Miles Protestan para “Mantener a las Familias Unidas”

May 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Desde tempranas horas de esta mañana, miles de personas salieron a las calles en el centro de Los Ángeles para la marcha anual del “Primero de Mayo”. Los protestantes piden al Congreso que tome acción sobre la legislación de reformar el sistema de inmigración del país y ponga fin a las deportaciones que dividen a las familias.

Los manifestantes cantaban a coro “Sí se puede” y otros llevaban una bandera americana gigante desafiando las altas temperaturas para participar en la protesta, que tradicionalmente atrae a multitudes de participantes y bloquea las principales rutas de tráfico a lo largo de gran parte del día.

El Concejal de Distrito 1, Gill Cedillo se reune con los protestantes frente al centro de Detención en el centro de Los Ángeles. (Cortesía de oficina del concejal Gil Cedillo)

El Concejal Gill Cedillo CD-1 se reune con los protestantes frente al centro de Detención en el centro de Los Ángeles. (Cortesía de oficina del concejal Gil Cedillo)

La marcha de este año lleva el tema “Mantener las Familias Unidas” con el fin de acabar con las deportaciones que dividen a los padres de sus hijos.

“Llevamos muchos, muchos años exigiendo un mejor trato para nuestra comunidad y vemos que las cosas están definitivamente mejorando especialmente en lugares como California, pero no es suficiente”, dijo Angélica Salas, directora ejecutiva de la Coalición de Derechos Humanos para Inmigrantes en Los Ángeles.

Salas instó al Congreso a aprobar una reforma migratoria.

“Ganaremos a favor de las familias inmigrantes y ganaremos por América, un país, que necesita políticas de inmigración justas que reflejen los valores estadounidenses”, dijo Salas .

Nathaniel Lowe, portavoz de la Comunidad de Desarrollo Equitativa de Chinatown, dijo que se está abogando por mejores condiciones de trabajo. “Muchos de los trabajadores son inmigrantes y se enfrentan a problemas como la deportación y necesitan un camino a la ciudadanía”, dijo Lowe.

Varias calles fueron cerradas en la zona – incluyendo Broadway, entre calles alrededor del la 11 y Temple y las calles Hill y Spring entre Olympic y Primera, según el Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles.

Los usuarios del transporte público también enfrentan retrasos y/o desvíos en varias

rutas del centro. La información sobre las rutas de autobús está disponible en www.metro.net.

Un Amor al Baile Folkórico que Nació en Commerce Ahora lo Comparte en los Escenarios

May 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Cuando Kareli Montoya, ex Miss Commerce, ve una actuación folklórica no sólo contempla los vestidos de colores delicados o los zapatos negros llamativos – lo que ella ve es la historia del pueblo de donde proviene ese baile.

Montoya revisa cada detalle, desde los colores de los trajes al manejo de la falda de la bailarina, y el soniquete de los zapatos, y se pregunta: ‘¿Es cierto?’ ¿Esta siendo la actuación histórica y culturalmente precisa?

Folklórico significa danza del pueblo, de la gente y por lo tanto debe ser un fiel retrato de las personas, dice Montoya, quien obtuvo lecciones por primera vez en el género de danza colorida y enérgica cuando era apenas una niña. Fue durante sus clases en el Parque Bristow en Commerce, que encontró su pasión por el baile folklórico, y la historia detrás de cada baile.

Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles durante una presentación en el Ford Amphiteatre en el 2013. (Cortesía del Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles)

Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles durante una presentación en el Ford Amphiteatre en el 2013. (Cortesía del Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles)

Su pasión se ha convertido en mucho más que un pasatiempo y ahora, con tan sólo 24 años de edad, Montoya dirige su propio grupo folklórico profesional, el Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles, y ha participado con algunos de los mejores grupos de mariachi en los mejores lugares.

El ser histórica y culturalmente precisa es tan importante como la técnica de la danza, dijo Montoya.

“Ni siquiera se puede llamar tradicional a menos que usted esté en el pueblo y la gente bailando sea del pueblo”, dijo. “Una vez que lo pones en el escenario, es un espectáculo”, es ballet folklórico.

 

Encontrando su Pasión

Montoya siempre había dibujado los vestidos tradicionales y bellos del viejo México, con sus amplias coloridas faldas adornadas con listón y encaje. A la edad de siete años, antes de que comenzara a bailar en la danza folklórica, ella soñaba con actuar con las escaramuzas, el deporte ecuestre donde las chicas muestran rutinas coreográficas mientras van en caballo, con sus vestidos tradicionales mexicanos similares a los que se usan en los bailes folklóricos.

“Mi mamá me dijo ‘estás loca’, entonces me puso en clases [folklóricas] en lugar y me quedé con ellas”, dijo Montoya , reflexionando sobre la sabia decisión hecha por su madre soltera para redirigir su interés.

 Read this story in English: Her Love of Folklórico Was Born in Commerce-Now She Shares it On a Larger Stage

Ella agradece a los programas de recreación de bajo costo del Departamento de Commerce, y por ayudarla a encontrar a su verdadera pasión. “Mi madre no podía permitirse el lujo de pagar por la danza para sus seis hijos”, dijo Montoya. “Si no fuera por ellos, no estaría bailando ahora.”

Maria Viñegas creció durante el inicio del movimiento folklórico en el Este de Los Ángeles y fue la primera instructora de baile de Montoya. Según Montoya, fue Viñegas quien le inculcó la importancia de aprender la historia de los bailes que ella realiza. Es una práctica que todavía le motiva hoy y que ahora está tratando de transmitir a sus alumnos y los miembros de su grupo de danza.

