Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Now that's a Funny Book Trailer

that's going to get a lot of hits - even from people who don't read!
(some might find it offensive, but don't click play if you don't have a sense of humor)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Book: The Secret History of Costaguana by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Juan Gabriel Vásquez is the critically acclaimed, award-winning Colombian author of The Informers. He has translated works by E. M. Forster, Victor Hugo, and John Dos Passos, among others, into Spanish. His fiction has been translated into fourteen languages. 

 In the early twentieth century, a struggling Joseph Conrad wrote his great novel Nostromo, about a South American republic he named Costaguana. It was inspired by the geography and history of Colombia, where Conrad spent only a few days. But in Juan Gabriel Vásquez's novel The Secret History of Costaguana, we uncover the hidden source- and one of the great literary thefts. 

On the day of Joseph Conrad's death in 1924, the Colombian-born José Altamirano begins to write and cannot stop. Many years before, he confessed to Conrad his life's every delicious detail-from his country's heroic revolutions to his darkest solitary moments. Conrad stole them all. Now Conrad is dead, but the slate is by no means clear- Nostromo will live on and Altamirano must write himself back into existence. As the destinies of real empires collide with the murky realities of imagined ones, Vásquez takes us from a flourishing twentieth-century London to the lawless fury of a blooming Panama and back. 

Tragic and despairing, comic and insightful, The Secret History of Costaguana is a masterpiece of historical invention. It will secure Juan Gabriel Vásquez's place among the most original and exuberantly talented novelists working today.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blogging Elsewhere

For those of you interested, I am doing a lot more writing across several blogs. Here's a few links:

Apple & Coca-Cola - Design & Branding
Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance, on Making Ideas Happen
Jonah Lehrer on How We Decide

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

13th Annual International Latino Book Awards - NYC 5/25

The 13th Annual International Latino Book Awards will be held at New York City's Museo del Barrio on May 25, during the book publishing industry's largest trade show, Book Expo America.

Latino Book Awards 
Wednesday May 25, 2011

In collaboration with La Casa Azul Bookstore and Las Comadres and Latino Literacy Now, el Museo del Barrio joins the Latino Book Awards Ceremony as part of the Book Expo America 2011. Come and celebrate with autores that publish their first book! 

Grab a friend and join us for our weekly free extended Gallery hours, live DJs in Residence, and Drink Specials at El Café.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Step into my World

* via www.jamesjean.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Book: Miss New India

I requested a review copy of Miss New India By Bharati Mukherjee because I was intrigued by this tale of modern India, that includes technology, social, class and gender issues into a nice love story.
Anjali Bose may be “Miss New India,” but her prospects don’t look great. Born into a traditional lower-middle-class family, Anjali lives in a backwater town and has an arranged marriage on the horizon. But her ambition, charm and fluency in language do not go unnoticed by her influential English teacher, Peter Champion (an expat American). And champion her Peter does, both to other powerful people who can help her along the way and to Anjali herself, stirring in her a desire to take charge of her own destiny.

So she sets off for Bangalore, India’s fastest-growing major metropolis, and quickly falls in with an audacious and ambitious crowd of young people who have learned how to sound American by watching shows like Sex and the City and Seinfeld in order to get jobs as call-centre service agents, where they are quickly able to out-earn their parents.

It is in this high-tech city that Anjali -- suddenly free from the traditional confines of class, caste, gender and more -- is able to confront her past and reinvent herself. Of course, the seductive pull of modernity does not come without a dark side, and these inherent dangers threaten Anjali’s transformation at every turn.
Download the Reading Group Guide

Miss New India by Bharati Mukherjee Book Trailer by cosproductions

Bharati Mukherjee: Winner of a National Book Critic's Circle Award, Bharati Mukherje is the author of seven novels, two story collections, and the coauthor of two books of nonfiction. She is a professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

NYC Art for Change Presents "Inside Job" Screening (Free)

Art for Change Presents a Scary Movie Night!
Corporate Monster Films Featuring: "Inside Job"
Thursday, May 12th Gallery Viewing: 6:00-7:00pm,
Film screening & dialogue: 7:00pm
Art for Change 1699 Lexington Avenue,
(between 106th & 107th Streets)
Lower Level
New York, NY 10029
(212) 348-7044 (FREE) 
"Inside Job" provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse.

Come early for a pre-screening viewing of the exhibition, Faces of the Economy, which deconstructs our economic structures to explore current pressures such as outsourcing of jobs overseas, lack of an adequate living wage against rising housing costs, and low job security. Complimentary popcorn!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Post Mother's Day: New Media Mami

There is a backstory and a series of events that led to this post.
  1. Last Christmas, my dearest friend bought her mom her first personal computer.
  2. My mom recently joined Facebook and is a "friend" on the social network.
  3. During Easter Sunday, at my house, we all sat together in one room and everyone was online: my mom and my brother uploading photos to Facebook and my best friend and my sister showing each other photos from their respective phones. I was struck by this.
  4. A few days later, I was having dinner with my friend when she received the first email her mother sent from her new PC - ever! It was a great moment that I got to witness!
  5. The next day I was discussing getting a Spanish keyboard for my mother to use to go online by herself with my brother. She usually requires his help.
  6. The day after that, I happened to through Facebook a recent post, Spanish-language laptops sell like hotcakes at South Florida BrandsMart USA stores (via www.hispanictrending.net) and quickly researched it and purchased one for my mom. 

It was a wrap!

For Mother's Day, Mami got the world - the world wide web!
The Spanish langauage laptop even has a webcam - Hello, Skype!

* Warning: Don't be surprised if my mom has her own blog up soon too!

