AmeRican Poet Tato Laviera tells the story of a prolific poet, playwright, and community activist from the Lower East Side. Beloved by Latinos from New York, Houston, and cities near and far, Laviera kept his ear to the ground and his eyes on the ever-changing New York City landscape. He was born in Puerto Rico and uprooted to New York City by the age of nine. Nueva York would remain his second home. Laviera’s poetry reflects his bicultural, bilingual Nuyorican life while celebrating the universality of the human condition. By mixing Puerto Rican culture and language with that of the streets of Loisaida (the Lower East Side) and El Barrio, he masterfully created a powerful and diverse body of work: publishing collections of original poems and producing impactful theatrical plays. His skillful use of language, weaving Spanish, English and Spanglish in his poems, addresses language, cultural identity, race, and the sense of alienation –not feeling accepted ni aqui, ni alla –– neither here or there — in one’s adopted land or homeland.
Known for his lively energetic poetry readings at public venues, Laviera’s poems and plays captured the music, dance, and spirituality with equal measure of protest, coquettishness, and hope.
Vivian Hernandez Ortiz is a TV network journalist who has produced long- form programming for ABC News 20/20 and Prime Time newsmagazine shows, for ten years. For the past eight years, she has produced original programming for newsmagazine shows, as senior producer for FiOS1 News Push Pause, in NY. As a filmmaker, she recently produced an award-winning bilingual documentary on the life and poetic works in AmeRican Poet Tato Laviera. Title: Producer/Creative Director of AmeRican Poet Tato Laviera.
Waldo Cabrera is executive producer of MyLITV.com and MyLITV which aired on FiOS1 News for the past eight years. Cabrera is the film’s editor and working production partner.