Thursday, June 30, 2011

Enterate with us

There comes a time when something is needed in our fair ciudad. Okay, although the last launch of a magazine wasn't what I hoped it would have been, in just a few days ENTERATE will launch in Philadelphia. And according to their Facebook page, "Somos una revista orgullosamente hispana. Nuestro objetivo principal es ser un instrumento para reforzar el vínculo entre los latinos del Valle Delaware."

I love magazines. Although there aren't too many I read, this is most likely going to be a good one. Why? Because there's nothing else like it in the region. From what I gather they plan on highlighting not just the everyday leaders, but the readers as well. And remember, anyone can be a leader. Just because they don't work as an executive in a huge corporation doesn't mean they can't strive for excellence. See you in July Enterate!

Contest: Your better life

A better life is what we seem to want every day. However, like Spider-Man's Uncle Ben told him, "With great power comes great responsibility." Remember the post about "A Better Life" a few weeks ago? Well now's your chance to win free passes to a screening on Wednesday, July 6th at 7:30 p.m. Yes it's a little late notice but who doesn't love a free movie right!?

All you have to do is tell me in the comment section what your "better life" is and leave your e-mail address. My better life includes a home (already paid) where I can support my family and a part-time job that I love. Why a part-time job? That's because for some reason I have money and don't need to work :). To be eligible to win you should live in Chicago, NY, LA, Atlanta, San Jose, McAllen, Phoenix, San Diego, San Antonio or Miami.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A world class game in Philly

As if Philly wasn't getting more and more attention in sports, our wonderful city will host one of the most amazing soccer (futbol) teams the world has seen: Real Madrid. Join the Philadelphia Union and Real Madrid as they face off in the 2011 Herbalife World Football Challenge at Lincoln Financial Field. It may have been great to see them play at the Chester, PA field but since people from all over the world will be coming to Philadelphia, it needed a much larger venue.

And the good ol' folk at the Philadelphia tourism office are giving out a pretty cool prize. Try tickets to the game, food, hotel stay and just about everything you could ask for. The grand prize package includes:
  • Two VIP tickets to Philadelphia Union vs. Real Madrid at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, July 23 at 9 p.m.
  • Two-nights accommodations for two at the Sofitel Philadelphia Hotel; check in Friday, July 22 and check out Sunday, July 24
  • Two round trip tickets to Philadelphia on Amtrak‘s Northeast Corridor
  • Two Philadelphia Union authentic Game Jerseys
  • A $100 gift card to Starr Restaurants to be used at any of Stephen Starr’s restaurants in Philadelphia including Parc, Barclay Prime, Dandelion, Frankford Hall, etc.
To enter, click here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Facebook comments on a humid day

Today was just a horrible day. Well not all that bad considering I got to see Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon thanks to @July4thPhilly! Anyways, anytime it gets hot we see a sudden change in Facebook and Twitter statuses. In fact any crazy weather will change a mood or two. I come across some crazy statuses but it's always great to see some nice ones. Enjoy today's Facebook statuses del dia!

  • "just got the sudden urge to dance salsa/bachata...i need to find a partner ASAP"
  • "Esta es una abuela feliz. Dios ha bendecido a mis hijas y yo he completado dos nietos y dos nietas. Cada una tiene su pareja de herederos!"
  • "Officially bored in 3..2..1.."
  • "Pernil, chicken, pasta, rice & more plus an afterparty at Turtle Bay...Its so good I can't even handle it!"

Monday, June 27, 2011

What if Carmen called you?

There's a thin line between racism and comedy and somehow "Carmen Calls" seem to grab everyone's attention. A national syndicated radio show, Carmen calls everyday people like you and me and pretty much just annoys the crap out of them. If the other person hangs up, Carmen is right there calling back with, "Hello this is Carmen, I believe we were disconnected." Hilarious much?

Sure there is some racism behind some (if not most) of her calls, but you have to give it to her, somehow we have been sucked into this mass media world where we need this in the morning. I probably couldn't have picked a worse example than the one below, but I figured we all need laughter in our lives. I have to wonder as well, what if Carmen called me/you?

