Aventuras en LatinoLA

Occasional writings by el editor

By Abelardo de la Pe?a Jr.
Published on LatinoLA: March 25, 2005

Aventuras en LatinoLA

---Friday, 3.25.05

Has it been that long since I've posted on this online journal? Did Bush's reelection upset me so much that I kept from communicating to you, the LatinoLA reader, about my trivial life? ?Claro que si!

But life goes on. It has gone on, and LatinoLA still lives. Hope you've enjoyed the postings from all of our Amigos: Frankie Firme, Al Carlos Hernandez, Chela, Kat Avila, Daniel Olivas, Alejandro Diaz, Dena Burroughs, and all the others who contribute to this online community on a regular basis, as well as those who have sent us your musings on less frequently.

Also hope that you've left your computer to venture out into LatinoLA to enjoy the many events that have taken place these past months. I know I have, and here's just a one of the most recent:

3.24.05 - Johnnie Walker Fusion: my friend Manny Gonzalez, formerly with La Opinion and Sapo Communications, is now the senior brand manager for Johnnie Walker. He had an event at Quixote Studios called Fusion, with free drinks, free food by master chef Aaron Sanchez, fashions by Gustavo Arango and lots of happy people. It benefited Self Help Graphics, but also Johnnie Walker, as the attendees enjoyed a drink called Azucar Moreno and other whiskey mixtures that they'll no doubt order next time they're out and about. Who was there? Tomas Benitez, Cristina Ochoa and Miguel Amezcua of Self Help, fine art graffiti artist Chaz Bojorquez, Mario Flores, Luis Ayala, and Gabriel Tenorio from Domingo Siete, plus hundreds of other people, along with a celeb or two.

I'll be tackling more serious stuff in future postings: LA Mayors Race, Cesar Chavez marches, drop out rates, etc. But right this minute, I'm feeling pretty good, happy to live in the center of the Latino universe: LatinoLA.com.

Feel free to post your own stories, commentaries, chismes, etc. Just click on "Submit a Story"

Nos vemos.

---Wednesday, 11.3.04

It seems as if Bush has been reelected and I am depressed and fearful. Kerry worked hard at pointing out the failures of this administration, but he apparently was not not able to put forth his ideas in a way that resonated with the 51% that voted for Bush. It's the failures of Bush and friends that have me afraid. His misguided, no, dangerous invasion of Iraq has not made the world any safer. His economic policies have not brought stability to our communities. His favoritism of big business and the rich will continue to be at the expense of the poor and the middle class. His arrogance and unwillingness to concede that the U.S. is just one player in the world's future is glaringly misguided. Yes, this country is at war and no, it's not simple to change leaders/tactics when there is so much at stake. But I fear the next four years, with a hyper-confident President, a rabid Republican legislature, and a Supreme Court to be packed with judges who are more than willing to take away more of our hard fought rights. I fear for my two sons, one who has already been to Iraq and the other who has just been activated. I fear for my family and Latinos. We saw through his lies, voting nearly 70% for Kerry.

God help the United States and the world.

But should we give up? No. We gather strength, come together, and luchar, adelante.

---Monday, 11.1.04 - Muchas Cosas

Wow, can't believe it's been this long since I've written. Don't get me wrong, these fingers have been pounding this keyboard like crazy the past few weeks, just not about things I've been doing.

So, what have I been doing?

Well, I had a birthday and an anniversary, and took my wife to Las Vegas to an AARP Convention. Si, somos viejitos. ?Y qu?? What a party! Listened to Smoky Robinson, James Taylor & the Smothers Brothers. Heard John Kerry and Laura Bush. Maya Angelou, Dolores Huerta, Raul Yzaguirre, and Jerry Lewis. Got lots of regalitos to bring to the kids. Had some great meals. Walked and walked up and down the strip. Put in $1 in the slots, gave me about 15 minutes worth of fun (up to $40, then all gone). Best of all, because it's all in the name of research for my paid job, I get to expense some of the costs. Oh, yeah!

