Guest Post: Espinoza Paz, un hombre sencillamente “talentoso”

I have something really special and super chévere for you today. At a recent event I met la bella Teresa Garza of Checa La Movie and we got to chatting. Weeks before I had seen on Facebook that she met Espinoza Paz at an event promoting the movie “Girl in Progress” – and so I told her I’m a big fan of Espinoza and asked her about her experience, how he is in person, etc.

It turns out that Teresa had some video of her face-to-face chat with him that she hadn’t uploaded and she agreed to share her thoughts on meeting Espinoza along with the video right here on Latinaish as a guest post!

So bienvenida y gracias Teresa!

Espinoza Paz, un hombre sencillamente “talentoso”

by Teresa Garza of Checa La Movie

Espinoza Paz y Teresa Garza

Espinoza Paz, “El Cantante del Pueblo”, es de las artistas más sencillos que conozco. Roba el corazón con su sonrisa sincera y se expresa con naturalidad utilizando palabras francas y directas. “Me pasa de todo en la vida”, – dijo el popular cantante, ” pero son más las cosas lindas gracias a Dios”.

Durante el día de prensa de “Girl in Progress” tuvimos la oportunidad de conversar con él y ¡que plática tan amena!. Espinoza Paz nació el 29 de octubre de 1981 en La Angostura, Sinaloa. Emigró a los Estados Unidos y su llegada a este país fue decisiva en su camino al éxito.

Una serie de eventos inesperados, pero casi mágicos, fueron uniendo los puntos para trazar una ruta que cambio para bien la vida de Isidro Chávez, ahora conocido como Espinoza Paz.

Primero se convirtió en uno de los compositores más importantes de la música mexicana y posteriormente decidió interpretar sus propias canciones, logrando en poco tiempo convertirse en uno de los consentidos del público. Trabajando arduamente por consolidarse en su carrera se encontró por casualidad con la directora de cine Patricia Riggen, cuando ella estaba en el proceso de elegir al elenco de la película “Girl in Progress”.

“Hubo una fiesta de amigos …Patty y yo tenemos amigos en común y ahí la conocí”, dijo Paz, “mis amigos me dijeron le caíste muy bien y quiere que salgas en una película”.

Paz confiesa que inicialmente pensó que era una broma de sus amigos sobre todo que en ese momento de su carrera no era tan popular como en la actualidad. La cuestión es que aclarado el asunto Patricia Riggen y Espinoza Paz se reunieron para hablar sobre la posibilidad de tener una breve intervención en la cinta cantando. La química fue tal que Paz terminó no solamente por cantar en “Girl in Progress” sino por filmar escenas adicionales que la directora agregó para darle una mayor proyección. “Obviamente ella acomodo las cosas”, dijo Paz quien asegura que Patricia tuvo la visión de presagiar un futuro victorioso. “Creo en Dios.. Dios es el destino”.

En cuánto a dedicarse a la actuación, definitivamente no descarta la posibilidad. Pero siempre que estos proyectos no lo obliguen a abandonar su verdadera pasión que es la música y la composición.

De hecho existe la posibilidad de que la vida de Espinoza Paz pudiera llevarse a la pantalla grande. Ya se han reunido en varias ocasiones la directora Riggen y Espinoza Paz, así que no debiera sorprendernos que de repente lo veamos protagonizando una película, que de acuerdo a sus declaraciones podría estar basada en su propia vida.

Comparto con ustedes un video que tome el día de la entrevista, no lo había subido a Youtube porque les confieso que lo grabe en el Ipad y era la primera vez que lo utilizaba. Pero las imágenes en este caso, no son tan importantes como escuchar el mensaje de Paz que nos confesó cual es su fuente de inspiración, nos contó cuál es su película favorita y hasta nos dio un adelanto de su disco de Mariachi que esta por salir. Tienen que escucharlo cantar.

Did you enjoy this post? Check out the latest movies including behind-the-scenes and interviews with celebrities on Teresa Garza’s blog, Checa La Movie.

