Libros y Movies en Español this weekend en DTLA: Hola Mexico Film Fest & LéaLA

This weekend sounds just like heaven with libros y películas en español happening all over Downtown LA.

Yes, the Hola Mexico Film Fest and LeaLA Feria del Libro en Español are finally here.

Which only begs the question, why did these two events decide to coincide the same weekend? Nos vamos a tener que dividir entre tantas cosas que queremos ver.

The HOLA MEXICO FILM FESTIVAL, now in its 5th year running, kicked off on May 15 and runs all through the weekend till Tuesday May 22nd. It’s a unique chance to see películas en español that would otherwise be hard to see here in LA. Nunca traen movies mexicanas a menos de que sea en este tipo de festivales. Pero ese es otro asunto.

So if you’re a movie fan, si te gustan las películas en español, el buen party y la gente cool, this is definitely something you need to check out.

This year they are also expanding to include food and music as part of the program, with Bricia López from La Guelaguetza leading the way and a number of visiting Mexican chefs, like Baja California favorite Javier Plascencia, from Mision 19 in TJ, who always delivers amazing, innovative dishes.

Check out the complete sked for the film fest on their website here. The venue is the Los Angeles Theater on Broadway.

Hola Mexico Film Fest

By the way, here’s a movie trailer that made me laugh and is part of the lineup this weekend. Maybe I’ll get a chance to see it. Se llama Suave Patria and it looks like the kind of slapstick dark comedy that’s easy to enjoy. Salen los televisos Adrian Uribe y Omar Chaparro y Héctor Suárez (yes that Hector Suárez, parece que ya regresó) so maybe it’s worth checking out.

As I mentioned recently, something not be missed this weekend is the Feria del Libro en Español de Los Angeles, LéaLA starts on Friday at the LA Convention Center in downtown y se organiza por la Universidad de Guadalajara. It runs through Sunday May 19.

Libros y mas libros en español, conferencias, pláticas y presentaciones. Todo GRATIS (my favorite price) y con algo para toda la familia.

Screen shot 2013-05-16 at 10.06.19 PM

Check out the program here and go support authors and publishing houses, libros en español que otherwise we would never have a chance to buy here.

Books and films this weekend, people. Truly my cup of tea.

Bits of Madonna’s Fashion Evolution at Macy’s Century City

I don’t know about you, but I happen to think que Madonna es lo máximo. Her music, her style, her constant reinvention is amazing. She’s always evolving and eternally youthful. You’ve got to admire that.

Fans of Madonna and local fashionistas were in for a treat last Thursday when they had a chance for an up close view of her most iconic outfits and costumes throughout her career. The collection “Madonna’s Fashion Evolution” was a pop up (one day) exhibit at Macy’s Century City hosted by Material Girl Collection. Material Girl is the fashion clothing line from Madonna and her daughter Lola which is sold exclusively at Macy’s.

The outfits were personally curated by Madonna herself. The collection featured her Like a Virgin wedding dress; the “boy toy” outfit which reminded me of the movie Desperately Seeking Susan and which I tried to copy back in the day; the dress she wore to the Grammy Awards when she was escorted by Michael Jackson; and of course, the pink gold cone bra corset by Jean Paul Gaultier that she used during her Blond Ambition Tour back in 1990.

Of course, depending of your age, you may find these items fascinating or not. Those of us who grew up with Madonna find them to be cool elements of pop culture. Ah, the 80’s and 90’s…You just had to be there

Here are a few pix of the event, courtesy of Macy’s and Material Girl for your viewing pleasure. (Note: this is not a sponsored post.)

(Photo Courtesy of Macy's and Material Girl) CENTURY CITY, CA - APRIL 25:  A general view at the Material Girl and Macy's never-before-seen retrospective of Madonna's iconix fashion pieces at the Macy's Westfield Century City on April 25, 2013 in Century City, California.  (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Iconix Brand Group)

(Photo Courtesy of Macy’s and Material Girl) CENTURY CITY, CA – APRIL 25: A general view at the Material Girl and Macy’s never-before-seen retrospective of Madonna’s iconix fashion pieces at the Macy’s Westfield Century City on April 25, 2013 in Century City, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Iconix Brand Group)

(Photo courtesy of Mayc's and Material Girl.) The "Like a Virgin Wedding Dress" on view at the Macy's Century City exhibit.

(Photo courtesy of Macy’s and Material Girl.)
The “Like a Virgin Wedding Dress” on view at the Macy’s Century City exhibit.

(Photo courtesy Macy's and Material Girl). The "Boy Toy" phase, circa 1984.

(Photo courtesy Macy’s and Material Girl). The “Boy Toy” phase, circa 1984.

