Latino Heritage Month Pochismo Profile: Xochitl Cahuenga-Alvarado

weliseCalifornia artist Xochitl Cahuenga-Alvarado (born in 1988 in Fresno) creates mixed media artworks and performances.

By investigating language on a meta-level, Cahuenga-Alvarado tries to grasp language.

Transformed into art, language becomes an ornament. At that moment, lots of ambiguities and indistinctnesses, which are inherent to the phenomenon, come to the surface. Ooooh, shiny!

Her mixed media artworks are an investigation into representations of (seemingly) concrete ages and situations as well as depictions and ideas of the Latin@ that can only be realized in mixed media art.

Mas…Latino Heritage Month Pochismo Profile: Xochitl Cahuenga-Alvarado

Happy Rosh HaShanah from the Jews of Tijuana! Happy 5776! (video)

tijuanaMexico, like the United Estates, is a “nation of immigrants.”

In the 1900s, Tijuana welcomed Jewish refugees fleeing wars, hate and poverty in Europe, Asia and the Mideast.

Tijuana Jews, the story of the extended Artenstein family, has become a POCHO Rosh HaShanah (New Year) tradition ever since we noticed rosh-ha-shanah rhymes with Tijuana.

The Jewish year 5776 begins at sundown Sunday, September 13. We wish all who celebrate a happy, healthy, peaceful, loving, prosperous, and sweet New Year. In Ladino — the hybrid Spanish-Hebrew language Jews spoke in Andaluz before the Inquisition — that’s ANYADA BUENA I DULSE!

Mas…Happy Rosh HaShanah from the Jews of Tijuana! Happy 5776! (video)

English is my third language; I grew up speaking Spanish and Caló

panzonI was born and raised in El Paso in an area known as The Second Ward because of its political designation in city government.

In the greater community, it was most popularly called South El Paso. However, the approximately 25,000 mostly Chicano people who lived there referred to the neighborhood as El Segundo Barrio. It was a barrio that was like an island sandwiched between the Rio Grande Mexican border and downtown El Paso.

In this isolated area, about a third of the families were of second or third generation Mexican descent like ours. Another third was made up of mostly migrant newer arrivals and the rest were in transition. However, it was the Spanish language that served to unite the whole community. Although Spanish was prevalent, lots of exposure to English came through, school, work, movies, radio, music and TV, which was then in its infancy.

Although I love that I am bilingual, I was recently reminded that I am, in fact, trilingual. You see, this third language was unique to our Segundo Barrio culture because it originated there. It started as the jargon for the criminal element in our midst. These outlaws were widely know as “pachucos” because of the Los Angeles bent to their style of clothes. Most of us called them Tirilis and for all intents, they were the precursors of today’s gang members.

Mas…English is my third language; I grew up speaking Spanish and Caló

The Easter Story: Why advertising to Hispanics sucks balls* [Updated]



Technically, the word I should have used above, in the headline, is “Manipulates.” As in, “Safely Manipulate Your Balls When You Celebrate!”

That’s what the Federal Drug Administration advises this season, anyway. (Screen capture, above.)

But I’m a writer who has spent a lifetime in both advertising and journalism, and I know the value of good clickbait when I have it in my hands.

Er… Line of sight. Sorry, I’m distracted by the FDA advising me to fondle one’s nether regions for Easter.

Mas…The Easter Story: Why advertising to Hispanics sucks balls* [Updated]

Spanglish is no Juan E. Come Lately to California (audio)

ranchosWhen Los Angeles was a still a little pueblo in the northern part of Mexico known as Alta California, Spanglish was born.

Public Radio International’s Global Nation explains:

…living in the a rancho just north of the pueblo was a young Scottish adventurer named Hugh Reid. In the 1830s he left the old world for the new — Mexico. And in his adopted home he was rechristened with an additional Spanish name, Perfecto Hugo Reid. Reid would eventually settle down on a ranch in southern California near the San Gabriel mission in what’s now Arcadia, a suburb of Los Angeles, where he married a local woman, Doña Victoria.

Robert Train has been obsessed with Hugo Reid’s backstory for the last few years. Train is a professor of Spanish at Sonoma State University. We met recently at the Huntington Library archives in Pasadena, to read Reid’s extremely yellowed letters.

Mas…Spanglish is no Juan E. Come Lately to California (audio)

Accusations, controversy doom first Spanglish grammar conference

(PNS reporting from RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA) Factional fighting among Spanglish speakers, academics, and Raza activists doomed the first Spanglish grammar conference, held here Sunday.

“The idea was to create some foundational principles and ground rules for our people’s language,” co-organizer Lourdes Cervantes-Borges of the Professional Organization of Chican@s Oppressed by Society (POCHOS) told PNS. “We wished merely to memorialize those rules in a book of proper Spanglish Style, a Estronque y Blanco if you will, but then these know-nada nacos had to get involved.”

