Thursday, December 31, 2009

Things I Learned In 2009

- Small things, things that may be completely irrelevant to some, can have a profound effect on someone's life. A white lie, words left unspoken, ignoring that doubt/anxiety in the pit of your stomach, failing to accept the falsity of someone's smile -- sometimes things such as these...well, they are all you need to know to clarify the bigger picture and put it all in context.

- Sometimes you walk with your head in the clouds because denial is easier that confronting abysmal fears but the only way to conquer what you fear is to grit your teeth and face them head on, holding no hands and shedding no tears.

- Terrible times teach you a lot about yourself, your capabilities and who your friends really are.

- Leaving home, transience and moving leave you feeling rootless but the lessons reaped are endless when it comes to what really matters most. Talk about new perspectives and seeing things in a different light...

- There are people you run across every now and then in life who are complete strangers but after a few hours of speaking together you genuinely feel like you've known this person your whole life. Cherish these "new" friends because chemistry and connections like that are priceless, cannot be replicated, or bought/sold in a box and don't happen on a daily basis.

- Happiness is a choice, it's contagious, and infectious. Of course, the same applies to despair. Choose what you will sow and channel.

Happy new year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Year of 2009 in Tech

Monday, December 28, 2009

Waiting on a Revolution?

I caught this Vanguard piece on Cuba the other day and had some really mixed feelings about it. It was both dishearteing, enlightening and interesting so I wanted to share it with you:

Latina Books? There's an App for that



Grand Central Publishing introduced their GCP Book Match iPhone Application over the holidays. Over the years, I've heard a lot of people complain about how hard it is to identify new Latina/o reads. Well, now there is an app for that! "The free application asks users a series of quiz questions and determines which of the 14 books from the GCP Latina line they should read.

Each book page features book description, author biography, additional author content, links to additional content as well as links to purchase the books.

Download it here or via the App store from your iPhone or iPod Touch. Just search for “GCP Book Match""

Help spread the news and be sure to write a review and big it up with a few stars.



* GCP is an imprint of Hachette Book Group, the company which employs me.                 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What are you doing?


“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” -- Woodrow T. Wilson

Something for everyone to think about not only as individuals, but for businesses, and organizations too - You want loyal customers, community, followers? What are you doing to enrich the lives of others?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Favorite Post of 2009

This was my favorite post this year: On Being Latina

Stream Navidad Latina on Aol Radio.

This Christmas fill your house with the sounds of Christmas en Espanol: Open the player



Launched in 2004, Navidad Latina includes more than 100 holiday classics in all genres: Merengue, Salsa, Pop, Norteno and Reggaeton. The station's play list includes classic favorites such as Feliz Navidad (Jose Feliciano), Blanca Navidad (Pedro Vargas) and Los peces en el rio (Bienvenido Rodriguez) and original, never-before-released remixes of La Mari Morena (Sergio Marciano y Rafael Bermudez), Navidad Tropical Medley (Raul Di Blasio) and Gingle Belele (El General).

I found this while looking for Juanes' version of El Burrito de Belen - adore him! He happened to be voted Latin artist of the decade by Billboard last Monday!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Spanish Movie: A Parody

The latest in Fox's "______ Movie" parody franchise (Scary Movie, Date Movie) now has a trailer: Spanish Movie celebrates the international popularity of Spanish language movies with the parody treatment. We're sure the trailer is funny even if you do know Spanish, but it's definitely bizarre if you don't. ONTD provides a list of the movies spoofed:

El Orfanato (The Orphanage)
Los Otros (The Others)
[REC] / ([REC] / Quarantine)
Volver (Volver)
Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside)
El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth)
Alatriste (Alatriste)
Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes / Vanilla Sky

Via Vulture http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2009/12/spanish_language_films_get_the.html#ixzz0ZyPThOJb

Census Bureau Mural in East Harlem

What do you think of this mural used to encourage census participation?



