Saluting Hector Lavoe

Leading Latin singer Marc Anthony belts out a tune at Thursday’s jumping after-party for “El Cantante” in New York City. Backed by a full salsa band, Anthony took the stage for a short, but powerful set of songs at Picturehouse’s Cipriani 42nd St. bash celebrating the movie. The story of famed Puerto Rican salsa singer Hector Lavoe, “El Cantante” (recut from the version that debuted last year at the Torontof fest) hits U.S. theaters on August 3rd with Anthony in the title role and his wife Jennifer Lopez starring as Lavoe’s second wife, Puchi. An interview with Puchi frames the film which delves into the rapid rise and tragic fall of the influential music figure. The passion project was shepherded by Lopez for six years and directed by Leon Ichaso. “Hector was a voice of the people, a jibaro, a boy from the sticks,” she says in notes on the production. “People identified with him.” Picturehouse planners pulled off Thursday night’s fiesta despite fears up to the very last minute that the event might have to move due to Manhattan’s recent, nearby steam pipe explosion. Instead, a large crowd — many decked out in bright, festive outfits — filled the historic Cipriani space on 42nd St. (in the massive Bowery Savings Bank building) as planned. The bash featured an assortment of Puerto Rican rums and a lavish spread of food and turned hot and sweaty once Anthony hit the stage and everyone started dancing. [Eugene Hernandez]

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