Out & About

Creole Tomato Festival

En Español>>Festival Del Tomate Criollo

Por AnaMaría Bech

If you can identify a Louisiana staple, whether a music genre, dish, fruit, vegetable, or anything else, you can bet a festival is dedicated to it!

In 1986 a festival was created for the succulent Louisiana Creole tomatoes. Known for their bright red color, juicy flesh, and sweet and spicy flavor, creole tomatoes became highly coveted by chefs, creole families, and home cooks alike.


It makes sense to celebrate the bounty of the state of Louisiana in its high season with the Creole Tomato Festival. Its 37th edition will take place on June 10 and 11 at the historic French Market. During this summer festival, you can buy the most delicious creole tomatoes and please your palate with various dishes based on this staple. The food list is long. Among many other offerings, you can get Fried Baby Back Ribs from Cafe Dauphine, Stuffed Tomatoes from Nuevo Horizonte, Creole Tomato Stuffed with Cool and Creamy Shrimp Pasta from LaDelyo’s Creole Catering, Oxtails from Numada, Creole Tomato Jambalaya from Lillie’s Cajun Kitchen, Shrimp and Sausage Stew from Cuties And Cuisine.

The Bloody Mary, a tomato-based cocktail, will be available in many variations. Cornet Restaurant will have a Zesty-infused vodka Bloody Mary and Oh! Sweet Lemon will have Mangonada (Spicy Mango Mexican slushy) Bloody Mary, Ms. Linda, the Yakamein Lady, will bring her Yakamary. You can judge them all.

The historic French Market is the perfect setting for this family-friendly event. The festival is free, with music stages at the market, Dutch Alley and the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park on 916 N. Peters Street will feature local bands starting at 10 a.m. with a variety of genres from Tonya Boyd Cannon, Davis Rogan Band, Josh Starkman, Alicia “Blue” Smith, Ravee Quintet, and the Latin Rhythms of Yusa, Alexey Marti, Julio and Cesar, Muévelo, and Asheson, plus the funk of Bo Dollis Jr & the Wild Magnolias, Kamau Spirit of the Drums, and Mestre Curtis Pierre and Afro-Brazilian drumming, among others. You can even begin Sunday with a yoga session with Move Ya Brass and enjoy kids’ activities in Dutch Alley and cooking demos from noon to 4 P.M. at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum Stage in the French Market.  

The Creole Tomato Festival in New Orleans is an opportunity to celebrate the richness and diversity of Louisiana’s cuisine and honor the exceptional flavor of Creole tomatoes. Enjoy the music, the food, and the drinks. Shop from the local artisans and vendors of the market and take home some juicy, fresh Creole Tomatoes and the memories of another great time in the historic French Market.

For a full line-up of the French Market Creole Tomato Festival, visit frenchmarket.org

The New Orleans Pelicans "en español"

Click here para español >>Los Pelicans de N ueva Orleans en español

The love for basketball has always been present in the Latino community. With the great season the New Orleans Pelicans are having, there are more reasons and more ways to follow the Pelicans closely and not miss a single play.

Those behind the team attend in-person games, watch on television, and follow pre and post-games. But now, Latino fans who don’t want to miss a beat can get behind the Pelicans by listening to the local game broadcasts entirely in Spanish on Radio Tropical 105.7 FM New Orleans and 94.7 FM Baton Rouge, and the Pelicans App.

New Orleans Pelicans
Jose Alvarado of the New Orleans Pelicans

This season the New Orleans Pelicans and Crocodile Broadcasting Corporation closed an agreement to broadcast the local games with play-by-play analysis and color commentary to the Latino audience. This outreach effort brings the Pelicans’ basketball experience to the Spanish-speaking community of Southeast Louisiana. The live broadcast announcers are Juan Carlos Ramos, Victor Quiñones, and Mario Jeréz, a team of sports connoisseurs with experience behind the microphones who bring a lively and very Latino touch to Pelicans games broadcast in the city. According to Mario Jeréz, “Diversity is part of what makes New Orleans great, and with these broadcasts, the team is showing us that they agree and want to help highlight that diversity.” Jeréz is confident that “the Spanish Broadcasts will help to establish pride in the Pelicans’ colors and reach a new, passionate group of Pelicans’ fans.” 

Although it is not so common to have Latino or Spanish-speaking players in the NBA, for several seasons, the New Orleans Pelicans already count on the presence of the New Yorker José Alvarado, who’s of Puerto Rican and Mexican parents and Willy Hernangómez, a Madrid native. Alvarado made his NBA debut in November 2020 with the Pelicans, and earlier this year, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the NBA All-Star Rising Stars Game. Alvarado has had some exciting plays this season, despite suffering an injury that left him on the bench for a few weeks. Latino fans root for Alvarado, as they feel represented due to his Puerto Rican and Mexican descent and the fact he has represented the Puerto Rican team internationally.

The New Orleans Pelicans speak Spanish, thanks to Guillermo Gustavo “Willy” Hernangómez, a champion from the Spain Basketball League. He was drafted into the NBA in 2016 and signed by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2020. He comes from a family of champions, with his mother, Margarita Geuer, a gold medal European champion, and his brother, Juancho, also plays in the NBA.

Willy Hernángomez New Orleans Pelicans
Willy Hernángomez New Orleans Pelicans

Visiting the Pelicans’ nest at the Smoothie King Center is an excellent experience for children and adults who want to see some basketball action with fun activities for the whole family. An NBA game is a unique spectacle. Beyond the awe of seeing professional players in person, there is no time to be bored. Instead, the audience can enjoy the halftime show and games on the court during the breaks and participate in the on-screen contests. Often, spectators will walk away with Pelicans’ gifts, like the jerseys that get catapulted all over the stands.

Now that you are a Pelicans fan, there is no excuse to miss any move from your New Orleans NBA team, even “en español.” Remember to listen to the Spanish broadcasts on Radio Tropical 105.7 FM in New Orleans and 94.7 FM in Baton Rouge. Click here for more ways to catch the New Orleans Pelicans games. 

Go Pelicans!  

Puerto Rico: The Island of Enchantment

Puerto Rico: The Island of Enchantment

By AnaMaria Bech

A Caribbean paradise destination with no passport required: Puerto Rico. The Island of Enchantment should be your next destination. It’s easy to get around by renting a car, and crossing the island from East to West takes about four hours. Each of its six regions has something unique to offer. Puerto Rico has everything from surfing, snorkeling, hiking, exploring caverns, golfing, or visiting the only rainforest in the American territory. 

Plus, visiting the island can help the economy after being hit once again by Hurricane Fiona last September.


Gift Ideas to Shop Locally and Support Latino Entrepreneurs

Gift Ideas to Shop Locally and Support Latino Entrepreneurs 


It’s the gift-giving time! The holidays are the best opportunity to support the economy and shop locally. Here are some gift ideas that are also Latino-made and Latino-owned. ¡Felices Fiestas!

1 Destrehan Plantation Spanish Tour Tickets


2 Lalosh Silver

Hand-made jewelry pieces made with metal, stone, shells, and more by local artist Lalo Flores. French Market, New Orleans


3 Nolatería

New Orleans Lotería by 

Nallerdy Ramirez Serrano

Instagram @Nolateria 

4 Teeleya’s Care

Natural skincare. Hand-made soaps, oils, and body milk by Teresa Morales


5 Spa Pineda

Skincare by Sandra Pineda

Facebook: Spa Pineda

6 Latins Hand

Hats, hammocks, handbags, and more. Owner Julio Peraza.

French Market, New Orleans  


7 Puerto Rico Coffee Company

100% Puerto Rican coffee from Finca la Guava in Maricao, PR, by local musician Tony Dizant


8 Ashley Boutique

Latina-owned clothing brand

3013 20th street Unit A. Metairie 

Facebook: Ashley Boutique

9 Jae Coello Studio

Professional make-up, lashes, hairstyling 

2321  W. Esplanade Ave. Suite G. Kenner

FB/Instagram: @jaecoellostudio 

Battle of the Wine Fest Nola vs. Austin

Battle of the Wine Fest Nola vs. Austin

By Rebeca Pinhas

Click aqui para español- >Batalla de los Festivales del Vino: Nola vs. Austin

A few months ago, I attended the Austin Food + Wine Festival (AFWF) for the first time and had an amazing time thanks to the good planning and execution of the event. Everything -from picking up my media pass to entering the venue- was as seamless as it gets during such events. I couldn’t help but wonder,could this happen so orderly and successfully in New Orleans a city where people have trouble finding their limits?


