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ADENTRO 9 mi x er 1 1 los insiders

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13 FLASH FOCUS 1 7 U R B A N L AT I N O SPORTS 23 SUBURBANH arlem , usa 26 ON THE MOVE 44 URBAN SOFRITO

FEATURES 30 RAYNIEL RUFINO 40 MICHAEL PEÑA 3 The Culture, The Movement, The Magazine

WINTER ISSUE#102


SINCE 1994 / U R B A N L AT I N O MAG

@URBANLATINOMAG

@ULM_MAG

Jorge E. Cano-Moreno jcmoreno@urbanlatino.com

Publisher

Editor-in-chief

Erik Zambrano ez@urbanlatino.com

Director of Finance

Will DeJesus wdejesus@urbanlatino.com

VP OF SALES & OPERATIONS

Angela C. Rivera arivera@urbanlatino.com

ART DIRECTOR

Daniel Vega dvega@urbanlatino.com

Trouble in the heights AD

Jessica Ramirez jramirez@urbanlatino.com

GRAPHIC SUPPORT

PHOTO EDITOR

Josh Dehonney jd@urbanlatino.com

WEBMASTER

Domingo Martinez dmartinez@urbanlatino.com

public relations

Samantha E. Vargas svargas@urbanlatino.com

distribution/subscriptions manager

Dexter Betancourt dbetancourt@urbanlatino.com Zeitlin Perez zperez@urbanlatino.com

office support

Scene Stealers nyscenestealers@gmail.com

lifestyle bloggers urban latino radio producer

Alex Norman anorman@urbanlatinoradio.fm Jorge Cano-Moreno Rodrigo Salazar

FOUNDERS

contributors

Editorial: Cesar Perez, Zeitlin Perez, Domingo Martinez, Angela C. Rivera, Jorge Cano-Moreno, Erik Zambrano, Daniel Vega, Samantha E. Vargas Photography: Josh Dehonney, Robert Figueroa, Hernan Valle

To contact contributors writers@urbanlatino.com / artists@urbanlatino.com Mission statement The focus of Urban Latino is the Latino experience in this country viewing all sides of our story. Our writers and contributors are individuals who have lived and experienced this diverse culture. Through their essays, columns, illustrations, and photos, we showcase the achievements of our community. Š2013 urban latino magazine A division of the Urban Latino Media Group, LTD. All rights reserved under international and Pan American Copyright Conventions. Reproduction of any or all content without written consent or notice of Urban Latino Magazine Inc. is strictly prohibited. Any copyright violations will be punished to the full extent of the law. Editorial and Advertising Offices 365 Gates Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216 mail@urbanlatino.com Urban Latino Magazine, Inc. does not assume liability for services or beliefs advertised. Subscription info: 10 issues U.S. $16, 20 issues U.S. $24 Make check payable to: Urban Latino Magazine, Inc. 10 Jay Street, Suite 206, Brooklyn, NY 11201 SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES subscriptions@urbanlatino.com Member of: MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS OF AMERICA Member of:

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s harp s hooters

PUBLISHER’S WORD

Zeitlinperez

Zeitlin Perez was born and raised in Washington Heights, New York City. Perez is not a one note talent; she is always up for the challenge in pushing her skills and making a mark in the entertainment business. With her bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting Communications she has produced for an early morning show aired in Telemundo, serves as a freelance Spanish PR consultant for independent marketing companies and currently is debuting as a columnist for Urban Latino Magazine. To seal the deal, this sassy Dominican was also the stylist for this issue’s cover with actor Rayniel Rufino.

Erikzambrano Born and raised in NYC, Ivy League educated, and passionate about music, entertainment, marketing, fine dining/ drinking and snowsports. I guess you could call me a contributor to the magazine. I may or may not have written the majority of the magazine. LOL. But in all seriousness, I’m taking over at the editorial helm and couldn’t be more excited to bring new energy and my perspective to our readership. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @EZ_ULM.

zuleikaviera

Zuleika Viera works in the New York City metro area. She is the owner of Makeup By Zuzu. She is an accomplished and creative makeup artist with experience in different aspects of makeup: bridal, fashion, photoshoots, videos and special occasions. Zuleika displays her mastery for creating the right look, whether by artistry techniques, beautiful skin tones, breath-taking shading or coordinating exquisite colors. She always has the needs, goals and objective of the project foremost in her presentation. Please visit www. makeupbyzuzu.com for a few examples of her work.

ADVERTISERS WWW.NISSANUSA.COM

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JoshDehonney Josh DeHonney is a Canadian born freelance commercial, editorial and portrait photographer.

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Clients include Puma, CBS Radio, Coogi, Mo7. You can see more of Josh’s work at joshdehonney.com WWW.COPACABANANY.COM

WWW.URBANLATINORADIO.COM

danielvega Mom, I made the cover! Shout out to Bed-Stuy for housing me in a basement while i designed this issue. It’s been a real ride, but my Metrocard just expired, so until I find another one, catch you on the flip-side!

WWW.OLLINARMCANDY.COM

WWW.JOSHDEHONNEY.COM

WWW.FUSINGMARKETING.COM www.UrbanLatino.com 7

6 The Culture, The Movement, The Magazine WWW.CHIVAS.COM


Mixer

D rink With C hivalry Words By Domingo Martinez

BKNY PICK UP AD

In history, whisky has always been associated with wealth and power. However, just as whisky matures over time, so do the tastemakers shaping the world of sophistication.

In this new era of enthusiasm

for rich quality and performance, we enthuse in the golden muse of the exciting and luxurious collaboration between Pininfarina & Chivas Regal – together, the Italian car design firm and premium aged whisky have launched limited edition products that will surely cause a stir. ULM enjoyed Chivas Regal for its multi-layered single malt whiskies offering over 85 different flavors. The new Chivas 18 by Pininfarina showcases a minimum of 18 years of floral, sweet and smoky fusion of flavors housed in a blue metallic-finish case with a wood veneer to represent oak barrels, evocative of the modern aerodynamic design Pininfarina is known for. Each bottle will

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have a unique serial identifier to evidence its limited edition design, and will be available to the public as of February 2013. The second product has the same design features but is made with a solid wood inlay and comes with two glasses. ULM couldn’t resist trying a new twist on the traditional “Rob Roy” with Chivas’ 18-year old Gold Signature premium Scotch whisky. We gave it a whirl and were astounded by its full body aroma, and crisp command of our palate.

