Review: The Lego Movie

the-lego-movie-2014-05Watching the previews to this movie, one may think that this is merely another movie for little kids—preferably boys. However, being that this movie is about Legos, it also caught the attention of those who are older as well—even teenagers. Most teenagers, even girls, play with Legos! Legos are a part of many teens’ childhood, and it’s always nice to be reminded of that wonderful, carefree time. The Lego movie definitely did it’s job in this regard!

The main character, Emmet Brickowski, is known in the “Lego world” to be a “normal” guy because of his “normal” job and his “normal” life. The movie shows the mundane tasks Emmet does everyday, including exercise and buying over-priced coffee. As a construction worker, he is a hard worker. One night, after he was done with his shift, he discovers a mysterious object called “The Piece of Resistance” and meets a girl named Wyldstyle, voiced by Elizabeth Banks. She explains to him that the one who finds “The Piece of Resistance” is the one who is identified as “The Special.”

Emmet, being the “normal” guy, wants to have such an honorable title. However, he finds it difficult to live up to this title. He is given many responsibilities with this title, the biggest of which he is to save everyone from President Business and his evil schemes. In order to accomplish this, Emmet needs to learn to break away from the “instruction manual” and learn to act spontaneously rather than only by what he is familiar with.

With the help of his friends and other outside sources, he is able to prove to himself and to everyone else that he is not merely a “normal” guy. He helps everyone see that anyone can be special no matter what others may think of them or by what they think of themselves.

This movie is a good family-friendly movie and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It includes the typical love story, jokes that are funny to a variety of tastes and there is surprising to twist at the end—everyone enjoys a good plot twist! From the cities to the vehicles to even the water, everything is made out of Legos! This movie is a must-see and the themes—anyone and everyone is special in their own way and that there is nothing you can’t make out of Legos—this movie will keep you laughing while enjoy some good family time.

Do You Wanna Buy a Snowman?

Do you wanna buy a snowman? Now you can with the new DVD release of Frozen. Disney’s new animated feature has captured audiences internationally. Overall, Frozen earned more than 368.6 million dollars in the box office and re-released a sing-along version in theaters. Now the time has come to bring Frozen into your home.

Frozen_castposter

For those who have not seen Frozen, the movie follows the story of Princess Anna of Arendalle and her sister, Queen Elsa. Elsa was born with magical icy powers. One day Elsa’s powers accidentally set off a winter storm leading Anna to brave the icy weather to save the kingdom from an eternal winter. Along the way, Anna meets Kristoff, a mountain man, and his reindeer, Sven, and an adorably hilarious snowman named Olaf. Together, they set off for a very cool adventure that you’ll be sure to enjoy.

Frozen stars Idina Menzel as Elsa and Kristen Bell as Anna. It is co-directed by Jennifer Lee who also helped write the story of Frozen. In an interview, Jennifer Lee said her perspective of being a woman at the screenwriting table helped her male co-writers see some stereotypes they were writing. Because of that, her presence at the table helped shaped two of the most independent princesses (who do not need a prince to rescue them) Disney has ever had.

If that hasn’t convinced you yet, here are five reasons why Frozen is awesome.

  1. The Princess: Anna is a fearless optimist who believes in the power of true love. Anna is a strong protagonist in the movie whose bravery is quite admirable.
  2. The Queen: Elsa is also a strong protagonist who was taught most of her life to conceal her powers out of the fear of being “too dangerous.” This twist on the cliché villain makes you think twice on why people may do certain things.
  3. The sidekick characters: As mentioned before, Kristoff and his reindeer, Sven, are great characters that provide comedic relief to the dangerous adventure. Olaf, the snowman, is also a comedy relief for the audience and has the capability of melting your heart, even if you are snowman.
  4. The Songs: Okay, the songs are awesome. You’ve probably heard the covers of “Let It Go” and “Do You Wanna Build A Snowman” over and over, but don’t be fooled. These songs are very catchy and very well-written. All the songs were written by the dynamic husband and wife duo, Bobby Lopez, three-time Tony Award Winner, and Kristen-Anderson Lopez.
  5. The Animation: The animation of Frozen is really quite remarkable if you are movie buff and know all the camera angles. Even if you are not, the animation is appealing to the eye. Some may dare to say it embodies the same essence as other famous Disney classics. The animation is listed here on the top five reasons to see Frozen because Walt Disney’s start in animation was a magical experience for audiences.

Add this new Disney classic to your collection on Tuesday March 18th, 2014.

