Sometimes there’s love in laughter. And the cast and crew bringing the new web series East Willy B have a lot of love for the real-life neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn, and (most) of the fictional characters.
The series’ heart is Willie Reyes, Jr. (Flaco Navaja) the 30-something Puerto Rican-proud bar owner who inherited the business from his dad, including the barfly crushing on him, Giselle (Caridad “La Bruja” de la Cruz). Wille is trying to keep his bar, which has served as the nabe’s hangout and nerve center, from closing down due gentrification in the form of his ex-girlfriend Maggie (April Hernandez) and her new white beau (and Willie’s longtime rival), Albert (Danny Hoch), and the incoming white hipsters looking for cheap(er) rent.
Transcript of the premiere episode after the jump.
If you’re going out tonight, be careful and be wary – Cinco De Mayo is amateur hour when it comes to frosty adult beverages. The drinks will probably be cheaper, but the rowdies will probably be taking advantage of that. So watch out for anybody in a cheap “sombrero,” especially on the road.
In the meantime, please check out this little bit of perspective on today’s “holiday,” originally published at The R two years ago today. And let’s all stay safe out there.
“We wanted to make sure that it was not the Speedy of the 1950s – the racist Speedy. Speedy’s going to be a misunderstood boy who comes from a family that works in a very meticulous setting, and he’s a little too fast for what they do. He makes a mess of that. So he has to go out in the world to find what he’s good at.”
So Mrs. Lopez, who will produce this project, says the couple can refashion a cartoon like this into A Mexican-American Tail:
The thing is, it’s not just about Speedy, but about the universe he inhabited. Continue reading →
At the very least, Thursday’s conclusion, “Chasing The Dream,” seemed equal parts melodrama and bait-and-switch, with the broadcast component weakened by a lack of questions that undercut even its’ more compelling segments.
For instance, in the report on the murder of Luis Mendoza, we got an overview of events in Shenandoah, Penn., leading up to the crime, and of the area’s history with several immigrant populations, but when one individual reported he felt he was being intimidated because of his speaking to CNN, we got no follow-up with local authorities. When it was mentioned that one of the four defendants – who were acquitted of hate-crime accusations – testified the cops told them to get their stories straight, we got no follow-up. Continue reading →
Soledad O’Brien says she wants Latino In America to “start a conversation.” Unfortunately for viewers, the series’ message seems to be, what? Woe is us?Abandon ship?What did Brown ever do to you?
Grounded in depressing case studies and missed questions, the series’ first installment was less “Latinos In America” and more like “Latinos For Lou Dobbs’ Audience.” Most of the people featured were not “changing” their communities – they were being victimized in or by them. They were pregnant, suicidal (or pregnant and suicidal), caught in an immigration raid, losing their cultural roots, facing an uphill job struggle or isolated in their churches. The premiere’s first profile, of Univision TV chef Lorena García, was the only one that focused on somebody doing something positive – in her case, building her own brand in spite of skepticism over her “accent.” Continue reading →
The U.S. Hispanic Contractors Association had recently been in the news for leading a successful protest against a morning talk radio show on KLBJ-AM in which a co-host had repeatedly referred to Latino immigrants as “wetbacks”. On Monday, the parent owner of the radio station announced that the show would be canceled. That same day, though, KVUE TV broadcast the news report highlighting that the same organization that led the fight against the anti-immigrant slur had the questionable video on its website.
What’s exactly in the video and is it truly offensive to gays? You be the judge. The American-Statesman says that it consists of outtakes from a promotional ad for the Association featuring Mexican-born comedian Paul Rodriguez which were never used in the ad that actually aired. The paper described it as “Rodriguez dressed as a construction worker walking in an effeminate manner”. Continue reading →
The media reform movement is an offshoot and part of the civil rights movement. It was born in 1963, when Dr. Martin Luther King and Rev. Everett Parker of the United Church of Christ initiated a lawsuit against white-owned TV stations in the South for consistently portraying African Americans in a racist manner, while refusing to show any coverage of the civil rights movement.
Because of their pressure, the FCC shut down a Mississippi TV station, stating that the power and influence that media companies have gives them the responsibility to operate with the broader public interest at heart – with special consideration given to oppressed minorities.
Since then, political pressure has been brought to bear against the FCC and Congress on a wide variety of issues: female and minority ownership of stations and publications, the dangers of consolidation of the media, the need to build public communications infrastructure like cable access stations or city-owned Internet networks, and the need for everyone to have broadband access.
The percentage of our time that the American public spends with media has been steadily climbing for 40 years, and with that, its influence over our lives. The media is our environment, and the battle I am engaged in is over the nature of this environment: whether it is an environment in which ordinary people have a voice – or whether we are to passively absorb content controlled by a small number of people and corporations. Whether the media is democratic, and reflects a variety of voices.
Continuing a semi-yearly tradition of mine since my days working at my college paper, just a few notes about today:
1. This is not Mexican Independence Day Nope, that’s September 16th. 5/5 commemorates an unlikely Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The battle delayed, but did not stop, an eventual French occupation of the country, which lasted three years before it was toppled.
2. This is not that big of a deal back home Don’t let the beer ads fool you; 5/5 is a regional holiday, usually celebrated at the site of the battle. But, it’s nowhere near as big a deal as it is in El Otro Lado. Now, is that because of immigrant pride, or American corporate opportunism? That, I leave for you to decide. During my time working in local Spanish-language radio, the biggest sponsors for our Cinco de Mayo concerts were — you guessed it — beer companies. Banners everywhere, beer girls hawking their wares on the stage, booze selling like hot cakes in the fenced-off drinking area. I don’t doubt that at least some of the people who attended the events had their hearts in the right place, but the commercial aspect definitely got on my nerves when I thought about it. Continue reading →
Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World