Monday, September 30, 2013

Inocente Izucar in Seattle.

About a month ago, I received an email from a friend letting me know that the Seattle Art Museum, and the Seattle University were looking for community partners to help spread the word of an event that would take place at the Seattle Art Museum at the end of September. 

The email read like this:

Dear Community Partners:

 "Seattle Art Museum in partnership with Seattle University and Sanctuary Art Center will be hosting a screening of “Inocente” On Friday September 27th. We would like to invite your organization to co-present this event with us given the theme of the documentary and the community work that you do.  We have the opportunity to list you as a co-presenters in promotional materials. Could you please reply ASAP* and let me know if you’d like to do this?"

As I was reading the email, I knew that the Latino Community Fund of Washington State had to be a copartner. And that's how my involvement in this event was possible. 

"Inocente" is an Academy Award® Winner as Best Documentary Short Subject based on the life of a fifteen-year old teenage girl who refuses to surrender her dream of becoming an artist, decides to wake up every morning with a positive attitude, despite the cruelty of her surroundings as a homeless, undocumented person living in San Diego. I will not tell you what the whole film is about because then, I would kill the emotion; what I can say though, it's that this is definitely a documentary you have to see. The Seattle University brought this documentary to Seattle to increase awareness about their Project on Family Homelessness, which goal is to help the public understand family homelessness, its causes and its solutions, and to engage the public to end it. 

Inocente herself, her mentor Matt D'Arrigo from A Reason to Survive (ARTS) San Diego, and Troy Carter, executive director of Sanctuary Art Center, were available for a Q&A session right after the short film ended. The audience asked many questions, and the group of Latinos that was sitting in the back of the theater, was accused of holding the microphone for too long... yup, I was one of them. It was just very difficult to not take this opportunity to learn more about this amazing young girl who has a beautiful spirit, and never gives up. 

The night ended with a small reception for ticket holders at cmd+p, the Pioneer Square gallery of Sanctuary Art Center, where a group of friends, and I, had some pictures taken with Inocente Izúcar.

It was a magical night that made me think again, about how often we complain about trivialities, forgetting that, there's usually someone having a much difficult life.  

From left to right: Teresa Gonzalez, Fernando Luna, Heather Villanueva, myself, Tino Gallegos (on the back), Teresa Jones, Miguel A. Munoz Lucho.
Photo by Steven A. Schimmelman 

The reception after the screening at cmd+p. It was a full house! 

Inocente signing the T-shirt I bought for my granddaughter.


My message for Inocente. 

Inocente and I.
Photo by Steven Schimmelman

Steven Schimmelman, Inocente and I.
Photo by Steven Schimmelman

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What I Learned From The Play, "El Año en que Nací."

Last Saturday, I went to On the Boards to see the play "El Año en que Nací/ The Year I was Born," and the expression "it moved me to the core," falls short.

I laughed, I cried, and then I laughed some more, all the while the characters explained their parents' political ideologies, and experiences during the year that Augusto Pinochet took over Chile. 

At some point in the play, one of them tells the rest of the actors to form a line according to their parents' ideologies, or the social status the family had when they were born, or the color of their skin. It was funny, and not, to see them arguing over who had to go to the left... or to the right. "What are the parameters that say whether one family had a better social status?" - asked one of them.

It made me realize that, way too often, we are trying to find our place in a society that has very confusing parameters; and that I too struggle with the idea of who decides "what", and "why" I am what I am. 

The play got me thinking about talking to my mother, about what she was doing when I was born. To ask her more about my dad, and his involvement in the marches during the tragic night of October 2nd in 1968, "La Masacre de Tlatelolco." The day that thousands of students were killed in Mexico.  

I left the theater hungry for knowledge, and with a great deal of respect for the young actors who decided to share their tragic stories of their lives in exile, in terror, in sadness, but with much courage, and admiration for what their parents went through. 

It was beautiful.    

My dad (who passed away about 16 years ago), my brother, and I in Toluca, Mexico.

My sister, my mom, and I (the one winking). 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Celebrating The 203rd Anniversary of the Independence of Mexico in Seattle.

Celebrating Mexico's Independence Day has a different meaning since I moved to Seattle twelve years ago. I know there are many issues with Mexico's politics presently, but I am still proud of my culture, and that's what I celebrate.

In past years, my husband and I went to the Seattle Center to enjoy the Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, but this year, we were invited by the Consul of Mexico, Mr. Eduardo Baca-Cuenca, to attend the festivities to commemorate the 203rd Anniversary of Mexico's Independence. An event that I anticipated would be filled with many familiar faces, and great entertainment. 

One of the most important reasons that made me attend this event, was to show my granddaughter the beauty of these celebrations, and how to respect the Mexican flag and National Anthem during a formal ceremony. Why? Because she is an American just as much as she is Mexican.  I explained to her that she is Mexican-American, and she is lucky to enjoy both cultures. 

