Friday, December 28, 2012

¡Adios 2012! ¡Places to bring in 2013! Support LatinoCities!

Amigas y amigos:
Whew ... we survived 2012. 

Thanks for your continued support and contributions, especially the writers who contributed stories, op-eds and public service announcements and the artists, musicians, organizations, venues and more who posted their events on our Calendario.

There's still time to help us go national in 2013 as LatinoCities! We have 10 days left in our fundraising campaign and we are short by a whole lot.

The final day to contribute $1, $5, $10 or more is January 7, 2013. Christmas money left over? Send some our way, por favor!

Here's the link to our IndieGogo campaign site:

We will succeed in 2013!
- Abelardo, el editor

Thursday, December 20, 2012

¡Feliz Navidad!

¡Feliz Navidad from your amigas y amigos at LatinoLA!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Podcast on LatinoCities

LatinoLA/LatinoCities co-founder Abelardo de la Peña Jr. (me) is the guest on Latino Role Models and Success hosted by Armando F. Sanchez.

Abelardo (I) explains how he's transitioning LatinoLA from a local culture website to with a national footprint.

Give a listen.

Click on this link to listen!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Help Become LatinoCities! We Need Your Support!

LatinoLA, as our loyal readers and contributors know, is the online home to Southern California's Latino voices, lives and souls. We started as an email newsletter in 1998, but since then, we've pioneered user-generated content, where anyone with something to say can share their story and/or promote their event. We are now ready to take the next step, by building LatinoCities, a network of Latino “hubs” -- cities, regions and communities large and small throughout the U.S. --, each one reflecting the sabor of its local cultura. We can’t create LatinoCities without resources, which is why we’re asking our great and growing family of readers, contributors and supporters to support us by donating to our crowd funding campaign. Our goal is to raise $15,000 by January 7, 2013. We gladly accept any and all donations, but to make it more compelling to you, we're offering personal, one-of-a-kind and culturally unique premiums for various levels of giving. Please click on this LatinoCities Campaign link to learn more! Any amount will be appreciated. Please leave a comment or suggestion on the campaign website. We appreciate your support! - Abelardo, el editor

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

LatinoCities Update

We now have a Project Team Leader at Sensis, the agency that is designing and programming LatinoCities. Their timeline for completion of Phase One ... First quarter 2013.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I'll Be the Judge of That - La Estrella de Panorama Mall

I had the honor and pleasure of serving as a judge for La Estrella de Panorama Mall, a singing competition which took place at the Valley's shopping center from July 14 through August 19. Although I only participated in the first round and finals, it was a lot of fun and inspirational. Thanks to Joman Wong, marketing lead at the mall, along with the host, fellow judges (including the Reyna Treviño) and of course, the contestants. I live tweeted comments and photos during the finals. Here they are: El Editor tweeting La Estrella de @panoramamall finals w/grand prize $1000 shopping spree @dianamera does soundcheck.
DJ Ray get the crowd moving with Cumbia remixes at La Estrella de @panoramamall
Mason Reese dedicates Selena's I Could Fall on Love to her mother
Leon Green tears up Buttercup
Carlos Pacheco belts out Payaso
Angel Mejia sings Cielo Rojo
Cristal Morales wows the crowd with Por Amor
Jose Pacheco finishes La Estrella de @panoramamall finals with Entre El Amor y Yo, dedicating the song to the ladies
Dancers take to the stage as final votes are counted
First place! Jose Pacheco! Congrats to all contestants of La Estrella
I'll add the link to the LatinoLA article once it's uploaded.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Moving Forward...

Didn't get into the second round of the Knight News Challenge. About 51 other projects did. Bummed? You bet! Moving forward... Development of LatinoCities delayed three months due to lack of staffing. Bummed? You bet! Moving forward... Sneak preview of LatinoCities for a few LatinoLA contributors last Monday at Sensis Agency. Good comments, suggestions, engagement. Elated? You bet! Moving forward... Stuck at deciding if and when to launch IndieGogo crowd-funding campaign. Confused? You bet! Moving forward... Always, moving forward...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

We entered the Knight News Challenge to help us fund our transition to LatinoCities. (Review our entry here.)

During the last couple of weeks, we've put a lot of effort into encouraging our readers and supporters to review our proposal and engage with it, by either liking, reblogging or commenting. I sent many Facebook direct messages to our friends.

Although the comment period officially ended March 29, we are still receiving positive responses and hope they continue to come in. So if you haven't had the opportunity to do so, here's the link again. Also, the Knight people are looking at Twitter engagement via the hashtag #newschallenge.

