Carlos Ponce trae sabor a South Beach con el National Pork Board / Carlos Ponce brings flavor to South Beach with the National Pork Board

 

Esta entrada no es auspiciada por el GOYA, National Pork Board o SOBEWFF. Yo no recibí compensación por publicarla, y todas las ideas y opiniones son mías. 

This post was not sponsored by the GOYA, National Pork Board or SOBEWFF. I did not receive compensation for publishing it, and all ideas and opinions are my own. 

 

El que me conoce a mí, sabe que amo a Miami. Todo— la música, la comida, y las mezclas de culturas– me atraen los sentidos.

Aunque no esté por allá ahora, disfruté mucho seguir la acción en las redes sociales del South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) de amistades y colegas que estuvieron allí.

Sobre todo, me emocionó ver al cantante famoso Carlos Ponce, quien es embajador del National Pork Board.
All who know me, know I love Miami. Everything— the music, the food, and the mixture of cultures– attract my senses.

Even if I’m not there right now, I really enjoyed following the action across social media networks during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) from friends and colleagues who were there.

Above all, I was thrilled to see Carlos Ponce is the new ambassador for National Pork Board.

 

Carlos Ponce posando con los ganadores del concurso de SOBEWFF.

Carlos Ponce poses with the winners of the SOBEWFF sweepstakes.

Aquí tengan un algunos detalles sobre el evento, en inglés.

Here are a few details about the event:

The National Pork Board (NPB) returned to the 2017 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF), as the Official Pork Sponsor and Preferred Protein of the Festival.

The National Pork Board also invited internationally recognized Puerto Rican actor, singer-songwriter and host, Carlos Ponce, to heat up kitchens across America and bring “The Taste of Now” to life. The campaign launched with a national sweepstakes that gave fans a chance to win a round trip to Miami to meet Ponce and be his guest at the Goya Foods’ Swine & Wine presented by The National Pork Board, home of the National Pork Board’s 3rd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards. The exclusive, all-pork event took place this Sunday, February 26 at The Biltmore Hotel, featuring 13 renown chefs from restaurants all over the country who competed to create the best pork dish throughout the night. The competition was judged by on-screen celebrity Carlos Ponce and chefs Richard Ingraham, Jose Mendin, Ingrid Hoffman, James Tahhan, Ana Quincoces and Fernando Desa.

Winners of the National Pork Board’s 3rd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards were Brian Nasajon, executive chef from Wynwood’s Beaker & Gray Restaurant, who took home the 1st place. In 2nd place was Douglas Rodriguez, executive chef of Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia and 3rd place went to Chef David Hackett of The Biltmore Hotel. All three winning chefs received Pork branded roasting boxes from La Caja China™.

From left to right: Carlos Ponce, Frank Unanue, president of Goya Foods’ Florida, Richard Ingraham, Ana Quincoces, David Hackett of The Biltmore Hotel, Brian Nasajon, executive chef from Wynwood’s Beaker & Gray Restaurant, Brett Friedman, managing partner of Agency 21 and Jose de Jesus, director of multicultural marketing at the National Pork Board. 

For more information on the National Pork Board, including new recipes, information on choice and lean cuts, health, and safety information, cooking tips and promotions, visit  Pork Te Inspira. To join the social conversation, like the Facebook page at Facebook.com/PorkTeInspira, and follow on Twitter.com/PorkTeInspira and Instagram @PorkTeInspira, using #SabrososMomentos. PorkTeInspira.com is a resource of pork information and inspiration, including mouthwatering recipes, nutritional content information on pork, choice cuts, health and safety information and cooking tips.

River of Lights ilumina a Animal Kingdom / River of Lights illuminates Animal Kingdom

 

Los que llevamos años visitando al Animal Kingdom en Walt Disney World Resort tal vez pensamos que lo conocemos bien. Uno se cree que ya ha visto todas las atracciones, las exhibiciones y se lo conoce como la palma de la mano.