Salvadoran salsa dancers come to Q’Viva!

I was contacted many times with the opportunity to interview any of the contestants of Jennifer Lopez’s and Marc Anthony’s new show, Q’Viva The Chosen. I responded that if they had any contestants who were Salvadoran, I’d be interested.

Well, I got my wish! Junior and Emily are half-Salvadoran salsa dancing siblings from California. Check out my exclusive interview with Junior below!

Latinaish: I saw your auditions with Marc Anthony in Q’Viva and it’s very clear that you guys are professional dancers and that you love to dance. At what age did you start learning to dance?


(See Junior and Emily at minute 2:25)

Junior: We love what we do! We have been dancing salsa for 12 years together. Emily started when she was 10 years old and I started when I was 14 years old. It’s an incredible feeling to do what you love and to do with your sister. To be able to travel and share amazing and unforgettable moments with family.

Latinaish: You guys dance salsa but do you like other types of dance as well?

Junior: We love all types of music and dance. Our specialty is salsa but we also do other types of social dances.

Latinaish: What are your favorite songs to dance to right now?

Junior: We love to dance to everything! As of right now we have been very into doing music by Rodrigo y Gabriela. 


Latinaish: You guys are siblings and you have a lot of chemistry when you dance together, but siblings have a tendency to argue and annoy each other. What does your brother/sister do that annoys you more than anything?

Junior: We have learned to work together. We have learned to separate the personal and the professional. We have been dancing for 12 years together so like everything else, it’s a learning process. The thing that we try and focus on most is pushing each other past our comfort zone and constantly pushing limits. We always have to keep each other positive and motivated when things get really tough because for us it’s a never-ending process to create new limits and continue to innovate.

Latinaish: Your biography says that you’re from San Francisco, California – but I also heard you’re Salvadoran. My husband is from Soyapango, so I’m curious – who in your family is from El Salvador? Your father? Mother? (From what part?)

Junior: That’s exciting to hear that your husband is Salvadorean as well! We were both born and raised in San Francisco, California, but we currently live in Los Angeles, California. We are both half Salvadorean and half Korean. Our father is from Santa Ana, El Salvador and our mother is from Seoul, Korea.

Latinaish: Have you visited El Salvador?

Junior: We have been invited to perform in El Salvador before, but unfortunately we have never been able to go because of schedule conflicts. We would definitely love to visit someday!

Latinaish: In the Q’Viva competition, you guys represent the United States, but do you also feel like you represent El Salvador?

Junior: Yes, we were representing the USA, but we definitely felt that we represented El Salvador as well. Our parents divorced when we were really young and we were raised by our father. We were brought up knowing only our Salvadorean side of the family. It was such an honor to represent both countries.

Latinaish: What else can you tell us about your part on the show Q’Viva?

Junior: Q’Viva was an amazing and unforgettable experience for us. It was so incredible to see such amazing talent from all over the world and for us to be a part of that was an honor. We definitely were extremely excited and nervous at the same time performing for Marc, Jennifer, and Jamie. It will be a moment that we will never forget!

Why Salma Hayek’s accent is sexy but the gringo accent isn’t

Antonio & Salma are well-loved for their accents. Mayor Bloomberg? Not so much.

The other day I talked about my accent and whether I should embrace it or continue to attempt to erase it. For the sake of brevity, (which I don’t think I quite succeeded at anyway), I edited the post before publishing and took out some other points I wanted to make.

One of the rabbits I didn’t chase down the path the other day, but will today, is the fact that the gringo/a accent in Spanish is often perceived as one of two things:

1. Ugly, (i.e. “That gringo’s accent is horrible. He’s butchering our language!“)

-or-

2. Amusing, funny, hilarious

Latinos born and raised in the United States who have difficulty speaking Spanish are often made fun of or criticized even more heavily than Caucasian gringos who try to learn the language. Jennifer Lopez, Cristina Aguilera, Erik Estrada and many other celebrities have taken plenty of flack in the past.

Yet native Spanish speakers with heavy accents in English are often considered “sexy.”

