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Everybody Loves a Parade

We don’t do may plugs here at Hispanic Fanatic world headquarters. But this weekend is the third annual Grand Marian Procession, Mass, and Fiesta honoring Our Lady of the Angels (Nuestra Señora de Los Àngeles). The parade takes place on September 14 in the heart of Los Angeles.

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The sponsoring organization is doing pro-bono work to raise awareness for Latinos and to help Hispanics take pride in their roots.

Well, that all sounds pretty good. So if you’d like to attend, check out this. 


More More More

I have been remiss in pointing out some changes to this website that have gone down in the last couple of weeks. You may have noticed that there’s a lot more info being splayed about here lately.

Just look to the right-hand column.

Yes, I am now streaming third-party content from a company founded, in part, by Hispanic thespian John Leguizamo. So after you finish reading my rants, feel free to click on the myriad topics that Leguizamo, et al, believe Latinos — and those who love them — will find of interest.

By the way, wasn’t Leguizamo freakily awesome in Spawn?

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Yes, yes he was.


See You Next Year

It’s the end of the year, and according to blogger tradition, I am supposed to list the top ten greatest Latino moments or the top five worst Hispanic travesties or the top sixteen weirdo stories involving Latinos.

But honestly, who has the time to accumulate all that data?

So instead I’m posting the trailer for Mama, a new movie from Guillermo del Toro, the creator of the amazing Pan’s Labyrinth. The trailer is bilingual (sort of), and as I’ve stated many times, if there is one thing that Hispanics love (other than Jan Brewer, of course), it’s horror movies.

The film opens in January and looks like an appropriately creepy way to start the new year.

 


We’re Still Here

OK, so my Mayan ancestors pulled a fast one.

But for if you’re disappointed that the world didn’t end today, keep this in mind: In just five billion years, the sun will deplete its energy, and the Earth will become a barren husk devoid of all life.

So you’ve got that to look forward to.

In the meantime, let me just say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and all that good stuff.


Arcade Fire

I’m throwing another quick weekend update at you. Perhaps you’ve heard the story of Cain’s Arcade. In sum, a nine-year-old boy here in Los Angeles (specifically, in the Latino-heavy neighborhood of East LA) had a dream.

I won’t spoil it by revealing all the details. But check out the short film here to see what one kid with a lot of energy and creativity can pull off.

 


A Curveball

So this is a first. I’ve co-written a post.

Up to this point, every article under my name has been created, written, rewritten, agonized over, and ultimately put online via the Fanatic and no one else.

However, I had the opportunity to collaborate with the very talented Louis Pagan, and I didn’t want to pass it up. The result of our efforts can be found on the Huffington Post. Please click here to see the article.

And another thing: I realized that I never linked to my new profile on Being Latino magazine. So you can check that out as well by clicking here.

In any case, this collaboration thing is pretty cool. With hope, I’ll be working more with Louis and/or other writers soon.

Of course, that destroys my whole sullen-loner vibe, but we all have to make sacrifices.


Shout It Out Loud

So my old friends at the Huffington Post have started a new section — one that I will probably be contributing to on a regular basis.

It’s called LatinoVoices, and it debuted today. My first article for it can be found here.

When I started this website, just a few years ago, it seemed that the only outlets for writing about Hispanic culture were my blog, the sites of a few other Latino writers, and stray manifestos that angry Latinos would hurl onto your lawn.

But now we have our own section and everything. Latino voices are indeed getting louder every day.

So go ahead and check out HuffPo’s new section. And be sure to comment early and often.


Blurry

A couple of years ago, I had to a take a brief hiatus from the blog because I was recovering from eye surgery.

After my eye healed up, I foolishly thought that I would not have to worry about my vision until I was well into a bitter, memory-addled old age where everything on the body starts to go and I begin ranting about how kids today are disrespectful brats who don’t wear any damn clothes.

But that was before I found out that eye surgery weakens those orbs floating in your head. As such, your odds of suffering something as random and bizarre as say, a retinal detachment, greatly increase.

And so when I started seeing floaters and bright blue flashes, I figured that it was not God passing along visions and premonitions to me. It was indeed my retina detaching.

My surgeon says that I caught it in the nick of time. Apparently, I was about two days away from going permanently blind in one eye. If I were a traditional Latino guy who never went to the doctor, that would have happened.

But I seem to have gotten it fixed. It’s too soon to tell, but the prognosis is good.

In any case, my retinal detachment is the reason why the posts may become more irregular over the next few weeks. I’m hoping to maintain a regular schedule, but I can’t promise.

At the very least, my misbegotten retina has prevented me from attending local Latino happenings. For example, I was going to write a truly witty and insightful piece about the National Pork Board’s recent contest, where several Latino chefs got together to dazzle epicureans by showing off everything they can do with pig.

