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LATEA honors Martin Luther King with week-long arts fest

One of New York City’s oldest and best-known Latino theaters is paying tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

Teatro LATEA on the Lower East Side is presenting a week-long series of affordable events that began Monday, Jan. 15 — the federal holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader — with a panel discussion on King’s life and legacy, and ends Sunday, Jan. 21, with a guided tour of the “slave galleries” in St. Augustine’s Church on Henry St.

In between is a diverse selection of African American and Afro-Latino-oriented theater, music, dance, art, film, poetry and comedy celebrating King as well as the Latino culture’s deep roots in Africa.

“LATEA is short for ‘Latin American Theater Experience and Associates,’ and it stands to reason that one of the main strengths of Latin culture — the African strength — be highlighted in this heartfelt tribute to Martin Luther King,” says Miguel Trelles, co-director of LATEA, who curated the event with wurknprogress.com founder Rodger Taylor.

Following Monday’s discussion hosted by Taylor and Fred Jerome, co-authors of “Einstein on Race & Racism,” comes “Line Cross Between Us,” a solo show inspired by the “Me Too” movement written and performed by Carole Marie Webster (Tues., Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m.; $ 10).

That’s followed at 9:30 p.m. with a performance by saxophonist Miguel Zenón and pianist David Virelles ($ 15), who will blend Afro-Cuban music with electronics.

Wednesday at 5 p.m., the focus is on visual art with a free showing of local artists co-curated by Alexis Mendoza of Cuba.

At 7 p.m., journalist Malín Falú introduces historian and educator Dr. Georgina Falú, who will moderate a social justice panel titled “The Economics of Our Communities” ($ 5).

A monthly LATEA staple, “Open Screen: Short Films,” continues Wednesday’s MLK tribute with a night of screenings starting at 7 p.m., featuring works with an Afro-Latino bent by local filmmakers.

Afterwards, New York’s own DeeJaySoul mans the d.j. booth for a post-screening mixer and dance.

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Miguel Zenon

(Keith Sirchio/AP)

On Friday night the early emphasis is on the spoken word, with a night of poetry emceed by BabeePower of MTV’s “Lyricist Lounge Show” ($ 10).

At 9 p.m., the Leopoldo Fleming Afro-Caribbean Jazz Ensemble, led by the Puerto Rican percussionist, takes the LATEA stage ($ 15).

The beat goes on into Saturday with the “Talk of the Drum” workshop at 5.pm., curated by and featuring the dancers and musicians of Afro-Latino Festival NYC ($ 10).

At 7 p.m., actor and entertainer Richard Pryor Jr. discusses his career and his famous father in a conversation with LATEA’s Anthony Ruiz ($ 10).

Taking the stage at 9 p.m. is musician Kenneth Taylor, aka Kentaa, who brings in the funk with his band Skyculture for a night of throwback soul ($ 10).

Finally, LATEA’s MLK tribute goes off-site on Sunday at 3 p.m. with a guided tour of the so-called slave galleries inside historic St. Augustine’s Church on the Lower East Side, the hidden rooms where African American worshippers were segregated from other churchgoers (290 Henry St.; $ 10).

All other events are at Teatro LATEA at 107 Suffolk. St. For tickets and info: teatrolatea.org, smarttix.com or 212-529-1949.

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