Tuesday, October 21, 2014

HOLA Member Bochinche

Bochinche refers to “gossip”. In this sense, we use it to mention HOLA members or Friends of HOLA who are getting acting, performance or similarly artistic gigs and/or recognition in the media. The names of HOLA members and Friends of HOLA are listed below in boldface. To see what other HOLA members are doing currently, click here.

Modesto Lacén, shown at right, will play Pedro Knight to Jeimy Rosario's Celia Cruz in an as-yet-untitled eighty-episode Fox Telecolombia television series based on the life of Cruz, the Queen of Salsa and Guarachera de Cuba (Knight was her husband and manager). The series is currently in production. For more information, one can read an article in English and an article in Spanish in Indiewire's Shadow and Act and Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día, respectively, by clicking here and here.

SEA will present Skeletons (A Day of the Dead Bedtime Story) in October and November. Written by Richard Marino and directed by Manuel Morán, the production is assistant directed by Alan González and features fight direction by Jesús E. Martínez and Sevans Martínez. The play will take place at SEA's eponymous theater, located in the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center (home to HOLA) in Manhattan's El Barrio neighborhood and stars Bill Blechingberg, Lina Sarrello, Miron Gusso, Jorge Castilla Casares, Mauricio Pita, Mario Mattei, Héctor Palacios, Federico Mallet and Sevans Martínez in the cast. For more information, click here or here.

Vanessa Verduga, shown at left, was profiled in Latin Post, where she spoke of her career, her recent appearance in the New York City Comic Convention, and her webseries "Justice Woman" (which she conceived and in which she writes, directs, produces and stars). To read the article (which includes the trailer of the third season of "Justice Woman"), click here.

The upcoming webseries "Whatever It Takes" is almost done with its preliminary casting. The webseries (created, written and directed by Johanna Tolentino), deals with Rosaly Rojo (played by Tolentino), an unemployed actress, who returns to her hometown of Paterson, New Jersey after failing to make it big in Hollywood. The webseries will also star Elaine Del Valle, A.B. Lugo, Blanca Camacho and Jay Álvarez. For more information, click here.

Michael Díaz (also known by his nom de comédie Juan Bago) is now featured in The Flama network as an advice columnist in the new webseries "Ask Bago", shown at right. The first webisode, titled "How To Win Over Your Ex", was written and directed by Jaime Fernandez and Anthony Palmini and can be seen by clicking here.

If you are an HOLA member or a Friend of HOLA and want to submit a bochinche item, send us an e-mail. If you live in the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, why not join? If you live outside the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, you can  do so by clicking here. If you are not a Friend of HOLA, why not member, you can find out more information on how to do so, by clicking here. If you are not a Friend of HOLA, why not become one?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

HOLA Member Bochinche

Bochinche refers to “gossip”. In this sense, we use it to mention HOLA members or Friends of HOLA who are getting acting, performance or similarly artistic gigs and/or recognition in the media. The names of HOLA members and Friends of HOLA are listed below in boldface. To see what other HOLA members are doing currently, click here.


Jennica Carmonashown at right, and her sister Jessica Carmona, were profiled in a blog by Yvonna Russell in The Huffington Post where their film project Millie and the Lords (directed by Jennica and starring Jessica) was featured. The film also stars Alex Hernández; Cedric Leiba, Jr.; Maria Domenico; Mateo Gómez (see below); Millie Tirelli; and Alfredo Huereca. To read the blog, click here.

Elaine Del Valle was cast in the webseries "Whatever It Takes" (written, directed and produced by Johanna Tolentino, who also stars). In addition, Del Valle is writing and producing the webseries "Bodega". Based on a concept and directed by Ron Adkins, the webseries stars Cinthya Carmona, Gil Pérez Abraham, Sandra Elizabeth Rodríguez, Danny Bolero, Víctor CruzDenia Brache, Gina Tuttle, Dev Meenagh and Christina Toth.

The film Eli Moran wrapped up filming in New York City. It is written and directed by TJ Collins and stars Reynaldo Piniella, Lorraine Rodríguez-ReyesAnthony Ruiz, David Zayas, Alfredo Romeo Suárez, Annie Henk, Belange Rodríguez, Adel L. Morales, Mateo Gómez (see above) and Judy Torres.