Our youth: The Sandlot

Remember la pelicula The Sandlot? It's definitely one of those movies that brings back so many memories. I think anyone my age should have seen it at least five times...well most of us. The Sandlot was one of those "memorable quote" movies and actually taught some good lessons.

The best part of the movie I realized today was that there was never ever a reference to any culture. Sure the main character was Puerto Rican...or maybe Dominican; either way, the move was more about friendship and believing in others. Each character was very different yet the same throughout the entire movie.

So what if they ever made a remake? Would they use today's movie stars or create new ones? I personally wouldn't want anyone to create a new Sandlot. I think the originality would be changed and made into some some "teen wolf" type pelicula with texting and Facebook. Do you want a new Sandlot for today's kids?

Friday, June 24, 2011

NCLR conference July 23

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) will hold it's conference in just a few weeks in Washington, D.C. The conference is the largest gathering of its kind in the Hispanic community, serving as the meeting ground for more than 25,000 community leaders, activists, and volunteers; elected and appointed officials; members of the corporate, philanthropic, and academic communities; senior citizens; college students; and youth. As if that wasn't enough to attend, our President Barack Obama is set to speak at the conference.

But what exactly will our president talk about? Election season is top of mind but what issues are we actually facing these days. Education, immigration, jobs; it seems as though the trend is staying the same year after year after year. I recently watched a documentary on the food industry and yep you guessed it, immigration is key in the food industry. That's another topic.

If you can't attend the conference, you can always attend NCLR's Latino Family Expo happening at the same time (July 23-25; conference will also be held on July 26). This event provides an opportunity for corporations, agencies, organizations, and businesses to showcase products, services, and programs that positively impact the American Latino community. Community, culture, health, fitness and career are just some of the pavillions available throught the expo.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Colombians need help too...seriously though.

Just a few days I found some errors in some important documents and it made me realize we need to triple check our documents. I'm not talking about a license; I'm talking about passports, social security cards and so on. Not until maybe a year ago the closest Colombian consul was in New York City. Now Colombian consuls are mobile and visiting a city near you. This Saturday, June 25 Accion Colombia is inviting the Colombian community to learn about passports, citizenship and more. complete me

I love it that Facebook allows people to express themselves at a pace they normally wouldn't in person. However, sometimes things do get a little out of hand. Would you update everyone about your wife's pregnancy? Complain about your weight or let a little steam off about our favorite spot futbol? Either way, it seems as though Facebook is quickly turning into a daily diary for men and women. I wonder when they'll roll out "dislike" buttons.

Here are today's Facebook posts of the evening:
  • "Mexico should win an Oscar for their acting and not La Copa de Oro!"
  • "So I am really 165 lbs."
  • "Oh God. The original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers are on Netflix. Adios, productivity."
  • "‎10 cm dilated :) 1 more hr :)"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A family photo from the past

A picture is word a thousand words; that's why I was so happy when my tio Gonzalo in Colombia posted the photo above on Facebook. Sure it's just an elderly woman with two younger men but to me it's family. It's a family photo which I have never seen and is over 30 years old. Pictured you see my abuelita (who I never met), tio Gonzalo and my father. Seems like a lot of contemplating was happening and the position of the mountains with the bridge is perfect. Kudos to whoever took the photo. It almost seems as if they aren't supposed to go past the bridge and they're trying to figure out how to go about it and who is going to lead.

Thoughts about the photos?

Latino scholarship up for grabs

Incoming college students seem to always have trouble finding ways to pay for their college education. Whether it's through grants, loans or small scholarships, Latinos need to take the extra mile to pay for school. Well thanks to some social media posts, I found this wonderful opportunity for college bound and current (at least part time) Latino college students in Pennsylvania. All that is required is a two page essay

The Estamos Unidos de Pennsylvania (EUP) Scholarship to Latino/Hispanic students who qualify has been established to motivate and support talented Latino/Hispanic students, who are American citizens or permanent legal non-citizens that reside in the state of PA. Students who aspire or are working to achieve a technical, vocational school, or college education should definitely apply. I'm glad there are organizations like EUP to support educated Latinos.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A city's streetscape improvement

If you've walked through Philadelphia's El Centro de Oro you may have noticed some changes. Earlier today HACE held its ribbon cutting ceremony for their long-awaited streetscape improvements for the Latino business coordinator. The improvements, which included new sidewalks, signage trash cans and metal palm trees cost a whopping $4 million in city, state, and federal money.