(Photo courtesy of Macy's and Material Girl.) Mid 1980's inspiration from Madonna. ¿Quién no quiso copiar este outfit?

(Photo courtesy of Macy’s and Material Girl.) 1980’s inspiration from Madonna. ¿Quién no quiso copiar este outfit?

(Photo courtesy Macy's and Material Girl.) Another view of Madonna's Fashion Evolution with all her iconic costumes throughout the years.

(Photo courtesy Macy’s and Material Girl.) Another view of Madonna’s Fashion Evolution with all her iconic costumes throughout the years.

(Photo courtesy Macy's and Material Girl.) Jean Paul Gaultier designed it and Madonna wore it during her 1990 "Blond Ambition Tour" around the world. We used to think this was a shocking outfit. Como han cambiado los tiempos...

(Photo courtesy Macy’s and Material Girl.) Jean Paul Gaultier designed it and Madonna wore it during her 1990 “Blond Ambition Tour” around the world. We used to think this cone shaped corset was a shocking outfit. Como han cambiado los tiempos…

(Photo courtesy of Macy's and Material Girl.) AnnaSophia Robb of "The Carrie Diaries" paid a visit. The dress is the one Madonna wore to the Grammys when she went with Michael Jackson.

(Photo courtesy of Macy’s and Material Girl.) AnnaSophia Robb of “The Carrie Diaries” paid a visit. The dress in the background is the one Madonna wore to the Grammys when she went with Michael Jackson.

(Photo courtesy of Macy's and Material Girl.) Vanessa Hudgens was one of the celebrities admiring the show and possibly taking style notes.

(Photo courtesy of Macy’s and Material Girl.) Vanessa Hudgens was one of the celebrities admiring the show and possibly taking style notes.

Voting for the first time in the USA…at 93!

This is my grandmother, mi abuelita Mama Lilia, she is 93 years old, and today she is sending in her ballot for the 2012 Presidential election.

This is the first time she votes in the USA, having just became a US citizen last year after studying US history and English for more than a year. (Her favorite presidents are Abraham Lincoln and FDR.) During her citizenship exam she was asked why she wanted to be a US Citizen. She replied, “Para tener voz y voto.”

So today she is extremely happy and proud to send in her vote. She’s been following the news and the debates, but she’s always known who she was voting for. Todos los dias she had been asking me if the ballot had come in the mail.

The last month has been pretty tough on her health, but she’s hanging in there and we’re all pulling for her. Today was a very good day, gracias a Dios. It was worth a picture on our way to the mailbox!



Cleopatra in Los Angeles

If you’re a history buff, culture nerd, or are interested in the history of the world, may I recommend a visit to “Cleopatra, In Search for the Last Queen of Egypt” exhibit, which has just arrived in Los Angeles.

The Science Center at Exposition Park (USC) is hosting the even until December 31st, 2012, so you have time to plan your visit.

I’ve always been intrigued by the mythical Cleopatra and her rule over Egypt, so this was a cool chance to see authentic artifacts and items of her day that have been around since 300 BC. That’s BEFORE Christ. (Yes, there was a prehistoric time before modern day and facebook.)

It’s almost mind boggling to  imagine her as the most powerful ruler in a world of ruthless men. She was a direct heiress, a  descendant of the Ptolemies, who became Queen of Egypt at 17.  She also spoke Greek, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Aramaic and Hebrew, had a lavish lifestyle, torrid romances and family dramas to spare. You think our telenovelas have wicked storylines, n’ombre no es nada!  Try betrayal, intra-family marriages, and outsmarting the Roman Empire while keeping your beauty intact.

On that note, there is no true image found- yet- of this famously beautiful woman. Los romanos se encargaron de acabar con todas las imagenes cuando pasó a la historia, they got rid of everything, so it’s up to us to try to build an image of her through the coins and artifacts recently found with her profile. Or we could just stick to la Liz Taylor circa 1963 in the film.

So go see it if you have a chance, and I recommend you get your tickets online and save yourself the waiting time at the ticket counter. Take the entire family. Lots of kids were really digging the history stuff.

Two giant granite statues resembling Cleopatra’s ancestors, the Ptolemies are shown at the exhibit.

“Head of Serapis” is a marble sculpture from 2c BC, which is a combination of Egyptian and Greek gods. “By combining Greek and religious figures, the Ptolemies gained people’s trust.”

Canopus is the city where Cleopatra and Marc Anthony went to have fun.  It was the Las Vegas/ “Sin City” of their day.

Recovered gold jewelry from Cleopatra’s time, which was found in recent expeditions under the sea in the area that used to be Alexandria, then capital of Egypt.

A magnifying glass lets you see the outline of Cleopatra’s profile from a gold coin.

