Better late than nunca…
(It’s still miércoles in my neck of the woods and I just might get away with my usual Wordless Wednesday post.)
Better late than nunca…
(It’s still miércoles in my neck of the woods and I just might get away with my usual Wordless Wednesday post.)
For those of us who love books, finding a new bookstore that speaks to our nerdy sensibilites as well as to our aesthetic values brings new thrills which are hard to describe. For me, I guess it’s one of those things that makes me want to do a happy dance. No me da pena admitirlo, estas son las cosas that get me all excited.
So it was a particular joy to discover such a place right in the middle of the vibrant downtown LA reinvention, on the corner of Spring and 5th street. The place is called “The Last Bookstore” and it is awesome.
Originally, I had read of about this bookstore in a fabulous article/list which was shared on Twitter called “The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World”. (Click on the link to go to the list.) I was particularly excited to see that El Péndulo, in Mexico DF (La Condesa) had made the list. I’ve been there several times and yes, it’s beautiful. But since one of the bookstores mentioned is right here in LA, I knew I had to visit. (I hereby proclaim a newfound obsession about visiting them all, even if it takes years to travel around the world.)
Lucky for me that my friend Olivia is also a nerd (I say it with respect and admiration) and was psyched to go along for the discovery. So off we went. The site is a wonderful building with great “bones” and architecture. Its wide open space and columns made me think of an opulent time from the past in downtown LA, when it may have been a bank or financial institution, but thankfully has been rescued/recycled into a place of knowledge.
You can read the story about The Last Bookstore here, and you may be curious to know, they buy books in good condition (no encyclopedias, no books that are falling apart or smell like kitty litter) and they are usually interested in classical literature in hardcover. Pero yo les voy a llevar algunas novelas/libros en español que talvez puedan quedar en mejores manos…
Here are some pictures, and just so you know, you can find books on almost any subject here at a great deal. Most of them are very cheap and you won’t feel like you are breaking the bank.
TGIF and Happy Friday everybody.
Can you believe it’s almost Easter? Ya falta bien poquito.
I remember when I was a kid, we used to get new dresses for Easter Sunday and we used to love it. I thought about recreating that for this year, pues traigo ganas de estrenar vestido.
So the first place I thought of for a dress was my favorite designer, la Kate Spade. It is pretty incredible that everything she has in store is everything I would want in my closet. But you need to win the mega jackpot for that to happen.
Pero pues como soñar no cuesta nada, I was browsing through the Kate Spade website and found lovely things (although carísimas!) and came across a great ebook made for her blog called “things we love,” and I fell in love with it.
I really like this brand, have always loved her clean designs and girly-cutesy-preppy-fresa style, but lately their branding and marketing has been so original and fresh that I take my hat off to the team behind it. It’s pure feminine inspiration. They make a jeans and t-shirt girl want to dress up, so that is a miracle.
A few months ago I took this picture at one of their stores and I thought, my God, does Kate know me or what?
Of course, I had this beautiful Kate Spade iPhone case last year, which was my absolute favorite thing ever, but I broke it TWICE and have not been able to use it since. They don’t make it anymore, she has new designs, but I managed to get the iPad Case on sale, so I guess I can’t complain.
Today a 7.6 shocker jolted al DF, la capital mexicana, and it was a wake up call, AGAIN, for those of us who live in California. Thankfully there was not that much damage, that we know of yet, as the other temblores que han pegado, like the one in September 1985. We’re still keeping our chilango friends and families in our prayers. Animo!
Here’s a post I wrote almost a year ago, give or take a few days, after the Tsunami and earthquake in Japan. I made a kit soon thereafter, which I have since not kept updated, to tell you the truth. But I will do so asap.
It’s also time to revisit and to rethink our strategies for when the earthquake hits in LA and around California. They keep telling us that it’s a matter of time. Y no es para asustar, this is only a reminder that we live in a earthquake prone place. So make a plan and be ready. My new motto is: Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared. (Maybe I should copyright this one.)
Click on the image to read about my kit, which will be replenished tonight! And check out these sites for more information:
Pues el New York Times hoy dice que los bilingual people are smarter and more adept at understanding the world.
SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.
