VIN SCULLY: GREATEST SPORTSCASTER IN AMERICA

BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ
OCTOBER 2016
For years LA Dodgers baseball games have been a favorite for me to watch on cable television.  But in the first week of this October, when Vin Scully retired as the commentator for the Dodgers’ games on tv and radio, I suddenly realized that Vince’s commentary during the games is what I enjoy most about watching the Dodgers. He always includes great human interest comments about the players and baseball history, as he progresses through every broadcast.
Indeed,he can be called the greatest all-time baseball sportscaster in the history of America! At age 88 now, his retirement age, he has been in sportscasting for 67 years. For the Dodgers he has been commentator 53 years.  Now he will be appearing in person  as part of the Distinguished Speaker series, with all presentations made in the greater Los Angeles geographic area, as listed below.
 
FROM DISTINGUISHED SPEAKER WEBSITE WE LEARN:

Vin Scully

 

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Beloved Hall of Fame LA Dodgers Broadcaster

  • Beverly Hills: Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Pasadena: Monday, March 20, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Thousand Oaks: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Redondo Beach: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Vin Scully is widely regarded as not just one of the greatest baseball announcers of all time, but perhaps the greatest voice in all of sport. Arguably the most popular figure in Southern California, Scully came west with the Dodgers in 1958 and has broadcast their games on radio and television ever since. His unparalleled story telling ability, timing, and mellifluous tones have been a uniting force in a geographically massive region. In 1982 Scully was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame – that was 33 years ago which in and of itself is longer than most broadcasters’ entire careers but less than half of Scully’s. He was named the top sportscaster of the 20th century by the American Sportscasters Association in 2000 among countless other well-deserved awards and honors.

He is now set to retire after he completes his 67th consecutive season as the “Voice of the Dodgers.” and signature introduction to Dodger games: “It’s time for Dodger baseball! Hi everybody, and a very pleasant good day to you, wherever you may be,” will be missed when this season is over.

Scully continues to rewrite the record book of his trade each and every time he goes on the air. The Dodgers were formed 127 years ago in Brooklyn are currently in their 53rd year in Los Angeles with Scully in the booth. He joined Red Barber and Connie Desmond on the Brooklyn Dodgers’ broadcast team in 1950, one year after graduating from Fordham University. In 1955, Scully had his most memorable moment behind the microphone, as he called the Dodgers’ first and only championship in Brooklyn. At the age of 25, he became the youngest person to ever announce a World Series game.

During his unmatched career, Scully has called three perfect games, 25 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. Iconic moments called by Scully include Kirk Gibson’s miraculous Game 1 home run in the 1988 World Series, Dan Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Hank Aaron’s record-setting 715th home run, Sandy Koufax’s four no-hitters (including a perfect game) and the scoreless-innings streaks of Dodgers greats Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser. In Los Angeles, Scully has called Dodgers World Series championships in 1959, ’63, ’65, ’81 and ’88.

In addition to his legendary career in baseball, Scully has called play-by-play of the National Football League and PGA Tour events on CBS-TV from 1975-82 and play-by-play for Major League Baseball’s Game of the Week, three World Series and four All-Star Games on NBC-TV from 1983-89. Scully also called play-by-play for the World Series on CBS Radio from 1990-97. In all, he has called 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games.

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MARK BALLAS GETS LEAD ROLE IN BROADWAY MUSICAL “JERSEY BOYS”

BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ SEPTEMBER

 