Pero hay otro aspecto muy diferente de Animal Kingdom que aun es reciente…la vida nocturna. ¡Es cierto…el reino de los animales toma vida de noche, y el parque se transforma con una mágia muy nueva!

El viernes, 17 de febrero pude ir al Animal Kingdom y descubrir algunos de las nuevas instalaciones, incluso disfrutar el gran estreno del nuevo espectáculo de luces, agua, y música, Rivers of Light.

 

 

Those of us who have visited Animal Kingdom many times over the years perhaps think we know it well. You think you’ve seen all of the attractions, the shows, and that you know it like the palm of your hand.

But there’s an entirely different aspect of Animal Kingdom that is still very recent…the nightlife. It’s true…the kingdom comes alive at night, and the park transforms with a very new brand of magic!

On Friday, February 17th, I was able to go to Animal Kingdom and discover some of the new features, in addition to enjoying the premiere of the new spectacle of lights, water, and music, Rivers of Light.

 

¡Es una galleta…no jabón! 

It’s a cookie…not soap! 

 

 

 

En el camino, me encontré a amigos. Algunos fueron humanos…

Along the way, I ran into some friends. Some were human…

 

Con Xavier de Disney Public Relations. 

With Xavier of Disney Public Relations. 

Y otros eran de otras especies.

And others were of other species.

 

 

A mi familia y a mí nos encanta ver a los gorillas. 

My family and I love seeing the gorillas. 

 

El nuevo amfiteatro se llenó desde temprano con 5,000 personas esperando con ánsias la nueva presentación.

The new amphitheater filled early with 5,000 people anxiously awaiting the new show.

 

 

 

 

 

Y cuando comenzó, el espectáculo de 15 minutos no decepcionó. La combinación de artistas, linternas flotantes, y efectos especiales fue impresionante.

El equipo de Imagineers de Disney incorporó 50,000 bombillas programables de LED y música compuesta por el creador de la banda sonora de la película de Disney, “Moana.”

 

And when it began, the 15-minute spectacle didn’t disappoint. The combination of performers, floating lanterns, and special effects was impressive.

Disney Imagineers incorporated 50,000 programmable LED lights and music composed by the man who wrote the musical score for Disney’s “Moana.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vean el video que tomé para Facebook abajo durante “Rivers of Light.”

See below for the Facebook video I took during “Rivers of Light.”

 

 

 

Fue una tarde excepcional, por la noche aprovechamos a experimentar el Kilamanjaro Safari. ¡Me parece mucho más emocionante cuando la aventura es de noche!

It was an exceptional evening, and we took the opportunity to experience the Kilamanjaro Safari. It seems a lot more exciting when it’s a nighttime adventure!

 

Para más fotos y video, visiten mi página. ¡Gracias, Walt Disney World Resort, por invitarme a disfrutar la naturaleza salvaje!

For more photos and video, visit my page. Thanks, Walt Disney World Resort, for inviting me to enjoy the wild nature!

Photographer JeanPaul SanPedro captures actors through the lens of their Cuban roots

It’s one of those earth-shifting, life-altering moments that remains forever embedded in our collective memory.

We will all probably remember what we were doing, where we were the night of November 25, 2016, as news broke about the death of infamous Cuba dictator Fidel Castro. That night, generations of Cuban-Americans who had witnessed or heard their loved ones relating stories of fear and oppression finally began to heal.

Shortly before that, however, an actor, director, and photographer based in Los Angeles, JeanPaul SanPedro, set out to create his own revolution– a revolution of using his camera lens to capture the strength, the resilience, and the beauty of his Cuban-American contemporaries. All are actors, directors– artists– like him. Although their personal thoughts and opinions, as well as their experiences, are as different as night and day, all seem to agree that the time has come for the archaic perceptions of Cubans and Cuban-Americans in the media to change.

I got to speak with several of these artists who are breaking ground in their industry, simply by breaking their silence– and striking a fearless pose.

 

JeanPaul SanPedro, JeanPaul SanPedro Photography


If you see the pictures, there’s a few actors there that you might not recognize, but they’ve done 42 independent films, but they’re not known, and they don’t get noticed by Hollywood, yet they’re very talented people. It doesn’t have to be all Andy Garcias. It’d be cool if he came, but it’s more about the struggle that we go through, which is a similar struggle [to the one] that they’re going through in Cuba.

