Thursday, June 22, 2006
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Passing On the Torch
After a year in the business I've come to see some things, both good and bad, that have left me at a point of confusion to whether or not I wish to continue. I'm still in contemplation mode. In the meantime my mom has found herself smack in the middle of various productions and has somehow become cooler than me.
She calls me at my job one day last week as I stared out to the beautiful sunny weather which I couldn't enjoy from the shackles of my desk. "You should come home," she tells me. When I ask why she tells me they are filming a music video in the park up the block from her house. "Who is in it?" I ask her. And she mumbles something about Sean Paul. Sean Paul! Damn, he's kinda sexy and the only reggae artist whose music I can actually translate. Bummer. Twenty minutes later she calls me back. "It's not Sean Paul it's Jean Carlo." Who in the hell is Jean Carlo? I begin to get frustrated at the lack of credible information. I'll spare you the next hour of back and forth we had before she actually got it right and told me they were filming a scene from the MOVIE tentatively titled "Reggaeton". I'm going to take a shot in the dark and guess it's about the evolution of reggaeton. "So where's Daddy Yankee?" I ask. "I don't see him," she says,"I'll call you back." And this is how the day continues with my mom hanging out in the park for most of the day and coming home with the following pics... Yea, I was kinda jealous.
Setting the stage for a mock concert
Our little starlet gets her first on screen experience
Giancarlo Esposito and mom
I have no idea who these guys are, do you?
Victor Rasuk and ... someone
Victor Rasuk and mom... quite jealous about this one, Raising Victor Vargas is one of my favorite films
Omarion and mom.. yea, OMARION .. I have no idea what role he plays in this film, but I'm hoping this isn't You Got Served Part 2 ... (although I secretly watch that movie every time I catch it on cable)
Nearly the very next day mom meets me uptown for a night of great food at Fondo Boricua (hope I got that right) and great music at Camaradas. Having just seen the documentary Yo Soy Boricua Pa Que Tu Lo Sepa on Monday, mom had the cast fresh on her brain. Maybe she indirectly summoned them because no more than five minutes after we walked into the restaurant, Bobbito Garcia walks in. Five minutes after that in walks Rosie Perez and her cousin Sixto. Mom nearly lost her mind trying to snap photos of them while they ate. I was able to hold her back long enough to wait for a photo opp when we walked out of the restaurant. She jumps in next to Rosie and starts up a congratulatory speech while I casually asked the guys if they were going to see Tato y Yerbabuena after dinner. Super friendly and down to earth, Bobbito said he might show up at Camaradas after. I gave mom the eye that we were two seconds away from wearing out our welcome. She said her goodbyes and followed me out of the restaurant, but not before getting this pic:
It was a warm Thursday night, so I wasn't surprised to roll up to Camaradas and find a large group of people lounging outside. I introduced mom to my boys of Yerbabuena, Tato, Niko and Bebo. We grabbed a few drinks, the band began to play and I watched as mom fell totally into the Camaradas groove. A few songs and beers later the set finished and the congregation formed once again outside. It was midnight and the work bell was already calling me for later that morning. I excused mom from a conversation she was having and said my goodbyes. Several yawns later, I was tucked in bed smiling at the evening and thinking my mom is pretty cool.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Guys Are Like Bags of Potato Chips
I don't remember what the analogy was, I just know that the person who told it to me has a great tendency to make me laugh very often.
I've been MIA for nearly a month and it's not coincidental, I have in fact found the need to take a break from my online life. There is a lot going on in both my personal and professional life, and I've come to realize I can't put myself out there as much as I used to. Celebs and talent I work with could try to sue my ass one day for putting them on blast... unless I change their names... I think I'll leave that for the novel. Yes, there will be one. I even have a title, but I'm not sharing yet. Just know that all of you out there who have been beating me upside the head to finally get my stories to paper will be met with a novel I hope you'll enjoy... let's just see how long it takes me to write it.
