No11 June | July 2010
Latino Lifestyle Magazine
For World Cup fans itâ€™s more than Monday night
Have Food, Will Travel The Best Food Trucks
Summer Full of Music, Fairs and Fests
Latina Comedians Take the Stage
PLAY IT. WATCH IT. WIN IT.
AN INTENSE, HIGH-FLYING COMPETITIVE EVENT AND FESTIVAL COMING TO LAKEVIEW!
LIVE BANDS TO BE ANNOUNCED! SATURDAY, JUNE 5, 2010 ON SOUTHPORT BETWEEN ROSCOE & ADDISON VISIT FACEBOOK.COM/CUERVO FOR MORE INFO LIVE SHOW STARTS AT 7 PM! FREE ADMISSION PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY
JOSE CUERVO Tequila. 40% Alc/Vol. ©2010 Imported by Heublein, Norwalk, CT under license from the trademark owner.
It’s all around you, everywhere you look. There it is, right there…sitting with you while you celebrate the first night in your new home. And there again, helping you get ready for the first day of kindergarten, or into a corner office with a big plant. It believes your kids deserve all the college they can get, and you deserve a little sand between your toes. It’s a small step, or a grand gesture. Achievement is in everything you do. And so it’s in everything we do, too. It’s the reason for things like PNC VIRTUAL WALLET ®, an online tool that helps our customers gain greater control of their finances. And CFO: CASH FLOW OPTIONS, which helps all aspects of a small business’ cash flow, and allows it to leverage its resources completely. It comes in helping larger businesses grow the way they want. It’s why we’re dedicated to the future through PNC CREZCA CON ÉXITO, a free bilingual program committed to early childhood education. And it’s why we’ve built more newly constructed LEED®certified buildings than any other financial institution on earth*. At PNC our goal is to help empower your achievement. To enable that part of you. The achiever inside of you. The ACHIEVER in us all.
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*According to the U.S. Green Building Council, February 2010. ©2010 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved. PNC Bank, National Association. Member FDIC
Cafe Media presents its annual
July 29th rsvp
JUNE | JULY 2010
Latino Lifestyle Magazine
40 44 50 54
SOCCER, THE HOLY SPORT
Futból fanatics share their devotion for the ultimate event: the World Cup words Juan Carlos Hernández
time for a revolution Chicago is ground zero for a new and vibrant Latino theater scene words Benjamin Ortiz
MAKE ‘EM LAUGH
Patti Vasquez and Ana María Belaval take on the big boys of comedy words Gloria Elenea Alicea
Keep on truckin’
Café takes a look at some of the nation’s best Latino mobile eats words Maura Wall Hernández
Backstage area of Joe’s Bar. Page 50 | photo marta garcía |
For World Cup fans it’s more than monday night
Have Food, Will Travel The Best Food Trucks
A Summer Concerts, Fairs and Fests
Twisted minds of female comedians
| photo alberto treviño |
Café JUNE | JULY 2010
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Latino LifestyLe Magazine
Latino LifestyLe Magazine
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No11 JuNe | July 2010
No11 JuNe | July 2010
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Latino LifestyLe Magazine
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< Cover Me Cover concept and design by alBerto Treviño.
No11 JuNe | July 2010
For fútbo l fa ns ,t
Latino LifestyLe Magazine
Contenders > Covers that didn’t make it, but came in a strong second place. More Café photos:
For fútb ol f an s,
No11 JuNe | July 2010
www.flickr/groups/cafephoto Have Food, Will Travel The Best Food Trucks
A Summer Concerts, Fairs and Fests
Twisted minds of female comedians
Have Food, Will Travel The Best Food Trucks
A Summer Concerts, Fairs and Fests
Twisted minds of female comedians
Have Food, Will Travel The Best Food Trucks
A Summer Concerts, Fairs and Fests
Twisted minds of female comedians
Joy can come from anywhere, if you are open to receive it. U.S. Cellular速 offers Free Incoming Calls, Texts and Pix, anytime from anyone so that nearly half the time you spend on your phone is free.
Contributors 12 Dear Café
Alejandro Riera Reader feedback
Café Espresso Somos ¿sabías que? The Buzz 18 sinvergüenza 20 GENTE 22 SPOTLIGHT 24 UPGRADE
Cristiane Silva Cultural factoids Must-see films of the summer World Cup Blues Mickey O’s comedic devotion Allá rocks en español at Pitchfork Gift ideas for Daddy dearest
Café Filter MI CASA 32 con gusto 34 FASHION 36 familia
Build a pleasant urban oasis World Cup culinary get-together Spice up your look this summer No more weekend dads
15 16 17
Café Grande MUSIC
Samba in the unlikeliest places
CafÉ Blend TODO TOSÍ Summertime in Chicago NIGHTLIFE Where to watch the World Cup 76 restaurant guide A list of Latino eateries 78 Scene at Latino social scene 80 A mí Me enseñaron Actions speak louder than words…
Stone necklace from Malabar Chicago Boutique. Page 34 | photo jillian sipkins |
Café JUNE | JULY 2010
5th Biennial LATINOTHEATREFESTIVAL GOODMAN THEATRE PROUDLY PRESENTS
FIVE WEEKS OF DRAMA, ROMANCE, MUSIC, LEGENDS AND CELEBRATIONS!
This summer, discover a theatrical feast for the senses. From Cuba to Chicago, this dazzling array of local, national and international artists offers something for everyone. JUNE 19 – JULY 25 THE SINS OF SOR JUANA CELEBRATING A MEXICAN LEGEND:
The Sins of Sor Juana
CUBA’S TEATRO BUENDÍA
Legendary Mexican poet Juana Inés de la Cruz is forced to choose between the power of the pen and the perils of the heart. By Karen Zacarías Directed by Henry Godinez
June 19-July 25 Tickets start at $20!
Performing for the first time in the US! You’ll be riveted by two stunning performances: • La Visita de la Vieja Dama | July 8-11 • Charenton | July 15-18 $28/$14*
CHICAGO TAKES THE STAGE:
Four stand-out works from homegrown Latino companies: • Teatro Vista: El Nogalar, Free | July 17 • Albany Park Theater Project: Feast, $18/$9* | July 20 • Aguijón Theater Company: Las Soldaderas, $18/$9* | July 21 • Collaboraction: Para Carmen; The Latino Music Festival: The Leader and On “Sor Juana” $18/$9* | July 22
FREE OUTDOOR EVENTS:
• Memory of Fire (Grant Park) | July 7
• Sarruga: Insects (Millennium Park) | July 16-18
Plus a weekend of FREE new work, special events and much more! *Prices for students with valid I.D.
FOR INFORMATION AND TICKETS: GOODMANTHEATRE.ORG or 312.443.3800
Lead Corporate Sponsor for The Sins of Sor Juana
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Consortium Partner for Latino Theatre Festival 2010
Support for Sarruga
Support for Sarruga
As we were putting this edition to bed, a political sandstorm was blowing over the state of Arizona as Gov. Jan Brewer was signing into law SB1070, a bill that, among other things, gives police broad powers to arrest anyone they may suspect Alejandro Riera of being an undocumented immigrant. That was just the beginning. On May 11, Gov. Brewer signed into law a bill that aims to ban ethnic studies in Arizona. The reaction in our community has been immediate and explosive as we saw in the many marches that took place across the nation on May 1. The National Black Caucus of State Legislators and the Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators removed their planned conferences that were to be held in Arizona in protest. Even Shakira flew to Arizona to express her opposition to the bill and the MLB Player Association (with its significant Latino membership) also criticized and opposed the bill in a written statement. The NBA’s Phoenix Suns opted to wear jerseys that said ‘’Los Suns’’ in support of Arizona Hispanics during the playoff series with the San Antonio Spurs. Yet more conservative politicians are using SB1070 as their battle cry as they seek election or reelection this year. As a multiplatform media company, we immediately engaged our readers in a conversation about this issue and its repercussions through our five Facebook fan pages (Café Media, LLC; Café – Los Angeles; Café – New York; Café – San Francisco and Café – Miami) and via our Twitter account (twitter.com/cafemagazine). We posted articles and video clips relevant to the debate, keeping our readers up to date on the latest developments. On our website (cafemagazine.com), bloggers Fernando Espuelas, La Gemita and El Guapo stepped up to the plate, providing both a level-headed and sometimes sardonic view of the issue. We will now take this conversation to our print publication. As a bimonthly magazine, we have the luxury of taking a step back, looking at how events unfold and provide context, perspective and analysis. Expect in our next issue some unique takes on this topic. In the meantime, I invite you to join our Facebook fan pages, follow us on Twitter and visit our website on a regular basis, as we will continue to post stories and blogs on this subject. One final note: Our April 2009 green issue (“Yo Soy”) received the Bronze Eddie Award in the Consumer (News/Commentary/ General Interest/Full Issue) category. Presented by FOLIO, the leading publication for magazine professionals, the Eddie Awards recognize editorial excellence in the magazine industry. Gold went to Newsweek and Silver to Time. While we are enormously proud, we are also humbled by the fact that our still-young project could be placed alongside such established publications.
10 Café JUNE | JULY 2010
Melissa Valladares A first generation Cuban American born and raised in Las Vegas, Melissa decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in photography. After graduating from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, she quickly found herself actively shooting for several publications. She has since received awards and recognitions from several prestigious photography competitions including PDN (Photo District News), Alternative Pick Awards and the International Photography Awards.
The CONTRIBUTORS Karthik Sudhir A self-taught photographer, Karthik specializes in editorial and commercial photography. Photography for him is about being able to capture emotions and moments, a medium through which he can capture the world as he sees it. He also loves to take his studio outdoors and tell a story with his images. Judd Ortiz Part graphic designer, part illustrator, and part coffee enthusiast are the words Judd Ortiz often uses to describe himself. The graduate of The Illinois Institute of Art has spent this last year freelancing and doing creative work all over the state. In early 2010, he spearheaded “Smash for Haiti,” a video game tournament in Champaign, Ill., that raised enough money to show the world that gamers have heart. “Doing all the design work for this event and seeing the amazing turnout really makes doing what I love exponentially sweeter,” he said of the event. MarieSam Sanchez Born in Southern California just months after her parents emigrated from the Philippines, MarieSam considers herself a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to storytelling as she currently juggles her time as a freelance TV reporter/producer, journalist and photographer. When she’s not reporting or producing pieces for local programs in her area, she is immersed in her newfound passion for photography and blogging. Whether in front of the camera or behind one, MarieSam loves the ability to tell a story through her voice, pictures and words.
Publisher Julián G. Posada Café media Advisors
Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Assistant Managing Editor Copy Editors
Martin Castro, lon chow, George De Lama, david hutchinson,
Alejandro Riera marilia t. gutiérrez maura wall hernández Marie Joyce Garcia Chris MALCOLM DarHiana Mateo Proofreader Vera Napoleon Editorial Assistant CHRISTINA E. RODRíGUEZ
IAN LARKIN, carlos santiago, david selby EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD
Access doris solomón Aztec America Martha Tovias Crowe Horwath richard cerda Gomez Consulting Angel Gomez Grainger katie porter HACE Andrea Saenz Home State Bank Magdalena Rivera The LDI Group Brian SOrge Lutheran Child & Family Services phillip jimenez Mesirow Financial Juan Carlos Avila Mujeres Latinas en Acción Maria Pesqueira National City/PNC Bruce Lines National Louis University Ana Maria Soto The Resurrection Project Raul Raymundo UIC LARES Program Leonard Ramírez
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alberto treviÑo judd ortiz Wendy Melgar Wen Zheng
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lilia alvarado, Norma Magaña, Francisco Menchaca With gratitude Daniel Bleier, Michael Bleier, martin cabrera, WILLIAM GRAHAM, ted j. hong, michael keiser, ROBERT KING, Henry Kingwill,
Pete kingwill, martin koldyke, Ian Larkin, michael locKe, William Mckenna, thomas mcdonald, SUSAN SNOWDEN
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contributing writers GLORIA ELENA ALICEA, randi belisomo hernández, christina chavez weitman, juan carlos hernández, DARHIANA MATEO, mariea murlowski, alicia ontiveros, benjamin ortiz, yolanda perdomo, isabel resendiz, mariesam sanchez, sue ter maat CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Elia l. Alamillo, abel arciniega, JESSE BREDE,
Lora Johnson-Lesage chris peÑA
marta garcia, lynda guillú, robbie lee, jillian sipkins, mariesam sanchez,
elizabeth sisson, karthik sudhir, melissa valladares
CONTRIBUTING Stylist Renée Denomme
Hair and Makeup Stylist
Ratio Nation Rick Morales U.S. Concepts Julie funke Vocalo BIBIANA ADAMES
Special Thanks LUIS A. AYALA, JENNIFER CARMONA, michael Gray, EDGAR MEJIA, brandy scott, DAVE TAN, DAVID VILLAFAÑA, OZZIE ZARAZUA
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Dear Café ...
As always, thank you 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. Eco Fluff
Your 2009 “Yo soy” green issue was a step in the right direction in spite of the almost obligatory “Look how green we are, we drive a Toyota Prius” article. I was sincerely looking forward to reading this year’s issue (April/May 2010). Unfortunately, I found it extremely disappointing. We are looking at one of the most serious challenges this planet has ever experienced and an incredible opportunity as well as responsibility for the Latino community, and you give us eco fashion and eco art. Either be serious and help the people you are trying to speak to, or don’t bother creating more Earth Day green fluff. How about a regular sustainability feature in every issue that can actually have a positive impact, rather than a once a year opportunistic and trendy splash? I came to you hungry for some carne asada and all you were serving was flan. Dennis Salazar, Plainfield, Ill. via e-mail City’s Best Kept Secret
What a wonderful surprise when I walked into a doctor’s office to see Café Magazine waiting for me to read! As a foodie and city gardener, I was immediately drawn to the article by Maura Wall Hernández on chefs with rooftop gardens (“Rooftop crops,” April/ May). I knew Chicago City Hall has a garden no one can visit, and we have bee apiaries in neighborhoods, but I had NO idea Rick Bayless and Mark Mendez were GROWING their own produce for salsa and salads on the rooftops of their restaurants. Great article and photos. Really enjoyed the wait for my doctor! Barbara Talisman , Chicago via e-mail Crocodile Hunter
Nice article! (“Warblers, wine & Frank Lloyd Wright,” April/ May) I wanted to compliment you on getting it right about the birth of the U.S. wine industry being at the Wollersheim Winery. I do some work for the winery, and Count Agoston Haraszthy was apparently quite a character (from what I read, he went on to become the first Sheriff of San Diego County, Calif., was elected to the legislature, was the first to propose dividing California into North and South California and came to a grisly end being eaten by alligators! And he brought in the vines that successfully started the California wine industry.) However, you might have missed that though there is no monument to him at the winery, the cave he dug when he first moved there is preserved up on the hill and winemaker/owners Julie and Philippe Coquard (daughter and son-in-
12 Café JUNE | JULY 2010
law of Bob Wollersheim) have plans to restore it in the near future. Gary Knowles, Madison, WI posted on cafemagazine.com Growing Up Green
You are so right about how we grew up green as children (“Mami knows best,” April/May). My parents also emigrated from Mexico with humble beginnings. We had no choice but to try to conserve everything. These lessons go a long way and I realize that being as green as possible is so important. The time we take to pay it forward by teaching our children how to be green is invaluable. Evelyn Martinez, Chicago posted on cafemagazine.com What a great article, but then again I expect nothing less from you [Yesenia Villaseñor, author of the column]. You definitely live by example and I am so appreciative for the knowledge and advice you have always provided me on “green” living. Thank you for leading the way for others to become informed and incorporate sustainable products and choices in their lives. Bea Serrano, Chicago posted on cafemagazine.com Oh, Yes, We Do and We Will
Every time I think, “Oh, no, they didn’t,” your magazine responds with, “Oh, yes, we did!” I am no longer a reader, I’m a fan. You’ve won me over by the quality of your content, as well as your willingness to tackle issues that matter to Latinos in search of compelling but largely unavailable information. Issue number 9 (February/March), “Blacktino: Children and mixed marriages define their own identity,” stayed true to form. I often find that mixed race Latinos are lost in the blind spots of the discussion regarding Latinos in America. Why in the blind spot? Because the subject is awkward and uncomfortable to most but not to Café. Please keep doing what you do because you do it so darn well. Alberto Padrón, Miami posted on cafemagazine.com and on the Café Media LLC Facebook fan page Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, post them at cafemagazine.com or on any one of our five Facebook fan pages (Café Media, LLC; Café – New York; Café – Miami; Café – Los Angeles and Café – San Francisco) or write to: Letters to the Editor, Café Magazine, 777 W. Chicago Ave., Suite 4000, Chicago, IL 60654. Include your full name, address and daytime phone number. Submissions may be edited for length and clarity.
Latinos lea ve ec o-footpr on the plaints net
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24, Chicago Red Stars striker Portuguese interpreter: Debbie Pacchioni photo
Where did you grow up? Osasco, a small town near São Paulo, Brazil When did you start playing soccer? Since I was seven years old…I followed my brother around. I didn’t have a sister and I did whatever he did. He was my inspiration. When did you start playing professionally? [When] I was 14. Where else have you played? Two years in Germany and six months in Sweden. Why the United States? This is the second year that I’m playing in the United States professionally. The U.S. has the best players, they’re very strong. Their tournaments are very good. The marketing and media is very well promoted. They have the best league in the world. How are you dealing with the language barrier? It’s a little difficult. I’m learning with the team and I understand more than I speak. It’s not something I can’t overcome. If you could play with any soccer player, male or female, who would it be? That’s a really hard question. I would love to play with a lot of different Brazilians. I wouldn’t play with men because I know that women can get the job done as well. Do you have any predictions for the World Cup? It’s very difficult right now because the teams are very balanced, but I hope that Brazil makes it. The teams are pretty much well matched head to head. How do you take your café? I don’t really drink coffee, but I do when my mom makes it at home. Café con leche and a lot of sugar. For more of this interview, visit cafemagazine.com
¿SabÍasquE? Golden kicks
David Beckham was, until recently, the highest-paid soccer player in the world, including salary and endorsements. But according to France Football magazine’s annual list of the richest players, Lionel Messi, Argentine forward and striker for FC Barcelona, raked in a whopping $44 million last year compared to Beckham’s $40.5 million.
