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No07 September | OCTOBER09

Latino Lifestyle Magazine

The dawn of

2012 Are we at the brink of a Mayan spiritual awakening?

The Angel of the LGBT Community

Dominizuelan: Improv Meets Theater

Three Latinos Against the Political Current

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Latino Lifestyle Magazine



12-21-12, A NEW ERA?

Discover the meaning of this important date in the Mayan calendar. words Benjamin Ortiz


health-care pioneers

Two Cuban doctors devote a lifetime to the wellbeing of Latinos. words George de Lama


latino contrarians

Three Latinos swim against the community’s mainstream. words Randi Belisomo Hernández


Fabulous Fall FASHIon

A look at the season’s nightlife attire.

Concept photo for Mayan 2012 feature. | photo Lynda Guillú |

Three Latinos Against the Political Current

| stockexchange, istock |

8/17/09 11:41 AM


meet Three Contrarians who Dare to Oppose the ideals of most Their Community

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Latino LifestyLe Magazine


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No07 SEpTEmbEr | OCTObEr09

The Ink of Chicago Comic Book Artists Bringing Music to the People

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Latino LifestyLe Magazine Latino LifestyLe Magazine

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Latino LifestyLe Magazine

Contenders > Covers that did not make it, but came in a strong second place. More of Café’s photo:

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No07 September | OCtOber09

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DEPARTMENTS 8 publisher’s Note Editor’s Note 10 Dear Café

Julián G. Posada Alejandro Riera Reader feedback

Café Espresso

13 Somos 14 ¿sabías que? 16 The Buzz

18 voices 20 sinvergüenza 22 comunidad 24 diversions 26 spotlight

Alicia González Cultural factoids Must attend events Carlos Hernández Gómez Timeline of the shameless An angel called Julio Maldonado Latinos embrace running Meet the Dominizuelans

Café Filter


34 con gusto 37 BE WELL 40 MONEY MATTERS

A city condo defies expectations Peppers for all taste levels Migraine management Cash is king in this recession

Café Grande


Michigan’s many treasures

CafÉ Blend

7 MUST DO 6 0 nightlife 7

Striking a pose at the Venue Suites, Horseshoe Casino. | photo anthony tahlier |

72 todo tosí 74 restaurant guide 76 Scene at 80 A mí Me enseñaron

Ensemble Español’s duende DJ Jesse de la Peña looks back Calendar of events A list of Latino eateries Latino social scene Master of your destiny

The CONTRIBUTORS George de Lama Born and raised in Chicago, the son of Cuban immigrants, de Lama was the second Latino to work in the Chicago Tribune newsroom and the first to appear on the masthead of the newspaper. De Lama recently moved to Washington, D.C., where he is now Adviser of External Relations at the Inter American Development Bank.



Freddie Baez Freddie has been a experiential marketing guru for the past 11 years on over 400 different brands. Currently, he is Regional Marketing Manager for GTM Marketing in Atlanta and continues to fuse the world of fine spirits and nightlife together on a daily basis.

Yolanda Perdomo Yolanda began working as a freelance reporter and producer based in Chicago in 2000, contributing to public radio programs Latino USA, Marketplace, Only A Game, and The World. She’s also worked as a print reporter for various publications, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Journal, and Hispanic Business.

W r i t i n g Pa d f o l i o s

Tr a v e l D o c u m e n t H o l d e r s

Business Card Cases

Beautifully Elevated. Designed exclusively for OfficeMax.®

©2009 OMX, Inc.

julian posada


In October 2008, little did we imagine that the first issue of Café magazine would come out as the economy hit the skids. It’s not too hard to understand why people in the industry thought that we had lost all of our marbles as we set forth in our mission of exploring the contemporary Latino lifestyle through multiple platforms. For most, this idea alone was a risky business proposition. Weathering this economy’s perfect storm has not been easy. But a year later, we stand tall and strong, working harder than ever. In spite of understandable skepticism, we have forged innovative partnerships with key marketers and brands, such as Diageo, National City PNC, Verizon Wireless and National Louis University. We appreciate their faith in this endeavour. They believe, as we do, that acculturated Latinos are an important segment of the growing Latino market. The presence of these brands across our multiple platforms has opened the minds of business executives and community leaders about the importance of catering to the interests and needs of acculturated Latinos. Yet, we still find ourselves having to justify why we need to create unique culturally relevant content for this audience. Perhaps it’s because the belief for many years has been that the only way to reach the Latino market is exclusively through the use of Spanish-language media. Our mission continues to be to show how complex, dynamic and unique this market truly is. And that even though there is room for both English-language and Spanishlanguage media products, the dominant media force of the future will be English-language. Café Media started as a regional company. But, precisely because of the need for culturally relevant content, the magazine and Web site have a significant national presence in the top five Latino markets. This has happened by sheer word-of-mouth, organically and virally. Moving forward, we will expand our reach through our digital and social platforms. In the coming year, we will be providing advertisers with multiple points of entry to a digitally savvy Latino audience. You can expect more original online content, in addition to multimedia projects, featured bloggers and opportunities to develop interactive relationships with our readers. I am truly humbled by the support and enthusiasm readers, community leaders, advertisers and our investors have expressed to Café. We hope to build on the lessons learned this past year and to continue living up to, and even exceeding your expectations.



Alejandro Riera

editor’s note

Hard to believe, but a year has passed since we published our first edition. To quote the Grateful Dead, “what a long, strange trip it’s been.” When I took the job of Editor-in-Chief of this multimedia company more than a year ago, I pretty much had a clear idea of what I did not want to do. I did not want to run the same celebrity interviews that you see everywhere else in the Latino and mainstream media. I did not want to run the same stories on immigration, health, politics and culture. I did not want to dedicate an entire issue to Hispanic Heritage Month because, as a media company, it is our duty to celebrate our heritage the entire year. We do not need a month specially designated by Congress to do so. I knew I wanted to find new ways to tell stories. I knew I wanted to give my writers the time and space to experiment, explore and have fun. I wanted to publish unique, sometimes eccentric, sometimes quirky and edgy content that explored the hidden corners of our contemporary Latino lifestyle. Our team of Cafeteros – from our publisher and art director to our freelance writers – have played a key role in this vision. We have stumbled along the way. And we have yet to let ourselves fully loose. But I’m proud of what we have accomplished in these rough recessionary times. Issue after issue we have raised the bar and I wonder, how the hell am I gonna top this? Take this anniversary issue, for example. We could have devoted a good portion of the same tooting our own horns and publishing fluffier, celebratory pieces. Instead, we felt it would be more appropriate to devote this milestone issue in Café’s young life to doing what we do best: publish culturally insightful pieces and introduce our readers to people whose talent is rarely if ever acknowledged in the media; to individuals whose points of view are contrary to the Latino mainstream; and to those pioneers who laid the groundwork. Café is much more than a magazine. That is why we are now publishing original online content on a weekly basis and why we will be launching multimedia content initiatives in the coming months. Café is also much more than a Chicago-based media company. There are wonderful, exciting, curious and hidden Latino stories outside the Chicago metro area that need to be told and will be told. Expect to see those stories in these pages and on our website in the coming months as well. One final point: we embrace all religious, political and cultural points of view. We cannot fully explore our community if we don’t write or talk about those issues and personalities that make us slightly uncomfortable. And we will keep doing so for the next year and the year after and the one after that.

Publisher Julián G. Posada Café media Advisors


Editor-in-Chief Alejandro Riera Managing Editor marilia t. gutiérrez

GIna Santana Copy Editors Marie Joyce Garcia Chris MALCOLM, DarHiana Mateo Vera Napoleon Editorial Assistant CHRISTINA E. RODRíGUEZ Editorial Interns Esther Boriba, AMINA ELAHI ANGELICA JAIME design Art Director alberto treviÑo Graphic Designers wendy melgar judd ortiz Graphic Design Intern jason rivera

sales isis Gonzalez GINA TINOCO tracy wasicek Denise Carrasco

West Coast Sales Manager Southeast Coast Sales Manager Northeast Coast Sales Manager Sales Associate

Martin Castro, George De Lama, david hutchenson, IAN LARKIN, Mike Malee, carlos santiago, david selby, john wollney EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD

Cruz Registered Investors & Advisors LLC Angel Cruz Executive Title Martha Tovias Gomez Consulting Angel Gomez Grainger katie porter HACE Andrea Saenz Harris Bank Lilia Alvarado Home State Bank Magdalena Rivera The LDI Group Brian SOrge Loyola University Chicago regina treviño Merrill Lynch Juan Carlos Avila Mesirow Financial Olga Camargo National City/PNC Bruce Lines National Louis University Ana Maria Soto The Resurrection Project Raul Raymundo UIC LARES Program Leonard Ramírez Norma Magaña, Francisco Menchaca


ADMINISTRATION Circulation Manager bill loster Circulation Assistant Pilar Amado IT Manager Jorge Jiménez contributing writers freddie baez, randi belisomo hernández, christina chavez weitman, GEORGE DE LAMA, carlos hernández gómez, EL GUAPO, JUAN CARLOS HERNández, angélica herrera, DARHIANA MATEO, belia ortega, benjamin ortiz, marla seidell CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Elia l. Alamillo, abel arciniega, stacie freudenberg, AKIN Girav, lynda guillú, eddie quiñones, jillian sipkins, anthony tahlier

CONTRIBUTING Stylists and Models

Interior Design Stylist Bridget Johnson Fashion Stylist Agga B. Raya

at artists by timothy priano Fashion Stylist, Assistant Erin gordon Cover Stylist Jaqueline Quiñones Hair Stylist Gia Tumillo Make-up Artist Lia Rivette, Cindy Vazquez 2012 Model Alberto Viruena Ford Models, Fashion Cabil gibbs, Shara McGlinn 2012 Photo Assistant Jett Twin

Special Thanks

Business Development Director MITCH POSADA Brand Strategy & Communications Gina Santana Marketing and PR Liaison Diana Ramirez Marketing Coordinators christina merced, jill sipkins Outreach Coordinator gardenia rangel

stock photos STOCK.XCHNG, ISTOCKPHOTO, getty images CAFé MEDIA llc office

660 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60654 General: (312) 226-0151 Editorial: (312) 226-0153 Fax: (312) 226-0079 place an ad subscribe contact an editor submit calendar events

Café magazine is printed on paper sourced from companies that practice sustainable forest management.

Daniel Bleier, Michael Bleier, WILLIAM GRAHAM, michael keiser, ROBERT KING, Henry Kingwill, Pete kingwill, michael koldyke, Ian Larkin, William Mckenna, SUSAN SNOWDEN Acknowledgements


Luis Rosado

Roujay Vargas jose jara Envent Julie Newman Event Creative Nikki Shaffer Frontera Group James Giroux Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce omar duque Roberto Cornelio IZZE gina valentine Jenille Ramos Design Jenille Ramos Lopez CPA enrique lopez Maranon Capital Jana Gardella m?rk mark flores Mikey O Comedy Mike Oquendo National City/PNC Carlos Fuentes QDP Graphics juan quizphe Swilrz Cupcakes Paula Malone Pam Rose U.S. Concepts gina castillo


julie funke


LLOYD KING edgar castaÑEDA marcos castañeda

nelly aguilar, AL AUGAITIS, chris belec, Luis Calero, james cicenia, Alejandro Garcia, michael Gray, miriam gutierrez, doug levy, mike murnane, Ramon Muñoz, christian ortega, JANET PEREZ, julia rendon, Carlo Seran, sharon stallworth

Please Recycle This Magazine. Remove inserts before recycling.


