The Latina Date comedy webisode of Reasons Y I’m Single

The Latina Date comedy webisode of Reasons Y I’m Single. My comedy web series

One More Opinion Piece on the Hiring Practices of SNL and “Latinos Hopping on the African American Band Wagon”–Que, Que?

This has a fresh new meaning with my latest webisode of Reasons Y I’m Single . Watch it now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhOrfv6dwAg

The Brownsville Bred Blog

In the last few months, I have read countless articles on the hiring practices of African American females by Saturday Night Live. It all started in November with an open letter generated by the civil rights group ColorofChange.org addressed to SNL’s legendary producer Lorne Michaels, asking “Why Doesn’t ‘SNL’ Cast Black Women?”

In an Associated Press interview, Lorne Michaels responded to the groups outrage with: “It’s not like it’s a priority for us…It will happen.  I’m sure it will happen…You don’t do anyone a favor if they’re not ready.”

Oh Lord…did he really say favor? Ay yay yay.

Since then, just two months after the sparring began, SNL has hired three African American females: two writers and one performer.

Great… Right?  WRONG!

Not far behind was another open letter — this one from The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA), and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA)…

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Are You of the Brownsville Breed?

HELLO WORLD! ARE YOU OF THE BROWNSVILLE BREED?

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Elaine Del Valle on Stage at 59E59 Theaters, NYC

THE BROWNSVILLE BREED was created by ME–Elaine Del Valle…Writer and Performer of the multiple award winning autobiographical solo play,BROWNSVILLE BRED.

In connecting with audiences through my life story I have found that everyone and everything is connected! No one gets anywhere alone.

This week…The Life and Times of this Little Known Actress Crawling her way to the Middle…brought me to

Elaine Del Valle HOLA Awardee on the Red Carpet

Writers: R.L. Stine and Elaine Del Valle…Thas’ right I said it!

In these WOW moments, I ask myself “How in the world did a poor Puerto Rican girl from Brownsville Brooklyn New York get here?”

My story began in 1971. I was a coal miner’s daughter… Really…Okay–a coal shovelers daughter…My dad used to shovel coal into the furnace of Public School 125 in Brownsville Brooklyn New York.

He was only 19 when I was born, and for as long as I could remember he was my hero…a Rumba Man…He loved and practiced the arts of music and baseball…all the while earning an income as a public school Janitor…in Brownsville Brooklyn–where any job that is steady and especially “City” was (and likely still would be) considered a coup–My dad was THE MAN.

My Mom met my Dad when she was 20…Already a single mother of three.  Not educated but with an angelic face and a methodical core…Basically a cross between Oprah and Charo with a Rosie Perez vocal quality.

When I was 11 my dad was revealed to be a functioning heroine addict…Thas’ right…I said it!

It was saying it– that changed my life…

In my play, I reveal tons of STUFF like that…that has audience members feeling like they have known me for their entire lives and moreover like I am their best friend…having done them a service by showing them my SHAMES…and freeing them of their own.

It wasn’t my intention to write shames…for me they were merely milestones…the turning points of my life.

I have had women of 60 years and older conveying to me afterward, “That happened to me, but I never told a sole.”…Funny how they shared it with me so openly afterward…and I just have to believe that it lifted the burden that had been carried for so long.

Kids writing me letters to let me know that they are “Cutters”, or “poor” and “felt helpless” or “hopeless” before and others that were moved to action…one even inspired to start her own business.

And so those people, although we would never have thought we had anything in common…are something I call of  THE BROWNSVILLE BREED.

And that is what this Blog is about! My responsibility to represent those who have not been heard.

Last night at the NALIP Panel…Based on the fact that I have a popular film winning lots of festivals (ELLIOT LOVES), one of the questions I was asked is what type of acting do I prefer “Celluloid on film or Theatre on Stage?”

My answer: Anything that pays! but really NO… The truth is I had to think about it. There is nothing like watching a film in a theatre and hearing the movie-goers respond to a character you brought to life (especially a well written fresh Latina role) …for me that is all about great writing…Playing Titi Carmen in that film was like remembering my favorite Aunts, basking in the aroma ofArroz con pollo in their kitchens and all the things they did to not just earn my respect, but gave ME self respect.

But who are we kidding, a solo show, based on my life, on the stage, for 90 minutes, where your constant collaborators are an entire audience…WOW…I can’t even say it without chills.  The theatre audience is not just my scene partner but they are also my illustrators and co-writers…Using their laughter to add the “pauses” and imaginations to build the picture that I am speaking…The individual interpretation changes the meaning and you can’t help but feel that intense energy emanating from the shadows in the depths of their solitude in a concentrated, dark and packed theatre…They are alone in their thoughts but as close to another being as possible…I am then painted with more colors than one person alone can ever imagine!