To me, Raúl has been in power since about 2006, officially since 2008. They’re very much officially under that Castro law. I hope for the best; I hope to go back there one day, and it would be a freer country, and, you know, I would love to shoot a movie there one day, but we’ll see where that goes.

There’s a lot of people in Miami; I remember older people, my friends’ grandfathers, have like this very distinct wine bottle, like a four-foot-tall wine bottle, and it was saved. I was always like, ‘why don’t you guys drink that?’ They were like, ‘this is for the day Fidel dies.’ And a lot of people unfortunately passed before [they opened] that bottle, but a lot of people got to see that. I empathize with them, what a victory for them. To say that I understand exactly– I wasn’t there. I was born here, I was born in Miami. That’s what I know.

I wanted to show that with the pictures. I know Roberto Sanchez came from Cuba, I think in the eighties, and some people have been through it rough, and I think we did a good job with the pictures depicting ourselves as strong, powerful people.

I really wanted to stay away from anything cheesy, or as anything depicting us as what commercial media sees us as. Some people were like ‘oh, let’s put like a party with rum,’ and I was like, ‘no, I don’t want to get into the commonalities that people think of us. I just want us to be there, strong, and dress nice, dress sharp, and with a purpose, and I think we achieved that. The pictures have been really impactful. People have been writing me and writing these actors, and a lot of them I like to read, not so much about the pictures, but, ‘Wow, you look so classy, you look so strong, so elegant.'”

I’ve gotten E-mails and messages from people in Miami, people my age, who aren’t that vocal about the whole Cuba thing. Even people from Puerto Rico who live in New York who wrote me and said, ‘I love this series, it’s so powerful.’ I really think it’s because there’s a hunger on the whole in the Latino community to maybe start uniting. In this case, it’s art with people coming together, voicing their opinions, no matter at what cost.

There’s so many more roles now, why do women need push-up bras and huge accents to do a role? Either that, or it’s the very street Latina from New York, or the maid.

Latinos that make it here, they make it and then they feel so happy that they made it, that they feel afraid to speak their minds because they’re going to lose any position or status that they’ve arrived to, and I get that, because everyone has families and they have to make money, but we’re also suffering. It’s really our own fault, because we don’t unify. I don’t like to be seen as crying about it…it’s more about taking action.

 

Guillermo Jorge, Guillermo Jorge at IMDb

I was born in Mercy Hospital, in Coconut Grove, ‘Miami,’ Florida.  My father was from Havana, Cuba, and my mom from the eastern part, Holguin. In my 13 years in L.A., I never really cherished where I come from. I feel like I received more help from non-Cubans than I ever did from my fellow countrymen.

Coming to L.A., I’ve always wanted to feel more American.  I dove into this world of entertainment. I received the [stereotypical] responses when they heard I was Cuban. ‘Oh, I love Scarface; oh, you guys must be hot-tempered and passionate.’ I avoided my roots until the last 4 years. Maybe because I don’t ever really play Cuban, at USC, I was told I wasn’t white enough. I’ve played everything except Cuban. I have had resentment towards the Cuban community, the conservativeness about it, especially these past 4 months. I saw this as a way of tuning into my heritage and bonding with what I know.

My parents lost a lot in Cuba, especially my mother’s side of the family. My father came over to the U.S. through the Peter Pan flights- Like my dad said, with a little briefcase and a pair of shoes. He lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana in a basketball gym before heading down to Miami.

We’re a proud people who have endured loss and strife. We’ve shot up the American dream in government and entertainment, etc.

Somos pocos, pero somos fuertes.

 

Doris Morgado, Doris Morgado at IMDb

I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where my family received political asylum after my grandfather was released from a Cuban prison for being against the communist government.