Texas Town Devoid of Bookstores



Laredo places 88th in the top 100 cities in population in the United States. According to the census[1] estimate of 2006, there were 231,470 people. Hispanic or Latino accounts for 197,198 or 94.9% of the population in terms of ethnicity.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who is Pedro Albizu Campos?

Do you know?

Free 2010 National Poetry Month Posters Now Available

Free National Poetry Month posters are available by request—while supplies last—to teachers, librarians, and booksellers. Submit your request now to receive the poster in time for April 2010.

Request at poets.org and help promote the month-long celebration and to increase poetry awareness.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Words from the Taino language

I remember reading last year how pasteles are really the original Taino comfort food so this year (recalling abuela's arroz con dulce) I came across these awesome videos:



Anacaona: Taina Chief

I just discovered that Edwidge Danticat wrote a children's book that the life of Anacaona: Golden Flower as well as many Taino customs.

The book is a tribute to the Haitian hero, who Edwidge grew up admiring.

Anacaona (date of birth unknown – died about 1504, Hispaniola), also called the Golden Flower, was a Taíno chief, sister of Behechio and wife of Caonabo,chief of a nearby territory, two of the five highest caciques (chiefs) who possessed the island of Hispaniola when the Spaniards settled there in 1492. She was celebrated as a composer of ballads and narrative poems, called areytos.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Perez Hilton Named Hispanic of the Year by Hispanic Magazine

Hmph, I guess...



Although I must mention that his site, http://perezhilton.com, is ranked as one of the top 500 sites on the web. His website gets over 1 million uniques/month. He is also the author of Perez Hilton's True Bloggywood Stories: The Glamorous Life of Beating, Cheating, and Overdosing out this month.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Posadas & Parandas - NYC - 12/11

El Museo's Holiday Posada and Parranda Party for Members
Friday, December 11 @ 7:00 pm
$0-$60

Join a festive holiday evening at El Museo! In the tradition of this holiday celebration, popular in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and much of Latin America, there will be plenty of piñatas, coquito and delicious treats...

El Museo del Barrio
1230 Fifth Avenue
at 104th Street
New York, NY 10029
212.831.7272 phone
visit website


PARRANDA ...en la casa! 
A Special Holiday Event of In The House
Friday, December 11 @ 10 am & 12 pm
Presented by Los Pleneros de la 21
$5 students/teachers
Call 212-427-5221 to order
official website

Los Pleneros de la 21 proudly present ¡PARRANDA ...en la casa A SPECIAL HOLIDAY CELEBRATION OF Bomba & Plena:

¡MIRA YA TÚ VES, Llegaron las Navidades!
December is the time of the year where Puerto Ricans and Latinos everywhere unite come together to celebrate the year culture through FOOD, FAMILY, MUSIC & DANCE! Join Los Pleneros de la 21 during our favorite time of the year to kick-off this holiday season as we celebrate our FIRST PARRANDA complete with traditional Bombas, Plenas & Seasonal Aguinaldos. In true LP21 style, this show will bring you and your students to your feet, to participate directly with the artists and learn more about this festive time of the year! This is the perfect way to give a close to the year with your students, teachers and colleagues!

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster "chronotopes & dioramas" @ The Hispanic Society of America

This sounds really interesting:



The society also boasts one of the world’s best libraries of material relating to Spain, Portugal and the Americas, a collection accessed through an unassuming side door, which opens onto a small reading room presided over by portraits of great thinkers like the philosopher José Ortega y Gasset and scattered with heavy oak table placards commanding “Silence.”

The collection itself — letters, novels, books of hours, maps, sailing charts, marriage contracts (including one from 1476 for Ferdinand and Isabella’s eldest daughter), land grants, catechisms, scientific treatises and other documents dating back as far as the 12th century — fills the cavernous floor below, in a procession of dimly lighted shelves that can be peered at through small windows, giving the space the feeling of an aquarium or the nocturnal rooms of a zoo.