A cleaner neighborhood and a vibrant community brings everyone togetger. So what's the next step? More visitors. The area includes cultural institutions, social organizations, and other Latino-owned businesses. Did I mention the food is delicious?

Dell Music Center brings back the Latinos

Music venues and concert promoters are looking to retain their audience and even bring new ones. For over 39 years, the Dell Music Center (DMC) in Philadelphia has brought national acts to our city of hermano-ly love and just recently re-opened their doors. Well for the first time in I'm not sure how long, the DMC will open its doors once again to the Latino community...well at least to the musical artists.

For one night only on Saturday, July 30, together live on one stage salsa legend, Victor Manuelle, merengue stars Grupo Mania and urban sensation Omega unite to bring a unique combination of Latin rhythms to the Dell Music Center. The first ever Latin Concert at this premier outdoor amphitheater promises to give fans a memorable night.

Anyone who enjoys Latino music is bound to come out for this night of astounding music. Tickets are on sale between $45 -$65 which to be honest is not that bad. You can purchase your tickets through, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling 1.800.736.1420. Or take a trip to the DMC located at Ridge Ave. & Huntingdon Drive.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Puerto Ricans of the 1970s

From Bacalaitos and Fireworks by Arlene Gottfried, published by powerHouse Books.

Imagine Puerto Rico in New York the 1950s. Not something you can witness today huh. Bacalaitos & Fireworks, by Arlene Gottfried, celebrates the rise of the Puerto Rican culture in NY's neighborhoods. Gottfried's photography depicts the integration of rhythm, style, flavor, art, language and delicious Latino cuisine from the 70s to present day. Good timing since just a week ago NY held its annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Granted I'm not sure if Gottfried is Latina but it shouldn't matter. These pictures depict the pure cultural history of Puerto Ricans in NY. Instead of fighting about preserving our culture in a museum or through a festival, these poetic writings and photographs inspire others to strive for more. I wish more people like Gottfried found interest in other cultures. Remember, there's more to us than just "us." Poetry is written by Lois Elaine Griffith and Miguel Piñero. Bacalaitos & Fireworks will hit bookstores in late June early July.

Bacalaitos & Fireworks Book Flip from powerHouse Books on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

This is for them...for colored girls

Sure I'm late but I finally saw For Colored Girls. What seems to be a movie about nine regular women with nine regular lives turns into a twist and turn of anger, deception, death and everything in between. Add poetry and a crazy transitions and you get a movie everyone should see. Sure it makes men look like pieces of crap but you have to feel for the nine women.

Usually movies with too many well-known celebrities aren't that great but with the help of Tyler Perry, this just defeats all the odds. Janet Jackson, Kerry Washington, Whoopi Goldberg and Kimberly Elise are just some of the few names which pop up. The most tragic story comes from Elise; putting up with a crazy, abusive wannabe husband while working for the man aka Ms. Jackson, a self-hating magazine publisher. So why should we feel for these colored girls? Look in the mirror and tell yourself, "What if this happened to me? It is happening to me."

While watching you the movie you have to think, this really isn't about African-American women (well yeah it is). You should be looking at it through the bigger picture. Think of struggling women everywhere who are born into poverty, religion, wealth; all of this does not matter because at some point in their lives, it can all change. Man, woman, child, black, white, Latina...let's think about our future and how we can better ourselves.

