Posted by: ivetteromero | September 2, 2014

Harold López-Nussa and Cuban Jazz

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Cecilia Crespo (OnCuba) writes about the young Cuban musician Harold López-Nussa, calling him one of the most representative pianists in Cuban contemporary jazz. The pianist will be on tour in North America (Canada and the US) from September 17 until October 15, 2014. See excerpts of her interview with López-Nussa:

He discovered the piano by the age of eight and ever since he has never been able to put it aside. Harold, the son of renowned percussionist Rudy Lopez-Nussa and nephew of outstanding pianist Ernan, moves gracefully in classic piano, traditional Cuban music, popular music and jazz, which he considers very important. He is a classic pianist by training, though he combines the mastery of techniques with a need for experimentation by means of the combination of several rhythms and influences that helps us understand how he feels music “sang by instruments”.

Next September 17, he will travel to North America to start on a tour until October 15. He will offer about 20 performances in 18 US and Canadian cities. In this regard, OnCuba met with him and talked about the tour.

“We have been preparing these concerts with an US agency I have been working with for two years now. In 2013 we made a tour of eight performances, only with my brother, percussionist Ruy Adrián López-Nussa. [. . .] I will perform at the Monterrey Jazz Festival and other important US cities within its musical scenario: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Washington”.

What format have you chosen for these performances? We will perform as a trio. Once again I will play with my brother and bass player Jorge Sabo, a Cuban who settled in Los Angeles 12 years ago. Recently, we stayed about a month in Japan working. Even though it has not been confirmed yet, the idea is to make a record comprising the songs we play during these concerts.

Can you tell us what you songs are you planning to play during the tour? It will be a tour through my whole repertoire and I will include a few songs from my latest albums. I will do my best to make it a comprehensive selection because the US audience barely knows my work considering I have just performed a few times there. I will make a tour through the most representative pieces so far. I will include a selection of tracks from the albums El país de las maravillas and New day, and some new songs that will be recorded them.

New Day is your latest production. What makes it different from your previous albums? It was recorded in Cuba with the musicians I usually perform. I recorded my previous works in France and this one was recorded in Frank Fernandez Studio, in my natural environment. I take this opportunity to thank him for giving me the chance to play popular music in his wonderful piano. Furthermore, I wrote most of the tracks in this record, except for one I wrote along with Maikel Gonzalez, a trumpet player with whom I have been working with for several years. In these tracks I mix jazz with folkloric and traditional origins. I nourish from Cuba’s sound heritage of all times, including traditional, folkloric and popular music. [. . .]

For full interview, see http://oncubamagazine.com/culture/harold-lopez-nussa-cuban-jazz-through-the-us/

cafe teatro macuba_fatima patterson_oficina del conservador de la ciudad de santiago de cuba

As part of its Conferencias Caribeñas 15, the Institute of Caribbean Studies of the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras (UPR-RP), invites the academic community and the general public to the lecture “Exploraciones identitarias: género, raza, clase para una aproximación a lo caribeño en la escena cubana” [Explorations of identity—gender, race, and class—for an approach to Caribbeanness on the Cuban stage] by Dr. Vivian Martínez Tabares (Casa Las Américas, Havana, Cuba). Dr. Lowell Fiet (Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, School of Humanities, UPR-RP) will comment the lecture.  

The activity will be held on Thursday, September 4, from 1:00 to 3:30pm at the Manuel Maldonado Denis Amphitheatre (CRA 108) of the Carmen Rivera de Alvarado Building, School of Social Sciences, UPR-RP.

Description: This lecture deconstructs the gaze vis-a-vis the Caribbean condition of the Cuban scene, generally referring to textual dramaturgy and representation linked to Afro-Cuban culture, either in rewriting patakines or in original arguments, as interdisciplinary experiences in which dance and music hold a dialogue at the same level with the theatrical action or at least, are important complements. Examples of this link are the works of Eugenio Hernández Espinosa and his work with the Caribbean Theater, the puppet shows of René Fernández Santana and Teatro Papalote, or the montages of Fátima Patterson with Teatro Macubá [see photo above]. I am interested in unveiling the Caribbeanness of other creations, for their focus on exploring the consequences of plantation economy and slavery, as well as the insular condition, among other issues.

