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Bravo Mario Molina, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom 2013

21 Nov

The Presidential Medal of Freedom was handed out today to 16 exceptional Americans, civilians that have made important contributions to this country. It is the highest civil honor anyone can receive in the US. I’m always impressed by this ceremony and the range of all the people who receive this recognition.

As I watched the evening news recap, where they kept focusing on the 2 most famous recipients of the group, la Oprah Winfrey and Mr. William Jefferson Clinton, aka the best president in my humilde opinión, I noticed that in the back row right behind President Obama was a familiar face. Why yes! It was Mario Molina, who also received this award today.

President Obama awards Mario Molina the Presidential Medal of Freedom 2013.

President Obama awards Mario Molina the Presidential Medal of Freedom 2013.

This amazing scientist and chemist happens to have won a Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry (1995) and is the person who alerted everybody in the world that the ozone layer was going to be kaput if we didn’t do something about the environment asap. But also important to note, Mr. Molina was born in Mexico (México, DF, 1943 to be exact) and he came to the US in 1968 to continue his graduate studies in chemical engineering at Berkeley. ¡Es de los nuestros!

He studied how chlorofluorocarbons are depleting the ozone layer (I guess we need to read more about it.) He continues to study how the environment is affected by all the messed up things que los seres humanos do to this planet of ours. President Obama said, “Today, inspired by his example, we’re working to leave our planet safer and cleaner for future generations.”

So I’m very proud. Even though he didn’t get air time on TV como Oprah, it was nice to see him get this recognition and see him among the group.

Muchas Felicidades, Mr. Molina. Qué honor tan grandeY muchas gracias for all the important work you do.

(The group also included musician Arturo Sandoval, the fearless Gloria Steinem, the talented Loretta Lynn, the first female astronaut Sally Ride (+) and the editor Ben Bradley, among others. A most admirable group of individuals.)

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Must See Documentary Discovery: Reportero

23 Aug
A documentary by Bernardo Ruiz.

A documentary by Bernardo Ruiz.

Here is a documentary that I found online through PBS and that has hit close to home.

“Reportero” follows the experience of Sergio Haro Cordero, a reporter in Tijuana, and the editorial team of the independent “Zeta” newspaper in recent years. It is an excellent film directed and produced by Bernardo Ruiz, and from now until September 20, 2013 you can watch it online at PBS for free with this link:

http://www.pbs.org/pov/reportero/full.php#.UhcH_q79XYs

Or you can go to the POV page from PBS and click on the selection: http://www.pbs.org/pov/

This is not a particularly “feel good movie” nor an easy story to watch, but it’s important to see it. 

Journalism is a tough profession, especially when your life is at risk for pursuing the truth and writing it.  As we know, Mexico does not have a good track record in protecting its journalists nor its citizens- far from it- and this documentary is an eye opener to all the things they are exposed to in this day and age. It has definitely made me aware of how valuable their work is, and I admire them even more.  

About 15 years ago, I had the pleasure of being a colleague of Mr. Sergio Haro Cordero at my local newspaper. I wasn’t even done with college, I wasn’t even pursuing a serious career in journalism (me tocaba la seccion de Sociales, for crying out loud!) but I was impressed by his work ethic, integrity, professionalism (exactly what you see in the film) and generosity in teaching a “rookie” the ropes.

One time, I tagged along for an interview with the state governor (Ernesto Ruffo) and Sergio let me ask a few questions (and even took a picture of me doing so, for my scrapbook.) I remember him working nonstop, always on the beat, always had a camera in hand. It’s so amazing to see that time has not changed him one bit (maybe for a few extra canas en el pelo) and even more inspiring is to see his wife and son supporting him even with all the risks they face (¡que valientes!)… I am in awe of his story and the film. Además, I’m proud to still have the photos he took of my muy breve, pero divertido paso por el periodismo de Baja California. Espero poderlo saludar un día de estos para darle las gracias pues son de mis fotos favoritas.