I was invited to cover this event, but I declined because I had a checkup scheduled. My doctor wanted to see how the retina was healing up, and we spent time reminiscing about how he stuck needles into my eye — good times.

So all I can tell you is that the post covering the contest would have been full of insights about the importance of food in Hispanic culture, and loaded with funny and/or poignant quotes from the winner, and layered with Seinfeldian jokes about how much Hispanics love pork. Oh, and there was going to be this truly amazing metaphor that would have singlehandedly gotten me shortlisted for the Pulitzer. Trust me, it was gong to be spectacular.

Instead, I missed it, and I’m stuck squinting at the computer.

Damn my eye.


Overheard

Recently, I attended the Hispanicize business conference, where I networked with smart people, snagged some free food, and hung out (however briefly) with Edward James Olmos.

I realize, however, that my post about the conference may not have given you the full flavor of the event. In the interest of rectifying that situation (and because it makes for a pretty easy post to write), here are some of the more interesting tidbits, observations, and general oddities that I heard at the conference.

There are ten of them, but there could easily be more.

“Telenovelas are a cultural touchstone for us. I’m sorry, but it’s true.”

“On the Census form, there shouldn’t be a box to check for race. There should be a color wheel, and it goes from cotton to cinnamon to black, and everything in between. And you just mark your skin color.”

“When we polled people about the top characteristic of Latino culture, ‘emphasis on family’ was number one. Nothing else was even close.”

“I tell my clients who are immigrants, ‘You’re in America now. If somebody rips you off, you say those magic American words: ‘I’m calling lawyers on your ass.’ That’s when they know they’re assimilated.”

“Whether it’s English or Spanish, language is just a tactic. It’s a means to identify a group, but it’s not an identity in and of itself.”

“Univision is now ranked among the top four networks. Isn’t that wild? I think it’s ahead of ABC.”

“Too many Latina moms approach the public schools as if they were holy temples, and they give in to whatever the principal or the teacher says. So no fresh ideas ever get exchanged.”

“That sign is supposed to read Mami Bloggers. Not Miami Bloggers. Damn.”

“Acculturation originally meant a reciprocal process, with cultures influencing each other. But now it just means ‘Give up your culture when you get here.’ It’s become a one-way street.”

“Dude, I say, ‘Let the people just be the people.’ Entiendes?”

 


So How Did It Go?

I’ve been to a lot of business conferences. But up to last week, I had only gone as a grunt — one of those guys who represent the sponsoring company and whose job it is to hook up the PowerPoint demonstrations, tear down the rooms, and occasionally, tell the speakers what to say (yup, I’ve written a few presentations for zero credit).

So it was great to finally go to a full-fledged, hobnobbing, networking-frenzy, whip-out-those-business-cards kind of conference where I was an actual attendee.

The event was Hispanicize 2011, which may sound like a sci-fi feature about cyborg Latinos, but is actually the “premier marketing event devoted to … brand marketers, bloggers, non profits, and marketing agencies focused on Hispanic public relations and social media.”

Basically, if you write about, or market to, or spend a lot of time thinking about Latinos, you would be a fool to skip this conference. So for three days, I hit the convention floor, went to breakout sessions, and networked with my fellow Hispanics and the people who love us.

It resembled many other business conferences, in that there were plenty of people in suits, and talk about monetizing this or that, and decent swag for the taking. But few other conferences have this much hugging. Really, you can’t get hundreds of Latinos together and expect everyone to stick to handshakes. Damn it, we like to hug, professional attire or not.

This was especially true when I met those individuals who had, to this point, only existed to me as online presences, or email buddies, or frequent commenters. There is no term for the discombobulating sensation of speaking face to face with people you have gotten to know through their writing, or via their comments. It is, of course, a brand-new emotion fit for the twenty-first century, and eventually, we’ll come up with a phrase to cover it.

In any case, my main reaction was to become a bit overwhelmed at the brilliance on display. My natural cynicism couldn’t dismiss some of the great ideas I heard. And my self-confidence (or is it arrogance?) took a backseat when I talked with some of the people who are leading the Hispanic community out of the dark ages.

The last major event was a keynote speech by Edward James Olmos. The Oscar-nominated actor gave an intense, freewheeling, intellectually challenging talk that covered his belief that there is only one race (that would be the “human race”). It also referenced the Mexican drug war, the documentary Inside Job, the value of the Swiss franc, and the fact that Harvard scientists have reversed aging in mice…Really, it all added up somehow.

I met Olmos after his speech and talked to him for approximately 9.7 seconds before a Battlestar Galactica fan interrupted me. But it was ok.

I gave him my card.


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