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First preview of the Disney-produced Juan Gabriel series has surfaced

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Rumors that Disney was working on a series based on Juan Gabriel’s life have been circulating the lavadero — that’s where gossipy Latina women divulge all sorts of chismessince last year:

The dramatic emission, which will have 13 episodes and is based on unpublished testimonials, will retrace the steps of Alberto Aguilera Valadez (Juan Gabriel’s real name) as he worked to accomplish his dream of becoming famous.

I had quite the dramatic emission myself when I found out this series was even a thing, and, after watching the “first exclusive footage” scored by Ventaneando (it’s not, but I’ll get to that), I may just have another:

Is that the amazing María Rojo playing Juan Gabriel’s mom? Nice.

I still can’t tell who’s playing Juan Gabriel and the series’ IMDB is not helping, so if any of you know, please drop it in the comments.

A few observations: this 13-chapter-long telenovela appears to be based on Juan Gabriel’s official biography — which is pretty good, BTW — and not “unpublished testimonials.” Also, the first teaser of the series has been floating around Youtube since last year, but what Ventaneando scored is more footage. Here’s the previous trailer:

In the US we’ll be able to watch Hasta que te conoci on Telemundo when it’s finally released. I couldn’t find a release date — not even on Telemundo’s official twitter for the series, which looks severely neglected — but since the whole thing appears to be done, hopefully we’ll be able to watch this it soon.

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News

That time Penélope Cruz accidentally asked for a “blow job”

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Penélope Cruz appeared on The Graham Norton Show to promote her participation on the upcoming Zoolander 2 movie. During the interview, Cruz told a funny anecdote concerning her beginnings in Hollywood — the actress says she knew very little English because she studied French as a second language — which once lead her to ask a hairstylist for head instead of a dry head:

“I spoke so little [English]. Basically, I just knew my lines. Once I went to a hairdresser and asked for a blow job.”

Of course, what Penélope really wanted is a blowout, I assume.

Elton John happened to also be a guest on the show, and the funny man took almost too long to quip “I’ve done that, too.”

That’s some good show banter.

Here’s a clip:

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Culture

The merits of cultural appropriation? Guitar sales have spiked in Mexico post-Coco

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Recently Gustavo Arellano Miranda, a well-known writer for Pocho and the LA Times, penned a very interesting column on the success of Disney-Pixar’s Coco. Gustavo essentially defended Lalo Alcaraz, the Mexican-American cartoonist who worked on Coco as a consultant, from a group of Chicanos who accused Lalo of selling out. Part of the argument stemmed from the fact that Disney was appropriating Mexican culture to make a buck while giving very little back.

The merits or demerits of cultural appropriation can be deeply examined some other time — or here, in the comments, go for it — but as of today we’ll be able to argue that Disney-Pixar’s culling of our culture has, whether naysayers like it or not, brought economic benefit to some Mexican residents, specifically, Paracho’s guitar makers.

According to El País, guitar makers from the little Mexican town, which is located in the Mexican state of Michoacán, and is renowned for its guitarreros, has seen an huge spike in its guitar sales post-Coco. Many of the local guitar makers have begun modeling their instruments after the movie’s white, skull-inspired design, and people are loving them:

“Guitarists and merchants can not keep up with the demand for the peculiar instrument. Behind the sideboard of her shop, María Eugenia Gómez says she was not ready for ‘Coco fever.’ ‘If I had 1,000 guitars, I would sell them all,’ says the 76-year-old woman, who loved the film and predicts that sales will continue for a long time.”

There’s some eerie similarities between Coco, who’s main protagonist works together with his family to make shoes — or is supposed to — and one Paracho guitarrero named Salvador Meza:

“Of the 50 guitars he used to produced weekly, he’s now up to 100. ‘Normally, I work in my house with my wife and a friend, but now we added my comadre, my nephew, and a cousin… ¡Todos quedamos locos con el Coco!'”

I really hate to sound like a Disney-appropriation-alt-right-tons-of-other-millennial-academic-terms apologist, but besides making our peoples some good dough, the Coco craze is also getting a new generation of Mexicans into playing music — so, you know, an actual art form.

As I argued before, Disney was going to make the damn movie with or sans the outrage, so Mexicans are making the most out of a no-win situation.

Now, trivia time: Apparently the Coco guitar was designed by a michocanano name of Germán Vázquez. The guitar maker moved to Los Angeles 25 years ago, where he manged to set up his own shop. At 64, Vázquez said he identified with Miguel, Coco‘s protagonist:

“[Miguel] wanted to be a musician and found a way to become one. He fought and struggled until he succeeded. I am also like Miguelito: A fascinated guitarist.”

You still haven’t seen Coco? Here’s what I think of the movie — but it has spoilers, so read at your own risk.


 

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