Just as the question ran through my head, New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE) announced its full return after a hiatus and a soft version the previous year. It would be the perfect time to settle this battle once and for all by comparing these two events in 5 different categories: Venue, Food, Wine,Planning and Execution, and Value.

For competition purposes, I compared NWFE’s Friday night Grand Tasting and AFWF 2 full days (you heard that right!) of tastings. Both events, however, usually offer auxiliary events such as wine dinners and seminars.



Austin is a beautiful city: modern, with lots to do outdoors, clean, and vibrant. AFWF took place in a fully open space acclimated for tasting purposes. Even though it was November, the sun was pounding on us at some point in the afternoon, yet there was enough shade available. New Orleans in July is the last place one would consider having a partially outdoor event, yet it is greatly important to create events that will sustain the city’s industry through the Summer so the best weather conditions are not really a choice. So this point will go to AFWF since we were just melting as we trekked through the booths in New Orleans.


Both events take place in the south, the land of deliciousness and indulgence when it comes to food so I wasn’t really worried about this aspect being lackluster. Highlights in Austin included a live BBQ pit and lots of Latino-influenced samples. NOWFE will get this point because the festival was able to bring what felt like almost every restaurant in the city also including a variety of formats such as out-of-town pop-ups, caters, and culinary programs.


In general, the Austin experience was a bit more curated, varied, and approachable. I was able to taste not only lots and lots of wine -some Champagne included-, but also very interesting spirits from all over the world. I was also glad to see representation from wineries in other countries such as Uruguay and Mexico. So Austin will get this point!

Planning and Execution

Both events seemed to develop with no issues, at least from the public’s point of view. Some things I liked about AFWF were the floor plan for the booths (easy to follow and keep track of what you are tastings), the availability of water and non-alcohol drinks), the attendees were chill, and everyone was friendly and having a good time. A great time was also had by all at NOWFE’s, and most importantly, the changes in the organization were noticeable. It was a titanic task to bring this festival back to life, and for that reason, Nola takes the point. 


Prices to attend AFWF started at $275 with some higher-end options, and this fee gave you access to two full days of festival. NOWFE’s Grand Tasting started at $130, and there were also a couple of enhancements available. While there were some pretty cool, exclusive things in Austin (like the impressive Suntori tasting room), the lower price, single-day approach makes it more approachable for the general public without having to commit to more than one date. So I give the decisive point to NOWFE!  Nola is the winner!!! Either way, both events were great and I’m looking forward to attending both again! Salud!


Un Verano en Nueva Orleans

Un Verano en Nueva Orleans


Click aqui para español- >Un Verano en Nueva Orleans

Beat the Summer heat! Enjoy a Summer day in New Orleans and be a tourist in your own town following the tips of our featured hostess, Samira Medina del Arca.

French Inn Hotel Patio

Built-in the 1800s, this NOLA-style hotel in the French Quarter is a 4-minute walk from Jackson Square!

There is a coffee shop, and paved courtyards offer patio seating. Also, there’s an outdoor pool to refresh yourself.

Jackson Square 

A perfect summer day for an ideal view.

Designed as a military parade ground known as Plaza de Armas, the fenced-in plaza was renamed in 1851 in honor of Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), hero of the Battle of New Orleans and the seventh US President. In addition to being an important historical site, this place offers the perfect setting for your summer photos!

Snowball Stands

There is no doubt that snowballs are part of New Orleans culture, especially during summertime. The fun colors and different flavors make a snowball the perfect summer treat! 

Cafe Du Monde

For a must-have New Orleans experience, you can grab an order of beignets and an iced coffee at Cafe Du Monde. Lagniappe: Live Jazz from the band playing outside!

Jerry Rivera Jerry Rivera

Jerry Rivera 

Click aqui para español- >Jerry Rivera, su calidad símbolo de triunfo.

A new movement is taking over the stage, not because of emerging talents but because audiences are fascinated by the quality and artistry of true performers like Jerry Rivera. Rivera’s successful career demonstrates that

staying relevant for so many years is not a matter of luck but of hard work, discipline, and perseverance. It doesn’t hurt that he has gained great affection and respect from a public who has followed him since he was almost a child.

Born on July 31, 1973, Rivera is the best-selling salsa artist. He has amassed a devoted international fan base and released a prodigious collection of music since his 1989 debut that kicked o in Humacao, Puerto Rico. His songs have been sung and danced internationally by salsa lovers and remain valid for love themes that everyone can relate to. The phenomenon he became has taken him to the most important stages of music, and in his fantastic tour of 2022, he has managed to bring the salsa genre to the forefront again.

We cannot forget his extraordinary performance in Panama last May. During a concert he was supposed to headline with Marc Anthony, Rivera had to carry the whole show when Anthony had to cancel due to illness. Rivera managed to keep the audience on fire for over two hours while singing the iconic songs that have gotten him many awards and have topped the music charts.

Jerry Rivera has been sweeping and follows a prevailing trend: people buy tickets and sell out shows for artists who make outstanding music. Without putting him in the “veterans” category because he is still young, audiences of four generations filled the auditoriums and stadiums in Mexico and Peru. Even in these countries where people have a wide range of concert choices, audiences fl locked to enjoy “The Baby of Salsa” and to sing along to classics like “Amores Como el Nuestro” and recent hits; like his duet with Don Omar, “Tú No Bailas Más Que Yo.” The chanting during these concerts shook the stage and brought our “Child Face” to tears of emotion.

His unprecedented tour that started July 9 at the Miami FTX Arena, has taken him through Las Vegas and various cities in California. In Costa Rica, he had to book three dates! In South America, he delighted Colombians when visiting Cali, the capital of salsa, and wowed the demanding crowds.

In a very productive year, Rivera announces a new record with another great: Rey Ruíz. The most extraordinary voices of romantic salsa come together in a production that we hope will be available soon. The collaboration promises to be a bombshell that brings their experience, a mixture of contemporary and urban sounds, and a bit of pop, making the kings of salsa the top choice for Latin American audiences.


Rivera’s team is planning to visit our region again with a concert on Saturday, October 8th, at Da Empire in New Orleans. We know this is the perfect opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable evening during a unique celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month with this great artist. 

VIVA NOLA will participate in this celebration, so stay tuned to our social media channels for further details and a special giveaway!

Wine, Summer, and Festivals

Wine, Summer, and Festivals

By Rebeca M. Pinhas, CSW, CSWS    

Click aqui para español- >Vino, Verano y Festivales

As we are blessed with the few weeks a year where weather is truly perfect, and festivals abound in a post-Covid era, food and drink menus around the city adapt to satisfy our changing palates as temperatures rise. Summer salads, summer cocktails, summer bodies… You name it, and it has a summer version! Does this apply to wine as well?  

While by the time Jazz Fest arrives a strawberry lemonade sounds like the best option for survival, you can continue enjoying wine throughout the summer upon slightly modifying your choices. Which wine styles or grape varieties are best to be enjoyed under the scorching sun? 


These are some of the factors I would take into consideration:


 Do you ever find yourself craving a soda in the middle of a summer day? Ditch the unnecessary sugar and opt for sparkling wine! By design, tiny bubbles dissolved into liquid are quite attractive to the human palate. The size and amount of bubbles vary widely depending on the production method: from frizzante (slightly sparkling) to the super fine bubbles of Champagne and others made via the Traditional or Champenoise method. 


The same way most of us enjoy lemonade on a hot day, wines with high acidity tend to feel refreshing as we drink. Acidity provides structure and helps balance wines that would otherwise be too sweet or too fruity. Some grapes known for their high acidity level are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.   

Minerality and salinity. 

Am I the only one who automatically thinks about the ocean when it’s hot out? It may be wishful thinking alone, but these marine qualities truly bring lightness and approachability to wines. Some seaside wines known for their salinity and minerality are Albariño from Rias Baixas in Northwestern Spain and Picpoul de Pinet from the Languedoc-Roussillon region in France. 

Low alcohol. 