Attended the Hispanic Public Relations Association Scholarship Dinner. One of my past lives, actually several of them, was in the public relations business. Media spokesperson, public relations practitioner, press release writer, crisis manager, newletter editor and writer, speech writer, fundraising dinner organizer, image consultant...all this and more is the fun to be had in the PR game. It was the HPRA's 20th anniversary, so all the heavy hitters were there: Ray Durazo, John Echeveste, Patricia Perez, Mario Flores, Roxana Lissa, Alicia Romero...friends and acquaintances, colleagues and camaradas. Honored that night were Fernando del Rio, Sergio Lopez (former editor of La Opinion), Kaiser Permanente (a former employer of mine), and ELA's own Los Lobos. Got to hang a bit with Conrad Lozano of the band. An honor to learn about more about my favorite musical group. Great evening, but too bad I got a parking ticket.

Last week attended a fundraiser in my home town of Wilmington for the Wilmington Jaycee Foundation Sports Complex. A dance concert, featuring Susie Hansen Latin Band and Tierra. My brother-in-law organized the event, which went really smooth. He enlisted me as the MC. Stumbled at first, but the margaritas loosened me up. Susie and the band realized that Wilmas isn't much of a salsa hotbed, so she wisely had the band pump out the cumbias and merengues. Tierra tore up the place with their hits. Saw some old faces and shook a lot of hands and kissed a lot of cheeks. Aah, nostalgia!

Tomorrow: Dia de los Muertos and Election Day. I'm sure there are writers more astute than I who can come up with connections between the two. But I can't. Honor the departed, enjoy your life. Vote your conscience. But vote.

See you at Self Help or Tropico del Nopal.

Vote. And pray.

---Sunday, 10.10.04 - Cosas

Let's see. Just going to run down a few things that have happened since the last entry. I don't think I have what it takes to be a diarist or a blogger, or a chronicler of my adventures. For one, I live a pretty mundane life. And then, I have too much other stuff to do to reflect on what I did. I can think of lots of things I should be doing instead of writing this, for instance. But, ni modo...

Tuesday night, listened to Roberto Lovato at Bohemia Books speaking on Fear of a Brown Planet. It was a wild, provocative, scary, hopeful, and ultimately fascinating platica about how, for the past 200+ years of this country's existence, the U.S. government's primary focus has been to keep the white race in power, and how, despite (or because of) the growth of the Latino community, and with the 9.11 attacks as a backdrop, they are doing what they can to keep Latinos from truly becoming full partners in society. And right now they are using national security as a means to divide, deport, threaten, and intimidate Latinos and others. I'm sure I've got some of this wrong, but Roberto - despite a somewhat disjointed and meanering presentation - certainly got me to thinking and rethinking a lot of my previously held beliefs. I hope he takes the opportunity to put his thoughts on paper or online. In fact, he has...check out some of his thoughts at http://latinola.com/story.php?story=1793

Yesterday, Saturday, took my familia to my parent's house for our annual October birthday celebration. Two of my brothers, my brother-in-law, and myself all have cumplea?os in October, so we all get together for an afternoon party. Enchiladas, carne de puerco en chile verde, frijoles, sopa de arroz...all good things. But first, stopped by Olvera Street to pick up gifts for the other birthday boys. If you haven't been to Olvera St. in a while, it's pretty much the same as always. But, there are plenty of good finds, from colorful greeting cards to clothes. We bought three shirts...a long-sleeved guayabera for Alphonso, a blue and black cotton peasant-type shirt for Adrian, and a t-shirt that says "Compa" for Mike, my brother in law and compadre. They all seemed to like their 'regalos'.