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Thank you once again for your comments and suggestions. We look forward to each and every one: the good, the bad and the ugly. So keep them coming. The more we hear from you, the more we’ll strive to improve your Café experience.




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anchored by Fam Fatherhoo Against All Od


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no06 JULY | aUGUst09

Latino LifestyLe Magazine


Islam Find



Absolutely loved, loved, loved the “Latinas Find Islam” cover and article. I am Catholic and have a sister that recently converted to Islam. I think it’s great that Café respects, embraces and tells people’s stories. Paty Ocampo, Chicago

I want to start by saying that I look forward to getting your magazine every few months! As a mother of two young bicultural daughters, I am proud to show them people who look like them being portrayed in a positive light. As an educator in a predominantly Caucasian environment, I feel proud to refer to the people in the magazine, people who share the same city with my students. I believe your magazine really connects with my generation (first generation) and hope it will get into the hands of the younger generations who face obstacles and challenges from being raised bicultural. Marcela Gomez Sixto (posted online)

The Ink of Chicago Comic Book Artists

Why are you promoting Islam? If you want to do a pro and con article Summertime Delights about Islam, then that would make sense but this is just a shameless promotion of Islam. I realize that you have the right to do as you want with your publication but I don’t like the direction you are going. Jesse Jimenez (via e-mail) Bringing Music to the People

--CAFE06-COV01-32.indd 1

6/15/09 11:12 AM

As I read the piece, I understood that it narrated the unique experiences of some Latino/Latina converts/reverts to Islam. Unfortunately, it appears that you did not include interviews with members of the Muslim community who are endowed with the true knowledge of Islam. Consequently, the information contained in the article is skewed, at best. I believe that such interviews would have served to present Islam in its proper light and provide your audience beneficial information about Islam. Beatrice L. Martínez-Durrani (posted online) The article was very well presented and showed exactly what it intended to: different Latina experiences into Islam. It was not an educational piece on Islam but merely examples of some of the Latinas coming into this beautiful religion of ours and others’ reactions to it. I am very pleased to see other Latinas and proud to know many knowledgeable and thirsty to grow in Islam sisters as I do. Holly Garza (posted online) JUST PAWNS IN THE GAME

I enjoyed Carlos Hernandez Gomez’s article “Used, Chewed, and Spit Out by the Machine” (July/August). But HDO (Hispanic Democratic Organization) isn’t the only problem. The machine culture affects a whole host of Latino groups in the city. For many, the ends justify the means as long as you are “hooking people up.” It’s not some sophisticated sort of Machiavellian virtù — that would be interesting. It’s merely a crude “it’s our turn” mentality. Thanks for pointing out the delusions of grandeur that plague these wannabe princes. Most of them are pawns rather than the powerbrokers that they think they are. Rey Lopez-Calderon (posted online)


I met Tony (Maldonado, “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s…D.I.Y. Comics,” July/August) recently and was really impressed with him and his total vibe. What a talent. And Nino (Mesarina) I have known professionally for a few years and he has been such a powerful and enlightened bridge builder with the Black Age of Comics indie-alternative movement. We all love Café for showing these amazing brothers and their gifted, dedicated efforts so much love. How about running some of their work as a regular feature? Turtel Onli (posted online) I recently started a blog about comics —among other nerdy things— intended for those who like or prefer to read these types of news in Spanish. It’s located at This article is very interesting. I have been looking for artists with a Hispanic background to blog about, so I will definitely explore the websites and links included in the article. Fernando Escudero (posted online) MORE MUSIC

I am a big fan (of the magazine) and love that it touches a lot of issues that are going on in all the communities throughout the city and around the world. I’m also a huge salsa/latin jazz aficionado. I think it would be absolutely awesome if Café had a section dedicated to informing people of all the great music that’s out there as well as where all the great salsa/latin jazz venues are throughout the city and suburbs. Noel Aguinaldo (posted on Café Media LLC’s Facebook fan page)

Send your comments to, post them at or write to Letters to the Editor, Café Magazine, 660 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60654. Include your full name, address and daytime phone number. Submissions may be edited for length and clarity.


Sneak Peek at the Next Issue ... HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Reyes Magos…so many dinners and parties, so many family gatherings, so little time. You can rely on Café to make life much easier for you. From hosting a potluck dinner to decorating tips to a calendar of holiday-related events, Café will give you a hand in this hectic season. I LOVE ROCK ‘N ROLL

Inspired by the likes of El Tri and Caifanes, Chicago’s local Latin rock bands started performing in Spanish during the heydays of the rock en español movement. But now, the pendulum is swinging back and bands like Pure Remedy and Black Roses are following on the footsteps of groundbreaking English-speaking Latino bands like the Mars Volta. FROM THE BOROUGHS TO BROADWAY

The national tour of “In the Heights,” the Tony-award winning play by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes, finally arrives in Chicago. We take a look back at its success and the challenges it faced on its road to Broadway.


Planning a quinceañera can be as difficult as planning a wedding. So much can go wrong. It’s all in the details. One family opens the doors to Café and lets us be witness to the chaos and the joys of a quinceañera celebration. 11

The greatest heritage is a good education.. SM

Rubicelia Pérez

HSF/Walmart scholarship Pre-Medicine

David Terrazas

HSF/Walmart scholarship Information Systems

Yesenia de la Cruz HSF/Walmart scholarship Mathematics

Every day, more and more Hispanics earn their degrees from universities and colleges across the country. At Walmart, we’re proud of them, and their success encourages us to continue to provide our support so they can get ahead in life. That’s why we contribute to organizations such as the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Excelencia in Education, and ASPIRA. So, during Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s as important to remember where we came from as it is to keep in mind how far we can go.

For more information, visit:



Alicia Gonzalez 31, Executive Director, Chicago Run photo

Akin Girav

When did you start running? I stayed extremely active through sports and activities in high school and college, eventually teaching aerobics, spinning and being a personal trainer as my side job in college. All those years, I ran recreationally but never raced. When I was 26, I decided to run my first marathon, so I signed up for the Chicago Marathon. I have not stopped since. I have run seven marathons, including the Boston Marathon this past April. As for Chicago Run, this is my calling. This organization brings together all of my passions — education, youth, non-profit management and athletics. It has been a wonderful experience launching Chicago Run and watching the impact that it is making in the lives of children across the city. Any funny or embarrassing stories? I was hit by a golf cart in June 2007 and broke my left ankle. But I did not know that it was broken, I just thought it was sore. I continued to run on it for two weeks (limping the whole way) averaging 60 miles a week at that point. I was stubborn and thought that the pain would eventually go away. One day after a 12 mile run, a doctor whom I was running with said that I should immediately get an X-ray because it was so swollen. Thus, two days later I got myself to a podiatrist and found out that I had a complete fibular fracture and could not run for the next six weeks. Have you ever wanted to give up? The last few miles of the Boston Marathon were brutal, but I thought about how hard some of our kids work at Chicago Run and this got me through the last few hills. Have you ever run more than the length of a marathon? No, I have yet to run more than 26.2 miles. It might be in the cards to do an ultra-marathon, but for now 26.2 miles is far enough. How do you take your café?  My coffee needs a little kick to it, so I always add a shot of espresso and a little skim milk.  For more of this interview, visit 13



Hispanic Heritage Month

In recognition of the Hispanic community’s contributions to this country’s history, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed National Hispanic Heritage Week in September 1968. Sept. 15 was chosen as the kickoff date because several Latin American countries (Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua) celebrate their independence on that date. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan expanded the celebration to a full month. To the Trenches!

Lucy Gonzales Parsons (1853(?)-1942) was an African, Native and Mexican-American labor activist who, alongside with her husband, led a strike in Chicago for an eight-hour work day. The strike ended in violence in what came to be known as the Haymarket Riot. Lucy’s husband, Albert, was arrested and accused along with eight other anarchists of setting off the bomb that killed four police officers. Although she unsuccessfully fought for her husband’s release, Gonzáles Parsons continued her work on behalf of thousands of workers until her death. A Tiny Caribbean Dot

The original name of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, the smallest country in America, was San Cristóbal y Nieves, honoring Christopher Columbus. Located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, its population is approximately 39,000. The British settled the two islands in the 17th Century and changed the name to its current AngloSaxon form.



Monalisa, Desirée, Nicola, Charlotte, Idaho....More than 4,000 varieties of potatoes have been discovered so far. The tuber was cultivated for the first time by the Aymara Indians in the Andes, near Lake Titicaca, about 8,000 years ago. Today, Peru is South America’s leader in potato production. In fact, Peru produces close to 3,000 kinds of potatoes. Quiñones

First found in Asturias, Spain, the surname Quiñones comes from the Latin term Quinio, meaning “group of five,” and refers to a piece of land that was shared among a group of five co-tenants for sowing. Sources:,, The Lucy Parsons Project,,,, United Nations International Year of the

Potato 2008

Stay Close. Go Far.

A World of Opportunities is Closer Than You Think… • Faculty from top PhD programs work closely with students. • Chicago businesses and cultural centers provide great internships. • Students from 45 states and 69 countries live on our campus. • Students study abroad in more than 30 countries. • All well-qualified Illinois students will receive a $12,000 in-state scholarship, and may be eligible for additional financial assistance.

Call today to schedule a visit or register for a reception in your area. | 847-735-5000 | 150 Years of Academic Excellence

caféespresso LATINO-VISION


You know Hispanic Heritage Month is just around the corner when mainstream TV stations schedule specials about the Hispanic experience in the United States during the 30-day celebration. Although a specific air date was yet to be announced, CNN will broadcast in October the two-part documentary series “Latino in America” hosted by Soledad O’Brien. The series explores the lives of people across the country who share the surname Garcia, and how four communities are facing such challenging issues as language, immigration and cultural identity. PBS will air “Latin Music USA,” a coproduction of WGBH Boston and the BBC, on Oct. 12 and 19. This four-part series explores the significant impact Latin American music has had on U.S. culture, focusing on Tito Puente, Willie Colon, Carlos Santana, Juanes (pictured left) and Shakira. Shakira Howls at the Moon

Speaking of Latin music and the most famous hips in the world, “She-Wolf,” Shakira’s second full-length English language album after “Oral Fixation Vol. 2,” will be released in October. The Colombian pop star promises it will be

the perfect antidote to our recessionary blues. And based on the music video for the first single, aptly titled “SheWolf,” where a caged Shakira howls and thrashes like a wild animal, we couldn’t agree more. From the Field to the Ring

The soccer field that is. In “Goal” and “Goal II,” Kuno Becker played the son of a migrant farm worker whose dreams of playing soccer professionally come true when he is recruited by Newcastle United. In his new film “From Mexico With Love” (Oct. 9), Becker plays a migrant farm worker and part-time prizefighter who takes on a rancher’s boxer son. The film is directed by Jimmy Nickerson, who choreographed the fight sequences for “Rocky” and “The Fight Club.” BRAZILIAN classics

Orquestra de São Paulo will make its Chicago debut Oct. 14 at the Harris Theater. Considered one of Latin America’s premier classical orchestras, the Orquestra will perform works by Brazilian classical composers, as well as a new percussion concerto by Marlos Nobre. For more, visit

c33 gallery 33 e. cOngreSS pkwy

Opening ReceptiOn:

Tuesday, September 15 4–8 pm panel DiscussiOn:

“Quinceañera: Spiritual Rite of Passage or ‘My Super Sweet Fifteen’ Blowout Bash…or Both?” thursday, October 22, 3 pm Hokin annex 623 S. wabash ave. First Floor Javier Ramírez Limón Quinceañera con chambelanes national city, ca, 2007 giclée print

Free and Open tO tHe public

September 8–OctOber 28, 2009

| XXXXXXX | Voices caféESpresso caféXXXXX

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? What For?