Beware! Being thirsty under the sun may drive you to overdrink, which can be harmful and dangerous and truly defeats the purpose of imbibing. A way to avoid overdrinking is to be aware of the alcohol content of your beverage, and needless to say, drinking water is necessary to keep yourself hydrated and under control. Trust me; you don’t want to be one of those who pass out at a festival or the beach only to wake up looking like a crawfish. 

And believe it or not, red wine is not out of the question, thanks to some trends that aim to produce low extraction offerings. These are wines made with a less aggressive extraction of tannins and color, which creates a fruitier, lighter, and more acidic version of the usual reds. Therefore, you should serve these styles chilled rather than at room temperature. 

Enjoy your summer wines! 

West Side Story Matters

West Side Story Matters

By Cody Downey

Click aqui para español- >West Side Story (2021) Importa

After being delayed for a year because of COVID-19, the recent adaptation of West Side Story premiered for broad audiences on December 10, 2021. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie has been critically acclaimed by many and considered at the top of several lists for potentially being nominated for an Academy Award. However, the film was a box office bomb, making $60 million worldwide against a $100 million budget in its first weeks in theaters. I can attest to the lack of attendance since I was one of about six people in the theater. But, I challenge us and others to look beyond critics’ reviews and box office grossing to see the film for its importance for Latinos in the United States.

West Side Story is a fantastic film in many ways. Everything from the performances to the coolness of the singing and dancing to the social commentary presented is excellent. But, on a representation level, it shows a tremendous sense of importance and care. Spielberg is no stranger to directing a film based on stories he has not personally experienced. For example, he directed The Color Purple in 1985, which focused on the experience of black women in the deep south. With West Side Story, Spielberg’s changes made a story originally written by white men to have a more Latin perspective for a predominantly white audience.


The first meaningful change was casting actual Latino and Latina performers in the Puerto Rican roles. Despite being a story featuring Puerto Ricans, many of the adaptations of West Side Story on both stage and screen haven’t featured them in the parts. The stage version of the story didn’t have Latino performers like Maria and Bernardo until the 1980 revival. The 1961 film version infamously cast Russian-American Natalie Wood as Maria and Greek-American George Chakiris as Bernardo, who had played Riff in the 1958 West End production of the musical. Across both the stage and film versions, the role of Anita was the only one that consistently had a Latina actress, with Chita Rivera originating the role on Broadway and Rita Moreno playing the role on film, which won her an Academy Award. However, Spielberg made it a point to cast actual Latinos in the Puerto Rican roles for his movie: Polish/Colombian-American actress Rachel Zegler as Maria, Afro-Puerto Rican actress Ariana DeBose as Anita, and Cuban-Canadian actor David Alvarez as Bernardo.

Another significant change in the film was the use of unsubtitled Spanish. In many films featuring non-English speaking characters, their dialogue gets subtitles for the predominantly English audience to understand. Spielberg wanted to respect the Spanish language to keep it in line with the authenticity of having Latino actors and actresses in the roles. Speaking to an interviewer from IGN, Spielberg said, “If I subtitled the Spanish, I’d simply be doubling down on the English and giving English the power over the Spanish.” The choice to do so works well within the film, and nothing gets lost on the scenes with Spanish dialogue because there are enough context clues.

The last meaningful change or addition to the 2021 adaptation of West Side Story was the inclusion of Rita Moreno as the character of Valentina. Moreno serving as executive producer and actress adds a lot to the film. Valentina, the widow of the character Doc from the movie and the musical, takes over many of his responsibilities. Valentina becomes Tony’s mentor and gives him a job after his release from prison, providing a sense of morality between the warring Jets and Sharks. As a Puerto Rican woman married to a white man, Valentina faces discrimination from both sides. She navigates within a different space from the other characters involved in the conflict because she understands its stupidity and futility.

All these changes to a story originally written 65 years ago are important because they show the possibilities for Latino representation in the modern age. As the years have gone on and Hollywood has moved away from brownface or not having Latinos in film, there is still a lack of presence and longevity of other Latino and Latina performers. Each year, a study about Latino representation in the media shows that, despite our advances, representation never seems to improve. But, West Side Story gives an example of what and how the portrayal of Latinos on film should be. Latinos come in all shades; some are fully Latino, while others have mixed cultures. Latinos can be English speakers, Spanish speakers, or both, each language having its value. There is no specific mold of who a Latino is and can be, and we want to see our diversity reflected on film.

Some Latino audiences have criticized the film because its director and writer aren’t Latino, which can alter the authenticity of the portrayal of Latinos on screen. It shouldn’t matter who is making, writing, or producing stories about Latinos as long as they aren’t stereotypical and provide opportunities for Latinos within the industry. Unfortunately, the only way to succeed within a system that doesn’t always benefit Latinos is to work within its confines. Higher-ups in Hollywood don’t always see Latino-based films or shows as profitable or able to reach an audience in the same way as other films. That’s why we need to show them that we are.

 Whenever a movie like In the Heights or West Side Story that features Latinos in the lead is out there, support them. West Side Story has the potential to win big at the Academy Awards, soon proving that Latinos can gain critical success. But, until we show them that Latinos can also bring financial success, we won’t get the representation we desire.

VIVA NOLA: Lo mejor de la representación latina en entretenimiento 2021

Por Cody Downey

Con la culminación del 2021, es el momento de ver cómo progresó este año la representación latina. Aunque siempre hay campo para mejorar, es cierto que la presencia de nuestra cultura y comunidad en el cine y la televisión ha aumentado.

A continuación, les mostramos algunas de las mejores representaciones latinas de este año.

* Nota: esta es una lista basada en mi consumo de contenido. Si crees que nos perdimos algo, asegúrate de dejar un comentario y avísanos.

 Mejor actor: Anthony Ramos como Usnavi de la Vega en “In the Heights”

Volviendo al papel que interpretó por última vez en el escenario en 2018, el actor puertoriqueño Anthony Ramos brilla como Usnavi de la Vega en la adaptación cinematográfica de “In the Heights”.

Hijo de inmigrantes dominicanos, Usnavi dirige una bodega en Washington Heights con su primo Sonny y espera regresar al país de origen de sus padres para reactivar el negocio de su padre. A lo largo de la película, debe lidiar con los cambios demográficos de su vecindario, el descubrimiento de un boleto de lotería ganador vendido en su tienda y la posible relación entre él y su enamorada Vanessa.

Ramos hace un excelente papel, aportando su increíble voz y talento actoral. También aporta una vibra encantadora que facilita identificarse con el personaje de Usnavi y hace que el espectador quiera verlo triunfar. Aunque puede que no haya sido el creador del papel, Anthony Ramos se asegura de ofrecer una actuación inolvidable.

Mejor actriz: Lorenza Izzo como Celina Guerrera en “Women is Losers”

Contando una historia inspiradora de la lucha de una mujer por superar sus circunstancias, la actriz chilena Lorenza Izzo se abre paso como Celina Guerrera en “Women is Losers”.

Celina Guerrera, que creció en la década de 1960 en San Francisco, es una joven prodigio de las matemáticas que enfrenta una serie de reveses después de quedar embarazada de su novio, un veterano de Vietnam. Al enfrentarse a todas las dificultades de una madre joven en esta era, Celina encara el asunto de frente y logra encontrar su camino en un mundo que no siempre la respalda.

Izzo es la destacada absoluta en esta película, llevando y creando un personaje a quien a queremos seguir y animamos a que triunfe. Elegir al actor principal es esencial en una película como esta, e Izzo toma el control de la pantalla sin esfuerzo.

Mejor actor en una serie: Jaden Michael como Colin Kaepernick en “Colin in Black and White”

Viajando desde el mundo de los vampiros en Vampires vs. the Bronx hasta el mundo de los deportes juveniles, el actor dominicano-estadounidense Jaden Michael interpreta el papel del exfutbolista y activista Colin Kaepernick en “Colin in Black and White”.

La serie sigue a Colin a lo largo de su carrera futbolística mientras se convierte en un atleta y un adolescente. Su experiencia única da forma al mundo de Colin. Se descubre a sí mismo a través de diferentes encuentros en su vida y con la ayuda de sus amigos cercanos y sus padres adoptivos.

Michael brilla en el papel de un joven Colin Kaepernick, mostrando todos los matices de una persona que debe pasar por muchas cosas antes de comprender realmente quién es en el mundo. Asumiendo los muchos giros y vueltas que enfrenta el personaje, Jaden Michael muestra magistralmente un futuro brillante por delante en la actuación.

