Saturday, October 22, 2011

Let Los Días de los Muertos Begin!

LatinoLA is in the grips of Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican holiday traditionally held on November 1 and 2 which focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends, family members and others who have died.

It's gotten so popular that fiestas, art exhibits, concerts and more are already taking place this weekend, including the Rose Hills Annual Dia De Los Muertos Festival & Marketplace. Check out our Calendario for other activities.

Are we concerned with the over-commercialization of this rich and spiritual belief? Not as long as the organizers maintain some authenticity and attendees come away with lasting insights on nuestra cultura.

While I have you here, check out my Abelardo de la Peña Jr. blog.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekend Warrior

Weekdays are wall-to-wall work. Weekends can either be kick back or hectic. This one was a little of both.

Thursdays seem to be the start of my weekend. After settling my wife and granddaughter at home, I went to help set up the for the Multicultural Alliance of Entrepreneurs's presentation at the Mexican Cultural Institute (MCI) called "Latino Population and Business Trends." Then it was off to Pico-Union to do a drive-by at Centro for Latino Literacy's Manos Amigas Celebration. I stayed for a few minutes, but here you could read an entertaining article on the night's events, written by my partner at, Richard Koffler. Then, back to MCI for the clean-up.

Friday, my wife Linda and I drove over to Westwood to attend a performance of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity at the Geffen Playhouse. We were invited by Valerie de la Garza, who is on the theater's community advisory board. Although the play, a powerful and hyper-kinetic carnival of words, music and professional wrestling, had a Latino-centric theme and is written by Kristoffer Diaz, there wasn't much outreach to Latino audiences. Thus, Latino Social Night, with invites going out to bloggers, writers, influentials and others (like us). They also bought some ads on LatinoLA! Very enjoyable experience. See it if you can!

Saturday, we got off to a late start (actually slept in a bit), then on to the home-cleaning. I left at about 4 to get ready for the Cucaracha Crawl at MCI, where Lalo Alcaraz was to present a slide show and talk about his exhibit: Lalo Alcaraz Heritage Month: 500 Years of History/Art/Satire. Light, but enthusiastic, crowd, but I got to talk with Lalo on some upcoming projects. The exhibit goes on until October 15.

Sunday morning: Back to the Mexican Cultural Institute, first to meet a group of Chicano Studies students from Cal State Long Beach, lead by their professor and the Institute's board chair Armando Vasquez-Ramos; then participated in the Dia de los Braceros presentation out in Plaza Olvera's kiosk; ending my stay with a brief visit to La Plaza de Cultura y Artes to hear a lecture on the America Tropical mural.

Headed home for a breather. My son Michael came over for a while, so we had a roomful of little girls (his two daughters and our other granddaughter Jewel, who stayed the night with us) laughing and screaming, jumping and dancing, and having fun with papa (me).

Finally, at about 4:30 pm we drove to Hollywood to see John Leguizamo's latest one-man play, Ghetto Klown at the Montalbán. This one was a riot, a chronological tour of his career in show business. He is a master mimic, a great dancer, fast and furious with his warts and all portrayal of his relationships, both personal and professional, and his successes and failures. Hilarious, nostalgic and confessional, it was frantic funny and heartbreaking at the same time.

Weekends aren't usually this Krazy, but when opportunity comes, it's time to suit up and enjoy.

Who I saw: Gloria Molina, Raquel Hernandez, Roy Jasso, Martin Albornoz, Yvette Doss, Kevin de Leon, Flavio Morales, Dyanna Ortelli, Baldomero Capiz, Valerie de la Garza, Cris Franco, Jose Huizar, Dan Guerrero (twice), Cisco, and a whole bunch more. If I didn't greet you (or forgot who you were), desculpame, por favor!