This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century. Researchers, educators and policy makers long considered a second language to be an interference, cognitively speaking, that hindered a child’s academic and intellectual development.
They were not wrong about the interference: there is ample evidence that in a bilingual’s brain both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, thus creating situations in which one system obstructs the other. But this interference, researchers are finding out, isn’t so much a handicap as a blessing in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles.
I kind of want to frame this article and show it to all the naysayers (y la gente gacha) que se burlaba de mi bilingual way of expressing myself. Back when I was growing up, they didn’t call it “Bilingual/Bicultural” or anything fancy. They called you a “pocha” que no se sabe expresar bien en dos idiomas. The word Spanglish didn’t even occur to us then.
“Que pocha eres” was a constant thing I heard when I was growing up, and I have to say, people didn’t say it in a nice way.
But karma is good para todos los bilingües, and here we are in 2012 embracing all the cultural know how and brain empowerment that speaking 2 languages provides.
Thank you New York Times!
Here’s the link to the article. Happy Sunday reading!
Parece que va a ser un busy weekend en LA, de esos en que hay something for everybody.
If only the weather would cooperate. Seems like we are on stormwatch all over the place, from the valleys to the beaches, and that does not bode well for the thousands of runners doing the LA Marathon on Sunday. I have a theory that it always rains on Marathon Day and this year the forecast even calls for hail in the mix. Damn!
De todas maneras, les deseamos a todos los corredores lots of luck and a good finishing time. It takes a lot to train and finish a marathon, so just by getting to the starting line, they have all my respect and admiration. I was thinking of going out para echarles porras, as I usually do each year, pero con la lluvia, se me hace que solo les mandaré la buena vibra por televisión. Besides, the city is practically undriveable on Marathon Sunday. There are street closures all over the place. Here is a link to a site with all the details and what streets to avoid. The race starts at Dodger Stadium and ends at the Santa Monica Pier.
On another note, if you like to go to the movies on rainy days, there is a new movie coming this weekend out which has been getting a lot of buzz.
“Casa de Mi Padre” stars the wonderful Mr. Will Ferrel and el Diego y el Gael, because that’s what we call them at our house, “el Diego” (Luna) y “el Gael” (García Bernal). I do believe I’m going to enjoy it. Look at the trailer and tell me you don’t think this is hilarious. So cheesy, so camp! Yes it’s a spoof, but who cares. Me encantó. And a few of the producers-distributors are mexicanos, of course.
This week, Will Ferrel has been doing all the promotion, and he visited Jimmy Kimmel where they had a very funny interview, completamente en español! Y hablaron bastante bien. Will practically has a perfect Spanish accent. Go Will!
Here’s a clip from the show that my dear friend Olivia sent me (thanks Olivia!) and please watch it until the end. There is something I’ve never heard before, not on English TV, not on Spanish TV. Shocking!
Here is Will Ferrel En Español.
Let us not forget that Saturday March 17th is Saint Patrick’s Day. Un día muy importante, since all the mexicanos are practically half Irish (somos como primos hermanos de cariño, we love them so much) and since it’s practically a national holiday in the USA, how about we have a celebration? Here’s a list of places to go to, my personal favorites being Molly Malones on Fairfax and Casey’s in DTLA, although be careful, it tends to get a little crazy.
It’s been a beautiful year so far for the lovely Ms. Sofia Vergara, and she is not shy in admitting she is turning 40 this summer. Hey, it’s about time we all embraced that milestone.
Take a look at her 2012 so far: Continued Hit TV Show on ABC: Check. Emmy Award for the show: Check. Modeling Contracts Galore: Check. Vanity Fair Oscar Party sitting next to Tom Ford: Check. Gigantic Times Square Ad: Check. Cover of the new InStyle for April: Check.
Not bad for la colombiana que conocemos desde hace muuucho, back cuando era más famosa por ser amiga de los famosos y por ser bonita. She’s come a long way and I don’t know about you, pero a mi me da mucho gusto. I guess at first we didn’t give her much credit, but she has proven to be a genuinely funny and talented actress. There, I said it. I don’t care if she turns out to be a diva like Salma or a little ditzy like Charo. She’s earned my respect. It takes a lot of guts and patience to make it big the way she’s made it in Hollywood and on Madison Avenue.
