¡Chinelas con estos huercos!

We had Nintento.

Kids today have Vine.

We had VCRs.

They have bluetooth and DVD players.

We had cassette tapes and then CD players.

They have iPods and iPhones.

We had beepers.

They have iPads and tablets.

We had watches with cartoons and superheroes on the wristbands.

They have smartwatches with cameras and touch screens.

Today, Edgar saw me playing with Vine and said “hey, is that Vine?  One of my friends in class is on Vine.  She asked me if I had a Vine too.”

Sigh… they’re in elementary school.

I know.  That’s kind of hypocritical of me considering how much I employ social media and networking sites on a constant basis… and considering the fact that sometimes Edgar is in my pictures and videos too.  But come on!  Elementary school!

I tried to deny it, but he didn’t believe me.

Oh well, he’s still not getting an account.

¡Ya mero!  ¡Nomás lo que me faltaba!  

Latinos on the Rise Online: Under 30

I know I’m getting old because I used to think my ideas were fresh and hip, young, energetic, fun, creative… etc., etc., etc.  And lately I’ve been watching a new wave of young Latinos who seem to be doing all of the right things all of the time.  It’s enough to make another man jealous.  But for the moment we’re trying to leave that guy behind!  Instead, I’d like to celebrate this crop of young up-and-coming talentosos by sharing them with you and telling you what about them has truly won me over and converted me into one of their most ardent (not to mention oldest) supporters. 

Dulce Candy – YouTube Starlet/Entrepreneur 

Latinos on the Rise Online: Under 30

Sitting on top of a beauty and fashion empire, Dulce Candy

DulceCandy, as she is very popularly known online, is a powerhouse of a young Latina who went from serving in the US Armed Forces to becoming the It Girl on YouTube who everyone wants to be.  Her videos are mostly about fashion and beauty, and through her YouTube channel she has amassed a captive audience of over 1.2 million subscribers.  Yup, that’s a hell of a lot of people!  Enough of them to make major brands skip a heartbeat and bend over backwards to work with DulceCandy, on her terms.  And the young Latina is always planning on bigger and better things.  Don’t be surprised if you find a DulceCandy fashion line at a store near you muy pronto.  

Sergio Razta – Millennial Girl Crush & YouTube Star

Latinos on the Rise Online: Under 30

Playing the role of “paisa” on YouTube.

From the very first time I discovered Sergio Razta I was hooked.  He’s young.  He’s inventive.  And he’s hilarious.  Sure his style of humor is sometimes crude and raunchy (blunt even), but for the more than 6o5,000 YouTube subscribers he’s entertaining on a daily basis, it works!  A good chunk of that audience are young Latina Millennials who constantly propose marriage and other affairs of the heart to Razta.  Based in Chicago, as of late, the Mexican-American comedian and YouTube sensation has taken to holding mini comedy tours across the country for his followers.  They seem to be quite the hit too, judging by the social media impressions they have registered so far.  Sergio Razta is about laughing at himself and his cultural identity, and no topics seem to be off limits.  I especially like the videos where he tries to annoy his mother.  She’s a great sport!

LeJuan James – Self-Made Vine Entertainer 

Latinos on the Rise Online: Under 30

His Vine videos are hilarious!

If ever there was a self-made social media entertainer his name would definitely be LeJuan James.  This kid’s Vine posts are so entertaining and culturally relevant that I could literally watch them over and over again.  In merely six seconds, LeJuan has geniusly figured out how to package his cultural identity in a way that makes you laugh and nod your head because you just can’t deny that what he is saying or doing is so true.  LeJuan is a breath of fresh air.  His Vine account now has more than 110,000 followers and I am very proudly one of them.  He’s actually single-handedly inspired me to get back on Vine.  The sky is the limit for LeJuan James right now!

Maya in the Moment – Singer, Songwriter, Creative 

Latinos on the Rise Online: Under 30

With parents like hers she was destined for stardom.

I’ve been a big fan of Maya’s mom for a very long time (the undeniable powerhouse of a Latina craftepreneur Crafty Chica).  What I hadn’t fully realized until only recently was just how bright of a star her daughter Maya In The Moment is as well.  From playing her ukulele, to writing songs, to coming up with crazy hashtags about double chins, and sharing what it has been like to grow up in a household of artists, Maya has come into her own and found a growing social media audience to be her loyal followers.  Like her, they are young, they play and live mostly off the beaten path, and they care about a great many a human and social issues.  This is only the beginning for Maya.  I am very interested to see what things are coming next for this undeniable talent!

Arremedar: Flattery or Insult?

Arremedo: Flattery or Insult?

Jugando al arremedo.

Depending on your usage and the context of the situation, this Mexi-Vocabulario word could very well be either an insult or a compliment.  They do say por ahí that imitation is the best form of flattery.  Pero bueno, let’s speak sin pelos en la lengua today… sometimes regardless of how “innocently” a person may emulate you or your behavior, there’s no other way to classify their actions than as completely offensive.

It’s one thing to laugh with me.  It’s another thing completely to laugh at me.

Hacerme burla.  

Or put more simply, que me estes arremedando is highly rage-provoking.

The Urban Dictionary has no definition for this word readily available, and some debate has been made about whether the appropriate Spanish word is arremedar or only remedar.  Most sources recognize only the latter, but the Real Academia Española lists both in their directory of recognized Spanish-language words.  We grew up with arremedar and that’s why I prefer that version.

Still, today, when something very specific made me start thinking about words like plagiarism, copycat, imitation, I couldn’t help but circle around to the act of arremedo.  It kind of summed up what I was trying to say.

It doesn’t hurt that it was also a great new word for us to discuss together.

