WHO IS MIKE OQUENDO: MEET THE PUERTO RICAN FROM CHICAGO BEHIND MIKEY O COMEDY PRODUCTIONS

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

“If we want to compete at another level, then we have to behave at that other level.”

Mike Oquendo photo source: Mikey O Comedy Productions

Chicago is an awesome place for standup, it’s an awesome place for comedy. The audiences here are amazing,” said Mike Oquendo, the man behind Mikey O Comedy Productions. The son of Puerto Rican parents and Chicago native, Oquendo has managed to maintain a solid comedic reputation for 10 years, has given back to the community and has made people of all different backgrounds laugh.

For the last five years, Oquendo’s production company has done no less than 80 shows in a year. Last year, they finished off with 114 shows. Catering to a predominantly Latino audience, Oquendo said that when he first began hosting these comedy nights, there was a thirst for it. “When people heard ‘Latino comedy’ they said, ‘What’s that?’ When people come to a show, I ask how many people have been to a comedy show. About half of them raise their hands,” he explained. Oquendo owes his comedic passion to the Freddie Prinze comedy album.

“I remember being fascinated by the fact that this guy was a Puerto Rican comedian and there was an album out in which this guy was telling the Puerto Rican story,” he said. “There was a part of me that learned at that moment that that was ok; that talking about that experience was nothing to be ashamed about.”

From high school he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he was a medic. Oquendo used his experience and worked in hospitals in Chicago. Eventually, he went on to become a dispatcher for the Chicago Fire Department getting jobs where he could, with comedy in the back of his head.

grant Jose “Pepe” Vargas, director of the Chicago Latino Film Festival. (EFE)
FOX NEWS LATINO

It was Pepe Vargas, executive director of the International Latino Cultural Center, who Oquendo says, gave him his big break and first real job with being a member of the gala production team. After, he went on to work at museums and eventually the Adler Planetarium where he was in charge of special events, still having an incredible passion for comedy.

Mike Oquendo photo source: Mikey O Comedy Productions

“Taking that combination for production experience and my love for comedy gave birth to what I do today,” he explained. “I’ve done every single job in this business: I’ve been the box office guy, I’ve been the coat check, I’ve been the janitor, I’ve been the guy that delivers the sound equipment, I’ve been the host, I’ve been the usher. I wanted to be in it so badly, that I took any job to be in the mix.”


Fourteen years later, Oquendo has left a lasting impression on the community he decided to stick to. Dedicating funds to particular charities and organizations that support the arts, among others, Oquendo says that his team raised just under $90,000 in 2011, 70 percent of that, arts related. Inclusive of production, Oquendo says his biggest job is motivating his comedians to be professional and authentic in their performances. Taking experiences from his youth to create standards and upholding them, Oquendo believes that if he demands more, the performers will deliver at a higher quality.

Read More: Extra News

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AMERICAN IDOL’S JESSICA SANCHEZ LEAVES JUDGES STUTTERING

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

photo source FOX AMERICAN IDOL

CLICK HERE TO WATCH JESSICA’S PERFORMANCE LIVE AND HEAR WHAT THE JUDGES HAD TO SAY

photo source FOX AMERICAN IDOL

Jessica Sanchez left the judges breathless as she once again showed her powerful pipes and impeccable vocal technique Wednesday night on American Idol. The top seven Idol hopefuls were assigned to sing songs from the last three years.

The part-Mexican, part Filipino singer took a risk with the unfamiliar jazz and soulful song “Stuttering” by Jazmine Sullivan, but the judges gave Sanchez two thumbs up on her rendition.
“That was superb,” said music producer Randy Jackson. “What you did tonight for me is you set the bar really high.”
Jackson added that Sanchez showed “everyone what kind of talent level,” she has and that she has “the control.”
“That was at like the highest degree,” continued Jackson. “You did an amazing job. To me, right now, you slayed that biggest fish of the night.”
Aerosmith rock star Steven Tyler gave Sanchez top-notch reviews, not only on her singing but on her fashion sense as well, comparing her with fellow judge Jennifer Lopez
 “Jessica, every time I hear you sing I forget where I am,” Tyler said. “But America doesn’t forget. You fish slay it every time.”
“You had the nerve to sing a great song and you had the nerve to wear Jennifer’s shoes,” Tyler added excitedly as the audience quickly got to see a close-up of Sanchez’s spiky black heels.
Although Lopez agreed with Tyler and told her she has “great taste,” she compared Sanchez to possibly her biggest competitor—Joshua Ledet.

Guess JLO might not have liked Tyler’s comment after all.

“That was really beautiful,” said Lopez. “What I’d love to see from you, is some almost like Joshua-type performances,” Lopez said bluntly. “You can do it,” she added. “You can show us something we’ve never seen!”

photo source FOX AMERICAN IDOL Sanchez and Ledet performing

Sanchez and Ledet are two of the strongest contestants of season 11 and in the last few weeks have performed multiple medleys together, which have earned the two standing ovations by the judges and the audience.

