Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Photos of la noche

Read more about the Delaware Valley's Most Influential Latinos in my Examiner.com article.

The game is in US (2 more days)

Two days. That's how long we have to wait until we find out if the FIFA World Cup 2022 will be hosted in the United States. So how can you show your support? On Thursday, December 2, wear your favorite soccer gear -- a jersey, a t-shirt, cleats and shin guards -- in solidarity with fellow soccer all across the country. Also take a photo of yourself and upload it to the official GoUSAbid website. You can watch FIFA's announcement live on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. (EST) on Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN, Univision, ESPN Deportes, CNN International and fifa.com.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Venezuelan Slums

I believe it's important for Latinos in America to understand what is going on in their "home" country. It's a little difficult but that's why we live in the age of technology. Luckily we can also watch programs on Univision and Telemundo or my parent's favorite "Caracol". However, there are also visual opportunities like the one at the University of Pennsylvania this Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

For the last 6 months, Carlos Beltran, a young journalist has been documenting the everyday life of children and families in the slums of Caracas, the Capital of Venezuela. In December, Carlos will be in the United States presenting his photographic work in the University of Pennsylvania. Together with a panel of specialists on anthropological studies, they will discuss his experiences and the social context in Venezuela. Venezuela has been in the political spotlight for many years, as President Hugo Chavez attempts to construct the “21st Century Socialism”. This project intends to shed light not on political ideas, but on the realities of those living in the direst situations. In his own words, Carlos says: "As a journalist, I don’t consider myself an activist. I do hope, however, that my work has some sort of social relevance, making curious viewers think about what they see”.

Dance Central's "Latino"

Happy Belated Thanksgiving everyone! Speaking of eating food all day and being lazy, last Friday I had the opportunity to play on the XBOX360 Kinect. One word: Exercise. Kinect brings games and entertainment to life in extraordinary new ways without using a controller. Imagine controlling movies and music with the wave of a hand or the sound of your voice. With Kinect, technology evaporates, letting the natural magic in all of us shine.

So what game did I play? Of course I had to get my Dance Central on! I had the chance to perform to Beanie Man's "King of the Dancehall" but someone else was the stereotype and performed to Pitbull's "I know You Want Me." To my non-shocking surprise, the creators of the game of course added a Salsa and Merengue step. You can't be mad at them for attempting to teach mainstream America something. But what did shock me was the "Latino" move. Really? Who names a move the "Latino?" Don't stop there though, there's a "Latina" move as well. Egh, it's a great workout and fun. But remember, what happens in your video game room stays in the video game room.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010




Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My "6th Annual Stroll Show" Review

Last Friday we (Gamma Phi Sigma) hosted our 6th Annual Stroll Competition. Was it a success? Look at the above picture and tell me it wasn't. Our hermanos put a lot of work (and stress) into this show and it ended up raising close to $1,000 for the American Cancer Society. Yes organizations dropped out last minute, but we truly appreciate those organizations who participated. It wasn't about who performed and who won, it was about our hermano Ramon Ernesto "Guatu" Baez; this show was for him.

Thank you to:
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. - Thank you for joining 2 weeks before the show happened and putting on great performances. Yes even the merengue stroll was a shock but it was great to see the support. And shout out to being the first NPHC organization to participate in the show in six years.
  • Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. - You guys always put on some great performances and this year you out-did yourselves. I've seen the improvement in your strolls and to be honest, this year should have been your year. See you next year. P.S. B E ain't easy :)
  • Corazones Unidos Siempre/Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority Inc. - Thank you for participating for the last six years! It is amazing what you guys do, how you perform and what you bring to the table. Congrats on winning for the second year.
  • Chi Iota Pi Sorority Inc. - Although you did not compete it was truly appreciated you guys came up from Maryland to perform. Not only was it an AWESOME performance, but it was dedicated to our hermano. I had to hold in my tears when I saw the number five on your shoulders.
And thank you to all my hermanos. Sure we stress almost every day about life, but remember, it's too short to stress about. Life is meant to be exciting, interesting, challenging and fun! It was exciting seeing different chapters perform on stage and seeing what you all can do. So what's in store for the 7th Annual Stroll Show!? Only time will tell. I smell the "Robot" and "Dora" stroll may make a comeback.

