Category Archives: style

¡Que vivan las panzas!

Most people have at least heard of The Vagina Monologues, even if they haven’t seen it. The Vagina Monologues was a one-woman show which told stories about the vagina – with the intention of celebrating the vagina and empowering women.

Now we celebrate the panza with The Panza Monologues. (“Panza” is Spanish for “belly”.) Written by Virginia Grise and Irma Mayorga, performed by Ms. Grise, these stories told in Spanglish, are not only diverse and at times hilarious – they are emotionally stirring and empowering.

It’s probably amazing to see Vicki (Virginia), perform live, but I was at least lucky enough to watch her powerful performance on The Panza Monologues DVD. I loved it so much that I wanted to share one of my favorite parts with you. Vicki gave me permission to post the written scene. If you love it as much as I did, please, check her out, buy her DVD, and if you’re able, go see her live.

Links:
Panza Power blog
About the show: The Panza Monologues
Buy the DVD

___

FROM CHA-CHA TO PANZA

[Lights rise.]

(seductively) I wasn’t always big. I use to be cha-cha thin, tall and skinny like my gringo daddy. I would wear tacones – black with straps that reached across my ankles, boots that stopped short of my knees, diamonds across my feet. Tacones – upper leather, suede, alligator, snake, all leather and in different colors- brown, red, cork, biege, gold, green, black, blue even. Tacones that matched the dresses I wore, dresses that always fit my body, showed shape, whether they were long with slit on the side, in the front, in the back / separating my piernas, or short, showing my thighs. Me and my tacones.

[Vicki stands, pulls the tacones [high heeled shoes]
out of the shopping bag.
Holds them up for the audience to admire.]

And they weren’t puta shoes / girl, they were classy. Tacones made me feel taller. Somehow tacones made me feel stronger, more sure of myself. Not submissive or anti-feminist but like the virgen in a Yolanda Lopez painting, karate kicking out of her blue veil with gold stars, stepping on the head of an angel with her tacones. Pues yo tambien. I throw punches for my raza and I can do it with my tacones on too just like the old school cholas use to do.

[Vicki places one foot on the stool
and begins to put her tacones on.]

And the men, the men were scared of me when I walked into the cantina made up / hair swept, red lipstick and tacones. You see, men like fuckin but they don’t like bein fucked and when I walked in I wuz the one doin the choosin. I didn’t sit back in dark corners waitin for someone to ask me to dance. I asked you. Locked eyes and said “You will dance this polka with me,” sometimes without even sayin nuthin.

Other times I’d say, “Fuck all of ya’ll” and take the dance floor at Daddy’Os all by myself

[Music erupts into full blown conjunto.
Vicki dances across the stage, swirls, turns.
Music lowers, Vicki remains standing.]

They all watched / old school vatos, young cholos, graduate students trying to remember their hometown barrios in a bar east of the freeway, forgetting in between too many beers. Hell even the cholas were lookin. Some worried I’d take away their man. Others, shit others just wanted to dance wid me. Be free. Be free like me.

They say a bar is a man’s space but I owned that motha fucker. I walked in with my own go-go juice in blue bottle cuz my dad once told me, “Beer makes you fat Virginia,” so I drank vodka on the rocks, learned how to play pool “Call your shots. I’m not fuckin around.” And I learned more about community politics/who owns who, who runs what than I could of ever learned workin at a cultural center.

I claimed power through my pussy, and I didn’t even have to let any one in. I just had to let em all know I knew I had one and that I controlled my own cho-cho. Ya, I owned that motha / fuckin bar / ‘till the city tore it down after li’l Danny got cut.

[Vicki sits.]

I use to be cha-cha thin. Proud of my calves, well-defined. Calves that did not look like my mother’s calves. My mom’s calves were more like tree trunks. Her whole body was like one huge bloque. My mother gave us everything, everything but I never remember her having anything. Instead of tacones, she wore chanclas. She use to threaten us with her chancla and it didn’t matter if she were big and old, she could still bend over, take off her chancla, grab us by the arm, and meternos un chingaso, real quick like/good ol’ fashion chancla discipline. My mother use to say that my father wanted boys. We were three girls. My mother never said what it was she wanted. That was her way I guess. I’m not sure if my mom ever loved my dad but I grew up thinkin that women that fell in love were weak.