On Wednesday Sanchez, Ledet and Hollie Cavanagh took on the first American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson, and performed her latest hit “What Doesn’t Kill You.” Ledet on the other hand performed a rendition of Puerto Rican crooner Bruno Mars’ song “Runaway Baby,” earning him a standing ovation from the judges. Jackson felt the performance was simply “unbelievable” while Tyler said it was “like a work of art.” For JLO, Ledet was excellent. “A Joshua performance is so dynamic,[and it] takes control of the audience”, Lopez said. “It’s so much energy. It’s not just the vocals that’s what you do.”

Read more: FOX NEWS LATINO

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ESPN’S HISPANIC AUDIENCE GROWS BY 15% FAR EXCEEDING THEIR NON-LATINO GROWTH

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

On Wednesday, ESPN released its first Spanish language ad. “Esto es SportsCenter,” the ad reads. The translation: “This is SportsCenter.”

The decision to run a Spanish language ad is a reflection of the company’s growing Latino audience, according to The New York Times.

ESPN’s Hispanic audience increased by 15 percent over the past five years, far exceeding their non-Latino audience growth.

While ESPN is looking to reach this Latino audience, an estimated 60 percent of those viewers watch only their English-language programming, while only 20 percent watch only their Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, according to The New York Times report.

But ESPN, who launched their Spanish language network in 2004, is facing competition for the Latino market. Univision will introduce it’s own sports news channel, Univision Deportes, on Saturday.

Growing Latino audiences have also caught the interest of marketers outside of sports networks. And, it’s not just Spanish speakers they’re after.

In recent months, the booming U.S. Latino population has prompted media outlets to expand English-language programming marketed towards Hispanic audiences.

Fox News launched its own English-language Fox News Latino website. Univision, which recently started an English-language Tumblr, is also allegedly in talks with Disney to create an English-language television network. And NBC, which will soon officially launch NBC Latino, also oversees Telemundo’s cable channel Mun2 which features bilingual programming. And lastly, The Huffington Post, launched its English-language LatinoVoices section last August.

As Latino immigrants assimilated and learned English, many marketers presumed they’d fade quickly into mainstream English language media, advertising executive Roberto Orcitold NPR. But to the surprise of many — a bicultural Latino audience interested in consuming English-language content has emerged quickly in the past few years.

“We take the best of American culture that we came to adopt and love,” Roberto Orciold NPR. “And we keep the best of our culture that we value.”
“And so, you have this hybrid American that is very proud and happy to be an American, but is very proud and happy to have his culture which makes him unique, or her unique,” Orci added.

READ MORE: HUFFINGTON POST

WATCH: SportsCenter’s New Spanish Language Ad

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IS LUCHA LIBRE USING IMMIGRATION TO ATTRACT US FANS?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Defiantly waving an Arizona state flag, the self-described American patriot leaps into an octagon-shaped ring amid blaring music and loud boos from an overwhelmingly Latino audience, who hold aloft signs in Spanish supporting his masked Mexican opponents.

“My name is RJ Brewer and I’m from Phoenix, Arizona,” the wrestler proclaims in a video of a recent match provided by the promoter. Taunts from inside the arena get louder.

He proceeds to rail against Mexican beer and to demand that people speak English. Then he points to the message painted on the backside of his red trunks: “SB1070” — a reference to Arizona’s controversial immigration law. The crowd, some wearing masks of their favorite Mexican wrestlers, shrieks ever louder. He then brags that his “mother,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, is helping “save” America by pushing policies that limit immigration (he’s not really her son).

When his masked opponent in a red cape appears, the crowd erupts into cheers.

This undated image provided by Lucha Libre USA shows the anti-immigrant styled "RJ Brewer" entering a wrestling ring to the boos of the primarily Latino crowd. As more promotions of Lucha Libre, aka, Mexican-style wrestling, expands into U.S. and targets growing Mexican immigrant and Mexican American markets, they are beginning to adopt more political tones and tap into strong sentiments just as U.S. wrestling promoters did in the 1980s and 1990s on the subject of race and the Cold War. Photo: AP / AP

Lucha libre — or “free wrestling” in Spanish — is a brand of Mexican wrestling that dates to the 1930s. The sport came north to the United States, along with Mexican immigrants, and over the years spawned clubs in some larger U.S. cities with large Latino communities.

One lucha libre promotion is leading the charge away from the slapstick and simple storylines with a tour in U.S. cities with sizable Latino populations, including events in Reno, Nev., and San Jose, Calif., this week. It’s using the recent events in Arizona as a backdrop while pitting popular masked Mexican wrestlers against American “bad guys.”

“It’s something that we’ve been building in our TV shows and we’ve gotten a lot of positive reaction to it,” said Steve Ship, CEO of Lucha Libre USA, which this week is launching a “Masked Warriors” tour that will also stop in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Houston. “So we are bringing it right to our audience.”

