Greene County Council on the Arts hosted a book signing with author and daughter of GCCA Founding Board Member and dear friend, the late Ruben Garcia aka Tito Valdez. GCCA, Francesca Pratten. Over 50 friends and acquaintances came to greet Francesca and talk to her about her endearing memoir and story of her parents about the passions and love they shared. This very special book signing took on Friday, October 7, 2016 from 5-7 PM at the GCCA Catskill Gallery.
In Two Lives, Many Dances author Francesca Garcia Pratten allows one to enter the dance world of the theater in the 30’s and 40’s as you follow Ruben/Tito Valdez’s early dance career with partners like Josephine Baker and Mae Murray. Discover Ruben’s early family life and Puerto Rican heritage and how he broke away from his mother’s vision of his going to Columbia University to study medicine. Europe, both Spain and Paris, play a big part in his artistic adventures. Corinne’s life and upbringing, so very different than Ruben’s, is shared giving insight into her life struggles. Get to know Ruben and Corinne’s families, and be swept away as you read the unfolding story of their many passions and loves.
With provocative, electrifying dancing on the nightclub circuit of the 1940s, Corrine and Tito Valdez delighted audiences coast to coast. Tito, born Ruben Garcia, leaves home and university career to study flamenco dancing in Spain, then, changing direction, partners with Josephine Baker at the Paris Folies Bergere. The spectacular Apple Dancer, Corinne Boese, star of the 1936 Dallas Centennial Exposition, overcomes childhood polio to become a sensational nightclub attraction in Europe and the United States. This book is a combined memoir of passion, dance, and tragedy, as Corrine and Tito live out their lives.
Ruben was one of the original founders of the Arts Council in 1975 and became President in August 1979. Ruben was an active member in the burgeoning Greene County Arts community and taught in local schools, but how did he find Greene County and when was “Mr. Edison rich enough”? (It’s in the book!)
Francesca Garcia Pratten lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida with her charming husband, Joe. Together they raised four children on a small farm in Leeds, New York. In 2015, using her father’s notes and family oral history, she completed this story that her father started writing in 1972.
Two Lives, Many Dances is available for purchase at $19.95. Published in an 8.5 x 11 inch soft cover format, Two Lives, Many Dances is perfect for any collector and a wonderful read. The 214 pages include graceful photography as evocative and beautiful as Ruben and Corrine.
GCCA Catskill Gallery is located at 398 Main Street in Catskill, NY. Hours are Monday through Friday 10 AM to 5 PM and Saturday Noon to 5 PM. Call 518-943-3400 or visit www.greenearts.org anytime!