Monday, December 21, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Philip Del Río

Michael Philip Del Río
(9 December 1956 – 13 December 2009)

I first met Michael when I was just starting out in the industry. He recognized that I was an actor and a writer and not just one or the other. I felt like he "got me," like he understood me. He was also an actor and a writer. In those early days, he was very supportive of me and my endeavors. I would see him sporadically in the following years, but he never changed. He always had this light, this youthful energy, this exuberance that was contagious. Whether he was alone or, as often was the case, with his wife Lori, running into him always became a highlight of my day.

His death is still a shock. I think about his family, his friends and his wife (now widow) Lori. I wished I had spent more time with him, but I cherish every moment I got to spend with him. If I were to see him again, all I would tell Michael is, "Thank you, brother. Thank you. Thank you so much for being there for me in my life." And as the curtain of one existence falls and another curtain rises for the light that was known as Michael Philip Del Río, I wish him good luck on his next adventure and I know that wherever he is now, he will continue to charm everyone he encounters along the way.
--A.B. Lugo.

For more information on the career of Michael Philip Del Río, click here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

HOLA Member Bochinche

Bochinche refers to "gossip." In this sense, we use it to mention HOLA members who are getting acting gigs.

Lucía Armendáriz and Jesús E. Martínez can be heard as voices of characters in the new video game Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (Rock Star Games).

Repertorio Español presented the 2009 MetLife Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition Reading Series at their eponymous theater in the Gramercy section of Manhattan. Play readings produced included those by Rob Santana, Lina Gallegos and Marcelo Rodríguez.

Moisés Acevedo e-mailed us to say that he worked on the Allen Coulter-helmed film Remember Me in a scene opposite Martha Plimpton, a role on the HBO television series "How to Make It in America" and work on two plays (River of Tides in a tour with Pace University and No Place Like Home at the Paul Robeson Theater in Brooklyn).

Juan Villarreal
also recently e-mailed to let us know what he is doing. In theater, he performed Los habladores with Teatro Círculo on tour at the University of Rhode Island. In television, he played Raúl the tailor in an episode of "How to Make It in America" (HBO) and a commercial for Klondike ice cream. In addition, he has done various voiceovers and audiobook narrations.

If you are an HOLA member and want to submit a bochinche item, send us an e-mail at If you are not an HOLA member, why not join?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

2009 HOLA Awards Report

The Tenth Annual HOLA Awards and Benefit took place on Monday, October 26, 2009 at the nation's oldest theatrical club, The Players, which overlooks Gramercy Park in Manhattan, New York City. Salsa singer Javier Luis opened the ceremony with two songs. Following that, there was a poignant moment when HOLA Advisory Board Member Alex Segura praised his uncle, former HOLA Board Chairman Francisco G. Rivela, who passed away earlier this year. Instead of a moment of a silence, as per HOLA Awards tradition, he asked for applause for the late actor, director and announcer. This resulted in a full standing ovation which lasted several minutes amid voices screaming, "Bravo! Bravo!"

After the auspicious beginning, masters of ceremonies Jorge Ramos, Odalys Molina and Mario Bósquez hosted the awards ceremony. The evening was a series of highlights. Outstanding Solo Performance awardee Marga Gómez thanked HOLA ("or as the kids call it nowadays, 'HOLLA'") for her second HOLA award. Outstanding Featured Female Actor awardee Selenis Leyva won her first solo HOLA Award in 12 years of acting for, in her words, "playing a whore." She then said, "If I play more whores, maybe I'll get more awards. (Editor's note: By sheer coincidence, she is currently, um, playing a prostitute in the musical Pantaleón y las visitadoras).

Outstanding Achievement in Direction awardee José A. Esquea gave his speech in both in English and Spanish before having to run off the stage (he was also stage managing the event). Outstanding Female Actor awardee Carissa Jocétt Toro was sweet when she announced that she was "honored to be in the room with all of [these] people." She added that she would love to work with all of them one day.

Other highlights were the acceptance speeches of Broadway and TV star Sara Ramírez via video (she is currently shooting "Grey's Anatomy" in Los Angeles), star of stage and screen Luis Antonio Ramos (who talked of his love for the Yankees and gave a special message in Spanish to his mother), Tony winner David Álvarez and Spanish TV star Ricardo Gómez ("Cuéntame cómo pasó), as well as appearances by Tony Plana (ABC's "Ugly Betty"), Florencia Lozano (ABC's "One Life to Live") and Carson Kressley (Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"), the evening made for a star-studded event.

Following a performance by Out of Isla, the two lifetime achievement awardees (Silvia Brito and René Sánchez) gave speeches. And like that, it was over. Another amazing HOLA Awards ceremony goes down in the history books. If you would like to see some photos of the HOLA Awards (taken by A Ruiz Photography), click here.