The Regal Roy

Prep Time: Less than 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1.5oz Chivas Regal 18yo 1/2oz Dubonnet Rouge 2 dashes Orange Bitters 1 orange peel

Preparation:

Slowly merge both your Chivas 18 with Dubonnet Rouge, and splash some orange bitters to taste. Strain this concoction into a Martini glass, and garnish with an orange peel. Sip, sip – and indulge! If you’re in town, and want to try the Regal Roy and other fantastic Chivas premium whisky drinks with your closest friends at the Chivas 1801 Club events, join us here:

www.chivasbrotherhood.com

Houston: January 31 – February 13 Dallas: February 20 – March 4 Los Angeles: March 20 (Grand opening hosted by Adam Rodriguez) www.UrbanLatino.com 9


LOS INSIDERS

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J

ohn Cabarga ’s resume contains a diverse assortment of identities - Chivas

Regal Brand Ambassador, DJ (since before it was cool), 305 Dignitary, 80’s kid and Cookie Monster splitting his time between NYC, Chicago and Miami. While we’ll admit we don’t know much about John’s passion for cookies, we have seen the brand ambassador in action. As a marketer for the blended Scotch whisky, John’s duties include educating consumers on the brand through events and strategic partnerships in the Latino community. The job requires a 24-7 always-on attitude and a strong passion for the brand, which John effortlessly brings to the table as he works to create memorable experiences through events under the Chivas Brotherhood umbrella of events at various nightspots in select cities. When asked how his background and passion for dj’ing translates into his role as an ambassador, John is quick to mention the idea of experiences. He firmly believes that scotch is best enjoyed in a manner in which the drinker finds comfortable. It’s not about the whisky being served neat or at room temperature, it’s about good company and creating memorable experience with good company. He approaches his branded events in a similar fashion. While the event attendees may not remember all the specifics of the whisky they’re tasting, John is certain the culmination of the music, whisky cocktails and company will create a positive memory that the consumer readily associates with the Chivas brand. This approach has already started to bear fruit as the brand is gaining strong traction among the Latino consumer. Clearly, John has a strong mastery of whisky and marketing! Be sure to signup to see John in action at various Chivas Brotherhood events at www.chivasbrotherhood.com. -Erik Zambrano www.UrbanLatino.com 11


FLASH FOCUS AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION

1

FERIA DE SALUD “POR TU FAMILIA” AT ST. MARY’S PARK, BRONX, NEW YORK

Feria de Salud is an outdoor community event that is intended to reach thousands of local Latinos/Hispanics with the important message that they may be at risk of developing diabetes. Feria de Salud captures the festive elements of a community fair, but at the same time preserves the importance of the decision to keep a healthy lifestyle for the whole family. The atmosphere of Feria de Salud includes music, dancing, nutirional information, preparation of delicious dishes, speakers of diabetes-related topics and dealers who offer a variety of products and services to the public. www.portufamilia.org [1] Special Guest, Frankie Negron [2] Cooking Demonstration by Chef Alex Garcia [3] The crowd at St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx for Feria de Salud [4] Free Health Screenings [5] Domino Tournament [6] Health Information Tables [7] Zeitlin Perez Performing [8] Domino Tournament Trophies [9] Live Performance by Children’s Dance Troupe [10] Live Performance by Dioris Alexander [11] & [12] Children Activities - Face Painting and Zumba Lessons

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SATURDAY, AUGUST 18TH Photography Courtesy of Robert Figueroa www.UrbanLatino.com 13


FLASH FOCUS Heineken’s Ritmo Sonico 2012

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United Palace PENDING JCM

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NY - NJ - CT - PA - RI - MA

The good folks at Heineken put together Ritmo Sonico, a series of private concerts this past summer at some of the northeastern area’s hottest venues, featuring Eddy Herrera, Frank Reyes, Wason Brazoban, Sensato, Plan B, and Vakero. [1] Bachatero, Frank Reyes performing at Vincent’s Nightclub in Randoph, Massachusetts [2] Sensato performing at Tierra Nightclub in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [3] The crowd at LQ in New York City [4] Target consumers enjoying the concert at Bliss Nightclub in Clifton, New Jersey [5] Gorgeous Heineken model at Bliss Nightclub in Clifton, New Jersey [6] Plan B performing at LQ in New York City [7] Vakero performing at Roxy Nightclub in Providence, Rhode Island [8] Wazon Brazoban performing at Passion Nightclub in Hartford, Connecticut [9] Eddy Herrera performing at LQ in New York City

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AUGUST 2012 Photography Courtesy of Hernan Valle www.UrbanLatino.com 15


Republic Group TAX

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www.UrbanLatino.com 17


T

he Dominican Republic compromises the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispanola. Measuring approximately 18,700 miles, the country is about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined, and has a population of approximately 10.09 million. Its imports and exports with the United States include, among other things, petroleum, durable consumer goods, cacao, sugar, and tobacco. Absent from this traditional import/export list, however, is the Dominican Republic’s contribution to baseball--a game widely identified as America’s pastime--but every bit a part of Dominican culture and life, especially for those youth who see baseball as a way out of poverty. Baseball has been part of the Dominican Republic for over 100 years. The first baseball teams in the Dominican Republic were formed in the 1890’s. By the 1920’s and 30’s, those teams played against other nations, and recruited players from the Negro Leagues, such as Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson, to play in tournaments. Baseball was so popular that corporations, such as the Grenada Company, a division of the United Fruit Company, scouted young talent and offered them jobs simply to play on company sponsored teams. In 1955, the Dominican Republic tightened its grip on the game when former dictator, Rafael Trujillo, a rabid baseball fan, built the first major league baseball stadium. One year later, infielder, Ozzie Virgil, became the first Dominican player in the major leagues debuting for the San Francisco Giants. The tsunami that followed Virgil includes some of the best players to ever wear a major league uniform. To name a few, Hall of Fame pitcher, Juan Marichal, three-time Cy Young Award winner, Pedro Martinez, 1979 and 2001 Rookie of the Year winners, Alfredo Griffin and Albert Pujols, 1981 and 1990 World Series Most Valuable Players, Pedro Guerrero and Jose Rijo, 1987 American League MVP, George Bell, 1998 National League MVP, Sammy Sosa, and other active All-Stars such as David Ortiz and Robinson Cano. In 2012, the Dominican Republic boasted 95 major league players on opening day rosters, more than any other country and second only to its 99 players in 2007.

18 The Culture, The Movement, The Magazine

The Dominican contribution, however, extends beyond the field. The first Dominican manager was former player, Felipe Alou, who managed the Montreal Expos from 1992-2001 and later managed the San Francisco Giants from 2003-2006. Other managers, include, former Pittsburgh Pirate catcher, Tony Pena, who led the Kansas City Royals from 2002-2005, and Manny Acta, who managed the Washington Nationals from 2007-2009. In the front office, Omar Minaya, who was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Queens, has been the General Manager of the New York Mets and the Montreal Expos, and is currently Senior Vice President of Operations for the San Diego Padres. In total, the Dominican Republic has produced roughly 542 major leaguers and the future shows no signs of slowing down. Today, all the major league ball clubs maintain a presence in the Dominican Republic and have made huge financial investments by developing state of the art training academies all over the country to scout and nurture young prospects. These facilities are complete with baseball fields, batting cages, housing, eating, and classroom facilities. Prospects have a full day and a typical schedule may consist of 7 am breakfast, 7:30 am early workout with specific player drills and training, 8:30 am stretching with the rest of the team, 9 am fundamentals such as batting or infield practice, a 10:30 am game, 1 pm lunch, 5 pm weight room work, and 6 pm English courses. Prospects are recruited as young as 10 or 11 years old by unregulated trainers. The trainers will support and nurture the prospect until the prospect is 16, when he is eligible to sign with a team. Because players from the Dominican Republic are not subject to MLB’s draft, they are considered free agents and can sign contracts for bonuses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the trainer usually getting a large portion of the bonus. The economics are staggering. In fact, Baseball America reported that excluding Cuban defectors and Japanese professionals, in 2010, teams spent $76 million in international amateur bonuses and increased that spending to $89 million in 2011. The majority of that money went to amateurs in the Dominican Republic with $44 million being spent in 2010 and $50 million in 2011. With the sheer amount of money at stake and only a limited amount of time to prove their worth, the prospects have, in some cases, taken drastic measures pursuing their dreams. In a September 2009 article in the Los Angeles Times, entiwww.UrbanLatino.com 19