I never thought my mom was pretty, even when she was younger and I never wanted to look like her but slowly the image of my mother crept into my own body. Slowly after too many two o’clock after closin time tacos, candy bars and coke for breakfast. They startin callin me dis—short for gordis—instead of la vicki. Cha-cha became panza and not little panzita even. The whole body grew and you know, it’s not easy balancin this much woman on an ity, bitty heel. I no longer walked real straight and tall. Hell, I looked more like a weeble, wobble. All my weight on a heel as wide as my pointing finger with my foot arched in the middle. I feel the weight of my panza all the way in the ball of my foot. When your panza gets bigger so do your feet and those thin sexy straps that use to hold your feet well they aint that sexy no more. You’ve got these little lonjitas hangin off the side of your shoe and it causes your feet to swell. It’s like they’re chokin, pulsatin, gaspin for air as they struggle to balance all of you on a tacon. And to tell you the truth, I don’t really feel so strong, so sure of myself anymore. Shit I’m scared I’ll fall when I’m dancin and the people that are lookin at me now are starin because they’re scared if I go too low I might not be able to get back up. They’re worried I’ll hurt someone out there.

There’s somethin classy about cha-cha/medias and tacones but when cha-cha becomes panza and you think you can still pull the same shit you could when you were 21, you just look kinda silly. You loose your tacon super powers and your magic slippers really are just puta shoes. Your dress clings tightly to lonjas and you can’t lock eyes with anyone anymore and talk to them without speaking cuz now they only look at your huge chi-chis and well chi-chis just aren’t as powerful as cho-cho. I don’t know why. Who makes these rules?

[Seductive music rises. Lights dim.]

[During the transition, Vicki sits on the edge of the altar, takes off her tacones and replaces them in the shopping bag on the altar. Vicki remains seated.]

© 2004 Virginia Grise and Irma Mayorga
No part of this script may be reproduced, published, or performed without express written consent of the authors.

Disclosure: The Panza Monologues was provided to me for review at my request. All opinions are my own.

Go Cut Pants

Comedian George Lopez talks about being told to “cut pants” if he wanted to go swimming. Well, we cut pants at our house, but not necessarily to go to the pool.

When the days start to get hotter, the boys usually have quite a few pairs of pants with worn out knees which aren’t even nice enough to give to charity, so we cut them into shorts.

It’s kind of naco, but it saves money which is why we do it, and it’s also environmentally friendly. If you know how to use a sewing machine, you can even finish off the hem so it looks nicer. (Suegra does all of my sewing but she’s not happy with us right now, so we’ll have to wait.)

Latin Guru

It’s official – I’m a Latin Guru.

This is a shirt from a company called SPƎNGLISH. I really like the company’s mission statement. Here it is, in part:

“Just like love + happiness = peace, Spanish + English = SPƎNGLISH. The union of two amazing forces results in the creation of a unique identity. To coexist while being able to nurture and accept ones roots, is SPƎNGLISH‘s ultimate purpose. To live a mindful life and practice being fully present, is SPƎNGLISH’s ultimate path.”

The shirt description:

Know that You are a Latin Guru and live by that awareness. Know and never underestimate the power that you possess. Be mindful of the words you choose when they are coming out of your mouth, and be even more conscious about the ones that are already inside your head. In SPƎNGLISH we believe that everyone is a Latin Guru, and everyone holds the powers to change in any direction at any time. We chose “Pele” to represent our Latin Guru because we want to show the world how such a simple man could change the world with his bare feet. He made a sport so popular that would ultimately become a very powerful tool to promote Paz e Amor all over the world.

Chévere, right?

Disclosure: This shirt was given to me by SPƎNGLISH. All opinions are my own.