Sergio Goycochea of Argentina holds the most saved shots in World Cup shootouts with four in 1990, while the record for the most conceded goals is held by Antonio Carbajal of Mexico with 25 between 1950 and 1966. MULTIPLE CUPS
This year South Africa becomes the first African country to host the World Cup and will be the second country in the world – next to the United Kingdom – that has hosted cricket, rugby and soccer World Cup championships. Partners in trade
The final game in the 1950 World Cup between Uruguay and Brazil set the sporting event’s attendance record. About 199,954 fans attended the match held July 16, 1950 at the Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, better known as Estádio Maracanã, in Rio de Janeiro. Uruguay beat Brazil 2-1. The young and the restless
Edson Arantes do Nascimento – Pelé to you and me – became the youngest player to score a goal at a World Cup during a Brazil vs. Wales game played in Sweden in 1958. Pelé was 17 at the time. Twenty-eight years earlier, the first World Cup goal was made by Manuel Rosas of Mexico, 18 at the time, during a game against Argentina. But the record for the most goals made in World Cup history is held by Brazil’s Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima (aka Ronaldo) with 15. Ronaldo was named to the FIFA 100 list of the greatest soccer players compiled by none other than Pelé.
16 Café JUNE | JULY 2010
Brazil is South Africa’s largest trading partner in Latin America. Brazil and South Africa consider each other strategic partners, cooperating at multilateral forums such as the World Trade Organization. Trade between South Africa and Mexico continues to grow and includes exports such as stainless steel, household furniture, light vessels, electrical transformers, paper, mechanical appliances and wool. Chile is becoming an increasingly important trading partner for South Africa, with a number of South African mining companies operating there. Other South African trade partners in Latin America include Colombia and Argentina. Sources: Worldcup.isn.pl, Goal.com, Southafrica.info, Fifa.com, Soccer-fans-info.com
comingattractions “Toy Story 3”
the Buzz Summer movies should have the same appeal of good beach reading: entertaining, sometimes mindless, relaxing. Barring the obnoxious cell-phone caller or talkative patron, going to the movies can still be a positive communal experience. Nothing compares to watching the action explode on the big screen, to laughing or screaming in unison with your fellow moviegoers. Here is what you can expect this summer: Three-dimensional toys When we first saw the trailer for “Toy Story 3” (June 18) in 3-D, we realized why all the 2-D conversions to 3-D would run their course: they lack the depth, sharpness and sense of wonder of those films conceived, shot and edited in 3-D. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen gives voice once again to Woody and Buzz Lightyear in this story, which finds them and their fellow toys donated to
a childcare center after their owner Andy goes to college. The “other” Avatar Poor M. Night Shyamalan. First, he had to strip the word “Avatar” from the title of his film to avoid any confusion with James Cameron’s 3-D blockbuster, even though the film is based “The Last Airbender” on the animé series “Avatar” that aired on Nickelodeon. Now, he faces some tough competition from the sexy vampires and werewolves of the Twilight saga — the third film in the series opens the same weekend as “The Last Airbender” (July 2). The movie tells the story of an unruly young hero with mystical powers who must confront an equally powerful enemy who wants to enslave three nations.
Mind-boggling world Chris Nolan, the man who resurrected the Batman franchise, wants to mess with our minds once again. Remember “Memento”? Well, “Inception” (July 16) promises a similar reality-bending trip. The plot details for this thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio are rather sketchy: a company can construct a dream world according to your specifications and can later send agents to infiltrate it and steal your subconscious. Intrigued? So are we.
Why walk through life when I can dance? Nielsen knows that 32% of Hispanics download music online, versus 24% of all Internet users.*
Nielsen listens to you because your preferences are important. As the world’s largest research company, we rely on people to voluntarily participate in our studies. Your participation: • tells us what you watch on TV, how you use your online and cell phone time, and where and how you buy your groceries • helps businesses offer the products and services you want If you’re asked to participate in a Nielsen study, please say yes.
You matter. cafemagazine.com 17 *La información está basada en estimaciones de Nielsen. Para saber más acerca de sus metodologías, visita nielsen.com/latinos. © 2010 The Nielsen Company. Todos los derechos reservados.
PUT UP OR SHUT UP You either love the World Cup or you hate it, but there’s no middle ground Please change the sheets now, because after a four-year stretch of watching far more interesting sports where athletes are logically allowed to use their hands — as is their evolutionary right and duty — the World Cup is here again to frustrate and confuse many while inexplicably tickling a slew of others to the point of losing total control of their bodily fluids. With offensive explosions ending in 0-0 ties or 1-0 blowouts, el Mundial will thankfully satisfy a toddler’s ability to count without needing both hands.
only underscores the two distinct sinvergüenza strains that exist in the sports world: the disturbingly passionate and the passionately apathetic, especially when it comes to the World Cup. (In the name of full disclosure, El Guapo stands high above this fray, since he prefers the sport of kings, the pastime of the gods, the only sport that combines intense psychological acumen, unrivaled physical endurance, catlike reflexes, unsurpassed focus and chess-like strategy … Rock. Paper. Scissors.) Regardless, there is no shortage of irony, since it is clear that sinvergüenzas on either end of the World Cup fence are simply two sides of the same demented coin. In fact, in the United States, the heated debates that arise over soccer are right up there with divisive issues like abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia.
EL GUAPO and/or call in sick to watch their team’s every game. On the other side: Non-fans call in sick to recover from an actual illness. Either way, it’s not very productive (and if you have a Spanish surname, it’s pretty much assumed you’re watching the World Cup anyway). On one side: A rabid devotee knows the names, stats, birthdays, favorite pastimes and shoe sizes of even the lowly benchwarmers on his/her favorite team. On the other side: The young child of the abovementioned rabid devotee cries inconsolably because Mom and Dad forgot to pick him/her up from school when the game was on.
Two sides of the same coin
Many fans will, of course, belligerently shout that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Many will insist that the United States is an anomaly in not recognizing the beauty of a well-executed corner kick or the sheer theatrical perfection of an intense, Oscar-caliber flop resulting in a penalty card. Since it’s unavoidable, let’s do our best to understand the situation and where sinvergüenzas fall into the mix. The world’s most popular sport is called many things: soccer, football, fútbol … exhilarating, the pinnacle of athleticism, the purest team sport. On the other hand, it’s also called boring, anticlimactic, a sad excuse for drunken rioting and arson, and the art of kicking a ball really far only to watch it get kicked all the way back again as no points are awarded. Of course, this bickering and animosity
JUNE | JULY 2010
On one side: Intense sinvergüenzas paint their faces, buy enormous flags to wave around and take down large quantities of their country’s libations of choice. On the other side: Excitement over the return of the McRib easily trumps even the slightest national pride or interest in La Copa. What says “global” brotherhood and “global” pride more than the McRib? Nothing, that’s what. On one side: An inspired play by a favorite player elicits shrieks, whistles and shouts of “¡Gooooooooooooool!” On the other side: ESPN SportCenter’s inclusion of plays from the day’s World Cup action inspires frustrated tears, moans and frightening shrieks of “Noooooooooooooo.” On one side: Die-hard fans schedule their vacations around the action
Dr. Jekyll-and-Señor Hyde
Tragically, many of Café’s readers suffer a peculiar psychological complex. Their roots, families and perhaps genetics pull them toward insane World Cup maniadriven incontinence. At the same time, living in the soccer-apathetic United States tugs them violently to the other extreme — binge-eating and a nap. How does such a tortured soul prevent a mental implosion? Nosce te ipsum — know thyself. Love the World Cup or hate it, do what you like but don’t try to walk the coward’s middle. Take a firm stand and don’t look back. Only by strangling the Jekyll or skinning the Hyde can you survive the insanity without the need for large quantities of prescription drugs.
Truth in Numbers
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But Seriously, Folks ...
Comedy producer Mike Oquendo wants true devotion to laughter words
Sue Ter Maat photos Lynda Guillú
Mike Oquendo has been in the comedy business, running his Chicago-based Mikey O. Comedy Productions for about a decade.
20 Café JUNE | JULY 2010
In a back hallway of the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, stand-up comic Antonia Arcely paces back and forth with three other Latino comedians as she waits to perform a sketch in front of the biggest audience of her life. Seeing the young, inexperienced comedians, the show’s producer, Mike Oquendo – also known as Mikey O. – gathers the quartet in a huddle. They expect encouragement from Oquendo, perhaps reassuring them they were talented comedians who’d knock the crowd dead. “OK, there are 300 people out there tonight,” Oquendo says. “Don’t f- this up.” With that, Oquendo walks away. “We all started laughing,” Arcely says. “Here we [are], literally right about to go on stage. We can hear the crowd and the music. And he says that.” Oquendo has been in the comedy business, running his Chicago-based Mikey O. Comedy Productions for about a decade. In 2009, he produced 91 shows – 79 of them sold out – where he nurtured some of the finest Latino comedic talent looking for a shot at stardom. The road to comedy production began with a Freddie Prinze comedy album. Then a short stint in the Army as a medic and, finally, a break into the special events business where he brought the Puerto Rican Grammy-nominated Plena Libre to Chicago for the first time. And while Oquendo is in the funny business, he has no time for comedians who clown around. “When we take money from people (at a Mikey O. show),” Oquendo explains, “I take that very seriously.” COMEDY IS UNFORGIVING
Oquendo starts his day at 7:30 a.m. at his production office at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, where he plans his shows, looks for new talent and comes up with original concepts. It’s here he has created some of his most memorable comedic shows – “Fajitas & Greens,” “Global Giggles,” “Local
Prinze sparked Oquendo’s life-long love of comedy. “He was a god to me,” Oquendo says. “He was Puerto Rican like me and he was telling our story.” After graduating from Carl Schurz High School on the city’s Northwest Side, Oquendo wasn’t sure what he wanted to Locas,” and “Sip & Giggle” – starring many do for a living. So he joined the Army and of Chicago’s most promising stand-up stayed from 1980 to 1984, working as a comedians. medic stationed in the United States. Oquendo says he receives between 30 It was in the Army at age 19 where and 40 tapes each month from comedians. he performed his first stand-up comedy When selecting a performer, he looks for routine in a talent show – and it didn’t go someone who’s committed to the profession over too well. and can be universally funny to a diverse “A guy came up to me right after and group of people. And if a comedian isn’t said, ‘The only thing that’s a bigger bomb funny? Suffice it to say that Oquendo doesn’t than your stand-up is a Navy bomber,’” sugar-coat it. Oquendo remembers. “I have told people, ‘That was terrible. When he left the Army, Oquendo broke What were you thinking?’” Oquendo says. into special events planning after a Latino “Comedy is unforgiving. It’s much better I film director let him organize a film festival, tell them that they aren’t prepared than to though he had no experience or training. His have them up there and eat dust.” success at the festival led to event-planning Oquendo also expects comics to know jobs with Chicago’s Field Museum. what’s appropriate for a particular audience He went on to produce a number of because not everything goes at a Mikey O. musical shows by acts such as Puerto Rican show, 25-year-old comedian Vincent Acev- group Plena Libre, the Commodores at edo says. Navy Pier and Luna Cabana at the Adler Oquendo once pulled Acevedo aside Planetarium. At the same time, Oquendo after a particularly racy set. “I got too wild was performing stand-up comedy at various on stage with all the adrenaline pumping. venues for fun. He noticed a lack of Latino He brought me to the side and said, ‘Don’t comedy productions, so he gathered local do that – don’t make a negative atmo- comics such as Alex Ortiz and Patti Vasquez sphere,’” Acevedo recalls. “He was very to produce Latino stand-up shows. even-tempered, very professional.” “I understood a need for Latino comedy Nurturing and guiding young talent because there wasn’t any. I called them like Acevedo is part of his job, Oquendo together and we started doing a show,” he says. He’s worked with a number of up-and- says. “At the first show, we had 40 people and coming comedians: T.J. Miller, who’s in the a year later it was 240.” film, “She’s Out of My League;” Hannibal Oquendo started his own business, Buress, a Saturday Night Live writer; Alex melding his special events background Ortiz, a star of the “Bad Boys of Comedy” with comedy. “When I told my dad I was on HBO; and Mark Viera, who’s working going into comedy, he said, ‘That’s not a on a pilot for Fox. profession. No one will pay you for this,’” “I’ll see a young comedian in the back at he recalls. one of my shows, studying the crowd and After more than a decade, audiences other comedians, and I’ll know he’s taking keep coming and comics want to work with it seriously,” Oquendo says. “But if he’s not him, says comedian Leonardo Luciano, paying attention, he’s a waste of time.” who performs under the stage name “Lucky Luciano.” THE ROAD TO COMEDY “When comedians do a Mikey O. show, Oquendo grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s they know it’s going to be [a] high-caliber in Chicago. His life changed one day when [event] that’s planned to the last detail,” his older sister, Lydia, brought home a Luciano says. “Just because it’s comedy Freddie Prinze comedy album. A New doesn’t mean you can just slap something York-born Puerto Rican stand-up comedian, together.” cafemagazine.com 21
caféESPRESSO caféespresso Allá – (clockwise from left) Angel Ledezma, Lupe Martinez and Jorge Ledezma – will be performing at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival.
Perpetual Outsiders If you’ve never heard of rock en español band Allá, things are about to change
22 Café JUNE | JULY 2010
Christina E. Rodríguez photos alBerto Treviño
The band members couldn’t contain their excitement. Allá was finally opening for a major rock en español act – Elefante – at the Congress Theater. They were so wrapped up in their performance that Lupe Martinez, Allá’s lead vocalist, didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary at first. But then, she felt something hit her with a splash. She looked over and saw that bandmate Jorge Ledezma had been doused with a beer thrown by someone in the audience. The band lasted only 15 minutes on stage. “When we got off stage, we [said], ‘The Mexicans hate us!’” recalls 33-year-old Martinez. “But it was a really poor matchup. People just wanted to rock out straight up.” Allá labels itself a psychedelic band: they perform a fusion of jazz, hip-hop, Tropicália and lounge music. Founders Jorge and Angel Ledezma wanted to come up with something completely different than what Chicago’s rock en español scene was used to hearing. “We use the term psych, like in psychedelic because it’s easier,” Jorge, 34, says. “It allows us some freedom to do whatever we want to do as opposed to saying we’re a Latin rock band.” This year, Allá will play at Chicago’s annual Pitchfork Music Festival taking place July 16 to 18 at Union Park [SEE PAGE 69 FOR OUR COMPLETE CALENDAR OF SUMMER FESTS]. “It’s been two years in the
making trying to get on that lineup,” says Angel, 35. “It’s exciting to play a cool festival in our home city…It’s exciting to be given a chance to play for a big audience, a hip audience.” Ryan Schreiber, president and founder of Pitchfork, says that the fact that Allá can attract more than one type of audience made the selection easy. “They draw on so many forms of international music from the past 40 years, but they also incorporate distinctly North American sounds,” he says. “[They] sound like the kind of rare lost record you’d expect to drop $30 on at Dusty Groove [America record store] before realizing it came from your own backyard.” The Ledezma brothers grew up in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, where their mother, from Aguascalientes, Mexico, spoke to the boys in Spanish and their father, the rocker from Mexico City, spoke to them in English. Even though Angel didn’t ever feel entirely Mexican, he understood at an early age that he was part of a different culture, while Jorge struggled to find his cultural identity. After playing in numerous bands around the Chicago area, Jorge and Angel decided to produce music that would break
away from the local rock en español scene. “Our music shouldn’t be a repeat of rock en español. We wanted to elevate it,” says Angel. The Ledezma brothers, who call themselves “music geeks,” began working on an album in 2001. Four years into its production, they still didn’t have a lead singer. It wasn’t until they met Martinez at an open mic night at a Wicker Park music venue that they found their lead vocalist to complete the band’s sound. “Jorge was really intense,” remembers Martinez. “He made me step back. The next week, I kind of auditioned for him in his own way at open mic night. He was there and he came up to me afterward saying I was exactly what they needed.” The band’s name comes from a National Geographic article Jorge read that explored the freedom Mexican women enjoyed when their husbands left for work in the United States. When interviewed, the women referred to their husbands as being “allá” – or “over there.” The phrase hit home with Jorge, says Angel. “Even though we’re American, we still feel that our hearts are in Mexico, or allá,” he says. After working on the album for two more years and being signed by Belgianbased label, Crammed Discs, Allá finally released their first album, “Es Tiempo,” in 2008. Martinez remembers that from day one, Jorge was always saying, “It’s time, it’s time,” telling her that they had to make a statement and be creative. Jorge was just itching to break out of Chicago’s Spanish rock scene, she says. The band attended the Latin Alternative Music Conference in New York in 2008 where they felt like fish out of water – just as when they had opened for Elefante. “We felt like aliens,” recalls Jorge. “Even though we [said], ‘OK, we’re Latinos, we’re alternative, we’re contemporary, we’re hip,’ we’re still too weird.” “When people hear us, they don’t know what to make of us,” Martinez chimes in.