Carlos HernÁndez


In essence, it’s become a Hallmark holiday, one which gives to every purveyor of “Hispanic” products yet another opportunity to target the largest growing demographic in this country.


I am an ethnocentrist, and for this I make no apologies. I am a proud Puerto Rican man, and I love my ancestral homeland more than anything other than my wife and God. Whether walking through Plaza Colon in Mayagüez, spending time with my family or practicing my Catholic faith — along with the doting and cooking of my great-grandmother (I would hijack a busload of nuns to be able to taste it again) during my childhood — I am reminded of why I am so proud of where I come from. So, one would think I would look forward to Hispanic Heritage Month as a chance to thump my chest and sing out with pride about my rich and textured heritage. But, somehow, I’m just not feeling it. And come to think of it, it has never really done anything for me. Does that mean I’m not about celebrating my heritage? Certainly not. Maybe I feel like it’s become too commercialized — the selling of shares in Hispanic pride as if it were a commodity. Or perhaps it’s the fact that I was so fortunate to have grown up in a little apartment with seven members of my family stretching back five generations, four of whom were born on the island. (I even knew my great-great grandmother, who was 19 when the U.S. invaded Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War.) Inter-generational family living back before the yuppies invaded Lincoln Park gave me a head start on respecting and living my culture. Heck, when one entered our kitchen you were practically in Puerto Rican territory. It’s not just that I don’t feel I need a special month to celebrate my heritage. I’ll be frank, I’m also bugged by how it’s celebrated. When Hispanic Heritage Month rolls around, every corporation trots out its token Latino VPs to show they’re diverse and thus worthy of our

money and loyalty. Then, they show up to cheesy receptions, held by Hispanic holders of public office, to show how “Hispanic” they are with our tax dollars. All in the hopes that their show of pride will somehow translate into our votes on election day (more often than not, it does.) In essence, it’s become a Hallmark holiday, one which gives to every purveyor of “Hispanic” products yet another opportunity to target the largest growing demographic in this country. Then, there are invariably the posters of scantily-clad young Latinas in tight T-shirts and short hip-hugging shorts, hocking some kind of beer as they wave the flag of (insert your Latin American locale of choice). That does more to feed into Anglos’ lustful J-Lo fantasies than it does to promote respect for our Hispanic heritage. “You wanna feel brown? Buy this beer or these chips, because they have to be good.” I guess on some level it should provide us with a feeling of validation, that we’re at least important enough to be a coveted demographic. But that’s no reason to celebrate. Our culture doesn’t hinge on food products or booze. And here’s another factoid: While I subscribe to Simon Bolivar’s ideal of Latin American unity, we Hispanics, Latinos, etcetera, are not a homogenous group. We have many common threads, but are each unique. Here’s a new concept: Why a month? Let’s resolve to live and celebrate our heritage each day. What it comes down to is, I don’t need a month to nudge me into remembering the relevance of my heritage, because I am Puerto Rican every day: from the coffee I drink, to the way I see the world, to the way I have to ask for a bendición whenever I leave my mother’s presence. brings




25 @ 8PM

The Pulse of Chicago

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Sinvergüenza Sinvergüenza is Café’s brave voyage into a mysterious zone. An area as elusive and feared as the Bermuda Triangle, where morals, taste and decency are warped beyond recognition or repair; where hair-roller-wearing mothers shake their heads disapprovingly. Join this daring expedition as it takes us to the dark side (and back…we hope). From simple pendejadas, to cutting-edge risk-taking, we examine the people, places, events and behaviors that have earned the title of Sinvergüenza. We start it off, with a simple timeline.



European explorers hand out disease-ridden handshakes to the natives, whose descendants inherit an intrinsic fear of being on time to anything. Now we’re late to christenings, quinceañeras, funerals and, to the chagrin of many employers, work.

The world was suffering from a great void until Sábado Gigante’s Don Fransisco as born in Chile in 1962, later developing into what we’ve enjoyed on Univision since 1986. Finally, programming that is equal parts boobs, degrading competitions and ubiquitous commercials.

Ecuadorian rapper Gerardo breaks Sinvergüenza ground with his hit single, “Rico Suave.” In this classic opus, the wordsmith muses the complexities of relationships with lines like, “Take a piece of your pie and say bye?/Or be honest and rub your thighs?”

“Ahí Está el Detalle”


Never one to conform, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo stopsThe late, great Mexican comedian just short of corn rows and dreads when she purposelyand film star Mario Moreno exaggerates her mustache and unibrow in self-portraits,“Cantinflas” blazes a cineseemingly to challenge the Western ideal of beauty. Tomatic trail with his sharp tongue his credit, Sesame Street’s Bert held a similar aestheticand quick wit, inspiring the later revolution for muppets everywhere. hip-hop generation to toss their belts into the nearest dumpster and drop their collective pants.

“Say Hello to My Little Friend”


The Mustache that Shook the World


Al Pacino, armed with spasmodic, kangaroo dance movesAn upstart Puerto Rican-Jewish go-getter arrives on the ‘80s and an accent guilty of ear-rape, made Cubans and Cubantalk show scene with a ‘stache that has its own limo. Geraldo Americans wince with pride and clink tiny coffee cups inRivera’s gall does not end with his decision to sport a silent celebration of Scarface and its culturally sensitive depictionfilm villain’s twirl-worthy mustache. He unflinchingly delves into of a ruthless Cuban drug lord with a heart of gold. (Next up,hard-hitting topics like “Men in Lace Panties and the Women Ashton Kutcher to play legendary civil rights leader CesarWho Love Them.” To this day, Rivera reminds us that talent and Chavez in a bio pic co-starring Linsday Lohan as Doloresinsight have no place on television. Huerta. Sí se puede, dude.)

Gatorade Killer

The Myth, The Mullet



Mexican history brings us dictator, soldier and all-around complex guy Antonio López de Santa Anna, who mourned the leg he lost in battle in true Sinvergüenza style by sending it off with full military honors.

“¿Qué Dice el Público?”


To Tweeze or Not to Tweeze?

You Put Your Right Foot In

Origin of L.T.A. (Latino Time Lag)


After being ejected from a game, the ever-volatile, everdemonstrative Venezuela-born Chicago Cubs’ pitcher Carlos Zambrano takes his frustrations out on the team’s Gatorade dispenser. The dispenser did not comment on the incident, although sources indicate that there is still some serious tension (some say sexual) between the two. An intervention is in the works.



Today. Right now.

Next to “He who smelt it, dealt it,” a Sinvergüenza’s most revealing maxim is, “It takes one to know one.” So, if you recognized any of the Sinvergüenza behavior mentioned here, it is safe to assume that you are, in fact, a Sinvergüenza yourself. (Oh, yes, and we also suspect that you smelt it… You know what that means.)

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2009_177_Cafe Magazine.indd 1

7/28/09 8:54:13 AM


An Angel in

the LGBT Community Julio Maldonado’s knowledge about HIV and AIDS have had ripple effects in New York and Chicago words

Angélica Herrera


Stacie Freudenberg

As is customary in Peru, Julio Maldonado slid up next to the taxi driver and told him where to go. Maldonado had a lot on his mind. His thoughts drifted to Raul, a friend who had recently died of complications of tuberculosis as a result of AIDS. He couldn’t help but think how his new job as Executive Director at the Miraflores, Peru, branch of AID FOR AIDS International — the New York City-based nonprofit that provides services such as medication recycling programs to people living with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers — may have saved his friend. Suddenly, Maldonado’s thoughts jerked to the road ahead. “Why are you going this way?” Maldonado asked, realizing the driver was heading in the wrong direction. “Shut up, f***ing fag,” the driver growled and snatched Maldonado’s knapsack from his lap. Maldonado drops his light brown eyes to the coffee cup before him as he remembers the incident and sighs. “It’s hard trying to remember because I’m still trying to forget,” he says apologetically, smoothing his grey tweed vest. “You have to understand that in Peru there’s a lot of homophobia and gay discrimination. Being a gay community activist, people all over Lima knew who I was.” He rubs his brown neck where colorful identical Egyptian birds said to lift people to the afterlife are tattooed on either side. “The cab driver knew who I was,” he says quietly. “He drove to the beach and raped me. And then threatened to kill me if I told anyone.” For years, Maldonado kept quiet. After suffering three years of continued threats and attacks, Maldonado fled his homeland for New York City, leaving his mother behind. “I almost didn’t escape from Peru alive,” he says. With the help of his friend, Jesus Aguais, 22 Café SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER2009

founder and Executive Director of AID FOR AIDS International (AFAI) in New York City, and Maldonado’s attorney, Victoria Nielsen, he petitioned for and obtained asylum in the United States. During the asylum proceedings, Maldonado became involved with the African AIDS Program — a medication recycling program much like AFAI’s geared towards reaching immigrants living with HIV — and became its program coordinator. “Who better to educate a population of immigrants than an immigrant himself?” says Aguais, the man who gave Maldonado his first job as a volunteer at AFAI. “Clients still love him and talk about him — he really left a footprint in New York’s immigrant community.” Aside from working alongside Nielsen and another attorney, Heather Betz, on over 24 asylum cases — which he proudly boasts they won — Maldonado founded Empowering Communities, the first brown bag support group of its kind for straight, gay, bisexual and transgendered people living with HIV in New York. “Julio never got any formal training in social work, yet he managed to develop this strong peer counseling group,” Aguais says. “Someone who can get outside of himself and connect with people like that is remarkable.” But then came Sept. 11, and Maldonado decided to end his 13-year love affair with the Big Apple. At first, he thought about moving to the West Coast, but while visiting California for a conference, he was so scared when an earthquake struck that he had a change of heart. So, he set his heart on Chicago. During his first year in the Windy City, Maldonado spent his time making the rounds in the Intensive Treatment Unit at the Chicago Lakeshore Hospital and building support groups for patients with bipolar disorder and drug and alcohol addiction.


“One little drop of knowledge in an ocean of questions will eventually lead to more drops until the mentality about HIV/ AIDS changes to create an awareness that these people are still human beings,” said Julio Maldonado, Latino Health Specialist at the Howard Brown Health Center.