SB1070, signed by Gov. Brewer in 2010, requires all immigrants in Arizona to obtain or carry immigration registration papers and requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question people’s immigration status if there is a reasonable suspicion they’re in the country illegally. The law is being challenged by the federal government and has sparked protests and boycotts against Arizona by Latino advocates around the country.

On shows that have aired on Spanish-language stations and MTV2, RJ Brewer — whose real name is John Stagikas and works as a real estate agent in Massachusetts — advocates for deportations and calls on Americans to support laws that target illegal immigrants.

“This is different than any other program I’ve been involved with because usually I have to work really hard to get the audience to hate me,” Stagikas said in an interview with The Associated Press. “With this, I just walk in with the Arizona flag and the audience boos before I even say a word.”

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Lucha-libre-using-immigration-to-attract-US-fans-3446194.php#ixzz1r3bDYMee

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“TO SELENA WITH LOVE” IS HOW CHRIS REMEMBERS HIS TEJANO STAR & SELENA GOMEZ SINGS “BIDI BIDI BOM BOM”

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

CLIPS OF SELENA’S “DREAMING OF YOU” AND HER LAST CONCERT IN HOUSTON, TX ARE POSTED THROUGHOUT THIS POST


The new book “To Selena, With Love” reveals intimate details about the late Tejano star’s life, but the book’s author – her widower, Chris Perez – doesn’t consider it a “tell-all” kind of book.
“I thought it should be honest, with dignity. I knew there would be things that would make me feel uncomfortable, but I think I wrote the book with respect,” Perez, 42, said in a recent interview.

SELENA’S LAST CONCERT – PART 1 OF 7 – SHE’S INTRODUCED

Perez says the book, released Tuesday, allows him to share his memories of Selena Quintanilla, who was shot and killed on March 31, 1995, two weeks shy of her 24th birthday. The Mexican-American singer was a sensation in the Tejano world with hits such as “Como la flor,” “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and “El chico del apartamento 512.” She was on the verge of crossing over when she was killed by Yolanda Saldivar, the president of her fan club.

SELENA’S CONCERT PART 2 OF 7- AMOR PROHIBIDO

“When Selena died, I suppressed the memories, I boxed them away in order to cope. When I decided to write the book, I opened the box and put it all out. It was a beautiful process. It  was a good thing to revisit and I can’t say I fell in love again because I never stopped loving her,” he said.

SELENA’S CONCERT PART 3 OF 7 – TECHNO CUMBIA

Perez met Selena when he became the lead guitarist for Selena y Los Dinos. It was a band formed by Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., and also featured her siblings Suzette and A.B. Quintanilla.

SELENA’S LAST CONCERT PART 4 OF 7 – NO ME QUEDA MAS

Perez confesses that he feels remorse for not protecting his wife. He wonders if things would have been different had he told someone that Selena told him days before her death that Saldivar had shown her a gun. Perez also addresses rumors, including one that Selena was pregnant at the time of her death (she wasn’t).

SELENA’S LAST CONCERT PART 5 OF 7 – BIDI BIDI BOM BOM

The first part of the book talks about their secret love. Their romance started behind her father’s back, as depicted in the 1997 movie starring Jennifer Lopez, “Selena.” Selena’s father was opposed to their relationship and accused Perez of being with his daughter only for her money. Selena’s father only accepted Perez after the couple eloped in 1992. Perez describes his father-in-law as an admirable person whom he still loves and respects. “We had our differences but I love him and respect him like my own father. As a matter of fact, I just went to his studio the other day and I took my kids to see him. We’re still a family,” he said.

SELENA’S LAST CONCERT PART 6 OF 7 – EL CHICO DEL APARTAMENTO 512

 Perez says that music was really a “business” for Selena; her real passion was fashion. “I have pads and pads of sketches,” he said. “Most of the clothes she wore were her own designs.” After Selena’s death, the guitarist, who lives in San Antonio, struggled to cope with his loss but eventually moved on. He formed The Chris Perez Band, which won a Grammy in 1999. He also married Venessa Villanueva in 2001 and the couple had two kids, but they divorced a few years later.

SELENA’S LAST CONCERT PART 7 OF 7 – COMO LA FLOR – WE LOVE YOU SELENA

Selena Gomez named after the late Queen of Tejano music, Selena Quintanilla, who has been gone for 17 years.

The Disney princess tackled the Mexican pop legend Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”—but can her cover hold a candle to the original? “I’m keeping her name alive,” she said proudly. The new Selena featuring Selena duet, “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” from Enamorada de Ti, the upcoming album honoring Quintanilla and boasting other collabos with Samo from Mexican rock band Camila (“Amor Prohibido”), Cristian Castro (“Como La Flor”), Juan Magán (“Enamorada De Ti”), and Don Omar (“Fotos y Recuerdos”).
Selena Gomez tells Abraham Quintanilla, “I’m extremely honored that you thought of me for this. The 73 year old patriarch responded, “I know it’s going to be un éxito.” Enamorada de Ti drops April 3.

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