Have you put your Mami (or papi) on to new media?

Saturday, May 07, 2011

NYC Sneak Preview: Bananas! Monday, May 9th

One night sneak preview of "the film Dole Food Co. doesn't want you to see", Bananas!*, which examines the intricacies and injustices of the global politics of food. Followed by a Q&A with BANANAS!* director Fredrik Gertten and composer Nathan Larson. Monday May 09, 2011 7:30 PM
$10.00 Maysles Cinema 343 Lenox Ave. New York, NY 10027
BANANAS! Dir. Fredrik Gertten, 2009, 88 min. "Offers a front-row seat to a landmark 'Erin Brockovich'-style trial..." says Variety of BANANAS!*, a suspenseful court room drama that examines the intricacies and injustices of the global politics of food.
Focusing on a landmark and highly controversial legal case pitting a dozen Nicaraguan banana plantation workers against Dole Food Corporation, BANANAS!* uncovers the alleged usage of a banned pesticide and its probable link to generations of sterilized workers.
Central to both the film and case is Juan 'Accidentes' Dominguez, a Los Angeles-based personal injury attorney who, although iconic within the Latino community for his ubiquitous billboard ads, is unquestionably facing the biggest case and challenge of his career. At stake in the classic David vs. Goliath story are the futures of generations of workers and their families, as well as the culture of global, multinational business. If successful, the case could rock the economic foundations of Dole, and would open the US courts to other global victims, representing a new day in international justice. An Oscilloscope Laboratories release.
Tickets available here

Friday, May 06, 2011

New Book: The Story of a Beautiful Girl

Last year, I had the privilege of reading The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon way before it was published. I can very honestly say it was one of (if not THE best one) the best books I have read in a while and you know I don't tell you that very often. Comparisons might be made to The Help, but they are similar only superficially. I can tell you however, that if you liked "The Help," you will love The Story of Beautiful Girl. It has so many layers and touches on so many timely topics: history, love & passion, race, alternative families, family secrets and lost relatives, empty nests, disabilities, sexual abuse... Don't take my word for it, go out and read it! (And, check out Rachel Simon's site too, it's pretty nifty)
It is 1968. Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are locked away in an institution, the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, and have been left to languish, forgotten. Deeply in love, they escape, and find refuge in the farmhouse of Martha, a retired schoolteacher and widow.
But the couple is not alone-Lynnie has just given birth to a baby girl. When the authorities catch up to them that same night, Homan escapes into the darkness, and Lynnie is caught. But before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: "Hide her." And so begins the 40-year epic journey of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia-lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.
Rachel Simon is an award-winning author and nationally known public speaker. She is best known for her critically acclaimed, bestselling memoir Riding The Bus with My Sister, which was adapted for a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie of the same name. The book has garnered numerous awards, and is a frequent and much beloved selection of many book clubs, school reading programs, and city-wide reads throughout the country.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Anything Can Be Beautiful

When You Look at it with Love

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Black in Latin America

If you haven't been keeping up with the series, three full episodes are now available to watch online:

Brazil: A Racial Paradise?

Cuba: The Next Revolution

Haiti & the Dominican Republic: An Island ...

Monday, May 02, 2011

On Spring, Rebirth, and Life

When I was a preschooler, I lived over a pet shop. The owner knew my father and my circumstances. He often gave me any thing my little heart desired from tropical fish and aquariums, to kitties, to an assorted mix of treats.

Inside  the pet shop, was a room devoted solely to raising pigeons. Pigeons were popular then and were kept in rooftop pigeon coops as pets and often were placed in neighborhood racing competitions. Unfortuntely, some people also cooked and ate them when times were difficult. I often had the special priviledge of entering the pigeon roost to collect eggs and I remember being quite fascinated by their cooing and colorful plumage, which I collected and brought home. This was way before I ever knew that shamans and many different cultures value feathers as spiritual omens and significance of ascencion to a higher plane. It was partly through my pet shop experience that my respect and love for animals was cultivated.

Fast foward to 2011, yesterday, I opened my window and found a pigeon hen nesting on my windowsill. She flew away and underneath were two eggs! I feel kind of honored that she chose my window to nest and incubate her little babies. It bodes well for the energy of my home.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

New Book: Thoughts Without Cigarettes: A Memoir by Oscar Hijuelos

The beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist turns his pen to the real people and places that have influenced his life and, in turn, his literature. Growing up in 1950's working-class New York City to Cuban immigrants, Hijuelos journey to literary acclaim is the evolution of an unlikely writer.

Oscar Hijuelos has enchanted readers with vibrant characters who hunger for success, love, and self-acceptance. In his first work of nonfiction, Hijuelos writes from the heart about the people and places that inspired his international bestselling novels.

Born in Manhattan's Morningside Heights to Cuban immigrants in 1951, Hijuelos introduces readers to the colorful circumstances of his upbringing. The son of a Cuban hotel worker and exuberant poetry- writing mother, his story, played out against the backdrop of an often prejudiced working-class neighborhood, takes on an even richer dimension when his relationship to his family and culture changes forever. During a sojourn in pre-Castro Cuba with his mother, he catches a disease that sends him into a Dickensian home for terminally ill children. The yearlong stay estranges him from the very language and people he had so loved.

With a cast of characters whose stories are both funny and tragic, Thoughts Without Cigarettes follows Hijuelos's subsequent quest for his true identity into adulthood, through college and beyond-a mystery whose resolution he eventually discovers hidden away in the trappings of his fiction, and which finds its most glorious expression in his best-known book, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. Illuminating the most dazzling scenes from his novels, Thoughts Without Cigarettes reveals the true stories and indelible memories that shaped a literary genius.
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