Friday, April 15, 2011

A brief vacation

Saludo mi gente! I've been blogging for almost three years now and I think it's time to take a step back. Sure I have regular columns and thoughts about things but right now I need to calm down and think about some things. I'll be back some time next week...maybe. Please do send me an e-mail if there's something of interest you think I'll be interested in. Until then...hasta pronto!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A random act of culture

As citizens of any city, we always try to find leisure activity. Whether it's a museum, walk in the park or movie, sometimes we find it hard to find something to do. I was so happy to hear about random acts of culture; not to be confused with a flash mob. The Knight Foundation focuses on promoting informed and engaged communities and what better way than engaging a community than with "random acts of culture." As shrinking audiences continue to rise (get it), we have to find more ways to get people involved with these cultural institutions. And a random act of culture is just that! Picture yourself in a mall, train stop, museum, staff meeting, etc. and out of no where you hear the opera company perform Handel or see ballet performers twiddle their toes.

Here's a fun one at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia.

So as we all know Hispanics and African-Americans are more likely to attend a cultural event. Now how do you turn a random act of culture into a "acto aleatorio de cultura?"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

America's Best Dance Crew gets Latino...again

Remember AfroBorike from America's Best Dance Crew? Season 4 was probably the most diverse cast I had ever seen. Well now ABDC Season 6 has started and they have taken over the world. With an interested set of dance crews, this season is bound to be awesome. And to add to the awesomeness, let's add the second Latino group to face the terrifying judges. 787 crew hails from (of course) Puerto Rico and brings their distance dance moves and personalities to the stage. Inspired by past ABDC teams, Jabbawockeez and Kabba Modern, they found the real meaning of what it means to be a dance crew.

Unlike AfroBorike, this team looks a little more modern. And by modern I mean hip if that makes sense? AfroBorike brought the introduction of Latino culture while 787 Crew looks like they are about to put in EVERYTHING together. According to a video interview, "we are dancing, flowing, trick." 787 also seems to be a little younger. Either way, here's to seeing some great dancing and all around good representation of Latinos. Will they win? We can only wait and see.

Are you Black in Latin America?

It's one thing to be Latino and another to be Black; but how about being Black in Latin America? Well in less than one week, on April 19, our documentary friends at PBS are launching
Black in Latin America. When I think of the title, I think of a few things but the most obvious thought is the African influence in the Latin American diaspora. And it is there! While the Caribbean islands see the diversity, a lot of natives from Central and South America don't seem to understand the African influence.

Black in Latin America, a new four-part series on the influence of African descent on Latin America, is the 11th and latest documentary film from renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., presenter and writer of the acclaimed PBS series African American Lives (2006), Oprah’s Roots (2007), African American Lives 2(2008), Looking for Lincoln (2009), and Faces of America (2010). Six countries (some obvious some not) will be featured in the series. The six countries featured are Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, and they all have a secret history. On his journey, Professor Gates discovers, behind a shared legacy of colonialism and slavery, vivid stories and people marked by African roots.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reasons why I still love video games

And they say you're too old to play video games.

An International Night in Philadelphia

Spring weather is coming up and we need something to do. This is the time lounges, clubs and bars look for new ways to attract visitors a.k.a. money spenders. A few weeks ago DD Promotions started their first ever International Night at Positano Coast in Old City. International Night is just that, a celebration of our city's diversity. For a small entry of $10, you get a good night of music, food and great people. In addition, if you like the Philadelphia International Night on Facebook, you are automatically entered for a chance to win a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue at the next fiesta on Thursday, April 21, 2011.

On an ironic note, this is all going on at the same time as the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. Hmmm.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Save the date: El Dia del Niño

I'm a big fan of the Please Touch Museum (PTM) in Philadelphia. Sure I'm not a kid but every time I go for an event or through work, I enjoy not only the building, but also the setting kids are in. It's a positive atmosphere for parents and their kids. Well on Saturday, May 7 Telemundo Philadelphia and the PTM are partnering for their 3rd annual Dia del Niño. This all day event brings together children of all ages (appropriate for the PTM) and includes a mini-studio, music lessons, book readings and more.

More information in the video below:

Orlando wants you feliz

I currently work in the travel/tourism industry, specifically Hispanic marketing, so I'm always intrigued to see what other destinations are working on. I recently came across a print ad for Orlando and was happy to see they are indeed in the business. And by business I mean reaching out to the Hispanic traveler. Note I wouldn't have known the ad was for Orlando if it didn't say Orlando, the photo used could be from ANY destination. Egh.

First off, Orlando's unique url for Spanish visitors is It already makes me feel all tingly inside. And although Orlando is a family destination (and I have no kids nor a wife) but I was happy to see the well thought out page. It's in English and Spanish! I don't remember the last time I saw a tourist web-site in both languages, other than Chicago. And like other destination websites, Orlando provides information on hotels, attractions, calendar of events and more. Fun fact: This year's National Association of Hispanic Journalists' convention will take place in Orlando. Good choice guys.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Awesome Side of Greek Life...7 years ago

In two days I will be seven years in Greek years. Spring 2004 may not have been a good semester overall, but the night/morning I crossed it was the best moment of the year. April 10, 2004 at 3:40 a.m. will be a time I will never forget. After 7 weks 5 days 5 hours and 40 minutes the light at the end of the tunnel was finally there.