Review: JLo ft. Flo Rida – Goin’ In

Here’s what one Latinita had to say about JLo’s and Flo Rida’s music video.

jennifer-lopez-goin-in_thelavalizard

Name:Angelisse (Lissy)
Your Age:
13
Your City & State
El Paso, Texas
What artist, band or album are you reviewing?
Jennifer Lopez and Flo Rida- Goin In Music Video
How would you rate it?
3 stars: Average
What do you dislike about it?
I believe J-Lo’s dancing could of been a little better. The choreographers should have been paying attention to how Lopez could keep up with the background dancers, how she should be dancing in each costume, and simply just making sure the choreography was dazzling instead of focusing on how much they show her butt.Somewhere in the music video a car starts bouncing up and down randomly. I didn’t get it. It just didn’t play in to the music video for me.
How does listening to this music make you feel?
The song is great! It makes me feel like I want to get up and dance!I love in the music video her glitter lips and the use of neon and vibrant colors. Puerto Rican pride! That was definitely shown here by Jennifer and Flo Rida.
 Who are your favorite musicians?
Panic! At The DiscoRhiannaKaty PerryAvril LavigneP!nkSkrillex

David Guetta

Nicki Minaj

Demi Lovato

 

Top 5 Christmas Movies

Christmas is approaching and what better way to set the move than to snuggle up with a Christmas classic. Here are five Christmas classics that are guaranteed to make this holiday season just a bit warmer.  So huddle up with the relatives and pass the time with five of the best Christmas movies ever made!

elf-movie-posterElf (2003)

Rating: A+

“I just like to smile,” Buddy responds when asked why he always appears so happy. “Smiling’s my favorite.”

If you arrived in your town after 30 years at the North Pole, what do you think might surprise and delight you the way that simple things like dogs, escalators, and revolving doors amazed Buddy?

Elf,  directed by Jon Favreau, tells the sugary story of Buddy,  a highly energetic and naïve man, who thinks he’s an elf. After a lifetime of enjoying a joyful existence cobbling toys at the North Pole , Buddy is shocked to learn that he’s not an elf, rather a 30-year-old grown man with a  real human father in New York City who doesn’t know he exists. So, knowing only what he’s learned from the elves, but determined to find his father, Walter (Kames Caan),  Buddy sets off to New York.

Will Ferrell is perfect for Buddy’s character.  He flawlessly depicts a genuine affection for this Buddy’s character.  Moreover, as a former “Saturday Night Live” star, he clearly has no qualms about making a fool of himself.The best thing about his performance is his lanky cluelessness that has an enduring sweetness that makes you want to protect him from all the rude New Yorkers that make fun of him.

At first, Walter thinks Buddy is nuts when he shows up at his publishing office  claiming to be his son dressed up in elf suit, but after Buddy passes a DNA test, Walter has to accept him and takes him home to meet his family.

A memorable scene from Elf is when Buddy mistakes a short man for a dwarf at his dad’s office. Obviously, the man gets offended and “dares” Buddy to call him a dwarf once more. Buddy, unaware of the sarcastic tone in his voice, instead ingenuously obeys the man’s wishes and keeps calling him a dwarf.

Elf feels a little too cheesy at the end, but what do you expect? It’s a Christmas movie! Without a doubt, it is a must-watch for the whole family.

A Christmas StoryA Christmas Story (1983)

Rating: A

“You’ll shoot your eye out.”

Nine-year-old Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) was tired of hearing that line. All he wanted for Christmas was a Red Ryder BB gun.  While using various schemes to convince his parents to get him this gift, he continually bumps into objections from others, all adults, saying:

“You’ll shoot your eye out.”

Directed by Bob Clark,  A Christmas Story has a quality that no other holiday film can boast:  the perfect amount of nostalgia. That quality has made it one of the season’s most beloved motion pictures.

When Ralphie asks his mother (Melinda Dillon) for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, she refuses. Next, Ralphie writes an essay about wanting the BB gun for Miss Shields, his teacher at Warren G. Harding Elementary School. However, to his misfortune,  Ralphie gets a C+ and Miss Shields warns him of shooting his eye out. Later, Ralphie asks a local department store’s Santa Claus for a Red Ryder BB gun, and Santa tells him the same thing  every adult has been telling him.

This appealing film is based partly on short stories from In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, a collection of short story memoirs and semi-fictional anecdotes by humorist  Jean Shepherd. Apart of the authenticity of the period details, the film manages to capture timeless details of childhood.  Shepherd’s writing is very particular: he knows exactly how to use a phrase to evoke a memory.  Moreover, regardless of one’s age or religion, there are so many moments in the film that are universal and relatable.

A memorable scene of the film occurs towards the end, when the family’s Christmas dinner is exactly the opposite of what they had planned. Nevertheless, instead of being disappointed or bitter, they embrace the change of plans as a delightful and funny adventure to enjoy remembering in future Christmases. Their reaction should be seen as a positive lesson to all families.