But after a year, he made the difficult decision to leave the hospital to join the Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood as its Latino Health Specialist. “I felt I had to do things I really loved,” Maldonado says about joining Howard Brown. “And I felt like this was me and [it was] how I was going to feel alive.” And now, thanks to Maldonado, Erika Estrada says she’s still alive. Aside from providing immense psychological help through Maldonado’s support group at Howard Brown, Estrada says he’s been her rock throughout her transition from a male to a female. “Julio’s my angel and the most important person there could be,” Estrada says. “He lets us [transgendered people] know we have

rights and are a part of this society — not some aliens from another planet.” Aside from providing a Latino support group for people like Estrada, part of Maldonado’s motivation for his work stems from dispelling myths, educating people and providing a better quality of life for Latinos. “People still think HIV is a gay disease, or that if someone is infected it’s because they’re promiscuous — but it just means that you were [probably] involved in risky behavior,” he says. “You have no idea how many calls I get from Latinos asking for help who are living on the DL (“Down Low,” keeping a homosexual lifestyle hidden from others) with (sexually trans-

mitted diseases), or others who don’t know how to tell their parents they have HIV.” And to get the right information out there about HIV, Maldonado says peer education is the best kind of education. As he puts it, since nobody wants to hear the 32 year-old guy talk about safe sex, training people in one support group so they may help educate people in the next is the most successful way to inform. “The more [participants] feel like it’s their group, the more they learn and teach others,” Maldonado says. “One little drop of knowledge in an ocean of questions will eventually lead to more drops until the mentality about HIV/AIDS changes to create an awareness that these people are still human beings.” 23



Latinos are embracing what used to be seen as an elite sport for more than healthoriented reasons



Belia Ortega photos Lynda Guillú


Running has turned into a lifestyle for twin sisters Veronica (black shorts) and Jennifer Acuña (red shorts, above and opposite page) after they ran for the first time at the 2007 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Patricia Ballesteros may not be the fastest runner on Chicago’s lakefront path, but that’s okay. She isn’t in a race against anyone else. Back in spring 2004, Ballesteros decided to make a lifestyle change. She was overweight and concerned about many of the common illnesses that are prevalent in the Latino community — diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. “I was going to turn 30 and I thought, ‘I really need to do something with myself.’ I just wanted to be more fit,” says the 35-year old Chicago resident, who through a combination of running and exercise went from a size 24 to her current size 14. She began by setting small goals. It took her four months to complete a mile, and soon after she ran her first 5K. “It felt like, 'Wow, I totally have met this goal!' It was exhilarating,” she says about crossing the finish line for the first time. “It helped me get that motivation to get to the next goal.” Ballesteros isn’t alone: Latinos in Chicago and the suburbs are discovering the benefits of a daily run. Part of what attracts Latinos and others to running is that it is now a more inclusive activity, eliminating the myth that only elite athletes can participate in races, says Bill Fitzgerald, interim executive director of the Chicago Area Runners Association, the largest running non-profit organization in the Midwest. “In the Chicago running community, if one were to track race and ethnicity numbers, it has evolved over the years,” says Fitzgerald. “What we have seen is a rise in numbers in African American and Latino runners. They had [previously] been represented by more of an elite runner.” In addition, people recognize that running has significant benefits including enhancing a person’s cardiovascular system, reducing stress, improving digestion and

serving as a natural sedative, he added. Running became an outlet for Jennifer Acuña, who turned 27 in August, and her twin sister, Veronica, as they dealt with their father falling ill and dying of cancer. They registered as Bank of America Chicago Marathon charity runners for the American Cancer Society in 2007 and ran in their father’s honor. He died a few weeks before the marathon. Jennifer Acuña’s passion for running seeped into her work as a nurse. She is training clients from Community Health in Humboldt Park, where she volunteers, for a 5K fitness run and walk the clinic is hosting in September. “It took turning a very difficult experience into something very positive in my life,” says Acuña. “We could’ve just stopped at that one marathon and called it a day, but now it’s turning into a lifestyle.” an act of pride

Historical performances by elite Mexican athletes in the Chicago Marathon, including Alejandro Cruz’s win in 1988, Martin Pipayo’s win in 1990, and more recently Madai Pérez Carrillo setting the Mexican women’s record in 2006, may have encouraged local residents in an act of pride, says Carey Pinkowski, race director of the Chicago Marathon. “I think it’s just complemented the popularity (of running),” he said. “If you look at the popularity of the marathon in Chicago, nothing sells the activity like the marathon itself.” Local races have evolved into a family oriented activity, making them accesible to participants of all levels. Organizations serving the Latino community have created their own races to promote health and fitness. Alivio Medical Center in Pilsen

IF YOU GO Bank of America Chicago Marathon Where: Begins at 500 S. Columbus Drive, Chicago When: Sunday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 a.m. Info: (312) 904-9800,

hosts a 5K run and 2-mile walk in May and the UNO Charter School Network began hosting the Carrera de los Muertos (Race of the Dead) in Pilsen in 2007. “Pilsen is a beautiful neighborhood, why not highlight it through this race?,” asks Carlos Jaramillo, race director. “Parents, students, moms pushing strollers, young athletic clubs, they all get involved. When we say Hispanics have such a high number of diabetes and so forth, it’s a healthy way of becoming active.” For longtime Latino runners, seeing other Latinos involved in running and becoming more health conscious is comforting. Gabriel Garcia of Chicago remembers running in 1985 in a race where he was one of two Latinos among 5,000 athletes. “It makes me feel good because it tells me that they’re allowing themselves to expand their minds and try things they might not have known,” says Garcia, 43. Whether it’s running or doing another exercise, Ballesteros acknowledges that the benefits of living in a limber and healthier body are worth it. “God only gives us this one body,” Ballesteros says. “The only thing that we have to do is to take care of ourselves by eating right and exercising. It doesn’t always have to start with running. You can start walking and then you take it from there.” 25


{DoubletheFun } Wendy Mateo and Lorena Diaz (a.k.a. Dominizuelan) want to bridge the worlds of theater and improv words

Christina E. Rodríguez photos Elia Alamillo

“The closest point between two people is a laugh,” says Wendy Mateo while sipping a beer at the Old Town Pub on Chicago’s North Side. It’s a motto she lives by. And given her profession, she brings a lot of people together. Four years ago, while living in South Florida, Mateo and Lorena Diaz packed up their belongings in a 2001 Toyota RAV-4 and drove straight to Chicago. Why Chicago? They knew Chicago was the Mecca of improvisational comedy. During the 2004 Miami Improv Festival, they were encouraged by the Chicago-based teachers and performers who participated in the event to give the Windy City a try. After much deliberation, Mateo and Diaz decided that it was the right thing to do. The two funny girls met at The Acting Studio in Hollywood, Florida. Then 19-year-old Diaz was working the reception desk at the acting school, while Mateo was an ambitious 24-year-old actress who had moved south from the Bronx as a teenager. Watching a cheery and optimistic Mateo, Diaz remembers thinking, “You’re going to be a star!” Their life together began when Diaz’s roommate, David, decided to leave right before the rent was due. Mateo was there, ready to take his spot. “She taught me how to be a woman,” says Diaz about Mateo, who grew up with a single mom in a female-dominated household. From that point on, the two were practically inseparable. Where one went, the other had to go. They first called themselves “Fuacata” but, due to some copyright issues (there was an event with the same name in South Florida), the duo opted to conjoin their two nationalities and adopted the name of Dominizuelan. They also began using the alternative name of “LoriWendy” so that people could find them individually on searches of Dominizuelan. They did improv together, as well as other productions. 26 Café SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER2009

In 2004, Diaz was recognized for her role as Mrs. Siezmagraff in Christopher Durang’s “Betty’s Summer Vacation.” She won the Carbonell Award, which recognizes the best theatrical shows and performances in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, for Best Supporting Actress and was featured in the Miami New Times “Best Of” issue. After that, Diaz realized there was something more out there. “I was hungry for life,” she said. “A community,” added Mateo. Then came the invitation to move to Chicago. Now, Diaz has a 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Angelina, and Mateo is engaged to be married. Together they have a new act called “Dominizuelan Presents People in the City.” Mateo, the Dominican half, and Diaz, the Venezuelan, play 20 characters, all representing the people that they’ve met during their time in Chicago. They tell stories about Cubs fans, cleaning ladies and homeless people on the street. The whole point is to create dialogue. “It’s all relevant and we’re all tied together,” says Diaz. “We all have the same thing that drives us and pushes us.” Being Latinas has been at the root of their hard work and ambition, especially in a comedy world with very little Latino participation. References to other wellknown actresses would emerge during auditions, and that made them work harder to be who they are and to be comfortable in their own skin. The duo’s Latino culture doesn’t play as vital a role in their show as does their experiences. They’re actresses that happen to be Latinas. “We’re not trying to put the fact that we’re [Latinas] all over it,” says Diaz. “We’re [Latina] but we’re also American.”

Venezuelan Lorena Diaz, left, and Dominican Wendy Mateo are the two halves of Dominizuelan, an improv comedy duo that is leaving a mark in their adopted city, Chicago.

At the same time, their background has caused some issues. “Can you be more like Tina Fey?” Mateo remembers someone asking her during an audition. “I’m a brown girl, can I do this like a brown girl?” adds Diaz. “We come in all different shapes, sizes and flavors. We’re done trying to be like these hot girls.” The two actresses want Latinos to be noticed and acknowledged for who they are as a people and a community. “We want to see our people have the opportunity to do a show,” explains Diaz. “I want [to see] a brown girl up there. We want to see it come to a place where it’s normal to see two Hispanic girls on TV.” George Lopez, the Mexican American comedian who had his own TV show on ABC until it was cancelled in 2007, has been an inspiration for them. “A voice like his is so important and so relevant right now,” said Diaz. Junot Diaz, the Dominican author who received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his book “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,”

is been an inspiration. The duo was hesitant to do autobiographical work, but since reading his novel and meeting him, the two have been cultivating their next piece at the Teatro Luna PlayLab, an initiative designed to nurture emerging playwrights. Their hope is to create a bridge between theater and improv. “There’s a huge separation of the theater and improv communities,” explained Diaz. “And we’re hoping to push that agenda. It would be f***ing amazing to be the face of this.” After laughs and beer at the Old Town Pub, the women look back at where they’ve been and what they’ve gone through. “All our life, we’ve had people telling us that we don’t have the balls to make it,” says Diaz with a look of disgust. “You’re too Hispanic, you’re not Hispanic enough, you’re pregnant, you f***ed up.” “We’ve never had anything handed to us,” explains Mateo. “You have to make your own opportunity. That’s what I’ve learned in Chicago.”

Would you like to know more about Dominizuelan? Then, visit their Web site (www.tallhispanic-shorthispanic. com) or become their friend on Facebook ( Dominizuelan). 27

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artdepartment Micasa

UrbanOasis Art makes a big statement in this city condo words

Darhiana Mateo photos Anthony Tahlier

It doesn’t take an artist’s eye to appreciate the unfolding masterpiece that Lindsay Segal and Louis Jacobsohn simply call home. Inspired in part by the vibrant palette and inviting vibe of the Panamanian beach town of Sora — where Louis’ mother and most of her family hails from— this city condo defies expectations. 29


Lindsay Seagal and Lou Jacobsohn hang out in the living room of their condo on a Saturday afternoon.

