Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More fun at Penn's Landing

The fun doesn't end with July 4th weekend! The 30th Annual Hispanic Fiesta, hosted by the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, Inc. (Concilio), will include a variety of folkloric music, dancing, entertainment, art, crafts and cuisine. As part of the PECO Multicultural Series, the history and heritage of Hispanic culture will be celebrated on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing on Columbus Boulevard at Chestnut Street on Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12, 2009, from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

No worries because this event is free! This year, the Hispanic Fiesta will feature the music of mariachi, salsa, bachata, merengue and samba. In addition, the Fiesta will showcase artisan crafts and authentic foods from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Colombia, and other parts of Latin America.

Conjunto Clasico will highlight Sunday’s stage entertainment. Nominated for Latin Grammy Award for “Salsa Album of the Year”, this group is respected for maintaining the tradition of Puerto Rican and Afro Cuban roots. They will be preceded by Cuban born salsa favorite Marlon Fernandez, who reached international recognition via the Puerto Rican television show, Objetivo Fama.

Julian y Oro Duro, a composer and musician from Dominican Republic, known for his Latin American and Caribbean roots will highlight Saturday’s entertainment. There will also be a variety of Latin music dance groups including Loisaidas, Bannakumbi, Xande Cruz, Brother’s Band, and more.

Oro Solido at Global Fusion Festival

Way over 2 months ago, Philadelphia announced Global Fusion Festival; but now the artists are popping up! This festival has to cater to every single audience, hence the name Global Fusion. A little history:
Initially produced to celebrate the Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress’ (MAC) 20th Anniversary, the Global Fusion Festival has become much more than a one-time event. Entering its 3rd year, the Global Fusion Festival is an anticipated showcase of extraordinary talent featuring Philadelphia’s diverse communities. The Global Fusion Festival truly embodies Philadelphia’s dynamic culture and in result, Philadelphia is regarded as a leading multicultural destination.
So who did they bring in to cater to the Latino audience...well none other than Oro Solido. Oro WHO!? ORO SOLIDO! I grew up on Oro Solido lol. They were the ones that started the party...i mean come on, who doesn't like merengue.

Monday, June 29, 2009

NAHJ 27th annual convention in photos (& video)

From June 24th - June 28th, Hispanic journalists gathered in San Juan, PR to discuss the future of their industry as well as get hands-on training in multimedia. Truly a great experience, here are just a few photos as well as a video from the closing ceremonies.

One of my favorite MJ songs

I was in Puerto Rico during the big news but I just wanted to post something. I've been skimming through all the Twitter/Facebook posts and some people are just crazy. Every day someone passes away but we never pay attention to it. Yes MJ had a bigger impact, but in the end, it's the family that suffers.

And with all the tributes developing, Hissip had a pretty funny Tweet today.

R.I.P Michael Jackson

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Off until the end of the week

That's right kids, I'll be away from the "office" until the end of the week. Where will I be you ask...

No it's not for leisure travel haha. I'll be attending NAHJ's 27th annual convention in San Juan, PR! Maybe I'll have time to live blog and get some free internet, not sure yet.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nelson Diaz to President's Commission on White House Fellowships

In case you didn't hear, last Thursday, President Obama appointed 28 members to the President's Commission on White House Fellowships (including Judge Nelson Diaz). This accomplished group of citizens representing a broad range of backgrounds, interests, and professions are responsible for recommending a group of exceptional men and women to the President for selection as White House Fellows.

Founded in 1964, the White House Fellows program is America's most prestigious program for leadership and public service. White House Fellowships offer exceptional young men and women first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the federal government.

It was just last Decemeber when Nelson Diaz got on the list de candidatos del Presidente Electo Barack Obama, Como secretario de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano (HUD).

For the entire list of White House Fellows, please visit whitehouse.gov.

The end of the Mayan calendar

Have you ever wondered what the Mayan calendar actually meant? Well here you go...