“We have a style, but we’re all over. We’re not as straightforward as other bands.” It wasn’t until they opened last year for Mexican singer-songwriter Ximena at the House of Blues, that they gained the trust of a section of the Latino audience. “It was the first time we had a great response from the audience,” says Angel. “We played to the crowd we wanted to play to: a smart, intelligent, artistic crowd.” Allá is mostly embraced by the Angloindie scene – as Jorge likes to call it – because of their sound. And it was in this scene, that Allá had their second big break last summer when they were asked to open for St. Vincent, the former vocalist of The Polyphonic Spree, at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion as part of the Department of Cultural Affairs’ New Music Monday series of free concerts. St. Vincent is one of the headliners at this year’s Pitchfork Festival. “Opening for St. Vincent was fun.We played to one of our biggest audiences in our hometown with an amazing view of the skyline,” recalls Angel enthusiastically. “St. Vincent played amazingly.The lady can shred!” And, although their lyrics are in Spanish, Angel feels that their audience connects more to the music than anything else. The choice to write and perform in Spanish came from Jorge’s own coming to grips with his cultural identity. “It’s one of those choices that exemplifies that Latinos are everywhere and [it says], ‘Now we’re in your music, now we’re playing in front of you,’” says Jorge. “You can’t get away from us. We’re not just polite or quiet people that work in the kitchen.” Despite not quite fitting into the mold of the rock en español scene, Jorge says, his heart still wants to be a part of the movement. “We still want to tour Mexico. We have friends and people who are digging us there. But it’s a hard business, I tell people all the time.” Though it may not be what he imagined, would he change anything? “It’s not glamorous,” he says, but he still loves it. cafemagazine.com 23
ParaPapá Dad deserves so much more than a tie and a brand new shirt; pamper him this Father’s Day It’s time again to shop for the hardest-to-shop-for member of the family: your father! This year, don’t opt for the easy choices. Think outside the box and get him something he’ll enjoy and use often.
Sylvania Portable DVD Player
most electronics stores and their respective websites, $99.99 With the Sylvania SDVD9000B Portable DVD Player, Dad can enjoy watching his favorite movies in the comfort of any room in the house plus his lair in the garage. Sylvania’s portable DVD player features a 9-inch widescreen color display and is slim and compact for easy traveling.
Basket of goodies
Time for elegance
King of grills
makersmarkgiftshop. com, $68 If your father enjoys fine bourbon, he’ll love the Maker’s Mark Gourmet Lover Gift Basket, complete with several Maker’s Mark bourbon-infused items — such as cherries, chocolates, sauce and coffee — packed in a decorative gift basket. Also available: baskets for golfers and coffee lovers.
philips-store.com, $249 It’s time for Dad to get rid of those disposable razors, and for you to introduce him to a world of smooth and close shaves with the Philips Norelco Arcitec Razor 1090 XD. This rechargeable cordless razor holds has dual blades and three independently flexing heads that swivel and ensure optimum skin contact, especially in curved areas.
Bulova.com, Kay Jewelers, Macy’s, $250 Is your father more into fashion or accessories? Then he’ll be sure to love the Bulova 96G46 stainless steel watch. It’s simple yet classy and is a perfect fit for the dad who appreciates elegance. It features a black dial and silvertone indices, as well as a date window. The watch is also water-resistant up to 99 feet.
Lowes, Sears, Abt and their respective websites, $300 The Weber 781001 One-Touch Gold Charcoal Grill has more grilling space that the typical Weber kettle with its 26” porcelain enameled bowl and lid, leaving more room for indirect cooking of larger cuts of meats, including roasts and whole turkeys. Dad will be so happy with his new gift that you may get a meal in return that same day.
24 Café JUNE | JULY 2010
Life The cocktail renaissance
has created opportunities for Latinos to trail-blaze new careers as pioneering mixologists, moving from bartender to leading roles in the drinks industry. Sponsored by the world’s leading premium drinks company Diageo and Café Media, Celebrate the Future Scholarship Fund was designed to help Latinos advance from jobs in the hospitality industry to careers. Getting involved is easy. Nominate a hospitality professional or apply for a Celebrate the Future Scholarship or internship at www.cafemagazine.com/future, or purchase one of Diageo’s popular brands such as Crown Royal. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Celebrate the Future Scholarship Fund.
The future is in your hands.
Diageo, Celebrate Life
Please enjoy our brands responsibly
Special Advertising Section
Adam Seger (left), Nacional 27’s star mixologist, and Carlos Cuarta (right) believe that scholarship funds like Celebrate the Future will increase the career opportunities of Latinos in the hospitality industry.
THE RIGHT MIX One of Adam Seger’s most innovative cocktail creations is a strawberry-rhubarb-basil-balsamic mojito. The drink, which was listed as one of GQ’s top 20 cocktails of 2009, is a crossroads between cultures, not unusual for the half-Mexican, half-Swedish star mixologist of Nacional 27 who enjoys a following and regularly hosts cocktail workshops. Seger’s mojito is one part Midwestern (the strawberry-rhubarb part) and one part Italian (the classic strawberry-balsamic part). And the rum, which blends beautifully with the strawberry, is the Hispanic touch. “This drink was a way for me to take a classic mojito and mix it up with my food knowledge and sommelier/wine training to create a delicious drink,” says Seger. Recognizing mixology as an excellent career opportunity, the world’s leading drinks company Diageo and Café Media are incorporating “Mixology/Sommelier“ as a career to be supported as part of the Celebrate the Future 2010 scholarship fund for promising Hispanics in the hospitality industry.
“Scholarships to support members of the Latino community in enhancing their knowledge and skills to further themselves in the hospitality industry show the foresight of Diageo and Café Media to be part of moving our community forward,” says Seger. In 2009, Celebrate the Future awarded $5,000 and $2,000 scholarships to 18 aspiring leaders in the hospitality industry. Celebrate the Future 2010 will award scholarships of $7,500 for higher education and $2,000 for vocational training and certifications. For mixologist Carlos Cuarta, originally from Venezuela but now Chicago-based, mixology has not only given him the opportunity to share his passion for the many varieties of rum, but is also a way to improve his career opportunities. After studying to become a mixologist at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, Cuarta now works as a successful mixologist for several catering companies. “Diageo creating these scholarships is great on so many levels for the Latino community,” says
Special Advertising Section
ABOVE: Carlos Cuarta peels an orange rind he will use as garnish for his Rum Manhattan cocktail. RIGHT: Seger shakes things up as he prepapes one of his signature drinks: the Summer Hummin (opposite page, bottom).
Cuarta. “To be part of the industry, Latinos don’t have to be a bar back or work in the kitchen — you can go back to school and increase your opportunities.”
thing happened with wine and the wine revolution of the ‘90s and with beer and the microbrewery revolution of the 2000s. Now is the spirits’ turn.”
Since 1948, mixology has been defined as the art or skill of preparing mixed drinks. Today’s mixologist is a bartender who specializes in the creation of new drink combinations. During the last few years, bartenders have been going back to school in droves to polish their skills in this popular new art of cocktail creation.
Mixology offers an opportunity for Latinos who want to further their careers. “This is a great time for Latinos to move to front-of-house positions and provide direct service,” notes Schmid.
“There has never been a better time to be a mixologist,” says Albert Schmid, a culinary practitioner at Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky, and author of several books on wines and spirits. “Because there’s been a revival and interest in mixed drinks and beverages, and in the use of fresh fruit and homemade bitters, there’s a big demand for this profession…The mixologist is to a bar what a chef is to a kitchen.” In fact, mixology is the next logical progression within the bar and restaurant business, according to Peter Vestinos, Beverage Development Director at Wirtz Beverage Group. “For a long time, people forgot how to eat in this country. Then came chefs like Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, who revolutionized American cuisine,” says Vestinos. “The same
“There’s definitely a need for Hispanics in this industry,” says Seger, who notes that mojitos and caipirinhas are some of the biggest trends right now, with rum and tequila experiencing the biggest growth in sales. While mixologists such as Seger learned the art of mixology as bartenders, the increasing popularity of the industry is requiring training prior to stepping into the field. “Because the level of food has gone up, customers have become more demanding over the last 10 years, and it’s not ok anymore to set out drinks with just a little umbrella or a fruit skewer, and expect that will be an acceptable drink experience,” observes Schmid. Customers want the complete drink experience, and that’s why training is a good path for those interested in pursuing mixology as a career.
RESOURCES For more information about professional mixology programs in Illinois and nationwide, visit: • Academy of Spirits and Fine Service: southernwine.com/academy/ • Beverage Alcohol Resource Certificate Programs: beveragealcoholresource.com • American Professional Bartenders Schools – Chicago: chicagobartendingschool.org • ABC Bartending School – Chicago: abcbartending.com/chicago.htm • United States Bartenders’ Guild: usbg.org
“Training is absolutely essential,” says Seger, who is currently studying to become a master sommelier. “You have to be serious about mixology if you want to be good at it — just like a chef, you need to constantly educate yourself and find mentors to learn from.” With the right training and an aptitude for being innovative with cocktail ingredients and pairing drinks with food, bartenders can now become “masters“ of their craft, provided they are up for the challenge. Those interested in participating in the Celebrate the Future Scholarship Fund can nominate a hospitality professional or apply for a scholarship or internship at cafemagazine.com/future, or purchase one of Diageo’s popular brands. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Celebrate the Future Scholarship Fund. For a list of rules, visit cafemagazine.com/future.
Today, we have the opportunity to
change someone’s life for the better. Help turn an interest in sales and marketing into a career with a local leader in the beverage business. A Celebrate the Future Internship with Wirtz Beverage Illinois will get you moving in the right direction. Sponsored by the world’s leading premium drinks company Diageo and Café Media, Celebrate the Future Scholarship Fund was designed to help Latinos advance from jobs in the hospitality industry to careers. Getting involved is easy. Nominate a hospitality professional or apply for a Celebrate the Future Scholarship or internship at www.cafemagazine.com/future, or purchase one of Diageo’s popular brands such as Ciroc Vodka. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Celebrate the Future Scholarship Fund.
The future is in your hands.
Diageo, Celebrate Life
Please enjoy our brands responsibly
artdepartment Mi CasaTuCasa
City, Seed & Soil You don’t have to move to the ’burbs to build a pleasant green oasis words
Alicia Ontiveros photos alBerto Treviño
Summer is Chicago’s season of fun, with festivities lurking in every corner of the city. But you don’t have to look farther than your own backyard to discover a world of splendor and inspiration. Just ask Guillermo Castellanos, a veteran landscape architect originally from Honduras who has crafted gardens of paradise for more than a decade. “It is fun to renew lifeless spaces, and to transform them into warm and inviting retreats that are void of tension and in tune with nature,” he says. Castellanos’ Mito Landscape Design company is responsible for botanical creations in dozens of residential gardens in the Chicago area. One of them is an 800-square-foot urban oasis nestled in the heart of Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood, designed just steps from Adam Falk’s bedroom. “It’s like having another living room and dining room,” Falk says. “I love the urban envi30 Café APRIL | MAY 2010
ronment. All of the textures, sounds and smells. Well, not all of the sounds and smells, [but] it’s wonderful to just waste a morning away on the deck reading the paper.” When Falk invested in his condominium, he asked the builder to reinforce the garage so he could eventually build a roof deck. It was a smart move that ended up adding 500 square feet to his outdoor space. It took him a while to get it off the ground, but when Falk decided to start his garden last year, he knew he would need help. “Believe it or not, mature trees are very expensive. I wanted an expert involved so that I wouldn’t buy and plant things that had no chance of surviving,” says Falk. So he called Castellanos, who carefully
LEFT: Guillermo Castellanos and Adam Falk (back to camera) enjoy a glass of wine on Falk’s roof deck built on top of his condo garage. ABOVE FROM LEFT: Limelight hydrangeas bloom in cones of white; stones steps lead visitors from the garage to the roof deck; Guillermo Castellanos carefully selected the plants for Falk’s outdoor space; even Falk’s garden hose, kept inside this pot, melds into the landscape.
selected a variety of plants to give Falk the architectural ethos he desired. A lavish masterpiece emerged: Crabapples send up sparks of magenta on the rooftop garden. Limelight hydrangeas bloom in cones of white. Rozanne and Jolly Bee geranium varieties mimic the amethyst of a summer sunset when the garden is at its peak. The space also features a special request from the client: “My parents planted a Japanese maple [tree] when I was born, and I have always wanted one on my property,” Falk says. It’s the kind of addition that invokes a familial spirit so important when converting any area into a genuine living space. “There is great satisfaction that comes from the transformation of a space,” Castellanos notes. “But [it’s] even greater satisfaction to know that the use of this space will help to improve someone’s quality of life.” The good news: you can do it, too – even if you don’t have much space to spare. Raised garden beds are ideal for urban environments without natural ground soil. They can be built relatively easily and in a custom shape to fit your space. Raised beds provide adequate drainage for plants and help keep out garden pests, but it takes an investment between $100 and $300 on average to get started. If you can’t build beds, Castellanos
recommends using portable pots and hanging plants, which can be decorative as well as practical. During the summer, plants will provide birds with food and refuge outside. When it gets colder, you can bring them indoors where they’ll continue to liven up your home, he says. Castellanos says plants such as redbuds, crabapples, serviceberries, magnolias and boxwoods work well in small spaces. Espalier trees are great for an outside wall, since they grow flat against the surface like a vine and are visually interesting. If you don’t have an outdoor area to play with, try planting small herbs or microgreens (small leafed vegetables that only grow a few inches high) on a windowsill. Castellanos says he’s receiving more requests for edible plants lately, and some miniature fruit plants can even grow in pots as long as they get the sunlight they need to thrive. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to make changes if you find out something’s not working for you. “It was my first year with the landscaping on the roof deck, so there was definitely some trial and error. We will be making some changes for this season,” Falk says. “Taking care of the garden is relaxing … and seeing it flourish is rewarding.”
GUILLERMO’S TIPS Conduct a site analysis. Find out how to make the most out of your space, taking into account critical details like sunlight exposure. Create structural interest. If you don’t have a lot of room to build out, build up by incorporating arbors or trellises. Select plants carefully. Learn how your plants will grow over time. Get rid of those that become too big and cumbersome for your space. Choose durable pots. If you have to pot your plants, be sure to select ones made of durable material that won’t break or become brittle during the winter. Water consistently. It sounds simple, but a consistent watering routine is especially important for new gardens with plants adjusting to fresh soil.
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Let South Africa’s diverse cuisine serve as inspiration for your World Cup get-together GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! For the 32 countries competing at the World Cup this summer in South Africa, success will be defined by only one thing: winning it all. For you, however, the goal is much easier: throwing a killer World Cup party that your guests will talk about for years to come. Good food, party atmosphere, friends, family and football on TV… sounds just like a Super Bowl party, right? 32 Café JUNE | JULY 2010
Chris Chavez Weitman photos alBerto Treviño
Think again. Bigger – much bigger – because this party only happens once every four years! This doesn’t mean your World Cup party has to be some testosterone-driven, trough-dining event. Chicks dig soccer, too. Even those who don’t – or think they don’t – will have a great time if you do a little planning and preparation. Think of it as a chance to give friends a glimpse of life in another part of the world. First, look at the game schedule and decide what time of day you want to party, given that host country South Africa is nine hours ahead of the West Coast and six hours ahead of the East Coast. Most of the opening-round
CONGUSTO Bobotie Filling: 2 slices bread with crusts removed 2 tbsp. milk 2 tbsp. olive oil 1 cup chopped onions 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 eggs, beaten 1lb. lean ground beef 2 tbsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. turmeric 2 tbsp. sugar 3 tsp. curry powder ½ cup seedless raisins ½ tsp. salt Topping: 2 eggs, beaten ½ cup milk 6 bay leaves OPPOSITE: Bobotie (left); on the right in the tiered dish, starting from the bottom: Dithotse (baked pumpkin seeds), beef biltong, chicken sosaties. ABOVE (clockwise from the top): pork chops, baby back pork ribs, weisswurst and bratwurst. Center: Beef/Pork Boerewors.
games are scheduled for 10 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. EST. There are a few games as early as 7:30 a.m. EST, so plan accordingly … or settle for watching a replay of the game when it is shown later. South Africa is a first-time World Cup host, so this can inspire the menu for the big jol (the South African word for party). South African cuisine is a mashup of British, Dutch, Malaysian, French, Indian and indigenous tribal cooking. With variety like that, why not try some of the foods that spectators will be eating at the World Cup? South Africans love to snack on a jerkylike dried meat called biltong. They really, really love it – so much so that besides selling it in strips, sticks, slices and cubes, they sell it grated and powdered for use in salads and sandwiches. This love affair is easy to understand: Biltong is part of South African history, having originated during the Boer pioneer treks across the country. Beef, antelope and ostrich biltong are the most popular, and you can order it online at www.africanhut.com. Or just buy some good old American beef jerky and have that stand in for its South African cousin. Another popular South African snack is dithotse. This is easy to make; it’s just dried, oven-baked pumpkin or melon seeds with salt. Indian samosas are another popular appetizer: fried or baked triangular pastry shells filled with potatoes, peas, onions, lentils, coriander and other spices. You can get these in the frozen food section of Whole Foods and at specialty markets, or buy them at an Indian restaurant.
South Africans also really love to braai … better known as open-flame barbecue. They grill the same things we do: marinated chicken, pork, lamb chops and steaks. But they also cook up a delicious combo of ground beef, pork and lamb sausages called boerewors, which is seasoned with coriander, pepper, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Another popular item on South African grills are sosaties. A lot like our kebabs, they’re a tribute to South Africa’s ethnic melting pot. The word sosaties comes from the Malay word sate for skewered meat and sauce. Traditionally, lamb chunks are marinated with fried onions, chilies, garlic, tamarind juice and a curry sauce. Dried fruit is often skewered between the pieces of meat. Put together your own braai by grilling hot Italian sausage, marinated chicken and pork chops. For the sosaties, marinate chunks of lamb or beef overnight in a flavorful dipping sauce like Stonewall Kitchen’s Pineapple Ginger Sauce. Spear the meat on wood or metal skewers and grill with the other meats. Serve everything with Virginia Chutney Company’s Hot Peach Chutney or your favorite salsas. For an easy make-ahead dish, try South Africa’s favorite casserole, bobotie. This slightly spicy, slightly sweet ground beef dish really offers a taste of the country’s multi-culinary influences, combining flavors from India, Malaysia, France and England. This is one of those dishes, like chili con carne, that everyone tweaks to make their own… so get inventive! Keep your guests partying with South African wines. Cabernet Sauvignon pairs
Preheat oven to 325°F. Soak bread in milk for 10 minutes. Squeeze out excess milk and break up bread; reserve milk. Heat a medium skillet on medium high for 1 to 2 minutes; add oil. Cook onions and garlic 2 to 3 minutes or until translucent. Remove from heat. Mix eggs and ground beef in a large bowl. Add soaked bread, reserved milk, onion mixture, lemon juice, turmeric, sugar, curry powder, raisins and salt. Spoon mixture into a greased oven proof dish; bake for 35 minutes. Beat remaining eggs and milk together in a small bowl while bobotie is cooking. Pour the beaten egg mixture on bobotie when it is finished cooking. Decorate the top with bay leaves. Return to oven and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until the top is set.
perfectly with grilled meats, and some of the best moderately-priced Cabernets come from South African vineyards. Try Glen Carlou Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. If you’re looking for a perfectly balanced dry white, try Sincerely Sauvignon Blanc 2008. Now it’s game time! You can try to set up the television outdoors, although this can be perilous if you have to run extension cords. A number of websites offer allweather outdoor television sets if money isn’t an issue. But, why not just open the doors and windows, turn up the television and let the party flow inside and out? After all, you only do this every four years; everyone having a great time should be your ultimate goal. cafemagazine.com 33
Summer Essentials Tips to look your best and bring the heat this season words
Mariea Murlowski photos Jillian Sipkins
Show off your curves and even your legs with these summer-appropriate dresses.