I love JeanPaul’s work and the vision of getting Cuban actors, who are super talented, in a sexy and sophisticated photo shoot. The offer was too great to pass [up]. It’s important to portray our look with that of our talent. As Hispanic actors, we are so diverse, so this shoot helps put us in a new light— a stronger, more brilliant light where we all shine.

My grandfather was a political prisoner in Cuba and we were lucky enough to be able to leave Cuba to ensure a better future for my brother and me. It wasn’t easy for them to leave everything behind, but thanks to that leap of faith and that courage, I’ve been blessed to have been raised in the U.S.

Projects like these are very important because Latinos can sometimes be placed in a small box of what society thinks of us, but we’re so much more then that.

Cubans are strong, beautiful, passionate, loving, and intelligent individuals. We have so much to offer to the community and especially to the world through the arts. We’re great storytellers because of the mixture of cultures and different ethnicities within our island. We are able to portray many different stories simply because our looks are so mixed and our story and our culture is so rich.

I think right now, we’re at a great place in history to allow the world to see us as we see ourselves. We are much more than the box that we are placed in because of our origin of birth. I’m excited that more and more projects are being made that are accepting and embracing our culture.

 

Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gomez on Twitter

So, I was born in New York city, but raised in Miami. With all the attention that Cuba is getting at the moment, we really don’t have a big acting community that is Cuban.

I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I’m very proud of my heritage and thought it was a nice gesture to put it out there, where I was from. Both my parents are Cuban and even though I wasn’t born there, I grew up with a strong sense of culture that is still a big part of who I am. 

It’s interesting all the dialogue about immigration. In the sixties, when all the Cubans came to the U.S.  because of the political change, this country welcomed them. Very different what’s happening now with immigration and where it’s going. I just think what’s good about this project is that it lets people know that there are Latinos working in Hollywood from many cultures— Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Columbians, etc. I think Cuba is a mystery to a lot of people; many people just think of rum and cigars and overlook the fact that there are eleven million Cubans in Cuba today who are curious about the world. I think slowly, with Internet on the island, people will be able to see outside of Cuba and learn about other countries outside of the island. I had the opportunity to do an episode of “House of Lies,” the first American television show to shoot in Cuba since 1958.  It was one of the most amazing jobs I had ever had.  We worked with Cuban crews and it was beautiful seeing both American and Cuban crews working together. I really think the arts can bring any culture together. I hope for the Cuban people and artists in the country, that we can continue a dialogue to further exchange music, art, theater and dance between both the U.S. and Cuba.

 

Bertila Damas, Bertila Damas at IMDb

[I was born] on la calle Regla (street) in Luyano, Havana, Cuba, in the Clínica Hijas de Galicias .

Anytime that there’s an opportunity to gather with my Cuban friends, it’s always something I am interested in. It’s always fun and it is a chance to feel that feeling of being Cuban, to hear the sound of Cuban, which brings back the joys and the tribulations. In this case, it was truly a lovely honor to share with such a talented group and to connect with each other in the aftermath of Castro’s death. 

[To me, it’s] as personal as it gets; it is the music that runs through the blood in my veins. My history, my ancestors, my heart.  I don’t know a Cuban that does not have an interesting story to share. 

Like every Cuban exile, I feel the pain of loss and separation as well as the continued hope for a Cuba Libre.

I consider myself fortunate and grateful that I have had a home in the U.S., a country that has offered me sustenance as well as the freedom to live my life as I have seen fit without hindrance.

The photo bears witness. It is an opportunity to document who, what, when, and where; that we were here and that we made a difference. I hope that there will be more work like this that will document those of us who are Cubans in entertainment as well as other industries. Perhaps the photos will serve as a hopeful inspiration for those that may follow us and their future.

I dream in Cuban, I dance in Cuban and I live in Cuban…

Ser Caribeña es ser el mar, las palmeras, y la azucar…es tener en mi sangre la historia de la esclavitud, la sangre del Siboney y las raíces de los conquistadores..mi piel, mi sangre, negra, roja, y blanca… para siempre en mi corazon, Cuba.

 

Roberto Sanchez, Roberto Sanchez at IMDb

I was born in Havana, Cuba on January 4th, 1965. I came to the U.S. when I was three years old.