Come chat with me + Surropa!

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know how much I love Surropa.com. Aside from wearing their T-shirts, I’ve blogged about them and mention them on Twitter and Facebook once in awhile, too.

Short description of their company if you don’t know: Miami-based clothing company with shirts, (and other items), in English, Spanish and Spanglish – but always stylish and with a touch of Latin sabor. You can also design your own shirts through their store. I designed this one:

jijiji… like it?

Anyway, the guys at Surropa asked me if I’d moderate their first ever TuitCam Event. I was like, “Totally! … What’s a TuitCam Event?”

Well, as it turns out, TwitCam is a website that allows you to have a tweet chat while on webcam. So it will feel like we’re in our own little chat room but you use your Twitter account to tweet chat while watching and and listening to the live streaming video. We tested it out last week and it was so much fun.

Two of the guys at Surropa will be hosting (on camera): Marketing Director Esteban “El Chato” Montano and Creative Director Ernesto East… I know their professional titles sound all business-like, but these guys are hilarious. While we were testing out TwitCam they told me to ask a question so we could just get a feel of how it would be. Well, one of them was wearing a cowboy hat so I said, “I want to know if the one in the cowboy hat is wearing botas picudas!” … He held his foot up to the camera and he was wearing socks with chanclas!

So, I hope you’ll join us mañana, Wednesday May 25th, 2011 at 3 pm EST. Just follow me and/or Surropa on Twitter. Once the TwitCam Event begins, we will tweet the link so you can join us! Here are the details from Surropa.com’s blog:

“…ask any question you want, give us ideas for new designs and products or just tell us how our t-shirts have completely changed your lives. We’ll even take constructive criticism (please no hate tweets, we’re extremely sensitive).

By the way… We’ve asked our friend and blogger extraordinaire, Tracy Lopez from Latinaish.com to moderate…and to keep these two in line and entertaining. Come check it out, what do you have to lose? You might even get a special discount code for 25% off your next order.”

Disclosure: I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Cellphone Fotos #2

My week in cellphone fotos:

A little carnival set up in a parking lot that we didn’t go to. I could smell the funnel cake tempting me, but I had a cart full of healthy groceries to take home.

See? These are just some of the fruits we brought home from the grocery store. We also bought strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and many varieties of vegetables.

I also bought a new hot pink hoodie jacket. I used to shy away from bright colors but this shade of pink has been calling to me – I don’t know why. As you can see, I’m also wearing my RPM Miami shirt. Who else is watching with me?

Speaking of RPM Miami – Carlos pulled into a car dealership to look at a car, (even though we can’t afford one right now.) … I usually don’t get excited about cars but this one caught my eye. Lo quiero! … I can imagine myself driving this green Camaro in carreras like on the show. Jijiji… And if you want to see how vastly different Carlos and I are, go check out the car he wanted.

Link: What’s On Your Phone Tuesdays

El Más Chingón!

Via a press release yesterday, mun2, (Telemundo’s bilingual cable broadcast network aimed at young Latinos) – announced several awesome things – among them, an upcoming show that I’m really excited about. Chécalo!

From the press release:

“El Más Ching*n” [is] a competition reality series set to discover the next big Regional Mexican artist. It’s a talent search with a twist. Selecting contestants through an interactive online campaign, the road to regional stardom is filled with lifestyle challenges that include writing and performing, as well as horseback riding, media pressure tests and other identifiers of regional respect. Judged by celebrity personalities, the contestants will also be documented through behind-the-scenes rehearsals, back-story segments and confessionals, and tensions between the contestants, competing for one prize. Quién es el más chign*n?

I’m envisioning cute chicos vaqueros, some good Regional Mexican music, (and probably some bad Regional Mexican music from those who are NOT el más chingón), maybe some botas picudas… and… espera un momento! … They said “judged by celebrity personalities” … I wonder who? My fingers are crossed for a guest appearance by Espinoza Paz! Vamos a ver!