MV5BMTM2NzgzNTk2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjUxNjUyMQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_How The Grinch Stole Christmas! (2000)

Rating B+ 

High atop Mount. Crumpet, the Grinch ( Jim Carrey) bitterly observes the residents of Whoville preparing to celebrate Christmas. The Grinch was born in Whoville years ago, but he was rejected since childhood due to his scary appearance. Ever since then,  he has learned to hate Christmas.  

Full of such enchantment and holiday spirit, the Grinch is among one of the best Christmas movies due to its heartwarming message of acceptance. Based on the Christmas classic by Dr.Seuss, this is the story of a Christmas-hating Grinch who tries to steal the holiday from the Whos by taking all of their presents and decorations. Moreover, it becomes the personal goal of Cindy Lou Who to try to change the Grinch’s heart, and show him the true meaning of Christmas. However, eventually, the town of Whoeville and he come to realize that he never broke their Christmas spirit.

Without a doubt, Jim Carrey masters the role of the green, mean, and  furry creature. He plays the Grinch as an overgrown kid who never got his candy and is now going to make the world pay for it. Not only that, he add his own twist to the classic character—Carrey’s Grinch is too animated and goofy compared to the classic animated character of the TV show. Still, he makes us sympathize with the Grinch’s dilemma.

Apart from Carrey’s stellar performance, the production design is also quite spectacular  in the film.  Whoville is a magical and colorful place that reflects the spirit of Christmas.  As imagined by production designer Michael Corenblith, is the most magical setting since Dorothy landed in Munchkinland.  For instance, ingenious shapes (candy canes, hairstyles); bright colors (houses); and stylish structures (archways, bridges, stairs and spirals); are all elements of the production design that embellish the ostentation of Whoville.

Interestingly enough, Whoville is meant to be a distortion of a society wrapped up in consumerism and materialism.  It is a town that symbolizes such a level of superficiality that only a child, Cindy Lou, can see through it. She pities the Grinch, and wants him to be a part of the community. By bringing these ideas to light, in a way, the Seussian universe of Whoville serves as a criticism to our own world –people often cast out others because of  they often look, talk, act or think differently. Human’s most basic flaw is that we are always judging others before putting ourselves in their shoes.

MV5BMTMzMzY5NDc4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzc4NjIxNw@@._V1_SX214_It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Rating: A

What would the world be like if you had never been born?

Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life is about a man who wishes he were never born,  when an angel tries to change his mind  by showing him the tremendous impact he has had on his community.

As the film opens, it’s Christmas Eve, 1946, and George Bailey (Jimmy Steward), who has long considered himself a failure due to financial ruin, is seriously contemplating suicide. High above Bedford Falls, two celestial voices discuss Bailey’s dilemma and decide to send down angel Clarence Oddbody to help George out. Clarence grants George one wish: to see what the world would be like if he had never been born. As he and George travel through the nightmarish alternate reality, they observe how much worse off many people would be.

What is it about this film, an uplifting story about the importance of the individual, that so many viewers love? It’s a Wonderful Life touches upon one simple message of life  that everyone would like to believe—no matter how insignificant or ordinary we may seem,  every single one of us is important. We all have the power to make a difference in the world, it’s just a matter of attitude and perspective.

However, the film is not all rainbows and sunshine. Sure, there’s no doubt that It’s a Wonderful Life is a “feel good” movie. But let’s not forget that Capra effectively captures the darkness of George’s mood as his mounting personal and financial troubles plunge him into an abyss of despair.

Again, just like A Christmas Story, despite being made during the ’40s, It’s a Wonderful Life offers a timeless story with a universal message. Furthermore,  Stewart gives the performance of a lifetime. Bitter or sweet, he’s the movie’s hero. And if the movie is about broken dreams, it’s conclusion is that these broken dreams can sometimes be a good thing. Overall,whether or not you have your own guardian angel hovering, the lesson here is that it’s not money that makes you rich. Watching It’s a Wonderful Life is truly an enriching experience.

UnknownHome Alone (1990)

Rating A+

“I made my family disappear,” said Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), after waking up all alone in the slightly creepy, too-quiet house to discover his ultimate wish has come true.

If you have yet to see Home Alone then you have been missing out on some hilarious comedy and most importantly, a significant message about family values.

A classic holiday film, Home Alone tells the story of Kevin, a cunningly clever 8-year-old boy who feels largely ignored by his large family.  While preparing for a Christmas vacation in Paris, Kevin gets in trouble, is banished to the attic overnight, and wishes his family would just disappear. Kevin gets his wish the next morning when his family accidentally leaves him behind.

