Tag Archives: texas

San Antonio’s Mariachi’s Got Talent

5 Jun

A dear friend of  mine loves the NBC show America’s Got Talent. She says it is so inspiring to see people completely go for their dreams. I agree!

And now, an amazing voice is all the buzz around this show and that voice is from San Antonio, TX! I’ve not ever met Sabastien De La Cruz but I have seen him perform and his voice blows me away – every. time. It was no surprise when Sabastien received a standing ovation and praise from all three AGT judges, Howie Mandell, Sharon Osborne and Howard Stern. My favorite part is at the end when he says, “My whole family … they love music. I love my family and they give me the music.” He’s not only a big voice but such a gentleman!

When I read Mariachi’s Music Blog that the group behind him are mostly current and former Texas State University – San Marcos students, my heart burst with pride! My alma mater! Ever since I was a student, I have admired Texas State’s Latin Music Program. (This isn’t the first time Texas State University students have been on America’s Got Talent stage. In 2008, the Texas State Stutters reached the semi-final round. Eat ’em up Cats!)

In 2011, Texas State University won 1st place in the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in San Antonio and Sabastien De La Cruz won 1st place in Elementary School – Vocal Competition Category.

Best wishes to you Sabastien and Mariachi Sur del Oro!

¡Viva Sabastien! ¡Viva Texas State! ¡Viva Texas!

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Girl in Progress Movie Review

9 May

Girl in Progress stars the always captivating Eva Mendes and the beautiful and smart Cierra Ramirez. It’s a story with which so many people are familiar but rarely share. Grace, played by Mendes, is the drunken single mother of teenage Ansiedad, played by Ramirez. Grace was a child who had a child and hasn’t grown up herself. If anyone knows anything about this common situation, the child tends to be the one to raise the parent.

20120509-193840.jpg Photo from Girl In Progress Tumblr.

I didn’t know what to expect when I showed up for the prescreening at Hispanicize. Watching this funny and honest story was a surprise. I can only speak for my experiences but I think I’ve met Ansiedad before (her name is Spanish for anxiety). She is the brilliant student who knows more than enough to be dangerous to herself. She is a child of a parent who abuses alcohol and will either turn in to her mom or do anything to become the opposite. After getting fed up with Grace’s antics of never being there for her, treating her like the housekeeper and staying in an adulterous relationship, Ansiedad decides it’s time she ‘comes of age’ and leave her mom behind.

Her English teacher, played by Patricia Arquette, is teaching coming of age stories. Ansiedad takes these lessons and creates the ‘perfect plan’ to expedite adulthood and free herself of an objectionable childhood. This plan doesn’t come without consequences. She jeopardizes her innocence (what’s left), her friendships and her safety.

The movie doesn’t go without humor which is welcome to play down the seriousness of confrontation between friends and mother and daughter. The moral of the story mixed with cultural humor and grittiness is a bit unbalanced and left me questioning could this be a family-movie special gone rogue?

What I did like: 1. Moral of the story (I’m a sucker for good ones) 2. Enough Latino flair without it shouting ‘we get Latino culture!’ 3. The amazing work of Cierra Ramirez and Eva Mendes.
What I didn’t like: sometimes it moved too fast and the connection to a character feels cut short.
Fun fact: Both Cierra Ramirez and Raini Rodriguez (Ansiedad’s best friend) hail from Texas!

Other cast members are Eugenio Derbez (Grace’s Mexican co-worker), Matthew Modine (Grace’s married boyfriend) and Disney’s Raini Rodriguez (Ansiedad’s best friend). The movie is directed by Patricia Riggen, written by Hiram Martinez and distributed by Panetlion Films. Girl in Progress is set to be released on May 11, Mother’s Day weekend.

¿Qué Means What? did receive a free popcorn and free screening of this movie. All opinions are our own.

Cinco de Mayo Hangover

6 May

So it’s the day after Cinco de Mayo.  I didn’t celebrate, mainly because I didn’t plan a party.  Well, I did have a great twitter chat party with my #latism family.  That was in itself a celebration.  Anyway, it was because of that chat that I type this post.

I celebrated Cinco de Mayo for years in college (and some after) with at a fiesta that included a Miss Cinco de Mayo pageant, Little Miss Cinco, Menudo cook off and of course, a baila!  I even entered the pageant once.  Thanks Crystal for insisting that I participate in that pageant with you.  She was a pageant girl, I wasn’t.  Sure was fun though!  Now, if I only had those pictures, a laugh for everyone!  My dress was gold sequins!

This fiesta was an event that I would look forward to year after year.  I made plans around this event and celebration.  Today, I realized that I never really celebrated “Cinco de Mayo“.  I partied!  What a great excuse to party!  And I think that this is true for many Americans.  The alcoholic beverage companies are certainly happy that we do have an excuse to party, they definitely contribute to creating the party with advertisements and literally sponsoring las fiestas.  There is nothing wrong with partying!  (I love how “party” is turned into a verb, by the way.)

It’s just time for me to celebrate in a different way.  What do people around me know about Cinco de Mayo?  I don’t know, I haven’t asked them.  Wouldn’t this be a great time to educate others while we “party”?!  Wait, what do I know about Cinco de Mayo?!

Here’s what I know:

  • It’s turned into a Party Holiday much like St. Patrick’s Day.  And it’s here to stay, cervezas, margaritas and more!
  • I can wear a sombrero and variation of the Mexican flag.  Oh, and I need one of those “peasant dresses.”  I should be able to find one in San Antonio, no?!
  • It is NOT Mexican Independence Day.  That is September 16th.
  • Time to eat my favorite Mexican food!  Okay, I eat Mexican food everyday.  Sooo, time to share my favorite Mexican food?
  • ‘Tis a day to embrace my own heritage.  I get that the Battle of Puebla doesn’t encompass all of Mexico’s history.  It does bring about a sense of Mexican pride.  Can’t explain it, it just does.  This is something that I don’t do everyday: think, “I should learn more about my heritage.” So, on Cinco de Mayo, I should! (learn and share)

Seriously, William Booth’s story has made me even more aware of today’s Mexico…the drug war they are in now…all the innocent deaths, violence and sadness.  I don’t think Mexicans and others who have lost loved ones in this war are celebrating.

This is a holiday that I enjoy celebrating and don’t know why I am celebrating.  A holiday that somehow stirs up so much cultural pride in me and at the same time in Mexico it is culturally a minor holiday.

Next year, I hope the holiday to remind me of my heritage and in honor of that, I will share with others what I am proud of and what I have learned about my heritage. Creating it to be an eating holiday and less of a drinking holiday, we will celebrate with food, family y amigos.  My children and other people around me deserve to know the history and some beautiful parts of Mexican heritage.  Things I still am learning myself. 

And as I spend this next year searching and learning and sharing, I pray for the victims of today’s war in Mexico.  And I will not forget them as we continue to celebrate their country’s holiday.

Read “Don’t You Cinco de Mayo Me” from Elianne Ramos about how it came about to be a major “unofficial” holiday.

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