Francisco Ramos booked a role in the film A Wound in Time (written and directed by Stephanie Lynn Wilson). For more information, click here.


Yolanny Rodríguez will be performing the solo show Penélope (written by Jorge Dávila and directed by Iván L. Argudo in a tour of the Dominican Republic in October, with stops in Santiago de los Caballeros, Santiago; and Cabrera, María Trinidad Sánchez. For more information, click here.

If you are an HOLA member or a Friend of HOLA and want to submit bochinche item, send us an e-mail. If you live in the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, why not join? If you live outside the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, you can  do so by clicking here. If you are not a Friend of HOLA, why not member, you can find out more information on how to do so, by clicking here. If you are not a Friend of HOLA, why not become one?



Report on the 2014 HOLA Awards

It was a beautiful, albeit humid autumnal evening in October. And while it would later drizzle, the precipitation was not enough to dampen the excitement that was happening at The Battery Gardens in Manhattan's Battery Park. It was the site of the 2014 HOLA Awards, the fifteenth annual celebration (or would it be better described as its quinceañera?).


Stars of stage and screen mingled and posed on the red carpet area and had pre-show cocktails as they waited for the awards ceremony celebrating and recognizing Latino talent to begin.

At just about 8pm, actress-singer-songwriter Sophia Angélica opened the evening with a fantastic version of "I'll Always Love You" (most recently made popular by the late Whitney Houston), and the show was underway. First-time masters of ceremonies Alfredo Galván and Evi Siskos deftly kept the evening moving at a steady pace.


Cynthia López, the Commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment received the HOLA Advocacy Award and spoke of being able to open the door for others and to remember those who opened the door for her. Her speech set the tone for the evening. 


Ana Ortiz, one of the two HOLA José Ferrer Tespis Award recipients, recalled how she was advised to change her name in order to get more opportunities as an actress. "My name is Ortiz. I like my name. It's my father's name. It's my sister's name." She thanked HOLA, as did many honorees and awardees for all the work it does for advocating for fair images of Latinos in the media. She then added that while "we have taken several steps forward, Catherine Zeta-Jones is playing La Madrina [Griselda Blanco], so we still have a lot of work to do."


Danny Burstein, also an HOLA José Ferrer Tespis Award recipient, mused on how "someone named Burstein" could find their way to the HOLA Awards. He then introduced the crowd to his date for the evening, his mother Virginia Vega (who just happens to be Costa Rican). He then praised her for raising him and his brother as a single mom and for being the inspiration for him to become who he is today, a five-time Tony nominee and the toast of Broadway (where he can currently be seen as Herr Schutz in Cabaret).


HOLA Excellence in Media recipient Sibila Vargas remembered how, when she first started as a reporter, she would have to explain where her native Dominican Republic was ("it's in the Caribbean between Cuba and Puerto Rico..."), and how far Latinos have come in the field of media.

Among those who also brought their mothers to the HOLA Awards were HOLA Emerging Artist honoree Cierra Ramírez (who also brought her sister Savannah, truly making it a family affair), two-time 2014 HOLA Awards recipient Pablo Andrade, and HOLA Board President Manolo García Oliva, whose mother seemed to have stopped aging (she looks the same age Manolo, if not younger!). HOLA member José Yenque also brought his mother– or perhaps, it is more accurate to say she brought him (and his brother César), being that she is 2014 HOLA Awards recipient Teresa Yenque.


Bianca Marroquín accepted the Raúl Juliá HOLA Founders Award and was humbled by receiving an award named after the iconic actor-singer Raul Juliá. The triple threat also spoke of her bilingual, bicultural upbringing (she was born in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico and raised between the border cities Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas, U.S.A.). She also fondly remembered the date of June 18, 2002– the date she made her Broadway debut, playing Roxie Hart in Chicago, a role she has left and most recently returned to playing).


Telenovelas were well-represented this year with HOLA Excellence in the Telenovela Genre Award recipients, Daniel Arenas and Lupita Ferrer, garnering much applause for the packed room. (They spent a lot of time after the ceremony taking photos with those in attendance.)