The film was directed by Chris Columbus and written by John Hughes. Naturally, Hughes has a gift for remembering what it was like to be young. Overall, it is  Home Alone’s innocence and humor, combined with Culkin’s charming performance  that allows the film to remain the highest grossing Christmas movie of all time.  No matter how many times I watch this movie, I never grow tired of it.  It will undoubtedly always be a Christmas classic for the whole family!

Concert Review: Pacha Massive

Pancha+massive+pachaPacha Massive is Latin alternative Dominican band based in New York City. The name Pacha Massive comes from the term “Pachamama” which translates to Mother Earth. The multi-talented Ramon Nova was created the band back in 2005 (in Bronx). The members of the band are Monica Lionheart, Vincent Veloso, Joe Abbatantuono, and Maya Martinez.

On Friday, October 4th, the band was performed in Austin for ACL and Latinitas was able to see them perform live!

The energetic crowd shared their thoughts about Pacha Massive:

“To me it’s kind of a mix of sexy, electronica, jazzy and loungy,” said Annie Rodriguez, a Pacha Massive aficionado.

“They throw a little bit of soft hip-hop, but it’s not yelling at you… it’s nice.”

In the end, I was quite surprised. They put on a great show.

The enthusiastic crowd cheered and danced to songs like “Don’t Let Go,”“Only You,” “All Good Things,” and “Pachangeando.”

Diana Castillo and Jenny Rivera are both veteran attendants of ACL and fans of Pancha Massive.

“I’ve known about them for while but this is my first time seeing them live,” said Diana Castillo, a Senior Nursing Student.

“Their style is hard to pinpoint,” Castillo says. And her friend Rivera agrees, and said,  “But their music is really great to dance to!”

It sure is!  Pacha Massive features a freshness of sound like no other band. They incorporate elements of electronica, hip-hop reggae, hip-hop, Colombian cumbia, and dance rhythms.

This exciting musical composition brings out a sense of adventure at times, and a feeling of relaxation at others. Furthermore, their songs are almost a contradiction—they are intense, but also calm; fast, yet slow; sad, but happy.  Their style is original, there’s no doubt about it.  The rich and resonant brass and the crisp and exact percussion dominate in their music.

Moreover, “Pachangeando” was a crowd pleaser, and would make a good concert opener. It features a warm and mellow tone, as well as a unique rhythmic combination of percussive elements.

However, the crowd’s energy weakened because they felt unsatisfied with the ending. Pacha Massive left thirty minutes before their allotted time due to “other” engagements.

Rodriguez was among the displeased audience.

“That’s so weird. Why are they leaving so early?” she said.

Nevertheless, they played a great show with no musical clichés whatsoever. Needless to say, their musical style is so vibrant and dynamic that it’s almost impossible to get bored.

“Under The Same Moon”–A Political Film in Disguise

“When are you coming?” A black-haired boy asks over a pay phone.

You have 10 seconds left.

“Carlitos, I love you so much! A woman replies, crying. “I love you more than all the stars, all the earth and—”

BEEP–Insert more coins.

La_Misma_Luna,-1Rosario (Kate Del Castillo) stands in a Los Angeles neighborhood. She holds the pay phone close to her ear, a few tears running down her face. Reluctantly, she wipes away the tears and turns to leave.

At the other end of the phone,  9-year-old Carlitos (Adrian Alonso) looks disappointed. A tear also falls down his cheekbone; he lets it fall.  Carlitos puts the pay phone down and turns to the streets of Mexico.

This is the beginning of Patricia Riggen’s La Misma Luna/Under the Same Moon.  If you thought this scene was heartbreaking, well, imagine going through a similar situation in real life.  According to AmericanProgress.org, 4.5 million  U.S.-born children have at least one unauthorized immigrant parent in 2010. Moreover, in 2011, the Obama administration deported 46,000 parents of children who are U.S. citizens in the first six months of 2011 — according to the “Shattered Families” report from the Applied Research Center.

Think about this: when millions of Latina women illegally come to the United States each year (and leave their children behind ), what do they come to? To poor-paying jobs and the constant fear of immigration services deporting them?

