Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NALACeando in San Anto

Torch of Friendship. A gift from Mexico to SA.

Summer is coming to a close and the need for sun basking has finally dispersed out of my veins. I can now concentrate on more indoor activities such as blogging. What else to write about but my summer vacation in Texas. My home state has always received a bad rap among cool LA hipsters, blue state Chicanos and east coast PIBs (people in black or JCrew). While there are some truths to the stereotypes (which I do not care to list) Texas is actually a fun, down-to-earth, relaxing, and friendly state. Shall I also mention AFFORDABLE?! No need to brag.

Initially, I wasn't planning a trip home this summer with LA sucking the last pigment of green from my bank account but then a well-designed postcard landed on my desk from an organization called NALAC, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture. They were calling for submissions to their annual Leadership Institute. You have to be a member for only $35 and submit an application about the work you are doing to advance Latino arts and culture. Easy! (Join now!) I sent my application and was accepted! I was so excited that I could actually pull off this visit since it was in my hometown of San Antonio and grandma could spend hours of quality time with her granddaughter while I went off to long days at Our Lady of the Lake University. We never knew who the real Lady of the Lake was until Carmen Tafolla, San Antonio's first poet laureate, told us it was La Llorona! Ahhh, yes, that makes sense. We were also treated to a special appearance by the current Texas State Representative and future Congressman Joaquin Castro. Six days of lectures by prominent leaders from across the country and not only networking but also building a true bond with the 21 other participants was an all encompassing experience. It opened up my eyes to the forward-thinking ideas people are working on in the Bay area, Denver, el Valle de Texas, New York City, even Oklahoma. We are elevating Latino arts to a new level and it's happening everywhere!

Special thanks to our amazing mentors and NALAC staff! Maria De Leon, Rosalba Rolon, Maribel Alvarez, Abel Lopez, Dr. Tomas Ybarra-Frausto, Ernest Bromley, Adriana, Claudio, Eddie, Beto, Chachis, and anyone I missed! Please click on the hyperlinks connected to the names above.

Nalaceros in Action! Love these people! Left center is the group picture of our mentors. Top right is me with NALAC leader Maria De Leon. If you don't know Maria, you should get to know her amazing work on behalf of Latino arts and culture! Just below that is Joaquin Castro giving us a motivational speech. Que inspiración!
Here are some of the websites and link to my fellow Nalacero's work:
Alejandra, New York, NY:
Amalia, El Valle de TX:
Ara, Denver, CO:
Giselle, Chicago, IL:
Jason, Tucson, AZ:
Javi, Bay Area, CA:
Jennifer, San Jose, CA:
Jesus, Bay Area, CA:
Joel, Los Angeles, CA:
Lisa, San Antonio, 
Liselotte, Philadelphia, PA: 
Maya, Bay Area, CA: mayachapina.tumblr.comRio, Bay Area, CA:
Sheyla, Providence, RI:

And to showcase some of these amazing people, check out Amalia on Def Jam Poetry:

Jason's Pan Left Productions works to document the struggles facing Latinos in Arizona:

Maya Chinchilla presents feminist poetry:

An homage to pan dulce from performance artist Javi, aka Perra Pumps!

Meet the Bay Area artists as they rallied to raise funds to attend NALAC!

And now for a word from Dr. Tomas Ybarra-Frausto:


Then please visit Ernest Bromley's website at to view an array of amazing commercials expertly targeted at a Latino audience without the pandering or literal translations that make all of us Latinos cringe. Look under "Best of Bromley" on the home page. The Western Union ad put a knot in my throat. Ernest invented Latino advertising back when companies didn't know they needed it! I truly learned a lot from his presentation. It's all about our common values, not our common language. Family, friends, support, love! Those are the ideas that catch our attention. You can't simply translate an ad and think you're advertising and connecting with Latinos. Instead, hire Bromley and let him work his magic! Guey!(Check the Coors Light ad)

This ad has me rollin'. I'd get down to this cumbia any day!

Te vas a chupar los dedos mi gordito!

Inspired yet?

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