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The 5th annual Houston Latino Film Festival, which ran from March 19-28, featured films from all over Latin America and the United States, highlighting and promoting Latinx culture to the Houston community. The festival, which was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, showcased its selection of both feature and short films over virtual streaming platforms and in-person drive-in theater venues.
A year ago in March 2020, no one was prepared for how life would change due to COVID-19. The average student likely had little idea of how their lives would likely be dominated by Zoom, social distancing and uncertainty. Now that we’re in March 2021, the past year seems incredibly monumental in the change it caused to human existence around the world. Here, I sum up some of the most noteworthy cultural happenings that defined our year in quarantine.
Last Friday, Feb. 26, KTRU held its fourth annual Cozy Show, and it was unlike any year before. Instead of going to see and hear the featured artists perform live on Rice campus, this year’s audience was invited to enjoy the show from the comfort of their homes as the artists’ performances were streamed on KTRU’s Facebook and YouTube pages, marking the radio station’s first completely virtual concert.
Houston artist MoNique LeRoux opens her docuseries “Meet Houston’s Artists” by acknowledging the upheaval of normal life in the past year in the past year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturn and Black Lives Matter protests. The tumultuous events of 2020 were key motivations for LeRoux to produce her docuseries, which highlights 14 local artists and how they were impacted by the pandemic. The docuseries culminated in a physical art exhibit, which opened Saturday, Feb. 13 at Sabine Street Studios.
This weekend, the Sundance Institute, in partnership with the Houston Cinema Arts Society, will present a Sundance Satellite Film Festival in Houston. The event, which runs from Jan. 28 to Feb. 2, will include the world premieres of six feature films from independent U.S. filmmakers as well as local programming customized for the Houston community.
2020 has been action-packed for everyone and Bryan Washington is no exception. For this acclaimed writer and Rice English professor, this year brought about great positive changes. His much-anticipated debut novel, “Memorial,” was published last month by Riverhead Books. Picked up for adaptation by entertainment company A24 prior to publication, the novel’s release made waves in literary and television communities alike. A native Houstonian, Washington published his award-winning short story collection, “Lot,” last year and was appointed Rice’s first Scholar-in-Residence for Racial Justice in July, a title he holds alongside his distinction as George Guion Williams Writer in Residence.
In the midst of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, don’t forget to support local Latinx businesses. Here are six Houston establishments owned and operated by Latinx members of the local community to check out in celebration of this month, but be sure to check out these (and other Latinx businesses) throughout the year.
When plans to demolish the Rice Media Center were initially announced in April 2019, Vice President for Administration Kevin Kirby stated that the teardown process would occur before the end of 2020. Today, with those plans having been ruptured by the coronavirus pandemic, the Media Center faces an uncertain future. However, Rice’s recently announced plans for a new visual and dramatic arts building suggest that the arts community will remain alive and well on campus.