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She was still active in her 100s, said former City Councilman Ignacio de la Fuente, including helping in his campaigns. “She was a real dynamo. She would organize people at Posada de Colores, where she lived, and would stuff envelopes during elections,” he said. Velasco stayed active well into her 90s, walking precincts in support of de la Fuente. “She was one of the first women that not only promoted Latino culture and Latino businesses, but she was herself one of the first Latino businesswomen in Oakland,” he said. “She was a dear, dear person.”.
Velasco ran two Mexican restaurants on Seventh Street that became gathering places for informal neighborhood groups, Those groups eventually grew into the extreme low-cut taupe leather ballet shoes - adult sizes Unity Council and the Spanish Speaking Citizens’ Foundation, major forces in the Fruitvale district, where many Latinos, including Velasco, began moving to in the 1950s, Velasco was born in 1901 in Mexico, She immigrated to El Paso with her mother at the end of the Mexican Revolution before settling in Oakland, “That first year it was a bit difficult to get used to the difference of living here,” she said of Oakland in the book “Toward a Common Past: Latinos in the East Bay.”..
The Latino History Project wrote the book in partnership with the Oakland Museum of California. “My mother suffered because she was accustomed to corn tortillas, not those made of flour. There were none here, not even Mexican restaurants, nor stores, nothing like that,” she told the authors. A school pageant on American ethnic groups provided an opportunity for her to assert her cultural heritage. “There were few Mexicans, but then we started thinking that we Mexicans could not be left behind,” she said.
So Velasco organized a group that performed a extreme low-cut taupe leather ballet shoes - adult sizes traditional song and dance at the pageant, That was the beginning of her promoting Latino culture in Oakland, And she continued to dance at numerous events over the years, Velasco was recognized for her contributions at an Oakland City Hall ceremony in 2004, The City Council honored her for more than nine decades of service with numerous resolutions, the last one earlier this year when she turned 114, The Unity Council’s Casa Velasco Senior Housing in the Fruitvale district bears her name..
Sunday evening at the Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton, the Borodin Quartet offered a glimpse into those sufferings and the incomparable expressions of freedom that seeped through in spite of them, as Music@Menlo opened its winter season with a concert that celebrated the 70th anniversary of the storied quartet. Yehudi Menuhin, the famed violinist who trained in the Bay Area, once said, “there are certain things that happen in art only when you can give all and everything you have, including your life.” For each of the three Russian composers featured on Sunday’s program, the battle between giving more and giving up was fought all through their lives.
The evening opened with the String Quartet No, 2 by Alexander Borodin, the quartet’s namesake, The breathtaking, lush exchanges in the Allegro moderato and the Scherzo between first violinist Ruben Aharonian and cellist Vladimir Balshin evoked the anticipation and dance of courtship between the composer and his wife, Ekaterina, to whom the work is dedicated, Aharonian appears to abide by the performance philosophy espoused by the estimable Jascha Heifetz: express emotions not by physical means, but convey through the music and let the audience emote, The violinist seldom moved an inch in his seat, but the sound he produced was resplendent and just, The Borodin performed the familiar melodies of the Notturno with grace, panache and conviction, and their rhythmic freedom was met by extreme low-cut taupe leather ballet shoes - adult sizes their well-crafted homogeneity of tone, But this was just a taste of what was to come..
It is virtually impossible to mention the Borodin without considering its well-documented relationship with Shostakovich. Founded in 1945 with Rostropovich as its cellist, the quartet received valuable lessons from the composer, who took an interest in the four students at the Moscow Conservatory. According to former Borodin members, Shostakovich was moved beyond ability to respond upon hearing his autobiographical Eighth String Quartet performed live at his apartment. Sunday’s offering was one of the greatest performances I have witnessed. There was a sense of continuity amid the scattered, frantic energy of the Allegro molto, and dark tension created in the atmosphere of the second Largo made it difficult to breathe. Beyond the ravishing harmonies, textures and resolutions that contemplated the death of the composer, there were discernible moments of hope through the labyrinth of mental and physical anguish, so properly conveyed in the final Largo. This was not a matter of academic rectitude but a solemn communication, where every musical design was magnified, every detail in time found glorious, and a victory of the human spirit achieved amid personal and political turmoil. This was music modeled after the composer’s heart, realized at a level only few performances attain.
The Tchaikovsky Quartet No, 2 is one of the Russian master’s most commonly performed chamber works, and in many instances, can sound dry, sterile and hackneyed, But from the opening Adagio, the musicians displayed an affinity for the language of late Russian Romanticism, as gorgeous melodies were bound by a tight, visceral rhythmic pulse, The friction of their musical choices, embodied beautifully in the blend and in their overall singing, was heartfelt, and extreme low-cut taupe leather ballet shoes - adult sizes one could revel in the satisfying intonation of the quartet, the emotional atmosphere created in the ethereal Andante ma non troppo..
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