For more info about the end of the world, click here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Radio Reach

So as the years pass by we wonder if print, radio, web actually works? How do we measure success when marketing towards a niche segment? Well look at the proof that Hispanic's listen!
The reach of Spanish-language radio stations increased substantially over the last four years as Latin American immigrants continue to arrive in many non-traditional Hispanic states like North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Washington and New Hampshire.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

4th of July in Philly

Because what other city gives you two weekend of fireworks!? And what better place to spend America's birth, well in America's birthplace.

That Really Grinds My Gears...Fake Twitter Users

So these past few months I've been seeing a good # of friends join Twitter. However, are they signing on just for the hell of it? Why are they joining? Word of mouth? Heard it on the news?

Either way, if you're going to sign up for Twitter then I suggest you use it. Need advice? Gawker has some great suggestions of what NOT to do:

  • Don't say anything that might just as well be said in an email, i.e. "I'm sorry Steve, it's going to have to be $37."
  • Don't forget how many people are listening. For example, do not say: "Oops, hope nobody notices the smell."
  • Don't follow people you've never met. Exception: Diablo Cody.
  • Don't follow Jason Calacanis.
  • Don't add too many followers too fast. Like any dangerous recreational narcotic, one has to build one's tolerance before ignoring the Surgeon General's warnings.
  • Don't expect timely and informative responses to your Twittered queries. Or for anyone to read them. Twitter is a heat sink for the unexpressed ego.
  • Don't Twitter things that would be better said in person. Example: "@George, No, I won't marry you. It's the halitosis."
  • Don't try to share your political, religious or business views in 140 characters. It takes more words to obfuscate how simple and derivative they are.
  • Don't follow Robert Scoble.
  • Don't follow bloggers who write about Twitter just to have an excuse to include a link to their Twitter account. They will bombard you with links to their blog posts, because they are paid by pageviews.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Where will you be 4th of July? If you're not in Philadelphia, I suggest you make it out to Washington, DC. The 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival to take place between June 24th and July 5th at the National Mall presents three musical groups from Colombia. All the events are free and open to the public. For more information please visit the Smithsonian's festival web-site.

Las Américas: Un Mundo Musical
(The Americas: A Musical World)

Las Américas, the final and most broad-reaching program of the Nuestra Música: Music in Latino Culture Smithsonian Folklife Festival "living exhibitions" series, will feature outstanding artists from the United States and Latin America in an engaging cultural dialogue. The core of the artists will be from the Tradiciones/Traditions series of recordings published by Smithsonian Folkways. These artists represent the rich diversity of emblematic musical styles in the United States and throughout the Americas, including Puerto Rican bomba, plena, and jíbaro music, Mexican son music from various regions, mariachi music, Colombian vallenato, joropo, and currulao, Dominican merengue típico, bachata, and salve, Venezuelan música llanera, Paraguayan polca, and Salvadoran chanchona music.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Center City Disctric Sips!

Tomorrow's Center City Sips choice goes to CHIFA! Come out to Center City from June 3 through August 26, 5-7 pm. Take advantage of $4 cocktails, $3 wine, $2 beers and half-price appetizers, with some establishments even offering a 15% dinner discount after 7 pm.

Here are Chifa's specials:

Philadelphia Brewing Company Draft, Allagash White Draft

Valdivieso, Sauvignon Blanc, 2007, Central Valley, Chile (white)
Valdivieso, Malbec, 2007, Rapel Valley, Chile (red)

Traditional Pisco Sour - Pisco Brandy, fresh lime juice
Mula Cuzco - vodka, ginger liqueur, cusqueña pilsner, lime

Ecuadorian Ceviche - Fresh Shrimp, yellow tomato gel, avocado
Pork Belly Buns - Grilled Pork Belly, hoisin glaze, pickled daikon & carrot, togarashi mayo

Video - Jose Garces on The Today Show

For a list of his restaurants, go to grg-mgmt.com/.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A different type of event

Are you tired of the usual music scene? Looking for something new at a nice venue?! Well next Monday join Cabezas de Cera as they bring you their own mix of experimental music, jazz, and Mexican rhythms that identifies them. And no it's not in South Philly; they'll actually be playing at North Bowl in Northern Liberties!
CDC’s music is characterized by the mix of unconventional instruments (Chapman Stick, wind midi, electro-acoustic drum set, and 12-string guitar) and unique instruments created from metal by the band’s drummer (Charrófono, Jarana Prisma, Tambor Kitai y Tricordio). This combination results in a sound of their own; experimental and avant-garde, local and universal at the same time; a perfect equilibrium found between the acoustic and the electric.
Tickets are only $10! To purchase, visit ticketweb.com.