Reading, PA gets a Latino valedictorian

“Do not let someone tell you that you cannot do something or be someone in life." That's what this year's Reading High School valedictorian, Noe Cabello, had to say during his speech. But it wasn't just any speech, it was the first time a Latino was ever chosen as the valedictorian. Sure it may not sound like a big deal, but for a city that is now 58% Hispanic, why is this just happening?

So what would you say during your speech as the first Latino anything: Speak Spanish? Bring up your Latino heritage? Give a wake-up call to others? Listen/watch below to what Cabello had to say.

Noe Cabello's Valedictorian Speech at Reading High School from NewsHouse on Vimeo.

Read more about the graduation here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Facebook comments of the day numero dos

As I watch "For Colored Girls" I just had to go to Facebook and take my mind off la pelicula. Comments these days seem to be out of control yet sometimes the one comment can take things to a whole new level. Remember, social media can surely be used for social change.
  • Please pray for all the cancer patients around the world...its a vicious disease that does not deserve any more heart goes out to all the ones we have lost and my prayers to those still fightin it! I will be strong for them!! will u?!?

  • God loves fools, babies, and the Phillies. Not necessarily in that order.

  • If you are in a rush don't ever say, "so tell me about Being Latino". I've got an earful for you... LOL

  • Graduation numbers may be up, but kids are still not ready for college. Parents need to step up!

State Farm's Illumina Comunidad

State Farm just keeps on doing it again. The last we heard they partnered with Telemundo for the Latin Billboards but now they've partnered with sOccket, (a soccer ball that generates and stores electricity via physical play) in hopes to bring light to the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup countries with lack of access to electricity. Probably the smartest invention I've heard, this is truly a great cause for people in need.

What State Farm did was create a Facebook tab on their already branded page to let users interactively play with the soccer ball to generate donations. There are several ways to help including the iPhone app, "liking" your favorite video (which generates 1 minute of light) and also playing the interactive game by seeing how long you can keep the ball in the air. Don't worry, it's free. I actually played the game and added 59 minutes towards their goal of 30K minutes. With the iPhone app, every 15 minutes of play collected will result in one sOccket ball donation, so State Farm will donate more sOccket balls when consumers play more. Enjoy! And take time to help, even though it may seem you don't know where your "efforts" go, it's still a nice cause.

Monday, June 13, 2011

2011 BlogoSphere Survey

A few days ago, LATISM (Latinos in Social Media), released the results of its 2011 Latino Blogosphere Survey, part of a series aiming to explore the state of online and social media usage among Latinos. Survey results were first unveiled during the LATISM panel at the 2011 BlogWorld and New Media Expo. The report had over 12K respondents and asked them what influences them in the online space. Brands and marketers are sure to use the information to reach out to our ever growing audience.

Key Findings include:
  • 61% use social media for personal purposes, followed by business and supporting causes
  • Top three blogging topics are Latino Issues (45%), followed by Social Good and Education
  • The majority (48%) prefer to shop online
  • The overwhelming majority described Education as the top priority Latino issue, followed by Health and Jobs
To view the entire report, click here.

Philadelphia's future

So what do you think Philadelphia will be like in 2035? More people, restaurants, parks, art or better public transportation systems. These are all ideas that are coming out of our leaders. PHILADELPHIA2035 is the comprehensive plan for the City of Philadelphia.

Phila2035 release event video from David S Kessler on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jarritos in a box

My friends over at Jarritos Nation sent me a little package and I was excited indeed. Not just because I love getting mail but unfortunately this 100 degree weather is a disturbance in all our lives. The package brought two (2) delightful Mexican Cola sodas; a new Jarritos flavor. Sure I don't normally drink soda, but sometimes supporting a Latino business can go a long way. It reminded me of "cola champagne" and Dr. Pepper (note I do NOT like Dr. Pepper).

Wondering where you can find these flavors? Off the top of my head you can get them at the gelatto place in the Piazza as well as the restaurant around the corner, Que Chula es Puebla. Feel free to let me know where else!