The personal life has taken some serious twists and turns. A lot of heartache, but a lot of laughter as well... I have some good friends and family out there to help me through. Just hope I can somehow repay them one day for being there for me like they have been.
I've taken at least 150 pics in the past month, mainly due to me visiting PR, but I'm not going to post them all, maybe just a few. PR was an interesting time... I met many realizations while I was out there, about myself and about the society of people from which my history derives. So many debates have been ignited and extinguished in the past few weeks over political issues. I have no idea whose answers are correct, if it were that easy there wouldn't be turmoil in the first place. There's a lot more going on in this world that I need to be aware of, instead of being so caught up in wondering how I'll get passed my own bullshit.
Here are some pics to sum up the past few weeks....
The view from my condo on Isla Verde beach, Puerto Rico
Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos memorial
A Taino Indian Demonstration in Old San Juan
Me and my beautiful Mom
My too cute for words, little cousin JJ
My "cousin" Gessie and her adorable son Isael (gotta love those PR names)
My "twin" cousin Xavi .. I love our broken Spanglish communication methods
Celebrated Nikki's bday by taking her out to the Frying Pan
Then continued the celebration @ China Club the next evening.. We have good genes don't we?
A bunch of peeps came out to celebrate with us.. including Pablo and Gil a.k.a my bodyguards
The infamous lovely cousin trio picture
Is she having a blast or what?
Three generation mommy's day
A friend stops by... no, I'm not pregnant.. but isn't my shirt cute?
So there you have it folks.. the best update I can give you...
Monday, May 01, 2006
All Things Rican...
In the last few months I have immersed myself in a community which I was not fully aware of prior. I've always known I was Puerto Rican, always ate the food and moved to the music, but was never fully aware of where my family came from and what they went through to get here to New York. This newfound curiosity in my roots brought me to attend the premiere of "Yo Soy Boricua, Pa' Que Tu Lo Sepas! (I'm Boricua, Just So You Know!)", directed by the beautiful and authentic Rosie Perez.
I gathered up the Boricua troops, i.e. my crazy friends who have become my frequent tag along team to experience new adventures. Stephen linked up with me after work and we headed down to Pace University on the west side instead of east...why'd we do that again? We end up at the WTC and were about to jump in a cab when I looked east and realized we were right in the vacinity of Pace, would have been a 30 second cab ride and still more than $4.
As we walked down Spruce Street it became obvious that peopole were not playing around with this movie. The film, which would start @ 8:30 (as long as it wasn't running on PR time) already had a line forming outside of it and it was only 7:30. Luckily, I had already purchased tickets for my crew, but that didn't stop a friend of mine who is renowned for waiting until the last minute to call me and ask me if I had an extra ticket. As my other friends began to show up, first Chris and then Clarissa and her crew, I scrambled between my blackberry and my cellphone trying to find out how we'd get extra tickets. Tato, my friend and Yerbabuena band leader, showed up with his beautiful girlfriend Mara and joined us in line. Every five seconds someone one of us knew would stop by our section of the line and we would have mini-reunions. It never ceases to amaze me how "small" this "huge" community is.
Without realizing it an hour had gone by and we were being ushered into the theater. Our entire group was seated together in the front of the balcony and we did what any normal Puerto Rican would do and drapped all our shit over the seats surrounding us in case our other peoples showed up lol. As it typically happens, Monse found his way in with Divine and they joined our section (his ability to undermine any implausible situation still amazes me). We settled down to an introduction to the movie and a round of applause to Rosie who thanked everyone for coming. The lights dimmed and my history began.
What unfolded before me was something beautiful and shocking all at once. I have to put this out there, apparently I didn't know shit about what Puerto Ricans have gone through. I wasn't even on point with who the prominent leaders had been. Am I ashamed of my ignorance? Slightly. But, I'm now focused to learn so much more. I've surrounded myself with people who are in tune with history and purpose, people like Tato who, I had not known until that moment, starred in the movie and shared relevant and important pieces of information. Much love to Judie who put me onto the movie in the first place, we have a lot of networking to do in the future girl! I'm hungry to learn more and I've crashed right into a wealth of resources. Unfortunately, I will be away for the next week so I will not be able to view the movie again, but for those of you who wish to be inspired, film information can be found at www.tribecafilmfestival.org. The film will also air on the IFC channel on June 12th.