This lecture will be broadcast LIVE online through the following website: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cc71

Comments and suggestions on this presentation will be welcome at: iec@uprrp.edu

For further information, you may call Dr. Humberto García Muñiz, Director, at (787) 764-0000, extension 4212, or write to iec@uprrp.edu

See the Institute of Caribbean Studies on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#%21/pages/Instituto-de-Estudios-del-Caribe-UPR/146169468754542?ref=sgm\

Pensar-a-contracorriente

Cuba’s Ministry of Culture, the Cuban Book Institute, and Nuevo Milenio Publishers call for submissions for the 12th edition of the “Pensar a Contracorriente” Award [Thinking against the Grain] and the 3rd edition of the Special Prize “ Una Especie en Peligro”  [A Species in Danger]. Many thanks to Arnold August for bringing this item to our attention.

The purpose of these awards to recognize and disseminate critical thinking about the most pressing issues and challenges of the contemporary world from the perspective of a broad anticolonial, anti-imperialist, and emancipatory sense, evolving towards an exemplary theory of development that moves away from a capitalist imprint, committed to the crucial environmental issues and censorship of the cruel destruction that the irrational desire for profit imposes on Mother Nature.

The awards aim to contribute to the development of ideas, analysis, and active proposals in Social Sciences, Culture, and the Scientific-Technical arena. In this context, the prizes call for a diversity of approaches and viewpoints, as well as the confrontation with the foundations of hegemonic systems of thought within new international geopolitics.

  1. Authors from any country may participate with (no more than) one unpublished essay in Spanish, Portuguese, English, or French (or translated into any of these languages), not previously committed for publication or having won prizes in other competitions.
  2. The essay should be no less than 20 pages long nor exceed 40 pages and should include a rigorous bibliography.
  3. The essay must be submitted by December 20, 2014, as an attachment (preferably rtf, although doc. or open files formats like odt are accepted) in a single copy and a single message, properly identified with the full name author, age, identity number and current address, and a summary of your CV to the e-mail address: contracorriente@cubarte.cult.cu.

For more information, see http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2013/12/12/convocan-a-xi-concurso-internacional-de-ensayo-pensar-a-contracorriente/#.VAU3Ofk7uFw

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Sandra Abd’Allah (of the “Negra cubana tenia que ser” blog) writes about the upcoming exhibition by the participation of Cuban artist Angel Alonso, who will present his work at the Latin American art exhibition “Masters of the Imagination: The Latin American Fine Art Exhibition,” to be held from September 16 to October 6, 2014, at Agora Gallery, located at 530 West 25th Street in New York.

Description: The works in “Masters of the Imagination: The Latin American Fine Art Exhibition” brim with life and passion. Whether the message is serious or whimsical, its sincerity cannot be doubted. These talented artists bring their own brand of craftsmanship from Latin America to New York to engage viewers and leave them wanting more.

Angel Alonso’s acrylic paintings speak in languages both iconographic and purely visual. The artist centers each work around his own stylized version of the human figure, a transparent, fluid outline that calls to mind a more expressive Keith Haring cartoon. In Alonso’s hands the figure is allowed to float, multiply, or grow wings; it is also deceptively subtle in its movements and the emotions it portrays. The figures fight against amorphous, symbol-laden environments. One struggles to hold a ceiling up. Another is adrift among a sea of meaningless, soulless numbers. With surreal colors and an indefinable treatment of space, the paintings seem to exist in a theoretical place rather than the real world. In this way, Alonso says his work showcases “the artificiality of the Western mind,” with its uniformity, insistence on competition, and dependence on technology. Alonso was born in Havana, Cuba and lived in Sweden for several years before returning to his hometown, an experience which impacted his art, making it universally relevant.

Sandra Abd’Allah writes: For Angel Alonso, is significant opportunity to be at the exhibition: “This is an elegant gallery, glamorous, very connected to collectors everywhere (…). They do everything with much preparation time, is a highly organized long process, resulting in an opening full of people really connected with the art world, “he told OnCuba. Alonso’s work has been exhibited in countries like Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and the United States. Earlier, in the 90s, the Center for Cuban Studies presented his work along many Cuban artists in the Metropolitan New York Book Center.