Initially, it was an opportunity to shoot with JeanPaul (who is Cuban) again. We had done a photo shoot a few months back, also with a “Cuban theme.” This time, we thought it might be cool to get together with some other Cuban Thespians and do a nice group shot— something that would show who we are and what we represent without being stereotypical. I reached out to about 12 friends of mine, most of whom I had worked with before or had met at industry events. Everyone was immediately on board. With the current event happening in Cuba this past week, our photo shoot became something more than what it was initially intended to be. For me, it was a celebration of a partial end to an era that brought a lot of pain and heartache to my family. My story is not very different than [that of] others who decided to leave in hopes of a brighter future.

My father was a member of the Cuban National Judo team back then. We were able to leave for Spain a couple of weeks before the team arrived in Spain for a competition. Our intention was to never return to Cuba. Authorities in Cuba found out and kept my father behind. It would be 16 years before I saw my father again.

I think projects like these are important because we are able to show a bit of who we really are not what others think we are. We are strong, hard-working, educated, positive, loving, musical, dramatic, and we come in all shades and colors.

I think it’s important to never lose touch [with] who you really are. We have been blessed with wonderful opportunities in this great country, the best country in the world. But I will never forget where I came from or where a part of me still lives. One day, I will return home, but not yet. One down (Fidel) and one to go (Raul)!  ¡Dale!

 

Maylen Calienes, founder of Latino Filmmakers Network

What I wrote [online] in regards to that picture just came out of me because of the feeling that I felt from the picture. Like, ‘wow, I feel like I look strong. I feel like I look powerful. I feel like I could rule the world in that picture. It just came out of me naturally because of the feeling the picture gave me as a human being and as an artist.

For Latinos it’s very hard, especially– because I know we have Univision, we have the Latino market which is a completely different thing, but Latino-Americans, our generation, our people, are bilingual. When is it that we’ve seen a picture of Latinos dressed up in a Vanity Fair-type of thing? You usually see other colleagues of ours in the entertainment industry.

Latinos haven’t really broken that barrier. Latinos are just seen in that light of ‘el barrio.’ That’s what I feel, and even at Sundance, the first two years, I used ‘A Royal Social Affair’ and the crown to take Latinos out of el barrio and bring them to monarchy because we have to start being seen in a different light in order to start making progress in this industry. We have to seem like everybody else, too.

 

To view all of JeanPaul SanPedro’s photography work, please visit www.jeanpaulsanpedro.com.

Artista puertorriqueña Sylvia Pérez pinta pinceladas geniales en Birmingham / Puerto Rican artist Sylvia Pérez paints a brush stroke of genius in Birmingham

El que me conoce, sabe que estoy muy a favor de apoyar a los negocios pequeños. Por eso fue un honor para mi poder entrevistar a mi querida amiga, la esposa de mi primo, Sylvia Pérez.

Nacida y criada en Puerto Rico y ahora viviendo en Birmingham, Alabama con su esposo e hijo, Sylvia es una pintora muy talentosa que trabaja desde su casa mientras cuida a su chiquito adorable.

Cada momento que ella tiene disponible, ella produce obras de arte fenomenales en diferentes medios, y las exhibe en ferias locales en Birmingham y las vende en su tienda Etsy.

Sylvia me inspira mucho porque es un gran ejemplo de que uno puede lograr sus metas de ser su propio jefe mientras compartes con tu familia y viajas o haces todo lo que sueñas con hacer.

Lo siguiente es mi entrevista con Sylvia. Le pregunté sobre su estilo artístico, sus ambiciones para el futuro, y cuál es su inspiración.

Sylvia y yo en Puerto Rico, durante unas Navidades en familia. 

Sylvia and me in Puerto Rico, during a Christmas spent with family.

If you know me, you know I am hugely in favor of supporting small businesses. That’s why it was an honor for me to interview my dear friend, my cousin’s wife, Sylvia Pérez.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, and now living in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband and son, Sylvia is a very talented painter who works from home while caring for her adorable little one.