I read this article today on AdWeek and was impressed with how los big shot americanous en marketing view the advertising and branding opportunities que los latinos (y los latino “wannabes”) representan.
Of course this is not the discovery of the holy grail, but it’s always nice to hear, right? There are many IMPORTANT people trailing our habits, tracking what we spend on, keeping an eye on who we like and trying to figure out what we will like in the future.
Here’s a clip of the story:
Take a look at Sofia Vergara. Go ahead—everybody else is.
The Colombian bombshell is hard to miss these days: striking a pose on newsstands (Cosmopolitan, Shape), selling her fashion line at Kmart stores, hawking Diet Pepsi during the Super Bowl, and keeping us laughing out loud on ABC’s Emmy-winning Modern Family, TV’s top-rated comedy.
Vergara joins stars including Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Eva Longoria, Eva Mendes and Selena Gomez who constitute the face of the “now” America and to whom brands are turning to reach consumers across diverse and evolving cultural and demographic constituencies.
Vergara in particular is “a role model and a poster child for crossing over from Spanish-language media to mainstream U.S. success,” explains Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, a Hispanic marketing expert at the firm Walton|Isaacson in Los Angeles, referring to the star’s beginnings on telenovelas. “Almost no other Latina has done that, and she’s managed to become a powerhouse without ever forgetting who she is and where she came from. She didn’t shed her Hispanic-ness.”
Keep reading article HERE: Adweek. The article is featured on the current Hispanic Issue.
Spring is almost here, and I’m still thinking about a wonderful park where I left my heart a few weeks ago.
Anyone who is visiting New York City soon should take note of the wonderful and recently opened space called the “High Line.” It is a an elevated park built over the old railroad tracks in the Meat Packing District. It has revitalized the area and made it the most energetic and cool part of town at the moment. Es el lugar mas padre, en mi humble opinion. A true re-invention of unused resources transformed into a city park. Recycling…What a genius idea!
On a cold day in late February when we visited, the views and the sunshine/lighting around the city were absolutely beautiful. Had we had a bit more time and the weather would’ve permitted, it would have been a lovely spot for lounging in one of their benches and reading a book, or just sitting and enjoying the view, which is what I suspect New Yorkers like to do when the weather turns nice and when they want a little escape. How lucky are they?
As if it were an act of serendipity, or maybe because I can’t stop thinking about it y luego ya ven como the Law of Attracion works, el latest issue de Architectural Digest tiene un articulo de Diane Von Furstenberg, who helped fund the High Line along with her husband Barry Diller with a nice donation of 35 million dollars. The article shows her new digs and store right at the entrance of the High Line. She has incredible taste of course, and she is such an icon of New York City that when you see what she’s done in the area, you can’t help but be grateful to her. I love you Diane. Muchas Gracias DVF!
You can see a few of the images of DVF residence headquarters at the Architectural Digest website by clicking here and on the image below.
You can get more information about the High Line here. (Open from 7am to 7pm. Free. No Smoking please!)
And below are some of images of my visit. Enjoy!
“I’m half gringa and half chilena,” said Francisca Valenzuela a few nights ago as she started her performace at the R Bar in Korea Town. The good people of Sala de Espera Radio organized a pre SxSW (South by SouthWest) appearance in Los Angeles and it was a a great night for the singer, songwriter, producer and indie star. It was a double treat since the opening act was Fernanda Ulibarri, another chilena (en route to Mexico City) and she was also a great surprise. Arriba las mujeres del indie-rock!
I first heard Francisca a few months ago on KCRW and was intrigued by her music and lyrics, porque canta en español, and rarely do you hear any female Spanish indie rock being played on radio stations in Los Angeles. So when my friend Rocio Gutierrez of DigitalGirl invited me, I didn’t miss the chance. (Thank you Rocio!)
Francisca has a great voice and sings with intelligent lyrics, mostly about love, lust, life, disappointments, the what if’s… plus, she also plays her own keyboard. ¡Muy talentosa esta chava! I enjoyed the set very much. She also speaks perfect English, which is nice to hear, and that means of course that Spanglish was spoken here.