As of right now, our entry has enjoyed 37 Tumblr responses (Hearts, which equal "Likes", and/or reblogs), 217 "Likes" (recorded by clicking on the "Thumbs Up") and 64 comments.

Our goal was to be one of the top five entries in reader engagement. That way we would get to the next round automatically. But in viewing other entries, I found that a few received much more engagement than ours. So to get to the next round, it's going to be based mostly on the merits of our entry.

Initially, the organizers wrote that the entries going to the next round would be announced on April 2. Now, the website states, "By early April, we will select about 100 proposals for a second round of review."

After that, 10 or so entries will become finalists. Knight staff will spend the rest of April interviewing and conducting due diligence on that group and propose a group of winners to their board of trustees at its next meeting in mid-June.

So there you go. On to other tasks on our journey to launch LatinoCities...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Our Knight News Challenge Entry: LatinoCities has entered the Knight News Challenge. It's an opportunity to update our features and grow the LatinoLA concept to other cities. We call our entry LatinoCities.

Please read the entry by clicking here.

If you are on, you can "heart" and "reblog". If not, please scroll down to the bottom of the page. If you like it, “Like” the thumbs up. You can choose to share via Facebook or Twitter. I hope you do.

You can also comment. Read them!

Deadline for "likes" and comments is March 29. Thanks!

- Abelardo

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Still in My Sweats

I've been doing great at being showered, shaved, dressed and fed by 8:25 am, then walk Linda to work at the Central Library. Today, I took the Scion to get serviced, just got it back, did a lot of things in-between and doing more now. But today, I'm still in my sweats, hungry and anticipating a road trip to Oakland to pick up Alicia from school for spring break.

It's back to completing LatinoCities entry to The Knight News Challenge. About 2/3rds there. But first something to eat.

I ate a burrito de cream cheese and salsa roja. Drank horchata. Got back to the entry, tightened up the answers and emailed team mates Richard Koffler and Nonny de la Peña for their feedback.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sometimes on Saturday

After Saturday's household chores are done, El Editor sometimes goes out into the world. Yesterday's first stop was Amoeba Records in Hollywood. He decides how much to spend before going into the music superstore and stick to that amount, no matter what. $50 was the limit. There were lots of great new releases and the overwhelming assortment of classic albums on vinyl and CD that he's missed, lost, sold or just never heard of.

He walked away with a deluxe 2-disk DVD of Wizard of Oz, a gift for granddaughter Jewel; Let It Be, a collection of Beatles' remakes by Roberta Flack; Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan, which is a compilation of covers of benefiting Amnesty International (80 tracks!); and More of Other Worlds, Other Sounds by Esquivel, the imaginative Mexican composer and multi-instrumentalist who recorded in the 60's.

The soundtrack to our ride back home was the Roberta Flack. The songs are eclectic and imaginative; some are done in her familiar style -- warm and embracing -- and others are funky and jazzy. Her voice is still rich and full, although it sounded like a couple vocals were auto-tuned. Nice if you like classic Beatles songs. One surprise was "Isn't It a Pity", not really a Beatles song but one recorded by George Harrison after he left the group.

That was coincidental, in a way, because his next stop was the Grammy Museum, currently featuring an exhibit on the musical legacy of the group's lead guitarist and singer and songwriter of some of the Beatles' most well-known and loved songs like "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something". You know, his second wife was a Mexican American named Olivia Arias from Hawthorne.

Also on exhibit was a "Trouble in Paradise: Music and Los Angeles, 1945 - 1975." The guest curator is Josh Kun, and he and the Grammy stuff have put together an incredible display of music, photos, clothes and artifacts from a singular era of musical history. Plan on spending three hours plus, listening to music from iconic musicians like The Doors, El Chicano, Buffalo Springfield, Don Tosti and more. Great photos by George Rodriguez, too!

Two floors down is "George Harrison: Living in the Material World", an overview of the Beatle who's contributions to rock are somewhat overshadowed.

After dinner at Roy's Hawaiian Fusion on 8th and Figueroa (thanks to a gift card), El Editor made his way back home to watch "Q'Viva: The Chosen." His wife was surprised that he actually wanted to watch something with Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony. The show, a kind of "Latino American Idol" and travelogue mash-up, was fairly entertaining. A bit too much of J.Lo and Mark A. and their personal drama, though. But the music, dancing and personal stories of entertainers from Panama, Argentina, Mexico, Chile and other countries was thoroughly engrossing. Where else could El Editor have seen tango, salsa, acrobatic quebradita, bomba, malambo (a gaucho style of dancing performed by men), capoeira, and fantastic singing?

