Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Parties and New Years Events

Tis the season for some good music and New Year's Eve bashes around town. Here's a short list of events (which is rather long) of stuff to do this weekend and on New Year's Eve. Yours truly will be up in Seattle hanging out with the Poncho Sanchez boys at Jazz Alley. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 26
  • Lucky 7 joins other bands in a "Salsa Showdown and Workshop" at Stevens Steak House, $10-$30
  • Holiday on Air, "A Mystical Aerial Show" at Club Can in Garden Grove, $15-$35
  • Celebrate Kwanzaa in Leimert Park from 10am to dusk featuring UMOJA and a Kwanzaa marketplace.
Sunday, December 27
  • Susie Hansen will be at Fisherman's Village in Marina del Ray from 1-4pm. Free
Thursday, December 31
  • Shiela E and family at the Conga Room$65-$115
  • Buyepongo and La Santa Cecilia at Rhythm Lounge in Long Beach, $20
  • Orquesta Estrellas del Son at Tapas in Newport Beach, $15
  • Celebrate the Roaring 20s at Chaya Brasserie in Beverly Hills, no cover
  • Louie Cruz Beltran at South Coast Winery in Temecula, $219 for a 5-course meal
  • Chino Espinoza and Angel Lebron will be doing up Moulin Rouge Style at Granadas in Alhambra, $30-$50, party ends at 4am.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Serenatas by Gabriel Gonzalez

Seasoned actor and singer Gabriel Gonzalez is reviving the long-lost tradition of serenades this holiday season by offering Latin serenades direct to peoples homes. Starting this week and running through the New Year, Gabriel and an accompanying guitarist will wake up your loved ones with soulful songs of the holidays or romantic ballads just like they used to do so lovingly in Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete films.

The serenata includes a special in-person appearance by Gonzalez who will sing three songs chosen by the hiring parties in English or Spanish starting as early as 5am and running through noon each day. The songs of choice include Las MaƱanitas, Feliz Navidad, Silent Night and more. Sure to be a most memorable holiday season for lucky ladies, children, and especially moms and abuelitas, Gonzalez says "singing in such an intimate setting as a serenata is something that moves people to a point where you feel overwhelming love and pride in your rich and romantic cultural heritage. What better way to say 'I love you' but with a serenata and I want to revive this beautiful tradition in LA."

To set the date for a morning your loved ones will never forget, send an e-mail to with your name, address, phone, and the date and time you'd like your holiday serenata. Rates begin at $150 for any location within 20 miles of downtown Los Angeles. Additional costs apply for special requests and additional songs. Other times may also be available.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Charity: To Give or Not to Give

It's no joke that the economy has trampled over people's finances and affected everyone's life so what are we to do about charity? For those of us blessed to be employed, we've pinched our pennies and given up the luxuries we used to enjoy like eating out, vacations, a new car, shopping on a whim. Now, we're clipping coupons, forgoing expesive concerts, driving less, and waiting much longer for the next haircut, at least I am. So, here we are in December and the calls for help and charity have increased. We are asked to give more of ourselves because there are many more people in need, but how much can we give before we can give no more? How do you choose who to support? Your kid's school fundraiser or the local food bank? The $1 breast cancer donation at the cash register or the lukemia walk at your doctor's office. No place is safe. Everywhere you go, there is a hand reaching out into your wallet. How much do you allow yourself to be guilted into donating or do you do it gladly? If so, how did you make the decision and what sacrifices do you have to make in order to give?