After the film, Chris, Stephen and I were famished, so we said our goodbyes and headed to the LES where we swore we'd find some decent Spanish food even though it was already 11pm. Circling the avenues from A through D we found nothing and settled for pizza. While Chris is great at balancing pizzas and sodas, his skillz did not divert him from getting sauce on my jeans. HA! Kidding, it's not that serious, I just know it bothered you. Don't worry, I got StainStick! Although tired as shit, Stephen and I took Chris up on his offer to meet up with Fred and join them @ The Frying Pan. Gotta tell you off the bat that Chris is one of the most original people I've ever met, so I knew hanging with him would be something out the ordinary. He didn't let me down.
We arrived at Chelsea Piers near Basketball City and walked onto a pier that was setup as an outdoor club under a tent. House music pumped, no THROBBED, through the wood beneath my feet and I almost fell into a trance. It wasn't the techno house that I can't stand, it was full on drums, congas and jungle beats that had me moving before I even realized I still had the energy. Right then and there I was ready to move as if I knew what I was doing, but then I got shy. I always get shy. "Come on, Elle! I see it in you," Chris told me. So I twisted and shook a little but nothing crazy. Meanwhile him and Fred (FunkSquad) got down to dancing biz. At some point Chris took me and Stephen on this tour of an ancient boat that floated next to the pier. You were allowed to roam anywhere you pleased on the boat and below the deck was another DJ blasting breakdancing beats as people pop and locked across the dance floor. It was like something out of a lords of the underground type of flick.
By 3am I was dead tired, still loving the music, but in desperate need of my bed. Chris allowed us to go home only if we promised to come out to his party in Astoria the next evening. We agreed and half dazed found our ways home.
Here are some pics:
Tato and Mara --too cute for words
Stephen, me & Chris
Monse & Divine
the panel talks about the movie
Chris, I'm gonna steal your hats
Quick shpeel about Saturday. I gather Marjorie and Nikki to join me in my Astoria adventure. Sneakers and tees? We're in! I made a pitstop in BK which I now regret, but ce la vie, and then into Astoria we rolled. I swear Chris gave me the wrong address cause we were in the middle of absolutely nowhere. But, there were the two red lights outside of Hell Gate Social. We slid in through the secret door and VOILA! one of the coolest lounges I've seen thus far with a patio that will host movie screenings in the summer. I made a few calls and soon enough Stephen appeared with Carlos and Black, then my Rockstar brethren Ryan showed up with MIMS. Music flowed from house to spanish to mainstream to reggae and threw it all we were chatting up and having a good time. By 3am we were starved, said our goodbyes to Chris and headed to Neptune dinner for some super early breakfast. Gotta love my friends, they are the ones who would be there for me when shit hit rockbottom later in the weekend... but I'm not going to write about that. Life is too good to be caught up on shit that isn't worth your time.
Enough of these cheesy pictures, Chris! Let's do something fun next time.
Teach me how to DJ?! ... Well first you press this, then u scratch that, then you bring this back ... oh forget it!
Ryan and MIMS, brotherly love
Black goes for the sneak attack on my food.
Black tries to convince Carlos he didn't steal his food.. I'm sure!
Ya'll crack me up!
Thursday, April 27, 2006
On the Midnight [Bus] to [Shaolin]....
I think I need to go to military bootcamp. I hear they only allow you five or so hours of sleep and somehow you manage to get used to it. That's what I've been managing, on a good day maybe six hours, but last night was yet another where I found my way to an express bus around midnight and began the journey home.