When the French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster visited these basement stacks for the first time two years ago, the impression that came over her immediately, partly because the collection seemed at the same time so monumental and so cloistered, was “this Citizen Kane, Xanadu feeling,” she said in a recent telephone interview from Paris, where she lives and works part of the year. Sitting in the stacks amid the smell of dusty paper and buckram, she began to envision a kind of parallel library, as if the society’s could somehow dream itself a new existence.

And with help over the last few months from a team of painters and the society’s librarians, it now has, in a way. On Wednesday “chronotopes & dioramas,” an exhibition by Ms. Gonzalez-Foerster that is part of the Dia Art Foundation’s unlikely temporary partnership with the Hispanic Society, opens in a space next to the society that could almost be an annex to its library.

The work presents a meticulously fashioned fantasy of a library in which shelves have become obsolete, and books, like examples of living creatures, are displayed in illusionistic dioramas that evoke those of the American Museum of Natural History.

In this kind of library the Dewey decimal system has been replaced by a subjective method of categorization about as straightforward as Symbolist poetry. Franz Kafka, J. G. Ballard, Adolfo Bioy Casares and Gertrude Stein find themselves grouped together in the depths of the North Atlantic, as writers whom Ms. Gonzalez-Foerster sees as links between Europe and the Americas. Jorge Luis Borges and Roberto Bolaño share company in the desert.

And Paul Bowles, Elizabeth Bishop and the Brazilian poet Oswald de Andrade are classified under the tropical, their books displayed in a rain-forest diorama in which the ruins of a Modernist house can be seen peeking out of the undergrowth.
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster "chronotopes & dioramas" is on view Sept. 23-April 18, 2010 at Dia at the Hispanic Society. For more information visit www.diaart.org or call 212 989 5566.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Latino Book Festival 2010: Call for proposals!

The Latino Book and Family Festival 210

Award-winning author Reyna Grande is calling for proposals and author presentations for next year's Latino Book Festival panel. The festival will be held at CSULA on October 9 & 10, 2010.

If you're interested in participating, please contact Reyna Grande at Reynagrande@yahoo.com with a description of the panel, a title, and possible panelists.

Via Latino Books Examiner

http://lbff.us

Senator Bob Menendez's Book: Growing American Roots

"Bob Menendez was born in New York City to Cuban immigrants who left their homeland a few months earlier, in 1953, seeking economic and political freedom from the repressive government headed by Fulgencio Batista. His father, Mario, was a mechanic and his mother, Evangelina, a seamstress. The family subsequently moved to neighboring New Jersey, where he now serves as United States Senator (D).



Growing American Roots: Why Our Nation Will Thrive as Our Largest Minority Flourishes by Senator Bob Menendez


The high-profile senator shares his vision of a promising future for America with Hispanics playing an essential and valued role.

Senator Bob Menendez has long been disturbed by the rhetoric of media figures like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh, who, he believes, are spreading fear and misconceptions about the Latino community. For Menendez, who has held the highest-ranking position for a Hispanic in congressional history, it is about time the truth about Hispanics and their potential in this nation is brought into the spotlight—for all the right reasons.

Instead of viewing Latinos as the growing cause of many of America’s problems, he sees quite the opposite—and in this book he takes a unique approach by imagining a hopeful future for our nation. With the step-by-step plan that Menendez has devised and proposes in this book, the United States’ future will be made brighter and more successful precisely because of, not in spite of, the burgeoning influence of the Hispanic population as it “grows its American roots.”

Senator Bob Menendez is the first person of Hispanic ethnicity to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate, and only the sixth Hispanic in history to serve in that body.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Shakira Addresses the Oxford Union

Her interest in education matters brought her to address Oxford’s students, with a passionate speech in which she envisaged a future in which 30,000 teachers might be sent to Afghanistan instead of 30,000 soldiers.

“Its not about charity,” she insisted afterwards, “It’s about human investment. The best strategy to fight poverty, to prevent illness, to improve agriculture and decrease malnutrition, decrease child labour and decrease sex-trafficking, is access to education.”

