Good Deed Driven

20 Sep

As children and teenagers, we were asked to make a promise, be charitable. This wasn’t a religious school or an organized youth group by local towns. It was part of a list of what was expected of you if you were to be a loyal fan of the boy band, Menudo. I still remember seeing such a request in at least one the many teen magazines in the early 1980’s. This check list, with all things positive, appealed to me and only deepened my love for the Puerto Rican music group and all of its members.

As a teenager, I started a fan club, like so many countless other girls at that time. Mine was called, Los Chicos de Menudo (The Boys from Menudo) and I created and sold newsletters in English. They were filled with games, photos, information, and sometimes letters from past Menudo members themselves.

When Hurricane Hugo devastated Puerto Rico in 1989, I sold raffle tickets and gave the money to the American Red Cross. Fans received prizes by mail. I was all of 15 years old at the time but already had years of fundraising under my neon belt. Whether it was collecting change for UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) while trick-or-treating, wrapping holiday gifts at the mall for DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended) or participating in Read-A-Thon, I was all in.

For 5 years, I orchestrated a gift drive at an office job on behalf of The Home for Little Wanderers, collecting clothing, toys, and gift cards for Boston-area kids and teens. A few years ago I found myself volunteering at Roger Williams Park Zoo during Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular and then again the following year, and then adding Spooky Zoo events on top if it. Last year I became an official volunteer, working events and fundraisers year round.

So as I watched Hurricane Harvey hit Texas hard, knowing it has hosted Menudo concerts and is home to fans, I wanted to help. Then Hurricane Irma nailed Florida, where so many ex-Menudo members live, along with fans and my own relatives, not to mention Puerto Rico, and I felt compelled to do something more. My plans for a celebration last year were nixed and I had a small pile of items I had purchased as contest prizes along with autographed items so kindly signed by a few guys for the event. Why not create an online auction for the American Red Cross?!

More items were added to the lot, promotional items I’ve received over the years from record labels and a former Ricky Martin fan club. A total of 10 individual auctions are currently running on eBay. All I can do is hope people bid. I’m not in a financial position to make large donations, but I can use what I have to drum up money to help those in need. After all, I did make that promise over 30 years ago.

You’ll find all of the items up for bid at www.MenudoOnline.com or you can view all of my eBay listings directly. A ribbon icon identifies auctions as charitable.

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Unavoidable Songs for Every Playlist

1 Sep

Earworms. Those songs that stick in your head long after you’ve listened to them. For whatever reason, we’re not all affected by the same tunes. I can say a specific song title to most people and they cringe, whereas if I say it to my mom, she happily starts singing. If you said it to me, nothing would happen. For unknown reasons, it doesn’t phase me. It’s a small world after all.

I enjoy listening to music as I write because I might hear a catchy adjective to use or a phrase might conjure up an entire paragraph. However, while scrolling through my vast array of PC-saved songs, one title caught my eye and the singers and the melody beat me down even though I skimmed at least 50 other songs titles afterward. The winner? Lost in Love by Air Supply. Having clicked the play button, once the song ended, I was able to move on with my life.

Let’s make a game of, I thought, and see what other songs titles stop me.

Here’s my list from A to Z (okay, maybe A to W):

(Love Is) Thicker Than Water – Andy Gibb

All This I Should Have Known – Breathe
BREATHE_ALL+THAT+JAZZ+-+SEALED-573436

Todo Cambio – Camila

Esto es Vida – Draco Rosa (Beautiful, even if you don’t understand Spanish)
Robi-a

Are You Lonesome Tonight? – Elvis Presley

Stay – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

Hey Jealousy – Gin Blossoms
gin-blossoms

Time IV Change – Here II Here

New Sensation – INXS

Fotografia – Juanes & Nelly Furtado
juanes2015

Islands in the Stream – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton

It’s So Easy – Linda Ronstadt

She – The Monkees
the-monkees

Manos al Aire – Nelly Furtado

Let Me Be There – Olivia Newton-John
olivia

Historias Desapercibidas – Pablo Ruiz

Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
queen

Til I Get To You – Ricky Martin

For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton

Wishing Well – Terence Trent D’Arby
terence

Here I Am (Come And Take Me) – UB40

Ice, Ice, Baby – Vanilla Ice

So Emotional – Whitney Houston

 

