Rooting for Iñárritu, Leo and “The Revenant”

Oscar season is my favorite time to go to the movies. Oscar Sunday is my favorite TV viewing day of the entire year, donde me instalo en frente de la tele at noon for all the pre-shows and don’t move until the credits for the Oscars stop. I am, and always will be, an Oscars junkie.

For the second year in a row, I am extremely excited for Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu and the fact that he could win back to back Oscars for Best Movie and Best Director. I may need to recheck my Academy Awards facts, but that may be the first time ever. (Emanuel “Chivo” Lubezki could win 3 years in a row for cinematography- imagine that!)

So while many folks are upset about the #OscarsSoWhite for the acting categories, at least we can say that the Academy recognizes a los mexicanos detrás de las cámaras. There’s a whole lot of love there.

Last weekend AGI won the Director’s Guild of America award and he was especially sentimental during his speech. Se le salieron las lagrimas.

His speeches always pack a punch, like the beautiful and eloquent one he delivered at LACMA last November or when he was brave enough to speak his mind during his “Birdman” Best Movie winning acceptance speech at last year’s Oscar ceremony, dedicating his award to Mexicans in Mexico, and Mexicans in the US. He makes me so proud every time he speaks. He blows my mind every time I see one of his movies. And I’ve seen them ALL. Even his commercials are out of this world.

(When Amores Perros came out here in LA, the year 2000, I bought 15 tickets and took all my friends to go see it at an arthouse movie theater in Santa Monica, opening weekend. I had just seen it in Mexico, so I told everybody we absolutely had to see it. That it would change their lives….Nobody believed me but we all went. Afterwards, everyone had an intense reaction and they were quite speechless, and I remember my best friend Alex Munguía said as we were leaving the theater, “Oh my God! Cristina tuvo un crisis existencial y nos trajo a todos a compartirla.”)

So take a look at his DGA speech and feel the love as well. This is a genius filmmaker in his prime, a powerful and influential Mexican who doesn’t hesitate to defend us, to voice his opinion against the idiot (who shall remain nameless) running for president and speaking up every chance he gets.

Click on the link here and watch all the way to the end: “LEO, LEO… I LOVE YOU, Cabrón!” (Which is EXACTLY what I would say to Leonardo Di Caprio if I ever should run into him in person.)

It’s on youtube on the DGA page.

And root for him and the movie on Feb. 28th, and definitely, definitely root for Leo, because that man DESERVES an Oscar already. Please give Leo an Oscar!!! Ya estoy prendiendo veladoras.

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Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu wins the DGA Award for the the second year in a row, for “The Revenant”. Video link here

 

 

 

¡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.

3 songs for your Summer 2013 Soundtrack

Did someone all of a sudden decide to do a rewind with the disco/dance and electronic musical references for Summer 2013?

Of course I’m not complaining, since I love to dance to anything that makes me move, but these songs I’ve been hearing lately take me back in time.

Here are 3 songs that I’ve downloaded/purchased just now, all because I kept hearing them on the radio. So of course they had to be “Shazammed” to find out who the heck they were.

By the way, thanks KCRW and KISS FM, for playing them. Yes, subscriber supported radio and commercial radio happily coexist on my dashboard. (I support public radio and you should too.)

These songs, I predict, will become part of your Summer Playlist. No me crean, but I do happen to have fairly decent musical tastes… modestia aparte.

Daft Punk: Get Lucky

They’ve been interviewed on NPR, they just topped the Billboard charts this week. Here’s Daft Punk with their extremely disco-techno influenced “Get Lucky.”

Listen closely and I swear they say “We up all Mexican Lucky” somwhere intertwined in the chorus. This song is from their new album “Random Access Memories” which is topping the charts. (Love the album name too.)

Click on the image for the music from YouTube. Y luego me dicen si suena a Mexican o no.

Empire of the Sun: Alive

Otros que me ponen a bailar in the seat of my car son los de Empire of the Sun, with their extremely  catchy “Alive” song. I think this is a song that can put anybody in a happy mood, even if you’re stuck in traffic on the 405.

Hace cuánto que no van clubbing? Maybe this is what those Millennials are dancing to these days.

Thank you @JasonBentley for playing it on KCRW’s MBE, the first place I heard it on. My previous purchases of Empire of the Sun songs on my iPod are also there because of MBE.

Capital Cities: Safe and Sound

This song came on the radio and I had to whip out the Shazam on my phone to see who it was. I’d never heard of Capital Cities before so I was intrigued.

On the video, they kind of look like the coffee baristas at Intelligentsia, with a weird retro bearded look. The song is cool, though, so I didn’t mind paying the $1.29 on iTunes.

Here’s the vid for “Safe and Sound” (NOT to be confused with la Taylor Swift’s song for the Hunger Games.)

