My favorite things Puerto Rican

The list came out quite well:

1. Actress: Jennifer Lopez.  Seriously.  Out of Sight is quite good and the badly misunderstood The Cell makes perfect sense once you realize it is a retelling of parts of Sikh theology.  Rita Moreno gets honorable mention.

2. Cellist: Pablo Casals (his mother was Puerto Rican and he ended up living there).  His Bach Suites, while profound, are largely unlistenable due to the scratching and scraping.  Nonetheless there are still revelations to be found in the trio recordings, Schubert, bits of the Beethoven, etc.

3. Artist: Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Sneer if you wish, but his 1982-1984 period is very good, most of all the sketches.  There are many bad Basquiat works, however, and lots of fakes.

4. Economic historian and colleague: Carlos Ramirez.  Don't forget his paper on the bailout.

5. Poet: Juan Ramón Jiménez, who left Spain for Puerto Rico.  Here is his Platero y Yo.  Although he won a Nobel Prize in 1956, this very pure poet remains underrated in the United States.

6. Reggaeton song: Gasolina, by Daddy Yankee; note that reggaeton originated in Panama.

7. Guitarist: Jose Feliciano.  Here is his Star-Spangled Banner (excerpt) and here.  Here is Jose and Johnny Cash.

8. Musical, about: Paul Simon's The Caveman (not WSS, which I actively dislike).

9. Art museum: The two notable collections of pre-Raphelite art in this hemisphere are in Wilmington, Delaware and Ponce, Puerto Rico.  Each is worth a visit.

10. Building: Puerto Rico has many fine homes and a surprising amount of Art Deco, plus the colonial buildings and fortifications in San Juan.  Here is the over the top fire station in Ponce.  But overall I'll pick the metalwork on one of the country homes, somewhere between San Juan and Ponce.

The bottom line: The achievements are strong and varied, noting that I've used a looser notion of affiliation than in some comparisons past.


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