Latin Grammys Celebrates Latino Music, Gets Political

21 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Famous Mexican musicians say ‘don’t vote for the racists’ like Donald Trump.

An hour and a half into the 16th annual Latin Grammy Awards, the ceremony was moving at a good clip. Two big-name musical acts urged audience members at this year’s Latin Grammys to vote against “racist” politicians, in an apparent shot across the bow at Donald Trump and other presidential candidates who have made disparaging remarks about Hispanic immigrants. The band Los Tigres del Norte finished a performance during the awards show, which aired Thursday night, by displaying a banner with the words, “Latinos unidos, no voten por los racistas,” which translates to “Latinos united, don’t vote for racists.” “This is how we can use our power.

We have to exercise our right to vote, and vote for those who will give more quality [of life] to Latinos, to the candidates,” said lead singer Fher. “Use your strength, Latinos!” Donald Trump, the frontrunner in the Republican presidential primary, made headlines this summer when, while announcing his candidacy, he described Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists. Los Tigres, Mexican immigrants based in San Jose, California, have over the past 50 years gained huge popularity on both sides of the border, singing about the harsh realities of love, immigration and the narcotics trade. Performing Los Tigres’ norteño anthem “Somos Más Americanos,” Maná and the band from San Jose, Calif. reaffirmed the fact that the Latino vote matters. Beyond that, the message seemed to be one about using one’s vote wisely and the audience, standing throughout the entire performance, seemed to agree. So we are here to say, ‘If you can do it, think of those in need.’” “There are more than 50 million Latinos in the United States – it has the second highest number of Spanish-speaking people in the world, after Mexico.

Had it not been for the political sign-hoisting, the show might have been better remembered as a night in which reggaeton came to rival pop as the bread and butter of the Latin Grammys — at least on stage, if not in the actual awards. (Most reggaeton musicians are still confined to various “urban” music categories, with pop and other musical styles dominating the prestigious areas like album of the year and record of the year.) The show, held at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, opened with a strong performance by Colombian reggaetonero J Balvin — who is inescapable on many Spanish-language radio stations — singing his hit song “Ginza,” a number about dancing reggaeton. He also played a duet with electronica group Major Lazer and MØ. (Balvin later won the trophy for urban song.) This was followed by other reggaeton acts, either alone or as parts of medleys with other musicians: the Puerto Rican star Wisin jammed with Ricky Martin on their single “Que Se Sienta El Deseo” (Feel the Desire) and Nicky Jam sang his smash break-up single “El Perdón” (Forgiveness) — for which he took home the award for urban performance. Both bands have teamed up with the voter registration group Voto Latino to launch a registration effort called, which went live during last night’s show. Vote for a human being who doesn’t discriminate; who is not racist, to put it bluntly.” The website, powered by Voto Latino voter mobilization org, went live simultaneously during the live performance.

More significantly, the Colombian electronica duo Bomba Estéreo, which was nominated in two categories but didn’t win any awards, gave a thumping rendition of their exhilarating dance single “Fiesta” — with a guest appearance by Will Smith. This past spring, indie singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade released “Hasta La Raíz” (To the Root), a critically acclaimed album that has been popular in Mexico but has received a more muted response abroad. Mexican regional acts weren’t buried at the end of the show as they were last year — a good thing because Mexican regional music is hugely popular. One of the best performances of the night came early on when the long-running Banda El Recodo played “Mi Vicio Más Grande” (My Biggest Vice) then segueding into an irresistible duet with reggaetonero Wisin for their song “Las Fresas” — about uppity rich girls. There were other excellent acts: former Shakira back-up singer Raquel Sofía wowed with her scratchy lovelorn girl anthem “Te Amo Idiota” (I Love You, Idiot), and Espinoza Paz engaged the audience with “Perdi La Pose” (I Lost the Post), a Mexican ranchera that brought a good dose of Latin American melancholy to the otherwise upbeat show.

By the time the West Coast sat down to watch the show, images of Los Tigres and Maná holding up their sign were already all over social media, as were GIFs of the Smith/Bomba Estéreo performance.