2016 Musical theater productions on Broadway in New York  City are probably the best in the world. And now dancer/singer/actor Mark  Ballas of Houston, will star in the lead role of the last season of “Jersey  Boys,” which has been running on Broadway for 11 years.  The show will  close in January 2017. Mark joins the show this October and will stay till it  closes. By the way, Mark’s  father, Corky Ballas,  now runs a dance studio in San Antonio, Texas. His grandmother, Maria Luisa  Marulanda Ballas, originally was a dancer/teacher in Laredo, Texas around  1950. Maria Luisa went to heaven in 2004 at age 88. I remember seeing Maria  Luisa dance a pachuco boogie dance with her sister Cata, at the Martin High  School gym stage. I was 14 yrs. old then…  From FOX  NEWS LATINO SEPT. 2016 we learn:     Mark Ballas has traded in the ballroom for  Broadway. The longtime “Dancing with the Stars” pro dancer revealed on  social media on Tuesday that he has joined the final cast of “Jersey Boys”  as the Tony Award-winning musical brings down the curtain after 11 years on  Broadway. “I couldn’t be more excited,” the 30-year-old Ballas said in  a short video on Instagram. “This role is an absolute dream come  true.” Ballas, who won the “Dancing with the Stars” mirror ball  twice, will play the title role of Frankie Vallie. The news comes just days after it was revealed that he would  not be returning for season 23 of the hit ABC dancing  show. In a letter to fans he posted on social media, Ballas opened  up about not returning to the show.  “I wanted to hand write this letter to personally thank each  and every one of you for the support over the years. I am incredibly moved +  grateful for all of your messages over the past 24 hours. I know many of you  are concerned + curious. I want to wish my DWTS comrades luck this season.  I’ll miss competing + creating outside the box, however I am looking forward  to this new chapter + venture that is beginning shortly,” he  penned. The letter continued: “I will soon have news for you all on  where you can find me. I hope to see you there.” Ballas, who is of Mexican and Spanish descent on his father’s  side, will make his Broadway debut in the show on Oct.  18. The Broadway show’s producers announced that the musical  based on the career of the rock group the Four Seasons is closing in January  after 11 years. Producers said Tuesday the show will hold its final  performance on Jan. 15 after 4,642 shows at the August Wilson Theatre. It is  the 12th-longest running show in Broadway history. The musical tells the story of Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy  DeVito and Nick Massi and features 20 Four Seasons songs, including  “Sherry,” ”Big Girls Don’t Cry,” ”Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Oh,  What a Night.” It won the Tony for best musical, a Grammy Award for best  cast album and has been seen by over 13 million people across the world and  grossed over $2 billion worldwide. A film adaptation by Clint Eastwood came  out in 2015 but failed to live up to the buzz. The show has in the past few years seen a gradual decline in  ticket sales Last week, it pulled in about $540,000 over eight  performances, a typical haul for the past few months but far less than its  $1,150,000 potential. The last time it broke the $600,000 mark was  April.FROM TOOFAB:

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SPAIN’S PAU GASOL ON NEW ROSTER FOR THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS TEAM

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JULIA VERA SCORES IN NEW DISNEY “PRINCESS ELENA OF AVALOR” TELEVISION SERIES

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BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ
JULY 2016
On July 22, 2016 at 7PM Pacific Time on the Disney Channel you will be watching the Premier of Princess Elena of Avalor television series.
And Laredo’s gift to Hollywood, Julia Vera Andrews, is part of the production, as her voice was used for one of the characters in the series.
Julia explains:
On January 2015 I auditioned for the Voice of Grandma Luisa. On Febuary of 2015 I received a call from my agent telling me that I had the job. I almost fell backwards. So many women from all over had been seen for that role . They next day I received  several scripts with my time schedule .
I presented myself to the sound studio in Burbank, California, and was presented with 4 contracts. Each episode has its own contract . All this was new to me never ever having work on a Voice gig. I do not suffer from nerves and I am always having fun . The welcome was warm and friendly . A young lady asked me if I needed anything, a cup of hot tea. With honey. Yes, thank you that will be wonderful .

I go into the booth and a young man, the engineer, adjusts the mike, the stand for the script and the earphones. I learn as I go. The director says Ready and I answer yes . Give us three readings of the first line with different intentions each one. Okay.

And that was the way it went . In total I have recorded 30 episodes.

One day I get a call from the producer telling me that they are sending Music and Lyrics for a song I am suppose to sing . Okay.


There is a music and voice teacher not too far from my home. I went by there and asked her for help. She was available and we started to work on the Song. For half an hour and for 3 days in a row we worked on the song. Got to the studio and there was this beautiful lady presented to me as the Musical director. She got in the booth with me and we sang together a couple of times. She timed me and she said I was ready . After I finished recording the song for about 5 times. The writer/producer said that when the song goes on the air I am going to get royalties. Say What !

I get the part in The Ridiculous Six movie and I called the producer about my gig and he tells me not to worry that they can work around me. I called them as soon as I got back and they arranged for me to come in and catch up . Nice, very nice people . So easy going and calm .

Last Thursday Disney released the names of the Cast of Princess Elena of Avalor. As Luisa, Julia Vera . My joy was immense.

On July 22, 2016 at 7PM Pacific Time on the Disney Channel you will be watching the Premier of Princess Elena of Avalor television series
.
Princess Elena is the first Latina/Hispanic Princess in all of Disney’s history . Elena is brave and fair . She strong and fearless. She is beautiful of body and spirit . Finally our Latina/Hispanic little girls will have someone they can identified with because Elena looks like them .

 She invites other kingdoms with different traditions and cultures.  Research was done of all the different cultures and traditions enjoyed by the many Latin countries of North, Central and South America. No one is ignored .

Daily I give thanks to God for I truly believe that He grants  me the desires of my heart.

