides itself on using high quality tea leaves in all its teas. The tea shop first started in Taipei City, Taiwan and has since sprouted locations around the world, including its authentic location in Houston. Get a taste of Taiwan at this shop serving up a variety of Taiwanese-inspired fruit, brewed, and milk teas, as well as cream and ice blended drinks.  9889 Bellaire Blvd. Suite E213