Remembering two late, great musical talents

César Portillo de la Luz was my favorite bolero composer I never knew about, until this Monday when I heard a report on Public Radio International’s (PRI) “The World.”

The Cuban musician passed away last week, at 90, but leaves behind beautiful work, including my favorite romantic ballad “Contigo en la Distancia,” among others, which I did not know he composed.

¿Se acuerdan cuando back in the 90’s Luis Miguel came out with his “Romances” CD? We all thought nobody could sing a romantic tune like he could. Pues little did I know that César Portillo de la Luz had a wonderful original recording of Contigo en la Distancia that totally mesmerizes just as you hear it. It was recorded back in the 1940’s; he plays the guitar and sings it beautifully. ¡Que Luismi ni que Luismi! No le llega ni a los talones.

Betto Arcos, who was the reporter of this radio piece/appreciation on The World, mentioned that Mr. Portillo de la Luz was part of a musical style from Cuba called “Feeling,” which was inspired by American jazz and composers like George and Ira Gershwin. Y sí que eran puro “feeling” en todo lo que hacían. All you hear is the passion behind the music and lyrics. 

Please take a listen to this fabulous radio piece, it won’t even take 5 minutes of your time and you’ll really enjoy it. The song Contigo a la Distancia is included. ¡Creo que ya me enamoré!

The link is here: http://www.theworld.org/2013/05/cesar-portillo-de-la-luz/

Listen to this radio piece on Cesar Portillo de la Luz on The World, originally aired May 13, 2013. Reporter is Betto Arcos.

Listen to this radio piece on Cesar Portillo de la Luz on The World, originally aired May 13, 2013. Reporter is Betto Arcos. Click on the link or on the image to go to the site.

Another musical talent that we probably won’t see the likes of anytime soon passed away 15 years ago today on May 14th, 1998.

His name was...Frank Sinatra.

Ol' Blue Eyes. A stamp honoring Mr Frank Sinatra.

Ol’ Blue Eyes. A stamp honoring Mr Frank Sinatra.

How can I describe what I feel when I hear “New York, New York” every single time it is played? Or “I Got You Under My Skin,” or “Fly Me to the Moon,” or you name it! Joy, bliss, happiness…that voice, that music. He was something else, an entertainer con todos los talents: he could sing, act, make you laugh, and make you cry.

Por eso decían por ahí, “It’s Frank’s world, we just live in it.”

The LA Times had a little note about him today, which I’ve added below. It was originally published in 1998.

Read until the very end, how his Grandmother saved his life on the day he was born. I guess the world was not meant to be deprived of his music and Frank Sinatra was meant to be.

Frank Sinatra

Born Francis Albert Sinatra on Dec. 12, 1915 inHoboken, NJ

Frank Sinatra was a talented and temperamental balladeer who dominated popular music longer than any entertainer before him and clung to his legendary life as tenaciously as he had stuck with the audiences he loved.

Sinatra’s masterful interpretation and flawless execution of some of America’s most beloved songs earned his reputation as the most influential popular singer of the 20th century. His accomplishments broadened to include film, with such roles as his Academy Award-winning performance in “From Here to Eternity.”

For more than three generations, his name was synonymous with talent and taste. In the late 1930s, his fragile frame and painfully shy expressions made swooning, shrieking fools of the normally normal teenage girls standing by the bandstands where he first earned his living at $75 a week. In the 1960s he gathered in millions as both partner and star in the clubs of Las Vegas.

Sinatra had good cause to be angry from the moment he entered the world Dec. 12, 1915. He was a 13-pound baby, and birth was difficult. He was to bear on his neck the rest of his life the scars of the doctor’s forceps.

The doctor concluded that the baby was lost and concentrated on saving the mother, Natalie “Dolly” Sinatra, a nurse and midwife. But the grandmother, Rosa Garavanti, picked up the newborn child and held him under a cold water tap until he began to choke and cry — and breathe.

— Burt A. Folkart in the Los Angeles Times May 16, 1998

An instagram pic by yours truly: Frank Sinatra painted on an aluminum rolling door int he middle of Hollywood Blvd. (Photo CBGRAPHY 2011)

An instagram pic by yours truly: Frank Sinatra painted on an aluminum rolling door on the Hollywood Blvd. walk of fame. (Photo CBGRAPHY 2011)

Hey J.Crew, como que estás muy “Oaxaca inspired”

It’s Friday, it’s full on Spring weather in LA, and my freshly minted copy of the J.Crew Style Guide arrived in the mail today. Aaaah! Time for some fantasy shopping and virtual wish lists. It’s like I want the entire catalog every month. 

Something caught my eye, however, about these Spring trends and colorful items featured in the catalog this month. Como que J.Crew se fue south of the border for some inspiration, y se fusilaron todas las modas, textiles y los patterns de las oaxaqueñas y las guatemaltecas. Hmmm, these look really familiar. 

