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.

Save the Date: LéaLA Feria del Libro en Español comes to LA


It’s back! The annual LéaLA Feria del Libro en Español de Los Ángeles happens again in a few weeks. Mark you calendars for this book fair that always has something for everyone who loves to read en español. No pierdan la oportunidad de buscar nuevos libros, apoyar la lectura y participar.

The Feria dates are Friday May 17th, Saturday May 18th and Sunday May 19th from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm and it will be held at the LA Convention Center.

You can look at the program here, where you’ll find the publishing houses attending, all the pláticas y conferencias by the authors and moderators, activities for kids and fun for everybody.

A few items stand out for me on the program, sólo por el nombre de la plática y el subject. Creo que I’m gonna have to split myself in two or three to be at all the conferences I want to see. This is just a sample of the program.

Viernes 17 de Mayo:

Homenaje a la Música Norteña. Salón Rómulo Gallegos. 5:00pm

Sábado 18 Mayo:

Conferencia: Divas del Cine Mexicano en Hollywood, con Michael Schuessler. Salón Carlos Fuentes, 1:00 PM.

Presentación del Libro “Me Vale Madres, Mantras Mexicanos para la Liberación del Espíritu” de Prem Dayal. Presenta Andrés Ramirez. Salón Rómulo Gallegos, 1:00 PM. (Si no han visto el video del autor presentando este libro, por favor busquenlo en YouTube (link here, it’s an instant classic! Y apréndanse los 3 Mantras…)

Conferencia: “Parientes, Encargos, Raiteros, Fayuqueros y Peregrinos Fronterizos” presentada por Rubén Hernández León, Center for Mexican Studies UCLA. Salón José Martí. 1:00 PM.

Presentación del Libro: Historias Pérdidas 2, de León Krauze. The news anchor from Noticias 34 Univision en LA is also an accomplished author. (Y es EX-A-TEC a mucha honra.) Salón José Martí. 2:00 PM.

Presentación del Libro: “Jenni Rivera: La Increíble Historia de Una Mariposa Guerera” por la autora Leila Cobo. Salón Miguel de Cervantes, 4:00 PM. (Creo que es la primera biografía autorizada de la cantante y actriz. Should be interesting.)

Presentación del Libro: “Viviendo” por Adamari López. Salón Miguel de Cervantes, 6:00 PM. (Muy importante conocer la historia de esta guerrera que venció el breast cancer.)

Domingo 19 Mayo:

Beto Cuevas, a man of many talents, will be presenting his book “El Arte de Ser Beto Cuevas” en el Salón Miguel de Cervantes a las 2:00 PM.

Yes, it must be an art form to be a chileno rocker-entrepreneur-coach-actor among other things in this day and age, especially when he’s done it since his La Ley days. Looking forward to this one! (Beto, Soy tu fan.)

See you there amiguitos!

(Photo from DigitalGirl Inc./Rocío Gutiérez on Facebook) Beto Cuevas en una conferencia de prensa hoy para promover LéaLA La Feria del Libro en Español. Su libro "El Arte de Ser Beto Cuevas" se presenta el 19 de Mayo a las 2pm en el Convention Center.

(Photo from DigitalGirl Inc./Rocío Gutiérrez on Facebook) Beto Cuevas en una conferencia de prensa hoy para promover LéaLA La Feria del Libro en Español. Su libro “El Arte de Ser Beto Cuevas” se presenta el 19 de Mayo a las 2pm en el Convention Center.

Visiting the LA Times Festival of Books this weekend

(A little note/disclaimer: It’s been about two weeks since my last post. Ademas de sentir que ando neglecting a mi blog un poquito, me siento a little under the weather. I have a really bad cold that won’t go away. So they sent me home from work today because I really didn’t sound/look/feel well… and here I am trying to get back into the writing mood. I guess I needed the time out. Hasta una mujer no quiso ride the elevator conmigo this morning. Oh the horror! I think she thought I was a walking virus and let me go first…

Anyhooooo, entre mi last post and this one, we had a family visit con los sobrinitos, Semana Santa and Easter came and went, now it’s tax day and I’m thinking que vamos muy rápido con este 2012.)

To get back into the blogging spirit, may I make a recommendation? If you are a book lover, a voracious reader or just generally enjoy talking to likeminded people who READ: The annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books takes place this weekend at the USC  Campus and it is not to be missed.

The advertising supplement from the Sunday Los Angeles Times was very useful for planning a trip to the book fair. Photo by yours truly with the iPhone.

I’ve been hearing about it on the radio (KCRW) and yesterday’s LA Sunday Times included the newspaper insert with the program. There’s all sorts of useful information.