El talento de Montoya como bailarina fue revelado a temprana edad y a los 12 años ella estaba bailando con el grupo de adultos folklórico del Colegio del Este de Los Ángeles (ELAC) dirigido por el instructor Benjamín Hernández, a quien Montoya le llama  uno de los “pioneros” del movimiento folklórico en EE.UU.

La música fue también una parte importante de su vida. Por el día ella tocaba tambores y en la banda de jazz de la preparatoria Bell Gardens. Por la noche, a espaldas de la mayoría de sus compañeros de estudios, se convirtió en la bailarina de folklórico más joven en La Fonda De Los Camperos, un restaurante actualmente cerrado, cerca del centro de Los Ángeles, famoso por sus mariachis de nivel internacional y espectáculos-cena folklóricos.

“Así es como empecé a participar en actuaciones de folklórico más arduas,” dijo.

 

Escogiendo Seguir el Sueño, o No

Montoya le dijo a EGP que su pasión por la danza no estuvo exenta de desafíos. Había decisiones que tomar: ¿Ir a la universidad, conseguir un trabajo, o bailar? Ella trató de hacerlo todo.

Fue admitida en la Universidad Estatal de California, Los Ángeles (CSULA), y en un principio esperaba obtener una licenciatura en danza o teatro, pero al darse cuenta de la importancia de un ingreso estable, ella optó por hacer la carrera de trabajo social.

“La gente dice ‘¿qué vas a hacer con la danza, ve a conseguirte una vida,’” dice ella riendo ahora.

Mientras asistía a CSULA, Montoya fue coronada Miss Commerce 2008.

“Ellos [la ciudad de Comemerce] me ayudaron mucho porque me ayudaron a realizar actuaciones en todo Commerce con mi grupo folklórico”, dijo. Esto hizo que el deseo de bailar se hiciera aún más fuerte, y con la graduación que pronto se acercaba, ella echó otro vistazo a sus opciones.

“Pensé en mudarme a Colima [México]”, dijo, refiriéndose a su interés en asistir al Ballet Folklórico internacional de la Universidad de Colima en México.

“Efectivamente, seis meses más tarde me gradué de la universidad y la semana siguiente me fui a Colima”, dijo ella, todavía incrédula de que ella era una de los 25 estudiantes aceptados ese año.

“Fue como un sueño hecho realidad , era como ir a las Grandes Ligas”.

La formación en México fue intensa y grave: las clases comenzaban los días a las 6:45 a.m. Ella estudió ballet, danza moderna, historia de la danza , la técnica folklórico, historia folklórica, así como la iluminación y la clase de diseño de escenario. Había pequeños descansos para comer, pero las clases continuaban hasta las 10 p.m.

Seis meses después de la formación, sin embargo, se enfrentó a una crisis de la clase; si se debía continuar con su dedicación a la danza o ejercer “una carrera real”. Acababa de enterarse de que había sido aceptada para una maestría en USC bajo el programa de Trabajo Social.

“Lloré e hice berrinches,” dijo ella. “Pero finalmente reaccioné.”

Pero al final, el poder de la danza en última instancia, ganó.

 

Bailando Sola

El tiempo que Montoya pasó en Colima le cambió la vida profundamente, tanto que cuando regresó a los grupos en los que bailaba anteriormente “ya no era lo mismo”.

Sin “ningún otro lugar a donde ir”, ella decidió formar su propio grupo y el Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles nació”. Decidí hacer mi propio grupo porque [las empresas, ciudades y fiestas privadas] me llamaban y me pedían que bailara para ellos. Así que pensé, ¿por qué no empezar mi propio grupo de danza”.

Paso mucho tiempo antes de que su nuevo grupo comenzará a recibir convocatorias de conciertos en grandes recintos.

La afición era ahora oficialmente una carrera de tiempo completo.

La participación del Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles con la cantante mexicana Paquita la del Barrio, en el Teatro Nokia en 2012 llamó la atención del Anfiteatro Ford y Star Entertainment organización no lucrativa que la contrató para producir conciertos de estilo mexicano .

Pronto las actuaciones fuera del estado y en lugares más grandes , como el Greek Theater de Los Ángeles y Disneyland comenzaron a llegar.

Pero no fue hasta hace poco que ella actuó en un medio tiempo del juego de los Clippers que Montoya se dio cuenta de que había convertido su pasión en una carrera.

“Pensé, ‘que estoy loca, no puedo creer que esté haciendo esto’”, dijo. “Siempre ha sido mi sueño”, se dijo en noviembre pasado cuando se decidió a dejar sus días de trabajo social y abrir una academia de baile en Alhambra. Para avanzar en su carrera, ella planea asistir a Cal State Long Beach para trabajar en una Maestría en Diseño de Cine y Vestuario.

Su grupo de baile esta integrado por 28 personas, 14 mujeres y 14 hombres. Ellos practican cuatro días a la semana, y cada sesión incluye una hora de acondicionamiento para asegurarse que están en forma para las rigurosas exigencias de sus actuaciones.

A los bailarines se les paga, por lo que espera que actúen como profesionales, dice Montoya.

Montoya hace todos los trajes y dice porque hay poca variación en tamaños, los bailarines están motivados para mantenerse en forma para evitar que compren su propio vestuario, que podría costar cientos de dólares.