Mejor actriz en una serie: Selena Gómez como Mabel Mora en “Only Murders in this Building”

Pasando sus días como estrella de Disney Channel, la actriz y cantante mexicano-estadounidense Selena Gómez muestra su crecimiento con su interpretación de Mabel Mora en “Sólo asesinatos en este edificio”.

Atraídos por un amor compartido por los podcasts sobre crímenes verdaderos, Mabel Mora se hace amiga del ex actor de televisión Charles-Haden Savage y del director de Broadway Oliver Putnam. Todos viven en el mismo edificio de apartamentos. Cuando un compañero residente es asesinado, el trío decide hacer un podcast para investigar, y rápidamente se da cuenta de que hay más en el asesinato de lo que inicialmente pensaban.

A pesar de actuar durante años, Gómez hace un trabajo fantástico resistiendo cómicamente a leyendas de la comedia como Steve Martin y Martin Short. Ella muestra su versatilidad en este papel, demostrando que es más que una exestrella infantil.


"Encanto" Cortesía Disney

Mejor película de animación: “Encanto”

Con una hermosa representación de Colombia y un elenco casi en su totalidad colombiano y colombo-americano, Encanto es otra película de Disney que habla a las personas de todas las edades.

Siguiendo a la familia Madrigal de Colombia, Mirabel Madrigal es el único miembro de su familia que no tiene superpoderes como fuerza sobrehumana o poder cambiar de forma. Sin embargo, cuando los poderes mágicos de su familia comienzan a desvanecerse, depende de Mirabel descubrir qué está sucediendo y cómo detenerlo.

Al mostrar una familia latina poderosa y vibrante en la pantalla, Encanto envía un mensaje sobre la importancia de la unión familiar y cómo cada miembro es único.

Mejor serie animada: “Maya y los tres”

Inspirada en la mitología de la Mesoamérica temprana, Maya y los tres es otro cuento animado detalladamente por Jorge Gutiérrez, creador de “El libro de la vida y El Tigre: Las muchas aventuras de Manny Rivera”. 

La princesa guerrera de Maya en su decimoquinto cumpleaños descubre que el mundo en el que se crió no es lo que parecía. Este descubrimiento se produce cuando los dioses del inframundo amenazan a su familia por cometer una serie de fechorías. Dependerá de Maya y sus tres nuevos amigos luchar para salvar a su familia y cumplir una antigua profecía.

Con una excelente actuación de voz e interesantes efectos visuales, esta miniserie presenta una nueva heroína lista para ingresar a las grandes ligas de íconos femeninos y ser un modelo a seguir para las jóvenes.

Mejor serie: “Gentefied”

Con el regreso de los primos Morales para proteger a su familia, Gentefied logra equilibrar diferentes historias para ofrecer un relato de comunidad y solidaridad.

Después de que su abuelo Casimiro “Pop” Morales es liberado de la cárcel, los primos Erik, Ana y Chris Morales trabajan para evitar que Pop se vaya a México y mantener vivo el restaurante familiar. Mientras tanto, los primos tienen sus propios problemas debido a nuevas oportunidades, cambios de escenario y nuevas relaciones.

Capaz de mezclar la comedia y el drama a la perfección, esta serie permite que cada personaje se concentre en hacer algo nuevo y experimentarlo en un espacio familiar.

Mejor documental: “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Do It”

Narrando la vida de la icónica actriz, activista y ganadora del EGOT, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Do It, echa un vistazo al recorrido de la actriz que preparó el camino para los actores y actrices latinos en la industria del entretenimiento.

El documental sigue a Rita Moreno a lo largo de su vida, desde que llegó a los Estados Unidos desde Puerto Rico hasta conseguir el papel en West Side Story y las secuelas de ese papel. También habla de otros aspectos de la vida de Moreno desde sus relaciones, su activismo y su lucha por roles no estereotipados en Hollywood.

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It es un documental muy humano que llega a la esencia completa de quién es Rita Moreno sin tapujos y siendo completamente honesta sobre sus experiencias


In the Heights movie scene
"In the Heights" Cortesía Warner Bros

Mejor película: “In the Heights”

Tomando el exitoso musical y adaptándolo para la pantalla grande, In the Heights, cuenta la historia de luchar por tus sueños contra viento y marea y encontrar tu lugar en el mundo, incluso cuando sientes que no hay un lugar para ti.

Washington Heights es el escenario de la película. La trama trata sobre una variedad de personajes que luchan por lograr sus sueños. La historia se desarrolla en torno a un dueño de bodega que intenta revivir el negocio de su padre, una joven que lidia con la presión de ser una de las pocas en su comunidad que asiste a la universidad, y un estilista que desea dejar su casa. Estos personajes interactúan entre sí y enfrentan una serie de desafíos que incluyen la gentrificación, la pérdida de seres queridos y el navegar relaciones cambiantes.

In the Heights es sin duda la mayor película latina del año, con un elenco casi en su totalidad latino en una historia que no cae en ningún estereotipo. Con hermosas coreografías y canciones fantásticas, esta película es un clásico instantáneo que demuestra cómo Hollywood puede dar un espacio diferente a los latinos en la pantalla grande.

Creativo latino del año: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Desde sus humildes comienzos hasta su meteórico ascenso a la fama, el actor, compositor, director, productor y cantante puertorriqueño Lin-Manuel ha logrado dominar, representando a los latinos en 2021.

Como actor, Miranda interpretó el pequeño papel de Piragüero en la adaptación de su primer musical de Broadway, “In the Heights”. Fue la voz del kinkajou titular en la película animada de Netflix “Vivo”. Él compuso la música y contribuyó a la escritura de “Encanto” y dirigió y produjo “Tick, Tick ... Boom!” sobre el dramaturgo de Rent, Jonathan Larson. También fue productor del documental “Rita Moreno: solo una niña que decidió hacerlo”.

Miranda ha demostrado que sin importar cómo esté trabajando en la industria del entretenimiento, él siempre ¡encontrará la manera de llevar a los latinos a la pantalla grande.

Making Music and Wine in New Orleans: Mario Palmisano

Making Music and Wine in New Orleans: Mario Palmisano
By Rebeca Pinhas

Click aqui para español- >Creando Música y Vino en Nueva Orleans: Mario Palmisano

Mario Palmisano and I have a couple of things in common: we are both musicians (I’m retired, Mario plays guitar with Flow Tribe), Loyola graduates, and obsessed with wine.
As a typical Covid-era acquaintance, we started discussing wine online before we met in person. Mario works at one of my favorite wine shops in the city, and I recently learned he is also into making wine. While winemaking in New Orleans may be the last thing that crosses one’s mind, the truth is that globalization makes the impossible a bit more plausible for all of us mortals. As he admits, Mario’s education in winemaking ranges from hands-on learning with a Napa winemaker to YouTube videos; and his first experimental wines came to life through DIY kits. In any case, I have learned that there must be a particular innate talent and a significant amount of patience when it comes to the art of making wine.

Thanks to his Italian descent, wine is “a cultural thing” always present in his life. Mario tells me how his grandmother let him try Marsala - a fortified wine from Sicily- at an early age and how much he hated it. “They weren’t great at keeping things fresh back then.” He then shares the outrageous and comical story about his great-grandmother, a Prohibition-era widow turned bootlegger to make ends meet. When a neighbor called the cops on her, she drained out an entire bathtub worth of alcohol to get rid of the evidence. Oh, the joys of Prohibition!

After his touring musician life took a mandatory break due to Covid, Mario had some free time and started taking some wine classes. As the pandemic continued and the opportunity came up, he decided to join harvest in Napa last year. There, he was able to physically work the vineyards and learn as much as possible from the in-house winemaker. “I was annoyingly asking everything,” he says when describing his experience in California. Mario was also a first-account witness of the wildfire that sadly affected many vineyards that year.

Mario’s approach to wine is that of low intervention and “let it do its own thing.” He thinks the winemaking process should be this “beautiful appreciation for and relationship with the land and nature.” He is not alone in this vision. A current trend of winemaking is going back to the process used millennia ago, before using the technology we can access nowadays, which is as helpful as tempting in terms of overly manipulating the grapes and the wine.
While Mario had made wine at home before, 2020 was the first year he followed the process from beginning to end: he picked, pressed, and fermented his own grapes (a red blend of Syrah and Grenache). After an epic drive all the way home with the precious cargo, he culminated the process in New Orleans by bottling his vintage. Still, his wine needs to age for a couple of months in the bottle to reach its prime. I am eager to taste it and share an update!