We danced to the Mariachi music performed by the Wenatchee High School Mariachi, a program that has been nationally recognized as being the fastest growing Mariachi Music Program outside of Mexico, and it's currently integrating over 300 participating students ages 9-18. 

We also ate some delicious food, and took pictures with handsome men dressed with the traditional Charro outfits, and women dressed as Escaramuzas.

It was a fine event where I had the opportunity to celebrate El Grito de Dolores (The cry for battle made by priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla) with other immigrants from Mexico,  and with many Mexican Americans. It was also a great opportunity for my granddaughter to learn a little bit more about her parents, and grandparents' culture.

Invitation by the Consul of Mexico.

The Food. 
Consul of Mexico getting ready to depict El Grito de Dolores.

Folklore dancers
Andrea with Escaramuza
With Charros
With Mexican Consul Eduardo Baca-Cuenca
Wenatchee High School Mariachi performing "El Son de la Negra."

Wenatchee HIgh School Mariachi performing "Viva Mexico, Viva América."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Northwest Latina Entrepreneur Brings Us a Front Row Seat at New York Fashion Week

I am very proud of all my friends. They all are successful professionals, and fantastic human beings. On this post, I would like to brag about a very especial Latina friend and her team. Her name is Cynarah Ellawala. 

Cynarah is the founder and publisher of Moda& Estilo, an online magazine focused on global lifestyle and emerging fashion. Last week, she led a team of fashion experts to Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week. Cynarah and the talented Moda & Estilo team, including five writers and three photographers, covered it in a big, big way; literally bringing it live to our desktops. 

Moda & Estilo published runway reviews, with amazing photography, multiple times per day and almost on the hour on M&E From the RunwayEstablishing a fashion publishing footprint in Seattle and the Big Apple is a task for the brave. So how does Cynarah, a Dominican Republic-born, Bellevue resident, balance a growing company, a happy home and the demands of the largest and most important fashion event of the year?  With style and grace, plus a talented team of Northwest fashion experts, of course. 

“New York Fashion Week sounds glamorous, and it is, but it is also a lot of work. We are working 18 hour days and I always come back without a voice. It’s hard on my daughter that I am away for so long, luckily I have a very supportive family and my Mom and Aunt help out while I am away,” says Cynarah Ellawalla, Publisher of Moda & Estilo.

This is the second time at Fashion Week for Moda & Estilo – a huge accomplishment given the fact that the publication is just one year old and press passes/credentials are both coveted and hard to achieve.

Great job Moda & Estilo team! We are very proud of all of you! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What Happens When I Listen to Salsa Music?

We all listen to different styles of music according to our mood, right? On this post, I decided to share the playlists that I have on my phone because I often like to share them on Facebook, or Twitter. Also, because many assume that since I'm Mexican, I only listen to norteño music, or that when I listen to salsa music I do it because I want to dance, and that's not always the case. So, I hope that after reading this post, you will have a better idea of what I am feeling when I'm listening to my playlists.

But first, I'll start by sharing a snapshot of my playlists:

There's probably no need to explain what I'm feeling when I listen to my "Romantic" playlist, but the "Pop & Reggae", is a different story. When I'm completely relaxed and thinking about how cool it is to live in the Seattle area, I play those songs. It reminds me of my life in Mexico City; playing with my band at different massive concerts. Those were pretty cool times.

Now, when I'm on a feisty and rebellious mood, I listen to my "Salsa, Cumbia & Merengue" playlist. There's something about those songs that makes me feel ready to battle. It may be that Ruben Blades' lyrics makes me feel like that. Of course, some other times I play that style of music because I want to dance,  but not always.    

I have hundreds of songs stored, and they go from Michael Bublé, to Caifanes (rock in Spanish), to Selena

I almost forgot, there's one playlist that I don't have on my phone commonly, and I always add it after Thanksgiving. Can you guess which type of music is on that playlist? And you? What is your favorite type of music, and what does it make you feel? 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Latino Events Happening This Weekend.

Throughout the years, I have noticed that Latino events are happening more often and it's exciting to see this change. This weekend, there are two events that got my attention and I want to share them with you hoping that you will be able to attend one of them, or both.

The first one is a preview screening of The Graduates/Los Graduados

The Graduates/Los Graduados explores the many roots of the Latino dropout crisis through the eyes of six inspiring young students from across the United States who are part of an on-going effort to increase graduation rates for a growing Latino population.

The screening is open to the public and is FREE. The film is suggested for adults and both boys and girls ages 13+. The film preview is followed by a casual audience Q&A featuring partner organizations like El Centro de la Raza, and others. 

Saturday, September 7 at 2:00PM (doors open at 1:30PM)
The Frye Art Museum Auditorium
704 Terry Avenue, Seattle, 98104

The second event is the Salute to Latin American Beisbol Night

On this night, the Mariners honor the many contributions that Latin Americans have made in baseball and will wear special "Marineros" uniforms. Aside from having fun during the game, you will also help the Latino Community Fund since a portion of the proceeds will be donated to this wonderful nonprofit organization. This is a fun family event.

Which one will you be attending to?