Under The Same Moon  forces viewers to ask if it is worth it.  The 2008 film tells the unlikely story of a young boy, Carlitos who crosses the border to find his mother, Rosario,  living in Los Angeles. Rosario left Mexico four years ago to seek a better life, leaving behind her young son Carlitos with his grandmother. As he waits for his mother to come back, Carlitos works with a local woman (telenovela queen Carmen Salinas), who organizes illegal border crossings. Every Sunday morning, he waits impatiently for  Rosario to call him from the same pay phone on a busy corner in L.A. But when Carlos’ beloved grandmother dies, he decides to go to L.A. on his own, hoping to make it before his mother calls on Sunday morning. Carlitos takes all the money he’d been saving and asks Marta (America Ferrara) and her brother, David (Jesse Garcia) to smuggle him across the border in exchange for money. Eventually, Carlitos winds up traveling alongside a grouchy worker named Enrique (Eugenio Derbez), who can’t stand Carlitos. So, in a desperate attempt to reunite, both Carlitos and Rosario embark on different journeys and along the way they meet many people, and learn how challenging it is to be alone. Despite everything, Carlitos and Rosario  never give up hope.

The movie takes place in a world in which kindness wins over a cruel reality.  Riggen, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she began her film career as a screenwriter and producer. She moved to New York City in 1998, where she received a Master’s degree in Directing at Columbia University. She explains that her goal for Under the Same Moon was to portray the characters in a positive light,  with understanding and respect, instead of “objects of pity or criminals.”

Without a doubt,  the best part of the movie is the ending–it’s simple, effective and quick! SPOILER ALERT: In the very final scene, Carlitos has finally found the busy corner that Rosario described countless times over their phone conversations. Eventually, he sees Rosario standing on the other side of the street. She sees him too, since she was looking for him as well. However, they can’t run and hug each other immediately since the pedestrian crossing light is red! It’s a very touching moment filled with satisfaction and merit. Both of them are crying tears of joy.  Finally, the last image the audience sees is the change of the pedestrian walking sign.   And that’s how Rosario and Carlitos finally find each other!

“With millions of families living separated by strict immigration laws in the United States, the story of Rosario and her son Carlitos resonates within the US Latino community as a testament to the courage and determination of countless families seeking a better life for themselves”~Riggen

 

How to Become a Successful Filmmaker

When I was sixteen, I jumped into the film festival circuit. I had no idea of what to expect as a young filmmaker in a group of other talented film directors that have pushed their films for several years. Not only was I the youngest filmmaker in some festivals, but I would be the only Latina and the only WOMAN in the Youth Categories with young men that planned on becoming the next Steven Spielberg. And now, as a retired youth filmmaker with 40 and counting official selections in film festivals in the US and internationally, do I rarely find any Latina or Latino filmmakers within various film panels. Even female CEO from Dreamworks Studios, Stacey Snider agrees: I’m still confounded by how few female directors there are. I don’t get it.”

There should be more female filmmakers in the film industry now.

Whether you are in middle school or high school, there is still a way to start your film career! There are many resources available to jumpstart your path toward the big screen. But, to become a filmmaker, you need the time, dedication, and a strong support system.

Whether it’s a relative, friend, or mentor, you need someone to continue pushing you and making sure that you aren’t going to fall through the cracks and abandon your projects midway.  And if you can’t find someone to support you: I’ll be the Latina that will! 

HIGH SCHOOL OF THE ARTS:

You don’t have to wait until college to start studying to become a great filmmaker. In middle school  don’t be afraid of picking up a camera and directing your own film in middle school. If you want to take your filmmaking education to the next level, there are some High Schools that have film departments to get you started with editing programs like Final Cut Pro, the basics of Screenwriting and a lot of very useful elements that you will learn about in your first year of college.

Tip: Research and tour schools within your community that support the arts and have film departments – see what they can offer you as an aspiring filmmaker.

YOUR FILM :

To expose yourself as a filmmaker in the film festival world, you need a great film. These films can range from a Narrative Drama or Comedy, etc. If you think your film can entertain audiences around the world and the judges, then you should definitely enter it  in film festivals! Research youth film festivals and start planning your film debut!

FILM FESTIVALS:

Film Festivals are meant for exposing films and filmmakers. This helps to find the right filmmakers and connections from people in the industry to connect and invest in you. Film Festivals are truly an experience that you will never forget. But in order for all this to happen, you must go through the online process of applying to these film festivals and creating “press kits” to have your film be considered.

HOW TO SUBMIT:

Withoutabox is film festival engine used by many independent filmmakers to enter their submission easily into hundreds of film festivals, including festivals with youth categories with little or no cost for submission!On Withoutabox, you will have to create a project page for your film and create a press kit. The press kit includes production stills (photographs) of your film, biographies of your cast/crew, a biography of yourself and poster/artwork. Once you have completed your press kit, the next thing to do is find your film festivals, send your packages of DVDs and WAIT. When you receive your first confirmation email, CELEBRATE! From there, you will be getting ready to make flyers and start generating attention for people in the film fest to see your film and talent as a filmmaker.