NEO  NOTE: Am I proud of Julia? Imagine my feelings, as I remember her as my dance student at Christen Jr. High School in Laredo, where I started my teaching career when I was 19 years old…

 

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Deaf Dancer Wins Season 22 of “Dancing With The Stars”

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BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ

JUNE   2016

 

Nyle DiMarco has to be one of the most incredible people on earth today.  He is deaf, and on May 24 he won the coveted title of best dancer in Season 22 of “Dancing With The Stars” television spectacular. Every season, in my own mind, I select in the first show of the season who I think is going to win. And I did it again !  Let’s find out more about this unbelievable young artist:

FROM  INQUISTR  WEBSITE:

Nyle DiMarco will have people talking this spring on Dancing With the Stars. Season 22 will feature Nyle along with a bevy of buzzworthy contestants and this is shaping up to be a very competitive group. What do DWTS fans need to know about this new contestant?

Fans of America’s Next Top Model are already familiar with Nyle DiMarco, as he competed on cycle 22 last year and won, notes People. DiMarco is deaf, which will make him the second deaf Dancing With the Stars contestant the show has had. Many will remember that actress Marlee Matlin competed on season 6 with pro Fabian Sanchez. Nyle is partnered with pro Peta Murgatroyd for his spin around the dance floor.

After winning America’s Next Top Model, DiMarco said that he hoped his win would inspire others in the deaf community to pursue the careers they desired, and he indicated that he hoped to further pursue modeling and other entertainment industry gigs after the show. He has appeared in several episodes of the ABC Family show Switched at Birth, and has expressed an interest in tackling other television gigs as well.

The Queens, New York-native comes from a multi-generational deaf family, his website details. Nyle attended Gallaudet University, a liberal arts university in Washington, D.C. for deaf students. In addition to his modeling and acting, DiMarco has done a great deal of advocacy work related to literacy, bullying, and in connection to the deaf community.As Entertainment Tonight shared, Nyle was just the second male winner of America’s Next Top Model across 22 seasons, and he was ultimately the final winner for the show, as that was the last cycle put together. After his win, he said he was intent on breaking more barriers and America’s Next Top Model star Tyra Banks said that DiMarco was beautiful both on the outside and on the inside.

Some Dancing With the Stars fans will surely wonder if Nyle is single or involved with someone. After his win was revealed in December, DiMarco said he was single and focused on his career. Nyle has described his sexuality as “fluid,” and though he had been in a long-term relationship on-and-off for a decade, DiMarco recently indicated that right now he doesn’t feel that he can give a relationship what it needs to succeed.

Nyle has a twin brother named Nico, Bustle notes, and this new Dancing With the Starscontestant says that he has an interest in someday getting a master’s degree and turning to teaching. He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and he worked with a developer to create the ASL App that helps teach American Sign Language.

What about DiMarco’s partner on Dancing With the Stars? Peta Murgatroyd had to sit out season 21 due to ankle surgery, but she was a pro in seasons 13 through 20 before that. She won with Donald Driver in her second outing with the show, and came in fourth with James Maslow on his season. Additional partners have included Bachelor Sean Lowe, Tommy Chong, Michael Sam, Brant Daugherty, Metta World Peace, and Gilles Marini. DWTSfans also know that she is now engaged to former pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Val’s brother.

Could Nyles and Peta score the season 22 mirror-ball trophy this spring? It will be a tough competition this time around, as other contestants include football great Doug Flutie, Fuller House star Jodie Sweetin, Good Morning America star Ginger Zee, and a host of others. However, fans of Nyle DiMarco are ready to vote and cannot wait to see how he does with Peta Murgatroyd this spring on Dancing With the Stars.

 

FROM NYLE’S  WEB  BIOGRAPHY:

Nyle DiMarco is an actor, model and spokesman. He is a native New Yorker and was born into a large multigenerational Deaf family. He is an alumni of Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts University in the world for the Deaf. 

Nyle was modeling prior to being selected as a contestant on America’s Next Top Model Cycle 22. As an actor, Nyle’s castings have included: the lead in the independent film In the Can, an ASL Films production and as Garret on ABC Family’s Switched at Birth

Nyle is a signer and creative collaborator on The ASL App(by Ink & Salt), an App created by native Deaf signers to teach conversational American Sign Language (ASL). 

As an honorary spokesman for Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-­K), Nyle is passionate about literacy, anti bullying campaigns and advocacy within the Deaf Community. 

Nyle DiMarco is Deaf and uses American Sign Language. American Sign Language requires the use of facial expressions and body movements, his Deafness amplifies his natural talent. His Deafness is an asset and not a limitation, he is amicable and able to communicate easily.  