Kareli Montoya, (derecha) fundadora del Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles, practica la coreografia con su grupo en el estudio de Alahambra. (EGP foto por Nancy Martinez).

Kareli Montoya, (derecha) fundadora del Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles, practica la coreografia con su grupo en el estudio de Alahambra. (EGP foto por Nancy Martinez).

 

Apegarse al Folklórico Cuando se Está a Cargo

Fue mientras estudiaba en México que Montoya comenzó a ver la danza como lo haría un nativo mexicano.

“Siento que muchos de los grupos [en EE.UU.] no conocen la historia, simplemente lo hacen, lo actúan en el escenario porque es divertido y a los padres les gusta porque hay niños”, dijo en referencia a algunas de las producciones que ha visto.

Cada región tiene su estilo basado en el clima y las influencias de su cultura única y aquellos factores dictan el trabajo de pies, el vestuario y la música, explicó.

Cuando estás en Jalisco [México] podría haber cuatro estilos de baile diferentes que varían según las clases sociales, le dijo a EGP.

“Incluso si usted está en un estado, el norte es muy diferente de la zona sur”, añade . “Es muy importante para los bailarines que sepan lo que están haciendo y por qué lo están haciendo”.

Eso, dijo, es lo que distingue a su grupo de los demás. “Sí, el baile es genial, pero hay que saber el por qué antes de realizar. “Nuestros bailarines son apasionados de lo que son y de dónde vienen, y se nota en su danza.”

Muchas de las danzas presentadas por el Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles se basan en danzas de la Revolución Mexicana en los 1900s. Montoya considera que la historia es fascinante – las mujeres luchaban al lado de los hombres – por lo que una gran cantidad de danzas de su grupo muestran esa parte de la historia.

La música que bailan al ritmo de siempre, se lleva a cabo por un grupo de mariachi en vivo y en estos días por lo general es el Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar que los acompaña. Muchas de sus actuaciones están coreografiados en torno a un tema en particular , explica Montoya.

El grupo cuenta con dos conciertos de baile programados en mayo.

Pero a diferencia de la mayoría de sus actuaciones, la aparición del grupo en el Ford Amphitheatre el 31 de mayo no se basa en una región en particular, pero en su lugar un homenaje a charreadas, o el rodeo mexicano, que de una manera cumplirá el antiguo deseo de la pequeña Montoya de 7 años de las escaramuzas.

Los chicos van a ser cuerda en el escenario y las niñas se visten como escaramuzas, con sombreros y látigos, dijo emocionada.

“Cuando yo era niña siempre quise hacer eso [escaramuzas], por lo que ahora lo estoy haciendo a mi manera”, dijo. “Estoy contando mi historia”.

—-

Twitter @nancyreporting

nmartinez@egpnews.com

May 1, 2014 Issue

May 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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Her Love of Folklórico Was Born in Commerce – Now She Shares It On a Larger Stage

May 1, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

 

When former Miss Commerce Kareli Montoya watches a folklórico performance she doesn’t  just see the delicate, colorful dresses or the striking black shoes — what she sees is the history of the pueblo from which the dance originates.

Montoya takes in every detail, from the colors of the costumes to the dancer’s handling of her skirt, to the rhythmic tapping of the shoes, and asks herself, ‘Is it right?’ Is the performance historically and culturally accurate?

Folklórico means dance of the pueblo, of the people and must therefore be a true portrayal of those people, says Montoya, whose first lessons in the colorful and energetic dance genre were as a child growing up in the city of Commerce. It was during her classes at Bristow Park that she would find her passion for dancing folklórico, and the history behind every dance.

Her passion has grown to be much more than a part-time hobby, and now, at just 24 years of age, Montoya directs her own professional folklórico group, Ballet Folklórico of Los Angeles, and has performed with some of the best mariachi groups at top venues.

Being historically and culturally accurate is just as important as dance technique, Montoya said.

“You can’t even call it traditional unless you are in the pueblo and the people dancing are from the pueblo,” she said. “Once you put it on stage, it’s a show;” it’s ballet folklórico.

 

Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles at the Ford Amphitheatre during a performance last year.  (Courtesy of Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles )

Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles at the Ford Amphitheatre during a performance last year. (Courtesy of Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles )

Finding the Passion

Montoya has always been drawn to the traditional, beautiful costumes reminiscent of old Mexico, with their colorful flowing skirts trimmed with ribbon and lace. At the age of seven, before she started dancing folklórico, she dreamed of performing the escaramuzas, the Mexican equestrian sport where young women perform choreographed routines while on horseback, wearing traditional Mexican dresses similar to those used by folklórico dancers.

“My mom said ‘you’re crazy,’ so she put me in [folklórico] classes instead and I stuck with it,” said Montoya, reflecting on the wise decision made by her single mother to redirect her interest.

She credits Commerce’s inexpensive recreation programs for making that possible, and for helping her to find her true passion. “My mother could not afford to pay for dance for six children,” said Montoya. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be dancing now.”

Maria Viñegas grew up during the beginning of the folklórico movement in East Los Angeles and was Montoya’s first dance instructor. According to Montoya, it was Viñegas who instilled in her the importance of learning the history of the dances she performs. It’s a practice that still motivates her today and which she is now trying to pass on to her students and the members of her dance group.