More about mun2, (because I like them and I identify with the term “culture connectors” that they use):

“…mun2 (moon-dos) is the lifestyle cable network for today’s culture connectors (C2s) – bicultural Latinos 18-34. As the bilingual network that amplifies the Latinos experience, mun2 is culturally-grounded and reflects the best of both worlds – mun2 is uniquely American. From reality to music, on-air to digital, mun2 creates original content across a multi-screen platform. As the only nationally measured bilingual cable network by Nielsen NTI, mun2 has an increased distribution to over 36 million households, and is a part of the Telemundo Communications Group, a division of NBCUniversal.”

Behind the Scenes of Telemundo Studios

Telemundo invited us into their studios to check out where they film some of their telenovelas.

The first set we visited was for a telenovela that is still in production called, “Mi Corazón Insiste.” The lead male actor is JenCarlos Canela. (I honestly thought he was only a singer, but apparently he’s an actor, too.)

Okay, here is another happy accident. (The first one was when my hair was styled like Paula del Monte’s in the poster behind me.) … Before I went to Miami, my friends at Surropa.com gifted me a T-shirt to wear for my trip. I chose one that said “Mi corazón” on it – partly because I loved the design and partly because I hoped to be wearing it if I met Espinoza. (He says “corazón” a lot in his songs. It’s like his “thing” …)

So anyway, I’m posing on the set of this telenovela and I say, “Which telenovela is being filmed here again?” and they tell me, “Mi Corazón Insiste.” – Muy raro, no?

Here are a couple photos of the set of Mi Corazón Insiste:


(This, we were told, is where a scene was just shot of a maid who was searching for something… Looks like it’s supposed to be an attic, don’t you think?)


(This is the fancy living room where I had my picture taken.)

Next we checked out where they keep props. It looked sort of like a well-organized thrift store. All the items on the shelves had bar codes and were catalogued – this is so they can be re-used. When they are setting up for a new telenovela they can see what they have in the catalog as far as lamps, for example, and choose one they already have, or make plans to go acquire one if they don’t already have something that fits what they’re looking for. (Wouldn’t “prop shopper” be an awesome job?)… My favorite fact I learned during the tour was that each year about 10% of the less popular props are donated to charity.

After props department, we visited the set of Aurora where they were rehearsing a scene for one of the final episodes. I wasn’t allowed to take photos or film, and we were supposed to be very quiet. It was difficult to be quiet for me though because one of the actors looked kind of funny due to his er… costume … I don’t think I’m allowed to give details… but a few of us were giggling and got shushed. Oops. I think that third graders on a field trip may have done a better job of being quiet than some of us blogueras. We were about 10 feet away from actor Eugenio Siller too which didn’t help some who were slightly smitten…(Good looking pero a mi me gustan los morenos.) The way they rehearse is really interesting. There was a woman there holding the script and she would feed each actor their lines. (Another cool job!)

(By the way, remind me to tell you what was so funny after the episode airs.)

Next we visited a room which I call “the editing room” because I don’t remember what it’s officially called.

Here is where they… edit…video?… I think he was putting together a promo for La Reina del Sur.

Last visit was to what I call the “music room” … again, because I don’t know what it’s really called. I do remember that this guy’s name is Joaquín and he is the one who adds music to the telenovelas. (Everyone say “Hello Joaquín!”) … Joaquín is also a musician, so when he can’t find exactly what he wants, he creates music on his own.

The question I asked Joaquín was, “Do you ever put suspenseful music in a telenovela at a point where nothing is really going to happen, just to mess with the audience?” — He said, “Yes. In Spanish, it’s called ‘suspenso falso’.” (English translation = False suspense – I’m sure even the non-bilingual peeps got that one, right? Gotta love cognates.)

Besides all this fun, Telemundo also took us to dinner. One night we went to a restaurant called “Cecconi’s” – which is much fancier than I’m used to. It was really beautiful, the waiters were attentive, the company couldn’t be beat, and (though I will seem very naca for saying this), the food was really good even if I didn’t know exactly what I was eating some of the time.