 

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May 2016

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     SALLY  RAND
puig_2Sara Puig LAAS
When we were kids, sometimes on Sundays my parents would take us to the Royal movie theater in Laredo. They showed movies in Spanish and sometimes there was a stage show between movie showings. For movies in English, there was the Tivoli movie theater, and that’s all there was of Laredo theaters back then.
A recent email from dear friend Sara Puig Laas, now of Austin, brought back a lot of memories.  She tells us:
 In the 1930’s there was a bubble dancer named Sally Rand who did her strip by popping the balloons she had stuck all over herself— one by one, in tantalizing fashion. She was part of a fundraiser variety show sponsored by Lions or Rotary or something. Anyway, people in Laredo were pretty clueless about Sally Rand — I think they thought she would be BLOWING bubbles — so the Royal theater was full of families who had brought their kids. That included me, at about 5 or 6 years old, sitting in the 4th or 5th row. I remember she wore pink, and I was awestruck. Whatever the parents were all thinking at that point, it was too late to do anything about it, LOL.
Some notes on Sara’s personal/professional history:

Sara Puig Laas is a native Laredoan, the eldest of four children born to Dr. and Mrs. Val Puig, Jr. At Martin High School, she began her long career of interviewing by working for the school paper under the tutelage of a great journalism teacher, Mary Frances Doss. In 1947, Sara and co-editor Claude Villarreal brought back Martin High’s first gold medal in journalism in 1947 from the State UIL Meet in Austin. She later earned a degree in English from the University of Texas.“It has been a life full of adventures,” she says. She and her first husband, Art Ochoa, and sons Arthur, Mark and Phil, moved to Venezuela in 1958. Daughter Claire was born there. “We were there until 1964, through the peak years of Communist turmoil in the Caribbean.”

During the late 1960’s, while Art built an air conditioning business in Laredo, Sara continued honing her interviewing skills by opening an employment agency and also co-hosting a live noon time show on KGNS.

A move to Victoria, TX followed her second marriage in the mid-70’s to Wilburn Laas. There her first job as an interviewer with the Texas Employment Agency (now TWC) was followed by a career as human resources director for a bank. Those years also provided many travel opportunities — China, Canada, Guatemala, Ecuador, the U.S. Virgin Islands, among others.

Retirement in 1993 brought Wilburn and Sara back to a rural area near Austin, where she has been active with the Writers’ League of Texas and interviewed many authors as part of the “Writing Across Texas” TV series. She also interviewed a number of Laredoans for “Border Voices in the Arts” on Laredo’s Public Access TV and on Neo Gutierrez’s programs for that channel. After three wonderful years in Laredo from 2013 through 2015, the couple is back in central Austin preparing for new adventures.

“I’m learning something new,” Sara says, “which is always fun.” By June she hopes to launch her first blog, titled “Who In The Zoo Are You?.com.”

“It’s the book I’ve long wanted to do, based on what I learned over the years about personality types and how to fit people into the best jobs for them. I added it up once, and realized that I have interviewed more than 10,000 people. It’s time to put that knowledge to use to help others find their best path and also learn what motivates them and the other people in their lives. “The ‘Zoo’ is based on nine familiar creatures whose main characteristics we already use a lot in our daily language.

“With a husband, four wonderful children and their spouses, five married grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren to try to keep up with, I decided that blogging one chapter at a time might seem less daunting than trying to finish the entire book at once. It should be fun.”

Now we’ll conclude with some bio notes on Sally Rand, from the Encyclopedia Britanica:
http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2969731328/nm0709491?ref_=nm_ov_ph

Sally Rand, original name Helen Gould Beck (born Jan. 2, 1904, Elkton, Mo., U.S.—died Aug. 31, 1979, Glendora, Calif.) American actress and dancer who achieved fame as a fan dancer and bubble dancer.

Helen Beck entered show business at an early age. Eventually adopting the name Sally Rand (suggested to her, she said, by Cecil B. DeMille), she played in vaudeville and performed as an acrobatic dancer at carnivals and in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Circus while still in her teens. By the time she was 20, Rand was in Hollywood, where she appeared in a number of films.

With the onset of the Great Depression she was in Chicago. She managed to earn a living by improvising a nude dance routine employing large ostrich-feather fans she had fashioned. Her great opportunity came with the opening in Chicago of the Century of Progress Exposition of 1933–34: as a publicity stunt she rode a white horse to the fair, “attired” more or less as Lady Godiva. This act won her star billing at the “Streets of Paris” concession on the Fair’s Midway. There, performing a fan dance to such strains as Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune and Frédéric Chopin’s Waltz in C Sharp Minor,she caused a sensation, launching a career that lasted for more than 30 years. She later created an alternative dance with large five-foot elastic bubbles.