Monday, Jun 22nd, 2009.
Door 7:00 PM, Show 8:00 PM
The North Star Bar 27 & Poplar, Philadelphia, PA.

So why are Hispanics so important?

Because we stay positive in a recession and we know what we are doing. According to an Univision press release, "Hispanics are more optimistic in the period following the meltdown versus prior to September 29th, 2008."

Here are some interested stats:
  • 12% of U.S. consumers feel better off financially today than a year ago (down from 21% pre-meltdown)
  • 34% of Hispanics are optimistic about their finances in the coming year (vs 25% of non-Hispanics)
  • 29% of Hispanics are more positive about the U.S. economy in the coming 12 months (vs 21% of non-Hispanics)
  • Hispanics average consumer confidence rating is 11% higher than non-Hispanics, and has remained constant since 2005, while non-Hispanics confidence rating has declined.
We are more careful with money than other groups. I know I grew up not having a lot of money, that's why I'm so "cheap" when it comes to $$$. I'm careful how much I spend on frivolous items like CDs, movies, etc.

So if you have a business that markets to Hispanics or plan on marketing to Hispanics, be sure to have a right plan & it will succeed. Why do you think at festivals there are always those GIVE-A-WAYS. My mom loves the give-a-ways haha.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nat'l Puerto Rican Day Parade en NYC

Just in case you didn't know, this weekend is the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. Every year people from all over the country flock to New York City to celebrate not just Puerto Rican heritage, but Latino culture. And just in case you didn't know, every year the parade honors a certain state; and to my knowledge, this year PA is getting acknowledged!

Here's some history:
The first New York Puerto Rican Day Parade was held in "El Barrio" in Manhattan. Amongst its founders were; José "Chuito" Caballero, Peter Ortiz, Luisa Quintero, Victor López, Luis Amando Feliciano, Vicente Hernández, Angel M. Arroyo, Atanacio Rivera Feliciano, y Amalio Maisanave Ríos. Its first President was Victor López and it was coordinated by José Caballero. The Grand Marshall was Oscar González Suarez, Esq. Prominent personalites from Puerto Rico headed by then Governor Don Luis Muñoz Marin, attended the initial parade. Several Mayors from Puerto Rico, led by the Mayor of the Municipality of Corozal, Hon. Leo Cabranes also participated.

In 1995 we felt that it was time to expand this event to the national scene, reminding Puerto Ricans throughout the country of their heritage and fostering the positive image of our people. An example of the national interest in this expansion effort is the participation of delegations from thirty-one states, including Alaska and Hawaii in the 1999 Parade.

For a schedule of this weekend's events, click here.

Free tickets to Eastern State Penitentiary

I just realized I have 2 free tickets to Eastern State Penitentiary. For those of you who don't know what ESP is, well it's one of the most haunted places in America! I usually only go during Halloween season when Terror Behind the Walls is open...it's much scarier.

So here's the deal, I would just say, "BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT & I'LL GIVE YOU THE TICKETS" but that would be too easy. I'll give you the tickets, just let me know why YOU should get them...you know sort of like a mini-scholarship haha. Doesn't have to be a whole paragraph, just a line or two :).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Plug in moment of the week...Gamma Picnic

Yep it's about that time again for Gamma Phi Sigma's Annual Gamma Picnic. Like in year's past, our picnic will be held at Nockamixon State Park. The picnic includes food, drinks (non-alcoholic), swimming, games and more!

4th Annual Gamma Picnic
Saturday, July 25, 2009
1542 Mountain View Dr.
Quakertown, PA 18951-5732

Dia de los padres

Yet another day where we have to spend $$$ on family even though we should never just choose 1 day. Father's day is Sunday, June 21st and what makes this extra special...my dad's birthday is Friday June 19th. Double wammy.