Claro que están padrísimas y super cute. But if the median price range from their collection is $110-395 dollars, it makes me think we should probably all book a trip down there soon and  bring back some of these goods, whilst we support the (our) people and artists who created the original styles. We should consider doing that instead.  Se me hace que esto es mas “fair practice” and doing the better thing.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to see these Latino trends in mainstream fashion. There’s blouses, linen tunics, a “Mercado” poncho (for $395 bucks thank you very much) and chanclitas and huaraches galore to get us all excited. It’s not like we didn’t know all these things were fashionable, but it takes a powerhouse company like J.Crew to bring it to the general market in America and you can bet your bottom dollar they’re gonna use it for all it’s worth, sin pagar derechos de autor. 

I guess that’s why they call it capitalism, right? (Lo malo es que lo copian en China y se roban toda la creatividad de los nuestros… sigh.)

This brings up a conflict of interest for me. Pero no me hagan mucho caso. I love J.Crew and can’t really speak ill of them, except to say que me gustaria que le bajaran a los precios mas seguido.

By the way, Jenna Lyons is on the cover of Fast Company this month and there’s a great story of how the company works with a behind the scenes look at her office. 

Here’s a sneak peak at what they’re featuring this month.

The "Embroidered Gauze Top" retails for $110 dollars. Must be nice! (Photo from jcrew.com)

The “Embroidered Gauze Top” inspired by a vintage Mexican folk dress retails for $110 dollars. Must be nice! (Photo from jcrew.com)

I can't get over the "MERCADO" poncho. This baby sets you back $350 bucks. ¡No manchen! (screenshot from jcrew.com)

I can’t get over the “MERCADO” poncho. This baby sets you back $395 bucks. ¡No manchen! (screenshot from jcrew.com)

Here's another look at the Mercado Popover from jcrew.com ($395 bucks I tell you!)

Here’s another look at the Mercado Popover from jcrew.com ($395 bucks I tell you!)

A short sleeve sweater with patterns and embroidery reminiscent of the Mayas. "Collection short sleeve beaded sweater" retails for $188 at jcrew.com.

A short sleeve sweater with patterns and embroidery reminiscent of the Mayas. “Collection short sleeve beaded sweater” retails for $188 at jcrew.com.

Jenna Lyons on the cover of Fast Company this month (a good read!) and the May 2013 Style Guide from J. Crew. (photo from iPad)

Jenna Lyons on the cover of Fast Company this month (a good read!) and the May 2013 Style Guide from J. Crew. (photo from iPad)

For the photogallery Inside Jenna Lyons office, click here.

Cooking with Chef Marcus Samuelsson at Macy’s

Meeting a great Top Chef Master in person and having him cook for you gratis is not something that happens every day.

So you can imagine that when Chef Marcus Samuelsson came to town for a cooking demo, a very numerous and enthusiastic crowd showed up to enjoy it. This happened thanks to Macy’s Culinary Council and Macy’s South Coast Plaza, where the event was held last Monday February 25th.

Marcus Samuelsson backstage at Macy's Signature Kitchen, South Coast Plaza. Feb. 25, 2013

Marcus Samuelsson, backstage at Macy’s Signature Kitchen.

As it turns out, Mr. Samuelsson couldn’t be more charming, more knowledgeable and more talented. It’s a real treat to watch him in action, the passion for cooking is evident just by the way he speaks and works. You may know him from Top Chef, from the cookbooks, or from his restaurant, Red Rooster in Harlem. Michelle Obama recently said it is one of her favorite restaurants, so that’s a great endorsement! (You can read more about him in this New York Times article.)

There were about 200 people attending the event, where he prepared three signature dishes he shared with everyone. Since it’s still February, he mentioned he thought of the menu in honor of Black History Month. There was the Dirty Rice and Shrimp; the Coconut Fried Chicken with Collards and Gravy; and the Catfish and Grits with Salsa Verde. Everything was amazing, he puts his diverse background and love for spices to work and comes up with sabores bien especiales. He even used a bit of habanero chiles in one of the recipes. ¡Orale, OC peeps! Pa’ que suden mucho y sepan lo que es bueno pues! 

Catfish and grits, with a kick! Prepared by Marcus Samuelsson. (Recipe below)

Catfish and grits, with a kick! Prepared by Chef Marcus Samuelsson. (Recipe below)

There was a Q&A session at the end, where one fellow foodie mexicana asked Marcus if he had a favorite Mexican dish. He responded that he loved braised scallops with a hint of lime, very simple, but just perfect, which he enjoys when he visits Ixtapa, Mexico. And then he added, “Mexican food is perfect, unlike what they do to it in this country, which is to keep messing it up.” ¿Que tal? 