34 Café JUNE | JULY 2010
While preparing your summer hit list (“must-dos” include attending free festivals in your city, eating tamales and paletas at your favorite food carts and watching your beloved Latin American soccer teams battle it out during the World Cup), don’t forget to make a “must-buy” list to update your summer wardrobe. Claudia Kleiner, Venezuelan fashion designer and owner of Chicago’s Malabar boutique, shares fashion “must-haves” every Latina needs to spice it up this season.
Claudia Kleiner, fashion designer and owner of Malabar Chicago boutique, advises to keep your look simple this summer.
Latin America has long been associated with precious metals like silver and gold. Early civilizations such as the Chimú and Chavín produced gold artifacts that conveyed high social, religious and political status. Gold is an absolute must for achieving a Latin American-inspired summer look. “Latin American designers like to combine the elegance and glamour of a divinely fitted dress with the sex appeal of gold hoop earrings; it’s an easy way to dress up any outfit,” says Kleiner, who lived and modeled in Venezuela for 20 years. Load up on gold bangles and pair them with long gold earrings for a chic day or nighttime look. tip: Celebrities such as Eva Mendes and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas are all wearing gold knuckle rings right now. You can buy one at Forever21 for under $10. perfect little white dress
It’s time to trade in your little black dress for something more summer-appropriate. “White is a huge trend this season. It stands out in a sea of black – and looks great with gold accessories,” says Kleiner. A pretty white dress is the quintessential summer piece that you can pair with dramatic heels or dress it down over a swimsuit. “Every woman should have one in her closet for summertime,” adds Kleiner. And buying a new dress doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. tip: Kleiner suggests heading to vintage stores for some thrifty finds. Loads of linen
Nobody wants to be weighed down by heavy fabrics in the heat of summer. Linen is a great summer fabric because it’s light, breezy and breathable. “White linens exemplify Latin chic because they give off an organic, fresh vibe without looking sloppy,” says Kleiner. Plus, summer is the one time of the year you can pull off white pants – so long as you don’t spill sangria on them. tip: Kleiner suggests victoriassecret.com for affordable white linen pants and tops.
Jewelry with stones
Latin American fashion is all about organic-looking jewelry. Mesoamerican rulers were adorned in turquoise and other natural gems. The Inca, Maya and Aztec civilizations utilized natural stones such as jade, onyx and emerald in their jewelry because of their abundance. “Every Latina needs tons of layered, chunky jewelry in bright colors like coral and turquoise that channel the embellishments of ancient Latin American nobility,” says Kleiner. Bonus: these colors look amazing against piel bronceada! tip: Natural stone and faux-stone jewelry seem to be everywhere – at a variety of prices. Check out stelladot.com for a bit higher quality or American Eagle for inexpensive trendy pieces. Self-confidence
The most important thing to remember while dressing? You’re sexy, even if your bod isn’t quite bikini ready. According to Kleiner, many designers are turning down super thin models for more exotic-looking, curvaceous models. Don’t let your figure hide underneath your clothes this summer – show off your curves and legs à la Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek. “Latinas have great curves and we like to show them,” Kleiner says. “Highlight them in flowy tango skirts and ruffled tops.” tip: Kleiner points out that you should try to keep your look simple, using solid colors, and make it more interesting with accessories and additional pieces that appeal to your style. “When you have too many trends, fashion is destroyed,” she says. “When you show off your individuality and own your sense of style, the outfit will always look its best.” cafemagazine.com 35
fatherly instincts Single Latino dads learn that parenting isn’t easy — but it’s worth it
Randi Belisomo Hernández photos Melissa Valladares
Latino dads are shedding a macho mentality on the home front as cultural trends shift toward a more involved notion of fatherhood than many experienced on the receiving end during their youth. But when those dads are faced with the task of parenting without their children’s mother at their side, the job is even tougher.
Savannah, Jesse Lozano’s daughter, has been able to follow her dad’s meteoric career as a popular Los Angeles DJ since the beginning.
36 Café APRIL | MAY 2010
Whether married or single, moms often get credited with a “maternal instinct” that drives their decision-making, but what about the men? “Most important to children is the quality of parenting they receive,” says Dr. Carroll Cradock, president of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. “It’s more important than race or gender or age.” If they’re present, Cradock says, men, too, can be effective parents. “What really helps children is consistent and regular parenting, affection and support.” These single dads offer just that, despite facing what many would have taken as impasses to their ability to parent.
AVAILABLE WHEN NEEDED
R.J. Jaramillo’s wife asked for a divorce at about the same time she found out she was pregnant with their third child. As the son of Mexican immigrants married almost 50 years, Jaramillo saw his family breakdown as the ultimate failure. A successful mortgage banker and selfproclaimed “workaholic,” not only was Jamarillo losing his children, but he was hit hard financially in the court proceedings. Having a newborn, he says, doesn’t work in favor of the father in any legal battle over children, and Jaramillo was originally awarded with only 25 percent custody. “I did not want to be a weekend dad,” the 45-year old San Diego resident says. “I knew I was going to
TWO SEPARATE HOUSES
Thanks to his efforts in being there when they most needed him, R.J. Jaramillo, founder of SingleDad.com, today enjoys 51 percent custody of his three children (clockwise from left) Mossimo, 14;, Alexa, 16; and Mia, 10. photo courtesy of rj jaramillo
have to work 10 times harder through my actions and my behavior.” What that meant was working harder when he could, but knowing when to stop should his ex-wife call and need some help with Alexa, Mossimo and Mia. Jaramillo says the biggest mistake men make in divorces is getting so easily upset and hostile with the soon-to-be ex. “We make it a war, and it’s really a marathon,” he says. “We think we have to get the upper hand early.” Jaramillo certainly did not see that way, but his consistent efforts eventually produced slow gains. He was awarded 40 percent custody after four years. “Instead of fighting the war, I kept establishing my schedule and availability around my kids. I worked doubletime to be double accessible.” Today, the proud dad enjoys 51 percent custody and cares for his 16, 14 and 10 year old every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as well as every other weekend. “Most men don’t know they can do this and resign themselves to being a weekend dad,” Jaramillo says. And not being solely a weekend dad means being present for many of the moments men may wish they weren’t. “How do you teach a man not to panic when his daughter has her first period at his home?” Jaramillo laughs. His daughter showed him the blood on her sheets, and Jaramillo’s first thought, he says, was “’Try not to gag, R.J.!’” Instead, he proceeded calmly throwing away both the sheets and her underwear before heading to the store for feminine hygiene products. He also handed her a book to read about female development. The next day, he says, his efforts were rewarded, with a kind card from his young teenager, thanking him for being so understanding. He does receive help from his parents and what he calls his “gal pals” – female friends who are also mothers. There is no romantic involvement here, only friends who can start conversations with his daughters on just about everything. Jaramillo also receives and gives assistance on his own website, SingleDad.com. It’s a forum dedicated to parenting and specifically targets newly divorced, remarried, widowed or single fathers. “It’s a modern day fraternity,” Jaramillo says, of his nearly 16,000 forum members. He draws about 1,000 page views per day.
Jesse Lozano was not the voice of the afternoon drive in Los Angeles when he first learned of his daughter’s impending arrival. He was a 21-year-old working in retail, who had recently been on one date with a teenage co-worker he didn’t plan on going out with again. Nine months later, they would be raising Savannah, now a 7-year-old beauty who enjoys tennis, fishing and art. “She has never known a day that [her mother and I] were together,” 30-year-old Lozano says of the 50-50 custody agreement he now shares with Savannah’s mother. “Her whole life, Savannah has had two separate houses.” In fact, Lozano laughs about the time he told Savannah that her mother and father used to date. “’Disgusting!’” he recalls her screaming, all the while placing her hands over her ears. She wanted to hear no more. Because his daughter has never been through the struggle of a divorce, Lozano believes that aspect of his single parenting has been a bit easier. But adding to complications was his blossoming future in radio. “She’s been able to follow my career from the beginning, when I would take her to the station and put her under the soundboard,” Lozano remembers of his newborn daughter, snug in her baby seat surrounded by music. Savannah remains surrounded in song today, and if it’s not with the pop tunes her father plays on the airwaves, it’s with the mariachi music Lozano’s Mexican father sings to her, much to Savannah’s delight. “Even I can’t listen to that!” Lozano laughs. As a single dad, Lozano has often had to overlap his work and private lives. He says he has never minded, though he still sometimes feels out of place at PTA meetings where the moms often stare. “Every woman that has a motherly instinct would be surprised to know that most men have that too, when it comes to caring for their own child,” Lozano says. As the 3-7 p.m. host on Los Angeles’ KIIS-FM 102.7, Lozano now has some help in caring for his daughter, in the form of the same babysitter for the past three-and-a-half years. He calls her a “great female to look up to” for Savannah. His mother is actively involved, as is his girlfriend, who Lozano says “knows her boundaries.” Lozano says his only hope for Savannah is to know she can do anything she wants if she tries hard enough. “Her dad is complete living proof of that,” he says. cafemagazine.com 37
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HOPE KICKS ETERNAL No team from Mexico, Honduras or the U.S. has ever won the World Cup. Is this the year? words
Juan Carlos Hernández photos Abel Arciniega
Jared Wells (left) helped create the American Outlaws, a club of of U.S. Men’s Soccer National Team supporters with chapters across the country.
Is there a God? According to Mexican writer Juan Villoro there is. He’s a soccer ball.
n his book “God Is Round” (“Dios es redondo,” Planeta, 2006), Villoro captures the devotion to this deity and how it culminates every four years in the world’s biggest celebration of sport – the World Cup.
Villoro might be right. No other sporting event draws more fans, incites more passion or has more ritual. No other epic unites people as soccer’s greatest championship. For teams around the globe, it’s the end of a two-year drama for qualification: Passion. Joy. Despair. Life and death playing out on the pitch. Some stumbled then failed or got up and fought on. Others squeaked by. A few marched triumphantly into the last round. In the end, 32 countries have assembled their best men and drawn up game plans for the first global sporting event to take place on an African stage: the 19th World Cup in South Africa. New cleats. New uniforms. New stadi-
40 Café JUNE | JULY 2010
ums. New hope. Past struggles must be buried. It’s time for the final act. This June, Honduras, Mexico and the United States will represent the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) when they travel to South Africa to compete. Many fans will join them. But those who cheer from afar will gather with family and friends, sport their team’s jersey and black out calendars for the first round games. Not one of those games is to be missed, especially for fans of Mexico. They open the cup against host South Africa at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg on June 11. Millions will be watching and asking, “Who will win it all?” Brazil is a favorite once again, and so are traditional powerhouses like Germany, Italy and England. Many say Spain is the team to beat with their blistering speed and stalwart defense that won them the European title two years ago. Many even give Diego Armando Maradona and his
squad from Argentina a chance despite the fact that they limped into the final round. After all, they have Lionel Messi, the best footballer in the world. [see page 43] Each of these teams, save Spain, has at least one star etched next to the crest of their national jersey. These are the small but powerful symbols that boast and tally how many World Cup titles your country has won. Few have them. In fact, no team outside of Europe and South America has ever won a World Cup. That fact does not diminish hope for some local fans of Los Catrachos (Honduras), El Tri (Mexico) or The Yanks (United States). All have strong teams, though depth and experience might determine just how far each of them goes. Their fans hope for a championship or at least for their team to compete well – to gather all emotion, energy, skill and national pride and place them on the field, making the rectangle of grass into a sacred space. It certainly is for Honduras.
Game parties are a constant at José de Jesús Cantero’s home (front left) and this World Cup will be no exception.
THE TEAM OF HOPE If God is round, then for Honduras he has also been a healer. Getting into the World Cup has been a salve for the wounds of last summer’s coup and the subsequent political turmoil. Los Catrachos have been a unifying force, a team of hope. Indeed, this is only the second Erasmo Arturo Montalván divided his team that Honchildhood between duras is sending Brazil and Honduras. But this World Cup, to a World Cup. It his heart belongs to last happened in Los Catrachos. 1982. For Erasmo Arturo Montalván, 28, a halfBrazilian, half-Honduran teacher at Erie Elementary Charter School in Chicago, it’s been a miracle. And though he divided his childhood between Honduras and Brazil, he supports Los Catrachos. “Brazil has it all, and I support them, but my heart is with the underdog,” Montalván says. “If we [make it through] the
first round, that would be great, then you never know what might happen.” They have a solid backbone: The goalscoring instincts of Carlos Costly and David Suazo, the experience of goalkeeper Julio César de León, and the midfield work of Wilson Palacios. Honduras may not be one of the favorites, but with these seasoned players on the squad, some of whom have European experience, they could be a dark horse. For regional rival Mexico, the story has been different, but no less inspiring to a country with its own struggles. Last year, El Tri climbed from chasm to mountaintop. In a repeat of his 2002 feat, coach Javier Aguirre returned to save the team. Under the direction of Sven-Göran Eriksson, they floundered and were in danger of elimination. After a 3-1 loss to Honduras, Eriksson was canned. Aguirre transformed the team: he sent insubordinate players packing and called on the leadership of former Chicago Fire star, Cuauhtémoc Blanco. Aguirre blended youth and experience
into a cohesive unit. Thus, Mexico went on to win the Gold Cup by beating the United States 5-0 on The Yanks’ home turf, an impossible feat during a span of 10 years. Days later, El Tri beat the United States again, 2-1, before some 100,000 fans at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. They slowly secured a spot in South Africa and fans want more. “They have a really good shot,” says José de Jesús Cantero. The 31-year-old financial analyst says his passion for El Tri may have grown during college, but it had its roots at home. His parents have always been soccer fans, and with his renewed passion they are again following the team. “Following Mexico connects me to where I’m from and to my family,” says Cantero. Game parties are a constant at the Cantero home and many are planned for this summer. “[The team] can go far if they keep their heads and play hard. They have young players up front and experience in the midfield and the back,” he says. “Reaching the final would be magic!”
God is round,
but hope and CHEERLEADING OUTLAWS A mix of magic with some amnesia is what fans of the United States are seeking. Arguably one of the best teams in the CONCACAF region, The Yanks must leave 2006 in the past. Their last World Cup performance was a washout. The United States was sent home after a miserable first round: two losses, one tie. But now, they want to build on last year’s success at the Confederations Cup in South Africa. Although they struggled in the first round, the team went on to beat Egypt, then Spain, and had Brazil on the ropes before A Seleção, the nickname used for the Brazilian national team, came back to win 3-2 in the second half of the final. Many say the team is ready – and hungry.
Jared Wells believes the U.S. national team can beat England in the first round.
42 Café JUNE | JULY 2010
Jared Wells agrees. Supporting this new run for a championship is one of the reasons why Wells helped create American Outlaws, a club of U.S. national team supporters with chapters across the country. The 1994 World Cup in the United States sparked Wells’ love of the national team, and after returning from the World Cup in 2006, it
love are too... became stronger. “It was just great to be in that environment and see our team and all the fans. I wanted to do more here,” says Wells. One of their goals is to organize fans to cheer for the U.S. squad for games shown here, where supporters of other countries usually outnumber them. But, it’s really about a love born early in life for the 26-year-old Nebraska native. He has been playing soccer since the age of five and plans to follow The Yanks in South Africa. His prediction: “Oh, we’ll get out of the first round. We can beat England, and if Oguchi Onyewu, Charlie Davies and other players fully recover and are 100 percent, we can go really far,” Wells says. Villoro is right. God is round, but hope and love are too, and all will meet on the fields of South Africa and in the hearts of hinchas across the globe this summer. Fans might be divided in team loyalties, but they’re united by their love for the game. Only a force beyond our understanding could do that.
Oscar and Rosario Delgado cheer for different teams in Argentina’s First Division, but when it comes to the World Cup, there is only one team they cheer for: Argentina. photo: daniel miles perez
south america’S CHANCES “Argentina,” Oscar Guzmán predicts. “No other team has their offensive power.” The sports anchor for Telemundo Chicago says followers of the game should look at the Argentinean team more closely before making their predictions. This team shares some characteristics with the 1986 team, when they last won the championship. They struggled to get into the contest, as they did then when they had Maradona, the best player in the world – as they do now with Lionel Messi. The Barcelona forward is on pace to net more than 40 goals this season. “He has an incredible offensive power and he’s not all they have,” says Guzmán. Carlos Tévez, Gonzalo Higuaín and Diego Milito will all probably score 20 goals or more, if they haven’t already with their respective professional teams. When combined with veteran Martin Palermo, “they can tear any opponent apart,” says Guzmán. It doesn’t matter who plays, under what circumstances or when:
Brazil will always be in the fight for the world title. “When at their worst, they make it to the final game,” Guzmán says chuckling. “Hey, they have 57,000 great players.” Robson de Souza, known as Robinho to fans around the world, will be the player to watch. Many say Chile will also make history in South Africa. “They are the best team; they play the best as a unit. I place them above Spain in that regard,” Guzmán says. Uruguay, the host country of the first World Cup in 1930, is a dangerous team though they have not done much in recent cup history. Guzmán says that could change because they have “a good offense and they don’t back down.” The team is known for its trademark style of “eating” the ball – or keeping it from opponents. “Paraguay will be there to participate, but not much else,” Guzman says. “They lost a lot when they lost Salvador Cabañas.” And who will Oscar root for otherwise? Mexico – but only at work or home alone. He doesn’t like sports parties. “I’m all about the game,” he says.