Montoya’s talent as a dancer was noticed early and by age 12 she was dancing with the East Los Angeles College adult folklórico group led by instructor Benjamin Hernandez, who she calls one of the “pioneers” of the folklórico movement in the United States.

Music was also an important part of her life and by day she played in Bell Gardens High School’s jazz band and drum line. At night, unbeknownst to most of her fellow students, she was the youngest folklórico dancer at La Fonda De Los Camperos, a now closed restaurant near downtown Los Angeles, famous for its world-class mariachi and folklórico dinner-shows.

“That’s how I started being involved in hardcore folklórico performances,” she said.

 

Choosing to Pursue the Dream, Or Not 

Montoya told EGP her passion to dance was not without its challenges. There were choices to be made: Go to college, get a job, or dance? She tried to do all of it.

She was admitted to Cal State University, Los Angeles, and at first hoped to get a degree in dance or theater, but realizing the importance of a stable income, she opted instead to get a degree in social work.

“People tell you ‘what are you going to do with dance, come on get a life,’” she says now laughing.

While attending Cal State Los Angeles Montoya was crowned 2008’s Miss Commerce.

“They [city of Commerce] helped me out a lot because they helped me perform all over Commerce with my folklórico group,” she said. It made the desire to dance grew even stronger, and with graduation soon approaching, she took another look at her options.

“I started looking into moving to Colima [Mexico],” she said, referring to her interest in attending the internationally known Ballet Folklórico of the University of Colima in Mexico.

“Sure enough, six months later I graduated from college and the following week I left to Colima,” she said, still in disbelief that she was one of the 25 students accepted that year.

“It was like a dream come true, it was like going to the major leagues.”

The training in Mexico was intense and serious: classes started daily at 6:45 a.m. She studied ballet, modern dance, dance history, folklórico technique, folklórico history, as well as lighting and stage design class. There were short breaks to eat, but classes continued until 10 pm.

Six months into the training, however, she faced a crisis of sorts; whether to continue her dedication to dance or pursue “a real career.” She had just learned she was accepted into USC’s Masters in Social Work program.

“I cried and I threw a tantrum,” she said.  “But I eventually came back.”

But in the end, the power of dance ultimately won out.

 

Dancing It On Her Own

Montoya’s time in Colima had profoundly changed her, so much so that when she returned the groups she previously danced for were “just not the same.”

With “no other place to go,” she decided to form her own group and Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles was born. “I just decided to do my own thing because [companies, cities and private parties] were calling me and asking me to dance for them. So I thought, why not start my own dance group.”

It wasn’t long before her new group was getting calls for gigs at big venues.

The hobby was now officially a full-time career.

Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles performance with Mexican singer Paquita la del Barrio at the Nokia Theater in 2012 caught the attention of the Ford Amphitheater and the non-profit Star Entertainment, which hired her to produce Mexican-style concerts.

Out of state jobs and performances at bigger venues, like the Greek Theater in Los Angeles and Disneyland, began to roll in.

But it wasn’t until she was performing during a recent Clippers half time show that Montoya realized she had turned her passion into a career.

“I thought, ‘I’m crazy, I can’t believe I’m doing this,’” she said.  “It has always been my dream,” she says she told herself last November when she decided to leave her social work days behind and open a dance studio in Alhambra. To further her career, she plans to attend Cal State Long Beach to work towards a Masters Degree in Theater Design and Costuming.

Her dance group has 28 members, 14 women and 14 men. They practice four days a week, and each session includes an hour of conditioning to ensure they are in shape for the rigorous demands of their performances.

The dancers are paid and therefore expected to act like professionals, says Montoya.

Montoya makes all the costumes and says because there is little variation in size the dancers are motivated to stay in shape to avoid having to buy their own dresses, which could run hundreds of dollars.

Kareli Montoya, right, founder of Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles, goes over choreography with her dance group at the Alhambra dance studio.  (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Kareli Montoya, right, founder of Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles, goes over choreography with her dance group at the Alhambra dance studio. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

 

Being True to Folklórico When You Are In Charge

It was while she was studying in Mexico that Montoya started to see dance as a Mexican native would.

“I feel a lot of the groups here [in the U.S.] don’t know the history, they just do it, put it on stage because it’s fun and the parents like it because their kids are in it,” she said referring to some of the productions she has seen.

Every region has their style based on the climate and the influences of their unique culture and those factors dictate the footwork, the costume and the music, she explained.

When you’re in Jalisco [Mexico] there could be four different dancing styles that vary by the social classes, she told EGP.

“Even if you are in one state, the northern part is very different from the southern part,” she adds. “It’s very important for dancers to know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.”

That, she said, is what distinguishes her group from others. “Yes, the dancing is cool but you have to know the why before you perform.” Our dancers are passionate about who they are and where they came from, and it shows in their dance.

Many of the dances performed by Ballet Folklórico of Los Angeles are based on dances from the Mexican revolution in the early 1900s. Montoya finds that time in history fascinating — women were fighting along side the men — so a lot of her group’s dances deal with that part of history.

The music they dance to is always performed by a live mariachi group and these days it’s usually Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cueller that accompanies them. Many of their performances are choreographed around a particular theme, explains Montoya.

The group has two dance concerts scheduled in May.

But unlike most of their performances, the group’s appearance at the Ford Amphitheatre on May 31 is not based on a particular region, but will instead pay homage to charreada, or the Mexican rodeo, in a way fulfilling the long ago wish of 7 year-old Montoya.