Today, Sunday, went to Plaza de la Raza for a Latinos for Kerry event. Some music, art, conversations, all to benefit the election of John Kerry. One organizer was a bit disappointed at the low attendance. Expecting 1,000 for the day, about 500 had showed up. Also, an art auction with proceeds going to the campaign was not generating much interest, although there was a spirited bidding on a piece by Barbara Carrasco. Voter registration was going on, as were signups for precinct walking and calling. I signed up. Expect a call if you're in my area.

Dodgers lost. Their season ends.

Enjoy the last of Hispanic Heritage Month. Have a happy Dia de la Raza (October 12).

---Saturday, 10.2.04 - Little Things

A lazy Saturday, for some, I guess. But I'm working today, because I've got work to do. I work out of home for my paid job, so sometimes personal matters take precedence over what I have to do during the week. So I make up for it on weekends. But before I get started, here's what's been happening en mi aventuras en LatinoLA:

Wednesday: Took la familia to the Dodger game, our first this season. We try to make it to a least one or two games every summer, but you know how it goes. T-shirt night for the kids, Dodger Dogs for all, fun for the eight innings we were there. A school night, so we left early. Glad we did, because the Rockies scored three in the 9th innning to win. We sat in the real cheap seats, with other Latino families, lots of kids and laughing and stomping, clapping, cheering. A few were paying attention to the game, but todos had fun. Amazed at the number and quality of the Latino players: Hernandez, Perez, Beltre, Isturiz...they look so young and confident on the big TV screens. Hope they make it to playoffs, etc. http://www.dodgers.com

Just found out the Dodgers won the NL Western Division Title. Here's info I just got via email:
Rally Monday! - Monday, October 4, 6:30 p.m.
See Lasorda, Garvey, Cey and Newcombe and more. Live musical performance from LA's own Ozomatli. Take a chance to win great prizes, including autographed items and Division Series tickets. At The Grove, located on the corner of Fairfax and Third Street in Los Angeles and admission is FREE!

Thursday: La familia went to South Pasadena farmer's market. It's every Thursday near the Gold Line station. Everything seems overpriced ? the fruit, vegetables, food ? but the ambiente is cool. Half the stalls are Latino, from the guys who sell the good strawberries to Nana's stand with the salsas and guacamole and fresh tortillas and the guys who sell the chilaquiles and burritos and the family that sells the Chilean churrascos. Had some pupusas the last time, muy sabroso. My kids see friends from school. This time, the entertainment included a small conjunto playing jarocho music: Angela Flores ? who just joined LatinoLA as an intern - her boyfriend Gabriel and couple of their friends. The musica made the afternoon more pleasant and spending the money less arduous. http://www.farmernet.com/events/one-cfm?venue_id=822

Friday: My real paid job expects me to stay on top of things happening in the Latino community, so one suggestion they had was to look at ? and taste of ? Nuevo Latino cuisine. Took a drive to Pasadena and had dinner at Xiomara, which bills itself as serving Nuevo Latino food with a French influence. Well, I've had Cuban food at Versailles in Venice and the Cuban Bistro in Alhambra, so I could tell that Xiomara's food is a bit different. For one, the prices are a lot higher. But, the mojitos were excellent. And so was the rest of the food. Real fancy presentation, swirls of color and textures and food muy excelente. I had swordfish encrusted with a corn batter on top of mashed potatoes. My companion had the Cubano steak with fried Yuca. Desserts were tremendous. Too much food and way to expensive. Glad I put it on the company card, pero no lo digas a nadie. Ambiente kind of subdued, although the selection of Cuban boleros playing overhead was appropriate. Recommended, but only if you have the big bucks. http://xiomararestaurant.com

Saturday: Was paid a visit by Theresa Briones, one of LatinoLA's two new interns. What a lot of energy and enthusiasm she has. Drove in all the way from Palmdale! She and Angela Flores (who I mentioned before) are helping out by entering calendar listings, writing announcements and stories, spreading the word about LatinoLA. ?Gracias! This is my chance to thank all of our contributors, writers, supporters...todos...who have written stories, submitted calendar listings and announcements, bought LatinoLA merchandise back in the day (we may do it again), and basically hung in there with us. We're moving forward to greater days. Siempra pa'lante, nunca pa'tras.