But as a young filmmaker, you will soon realize that you will have to pay to be in some of the best film festivals and the prices to submit start to become more expensive. Paying submission fees may not sound appealing, but it’s a part of filmmaking that every filmmaker has to overcome in order to invest in their future. The more exposure your film gets increases your chances of filmmakers and investors wanting to meet you and get involved with your future.

COLLEGE:

There are many great film colleges that you can attend but it all depends on what you study within the film department. Do you want to be a screenplay writer , director, or cinematographer? Do research to find the best career and schools for you.

THE FUTURE:

There is a rise of female power in the film industry and females are becoming a very powerful group within the industry. Nina Jacobson, a former female president of Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, states, ”The most powerful decision-making part of the audience is women. Boys have a lot of impact on the industry, but it’s often women who impact what stories get made.”  However, it will take awhile to have a equal ratio of men and women in the film industry. And it will take awhile for the men of this industry to take female directors seriously. Debra Chase Martin, a producer of motion pictures and television shows for Walt Disney Studios agrees: “It’s not a level playing field [for women].” However she continues to say that female filmmaker shouldn’t call off their dreams by knowing this and says, get over it. Just believe in yourself and get it done!”

Don’t let false hope and negative thoughts stop you from achieving your dreams in the film industry. As long as you have the confidence and the persistence to continue fighting to the top, you will succeed in this amazing industry.

*If you ladies would love some help with your journey to the top, please feel free to email me at saracelestemartin@gmail.com!

Fútbol Superstars

Chicas in soccer are revolutionizing el deporté. Girls as young as four  years old are breaking the boys-club and are creating their own leagues, playing in co-ed teams, and becoming fútbol superstars.

History of women in sports 

There was a time when sports were “boys only” but that quickly changed in 1972. Before the Title IX legislation in 1972, women were not allowed to participate in sports. In 1972, this law mandated gender equity in education which drew women to participate in sports and sports activities. It began with varsity squads growing in college institutions which quickly spread nationally.  The nation established a professional squad in 1985. In 1995, the National Women’s League was launched and, as recently as 2001, the very first professional league made its debut. Women’s soccer took off with such endeavor that cities began to incorporate girls into their teams.

Co-ed soccer

Nahua Romo-Lara, a sophomore at Prairie View A & M  says, “My parents wanted me involved in sports. I started playing co-ed soccer at age 4. [My first two years] were coed, but at age 6, girls were put on girl teams. At that age you don’t notice the differences between guys. We were first introduced to the concept of soccer…so I saw [GUYS] as competition. I am happy where I’m at now. I’m soccer smart. I know what next steps should be. I know when they will kick the ball or when they will run.”

“My mother says I was very good. It was the first sport I tried and I was good at it. Now I am 20 and still play soccer for Prairie View A & M,” adds Romo-Lara.

Liliana Balboa of Houston Texas is one young lady fighting just as hard as any male counterpart to stay on her team. She says, “Well to be honest, it was tough. I remember my dad asking one of the coaches if I could play in his team, but the coach said I was a girl and didn’t know how to play.”

Girls like Balboa are breaking away from these stereotypes and are fighting to prove that women are just as capable as men to make it big in the world of sports!

Gender does not define how well you play in sports.

Women may feel that the social inequalities of being a woman defines them and that joining masculine sports is unheard of, but Balboa says, “That’s when my dad decided to make his own team. I remember my first game like it was yesterday. I was super nervous. Being the only girl on the team and a beginner I could say I wasn’t as good as the guys. The guys would drop me to the ground with no mercy at all. At first, I felt like I didn’t belong. But as my dad coached me, I earned respect when I became…better than many of the guys.”

Others, like Bianca Garza, 19,  from Prairie View A&M, view sports differently.  “Sports should be a hobby and [about] staying fit. It is extremely hard to become a professional athlete and it’s only getting harder. Getting an education ensures that you will be successful in the long run. I think sports, like soccer, should never be more important than education. Sports are unpredictable, [an education is not],” says  Garza.

“My family has always had high expectation of me…but I enjoyed kicking the ball around,” adds Garza.

Finding inspiration in sports

Inspiration is a potential opportunity to strive for success. These three young women say that having someone believe in them helped them continue to play. Balboa says, “My dad is my inspiration and coach. He made a recreational team in Houston at age 8…he took time to support me…no matter what it took, even if I had to play with guys. There wasn’t a game he would miss. If it wasn’t for him, I would not have achieved such greatness in the sport.”

For inspiration, Balboa also looks to other women in her school’s Varsity and Junior Varsity teams to help motivate her endeavors to continue to play soccer. She says, “At every game the opponent’s coach or a girl would compliment my skills.”