44 Café JUNE | JULY 2010
TALK ABOUT A
REVOLUTION New talent and productions are turning Chicago into a hotspot for the nation’s Latino theater scene words
Six women talk about patriarchy, language, motherhood and men, about princes and princesas over bubbly mixed with sangría. They switch between codes not only of two different tongues but from across generations, continents and traditions long forgotten in ranchos and campos that might not even exist anymore. “Not in my house! We were a matriarchy!” The response: “But you know what, though, here’s the difference: Matriarchs with men having the final say … They still have the power!” They talk about brothers who didn’t have to make the bed or do the dishes. They swear and laugh and animate their stories with gestures and tearful mimes that bring their families to life, including the stepdad whose wife picked the chicken bones out of his caldo. Brazilian, Mexicana, Boricua – diverse Chicagoans working on a script titled “Generic Latina,” they are ensemble members and lab students of Teatro Luna, the 10-year-old all-Latina theater troupe that creates original works from autobiographical content, poring over stories all can relate to from our own piece of the American experience. The whole Latino theater scene started something like this – with conversations
in the community among those who wanted to talk about and turn their stories into art for a people who are now a quarter of Chicago’s population and growing. Latino theater in Chicago has a long and rocky history. But now, Chicago is poised to become the center stage of a massive Latino theater revolution. The past year alone has seen an explosion in activity, talent and recognition. The 2009 smash run and critical triumph of Kristoffer Diaz’s “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” at Victory Gardens led to Teatro Vista mounting an off-Broadway version in New York City. Teatro Luna co-founder Tanya Saracho’s adaptation of Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street” was produced by The Steppenwolf Theatre Company in late 2009 with a ground-breaking first for the storied organization – an all-Latino cast. Then, in March, Steppenwolf awarded its inaugural Mellon Grant to two playwrights, including Saracho, commissioning two new plays over the next few years. Polly Carl, the Steppenwolf’s director of artistic development, confirms that they are serious also about mounting Saracho’s work on their stage. “She’s going to bring work that surprises us,” Carl says, “and when you’re working in the theater, that to me is the most thrilling part of working with writers who will give you access to stories you haven’t already heard.”
And now, the 5th biennial Latino Theatre Festival at the Goodman brings together its typical menu of international and local talents to showcase performance arts from a community that can no longer be denied its representation on stage. Goodman artistic associate Henry Godinez, long a fixture at the Goodman and an advocate for more Latino works in the mainstream, credits consistent support and commitment from the theater, saying his mission has been “to fight the good fight and to make sure that our voice is heard, and sometimes you got to pound your fist a little harder than others.” Godinez believes the time is right for Latino theater: there are now more Latino companies that are strong and young, while mainstream houses are also more open to Latino programming. In general, Chicago’s theatre scene is “the best theatre community in the country,” says Godinez, “not just because of the size or the scope or the variety, but I think it’s a healthy community.” Mutual support, respect, clarity of purpose and truthfulness are all a part of this healthiness, according to Godinez. It’s a place to create without the pressure or commercialism of New York and Los Angeles. “And when you succeed, others are genuinely happy, excited and supportive,” he adds.
caféGRANDE WINDS OF CHANGE But mainstream and non-Latino houses were not always so welcoming, and there was a time when Latinos had no stage or company to call their own. In a 1992 Chicago Tribune article, Achy Obejas reported: “Professional Latino theater may have started in Chicago when, due to a lack of Hispanic roles, a Latino actor auditioned for the role of an African-American [at Victory Gardens in the late 1970s] … A church, student group or neighborhood organization might put on a performance, but nothing was on-going. Productions were modest, in Spanish, and usually filled with socialservice messages. Local professional companies would sometimes produce work by Spanish playwrights like Federico García Lorca, but rarely offered scripts by Latin American or U.S. Hispanics.” That began to change in 1979 when the Latino Chicago Theatre Company formed, later owning its own space (a refurbished firehouse in Wicker Park
built around 1894) from 1987 to 1997, when the building caught fire and ended the city’s first Latino troupe. “Even today,” says former managing director Gregorio Gomez, “outside of Aguijón [Theatre Company of Chicago], there’s no other Latino theater company in the city that owns its own place.” Gomez calls that first company “the icebreaker” for Latino theater in town, and he speaks nostalgically about the social, political and artistic inroads that the group created. It’s fair to say that it was a beacon for Latino artists and artists of color, and it helped spark the conversations that led to Aguijón and Teatro Vista being founded around 1989. Although sometimes some of these conversations led nowhere. Tanya Saracho remembers that when she first started shopping the idea of an all-Latina theatre troupe around town in late 1999 she “knocked on a lot of doors at first, and the Latino males that I talked to all scolded me – ‘Why
women? We’re not there yet, the movement is not there yet.’ … I don’t know if they were threatened or what, but I was not encouraged to make it all women.” Undeterred, she joined forces with Coya Paz to found Teatro Luna in 2000. There was, at first, the difficult task of collaborating with an ensemble of women who disagreed about their collective identity. “We could not define ourselves – were we Hispanic or were we Latina?,” recalls Saracho. Differences in self-definition became the very substance of their art. Like any small theatre company, the group had to operate with a tiny budget. Saracho says that word-of-mouth publicity about their unique pan-Latina perspective brought immediate popular interest, audiences and invitations to festivals. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, Teatro Luna is busier than ever. Even though Saracho stepped down as artistic director this year, Teatro Luna kick-started their “Lunadas Series” of staged readings with Brazilian playwright Petrucia Finkler’s “Brilliant Cut.”
LEFT: A scene of Tanya Saracho’s “Our Lady of the Underpass,” produced by Teatro Vista and re-staged at 16th Street Theater in Berwyn. ABOVE: The Goodman’s Henry Godinez believes the time is right for Latino theater. photos courtesy of teatro vista and goodman theater
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“Let’s hope we can… say the Tony winner is a Latino who came from Chicago.” -Tanya Saracho
NEW DIRECTIONS Marcela Muñoz, co-artistic director of Aguijón, saw her mother Rosario Vargas create the company that just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Muñoz came aboard in 1991 and moved with the company to its current location in 1999. She says that their mission remains “to produce work in Spanish here in the United States – that’s already taking a social stance on the importance of culture,” referring to the company’s roots in stinging and agitating the conscience of audiences. Muñoz points out that they have focused in their last few seasons on the identity of Latinos in the United States, even producing transposed and translated versions of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller plays. “We’ve kept a lot of our core audiences,” says Muñoz. “We’re also getting younger and younger audiences. We’re seeing a sort of shift: where before it seemed that the younger generation didn’t speak Spanish as much, or were not as interested in learning Spanish, they’re now listening to more radio in Spanish, watching more TV in Spanish, and they’re coming to more Spanish language theater.”
Though Aguijón’s first three productions for the Goodman Latino Theatre Festival were Garcia Lorca works, they’re moving in new directions, this time with “Las Soldaderas,” based on texts by author Elena Poniatowska. Teatro Vista, likewise, will produce “El Nogalar,” a work by Tanya Saracho inspired by Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard.” Godinez, reflecting on Vista’s origins and how he co-founded the company with current Vista artistic director Eddie Torres (who he met while acting in a Goodman play), says the two were interested in Latino plays such as those being written by José Rivera and Octavio Solís. “We were also interested in collaborating and sharing audiences with mainstream theaters,” Godinez notes. “We were about bridging the gaps between non-Latino and Latino audiences.” Teatro Vista did a production with the Goodman of José Rivera’s “Cloud Tectonics” shortly before Godinez was invited in 1996 to join the company as its first Latino artistic associate. With the birth of his first daughter and full-time teaching duties starting at Columbia College, Godinez left Teatro
Vista for the Goodman. “I very much realized that by going on staff, my job primarily would be to champion Latino works and to promote the building of a Latino audience,” he says. After seeing an international theater festival in Miami, Godinez approached executive director Roche Schulfer and artistic director Robert Falls with the idea of doing exactly that kind of major event at the Goodman. “We had moved to a new building,” he remembers, “and it was after 9/11, and we were trying to jump-start our Latino initiatives.” The Goodman hadn’t had Latino programming since 1999’s run of “Zoot Suit,” directed by Godinez, so they ran with the idea, and the first Latino Theatre Festival was born in 2003. Fast forward to this year: Godinez highlights Teatro Buendía of Cuba as one of the more exciting components of the festival. Also, an adaptation of Eduardo Galeano’s “Memory of Fire” directed by Godinez will be featured, with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra providing a soundtrack for the production at Millennium Park.
caféGRANDE “Over the last 10 years, everything has doubled: the audiences who come to see it, the amount of time we devote to the festival, the budget that we allocate for it and the amount of media attention we receive,” says Robert Falls of the Goodman.
“We like to eat and we like to be funny, and so Chicago just seemed like the best choice,” says Wendy Mateo, who has also conspired with partner Lorena Diaz to create their own company, Tall Hispanic Short Hispanic Productions.
Commenting generally on local Latino productions, Falls points out that “the success of some of the more established Latino companies and artists [in Chicago] has attracted more Latino artists to the city.”
Mateo says the question for her is this: “Why would you ever leave Chicago? … Here, I can walk into iO [formerly Improv Olympic] Theatre, I order a shot of whisky and beer and I can sit down and chill out … that’s what we love about Chicago.”
That’s exactly why Dominizuelan decided five years ago to move here from Miami, citing good feedback from critics and support from Second City, Chicago Dramatists and Teatro Luna, who will be producing their work.
Likewise, other groups of newcomers and locals have brainstormed to create the Urban Theatre Company (based mainly in the Humboldt Park neighborhood), Salsation Theatre Company (running sketch-comedy and improv-inspired
shows out of The Second City and Gorilla Tango) and Las Divas Productions, as well as several other initiatives. Even the old Latino Chicago Theatre Company that started it all will get its second act, with plans by founder Juan Ramirez to open a full arts center on Chicago’s West Side. Looking back, Tanya Saracho remembers how she started in theater by interpreting poems in English that she didn’t fully understand. Now, she says, with demonstrative facial gestures and dramatic deep-breaths, Chicago is on the verge of having a real Latino theater movement. “Let’s hope we can meet here in five years and say the Tony winner is a Latino who came from Chicago,” she muses. “Or maybe a Latina.”
IF YOU GO 5TH BIENNIAL LATINO THEATRE FESTIVAL Unless otherwise indicated, all performances are in English and will take place at the Goodman Theatre. For a complete description of the plays, visit www.goodmantheatre.org The Sins of Sor Juana By Karen Zacarías WHEN: June 19 – July 25 ADMISSION: Tickets start at $25
Teatro Buendía’s “Charenton”
Goodman Theatre and Grant Park Symphony Orchestra (Chicago) present Memory of Fire WHEN: July 7, 6:30 p.m. WHERE: Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park ADMISSION: Free Teatro Buendía presents La vista de la vieja dama WHEN: July 8-11. In Spanish with English subtitles ADMISSION: General, $28; students, $14 SHOWTIMES: July 8, 7:30 p.m.; July 9, 8 p.m.; July 10, 8 p.m.; July 11, 2 p.m. Teatro Buendía presents Charenton WHEN: July 15-18. In Spanish with English subtitles ADMISSION: General, $28; students, $14 Teatro Vista presents El Nogalar By Tanya Saracho WHEN: July 17, 2 p.m. ADMISSION: Free
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Aguijón Theater Company presents Las soldaderas Based on texts by Elena Poniatowska WHEN: July 21, 7:30 p.m. ADMISSION: General, $18; students, $9 Albany Park Theater Project presents Feast WHEN: July 22, 7:30 p.m. ADMISSION: General, $18; students, $9 16th Street Theater presents Our Dad Is in Atlantis (Papá está en la Atlántida) By Javier Malpica
WHEN: July 23, 8 p.m. ADMISSION: General, $18; students, $9 Teatro Luna presents Of Princes, Princesses and Other Creatures (De príncipes, princesas y otro bichos) By Paola Izquierdo WHEN: July 24, 5 p.m. ADMISSION: Free Aguijón Theater Company and Goodman Theatre present Deserts (Desiertos) By Hugo Alfredo Hinojosa Díaz WHEN: July 24, 8 p.m. ADMISSION: Free Teatro Urbano presents A Lover’s Dismantling: Fragments of a Scenic Discourse (Desmontaje amoroso) By Elena Guiochins WHEN: July 25, 5 p.m. ADMISSION: Free Teatro Vista presents Yamaha 300 By Cutberto López Reyes WHEN: July 25, 8 p.m. ADMISSION: Free
IT’S LADIES NIGHT
Patti Vasquez and Ana Maria Belaval prove stand-up comedy isn’t just a man’s world
Gloria Elena Alicea Marta García
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Stand-up comedy may still be a man’s world, but Chicago veteran comedian Patti Vasquez and newcomer Ana Maria Belaval aren’t afraid to compete with the big boys.
Vasquez, a giggly, black-haired comic with slanted eyes and a Carol Burnettlike smile, is filling clubs across the country with her fearlessly personal act about sex, motherhood, cultural identity... and facing down people who ask, “What nationality are you?”
“My dad is Irish and my mother is Mexican,” Vasquez announces at the start of her act, letting audiences know from the get-go that this is the source of much of her comedy, especially in her one-woman autobiographical show “Tequila and Shamrocks.” “That makes you a Leprechauna!” she hollers in the voice of the drunken hecklers she’s come across on her comedy tours. “Then fetch me a beer and make me a taco!” she shouts, evoking roars of nervous laughter. Across town, a new Latina voice is emerging in Chicago’s comedy circuit. Ana Belaval — the perky Puerto Rican reporter whose rapid-clip accent and high-energy reporting animate WGNTV Morning News’ “Around Town” segment — is breaking out of the TV screen and leaping onto local comedy stages. She wore a flirty, short vintage dress the first time she stood on stage at Zanies Comedy Club on Wells Street. Startled at seeing the packed rows of people sitting too-close-for-comfort near the stage, she thought, “Ooooh boy, I’m glad I wore underwear.” In her stand-up act, she keeps the jokes rooted in her life experiences as a
Latina: her past life as a Spanish-language TV reporter for Univision, Skyping with her Puerto Rican parents and marrying a Jewish husband. Spoofing stereotypes about Latinas, she becomes a Spanish-language TV spokeswoman hawking a vaginal anti-itch cream: “No más itchi itchi itchi en tu cuchi, cuchi cu,” she says, swinging her hips with sassy, comic exaggeration.
Patti Vasquez (left) and Ana Maria Belaval share nervous smiles backstage at Joe’s Bar in Chicago.
Vasquez and Belaval represent the small handful of Latinas who are stepping up to the mic at professional stand-up comedy clubs like the legendary Zanies in Chicago, where Vasquez performs regularly and Belaval recently made her debut. The absence of Latinas in comedy across the country is glaring, considering that Latino comics such as George Lopez and Carlos Mencia have made it to the mountaintop, starring in their own TV sitcoms and talk shows, Super Bowl commercials and Hollywood movies. So what makes these two Chicago Latinas embrace the demanding nightlife of stand-up comedy — where few women dare to compete — sharing family anecdotes and intimate experiences with roomfuls of strangers? Both of these gutsy female comedians say family has a lot to do with it.
“You can’t tell a Puerto Rican she has only five minutes to speak!”
ANA BELAVAL Sipping Cuban coffee – which she says she likes “blanquito y dulce (light and sweet), like my husband” – at Cafe con Leche in Wicker Park, Belaval says she loves living in Chicago, but that she really misses her family in Puerto Rico. So it’s only natural that she’s bringing her Puerto Rican family into her act. Unlike George Lopez’s dysfunctional-parentsfrom-the-barrio-and-crazy-white-people routine, Belaval’s act takes gentle jabs at her parents’ personality quirks. And she makes fun of herself as a Spanishlanguage TV r-r-r-r-r-eportera imported into mainstream network television. The attractive model-thin reporter is known in Chicago for her on-air television career. But less known is that she harbored a lifelong dream to do standup comedy that comes from growing up in a funny family. “I was always a ham,” she says. “My parents encouraged everything [that had] to do with performing. [In school musicals] I always got one of the leads, but I was always the boy because [boys] always got the funny parts.” “My dad and mom are funny people,” she explains. “My dad watched a lot of stand-up comedy; he’s sarcastic. My mom is very animated; she likes to laugh a lot. My brother is funny and very creative. We talk a lot and make up a lot of stories; we never stop.” In college, she gravitated toward broadcast journalism. At 24, she was already working for Univision as a weekend news anchor in Chicago. Here, a friend she met while taking an improv comedy class at the Second City Training Center introduced her to her future husband, Steve, who followed her to New York when she became a national correspondent for Univision.
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Belaval has found an outlet for her love of performing. “They dressed me once as a Chiquita banana [and] as a bill of Congress when we did ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ for Halloween,” says the uninhibited reporter who has bungee jumped, ridden a bull and let herself be tossed around in a feature about human bowling. Most stand-up comics struggle for years to land a gig at one of the bigname clubs. But for Belaval, the opportunity fell in her lap when she met Mike Toomey, who performs skits for the same morning news show. Toomey recommended her for a special show at Zanies called “Stand Up, Sit Down” that featured local celebrities trying to do stand-up for the first time in front of a live audience. Toomey became her comedy coach and says, amused, that for her show, Belaval wrote 30 minutes worth of material for a fiveminute act. The time limit proved to be a challenge. “You can’t tell a Puerto Rican she has only five minutes to speak, for the love of God!” she cries out. The Zanies gig left her bitten by the comedy bug, so she continued to do standup in small, rented venues. Within a few months, she was back at Zanies as an opening act. She has no plans to leave her job at WGN, she says, and raising a beautiful “puju” (her name for a “Puerto Rican-Jewish princess”) toddler named Amelia keeps her busy.