tled “Dominican Baseball Prospects Frequently Play Fast and Loose with the Rules,� writer Kevin Baxter observed that the lure of riches in the United States is sufficiently compelling for these young kids who often are raised in poverty to (1) use performance enhancing drugs; and (2) engage in identity and document fraud, assuming different names and claiming they are younger than they really are in the hopes of a payday. To address these issues, MLB has implemented a drug testing program and is now permitted to sanction players for positive results. To combat identity and document fraud, MLB and some teams are asking that players undergo DNA exams and hire private investigators. Since 2008, players discovered to have lied about their age or identity may be suspended for a year. Although no system is fool-proof, there are organizations whose goals are to help remedy these issues and restore and continue the positive contributions that the Dominican Republic has made. One non-profit organization, the Dominican Prospect League (DPL), co-founded by Brian Mejia and Ulises Cabrera in late 2009, allows Dominican youngsters an opportunity to showcase their skills to major league baseball teams in the hopes of one day signing a contract. Mejia and Cabrera have strong roots in baseball, with Mejia having started out in the Florida Marlins mailroom and later becoming a Scouting Director for the Cincinnati Reds. Cabrera meanwhile played shortstop at Vanderbilt University and spent time in the Texas Rangers minor league farm system. They met in 2002 while working for Louisville Slugger as pro baseball representatives responsible for signing players to endorsement deals, with Mejia covering the east coast and Cabrera, the west coast. They later worked as agents for the Creative Artists Agency, more commonly referred to as CAA, under the direction of agent Casey Close, who represents players such as Derek Jeter and Ryan Howard.

20 The Culture, The Movement, The Magazine

AD Page These credentials and sensitivity to the issues of performance enhancing drugs and age and identity fraud led Mejia and Cabrera to form the DPL. The DPL provides MLB teams with an effective vehicle through which to evaluate, develop, and prepare prospects, both physically and mentally, for the responsibilities and demands of playing professional baseball. It also improves the quality of instruction given to players by their trainers, organizes the historically fragmented stakeholders of the Latin American baseball community (MLB, MLB Teams, Scouts, and Trainers), and repairs the image of the entire Dominican baseball community. The cities represented by the four DPL teams are San Pedro de Macoris, Bani, Santo Domingo, and San Cristobal. Teams play each other weekly to allow players to showcase their talents. As part of its program, the DPL conducts background and age checks on all players as well as drug testing, psychological evaluations, and money-management and culture-assimilation seminars. In this way, MLB teams will feel more secure in their investments.

This year, the DPL has had several of its prospects sign significant deals. The top-end deals included, Gustavo Cabrera, who signed for $1.3 million with the San Francisco Giants and Amaurys Minier, who signed for $1.4 million with the Minnesota Twins. Other DPL prospects, Frandy Delarosa (Chicago Cubs), Richard Urena (Toronto Blue Jays), Luis Barrera (Oakland Athletics), and Wendall Rijo (Boston Red Sox), signed deals ranging from $425,000 to $725,000. Baseball is often described as American as apple pie and justifiably so. However, baseball’s history in the Dominican Republic, combined with the contributions and records made and held by Dominican players, coupled with the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in the Dominican Republic by MLB, support the notion that baseball is as Dominican as merengue. Baseball is at the heart and soul of the Dominican Republic and, while not perfect by any stretch, baseball in the Dominican Republic and Dominicans in baseball will only continue to grow. ULM


SUBURBAN

AD Page From the historic events of the Harlem Renaissance to cultural beacons such as the Apollo Theater and Amy Ruth’s restaurant, Harlem’s reputation as the capital of African American culture will certainly continue as more and more young black professionals are drawn to the area. However, Harlem is in transition- both in demographics and in perception. In an area geographically defined as running river to river, from East 96th Street and West 106th to West 155th Street, Harlem is no longer a majority African American neighborhood. Estimates from 2008 stated that only 4 in 10 Harlem residents were black and 22% of white households in the area had moved to their present homes within the previous year, while the percentage for black households was only 7%. In the 1960’s, Harlem was devastated by demolition, arson and abandonment, resulting in the black population declining by more than 30% during the 1970’s. As New York City continued to boom as a capital of global business, the availability of spacious housing in the immediate Manhattan area declined as prices skyrocketed. With more and more buildings in Harlem being purchased and rehabilitated by families or developers, the real estate market experienced increased demand. When the market slumped in 2008, betting on Harlem seemed like a risky bet. However, in 2011 the number of Harlem apartments and brownstones for sale decreased by nearly 5% versus less than 2% for all of Manhattan, indicating greater property sales traction in Harlem. Additionally, the median property price in Central Harlem increased 18% compared to just over 1% in all of Manhattan during the same year. The Harlem real estate story is a classic demand and supply tale- as inventory and supply decrease, prices increase. If you’re not in the market to purchase property and renting is what you’re looking for, Harlem is a great place to start. As a

Red Rooster (Redroosterharlem.com | 310 Lenox Avenue, NYC)

Sylvia’s Restaurant (Sylviasrestaurant.com | 328 Malcolm X Boulevard, NYC)

young professional working in New York City’s advertising industry, Harlem provided the options my two roommates and I searched for. We ended up renting an affordable and overly-spacious apartment in Central Harlem- 2-floors, 3 bedrooms, and 3 bathrooms- for under $2,500 per month. On top of the great value, the commute to midtown is only 25 minutes. So I urge readers to think twice before forking over half of their salary to live closer to the ‘center’ of it all. And while I understand concerns about personal safety in Harlem, this article is meant to shed light on the positive changes occurring, which have greatly increased the safety of the area. If the value and affordability of Harlem wasn’t enticing enough, then consider the cultural gems that are slowly rejuvenating Harlem’s visage. If you’re in the mood for soul food be sure to check out the following three spots- Amy Ruth’s for chicken and waffles, Red Rooster for contemporary soul food with a Harlem twist and Sylvia’s for classic traditional Southern cuisine. However, words of caution- try to avoid the flocks of tourists at all costs. If you’re in the mood for some drinks, be sure to grab a cold beer at Harlem Tavern or enjoy an excellent wine selection

at Nectar Wine Bar. For my sneaker aficionados, be sure to check out Atmos or the Nike House of Hoops to get caught up on the latest in urban fashion. Last but not least, if outdoor recreational activities are more of your style, visit Riverbank State Park in Hamilton Heights for breathtaking views of the Hudson River as you enjoy outdoor basketball, baseball, football, tennis and handball courts. In short, Harlem is an incubator. From the Apollo’s proven history of developing the next generation of music and comedic talent, to the Harlem playgrounds training tomorrow’s generation of athletic superstars, to the area’s magnet schools educating future scholars and leaders, Harlem is a truly unique New York City neighborhood. Whether you’re in the market to purchase real estate for your growing family or planning a trip to NYC, be sure to stop and experience the dynamism that Harlem embodies and offers. -Erik Zambrano www.UrbanLatino.com 23