[. . .] Agora Gallery is an art gallery founded in 1984 that is dedicated to promoting American and international artists that foster social awareness and promote the use of art to help those in need. The institution also publishes the ARTisSpectrum magazine and sponsors ARTmine.com.

For more information, see http://oncubamagazine.com/culture/cuban-artist-angel-alonso-will-present-his-work-in-new-york/

Also see http://www.agora-gallery.com/ExhibitionAnnouncement/Masters_9_16_2014.aspx

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The University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras; the University of the West Indies-Cave Hill, Barbados; the Virgin Islands and Caribbean Cultural Center at the University of the Virgin Islands; and Universidad de Costa Rica are co-sponsoring this year’s 17th Annual Eastern Caribbean Islands Cultures (‘Islands in Between’) Conference on the Languages, Literatures, and Cultures of the Eastern Caribbean. The conference will take place on November 6-8, 2014 at the University of Costa Rica, Regional Caribbean Branch, Port Limón City, Costa Rica. The new deadline for proposals is September 15, 2014. [See previous post Call for Papers: 17th Annual Eastern Caribbean Islands Cultures Conference (‘Islands in Between’).]

The guest speaker will be author and human rights activist Quince Duncan, considered to be Costa Rica’s first Afro-Caribbean writer in the Spanish language.

Description/Guidelines: Suggested topics for presentation include: Language, Literature, Culture, History, and Education in Limón; Eastern Caribbean Drama, Poetry, Fiction, Cinema, Essays, Biographies, etc.; Language and Culture, Identity, and/or Gender in the Eastern Caribbean; Creole Linguistics and the Creolization of Languages and Cultures in the Eastern Caribbean; Art, Music, Dance, Cuisine, and Popular Culture of the Eastern Caribbean; Eastern Caribbean Carnival, Religions, Other Performance Traditions; The Environment, Tourism, and Development in the Eastern Caribbean; and Culture and Politics, Society, History, Law, and Economics in the Eastern Caribbean.

Papers may be in English, Spanish, or any other Caribbean language, and should conform to the allotted fifteen minutes of presentation time and five minutes of question time. Please submit your proposal within the text of an e-mail and NOT as an attachment. Proposals should include: a one-page abstract (maximum 250 words), the author’s name, postal and e-mail addresses, home institution (if applicable), and a brief biography (50 words or less).

Please send submissions or enquiries to the Puerto Rico Conference Organizing Committee (Dannabang Kuwabong, Nicholas Faraclas, and Yolanda Rivera) to islandsconference@gmail.com

Information regarding the conference will be available on the Islands-In-Between web page; see http://humanidades.uprrp.edu/ingles/students/resources/islandsinbetween.htm

NewOrleans

The Caribbean Studies Association’s president Jan DeCosmo has just announced that the CSA’s 40th annual conference will be held in New Orleans, on May 25-29, 2015, at the Hilton Hotel (New Orleans Riverside), located at 2 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana (www.neworleanshilton.com). The theme for this forthcoming conference will be “The Caribbean in an Age of Global Apartheid Fences, Boundaries, and Borders—Literal and Imagined.”

Description: Fittingly set in what is called the “northernmost Caribbean city,” this milestone conference will feature five days of presentations based on the theme:   “The Caribbean in an Age of Global Apartheid:  Fences, Boundaries, and Borders—Literal and Imagined.”

Plenary and round-table discussions will address the question of an autochthonous Caribbean by connecting the unique Creole cultures of New Orleans and Southwest Louisiana with Africa and the Caribbean, especially the Francophone Caribbean (the Antilles and Haiti) and Cuba.

The distinctive Creole cultures of New Orleans and Southwest Louisiana are unique because of Louisiana’s colonial history under three different masters:  Spanish, French and Anglo-American.  Its subsequent three-tiered racial, class and culture structure, is found nowhere else in America.