Her upcoming performance is at SxSW next week, and if you’re reading this in Austin, make sure to check her out. I have a feeling we’ll be listening more of her pretty soon.
Website for Francisca Valenzuela: www.franciscavalenzuela.com
MySpace for Fernanda Ulibarri: http://www.myspace.com/fernandaulibarri
Visit the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and you will be inspired by the most amazing creative and artistic minds of the 20th and 21st Century.
Please forgive me if I exaggerate a little bit when I say this: A recent trip to the MOMA was almost like a spiritual retreat. Add to the fact that we encountered several artistas mexicanos y latinos in the mix, and it was just like heaven.
Da muchísimo gusto ver que uno (o varios) de los nuestros es reconocido en uno de los most important museums in the world. And that they have their own special placement and exhibit going on at the moment.
Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art is one of the current exhibitions and stays till May 14th, 2012. Click on the link to go to the website. It is a wonderful exhibition that recounts Rivera’s famous exhibit in 1931 for the MOMA in New York, and how he produced five murals at the museum, inside the museum (at the previous building) so they didn’t have to complicate the transportation.
Back when it opened, the exhibit “set new attendance records in its 5 week run from December 22, 1931 to January 27, 1932″ according to MOMA, and even today, 80 years later, this new exhibit is still drawing the crowds in. On the Monday morning we visited, the place was packed and you had to make sure you could get a nice angle for you to fully appreciate each of the works.
In addition to the murals, which all have the essential Diego Rivera elements like the class struggle, the vibrant and muted colors, the inequalities in life and the broad scale of each work, there is also a bit of Diego’s history on view. You’ll find newspaper clippings on his NY residency (even Frida is in the pictures!) and fabulous Moleskin notebook sketches in watercolor from a trip he made to Moscow in his early years, cuando se hizo rojillo y le pico el asunto del socialismo y la revolución. It was like having a picture diary from Moscow in the 1920′s with great historical references, and you can see how he was influenced by the socialist doctrine.
On that note, I have to say that for a socialist, Diego Rivera was pretty upscale. Como que le gustaban the finer things in life. En sus murales se ve la actitud de protesta, la lucha, y el reflejo de la realidad y pobreza que nos cuesta trabajo aceptar. Pero luego lees sus vivencias y sus experiencias, y se nota que era de una clase privilegiada. He was traveling around the world, adopting his point of view, learning from the masters, living in New York, then working for capitalist millionaires, like the Rockefellers, and being promoted and admired by all the art benefactors in the first world.
Para ser socialista, a mi se me hace que Diego Rivera era mas bien del jet-set. He was embraced by the cultural and economic elite in New York City at the time of the Great Depression. Imagine that. He was even given his own space at the MOMA to produce the work! So I’m sure he appreciated the perks. This is of course mi muy humilde opinión, ok? Luego no quiero ofender a ningún socialista, nor do I want to offend any art purist who will surely debate this.
Of course, there is the matter of his mural being rejected for Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan, which is also explained in the exhibit. (Lo contrató Nelson Rockefeller y después le rechazaron el mural porque pintó a Lenin en un lugar prominente. Y pues como que el ícono del socialismo no iba muy bien con las ideas del capitalismo ni con el Sr. Rockefeller, quien le pidió que lo quitara, pero Rivera se negó. Así que no hubo mural de Diego en el Rockefeller Center.)
Here are a few snapshots from the exhibition, and please forgive my angles and weird composition. The MOMA did not allow photography in this exhibit, but being the rebel that I am, and considering my Life in Spanglish readers, me puse a tomar fotos a escondidas. Shooting from the hip, I tell you. Totally undercover, á la James Bond – hidden camera style. Ahi disculpen si no se ven muy bien, and if you’re from the MOMA, I’m sorry! pero la exhibición estuvo tan bonita que tenía que compartirla. I just had to share.
(You can take pictures at the other areas of the MOMA, where photography is allowed. There are a few of them below.)
For more information about the exhibit and visiting the museum, visit the MOMA website. Es visita obligada si estan en NY.
In exploring the MOMA floors, I was delighted to find some of the best Mexican artists among the most fabulous art in the world. Dignos representantes del arte mexicano:
Happy Monday everybody. San Lunes yet again!