The young couple has clearly claimed the space as their own, infusing the décor with their unique personalities, experiences and heritage. The result: An eclectic collage of artwork, colors and patterns that somehow fits together perfectly — much like the lovebirds. “It’s something we’ve been able to build together, a collaboration,” says Jacobsohn, 28, an associate at the tenant advisory group Transwestern. “We wanted something that represented us. It’s nice to have a place where you walk in and it’s an actual representation of yourself and the experiences you’ve had.” The unique architectural layout, with its large sweeping windows that bathe the space in natural light and showcase a stunning paranomic view of the West Loop, served as a compelling canvas for Segal, 26, a visual merchandiser for Bloomingdale’s who also owns her own interior decorating business. “My mom is an artist. I grew up in a household that really emphasized the importance of art and creativity,” says Segal, whose mom is from the Chicago area and father grew up on the East Coast. “Looking back, Louis’ background is a lot more diverse and eclectic than a lot of our friends’ backgrounds. We kind of merged not only our styles but our cultures.” 30 Café SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER2009


The artwork is the undisputed soul of this space. When they moved into the condo in October 2008, after looking at and ultimately dismissing dozens of condos, they started discussing how they wanted their new home to look. Prominently displaying their growing — and quirky — art collections emerged as a focal point of the décor. “It kind of just evolved, little by little,” she says. “Since we had so much wall space, I wanted to fill it with collections instead of posters. This is more unique.” There are the two Diablico masks, used traditionally in dance rituals, hanging in the entrance hallway, souvenirs from a trip to Panama in 2007. The handmade papier-mâché masks, painted in bold shades of red, orange, blue and green, mouths open wide to reveal pointy white teeth, are popular slices of local artistry sold in craft stores throughout the country. The east wall in the dining area showcases a colorful collection of 19 plates from all over the United States and Panama. In the kitchen, lined neatly on a shelf above the faucet is the miniature robot collection — some even move when winded — that often draws laughs from surprised guests. In the windowsill by the small glass dining table is the hands collection:

MICASA five vintage dishwater hand glove molds found in antique stores. Although Lindsay had already started most of these collections before meeting Louis, it’s now a shared passion. “She’s bringing out the creativity in me,” he says with a laugh. “It’s almost like we’re adding things every day. It’s the little things that keep it going.” Most of the décor is done in chic black and white with punches of color and interesting patterns to break up the fluid lines. All of the walls were left a pure white, perfect backdrops for their colorful art displays, except for the bedroom where one lone wall behind the headboard is painted a dramatic yellow. “Take risks,” Segal says. “You have the rest of your life to be boring.” Graphic prints and accessories scattered throughout the space offset the starkness of the white walls and minimalist feel. “We went to his uncle’s villa in Panama, and it was done in these bright oranges. I kind of translated that into the color story [here],” says Segal. In the living room, a plush white sofa from Crate & Barrel, odd-shaped glass table and edgy metal lamp with marble base are contrasted with fun, colorful pillows in contrasting prints and a large zebra striped rug from IKEA. The resourceful couple makes the most out of their approximately 1,200-square-feet space by upholding a “stylish yet functional” mentality, says Jacobsohn. They double-hung all of their clothes to maximize storage space and try their best to keep clutter at bay. Choosing the right type of furniture also helps maximize small spaces, says Segal. “Try to be creative. Too much furniture is always a bad thing in a small space. You need to be getting things that are appropriately sized for your space.”

TOP: Dining area wall showcases 19 plates from all over the United States and Panama. BOTTOM: View from dining area offers visual interest with art pieces on display.


As a young couple living in an expensive city, they are also conscious of mixing high-end and low-end elements. The designer couch still blends in well with the $25 rug from IKEA; the plate collection that adds such interest to the dining area cost $5-$20 per piece. In the spare bedroom, which now serves as an office, a designer chair, “Ghost” by Philippe Starck, is paired by a desk from Target (upgraded with original green glass knobs from Anthropologie). “Most of the items here we really tried to do on a budget,” says Jacobsohn. “Just because you don’t have a ton of money to spend doesn’t mean that it has to be boring.” “Fun, bright and eclectic” are three words the couple say describe their home. In spite of all the stunning decorative elements, Jacobsohn points to a simple collection of photos from their childhood, special occasions and travels mounted on the refrigerator as one of his favorite aspects of their home. It’s hard to go up to the refrigerator to get something to eat and catch a glimpse of his girlfriend as a slight carefree girl with long brown hair and not smile, he says. And that’s what all the hard work comes down to, agrees Segal. “It’s important for me to come home to something that makes me happy.” 31


Colorful robot collection adorns the shelf over the kitchen sink and acts as entertainment while washing dishes.

Tips From a Pro: How to Display Art in Your Home

1. Many people feel that art is expensive and unattainable. You can find art anywhere: small trinkets, textiles, plates, old magazines. Start gathering the items that interest you and you will soon develop a unique collection to display. 2. If you have expensive prints, make sure to hang them on a wall with little sun exposure. Too much light will fade your print. If all your walls are exposed to high sunlight, be sure to get a UV protective glass frame. This will help filter the rays and keep your print safe from UV damage. 3. If you are hanging artwork in clusters, make sure to lay out the art on top of a tracing paper or newspaper. This way you can arrange the artwork as you like it, trace the frames and measure, and then mark where to hammer the nail hole. Tape up this sheet on your wall and hammer in the nails into your marks. This is an easy way to hang multiple pictures in a specific arrangement. 4. When hanging your artwork in clusters, be sure to hang the pieces in dissimilar frames. This will help add visual interest to your wall. I recommend getting either gold or silver frames and mixing them with black and white frames. Hanging these different colored frames against a brightly painted wall will make a real statement. 5. Rather than hanging art at eye level, you should try hanging it in relation to the furniture around it. If you are hanging a piece of art over a dining room table, be sure to position the artwork so the bottom of the frame is at least 9 or 10 inches above the height of the furniture. This will help keep the art in proportion to the space.

Source: Lindsay Segal ( 32 Café SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER2009

so me


lik ei t



Christina Chavez Weitman photo alBerto Treviño

As Latinos, we are used to the world’s almost ridiculous perception of what we eat: no matter what our heritage or ethnicity, there is a belief that there are fiery hot chiles in everything we consume. Whether you call them chiles or ajíes, we all love our peppers. But the palate-scorching aspect? Not so much. Hispanic cuisine, like our heritage, varies from country to country. Yet, peppers are the one key food ingredient that easily crosses all borders. The Incas were the first to cultivate ají in what is now Peru and Bolivia. These mild, almost sweet, peppers were actually regarded as holy. Gradually, peppers migrated north to Central America and Mexico, where the climate and fertile soil produced an abundance of new varieties, many of them spicy and pungent. Ultimately, they were carried to Europe, Asia and Africa. There are now more than 150 types of peppers in an extraordinary number of 34 Café SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER2009

shapes, sizes, colors and degrees of spiciness. Every country in Latin America has its own unique way of preparing peppers, which are classified as a vegetable, but are technically a berry fruit. Latinos often use peppers to impart a subtle flavor to a dish, as in a mole. But if blistering heat is what you’re after, there are chiles that will deliver the pain — some for several days! Below is a mini-primer on some of the peppers of Latin America and the Caribbean and where they rank in Scoville Heat Units (SHU, see graphic for the complete definition). • Ají: Sometimes called Ají Amarillo, this fruity, searing hot yellow-orange Peruvian fresh or dried pepper is cooked into potato and chicken dishes, as well as eaten raw in salads and salsas. SHU: 30,000 – 50,000. • Ancho: Sweet and mild, this dried chile, along with the mulato and pasilla, form the “holy trinity” of chiles used to make traditional Mexican mole sauces. SHU: 500 – 2,500. • Cubanelle: These sweet peppers come from the Dominican Republic and are a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine. When fully ripe, Cubanelles turn from yellowish green to bright red. SHU: 500 – 2,500.


HOT, HOTTER, HOTTEST – Habanero, Scotch Bonnet, Rocoto,

Chipotle, Morita

Puya, Guajillo, Serrano

Anaheim, Pasilla

• Guajillo: A deep russet red with a strong piney taste, this is the most common Mexican chile after the ancho. Used in barbecue sauce, marinades and stews. SHU: 5,000 – 8,000. • Habanero: One of the world’s hottest chiles can be found in a variety of colors including orange, red, white, brown and pink in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The name originated in Havana, Cuba, where it was heavily traded. SHU: 100,000 – 300,000. • Poblano: This is Mexico’s most popular fresh chile because of its versatility. Its dark green skin is usually roasted and peeled before stuffing or using in soups and sauces. SHU: 1,000 – 2,000. • Tepin: This is the original wild chile from which all other chiles have evolved. The small round scarlet berry is extremely hot and is used in salsas and fresh marinades. SHU: 50,000 – 100,000.


0-5,000: Mild 5,000-20,000: Medium 20,000-70,000: Hot 70,000-300,000: Extremely Hot The Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) scale is the accepted standard for measuring heat in a chile. The scale is actually a measure of a chile’s capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the heat. The spiciness of chiles can vary considerably depending on the climate, soil and seed lineage.

16,000,000 300,000













Ají, Pequin, Tepin, Macho, Caribe


Jalapeño, New Mexico Anaheim

Fresh vs. dried: When chiles are dried, they often change names. Here is a list of fresh chiles and their dried alter egos.









Red Jalapeños Morita Anaheim

Chile Colorado 35

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¡Llama hoy al 1.800.236.3957! Oferta vence 9.21.2009. Oferta limitada a nuevos clientes residenciales. No disponible en todas las áreas. Requiere suscripción al paquete triple de Comcast Internet de Alta Velocidad y Digital Voice de Comcast®. Requiere un contrato mínimo de 1 año. Cargos por terminación de contrato aplican. Después 1 año y del periodo promocional, cargos regulares se aplican. El cargo regular mensual por el Paquete Triple es de $129.99. Cable y Internet veloz esta sujeto a una sola toma de corriente. Equipo, instalación, impuestos, cargos de franquicia, tarifas reguladoras de recuperación o por llamadas internacionales y otros cargos aplicables es extra. Oferta no puede ser combinada con otras ofertas. Servicio de Cable: Suscripción al servicio básico es requerida para recibir otros niveles de servicio. Programación de alta definición esta limitada a la programación transmitida por Comcast en formato de alta definición. Ciertas selecciones de On Demand sujetas a cargos en el momento de ordenar. Internet de Alta Velocidad: PowerBoost provee descargas de velocidad por los primeros 10MB y 5 MB de un archivo respectivamente. Velocidades actuales no están garantizadas. No todas las funciones son compatibles con sistema Macintosh. Digital Voice de Comcast: Cargos por activación de $29.95 pueda que apliquen. Después del periodo promocional de 3 meses, el servicio de México 100, se aplican cargos regulares de $4.95 al mes. El servicio de 911 pueda que no trabaje durante un corto de luz prolongado. Llamar para mas detalles. Comcast © 2009. Se reserva todos los derechos. Todas las marcas registradas son propiedad de sus respectivos dueños. Se reserva todos los derechos.


AP Pain ain

in the in the

@%&*! @%&*!

Migraines may be debilitating, inconvenient and unbearable, but normalcy is possible AngĂŠlica Herrera Judd Ortiz with the right treatment words

illustration 37


In the middle of her college freshman marketing class, Sam Kirk started to get what she thought was just a headache. It began in the center of her forehead, above her tweezed eyebrows, and spread to the nape of her neck. By the end of class, the sharp pain had traveled down her right shoulder — a pain Kirk still feels today, six years after her first migraine. “It’s funny because I’m on the verge of getting one right now,” Kirk says, rubbing her forehead. “I can feel my eyes starting to get irritated and filling with pressure.” The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) states that in the past migraines were thought to be caused by the dilation and constriction of blood vessels in the brain. However, scientists now believe that migraines are the result of “fundamental neurological abnormalities caused by genetic mutations at work in the brain.” Migraines are classified as a genetic neurological disease that affects nearly 30 million Americans, including children. Menstrual migraines affect 70 percent of women, who also suffer migraines three times more frequently than men, reports the Illinois Department of Public Health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the higher rates in women worldwide are hormonally driven.

ed against ordering an MRI, dismissed her symptoms as the result of stress and sleep deprivation and prescribed 800 milligrams of ibuprofen for the pain. When the ibuprofen stopped working six months later, her doctor suggested a new drug. Kirk decided not to take it because one of its side effects included trouble breathing — something she was already prone to since the onset of the migraines. Many migraine patients refuse to take medications for fear of the side effects. “Lots of Hispanics don’t like to take prescription medications because they’re afraid they’ll become addicted,” Dr. Rioja says. “But migraine medication is more advanced. It’s not just a pain killer anymore.” It took three doctors and a softball injury for Kirk to finally have an MRI, which didn’t show there was anything wrong with her brain. She has yet to be formally diagnosed.