 

The Creative Curse

25 Aug

Some days, I could swear that I’m cursed. When you’re creative in multiple platforms, there’s a passion within and a little voice that tells you to get out there and make things happen. But when countless ideas and thought bubbles pop up, it can be difficult to choose which direction to go in. Is this a good day to write that children’s book that’s been floating around in my head for a few years? Perhaps I’m better off designing new business cards or heading to the beach and to take photos. Are my surroundings a distraction? Is a quick getaway going to direct my creative flow into something tangible? The questions alone are endless and draining.

socks

This photo represents the chaos that is my mind.

Obviously at some point, thoughts get to work, after all I’m writing this at the moment. But how does one organize all the mumbo jumbo? Make a list. Write down what needs to be accomplished today and remember you’re not a nose wiggling genie so keep it real. Set a goal.

Reunion-CalmPlanning a high school reunion somehow comes easily for me. Looking back, it seemed inevitable. In fourth grade I threw a party for my teacher, and then for another teacher in seventh grade, and yet for another in 9th grade. Who does that?  I’m in the midst of organizing my third reunion. Taking on each small project like visiting potential venues, locating former classmates, and shopping for centerpieces is part of a whole. Checking off each task feels good. If only everything else I attempt or just want to accomplish was this cut and dry.

And though you frequently deal with too much going on in your noggin, sometimes it feels like a hollow log. Writing a blog, coming up with a topic, requires more concentrated brain cells than it should. Before settling on this topic, I started writing a completely different subject and tossed around two more possibilities. What then stimulates the artist in you? Music works wonders. Close those intense eyes and listen. Sometimes doing physical activities like washing a floor or going for a walk can clear the mind.

After you’ve poured your heart and soul into a piece of writing, art, music, design, etc…etc… can it help pay the bills? Such is the life of a Pisces and other creatures. That’s another discussion for a later date. For now, we keep on expanding our portfolios and share news of the latest accomplishment.

Bronchitis and Once Upon a Time

14 Aug

A television is always on if someone is home. There might not be a single soul watching, as the cats prefer watching Harold the chipmunk, the frequent bird visits to the feeders, or the circus-like antics of a squirrel posse known as, The Great Squirrelinis. That said, I’ve been known to spend a questionable amount of time viewing dramas, game shows, reality TV, comedies, and the news.

OnceUponATime-Season1

Season 1 DVD art ©Disney

When I came down with bronchitis (new accomplishment) in June, I found myself stuck at home for about a month (that’s another story). I used that time to catch up on ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” a show I barely saw a few minutes of in season 2  followed by a few episodes of season 3. It’s fair to say I watched regularly with the 4th season. After binge watching seasons 1-3, coughing and trying to breathe between laughing at one-liners, I continued on and sat through seasons 4 and 5 again.

As one might find themselves, I became consumed by the show and sought out videos online of cast interviews which lead to learning about the actors convention appearances. And so, my hours stuck at home were filled with learning how the show’s cast became his/her character both job wise and via costume and makeup transformations. Fest(ival) after con(vention), the same questions came up and the same celebrity guests had to answer them. I began yelling at my monitor. “Stop asking the same questions!” Why didn’t these people soak up all of the available videos?

Within these 2 to 30 minute clips, the term ship came up, repeatedly. What’s a ship got to do with anything? Okay, Captain Hook sails the Jolly Roger so I understand that but nothing else made sense. Fans asked the actors what their favorite ship was, and most of them stayed clear. It made it all the more confusing for me because…is there more than one water vessel in Storybrooke?

The_Jolly_Roger_in_a_bottle

Merrin Dungey as Ursula peering into a bottled Jolly Roger. ©Disney

Eventually, I figured it out. The fans were talking about character couples like Snow White and Charming or The Evil Queen and Robin Hood. Sure, I understand having favorites. What I didn’t get is why people were turning these fictional relationships aka ships into something larger than life with fans pitted against each other.

