Ron English is deliciously subversive with his art. He throws billboard-sized bombs at advertising design and brand culture through public (often illegal) art that twists images of Ronald McDonald, Mickey Mouse, and Joe Camel into cancerous agents of obesity, disease, and brand subservience. If you’ve seen Morgan Spurlock’s film Super Size Me, then you’ve seen his work.
Here’s a short film about the man:
Recently English decided to play an April Fool’s prank related to the immigration debate through a series of works that popped up at the US-Mexico border. Below is my favorite…though I fear that some in the US will take it seriously and want this sign permanently installed at all border crossings.
Posted in arte, favorite things, film, internet culture, politics, pop culture, the neighborhood, video
Tagged arte, humor, immigration, Los Estados Unidos, mexico, peliculas, pop art, pop culture, popaganda, publicidad, ron english, us-mexico border, video
When mi esposa got back to the US from studying in Argentina back in the late 90s, she spun wonderful tales of an exotic sweet treat called dulce de leche. At the time, I had never heard of the stuff. Now I feel like I can’t walk two feet without having a dulce-de-leche-flavored goodie in my face: ice cream, pudding, muffins, power bars, and even Girl Scout cookies!
Now I’m not complaining. I love the stuff! And if you’re one of the unlucky few who has yet to try it, I’ll let you know that it’s a milk-based product that has some similarities to caramel…but is so much better. Go try some! But what brought about this latest craze in the US? The whole thing reminds me just how derivative US product development can be. One hamburger place has mini-burgers…boom! they all do. One place serves extra-thin-crust pizza, tomorrow it’s everywhere. The same thing seems to have happened with dulce de leche. Who started this food fad? And does it really matter? While you ponder that, why not try making some on your own. Here’s a particularly quick and easy method…
Posted in favorite things, pop culture, the neighborhood, viaje, video
Tagged Argentina, comida, dulce de leche, dulce de leche recipe, Los Estados Unidos, pop culture, publicidad, rant, snacks, south america
The first is the newest. It’s a commercial for Mexico’s Gana Gol lottery featuring US soccer star Landon Donovan. And it’s hot…if you’re judging by the temperature of Mexican anger towards it. First of all, Donovan is generally despised in Mexico. He’s the face of US soccer, which has a pretty heated rivalry with our neighbors to the south. He’s also the US’s all-time leader in both goals scored and assists, more than one of which came in crucial matches against the Mexican side. Oh, and he did once urinate on the field in Guadalajara—that didn’t go over so well. So to add to all of that, Donovan dresses in an over-the-top campesino outfit in this particular commercial that many Mexicans find offensive, both because of what it suggests and who is wearing it. After sneaking across the border to buy a ticket for the lottery, he’s stopped by a border guard who recognizes him. When questioned why he’s there, Donovan says, “winning in Mexico is easier,” which raises the ire of the guard (we assume he thinks LD means in fútbol). When Donovan explains it’s easier to win the lottery, the guard lets him go…but not before taking his Ganga Gol card for himself.
The second is a short-lived commercial from Burger King that was quickly removed from airplay when the company was hit with a major backlash from Latinos. The commercial promoted BK’s “Texican Whopper,” which they claim combines the taste of Texas “with a little spicy Mexican.” In it, a tall cowboy and an extremely short lucha libre character come together to be roomies and share the joys of eating Burger King.
And finally, the ever controversial Mexican hip-hop/rock band Molotov and their 2003 hit “Frijolero,” which has made people laugh, swear, sing, and yell since its release. I’ll have a lot more to say about this band in the future, but for now I think the video speaks for itself. Though I should tell you that the Spanish portions of the song are sung in a way to parody American pronunciation of Spanish and that the group includes a US expat in the lineup, Randy “El Gringo Loco” Ebright, whose father was formerly a US DEA official in Mexico.