[. . .] Scholars and students from a variety of academic disciplines (arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences) and related professions are welcome to submit panel and paper proposals.

A call for papers is forthcoming at http://www.caribbeanstudiesassociation.org/

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Dr. Héctor R. Marín Román’s ¡A la vuelta de la esquina! El Caribe camino a la Segunda Guerra Mundial, 1938-1941 [Just around the Corner!: The Caribbean En Route to World War II, 1938-1941] was published by Editorial Gaviota in June 2014.

Description (La Tertulia): Military historian Dr. Héctor R. Román Marín uses primary military sources that originally classified as “secret” (now declassified) among others, and he integrates secondary sources related to the military presence of the United States at the international level.

Héctor R. Román Marín is a professor in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras. Specializing in military history of the Caribbean and Puerto Rico, he is also author of ¡Llegó la Gringada!. El Contexto Social-Militar Estadounidense en Puerto Rico y otros lugares del Caribe hasta 1919 and El caldero quema’o: El contexto social-militar de los estadounidenses en Puerto Rico y otros lugares del Caribe durante el período entre-guerras, 1919-1938, among other publications.

For more information, see http://us6.campaign-archive2.com/?u=61c0cfd272c00fc87f2b6fbcf&id=d74c8e005d&e=5dee8d4c69

Posted by: ivetteromero | August 31, 2014

Cuban migrant boat turned away from Caymans despite rough seas

A home-made aluminium boat carrying 16 Cuban migrants pulls up to a dock in Grand Cayman island

Peter Polack and David Adams (for Reuters) report that a Cuban migrant boat was recently turned away from the Cayman Islands despite the fact that they were seeking refuge from rough seas. Here are excerpts. See link for full story:

A small, homemade aluminum boat carrying 16 Cuban migrants sought refuge from rough seas in Grand Cayman on Thursday but local officials prevented a landing, citing a migration agreement with Cuba.

Local law enforcement would not allow the migrants to receive drinking water, food or supplies from well-wishers onshore. The 20-foot boat, a patchwork of fiberglass and metal with large inner tubes attached to makeshift outriggers, was allowed to anchor offshore while their fate is determined.

Under the 1999 migration accord Cuban boats are allowed to pass through Cayman waters as long as they do not seek any assistance. If the migrants come ashore, they are taken into custody and usually repatriated to Cuba.

Boats smuggling Cubans seeking to flee the communist-run island are frequently seen off the Cayman Islands, located in the Caribbean less than 100 miles (160 km) south of Cuba. They are usually headed for Honduras, about 400 miles away, from where migrants make the long journey overland to reach the U.S. border with Mexico. Under the U.S. so-called “wet foot, dry foot policy,” Cuban migrants who make it onto United States soil are allowed to remain while those intercepted at sea are turned back.

[. . .] The captain said the passengers, 11 men and five women aged 18 to 40, were from Manzanillo in eastern Cuba. He said the boat had been at sea for five days since leaving eastern Cuba, surviving rough seas whipped up by the passage of hurricane Cristobal to the east. The boat had no shade from the blazing summer heat and the group appeared to have run out of water.

[. . .] Estimates are that 200 to 300 Cuban migrants have passed through the Cayman Islands so far this year and stopped for various reasons including bad weather, engine problems or lack of water. Angelo estimated only one in 10 boats make it to Honduras.

Local islanders calculate that at least double that number pass near Cayman Islands without stopping, and others are intercepted by the Cuban government vessels and the United States Coast Guard.

The U.S. Border Patrol said in late July that more than 13,500 Cubans without the proper papers had tried to cross the southwestern U.S. border since Oct. 1, 2013, more than during all of the previous 12 months. Four years ago, the 12-month total was about 5,500.