“I tell them that practice is key,” she adds.

Whether you want to be the next fútbol superstar or are playing for fun, always remember that girls are just as good as guys. Determination is key! “I think girls have the potential to be just as good as most guys. We just have to be as determined and as hard working as they are,” Garza stressed.

Crash Landing Into the Spotlight

Spring break for many students means spending time at the beach but other more adventurous students prefer the city adrenaline. One place where spring breakers find themselves is visiting music festivals or going to a concert, like the South by Southwest Music Film festival, or SXSW, in Austin, Texas or Coachella in California.

In a music festival, not only do the popular bands get the chance to perform in front of their fans, those same fans have the chance to hear some of the less-known bands. The less-known bands have one shot to make those fans listen and attract them to their music.

Recently, these great acts performed at the SXSW festival.

Bajofondo

Bajofondo is made up of eight musicians from Argentina and Uruguay. The band was formed in 2002 with members Gustavo Santaolalla, Juan Campodonico, Luciano Supervielle, Martin, Ferres, Veronica Loza, Javiery Casalla, Gavriel Casacuberta and Adrian Sosa.

The band was received with open arms due to their quirky mix of different variation of musical genres. Their dance-able music is a mix of tango, electronic, Latin Alternative and house music. Their music is perfect to work out at the gym, dance with that cute boy or just to jump up and down to at a sleepover.

Here’s a video of a performance they did during SXSW: http://youtu.be/U5167KTFGYY

Gaby Moreno

Gaby Moreno is a Guatemalan singer, songwriter and guitarist. Moreno has been in the music business since 1997 and her music can be described as a mix of blues, jazz and R&B. Her songs can be found in English and Spanish.

Moreno is a very talented artist, having a huge following in the Latin American countries after she recorded a song with Ricardo Arjona. Moreno has had a lot of critical success and her songs are perfect to sing along in the shower. Just think of her as the Spanish Mariah Carey.

Here’s a video of a performance and interview: http://youtu.be/N-cAT45BZrc

Crash Boom Bang

Crash Boom Bang is a band from the Washington DC/northern Virginia area. The band is made up of drummer Mauricio Rivero, bassist Raul Rivero, singer Omar Ruiz and guitarist Chaucer Hwang.

Latinitas was able to get an interview with Mauricio Rivero, the drummer for Crash Boom Bang.

What inspired the band name?

The name came from a tentative lyric that we have from an older song of ours. We started writing music before we actually even had a band name. There was this one lyric that we sang Crash Boom Bang to. We were like, “it’s not going to stay. We are going to change it.” One day, we were like, “we need a band name. We need something that sounds big with large lights.” Our singer was the one that came up with naming our band.

I read on Tumblr that you are South American. Do you think your culture affects your music?

You know what, I don’t know. I want to say no, not really. Just because the area we are from, Washington DC, it’s such a mix pot of so many different cultures that we are friends with everybody. Raul and I, our parents are from Bolivian Peru and there is definitely no Bolivian Peruvian influence in our music. But, I really can’t say if our music is influenced by it.

How would you describe your music then?

Uhm, I would have to say electronic pop with a side of rock if that makes sense.

What are your favorite songs to perform?

Okay. My favorite song to perform to would be from our most recent record, the song Save Me. That is my favorite song to perform. A lot of times we will open up our set to that song. My other favorite song to perform would be a new song that we haven’t released yet called Circles. That is a lot of fun.

What’s next for the band? Can we expect new songs or perhaps an album?

We have a bunch of music, all new music already recorded. We just need to narrow it down. Our next release will maybe be another 6 song EP and it’s slated for release sometime in the springtime. We are really ready to pump something out again. We just shot a new music video for Save Me and we will be promoting that for a little while. As soon as we are done promoting that, we are ready for the next step.

Last question, what would you tell those who wanted to get into the music business? What advice would you give them?

Be patient and stick to your guns. Because when it comes to music, I once heard this quote, that being a musician is probably one of the hardest things to be. You put your emotions out there for the world to either love or trash. It doesn’t matter what you put out there. Just know that you are going to have a handful of people that are going to like what you are doing and a handful of people that won’t. The way we see it, the people that hate our music, we have to be doing something right. We just want a reaction out of it. Just be patient, stick to your guns and work hard.