Examples?

Salma Hayek

Antonio Banderas

Sofia Vergara

And so the question occurred to me – why the double standard? It seems rather unfair, (and yet, even I admit that I would rather hear a native Spanish speaker speak English with an accent than a native English speaker speak Spanish with an accent.)

I decided to ask an acquaintance I made this past year, François Grosjean, a Professor of psycholinguistics and author of several books including, Bilingual: Life and Reality. I don’t know him in person but I discovered him via the fascinating articles he writes on Psychology Today and once E-mailed him questions I had regarding the phenomenon some bilinguals experience which feels somewhat like having a split personality. He happened to be working on an article on that very topic and asked permission to quote me. (The article: Change of Language, Change of Personality? is here. I’m quoted as “Bilingual 1.”)

And so, when I had this new question on my mind, I didn’t hesitate to contact Dr. Grosjean again. I asked:


…Why is it that when White/Anglo/”Gringos” speak Spanish with an accent, it is usually considered “ugly” sounding or “funny” – Yet it seems when native Spanish speakers speak English with an accent, it can be considered “sexy”…

I’m sure this can be said about other languages as well. If you asked Americans if they preferred to hear a native French speaker speak English with an accent or a native German speaker speak English with an accent, I believe the majority would choose the French speaker. The French accent in English is considered sexy or pretty, but the German accent is considered ugly and harsh.

Are these learned cultural preferences or are there scientific linguistic differences that simply make one scenario more pleasing to the ears than the other?

Dr. Grosjean gave me permission to share excerpts of his E-mail. He answered, in part:

“As for the other question: “are there scientific linguistic differences that simply make one scenario more pleasing to the ears than the other?” – I don’t have an answer. You’d expect that researchers would have examined this but I personally don’t know of a study. Everything you say is correct but how much is due to the way the dominant language sounds and how much to cultural preferences is simply not known.”

So there you have it – it’s still a mystery!

While I had Dr. Grosjean’s ear though, I also asked him what he thought of my dilemma regarding my accent. Should I erase it or embrace it? His opinion?

“I think the best thing is to accept it as it is. Your loved ones like you the way you are, with an accent, and that is what really matters. As for the others, hopefully, with time, they’ll put more emphasis on how well you speak Spanish and not on the accent that you have. In any case, the more you do speak Spanish, the more your accent will improve; so it’s a win win situation all the way, I think.”

Thanks to Dr. Grosjean for allowing me to quote him and for being so kind in answering my various linguistic questions. Check out his most recent Psychology Today post – it should hit home to many of you, (as it did for me!)

Falling in Love With a Culture and a Language.

(Image sources: Live at J&R and Eva Rinaldi.)

An Interview with RPM Miami star, Adrian Bellani

Adrian Bellani - (Image source: IMDb)

Below is my interview with actor Adrian Bellani, the super caliente half-Salvadoran star of Mun2’s hit show, RPM Miami! Disfrútenla!

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Latinaish.com: Hola Adrian! Thanks for agreeing to this interview. I’ve been wanting to talk to you since I missed meeting you at the RPM Miami launch party and again at the Latin Billboard Awards. (Although we’ve connected a few times on Twitter since then!)

As a fan of RPM Miami, first let me say felicidades on the success of your first season. Can you share any secrets about the season finale?

Adrian Bellani: I can’t share much, but what I can tell you is that it is filled with tons of drama and action. You don’t want to miss it!

Latinaish.com: Now, your character Alejandro/Alex is a veteran of the Iraq war who loses his best friend, Mike, on a mission. When Alejandro comes back to Miami he falls for his best friend’s girl, Luisa, Mike’s widow. I saw a comment online from a former soldier who objected to such a relationship saying that a soldier would never do that to a fellow soldier. What do you think?