The guys will be roping on stage and the girls will be dressed as escaramuzas, with hats and whips, she said, obviously excited.

“When I was a kid I always wanted to do that [escaramuzas], so now I’m doing it in my own way,” she said. “I’m telling my story.”

Upcoming Performances by Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles 

May 3

Citadel Outlets in Commerce

Time: 2-5pm

Cost: Free. 

May 31

John Anson Ford Amphitheatre 

“Fiesta Mexicana” XII featuring Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano 

A tribute to Mexican composers Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Manuel Esperón and Juan Gabriel. 

Cost: Tickets start at $57 for adults and $36 for students. 

For info, visit fordstheatre.org

 

Mexican Dresses: A Cinco de Mayo Tradition

May 1, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

For Martha Medina, owner of Olveritas Village on Olvera Street at the El Pueblo Historical Monument in downtown Los Angeles, Cinco de Mayo represents another opportunity to showcase the beauty of the Mexican culture, and her wide array of Mexican dresses and men’s clothing and other specialty items.

Mexican fiestas are celebrated year round on Olvera Street and this Saturday and Sunday the city’s birthplace will host its annual Cinco de Mayo festival — one of the largest and most colorful of all its popular fiestas. From food to decorations and live music, to elaborate Mexican costumes, Olvera Street is keeping its Mexican roots alive.

People living in and around Los Angeles eagerly look forward to Cinco de Mayo or El Día de la Batalla de Puebla. It’s an annual tradition that for many immediately means time to celebrate.

Owner of Olveritas, Marta Medina stands next to a traditional Mexican dress on Monday; as she prepares for Cinco De Mayo, her busiest season. (EGP photo by Jacqueline García)

Owner of Olveritas, Marta Medina stands next to a traditional Mexican dress on Monday; as she prepares for Cinco De Mayo, her busiest season. (EGP photo by Jacqueline García)

History says that on May 5, 1862, a small group of Indigenous Mexicans armed with machetes and rocks won a battle against the French Army, which had a bigger and better armory of weapons and horses.

Today, from folklorico dancers to regular people, Mexicans and non-Mexicans alike, often choose to wear clothes that were typical in the 1900s as part of their celebration.

According to Medina, some of the more popular styles include China Poblana, Escaramuza or a traditional blouse and skirt edged with lace and the three colors of the Mexican flag: red, green and white.

The China Poblana, Medina explained, originates from the city of Puebla in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, where the Battle of Puebla was waged on Cinco de Mayo. The blouse has fringe, is embroidered with silk, beads, and flowers in bright colors. The long A-lined skirt is decorated with sequins and embroidery, added Medina, who carries a large selection of the clothes in her store, and who dresses many of the region’s folklorico dancers.

The escaramuza style dress is worn in several different Mexican states where the Mexican style rodeo known as charreada is popular, Medina told EGP. It is especially popular in Jalisco, Zacatecas, and in Puebla. The escaramuza is a popular charreada event. It involves women, dressed in long-sleeved shirts and long circular skirts decorated with colorful strips of ribbon, performing intricate routines on horseback, explained Medina.

She said a traditional Mexican dress includes a long circular skirt that can either have a lot of detail, such as elaborate hand embroidered flowers, or be plain, with only a little lace in the edges. Most of the dresses are adorned with a chal (shawl) that is used in place of a sweater, Medina added.

 

While Olveritas has many ready to wear dresses in stock, the store is also well-know for its custom designs made in Mexico. Medina says in her business, “decorating” a dress by hand can be a long process, depending on the desired details.

“People usually bring us two pictures of the desired outfit,” said Medina, and once the customer and I agree on the details, I email the picture to Mexico where the design process begins.

A fashion designer in Mexico takes the information and makes the sketch used to make the dress.

From start to finish, “a plain, regular dress can take up to 8 weeks to complete,” said Medina. The most elaborate dresses can take up to 8 months to finish, she said. “It all depends if you want the dress with machine embroidery or hand-embroidery,” she added.

Medina told EGP she is amazed by Mexico’s great culture and traditions. She said the number of dress styles can be in the hundreds, depending on the state and region. “For example, Oaxaca has 365 outfits (huipiles) and skirts; Yucatan is well-known for the Guayaberas worn by men, that are often white and short-sleeved; Veracruz for the Jarocho, long skirt and shirt with chal,” and many more, she said.

The wearing of Mexican dresses is a tradition that has continued for generations in many Mexican families, but Medina adds that she is impressed that many of her white and Russian clients are also adopting the traditional clothing into their wardrobes. “Russians like to wear Mexican clothing, they find it similar to theirs,” she said.

Olveritas Village is a 40 year-old family owned business, providing all types of outfits from all the states and regions of Mexico.

Breves de la Comunidad

May 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Lincoln Heights

Un motociclista murió el miércoles alrededor de las 2 a.m. en las esquinas de Broadway y Casanova, según dijo el Asistente de Coronel Ed Winter. El hombre que parecía estar en sus 30s no ha sido identificado hasta anunciarle a sus familiares.

Las causas del choque están bajo investigación.

 

Este de Los Ángeles

Daniel Ibarra, 26, de Los Ángeles disparó e hirió a una mujer antes de morir en un tiroteo intercambiado con oficiales. Ibarra recibió varios disparos y murió en el lugar alrededor de las 4:15 a.m. del martes después de parapetarse por casi 90 minutos en la cuadra 100 North Gage Avenue.