Being it was so late I figured the bus would be close to empty and quite, apparently somewhere in God's plan for me there's a loophole about serenity that I'm not involved in. As I boarded the super crowded bus that had maybe five vacant seats, I was quickly met with the loud chatty voices of what sounded like all the passengers. Why would you possibly be so ready to chat endlessly after a long day in the city? As I wondered this I began to realize something else... 90% of the people on the bus were Russian.
There I was, tired as all hell, wishing I could grab a few minutes of zzz's, but surrounded by a loud chatter in an indistinguishable dialect. Granted, I think it had less to do with them being Russian than it did with the fact that they all seemed to know each other. Which lead me to wonder what in the world goes on in the city so late at night that has crowds of Russian people heading home at midnight? If I had the energy and mental capacity I may have stopped to ask someone, but instead I closed my eyes, turned on my Ipod and tried drifting away. (DISCLAIMER- nothing against Russians, God only knows if the bus had been filled with my Puerto Ricans there may have been instruments playing to accompany the verbal noise level).
Just as my Ipod got loud enough to drown everything else out, I felt something nudging my leg. I kept my eyes closed and nudged back, it didn't budge. I opened my eyes and saw that it was the leg of the man sitting next to me. I quickly absorbed the situation at hand, noticing that he was totally breaking the personal space line created by the division of the seats. What was clearly my side of the bench was overlapped by a quater of his body. I stood my ground and continued to hold my leg in place against the weight of his. I closed my eyes and kept my leg strong, until the idea of his nasty leg rubbing up on mine totally grossed me out and I relented. Pulling my right leg closer to my left, I inched away from him... Only to feel his leg cross further into my territory and push, once again, against mine. I was then hit with a combo feeling of pissiness, fear and being grossed out. I'll punch someone before I'll curse them out and start a scene, and I didn't think starting a fight on the bus would prove helpful. (Side note- once, at a club a dude kept trying to grind up on me from behind, even when i repeatedly moved away from him. Instead of yelling at him I elbowed him in the nose and saw him run off to the bathroom craddling it.)
Not soon enough we reached Staten Island and I got up to get off the bus. Why did this dude get up too? That's when I started to panic. As I got off the bus I waited to the side to let him start walking away first. He turned the same corner I had to in order to go home. Allowing him a quarter of a block space ahead of me, I walked home nervously and wondered who I could call at that hour to talk me through the journey home. Right at that moment by friend Carlos texted me something about a random Wendy's and I called him back immediately. As we chatted I watched the weirdo walk in front of me and turn his head around to look back at me once in a while. I was finally able to exhale when he continued straight as I turned the corner.
Was I overreacting the whole time? Who knows, but I made sure to scrub the area of my pants that he rubbed his leg on with shout stain remover.
In lighter news, Imani's baptism was last Sunday- thank the good Lord for that one Candice, I think mom was ready to kick both our asses if we didn't get it done. The little Diva had her screaming moments in church but for the most part she was her normal little angel with a touch of diva, self.
Prior to becoming a princess
Transforming into a princess
Finally a princess
The princess train doesn't stop with Imani
Now it's DIVA time, I wonder where she gets it from...
See how Imani is really Candice's minime and not mine?
Friday, April 21, 2006
I Never Thought I'd Say This...
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
What In The Hizzel??
It's 10:47p Tuesday night and I'm shacked up in the Hudson Hotel for the evening. What dirty deeds you doin' ,Elle? None. I'm actually here because my company held a summit within the hotel today and let us out of towners stay the night (thank god for staten island!). While my coworkers chill downstairs in the bar, I relax in my hotel room partly cursing at myself and partly reminding myself that I'm a responsible adult. See, the thing is that a) I'm slightly drunk and b) I really need to sober up enough to take my medication. Medication for what, Elle? Well, that's a story in itself...
Last night I was disturbed at 2am by a little mother fucker named Tito. First he brushed my hand and made it sting, then he kissed my lip and made it swell. See, Tito is a mosquito and Tito brought upon me a hell I had never experienced. It was @ 2am that I swatted and swung at the invisible creature near my face that buzzed mockingly in my ear. It was at 2:15am that I switched on the light and saw my adversary laying before me on the bed, dead. I smiled with triumph, but upon looking in the mirror became aware of the redness of my bottom lip. Mofo bit my lip. I waddled into the bathroom and downed some Benadryl then went to sleep.