P.S. Follow Jarritos Nation for some fun prizes.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Our education is important

Is it me or do Latinos tend to not do the following: Pursue advanced educational degrees, pursue a career in education. For the past few weeks I've pondered those two things. Quick fact, only 7% of Teach for America's new teachers/staff were Latino. Not to say this doesn't mean Latinos don't become teachers, but I think the number should be a little higher. I certainly thought about teaching while in college but like a lot of students, I changed my mind.

With programs like Education Nation and El Poder de Saber, students should be able to have access to all the necessities in order to improve their education. Unfortunately in Pennsylvania and I'm sure in other states, education doesn't seem to be important. And if I'm not mistaken, tomorrow there will most certainly be a rally against budget cuts in City Hall at noon. Teachers are getting fired left and right yet more money is being put into prisons. ::awkward silence:: I've heard countless reasons why politicians go this route but I'll let it be for right now.

I can say I am interested in pursuing my master's degree. Where you ask? Can't really say right now but I am looking into a couple of schools. Study what Eric? I want to continue my writing so if your school has a writing program by all means comment on this post :). I do want to emphasize journalism and maybe even public relations. I mean hey it's my career path right?

Um Shakira?

I know Shakira's last song LOCA really gave her a new look again but the latest video to RABIOSA takes things to a whole new level. I'm not sure if she went to a drug-filled party where everything ends up turning sex but this video seems a little...rabiosa? See for yourself.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Facebook comments of the day

So I remember I used to blog about Tweets of the Day, but now I figured I'd give Facebook comments a chance. Considering you have more liberty to comment on ANYTHING, it should seem a lot more interesting. However, I will have to refrain from putting screen grabs or from mentioning who wrote the comment. Remember, Facebook can indeed ruin lives and friendships. Enjoy!
  • "The drop our rate is highest for Puerto Rican and African American Youth in Philadelphia. According to the SRC and a Report our of UofPenn the drop rate is the highest in the nation at 60%. @cindy your correct - there is over 300 million dollars each year poured into North Philly each year. Where is it?"

  • ‎...I was asked if I was a socialist! Im lol-ing...aren't you?

  • Philadelphia Schools Will Close Early Due To Excessive Heat

  • I remember when I was in college I used to seamlessly navigate through every racial and ethnic clique:Muslim, Jewish, Black, White, and Latino. The dynamics of each group was surprisingly similar and surprisingly each hated the other and were vocal about it. I was welcomed in all. Yet, I was always asked"why do you hang out with those people?"And I always responded "because they're good people just like you are."

xQsi...just because: A new online community

Almost half a year ago, xQsi (Porque Si) Magazine launched its online community in Los Angeles, CA. xQsí (Porque Sí) Magazine is an online multimedia publication that features content on a wide variety of topics directly relevant to the lives of LGBTQ Latin@s and their allies. Although mostly based in California, they produce content that influences the LGBTQ community all over the the U.S.

Like any other new publication in the U.S., the founders took the road of an online magazine which makes perfect sense. There are many new print publications being founded and months later they seem to just concentrate on their online efforts. And according to their mission and vision, xQsi Mag. is not playing around. "Mainstream Latin@ media hides our true genders and sexualities. Queer media erases the importance of our unique ethnic and racial heritage. But through giving birth to xQsí, we unite them and make them one." The magazine covers everything from arts and entertainment to opinionated articles (which I'm sure get a lot of attention).

I actually appreciate seeing people my age give birth to something they feel strongly about. I sort of compare xQsi to Tek Lado. It was a simple idea turned into an online community. Both Latino based, but clearly different audiences...unless your an LGBTQ Geek which I'm sure do exist. Interested in learning more? Follow them on Twitter and Facebook :).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Our better life

All our parents want (or wanted) was for us to have a better life in this world. There are countless stories out there with struggling immigrant families attempting to give their child a good education and a life they would most likely never have had in their home country. So is it a better life?

Opening June 24th, "A Better Life" looks at the relationship between a Mexican father and his son. The father attempts to start his own business illegally while his son lives a good life...or so it may seem. Trouble brews when the police gets involved. See for yourself in the preview below.