It’s nice when an audience is vested in a show’s characters but when you take it too far and argue over which couple is better, you need to take a step back. I root for every couple on the show equally. If Belle loves Rumple that much, well then, good for her. I wouldn’t, but I’m carbon based and they’re fictitious, and so it doesn’t effect my life. Would I like to see Emilie de Ravin along with the other actors who weren’t asked to stay on as regulars in season 7 again? Absolutely. In reality, I enjoy their work and respect how each one has turned his/her well-known hero or villain into something fresh.

And so with the remnants of my bronchitis expelling itself yet still in an annoying scratchy cough, I wait for my town’s library to acquire season 6 so I may relive it. As for season 7…I’m not excited given that the heart and soul of “Once Upon a Time” is gone, but I’ll watch a few episodes and decide if I’m still a fan.

 

 

Drew Carey’s New Show Reunites Whose Line is it Anyway? Cast

22 Jun

Holy songs of the plumber, Batman! Drew Carey is back on the air with all of his improv buddies. Last November, the Game Show Network (GSN) struck a deal with Carey to create and host an unscripted comedy sketch show. Forty episodes of Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza were ordered and began filming in early 2011 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The show is co-executive produced by Revolution Studios’ creator Joe Roth and Drew Carey with producer credit for Ryan Stiles among others.

If you’re like me and you’ve shaken your fist at the suits who canceled Whose Line is it Anyway? in 2003, relax. Every weeknight at 8:30pm and 11:30pm you can catch the rotating team of Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Brad Sherwood, Chip Esten, Jeff Davis, Kathy Kinney, Jonathan Mangum, and Heather Anne Campbell sing, dance, and one-liner their way through half-hour episodes.  Special guests will appear from time to time. Thus far, fellow former Whose Line is it Anyway? Cast member Wayne Brady has joined in the fun for five episodes.

The show consists of several games which vary with each episode. Audience participation is extremely important for ideas on what and who the players act out as well as their physical positions. Games include:

Two-Headed Expert – a duo acts as an expert in a field and must speak the same words at the same time when responding to the other duo who ask questions by each speaking one word in alteration.

Sound Effects – Two audience members are brought up on stage to supply sound effects for the actors based on what they do.

Mousetraps – Actors attempt to play out a scene blindfolded and barefoot while making their way back and forth on a mousetrap infested stage.

Taped in front of a live, paying audience where food and alcohol are sold, things can get a bit weird. One episode included a woman who was picked by Mochrie to physically move Stiles throughout a scene for Moving Bodies, announced she was drunk once up on stage. Her inebriated state caused much head-scratching and a few laughs for the cast and audience.

If you’d like to attend a taping of Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza, the next show dates are June 23, 24, and 25, 2011. Tickets are $89.00 and can be purchased thru the MGM Grand’s website. Keep an eye out for more upcoming live performances.

Check the links below for my other freelance work as a photographer and writer.

Autograph Books Missing from Store Shelves

15 May

Two days ago I decided I wanted to buy an autograph book for my friend’s 3- year old daughter to bring to Sea World San Antonio. Even though Shamu, the fun-loving dolphins, and lorikeets can’t sign their names, the Sesame Street characters that just moved into the theme park, can. I envisioned the miniature version of Figgy (that’s just one of my friend’s nicknames) asking Cookie Monster to sign her book and him trying to eat it. Oh, how silly that blue googly-eyed monster can be.

Yesterday I set out to buy the autograph book. Thinking back to where I’ve seen them before and where my first one came from as a kid, I drove 3 minutes to the local Hallmark shop. Photo albums, address books, journals, thank you notes, and invitations lined the shelves. Uh, where are the autograph books?  Two employees confirmed they don’t carry them. Crikey.

The rest of my day was spent searching websites and/or making phone calls to Paper Source, The Paper Store, Target, Toys ‘R Us, iParty, Amazon, and eBay. When Amazon doesn’t carry something, you know it’s going to be impossible to find. Sure, sure, there are autograph books on eBay but I need it in my wide little hands within a certain number of days and can’t wait for an auction to end and my purchase to arrive. Buy it Now is an option but the books I saw weren’t any great deal.

I took to the streets again, this time visiting Barnes & Noble, a dollar-type store, and Office Max. Heck I even tried Wal-Mart, the one chain I despise. My final attempt, the one stop I knew in my heart would not fail me, The Disney Store, stopped carrying autograph books. What?! Yeah. Disney wants you to buy them online or in the parks. They’re putting a serious cramp into gift packages parents and “aunties” like me put together for little ones. Feh!