EL

EL MAGAZINE SPREAD

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ON THE MOVE

ON THE MOVE

Alex Garcia

El Barrio: New York City Trabajo: Chef

Words by Zeitlin Perez

26 The Culture, The Movement, The Magazine

A native Cuban, who’s family taught him to appreciate the simplicity of ingredients and the power of conviviality centered around the table. Alex Garcia is a committed Nuevo Latino cuisine chef who helped popularize a version of Cuban food at several New York City restaurants and on the Food Network. After spending a few years working as a waiter, Alex attended Northeastern University in Massachusetts where he earned a degree in hotel and restaurant management. He later attended the Culinary Institute of America and Florida International University. Alex worked alongside famed Nuevo Cuban chef Douglas Rodriguez for four years at Yuca restaurant in Miami. Garcia’s work in New York has included stints at Erizo Latino in Soho, Babalu, Patria, Calle Ocho and, most recently, Habana Room. These locations received rave reviews, including three stars from The New York Times. His first cookbook, In a Cuban

Kitchen, was published in September 2004 in the United States and in England. Garcia can currently be seen on The Cooking Channel as part of The Melting Pot. This show, which originally aired on the Food Network, follows Garcia and fellow chefs Wayne Harley Brachman, Michelle Bernstein, Cat Cora, Rocco DiSpirito, Tanya Holland, Padma Lakshmi, Aaron Sanchez, and Pilar Sanchez as they expose viewers to delectable dishes from around the world. Garcia guides his viewers through the creation of such mouth-watering fare as Peanut Meringues with Hot Chocolate, Spicy Cornbread with Jalapenos, and Puerto Rican Seafood Soup. Currently, Chef Alex Garcia is the Director of Culinary Operations for Barrio Foods. In addition to creating the culinary programs and overseeing the kitchens at a number of his properties throughout New York City including Calle Ocho, the Copacabana Supper Club, the VIP food service at the Copacabana

Chef Alex Garcia’s Ecuadorean Shrimp Ceviche

Nightclub, Barrio, Havana Café, Open Book Café at the Brooklyn Public Library, Cabana Bar, Babalu, Rooftop 760, K & D By The Glass and Crush Wine Bar (Larchmont, NY), Garcia also leads the Barrio Foods catering business, MAMBO Catering. This purposeful chef didn’t stop there! He fused his best ingredients and built a recipe of his own called A.G. Kitchen in NYC. It’s a simple, chic burger spot with exotic and bold flavors to cater any palette. Recently, our highly acclaimed chef had a personal request to serve as a consultant at the Oasis Hamaca in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. www.UrbanLatino.com 27


ON THE MOVE Those lucky enough to be born with artistic talents are labeled as “stars” and Dioris Alexander is certainly no exception. Born in the fall of 1994, Dioris displayed his first signs of greatness at the age of two when he performed at an event at his mother’s church. From then on, it’s been a life of performances. Dioris is no stranger to the lime light as he continually takes part in recordings, shows, events, concerts, which are usually produced by his very busy mother, who takes an active role in his career. It’s no wonder the talented singer is comfortable around microphones, cameras and big stage scenes. Dioris recalls stepping on a stage at the age of 7 years old for a musical titled “Victoria del Mar”, which was viewed by over 800 people in Brooklyn, New York. By the age

of 12, he accomplished what most artists only dream of; he stepped on stage at Madison Square Garden alongside his mother as they performed with legendary merengue vocalist, Fernando Villalona. The positivity and excitement he gained from these experiences solidified his passion to become an actor and a singer. Currently, he’s participating in commercials and corresponding for a show called “Talent” in New York City. He’s also busy putting the pencil to work by writing songs for his productions. Realizing the need to continually gain new fans, Dioris has made it a priority to take his smooth voice and energetic smile on the road as he tours New York City with his own band. He usually performs two American hits arranged in bachata, “Hello” and “I Want to Know What

Love Is”, in addition to three original songs written and co-arranged by him. A highlight of this young man’s career as a solo artist came when performed at the legendary Copacabana, where he showcased his talents at the Clef Stage launch event this past fall. Realizing the power of education, Dioris is also currently pursuing a degree in Liberal Arts at a CUNY school in New York City, which he balances with his demanding recording schedule. His versatility allows him to seamlessly transition from English to Spanish and he’s even venturing into English R&B tracks to broaden his appeal and fan base. With his charm, boyish good looks and smooth voice, the sky is the limit for Dioris in the music industry.

AD LA MARINA or El Barrio: New York City Trabajo: Singer

JOSH WEDDING

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Doris Alexander El Barrio: New York City Trabajo: Singer

Words by Zeitlin Perez

28 The Culture, The Movement, The Magazine

ollinarmcandy.com


r a y n i eCOVER l ru f i n o R i sSTORY es to

new Heights

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COVER STORY

Nestled snugly beneath the towering iron arches of the Henry Hudson Parkway’s underbelly, La Marina Bar and Restaurant is making a name for itself as an opulent uptown hotspot for NYC Hispanic foodies and night owls. The restaurant’s host neighborhood of Washington Heights isn’t typically known as a NYC “destination,” however, the tide is quickly changing and Rayniel Rufino is ready for the surge. Words by Erik Zambrano | Photography by Josh Dehonney | Styling by Zeitlin Perez | Makeup by Zuleika Viera On Rayniel: “Maniac” Jacket by Nicholas Velez | $680 Shot At: La Marina Bar & Restaurant, NYC www.UrbanLatino.com 31


O COVER STORY

“The cameras don’t lie. If you’re on camera and you don’t bring you’re A game and there’s no emotions coming out of you, it’ll be known.” 32 The Culture, The Movement, The Magazine

n a bright, chilly Sunday afternoon, we met the 26-year old Dominican actor at La Marina for a photo shoot and to chat about his blossoming filmography. Rayniel was accompanied by Jonathan Ulman the director of his latest film, Trouble in the Heights­- and a modest host of his neighborhood friends. While each shot’s garments and accessories were carefully prepared, Rayniel was quick and eager to discuss the development of his short but exciting acting career. His first feature film, Liberty Kid, came about when his childhood friend invited him along to an audition in Harlem. Undaunted by his lack of acting experience, Rayniel fed off his friend’s energy during their audition and succeeded in wowing the film’s director. Both were cast in the film, at which point he caught what he referred to as “The Bug.” He began networking, studying the art of acting, and preparing mentally to embrace acting as a career, because as he put it, “Manual labor has never been my thing.” For most people, that comment would immediately project a premature and misguided sense of entitlement, but somehow it just sounded right coming from him. Maybe it’s his calm, collected demeanor, or perhaps it’s his decision to approach acting as an actual occupation rather than merely an artistic whimsy. Whatever the case be, there is no denying that the charismatic actor from Washington Heights is taking his profession and passion seriously. It’s as if Rayniel heeded Dame Dash’s advice to Kanye West as the prolific rapper prepared to drop his debut album, The College