Unfortunately, Pedro Pascal could not attend to pick up his HOLA Excellence in Television Award. He was on location in Colombia filming the upcoming Netflix series "Narcos". He did, however, delivered his acceptance speech via video where he realized he was the same age as HOLA after he noticed its Wikipedia page. He praised the organization and said he stood in solidarity with it.


HOLA honored those artists, performers and people in the industry who have passed away in the previous year with its traditional "final curtain call" memorial (where once their photo is shown on the screen, audience members gave them applause rather than a moment of silence). Immediately following the presentation, actress-singer (and 2014 HOLA Awards recipient) Jeannie Sol sang a stirring, bilingual rendition of Céline Dion's "My Heart Will Go On", which also included an impromptu smooch on the lips between her and HOLA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Héctor Elizondo (timed perfectly around the word "labios", which means "lips" in Spanish).



HOLA Executive Director Manny Alfaro then presented the award to Elizondo, who spoke of his upbringing in New York and his career as an actor. He received quite the standing ovation before and after his speech, which was poignant and heartfelt.


Fantastic speeches were given by luminaries of the New York (and international) Latino theater scene, including Germán Jaramillo, Zulema Clares, Edna Lee Figueroa, Armando Riesco (who quoted José Martí), Caridad del Valle, Kathy Tejada, José López Alemán, Daniel Soto, Pablo García Gámez, Leyma López, Beatriz Córdoba, Iván Camilo, Walter Ventosilla, Andrés Zambrano, Emely Grisanty, Ricardo Birnbaum, María Cuartero and Xabi Soret, among others.




And in less then two hours, before the clock struck ten, it was over, as fast as it begun, with nothing left but a visceral experience and a wonderful memory. Not unlike watching a theater play, an episode of a television series, or a film on the big screen.


The Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) would like to thank The Battery Gardens (and its staff) for once again hosting the event, the event sponsors (JetBlue Airlines, Hilton Hotels (Millenium Hilton and Conrad New York), Flyte Time Worldwide Transportation, and the performer unions SAG-AFTRA and Actors' Equity Association.). In addition, HOLA would like to thank this year's co-producers (Synergy Media Partners), this year's masters of ceremonies (Alfredo Galván and Evi Siskos) and the ceremony's presenters (Louis Perego Moreno, Gonzalo Armendáriz, Lucía Armendáriz, Susan Rybin, Manuel A. Morán, J.W. Cortés, Martha Alzate, Juan Carlos Restrepo Rodríguez, Fanny Rybin, Carlos Navedo, Alexandra Manzano, Nelson Landrieu, Alicia Kaplan and José Yenque).

Finally, but most importantly, HOLA would like to thank the staff and volunteers who helped make this evening possible (Mónica Delgado, Louis Perego Moreno, Éric-Dominique Pérez, Patrick Michael Valley, Basil Rojas, Alicia Kaplan, Emmanuelle Bordas, Billy Martin Mejía, Vida Landrón, Fanny Rybin, Phoenix Ximénez, Inma Heredia and José A. Esquea), and, especially, the dynamic duo of Kristian Otero and Irving Maldonado for adeptly handling all the technical details of the event.

(Photography on this blog entry by Charles Díaz. Additional photos for the event were taken by Perla De León and Edwin Pagán. To see more photos of the 2014 HOLA Awards, click herehere and here.)

QEPD / RIP Elizabeth Peña

By Mario-Francisco Robles.

Elizabeth Peña has passed away. The actress, with a professional career spanning nearly 40 years, left us on the night of Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She had recently wrapped work on the first season of the El Rey Network's action series, "Matador", where she played the title character's mother Maritza.

Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey and raised by her Cuban immigrant parents, Peña was destined for a career in the arts. Her father, Mario, was a playwright, director, actor, and designer in their native Cuba, who opened up the Latin American Theatre Ensemble after establishing a life for he and his family in New York. As a teen, Peña began making a name for herself as a formidable young actress in the New York theatre scene. She attended, and graduated from, the High School of Performing Arts and began her professional film career in 1978 with León Ichaso's El Super. A few years later, the ambitious cubana would set off to try her fortunes over on the West Coast.