La mujer víctima de los disparos no ha sido identificada. La oficial Quiana Birkbeck del Departamento de Alguacil del Condado de Los Ángeles dijo que la mujer se encuentra en condición estable. Alrededor de las 2:50 a.m. recibió un disparo, según las autoridades. Ibarra se mantuvo en la escena, armado con una pistola y mostrando un celular.

Le dispararon cuando comenzó a moverse hacia la casa donde la mujer había recibido el disparo. Dos niños fueron vistos saliendo de una casa en la zona con un oficial a pocos minutos de comenzar el tiroteo, según medios de televisión.

El caso está bajo investigación.

 

Los Ángeles

No hay garantías de que los otros propietarios voten para forzar a Donald Sterling a desprenderse de los Clippers, que es una forma de sacarlo de la imagen, o que Sterling vaya a querer vender el equipo, incluso después de haber sido suspendido de por vida de la NBA y obtener una multa de $2.5 para hacer comentarios racistas que terminaron siendo exhibidos al público.

El Comisionado de la NBA Adam Silver, dijo el martes que presionaría para que Sterling venda del equipo como parte de las sanciones.

Varios ya demuestran su interés en el equipo incluyendo a Rick Caruso, Magic Johnson y Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Sterling compró el club por $12,5 millones en 1981, pero actualmente el valor de los Clippers asciende a por lo menos $575 millones, según Forbes.

Entre las ligas más valiosas de la franquicia, los Clippers ocupa el número 13.

En voto por unanimidad, el martes la municipalidad de L.A pidió censurar a Sterling de por vida de actividades de la liga y pedir disculpas a los angelinos y a Magic Jonson.

Vernon ‘Breaks Ground’ on Major Good-Governance Reforms

May 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Vernon’s city council got physical last week and broke ground on two major community developments aimed at ensuring the industrial city begins to make good on reforms meant to change the once scandal-ridden city.

On Saturday, the Vernon council formally launched the Vernon CommUNITY Fund during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new soccer field with artificial turf in Huntington Park.

The revamped Vernon CommUNITY Fund will replace the city’s Good Neighbor Program, and will allow non-profit organizations and cities near Vernon to apply online for city grants.

(Left to right) Vernon Mayor W. Michael McCormick, Sen, Ricardo Lara, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Sen. Kevin De Leon, Councilmember Luz A. Martinez, Mayor Pro Tem William “Bill” Davis, Councilmember Richard Maisano and Councilmember Michael A. Ybarra break ground on the Vernon Housing project located near the border of Maywood.  (Photo by Leroy Hamilton/ City of Vernon)

(Left to right) Vernon Mayor W. Michael McCormick, Sen, Ricardo Lara, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Sen. Kevin De Leon, Councilmember Luz A. Martinez, Mayor Pro Tem William “Bill” Davis, Councilmember Richard Maisano and Councilmember Michael A. Ybarra break ground on the Vernon Housing project located near the border of Maywood. (Photo by Leroy Hamilton/ City of Vernon)

Non-profits and government agencies based in Bell, Boyle Heights, Commerce, Huntington Park, Maywood, Vernon and Unincorporated East Los Angeles or who serve the residents of those areas are eligible to apply.

Grants will range from $5,000 to $250,000 for projects over a period of six months to two years. Grants under $5,000, or for events or sponsorships will not be considered. Applications over $250,000 will be considered.

A grant committee will review all applications and make recommendations for funding to the city council, which has final authority.

The new artificial turf soccer field at Salt Lake Park will be paid for with funds from a $624,000 grant from Vernon’s now former Good Neighbor Program.

The day prior to the community fund announcement, the council was joined by Senators Ricardo Lara, De Leon and Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard at another groundbreaking ceremony, this time for Vernon Village Park, a 45-unit apartment complex in the city that is expected to double the city’s voting population. During the city’s last election in April, only 68 of the city’s 100 or so residents voted.

Sen. De Leon recognized the city for its progress since being nearly disincorporated in 2011 amid allegations of corruption. At the time, critics said the city’s lack of a true electorate to hold elected officials accountable, made it rife for corruption.

The move to increase the city’s population was acknowledge as a positive move forward, but it was clear the city would remain under scrutiny by public officials.

“We’ll continue to work to ensure they meet all of the reform obligations to enlarge and energize the electorate and become a model city in [South] East Los Angeles,” De Leon said.

The affordable-housing project, located at 52nd Drive is expected to be move-in ready by 2015 and will boast one, two and three bedroom units and various community amenities.

“This is a momentous event in the life of our 109 year-old city,” Vernon Mayor Michael McCormick said. “A decade ago you would never have thought of Vernon as a ‘live-work’ community, but times change [and] Vernon is changing with them.”

NBA Owners Take Up Clipper Sale

May 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A 10-member advisory/finance committee of NBA owners will meet today to begin discussing the steps required to force Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday that Sterling was banned for life from the league for making racist remarks that were recorded and made public over the weekend on a pair of websites. Silver also fined Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount the NBA can assess. The funds will be donated to anti-discrimination groups jointly identified by the NBA and the league’s players’ association.

Sterling is barred from having any association with the team which means he may not attend any NBA games or practices and is barred from going to any Clippers facilities. He also may not be involved in any decisions involving the team.

Alex Nogales, left, and his colleagues from the National Hispanic Media Coalition demonstrated support to the NBA’s decision to ban Clipper Owner Donald Sterling for life.  (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

Alex Nogales, left, and his colleagues from the National Hispanic Media Coalition demonstrated support to the NBA’s decision to ban Clipper Owner Donald Sterling for life. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

He is also barred from any NBA league activities or meetings.