Dropout. On the album’s closing track, Last Call, Dash says to West, “You got a deal with Capital? Okay man, just make sure it’s not wack. You don’t want to catch a brick.” Similarly, our cover’s front man is committed to avoiding bricks or blunders that could derail his career. “When your break comes, you have to be ready. You need to be ready. You need to know what you’re doing. People want to take short cuts, but your audience can tell when you’re not ready. It’s easy, at times, for young, buzzing actors and actresses to blissfully dance in the aromatic and tingly fog of their early success for too long, but Rayniel has a plan and a solidified strategy in place to realize his dreams to “become a household name, do the films I want to do, and keep creating.” His strategy is rooted in opting for independent films at this point in his career, those may be the only opportunities he is afforded, but he provides a strong rationale for continuing to do so. He appreciates the opportunity to be involved in the production of the actual film from beginning to end, for what better way to shepherd a budding acting career to the next level than to fully partake in and directly contribute to the successful development of each and every project? The hands-on approach comes easily, since he involves himself only in films that are real and tell great stories, ones about which he feels truly passionate. Those are the projects that will allow him to shine, independent of the film’s other attributes.

COVER STORY

On Rayniel: Salmon cardigan by H&M | Grey hat (actor’s own)

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We were given a glimpse into how this strategy is paying off during our discussion of Trouble in the Heights, a film featuring Rayniel as he portrays Diego, a young Dominican teen working as a sous-chef who must protect his younger teenage brother, Javy, from a drug kingpin in their Washington Heights neighborhood. He said he chose the script because it spoke to him through its strong focus on family and loyalty. While the film’s turn of events were predictable and too often opted for best case scenarios, Rayniel’s character, Diego, felt real. He really owned his character, demonstrating great range when his loving-brother persona believably morphed to bravado and machismo. In one such scene, nefarious criminal, Nevada (Raúl Esparza), threatens Diego, hoping to force the two brothers to work for him. A viewer might expect the tender and loving sous-chef to be pissing his pants, so to speak, during such an encounter, especially since Nevada is fresh from ordering his henchmen to murder an adolescent boy (Javy’s neighborhood friend) by throwing him down onto the railroad tracks as a fast-moving train approaches. Although the film could’ve made the interaction between the two polar opposite characters more believable, Rayniel masterfully evolved into the predator and enabled the film to progress and resolve. Equipped with a keen eye for strong characters and stories, we can expect Rayniel to continue selecting films that showcase his dynamism as an actor. Whatever the future holds for Rayniel, it’s safe to say that he won’t have to 34 The Culture, The Movement, The Magazine

summit the Hollywood mountain unaided. It seems like Washington Heights or “The Heights” is at the tip of everyone’s tongue these days. If The Uptown Collective, a popular blog dedicated solely to life in the predominately Dominican neighborhood wasn’t enough of an indication of mass interest, then our national readers will surely have heard of MTV’s new reality series, Washington Heights. The show follows nine Washington Heights residents as they embark on their personal journeys to achieve their dreams of becoming professional baseball players, musicians, artists, fashion designers, etc. Whether the show becomes MTV’s next cash cow or not seems to be of little interest to the bustling neighborhood’s residents, but the social dynamics brewing are truly a sight to behold. As our friends atThe Uptown Collective write, We couldn’t agree more. From the impressive list of Downtown-quality restaurants that masterfully blend traditional Hispanic cuisine with other culinary influences to the thriving nightlife scene that has gárgolas venturing uptown on the A train to Dyckman Street. Supporting all these initiatives, is the entrepreneurial spirit of its residents, which will only increase as first-generation college graduates return home and build upon the legacy of their parents. And let’s not forget the beautiful women inhabitants that seem to make every block you traverse that much more pleasant. A wonderful place, really. Like Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Harlem before it, the Washington Heights area is poised to evolve into another cultural capital of our beloved New York City. Be on the lookout for an exciting year from The Heights and from our actor friend Rayniel Rufino in 2013!

COVER STORY

COVER STORY

On Rayniel: Pink button up shirt by H&M | Brown cashmere jacket (actor’s own) www.UrbanLatino.com 35


On Rayniel: “Dark Riding Hood” by Nicholes Velez, $450 | Washington Heights snap back by Tony Peralta, $40

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“2013 will be the year the Uptown Renaissance will thrust itself on the national and international stage. Washington Heights is not just an extremely diverse and dynamic community on the northern tip of Manhattan, it is an idea; it is a Latino American Mecca as well as the unofficial third capital of the Dominican Republic. 2013 will be the tipping point.” -The Uptown Collective


Words by Erik Zambrano Photos Courtesy of AEM

38 The Culture, The Movement, The Magazine

www.UrbanLatino.com 39


When I asked Michael Peña how he was doing upon meeting him during our interview, he said, “I’m doing really well.” Mr. Peña is a very honest man. With a repertoire of film classics under his belt such as Crash, Million Dollar Baby, World Trade Center, Babel and an upcoming leading role alongside Jake Gyllenhaal in the gritty LAPD cop action film, End of Watch, Mr. Peña is indeed doing very well. Michael is an ideal depiction of what it means to be a first generation Latino aspiring to be more than the world initially offers him. His parents, Mexican farmers, immigrated to Chicago in hopes of creating better opportunities for themselves and for Michael and his brother. Like most Hispanic families going through economic hardships, family and community served as the backbone to everyday life. Although Michael was only able to enjoy his first bike for 10 minutes before it was stolen by a menacing group of adolescents, Chicago was the setting for his family’s earlier years. As a child, Michael’s mother would take her boys to the movies every Sunday. Instead of spending that money on herself or items for their home, the three would venture to the local theater to catch two movies - always a traditional Mexican film as well as a contemporary American film. It was during these trips to the movie theater that Michael began to understand and appreciate the power films have to incite emotion and inspire. Upon watching Edward James Olmos play teacher, Jaime Escalante, in Stand and Deliver, he felt compelled to take calculus in high school. Another education-related film he cited during our conversation was Dead Poets Society featuring Robin Williams. In this case, the film allowed Michael to experience and feel part of the camaraderie shared between teacher and student. These seemingly insignificant childhood experiences coupled with a fortunate discovery of raw talent would eventually propel Michael to Hollywood stardom. If Michael’s rise to success contains a message for aspiring actors, it’s that you have to believe in your craft and the work you’re associating yourself with. Initially, Michael wasn’t a believer in his craft. In fact, during one of his early

auditions, the casting director asked him if he

ver Stone and starring Nicolas Cage, Michael

he believes the locksmith rigged the keys to

could act, to which Michael replied, “We’re

Peña, Maria Bello, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Mi-

his store and robbed it overnight. He finds the

about to find out.” This attitude didn’t denote

chael Shannon came at a time when the nation

locksmith exiting his car and prepares to shoot

dedication and a firm belief in his craft or abili-

was still grieving over the losses of September

as the locksmith’s young daughter attempts to

ties. However, in Michael’s case, the raw talent

11. However, amidst all the pain and suffer-

shield her father with her invisible cloak of pro-

must have been painstakingly piercing in the

ing, there was a unique opportunity to highlight

tection. Throughout the film, Michael doesn’t

eyes of seasoned professionals. It wasn’t too

the amazing heroism displayed during that

say much but the power of his expressions,

long after that first audition that a casting di-

infamous day. Peña plays Colombian native

mannerisms, and interactions with his daugh-

rector simply instructed him to relocate to Los

and Port Authority police officer, Will Jimeno,

ter are truly captivating.