Shakira is impressively focused and articulate, well prepared with facts and figures. “There are 75 million kids who don’t receive an education, 226 million who don’t have access to secondary school. The children are the foundation in a house, and, if you don’t build strong foundations, you will spend your lives trying to fix problems that will arise.”
via www.telegraph.co.uk

Spanish Harlem Stroll Down History Lane

Julia de Burgos: Poet, nationalist and feminist. Found unconscious and carrying no identification in 1953 on a street in El Barrio/ East Harlem, near 106th and Fifth Avenue, she was taken to the Harlem Hospital where she died. The streets of East 106th Street from Fifth Avenue to First Avenue have been renamed in her honor.

On 103rd Street and Third, were the large discount store is now, there used to be a theater called The Eagle. They showed vintage films (a $1 a pop) and held live performances. Cinematreasures.org



La Marqueta is a marketplace under the elevated Metro North railway tracks between 111th Street and 116th Street on Park Avenue. Today it's a remnant of its "heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, where over 500 vendors operated out of La Marqueta, and it was an important social and economic venue for Hispanic New York.


The market was originally an informal gathering place for pushcart vendors and other merchants, but since 1936 it has been officially sanctioned, and vendors rent their stalls from the city. It was once possible to buy food (fresh fish & fruits), traditional medicines, recordings of Latin music, and supplies for charms and curses at La Marqueta. New York Times article about its history


Of course, I am old enough to remember the Cosmo Movie Theater that used to be on 116th Street between 3rd Avenue & Lexington (where Regine's is now). This theater shut its doors in the late 1980s but many memories and newspapers still hold the stories of the Cosmo, where you could see a double feature ($5 in my day) and sometimes live performances. Founded in 1922, it was a one-story that had 1405 seats with art deco architecture.

Famous East/Spanish Harlem Natives include:

Tito Puente,
Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona,
Cicely Tyson,
Henry Enrique "Erik" Estrada,
Tupac Shakur,
Felipe Luciano,
Burt Lancaster,
Oscar Hijuelos,
Marc Anthony,
Jonas Salk,
Groucho Marx
Piri Thomas,
CBS reporter Pablo Guzman,
Al Pacino,
Taye Diggs

Irene Vilar Speaks on Impossible Motherhood

Monday, December 07, 2009

Let Freedom Ring: Digital Library on American Slavery opens

Wonderful news, wonderful new resource available:

The Latinidad Book Gift Guide

Marcela Landres' Book Picks:

Literary Fiction
Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea: Simple prose and easy humor belie a substantial story with a political edge.

Poetry
Bird Eating Bird by Kristin Naca: Expands and embraces the possibilities of language.

Chick Lit
B as in Beauty by Alberto Ferreras: Sexy, laugh-out-loud chronicle of a big girl who learns to love her curves.

Short Story Collection
How to Leave Hialeah by Jennine Capo Crucet: A smart and smart-mouthed writer to watch.

Mystery
G.I Bones by Martin Limon: An historical page-turner with a keen eye and ear for detail.

Memoir
Havana and Other Missing Fathers by Mia Leonin: Absorbing and beautiful account of the author's search for truth and love.

Self-Help
Parents Who Cheat by Ana Nogales: Think your parent's infidelity didn't affect you? Think again.

Cookbook
Simply Mexican by Lourdes Castro: Even a novice can quickly master these refreshingly well-written recipes.

Young Adult
Riding the Universe by Gaby Triana: The ultra-fabacious story of a clever girl and confusing boys.

Middle Grade
Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez: Warm, heartbreaking tale of a motherless girl and her absent-minded father.




Sunday, December 06, 2009

Draw Your Dreams on a Very Large Canvas



* James De La Vega at work

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Racism in Cuba

A group of prominent African Americans, traditionally sympathetic to the Cuban revolution, have for the first time condemned Cuba, demanding Havana stop its ``callous disregard'' for black Cubans and declaring that ``racism in Cuba . . . must be confronted.''