For full article, see http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/28/us-cayman-cuba-idUSKBN0GS2MF20140828

Posted by: lisaparavisini | August 31, 2014

Las Décimas del Amargue & Other Songs of Love TOUR

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RAQUEL Z. RIVERA & OJOS DE SOFÍA

Las Décimas del Amargue & Other Songs of Love:

From Medieval Poetry to 21st Century Feminist Anthems

Bi-coastal U.S. Tour Featuring Concerts, Workshops and Artist Presentations:

September 22 – October 4

The over 500 year-old Ibero-Afro-American poetic and musical traditions that nourish Puerto Rican jíbaro music, the Dominican Republic’s bachata, and Latin American boleros take an innovative, feminist twist at the hands of Puerto Rican singer-songwriter, author and scholar, Raquel Z. Rivera and her band Ojos de Sofía. During a two-week bi-coastal U.S. tour titled Las Décimas del Amargue & Other Songs of Love, the group will present Raquel’s original compositions, written in the time-honored décima poetic format and arranged by Puerto Rican guitarist/cuatrista Bryan Vargas and Dominican guitarist Yasser Tejeda. The band will also play classic Latin American boleros featuring the extraordinarily soulful voice of Anabellie Rivera while also offering workshops and artist talks focused on the history, contemporary relevance and future potential of décima-related poetry and music. The tour will cover various nightspots, colleges and community centers in New York City, Southern California, Boston, and Maine.

The tour’s first New York City musical performance will take place on Friday September 26, 9:00 pm at noted live music venue Terraza 7, in Elmhurst, Queens. The second will be on Saturday October 4, 8:00 pm at one of New York City’s premier world music venues, Barbès, in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The Southern California leg of the tour will take place between September 22 – 23 and it is a collaboration between Pomona College, SCRIPPS College and other local organizations. The group will later travel to Boston for performances, talks and workshops at Northeastern University, Tufts University and Make Shift Boston. In Brunswick, Maine, they will offer an afternoon workshop and a nighttime concert at Bowdoin College.

Las Décimas del Amargue & Other Songs of Love debuted last winter before an enthusiastic crowd at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery iconic performance space in New York City’s East Village. The upcoming performances are only the second time that the band presents these original and classic songs of love that celebrate tradition while also subverting it. Through creative arrangements and quirky lyrics Ojos de Sofía playfully acknowledge as they challenge folkloric and popular music’s often sexist and clichéd approaches to love and loss. Raquel Z. Rivera’s lyrics are written from a humorous feminist perspective that promotes feminine solidarity while refusing to resort to the rote battle of the sexes approach. Meanwhile, Anabellie Rivera gives new meanings to classic boleros while drawing from a well of inspiration and feeling that seems to be several lifetimes deep. A song series developed in part with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation’s highly selective New York Cultural Innovation Fund and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, Las Décimas del Amargue & Other Songs of Love is an exploration of the contemporary relevance and potential of décimas—a tradition dating back to medieval times in the Iberian Peninsula and structured around stanzas of ten octosyllabic lines which rhyme ABBAACCDDC. The song series also celebrates the connections between Puerto Rican jíbaro music (renowned for its use of décimas), Dominican bachata and palos (which also draw from décimas), and Latin American boleros, since these are all deeply interconnected genres whose historical overlaps have become obscured by the widely different fate each has had within the music industry.

Las Décimas del Amargue & Other Songs of Love represent another cutting-edge balancing act between tradition and innovation by Raquel Z. Rivera & Ojos de Sofía as an independent band that has managed to get featured in NPR’s Alt.Latino, Europe’s World Music Charts Top 20, Radio France International, the NY Daily News, and Latin Beat Magazine, while receiving accolades by folklorists at the Journal of New York Folklore and Claridad, among other venues.

Raquel is generally available for interviews by phone or in person (solo or with Ojos de Sofía).

Video:

Raquel Z. Rivera & Ojos de Sofía, “Mi Condena” (Live)

Audio (Streaming and Download):

Raquel Z. Rivera & Ojos de Sofia “Nuestra Señora de Lexington”

Raquel Z. Rivera & Ojos de Sofía, featuring Anabellie Rivera, “Madrigal”

Digital Press Kit:

