Happy New Year con la Banda Musical Delfines de Veracruz en Pasadena

Happy New Year to You!

Wishing you all mis queridos readers a wonderful 2015 and thanking you for reading a su humilde servidora en este su Spanglish blog.

I started the year off right with my morning cafecito as my Mom and I watched the Rose Parade on TV. We were waiting to see la “Banda Musical Delfines” de Veracruz, México as they made their triumphant march down Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena on the 126th edition of the Rose Parade.

And Oh.My.God!!! They were amazing, outstanding, just terrific as they marched down the parade route playing “Cielito Lindo” while forming the words I heart Mexico all the way. It brought a tear to my eye and gave me goose bumps. Even the commentary on TV said they had never seen any band do anything like this. Bravo!

Felicidades a todos los chavos y chavas de la Secundaria General Manuel R. Gutierrez “Banda Musical Delfines” de Veracruz, México y muchas gracias por alegrarme la mañana del 1ero. de enero del 2015. Muy orgullosos de ustedes!

Photos from KTLA 5 Los Angeles broadcast taken on the iPhone:

Here comes la Banda! Jan.1, 2015 on KTLA.

Here comes la Banda! Jan.1, 2015 on KTLA.

Marching down Colorado Blvd. with their vestidos veracruzanos.

Marching down Colorado Blvd. with their vestidos veracruzanos.

Tocando el Cielito Lindo.

Tocando el Cielito Lindo.

Hasta con saxofon!

Hasta con saxofon!

De Veracruz a Pasadena.

De Veracruz a Pasadena.

México! México! México!

México! México! México!

Ay, ay, ay, ay.. Canta y no llores...

Ay, ay, ay, ay.. Canta y no llores…

I Love Mexico! Si señor.

I Love Mexico! Si señor.

¡Que Viva el “Mexican Prince”! Mariachi skier is the most interesting man in Sochi

The day has finally come for the Mariachi skier and “Mexican Prince” Hubertus von Hohenlohe to compete in Sochi, and we’re praying we get some air time to se him on t.v. (Are you listening to me NBC? Mas vale que lo pongan.)

I did a blog post about him a few days ago when everyone was talking about his ski suit. This morning I saw a great interview that they did on the Today show. At one point, he drinks Margaritas and sings a cappella to Jenna Bush, la hija de George W., who now works on the Today show. (Gracias a mi Tia Silvia que me dio el heads up para que prendiera la tele.)

Not only is he competing with style and flair in a custom made mariachi ski suit in his 6TH OLYMPICS AT 55 YEARS OLD, he has a bunch of other interests that make him a really super cool dude. He’s a photographer, a businessman and has his very own rock band called -what else- Royal Disaster. Love him!

From the Today show interview, Hubertus Von Hohenlohe carries the Mexican flag at the opening ceremonies in Sochi. He is the only athlete from México.

From the Today show piece, Hubertus von Hohenlohe carries the Mexican flag at the opening ceremonies in Sochi. He is the only athlete from México.

Please take a look  at this video and meet the “most interesting man in Sochi”. Good life lessons learned here.

And while not everybody can pursue their passions at any expense, it does make you realize you just have to go for it, “have fun with it” and try to do it in style, because style lives on forever.

Su alteza real, Príncipe Hubertus von Hohenlohe, soy su fan!

Click here to go to the link on the Today show. “The Most Interesting Man in Sochi.”

Happy Weekend everybody.

Cooking with Bricia Lopez al estilo Guelaguetza @Macys

Bricia Lopez presented recipes from Guelaguetza Restaurant and inspired us to eat more comida oaxaqueña.

Bricia Lopez presented recipes from Guelaguetza Restaurant and inspired us to eat more comida oaxaqueña.

Do you love comida oaxaqueña? I do. The more I learn about Oaxaca, a beautiful state in México, the more I want to visit again.

Last Saturday, the lovely ladies from Macy’s Special Events hosted Bricia Lopez at their Macy’s Home Store in South Coast Plaza for a cooking demo. We learned 3 new recipes inspired by the famous Guelaguetza Restaurant owned by Bricia’s family in Los Angeles.

A nice crowd, mostly English speaking, turned out for the event, and we were all delighted with the dishes Bricia presented and taught us how to make.