Rand continued to perform until age 74, maintaining a lovely face and trim figure that belied her age.

 

 

 

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FIRST LATINO U.S. POET LAUREATE: JUAN FELIPE HERRERA

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BY DR. NEO   GUTIERREZ
MARCH 2016
Recently I was reminded of an incredible   artistic feat by Juan Felipe Herrera.  He is the only Latino to be U.S.   Poet Laureate, the highest honor possible in that artistic   field.
According to Wikipedia, on the artist’s  background:

Son of farm workers María de la Luz Quintana and Felipe Emilio  Herrera, Juan Felipe Herrera lived from crop to crop and from tractor to trailer  to tents on the roads of the San Joaquín Valley and the Salinas Valley. Herrera  graduated from San Diego High School in 1967 and received the Educational  Opportunity Program scholarship to attend the University of California, Los Angeles[7] where he received his B.A. in Social  Anthropology. Later, he received his Masters in Social Anthropology from  Stanford University, and his Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the  University of Iowa. In 1990, he was a distinguished teaching fellow at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. After serving as chair of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at California State University, Fresno, in 2005,[8] Herrera joined the Creative Writing  Department at University of California, Riverside, as the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair.[9] He also became director of the Art and  Barbara Culver Center for the Arts, a new multimedia space in downtown  Riverside.

Herrera resides in Redlands, California with his partner  Margarita Robles, a performance artist and poet. He has five  children.

In a  report in June of last year   Colin Dwyer informed us:

Poetry readers, prepare yourselves for a passing of the   laurels. The Library of Congress announced in the wee hours Wednesday that the   next U.S. poet laureate will be California writer Juan Felipe Herrera. He will   be the first Latino poet to be appointed to the position.

“This is a mega-honor for me,” Herrera said in the   announcement, “for my family and my parents who came up north before and after   the Mexican Revolution of 1910 — the honor is bigger than   me.”

A poet of Chicano descent, the 66-year-old has spent just about   his whole life on the West Coast. Born to a family of migrant farmworkers,   Herrera bounced from tent to trailer for much of his youth in Southern   California, eventually going on to study at UCLA and Stanford. Years later, he   stepped out of the state to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, before — you   guessed it — returning home to California.

His introduction to poetry, however, came much earlier — from   his mother.

“She used to recite   poems kind of spontaneously,” he told NPR’s Audie Cornish. “Something would   move her, and then she would just break into a poem that she remembered from   her childhood. My sister, my grandmother and my mom came up on the train to   Juarez, Chihuahua [Mexico], and then across the border to El Paso, Texas, with   those early rhymes and songs and poems.Along the way, Herrera has been prolific — so prolific, in   fact, that few seem to agree just how many books the man has written.   (Some say 30, others 29, and the Library of Congress says   28. We’ll just put the number at “dozens.”) Those works include poetry   collections, novels in verse and plenty of children’s books. Across this body   of work, the shadow of California, and his cultural heritage, has loomed   large.“I’ve worked throughout California as a poet; in colleges,   universities, worker camps, migrant education offices, continuation high   schools, juvenile halls, prisons, and gifted classrooms,” Herrera told the campus newspaper at the   University of California, Riverside, where he taught creative writing. “I   would say [I’ve been] from San Diego all the way to Arcata and throughout the   valleys … for the last 40 years.”The   role of poet-in-chief isn’t entirely new to Herrera. Beyond his teaching   duties at UC Riverside, he served a two-year stint as California’s poet   laureate, from 2012 to 2014. He’s the first Latino poet to have assumed that   role in the state’s history.
The U.S. poet laureate’s   one-year term doesn’t carry a
lot of prescribed   responsibilities — “the Library keeps
to a minimum [its] specific   duties,” according to the
announcement — but past   laureates have often
embarked on projects to advocate   on behalf of the
form and to widen its audience.   And if there’s
anything to be gleaned from   Herrera’s past, it’s that
Herrera likely will be active in   the new position, too.

In a conversation with the journal Zyzzyva,   Herrera set out a mini-manifesto of sorts for the role of the writer as   teacher.

“These days I think   it is good to be in society — to wake yourself up in the throng and mix of   people on sidewalks, subways and cafeterias — so teaching writing keeps me at   the root of things: new voices, new experiences and new ways of meditating on   life and the planet,” Herrera said. “Both are extremely   essential.”

“Poetry,” he said, in an interview two years earlier with The   Los Angeles Times, “can tell us about what’s going on in our lives, not   only our personal but our social and political lives.”

Herrera is expected to step into the position this fall with   the National Book Festival in September. He will succeed Charles Wright, the   current U.S. poet laureate. No word yet on when they plan to exchange their   poetic licenses.