Don't do what I did for Mom day and wait until the day of to get dad a gift. The Phila. Daily News offers some "okay" suggestions, but for those on a budget try, I'd suggest a nice dinner and maybe some nice business clothes. My dad just wants me and my bro (pictured above) to take him out to a bar and have a drink...sounds simple enough right?

Well no matter what you end up getting dad, grandpa, uncle julio or whomever, be sure to include "Love" in it because to be honest, the greatest thing you'll ever learn is to love and be loved in return.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Official Start of Summer in Latino Philadelphia!

I know some of you will be with dad for Father's Day, but if you're in the area, bring him to APM's 5th Annual Sugar Cane festival.

The event is on Saturday, June 20 from 12 to 5 p.m. on 5th Street between Berks and Norris Streets and will feature housing counseling, health screenings, live entertainment, arts and crafts, children’s activities, and dozens of community agencies and businesses.

And for those young (at heart), there will be live music featuring ANTHONY COLON, Reggaetonero BOLO FLOW, GRUPO FUEGO & DJ Rahsaan!!

For more information, call 267-296-7346. Volunteer opportunities available.

Dining - Isla Verde

So last week we took a group of journalists to Isla Verde. Did they love it? I think so because after the beverages kept coming, people wanted me to dance Salsa...that was a no-no.

Anyways, at first we ordered our appetizers and those could've easily filled us up. Everything was fairly priced; and may I add the chicken is amazing! Sorry if I don't like to be adventurous but I prefer simple meals. Thursday night is supposed to be karaoke night but we missed it by an hour I think. On Friday (or Saturday) they usually have a house band...if not, people just enjoy dancing to salsa/merengue/bachata.

Isla Verde Cafe
2725 N American St, Philadelphia (corner of American St & Lehigh Ave)
(215) 426-3600

Friday, June 5, 2009

Out of the office...but not really

Navaja is currently working hard on a press trip at work. I'll be back Sunday :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009


It seems to me there's 1000 things happening in Philly this weekend. But if you're in North Philadelphia around Lehigh Avenue, be sure to stop by the 2nd Annual Bomba Competition. But what exactly is Bomba you ask?
Bomba is one of the most famous musical styles of Puerto Rico. Although there is some controversy surrounding its origin, most agree that it is a largely African music. The rhythm and beat are played by a set of hand drums and a maraca. Dance is an integral part of the music: the dancers move their bodies to every beat of the drum, making bomba a very wild and rich dance.
Don't forget to try some of the food at Mis Viejos...it's delicious.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Idea of Latinos being Latino

A few days ago an article in the LA Times talked about what the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor really says. Apparently the author believed we (Latinos) can't come together and appreciate a Puerto Rican in this position. To be honest this was stupid.

The writer says:
Likewise, "when asked whether Latinos from different countries have separate and distinct cultures or share one Hispanic or Latino culture, respondents overwhelmingly (85%) say Latinos from different countries had different cultures, and only 14% say Latinos share one Hispanic/Latino culture." Latino unity was also elusive when politics was brought into the mix. When the Pew Center asked whether Latinos from different countries work together politically, 43% said yes but 49% said no.
He gives all these statistics about how Latinos prefer to define themselves by their country of origin and not Latino and/or Hispanic. I can see this being true of the older generation but I'm shocked he would not think we cannot appreciate Sotomayor's nomination. He is trying to separate Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians and everyone else. And whether you prefer Hispanic or Latino is all up to you. Each term is slightly different but like I said to each his own.

I was glad to see some of the comments on the article including this one:
I'm sorry Greg Rodriguez but you're just plain wrong. My grandmother, of Mexican descent, is very excited about Sotomayor and what she means for Latinos. Reggaeton, artists like J. Lo, Daddy Yankee and their popularity with Mexican Americans in this nation and throughout Latin America shows that a common Latino consciousness is developing.