A very attentive crowd showed up at Macy's Home Store, South Coast Plaza.

A very attentive crowd showed up at Macy’s Home Store, South Coast Plaza.

We had Red Mole-Black Bean Soup, Chileajo Tostadas, and Jamaica Mint Lemonade.  Se me hace agua la boca just by typing. Everything was delicious.  

Preparing the Red Mole-Black Bean Soup.

Preparing the Red Mole-Black Bean Soup.

Thank you Bricia and Macy’s for the recipes and the great event. Ya compré mis dos moles para aventarme unas recetas. 

And from what I heard from some of the people attending, yo creo que ya tenemos mas converts to authentic Mexican food en el OC, even if they have to travel up the 405 North to get to LA and find it. Mole is an exciting thing and definitely worth a trip to Guelaguetza. I’m glad people are expanding their horizons beyond the typical commercial stuff and willing to give it a try.

(DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post, nor have I been compensated in any way, shape or form for my opinion by anyone mentioned here. I just happen to rave about the things/events that I love, especially if it involves good food.)

Next up, A Taste of Mexico, where Guelaguetza and many other Mexican restaurants will feature their cuisine for the ever expanding Angeleno fan base de la comida mexicana. It’s happening October 11 at La Plazita de la Cultura y Artes. You can find more info here on their website: A Taste of Mexico.

Can't wait to try out my Moles: Mole Negro y Mole Rojo from Guelaguetza.

Can’t wait to try out my Moles: Mole Negro y Mole Rojo from Guelaguetza.

I’m including  the recipe for the Red Mole Black Bean Soup, from Restaurante Guelaguetza. You can purchase their moles (several varieties) and visit their website at www.iLoveMole.com.

Red Mole- Black Bean Soup (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons grape seed or corn oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Guelaguetza Mole Rojo paste
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup Mexican sour cream
  • 1 tablesspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Tortilla strips (for garnish, optional)

Directions: In a medium bowl, stir in Guelaguetza Mole Rojo paste, apple cider vinegar, and about a 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. Stir with a spatula until the mole paste has fully dissolved. Reserve.

In a medium pot, put oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until fragrant, about a minute or two.

Stir in Guelaguetza Mole Rojo mix, vegetable broth, black beans and season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high. Once the soup has come to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low to simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.

While the soup cooks, combine sour cream, coriander, salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Reserve for garnish.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and about 1 tablespoon of cold water, stir to combine.  After the soup has cooked for about 15 minutes, transfer 2 cups of it to  blender and add the cornstarch mixture. Puree until smooth. Return to pot. Cook, stirring until soup thickens, about 2 minutes.

Serve in bowls and garnish with the Coriander Crema. Top with tortilla strips if desired. ¡Provecho!

BRICIALOPEZ1

Visiting Gabriel Figueroa @LACMA

Mexico has a long history of amazing cinematographers, but none is more beautiful nor visually eloquent as Gabriel Figueroa.

Gabriel Figueroa was a master of light and shadows, one of the most prolific Mexican cinematographers who shot the films that are representative of the Epoca de Oro del Cine Mexicano. He worked with the most famous directors and actors of his day and helped create a collective image of a time and place in Mexico that existed mostly in black and white. And the remarkable thing is he did it with a film camera, a light meter, and film negatives. Remember those? There weren’t any computers, no Photoshop nor digital tools back in the 1940’s. 

LACMA recently opened a new exhibit featuring his work and influence. “Under the Mexican Sky-Gabriel Figueroa: Art and Film” is a joint project between LACMA, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Televisa, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and Conaculta. I’m glad all these organizations got together to make this happen because there aren’t usually many exhibits dedicated to cinematography. This is a real treat.

As you walk through the hall you see montages on large screens of his films with the directors El “Indio” Fernandez and Luis Buñuel. What struck me most was how much a single image, a still frame of a moving shot, could be a stand alone piece of art.

Those images convey beauty, sadness, pride, melancholy or just profound admiration for the landscape and scenery, el paisaje mexicano. I was also struck by how much women cried in these stories- puro melodrama y sufrimiento- and how men were  always “engrandecidos y valientes” almost to a fault. There are bits of his work from the movies Flor Silvestre, Maria Candelaria, Enamorada, Bugambilia, La Perla, Maclovia, Un Dia de Vida, Los Olvidados, among many others. 