P.S. Shout out to T-Mobile? lol

First Annual Hispanic Forum and Gala

There are many issues Latinos face in the United States. Immigration, jobs, education, social media and so on are many of the topics that will be discussed during the Americano's First Annual Hispanic Forum and Gala on December 2-3 in Washington, DC. The theme of the forum will be The Road to Freedom: Sharing American Liberty with Hispanics Around the Globe. The idea behind the forum is to bring Hispanics together to engage in today's hot topics. There will be a "Consensus Lunch Discusion" hosted by Ambassador Roger Noriega with the purpose of creating a bipartisan agreement for the development of the Hispanic community. This is a perfect opportunity for bloggers, media and Latino corporations to discuss "hot topics". To register please click here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tek Lado hits stands otra vez

About a month ago a new bi-lingual magazine hit stands across the Philadelphia region. Sure some people are asking themselves why launch a magazine in this time? But hey the creators Mel Gomez and Liz Spikol are doing a tremendous job. But earlier today the November/December issue of Tek Lado hit stands and it was Geekier than ever.

This month's issue includes a Holiday Geek Gift Guide and a great Q&A with Springboard Media owner Everett Katzen. Did I mention there's an article written by yours truly? You'll have to get the hard copy to read the entire article. To add on to the magazine's Geek factor be sure to follow them on Twitter (@TekLadoMagazine) and friend them on Facebook.

Cooking for others

If you know me well, you know I don't cook...much. In fact, after a 2 year hiatus, I recently started cooking more and more (but for myself). Sure I probably should have learned from mom and grandmom, guess I was too lazy eating :). Instead of purchasing food it would be great to entertain guests with delicious recipes...Latino recipes at that. Thankfully Daisy Martinez has a new book and according to her, it's all about organization, organization, organization.

Daisy's Holiday Cooking not only offers extremely user-friendly recipes, but also groups them together by menus, ten in all, each with a theme. Although Martinez is Puerto Rican, she has great Peruvian, Mexican, Chilean, Venezuelan, Caribbean, Spanish and Mediterranean dishes. An actress and model before following her passion into the French Culinary Institute, Martinez launched her career in the food world as a prep-kitchen chef on the sit of Lidia's Italian American Kitchen. She soon became the host of her own PBS series, Daisy Cooks!, and her cookbook based on the show won the title of Best Latino Cuisine Cookbook in the World by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

Friday, November 19, 2010

1 Year Ago

One year ago Gamma Phi Sigma hosted their 5th Annual Stroll Competition and wow what can I say. I believe it was the biggest turn out we had for a stroll show ever! The show was also held at Temple University's Mitten Hall which holds hundreds of people; there were also a good number of people standing up throughout the area. Why was this show memorable? Because we raised funds to support the American Cancer Society and our hermano Ramon Ernesto "Guatu" Baez. Although he is no longer here we know he is somewhere looking after us; his spirit lives on.

Last year's show also brought the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) together to perform a Unity Stroll. Although it was a lot of work and practice, the performance was great; I personally loved the skit ;). It's unfortunate the stroll most likely will never ever be performed again, it was great uniting our strolls and performing for the crown. See you all esta noche.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2 years ago

Two years ago we expected a much better flier than before but unfortunately we didn't. However I must say this was one of my most memorable stroll shows. Why? Because we had four organizations whom never performed at Temple University! Delta Chi Psi, Omega Phi Beta, Lambda Pi Chi and Lambda Alpha Upsilon came on board and broad their best strolls of the year. I'm going to be completely biased and say how absolutely I fell in love with a certain song. You may have heard of it "Cut 'dem off". So props to OPB who brought that song into my life :). Oh and yes it was an awesome stroll. And how about Delta Chi Psi!? They came to exhibit and they definitely showed Temple students what they were made of. The following year, Delta Chi Psi shocked us all. Hopefully this year we'll have as many shocking moments as every year combined!

