What better place to celebrate Cuban music legend and the Queen of Salsa Celia Cruz than at Miami’s iconic Tower Theater on Calle Ocho.
Tower Theater Exhibit Celebrates Music Legend Celia Cruz
“Celia Cruz: Por Siempre” highlights the Cuban singer’s life through personal objects and fashion.
A montage of images featuring a toothy Celia Cruz greets guests as they walk into the Tower Theater on Calle Ocho. Once a beacon for indie films — and local film festivals — the theater has been transformed into a mini museum.
The latest programming includes an exhibition dedicated to the Queen of Salsa herself. Aptly titled “Celia Cruz: Por Siempre,” it was curated by Omer Pardillo-Cid, former manager and executor of Celia Cruz’s estate. In partnership with the City of Miami, the tribute to the beloved songstress will remain on view until summer 2024.
On an unassuming Wednesday afternoon, two tourists from New York stumble into the Tower Theater and immediately start snapping pictures of every item on display. Raquel and Gabriel, an Ecuadorian couple, are on vacation and heard about the exhibit. Raquel kept her sunglasses on as she walked around, mouth agape and getting up close to every item she could. Her husband dutifully took pictures.
The pair walked in at the perfect time and were treated to an exclusive tour by Pardillo-Cid, featuring guest appearances by Tico Torres and Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte, the duo that styled and photographed Cruz for many years.
Torres walks over to a large display case that houses a lime green dress once worn by Cruz. In the background is a famous photo of the Cuban with her arms stretched out wide and a contagious grin. Torres fondly remembers styling the singer and explains how his husband, Rodriguez-Duarte, took the photograph.
“Not many people know this,” says Torres, leaning in as if divulging a tasty secret, “but right before the picture was taken, Celia just broke out into song. It looks like she’s smiling, but she’s actually singing. She’s singing a cappella.”
Among the areas featured on the first floor of the exhibition is a space dedicated to the singer’s iconic wigs and heels.
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