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          Front Page


Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Cultural Center Opening This Weekend

By David Steinberg
Journal Staff Writer
    The National Hispanic Cultural Center of New Mexico is throwing a party for its grand opening, and the public is invited.
    The party is so big that it will be wrapped around two days Saturday, Oct. 21, and Sunday, Oct. 22.
    Festivities begin with a parade and conclude with a concert by the Los Angeles-based band Los Lobos.
    The people of New Mexico aren't the only ones invited. Some special people have received written invitations.
    "We've invited the president and vice president of the United States. We've also invited representatives from 21 countries," said Gene Henley, the center's deputy director. "A few have said they're coming, but we don't know yet which ones, though Spain is sending its ambassador and the Crown Prince of Asturias, the son of King Juan Carlos."
    A parade starts at 8 a.m. Saturday. Henley said it forms at Fourth and Silver SW and moves south on Fourth to the Cultural Center at Fourth and Bridge SW.
    Henley was uncertain about who the parade participants will be, but this he knew: "There will be a color guard. One thing we're working on is to have like the Olympics has with the flags of the countries. We want to have the flags of the 101 cities of New Mexico," he said.
    As of mid-September, he said, about 30 percent of the cities reported they would come.
    Following the parade, two hours of opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. with a variety of dignitaries.
    Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan will give an opening prayer. Other speakers will include Albuquerque's Edward Romero, the U.S. ambassador to Spain; Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; and Gov. Gary Johnson.
    The ceremonies will culminate with the official ribbon-cutting for the center.
    Then at 1 p.m. things will loosen up.
    Three art exhibits and the gift shop will open.
    At the same time, a broad range of entertainment commences on three stages the Music Stage, the Dance Stage and a "Carpa Show."
    On the Music Stage, Cipriano Vigil and Los Folkloristas de Nuevo México are the first group to play. Later in the day, Los Blue Ventures de Louis Sanchez, Cuicani and Tobias Rene will perform.
    The Dance Stage will open with an ensemble from Ciudad Obregón, Mexico, followed by international dances, the Ehecatl Aztec Dancers and Expresiones Dance Legacy of the Barelas neighborhood.
    The Carpa Show features the family circus Circo Hermanos Ortiz for two performances Saturday afternoon.
    The entertainment resumes at noon Sunday, which also is the time the art exhibits reopen for public viewing.
    Among the groups on the Music Stage are Ivón Ulibarri and Cafe Mocha, Al Hurricane and Al Hurricane Jr.
    The Dance Stage will have, among others, Odora Dance Company, Ballet Folklorico de la Tierra del Encanto de Las Cruces and Alma Flamenca.
    Los Lobos conclude the festivities with a concert at 4 p.m.