Disclosure: I went to Telemundo Studios and Cecconi’s at the invitation of Telemundo. The “Mi Corazón” shirt was gifted to me by Surropa.com. All opinions are my own.

Latin Billboard Awards + The Red Carpet

I intended to share my trip chronologically but it wouldn’t be nice to make you wait more for the part you really want to hear about – la alfombra roja (red carpet), and the actual Latin Billboard Awards show.

Cuban sandwiches and other randomness, while worthy of sharing with you, are not as exciting as the main event, so here we go. (I’ll tell you about the sandwich más tarde.)

My ticket!

The Red Carpet

We arrived at the red carpet and first we were seated in the bleachers with the fans. After a little while, we were given the option to move to the press area where it would be possible to actually speak with celebrities who chose to stop, with the caveat that we would have to stand for over 2 hours. I didn’t think twice – I wanted to be with the press.

Press area near the red carpet.

(Thanks to CityChicOnline.com for the dress!)

When I got to the press area my hands started to shake. I caught a glimpse of a white cowboy hat and my heart fluttered, thinking it was Espinoza Paz. One of the blogueras who has a lot more experience with these kinds of events, kindly gave me some advice, reminding me that to gain respect I couldn’t freak out.

I think I did pretty well, despite an unintentional gasp here and there – like when Prince Royce gave me a shout-out.

Many celebrities stopped to talk, even shaking hands and giving hugs or a kiss on the cheek. One handsome telenovela actor was so close to me that I could smell the cologne on his skin and it wasn’t like he had put too much on or anything, (can’t remember which actor it was pero qué rico se huele!) I chatted up the cast of the new mun2 show, RPM Miami for a minute or two – but you know my heart was set on finding Espinoza Paz and Pitbull.

Pitbull did walk by, but didn’t stop to chat.

Ay Pitbull! So close, and yet so far away!

And it was cool to meet El Trono de Mexico.

El Trono de Mexico

El Trono de Mexico - botas picudas

I told one of the guys from El Trono, “Me gustan tus botas picudas!” and he smiled.

_________
More photos! (From Gloria Estefan to Marc Anthony and actors from telenovelas like Reina del Sur…

Here are some photos of the celebrities that came into the press area of the red carpet. Some stopped to talk, others just posed for photos. How many musicians and actors do you recognize?

My Flickr Slideshow of Latin Billboard Awards 2011

_________

Espinoza Paz never did pass by the press area – I’m not even sure he walked the red carpet. I felt a little heartbroken. I tried to spot him in the audience but wasn’t sure. At one point, I saw someone in a black cowboy hat come in late. I wonder if it was him?

I spotted Pitbull in his seat.

Pitbull seated at the Latin Billboard Awards 2011 (white jacket)

The stage set-up was super awesome. There were three stages and the one in the middle extended further into the audience. The stage had areas cut out that looked like little pools, where some very lucky fans got to stand. Stages left and right were cube shaped with walls that moved up and down. I loved the colorful lights and the feeling of the bass.

I video taped some of my favorite performances between tweeting:





One song I absolutely love that I neglected to video tape: Me Duele by Roberto Tapia. I loved the couples dancing quebradita during this performance.

The last performance of the evening – Pitbull. I don’t understand how he didn’t win anything. He brought the house down, (the shaky video is evidence of this. I was dancing.)

The last award of the night, “Artist of the Year” – went to Enrique Iglesias. To thank his fans he ran out into the audience. He ran by my section, maybe 20 feet away but I didn’t try to touch his hand. A lot of people were out of their seats and trying to do just that. I like Enrique but not enough to risk falling down stairs or getting crushed. Had it been Espinoza, that’s another story.

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

La Casa Blanca y La Familia López

Driving by the Washington Monument on our way to the White House. (Carlos calls this "La Aguja" - "the needle.")

The visit to La Casa Blanca was bien chivo although President Obama wasn’t around to welcome me as I had hoped. I didn’t tweet or blog until now because between waking at 4 a.m. for the White House tour and preparing for our trip to Miami, I’m just super cansada.