That move would prove fruitful, as she would go on to land roles in several major films in the 1980s. By the end of that decade, she had a resumé that included La BambaDown and Out in Beverly Hills, *batteries not included, and Blue Steel. She even did something that was almost unheard of for a Latina actress: she had her own primetime ABC series, "I Married Dora". She played the title role of Dora in the series, which became infamous and notable because of its controversial premise– which centered on a "green card marriage" that would eventually evolve into something more genuine. 

She kicked off the 1990s with a prominent role opposite Tim Robbins in Jacob's Ladder. She continued her string of notable films with roles in the critically lauded John Sayles drama, Lone Star opposite Matthew McConaughey, as well as Rush Hour and Free Willy 2. Along the way, she racked up TV appearances on "L.A. Law", "Dream On", "Shannon's Deal"and "Drug Wars: The Camarena Story".



At the turn of the century, Peña began shifting her talents in new directions. Aside from starring roles in films like Tortilla SoupHow The García Girls Spent Their Summer, Nothing Like The Holidays, and Showtime's "Resurrection Blvd.", Peña began branching out as both a voice actress and as a director. She directed episodes of a few television series, and lent her vocal talents to everything from the Academy Award-nominated Pixar film The Incredibles (Mirage) to the "Justice League" cartoon series (Paran Dul), and Seth MacFarlane's "American Dad".

Aside from her current work as a series regular on Matador, Peña also had a recurring guest star spot as Pilar, the mother of Sofía Vergara's Gloria on the hit ABC comedy "Modern Family". At the time of her death, Peña had just turned 55.

She is survived by her husband Hans, her two teenage children Fiona and Kaelan, her mother Estela, and her sister, Tania.

  

My Personal Take
I didn't call her Elizabeth, or Liz, or Leechy. She wasn't Aunt, Auntie, Tía, or Titi. To me...she was Ñaña. That was the name I assigned my aunt when I was just a baby, and it's the name I continued to refer to her as when I visited her in Los Angeles last week. She was our star. She was my star. We celebrated her triumphs. We sweated through her struggles. As a family, even when we didn't always talk, we would all do whatever we could for one another. When I got married three years ago, despite their being some logistical hurdles, she flew herself, her husband, and both her kids to attend my special night in New York's Hudson River Valley. Dancing with her, my uncle, and my cousins under the stars that night is a memory I've always cherished, and it's now one that I'll have to hold onto for the rest of my life.

She was an inspiration. A role model. A pillar. And a pisser.


She undoubtedly helped fuel my love of film. She informed my desire to be an actor, writer, and director. I followed in her foot steps at the High School of Performing Arts. It still remains my life's goal to earn a living doing what I love: creating and performing art, transporting audiences to another place for a couple of hours. She did it all, and she made it look fun. She made it look easy. But I know it wasn't. I know she had a drive like no other, and that she was a force to be reckoned with when she decided it was time to make it big or...well, nothing. She never considered an alternative. Her singular focus was breathtaking, and awe-inspiring.  Tonight, my family is heartbroken. There's now a void that will never be filled. All we can do now is remember your sharp sense of humor, your endless hunger for life, and your never ending pursuit of happiness. 

You were a great mother, wife, daughter, sister, and cousin. But you'll always be my Ñaña, #1 in a category all your own. 



QEPD / RIP Elizabeth Peña




[Note from El Blog de HOLA: Elizabeth Peña was one of the founders of HOLA, the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors. This blog was republished from this site with the permission of the author.]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HOLA Member Bochinche

Bochinche refers to “gossip”. In this sense, we use it to mention HOLA members or Friends of HOLA who are getting acting, performance or similarly artistic gigs and/or recognition in the media. The names of HOLA members and Friends of HOLA are listed below in boldface. To see what other HOLA members are doing currently, click here.

J.W. Cortés, shown at right, booked a guest-starring role on "Blue Bloods" (CBS). In addition, he will receive a Latino Stars Award, for being an influential Latino in New York whose accomplishments and participation in the community had made a difference. He will receive the award on Thursday, October 16, 2014 at Terrace on the Park in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens.