Why Humans Will Be the Death of Humans

Reason #104 why the world is coming to an end...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Smooth '09...the stroll game will never be the same

Last March I told you 6-6-09 was coming; well now it's here. Greekster's Smooth Stroll show is this Saturday and I don't think people can be any more excited. Gamma Phi Sigma will take the stage once again to defend their title; this is truly a great story.

We took the stage at SILK 5 in New York City in 2006 with only simple ideas of what the show was going to be like. One year later we came back strong at SILK 6 on the Beach (Batanga Beach Break) and we made it to Round 2. We decided to go national and compete in SILK 3, Houston, TX. We could've made it to the end but unfortunately we were disqualified *smh*. We didn't let that bring us down so we came back even better at SILK 7 (Batanga Beach Break). And what happened that day? Gamma Phi Sigma won...
G-PHI, the youngest Nat'l Stroll Team Champs. G-PHI, the first and only NON-NALFO Nat'l Stroll Team Champs. G-PHI, big ups to all my haters!

Fast-Forward...6.6.09. The stroll game will never be the same...


FRATS (eliminations: 8 -> 6 -> 3)
Gamma Sigma Zeta
Lambda Upsilon Lambda
Beta Kappa Psi
Lambda Sigma Upsilon
Sigma Lambda Beta
Psi Sigma Phi
Lambda Alpha Upsilon
Gamma Phi Sigma ('08 champs)

SORORS (eliminations: 11 -> 7 -> 3)
Lambda Tau Omega
Mu Sigma Upsilon
Omega Phi Chi
Lambda Pi Upsilon
Sigma Iota Alpha
Lambda Pi Chi
Omega Phi Beta
Lambda Theta Alpha
Chi Upsilon Sigma
Chi Iota Pi
Sigma Lambda Upsilon ('08 champs)

Dining - El Camino Real

So last week while I was at the Piazza, I decided to head on over to El Camino Real for dinner. I've heard great things about it and walking by it every week was getting me more curious.

The owners were competing with their neighbor, Bar Ferdinand, so they had to come up with some creative way to bring customers...and I must say it worked. First off their salt & pepper shakers are in old recycled beer bottles...how cool is that! The rest of the condiments are stored in a 6-pack container.

Food = delicious. I ordered the chicken burrito for a "reasonable" $8 along with a margarita and yummm. I ate al fresco which was perfect for the evening. There were lots of people walking around shopping around and enjoying a perfect Philly evening. And if you haven't checked out Liberties Walk, I suggest you do so.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Why is Taller PR so important?!

Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC

Because Taller PR is a one of a kind organization in the tri-state area. Taller Puertorriqueño provides audiences and neighbors with safe facilities, creative outlets for youth, and education programs that underscore our rich Puerto Rican heritage. Taller's work presents a "first voice" account of our accomplishments as Latinos.

If it wasn't for Taller, I wouldn't be were I am today. It has provided me with the knowledge and awareness I need to survive not only in this city, but in this mundo. And this coming Friday, June 5th, Taller is having a fundraiser at Isla Verde.
El evento tendrá lugar de 5 a 7 p.m. y el costo del boleto será de $20 mismo con el que tendrá derecho a vino, cerveza y un show artístico.
So please be sure to take advantage of this cultural institution and help them out in their endeavors. Why? Because in 2 years you will see the power of the Latino culture...you will see how big Taller PR will be. More details to come ASAP.

Philly just got cooler

So as if Philly didn't need another awesome space...here they come with the Piazza at Schmidts. The Piazza is a 70,000 square feet venue of continues open space. It has a huge HD screen (seen above) and it can hold roughly 5,000 for special events. The Piazza not only has "pretty" boutiques for your shopping needs, but it also rents out galleries and there are a couple of cool restaurants for your eating needs.
The four new restaurants include: Darling’s Diner, a funky 1950’s style diner, Vino, an Italian wine bar with pizza and pasta, The Swift Half, a gastro-pub by the owners of Philly’s hotspot The Good Dog, and P.Y.T. bar and lounge run by popular party promoter Tommy Up.
I was there for the first time this past weekend because my friend was performing. Although she only did one poetry piece, she did great! So if you need something to do after work, I suggest checking it out...there's something to do everyday.