But, if you’re new to Herrera’s work, don’t just trust me with   your first impression. Below, you’ll find Herrera himself, in a poem excerpted   from his 2008 collection, Half   of the World in Light:

Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings

for Charles Fishman

Before you go further, let     me tell you what a poem brings, first, you     must know the secret, there is no poem to     speak of, it is a way to attain a life without boundaries, yes, it is that easy, a poem, imagine me     telling you this, instead of going day by     day against the razors, well, the     judgments, all the tick-tock bronze, a leather jacket sizing you up, the fashion mall, for example,     from the outside you think you are being     entertained, when you enter, things     change, you get caught by surprise, your     mouth goes sour, you get thirsty, your legs grow cold standing still in the middle of a storm, a     poem, of course, is always open for     business too, except, as you can see, it     isn’t exactly business that pulls your spirit into the alarming waters, there you can bathe, you     can play, you can even join in on the     gossip—the mist, that is, the mist becomes     central to your existence.

Excerpted     from Half of the World in     Light: New and Selected Poems by Juan Felipe Herrera. Copyright     2008 Juan Felipe Herrera. Reprinted with the permission of the University of     Arizona Press. 

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LAREDO GOLDEN SPURS DANCE TEAM IS PART OF DISNEYLAND HISTORY

BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ
FEBRUARY 2016
While watching on tv  Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary program in mid-February, all of a sudden I remembered–the Laredo Golden Spurs Dance Team are part of Disneyland history!
Back in 1975 the Golden Spurs of Nixon High School, under the brilliant direction of great life-time friend Mrs. Estela Zamora Kramer,  came to Los Angeles to perform for my yearly 5 de mayo FIESTA BEVERLY program at Beverly Hills High School, where I taught for 32 years.
I also arranged for them to perform at a pre-game show at Dodger Stadium, and…to dance at Disneyland! Because of their performance there, they got to see Disneyland for free, of course.  And so came to be that the Laredo dancers became part of Disneyland history.
FROM DISNEYLAND WEBSITE:

Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

Vibrant fireworks bursting above Sleeping Beauty Castle at the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

All-new nighttime spectaculars, dazzling décor and more… a Diamond Celebration so brilliant, you’ll need more than a day to take it all in.

A boy sitting on his father s shoulders smiles while vibrant fireworks illuminate the evening sky

60 Delightful Years of Disney Magic

Bring family and friends and join us in celebrating the next great era of the Disneyland Resort!Make your way to the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, where Guests of every age are commemorating 60 years of Disney magic with dazzling entertainment and sparkling surprises, including 3 new nighttime spectaculars:

Behold a Timeless World of Wonder
Ever since Disneyland Park opened on July 17, 1955, the Disneyland Resort has been an unforgettable destination for families to return to, again and again—a source of joy for the entire world and a place where innovation has continued to inspire an exciting future.

Throughout the festivities, soak up the sights as iconic jewels you know and love—Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park and Carthay Circle Theatre at Disney California Adventure Park—magically transform, glistening and gleaming with special Diamond Celebration enhancements.

In addition, be sure to treat your senses to the visual feast set all along beloved Disneyland Resort locations like Buena Vista Street and Main Street, U.S.A. Both will be decked out for the occasion with shimmering banners, glittering décor… and so much more.

It’s a celebration so big, one day simply isn’t enough to enjoy everything in store! Be sure to book your reservation at the hotels of the Disneyland Resort today.

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LONGEST RUNNING SPECTACULAR 2/11

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JANUARY  2016
BY  DR.  NEO    GUTIERREZ
Many years ago I used to go to Las Vegas once a   year, for a long week-end of seeing the best shows in town.  Sometimes I   would see some shows because someone I knew was in them.  Other times, I   went for the spectacular work involved in production. So it was that I got to   see the JUBILEE show at Bally’s.
On February 11, 2016, JUBILEE will present its last   show, having started its  spectacular run  34 years ago. It’s the   longest-running show in the history of Las Vegas.
Robin Leach of the Las Vegas Sun Times tells   us:

The biggest show     on  the Las Vegas Strip is closing on Feb. 11. The cast     and crew of “Jubilee” at Bally’s were rocked with the unexpected news. It’s     a double shocker in less than 48 hours because the show’s co-creator and     associate producer, Fluff LeCoque,died Thursday at age 92. She     was unaware of the pending shutdown after its 34-year     run.

The iconic and     lavish Donn Arden’s “Jubilee,” which cost $10 million to stage, is coming to     an end, but there’s hope that a new showgirl spectacular at its Bally’s home     could arise from the ashes. Caesars Entertainment executives, I’ve learned,     are exploring a new show.