Silver said Tuesday he “will do everything in my power to ensure” that the sale happens.

Sterling has owned the team since 1981.

“The central findings of the (NBA’s) investigation are that the man whose voice is heard on the recording … is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling,” Silver said. “The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful.”

Sterling’s remarks were made in a telephone conversation with V. Stiviano, who has been rumored to be linked romantically to Sterling. On the recording, the man reported to have been Sterling castigates Stiviano for an Instagram picture of her with Dodgers star Matt Kemp and Dodgers part-owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson and tells her not to bring black people to “my games.”

The public release of the recordings sparked outrage here in Los Angeles and across the country. More than a dozen corporations have dropped or suspended their sponsorships of the Clippers in response to Sterling’s comments. Whether they will resume their association is not yet clear.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council weighed in on the controversy and moved to censure Sterling. On a unanimous vote, the council approved a motion that denounces the statements and demands that Sterling apologize to Angelenos and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, an “iconic, national figure” who was a target of some of the remarks.

Councilman Bernard Parks, who introduced the motion, said during a Tuesday morning news conference that the city has a “long-standing tradition” of fighting against racial discrimination.

The motion reflects the city’s desire to “condemn the statements made by Mr. Sterling and clearly separate itself from those statements,” Parks said.

After the council’s vote, several members joined a news conference by Garcetti and current and former NBA players outside City Hall to hail the league’s decision to ban Sterling for life. They also urged fans to continue supporting Clippers players.

While it appears the NBA’s Board of Governors can force a sale, if three-quarters of the 29 NBA team owners vote in favor of such a move, it remains to be see if Sterling will challenge such a decision in court, despite his franchise containing a “no recourse clause,” according to several media reports. Silver said Tuesday he was confident he would have enough support to force Sterling out.

In the meantime, rumors are already swirling about potential buyers of the franchise, which Sterling bought in 1981 for $12.5 million but is now valued at least $575 million — making it the league’s 13th most valuable team, according to Forbes.

CBS News reported that Oprah Winfrey was interested in partnering with entertainment industry mogul David Geffen to buy the team, if it becomes available. Officials from Geffen’s office told the Los Angeles Times that Geffen “would be interested in buying the franchise” if Sterling puts it up for sale.

Speculation is that other possible suitors could include many of the same groups that were interested in buying the Dodgers when they were put up for sale.

Real estate developer Rick Caruso told The Times he would also be interested in leading or joining a group to buy the franchise. Magic Johnson’s name has also surfaced, although he has downplayed the rumors.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. also told The Times he would like to put together a group to make an offer and was “very, very interested in buying the Clippers”

Patrick Soon-Shiong — a billionaire doctor, biotech investor and longtime Los Angeles sports fan who previously bought Johnson’s stake in the Lakers, according to news reports is also believed to be interested in the Clippers.

Covered California Ayuda a Hispanos a Registrarse para Votar

May 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Cumpliendo con la Ley Nacional de Registro de Votantes, Covered California envía tarjetas de registro de votantes a los cerca de 1,4 millones de residentes que se han registrado en los nuevos programas de salud.

De acuerdo con la Secretaria de Estado en California más de 6,4 millones de personas con derecho no se han registrado para votar y de los cuales el 62% es hispano. “Es importante para la comunidad latina, porque muchos son inmigrantes de primera generación que se están acostumbrando a navegar el sistema y recibir una tarjeta de votantes les facilita registrarse, votar y participar cívicamente en el proceso político del país”, dijo a Efe Santiago Lucero, portavoz de Covered California.

Por otra parte, el envío de una tarjeta para registrarse como votante, a las personas que cumplen con los requisitos, no es una iniciativa exclusiva de Covered California sino es una obligación de todas las agencias estatales.

“En el Proyecto Voto de ACLU, trabajamos para hacer que las agencias cumplan con la Ley Nacional de Registro de Votantes que ayuda a que las personas tengan acceso a inscribirse para votar cada vez que se pongan en contacto con una agencia del gobierno”, explicó a Efe Anna Castro, representante de la Unión Americana por las Libertades Civiles (ACLU).

Castro destacó que el registro de votantes en California es muy necesario pues el estado ocupa el puesto 45 en la nación por su porcentaje de votantes inscritos. Según señaló la representante de ACLU, de las personas aptas para votar en California sólo se han registrado “el 57% de los hispanos, el 58% de los asiáticos, el 62% de los blancos y el 69% de los afroamericanos”.

Detalló también que de ese 57% de votantes hispanos registrados muchos no ejercen su derecho al voto a la hora de las elecciones. Una de las motivaciones importantes de los latinos para votar es el poder influir en la vida local y estatal. “Hay leyes a nivel local y estatal y hay posibilidad de cambio”, señaló la activista.

Destacó que hay medidas que involucran a todos, como es el caso del sistema escolar por ejemplo, donde las “leyes pueden afectar no sólo la vida de ellos sino de sus hijos”. El envío de tarjetas de registro está previsto para los cerca de 1.396.000 personas registrados en el sistema según los últimos datos de abril, de los cuales el 28% es hispano, el 35% es blanco, el 21% es asiático y el 3% es afroamericano.

