Latino Americans explores 500 years of culture

KLRU Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with special programming including six-hour PBS documentary LATINO AMERICANS and locally-produced VAMOS AL BAILE and ARTS IN CONTEXT: TARDEADAS

KLRU celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with a range of special programs and events that celebrate the Latino experience. Year round, KLRU provides content and events that give a diverse perspective on our community. This September, Austin’s PBS station focuses on local programs and events to coincide with the broadcast of the PBS landmark series Latino Americans.

Latino Americans chronicles the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos over the course of 500 years. KLRU will host three screenings and a multi-media project in support of the film. The screenings will happen on Tuesday, September 10th and Wednesday, September 11th and are free and open to the public.  John Valadez, producer of episodes 3 and 5 of the series, will be in attendance at all three screenings. Screening details:

  • Tuesday, September 10 at noon at KLRU Studio 6A – screening with the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas.  Dr. Domino Perez will join John Valadez in discussion after the film.
  • Tuesday, September 10 at 7:30 pm at the Mexican American Cultural Center.  Dr. Cinthia Salinas will moderate a discussion with John Valadez, Dr. Emilio Zamora and Martha Cotera after the screening. RSVP required because of limited space. RSVP at
  • Wednesday, September 11 at 6 pm at the Wittliff Galleries at Texas State University in San Marcos.  Texas State History professor John McKiernan-Gonzalez, Texas State Political Science professor Emily Hanks and Texas State Director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest Jesus F. de la Teja will join John Valadez in discussion after the film.

KLRU will also present short stories about the Latino experience in Austin on and on the Latino Americans website.  KLRU has partnered with Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas School of Journalism, to capture five stories of Latino World World II veterans.  Additionally, KLRU will highlight several distinct Austin voices as part of the Latino Americans Mi Historia project. KLRU will be featuring 20 Austinites including Nora de Hoyos Comstock, Victor Saenz, Celeste Quesada, Enrique Romo, Claudia Alarcon and more telling their stories on the KLRU blog and on the PBS Latino Americans website. The community at large can become part of this unique and empowering video series by creating their own short videos describing what it means to be Latino. Videos could be describing family traditions, talking about how you and your family celebrate your heritage and culture or describing the role models who have inspired you. Watch and submit videos at

KLRU has several other programs to coincide with the Latino Americans broadcast. The complete list includes:

Storm That Swept Mexico airs
Sunday, September 15 at 1:30 pm
The Mexican Revolution, the first major political and social revolution of the 20th century, not only changed the course of Mexican history, but also profoundly impacted its relationships with the rest of the world. This program looks at the complex historical, social, political, economic and cultural forces that shaped the Mexican Revolution, influenced its course, and determined its consequences and legacy.

Voces: “Escaramuza:  Riding from the Heart”
Monday, September 16 at 10 pm
A team of first-generation Mexican American girls construct their identities through a romanticized equestrian tradition, while facing challenges at home, and escalating violence in Mexico.

Latino Americans
Part 1 and 2: Tuesday, September 17, starting at 7 pm
“Strangers in Their Own Land” spans the period from 1500-1880, as the first Spanish explorers enter North America, the U.S. expands into territories in the Southwest that had been home to Native Americans and English and Spanish colonies, and as the Mexican-American War strips Mexico of half its territories by 1848. “The Pull and the Push” documents how the American population begins to be reshaped by the influx of people that began in 1880 and continues into the 1940s, as Cubans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans begin arriving in the U.S. and start to build strong Latino-American communities in South Florida, Los Angeles and New York.

Latino Americans
Part 3 and 4: Tuesday, September 24, starting at 7 pm
“War and Peace” moves into the World War II years and those that follow, as Latino Americans serve their new country by the hundreds of thousands — but still face discrimination and a fight for civil rights. “The New Latinos” highlights the swelling immigration from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic that stretches from the post-World War II years into the early 1960s as the new arrivals seek economic opportunities.

Latino Americans
Part 5 and 6: Tuesday, October 1, starting at 7 pm
“Pride and Prejudice” details the creation of the proud “Chicano” identity, as labor leaders organize farm workers in California, and as activists push for better education opportunities for Latinos, the inclusion of Latino studies and empowerment in the political process. “Peril and Promise” takes viewers through the past 30 years, with a second wave of Cubans arriving in Miami during the Mariel exodus and with hundreds of thousands Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Guatemalans fleeing civil wars, death squads and unrest to go north into a new land — transforming the United States along the way. The debate over undocumented immigrants flares up, with a backlash that eventually includes calls for tightened borders, English-only laws and efforts to brand undocumented immigrants as felons.