Adrian Bellani: I respect his opinion, but I don’t think anyone is right or wrong unless they have been put in that position. It’s easy to say “No, I’d never do that to my boy,” but at the end of the day things change. There is that connection Luisa and Alex have, everything seems comfortable, everything seems nice. It was one of the issues that I spoke with the director, (Jacobo Rispa) about. I didn’t want it to seem like he had forgotten about his best friend and was moving in on his girl. I think we did a good job showing Alex’s conflict towards his feelings for Luisa, and the guilt he carried with Mike’s loss.

Alejandro/Alex and Luisa, heating things up on RPM Miami.

Latinaish.com: One thing I love about RPM Miami is that it’s fully bilingual. What has it been like working on a show where you get to choose whether to say your lines in English or Spanish? Is it freeing or do you get tongue tied?

Adrian Bellani: Totally freeing. It’s the way we speak. If you grew up speaking both languages, you understand the concept and the idea. I had never worked and spoken Spanish on screen. It was lovely being able to speak in my accent and first language. I don’t have many Latino friends in L.A., so I find myself speaking mostly English. It was nice to be surrounded by Hispanics.

Latinaish.com: As I mentioned earlier, I missed meeting you in Miami. Knowing you’re half-Salvadoran, I asked some of your co-stars where the “guanaco” was – (My husband is from El Salvador.) … I think your co-stars thought I was asking for “El Guajo” at first. Here’s the video of our mix-up:

Now I can finally ask you the question, “Which Caliche (Salvadoran slang) word is your favorite?”

Adrian Bellani: I’ve actually never heard the word “Caliche” before – So that’s a first for me. You got me on this one. Too hard to name just one. I could throw an entire list out. The first one that comes to mind is “baboso” – my grandfather used to call us “baboso.” I’ll let you do your homework and see if you can find out what that means.

Latinaish.com: [No homework for me! I already know that “baboso” means “stupid” – but it can be used affectionately in a joking way.]

Thanks so much for your time. Before we go, please tell us when we should tune in for season 2 of RPM Miami and what other projects you’re working on?

Adrian Bellani: The premiere of season 2 RPM Miami has not been announced. We’re so excited for the second season! For those that missed episodes in season one you will get a chance to watch the entire season again before the second season premieres.

I have a few projects that I’m excited about. I’m on the 4th episode of Rizzoli and Isles – airs August 1st, I believe. September 23rd Moneyball will hit theaters, (I play the role of real life baseball all star Carlos Peña.)

Last week I wrapped an independent film called CROSSTOWN. It’s a beautiful script about the struggles of a Salvadoran immigrant family trying to make it in the USA. The film is very intense and very raw. I had the opportunity to work along side Manny Perez, (a Dominican actor), who I’m a huge fan of. Definitely keep an eye out for it.

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Watch Adrian Bellani on RPM MIAMI – Sundays at 10pm EST on mun2, and tune in for the grand season finale on Sunday, July 24th at 10pm EST. Missed an episode? Visit mun2 online to catch up!

Being Social@Telemundo

As you know, I recently went down to Miami at the invitation of Telemundo. What you probably don’t know is that it wasn’t just to attend the Latin Billboard Awards or tour their studios.

Myself and nine other blogueros, were fortunate enough to participate in Telemundo’s very first Digital Influencers Summit. Telemundo’s new digital initiative is called Social@Telemundo.

From the Press Release:

Social@Telemundo will focus on delivering its fans across Facebook & Twitter interactive experiences tied to TV programming. With dedicated Social Media resources tied to each of Telemundo’s shows and novelas the Social@Telemundo aims to take the entire TV viewing process to a more engaging level. Building of the success of its Interactive Broadband Series “Telemundo Live” and Mobile social initiatives Telemundo plans to expand its focus on sharing more access to its Studios, Shows and Talent in Spanish and English.

Borja Perez, Vice President of Digital Media and Integrated Solutions

I wrote about this experience from a more business-minded perspective on LatinaBloggersConnect.com – but here I’ll share some of the more personal chisme.

As you might expect, the room where the meeting was held contained a long conference table surrounded by chairs and a screen on the opposite wall to give presentations. Large framed posters of Telemundo shows hung on the other walls. I knew that I wouldn’t be meeting the cast of my favorite telenovela, Los Herederos del Monte, since the show is filmed in Colombia, but I wanted my photo taken with the next best thing.

