Monday, December 31, 2012

Ups and Downs of 2012

We made it! It was a tough, gut-wrenching, challenging 2012.

It started that way and it ended this way. The personal losses were beyond any of our imaginations. January 19th, my dear childhood friend, Ruben Garcia, succumbs to his cancer. Two weeks later, my sweet aunt Leticia Alcaraz dies, the last of my mother’s siblings. There are none left. Then on Valentine Day’s I had to say goodbye to my precious Casper, my Corgi-Terrier who had been my constant companion and buddy for nearly 13 years. I still cry for him. And then on July 6th, an old childhood friend took a tumble down a flight of patio stairs and never recovered. They took her off life support two days later. On the professional side, in June, we were shocked when we heard that actress Lupe Ontiveros was on her deathbed. Cancer also took her a few days later and the tears were plentiful because she was so beloved by so many. Lupe, a friend who never failed to entertain and make us laugh… Latin Heat broke the story of her death as she would have wanted.

In between the personal turmoil, Latinos were caught up in the middle of the Presidential Campaign. Some of us were Pro-Obama, some were not… for the first time in Latin Heat history the magazine cautiously ventured into political editorial by adding a celebrity platform and we can now report these stories resulted in a 15% increase of website traffic.  Woohoo!

Summer passes, Fall strolls in, Bel Hernandez Castillo, publisher and CEO of Latin Heat Entertainment receives an ALMA Award, President Barack Obama is reelected by a lot of votes (four million) with Latinos being credited for his victory-- the sleeping giant will never sleep again! And, then we learn that Banda diva, Jenni Rivera, got herself a sitcom on ABC. Latin Heat was all over the announcement—curious to see how she would match up against Modern Family’Sofia Vergara. Maybe the year was going to end on a positive note after all.
Oh, but destiny had its own plans. On December 9th we are shocked when we learn that the Learjet that Jenni Rivera is traveling on has crashed and everyone onboard has perished. I happened to be channel surfing that day and on one of the Spanish networks I heard the breaking news. I shifted into journalistic ER mode and starting reporting as the facts were coming through the wires. Rivera’s American lawyer happens to be a personal friend, so I was able to hear about details via text in real time. No doubt the media kicked into overdrive because Rivera was good press for Spanish networks... she was, after all, frequently involved in some type of public controversy or scandal. Paparazzi constantly hovered over her and all her family drama she endured. She was a ratings darling. Her televised memorial was as huge as Whitney Houston’s… who also died this year.

Christmas is nearing and I think, peaceful respite. Oh, no not this year. When a mentally disturbed young man kills an entire first grade classroom, a few kindergarteners, teachers, a principal, a counselor… well my heart could not take any more. What I felt (and I am sure many others also felt) was what I imagine those who witness war must feel in the beginning of experiencing so much death… before they become immune and desensitize to it. I pray we civilians never get that way with the gun violence in America. Like so many of us, I avowed to advocate for gun control and a ban of those deadly machine gun-type of weapons. I don’t know why I was so surprised at the high number of individuals who disagree with me. The mentality of “Guns don’t kill, people do” drives me insane! Greed, pure and simple.

I enter 2013 with a hollow but optimistic heart. There is confidence that Latinos working in entertainment will continue to break down barriers with Latin Heat leading the way with the demolition ball.

Thank you for your continued support of our publication and Latinowood. Latin Heat enters into its 21st year excited about all that 2013 promises. Latinos are becoming the mainstream and this will change or force change on an industry that has been traditionally closed off to us. More Latinos will be appear in front and behind the camera. Networks and studios will have to go with the flow and hire more diverse executives who are sensitive to Latinos and understand us without the stereotypes. And, all of this will be very good for Latin Heat and its readers.

We always enjoy hearing from you, so keep sending us your comments and ideas. Also, keep us posted as to your work in film, television or multimedia by submitting your information on our Who’s Working Database. And, filmmakers, please submit your production information in our TV or Film Production Databases. Check our website for complete information.

We made it! Happy New Year!

Elia Esparza
Latinowood Blogger