Your Puerto Rican hero

What do you see above? Do you see a Puerto Rican? A hero? I saw a Facebook wall post on the National Congress for Puerto Rican Right's (NCPRR) wall and was very intrigued. One of the moderators quickly drew the above picture and realized as a young man there was never a figure he thought represented himself. And now to engage the young audience that we are, the NCPRR is asking for your help! What would a Puerto Rican hero's power be? What would his name even be? To enter visit the NCPRR's Facebook group, join, and enter your thoughts on the image. This is a great way to engage a different audience and the youngsters. Did I mention the winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Toys 'R' Us!?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

3 years ago

Three years ago the stroll show had to continue and we wanted to make it different. Our usual supporters came and this year Chi Iota Pi made a come back. So what was special about this year? I actually believe it was the year we introduced the "Battle of the Sexes" theme. Because we wanted to shake things up a bit, we allowed the top sorority and top fraternity compete in the final round for a chance to be the top winner. But that wasn't the only memorable moment of the show *wink*. I was also happy because my family came out to this show; they never came back lmao. Why do I love this flier? Because Greeks LOVE to compare themselves with heroes, so we gave them the opportunity to choose a hero to represent their organizations -_-.

If you think organizing a stroll event is easy, please think again. Confirming organizations, last minute drop-outs, last minute fill-ins, judging, time management, commitment and everything else you can think of when planning an event can go wrong. However, you have to have a team behind you; it can't be done alone. See you el viernes!

Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Last Tuesday the Philadelphia Daily News printed a story about the flags on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. I completely forgot these flags were down and from what I learned from a tour guide, she stated it's not often they are taken down. Luckily tomorrow, Friday, November 19 the flags are going back up! There used to be 90 representing Philly's diverse population, but now they're going to get 19 more neighbors (in alphabetical order). When I get family, friends and other visitors, the Parkway is a must see just because the flags are up and it's a beautiful view; not to mention this is where many events are held. Latinos LOVE representing their country so it's a given photos will be taken. One new Latino addition will be El Salvador...so I'm sure we'll be getting a lot more visitors from the DMV area ;). Right?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

4 years ago

Four years ago the show continued and it got bigger...it got serious. The above creation was brilliant and it brought character to the entire show. This flier made everyone think, "Sheeesh I wonder what is it going to be next year?" And sure enough year after year the flier got more "interesting". What else was memorable about this stroll show? How about the DORA stroll by Chi Upsilon Sigma? It was also the introduction of Lambda Tau Omega to Temple University; today, they're on Temple's campus :). So what can this year's stroll show bring? If it's anything like last year's then it's bound to be great!

The American World

The image above pictures the American World. The world we choose not to think about but in reality it's the truth. The first time I saw the above image I laughed, but then I thought, "This is a shame." Is this the world we (Americans) created? Are we stereotyping our own planet? Granted every continent is different and the U.S. is a mix of almost every other continent. I'm honestly afraid of what's going to happen in the years to come. The more powerful the human gets the more devastating our future can get. Maybe I just watch too many movies but sometimes you have to think back and wonder, "What if we took the wrong direction towards the advancement of the human race?"

Monday, November 15, 2010

5 years ago

Five years ago Gamma Phi Sigma started one of the greatest traditions on the East Coast...the annual stroll show at Temple University. And it was all because one brother attended a SILK stroll show in NYC. First, he wanted to perform at the annual event in NYC, but also wanted to recreate it in Philly. And sure enough I helped him with the show and we were actually the only two brothers to perform that evening! Should out to the ROBOT and RUN IT stroll :).