She was lured back to Chicago, she explains, by Greg Caputo, news director for WGN, who saw her demo tape — in Spanish. “He said my personality came through,” she recalls. However, Belaval can be found entertaining audiences at clubs around town When he asked her to join their person- on weekends with headliners such as ality-driven morning news program, she Toomey and Vasquez. The two female says, she was concerned about her ac- comics also perform together in shows cent. “Well, I have a South Side accent,” produced by Mike Oquendo’s Mikey O WGN colleague Robin Baumgarten told Comedy Productions, which organizes her. “So get over it. Your accent is what comedy shows featuring Latino comics. (SEE PROFILE OF MIKE OQUENDO ON makes you you.” PAGE 20) On her “Around Town” segment,
PATTI VASQUEZ Comfortably scrunched up on her couch in the two-flat that she, her husband and her two sons share with her mother, Patti Vasquez talks about her decision to become a stand-up comedian: “I was in college the first time I saw [standup comic] Margaret Cho. That night, I couldn’t sleep; I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” she says. “It was the first time I saw someone who looked different, an ethnic type, performing stand-up comedy.” Hearing Cho’s autobiographical comedy, Vasquez realized that being different could get people to laugh on her terms. For the girl who was the brunt of jokes growing up as one of the few ethnic kids in her neighborhood, stand-up comedy became empowering. “I was in second grade, in an all-white class, and this kid leaned across the table and said, ‘You’re a Chink.’ I said, ‘Hey, I’m a Spic. Get it right!,’” she now jokes about her childhood experiences. In high school, she left behind feeling vulnerable for being a girl and being “different” and signed up for competitive sports – she even became the only girl to play on an all-boy baseball team. Since then, she says, most of her friends have been guys. So, she is comfortable with the profanity-filled banter guys engage in that’s also often found in stand-up comedy. Rejected by half-siblings from both her late Irish dad’s and her Mexican mom’s previous marriages, she says her mom – a cultured woman who loves slapstick comedies – became her best friend. And her dad – a politically conservative, gregarious, race-track loving cabdriver with a quick Irish wit – was a pivotal influence in her life and her comedy. In college, she began performing at open mic nights until she decided to
brave the challenges of becoming a professional stand-up comic. Her material draws heavily on her real-life experiences with her clashing, polar opposite parents. (Patti on stage imitating her dad: “Damn Democrats! They let too many immigrants into this country!” Patti whispering to her dad: “Pssst, Dad. Mom’s in the room.”)
described her as “the funniest woman in comedy since Carol Burnett.” So next time the irrepressibly chatty Patti Vasquez bounces onto the stage at a comedy club near you, and you’re tempted to ask her what her nationality is, go ahead. She’ll be glad to tell you.
“... this kid leaned across the table and said, ‘You’re a Chink.’ I said,
‘I’m Spic. Get it right!’”
After what she describes as a “surprisingly successful” first show, she remembers her mother coming to her in tears after her second show. “She said, ‘You should never go between the big boys again.’ She said everybody was making fun of me.” Undeterred, she left Northwestern University’s graduate history program to do stand-up, often taking lowpaying gigs and sleeping in her car between club bookings on long road trips. One of her big setbacks came in 2005, when she was invited to tape the original “Showtime’s Latin Divas of Comedy” with the late Marilyn Martinez, Sara Contreras, Monique Marvez and Sandra Valls. “It was one of the best experiences of my life,” she says. But the day before the taping, “Declan (her special-needs son) was released from the hospital on life support. They told me he was probably deaf and would probably never walk, [so] I chose my family over my career.” The Latin Divas of Comedy became a hit on Showtime and Comedy Central. Having survived the road blocks and the years of blood, sweat and tears on the comedy circuit, Vasquez is now at the top of her game. Bill Maher has
Cuisine Cruisers words
Maura Wall Hernández
Taco trucks and other mobile eateries have been gaining popularity in mainstream culture, but for many Latinos, these traveling kitchens have been a staple go-to for fast, cheap and authentic eats. And, with summer’s arrival, what better way to enjoy the sunshine than sneaking out for a mid-day taco tasting? We checked out five mobile eateries across the country that are doing more than their share to dispel the “roach coach” mentality long attached to food truck vendors by selling quality bites that adhere to strict health department standards. Visit cafemagazine.com for more on this story, including ratings. SAN ANTONIO
Tin Can Tacos
Maura Wall Hernández
12192 Bandera Road, San Antonio, Texas (210) 913-6758
A gutted and refurbished 1968 Airstream trailer is home to this tasty mobile Mexican taco joint, but don’t let its whimsical name fool you. Owner Manny Olivarez, who attended culinary school and has a background in fine dining and restaurant management, opened Tin Can in April 2010. The menu includes tacos, burritos, tortas, empanadas and a gourmet salad with a mango-peach jalapeño ranch dressing that’s just the right amount of picante. Don’t miss the avocado cream salsa, either. Bonus: Tin Can also sells paletas from local supplier, El Paraíso.
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Maura Wall Hernández
Corner of UTSA and UTEX Blvds., San Antonio, Texas (210) 535-7340
This husband and wife taco operation run by Martin and Celia Davis is tops when it comes to real Mexican tacos this side of the border. Try the famous costra del güero, a crusty, cheesy delight, filled with your choice of meat (we suggest the carne asada, pictured here, or steak a la mexicana) and enveloped in two of Chela’s homemade flour tortillas, griddled to perfection. Other favorite menu items include barbacoa de cachete, a creamy chicken cilantro, carne guisada, and homemade chorizo and carne al pastor that are to-die-for. Warning: repeat visits will be required – you’ll want to eat the whole menu.
757 Fulton St., Brooklyn, New York (718) 858-9500
Like its name states, Habana Outpost is the Brooklyn outfit of New York City’s popular Café Habana (17 Prince St., Nolita borough). Menu favorites include the Cuban sandwich, mango salad, shrimp burrito and their most popular dish: corn, grilled and served on a stick with the traditional fixings (mayonnaise, chili powder, crumbly cheese and lime wedges). Enjoy the Outpost’s large patio while you kick back with one of their frozen mojitos and people watch, as we hear it’s always bustling. Alongside the food, you’ll also find a modest marketplace, packed with local artists and designers peddling their creations.
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Check www.kogibbq.com for weekly schedules
In a city that’s known for its diverse cuisine, Kogi BBQ uniquely combines the best of two major cultures in the Los Angeles landscape – Korean and Mexican – to create a flavor all its own. Fans of Kogi follow and track down their four truck routes (Roja, Azul, Verde and Naranja) through Twitter and the weekly location schedules posted on their website. This award-winning fleet of taco trucks has received nods from “Bon Appetit” and “Food & Wine” magazines.
El Secreto del Sabor
Near Division St. and Kedzie Ave. (773) 227-5254
The side of this popular Humboldt Park neighborhood truck says ricas frituras de todas clases (delicious fritters of every kind) and they’re not joking. Some of our favorites include the alcapurrias, rellenos de papa and piononos. Also not to miss: the mofongo, morcilla (blood sausage speckled with rice) or the arroz con gandules – almost as good as mamá’s. The only downside? No seating and virtually no counter space, making it difficult to eat there unless you’re willing to chow down off the hood of your car. We even spotted some Chicago police officers enjoying lunch from El Secreto in their squad car – proof it’s worthy of the title “Chicago’s finest.”
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• • •
CONFERENCE TITLE SPONSOR
Community groups across the country celebrate Brazil’s rich rhythms and culture words
Darhiana Mateo photos Jesse Brede, Robbie Lee and Karthik Sudhir
ABOVE: Felipe Fraga, bateria mestre and founder of Chicago’s Unidos do Quilombo. BELOW: Scott Kettner (right), founder of Maracatú New York also created Nation Beat, a side project that combines Brasil’s music with New Orleans’. In the photo, fellow Nation Beat musicians Skye Steele (left) and Lilian Araujo. LEFT AND ABOVE LEFT: Elaine Holton and Tonya Young “Imani”, dancers from Austin’s Acadêmicos da Ópera Samba School.
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Inside the sunlit Quilombo Cultural Center rehearsal room in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, seven advanced members of the Unidos do Quilombo bateria are trying to find their groove. Rich, pulsating samba beats reverberate through the space as the thunderous tempo intensifies. Bateria mestre and founder Felipe Fraga, 29, stands at the center of the circle, leading the group. Dressed in blue jeans and a red Tshirt, the Brazilian native who emigrated to Chicago in 2001 instructs with his whole body: He motions exuberantly with both arms, stomping the wooden floor with his sneakers, clapping his hand, blowing a whistle with gusto. “Keep the tempo,” he shouts over the clamor of instruments. “It’s too weak. I need more power, more energy.” After all, samba — arguably Brazil’s most popular musical export — is not for sissies. The dynamic and distinctive style, which is widely believed to have originated in Rio de Janeiro around 1920 and is grounded in African roots, boasts many variations: the fastpaced, explosive style performed by the nation’s samba schools during Carnaval parades; gentler grooves such as samba-cancões (songs) sung in bars; the in-between styles such as the elite bossa nova embraced by the middle class; and today’s popular hybrids such as samba-reggae. For Fraga, like many other Brazilian nationals, samba is symbolic of the quintessential instinct to band together in tough times. “Back in the day, when it was really hard and people were always struggling, samba always played a part in helping people get a little bit of happiness,” says Fraga, who was born in Curitiba, in the southern state of Paraná. He’s been playing percussion since he was nine, he says. “Samba has many ramifications, but the idea I have of samba is that it was used as a medicine [to heal],” he says Community-based Brazilian groups such
as Unidos do Quilombo have recently started to take off across this country, including unlikely cities with minimal Brazilian influences. The goal? To raise awareness of the breadth and scope of Brazilian music and the richly diverse culture that gave birth to it. Fraga founded Unidos do Quilombo in April 2008 in the spirit of the samba schools that parade through Brazil’s Carnaval. In keeping with that tradition, the group also performs what they learn in class at venues throughout the city. Class sessions begin every five weeks, taking beginning percussionists through Brazilian rhythms such as samba, samba-reggae, baião. Students learn techniques on Brazilian percussion instruments, including the surdo, tamborim, agogô, caixa, chocalho and the triangle. Although the predominant groove the group plays is the faster-paced samba associated with samba schools, characterized by breaks and different calls, Fraga says the two-year-old group is broadening its repertoire. “Most people don’t have much idea how diverse Brazilian music is,” he says. “So we thought it would be interesting to not only do samba, but also the other Brazilian grooves that are equally strong [in Brazil] and fun to listen to.” The young group’s fledging membership fluctuates, but has a core of eight or nine very passionate and committed members from across the Chicago area, representing diverse nationalities and bringing varying levels of musical experience to the group. Despite Chicago’s reputation as a global city, there is no truly cohesive Brazilian identity here yet, says Fraga, though recent strides have been made. Fraga describes his involvement with the bateria and other Brazilian musical ensembles in the area as his “main connection to the homeland.” “We don’t see a whole lot of other Brazilian events here, we just have the music,” Fraga says. “I founded the group to try to get the community more involved with [and to promote] Brazilian culture, and to just have fun.”
Mexican-American Silvia Manrique, a member of Unidos do Quilombo since its launch, fell in love with Brazilian music at a young age. Her dad, a big jazz fan, introduced her to the mesmerizing melodies of bossa nova when she was about six years old. In college, she took Portuguese classes to better connect with the culture. “It’s been said that Brazil’s major export is culture,” Manrique shares. “And music is such a huge part of the culture. The musical culture runs so deep that you can just keep digging and digging.” In 2007, she visited Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval (her first visit to Brazil was in 2005) and was hooked. “When you go by the bateria, it makes your hair stand up. It’s loud and deep and the beat is amazing. Six or seven instruments all doing different patterns, but somehow, it fits together,” says Manrique. As a Latina who used to perform in a salsa band, Manrique can vouch for the irresistible hip-shaking appeal of samba. “It gets you moving. It’s impossible not to move to samba. You’re going to tap your foot, move your hips, you’re going to feel it,” she says. “I don’t know if it’s that beat, the African roots that the Latin genres share, but it’s very primal to want to beat on the drum.” Although the drumming might seem intimidating, it’s a pretty accessible instrument to master, says Manrique, who is also the vocalist for Chicagobased Beaba do Samba, a band that plays classic samba and pagode, and recently performed at the Chicago World Music Festival’s opening night. “You can pick up a drum and be taught. It’s a lot more democratic [than other instruments].” By its very nature, the success of samba schools — which in Brazil sometimes boast several hundred students each — rides on the community’s response. Unidos has struggled to grow the bateria over the last few years, says Fraga, but he’s not giving up anytime soon. “I want it to be a big group, a group that is able to perform and show it’s not just about samba – there’s a whole lot of other music in Brazil.”
Acadêmicos da Ópera Samba School CREATING COMMUNITY Launched in 2001, the Acadêmicos da Ópera Samba School in Austin, Texas, has evolved into a 105-member ensemble of drummers and dancers who perform at parades, festivals and special occasions throughout the region. Robert Patterson (known affectionately as Tio Jacaré), leads the Austin samba school and is a former doctor who stumbled onto the genre after studying Cuban drumming as a hobby in the early ’90s. After several trips to Bahia and Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval, the now-retired doctor says he “caught the bug” and began studying the music in earnest. “It was definitely a process,” he recalls. “I spent three years where I listened to samba every waking moment, and practiced four to six hours a day on just samba instruments.”
together. Despite the joyfully chaotic and purposefully offbeat nature of samba, there is a method to the madness. “How everything fits together is very mathematical; each instrument plays a simple pattern, but there’s a critical relationship of each pattern to the other, and they have to be played so that they fit,” he says. After some initial bumps, the group has evolved into a multifaceted, well-oiled machine. Over the last few years, the school has taken on the community aspect Patterson envisioned, with the bateria divided into different sections within the school and various subdirectors in charge of the different aspects from drum technique to instrument maintenance to dance leaders and costume coordinators.
The minute he saw the samba schools in Rio, he says, he wanted to have something similar in Austin. Patterson thought the diverse, music-loving city would be receptive to samba. As the group slowly evolved from a handful of members to a “critical mass,” he began to see the potential of a real community like Rio’s, he says.
The ensemble practices all year long in preparation for its biggest show: Austin’s Carnaval Brasileiro, known as the world’s largest indoor Brazilian Carnaval celebration. The bateria delights the audience with 50 minutes of continuous drumming and dancing. “The whole show is designed to keep their interest and keep them wondering what’s coming next,” Patterson says. “It’s theatrical.”
Most appealing to Patterson: Samba’s very nature is about community and celebration. “It’s not so much about performance,” he says. “A samba school is about participation by the community. Then pile on top of that the infectious, celebratory nature of it, it’s just a formula for fun.”
MAD FOR MARACATÚ Like many Brazilian music aficionados, Florida native Scott Kettner stumbled on the genre after moving to New York City in 1998 to study jazz at the New School.
The Austin community seems to agree. While the bateria performs several rhythms from Brazil’s major urban centers, like Bahia (samba-reggae, samba afro and funk) and Recife (maracatú), it focuses on Rio-style samba, considered the hardest to master. “It’s the fastest, most complex rhythmically,” he notes.
His main drumming teacher, jazz drummer Billy Hart, introduced Kettner to Afro-Cuban beats, bossa nova and eventually samba. After mastering samba, Kettner sought to branch out and asked his teacher if there were other Brazilian rhythms he should be learning. “[Billy Hart] said, ‘Yeah, man, there’s this badass rhythm called maracatú,’” he recalls.
Bateria members are cross-trained on all the instruments to help them understand how the pieces of the puzzle fit
Kettner began asking Brazilians in New York about maracatú and discovered that the natives didn’t know much about
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Unidos do Quilombo it either. Its obscurity was a draw for a challenge seeker like Kettner. After graduating in 2000, Kettner moved to Recife, Brazil – the birthplace of maracatú – to learn all he could about the style. Whereas samba is more popular, maracatú is considered an older rhythm and retains its folkloric charm, he says. Maracatú groups perform during Carnaval, but it’s not as big a production. “It’s still very roots and streets. It’s not as commercialized,” Kettner says. “Maracatú is parallel to samba, but the ritual is different in that it came out of the crowning ceremonies that the African slaves had during the slavery period, where they would crown their own king and queen.” Upon moving back to the U.S. in 2002, Kettner launched Maracatú New York with the hopes of exposing the New York community to Brazilian rhythms beyond traditional samba. “We were the first organized maracatú group in the U.S,” he says. It remains New York’s only maracatú ensemble. Maracatú New York offers weekly percussion workshops and performs regularly. The group has evolved from three students in 2002 to more than 60 regulars now, and includes different ethnicities and ages from young teens to members in their sixties. Two years ago, Kettner even brought 15 of his students to Recife to study and perform maracatú. With the World Cup and Olympics both set to take place in Brazil this decade, it’s likely that the rich culture — and its captivating rhythms — will enjoy even more popularity in the U.S. and across the globe. It’s vital that Brazilian community groups across this country work together to broaden their impact, says Kettner. “We’re all here for the same purpose, to raise awareness of this music outside of Brazil.”