On another note, Jesus Blancornelas, the founding editor of Zeta and one of the main characters in the film, also has a personal connection to my family. Era vecino y amigo de mis abuelos y hasta sirvio de testigo en la boda civil de mis padres, en los 70′s. Small world. Mi abuela se emociona mucho cuando los recuerda a él y a su esposa, Beba.

So if you have an hour, if you have the interest, please watch. I only regret not having seen it in the movie theater when it came out, but grateful to PBS for airing it now. Bernardo Ruiz y compañia, soy tu fan. 

No se lo pierdan.

All in the name of good health: Angelina Jolie and my friend Marisol, plus Runwalk 2013

17 May

This week we all heard of Angelina Jolie’s difficult medical decision, and subsequently, all the opinions surrounding her double mastectomy, as a preventive measure against breast cancer. Although I had never been a fan, I must now confess that I have newfound respect for her and for sharing her story.

The first person I thought about, almost immediately after reading her op-ed for the NYT, was my dear friend Marisol Rosas, who made the same decision and underwent the same surgery a few years ago.

Angelina Jolie and Marisol have things in common: the experience of losing their mother at a young age, the family history, the genes, and a young family of their own to think of. I can not imagine being in the position of having to make that choice, but since Marisol is such a brave and beautiful soul, it does not surprise anybody that knows her that she overcame the fear and went through with the experience with courage and grace.

Marisol is now volunteering to educate other women in a similar situation to learn about their choices, as part of an organization called FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, where she volunteers as their National Help Line Coordinator. I am very proud of my friend, who has my total admiration for overcoming this difficult situation and now deciding to help others. She has a fundraising page for FORCE where you can make a donation, in any amount, towards this cause. Please take a look at her story, it’s both in English and Spanish and written by her sister Gaby. The page link is here: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/MarisolRosas/heroes

Click on the image to read Marisol's story and donate.

Click on the image to read Marisol’s story and donate.

You can imagine that after the Angelina Jolie story came out, there was a lot of interest in all of this, and Marisol was on television the next morning on Univision San Diego.

Click on the link to watch the video (en español) and see how great she did on TV. The link to the interview is here: http://www.univisionsandiego.com/videos/?pl_id=21522&va_id=4058199

Bravo Marisol, we’re so proud of you!

♥♥♥

On a related note, last Saturday May 11 was the 20th annual Revlon RunWalk at the LA Coliseum, and -Full Disclosure- I was invited to take pictures and walk with Team Macy’s, who was one of the major sponsors.

The event always draws tens of thousands of people, women, men, entire families who have al been affected by breast cancer and other women’s cancers, and who all want to put an end to it.

There was joy and optimism in the air, even as you read the signs and the reasons why people were walking and participating. It always gets to me, reading those signs, with names and pictures of the people who’ve passed and the survivors who’ve beat it. We are all affected, we all must do what we can’t to support the fight against it.

Here are a few pictures of a wonderful event.

She's there EVERY year. The beautiful Ms. Halle Berry at the starting line.

She’s there EVERY year. The beautiful Ms. Halle Berry at the starting line.

Lilly Tartikoff, founder and organizer for RunWalk, and Andy Garcia, who came out to support and cheer everybody on.

Lilly Tartikoff, founder and organizer for RunWalk, and Andy Garcia, who came out to support and cheer everybody on.

All those signs you read, all the names, they are powerful reasons to walk and fight for a cure.

All those signs you read, all the names, they are powerful reasons to walk and fight for a cure.

Such a great group of people, getting up super early on a Saturday morning to walk: Team Macy's.

Such a great group of people, getting up super early on a Saturday morning to walk: Team Macy’s.

Walking into the LA Coliseum is such a great feeling. Here approaching the finish line.

Walking into the LA Coliseum is such a great feeling. Here approaching the finish line.

Jimmy Fallon + Mariah Carey + The Roots = A New Christmas Classic

5 Dec

Here’s a great new rendition of “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, plus a few cute kids.
Click on the link to the video. I guarantee you’ll like it.


Needless to say, it got me, the official Grinch de mi familia, in a festive mood.

Could it be? Am I actually looking forward to this? Hmmm, ese Jimmy Fallon es LO MAXIMO.
Enjoy!