Shout out to all past participants. Fun fact: Chi Upsilon Sigma has been the only organization to consistently perform for the past six years. We thank you for all the support these past years and are looking forward to this year's performance. And I just realized the first time we hosted this event, we started at 9 p.m. Talk about a late night event.

Latinos have no leader

Think about it. Do we have one leader en la comunidad fighting for what we believe in? The answer is no. The question was asked last May in an Associated Press article and no one knew how to answer. "That’s not easy for some Hispanics, let alone other Americans. Even as the Arizona immigration debate has highlighted concerns of the nation’s more than 30 million Latino citizens, it has revealed a lack of name-brand recognition for those dedicated to serving America’s largest minority group," the article stated.

The Pew Research Center recently asked the question, "Who is the most important Latino leader in the country today" and 64% said, "We do not know." Although some people did respond with names, the percentages were not high. "The most frequently named individual was Sonia Sotomayor, appointed last year to the U.S. Supreme Court. Some 7% of respondents said she is the most important Latino leader in the country. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) of Chicago is next at 5%. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa draws 3%, and Jorge Ramos, an anchor on Noticiero Univision, the national evening news program on the Spanish-language television network Univision, drew 2%."

Why is this happening? To be honest it's a sub-culture problem. Latinos can't get over the fact that we represent other countries. I said it in the AP article mentioned above, "“When you’re in Colombia, you’re a Colombian. When you’re in Puerto Rico, you’re a Puerto Rican. When you’re in the U.S., you’re a Latino or Hispanic." And it's true. We can't come to recognize our own selves as Latinos, we seem to have a problem looking after "our own" before anyone else. So what can we do? A: Get over ourselves.

Friday, November 12, 2010

One Week Away - 6th Annual Stroll Show

Once again my frat Gamma Phi Sigma "Hermanos Unidos" Fraternity, Inc. is hosting one of the BEST events on the East Coast. On Friday, November 19, 2010 the 6th Annual Stroll Show is going down. Confirmed organizations include Lambda Theta Alpha, Chi Upsilon Sigma, Omega Psi Phi (A FIRST!), Lambda Sigma Upsilon and special performances by Chi Iota Pi. But this show has grown into just strolling and winning a competition, it is now a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The entry is $5 but remember it's for a great cause.

p.s. Next week I'll be looking back at our previous shows and how this event came to being.

6th Annual Stroll Show
Temple University - Mitten Hall Great Court
1913 N. Broad Street, Phila., PA

That Really Doesn't Grind My Gears...BeingLatino

As much oppression there is going on in the world, I can't quite be as happy to be Latino today. It has nothing to do with the increase of Latinos in the U.S., but it really has to do with our opportunity. Sure we complain a lot about life and how it's difficult to get through things, but in the end, it really all works out. Besides, life isn't meant to be easy. And to make things even better, I'm a part of BeingLatino on Facebook and the blog...it's great to connect with people with similar interests. Sure there are some quarrels every now and then, but these 40k+ people on here all have positive things to say. Go us!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

That Really Grinds My Gears...Corruption

Okay so we all know la policia are supposed to protect and serve the people, but sometimes I think it's horrible there are countless corrupt officers out there in the city. Don't get me wrong, I know plenty of wonderful cops. However, for the past few weeks I've been seeing negative stories on Latino cops in Philly. As if we don't need this negative attention already. It's also horrible to think the media (and others) will give the story a "racial" twist; they aren't just cops, they are Latino cops. Must be continue this behavior? Let's move forward, not backwards.

Cuba is not happy

Assassinate Castro and you move on to the next level. Yep, that seems to be the premise of everyone's favorite new video game "Call of Duty: Black Ops". Sure it's just a video game, but did they really have to use the real Fidel Castro? I thought video games usually add characters which resemble us in real life, maybe its a hint.