Angeles. There was one booking as a featured

who was buried under the rubble for 13 hours

he spent a month preparing for this role by liv-

extra in between, but from Michael’s modest

before being saved by Marine rescue workers.

ing with his brother and his niece. He called

description and some basic editorial analysis,

Throughout the progression of the story, the

upon these experiences to bring an unglam-

Michael just had that raw and pure talent that

audience can literally see the stress and pain

orous character to life and propel the emotive

easily convinced. His belief in his abilities be-

take over Michael’s facial expression and body

powers of the movie. For those who haven’t

gan to solidify when he left his tight-knit com-

movements. As an audience member, you can

seen Crash (winner of 3 Oscars),we at Urban

munity of Chicago to pursue and master his

see the sweat, sense the fear and feel the ter-

Latino highly recommend you check it out and

acting skills in Los Angeles.

ror these rescue workers felt moments before

become acquainted with Michael’s breakout

Michael mentioned

Once in Los Angeles, Michael’s career be-

a tower of metal collapsed right on top of them.

appearance. It is kick-ass and a real tear jerker.

gan to take off. He accomplished all the basic

As Peña and Cage’s characters are stuck un-

In similar fashion to Crash, Michael and his

essentials such as getting an agent and book-

der the debris, they exchange personal infor-

co-star, Jake Gyllenhaal, spent a total of five

ing roles. However, he soon realized that in order to mold raw talent into art, he would have to call upon his personal experiences to engage deeper with scripts and films. Early on, Michael primarily studied and was a fan of actors such as Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, Al Pacino, and Robert DeNiro. He then began to admire stories and scripts and the directors capable of telling the stories. When I asked him for advice for as-

Mr. Peña is a very honest man.

months riding along with real LAPD officers and training in a police academy to better prepare for their roles. Director, David Ayer made it clear that he didn’t want any officer watching the movie to question the actors’ mastery of policing skills. In an NYT interview, Ayer reveals that despite already having directed Los Angeles police genre films, he put aside his fear of being type-cast as the go-to-guy for cop dramas and tried again

piring actors, he offered that as an actor you

mation that brings the audience even closer to

with End of Watch because he wanted to get

have to be true to the type of writing you like.

them. It is without a doubt that Michael was

it right. The film follows Officer Brian Taylor

If an actor is unable to connect to the mate-

able to call upon his humble upbringings to

(Gyllenhaal) and Officer Zavala (Peña) as they

rial and wouldn’t enjoy it naturally if it came on

put himself in the shoes of Will Jimeno and

document their day-to-day duties as LAPD of-

television, there lies a fundamental disconnect

evoke the type of emotion necessary to give

ficers with Taylor’s home video camera. The

that won’t be overcome. Michael gave the

the audience a true front row seat to the tragic

example of Larry David and his show, Curb

events of that day. His performance perfectly

artistic decision to portray their lives through the unadulterated lens of Taylor’s camera

Your Enthusiasm. To Michael, it’s pretty clear

encapsulated the American spirit of resilience

aligns with the director’s intention to be true to

that Larry David enjoys the show’s dry com-

and honor. Although Michael’s character was

the collective experience and mindset of LAPD

edy and would watch that type of show even if

on the brink of death, he persevered through

officers. Both officers are best of friends. Not

he wasn’t affiliated with it. So as Michael said,

with the help of his fellow American and in the

only do they spend their workdays fighting

“If that’s what you like, that’s what you go for.”

end, survived. As we commemorate another

crime, the film also captures their friendship

This approach has proven very successful. At

year since the tragic events of September 11,

and connection through their families, friends,

the center of all his roles is Michael’s ability to

be sure to catch World Trade Center and ex-

and community. By painting a holistic picture

leverage his personal beliefs and experiences

perience the riveting performances that com-

of the relationship, Michael and Jake trans-

to breathe life into characters. The deep un-

memorate the bravery of the day.

form from Hollywood stars to sweating cops,

derstanding of what a character would say in

Crash is a perfect example of Michael’s abili-

chasing criminals on the sweltering streets of

any given situation is important and essential

ties. Most of our readers will remember Mi-

Los Angeles. As the film develops, the pair of

to creating an individual that audiences either

chael playing the role of blue-collar locksmith

officers is called to a house where they make

love or hate, but ultimately remember because

living in Los Angeles with his family. Through

a grim discovery that ultimately unleashes on

of the power of the performance.

an odd and coincidental set of occurrences, a

them the full unforgiving wrath of the very ac-

grocery store owner is out to kill him because

tive Mexican cartel.

The film World Trade Center directed by Oli-

www.UrbanLatino.com 41


their workdays fighting crime, the film also captures their friendship and connection through their families, friends, and community. By painting a holistic picture of the relationship, Michael and Jake transform from Hollywood stars to sweating cops, chasing criminals on the sweltering streets of Los Angeles. As the film develops, the pair of officers is called to a house where they make a grim discovery that ultimately unleashes on them the full unforgiving wrath of the very active Mexican cartel. When I asked Michael about the film, he said he appreciated the onscreen relationship Taylor and Zavala. They attend each other family’s events and promise to look after each others’ children in the event that one of them was fatally injured. Michael was able to bring a mastery of truth and candor to the film that produced a meaningful connection between the actors and the audience. You get a very strong sense of who Michael’s character is and how highly he values his rapport with his partner and best friend. This is apparently true of many police officers that are under the constant threat of losing their lives to crime. They depend on their partners to not only cover the first round at the bar, but provide a round of cover fire in the event of a shootout. End of Watch showcases Michael’s acting skills that he so carefully honed throughout the years. So if you’re in the mood for a new type of cop drama that utilizes unusual yet effective filming styles, be sure to catch Michael Peña when he comes to a screen near you. Aside from his personal successes, Michael was also very interested and encouraged by the increasing amount of Latin talent coming to Hollywood. He mentioned actors such as Jacob Vargas, Diego Luna, Jay Hernandez, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera, and Selena Gomez as a good indicator of what’s happening in the country. He personally believes that as the Latino population continues to grow and our purchasing power increases, there should be corresponding movements to increase our political voice and representation. It is because of this firm belief and vision for the future of Latinos in America that Michael volunteered his time to appear in a PSA with Wilmer Valderrama encouraging Latinos to 42 The Culture, The Movement, The Magazine

