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Nooze Hounds: Bakery Owner Manolo Betancur Takes Center Stage

Episode 48

Manolo Betancur
Manolo Betancur in the Queen City Podcast Network studios. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

In Episode 48 of Queen City Nerve’s Nooze Hounds podcast, we talked to Manolo Betancur, owner of the popular Manolo’s Bakery and a leader in the Central Avenue corridor and Latinx community. 

We discuss Manolo’s most recent venture, starring in a play that is loosely based on his own story. Migrant X, a new production from UNC Charlotte’s Theatre department set to open on Oct. 2, was written by El Paso playwright Georgina Escobar, who interviewed Betancur in 2019 after hearing from others in the community about how he took the role of advocate and allowed his bakery to be a sanctuary for undocumented folks during ICE raids that occurred earlier that year.

Speaking to Queen City Nerve for our recent feature story on the play, director CarlosAlexis Cruz said he was originally reluctant to ask Betancur to play himself, but as rehearsals have progressed, he has become convinced that it was the right move. 

“Manolo surprised me the way that he literally came through, for a non-actor,” he said. “Even for a person with a large personality as Manolo, this is a rehearsed piece, this is not something where you’re just speaking your mind out. But little by little he is finding that that’s him. I told him, ‘You’re the star of the show now.'” 

In the podcast, we discuss myriad other topics as well, ranging from the coming development of the former Eastland Mall site to the use of Latinx among the Hispanic population. In February 2019, Queen City Nerve told the story of how Manolo Betancur came to the United States from Colombia with just a few hundred dollars in his pocket and later fought off his own deportation order in court, only to later become a beacon of Charlotte’s immigrant community.

Remember you can catch us on Spotify and other places where you find podcasts, and be sure to check out Queen City Podcast Network for a slew of other great Charlotte podcasts that aren’t quite as good as ours but pretty damn close. Find past Nooze Hounds episodes here

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