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Finding the ‘Joy’ in Jennifer Lawrence

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Joy’ review: Jennifer Lawrence cleans up in enjoyable biopic.

Writer-director David O. Their latest collaboration — following in the footsteps of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle — is a biographical picture about the life and times of Joy Mangano.Jennifer Lawrence groans when she’s asked about singing the classic Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet Something Stupid with co-star Edgar Ramirez in her new film Joy. “David [O Russell, the movie’s director] texted me last night to ask if he could put it on the soundtrack and this is what I texted him back,” the actor says as she digs around for her mobile phone and reads out her response verbatim. “‘David, no!!!’ and it is three exclamation marks.In a very abbreviated nutshell, that actually happened to Joy Mangano, 59, the fabulously successful Long Island entrepreneur/inventor and HSN pitchwoman whose rags-to-riches journey started with the invention of a mop.

Russell has made three kinds of movies: offbeat romances (“Flirting With Disaster”), surreal comedies (“I Heart Huckabees”) and dramas about dysfunctional yet appealing families (“The Fighter”). In real life, Mangano is the Long Island housewife and inventor who became famous and eventually rich after bouts of near-bankruptcy, by creating and marketing her Miracle Mop. Out Boxing Day in Australia, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence in the fictionalised life story of Joy Mangano, a single mum from Long Island who made her fortune selling a mop. On Christmas Day, “Joy,” a movie inspired by her struggles as a divorced, single mother turned mogul by way of that mop, will open at movie theaters across America.

This was before she hooked up with the giant Home Shopping Network, becoming their most effective pitch person and eventually selling her parent company, Ingenious Designs, to HSN. Gross, I can’t listen to it; I have to go to bed.’ And I said yes, but it’s a groaning, reluctant yes.” It’s the kind of unfiltered moment you come to expect when interviewing Lawrence, who may now be one of the most famous actors on the planet but still blurts out whatever she’s thinking with such self-deprecating charm it’s impossible not to be, well, charmed.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Miracle Mop inventor and QVC pitchwoman Joy Mangano glues the movie together, but it threatens to unravel at any time. Lawrence, 25, looks genuinely surprised when complimented about how unchanged she seems from our earlier interviews before the fame and Oscars. “But there would be no reason to change,” she says with a shrug. “I just have a job and I love my job. In the film, Lawrence’s Mangano is a colourful character, a single mom with a unique relationship and friendship with her ex-husband, and an enterprising woman who parlays her creativity into an incredibly successful business.

Mom (Virginia Madsen) stays in her bedroom and watches soap operas, until she falls for a Haitian plumber (Jimmy Jean-Louis) who fixes a hole in her bedroom floor. She landed minor roles on TV shows such as Monk, Cold Case and Medium before her 2010 indie film Winter’s Bone led to her becoming the second youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history. This is true even when the film tilts off its rocker with a bit of Russell-esque madness built into the screenplay, and with the director failing to always keep the energy going. That resulted in not only a string of critically acclaimed films, an Academy Award and another Oscar nomination, but also her very own mega-franchise as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Joy’s grandma (endearing Diane Ladd) delivers messages of empowerment and smooths over constant fights, but she’s opposed by the money-grubbing rich woman (Isabella Rossellini) who dates Joy’s dad and sends negative messages about her. Lawrence’s endearing habit of speaking her mind resulted in a controversial essay she penned on Lena Dunham’s website about her discovery during the Sony hacks that she was being paid less “than the lucky people with dicks” on her recent films, including American Hustle. “I completely understand when people say actors shouldn’t talk about politics and things they don’t know about, but this was my gender at stake and it was being threatened with unfairness and I thought, ‘What is the point of having this voice if it’s not to speak out for myself and for everyone else who can’t?’,” she says unapologetically.