At 6am, I awoke and marveled at how odd my mouth felt. Groggily, I walked over to the mirror and stared in horror. Anyone ever see Hitch? Remember the part where he becomes allergic to shellfish and breaks out in swollen spots all over his face? Thought it was bullshit? WRONG. That shit really happens. And it happened to me. Now for those of you who cannot stand the look of disformities, step aside please, because here is something you won't want to see.... my lip... 4 hours after the initial bite
Freaky? You damn right it was! I started to panic and called my boss. That morning was the beginning of our Upfront Summit. Our team members from all over the US were in town and big meetings were going down and I was looking like Sherman from the Nutty Professor. I told her that this was so ridiculous I would have to send her a picture message and so I did. She called me back immediately. "Elle, why does this kind of stuff happen to you? You poor thing!" I'm known for having the weirdest reactions to things that make little sense. She advised me to go to the emergency room, and after calling my mother to accompany me, I agreed.
Four hours, and millions of milligrams later, I was drugged up and passed out in the ER of SI University Hospital. My second time there within 18 months, and another $50 co pay. "You had an allergic reaction, we're putting you on steroids." Wonderful! Thank God I don't play baseball. As I left the hospital my mom picked me up.
"You want the bad news now?" she asked.
I had no clue how my day could get worse. "Shoot."
"You got a $65 inspection sticker expiration ticket."
You have to be shitting me, I grunted, took the ticket and went home.
I napped for a while longer and when the swelling reduced to a decent size I decided to up and go to work. My boss who, after finding out I was ok, resisted the urge to broadcast my pic on the company slideshow, had at least shown the pic to most of my coworkers along with the story of my pain and suffering. I appreciated this because it allowed me to excuse myself from 15 stories about why I was 5 hours late.
There were "Oh my God!"s and "How in the hell is your lip not falling off?" But all in all everyone was very supportive. We held our meetings, went to dinner, got shitfaced and most are in the hotel bar chilling right now. But me, I'm being the level headed one and going to sleep. Had enough drama for the day. Don't need to hear about crazy sex excursions. Got my health to think about....
Now that you've seen that shitty pic let me leave you of some happier times with Imani on Easter =o)
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Don't Get Gassed
“Hi Elle! This is _____ from MTV, we’re throwing a birthday party slash welcoming party for Cipha Sounds tomorrow night. I saw your pic and would like to extend an invitation to you. Are you up for it?”
If you’re a New Yorker, I don’t have to school you on who Cipha is, but as many of my blog readers aren’t from NY, a quick run down goes like this: he’s a highly accredited DJ, a radio personality on both Hot97 and Sirius channel Shade 45, VP of Rockafella’s Rock La Familia, and now VJ for MTV’s Direct Effect. I hope that’s everything, but you can always go to www.ciphasounds.com and read more there.
Ok, enough of the promo, I just wanted to familiarize you guys.
So of course I said, “Sure, I’m down.”
Casting director: “Great, come in club gear and if you can tolerate heels for 4 to 5 hours, wear ‘em.”
What, Dear God, was I getting myself into? Not to be mistaken for some video hoe or groupie, I chose my outfit as if I was going to any other club on any other night- cute, but not over the top. I then call my girl Tanja, fellow industry head who gets amped by all things celebrity, to spread the news. Turns out, she had received an invite as well. Now I felt relaxed, I’d have a partner in crime.
Come the morning of the event, Tanja calls me. She can’t go, has to meet with her real estate lawyer. I panic. Sure, I’m social, but being in an environment like that without a solid person to converse with? I had to have a wing person and I was sure the MTV crew wouldn’t mind another pretty lady as long as I didn’t bring a parade with me. My first call goes out to Marj of course, but it’s half assed because I’m already aware this isn’t Marj’s thing. She’s become super lowkey, I guess that’s what marriage does to you. She denies me and right at that moment I get a call from Clarissa, former director of the Latina NY pageant and new VP of Latina World. By default she is my next invitee, and although she could kill me for telling her last minute, she agrees. And exhale.