vote. Be sure to check out the PSA on VotoLatino.org. Staying true to his belief in the power of politics to transform race relations, it was with great elation that the Urban Latino team discovered Michael would be portraying Cesar Chavez in the upcoming Diego Luna-directed biopic. When asked at Comic Con, what his ideal role would be, Michael responded, Mexican civil rights activist and labor leader, Chavez. Screenwriter Keir Pearson announced his plans to write the biopic nearly two years ago and announcing Peña in the lead role gave the film the direction it needed to kick the project into high gear. As director, Luna hopes to prove Chavez’s importance to wider audience, “This man inspired an entire community to see themselves as deserving of basic rights and to rise up against injustice. The film will send the message that change is in our hands - Chavez did something everyone thought was impossible with a fearless grace that magnetized an entire country.” This is clearly a big step for Peña as he embarks on a role that is ever so close to his past. Based on his performance, Michael could really elevate his stock in Hollywood and seek out even larger roles that completely rotate around him. Michael is surely positioned for the performance of his career as he has directly benefitted from the political activism and influence of the leader. Chavez led a revolution without violence. Instead he used hard work and dedication to accomplish the vision of providing his people with the ability to live the American dream and be free. When Michael received news that he was offered the part, he was on the set of The Gangster Squad. He recalls his fellow cast members, which included Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, and Emma Stone, congratulating him and feeling the camaraderie of being part of an artistic community. It is these types of experiences for Michael that make acting and his connection to the artistic community so rewarding. This fall will surely be a pivotal period in Michael’s career. With End of Watch slated to hit theaters in late September and the Cesar Chavez biopic in postproduction, it will allow the actor from Chicago to continue driving and improving the Hispanic agenda in Hollywood.

It is especially promising that Michael has been able to balance film opportunities with mass appeal with ones that speak directly to the importance of Hispanic culture in America. In the future, we’re excited to see Michael’s talent introduced to an ever widening audience. As for the readers who have aspirations to make it in Hollywood, Michael Peña will serve as an excellent example of overcoming hardships and creating a path to achieving their dreams of being capable and respected members of the artistic community. What’s especially poignant about Michael’s story is that, we as a country have finally arrived at a point where roadblocks are just that, roadblocks. In the past, the Latino perspective would have been ignored, but as we move closer to becoming a nation of minorities, the opportunities for bright and gifted Latinos in Hollywood will continue to increase. It is also important to note that Hollywood isn’t the only option. Historically, the major film production houses were the only means to making it on the big screen. However, with the proliferation of digital technologies and a do-it-yourself mentality, Latinos can bypass these bureaucratic institutions to produce the content our culture generally needs. Michael’s involvement in the Chavez biopic is an excellent example. His Mexican heritage and his parents’ direct reception of benefits afforded by Chavez’s social movement efforts are what it means to produce entertainment and valuable learning lessons through the medium of film for our country’s best Hispanic talent. Additionally, this film will reach communities outside the United States. It is for this reason we are especially proud that Michael Peña is gracing the cover of our magazine. The Latino culture has too many stories that need to be told and if current and future generations of entertainers follow in Peña’s footsteps, we’ll be better positioned to more directly fight ignorance and impact the course of our nation. Our culture is our strongest asset and we must continue increasing the avenues to share. We at Urban Latino wish Michael Peña the best of luck in his future endeavors and hope his experiences in Hollywood encourage the next generation of Hollywood’s elite. -Erik Zambrano

Interesting Facts about Michael Peña: 1. As a child, Michael had a pet chicken. 2. Michael welcomed his first born, a boy named Roman in 2008.

Some of Michael Peña ‘s “must see” titles: 1. Crash (2004) 2. Million Dollar Baby (2004) 3. Babel (2006) 4. World Trade Center (2006) 5. Observe and Report (2009)

3. His first foray into acting came at the request of his friend’s mother to audition for an upcoming casting call because she thought he was great at impersonating people. 4. Michael sustained some injuries during the filming of End of Watch. 5. Michael at one time worked as a bank teller.

6. End of Watch (2012) 7. Gangster Squad (2013) www.UrbanLatino.com 43


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URBAN SOFRITO ITEMAS q

45 Itemas 46 Cine/Book 47 Exit 94 48 Urban Legend

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. Take the case of Heavy Hitter DJ C-Lo. As a college student at SUNY Canton, C-Lo had a friend that DJ’d but was kicked out. That friend left his equipment in C-Lo’s room and it wasn’t long after that he was rocking the campus’s hottest parties. The son of Ecuadorian parents, C-Lo attended SUNY Canton on a football scholarship but sustained an injury that sidelined him permanently. With more time and energy to focus on DJ’ing, C-Lo put aside his gridiron aspirations to focus on rocking dance floors. With party experience under his belt, C-Lo returned to the Big Apple and landed his first gig at the now defunct Club Float in Times Square. This opportunity developed his credibility in the music industry and it was not long thereafter when the Notorious B.I.G’s DJ, DJ Enuff tapped him to join the Heavy Hitters Crew in June of 2006. When I asked him about this honor he said the following, “Enuff changed my career overnight. Normally, you have to be voted into the crew, but Enuff told me that he recognized my talent and said if I stuck with him, he would make me a star. The rest is history.” C-Lo speaks highly of DJ Enuff because during the three years that he interned with the established DJ, he gained a deeper understanding of the requirements to be a club DJ while also building a personal brand on the airwaves. C-Lo’s dedication to his craft landed him an opportunity to spin for Hot 97 and rep Heavy Hitters, which he describes as a family first and secondly, a DJ crew. DJ C-Lo recently added the accolade of being the only NYC DJ to be on two top FM stations with the announcement that he joined the cast of Latinbased NY radio station X96.3 (Univision radio). However, he doesn’t hold accolades in high regard. The way he sees it, an accolade is just the first step. Even though he’s on two radio stations, he doesn’t want to be that guy that WAS on two radio stations. He wants to turn this opportunity into a success story and continue to expand and develop

new relationships while holding down the people that were with him since day one. He has a similar it’s not enough mentality when he describes being a DJ in today’s technology-enabled world, “Today DJ’ing is easy. Entertaining the crowd is the hard part.” In his mind, sure technology makes everything easier, but DJ’ing is still an art. Back in the day, before a DJ and his mans could haul record crates from gig to gig, a DJ would have to search for the hottest party starters at records stores. It wasn’t downloading the latest track off I-tunes or a blog. It required a DJ to understand what was hot and literally go into stores and find the right record. The process involved thought and effort. This is why DJ C-Lo considers himself part of the last generation of DJs who understand what it meant to carry crates. Even today, CeLo’s mans is still by his side, even though his job is a lot easier since he’s only hauling a laptop. C-Lo’s rejuvenated old-school style still comes through in his management of parties. He doesn’t just play all the hot records. He’ll throw in a merengue song at a hip-hop party and when the critics or haters ask why, C-Lo responds in iconic fashion, “Why Not?” His ability to keep a pulse on what’s hot today while having nostalgia for the detail and hard work that characterized DJ’s in the 80’s and 90’s is what distinguishes him from those self-proclaimed DJs. In case you don’t believe his style works, just ask the two NYC megastations that have enlisted his services and they’ll be sure to tell you about DJ C-Lo. -Erik Zambrano Check out DJ C-Lo’s Top Legal Downloads 1-French Montana featuring Rick Ross, Drake & Lil’Wayne – Pop Dat 2-Chinx Drug featuring French Montana – I’m a Coke Boy 3-Meek Mill featuring Big Sean – Burn 4-2 Chainz featuring Drake – No Lie 5-Trey Songz featuring T.I. – Two Reasons