NOTE:  Latino Americans will be broadcast in Spanish on KLRU’s Vme channel (18.4), over six consecutive Fridays beginning on September 20 at 9 pm.

Arts in Context: Tardeadas
Thursday, September 26, at 7:30pm
Follow a week in the life of Tejano band Los Pinkys as Arts In Context explores the importance of keeping the Tejano musical tradition alive in East Austin. The band’s story shows how music can help bridge differences and bring a community together despite demographic changes.

Vamos al Baile (Let’s go to the Dance)
Thursday, September 26, at 8 pm
A one-hour special featuring some of Austin’s most renowned musicians and their special guests, including Little Joe y La Familia, Ruben Ramos and the Mexican Revolution, and Joel Guzman with Sara Fox. This program captures the different styles of Mexican-American music and the family atmosphere of the dance halls in which they are performed.

Arts in Context: Peligrosa
Thursday, September 26 at 9 pm
Often excluded from the mainstream arts scene, DJing is a complex art form that combines music, dance, and visual art. Established in 2007,Peligrosa is a collective of DJs, producers, and visual artists re-energizing the sights and sounds of Latin America. Panamanian born creator and founder DJ Orión, grew up immersed in music from his Puerto Rican and Colombian parents, and now pumps it into clubs across the globe.

Pedro E. Guerrero, Portrait of an Image Maker
Thursday, September 26 at 9:30 pm
Pedro E. Guerrero was the photographer for three of America’s most famous artists:  architect Frank Lloyd Wright and sculptors Louise Nevelson and Alexander Calder.  Guerrero’s six-decade career included long-term relationships with each of these individuals.  Guerrero’s collection of photographs on this web site also includes scenes of New York in the 1940’s, Mid-Century Modern homes and interiors from the 1950’s, and Nudes from the 1930’s.

Mexico:  The Royal Tour
Sunday, September 29 at 3:30 pm
A tour of the extraordinary locations and landmarks of Mexico is led by President Felipe Calderon. Explore the legendary ruins of lost civilizations, seek out their descendants and find the ancient mysteries these sites have hidden for generations. From soaring across the skies in a hot air balloon for a bird’s-eye view of Teotihuacon, to whale watching in Baja California, to rappelling stories into a seemingly bottomless pit, the program uncovers the essence of this captivating and complex nation. This is not the Mexico of media headlines or the pristine Mexico of travel brochures – this is the real Mexico of The Royal Tour.

Quest for the Lost Maya
Wednesday, October 2 at 9 pm
This program explores archaeological evidence of a previously unknown Mayan society based in the Yucatan Peninsula of southern Mexico. The film surveys their dramatic rise to prominence in the “pre-classic era” of the Maya (800-700BC) as well as new evidence of the collapse of their civilization in the 800-900s AD.

Austin City Limits featuring Juanes followed by Jesse & Joy
Saturday, October 5, at 7 pm; Wednesday, October 9 at 10 pm, and Friday, October 11, at 11:30 pm
Austin City Limits presents Juanes and Jesse & Joy. Columbian superstar Juanes performs a high-energy set of his best, while Mexico City’s sibling duo Jesse & Joy sing a selection of their greatest hits.

In Performance at the White House Musica Latina
Tuesday, October 8, at 7 pm
Hosted by President and Mrs. Obama, Musica Latina is an all-star celebration of Latin music. Latin Music in the United States is extraordinarily diverse, reflecting the influence of different waves of immigration in different regions of the country, from South Florida to California. Musica Latina will honor and celebrate that beauty and diversity. Artists to be announced.

The Graduates/Los Graduados
KLRU will also host a Community Cinema screening of The Graduates/Los Graduados on Tuesday, October 1, at 7 pm at the Windsor Park Branch Library.  The struggles and triumphs of Latino and Latina high school students from across the USA are explored through their own eyes in this eye-opening and uplifting documentary.

latino americans partners

KLRU’s presentation of Hispanic Heritage Month programs and activities is made possible in part by Ranch 616 Restaurant and Cantina and Seton Healthcare Family