“Bally’s Las Vegas     is proud that millions of guests from around the world have experienced this     thrilling Las Vegas classic for more than 34 years. We are looking forward     to revealing exciting new developments in our entertainment lineup at     Bally’s in the coming months,” said Bally’s Las Vegas President David     Hoenemeyer in an official statement after notifying     cast.

“Jubilee” will     continue six nights a week (dark Fridays) through Feb. 11, 2016,      along with the hourlong private tours for the behind-the-scenes     secrets of its glitz and glamour that have been a major attraction the last     eight years.

It has been a     historic run as the last showgirl extravaganza on the Strip, and therein     lies the economic challenges buffering a continuing run. Although there have     been sellouts of the 1,040 seats, the production team has wrestled with one     of the most expensive budgets in   town.

The cast of nearly     70 dancers, singers and specialty acts is matched by the almost 70     stagehands it takes to operate the stage, sets, lights, elevators and sound     equipment. Twenty-six people work in the wardrobe department to keep those     outrageous and expensive costumes in shape.

Many of the show’s     sets and costumes date back to the original 1981 production, including the     Titanic sinking and the Samson and Delilah temple collapse. Delilah’s crown     for that scene is the largest jeweled headpiece at 2 feet tall and covered     with 20 pounds of rhinestones.

I’m reliably told     that because of their value historically and in cost, everything will remain     at Bally’s. “They are irreplaceable and hopefully can be used in the     future,” one exec  said.

When the show opened in July     1981, the average cost of one finale costume was $7,000 — or $21,000 now     with inflation. More than 1,000 of them are worn during the show, many     designed by Bob Mackie and Pete Menefee. The opening number cost $3 million     to stage. There are 8,000 miles of sequins used on the costumes, enough to     reach from the Strip to Place Pigalle and Montmartre in Paris where topless     spectaculars premiered.

If all the jewelry     worn by the gorgeous dancers was weighed, it would total 10,000 pounds. More     than 1,000 dancers have worked in the show during its 34-year run. The     showgirls in the stunning “Grand Jewel Box” show-stopping have to be able to     wear the trademark feathered headdress, which weighs as much as 22     pounds.

The basement     dressing rooms two flights below the stage mean dancers race up and down     more than 1,700 stairs a night. They’ve been a class of their own standing     at least 5’8” and as tall as 6’2.” They’re all natural, as breast     enhancements are forbidden for showgirls in the spectacular.    

“Jubilee” features     100 sets and backdrops with some 100,000 light bulbs and more than 125 miles     of wiring. The stage is half the size of a football field — 190 feet long,     73 feet deep and 15 stories — able to host stunts, scenes and sequences that     couldn’t be re-created on any other stage in the     world.

Out of sight from     the audience are three main double-decker elevators each with 100,000-pound     lift capacity, six smaller elevators and two revolving elevators that help     move dancers and sets. The nearly 35-year-old theater is no modern technical     marvel, and in recent weeks two of those elevators stopped working and moved     out of alignment. Replacement costs would be prohibitive, let alone the     costs to close the structure for   repair.

“Jubilee” was on     its last legs. A closing and change was the only alternative.    

A year ago Boyonce      choreographer Frank Gatson Jr. was brought in     to modernize the long-running show with an edgy, new look (during this time,     the exclamation point was dropped from the title). It came off complicated     and disjointed, but Gene’s new take and focus brought it back to life.     However, repair and maintenance costs far exceed the box     office.

Another production     show, “Hallelujah Hollywood,” which ran for six years, preceded “Jubilee.”     Incredibly, “Jubilee” almost never opened, so its 34-year run is truly     impressive. My Las Vegas Sun colleague John Katsilometes told the story Friday of its last     rehearsals just two weeks before opening when     the old MGM Grand suffered a   fire.

Overhead     sprinklers and ash from the blaze ruined the costumes. Fluff and Donn had to     be rescued by helicopter from the hotel’s roof. MGM toppers decided that its     Bally’s hotel would take over the repaired and renamed property and that a     MGM-branded hotel would move down to Tropicana and Las Vegas     Boulevard.

In July 2011,     “Jubilee” made entertainment history celebrating its 30th pearl anniversary.     David Hoenemeyer at the time said: “We know a woman never likes to tell her     age, but we are so proud of the showgirls turning 30. It’s an amazing feat.     ‘Jubilee’ is a great example of how something unique, distinctive and     extraordinary really never goes out of style. Big concerts and special     events come and go in Las Vegas, but only one show outlived them     all.”