Posted in musica, pop culture, rant, the neighborhood, video
Tagged deportes, humor, immigration, Landon Donovan, Los Estados Unidos, lucha libre, mexico, Molotov, musica, pop culture, publicidad, video
So you’re bored and the next semester of Spanish doesn’t start for another week or so. You could be reviewing all the Sol y viento lessons from last semester so you start 2010 off on the right foot. Maybe you could even go back and rewatch the previous episodes of the film *without subtitles* and really polish those Spanish skills. But if you’re me, you’ll just waste time googling around the internet to find out the goods on the actors from your textbook’s favorite didactic telenovela instead. Oh, glorious Friday with nothing to do…
Yup, that’s your favorite antropóloga and profesora, María Sánchez, throwing her weight around with a credit card and getting phone assistance from a crazy Muppet impersonator. While smooth Frank Lord—the actor who plays Jaime Talavera—can be a tough cat to track down on the internet, Sol y viento‘s María, Javiera Contador, is everywhere. Down in Chile, she’s a star of advertising, film, and tv, including her current gig as co-host of MEGA‘s Mucho Gusto with José Miguel Viñuela.
But my favorite thing about Contador, other than playing the good-souled María Sánchez, is what she also appears to be most known for in Chile, and that’s for playing Kena (sometimes spelled Quena) Gómez de Larraín on Casado con hijos: the Chilean remake of Married with Children. The following is a clip of Kena trying to channel her inner Shakira.
And here’s Wikipedia’s description of Contador’s character. Obviously it was produced by an android text translator.
Quena Gómez de Larraín (Javiera Contador): It is the careless mother of the family. It was Tito’s wife and mother of Nacho and Titi. Today carry 19 years of marriage in which Quena has never cooked, washed clothes or the house neat. Rather buy new clothes in liquidations that wash clothes you already have. Quena dresses with attractive colours, taken adjusted and low-cut shirts. She attracts young and attractive rates.
More on the rest of the Sol y viento cast to come.
Posted in pop culture, sol y viento, video
Tagged Chile, frank lord, javiera contador, peliculas, pop culture, publicidad, sol y viento, sol y viento cast, sol y viento help, spanish muppet
While South America has Pecsi, North America has the equally intriguing Full Throttle Blue Demon: “Crisp, blue agave flavor for all-day energy.” Not that I like energy drinks…they scare me actually. In fact, I’d probably pull a bicep just lifting a can of this to my mouth. And while I generally couldn’t care less about a Coke® product, the Blue Demon of the drink’s name is a fascinating bit of Mexican pop culture.
The original Blue Demon (that’s Blue Demon, Jr. in the picture above) is one of the most famous masked wrestlers (luchador enmascarado) in Mexican wrestling history. And that’s saying a lot because wrestling (lucha libre) is huge there. Wrestling stars are featured in tv, comics, and obviously advertising. And big personalities like “Blue” also become movie stars. Between 1964 and 1977, Blue Demon starred in 25 films, including Blue Demon contra las aranas infernales (“Blue Demon vs. the Infernal Spiders”), Blue Demon en pasaporte a la muerte (“Blue Demon in Passport to Death”), and La noche de la muerte (“Night of Death”). Those aren’t necessarily his most well-known films. I just like the titles.
Some of Blue Demon’s biggest films were made with the other huge star of Mexican wrestling, El Santo (“the Saint”). El Santo and Blue Demon started a famous rivalry in the ring during the 1950s. But outside the ring, Santo and Blue sometimes fought celluloid battles together against zombies, Dracula, and the Wolfman, when they weren’t taking on mad scientists or evil geniuses…or each other.
Alejandro Muñoz Moreno, the original Blue Demon, never took off his mask. He was even buried in it after dying of a heart attack in 2000. But his character lives on in the personage of Blue Demon, Jr., who may or may not be Moreno’s adopted son—his true identity is not publicly known. And while I’m not going to suggest that drinking a nasty blue energy drink will do you any good, it’s kind of neat what’s behind that mass-produced can, ¿no?
Bob Mondello had a piece on NPR earlier in the year about how Argentinians, particularly porteños, call Pepsi “Pecsi.” I’m sure I don’t have the linguistic chops to decipher how that came about. But I did asked my wife about it. She spent some time at the Universidad de Mendoza in the 90s, but the Pecsi issue was (humorous) news to her. Nevertheless, Pepsi has given into the people of Buenos Aires and now have a Pecsi branding campaign in the country. No word yet on how soft drink companies plan to deal with the soda vs. pop debate here in the intersection of Illinois and Missouri.