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To Oaxaca and Back
From sampling shots of mezcal to chomping on cooked grasshoppers, our Dare to Explore winners detail their amazing journey to Mexico words
o reminisce about the Garcias’ time in Mexico, we first travel to China... Chinatown, to be more specific. That’s where Claudia Garcia, 27, and her mother, Maria Garcia, 50, go over their February trip to Mexico as winners of Café Magazine’s Dare to Explore contest, sponsored by the Mexico Tourism Board. The trip highlighted a culinary tour of Oaxaca, a tour both mother and daughter were eager to experience.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Claudia García helps prepare the ingredients at Casa Oaxaca; tostaditas de chicharrón con nopales; Claudia and assistant chef Luis Arellano.
aving traveled to Puerto Escondido on the southern coast of Oaxaca ten years ago, Claudia was curious to visit a new part of the region. And after watching chef Rick Bayless prepare a Oaxaqueño mole on his PBS program “One Plate at a Time,” it piqued her interest in expanding her Mexican cooking repetoire. The Garcias have visited their family in Guanajuato for years, but this was their first trip together to Oaxaca. What they saw fueled their adventure with fun, food and unforgettable memories.
DAY ONE: To market, to market No sooner had they gotten off the plane and into their room at the Hostal de la Noria to unwind in the city of Oaxaca, the Garcia gals were off to another hotel, Casa Oaxaca, where Elizabeth Landa of the Mexican Tourism Board greeted them for their first activity: a cooking class. But before they could adjust their aprons, they were sent back out – to the central market, to find food for their meal. Their tour guide to the open-air Central de Abastos was assistant chef at Casa Oaxaca, Luis Arellano. What they found was a cornucopia of items. “There were chiles native to the region,” Claudia says. “They [the kitchen staff] were very big on incorporating things from the area.” Among the items they bought at the market: sugar cane, mangoes, chicharrón, cucumbers and tomatoes. Then, it was back to the kitchen to help prepare their meal. “We laid out [everything] we had gotten at the market.
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We did have a couple of people helping us, but Luis gave us duties,” Claudia says, sheepishly admitting that while she isn’t much of a cook, she appreciated the way the real chefs assembled the ingredients. Claudia’s time in the kitchen included chopping fish into cubes and pulling leaves to make the ensalada de verdolagas before enjoying a passionfruit mezcal cocktail. Maria helped the assistant chefs with chopping the vegetables, smoking the cordero and making a ceviche. While the women didn’t actually cook their delicious dinner, it was excellently prepared by the assistant chefs at Casa Oaxaca. There were several courses, including tostaditas de chicharrón con nopales, followed by ceviche with aguachile, cucumber, jicama and sugar cane juice. “The main course was the cordero con ensalada de verdolagas y habas,” Claudia says. “For dessert, we had puré de mango con sapote (mamey) negro. This wasn’t what you’d get in someone’s house in Oaxaca. The presentation had a flair to it.” After dinner, the Garcias strolled back through Oaxaca City’s festive Zócalo, the central square filled with colorful kiosks selling everything from textiles to trinkets to tacos. It was filled with tourists and townsfolk. “Every night we went to the Zócalo,” Claudia recalls. “They had music. At least three different types. It wasn’t just mariachi, it was marimbas, people with wind instruments. It was great!
DAY TWO: Seeing something old, eating something new The next day, they headed out on their first full day of sightseeing. First on the list, Monte Albán, the pre-Columbian archeological site dating back an estimated 4,000 years and located about six miles west of Oaxaca City. According to archeologists, the sacred ceremonial indigenous site was first inhabited by the Zapotecs. After Monte Albán, they traveled 15 miles southwest to Arrazola, a town known for its colorful and intricately designed whimsical creatures, known as alebrijes. The figurines are made with papier-mâché, wood or clay. Later, traveling south nine miles, they stopped in Cuilapán de Guerrero to see the open-air Basílica de Cuilapán. Flanked by two steeples, the stone church with open, doorless arches alongside each wall is known for its unique architecture. “When the Spaniards [arrived], when they were trying to evangelize the indigenous people, the indigenous people weren’t comfortable in closed environments. So [the Spaniards] made them a church with an open roof,” Claudia explains. Maria, a natural family planning coordinator for the Archdiocese of Chicago, says she really appreciated the church and the people who built it. “When the Spanish priests and religious orders came to establish their church, they left many of the temples standing,” she says. “Maybe my faith has its roots, its beginnings there.”
LEFT: The open-air Basilica de Cuilapán in Cuilapán de Guerrero. RIGHT: Chapulines stand at Oaxaca’s Zócalo. photos by claudia garcía
The day continued with a stop in San Bartolo Coyotepec, a town known for pottery made from barro negro, or black clay. The technique to make the shiny, smooth pottery was developed back in the 1930s by Doña Rosa de Nieto, who continued making her famous black pottery until her death in 1980. Doña Rosa’s techniques were unusual: She didn’t use a traditional pottery wheel, molding all of her pieces by hand and baking them in a pit. At dinnertime, the Garcias stopped once again at the Zócalo, where people belly up to barstools and eat. The women were soon approached by vendors holding baskets full of caramel color brown bugs and crying, “¡Chapulines! ¡Chapulines!” Suddenly, mother and daughter were compelled to get out of their cultural comfort zone and eat something they had never dreamed of: grasshoppers. “Everywhere you walk, people offered them to you. I said, ‘We’re here, this is a new experience, let’s try it,’” Claudia says. “Claudia was a little hesitant,” Maria recalls. “They were saying, ‘¡Ándale, güerita, sin compromiso! Just try a couple, you don’t have to buy [them],’” Claudia says with a laugh. “The woman with the basket of bugs was basically putting them in our hand. We tried the little ones. I could swallow those fast. The bigger guys were pretty long.” The verdict on grasshoppers? Similar to crunchy peanuts. “It was good,” Clau-
dia says. “I didn’t expect them to be that good. I thought they were going to have a funny taste. [But] they’re crunchy, kind of salty [with] a hint of chili and garlic. We brought a bag home for my dad.” DAY THREE: Drinking in more culture On the final day of their whirlwind Oaxacan adventure, the Garcias stopped in Santa Maria del Tule, 20 miles outside Oaxaca, to see one of Mexico’s most famous natural wonders, the Árbol de Tule, the world’s largest tree, with a trunk that Claudia says is incredibly difficult to capture with a camera. “The tree is more than 2,000 years old,” says Claudia. “[But] you cannot touch the tree. It’s fenced off.” Shortly after 10 a.m., the Garcias stopped at a roadside, small mom-andpop mezcal distillery. Brewed on the premises, where a donkey-powered wheel grinds the pulp of the maguey, a variety of agave plant, mezcal is a traditional alcoholic beverage made primarily in Oaxaca. There, the women sampled some shots. Claudia didn’t care for it as much as Maria. “My mom liked it,” Claudia says with a laugh. “[She] was a champ. I couldn’t do any of the shots.” Her mother smiles with a sheepish grin. Teotitlán del Valle, about 16 miles southeast of the city of Oaxaca, was the next stop on the last day of the trip. It’s where they first saw rugs and other items made using old-fashioned looms. “Nothing is artificially colored. They get
their colors from nature, from plants mostly,” Claudia says. “They use marigolds for the yellows. They use these little bugs that feast on a cactus to get the red. They mix that with lime juice to get oranges and greens.” The last stop of the day was a visit to Mitla, considered to be one of the region’s most important archeological sites, located 24 miles from Oaxaca City. Archeologists theorize that Mitla was once inhabited by the Zapotecs and has been around since early 900 B.C. The name Mitla, loosely translated, means “burial ground,” but it was the ruins of this indigenous site that were partially buried when the Spanish built a church on top of one of their religious structures. In looking at pictures of the walls of the structure, Claudia points to the stone pieces that are interlocked with one another in a zigzag pattern. The geometric designs make the building distinct not only from the European designed church on the site, but from other indigenous ruins. The women ended their day once again at the busy Zócalo to talk about the day’s activities, eat homemade Oaxacan foods and enjoy the music that provided the soundtrack to the last three days. “I was looking forward to [this trip],” says Maria. “I wanted to spend some time with [Claudia]. I truly enjoy the time I spend with her.” “It would have been a different experience had I taken a friend, but spending quality time together, it was something that we appreciated and enjoyed,” says Claudia. “I learned a lot and I got to spend some quality time with [my mom].”
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SUMMERTIME IN THE CITY Come out of hibernation and enjoy all that Chicago has to offer this season of concerts, festivals and theater words
Summer in Chicago will have a slightly different look and feel this year. Facing a budget crunch, the Mayor’s Office of Special Events eliminated from its calendar some perennials such as Venetian Night and the Outdoor Film Festival, moved some of its music festivals from Grant Park to Millennium Park and even imposed a Chicago-only restaurants policy on Taste of Chicago. It also canceled the annual July 3 fireworks display by Navy Pier, replacing it with three smaller ones across the lakefront on July 4. Traditionally held in mid-September, the Celtic Fest kicked off the summer calendar in May, and ¡Viva! Chicago will now be held in the fall. Café welcomes the move of some of these music fests to Millennium Park: the sound at the Pritzker Pavilion is far superior than the muddy mess blaring out of the Petrillo Band Shell’s speakers. And the Chicago-only policy for Taste of Chicago doesn’t bother us that much given that many suburbs now have their own “Taste of…” celebrations. Even with these changes and cutbacks, the city and the suburbs still offer a wide variety of events for you, your family and friends to enjoy. Some events were still being hammered down as we were putting this issue to press, so visit cafemagazine.com for weekly updates.
The Chicago Air and Water Show (Aug. 14 and 15, North Avenue Beach, Chicago) always delivers a program full of thrilling stunts.
CONCERTS Alex Cuba When: June 10, 9 p.m. What: The Cuban-born, Canada-based musician is known for his contagious fusion of son, pop, funk and soul. His brand new self-titled album takes that sound to a new level. Where: Rumba, 351 W. Hubbard St., Chicago Admission: Advance, $15; door, $20 Info: www.brownpapertickets.com/ event/106124 Music Without Borders Presents Noche Mexicana: Doc Severinsen and El Ritmo de la Vida with Sones de Mexico Ensemble When: June 24, 6:30 p.m. What: Former Tonight Show music director Doc Severinsen moved to Mexico to enjoy a nice and tranquil life, but as soon as he heard Mexican musicians Gil Gutierrez and Pedro Cartas, he knew he had to join in the fun. So “El Ritmo de la Vida” was born. Sones de México Ensemble opens. Where: Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago Admission: Free Info: www.millenniumpark.org/ parkevents Buena Vista Social Club featuring Omara Portuondo When: June 26, 7:30 p.m. What: La grande dame of Cuban music joins legendary musicians Barbarito Torres and Guajiro Mirabal for her first ever performance at Ravinia. Where: Ravinia Festival, 200-231 Ravinia Park Rd., Highland Park Admission: Pavilion, $55; lawn, $22 Info: (847) 266-5100, www.ravinia.org Joao Gilberto When: June 29, 8 p.m. What: The “Father of Bossa Nova” makes his Symphony Center debut as part of a rare three-city tour. A once-ina-lifetime opportunity to see one of the founding fathers of modern Brazilian music perform live.Where: Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago Admission: $40 to $65 Info: (312) 294-3000, www.cso.org Music Without Borders Presents Orchestre Septentrional d’Haiti
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From left, Jesús “Aguaje” Ramos, Manuel Galban, Omara Portuondo, Manuel “Guajiro” MIrabal and Barbarito Torres. Portuondo debuts at Ravinia Festival June 26 at 7:30 p.m. photo courtesy of ravinia
with Batata y Las Alegres Ambulancias When: July 1, 7:30 p.m. What: Afro-Caribbean music is more than son, calypso and salsa. In this double program, you’ll get a taste for Colombia’s rich Afro-Colombian musical heritage and Haiti’s konpa, a fusion of African rhythms, jazz and even Afro-Cuban sounds. Where: Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago Admission: Free Info: www.millenniumpark.org/ parkevents Music Without Borders Presents Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou with La 33 When: July 15, 6:30 p.m. What: Colombia has produced some
of the best salsa bands in the world. La 33 is one of them. They’ll be opening for Benin’s The Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. Where: Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago Admission: Free Info: www.millenniumpark.org/ parkevents New Music Mondays: Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens with Bomba Estereo When: July 26, 6:30 p.m. What: The Colombian electronica outfit Bomba Estereo brings its “electro vacilón” (a wild mix of dub and hip-hop, cumbia and chapeta) to the Pritzker Pavilion. They’re opening for the New York-based Gospel Queens. Where: Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium
TOSÍtODO Park, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago Admission: Free Info: www.millenniumpark.org/ parkevents Alejandro Sanz When: July 31, 8 p.m. What: The Spanish singer-songwriter invites you to board his “Paraíso Express.” According to press reports, Sanz will bring a nine-piece ensemble and a mindblowing set design that uses close to 100,000 watts of light. Not exactly a green show. Where: Rosemont Theater, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont Admission: $45, $75, $85 and $95 Info: (800) 745-3000, www. ticketmaster.com Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz Presents Latin Inferno: James Sanders Conjunto with Special Guests Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Papo Santiago and Fred Anderson When: Aug. 26, 6:30 p.m. What: A who’s who of Chicago’s Latin jazz scene joins the James Sanders Conjunto and the Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater for a fiery evening of music and dance. Where: Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago Admission: Free Info: www.millenniumpark.org/ parkevents Rodrigo y Gabriela When: Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m. What: The Mexican duo that has given classical guitar a punkish attitude with their fusion of heavy metal, flamenco and even jazz performs at Ravinia for the first time. Where: Ravinia Festival, 200-231 Ravinia Park Rd., Highland Park Admission: Pavilion, $45; lawn, $16 Info: (847) 266-5100, www.ravinia.org DANCE Delfos Danza Contemporánea When: Aug. 27 to 29 What: The Mexican dance company founded by Claudia Lavista and Víctor Manuel Ruiz makes its Ravinia debut as part of the celebration of Mexico’s bicentennial and the 100th anniversary of its revolution. Where: Bennett Gordon Hall, Ravinia
Festival, 200-231 Ravinia Park Rd., Highland Park Admission: $40 Showtimes: Friday, Aug. 27 at 6 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 28 at 11 a.m. (kids’ show) and 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 29 at 1 p.m. (Pavilion) Info: (847) 266-5100, www.ravinia.org EXHIBITS Sanctuary: Flight of the Majestic Monarc When: Ends Sept. 1 What: Fly alongside these majestic butterflies in this one-of-a-kind exhibit that explores how their journey connects three nations: Canada, Mexico and the United States. The exhibit features the work of award-winning Mexican artists who, through photography, paintings and multimedia installations, depict these butterflies’ 2,500-miles flight to Michoacán. Part of a year-long celebration of Mexico’s bicentennial and the 100th anniversary of its revolution. Where: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago Admission: Adults, $9; students and seniors, $7; children, ages 3 to 12, $6; children under 3, free Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Info: (773) 755-5100, www.naturemuseum.org African Presence in Mexico When: Aug. 14 to Nov. 14 What: The groundbreaking exhibition curated by the National Museum of Mexican Art returns to Chicago. It explores an often ignored chapter of Mexico’s history: the African contributions to Mexican culture over the past 500 years. Where: DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago Admission: Adults, $3; students and seniors, $2; children, ages 6 to 12, $1; children under 6, free Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Info: (773) 947-0600, www.dusablemuseum.org OUTDOOR FESTIVALS 26th Annual Chicago Gospel Music Festival When: June 5 to 6
What: The Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion will turn into one huge, joyous outdoor temple during this twoday musical extravaganza featuring such award-winning artists as Fred Hammond and such legends as Dr. Albertina Walker, who will join Dorothy Norwood, Inez Andrews and Delores Washington for a reunion of The Caravans. There will also be music at the Inspiration Youth Stage near the Crown Fountain and at the Walgreens Day Stage, just west of the Pritzker. Where: Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Dr., Chicago Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission: Free Info: (312) 744-3315, www.chicagogospelmusicfestival.us Chicago Blues Festival When: June 11 to 13 What: Happy birthday, Howlin’ Wolf! The city of Chicago, home of the blues, has planned one hell of a party in honor of your centennial. You may not be around physically to enjoy it, but we’re quite sure that spiritually you will be kicking back with your guitar and harmonica. Just check out some of the big names who are coming out for the hootenanny: John Primer, Billy Branch, Corky Siegel and Charlie Musselwhite. Where: Grant Park, corner of Columbus Dr. and Jackson Blvd., Chicago Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission: Free Info: (312) 744-3315, www.chicagobluesfestival.us Printers Row Lit Fest When: June 12 to 13 What: More than 200 booksellers from across the country will display new, used and antiquarian books. And what would a book fair be without the presence of writers? Among the guests: Brian Azzarello (author of the brilliant graphic series “100 Bullets”), Barbara Ehrenreich, Achy Obejas, Sara Paretsky and Luis Alberto Urrea. Where: Historic Printers Row, intersection of Dearborn St. and Polk St., Chicago Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission: Free, although bring some cash with you. You’ll most definitely leave with more than one book. Info: www.printersrowlitfest.org
caféBLEND Chicago Summerdance When: June 17 to August 29 What: Still don’t know how to dance and can’t afford dance lessons? Never fear, Chicago Summerdance is here! Take free one-hour dance lessons and dance your troubles away for two hours to live music. Salsa, tango, swing, fandango…you name it, Chicago Summerdance teaches it and plays it! Where: Spirit of Music Garden, Grant Park, 601 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago Hours: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission: Free Info: www.chicagosummerdance.org Blues on the Fox When: June 18 to 19 What: Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Jimmy Vaughan and Ronnie Baker Brooks headline this annual festival, part of the Downtown Alive! Festival Series. Where: Galena Blvd., downtown Aurora Hours: Friday, 6 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 2 to 10 p.m. Admission: Free Info: (630) 264-4636 Puerto Rican Day Parade When: June 19, noon What: This yearly tradition caps a full week of events dedicated to celebrating the Puerto Rican community’s contributions to Chicago. After the parade, head down to Humboldt Park, corners of California Ave. and Division St., to enjoy some salsa music, Puerto Rican food and the work of folk artists. Where: The parade starts at the intersection of Columbus Drive and Balbo Drive, downtown Chicago Admission: Free Info: www.prparadechicago.org Taste of Chicago 2010 When: June 25 to July 4 What: The Midwest’s premier outdoor food festival celebrates its 30th anniversary! Enjoy this city’s diverse ethnic cuisine, as well as some fine music and family entertainment. One important change this year: there will be no July 3 Grant Park fireworks extravaganza. Instead, the city will celebrate three fireworks shows on the 4th of July along the lakefront: one
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Taste of Chicago
at Navy Pier, a second one between Foster and Lawrence on the North Side and the third at 63rd St. beach. Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys will perform June 29. Where: Grant Park, Chicago Admission: Entrance to the concerts is free, but you have to pay $8 for each strip of 12 tickets to enjoy the food. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Festival closes at 6 p.m. on July 3 and 4) Info: (312) 744-3315, www.tasteofchicago.us Gay Pride Parade When: June 27, noon What: Chicago’s LGBT community ends a month full of social, cultural, athletic and political events with this colorful parade in the Lakeview neighborhood. Where: Parade starts at the corner of Halsted St. and Belmont Ave. and ends on Diversey Pkwy. and Cannon Drive, Chicago Admission: Free Info: (773) 348-8243, email@example.com Taste of Oak Brook & Independence Day Celebration When: July 3, 2 to 9 p.m. What: Some of the finest restaurants in the area will showcase the best from their menus in this one-day event that will feature the traditional 4th of July fireworks show. Where: Oak Brook Polo Grounds, 700 Oak Brook Rd., Oak Brook Info: (630) 368-5000, www.oak-brook.org
Rock on the Fox When: July 9, 6:15 p.m. What: DBL-Shot and Creedence Again are the headliners for this one-day only festival, part of the Downtown Alive! Festival Series.