A Venezuelan journey begins

Remember a few days ago I wrote about the book Socialist Dreams & Beauty Queens? Well the good ol' publishers at Skyhorse Publishing sent me a copy to review...and wow is all I have to say. It may seem like a fictional novel, but who can make up these scenarios?

The first chapter is always the most important chapter because it needs to grab you. And it sure did. Mr. Jamie Maslin sure got himself into one crazy journey; especially after convincing himself to meet these couch surfers. I sure as hell would be unable to do what Maslin did so I give him that credit. I also commend him for taking an interest in South American culture; not to many people are fond of us.

So what happens in the first chapter? Mix some shady taxis, a family for-warning, big breasted women, a German journalist, a map and of course we must not forget about our Cesar Chavez conversations; that's chapter one. I look forward to reading more and more about Maslin's adventures. Hopefully readers can get a better sense of the political and cultural climate of this beautiful country. I'll continue to recap certain chapters as time goes by. See you soon.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My first entrevista with a musician

So as you all know I currently work for WWSI Telemundo and I wear many hats at the job. One of the hats I wear (my favorite) is that of a journalists. Although I studied print journalism, I'm able to use those skills for TV. The other day musician Ricky C visited our studios during his Northeast promotional tour. An overall good guy, I was able to ask him a few questions.

Why are you my Facebook friend again?

LinkOh the dreaded friend request on Facebook. When is it really appropriate to friend someone? Just because I met you at a networking event or your friend is my friend doesn't really mean anything. As rude as it sounds people do it all the time. That's why there's Twitter and LinkedIN, for other social purposes. I think Facebook has become an exaggerated social networking site where high school enemies become BFFs on Facebook.

For the past few weeks I've been getting a higher number of friend requests. I look to see how I know them and it's one thing to have 4 or 5 friends in common (whom I also never met) but then when I have zero friends in common, there's a problem. There's also a problem when you accept the friend request because he or she is a well respected member of the community. Three days later you see them at a networking event and ::boom:: nothing; not even a smile. So why did you friend me? Granted most of my requests have been "well respected" members of the community who think I'm just a regular guy, but little do they know.

This is pretty much not a new subject, I just felt like ranting since those extra friend requests are popping up. Hopefully they'll read this and soon say hi. Hey I would even suggest sending a message with the request. Oh well. Hasta pronto!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Global Fusion Festival returns with a "Carnival"

Summer oh summer. It's the time when Philadelphia decides to through most of the free festivals around the city...and how I plan to enjoy them even more now. This July, Grammy nominated headliners, cultural entertainers and pretty much everyone and their mother return to Penn's Landing in Philadelphia for the city's largest one-day festival, Global Fusion Festival and Week (GFF).

This year's 5th anniversary theme is "Carnival." Seems like an appropriate theme produced by the Multicultural Affairs Congress (MAC). The week (including festival) celebrates Philadelphia's diverse African Diaspora (first), Hispanic, Caribbean and Asian cultures. Past festivals have featured Boyz II Men, Toby Love, Tank, Oro Solido, Huey Dunbar and En Vogue. I wonder who they'll have this year to represent the Latino community this year; crosses fingers for Shakira lol.

Pew research says Latinos use Twitter...again

How many more reports have to be produced in order for people to take a hint? Once again a Pew report says that African-Americans and Hispanics are most likely to use Twitter than um...whites. Note I do not like using the word "white" but that's what the report says.

According to the stats, 19% of Hispanics online are also day to day users. Though they're the second largest group on Twitter, Latinos are largely regarded as social media trailblazers, embracing digital technology at faster and faster speeds. A recent BeingLatino article asked if we were addicted to our smart phones; I'm pretty sure the answer is yes. I don't go one day without my cell phone but that's just me.

So where do we go from here? How are these major brands taking advantage of the stats. #HPRchat asked the question today who is reaching out to us correctly and the answers were typical: State Farm, Telemundo, MTV3 and other "necessities." But there are lots and lots of brands out there who want to reach out to nos otros, pero no saben que hacer. Let's help them out...and get paid to do it :).