This year, Mario plans to bring in fruit and complete the whole process here in New Orleans, which will be an exciting experience as our weather is unpredictable. Even making bread -a process that also includes the use of yeast- is a challenge sometimes. I have no doubt, however, that Mario will pour his heart into his wine the same way he does into his music.

“Irma Thomas: The Soul Queen of New Orleans – A Concert Documentary Film”

“Irma Thomas: The Soul Queen of New Orleans – A Concert Documentary Film”
By Staff

Click aqui para español- >Irma Thomas, conocida como “La Reina del Soul”, ha construido una carrera musical y un legado inigualables.
Irma Thomas, known as “The Soul Queen of New Orleans”, has built a musical career and an unrivaled legacy.
At the start of her music career, Irma worked as a waitress and occasionally sang with R&B bandleader Tommy Ridgley. With his help, she landed her first record deal with Ron Records and released her first single, “Don’t Mess with My Man,” in 1959. The song reached as high as No. 22 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart.

Throughout the 1960s, Thomas found work playing locally and on the Gulf Coast at clubs, proms, and other high school dances. Thomas would go on to record for Imperial Records and Chess Records and ultimately moved to California in the late 1960s. In the early 1980s, she returned to New Orleans and opened a music club.

In 1991 she signed a recording contract with Rounder Records and received her first GRAMMY nomination for Live! Simply The Best. She continued to record numerous gospel albums and received yet another GRAMMY nomination in 1999 for the album Sing.

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina forced her to relocate to Gonzales, Louisiana, and she returned as soon as her home in New Orleans East was restored. Teaming up with Scott Billington and Rounder again, she recorded the album After the Rain, which was awarded the GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2007.

Irma has performed with renowned musicians including James Taylor, Paul Simon and Marcia Ball and has performed around the world. Her 1964 rendition of “Time Is on My Side” inspired a version by the Rolling Stones, and she continues to play annually at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

To honor her legacy, the Emmy Award-winning production team from WLAE-TV and LAE Productions that produced Fats Domino: Walking Back to New Orleans and a Tribute to Toussaint announce the premiere of a riveting one-hour music documentary highlighting the storied life of legendary New Orleans Soul Queen and Grammy-award winner Irma Thomas. The documentary will chronicle and celebrate Irma’s 50-plus year music career.
Entitled “Irma Thomas: The Soul Queen of New Orleans – A Concert Documentary Film,” this informative and entertaining documentary will debut this fall on WLAE-TV just in time for the 51st Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival where Irma has performed every year since 1974.

“Irma Thomas: The Soul Queen of New Orleans – A Concert Documentary Film” will feature a candid interview with one of New Orleans’ most celebrated musical icons as well as never-before-seen footage of Irma in concert in her early days through her 80th birthday celebration earlier this year.
Irma’s close friends and her local and national musical contemporaries tell the story of Irma’s humble beginnings in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, her days living with her grandparents in Greensburg, Louisiana, how she sang in the Baptist church choir as a young girl and how she quickly rose to national stardom with her first of many R&B Billboard chart singles “Don’t Mess with my Man” in 1959.
“The Soul Queen’ is a nice title. I appreciate the thought and energy that went into that honor, but I don’t get hung up on the title. You know, I’m just Irma,” explains the 2007 GRAMMY Best Contemporary Blues Album award-winning artist who talks openly this exclusive interview about her close faith in God.

“As Irma prepares for yet another Jazz Fest appearance this fall, our concert documentary on one of New Orleans’ true entertainment legends will focus not only on her music but her life story which is filled with hardship and triumph,” said Jim Dotson, vice-president of WLAE-TV & LAE Productions – the station producing the Irma Thomas documentary.

The production team includes Ron Yager, Executive Producer/Director; Jim Dotson, Executive Producer; Steve Schulkens, Producer; Ted Ochoa, Associate Producer/Editor; and Stephen Hunter, Director of Photography.

“Irma Thomas: The Soul Queen of New Orleans – A Concert Documentary Film” will air this fall on WLAE-TV in New Orleans and on Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) across the state.

Why Rosé is Louisiana’s Perfect Pairing

Why Rosé is Louisiana’s Perfect Pairing

By Rebeca Pinhas, CSW, CSWS

Click aqui para español- >Por qué el Vino Rosé es el Maridaje Perfecto para Louisiana

Imagine this scenario: you live in a beautiful town near the water. Locals are loud, lively and love getting together and celebrating any occasion with excellent meals and plenty of drinks. Fresh seafood abounds, and it’s never too early to have a libation. People love listening to music and spending as much time outdoors as possible. There is only one minor inconvenience: it’s really, really hot for several months out of the year. Sounds familiar? You might have thought I was talking about a place in Louisiana, but I was referring to Southern France, the birthplace of rosé wine.

While you may be familiar with this pink wine and the famous catchphrase “Rosé all day,” not everyone knows its origins or how it’s become one of America’s preferred summer refreshments. Its popularity has had its ups and downs in this part of the world, but it looks like rosé is here to stay.

People from the South of France—which includes the wine regions of Languedoc, Roussillon, Provence, Bandol, among others famous for their rosé—might share that in the modern era, winegrowers made rosé to drink during the scorching hot summer months while working on the vineyards. Selling it to the general public was not necessarily their original intention, but it happened inevitably as people traveling to the region discovered this local secret.

If you want to go back in time even further, it is believed that the first wines ever made were rosés. Ancient civilizations, like the Phoenicians, would press red grapes via techniques that would prevent maceration (letting the juice soak along with the grape skins), therefore, preventing the extraction of more color.
Given that here in Louisiana, we face about six months of summer each year, drinking rosé comes as naturally as drenching our food in hot sauce. And it’s, in fact, rosé’s wide range and versatility, which makes it perfect for many of our favorite dishes. Spicy foods such as boiled crawfish pair amazingly with a high acidity Pinot Noir rosé from Oregon, a pale pink rosé blend from the Languedoc complements raw oysters, and grain-based seafood dishes—such as shrimp and grits, or paella— find a perfect pairing in a rosado from Rioja, Spain.

Rosé wine can be made from any red grape, including those that are known mostly for their red renditions such as Malbec, Tempranillo, and even Cabernet Sauvignon in the shape of Cabernet d’Anjou in the Loire Valley, France. There are three main methods to make rosé: though skin contact (the longer the grape must and skins remain together, the darker the shade); extracting a portion of red grape must intended for the production of red wine (saignée, which means bleeding in French); and by blending red and white wines (frowned upon amongst serious wine enthusiasts). In addition, rosé can also be sparkling, like rosé Champagne or rosé Prosecco, which was recently approved for production as such.

So if you are going to be drinking rosé this summer like the rest of us, be adventurous and try something you have never had before as there will always be a new style for you to taste.


ARTMazing - A Selfie Gallery with a Brazilian Twist

ARTMazing - A Selfie Gallery with a Brazilian Twist

By Cody A. Downey

Click aqui para español- > ARTmazing: una galería de selfies con un toque brasileño

From the world of exporting granite to creating a space for Instagram worthy photos, Brazilian artist Giselle Monteiro provides an experience that you shouldn’t take for granted with ARTmazing Selfie Gallery.

The idea to open a pop art selfie gallery came to Monteiro when she visited a selfie gallery in New York City for her birthday. After that experience, she knew she could do something like that herself in New Orleans.

“We started searching, and there was no place in New Orleans like this yet. That’s when we decided that we wanted to create a selfie gallery, and we started working on the project,” Monteiro said.

The process took almost a year, with ARTmazing opening up in October 2020. The 6,000 square foot gallery hosts 18 different scenarios for photos. Some of the favorites are the Money Room, which has loads of fake money hanging from the ceiling, and the Vogue Room, where the lights shine around visitors as if they were a celebrity.

Monteiro reached out to fellow Brazilian artist Bruna Petalla to help with the murals and art installations after seeing her art on Instagram.

“I was looking for an artist already, and then when Isaw that she is Brazilian, I thought it was perfect because I wanted to do something here to mix Brazil and New Orleans,” she said.