I wish I had a lot of photos to show you, but on White House tours, no cameras are allowed inside. And honestly, although it’s fun to say, “I’ve been to the White House” – the section they allow you into is really more of a museum than actual living quarters for the family. (I didn’t even so much as see “Bo” – the Obama family’s dog!)

When you first walk in there are photos of the Obama family on the walls of the foyer. The very first photo prominently displayed, was President Obama with mariachi. I instinctively reached for my non-existent camera before remembering – no cameras allowed so I hadn’t brought it. I did find the photo on the internet though so you can see.

(By the way, I found this photo on a website called Obama Looks Bored, which features photos of President Obama looking bored. Love it.)

There were a lot of fancy furnishings, three immense crystal chandeliers that weigh 1200 pounds each. Each chandelier takes 72 hours to clean. (And that is the extent of historical tour guide type data I retained.)

There are various rooms named for colors – The Blue Room, The Red Room (which looked hot pink to me for some reason – but I loved it), The Green Room, etc.

In the Green Room a painting caught my eye and I wanted to remember the artist so I could look it up later. Without a pen and paper I had to rely on my memory, which isn’t so good. To remember things, I usually have to play word games with myself. So, to remember the artist, Jacob Lawrence, I said to myself, “Jacob Lawrence, Jacob Lawrence, Jacob Lawrence… how can I remember his name? … Oh! Jacob Have I Loved!”

Carlos immediately turned around, “Whose Jacob?”
“The artist of that painting,” I said.
“No, the other Jacob you loved,” he said narrowing his eyes.
He didn’t believe me for several minutes that ‘Jacob Have I Loved’ is the name of a book.

The Builders - by Jacob Lawrence

The Obama family in the Green Room, (the painting I like is in the background)

(The painting turned out to be ‘The Builders’ by Jacob Lawrence, if you want to read more about it.)

Once we were outside, we were allowed to take photos, so I took a few with my cell phone camera.

White House lawn being cut.

Back outside the gates.

The future 1st Latino President and his hermanito.

Botas Picudas

ElVaqueroImports.com

The first time I saw botas picudas was in a WalMart parking lot. The boys piled into the car with Suegra while Carlos and I put the groceries into the trunk. Across the row, a group of young Mexican guys walked by and caught my eye.

I nudged Carlos. “Look at those boots!”

These tipos were decked out – cowboy hats, jeans tighter than I could ever hope to fit into, fancy button-down shirts, big belt buckles, and these pointy toed boots I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

Carlos sneered and went back to putting groceries into the car.

“If we find you boots like that, will you wear them?!” I asked, handing him a bag from the cart.

“No. They look ridiculous,” he answered, before reminding me for the millionth time that he wasn’t Espinoza Paz, he wasn’t Mexican, and he wasn’t even from the Salvadoran countryside – he’s a city boy.

I watched the Mexican guys get into their truck and pouted. That was a year ago and I still haven’t convinced Carlos to buy a pair of botas picudas. In fact, the fashion has gotten so out of hand that now he definitely wants nothing to do with it.

Apparently the men wearing these boots got a little competitive about whose boots were longer and pointier, (*ahem* … we are talking about BOOTS here but it makes you wonder.) … Now, some of the botas picudas can be so long that the wearer attaches the tip of the boot to their wrists to keep from tripping.

This documentary explains how DJ Erick Rincón and the Tribal music scene in Mexico City played a part in popularizing botas picudas, (which can be seen even in the United States – especially in Texas.)

People who wear these boots are sometimes called “nacos” and “chuntaros” – but they’re not ashamed and you have to admire that.

Links:

Chuntaritos.com
¡Que Chuntaro! by JuanofWords.com
ElVaqueroImports.com
Erick Rincón, 16, Spins Mexico’s Newest Craze by ReMezcla.com
[free downloads]
Erick Rincón on Twitter

(Gracias to mi amiga, Elsie, for sharing the video and inspiring the post!)

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