I can completely understand why CUBA would be mad but you have to think, it's a video game. Video games are meant to be fun and time wasters; not "live my life according to the game". However, according to a Fox News article, "Scenes like that and others drew harsh criticism Wednesday from Cuba, which said the new video game was violent, glorified the assassination -- and will turn American children into sociopaths." Sociopaths though? First off, if you don't want your kids playing these games, don't buy it for them. Second, if a video game influences your life then I suggest you rethink your life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blast from the past: XUXA

My life just flashed before my eyes. I loved her.

Tweets on a funny day

The following Tweets I thought symbolized realness. They symbolize what we want to say in real life but for some odd reason we have to say it over Twitter. If we have to say it front of people, we will, but it's always easier to do it over Twitter. Enjoy!

I think he secretly missed Philly ;).

I know that's right!

Let's talk to ourselves even more :)

Keepin' it real I see.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Elvis Crespo...indestructible?

Elvis Crespo is back and he is "indestructible". According to an article in Fox News Latino, Crespo says, "Well, I don't mind if you make that comparison. Lady Gaga is the most aspired-to look of the moment." Ummm I don't think anyone should be compared to Lady Gaga. I tell you one thing though, Elvis Crespo will always have the song "other" people play when Latinos want salsa. Note: Suavemente is NOT salsa. - _ -

The Three Rings

Take North Philadelphia, sexual relationships, an artist and you get The Three Rings. Written by Gilberto González, The Three Rings captures the flavor of growing up in the hood with the collection of short stories roughly based on his relationships with women from the ages 13-20 (fictional of course). These aren't ordinary women though. These women include a girl with cockroaches in the bathroom and an older woman who surprises the main character with a highly unwelcome sexual practice. Imagine that?!

When books are written based on your upbringing, one can only imagine what the mind can come up with. Some might be true, some might not be but I'm sure this book captures North Philly at its finest. You can purchase your copy on Barnes & Noble's website for less than $20!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dance like a pro

Okay well dancing like a pro might take some time, now is your chance to learn how. Fuego Dance Company is proud to announce their winter salsa lessons. But of course it doesn't come without a price...a low one. For $10 a lesson, join four salsa instructors from one of the best dance companies in the region and learn to dance like the pro you want to be. Sooner or later you'll be showing them off at Isla Verde, Tierra Colombiana, Brasils...maybe the Atrium? Either way, you know you want to; don't be embarrassed, we all have to learn someday.

Tuesday and Thursdays
6 p.m. Beginners
7:30 p.m. Advanced
4632 Nth 5th Street
Philadelphia Pa, 19140

Congrats Gamma Phi Sigma!

You always wonder what good will happen in the world. Sure some fraternities (maybe all) are much larger and have been around more than my own, but it's always good when you get that feeling you did something right. It's also one thing to see your own chapter grow and other chapters as well, but it's also great to see expansion. This takes a lot of dedication and patience; there are other organizations out there in the world "competing". However, we are all Latinos in this crazy world called life looking to enhance our own.

Congrats Peter Montero, Anthony Richards and Jose Ramos..you three have just started Iota Colony and joined a brotherhood like no other. Hasta pronto.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lo Maximo Productions

I'm a fan of Latino music (Salsa, merengue, bachata, etc) and club music (house, techno, etc). Mix that all together and you get Lo Maximo Productions. Party promoters, DJs, radio hosts (and everything in between) these guys sure do know how to start a party. The mix changes every week and almost gets better every week. Sometimes it can be a 1 hour mix but other times it can be a 5 hour mix. Either way, this website music sure does make the work day go by quicker.

That Really Doesn't Grind My Gears..Zip Car

There are two car sharing services I know of in the U.S.; Zip Car and Philly Car Share. I decided to go with Zip Car because it suited me best. The pricing, options and everything else just seemed right. I may have only used it once, but I think the $60 fee a year is decent. Plus Zip Car is all over the country; emergencies do happen from time to time. ZipCar also gives out great prizes over Twitter and interested contests via their e-mail blast. Either way, a car sharing service is pretty cool.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

El video de la noche

I have to give it up to mis paisa; Colombian music is so special and unique just like all the other music from across the globe. I grew up on what I like to call "Wildwoon music" thanks to mis padres. Thankfully Joe Arroyo was a part of this ongoing music. Okay, maybe it's bad that he is lip syncing in the video below, but you can still feel the music. Enjoy!