The pair collaborated on the different scenarios in the gallery, and Petalla created a signature mural on a tall wall up the stairs leading into the gallery.

Despite owning and designing for ARTmazing, it wasn’t until Monteiro began the project that she began exploring her more artistic side.

 “My background was really with exporting granites and marble from Brazil, and then, I started working with cabinets,” she said. “After I decided to do the gallery, I looked for ways to learn how to create the installations. I went to a sculpture class, calligraphy class, and painting classes, and it helped me a lot to bring some of the ideas to life.”

ARTmazing will change some of its scenarios seasonally. There will be unique installations for holidays such as Mardi Gras or Easter. Monteiro wants to give both tourists and locals reasons to visit the gallery every so often.

“Even though we are in the French Quarter, which is the heart of all the tourists, we wanted to offer something for the locals that is different from the nightlife bar scene,” she said.

Visitors to the ARTmazing Selfie Gallery range from family groups to bachelorette parties. The gallery also has a beautiful space that groups can reserve for parties, meetings, and events.

Some people make their first stop at ARTmazing before going out to party. “They come to ARTmazing because they are all dressed up and are ready to have fun, so it is a cool spot to come with friends, take pictures and have fun with each other,” she said.

As ARTmazing continues to change out its scenarios and grow, the gallery will always have something unique that everyone can enjoy.

“It is a place for pictures and videos and to bring the family. It’s for all ages,” Monteiro said. “The kids love the place. Even the dads when they come, at first, they may not be feeling it, but soon they get in the mood and get to take pictures themselves.”

When you visit ARTmazing Selfie Gallery and find your favorite scenario, you complete the artwork and become the masterpiece.

ARTmazing is located on 309 Decatur street in New Orleans, and it’s open Thursday to Sunday from 1-8 pm. On Sundays, locals get a 20% discount with the code LOCALS. Tickets can be purchased online at artmazinggallery.com.

Checking on Our Musicians!

Checking on Our Musicians!

By Claudia Vallejo

Click aqui para español- > ¡Apoyando a los músicos!

We need music today more than ever. In stressful times, there is nothing like it, and musicians have not stopped playing.

However, the pandemic has greatly impacted artists. With festivals canceled and gatherings restricted, musicians have

been trying to figure out how to do what they love. They also need to survive. From virtual concerts to front porch

performances, they have been reinventing themselves. Viva Nola Magazine interviewed six New Orleans’ musicians about some positive outcomes and challenges during this time.


Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown

Grammy-award winner. He enjoys performing but believes the message the act of performing during the pandemic sends is more important than the music itself.

How have you reinvented yourself during the pandemic?

By deciding to be more prolific as a songwriter and artist. I have used this time as the world stands still to write and release more music.

What are some of the advantages of virtual concerts?

It is an opportunity to empower musicians and artists to have sole control and responsibility for their performance earnings after decades of complaining and bickering with venues for fair pay.

What are some of the disadvantages?

The most obvious is not having that up close and personal interaction that we are used to having. It has been awkward trying to represent the vibrations that we would usually conjure at a live show through a virtual Livestream. Those vibrations are the whole point of performing live. It does not just come from us. It comes from the audience too. 

*Check out Leon “Kid Chocolate” on Instagram @Kidchocolatejazz and Facebook @ Kid Chocolate Jazz.


Brent Rose

Saxophonist, and founder of the Latin group “Muevelo.” He has been doing porch concerts where musicians and bands get together and perform in front of their house to play for tips.

How have you shifted your performances after lockdown?

I do a concert for my neighbors every Tuesday.  We bring different bands, and we play music. I have become the owner of my music club, right on my front lawn.  But it is not enough.  It is just something.

Any new outcomes to this new way to perform?

Maybe when New Orleans and the world gets back to normal, I can still do these porch concerts. I have gotten to meet so many more neighbors. These concerts have helped create a real sense of community.

Any disadvantages?

I feel like a lot of musicians are currently progressing as individuals, but the bands are not progressing at all.

Rene Coman

A bassist, and long-time member of the band Iguanas, Rene Coman, says that musicians had to figure out how to continue to play since the lockdown.

How have you reinvented yourself as a musician during this time?

It has been a million different things to add to the toolbox of all the things we have already learned to do as musicians. I have a weekly podcast, The Troubled Men Podcast, that I continue to put out. It is one way that I could consistently stay engaged.

Do you see any advantages for virtual performances?

Once we figured out how to successfully have products that sound good on the internet, then every job and performance going forward, I can be available to fans in any country. It was kind of a revelation.


Robin Barnes

Jazz singer Robin Barnes has been live-streaming a show with her husband and her baby daughter every Monday since the lockdown started.

How have you adjusted your musical career during this time?

Venue closures have forced us in a positive way to being more digital and having a more substantial online presence.  It will be great that our fanbase may not be only in New Orleans, but because we are digitally updated, we will have those people involved, even if they are not here physically. Once we can work again, we will have the best of both worlds.

Any disadvantages?

Most of us have been full-time musicians. We lost our work and all our income.  It is challenging to find ways to make income and ways to navigate through this time of uncertainty.  In the beginning, people were donating, and now people do not contribute as much to the live stream.

*Follow Robin Barnes on Instagram@neworleanssongbird and Robin Barnes Music on Facebook and Twitter.


Mario Abney

Mario Abney, a jazz trumpeter, was frequently traveling to perform in Chicago and New York. But when the pandemic hit, he started to work more on his video presentation, making more music videos and composing new songs.

How have you reinvented yourself during the pandemic?

I noticed that my following began to grow because I was video streaming myself on the street. People from all over the world were watching because of New Orleans’s gravity for music and culture. Some other musicians wanted to fight over a street spot that I was playing on. I have been going online from the house since December.

What are some of the disadvantages?

You get the people’s energy, but when you play online, you only read the comments.  I have started a new band, Mario Abney’s Quintet, and the idea is to stream weekly jazz concerts with green screen with technology, pretty much like live videos. We are still working on the sound.

*You can follow Mario Abney every Tuesday night live on Facebook, Instagram, and letsliveradio.com

Oscar Rossignoli

Oscar Rossignoli, a Honduran-born piano player, had to learn how to live stream his concerts. He points out that “the first challenge was to make sure that the internet connection, the sound, and the camera were all working well.”

How has your career changed since the pandemic?

I have been working lately as a solo piano artist.  Before the pandemic, I did not have too many solo concerts.  I was very busy playing with different bands. To make a living and because of Covid-19, my solo playing has forced me to study, practice, and compose songs differently.

Have there been any benefits?

I felt that I needed time to rest, but at the same time, it is very stressful not to have more work.  I have done other projects, and I have focused on my individual growth as a musician.  Another advantage is that we are pre-recording our concerts and sending them to different jazz festivals and jazz clubs like Blue Note in New York and Milan.

*Follow Oscar Rossignoli’s announcement about his live stream shows on Instagram and Facebook @Oscar Rossignoli

Bayardo de Murguia: Leaping into Hollywood on His Own

Bayardo de Murguia: Leaping into Hollywood on His Own

By Cody Downey. Editorial Artwork by Vince Trupsin

Click aqui para español- > Bayardo de Murguia y su salto a Hollywood

After graduating from the University of San Diego, Bayardo De Murguia moved from San Diego to Los Angeles to become an actor. The former college football player moved to the city not knowing one person, but he decided to pave his way to success through his determination.

“I didn’t have a guide. I just immersed myself in Los Angeles,” De Murguia said. “Everyone has a different journey in their careers as an artist. So, you just take and learn from everybody and all of their experiences and fix your own.”

During his time in college, De Murguia transitioned from football player to actor thanks to a theater class and his growing love of film and performance.

“Just the ability to tell stories, make people laugh, make people cry using myself as a tool was so awesome, and it’s such a fulfilling feeling,” he said.

Throughout his career, De Murguia has found himself in numerous projects, from one-episode roles on series like “CSI” and “Shooter” to voice acting roles.

De Murguia said he enjoys doing some of his voice acting roles because it makes him feel like a kid again. Initially, as a Spanish-only speaker, he said he learned English by copying things he would see in cartoons and video games.

“I was this little Mexican kid that would like to mimic everything,” he said. “So, I was always fascinated by that, and then as I got older, voiceover acting was something that I wanted to get into.”