Migraines are typically characterized by severe, recurring, pulsating pain usually located on the side of the head, although the pain may spread to both sides. Unlike a headache, they are accompanied with one or more of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Since migraine symptoms vary for each individual, diagnosis is often complicated, says Dr. Ligia Rioja, a Chicago neurologist. “Some people don’t realize they [have] migraines because they think they’re tension headaches...until they get one that’s worse,” she says. Growing up in a Latino household on Chicago’s South Side, Kirk was taught that “when things get in your way, you find a way around them.” This, coupled with a self-described stubbornness, was why it took Kirk six months to get herself to a doctor. When she finally did, her doctor decid-




When her migraines started, Kirk’s life was disrupted three to four times a week. “The pain would kill my evenings and destroy my mornings,” she says. More than anything, it affects her work and personal life the most. When the pain gets unbearable at work, Kirk, an artist and account executive at the advertising firm Draft FCB, often lies down on a couch in a darkened room or simply goes home. “If I wake up with a migraine, I can’t do anything until it’s gone,” Kirk says. “I’ll put on sunglasses, shut off all the lights and go to sleep. But sometimes, even after 12 hours of sleep, it’s still there.” People often don’t understand how severe migraines can be. “Many people think that someone who suffers migraines should be okay after taking headache medicine,” says Dr. Rioja. “They expect them to function normally,

but what they don’t understand is that migraines leave you unable to function.” At 26, Kirk grew tired of taking prescription drugs and resorted to sticking needles into her body instead. It’s been a year since she began using acupuncture, the only treatment she claims helps curb the pain. Dr. Rioja speculates acupuncture may help relax nerve endings in the head the same way the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved Botox injections do for migraine sufferers when injected to the most painful spots. Although acupuncture provides some relief, Dr. Rioja points out that it is not approved by the FDA. Before acupuncture, Kirk would get migraines three to four times a week. She began by getting acupuncture treatments once a week for two months. During that time, she didn’t have a single migraine. The costly $70 per session, which her healthcare insurance doesn’t cover, forced her to reduce her visits to one every two months. Now, Kirk gets a migraine about once every two weeks. “I fight through it, but it hurts like hell,” Kirk says. “If I could paint a picture of what a migraine looks like, it would look like a bomb.” Talk to your doctor about... Taking prescription medication to treat more severe cases. Using Botox injections, which help relieve the pain when injected to the forehead. Getting an MRI or CAT scan if you experience a severe migraine-type headache. Source: Dr. Ligia Rioja, neurologist


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For the credit card program: Example assumes cash redemption rate of 1%, which is available through 2012. Cash rewards can only be redeemed in certain increments. For information about the rates, fees, other costs and benefits associated with this credit card, visit the website listed above and refer to the disclosures accompanying the online credit card application. This credit card program is issued and administered by FIA Card Services, N.A. For the Add It Up™ program: Participating retailers and offers are subject to change. You must have either a Bank of America debit card or credit card and be enrolled in Online Banking to be eligible for participation in the program. Redemption of accrued cash back rebates occurs in accordance with program Terms and Conditions, generally monthly when a minimum of $5.00 cash back has been earned. Program is not available to Online Banking customers in WA or ID and select military bank customers. Select MyExpression® credit cards, co-brand debit cards, business credit cards and other accounts are not eligible for participation in the program. Additional restrictions apply. For complete program Terms and Conditions visit Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association, and is used by the issuer pursuant to license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Add It Up is a trademark and Keep the Change, BankAmericard, Power Rewards, MyExpression, Bank of America and the Bank of America logo are registered trademarks of the Bank of America Corporation. Keep the Change, patent pending. Bank of America N.A. Member FDIC. ©2009 Bank of America Corporation. AR83045

cafefilter | moneymatters


Is King

Be realistic as to what you can and cannot do financially in this recession words

Marla Seidell

In a normal economy, financial experts advise clients to max out 401(k) contributions, pay down the mortgage and eliminate debt. But in today’s recessionary maelstrom, that kind of advice is not necessarily beneficial to all. “Right now, the traditional rules for financial planning can actually hurt,” says Robert Pagliarini, Los Angeles-based financial planner and author of “Plan Z,” a free e-book chock full of tips for survival in the dog days of rising unemployment and frequent foreclosures. The ever-present threat of layoffs and pay cuts requires a greater need for cash reserves than ever before, says Pagliarini. Instead of contributing to your 401(k), he says, put your money into a savings account; pay the interest, not the principal of your mortgage (if your loan allows for it); pay just the minimum balance on your credit cards. In short, put your green in the bank. Cash is king in an economy fraught with looming layoffs. People need a cushion to fall back on, should the bottom fall out. “What people really need right now is a lot of money in the bank,” says Pagliarini. But Camilo Sanchez, a financial professional in San Antonio, Texas, disagrees. Paying off debt is essential, and so is investing. He proposes the following set of guidelines for surviving the recession: 1. Protection

Make sure you invest in health, life 40 Café SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER2009

and disability insurance. If you don’t have this protection and something happens (death, accident or illness), it can be worse than a recession. 2. Pay debt and save

Pay off your debt and start saving. At the very least, save 5 to 10 percent of your income, just to get started and put it in a savings account. The goal is to have three to six months of income saved up as an emergency fund, but six months is more realistic. 3. Invest

Invest in a retirement account, such as a 401(k) or IRA. But, what if you can’t afford to pay off your credit card? And, is Number 3 completely realistic, with companies cutting back or even stopping contributions to employees’ 401(k) accounts? Pagliarini thinks not. “Would you rather have debt and some cash if you get laid off, or no cash and no debt?” he asks. What Sanchez and Pagliarini do agree on is the importance of having an emergency fund — at least six months worth of income saved up — in the current climate. Sanchez says many of his clients were forced into bankruptcy as a result of losing their job and

not having savings to fall back on. However, in order to save, you need to live within your means. This is what Sanchez tries to instill in his clients, 90 percent of whom are Latino. Making a lifestyle change is not always easy. “If you lose your job, and you have expensive car payments, you should sell your car, buy a less expensive one,” he advises. Many Latinos buy things just for culture and status, says Sanchez. “They buy really expensive cars, even if they can’t afford them, and can’t save a penny because money is going towards the car and things they don’t need.” And there’s shopping, too. “Latinas will say, ‘I will not stop shopping,’” says Sanchez. Change happens slowly. Sanchez says his clients often start out saving $100 a month, and a year later, save $200. And gradually they increase the amount they put away. “It’s little by little, and the key is being conscious and to start doing something,” he says. WISE CHOICES

Spending wisely is not only a way to survive the recession financially intact, but also a means for achieving success in business. For small business owner Dennis Sala-

Truth in Numbers

zar, who runs an eco-friendly packaging company with his wife in Plainfield, Illinois, cutting costs helped to maximize sales and achieve profitability. “It sounds simplistic, but you would be surprised how many people start their own business and go out and buy a BMW,” observes Salazar. He left a 32-year-old career in the packaging business to start his own venture in 2007 and reached profitability this year — a feat he accomplished by spending wisely. “In using low-cost viral marketing, we’ve been able reach a part of the market that is fairly diverse and very committed,” says Salazar. Having a financial expert is also important. “You can glean a lot of advice from unexpected sources, such as a banker, and it’s a great way to expand your knowledge base without having it cost you an arm and a leg,” Salazar says. In times like these, you can’t have enough financial connections and relationships. “Banks are not interested in lending money,” says Salazar. “So you have to rely on the relationships you develop along the way.” Despite the recession, starting your own business can be a wise move. “As much insecurity as therwe is in working for yourself, there’s a level of security because you are not going to fire yourself,” says Salazar. The security comes not from owning a business, but in handling money with care. Saving for a rainy day and keeping a tight rein on the purse strings — this is what allows you to be in control of your own destiny. “It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s also a lot of freedom,” notes Salazar. Being financially savvy — resisting a pair of $200 jeans, driving an affordable car or investing in what will pay off, such as insurance or, in the case of business owners, talented employees — is the key to surviving the economy. Healthy recessionary behavior means adjusting lifestyle habits: cooking at home instead of going out for dinner, planning for the future by putting money away instead of burning cash on things that won’t matter down the road, learning to be happy with what you have. “It’s really all about survival,” explains Pagliarini. “It’s about being sure we can pay the rent two months from now.”

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Ensemble Español has been spreading flamenco’s mystical duende in the city and around the world for more than three decades words

Yolanda Perdomo

On stage, Dame Libby Komaiko commands an elegant profile while playing the castanets. At 60, she moves with the graceful élan of a person born into the flamenco tradition. But the Chicagoan was inspired to perform the Spanish dance form after a chance meeting with legendary Spanish dancer José Greco. Already a young dancer, Komaiko says meeting Greco changed her life. “He said to me, ‘Are you Italian or Spanish? You look very Mediterranean.’ I said, ‘I’m neither, I’m Jewish,’ ” remembers Komaiko, who was asked to audition on the spot for a scholarship for Greco’s Spanish Dance Company. “To this day, I remember how my chest felt and how my heart was beating. I thought my head would fly off. I just knew that I wanted to move with that kind of passion, that heart song and that cry that I heard in the flamenco.” Komaiko went on to perform nationally and internationally, but her desire to showcase Spanish dance and its music led her in 1975 to create Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater.

Dame Libby Komaiko, founder and artistic director of Ensemble Español, believes that you don’t have to be Spanish to enjoy her company’s performances. | photos joe davis | 67


Preserving and presenting the complex beauty of Spanish dance and its many colorful styles (classical, jota, flamenco, just to name a few) is Ensemble Español’s mission. It is today one of the country’s leading dance companies dedicated to the art of Spanish music and dance. That’s why, in 1983, Spain’s King Juan Carlos II honored Komaiko with the “Lazo de Dama” title. Along with finding dancers to translate her vision, Komaiko also had to learn firsthand the business of dance: how to write grants and how to constantly be on the hunt for funding sources. “It’s the hardest challenge for any arts organization,” she says. “Con ánimo y fuerza seguimos. [Positive thinking and strength keep us going.] I don’t know where the first 33 years went.” For years, the company has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and most recently China to showcase its original works. But the company collaborates with its counterparts in Spain. Every year, Spanish dancers and musicians from Madrid come to Chicago to work with Ensemble Español, to collaborate on new musical pieces and to perform together during Ensemble Español’s annual American Spanish Dance Festival held every summer. “When you are with this company, [which has] such a great interest in preserving something that’s part of our cultural roots, [...] I’m proud to be a Spaniard,” gushes Carmela Greco, daughter of José Greco and renowned dancer in her own right. “For me, they are my friends. It’s like coming home. But our visits are intense, filled with practices!” Those long practices take place at the home of Ensemble Español, Northeastern Illinois University. It’s not only where Komaiko is a dance professor, but where the dance company hosts youth dance classes for children and teens from around the area and surrounding suburbs. José Torres, a principal dancer with the company, got his first glimpse of Ensemble Español when he was a teen. He joined their 68 Café SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER2009

junior performance company in 1995, and he’s been a dancer with Ensemble Español ever since. “We feel a great deal of responsibility in keeping the authenticity of the choreography,” explains Torres. “If you are doing a choreography and the technique is in 5th position, as opposed to 3rd position, but it’s a slight difference of three inches, with your foot to the front, it makes a difference because you’re not preserving the authenticity from that province of Spain. So to keep all of that technique in your body, in your brain, it’s a great deal of responsibility.” For Ron De Jesus, that dedication to the precision of dance is part of his everyday work. De Jesus performed with Ensemble Español in the early 1980s before moving on to Hubbard Street Dance and Luna Negra Dance Theater. Today, with his own dance company — the Ron De Jesus Dance, based in New York City — he says Komaiko’s instruction was invaluable. “She was the catalyst,” remembers De Jesus. “[The experience] really turned me to a more physical aspect, more mature aspect [of dancing], demanded more of me.” The physical demands on a dancer’s body are well known. “A lot of people don’t believe that dance is a job, but it’s hard work,” says Irma Suarez Ruiz, first dancer and associate artistic director of Ensemble Español. “Our job as dancers, as performers, is to make everything look easy, flawless, because that’s what people come to see.” However, Suarez Ruiz quickly points out that the older Spanish dancers can perform some of the most intense works of Spanish choreography. “The more experienced you are, the better you are,” says Suarez Ruiz, 50. “If someone very young was doing a cante jondo (a “deep” song for flamenco dance), it’s not credible. Whereas someone with experience in life will pull it off much better.” For Komaiko, the future of Ensemble Español is as bright as the Andalusian sun. Along with continuing classes at Northeastern Illinois University, there are plans to take the show on the road again, this time to Israel and Spain. You don’t have to be Spanish to enjoy their performances, she says. “Everyone is a Spaniard when they’re sitting in the [audience]. That’s what great art does for people,” says Komaiko. “Whatever concert, whatever [performance], you are a member of that tribe. You’re part of that musical heritage.”