(For the record, I didn’t intentionally style my hair like Paula’s. It was a happy accident… Do you think Juan del Monte might mistake me for her? …Okay, maybe not.)

During the meeting, one of the executives asked which one of us was the novelera – I raised my hand and they asked what attracted me to Los Herederos del Monte. Now, to answer this professionally or honestly? I went with honesty, responding, “Okay, at first it was because the guys are hot…” But I did explain that I later came to appreciate the complexity of the storyline and the quality of filming.

Admitting that I began watching Herederos for the eye candy made it a little hypocritical of me to ask the question I asked later – which was if Telemundo was actively trying to step away from portraying women as sex objects in their programming. (Spanish language TV in general has a reputation for this and I know it’s something that bothers a lot of Latinas.)

The President, Don Browne, welcomed the question and answered that yes, they are producing programs that portray both real and fictional women as strong, intelligent and independent. (Examples – Kate del Castillo in Reina del Sur, Dra. Ana María Polo on Caso Cerrado, Jenni Rivera, and Maria Celeste of Rojo Vivo.) They really want to break a lot of the stereotypes about Spanish language television and consciously work social issues that affect, not just women, but other segments of the viewing audience, into their programming.

We got a lot of great insight into just what Telemundo, and mun2, are about from various executives who attended the meeting, and just as importantly, we had the opportunity to give them feedback, advice and ideas. Mutual respect flowed between Telemundo and the bloggers and the atmosphere was fun yet intellectually stimulating. Telemundo has a rare chemistry, passion, creativity and positivity there which has to be experienced to really be understood. I definitely felt like I was with mi gente. (Did you know that some of the Telemundo staff, including the President himself, are “Latinos de corazón” like me?)

For lunch, we were joined by Telemundo talent; Gaby Espino, Jorge Bernal, Vanessa Hauc, Enrique Acevedo, Karim Mendiburu, Sammy Sadovik, and Jessi Losada.

Left to right: Vanessa Hauc, Gaby Espino, Jorge Bernal, Karim Mendiburu, Sammy Sadovnik

We all introduced ourselves and explained a little about our background. This conversation centered around the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. They had a few questions (such as “What is a good tweet?”) for the bloggers, and they shared with us how they use the websites to connect to fans, etc.

All of them were really down-to-earth. While we chatted in real life, we were also tweeting each other – and those tweets were being projected onto the wall for everyone in the room to see, which was a fun idea.

As you can see, I thought Jorge Bernal was especially funny. After lunch he gave me a big kiss on the cheek and said, “Adios, gringa!”

Me and Jorge Bernal of Al Rojo Vivo

Me and Karim Mendiburu, of Titulares y Más and Ritmo Deportivo

Disclosure: I was invited to the Digital Influencers Summit at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.

Guanaco actor stars in new mun2 show

Before I visited Miami and spent time with Telemundo, I had heard of the new show on mun2 called RPM Miami. I knew it had something to do with racing cars, and since that didn’t really interest me, I didn’t look into it any further.

During my time with Telemundo I learned that one of the stars of the show, actor Adrian Bellani, is half Salvadoran. Born in Miami and raised in San Salvador, Bellani plays the character Alejandro who is a soldier returning home from a tour in Iraq. He discovers that his father is missing and while trying to find out what happened to him, gets mixed up in the world of Miami street racing.

Two other things that I liked – First, the characters on the show are all bilingual and the show is a mix of both Spanish and English. And second, RPM Miami is shot on location in Miami.

I had the opportunity to meet some of the stars and of course, my question was, “Which one of you is the guanaco?” … Well, they totally misunderstood me. They thought I was saying “El Guajo” – (which is the name of the antagonist on RPM Miami.) Too funny…Chécalo!

RPM Miami premieres Sunday May 1 @ 10p/9C on mun2.

Disclosure: I went to Miami at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.