I am left empty-handed, except for a coupon for free shipping for Disney’s website from a very nice and understanding employee of managerial level.

I guess nowadays when folks think of autograph books they relate them to Disney characters which is kind of cool. I have 3 Disney ones myself; one for Disneyland, one for Walt Disney World, and one for Cast Members, particularly Citizens of Hollywood.

Then there’s the book I’ve had since I was a kid with cute little animal drawings on it that contains signatures from famous people. Whenever we visited California I brought it along in case I lucked out and ran into celebrities, and I did. Hey, why is my Telly Savalas autograph torn out? Maaaaaaaa! My book was handed to actors from musical productions that came to town like Godspell and Pirates of Penzance. It also served as a substitute for a school yearbook that my teachers signed as well as a few Disney characters.

It’s just such a shame that something so simple to produce and carry around is missing from our lives. Perhaps when I get to Sea World I’ll discover that Big Bird has some autograph books for sale, left over from Mr. Hooper’s Store.

Ricky Martin Left Speechless

22 Apr
 Uncasville, CT – Ricky Martin left his fans wanting more after his April 28, 2007 performance at the Mohegan Sun Arena. On April 17, 2011, more is exactly what they got; more music spanning his 20-year solo career, more soul stemming from his inner peace and self-love, and more sex(iness) than he’s ever shown onstage. The tour, M.A.S. for his latest CD Musica + Alma + Sexo (Music + Soul + Sex) will travel to Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, and California before heading to Mexico and Europe.

Dressed in black leather pants, jacket, and boots, Martin kicked off the show with “Too Late Now,” a bonus track on Target’s exclusive 2-disc set. He took long-time fans back to his self-titled debut solo album with the track, Dime que Me Quieres (Tell Me that You Love Me). From his 2005 English album Life, “It’s Alright,” Martin supported himself from a secured bar above his head, in the center square of a towering 9-block set, and thrust his pelvis up into the air. “Que Dia es Hoy,” a cover of Laura Branigan’s “Self Control” surprised as Ricky Martin has not sung his 1993 hit in quite some time.

Accompanied by piano and trumpet, Martin delivered his greatest romantic ballad, Vuelve (Come Back) in calf-high fog and bathed in blue lighting. After he finished the bridge with the entire audience singing along, a second of silence erupted into screams and wild applause. Martin, as in all previous shows, normally picks up the song. However, the intense showering of love put a huge smile on his man-child face, caused him to laugh in appreciation, shake his head in modesty, pound his fist over his heart, and leave him speechless for a full minute. Martin only managed to utter “Wow” and “Unbelievable” before he finished the song.

The next 5-song set was done cabaret style. He began with “Living la Vida Loca”. The female dancers fought over Martin and surrounded him on silver chairs during “She Bangs.” Next up from his 2nd English album, Sound Loaded were “Shake Your Bon Bon,” and “Loaded.” Sitting center-stage, the words of “Basta Ya” (Enough Already) from Musica + Alma Sexo filled the air.

The mega-hit “Maria” (original version) consisted of Martin and a female flamenco dancer pursuing one another. “Tu Recuerdo” off the MTV Unplugged album and DVD followed. A medley of 1990’s amazing ballads “Fuego Contra Fuego,” “El Amor de Mi Vida,” and “Te Extraño, Te Olvido, Te Amo” delighted. Martin unleashed an adult presentation of “Frio” complete with whips and dominatrix only to be outdone by a rather touchy feely session with and male and female dancers to “I Am.”

The party music resumed and the energy level rose as Martin broke out his new single “Mas” (More) which will be released in English later this year. The dancing continued in the arena to “Lola Lola,” “La Bomba,” “Pegate” (Come Closer) and ended with a carnival-like interpretation of “La Copa de la Vida/The Cup of Life.” Between songs Martin honorably invited the nationality-mixed audience to vacation in Puerto Rico, his place of birth. The Department of Economic Development and Commerce is collaborating with Martin to boost tourism.