``We know first-hand the experiences and consequences of denying civil freedoms on the basis of race,'' the group declared in a statement. ``For that reason, we are even more obligated to voice our opinion on what is happening to our Cuban brethren.''


Among the 60 signers were Princeton professor Cornel West, actress Ruby Dee Davis, film director Melvin Van Peebles, former South Florida congresswoman Carrie Meek, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of President Barack Obama's church in Chicago, and Susan Taylor, former editor in chief of Essence magazine.. read the rest here

Nazi Mystery: Twins from Brazil - Tonite on Nat Geo

Joseph Mengele, the escaped Nazi war criminal and SS physician, known as the Angel of Death, spent years doing bizarre medical experiments on twins at Auschwitz working to determine if twins held the key to building a blond-haired, blue-eyed master race for Adolf Hitler. Now a historian says he has evidence that Mengele's attempts may not have ended at Auschwitz, and that his obsession to engineer an Aryan master race continued, and that succeeded while he was on the run in South America.

Deep in the Brazilian outback in a tiny town among the 80 households in a one-square-mile area are reportedly some 38 pairs of twins. Blond, blue-eyed twins. Bizarre and inexplicable, could they be the product of Mengele's machinations? Now, with exclusive access, EXPLORER goes inside the investigation; From the secret agents who trailed him, to the scientists now uncovering the facts behind the fantastical phenomenon, no stone is left unturned.

Read more: natgeo



nationalgeographic.com

Friday, December 04, 2009

Pelicula News

From my inbox:

Cinema Tropical compiled a list of the Top Ten Latin American Films of the Decade (2000-2009), based on a survey of distinguished critics, scholars and film professionals based in the NYC area.

This first-ever survey of its kind was culled from 35 prominent local voices in film whose work has been devoted to the promotion and dissemination of Latin American cinema in New York and the United States. In all, 124 films representing 14 Latin American countries were nominated for the distinction of being Best of the Decade, demonstrating the great quality and diversity of films from the region.

And the winners are...

1. LA CIENAGA (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 2001)
2. AMORES PERROS (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mexico, 2000
3. LUZ SILENCIOSA / SILENT LIGHT (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico, 2007)
4. CITY OF GOD / CIDADE DE DEUS (Fernando Meirellos, Brazil, 2002)
5. ÔNIBUS 174 / BUS 174 (Jose Padilha, Felipe Lacerda, Brazil, 2002)
6. Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN (Alfonso Cuarón, Mexico, 2002)
7. WHISKY (Juan Pablo Rebella, Pablo Stoll, Uruguay, 2004)
8. LA MUJER SIN CABEZA / THE HEADLESS WOMAN (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 2008)
9. LA NIÑA SANTA / THE HOLY GIRL (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 2004)
10. EL LABERINTO DEL FAUNO / PAN'S LABYRINTH (Guillermo del Toro, Mexico, 2006)

Click here to see the complete list, the participants in the survey and the individual selections.

The Spanish Cinema Now festival - NYC - December 4-20, 2009

Featuring 22 films, plus a series of shorts, there’s a little something for everyone, and the best film to come out of Spain over the past year, plus a few classics. Enjoy!

“This year’s Spanish film harvest once again presents filmmakers exploring new and provocative ways of working with classic film genres. See terrific new films by veteran filmmakers Fernando Trueba, Jose Luis Garci, Marc Recha, and Joaquin Oristrell, as well impressive debut features by David Planell and Gabe Ibañez. Our Shortmetraje program, curated by Marta Sanchez, assembles some of the finest Spanish short works from the past year. Through the courtesy of the Filmoteca Española, discover two fascinating films by Carlos Velo, revealing another, rarely-seen side of Spanish cinema.

Finally, we honor Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez, a consummate actor known for his work in so many cinematic masterpieces, with a screening of Carlos Saura’s Cousin Angelica.” – Spanish Cinema Now

More information and tickets sold here www.filmlinc.com

Join The Bronx Museum for an exciting First Fridays! program celebrating the 30th anniversary of El Súper.