You can click HERE for the link to go to the website and browse to see if there’s anything that suits your fancy. The event is free, but some of the lectures or presentations require admission.

There will be something for everybody, book signings, celebrities, books for kids, books on any subject/theme you can imagine, generous sponsors and finally some nice California weather for a change.

I am particularly excited about three  lovely and amazing ladies I practically grew up with (aunque no las conozca en persona, they influenced me and are part of my life in Spanglish) who will be at the event:

Julie Andrews: Our dearest, most favorite actress from The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins will be presenting “The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes The Flower Girl” on Sunday at 12:55 pm, Target Children’s Stage.

Judy Blume: YES! THE one and only Judy Blume, the writer that made me love reading in the first place. My friends and I practically devoured her entire collection: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Are You There God It’s Me Margaret, Superfudge, Blubber, etc etc.I think she set me on a lifelong love of books, and I don’t say this lightly.

“Judy Blume in Conversation With Mary McNamara” on Saturday 2:30pm, Bovard Auditorium. ($13 admission)

Betty White: Our beloved national treasure and ultimate Golden Girl will also be in person at the fair. “Betty and Friends: My Life at the Zoo,” Interviewed by Karen Grisby Bates. On Sunday at 1:20 pm, Los Angeles Times Stage.

Also, not to be outdone, latinos RE-PRE-SENT! con el super wacky and cool author and editor of the OC Weekly, Gustavo Arellano (Ask a Mexican!) who also just happens to have recently written a book with a very clever title: “Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America” which I’m planning to get a copy of at the fair.

Looking forward to reading Gustavo's new book "Taco USA" since I've been hearing good reviews.

So take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and also, get ready, because in May, we have another Book Fair coming, pero en español!

Yes, pretty soon we must visit the LEA-LA Feria del Libro en Español, el 11, 12 y 13 de Mayo en el Convention Center. More on that later.

A visit to The Last Bookstore in DTLA

The Last Bookstore is located on the corner of Spring and 5th Street in downtown Los Angeles.

For those of us who love books, finding a new bookstore that speaks to our nerdy sensibilites as well as to our aesthetic values brings new thrills which are hard to describe. For me, I guess it’s one of those things that makes me want to do a happy dance. No me da pena admitirlo, estas son las cosas that get me all excited.

So it was a particular joy to discover such a place right in the middle of the vibrant downtown LA reinvention, on the corner of Spring and 5th street. The place is called “The Last Bookstore” and it is awesome.

Originally, I had read of about this bookstore in a fabulous article/list which was shared on Twitter called “The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World”. (Click on the link to go to the list.) I was particularly excited to see that El Péndulo, in Mexico DF (La Condesa) had made the list. I’ve been there several times and yes, it’s beautiful. But since one of the bookstores mentioned is right here in LA, I knew I had to visit. (I hereby proclaim a newfound obsession about visiting them all, even if it takes years to travel around the world.)

Lucky for me that my friend Olivia is also a nerd (I say it with respect and admiration) and was psyched to go along for the discovery. So off we went. The site is a wonderful building with great “bones” and architecture. Its wide open space and columns made me think of an opulent time from the past in downtown LA, when it may have been a bank or financial institution, but thankfully has been rescued/recycled into a place of knowledge.

You can read the story about The Last Bookstore here, and you may be curious to know, they buy books in good condition (no encyclopedias, no books that are falling apart or smell like kitty litter) and they are usually interested in classical literature in hardcover. Pero yo les voy a llevar algunas novelas/libros en español que talvez puedan quedar en mejores manos…

Here are some pictures, and just so you know, you can find books on almost any subject here at a great deal. Most of them are very cheap and you won’t feel like you are breaking the bank.

Happy Reading!

A wide angle view of the bookstore.

The cashier is a beautiful sculpture of books.

Grab a book and make yourself comfortable.

Just don't stay there too long, lounging and not buying anything. This is a business after all. There is a one hour time limit for sitting and reading. ¡No se vayan a dormir!

La sección de libros en español. I personally plan to contribute to new reading material, since I think they could use more titles.

Hey, you can find paperbacks from James Joyce and the book of Dream Interpretation from Freud. (I have a few dreams I have to analyze myself!)

Olivia finds a Decca record she likes. They have a huge selection of LP's for 99 cents.

She also found a disco de Menudo, from the early days, and I almost flipped. Look: Miguel, Xavier, Charly, Ricky, and Jhonny!

They also have a coffee bar that serves "Cafecito Orgánico" coffee and other treats.

The lovely Miss O at The Last Bookstore.