Eduardo Leáñez and 2014 HOLA Awards recipient Edna Lee Figueroa moved on to the finals of the Monologando Ando solo show festival– him for his self-penned solo show Margarita, Rubén y Juan (based on the poetry of Rubén Darío and directed by Yolanny Rodríguez), and her for the solo show Láyel (written by Joselo Arroyo and directed by Arroyo and Karina Casiano). Both of the shows will be presented in the Roy Arias Studios and Theaters, located in the theater district of midtown Manhattan.

Vanessa Verduga, shown at left, was mentioned in Mass Appeal due to her appearance on a panel, titled "Women of Color in Comics: Race, Gender & the Comic Book Medium", for the NYC Women in Comics Collective at the 2014 New York Comic Convention. To read the article, click here.

Marlene Forté booked a national Sprint commercial.

Daniel Anthony Hidalgo booked a role in the webseries "Experience Curve" (written and directed by Jennifer Suter). For more information, click here.

Around The Block/Al Doblar La Esquina is presenting The Apple – Breaking The Fall. A series of short plays by Lenore Granidizio, Eleanor Herman, Patrick McIntyre, Elena Rodríguez, Bara Swain and Paula Wolff, the plays will be directed by Ginger Kipps, Paula Raflo and Gloria Zelaya. The plays will be presented on Saturday, October 25, 2014 at the New York Public Library - Grand Central Branch, located in the Murray Hill area of Manhattan, and features Lisa Barri, Daniel Birch, Erica Flory, Raflo, Nikaury Rodríguez, Roland Sands, Andrew Southern, Patrick Michael Valley and Zelaya in the cast.

If you are an HOLA member or a Friend of HOLA and want to submit a bochinche item, send us an e-mail. If you live in the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, why not join? If you live outside the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, you can find out more information on how to do so, by clicking here. If you are not a Friend of HOLA, why not become one?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cristela Alonzo On Being the First Latina to Write and Star in Her Own Show & Why She Loves Roseanne

Check out Kiko Martínez's blog in Remezcla where he interviews actress-comedienne-writer Cristela Alonzo (whose sitcom "Cristela" premieres on ABC tonight) by clicking here.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

HOLA Member Bochinche

Bochinche refers to “gossip”. In this sense, we use it to mention HOLA members or Friends of HOLA who are getting acting, performance or similarly artistic gigs and/or recognition in the media. The names of HOLA members and Friends of HOLA are listed below in boldface. To see what other HOLA members are doing currently, click here.

José Yenque, shown at right, received a humanitarian award in Hollywood, California for his work with orphans and underprivileged children. His award will be given to him by Los Angeles Council Member Gilbert Cedillo on the occasion of the opening of the Highland Park Independent Film Festival. For more information, click here.

Adriana Gaviria was named an Artistic Fellow for the Los Angeles Theatre Center's national theater festival, Encuentro. She will work in residence at the theater (located in Los Angeles, California) in October and November. For more information, click here.

Walter Krochmal, shown at left, was featured in the Honduran newspaper La Prensa. The article dealt with his appearance in Expocentro in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where he spoke on a panel regarding immigration. To read the article (which is in Spanish), click here.

Ricardo Bacallao's film Christmas Therapy will be the opening night film of the seventh annual NoHu (North Hudson County) International Short Film Festival. The film stars 2014 HOLA Awards recipient Elena Mohedano and Mariana Parma and will screen on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at the William V. Musto Cultural Center/Union City Museum at Union City, New Jersey. The festival was profiled in NJ.com. To read the article (which also features HOLA member Lucio Fernández), click here.

Michael Díaz (also known by his nom de comédie Juan Bago) and the sketch comedy of which he is a member, Room 28, was featured in an article in the New York Daily News, where it mentioned their upcoming Room 28 Theatre Extravaganza, taking place in October at The Poet's Den Theater (located in Manhattan's El Barrio neighborhood). To read the article, click here. Díaz (or Bago) can also be seen in the Flama webseries "Latino Field Studies" in a webisode entitled "Perception of Time". For more information, click on the video below.



If you are an HOLA member or a Friend of HOLA and want to submit a bochinche item, send us an e-mail. If you live in the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, why not join? If you live outside the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, you can find out more information on how to do so, by clicking here. If you are not a Friend of HOLA, why not become one?