Information For more information on Ensemble Espanol’s upcoming performances and class schedule, call (773) 442-5930 or visit

Beyond the Beats DJ Jesse de la Peña grooves about his beginnings and the current Chicago club scene words

Freddie Baez photos Eddie Quiñones

Jesse de la Peña started as a B-boy in Chicago’s South Side to become one of the city’s finest DJ’s. This breakdancer turned graffiti artist turned DJ is more than an eyewitness to Chicago’s emerging DJ scene. He has been a key contributor to it as well. Café recently sat down with Jesse and asked him to share a little of his life story and his views on the current club scene. What influenced you to become a DJ? I remember my mom buying me disco 45s and we’d listen to ‘em. I got a cassette player and the first two cassettes I had were “Taste of Honey” and “War.” Early on, I was exposed to a lot of disco and radio in Chicago. Before that, I was into more rock and that was just such a different thing for me. Hearing Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” really drew me into the funkier side of music. The Southeast Side projects were an eye-opening experience. Leaving the Southeast Side and going southwest, where it was more of a white neighborhood, there’s more of a rock influence on the teens there. Kids were all into the Doors and Led Zeppelin. It wasn’t until I got to high school that I


discovered hip-hop, club culture, break-dancing, graffiti. From break-dancing, from the graffiti, it progressed into deejaying. Were you breakdancing? I was breaking. I was into graffiti. I never did MC-ing. Hiphop wasn’t an easy style of music to obtain. [Chicago] was mainly a house or dance music town. I started collecting hiphop. I had a friend who was in a record pool. All the junk that he didn’t want, I would inherit. I started getting a really good collection of hip-hop records and stuff that would play on WHBK (88.5 FM, University of Chicago Community Radio) and WNUR (89.3 FM, Northwestern University’s student run radio station). I started building my collection, but people really didn’t want to hear it. It was kind of hard to play it at other places. I got into deejaying, which is more house, high energy and new wave. Then it got really monotonous, everybody was doing it. I discovered alternative music and went to Medusa’s (a now-defunct all-ages juice bar located at Sheffield Ave.). There was nothing like that on the South Side. With some friends, I created a few parties and found my niche because everybody

NIGHTLIFE was doing house or high energy, but nobody was touching the alternative stuff in the market.

anymore; they wait for people to dictate what’s hot. I never really followed that trend. I don’t have any rules.

How did you transition out of Chicago’s South Side? I figured that if I wanted to go up north and spin at bigger clubs I had to play more than just one type of music. That’s where Smart Bar came into play. I was working at Imports, Etc., on [711 S.] Plymouth Court, one of the original DJ stores. My boss there knew Joe Shanahan, who owned the Metro and Smart Bar. Joe seemed interested. I made a mix CD, and we went back to the Metro, hung out in his office and played the CD. He pointed out stuff he liked. We went from there. That was my first take playing at a 21-and-over club.  I was used to playing 20-minute sets, 15-minute sets or half-hour at the most. This was a night that started at 9 p.m. and went to 5 a.m. It was a different mindset as far as how I deejay. It came at a weird time because this really legendary DJ, Mark Stevens, who was the most respected in that scene, had just passed away. Before I could even really put in my influence, I had to figure out what Smart Bar was about. I injected my influence into it. It was always an alternative bar, but you’d still play dance music, you’d still play sets of hip-hop, sets of funk, heavy metal, whatever it was, broken up into sets.

Can you think of some Chicago artists that are doing some stuff that you do enjoy? Lately, I’ve been looking to be inspired musically. I know there probably are a lot of great artists out there. Just recently I haven’t really come across anything that’s really blown me away. There are tons of talented people here, but I can’t think of anybody off the top of my head right now. I have a lot of artist friends and they’re still doing their thing and everything, but nothing has really floored me.

How was Liquid Soul born? Joe [Shanahan] had done some traveling in Europe, and everybody in Europe was on this rare groove acid jazz kind of thing. Joe came back and said he wanted to do a night and if I was interested. He wanted to assemble a band incorporating a DJ. We put it together, and I got a chance to play all this fun music that I normally wouldn’t have played on a Saturday night: hip-hop, reggae, jazz, funk. We called [the night] “Sub-Strata,” and we started this band that he titled the “Booty Kings.” I was like, “That’s kind of a weird name, I don’t know if I want ‘booty’ in the title of something I’m doing...” I started learning how to play with musicians. Before that, I had no idea of the structure of a song: A section, B section, chorus, bridge, I knew none of that. I started developing an ear. We did it for a while. It worked good, and then faded out. About a year later, I got in contact with Tommy Kline, who was the guitar player for the band, and we talked about wanting to get a band together. There were parts of the Booty Kings I really liked and parts that I didn’t. I think the problem was that all the musicians were really great, but they had their own idea of what the Booty Kings were and they weren’t on the same page. I decided to remove the harsher elements and really play on the jazzier soulful elements. We started Liquid Soul. It was originally me doing the beats, there was a percussionist, a bass player and Tommy on guitar. We had no drummer, and it was a nice experimental thing. We featured local MCs, eventually some poets and singers. What do you think about the current music scene in Chicago? There’s so many different scenes going on. The majority is pretty radio-based; not really my thing. I can’t really identify with it. Now we’re at a point where what you hear on the radio you’re going to hear in the club. That’s the mindset now of DJs. It’s rare even that guys will play something off the album that isn’t popular, even if it’s good. DJs don’t think for themselves

How are you collecting your music now? Do you still visit the local record stores, and, if you do, which ones? I make an effort to support the record stores. Only because that is the foundation of how we started and there’s less and less of them around. I definitely try to make it out to Gramaphone and Reckless, Dave’s Records and Second Hand Tunes, Dr. Wax when I can. I kind of stopped in recent months. I’ve been doing the digital thing for probably the past 3 years. Are you into record pooling? You know what? I’m not in any record pools. It’s kind of an assortment of different things. I trade with people, friends of mine. I record a bunch of stuff. I go online, I buy some stuff, I download some stuff. There’s no one-step process, you can’t go to just one record store. In recent months I decided to stop buying records. I’ve been doing the digital stuff for a while, but I got so many records. A record for me to buy it now has to be pretty amazing. That’s the way I look at it. It’s got to really have some rare version I can’t find online or I can’t trade with somebody. What tracks are big for you right now? I wish I had some tracks to refer to. You know, most DJs would say, “Well, this is my hot top 5, or whatever, or these are my go-tos.” I mean, you can always do the Michael Jackson [...] maybe some Biggie, the classics, the Stevie Wonders. But it’s always a weird thing when the go-to tracks ain’t working. I constantly find myself trying to figure the crowd out. I don’t know what it is; maybe I’m just out of touch with the crowd that’s out there right now. There are some nights you really are vibing and you’re connecting and doing your thing and they’re loving it. Do you have a favorite song that you like to close with? I don’t have just one. I have a section of end-of-the-night slow songs, stuff that I definitely try to rotate. Just the whole idea of turning off the music and putting the lights on is such an abrupt thing. I really try to ease them out. I enjoy that music because there’s certain music you could only play at the end of the night, or play really early. So I look forward to playing those songs. A lot of times people just don’t care, but I actually look forward to it. Listen to DJ Jesse de la Peña spin online Wednesdays 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. at

For our complete interview, visit 71


ToDOTOSÍ < The Nature of Diamonds When: Oct. 23 - March 28, 2010 What: “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” sang Marilyn Monroe many years ago and it’s a ditty that visitors to the Field Museum will be singing for the next five months. “The Nature of Diamonds” showcases nearly 800 objects, including some dazzling gems. Where: Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago Admission: (including basic admission to the Museum) Adults, $23; seniors and students with ID, $20; children 3-11, $13 Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., daily Info: (866) 343-5303,

16th Fiesta Boricua When: Sept. 6, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. What: From salsa to jibaro music, from bomba y plena to reggaetón, from crafts to traditional food, this one-day Puerto Rican fest festival leaves no stone unturned. Where: Division St., between Western & California Admission: Free Info: (73) 278-6737

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs When: Sept. 19, 8 p.m. What: After a rambunctious concert at the Congress Theater earlier this year, Los Fabulosos are coming back to town for an encore presentation. Where: Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago Admission: $25 Info:

than 50 albums, played alongside some of Mexico’s most important singers and appeared in more than 200 films. They have performed at the Symphony Center for three consecutive years to a sold-out audience, so get your tickets now. Where: Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago Admission: $26-$86 Info: (312) 294-3000,

Fiestas Patrias Festival and Mexican Independence Day Parade When: Sept. 11-13 What: Organized by the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, this 3-day event celebrates Mexico’s independence from Spain with music, food, arts & crafts and activities for the whole family. The highlight will be the annual Mexican Independence Day Parade, which will take place Sept. 13th at noon along 26th St., from Albany to Kostner. Where: 26th St. & Kostner St., Chicago Info:

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity When: Sept. 25-Nov. 1 Where: In Kristoffer Diaz’s award-winning play, Puerto Rican wrestler Macedonio Guerra recruits a hip-hop jiving Indian kid from the Bronx. Their boss comes up with the brilliant idea of pairing them as a team of terrorists against an all-American team. This Teatro Vista production is directed by Eddie Torres. Where: Victory Gardens Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

5th Vive La Hispanidad When: Oct. 9, 6 p.m. to midnight What: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the fifth annual Vive La Hispanidad featuring the best of Chicago’s Latino culture, including a fine art exhibit with works by local and international Latino artists, eclectic cuisine served by the city’s top restaurants, a spectacular line-up of live entertainment and more. Where: Galleria Marchetti, 825 W. Erie St., Chicago Admission: $100 per person (includes food, cocktails and live entertainment) Info: (312) 346-3343,