For those of you who don’t see theatre I encourage you to open your hearts and minds and especially introduce that of young people to this great art form.

If I had it my way…I would be a household name JUST SO I can draw new people to the theater… to witness the story of BROWNSVILLE BRED…It’s not about me…Okay it is!…but really it’s about people with no time to waste on destructive patterns.  It’s a safe haven where you are okay to “find yourself and lose yourself” all at once.

I look forward to your joining me as someone of THE BROWNSVILLE BREED! Juntos Podemos!

In as much as I could write all day…I am off to a new adventure–An audition as an actress…when likely I will ironically get the call on the talent that has been selected for the McDonald’s commercial I was casting yesterday–As a Casting Director I understand that there is immense success in just getting invited to attend these coveted auditions, and as an actress I know how good it will feel when I get to give the news “You are BOOKED!”

Good Luck to us! and may we enjoy every victory…ours and that of others!

 

 

A MAMI’S INTERPRETATION

A Mami’s Interpretation

 
At 12—“Mami, how does this dress look?” Often translates to “Mom, you’re a good dresser and I know you wouldn’t let me leave the house looking stupid. Let’s face it, I need new clothes.”
 
At 16—“Mami, what do you think about Ben?” means “Mom, I respect the strength in your relationships and I really want to break curfew with someone you can approve of.”
 
At 19—“Mami, I need help with a paper?” equates to “Mom, you are so smart and without your help, I will probably get an F and waste the money you worked so hard to earn to pay for those college credits.”
 
Okay wise guys, even a well-behaved, and no malice, best-intentioned kid has been honing their manipulation skills from around birth.
 
But don’t you know, since that same time, we parents have understood the meaning of your every cry: From the high-pitched to the low groan. We know when you are full of – -it! And not just because we learned from you, but because we were you.
 
When you think you’re getting away with something, likely we are letting you.
 
Yes, College is a time for you to explore and find yourself, but it is also the time when you need to accept the full responsibility of your workload.  It (like us) is meant to prepare you for the world that awaits you.
 
So the answer, “So flattered that you think I am so smart… and I am. Do your own work.”—Translation: “I love you baby, I know you can do it. You are a strong Latina and you can conquer the world! I’ll proofread it.” 

THE PRIDE, THE HAPPINESS, THE NEED TO VOMIT

THE PRIDE, THE HAPPINESS, THE NEED TO VOMIT

As my daughter prepares to go away to Arizona, my emotions are soaring as if she were in my belly all over again…The pride, the happiness… the need to vomit.
In just a few weeks she will be a graduate of our local community college.  Within a few weeks after that she will be in a new state, in a new home, in a new job and in a new school.
I wanted her to remain local.  With the mindset; you have a great home and a great job here.  Why not take advantage of what exists?
But my girl is determined for adventure.
Last month, to prepare for her upcoming change, she took a week long vacation to Arizona (where she will be going to school).
She had 7 days to secure an apartment, find a job, tour her new campus and register for all of her classes.
Within the first three days of her trip all missions were accomplished.
A dream two-bed/two-bath, in a safe community that includes parking, pool, and tennis courts for $750 per month.
A job as the head of marketing for a chic boutique toy store in Scottsdale making the same income she was making in a similar position she has here in New York. She described the store as “exactly the kind of store” that she wants to own.
She also registered for all of her classes of choice, in what she called “the most magnificent campus” she has ever seen.
Long car rides alone seem to bring it all to the surface for me.  Any song from the 90’s reminds me of when she was a little girl.  How on her first day of school it was raining. How when she grew to just the right height, she would constantly hit her head on the parked car mirrors.  “How many times did I have to tell her to watch where she was going.”
Graduating from her current community college is already a milestone in our Latino family.
Last night as I was driving home, Kleenex in hand, stinging from the double edge sword “she doesn’t need me anymore”…Just then, a phone call…it’s my daughter…She is crying.
You should know, anytime my child calls me up crying, I assume it’s a car accident.  I am always calm because I am just happy that she is safe enough to make a phone call.
It was a car accident, but she was not involved directly. She just witnessed a terrible accident.  A woman was hit by a car.  A hit and run.  The woman was thrown from the opposite side of the street to land directly in front of my daughter’s car.  My daughter–a witness, waiting to be questioned.  It would be hours before the crime scene investigators arrive to take pictures.  My daughters best friend was in the car with her, so she wasn’t alone…But she called me…because… she just wanted me to come over… just to be there for her.
The pride, the happiness, the angst.