It can’t be an Egyptian themed exhibit without a Sphinx in the mix. Here’s one found intact from 1st c BC. “With its human head signifying intelligence and its body of a lion, the sphinx illustrated the intellectual capacity and physical power of the pharaohs. Romans, obsessed with the exoticism of Egypt, imported the tradition to Rome.”

This cool hands on gadget illustrated how a desert sandstorm forms.

What did Cleopatra look like? We all want to know.

The love of Cleopatra’s life was Anthony, and he was also the father to 3 of his 4 children. Anthony also recognized her eldest son, born from her affair with Caesar.

The line of the Ptolemies, Cleopatra’s family tree.

Cleopatra’s image through the arts and film.

Pedro Almodóvar Forever! A night @Taschen Beverly Hills

This week, gracias a mis amigas Lucia y Martha, fuimos al book signing de Pedro Almodóvar’s book “The Almodóvar Archives” at the beautiful Taschen Book Store in Beverly Hills.

A few lucky fans got a chance to meet and greet the film maestro, and he is a lovely, funny and charming man. Se me hace que es una persona que se ha de divertir mucho con sus ideas y su creatividad. Imagine what his mind looks like! All those colors popping all over the place, all those stories and visuals of the movies he creates.

As an added treat, también estuvo Antonio Banderas, one of his first actor discoveries all the way back in the late 1980’s, and apparently still a beloved friend after all these years. They had a brief Q&A session which was initially done in English, but as Mr. Almodovar got more animated, he asked for a translator, para poderse expresar agusto. Banderas is currently starring in the latest film, the dramatic thriller “La Piel que Habito” (The Skin I Live In) which is getting rave reviews.

Here’s a few pictures from the event. Truly a memorable evening I shall never forget.

Even after all these years, they still love each other. Pedro Almodóvar and Antonio Banderas had an animated and funny Q&A session for the fans who attended the book signing.

The man, the film genius! Almodóvar was happy to sign copies of his book for his fans.

Two of his biggest fans, Martha Coronel and Lucia Peraza pose with their friend, Pedro Almodóvar.

Here it is, a book signed for a Very Important Person!

Lucia admires the book as they specially package it. The book weighs all of 12 pounds and has all sorts of pictures and memorabilia from all of Almodóvar's films.

The actor Carlos Leal starred in the Almodóvar movie "Abrazos Rotos" with Penelope Cruz. ¡Es muy guapo! Además saludó a Almodóvar muy efusivamente y compró su libro.

This is the carrying box of the book. Only 1,250 copies were made of this special edition.

Charlotte Taschen, one of the Taschen family daughters, flew in from London to present the book.

Todos queriamos "say hello." The Taschen bookstore in Beverly Hills, California. Almodóvar fans crowd the store for a chance to meet him.

At Taschen they have the most beautiful and original books on art, lifestyle, travel, and photography.

My kind of place.

Arte en el techo. One of the many fabulous art collages hanging from the ceiling.

Spanglish from La Madre Patria: Introducing Facto y los Amigos del Norte.

It’s new music Thursday and I’ve just been introduced to my newest pop music indulgence.

My friend April told me about to Facto y los Amigos del Norte, a new band from Spain who is making ears turn for their interesting pop meets kitschy rock meets electrónica meets hip hop culture, mixing up “el castellano” con frases en inglés. I’m assuming our Spanglish tendencies have reached the Mother Land and some purists will be non too pleased. (Oh the horror!)

The first song is “El Burrito Catalán” and I liked it. I also liked the video with it’s 80’s flashback feel and video game graphics. Very cool! The new album debuts June 14 in Spain and hopefully we’ll see them soon stateside. Check out the video for ‘El Burrito Catalán” here:

Having fun at the Cannes Festival, but Salma what are you wearing??

The yearly Spring film festival at Cannes, France began this week. Someday I’d love to go…sigh.

La que nunca se lo pierde es Salma Hayek. Regresó este año para promover su película con Antonio Banderas, un spinoff  de “Shrek” de Dreamworks.

Parece que Salma y Banderas la están pasando bien. Pero que raro outfit de ella…verdad? Y eso que está casada con el dueño millonario de varias casas de moda en Paris.

(I like Salma, it’s just that sometimes I don’t agree with her taste in clothes.)

Buenos amigos, gustos medio extraños. Salma wears a "plumero sleeve" dress at the photo call for their movie in Cannes. Photo form the LA Times today.

On the other hand, I can’t wait to see the new movie from Woody Allen. “Midnight in Paris” premiered and opened at Cannes, and hopefully we can see it soon here in the States.

Woody Allen and his ladies, Lea Seydoux and Rachel McAdams, from his new movie "Midnight in Paris" which premiered last night. Photo from the LA Times.