11th Annual World Music Festival: Chicago 2009 When: Sept. 18 - 24 Where: This year’s edition of the weeklong festival will feature more than 50 events at more than 15 venues. Among the artists invited this year: Watcha Clan (France), Momo (Brazil), Jair Oliveira (Brazil), Cara Dillon (Ireland), Orchestra of Tetouan (Morocco), Snehasish Mozumder & Subrata Bhattacharya (India) and Terakaft (Africa). Where: Various locations (See Web site for more info.) Admission: Free to $15, depending on the show Info: (312) 742-1938,


Info: (773) 871-3000,

Bajofondo When: Sept. 27, 8 p.m. What: Founded by the Academy Award winning composer and producer Gustavo Santaolalla, this Argentinean-Uruguayan collective fuses the sounds of tango with electronica, hip hop, rock and other South American folk idioms. Where: Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago Admission: $18 Info: Concerts.aspx Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán When: Oct. 4, 3 p.m. Where: Clasically trained, the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán has recorded more

Mango Street When: Oct. 13-Nov. 1 What: Tanya Saracho from Teatro Luna adapts Sandra Cisneros’s celebrated collection of vignettes about a young girl who dreams of a better life away from her Chicago neighborhood. Where: 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago Admission: $20 Showtimes: Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 3 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m. Info: (312) 335-1650;

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Dig in! Note: This section does not include every Latin American or Spanish restaurant in Chicago or the suburbs. It contains a selection of Café magazine’s favorites. We invite you to submit your favorites to

90 Miles Cuban Café | photo elia alamillo |



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CENTRAL AMERICAN Irazú 1865 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago (773) 252-5687, Try the chicken casado, served with gallo pinto (rice and beans), sweet plantains, an over-easy egg and a cabbage salad. Big and delicious burritos and sandwiches also available. People swear by the oatmeal shakes. Pupusería Las Delicias 3300 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago (773) 267-5346 Variety of pupusas (stuffed cornmeal cakes toasted, not fried, on a flat griddle): zucchini and cheese with tomatoes, chipilin (herb particular to El Salvador) and cheese, and la revuelta (pork, chicken, cheese and beans). The combination platter comes with two pupusas, black beans, rice and plátano maduro (sweet fried plantains).   Tickie’s Belizean Cuisine 7605 N. Paulina St., Chicago (773) 973-3919 For something different try the

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oxtail with red beans and spicy rice; the dukunuisas (tamales made with fresh corn, filled with pork and steamed in foil) and the panades (tiny fish-filled crescent-shaped pastries). Plenty of chicken, pork and vegetarian options.

CUBAN Cafe 28 1800 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago (773) 528-2883, Great mojitos and caipirinhas. Go for the “Taste of Cuba” appetizer. Leave some room for the ropa vieja, arroz con pollo, grilled shrimp quesadillas or chipotle grilled chicken and green tamales in this intimate cafe. Wash it all down with the traditional café cubano. Siboney Cuban Cuisine 2165 N. Western Ave., Chicago (773) 904-7210 Cuban cuisine with a twist: Siboney promises to deliver such traditional Cuban fare as the sandwiches cubanos and ropa vieja, as well as dishes influenced by French and Italian cuisine, like their Cuban version of osso buco.




Cafecito 26 E. Congress Pkwy., Chicago (312) 922-2233 A restaurant for people who work downtown or are visiting one of its many museums and attractions and suddenly develop an urgent craving for a sandwich cubano. Try the sandwich de palomilla, the choripán (Spanish chorizo with grilled onions and chimichurri) and some rather interesting hybrids of Cuban, Italian and even Middle Eastern sandwiches.

MEXICAN FDM Mexican Cuisine and Lounge 3908 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago (773) 348-7635, More seafood goodness from the creators of Fonda del Mar in Logan Square. This Lincoln Park branch offers such interesting options as the tilapia al mojo de ajo, camarones a la toronja (sautéed black tiger shrimp in a rosted tomatillo-grapefruit sauce) and callos de hacha tropicales (seared sea scallops in a fruity pico de gallo and crispy beets), as well as the traditional cochinita pibil. They even have a kids menu.

90 Miles Cuban Café – Logan Square 2540 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago (773) 227-2822 This sibling to the Clybourn Ave. Cuban restaurant has a bigger kitchen, which allows for a larger menu of Cuban goodies. Not only will you find all kinds of Cuban-themed sandwiches, but you will also enjoy such hearty dishes as the traditional arroz con pollo.

Frida’s 3755 N. Southport Ave., Chicago (773) 935-2330 So, the Cubs win (or blow it) again and you’re looking for a spot other than a pub to celebrate (or cry) with good Mexican food. The owners of La Cocina de Frida have opened a branch of their popular restaurant just a couple of blocks west from Wrigley Field. The menu offers a wide range of traditional dishes, such as the steak or chicken enchiladas accompanied by verde, mole or ranchera sauce, as well as the guisado de camarón and ceviche.

Estrella Negra 2346 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago (773) 227-5993, Mexico’s Day of the Dead is celebrated all year long in this new addition to the Bucktown art and food scenes. Each table carries a Day of the Dead motif created by local artists. The menu includes traditional tacos and tamales, as well as some unique spins on the same. The homemade chicken pozole is a must.

RESTAURANTGUIDE Las Cazuelas 4821 N. Elston Ave., Chicago (773) 777-5304, Enjoy traditional Mexican fare served in terra cotta pots in this Albany Park restaurant. The menu offers such dishes as the pollo con mole, guisado de puerco and the fajitas de pollo.

Los Moles 3140 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago (773) 935-9620 The Mole Master is at it again. Geno Bahena is behind this moleonly Mexican restaurant in the Lakeview neighborhood. The menu will be seasonal, offering a wide array of meats and special moles.

NUEVO LATINO/ LATIN FUSION Cuatro 2030 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago (312) 842-8856, Serves up the best of Latin American favorites: spicy pinchos de pollo (chicken kabobs); black beans and rice; plátano maduro; mashed yucca; tender, flavorful steaks; interesting desserts, like sweet potato upside-down cake; and good drinks – mojitos, sangria, etc.

La Pinta 25 Calendar Court, La Grange (708) 354-8100, Offers a variety of ceviches: shrimp, tilapia and salmon. Good chile relleno: poblano pepper stuffed with shrimp, scallops and gouda cheese on top of a bed of refried black beans covered in a chipotle coconut sauce.

south american Galapagos Cafe 3213 W Irving Park Rd., Chicago (773) 754-8265 The cultures of Ecuador and Japan join forces in this restaurant. Kick things off with their cheese empanadas or the llapingachos (thick fried mashed plaintain or potato cakes filled with chese). Entrees include pescado encocado (fish cooked in coconut sauce) and the Galapagos fried rice, as well as a wide variety of sushis. Taste of Brasil 966 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park (708) 383-3350 This small suburban restaurant specializes in salgadinhos, small pastries that could very well be considered distant cousins of the Spanish and Cuban croquetas. Try as many as you want: from the coxinhas de frango (chicken

croquettes with onion and olives) to the risoles (croquettes with fillings such as shrimp with tomato).

SPANISH Eivissa 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago (312) 654-9500, After working for such popular Mexican restaurants as Adobo Grill and Xel-Ha, Mexican chef Dudley Nieto honors his father’s memory by taking over the kitchen of this new Spanish restaurant. The menu features such staples as the gambas al ajillo and the croquetas de jamón, as well as pintxos (the Basque version of tapas) and more experimental dishes that take advantage of modern molecular-gastronomy techniques. The dessert list features such mainstays as the crema catalana and the churros con chocolate.  


Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction

Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction

Lolla Pic-looza photos alBerto


More than 225,000 people enjoyed more than 130 bands across six stages and one DJ area during this three-day music marathon held at Chicago’s Grant Park August 7-9. Music fans braved the Windy City’s weather extremes, waiting under the rain for Depeche Mode on the first day of the fest and under the sweltering heat for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Jane’s Addiction for the final two days.

Federico Aubele

Vampire Weekend

Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs


Mike Levan, 23, doesn’t slide far in the mud on a rainy first day.

Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode


Natasha Mark, vendor from Pilsen, Chicago

Diggin’ Pitchfork photos alBerto

Flaming Lips lead singer Mark Coyne surfs the crowd in a bubble.


Lollapalooza was not the only game in town. The Pitchfork Music Festival celebrated the best of the indie music scene at Chicago’s Union Park from July 17-19. This year’s fest, organized by the online music magazine Pitchfork, featured the reunion of the Jesus Lizard as well as Yo La Tengo, Doom and the Flaming Lips. Over 50,000 people attended the three-day event.

The Japandroids rocked a full set of sounds.

Doom brings Hip Hop credibility to the fest.

Daniel Kuhlken, creative director of DKNG Studios in Santa Monica, California 77


The All In White Party got heated by hot Salsa dancing. | photo by abel arciniega |

And we danced ‘til midnight! | photo by abel arciniega |

The all in WHITE jam photos abel arciniega, jillian sipkins and latoya thorn

Katie Maier, Bruce Lines and Karen Spinelli | photo by abel arciniega |

Cafe Media, National City, Verizon Wireless and Diageo hosted a Chicago summertime soirée on July 23 at EnVent in the West Loop. This raw space was transformed into a sexy labyrinth of chiffon screens with a video performance by the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. The All In White Party featured the hot mixes of DJs Lee Farmer and Hector Lopez; and the more than 400 guests in attendance enjoyed the fine Mexican cuisine of Zocalo restaurant.

Christina E. Rodríguez and her parents Narciso and Florentina

Julian Posada and Gina Santana

| photo by jillian sipkins |

| photo by jillian sipkins |

Raquel Berrios, Madeline Nunez, Julia Morales | photo by latoya thorn |


Pearl Gonzales and Ryan Lamar mix it up. | photo by latoya thorn |

Norma Magaña and Jorge DeJesus | photo by latoya thorn |



10th Anniversary

Friday, October 9, 2009 THE PERFORMANCE Harris Theater, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, 205 East Randolph Drive, Chicago A retrospective of company favorites with special guest Welz Kauffman and the world premiere of Danzón* by Eduardo Vilaro with live music by legendary jazz artist Paquito D’Rivera and the Turtle Island Quartet. *The creation of Danzón was made possible through a generous contribution from The Chicago Community Trust

THE GALA Griffin Court, The Modern Wing of The Art Institute of Chicago, 8:15 pm 159 East Monroe Street, Chicago Enjoy festive cocktails, savory Latin cuisine and dance the night away with Latin band Son de la Habana. Cocktail attire

For tickets, call 312-337-6882 MEDIA SPONSOR




Eres la dueña de tu destino

“Eres la dueña de tu destino” (“You are the master of your destiny”) was the greatest life lesson I ever learned from my grandmother Delfina, who passed away two years ago. She was the wisest person I’ve ever known. Some people, she said, followed where their life leads them, “como una pluma llevada por el viento” (“like a feather carried by the wind”), while others decided where their lives would go. Those were words to live by from a woman with no education, who left her country alone at a very young age to make a better life for her family. I always try to remember that advice when times get difficult and I feel like not making the hard choices. Martha-Victoria Díaz, Chicago

Log on to to submit your “A mí me enseñaron” stories. The best story submitted and published by December 2009 will win two roundtrip Southwest Airlines tickets.


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Come together with Macy’s and celebrate Encanto Latino, recognizing the culture, history and contributions of Hispanics. Check your local paper for information on events at your local Macy’s or visit




CAFE Magazine 07 - Sep-Oct 09  
CAFE Magazine 07 - Sep-Oct 09  

September|October 2009. The Dawn of 2012. [ • The Angel of the LGBT Community • Dominizuelan: Improv Meets Theater • Three Latinos Against t...