However, for De Murguia’s upcoming role, he moves from the world of cartoons and cop dramas to the world of competitive ballet in Netflix’s “Tiny Pretty Things.”

Based on the novel by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, “Tiny Pretty Things” follows a young ballerina who enters an elite ballet school filled with drama and rivalries in a story described as “Black Swan” meets “Pretty Little Liars.” In the series, De Murguia plays Ramon Acosta, a strict Cuban-American ballet instructor who will do everything it takes to get his students to perform the best.

De Murguia was initially unsure about getting the role when auditioning for the teen drama as “it’s all pretty people.” However, with some insistence from his fiance, he eventually kept working on his audition tape and then getting the role in what he described as the “easiest, most streamlined, perfect audition situation.”

“Normally, you hear horror stories of, ‘I tested, and I did a chemistry read, and then I didn’t hear anything for three months, and then I got fired and this and that,’” he said. “Mine was like, ‘I auditioned. All of a sudden I met everybody and then I was in Canada.’”

In playing Ramon, De Murguia described his character as a very passionate and honest person who uses any method he can as a teacher to get the best and worst out of an artist.

“He embraces the darkness. He embraces the crappy parts of the world and what you go through, and if he can get the best out of you as an artist by focusing on that, that’s what he is all about, which causes conflict with others,” he said.

De Murguia said he prepared for the role by studying Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta and watching films and documentaries about ballet to immerse himself in that world and learn about ballet’s Cuban style. He also said that the cast spent time before filming to do ballet rehearsal, working alongside different choreographers.

“It was the sorest that I had ever been, and although I joke that my bar technique is superb, my centre work does need a little help,” he said. “But, it was cool just to be there early and focus on ballet.”

In being a Latino actor, De Murguia said he looks to always bring truth and authenticity into whatever role he plays, whether it be a cop or a cartel member. However, with his role in “Tiny Pretty Things,” he said it was nice not to try and be something he already is while also stepping into a new type of role.

“The thing about Ramon that was great was that not only am I learning about a new world, I’m also creating a strong Latino character within it. But, with the liberty of not focusing on that,” he said. “The focus was on who Ramon is, and what he is as a person, and then in the background, the fact that he is Cuban-American.”

With the push in the film and television industry to feature more diverse voices behind the camera, De Murguia said that he hopes for more opportunities to give accurate and authentic representation to his fellow Latino-Americans.

“Even though I was raised in Mexico and then came here when I was young, I view myself as an American and having both cultures within me. That’s just who I am,” he said. “The more opportunities I can just be me and have my background in the background and not be the focus, I think that’ll be awesome.”

As he awaits the release of “Tiny Pretty Things” on December 14, De Murguia says that he has spent his time during COVID-19 working on his acting skills, staying creative, and thinking about what is most important.

“The one thing about COVID is that it has reminded myself and friends and other artists what we need to focus on because stuff can be taken away very quickly, and we’ve got to remind ourselves to stay focused and stay healthy,” he said. “It reminds us sometimes of how expendable we are.”

Though De Murguia hasn’t been to New Orleans yet, he said that his goal is to ride his motorcycle from somewhere like Miami or Atlanta to New Orleans next year. When he comes to New Orleans, he said he would focus his time on music and food.

“As much as people are like ‘I want to go down Bourbon Street’ and Mardi Gras and all that, I just think the music scene is awesome,” he said. “There isn’t a lot of opportunity for that [live music] at the moment but, I’m definitely a big fan of jazz and blues and Cajun food and seafood.”

As he continues to look forward to the next year, De Murguia hopes for “Tiny Pretty Things” to get a season two and learn more about directing to tell stories and become a resource to others.

“I came to L.A. knowing no one and then just slowly built from there. I’d love to be that person in the future to give opportunities to people like me, like us, that come to build their way,” he said. “Sometimes, you may not know who to ask or what’s going on; I would like to be that voice in the future to help give opportunities.”

The Gift of Wine (Knowledge)

The Gift of Wine (Knowledge)

By Rebeca Pinhas
Click aqui para español- > El Regalo del Vino y su Conocimiento

As the end of year holidays approach, many of us struggle to find the balance between normalcy and safety. COVID-19 has been around for almost a year (even longer in other parts of the world), and although it has become part of our daily life, it is impossible not to feel a little bit down about not spending time with our relatives and friends. There is no easy answer to the dilemmas we have faced in 2020, but finding new ways to enjoy what once was normal –such as sharing a glass of wine with our friends – is vital to overcome challenging times.  

During one of my recent classes, I stopped and thought about how fortunate we are to have the resources and technology to taste the same wines and the same food bites while each one of us is in our own home. If there is something this year has taught us is that experiences are more valuable than material things since we do not know when they will occur again. After all, wine is not as meaningful or enjoyable if we do not share it with others.   

If you are thinking about what to get your loved ones this holiday season, consider the gift of wine knowledge, as well as the opportunity to share a tasting with those who are important to you. 

Vino Mom offers private classes/tastings scheduled at your convenience. Choose between a fully online experience – a personally curated tasting kit for the participants to taste during a virtual meeting -, and small-format live classes. Packages start at $175 for up to 6 participants, and your class/tasting is fully customizable, from the quantity, type, style to the cost of the wines.   

You can find further information below. I am available and happy to answer all your questions! 




Instagram: VinoMomNola

Facebook: @VinoMom

The 31st Annual New Orleans Film Festival Celebrates Southern Voices




The New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) announced the lineup for the 31st annual, Oscar®-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF), which will take place from November 6th through the 22nd showcasing 160+ films through NOFF Virtual Cinema available globally, and a selection of films at two screens at the NOFF Open-Air Cinema on Lafitte Greenway (between Dorgenois and Tonti Streets), and Broadside, the new outdoor venue of the Broad Theater. The festival lineup is now live and passes & tickets are available at neworleansfilmfestival.org


For 31 years, the Oscar-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival has been a labor of love, and that is true more than ever in 2020. After receiving 4,655 submissions from 105 countries for the 31st anniversary of the festival, the festival’s seasoned team of programmers selected a slate of 165 films that represent a wealth of perspectives. Overall, the directors of selected films represent 44 different nationalities. This year, films made in the American South represent 45%, and Louisiana-made films represent 26% of the lineup. Films directed by women and gender non-conforming directors account for 57% of the lineup, and films helmed by directors of color make up 58% of the lineup. Additionally, the lineup boasts 36 world premieres.

“Our programming team celebrates work that, in its form and construction, offers a rebuke to conventional means of filmmaking and forges new storytelling pathways,” said New Orleans Film Society’s Artistic Director Clint Bowie. “Through this year’s lineup, we invite audiences to engage with work that addresses the social and political inequities of our collective past and present.”

NOFS Programming Manager Zandashé Brown added “We feel it’s vital to make space for Southern art. The South is our home, and we recognize that the American South and South Louisiana more specifically are sites where stories and inspiration have been thoughtlessly mined by outsiders, a harmful, extractive practice that sidelines artists with a greater connection to the region and often results in stereotyping and a lack of authentic representation in the work.”


The 31st New Orleans Film Festival feature film competition brings together 8 narrative feature films and 17 documentary feature films from 12 countries. The Louisiana Features Competition will host 7 feature films made in Louisiana. See the film guide at neworleansfilmsociety.org/film-guide/


Individual tickets are now available to book by NOFS members and NOFF pass holders, and will be available for the general public on October 20th at neworleansfilmfestival.org

Open-Air Cinemas on the Lafitte Greenway and Broadside at Broad Theater will screen films from November 6th to the 15th, see schedule at noff2020.eventive.org/schedule

Festival goers can purchase an All Access Pass, good for all Open-Air Cinemas and NOFF Virtual Cinema screenings, or purchase individual tickets for the Open-Air Cinemas.

Watch this “How to Fest?” video to learn all about #NOFF2020 under 5 minutes:


The Significance of Harvest in Winemaking

The Significance of Harvest in Winemaking

By Rebeca M. Pinhas, CSW, CSWS  IG@vinomomnola

Click aqui para español- > La Importancia de la Vendimia en la Elaboración del Vino

Fall brings many things worthy of celebration: beautiful weather, vibrant colors in nature, and the harvest of a variety of crops. From root vegetables to leafy greens, those who work the land prepare to receive the fruit of their year’s hard work.