Every moment she has available, she produces phenomenal works of art using different media, and she displays them at local fairs in Birmingham, and at her Etsy store.

Sylvia inspires me so much because she is a great example that you can accomplish your dream of being your own boss while spending time with your family and traveling and doing all that you long to do.

The following is my interview with Sylvia. I asked her about her artistic style, her future ambitions, and where she draws her inspiration from.

Espresso con Leche: ¿Cuál es tu medio favorito?

Sylvia:  Mi medio favorito varía, todo depende de la inspiración del momento. Pero te puedo decir qué medios son los más que utilizo: acrílico en canvas, madera o papel; tinta (ya sea bolígrafo de felpa permanente, marcadores permanentes, marcadores a base de agua o  potecitos individuales, que los puedo usar con pincel o plumilla) en papel; acuarela en papel y lápiz en papel. La musa va por ondas, recuerdo muy bien un soplo de inspiración que tuve para el año 2009, en que lo que me motivaba dibujar eran escenas románticas y de desamor, con mucha poesía y versos, que se entrelazaban con imágenes. Todo eso era en tinta, para ser más específica, en marcadores permanentes, de los que huelen feo, como el desamor. Para el 2013 me comenzó la fiebre de dibujar a bolígrafo, pero se opacó súbitamente por el acrílico en canvas. ¡Wow! Pinté un montón de canvas, con mi inspiración caricaturesca: “Duck-Face”.

” My Dearest Kitty,” una pintura de Anne Frank, que Sylvia me regaló. 

“My Dearest Kitty,” a portrait of Anne Frank, which Sylvia gave me as a gift. 

Espresso con Leche: ¿Puedes describir tu estilo artístico?

Sylvia: Mi estilo artístico es “bold”. Mi arte se caracteriza por brochazos fuertes y contrastes bien marcados, entre colores complementarios y claros-oscuros. Mi temática danza entre cotidiana, “flâneur” y apasionada. Mis conceptos los desarrollo tanto en “portraits,” estampas y abstractos.

Espresso con Leche: ¿Tienes una obra favorita que has pintado?

Sylvia: Tengo que decir que me encantan muchas de las pinturas que he hecho, porque representan mucho sacrificio e inspiración. Sin embargo, hay una pieza que me gusta muchísimo y no la vendo, porque el valor sentimental que tengo con ella, es mayor que el monetario. Esa pieza se llama: “Te miro” y es un “self portrait”, el cual realicé a pocos días de haberme enterado que estaba embarazada.

Espresso con Leche: ¿Dónde encuentras inspiración para tus obras?

Sylvia: Yo creo que la inspiración la encuentro en las emociones del momento, en lo que observo a mi alrededor y también en las cosas simples del diario vivir.

Espresso con Leche: ¿Cuál ha sido la obra más difícil que has creado? ¿Por qué?

Sylvia: Creo que las obras más difíciles para crear son las que uno realiza a comisión, ya que tengo que cumplir con los deseos de mi cliente, mantenteniendo la coherencia del concepto y sin perder mi esencia como artista (o sea que lo que realice parezca hecho por mi y no otro artista).

Espresso con Leche: ¿Qué piensas lograr de aquí a cinco años?

Sylvia:  De aquí a cinco años deseo hacer conocer mi arte, más de lo he logrado hasta el momento. Me gustaría seguir ofreciéndole a mis clientes obras de buena calidad de concepto, técnica y materialidad. También me gustaría seguir enamorando a mis seguidores, con las “loqueras” que mi inspiración dicta. Y por último, a través de mi exposición como artista puertorriqueña, poner en alto a mi Isla del Encanto (Puerto Rico) por el mundo.

“Te miro.”  “I look at you.”

Espresso con Leche: What is your favorite medium?