And then there was Sunday...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Facebook Question: What gift(s) would you like to receive for contributing?

I asked another question, hoping to gain knowledge to help us grow. Hope you can answer.

"We are raising funds to grow LatinoLA! What gift(s) would you like to receive for contributing? For instance: "For $25 or more, you receive a LatinoLA t-shirt" or "For $1 or more, you get our sincere thanks!"

Here's the link:

It's all leading up to our Kickstarter fundraising campaign. I'd like to be farther along with it, but it takes not having a great idea of using our friends and readers to know more about our growth, but it also needs networking, organizational and tactical skills to get it done right. Whew!

Friday, February 24, 2012

At the Mexican Cultural Institute

Located in the birthplace of L.A., El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, the Mexican Cultural Institute is a hidden gem where local and internationally-known painters, sculptors and photographers showcase their work to crowds of tourists and locals who visit Olvera Street.

It's also is a venue for musicians, dancers, authors, poets, historians and others who have something to share and knowledge to drop about la cultura Mexicana. It's where I spend a lot of time. I'm the executive director, a volunteer position.

Here is a photo from tonight's Dia de la Bandera / Dia del Chilango event, which included music, the opening of "El D.F. in L.A." exhibit and lots of platica about the upcoming elections in Mexico and the struggle of immigrant Mexicans for their right to vote.

The exhibit continues until April 1. Gallery hours are noon to 6 pm, Thursday through Sunday. Drop a $1 in the box, por favor.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


A long, long time ago, I received an email from Politico, (not the Arlington, VA-based political info powerhouse, but an email developed by James A. Garcia that listed updates on Latino-oriented political issues and personalities). I don't know how I got on the list, but was glad to receive it.

Pretty cool...something I was interested it, sent over to my very own inbox.

Something else I was interested in at the time were the Latino-oriented events taking place in L.A. (Still am).

There was a small column in the L.A. Weekly that featured Latino events and scattered announcements in the L.A. Times. I'd pick up flyers and postcards from events I'd attend. But all that info in one easy-to-access place? No go.

I gathered the clippings, postcards, flyers, etc., listed them chronologically on an email, and sent it to a few friend and colleagues whose email address I got from their business cards.

That was the genesis of

And the innovation continues. Let me know what YOU'D like to experience online.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Facebook Question: How has LatinoLA been a part of your life?

Have you liked LatinoLA's Facebook page yet? Click here and join in the fun. It features every article and event that's posted on LatinoLA, plus links to articles, videos and more published on other sites, as well as postings by friends and colleagues who have items they want to share.

On Monday, I posted a question: How has LatinoLA been a part of your life? Kind of hokey, yes, but we've gotten a pretty good response.

If you haven't participated yet, please do so. If you have, enjoy the responses.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On Board with Latino Consultants and LatinoFoodie

I've been friends and colleagues with Sara and Ara at Latino Consultants for many years and I go to them for assistance and advice on a regular basis. Today, I met with them in their offices in Pasadena for their input and advice on LatinoLA's next stage.

They were pretty enthusiastic and had some great ideas on raising awareness and engaging people. Plus, they turned me on to one of their clients, Nevarez Vineyards, a Latino-owned winery in Paso Robles that helps out a lot of local nonprofits with wine-tastings and donations.

Here's a vintage interview with founder Juan Nevarez to whet your palate.

On the way home, I spoke with Stephen Chavez, co-founder and editor of LatinoFoodie, a really cool blog that features recipes and culture. They've posted a few of their articles on LatinoLA and we're looking forward to posting more.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Working on LatinoLA's Next Stage

Since 1999, I've been posting articles and events on Longtime readers have noticed occasional changes in design and technology, but they've been released few and far between. It's still a pretty simple site with a profound premise: an uncensored place where everyday people, especially English-speaking Latinos, can express their voices, lives and souls.

Now, a team that includes co-founder Richard Koffler, members of our Advisory Board and Sensis Agency are working on major changes. I'll be writing about them in the days, weeks and months to come. Every now and then, I'll ask for your comments on how we're doing.

We're also doing fundraising to help us as we move forward on this. We'll be using Kickstarter as our crowd-funding platform. I'll be letting you know how you can help, soon.

- Abelardo