You also see the influence painters such as Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco had on Figueroa’s work. It was like he was applying film to their paintings. My dear friend Alex Munguia used to tell me that if I wanted to take better photographs, then I should study famous painters and try to emulate what they did. Of course he was right, but it became completely evident to me once I saw the relationship between Diego Rivera’s Murals of the Mexican Revolution and Gabriel Figueroa’s Cinematography. Isn’t it interesting how different art forms relate and influence each other? The medium is different, but both are equally powerful.

Mr. Figueroa lived to be 90 years old and stayed active in film and the arts until the end. I hope you can go admire his work in this fabulous exhibit. It runs until February 2, 2014.

Gabriel Figueroa in 1945 during the filming of "La Perla" (Dir. Emilio "Indio" Fernandez)

Gabriel Figueroa in 1945 during the filming of “La Perla” (Dir. Emilio “Indio” Fernandez)

Los ojos de Maria Félix, forever immortalized by the lens of Gabriel Figueroa.

Los ojos de Maria Félix, forever immortalized by the lens of Gabriel Figueroa.

There are plenty of screens with montages of his works as well as still shots and other memorabilia.

There are plenty of screens with montages of his work, as well as still shots and other memorabilia.

Mexican beauties as observed by Gabriel Figueroa, who wa snot afraid of the extreme close up. Among his leading ladies are Maria Félix, Dolores del Rio and Columba Dominguez.

Mexican beauties as observed by Gabriel Figueroa, who was not afraid of the extreme close up. Among his leading ladies are Maria Félix, Dolores del Rio and Columba Dominguez.

Maria Félix and Columba Dominguez in a dramatic moment.

Maria Félix and Columba Dominguez in a dramatic moment.

"Dia de Flores" by Diego Rivera, apr of the exhibit and cited as one of the references in Gabriel Figueroa's cinematography.

“Dia de Flores” by Diego Rivera, part of the exhibit and cited as one of the references in Gabriel Figueroa’s cinematography.

Even if she wanted to look ordinary, Maria Félix was stunning on screen.

Even if she wanted to look ordinary, Maria Félix was stunning on screen.

The contrast, shadows and light are simply beautiful.

The contrast, shadows and light are simply beautiful.

Un paisaje con la "Mujer Dormida" al fondo.

Un paisaje con la “Mujer Dormida” al fondo.

Pedro Armendariz in all his glory.

Pedro Armendariz in all his glory.

Para mi, Roberto Cañedo is the most attractive man in Mexican Cinema. Here he romances Columba Dominguez.

Para mi, Roberto Cañedo is the most attractive man in Mexican Cinema. Here he romances Columba Dominguez.

Posters from Mexican movies, in different languages.

Posters from Mexican movies, in different languages.

Gabriel Figueroa checking his negatves in 1994. This photograph was taken by his son, Gabriel Figueroa Flores.

Gabriel Figueroa checking his negatives in 1994. This photograph was taken by his son, Gabriel Figueroa Flores.

EntradaGabrielFigueroa

Go see this exhibit on view at LACMA.

Go see this exhibit on view at LACMA.

Must See Documentary Discovery: Reportero

A documentary by Bernardo Ruiz.

A documentary by Bernardo Ruiz.

Here is a documentary that I found online through PBS and that has hit close to home.

“Reportero” follows the experience of Sergio Haro Cordero, a reporter in Tijuana, and the editorial team of the independent “Zeta” newspaper in recent years. It is an excellent film directed and produced by Bernardo Ruiz, and from now until September 20, 2013 you can watch it online at PBS for free with this link:

http://www.pbs.org/pov/reportero/full.php#.UhcH_q79XYs

Or you can go to the POV page from PBS and click on the selection: http://www.pbs.org/pov/

This is not a particularly “feel good movie” nor an easy story to watch, but it’s important to see it. 

Journalism is a tough profession, especially when your life is at risk for pursuing the truth and writing it.  As we know, Mexico does not have a good track record in protecting its journalists nor its citizens- far from it- and this documentary is an eye opener to all the things they are exposed to in this day and age. It has definitely made me aware of how valuable their work is, and I admire them even more.  