At 5p.m., the time I had told my self to be out of my office building by, I was still doing travel arrangements for my boss. Lucky for me, nothing in the entertainment world ever starts on time. So, although the invite was for 6:30pm, there was no one there until 7, and even then that equaled me, Clarissa and maybe 5 people. I met the casting director who told Clarissa and I we can come see Direct Effect whenever we’d like. Great! I’ll be there next month!
With no one in the club (Stereo), the place was freezing. I kept asking Clarissa to do a nipple check on me, but my little hunnies were keeping themselves unnoticed. After a half hour people started to flow through the doorway and some of the girls we saw…wow. Something became very visible to me very quickly – there were two kinds of women at this function: the ones like me and Clarissa who were there to just chill and possibly network, and the glorified hoochies with their weaves, short skirts and 6 inch heels who were there in hopes of finding quick love in all the wrong places.
One girl, dressed to the T like she thought she was in a music video, asked the casting director, “So will I be escorting celebrities?” He looked at her like she had three heads, “No, you’re basically here just to have a good time and party.” She looked downright distraught, and momentarily, I felt bad for her. I asked her if she knew where the bathroom was. She replied, “to hell if I know” with her nose in the air. Well then, fuck you to kingdom come then, to hell with my pity for you. LOL.
Over the next hour the crowd became larger, Clarissa and I had settled below the DJ booth outside of VIP. Although we had the bands to get into VIP, I just wasn’t into it. If I don’t officially know someone in VIP, I’m not going to act like I do.
The infamous Q-Tip began to DJ and the party began to pick up towards the momentum it would carry for the rest of the night. Cipha filtered in and wandered through the crowd. I ran into Manny who, as irony would have it, recognized me from myspace where, more ironically, he had sent me a friend request without at first realizing that we sort of knew each other in college. Manny and his friends joined me and Clarissa at our spot and before we knew it we were surrounded by various record execs and musical artists and rappers. The music was tight, a combination of old skool and hip hop funk. The vibe was just right.
Then it dawned on me that although I know a few of Cipha’s colleagues, I’ve never actually met him directly (and I don’t talk about them because they are “private” people lol). What better night right? I looped the club and finally came across him walking by himself. After tapping his shoulder, and grabbing his attention I introduced myself, told him I was a fan for years, congratulations on landing the show and an early happy birthday wish. He hugged me told me thanks and asked my name again. Then he asked where I was from, and why did I have no clue what that meant? So I said Brooklyn and he laughed. I’m thinking now he meant who did I work with. He asked me something I can’t remember then got pulled away to video tape. I returned to Clarissa and the crew that had formed.
I sipped on my Amstel, watch Clarissa dance around with an incredible amount of energy I could never possess after a long work day. Cipha circled around to the area I was sitting and that’s when all these introductions and pictures began. I grabbed a pic with Cipha and said something about him not knowing my name, to which he replied “It’s _____ (my real name), I remember that kind of stuff I’m not an asshole”. Got me right here (pointing to heart) – he’s definitely on my cool celeb list for sure. So here comes the onslaught of pics:
Manny of Xequtive Board Entertainment
Clarissa and Qtip
Qtip and Cipha spinning at the same time
Daytona (love his style) - www.myspace.com/daytonabx
Cipha and Miss Info -how cute is she?
Kevin - I want to say he's Cipha's road manager, but he was so funny and switching up everything I said that it was hard to keep track. Cool dude, nonetheless.
The DEY is coming ....
At midnight things began to shut down. I said goodbye to all those I had met, including Cipha and walked out with Clarissa and some friends to find transportation home. As I rode the express bus home I did the shake thing I do when I get excited and smiled at the evening of fun and networking I had just experienced. Something tells me so far so good, Elle… now keep it up!