Ricky Martin, unlike artists who lip sync or sing over their own vocals to compensate for running out of breath while dancing, is completely live. The band and backup singers Jackie Mendez and Carlos David Perez (Perez has performed with Martin since 1999) are who you hear when Martin isn’t singing. This tour delivers new and improved dance moves and his continued vow to leave his soul onstage.

The one encore started with “The Best Thing about Me is You” and finished in the Spanish version, “Lo Mejor de Mi Vida Eres Tu” during which Martin sported a white v-neck T-shirt that read You = Me and Tu = Yo. Using the stage as his platform, he asked for equality for all mankind. Martin has always used his high profile status to promote world peace, leadership, tolerance, and child welfare.

Ricky Martin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ricky_martin

Ricky Martin Foundation: http://rickymartinfoundation.org/

M.A.S. Tour dates: http://rickymartinmusic.com/Events

Lavatories of Las Vegas

14 Apr

After stuffing yourself to the gills at the buffet, you’ll be on the lookout for a friendly sign. Wandering around, stopping in gift shop after gift shop, there’s just one place you need to visit. Call it the bathroom, restroom, ladies’ room, men’s room or even the loo. Heck, you can scream “Potty” for all anyone cares because we’re all looking for it.

During a recent trip to Las Vegas, Nevada I put my tush to work and tested out a plethora of lavatories both on and off the Las Vegas Strip. My spreadsheet in-hand, I noted important facts such as location, number of stalls in the women’s room (didn’t think surprise visits to the gents’ would go over well), toilet paper quality, and overall functionality. No report is complete without photographs so there are a few of those included.

In regards to the review categories, Functionality is comprised of several matters; number of stalls in relation to location (near restaurants and bars, gambling, theaters, etc…), easy to find, doors that close and lock properly, lighting, and upkeep. Cleanliness refers to finding toilet paper and paper towels on the floor, dust, graffiti, rust, and other icky things. 

The scale ranges from 1 to 5.

 1 = terrible,  2 = fair,  3 = average,  4 = great,  5 = top notch

Venue: MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
Address:3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Restroom Location: In casino near Grand & Company gift shop and lobby
Number of Stalls: More than 12
Number of Sinks: More than 12
Music/Audio: Music from casino
Paper Towels/Dryers: Paper towels
Cleanliness: 3
Toilet Paper: 1-ply
Color Palette: Soft neutrals
Functionality: 4

Plop your bottom down in luxury at Trump. The nicest and most private of resort restrooms.

Venue: Trump International Hotel Las Vegas
Address: 2000 N Fashion Show Dr.
Restroom Location: Lobby, beside the gift shop
Number of Stalls: 6
Number of Sinks: 3
Music/Audio: Soft music
Paper Towels/Dryers: Paper towels
Cleanliness: 5
Toilet Paper: 2-ply
Color Palette: Black, white, and gold
Functionality: 5 

 

 

 

 

Venue: The Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino
Address:3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Restroom Location: Beside Venetian Showroom
Number of Stalls: More than 12
Number of Sinks: More than 6
Music/Audio: Music without lyrics
Paper Towels/Dryers: Paper towels
Cleanliness: 4
Toilet Paper: 2-ply
Color Palette: Dark woods and cherry
Functionality: 5

Venue: Everything Coca-Cola
Address: 3785 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Restroom Location: Second floor, down the hall from soda fountain
Number of Stalls: 3
Number of Sinks: 3
Music/Audio: None
Paper Towels/Dryers: Paper towels
Cleanliness: 3
Toilet Paper: 2-ply
Color Palette: Gray and white
Functionality: 2

Venue: Flamingo Las Vegas
Address: 3555 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Restroom Location: Casino, beside X Showroom
Number of Stalls: More than 12
Number of Sinks: More than 12
Music/Audio: Music at a low volume
Paper Towels/Dryers: Paper towels
Cleanliness: 4
Toilet Paper: 2-ply
Color Palette: Medium neutrals with bamboo-inspired doors
Functionality: 4

Ladies lounge is comfortable and big enough for a small bachelorette party.