So fast forward seven years later. I've been chapter president, vice president, secretary and National Board secretary and vice president. Not to mention crossing lines SP05, SP07, FA 09 and...? Nine hermanos will have my legacy. I hope they learned something from me and the entire organization.

Will the next seven years be the same? They most certainly won't. I have other priorities. But I will always be there for them. See you in a few ;).
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Support Temple University's Interdisciplinary Programs

Change. "Even the smallest of creatures can make a difference in the world." That line is from Lord of the Rings and it can't be more true than anything I've ever heard. As you may have heard Temple University's College of Liberal Arts has decided to "restructure" certain programs. These programs of course include Latin American Studies, Women's Studies, Asian studies and LGBT studies. Notice a small trend there?

The Dean offered an explanation on the front page of the CLA website here, but there are a lot of questions still being asked. If this wasn't a budgeting issue then why the change? One commenter says, "Bizarre things, like placing Women's Studies and LGBT programs in Sociology? That is pre-1950s and an embarrassment to the entire university. What a horrible decision." So what can we do? We can most certainly take action. Take a moment to sign the online petition and make change happen.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Online deals everywhere

So is it me or is everyone starting their own online savings website? LivingSocial and Groupon are the obvious money-makers in the business and as BeingLatino has said, "Groupon can go gold with the Latinos." The other day I received an e-mail about a new online deals website named Cupondia. And like LivingSocial and Groupon, subscribers receive one email, text message, or voice call a day with a great deal for 50-80% off the things they care about in their city. Actually, a voice call seems a little weird but for Latinos maybe it will work.

And no one seems to care about the Latinos in Philly huh? Cupondia currently has deals in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Diego and San Francisco. In addition to the launch, Cupondia has partnered with MetroPCS. Visitors can enter to win a brand new Blackberry Curve with one year of talk, text & web from MetroPCS! Click here for more information.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

State Farm presents Tu Musica, Tu Ride

State Farm Insurance seems to be every where. And by every where I mean they like to sponsor a lot of Latino events. In fact, State Farm recently entered its third year as a sponsor of the 2011 Billboard Latin Music Awards and the Billboard en Concierto Tour. Included in the sponsorship is the launch of their new program Tu Musica, Tu Ride. The new program is a cross-platform series of sweepstakes, Latino Facebook fan page, community event and a concert series with top artists Camila and Tito El Bambino.

And what's a program without a contest! Alongside Telemundo, one lucky person and a friend has the opportunity to win a free trip to attend this year's Billboard Latin Music Awards in Miami, FL on April 28. From now until April 18, consumers can visit to win. In addition to the contest select cities will have the chance to view the Tu Musica, Tu Ride exhibition. The exhibition features the State Farm Car-aoke, concert winning wheel and more.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

La musica

La musica, it's what gets people through good times and bad times. Music is very universal even though it's only in one language. However it gets interesting when salsa, merengue and bachata are sung in English. When Spanish singers go mainstream, it's weird at first but then you get used to it.

I listen to Pandora radio a lot at work. Sure you only get 40 hours of streaming music before it makes you sign up to their premium package, but it's still good. It's pretty cool how if you choose a certain artist station, similar music plays. Shakira usually continues with some Juanes, Mana and unusually some American pop music like Kylie Minogue.

I wonder how long music will hold out? I mean are there really that many beats in the music universe? I guess that's why a few yeas ago sampling was pretty big.
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A Colombian storyteller

I love a good story. And when I heard about the First Person Arts I thought wow what a great opportunity for anyone. FPA is a non-profit dedicated to memoir and documentary art in Philly. And like any other Latino, I love a good story. Let's skip over the "bochinche" and get to the stories of our lives, that's what I love. I appreciate FPA for what they do and how they do it; let's get more Latinos to tell their story.

According to Al Dia, last August Colombian Bernardo Morillo won a FPA contest and since then has been asked to participate in three other contest including a battle between Philadelphia and Boston storytellers. Talk about a sports rivalry. See Morillo's story below.

Monday, April 4, 2011

PIFA's Latino Happy Hour

Combine live music, hors d'oeuvres, a free drink and an 80 foot Eiffel Tower and what do you get? You get the Latino Professional Network's (LPN) PIFA happy hour of course. The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts is about to kick-off with a bang and with over 120 events, it's a little difficult to choose what you plan on attending. Luckily on Thursday, April 14 the LPN is hosting a happy hour in conjunction with PIFA.

Learn about the street fair, cube, Eiffel Tower, strange and first-time collaborations and more. Don't worry, you don't have to be Latino to come to this event. Just have an appreciation for art, culture and Philadelphia. One interesting event is a collaboration between Taller Puertorriqueno, Artistas y Musicos Latino Americanos, Intercultural Journeys and the Philadelphia Orchestra. To learn more about the collaboration and how it started, watch their journey.

To RSVP to the event visit See you next Thursday!

Video: Philly Te Ama's Ruben Amaro, Jr.

Last week I wrapped up the Philly Te Ama video series and what a way to end. We're all excited about the Philadelphia Phillies...especially since they seem to be on a winning street. So what better way to conclude the videos than with General Manager, Ruben Amaro, Jr.

To see the entire uwishunu post, click here.