Friday, December 4th from 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Free
Bronx Museum of Art
1040 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10456
www.bronxmuseum.org

Recipient of 5 awards, the legendary film El Súper will be commemorated by The Bronx Museum following a Q&A Session with the screenwriter Ivan Acosta then music and performances all night.

El Súper is a film about a Cuban exile struggling to survive as the superintendent of a New York City apartment building, along with his wife and 17-year-old daughter.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thursday Round Up

Can everyone please stop talking about Tiger Woods?

Did you know Google Can Help You Send Holiday Greetings via Snail Mail for Free?

Brian Solis tells us that Facebook is losing the 18-24 demographic, which is pretty interesting.

I was lucky enough to interview Chris Brogan, the co-author of TRUST AGENTS and Mitch Joel, the author of SIX PIXELS OF SEPARATION on BlogTalkRadio this week.

John Batelle tells us why he won't be reading books on his new ereader.

My new fave blog, The Feminista Files, is written by Erica-Kennedy, author of FEMINISTA and BLING.

It's rather upsetting to me that sometimes when I am researching on net, the term "Latina" gives me tons of porn results.

The Daily Beast: The 25 Smartest People of the Decade

What a cool gift idea: film of the month club membership.

How about a books-on-cheap subscription to www.bookswim.com - a Netflix for books?

Stanley Crouch on Big Behinds and the New Plastic Surgery Phenomena.

I can't say this enough: watch what you post on Facebook and unless your job entails it - don't post anything during work hours... 8 Facebook misfires that ruined lives

And another take: Read: Schoolchildren 'should be encouraged to blog and use Facebook to improve literacy at www.telegraph.co.uk.

Interesting article on acculturation, Latinos, quitting smoking and gender at www.scienceblog.com

Watch: Rosie Perez shows Martha Stewart how to make Coquito (traditional Puerto Rican Egg Nog)

Some local charities are asking whether children are in the country legally before giving them toys.

Follow-up: hoax behind Peruvian human fat ring

www.hispanic-culture-online.com launched

www.postbourgie.com takes a look at the regional/racial tradition of having macaroni and cheese at Thanksgiving.

Katie Couric speaks with Grammy winning musician, Shakira about being sexy and the importance of women being both strong and sexy on www.cbsnews.com.

Download and get the lyrics to Spanish Christmas Carols here.

What Bolano read: his top 5 and his top 5000

News: Spain and Spanish publishing will be the focus of BEA's Global Market Forum program in 2010.

Hip Hop lovers everywhere rejoice: There's a new site that allows you to discover the origins of any song - WhoSampled

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Go where you're celebrated not where you're tolerated

Rejections a severe teacher and you’ll most likely log some time in this classroom at some point in your life. But rejection can be even more instructive than favor because it forces you to come to grips with who you really are and who you’re not.

It lets you know where you don’t belong and who you don’t belong with.

You’ll never ...succeed with people who devalue you  -  Go where you're celebrated not where you're tolerated.
-- Bob Beaudine, via Facebook

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Latinas are five times more likely to contract the HIV virus

In honor of World AIDS Day - Damaries Cruz's story:

How do you think you were infected?

I know how I was infected -- it was by my fiancé at the time. I met him and I asked him if he was positive, if he ever tested, and he said, "Yes, I'm negative." Then I started to have a lot of yeast infections for a whole year, vaginal infections. The doctor thought that I had cancer and he said, "Go and get tested for cancer. Do a biopsy, because I'm sure you have cancer. Do HIV just to rule it out." The biopsy came back negative and the HIV test came back positive.

When I went home and I told my fiancé, he said, "I knew I was going to take someone with me. I never thought it was going to be you." He knew all along that he had it!



Every 9½ minutes someone in the US is infected with HIV. Act Against AIDS. Be the Solution: NineAndaHalfMinutes.org
 
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