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From Jimmy’s Instagram. What a cool way to update a classic.

A “Taste of México” in Los Angeles

2 Dec

You know it’s going to be a great evening when the top Mexican restaurants from Los Angeles get together under one roof for one night and bring out the best of la cocina mexicana.

And indeed it was such a night on Friday, when the second annual “A Taste of México”  event was held at the St. Vibiana venue in downtown LA, pulling all the foodies and foodie wannabes who packed the place to capacity. Add a little tequila, mezcal and a mariachi band, plus dos que tres famous celebrities, and you have yourself a fabulous party.

The line to get in was ridiculously long. It went around the block, even with the threat of rain y el “chipi-chipi”, but once inside there was food and fun to be enjoyed by all. Also worth noting, tickets were $50 dollars, so you know these people were really looking forward to the food.

Among the founders of this event are Bricia López from Guelaguetza restaurant,  who was the belle of the ball, a true hostess with the mostess, making sure everybody was well taken care of and promoting the new and amazing lines of their auténtico Mole Oaxaqueño Guelaguetza, among other delicacies and an amazing Michelada Mix. Bravo Bricia!!

We also had a chance to sample food from La Casita Mexicana, with owners Jaime Martin del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu a todo lo que daban pero super contentos como siempre, with a great menu to share and a long line at their station; los de Frida restaurant lead by Vicente del Río tenian unos tacos deliciosos, de carnitas, de mole y de pescado en chile colorado, y ademas ceviche, so yummy; y para no olvidar el postre, there was a desert paradise in the form of mini tres leches bites, strawberry shortcake and pan dulce mexicano, cortesía de Ricardo Cervantes and the famous La Monarca Bakery. All good stuff in generous quantities. Nadie se quedó sin probar. Plus not to be outdone, brands like Goya, Tapatio, Guerrero and several cervezas made sure to sample their products.

Made me feel happy and lucky to know there are great Mexican food restaurants and good options all over LA. I’ll make it a point to support authentic Mexican food by visiting these amazing restaurants. ¡Que me esperen en la mesa!

Crowds gather to listen to the ariachi band at Taste of Mexico, held at St. Vibiana's in DTLA

Crowds gather to listen to the Mariachi band at Taste of Mexico, held at St. Vibiana’s in DTLA.

Authentic Mole Oaxaqueño from Guelaguetza restaurant. Delish!

Authentic Mole Oaxaqueño from Guelaguetza restaurant. Delish!

From Bricia Lopez' twitter feed (@bricialopez): You know it's good when La Reina del Sur herself, Kate del Castillo, stops by for a taste of Mexico.

You know it’s good food when La Reina del Sur herself, Kate del Castillo, stops by for a taste of Mexico. (Photo from @BriciaLopez on Twitter.)

Jaime Martin del Campo, from La Casita Mexicana, doing his thing. (Delicioso el pavo en achiote!)

Jaime Martin del Campo, from La Casita Mexicana, doing his thing. (Delicioso el pavo en achiote!)

The food station at La Casita...

The food station at La Casita…

Una probadita de Chilitos en Nogada.

Una probadita de Chilitos en Nogada.

Great food, great service, y de buen ambiente, el equipo de los restaurantes Frida y La Casa Azúl.

Great food, great service, y de buen ambiente, el equipo de los restaurantes Frida y La Casa Azúl.

Everybody's favorite: Tapatío was giving out mini hot sauce botellitas to take on the go.

Everybody’s favorite: Tapatío was giving out mini hot sauce botellitas to take on the go.

El Eugenio Siller se echó unos taquitos ( y nosotros un taco de ojo.)

El Eugenio Siller se echó unos taquitos ( y nosotros un taco de ojo.)

Not only does he do a Rock of Ages, now Diego Boneta is with the Mariachi band!

Not only does he do a Rock of Ages, now Diego Boneta plays with a Mariachi band!

For the sweet tooth que todos llevamos dentro, pastries and pan dulce from La Monarca Bakery.

For the sweet tooth que todos llevamos dentro, pastries and pan dulce from La Monarca Bakery.

