Free Screening of "Las Marthas" in North Little Rock on Jan. 7

Dec 31, 2013

UALR Public Radio, The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN), and William F. Laman Library invite the public to a free advance screening of Las Marthas as part of Community Cinema Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m. The screening will be held in the library's auditorium. 

Laura Garza Hovel's debut


Las Marthas enjoys unprecedented access to an exclusive border celebration in honor of George Washington, where Mexican American debutantes dress as American Revolutionaries. Every February, one of the largest celebrations of George Washington’s birthday in the world takes place in the border town of Laredo, Texas. This 116-year-old tradition has evolved into an entire month of inventive reenactments and bicultural celebrations, many of them involving Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, their sister city across the border. The most preeminent event of them all, however, is the invitation-only Colonial Ball hosted by the elite Society of Martha Washington.

Society daughters, most of them Mexican American, are invited to debut in elaborate Colonial gowns representing iconic figures from America’s revolutionary history. Their goal: to recreate a party hosted by Martha Washington, but this time set on the US/Mexico border. Las Marthas follows two of the young debutantes − one a prominent member of Laredo society and the other a newcomer from Mexico − as they prepare for this extraordinary rite of passage.

A fascinating look at a world barely known outside of Texas, Las Marthas unravels the origins of the celebration and explores why a town like Laredo, with such deep Mexican roots, feels such affinity for America’s Founding Father, and how despite all odds the Washington’s Birthday Celebration has managed to persevere and even flourish, thanks to the Mexican American girls who continue to wear the gilded burden of tradition.


The screening will be held in the auditorium of William F. Laman Public Library, 2801 Orange Street, North Little Rock. A community discussion led by panelists will follow the screening. Additional information is available by calling AETN at 800-662-2386 or visiting