About 15 years ago, I had the pleasure of being a colleague of Mr. Sergio Haro Cordero at my local newspaper. I wasn’t even done with college, I wasn’t even pursuing a serious career in journalism (me tocaba la seccion de Sociales, for crying out loud!) but I was impressed by his work ethic, integrity, professionalism (exactly what you see in the film) and generosity in teaching a “rookie” the ropes.

One time, I tagged along for an interview with the state governor (Ernesto Ruffo) and Sergio let me ask a few questions (and even took a picture of me doing so, for my scrapbook.) I remember him working nonstop, always on the beat, always had a camera in hand. It’s so amazing to see that time has not changed him one bit (maybe for a few extra canas en el pelo) and even more inspiring is to see his wife and son supporting him even with all the risks they face (¡que valientes!)… I am in awe of his story and the film. Además, I’m proud to still have the photos he took of my muy breve, pero divertido paso por el periodismo de Baja California. Espero poderlo saludar un día de estos para darle las gracias pues son de mis fotos favoritas.

On another note, Jesus Blancornelas, the founding editor of Zeta and one of the main characters in the film, also has a personal connection to my family. Era vecino y amigo de mis abuelos y hasta sirvio de testigo en la boda civil de mis padres, en los 70’s. Small world. Mi abuela se emociona mucho cuando los recuerda a él y a su esposa, Beba.

So if you have an hour, if you have the interest, please watch. I only regret not having seen it in the movie theater when it came out, but grateful to PBS for airing it now. Bernardo Ruiz y compañia, soy tu fan. 

No se lo pierdan.

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.

Where to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in LA? Come on over.

Cinco de Mayo weekend (yes, this year it’s a whole fin de semana) is upon us and if you haven’t yet made any plans, here are a few options I’ve been running into on my daily morning websurf. They all sound like fun and gives us a chance to remember this Mexican holiday, that is not Independence Day but La Batalla de Puebla, when we beat the powerful francesitos.

Tacos & Beer 5K & Festival, Saturday May 4

Long Beach has a few options that stand out, for example the TACOS & BEER 5K & Festival which gives you a chance to run a 5k antes de que te eches tus ice cold chelas. Sounds like a plan, especially with this calorón we’ve been having.

Check for the details on the image below, from their facebook page: facebook/tacos&beer5k .

Look at the Finisher’s Medal. May I say, what a clever, clever idea of having it do double duty as a cerveza bottle  opener. That’s what I call multitasking!

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Good idea! 5K&Beer medal serves as a bottle opener too.

Good idea! 5K&Beer medal serves as a bottle opener too. Photo from facebook.com/5K&Beer.

MOLAA Cinco de Mayo Festival,  Satruday May 4 and Sunday May 5.

For those of us who aren’t running anywhere in this kind of weather, maybe the Museum of Latin American Art Cinco de Mayo Festival in Long Beach sounds like a much more relaxed, but still cerveza friendly outing with events all happening weekend long.

Check out their webpage for more details, but they have a Cinco de Mayo Beer Tasting event on Saturday May 4 from 7:00 pm on, where you can sample beers from L.A. based Golden Road Brewery and some others from artisanal beer producers from Baja California. (Got to support my peeps!)

On Sunday, starting at 11:00 am, the Cinco de Mayo festival gets under way with music performances, art, vendors and great food, like burgers from El Burger Luchador Food Truck (me gustó el nombre) and Zumba demo classes to burn it off.

You can check out the details on their website here.

Target Free Sundays@MOLAA celebrates Cinco de Mayo this Sunday.

Target Free Sundays@MOLAA celebrates Cinco de Mayo this Sunday.

Other options:

If you’re craving Mexican food, then take a look at Jonathan Gold’s list of Best Mexican Food restaurants in Los Angeles, from the LA Times website.

In my humble opinion, I concurr with one of them on the list: La Guelaguetza in K Town has the most amazing Oaxacan Mole in Los Angeles.

Click here for the complete list.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, Baby! Remember to stay safe and don’t drink and drive.

From the LA Times and Jonathan Gold: Top 14 Mexican Restaurants in Los Angeles. www.latimes.com

From the LA Times and Jonathan Gold: Top 14 Mexican Restaurants in Los Angeles. http://www.latimes.com