An ALMA Fiasco

Promised tickets to awards show prove to be major headache

By Abelardo de la Pe??a Jr.
Published on LatinoLA: May 20, 2002

An ALMA Fiasco

From this morning's LA Times website:

"Antonio Banderas, John Leguizamo, Freddy Fender and Ricky Martin received special honors Saturday night at the National Council of La Raza's 2002 ALMA Awards.

"Pi?ero" was named best movie, and "Amores Perros" took foreign language film honors in festivities at the Shrine Auditorium.

Among other American Latino Media Arts Awards, Robert Rodriguez was named best director for "Spy Kids." Benjamin Bratt and Laura Elena Harring were chosen best actor and actress in a movie, for "Pi?ero" and "Mulholland Dr.," respectively.

TV honorees included the series "Resurrection Blvd." and actors Rita Moreno ("Oz") and Esai Morales ("NYPD Blue").

Paul Rodriguez served as host for the awards that recognize individuals or works that present positive images of Latinos.

Affiliates of the National Council of La Raza provide services to Latinos in 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico."

There's nothing on the official ALMA Awards website (http://www.almaprimetime.com) about the rest of this year's winners, which also included writing, music and video categories. Maybe they'll post the list sometime this week, if they ever find it. And while their looking, I'm sure they'll run across LatinoLA's promised tickets to the awards show held last Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium.

It all started out with a phone call from a trusted friend, who has worked with the organizers in the past. Seems like they wanted to ensure a full house, being that they moved the awards show this year from the smaller Pasadena Auditorium to the much larger Shrine. They had a block of tickets, LatinoLA has had a pretty good track record in giving things away, so the call went out in our Amigos newsletter.

We got a great response, with more than 150 Amigos putting in a request for tickets, some very enthusiastic. Well, as time went by, the tickets seemed to get lost in the shuffle. What was originally 20, then 100, became 16, and finally zero. I sent out email updates to the anxiously waiting readers who really wanted to attend. Answered phone calls and pages. Was called "unprofessional" and accused of leading people on. But, was also thanked for at least trying. Meanwhile, my trusted friend, who himself was being hung out to dry, kept me in the loop, apologetic that the organizers weren't fulfilling their promises and doing what he could to make something, anything, happen.

Finally, on Saturday morning, after more runaround, I spoke to a Denise from NCLR,the organizing group who promised to set aside 100 wristbands, not tickets, for LatinoLA. These would allow them into the Shrine, but would not guarantee a seat, although there probably would be seats, she said. They'd be a Will Call between 3 and 6 pm.

So I quickly emailed everyone who had requested tickets, called a few, explicitely letting them know of the situation and how there was NO GUARANTEE that they would get in. But to take a chance if they felt lucky.

I then headed down to San Pedro to visit with my abuelita as well as for a long-planned, much-needed leisurely drive around the Palos Verdes Peninsula with my wife. By that time, I had enough of the ALMA's, and although I too was 'promised' seats, plus entrance to the official-after-the-ALMA's-VIP-afterparty, I passed.

Two emails came in the next day:

"Hey! I went and got in and got a seat for the whole show! Thanks for hooking us up! It all worked out in the end."


"Nothing ventured nothing gained. They claimed they knew no one by the name of Abelardo, LatinoLA, nor a Denise from NCLR. They said, 'there is no Denise.' So, to no avail."

Again, my sincere apologies to all those who I left out to dry. Lesson learned: Don't give away anything I don't have in my hot little hands.

So, anybody got a line on Latin Grammy's tix?

About Abelardo de la Pe??a Jr.:
Abelardo de la Pe?a Jr. es el red-faced editor de LatinoLA.

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