www.UrbanLatino.com 45


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URBAN SOFRITO

qEXIT 94

qREVIEWS

BOOK REVIEW TO SELENA, WITH LOVE Chris Perez

To Selena , with love is written by her husband, Chris Perez. Selena was (and still is) one of the most compelling and adored superstars in Latin music history. On March 31st 1995 – days before Selena and Chris’ third wedding anniversary – the 23 year old was shot to death. For 17 years Chris held on to the only personal thing he had left from his late wife: memories of their private bond. Chris decided to finally open up and share their unbreakable friendship, forbidden relationship, and blossoming marriage that was unfortunately cut short. Through his words and never before seen photos, readers will fall in love with Selena all over again. The novel shows a different side to the Queen of Tejano Music, it reveals not only her musical career but their love story. Perez takes you from the moment they met, the moment they fell in love to

CINE REVIEW

the moment she left the world. It’s a beautiful story of their lives together from simply being band-mates, secret lovers and finally husband and wife. Aside from her unforgettable voice and her immortal performing image, Chris captured Selena as a real woman, a devoted wife. She was a woman who loved the simplicity in life, who was also a daredevil, and who loved surprising her husband all the time making him happy. While showcasing a side of Selena that has never been disclosed before and clarifying certain misconceptions about her life and death, To Selena, with Love is an everlasting love story that immortalizes the heart and soul of an astonishing, unforgettable, and irreplaceable icon/role model Selena Quintanilla- Perez. #SelenaVive ! -Samantha Vargas

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN Red Box Films/Passion Pictures

In 1970, a singer-songwriter named Sixto Rodriguez from Detroit released a Bob Dylan-like album, “Cold Fact” to rave reviews. However, the album was a commercial failure in the United States. He released a follow-up album, “Coming From Reality”, which unfortunately met the same fate. Rodriguez was then dropped from his label and quickly faded into obscurity... Except in South Africa where his music was bootlegged and slowly gained a cultlike following amongst a young generation of white liberals who were disillusioned by the repressive policies of South African apartheid. Rodriguez, a poor, innercity Mexican poet became the voice of protest in a country halfway around the world. Because his South African fans knew little about him, rumors began circulating that he had committed suicide onstage during a performance, which was completely untrue. Armed with such a unique story as ammunition, Stockholmbased Malik Bendjelloul explored both sides of Rodriguez’s life in Detroit in The Academy-nominated documentary, “Searching for Sugar Man”. The film also explores the impact of his music in the Apartheid era, pre-Nelson Mandela South Africa. The stranger46 The Culture, The Movement, The Magazine

than-fiction film documents how an artist could become a superstar in one country while remaining a complete unknown in his homeland. Rodriguez provided his perspective on why the music caught on in South Africa, “I describe myself as ‘musico-politico’. I was born and bred in Detroit, four blocks from the city center. Back then, I was influenced by the urban sounds that were going on around me all the time. Music is art and art is a cultural force. As far as my work from Detroit comparing to the South African apartheid, the similarities echo. The placards of the 1970’s in the United States read things like: we want jobs and to stop the war. I was looking at the music from a working class perspective that was relevant, as it turns out, to the kids of South Africa.” SUGAR MAN is a film that is a must see for any true fan of music documentaries. Especially, an artist who failed to gain notoriety in his home country, but influenced the antiApartheid movement in South Africa. Apartheid movement . -JCM

In 2012, FIAT introduced the FIAT 500 by Gucci. This collaboration between the Italian automaker’s design division, Centro Stile FIAT and Gucci creates a delicate balance of style and quality. The vehicle is branded from interior to exterior with signature Gucci elements. Design features include leather-trimmed seats with embossed Gucci graphics, headrests donning the Italian fashion house’s iconic double G logo, to the black retractable roof with Gucci’s signature bold red and green stripes. The extent of the design’s attention to detail includes 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels with Gucci green brake calipers and wheel caps with the Gucci logo. As with any of the fashion house’s commercial products, you’ll also find the car is branded on the exterior with the Gucci tag. And let’s not forget the iconic Fiat design that became popular with the 1969 film, The Italian Job and its 2003 re-released edition. You can complete the look by adding the Gucci “Must Haves”, which include a special edition collection of bags, duffels, and travel accessories inspired by—and designed for—the new “500”. Both the vehicle manufacturer and the Italian leather goods company are well established in their

respective industries and are known as statement makers. If you’re unabashed about your preference for luxury goods and ‘pulling up to the scene with your ceiling missing’, then the Fiat 500 by Gucci is for you. Even if you don’t prefer name brands, you’ll surely appreciate the aesthetic value of the designer vehicle. -Angela C. Rivera www.UrbanLatino.com 47


URBAN SOFRITO

qurban legend

A Latina who paved the way

We live in a time in which we’re lucky enough to witness Latina actresses featured in more diverse film and television roles. This change in tide was built on the hard work of actresses such as Lupe Ontiveros. Lupe was a Mexican-American film and television actress whose career spanned over a 30-year period. By her own estimates, she played the role of a maid over 150 times during her career. I remember her most famously as Rosalita, the maid in the film “Goonies”, who found the jewels in Mikey Walsh’s pant pockets and saved the house from demolition. Although Lupe was limited in her options for roles; she was able to broaden her options in television shows and films, such as in “Real Women Have Curves”, playing the overbearing mother of America Ferrera’s character or on “Desperate Housewives” as Juanita Solis, Gabrielle’s suspicious mother-in-law. She even tested her ability to play the villain in her role in “Selena” as Yolanda Saldívarthe, convicted murderer of the deceased singer. In an interview with NPR (Latina Actress Aims to Break Maid Stereotype) in April of 2009, Lupe stated, “[America Ferrera] probably has already formulated the kinds of roles she will or will not accept. She doesn’t have to sacrifice her identity, her culture or her dignity to become a star.” In reading this statement, one could feel the pain in all she had to sacrifice to survive as an actress. There’s no questioning her strength and her mental ability to maintain her identity. Although Lupe may not have been able to fulfill her dreams of playing more diverse roles, she contributed to the dreams of her Latina predecessors 48 The Culture, The Movement, The Magazine

and helped ensure that actresses such as America Ferrera branch out as far as they please. Lupe Ontiveros passed away in July of 2012, but left a mark in this world as a Latina pioneer that will be remembered and honored for all she contributed, on and off camera. -Angela C. Rivera

ULM ISSUE 102  

Urban Latino Magazine Issue 102

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