Raquel Z. Rivera & Ojos de Sofía Press Kit

Raquel Z. Rivera & Ojos de Sofía

Tour de Las Décimas del Amargue

September 22 | Time TBD

Artist talk and décimas writing workshop

Pomona College

333 N College Way, Claremont, CA

Free

September 23 | 7:00 pm

SCRIPPS College

1030 Columbia Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

Free

September 25 | 7:00 pm

Rutgers University

Gathering Lounge, Livingston Student Center, 84 Joyce Kilmer Ave., Piscataway, NJ 08854

Free

Friday, September 26 | 9:00 pm

Terraza 7

40-19 Gleane St, Elmhurst, Queens, NY

$7

Monday, September 29 | 1:30 pm

Artist talk and musical demonstration

Northeastern University

342 Huntington Ave, Blackman Auditorium, Boston, MA 02115

Free

Monday, September 29 | 8:00 pm

Makeshift Boston

549 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Suggested donation $10

Tuesday, September 30 | 12 noon

Artist talk and musical demonstration

Tufts University
419 Boston Ave, Medford, MA 02155‎

Free

Wednesday, October 1st | Times TBD

Bowdoin College
3725 College St, Brunswick, ME 04011

Free

Saturday, October 4 | 8:00 pm

Barbès,

376 9th St., Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

Suggested donation $10

For the most up-to-date venue, time, and other details of these concerts and presentations, please contact 646.266.7182 or ojosdesofia@gmail.com.

For further general information please contact Tom Frouge @ Avokado Artists (505.771.3166 / tom@avokado.net) or Raquel Z. Rivera (646.266.7182 / raquelzrivera@gmail.com).

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Most third-round losers in the U.S. Open are footnotes. Victor Estrella Burgos — as some might have guessed by translating his surname, Estrella, into English — is a star, John Jeansonne reports for Newsday.
Not an overnight success, at 34. But Estrella’s appearance in this year’s tournament made him the first player from the Dominican Republic ever to play in the Open. His match against fifth-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada Saturday was Estrella’s first, in his 12-year professional career, against a top 10 player.
Estrella lost a tight, entertaining match after pushing Raonic to a tiebreak in all three sets — 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3). But his presence brought hundreds of Dominican fans to watch a sport almost nobody plays in Estrella’s land.
And his unlikely progress through two rounds, as the world’s 80th-ranked player, threw a bright light on his unique personal story.
Hired as a ball boy at a Santiago country club when he was 8, Estrella taught himself tennis. He was 18 years old before he ever heard of the U.S. Open, and labored for all these years in the tennis minor leagues. For years, his ranking wasn’t much higher than 1,500.
But, after an elbow injury almost ended his career in 2012, Estrella began his climb toward finally playing on the big stage. Last year, he lost to American Donald Young in the final round of the Open’s qualifying tournament.
This year, at last ranked in the top 100, he earned a berth in the French Open’s main draw, where he lost to then-No. 23 Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in the first round. He then was beaten in Wimbledon’s first round by then-No. 68 Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic.
Here at Flushing Meadows, he knocked off Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands, ranked 72nd, then beat Croatia’s Borna Coric, a 17-year-old with big possibilities, while Dominican fans cheered. And more.
“I have, like, a thousand coaches,” Estrella said, “because all of them, they are coaching me.”
Saturday, Estrella showed no fear in dueling Raonic, nine inches taller than the 5-8 Estrella and with a serve 15 mph faster than Estrella’s high of 126. The Grandstand court crowd howled in appreciation of the duel from all 6,106 seats, from the walkway between the Grandstand and Armstrong Stadium, even looking over from the top row of Armstrong. Many called out Estrella’s nickname, “Viti.”
“Really amazing,” Estrella said. “Sometime I see out of the court a lot of faces that I know, because I know a lot of people from Dominican. It was an amazing feeling.
“For me, the best week. I lost today, but today was my best match. I played very good level. The three sets was very close. I’m not too sad, because I have had a very good week.”
Only two players were older than him in the 128-player men’s singles draw, but he talked like a fellow just setting out on his career path. He will spend his $105,000 winnings here to “invest in my career,” he said.
“And I have to pay taxes.”
For the original report go to http://www.newsday.com/sports/tennis/us-open/victor-estrella-burgos-first-dominican-to-play-in-open-holds-own-against-top-10-opponent-1.9191135

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