Sylvia: My favorite medium varies, depending on my inspiration at the moment. But I can tell you which media I use the most: acrylic on canvas, wood, or paper; ink (either permanent ink pen, permanent markers, water-based markers, or individual jars that I use with a brush) on paper; watercolors on paper, and pencil on paper. The muse comes in waves. I remember clearly the breath of inspiration I had in the year 2009, when I was motivated to draw romantic scenes and lovelessness, with lots of poetry and verses intertwined with images. All that was in ink, to be more specific, permanent markers, those that smell awful, just like lovelessness. In 2013, I started with the fever of drawing with pen, but it was abruptly replaced with acrylic on canvas. Wow, I painted a lot of canvases with my caricaturesque inspirations- “Duckface.”

Espresso con Leche: Can you describe your artistic style?

Sylvia: My artistic style is “bold.” My art is characterized by strong brushstrokes and marked contrasts between complementary colors and light-dark colors. My themes shift between quotidian, “flâneur,” and passionate. My concepts are developed in portraits, stamps, and abstracts. 

Espresso con Leche: Do you have a favorite painting you’ve done?

Sylvia: I have to say, I love many of the paintings I’ve created, because they represent a lot of sacrifice and inspiration. However, there is a piece that I love so much and I’ll never sell it because its sentimental value surpasses the monetary value. It’s titled “Te miro” (“I look at you”), and it’s a self-portrait I painted days after finding out I was pregnant.

Espresso con Leche: Where do you find inspiration for your works?

Sylvia: I think I find inspiration in the emotions of the moment, in what I observe in my surroundings, and also in the the simple things of daily life.

Espresso con Leche: What’s the most difficult work of art you’ve created, and why?

Sylvia: I think the most difficult pieces are the ones that are commissioned, since I have to follow my client’s wishes, maintaining the coherence of the concept, without losing my essence as an artist (in other words, so the work of art appears created by me and not by another artist).

Espresso con Leche: What do you hope to accomplish in five years?

Sylvia: In five years, I hope to make my artwork known, more than I have done at this point. I would like to continue offering my clients works of art of good quality in terms of concept, technique, and materials. I would also like to continue to captivate my followers, with the “craziness” that my inspiration dictates. And finally, through my exposure as a Puerto Rican artist, I hope to elevate the public image of Puerto Rico throughout the world.

Nuestra Normalidad Nueva en Orlando / Our New Normal in Orlando #SomosOrlando #OrlandoUnited

A demás de publicar en Facebook y en instagram de vez en cuando, me he mantenido callada.

Porque simplemente no encuentro cómo responder. 

No sé qué hacer. No sé que decir. No sé si debo de contactar a mis amigos que están sufriendo o si debo decir nada y esperar

Porque yo estoy pasando el dolor también. Y no encuentro qué hacer con este dolor.





flag_memorial

Habiendo vivido aquí desde los tres años, yo definitivamente me crié en Orlando. Yo seré de Puerto Rico, y esa es mi tierra natal. Pero Orlando ha sido mi hogar desde que recuerdo.

Tal vez nunca me he puesto un “jersey” (una camiseta) de fútbol Orlando City, o nunca he ido a un juego de fútbol americano para un equipo de Florida, y mi camiseta de Orlando Magic reside ahora en mi gaveta de camisetas.

Pero soy Orlandense a fondo. 

Mis primeros recuerdos de ir a ver una obra teatral profesional fue en el Bob Carr Center for the Performing Arts. Me gradué de todas escuelas en Dr. Phillips, como a 20 minutos de donde atacaron el club gay PULSE.

Yo fui a la universidad y me gradué con el bachillerato aquí en Orlando.

Orlando es el lugar donde me he convertido en la persona que soy. 

Así que jamás podría imaginarme que alguien atacara a mi ciudad.

Y peor todavía los atacaron por ser quienes eran. Y sí, la mayoría fueron puertorriqueños.

Yo empecé Espresso con Leche porque necesitaba un lugar donde pudiera compartir mi ambiguidad cultural– todos los pedazos que forman la persona que soy. Me arde el corazón que mataron e hirieron a personas por parte de su identidad.