Thanks for the inspiration universo! 

How Mexican Comedian Eugenio Derbez delivered the Latino box office hit Hollywood couldn’t

There was nothing conventional about the way comedian Eugenio Derbez went about promoting his unexpected box office hit this weekend, Instructions Not Included.  Or No se aceptan devoluciones in the Mexican entertainer’s native Spanish, which coincidentally is also the primary language of the film.

Despite having been released in only 347 theaters nationwide, compared to 2,735 theaters for One Direction: This is Us, Instructions Not Included brought in almost four times more revenue than the One Direction film per theater.  That is to say the average box office take in for Instructions was $22,594 while the average for One Direction was $5,777 (through Sunday).  Although total revenue for One Direction ($18 million) did exceed the $10 million earned by Derbez’s directorial debut.

What I find interesting though is just how Derbez went about making this happen by leveraging his bicultural, bilingual and multigenerational appeal.  Rather than hitting the more obvious and much more glamorous Hollywood talk show circuit (in English), Derbez connected with his established fan base through shows like Despierta América and Don Francisco, reminding us over and over again in his signature humor why we should watch this film and support him.  The film itself was reportedly a passion project for Derbez 10 years in the making.  He not only acted in the lead role, he directed the film and shares writing credits for Instructions.  His wife is also in the film.

For Derbez there has been no talk about a crossover either.  He hasn’t made one.  He isn’t making one.  And he doesn’t need to.  That in it of itself speaks volumes of how different the entertainment landscape is for Latinos today as opposed to what it was like even just 10 years ago.  The words “Latin boom in entertainment” don’t even mean anything to me anymore.

At the theater we went to watch Instructions Not Included on Friday, entire families, from infants to los abuelos were laughing and enjoying the film together.  In a way it was like watching a little bit of ourselves because the cultural and language nuances were on point and appropriate, not cliche as is so often the case in other Latino films.  Derbez gets us and understands what it is to be bilingual and bicultural and it showed in the minutest details of his film, from the funny banter about nothing to the choice of Mexican slang and it’s placement in the script.

I can’t think of another artist who can genuinely and effortlessly entertain such a cross section of our culture and community so well.  The box office results mean something.

That we are hungry for entertainment that speaks to us, but above all else, that is genuine and honest to who we are as a community and as a people.

Here’s to more hits from Derbez and others like him who get us at the box office.  And Hollywood, ¡ya hombre! get with the program, no more limited releases for our films!

Musical Classics: Tu Cárcel

Tu Carcel by Lila Downs

Lila Downs

Few things tell us more about ourselves than the type of music we choose to listen to.  No sé porque, but I’ve always believed that.  There’s something about the intimacy between a good song, it’s lyrics and how they speak to us that is really special.  A good song - así una bien llegadora al corazón - can transcend time and take us back to a specific moment in our lives.  For me, it’s always been the rancheras and the  canciones bien mexicanas (you know like Tu Cárcel) that can send me into a frenzy of emotions from happy, hopeful, melancholic, to even bien chillón.  

I don’t know what it is about this particular song, but it always makes me choke up así con un ñudote bien grandote en la garganta.  It’s one of the few songs I can’t ever sing along to without shedding at least a couple of tears.  Se me vienen a la mente tantos recuerdos that describing them in any succinct form is almost impossible.  All I can say is that it speaks to me at the very core of how I grew up, how I was raised, and what I believe.  Por eso, regardless of how much I like current music or not, when I want to think or process anything complicated in my life chances are you’ll find me listening to this song over and over again… along with a few others.

My favorite lyrics from the song are these:

Te vas amor, si así lo quieres que le voy hacer

Tu vanidad no te deja entender
que en la pobreza se sabe querer

Quiero llorar y me destroza que pienses así
y más que ahora me quede sin ti
me duele lo que tu vas a sufrir

Pero recuerda nadie es perfecto y tu lo veras
más de mil cosas mejores tendras
pero cariño sincero jamás
Vete olvidando de esto que hoy dejas y que cambiaras
por la aventura que tu ya veras
será tu cárcel y nunca saldras

And my favorite version of the song is by Lila Downs.  In this video I found on YouTube she’s singing with Jesús Navarro from Reik.

Festival People en Español

This is part of a compensated campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Festival People En Español however, all opinions expressed are my own.

Festival People en Espanol 2013

Y’all knew this was coming, right?  So People en Español is hosting this pretty star-studded music festival in San Antonio this weekend… AND I’ve been asked to help promote the event by telling you about it and offering you a special 15 percent off discount code.  If you’re only interested in the discount and would normally just scroll through the post until you find the code, allow me to save you the trouble (hey, I’m always the first one in line to save a pretty penny… I understand).

The code is PSP15 and you can enter it now for your 15 percent savings at

If you’re still reading, the lineup includes (besides Gloria Estefan obviously) 3BallMTY, Alejandro Fernandez, Demi Lovato, Kat Dahlia, Lili Estefan, Maite Perroni, Wisin Y Yandel, Bobby Pulido, etc., etc., etc.  A lot of big names, I’m telling you.  They’ll all be performing at the Alamodome on August 31 and September 1.

During the day on Saturday, August 31 at 2 PM, you can also attend a special FREE panel hosted by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien on Latinos in Higher Education: Staying in School and Achieving Success at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.  I’m pretty sure you can attend only that event too if you want.

So there you have it.  If you’re interested, are in the area, or were planning to be in San Antonio this weekend anyway, you should definitely attend.  I myself don’t know if I’ll be able to make it.  This week is my jefito’s birthday and I want to spend some time with him here in Houston.  ¿A ver qué pasa? 

If you do make it, I’d love to hear how you like the show.

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