Where: Galena Blvd., downtown Aurora Hours: Friday, 6 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 2 to 10 p.m. Admission: Free Info: (630) 264-4636 Fiesta Days When: July 9 to 18 What: Modern Day Romeos, American English and Soul Asylum headline this annual event sponsored by the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce. Enjoy arts and crafts, some classical theater, and food and mechanical rides, among other fare. Where: Petersen Park, 4300 Petersen Park Rd., McHenry Hours: 1 to 11 p.m. Admission: $5 Info: www.mchenrychamber.com Kane County Fair When: July 14 to 18 What: Enjoy exhibitions, rides, talent shows and music in this annual fair. Where: Kane County Fair Grounds, Route 38 and Randall Road, St. Charles Hours: Friday to Saturday, noon to midnight; Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. Admission: Wednesday, $2; Thursday to Sunday, $7. Children under 5, free. Info: www.kanecountyfair.com Pitchfork Music Festival When: July 16 to 18 What: Pavement, Modest Mouse, LCD Soundsystem and St. Vincent headline the 5th edition of what’s rapidly becoming one of the most important indie music fests of the United States. Where: Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., Chicago Admission: $40 for all three days Info: www.pitchforkmusicfestival.com
The Mexican dance company Delfos Danza Contemporánea makes its Ravinia debut Aug. 27 to 29 as part of the celebration of Mexico’s bicentennial and the 100th anniversary of its revolution. photo courtesy of ravinia
DuPage County Fair When: July 21 to 25 What: This five-day event offers something for everyone: from the best local talent to carnival rides, kids’ activities, demolition derbies and fireworks display. Where: DuPage County Fair Grounds, 2015 Manchester Rd., Wheaton Info: (630) 668-6636, www.dupagecountyfair.org Fiesta del Sol When: July 29 to August 1st What: Founded and organized by the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, Fiesta del Sol is the largest alcoholand tobacco-free outdoor festival of the Midwest. Besides showcasing the best local Latino talent (musicians, artists, etc.) and hosting the traditional carnival rides and kids’ farm, Fiesta del Sol hosts a series of informational booths focusing on such key subjects as health and education. Where: 1400 W. Cermak Rd., Chicago Hours: Thursday, July 29, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday, July 30 and Saturday, July 31, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, August 1, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission: Free Info: www.fiestadelsol.org
Lollapalooza 2010 When: Aug. 6 to 8 What: Lady Gaga, Devo, Soundgarden, Green Day, Los Amigos Invisibles, Erykah Badu, Arcade Fire, Jimmy Cliff and Cypress Hill are some of the more than 100 performers who will hit the stage during this three-day event. Where: Grant Park, Columbus Drive and Congress Pkwy., Chicago Admission: Three-day pass, $190 until they sell out. Then, $215 Info: www.lollapalooza.com Chicago Air and Water Show When: Aug. 14 and 15 What: The U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights will headline this year’s show, which will also feature an exciting program full of thrilling stunts. Where: North Avenue Beach, Chicago Admission: Free Hours: Water show starts at 9 a.m., air show at 11 a.m. Info: (312) 744-3315, www.chicagoairandwatershow.us
Theater The Sins of Sor Juana When: June 19 to July 25 What: This new production of Karen Zacarías’ play is the highlight of this year’s Goodman Latino Theatre Festival. Jealous of Sor Juana’s influence on his beautiful wife, the Viceroy recruits a charming young man to seduce Sor Juana. Meanwhile, the legendary poet, intellectual and America’s first feminist is on a fight of her own against the Church’s mandates. Where: Albert Hall, Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago Admission: $16 to $61 Info: (312) 443-3800 Grant Park Music Festival: Memoria del Fuego (Memory of Fire) When: July 7, 6:30 p.m. What: Henry Godinez’s dream of adapting Eduardo Galeano’s monumental book to the stage is finally taking shape. Miguel Hart Bedoya will conduct the Grant Park Orchestra and Godinez and guest artists from the Goodman Theatre will read a portion of the text in English and Spanish. Where: Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago Admission: Free Info: www.grantparkmusicfestival.com
It’s Soccer Time! Four spots to eat, drink and sing “Olé, olé, olé, olé” while watching the World Cup in Chicago Maura Wall Hernández Christina E. Rodríguez photos Abel Arciniega words
If you’re a fútbol fanatic, you’re likely already planning out which bars and restaurants you’ll be hitting up to watch World Cup games with your friends and other fans. Whether you’re rooting for your home country or someone else, fans promise to be out in droves for a full-out pachanga. Café has put together this guide with some of our favorite and unique places in our home city to enjoy the tournament. While it’s not by any means a comprehensive list, we hope you’ll join us online at cafemagazine.com or let us know via our Facebook fan pages or Twitter what your favorite spots are in Chicago and beyond.
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SushiSamba Rio 504 N. Wells St. 312-595-2300 www.sushisamba.com
Featuring Brazilian, Peruvian and Japanese cuisine, SushiSamba Rio is billing itself as Chicago’s World Cup headquarters and we agree: you won’t want to miss the fanfare here. They’ll be playing all games on big screen TVs, flying the flags of Brazil, South Africa, Japan and the U.S., and featuring contests, giveaways and special events. Chef de cuisine Dan Tucker will be offering food specials such as acarajé
fritters stuffed with braised short ribs, bolinhos de caranguejo (crabcakes), chorizo remoulade, churrasco (grilled beef) with eggs or as a sandwich with piquillo peppers and cabrales and a number of anticuchos (skewered meats) that’ll make you say, “qué rico.” They’ll have $7 World Cup-themed cocktails – aptly named Forward, Midfield and Keeper – at game-time, too. We hear the SushiSamba staff will be wearing soccer jerseys throughout the month-long soccer lovefest. Games will be shown at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily.
Fadó 100 W. Grand Ave. (312) 836-0066 www.fadoirishpub.com
Though it’s an Irish pub and, thus, likely to be a home base for the city’s UK football fans, Fadó is another of our don’t-miss picks for Chicago’s World Cup soccer scene. They’ll be playing all games live beginning at 6:30 a.m. everyday, serving brunch and drinks for the early fans; they’ll be replaying all games each evening starting at 6 p.m. for those who can’t make it out in the morning. Fadó tells us they’ll feature several giveaways for fans during the games, but they’ve been mum about what exactly just yet. We think if it’s a secret, it must be good! We also hear you should keep an eye out for Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire players – they might be watching games or even guest bartending and serving up your cervezas. Fadó’s general manager, Craig Winning, expects to maintain around a 400-person headcount with lines out the door during popular games. They’re expecting big attendance for games played by the UK and Mexico, they say. ChiTown Futbol 2343 S. Throop St. (312) 226-1988 www.chitownfutbol.com
Fuego Mexican Grill & Margarita Bar 2047 N. Milwaukee Ave. (773) 252-1122 www.fuegomexgrill.com
Known best for hosting community soccer leagues, we’d be remiss not to include ChiTown Futbol in the Mundial celebrations. If you’re looking to watch all the World Cup matches on high-definition big screens on the city’s South Side, look no further. Starting June 11 with the opening ceremony, ChiTown will show every game on 15 HD screens and two large projectors. The best part? It won’t cost you a dime: there’s no entry fee or cover charge to just come watch the games and cheer for your equipo. Another unique draw: ChiTown will also host El Mundialito, or Little World Cup, for children ages 6 to 12. Organizer Javier Luna expects around 200 fans daily to view the World Cup games. Doors will open at 7 a.m. on game days and the restaurant inside the facility will be open with breakfast and refreshments available for purchase.
If you’re looking for that traditional Mexican ambience, head to Fuego Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar in the Logan Square neighborhood. Popular for its live mariachi music nights and other events such as monthly tequila pairing dinners, you’ll also love the restaurant’s familiar decor with beautifully colored azulejos. In addition to executive chef Juan Luis Gonzalez’s regular menu full of sophisticated fare such as borrego en birria, pechuga en huitlacoche and a variety of moles, the restaurant will feature plenty of specials – including antojito fan-favorites and plenty of margaritas, too. With 4 HD-TV screens in the bar area that promises to be packed with fans, Fuego will be showing replays of each day’s matches in the evening. You won’t want to miss the fresh tableside guacamole or the fun giveaways they say they’re planning, either.
Chilam Balam 3023 N. Broadway St., Chicago (773) 296-6901 www.chilambalamchicago.com Chuy Valencia’s new restaurant may take its name from the actual Mayan 2012 prophecy, but its menu is anything but apocalyptic. Following his mentor Rick Bayless’ doctrine of using local, sustainable ingredients, Valencia has created a series of dishes that are meant to be shared. Offerings include: Corn masa memelas topped with smoky black bean puree, goat cheese, arbol chile salsa and dressed greens; and a halibut ceviche tossed with red onion, cucumber, jicama, cilantro, habanero, avocado and tomato.
Dig in! BYOB
CENTRAL AMERICAN Irazú 1865 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago (773) 252-5687 www.irazuchicago.com 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 served. 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, pescado (tilapia) and la revuelta (pork, chicken, cheese and beans). The combination platter comes with two pupusas, black beans, rice and plátano maduro (sweet fried plantains).
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Credit cards accepted
CUBAN 90 Miles Cuban Café 3101 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago (773) 248-2822 www.90milescubancafe.com This is Cuban sandwich heaven; from the medianoche, the traditional Cuban sandwich or even the timba (guava and Swiss cheese) and the restaurants own sandwich de lechón, your cravings will be fully satisfied. There are also more substantial plates on the menu like the ropa vieja.
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.
Cafe 28 1800 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago (773) 528-2883 www.cafe28.org Great mojitos and caipirinhas. Go for the “Taste of Cuba” appetizer. Leave some room for the ropa vieja, the arroz con pollo or the chipotle grilled chicken and green tamales in this intimate cafe. Wash it all down with the traditional café cubano.
Habana Libre 1440 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago (312) 243-3303 A popular choice is the combination appetizer, which includes croquetas (ham and cheese fried dumplings), yucca, tostones (twice-fried smashed green plantains), empanadas (meat-filled pastry) and papa rellena (potato filled with ground beef). For dessert, check out the flan de coco.
MEXICAn Bien Trucha 410 W. State St., Geneva (630) 232-2665 This tiny Mexican restaurant offers delights such as the portobello mushroom cazuelitas (fresh melted Chihuahua cheese, chopped portobellos and garlic) and a wide variety of tortas and tacos: al pastor, tilapia, arrachera, mojo de ajo shrimp and more. Estrella Negra 2346 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago (773) 227-5993 www.estrellanegra.com Mexico’s Día de Los Muertos is celebrated year-round in this Bucktown restaurant. Each table carries a Day of the Dead motif created by local artists. The menu includes traditional entrees such as tacos and tamales, as well as some unique spins on the same. The homemade chicken pozole is a must. La Fonda del Gusto 1408 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago (773) 278-6100 What once used to be a popular
RESTAURANTGUIDE taquería is now a full-grown restaurant. You will find such traditional fare as tacos, tortas and burritos as well as more seasonal dishes like the Albondigas de Jalisco (meatballs in a rich herb/tomato broth).
www.julioslatincafe.com This restaurant has been offering a wide variety of Latin American dishes to Lake County residents since 1991. Among its highlights: Pollo Caribe (sautéed breast of chicken with creamy mango sauce, shrimp garnish, julienne vegetables and Spanish rice); and the Guacho Verde (grilled strip steak topped with chimichurri butter and served with steamed broccoli and garlic mashed potatoes).
NUEVO LATINO/ latin fusion Cafe Con Leche Bucktown 1732 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago (773) 342-2233, www. cafeconlechebucktown.com Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba come together in this tiny Bucktown café. Dig into the chilaquiles for breakfast, the Cuban sandwiches or jibaritos for lunch and a wide variety of Mexican dishes for dinner.
Maya Del Sol 144 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park (708) 358-9800, www.mayadelsol.com Chef Ruben Beltran, an alumni of Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill, serves a wide variety of dishes combining flavors from all Latin America. The tender and flavorful Cochinita Pibil (marinated pork) is a favorite.
Julio’s Cocina Latina 99 S. Rand Rd., Lake Zurich (847) 438-3484,
SOUTH AMERICAN El Llano 3941 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago (773) 327-1659, www.elllanorestaurant.com If you’re hungry go for the bandeja paisa: a huge plate of rice, beans, chicharrones, avocado, plátano maduro (sweet plantain), arepa (thick cornmeal tortilla), yucca fries, a fried egg and steak. La Fonda Latino Grille 5350 N. Broadway, Chicago (773) 271-3935 Colombia rules in this Andersonville restaurant, although there are some significant nods to Argentinean and Mexican cuisine. Start your dinner with a traditional Colombian empanada (made with corn) or an Argentinean one. Then follow it with either the churrasco, the milanesa de cerdo or their carne asada. The
arroz con pollo is also highly recommended. Rosa de Lima 2013-15 N. Western Ave., Chicago (773) 342-4557, www.rosadelima.com Potato is the signature ingredient in this Peruvian restaurant and you’ll find it in dishes as diverse as the causa de camarones and the papas a la huancaina. Their pollo a la brasa is their key specialty, served with two sides. Tango 5 W. Jackson St., Naperville (630) 848-1818, www.tangogrill.com Perfect place for meat lovers. Go for the “world’s longest steak”: a 32-inch-long grilled skirt steak. Sangria is made fresh at the table.
Next time iN Café EL CORAZON DE LOS ANGELES Meet Placita Olvera’s new generation of merchants and business owners.
EDUCATION BLUES States across the country are slashing and dicing their budgets, education being their primary victim. How will public schools nationwide make ends meet?
RIPPLE EFFECTS Will Arizona’s anti-immigration bill open the doors for rampant racial profiling against Latinos across the country?
FIESTA MEXICANA Café Media joins Mexico in the celebration of their bicentennial by exploring its political history and profiling those personalities who are taking Mexican culture to a whole new level.
You too can be a member of our expanding community of cafeteros by joinng one (or all) of our five Café – San Francisco, Café – Los Angeles, Café – Miami and Café – New York) or by following us on
Facebook Fan pages (Café Media, LLC,
Erik Johnson and Alicia Ontiveros
TipITOver photos elia l. alamillo
Cafeteros were in a playful mood on March 25 as they were picking up their advance copies of the April/May Green issue at Mahoney’s Pub and Grille, 551 N. Ogden Ave. Games like Jenga, giant checkers and equally giant dominoes gave Cafeteros the opportunity to indulge their more competitive side.
Julissa Ruiz and Kristen Travis
Susan Diaz de Leon, Leslie Sanabria, Patrice Rangel, Elizabeth Gonzalez
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David Aguirre and Saúl Aguirre
Carlos Chavez, Andres Martinez
SULTRYVIBE photos karthik sudhir
Brazilian singer-songwriter Céu travelled directly from Brazil for a rare one-night appearance April 23 at the Green Dolphin, 2200 N. Ashland Ave., to promote her second album “Vagarosa,” a blend of bossa nova, dub, reggae and samba. The concert was produced by Rationation and Arte y Vida Chicago.
Harry Lerner, Jacky Lerner, Anelena, Debbie, Daren Marsalias, Jurgen Peters
Teresa Voucas, Meredith Harrigan, Dan Harrigan, Nolan Sauls
LONDONPOP photos elizabeth sisson
Political reporter Carlos Hernández Gómez was a big fan of the British Invasion (and a mean guitar player). His wife Randi Belisomo Hernández and Carlos’ closest friends celebrated his love for this music with a fundraiser at Fitzgerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt Road, in Berwyn, on April 8. Funds raised will benefit Living Water International.
Frank Canino and Charlie Short
Randi Belisomo Hernández cafemagazine.com 79
caféBLEND | A MÍ ME ENSEÑARON
Actions Speak louder than words
grew up in a small farming town in northern California with my mother. She was a single mother who worked hard all day in the fields and then came home after a long day in the hot, blistering sun to take care of three small children. Feeding us, clothing us, bathing us. With only an eighth grade education, there was not much more she could do. As I grew up, I would hear stories of my friends’ parents teaching them about money, school, the things of the world. My mother didn’t teach me with words – but with actions. She worked hard and took care of her children without complaining, always making sure we had what we needed. She taught me two lessons that would serve me for years to come: never give up and never worry about what others are doing. Sometimes we learn through the actions of a person, not their words.
–Daniel Gutierrez, Los Angeles 80 Café APRIL | MAY 2010
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