Upon learning that Lawrence would be playing her mom, Miranne says, “I braced myself so I wouldn’t fall on the floor.” As for Mangano, she says Lawrence playing her “made me feel old, number one. Lawrence hangs out with a posse of celebrity girlfriends, including Amy Schumer and singer Adele, but the reason is simple. “The friendship gets expedited a lot when you meet someone you know beyond a shadow of a doubt has no agenda,” she says. Draining her savings and taking out loans, she started off small, selling her mops to local boat owners. “She persuaded QVC to take a thousand, but sales were poor and they tried to send them back,” says Mason. “She suggested letting her demonstrate it herself, and the channel agreed.” Sales skyrocketed and Mangano’s career as a QVC pitch woman was launched. That’s so amazing there aren’t even words.” Mangano and her three children didn’t view “Joy” until the Dec. 13 premiere in Manhattan, though a family outing to see “Trainwreck” included a trailer.

This is, after all, the self-confessed reality-show junkie who confessed in a recent Vogue interview that on the night of her 25th birthday party, friends surprised her with a visit from reality queen Kris Jenner, who presented her with a cake inscribed, ‘Happy Birthday, you piece of shit!’ The only time she seems tongue-tied is when asked about her relationship status, after a four-year stint with X-Men: First Class co-star Nicholas Hoult and a year with Coldplay singer Chris Martin before their breakup earlier this year. “Next!” Lawrence says in a no-nonsense voice, pausing as she decides if she’ll continue that thought. For one thing, Mangano’s childhood is not that interesting for a film, despite some flashbacks to her as a youngster (when she is played by 10-year-old Isabella Cramp, who does actually look like we imagine Lawrence could have at the same age). A satire on the acquisitiveness of the public? (Here, QVC foists unnecessary things on gullible viewers who could better save their money.) Russell doesn’t seem to know. And, of course, the grave ending would be a lie: Mangano is very much alive at the age of 59, still inventing, still pitching products, still a superstar of the American home shopping universe. There’s the Clothes It All luggage system, essentially a rolling suitcase with a removable garment bag, and the Super Chic vacuum, which releases fragrance into the air.

If I even casually say something to a reporter, that quote haunts me for the rest of my life,” she says, “so I am never, ever, ever talking about boys again!” I don’t think any of us brought enough tissues!” A good portion of the film was shot last winter in Boston, and though the always-busy Mangano was twice scheduled to visit the set, snowstorms made travel impossible. He has mixed genres successfully before, as in the anti-war comedy-drama “Three Kings,” but the blender often grinds to a halt in “Joy.” Just as we’re getting used to the realism of Mangano’s fight for respect, Russell photographs Rossellini as if she were a gargoyle.

One of her creations, the thin and velvet-covered Huggable Hanger, remains a bestseller for HSN, at more than 300 million sold, and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Yet in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Cooper, De Niro and Russell all supported her with fine work; here they lay back and make the movie a one-ring circus where she has to be acrobat, bareback rider and clown.

He had a presence all of his own.” At one point, Miranne says, “Jennifer grabbed Joy’s hand and said to David, ‘Look at the nails, a French manicure.’ ” (That manicure is a Mangano signature.) Lawrence revealed that in studying for her part as Joy, she watched recordings of the inventor’s early pitches on HSN, including ones for “Huggable Hangers” and found her so compelling that she wanted to buy them on the spot. There is something special when creative people get together.” Mangano’s take on Lawrence? “She’s beyond her years, so brilliant, hysterical and so talented.

Critically, Russell’s sense of wonder and beauty turns elegiac moments — especially when Joy Mangano becomes fully realized as a woman and as a business executive — into scenes of great beauty. Lawrence recently said on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” that the movie was “half Joy Mangano’s story and half [Russell’s] imagination and other powerful, strong women who inspired him.” The director mined much of his Mangano material by phone.

The cast includes Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Lucci (in a mock TV soap opera that gives Joy some of its silliness) and even Melissa Rivers as her late mother Joan Rivers. There’s no situation Joy cannot overcome or circumvent.” At a Newsday photo shoot at Mangano’s luxurious but serene 42,000-square-foot mansion on 11 acres in St. As for parting advice for the ambitious? “If this movie inspires even just one more person to believe in themselves and to go after their dreams, then it’s made a very special impact in this world.

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