Before I start go and working, got a CD in the mail today (bought it online). Margie's, by Los Pochos. Led by Oto?o Lujan playing a button-accordion, this band rocks hard with the conjunto music. Lots of soulful tunes in Spanish y en ingles. Buy at: http://cdbaby.com/cd/lospochos2

---Wednesday, 9.29.04 - Rueben Martinez

If you read the LA Times yesterday, you might have read the article about Rueben Martinez, founder/owner of Libreria Martinez, winning a MacCarthur Grant, the so-called genius award, worth $500,000 to spend any way he wants. The news isn't the amount of money, but the recognition he has gotten for his years of promoting literacy in the community. Go to his website at http://www.latinobooks.com and you'll see the wealth of books being published for Latinos nowadays, thanks to people like Rueben, who have been fighting for publishers to make available books that are relevant, readable and enjoyable, en ingles y en espa?ol. ?Felicidades!

The Times story is at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bookman28sep28,1,7934516.story?coll=la-home-local.

---Tuesday, 9/28/04, 6:38 pm - bello Magazine

Back in May, I got a call from Fernando Diaz, former editor of OYE Magazine, a Maxim-type publication. You know the kind of magazine I'm talking about: pretty, nearly naked women ? in this case pretty, nearly naked Latinas. Nice men's clothes I couldn't afford (and wouldn't look good in, anyway). Expensive stuff I probably wouldn't use. Some decent articles every now and then.

Seems he'd parted company with OYE ? now called Open Your Eyes ? and was getting involved with another magazine. I forgot what the conversation was about, but he seemed very excited and enthused about his new venture: bello Magazine.

Now it's out, with Alejandro Fernandez as Emiliano Zapata on the cover of the 116-page glossy. It's slightly oversized, book-bound, and filled with tight writing on topics like global warming and the media monopoly, profiles on trendsetters Marlene Demmer of the LA Latino International Film Festival and U.S. ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza, good photography, edgy prose, and just a few photos of pretty, barely naked Latinas, nice men's clothes, and expensive stuff I know I can't afford.

Constructive criticism: the typeface for the articles is way too small for these bifocal-enhanced eyes. Bylines are virtually non-existent (let's give the talent some props). Content a bit elitist? But then again, their tagline is: Power. Culture. Success.

It was distributed this past weekend with the LA Times in places where Latinos roam. Other than that, I don't know where you can pick it up. But they do have a website at http://www.bellomagazine.com

---Tuesday, 9.28.04, 6:15 am - Introduction

Hi. I am el editor of LatinoLA.com. I've been at this now ? editing the website ? for more than five years, getting up early, staying up late, making time in between doing real (paid) work to publish the events, short stories, poetry, opinions....all the stuff you see here. A few hundred people log on per day, to see what's up in the LatinoLA community. Checking out the listings, or to read the aformentioned stories, etc. A lot of them are pretty interesting. Plus there are job listings, announcements, things like that. Why am I telling you? You're already here! Anyway, welcome and thanks for your support.

I'll be writing in every now and then, let you know lo que pasa in my personal LatinoLA. Just in case you're curious.

My tip for the day: See The Motorcycle Diaries. It's playing at the Grove near Farmer's Market, 3rd Street and Fairfax. It's about Che Guevara's journey of across South America with his best friend, leading to self-discovery and his revolutionary evolution. Simplified and dramatized, no doubt, for entertainment value, but it's an affecting movie. I saw it on Saturday. Then, after the movie, go to Loteria Grill, stall 322 in the Farmer's Market. Great little tacos, a bit overpriced, but bien sabroso. Try the taco de calabacita or papas con rajas or cochinita pibil. That's what I had. They do their sopa de fideo a little different, but it's good. You can buy a beer at a bar a couple stands away. And then talk about the movie. Unless you're by yourself.

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