Found! A Spanish newsstand in LA.

I was driving along the heart of Boyle Heights today when -lo and behold- que se me aparece este letrero.

ALL kinds of Spanish magazines? Surely you must be joking.

This magazine stand has been around for years on 1st and Soto, but this new sign- no, this STATEMENT- was beckoning for an investigation. So naturally I had to turn the corner and park the car.

Zoom out from across the street, on the corner of 1st and Soto in Boyle Heights (LA).

After approaching the newsstand, I did see a few periódicos from my fronterizo home state in México (BC).  They had a few critical-left wing political publications, like Proceso magazine, and the more central (but boring) Contenido. So that aspect is covered. There’s the frívolos-upscale-primer mundo en México examples, like Caras and Hola (México), but no Quien magazine, which was  surprise. Then there’s the comic strips en español de todos colores y temas. They still make them, but I wonder who reads them?

And of course there’s the typical churro reading entertainment junk, like TV Notas y TV y Novelas, not to be confused (although sí se pueden hacer mix up) with the pornographic stuff. It’s very hard to tell from these covers, since everyone is practically naked, and it’s mostly women. (Que novedad…)

Oy vey! Can you believe Playboy next to Brides en Español, next to libritos de historia next to knitting and hobby books, next to libros Cristianos.

Culture for the masses. Looks like something for everybody.

El Vanidades nunca falla, está en todos los puestos de revistas, al lado de las TV Notas con mujeres en poses sugestivas en la portada.

Material de lectura para el fresa-pseudo intelectual: Proceso 35 años de imágenes, Revista Caras y OK Mag en Español. Además un anuncio para tomar clases de "Naturismo" en LA.

So when they say “ALL KINDS” of Spanish magazines, they really mean it.

There was no Vanity Fair en español in site, however. You may remember I raved about it last week. This was a little disappointing.  But I’m quite pleased with the fact that this puesto de revistas exists and that it provides lecturas en español, a little something for everybody who craves reading material that you may not find at Barnes and Noble. Who am I to judge if you feel like reading Condorito? More power to you, amiguito.

The “All Kinds of Spanish Magazines” newsstand is open from 8 to 5 Monday through Friday and 8 to 4 on the weekends, at 1st and Soto in Boyle Heights. There’s a Metro station next to it, fyi.

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.

Vanity Fair España, lo máximo

If you’re looking for a smart pop culture magazine for these times, may I recommend Vanity Fair en Español, published en España by Conde Nast and sold here in the US at Barnes and Noble.

Ever since I found out it existed en español, I’ve been kind of obsessed with it. And I came late to the game, because it has been published since 2008 but just started reading it recently.  I’ve read the English version since 1989 (era una bebita leyéndola, hehe) but now I’ve transferred my affections to the Spanish version. No offense, Mr. Graydon Carter.

Yes, it may be trivial, a little fanciful, and out of my reality, but it is so addictive to read about interesting people in the arts, entertainment and cultural/political realms. Some of the articles are translated from the English sister mag, but mostly they do their own features and photoshoots.

Recent covers have had the Carolina Herreras (mother and daughter), Antonio and Melanie, la Reina Noor, y la Duquesa Cayetana de Alba que se acaba de volver a casar a los 85 años, so there’s definitely an aire de chisme to it as well. However, this is not your typical chisme from the  revistas en español that you find all over the place, like the overly public relations infused People en Español and the naquisima for the nac0-masses TV Notas. Nooooo, este es el chisme for the rest of us. (Yes, I’m a snob!)

You can find Vanity Fair at some of the Barnes and Nobles around town (it will set you back $10 bucks so you just may want to read it at the store) or in my case I’ve been lucky because my sisters and Mom buy it for me across the border where it costs 65 pesos.

Or you may want to browse their fabulous online version at and read it for free. But you should try to support good magazines if you can and buy one every so often.

Here’s a great article on Mario Vargas Llosa, one of the most fabulous and gifted writers there is, and a recent Nobel laureate. He was voted as the “Personaje del Año” by Vanity Fair just this month:

“Mario Vargas Llosa, el hombre que nunca se rinde”  (Click for the link.)

¡Felices Lecturas!

Four recent Vanity Fair en Español covers from 2011.

¡Esa mi Cayetana! La Duquesa de Alba on the cover, when she confirmed she was getting married again at the age of 85. Why not?

The editorial work is lovely and the photos are cool. Here's a recent photo with Ewan McGregor.

Ahi va mi colección de este año. Las cuido como oro molido!

Que buena foto!! Foto de Mario Vargas Llosa tomada del artículo online de