De las personas registradas hasta el momento, 88% fueron elegibles para recibir las ayudas financieras para el pago del valor de los seguros de salud. Según destacó Lucero, hasta el momento se ha enviado medio millón de tarjetas en un proceso que avanza diariamente hasta completar el total cercano a 1,4 millones.

Aseguró a la vez que el envío de las tarjetas no tiene ninguna finalidad política partidista. “Queremos que quede bien claro que nosotros no estamos enviando esta tarjeta de registro de votantes para motivar a que se inscriban en un partido político específico”, recalcó el portavoz de Covered California.

“Ellos tendrán derecho inscribirse en el partido que prefieran o mantenerse como independientes”, agregó y destacó que se trata de una importante oportunidad para participar en la vida del país. “La única manera de hacer la diferencia en este país es involucrándose en el proceso cívico y político de los Estados Unidos”, aseguró.

Según datos de la votación de noviembre del 2012, en California, el 19,7% del total de votos fue de latinos, muy por debajo del 26,3% que representaban en ese momento los latinos elegibles para votar y muy inferior al 39% del porcentaje latino del total de la población del estado.

Castro señaló que desde hace un par de semanas, se puso a disposición de la comunidad un servicio para registro de votos por Internet que además de incluir el español, que ya estaba vigente desde el 2012, agregó ocho idiomas más para facilitar el registro a las personas que no hablan inglés.

“Participar en las decisiones no es algo solo individual, es algo de la comunidad. Hay comunidades donde no todos pueden votar pero aquellos que pueden ejercer su voto, representan la voz de la comunidad y llevan la voz de aquellos que no pueden”, concluyó la activista.

L.A. Pilot Program to Test In-Home Bulky Removal Service

May 1, 2014 by · 3 Comments 

A new pilot program to “drastically change the way the City picks up bulky items” was launched last week in the east, northeast Los Angeles district of Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo.

At a press conference April 24 at a home in the Cypress Park/Mount Washington area, Cedillo announced the city is exploring the benefits of allowing department of sanitation workers to remove unwanted furnisher, appliances and other bulky items from inside the homes of residents, and not just at curbside as currently required.

The 6-month program will offer 10 pickups per day — Monday through Friday — to First District residents, said Cedillo. A maximum of five items per household will be allowed.  Reservations will be on a “first come, first served” basis, said Alex E. Helou, assistant director of the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation.

Bureau of Sanitation workers picks up “bulky items” from a resident in Mt. Washington.  (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Bureau of Sanitation workers picks up “bulky items” from a resident in Mt. Washington. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Since entering office, Cedillo has focused many of his office’s resources on tackling trash and illegal dumping issues in the district that includes Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Chinatown, Echo Park, Westlake, MacArthur Park and the Mid-Cities region among other neighborhoods. This latest effort is an expansion of his office’s “clean up campaign,” which includes everything from targeted trash and bulky item removal to solar-powered trash compactors and signs reminding residents to keep the city clean.

While residents can already call 3-1-1 to arrange for the city to haul away bulky items like mattresses and sofas, not everyone makes the call before discarding the items on sidewalks, vacant lots or in alleys. And for some people the requirements may not be easy to meet.

“We have a policy where we ask our residents to put their bulky items outside for pick up and I found that unacceptable,” Cedillo told EGP.  The items may be too heavy for some residents to get down to the street, “so I made a motion to change that to allow sanitation [workers] to go inside people’s homes,” the councilman said. They will “pick up [bulky items] like your own personal UPS, FedEx,” except this is a service paid for by residents’ tax dollars, he added.

Cedillo said the program will “eliminate the need to set bulky items outside, attracting more blight in our communities.”

People may be poor but that doesn’t mean they want to live in a place that is dirty,” he explained.

Cedillo previously told EGP that many of the programs he has started are intended to eliminate the bureaucratic inefficiencies that complicate the process to clean up trash and remove illegally dumped items, such as a city worker only removing a discarded mattress and leaving behind an old tire at the same spot because that’s the job of another city department.

However, last week he said keeping the community clean will ultimately come down to whether people in his district are willing to change their ways and to “stop thinking that you can throw your stuff out there and someone is going to come and pick it up.”

In the meantime, Helou said residents wanting the city to remove bully items from inside their homes will be required to sign a liability waiver before workers can enter. Ideally the resident should be home when sanitation workers arrive, but if they can’t be there, Helou said they can leave items on the front porch with a note that clearly identifies which things are to be picked up to prevent the wrong items from being hauled away,

The person arranging for the pick up and at the home when workers arrive must be 18 years or older. No more than five items will be removed per appointment, and all of the items must be free-standing and not affixed to walls or other surfaces; appliances must be unplugged from gas lines or electricity and items should fit easily through exit door.

The city is not responsible for damages to the items removed, and once off the homeowner’s property they cannot be returned.

The pilot program will be evaluated following the 6-month test period, said Helou. If it’s a success, “we will keep it and expand it to more council districts and hopefully across the city,” he added.

Residents can call LA Sanitation’s 24-hour line at (800) 773-2489 to schedule a pick-up during a four-hour collection window.

The communities in CD-1 are Glassell Park, Cypress Park, Highland Park, Mt. Washington, Solano Canyon, Elysian Park, Echo Park, Westlake, Angelino Heights, Temple Beaudry, Lafayette Park, Chinatown, Forgotten Edge, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Sycamore Grove, Pico Union, Adams-Normandie, University Park, Mid Cities and Mac Arthur Park.

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