Here is a still video of the band’s song, Save Me: http://youtu.be/lpfzQ8mlfxg

 

Author Spotlight: Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri

Rubber Shoes… A Lesson in Gratitude by Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri is a children’s book which tells the tale of young Gladys Elizabeth. Gladys learns her first lesson of humility and gratitude at a ripe age, after her mother is unable to afford the shoes that Gladys has set her young, little heart on and buys her “ugly rubber shoes”. Gladys’s mother, however, finds a great way in helping Gladys appreciate what she has and in the end young Gladys learns a valuable lesson. Rubber Shoes… A Lesson in Gratitude received the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Latinitas had the honor to meet and interview Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri, here’s what she had to say about her life as an author:

Latinitas: Tell us about yourself.

Gladys: “When I was studying at the University of San Francisco, one of my favorite things was to look out my window and see the glorious Golden Gate Bridge. And it is in this great city that my family’s American life began.  In the early 1950’s las tías-abuelas came to San Francisco with a clear vision to lay down strong roots in this country. My mom later immigrated from El Salvador and my dad from Nicaragua. I was raised in a home where education was considered an invaluable gift. Being in excellence, both in character and in one’s work were daily reminders at the dinner table.  That’s probably why I work best when there is routine and structure. I am eternally grateful to my parents and family friends who were active participants in my childhood. I enjoy spending time with people who make me laugh out loud and as my dad calls them, los locos, the dreamers of life.”

Latinitas: How did you become an author?

Gladys: “My dad has always told me that I was a writer. Any time I wrote something, whether for school or for fun I would share my writing with him. Yet I never thought of myself as a writer. Thankfully, I’m finally getting to the place where I think perhaps I am a writer.  What I’m learning is that if you enjoy singing and you sing on a choir, then you are already a “singer”.  Or if you enjoy painting then you are already an “artist”. In other words, instead of waiting to “make it” so to speak, I just woke up and started sharing my writing to more people. And to my surprise, it’s been working out quite nicely.”

Latinitas: What did you do to prepare for this career?

Gladys: “This answer is tied to the response above.  I didn’t set out to become an author. However, in the last few years I started writing and sharing with more people and then things just started snowballing from there. I read lots of articles, mostly dealing with education. If the article really gets me going I share my thoughts with the people who I feel are supportive of me via email. My friends call it my “pseudo blog”.”

Latinitas: What is your favorite part of being an author?

Gladys: “So far my favorite part is sharing with little people, particularly with my first grade students. When Rubber Shoes was just a word document I read the story to them several times and I had them illustrate it. I’ve done the same with my second book, Pink Fire Trucks (coming summer 2013) and when I see how excited they get, I then get inspired to write more stories. It’s a symbiotic relationship where I fuel their creativity and they in turn fuel mine. I enjoy sharing the creative process with them because I feel that teachers have lost the freedom to teach using more creative avenues like art, music, dance and movement.”

Latinitas: What is the most challenging part of being an author?

Gladys: “I wish I had more time to write. My brother in law told me of a famous and established Latina author who goes to her “writing house” to write. WOW! I would love to have that kind of life!”

Latinitas: What advice would you give to help a girl prepare to be an author?

Gladys: “Join groups where you can hone your writing skills. Keep a writing journal and set time aside to write. Also, volunteer to intern for the local paper or TV station. Read lots of books and materials, start a blog or a “pseudo blog” and share your views and commentaries with your friends and family. In the story PINK FIRE TRUCKS the big message is to do things with heart. It will make for a happy soul. But most importantly, enjoy the process without any expectations.”

Latinitas: What do you do for fun when you aren’t working? What volunteer projects do you do?

Gladys: “When I was cool and younger I would go dancing Wednesday through Sunday! These days I fall asleep by 10:30 p.m., so quiet dinners with loved ones and great conversation is fun. I jog which relaxes me and I recently started up yoga again. Now I’m on a mission to be a yoga star. As for volunteering, I don’t necessarily volunteer but I do donate proceeds of Rubber Shoes to the reading intervention program where I work.  I went to a workshop where I declared that I wished I had oodles of money to do philanthropic work in the field of early literacy. I was told to start giving, even if it’s just peanuts because the positive energy behind giving makes things happen.  I also participate in Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California events.  Their mission is to promote literacy and motivate children to read by building at-home libraries for underserved children in Greater Los Angeles. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to give oodles and oodles of money to the organizations that I admire.”

Latinitas: Why did you choose the lesson of gratitude for your book?

Gladys: “Rubber Shoes is based on a true event that happened when I was a little girl and in this story I learned a powerful lesson in gratitude.  Still, I sometimes forget how perfectly wonderful my life is just the way it is.  It seems that when I start to complain, everything falls apart, mostly because I keep looking at situations with a pessimistic eye.  When I live in a state of gratitude, things tend to fall in place and situations get better”

 

Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri’s upcoming book, PINK FIRE TRUCKS, comes out this summer.

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