Este fin de semana que pasó, mientras el peso de lo que sucedió me empezó a afectar mucho, desesperadamente buscaba un desahogo para mi luto. Me siento agradecida que mis papás y yo pudimos ir a varios de los lugares dónde han hecho memoriales y tributos en el downtown de Orlando. Pude rezar, llorar junto a, y abrazar a otras personas afectadas por la tragedia. Me encontré con una amiga de escuela. Hice amistades nuevas. Juntos sufrimos.

 
 

LOVE

Hay muchos elementos envueltos en este evento horrible, y muchas lecciones que siento que todos tendremos que aprender– lecciones sobre el amor, la aceptación, lecciones sobre cómo controlar las armas de fuego, y todo esto necesita formar parte de la conversación.

Pero a fin de cuenta, y si luego se logran resolver estos argumentos, como quiera está la pérdida de 49 personas. Siempre van a haber 49 familias de luto. Cuarenta y nueve vacíos que nadie más puede llenar. 

Y la vida tal como la conocemos continuará, como ya sabemos que tiene que ocurrir, nuestra base, nuestro centro lo han sacudido.

Los medios nacionales ya se han ido, y ahora hay otras noticias que se ven en los titulares. Pero las repercusiones se seguirán sintiendo cada vez que leamos un reportaje sobre alguien que sospechen que lleve un arma de fuego dentro de un club.

Cada vez que haya actividad sospechosa en un evento público.

Cada vez y donde quiera que los jóvenes se reunen en búsqueda de apoyo y aceptación.

Sí, la vida continuará, y debe de continuar. Es necesario. 

Pero la vida nunca volverá a ser igual. No puede. Ya no somos Orlando, si no #SomosOrlando. Estamos unidos. 

O si no, caeremos.

 
 

Other than Facebook posts and an instagram post here and there, I have been radio silent.

Because I simply don’t know how to respond.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know if I should reach out to my friends who are grieving or say nothing and wait.

Because I am hurting, too. And I don’t quite know what to do with this pain.

Having lived here since the age of three, I definitely grew up in Orlando. I may hail from Puerto Rico, and that is my homeland. But Orlando has been my home for as long as I can remember.

Maybe I’ve never donned an Orlando City soccer jersey, or been to a Florida team football game, and my Orlando Magic shirt is buried somewhere in my T-shirt drawer.

But I am an Orlandoan, through and through.

My first memories of attending a professional theatre performance, a lifelong passion of mine, were at the Bob Carr Center for the Performing Arts. I graduated from all Dr. Phillips-area schools, about 20 minutes away from where the shooting happened at PULSE, an LGBT-friendly nightclub.

I went to college and graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Orlando.

Orlando has been the place where I’ve become most of who I am.

So, I cannot fathom that anyone would attack my city. 

To make things worse, they targeted people for who they are. And, yes, the majority were Puerto Rican. 

I launched Espresso con Leche because I needed a place to share my cultural ambiguity— all of the pieces of who I am. It hurts my heart that people were murdered and injured because of a part of their identity.

This past weekend, as the reality of what happened began to sink in, I desperately looked for an outlet for my grief. I am grateful my parents and I were able to visit several of the memorials that have formed throughout Downtown Orlando. I prayed, cried with, and hugged people who were also affected by this tragedy. I ran into an old school friend. I made new friends. We mourned.

There are many layers to this horrific event, and many lessons I feel we all need to learn from this— lessons about love and tolerance, lessons about gun control, and all of that needs to be an ongoing discussion.

Flags

But, when all is said and done, and if someday, these discussions and disagreements are resolved, there will still remain 49 people gone. There will always be 49 families grieving. Forty-nine voids that no one else can fill.

And life as we know it will go on as we know it has to, but our foundation, our core, has been shaken.

The national media has all left town, and now there are other stories making the headlines. But the aftershock will continue to be felt each time we read a report of someone suspected of carrying a firearm in a nightclub.

Each time there is suspicious activity at a public event.

Each time and everywhere that youth gather to garner support and feel accepted.

Yes, life will and must go on. It has to.

But life will never be the same again. It can’t. We are no longer Orlando, but #OrlandoStrong and #OrlandoUnited.

Or else we fall.