JUBILEE is      the only show in the United States where audiences can see the classic     Las Vegas showgirl: a tall, trained dancer. The stats are staggering: 18,720     shows for more than 18 million guests. Legendary impresario Donn conceived,     staged and directed the elaborate, retro-glam     extravaganza.

“Jubilee”     celebrates those striking showgirls in trademark bright-red lipstick and     fishnets. Those legs that go on for miles go through 1,500 pairs of tights a     year, thus more than 500,000 pairs in its first 30 years. Their heels are     re-enforced with steel braces and rubber soles on the five pairs each they     wear during a show.

Fluff said in a     2014 interview: “I don’t think you’ll ever see a show that uses showgirls     the way ‘Jubilee’ does ever again. My sense is they will never produce     another show like it. You might have shows with four or six, but not the     same show as we used to have with dozens and dozens of     showgirls.”

We say a fond     farewell to “Jubilee.” She will be sadly missed after Feb. 11. But as with     all things in Las Vegas show business, a new phoenix will arise from the     ashes — and I hope the wonderful 34 years of memories won’t be     forgotten.

(Robin Leach of     “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more     than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside     scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum     playground.)

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IN TV’S NEW “TELENOVELA” EVA LONGORIA IS PRODUCER, DIRECTOR, AND ACTRESS

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DECEMBER 2015
BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ
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Texan Eva Longoria is back in  prime-time       television after she said goodbye years ago to her career-defining       role as wealthy Gabrielle Solis on “Desperate Housewives.”  She is       the producer, director, and star of the new NBC comedy “Telenovela.”       The show will air weekly on Monday       nights.
According to the TV Web: Longoria was born March 15, 1975 in     Corpus Christi, Texas. A beauty pageant contestant in her youth, she got her     first break in show business with a regular role on The     Young and the Restless from     2001 to 2003. Her breakthrough role came in 2004 as Gabrielle Solis on the     hit television series Desperate     Housewives.

Early Years

Eva Jacqueline Longoria was born on March 15, 1975, in       Corpus Christi, Texas, the youngest of four sisters. Longoria grew up on a       ranch in Corpus Christi and attended Texas A&M, Kingsville, earning       her bachelor of science degree in kinesiology while appearing in college       plays.

In March 1998, Longoria won the Miss Corpus Christi beauty       pageant, which came with the opportunity to compete in a talent show in       Los Angeles. She headed to L.A. for the talent show, won it, and stayed in       California to pursue an acting career.

The Big Break

In 2000, Longoria made her first appearances on TV in tiny       parts on Beverly Hills 90210 andGeneral Hospital. The       following year, the young actress joined the cast of the daytime soap       opera The Young and the Restless, on which       she played Isabella, a mentally unstable character who, after two seasons,       was sent to an insane asylum.

The role earned Longoria an American Latino Media Arts       (ALMA) Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama in 2002, but even       better things were on the horizon, when Longoria landed a juicy role on       the new seriesDesperate       Housewives two years       later.

Desperate Housewives

Eva Longoria hit prime time with a vengeance in 2004 as the       sexy, scheming Gabrielle Solis on the ABC dramedy Desperate Housewives. The ensemble       show was an immediate hit, and Longoria shot to nationwide fame       instantly.

A year into the show, she won Choice TV Breakout       Performance, Female, at the Teen Choice Awards and the cast won the Screen       Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy       Series. The cast won the SAG in 2006 as well, and Longoria took home the       Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series,       Musical or Comedy and the ALMA for Person of the Year. She was also named       one of People‘s 50 Most Beautiful in 2005 and       #1 on Maxim’sannual Hot 100 list two years in a row.

All the attention Longoria was getting from Desperate Housewives led to movie roles as well, and she       appeared in Harsh Times (2005, with Christian Bale), The       Sentinel (2006, with Michael       Douglas) and The Heartbreak Kid(2007, with Ben       Stiller), among others.

Beyond Desperate Housewives

By the time Desperate Housewives came to an end in 2012, Longoria was       pulling down nearly $400,000 per episode, making her one of the top-paid       TV stars in the world. She also was one of the busiest when not in front       of the cameras, as she works on behalf of several charities. She is the       national spokesperson for Padres Contra el Cancer, a nonprofit       organization that helps Latino children with cancer and their families,       and she founded Eva’s Heroes, an organization that offers enrichment       opportunities for developmentally challenged young       people.

She is the international face of L’Oréal Paris, a       spokesperson for Pepsi and the face of Bebe Sport. She also, of course,       continues to act, both on TV and in film and has produced a pilot for a       new series and a dating reality show,Ready for Love.

Longoria was married to actor Tyler Christopher from 2002       to 2004 and to basketball star Tony Parker from 2004 to       2010.

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