That Really Grinds My Gears...Ice Box

It's an ice box in mi casa. Sure I can tell someone to turn on the heat, but it's always easier to complain about something lol. And yes the Ikea comforter works wonders but when I get up in the morning it's like I dropped into an Alaskan lake! So I'm going to stop complaining and ask to put the heat up. Then again, in a few weeks you might see a post saying, "You wanna know what really grinds my gears? The heating bill!" lol

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tweets on a Special Day

Wednesday. Sure it's the middle of the week but today was particularly special. Can't really announce it just yet but you'll soon find out. Then again, everyday is a special day because we were granted another day of life. Cherish those around you! Here are today's tweets of the day.

Latism. They sure do know how to throw a party.

Say whaaaatt!?

And they said I was crazy for using coupons.

Life is full of distractions :)

Tell your story...your first person story

We all have stories to tell. Whether it's about love, family, school, work, friends or ourselves, it seems as though everyday we come up with new and exciting stories to tell our close friends. Sometimes we even save objects which help us remember the story. Photos are probably some of the most sacred objects people keep, but sometimes even a simple rock can play a huge role in someone's life.

Throughout the summer of 2010, First Person Arts (FPA) invited people from all over Philadelphia to "show and tell" events called StoryCircles. Everyday people brought things that mattered to them and told their story about the object Their personal stories and objects will be on display at the pilot First Person Museum exhibit at the Painted Bride Art Center (230 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA), displayed via pictures, film, sound, and words. The live exhibit runs from November 5-December 18 as part of the First Person Festival of Memoir and Documentary Art.

Think you have a compelling story to tell? Well FPA is still accepting stories for their online gallery. As a Latino, I am very confident our parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents have kept A LOT of objects from their life. I would be happy to see a 84 year-old woman go on stage during the festival and tell her story.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Keep an Eye on Shakira

As if Shakira hasn't already taken over the world with her music and philanthropy, she now has a new fragrance: S by Shakira. Over on the fragrance's website, you can now make your own remix of the S by Shakira TV spot (watch the original below). Click here to go to the site and start work on your remix.

I'm waiting on mine :)

Juanes gives thanks

Kudos to NYC and the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade inviting Juanes to perform at the parade. This marks the first ever Spanish-language performance in the parades 84 years! According to a post on LatinoGossip, "More than 3.5 Million Spectators On The Streets Of Manhattan and a Broadcast Audience of More Than 50 million viewers nationwide will watch him sing in ESPAÑOL!!"

Now that's a win for Latinos (and Colombia!).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Enjoy the Heights...in Philly

The Tony Award winning broadway show, In the Heights, is coming to our ciudad! In the Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community in Manhattan's Washington Heights – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open, and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It's a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. Watch it live at the Kimmel Center between January 28 and January 23, 2011. You don't want to miss this opportunity.

For more Latino-themed events at the Kimmel Center, click here.

Modern Language for a Modern Family

We all love Sofia Vergara on ABC's Modern Family...given fact. Last week they touched on an issue many immigrants face today and always will: accents. Sure they sound sexy and fun but some people find it uncomfortable to talk because of thick accents; and it's not just Latinos. During the episode Gloria's husband, Jay, tries to talk to her and tell her sometimes people misinterpret her words and things can end badly. However at the end the entire family realize she should not loose her accent because it's who she is.

In corporate America, accents can and should be a good thing! It shows you are bicultural and bilingual. Is it necessary to speak perfect English, you can try, but in the end since you are the liaison between the client and the corporation, you end up winning for translating. Do you think it's necessary to get rid of your accent? Have you ever been insulted because of it?