I love Miguel Bosé y su PAPITWO

19 Nov

El nuevo disco de Miguel Bosé, PAPITWO. (Warner Music Latina)

Time to start a new and very busy week with fresh music.

Estoy super emocionada con el nuevo CD de Miguel Bosé, “PAPITWO” que es la segunda parte de los duetos de sus greatest hits. What a clever title! Y en Spanglish para que mas nos guste.

Ustedes no saben la emoción que me dió encontrarmelo el otro día en el Barnes and Noble, como tampoco sabrían que es uno de mis artistas favoritos. Lo amo a él y a su música con pasión desde que salía en la televisión bailando y cantando, disfrazado de Don Diablo con los then baby-Timbiriches way back in the 80′s, cuando hacian sus especiales musicales en México y lo veia en casa mi bff, la Ale. He was a hottie (lo sigue siendo a sus 50+) y todas sus canciones son lo máximo. Miguel Bosé is pretty much the author of the soundtrack of my youth en español.

En este disco hace dueto con Juanes, Alejandro Sanz, Juan Luis Guerra, Jovanotti, Ximena Sariñana y Penélope Cruz, entre otros. Yes, people, Penélope Cruz sings, and she is a great singer if you really must know. (O sea, no contenta con todos sus talentos también canta la mujer, and she does a lovely job too.)

Me dió mucho gusto leer los “liner notes” del librito en donde escribe una cartita muy bonita, que cuando la leí pensé que me la habia escrito a mi (isn’t every fan kind of egocentric?)

Dice Miguel Bosé:

Gracias a Penélope, Ximena, Bimba, Helen y Malú por sus voces de sirena y su tremendo cariño. Gracias a Alejandro, Juanes, Joaquin, Dani, JuanLuis, Pablo, Lore, Tiziano y Aleks por su lealtad guerrera y entusiasmo.

Gracias a todos y a cada uno de los que han hecho posible la segunda parte de esta saga, por su creatividad, técnica y paciencia. Gracias a mi nueva familia por las puertas que cada día me abre a nuevas emociones y sensaciones.

Pero sonre todo gracias a la gente en general que ha construido mi carrera año tras año y ha hecho grandes cada una de estas canciones. Vuestras son y a todas y todos vosotros va especialmente dedicado este nuevo trabajo.

Gracias y salud! Nos seguimos viendo…Besos y abrazos.

-Miguel.

Aww. I love you Miguel!

Nice little interview que le hicieron en la revista InStyle México en octubre 2012.

Time for Argo. But more importantly, Ben Affleck habla Spanglish!

12 Oct

Happy Friday everybody. It’s time for a good movie.

I’m looking forward to ARGO, a new film out this weekend by the multi talented and multi guapísimo Ben Affleck, who acts and directs. It’s about a real life event that you may (or may not) remember from the Iranian hostage situation back in 1979. (Yo sí me acuerdo un poco but I have to spruce up on my history lessons.) It looks like a  smart movie, with a great story and good actors in it. It also was shot by the wonderful Rodrigo Garcia who is one of the best cinematographers around y además es mexicano.

¿Pero qué creen? Resulta que el Ben habla español muy bien! This makes me happy, I don’t know why, but whan I saw this video I was very pleased to learn that he can handle his Spanglish beautifully and that he’s friends with el Chivo Lubezki (another wonderful mexican cinematographer) and is not afraid to say Alejandro González Iñárritu out loud, among other things.

Here is the link to the interview and please be patient because it loads up pretty slow… but I promise you a nice Taco de Ojo con and a very smart guy. Who knew Ben Affleck lived in Mexico when he was 13 years old and that his favorite word in Spanish is “Sacapuntas“?… Awww! So funny! Take a few minutes to watch it.

My film recommendation is to go see ARGO and support al Señor Affleck. He keeps making good movies so it’s worth a trip to the theater.

Here’s the link from Warner Brothers: Ben Afffleck Interview en español.

El Ben Affleck habla español muy bien! Pero también sabe un poquito de Spanglish. His new movie “Argo” is out today.

And here’s the trailer for ARGO:

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