“No manches, son puras pendejadas! I ain’t down with all of that academic bullshit,” countered East Los delegate-at-large Oscar “Mocoso” Chavez. “Nuestra lengua is from the streets, and I ain’t talking ’bout that chingon taco troka on the corner of Beverly Boulevard.”

Mas…Accusations, controversy doom first Spanglish grammar conference

Shoutout to the Pinoys and Yo-Yos of Califas: You’re #3 (infographic)

Slate’s infographic mapping magic illustrates what we knew already — across most of the United Estates, Spanish is almost always the most commonly-spoken language besides English.

But after English and Spanish, what’s Numero Tres? Here in California, it’s Tagalog, first language of a quarter of all Filipinos and the second language of most. Pinoys, ruled by both Spain and the U.S., are the honorary (?) Latinos of Asia.

Tagalog? If you’ve got cooties, or play with a yo-yo, or live in the boondocks, you’re speaking Tagalog.

There are also unexpected results in Texas and Florida and New York and Illinois and…. Here’s the spoken language third place map:

Mas…Shoutout to the Pinoys and Yo-Yos of Califas: You’re #3 (infographic)

Don’t call me a ‘Mexican,’ America! Also, I’m not a ‘Latino’

HispanosAgaintsLatinoTermIt’s a phenomenon older than the United Estates of America. We’ve named it Looking Down On More Recent Immigrants Syndrome:

Last week three latter-day Looking Down Syndrome sightings lit up our screen, INSISTENT MESSAGES from people who want you to know THEY ARE DEFINITELY NOT THOSE OTHER PEOPLE OVER THERE — those Mexicans and/or Latinos.

Mas…Don’t call me a ‘Mexican,’ America! Also, I’m not a ‘Latino’

‘America the Beautiful’ in Spanish pisses off the haters (videos)

Sunday’s Coca Cola’s Super Bowl commercial spotlighting America the Beautiful (sung in the languages of immigrants who built and continue to build our country) predictably pissed off the Internet haters who have been waiting to dis little patriotic kids since Sebastien de la Cruz sang The Star-Spangled Banner at last year’s NBA finals.

Didn’t see it? Not pissed off enough? Some people love America in Arabic:

Mas…‘America the Beautiful’ in Spanish pisses off the haters (videos)

Me? In London, I’m a ‘culturally-American Mexican’

Regent Street with NFL bannersWhere are you from?

That is a simple question, isn’t? Well, for some of us, the answer is not so straight forward.

My experience in London in the past four months has included fascinating dialogue with people I have come across. It is one thing I have come to expect from such a global city where you are bound to meet people from so many places around the world.

Such interactions have sparked in me the need to explore my conception of identity as part of my own self-discovery process. Primarily because most of us conflate place of origin and ethnicity with identity.

If I claim to be from a certain part of the world, what does that mean about the way others expect me to look, speak, act and be? In engaging in this inquiry, the first realization I have made is that the answer to the question of “Where are you from?” is very telling not only about one’s own perception of identity but also of the one imposed by others.

Mas…Me? In London, I’m a ‘culturally-American Mexican’

Public Service Announcement: No such thing as a ‘tamale’ (video)

As POCHO Subcommandanta del Ñews Sara Inés Calderón (she’s @SaraChicaD on the Twitter) noted the other day, there is no such thing as a “tamale.”

There is one TAMAL and and there are plural TAMALES.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation in getting this distinction across.


Mas…Public Service Announcement: No such thing as a ‘tamale’ (video)

Breaking: Marketing to Latins? Talk Latin to us, activists say

latinspeakersq(PNS reporting from UPTON ABBEY, MI) Frater Cassius the Yon was adamant.

“In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti,” he insisted in a rare English-language interview Sunday. “There is no such thing as Latin dancing, unless you mean the “dance of death” from the Black Plague. And Latin music is Gregorian chants, Enya and Necrodeath. Ain’t nobody got no time for that! Tempus fugit!”

Mas…Breaking: Marketing to Latins? Talk Latin to us, activists say

Coming soon to a theater near them: Navajo ‘Star Wars’ (NPR audio)

If you find yourself in the Navajo Nation (in Arizona) on July 3, you’re in the right place at the right time for a once-in-a-lifetime experience — the premiere of Star Wars, translated into Navajo.

NPR reports:

The 1977 classic has been translated into many languages, and the latest effort is the brainchild of Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz.

“We needed a way to preserve our culture,” Wheeler tells NPR’s Robert Siegel. “Language is at the core of a culture. And I felt we needed a more contemporary way to reach not just young people but the population in general. And so, that’s when the idea of translating a major movie into the Navajo language came up.”

Here’s the NPR interview: