May 5, 2000

Americanos: Latino Life In the United States

Celebrates the Unique Heritage of Latino-Americans

From art to music to education to religion, the history of Latinos is as rich and diverse as any group in America. Americanos: Latino Life in the United States celebrates this remarkable heritage, telling the diverse personal stories of Latino-Americans from around the country when it debuts Friday, May 5 exclusively on HBO.

Edward James Olmos with Yolanda Macias of Directv Para Todos.

Conceived and co-produced by Edward James Olmos, and directed by the team of Andy Young and Susan Todd "Americanos" features individual profiles of Latino-Americans and the unique ways they express their culture and individuality. Latinos, who will soon be the largest group of minorities in the United States, are not one nationality or one culture, but many. Filmed on location in Los Angeles, San Diego, New Mexico, Illinois, Miami and New York, the film highlights the contributions made by Latinos to our country, emphasizing that we are a nation of diverse backgrounds.

"Americanos" includes such segments as:

• Carlos Santana - Perhaps more than any other person, Grammy-winning guitarist Santana has brought Latino music to the mainstream.

• Jennifer - A teenager of Latino and Asian descent, Jennifer is an honor student at Garfield High School in East LA, and is attending Harvard in the fall. What irks Jennifer most is the stereotype that Latinos are "inferior" to other Americans.

• Border Agent - In Calexico, Cal., border-patrol Agent Garvey helps apprehend up to 800 illegal aliens a day who try to cross into the U.S. from Mexicali, Mexico. Garvey herself was born in Mexico, but is now a naturalized U.S. citizen.

• El Vez - This Los Angeles entertainer is an Elvis impersonator with a twist: He paints on a mustache before performing, and replaces lyrics to songs like "Suspicious Minds" and "Heartbreak Hotel" with ones that explore his heritage as a Chicano.

• The Heartland -Dixon, Illinois, is not just the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan, it's also the site of the 17th annual Midwest Lowrider Celebration of Culture.

• Dennis - Forty miles north of Santa Fe, the town of Espanola, New Mexico, celebrates the 400th anniversary of the settlement of the New World by Spanish conquistador Onate.

• Mariposa - A third-generation New Yorker, Mariposa is a poet who finds it "painful and infuriating" that islanders feel you're not Puerto Rican unless you were born there.

• Taco Shop Poets - Some of the more than 100 taco shops in the barrios of San Diego have become performance venues for writers and performers billed as the Taco Shop Poets.

• Dr. Joe - A Cuban-American physician, Dr. Joe has dedicated his life to caring for Miami's homeless and poor at the Camillus House, which provides health care services as well as 800 to 1,200 free meals a day.

• Performance Artists - Los Angeles performance artists Gullermo Gomez-Peña and Roberto Sifuentes attack the misconceptions about Latinos that persist in our culture, employing a gallery of S&M props.

Americanos: Latino Life in the United States will be repeated on May 11, 14, 16 and 22.

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