Since ancient times, many cultures have celebrated and thanked the Earth for their crops through yearly festivities that have survived over time. Sukkot in the Jewish tradition, the Indonesian Rice Harvest Festival, and the Festival de la Vendimia in Mexico are some examples of celebrations at the time of harvest in different parts of the world. And, in my humble yet biased opinion, the harvest of wine grapes remains one of the most meaningful and wonderful in the world.


The harvest of wine grapes starts in September in the Northern hemisphere (and six months later in the Southern half of our planet) and may last a couple of months depending on the varieties to be picked in a determined vineyard. This stage is the culmination of the vine’s life cycle and just the beginning of the winemaking process. After all the fruit is removed from the vines, these lose their foliage and enter dormancy, a state where minimal energy is used to perform vital functions until the following Spring. As temperature rises, the sap moves from the root of the dormant vine into the rest of the plant and the productive cycle resumes. 

After reaching and assessing different milestones during the growing season, the winemaker/grower must make a difficult decision as harvest approaches: when to start picking. Too early, and the grapes may not be quite ready; too late and they may get overly ripe or face unexpected natural phenomena like storms or hail. To be able to make the best decision possible, many factors are to be considered: typical harvest time of each variety, the determined region, and its climate, the balance between sugar (which will later be converted into alcohol) and acidity, the particular vintage (sometimes it gets unusually hot, cold, or wet during the growing season), and the maturity of the components which provide structure to the wine.

Once the grower has weighed in all this information and the green light has been given for harvest, there is no turning back.         

This year has been unusually difficult for the wine industry. Not only have we had to deal with COVID and its consequences on the overall market as well as with the risk over the workforce’s safety, but we have also witnessed man-made disasters.

The most important wine-producing regions in the United States –California, Washington, and Oregon– were dealt unusually large, dangerous, and long-lasting wildfires. The effects go from entire wineries burning down to great amounts of fruit that has been smoke-tainted and might no longer be suitable to make wine. As those who work the land best know, the effects of climate change, pollution, and overall human impact on our environment manifest more and more concretely every vintage.

Fortunately for us, wine lovers, sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices are on the rise as farmers know we must take care of our planet to keep enjoying its wonders.          

So next time you enjoy a delicious glass of wine, pause and think about how many decisions were made and how many things could have gone wrong. Understanding the work behind each glass truly gives your wine a different meaning.

30 Films to Keep Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

30 Films to Keep Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

By Cody Downey

Click aqui para español- > 30 películas para seguir celebrando la herencia hispana

Hispanic Heritage Month ends on October 15th, but why limit the celebration of beautiful heritage and history? One of the best ways to explore our culture is through the media of film. Though the amount of Latino and Hispanic representation in Hollywood has been lacking, many films have focused on different parts of our life and history. From historical dramas to family comedies to stories during the Mexican revolution to the activist movements during the 1960s, these films show it all.

I have created a list of 30 films that include Latino and Hispanic representation. We will describe 5 movies per month. To make this list more interesting, I decided to stray away from the typical films that are usually suggested such as “La Bamba,” “Selena” and “Stand and Deliver.” I hope you find a new favorite and broaden your scope of films.


As you can see, there are plenty of movies out there focusing on Latinos and Hispanics and their experiences. This list doesn’t even cover everything such as the films of icons such as Rita Moreno, Jennifer Lopez, and Andy Garcia or films released outside of the United States. Make it a point to watch some of these films or maybe come up with a list of your own. Either way, find a unique way to honor our history and keep it alive.


Zoot Suit (1981) Directed by Luis Valdez

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1983) Directed by Robert M. Young

Born in East L.A. (1987) Directed by Cheech Marin

The Milagro Beanfield War (1988) Directed by Robert Redford

El Mariachi (1993) Directed by Robert Rodriguez

Blood In Blood Out a.k.a. Bound by Honor (1993) Directed by Taylor Hackford

 Mi Vida Loca (1994) Directed by Allison Anders

I Like It Like That (1994) Directed by Darnell Martin

My Family (1995) Directed by Gregory Nava

A Walk in the Clouds (1995) Alfonso Arau

Fools Rush In (1997) Directed by Andy Tennant

 The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit (1998) Directed by Stuart Gordon

Girlfight (2000) - Directed by Karyn Kusama

In the Time of the Butterflies (2001) Directed by Mariano Barroso

Real Women Have Curves (2002) Directed by Patricia Cardoso

Chasing Papi (2003) Directed by Linda Mendoza

Maria Full of Grace (2004) Directed by Joshua Marston

Goal! The Dream Begins (2005) Directed by Danny Cannon

Walkout (2006) Directed by Edward James Olmos

Nothing Like the Holidays (2008) Directed by Alfredo De Villa

The Perfect Game (2009) Directed by William Dear

A Better Life (2011) Directed by Chris Weitz

The Book of Life (2014) Directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez

Spare Parts (2015) Directed by Sean McNamara

Hands of Stone (2016) Directed by Jonathan Jakubowciz

Lowriders (2016) Directed by Ricardo de Montreuil

El Chicano (2018) Directed by Ben Hernadez Bray

Miss Bala (2019) Directed by Catherine Hardwicke

Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) Directed by James Bobin

Sergio (2020) Directed by Greg Baker


Here are the highlights for this edition:

Zoot Suit (1981) - Directed by Luis Valdez

In this adaptation of the play inspired by real-life events, Henry Reyna, played by Daniel Valdez, and his group of friends are wrongfully accused of murder due in part to the negative connotations surrounding their wearing of zoot suits, a common clothing choice of Chicanos during the 1940s. As the group fights to be freed, Henry battles with El Pachuco, played by Edward James Olmos, who serves as Henry’s conscience and the film’s narrator.

“Zoot Suit” brilliantly brings the story of the Zoot Suit Riots and the events that preceded it mixing music and drama to tell about this often forgotten part of history. The film helped Luis Valdez, now referred to as the father of Chicano theater in the U.S., grow his career as a director and go on to make other classics such as “La Bamba” and the 1994 “The Cisco Kid.”

My Family (1995) - Directed by Gregory Nava

After walking to Los Angeles from Mexico, tracing back his father’s journey, Paco Sanchez, played by Jacob Vargas, narrates the story of three generations of his family trying to make it in America. The Sanchez family goes through a series of trials from imprisonment, wrongful deportation to controversial love affairs throughout the years.

“My Family” features an all-star Latino cast with icons such as Edward James Olmos, Esai Morales, and Jimmy Smits as they help tell the tale of a Mexican-American family’s journey through fifty years. The film also helped propel the career of director Gregory Nava, who would direct Jennifer Lopez in films such as “Selena” and “Bordertown.”

In the Time of the Butterflies (2001) - Directed by Mariano Barroso

Minerva Mirabal, played by Salma Hayek, comes into conflict with Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, played by Edward James Olmos after she refuses his advances. Minerva and her sisters soon begin to join a group of Dominican revolutionaries known as the Butterflies.

Based on the true story of the Mirabal sisters, “In the Time of the Butterflies” helps tell the stories of these brave women and what they did to stand up to a dictator. The film also features singer Marc Anthony in the supporting role of Minerva’s first boyfriend.

Nothing Like the Holidays (2008) - Directed by Alfredo De Villa

As the Rodriguez family gets together for Christmas, matriarch Anna Rodriguez, played by Elizabeth Pena, announces to the family that she is going to divorce her husband Edy, played by Alfred Molina. Worried about what this will mean for their family, the Rodriguez children come together to enjoy what may be their last Christmas together while dealing with their problems.

 “Nothing Like the Holidays” brings together an all-star Latino cast to present a Christmas story with tons of drama and heartfelt moments. Similar to the previous year’s “This Christmas,” the film takes a view of a different kind of family and how they approach the holiday.

Spare Parts (2015) - Directed by Sean McNamara

With the help of their engineering club advisor Fredi Cameron, played by George Lopez, a group of four students works together to compete in a robotics competition. Despite being underfunded and competing against bigger schools, the team doesn’t give up and works hard to get a chance at improving their lives.

“Spare Parts” is yet another underdog tale in the vein of “Stand and Deliver” replacing academics with robotics. This story based on real events features up-and-coming Latino actors as well including “The Baker and the Beauty” actor David Del Rio and “The Casagrandes” actor Carlos Pena.


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New Orleans Premier Multicultural Magazine