[Blog] Tijuana Culinary Tour
*BLOG / COUNTRIES & CULTURES / FOOD / Latin American food / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / Mexican / Mexican food / Tijuana

[Blog] Tijuana Culinary Tour

Ever since the Mexican-American War split a chunk of Mexico’s west coast in 1848, Tijuana’s border existence between two major countries has made it unique. The position has made the city a hot spot for tourism, crime, drug trafficking, immigration, industrialization, art, music, and even “zonkeys.” But now there’s another reason for Tijuana’s singularity: the food. During three days last October, I sampled some of Tijuana’s finest food from taquerías to posh restaurants. Read about it here. [Post in both English and Spanish.] Continue reading

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[USC] Miss Chiquita Banana: Here to Stay, for Better or Worse
COUNTRIES & CULTURES / FOOD / Immigration Issues / Latin American food / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / USC Annenberg School Projects

[USC] Miss Chiquita Banana: Here to Stay, for Better or Worse

Imagine a packed movie theater in 1950. An audience awaits Hollywood’s latest picture — but first, the commercials. An animated steamboat appears on the screen, chugging along to cheerful music. Then a beautiful woman alights. Or rather, a banana. She is “Miss Chiquita” representing prominent fruit company Chiquita Banana. By 1950, the filmgoers know her … Continue reading

[Blog] Hello and Goodbye at the U.S.-Mexico Border
*BLOG / COUNTRIES & CULTURES / Immigration Issues / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / Mexican / Tijuana

[Blog] Hello and Goodbye at the U.S.-Mexico Border

After a half-dozen trips, I thought I knew Tijuana. I thought I understood the vicissitudes of border life. But I had never been to the crazy spot between the United States and Mexico, San Ysidro and Tijuana, where the border wall descends into the sea. I finally saw it in 2008, during a trip with the Occidental College Multicultural Summer Institute… Continue reading

[Blog] Musings on Olvera St.: Whitewashed or Authentic? | Pensamientos Sobre la Calle Olvera: ¿Whitewashed o Autentico?
*BLOG / Downtown / FOOD / Latin American food / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / Mexican / Mexican food / Urban Issues

[Blog] Musings on Olvera St.: Whitewashed or Authentic? | Pensamientos Sobre la Calle Olvera: ¿Whitewashed o Autentico?

Olvera St.: Authentic Mexican enclave? Whitewashed tourist attraction? Olvera St. is not one or the other. It is both, and in that mix represents a fascinating model of what it means to be at the center of such a pluralistic, multi-cultural city as Los Angeles, in the exact spot where its history, present and future intersect…. [read this post in both English and Spanish] Continue reading

[Blog] Masanga Marima Brings “Guantanamera” from L.A. to Zimbabwe and Back (+ Video)
*VIDEO / African / COUNTRIES & CULTURES / Cuban / Latin American / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / MUSIC

[Blog] Masanga Marima Brings “Guantanamera” from L.A. to Zimbabwe and Back (+ Video)

The simple tune and patriotic lyrics of “Guantanamera,” Cuba’s signature song, have traveled to numerous far-flung corners of the planet. Even unlikely ones, I learned last Friday at a concert by Masanga Marimba at MacArthur Park’s Levitt Pavilion. Masanga Marimba blends African and Latin American musical styles, mostly played on seven Zimbabwean marimbas ranging from … Continue reading

[Blog] Summer Reading: China, North Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Cuba and New York City
BOOKS & LITERATURE / Chinese / Cuban / Jewish / North Korean / Russian

[Blog] Summer Reading: China, North Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Cuba and New York City

We’re nearing the end of those “lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer,” as Nat King Cole put it in his 1963 pop hit. The days have been especially lazy, crazy and hazy for those of us who just graduated college. Plenty of time for reading! No syllabus necessary. My picks have taken me to the … Continue reading