Doing my usual morning reads and caught up with one of my favorite writer/comedians, Mr. Bill Santiago. He has another brilliant post on the Latino HuffPo, this time it’s about the recent Time magazine cover (YES, we’re still talking about it.)
Remember how I was all proud of it and happy for the “Yo Decido” cover? Well he has a great alternative view on it. And it’s in Spanglish, of course.
Here’s the link and a little teaser. Take your time to read it porque esta medio largo, but totally worth your time.
(Orale Bill! Te echaste un home run otra vez. Congrats!)
Dear TIME Magazine:
Someone just handed me a copy of your latest issue. You know, the one with all of the Latinos on the cover. Why so many? Are you trying to make up for all those years since that Ricky Martin cover back in 1999? I still have that one, by the way. But this one is very special too. More special, kinda. The headline really got my attention: Yo Decido. Is it true that this is the first time TIME has had a Spanish sentence on the cover? Because, you know Spanish has been around a long time in this country. Actually, it was here before English. So it seems like TIME is behind the times on that. You’re catching up, though, and that’s admirable.
But you blew it. Here’s what the title should have been: Somos Los Deciders.
What do you think? I know, brilliant. See, first of all it’s Spanglish, which may one day be the official language of the United States, the way things are going. I mean you’d be surprised how many Latinos are bilingual and perfectly able to think and speak in both English and Spanish simultaneously. Actually, ni siquiera nos damos cuenta that we’re doing it.
Plus, did you get the reference to Bush and how he used to call himself, ‘the decider’? (I always called him El Pendejo, Jr., myself.) Anyway, my version works on a lot of different levels, makes you look cool, and is pretty hilarious. I bet you’re sorry you didn’t run your idea by me first. Well, next time, remember, I’m here if you need me.
Now the subtitle, I like. Very provocative. It says that Latinos are going to pick the next president. If that’s true, Republicans are in trouble. Because every time we Latinos look at the GOP, what we see is Gringoes On Parade. You mention in your editor’s note, right there on the second page, that Ronald Reagan used to say that Hispanics were Republicans who didn’t know it. Well, I think Republicans son unos malditos racistas desgraciados who don’t know it.
Have you been watching those debates? I have. Not all 20,000 of them. But a few, and it’s scary what gets applause. English-only, applause. E-verify, applause. Build a wall on the border, applause. Build two walls, applause. Electrify both walls and put a moat in between them filled with crocodiles, applause. Deport Dora the Explorer, applause. Nominate Jan Brewer for sainthood, applause. Repeal Oprima El Dos, applause. Replace capital gains tax with piñata tax, applause. Ban ethnic studies, applause. Ban ethnics, applause. Fire teachers with accents, applause. Fire baseball players with accents… well, let’s not get carried away.
Time flies and it’s already March. Where does the time go?
I’m feeling nostalgic about N.Y and I’m still not done sorting through the many photos I took this time around. It’s just a fabulous place to take your camera and explore.
If you’re old enough to remember advertising in the late 1980′s, you might recall there was a well known campaign by Kodak Mexicana, and the slogan was “recordar es volver a vivir.” So here are a few of my memory snapshots along with a favorite poem that reflects my state of mind… a “NY State of Mind,” with my respects to Billy Joel.
The poem is Letter to N.Y. by Elizabeth Bishop (for Louise Crane)
In your next letter I wish you’d say
where you are going and what you are doing;
how are the plays, and after the plays
what other pleasures you’re pursuing:
taking cabs in the middle of the night,
driving as if to save your soul
where the road goes round and round the park
and the meter glares like a moral owl
and the trees look so queer and green
standing alone in big black caves
and suddenly you’re in a different place
where everything seems to happen in waves,
and most of the jokes you just can’t catch,
like dirty words rubbed off a slate,
and the songs are loud but somehow dim
and it gets so terribly late,
and coming out of the brownstone house
to the gray sidewalk, the watered street,
one side of the buildings rises with the sun
like glistening field of wheat.
-Wheat, not oats, dear. I’m afraid
if it’s wheat it’s none of your sowing,
nevertheless I’d like to know
what you are doing and where you are going.