It was so nice to meet you, Chef Marcus Samuelsson. Thank you for the recipes and for being so kind and gracious with everybody. We’re all going to have to book a trip to Harlem to come to Red Rooster soon. It’s definitely on my list for the next visit to New York. 

Show and tell, working at the demo kitchen at Macy's.

Show and tell, working at the demo kitchen at Macy’s.

The crowd could see him in action, and watch the monitors for each dish as he prepared them.

The crowd could see him in action, and watch the monitors for each dish as he prepared them.

A passion for cooking, era pura sonrisa al momento de cocinar.

A passion for cooking, era pura sonrisa al momento de cocinar.

Interacting with the audience during the Q&A.

Interacting with the audience during the Q&A.

A very relaxed chef, after the demo.

A very relaxed chef, after the demo.

Everyone was so happy to meet and greet.

Everyone was so happy to meet and greet.

Part of the amazing Special Events team at Macy's that helps put this together: Stephanie, Vanessa, Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Lilly and Marla.

Part of the amazing Special Events team at Macy’s that helps put this together: Stephanie, Vanessa, Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Lilly and Marla.

Catfish and Grits (recipe compliments of Chef Marcus Samuelsson)

Ingredients: 2 tablespoons paprika; 2 tablespoon oregano; 2 tablespoons berbere; 2 tablespoons dried harissa; 1 tablespoon ras-al-hanout; 1 tablespoon tandoori sauce; half teaspoon salt; half teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper; 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar; 4 (6 ounce) catfish fillets; 3 lemons cut into wedges; 2 tablespoons butter; 2 tablespoons olive oil. To garnish: caperberries, arugula, diced chorizo.

To make: Combine the paprika, oregano, bernere, dried harissa, ras-al-hanout, tandoori spice, salt, pepper, red pepper and dark brown sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of fish with the paprika mixture. Heat oil in a large pan over high heat. Add fish, cook three minutes on each side. Squeeze lemons onto dish and add them to the pan. Finish with butter.

Grits: 1 cup cream; 1 cup milk; 1 cup Anson Mills grits; salt to taste; 4 ounces grated Parmesan.

Combine cream, milk, grits and salt into pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir in Parmesan gradually, until completely integrated.

Salsa Verde: 3 tablespoons olive oil; 2 garlic cloves; 2 jalapeños; 2 poblano chile peppers;  2 tomatillos; 1 teaspoon capers; 1 avocado; 2 teaspoons mint, chopped; 2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped; 2 teaspoons parsley, chopped; juice from 2 limes; 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar.

To make: In a pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic, jalapeños and poblanos and sauté until golden, then add the tomatillo and sauté for another 5 minutes. In a bowl, add the capers and avocado and mash together with a fork. Add the sautéed contents of the pan and the avocado mixture to a blender along with the mint, cilantro, parsley, lime juice and red wine vinegar and blend.

To serve: Divide grits between four plates and top with catfish. Spoon salsa verde over top. Garnish with caperberries, arugula and chorizo.

Yields 4 servings.

Frivolous Friday post: How I love thee, Kate Spade

TGIF and Happy Friday everybody.

Can you believe it’s almost Easter? Ya falta bien poquito.

I remember when I was a kid, we used to get new dresses for Easter Sunday and we used to love it. I thought about recreating that for this year, pues traigo ganas de estrenar vestido.

So the first place I thought of  for a dress was my favorite designer, la Kate Spade. It is pretty incredible that everything she has in store is everything I would want in my closet. But you need to win the mega jackpot for that to happen.

Pero pues como soñar no cuesta nada, I was browsing through the Kate Spade website and found lovely things (although carísimas!) and came across a great ebook  made for her blog called “things we love,” and I fell in love with it.

You can see a link to the book here.

One of the pages of the "Things we Love" book on the blog from Katespade.com

I really like this brand, have always loved her clean designs and girly-cutesy-preppy-fresa style, but lately their branding and marketing has been so original and fresh that I take my hat off to the team behind it. It’s pure feminine inspiration. They make a jeans and t-shirt girl want to dress up, so that is a miracle.

A  few months ago I took this picture at one of their stores and I thought, my God, does Kate know me or what?

I think Kate me conoce bien, me describió a la perfección, especialmente the part about losing the umbrella and calling my grandmother. This big board decorated the cashier at Kate Spade's store.

Of course, I had this beautiful Kate Spade iPhone case last year, which was my absolute favorite thing ever, but I broke it TWICE and have not been able to use it since. They don’t make it anymore, she has new designs, but I managed to get the iPad Case on sale, so I guess I can’t complain.

You can imagine tears were shed over this one: my broken newspaper print case is now unusable. The classified NY messages circled with red lipstick are Brooklyn Book Club and Piano Lessons in NYC.