Venue: Nordstrom
Address: Fashion Show Mall, 3200 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Suite 710
Restroom Location: Third floor, inside Customer Service section
Number of Stalls: 5
Number of Sinks: 4
Music/Audio: None
Paper Towels/Dryers: Paper Towels
Cleanliness: 5
Toilet Paper: 2-ply
Color Palette: Neutral
Functionality: 5 includes lounge area

Venue: Caesars Palace
Address: 3570 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Restroom Location: Near Lago Buffet
Number of Stalls: 5
Number of Sinks: 3
Music/Audio: None
Paper Towels/Dryers: Paper towels
Cleanliness: 4
Toilet Paper: 2-ply
Color Palette: Neutral
Functionality: 1

The Golden Nugget Casino is one surprise after another including the restroom that makes Las Vegas Strip resort casinos look ghetto.

Venue: Golden Nugget Casino
Address: 129 Fremont St.
Restroom Location: Casino, across from Red Sushi
Number of Stalls: More than 12
Number of Sinks: More than 6
Music/Audio: None
Paper Towels/Dryers: Paper towels
Cleanliness: 4
Toilet Paper: 2-ply
Color Palette: Browns, gold, and off-white
Functionality: 4

Swim near The Eiffel Tower, no one else is. This felt like a private restroom it was so deserted.

Venue: Paris Las Vegas
Address:3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Restroom Location: Poolside
Number of Stalls: 6
Number of Sinks: 3
Music/Audio: None
Paper Towels/Dryers: Paper towels
Cleanliness: 4
Toilet Paper: 2-ply
Color Palette: Earth tones
Functionality: 5 with a shower

I won’t even bother rating the ugliest and grossest restroom I entered.  The award for Most Ghetto Bathroom goes to the Sahara, which is closing next month. Upstairs by the meeting rooms sits a 3-stall, pink and gray tragedy.  A giant partially tiled pole wrapped in duct tape with a wad of bubble gum takes up a chunk of the center stall. I've seen better bathrooms at gas stations.

Interestingly, I don’t recall seeing baby changing stations anywhere except in Nordstrom.  This affirms that those who designed and built the resorts didn’t expect families to visit Sin City.

The Original Boy Band Fans

29 Mar

It was never a phase for us, despite what our parents may have thought. We always knew we would support our boys forever. Every single one of the boys too, all 32 of them. Thirty-six when you count the 4 who joined after the group’s name was shortened to MDO and the age requirements were dropped. Yes, we are Menudo fans, ayer y hoy.

Johnny Lozada and I prior to El Reencuentro's touring show in Orlando, FL.

The vast majority of us who happily own our Menuditis or Menudo Mania as it was declared by the American press have maintained friendships and/or reunited with other fans. Long before the internet connected people with similar interests, we found each other by reaching out via pen pal lists. Let’s say I wrote a letter to Yoli in Chino, CA. I would include a sheet of paper with my name, address, age, and who were my favorite group members. Yoli would add her information and mail that to another fan. This sheet would travel around the United States and often times to Mexico, parts of South America, and Caribbean islands before making it’s way back to me. When the list was returned to me, I had new pen pals to write.

Then there were a crazy amount of fan clubs and newsletters solely based in the U.S.A. I had one called Los Chicos de Menudo for a few years starting when I was 12 or 13 years old. Fan clubs were well respected by the guys in Menudo, their parents, and management. To this day, our boys who are now grown men recognize the girls who not just ran fan clubs but who also attended the parties and events. They see us at reunion concerts, CD and book signings, and the new worldwide fan parties. Even as grownups, us girls can’t get enough of them.

Ruben Gomez squeezes M. Christine Preciado, a Floridian, in an affectionate display of appreciation.

 

Former members of Menudo and the fans are connected now more than ever. As adults we are able to put our talent, knowledge, and education to work for the exes. I have a friend who has written press releases for several guys and another friend who was on payroll and ran the official fan club for another. A great number of fans are now journalists and Spanish teachers. I as a photographer, have photographed 20 out of 36 of the guys and am published internationally. Many girls or women as our age now defines us, count former Menudo members as close personal friends. I’m included in that wonderful equation. Talk about una aventura llamada Menudo, a few ladies managed to snag ex-Menudos as husbands. Johnny Lozada’s wife Sandy was a big fan of Ricky Melendez, whose wife Muñeca favored Johnny. 

Rita Joy Egan of New York pictured with (left to right) Ricky Martin, Raymond Acevedo, Robby “Draco” Rosa, Charlie Masso, and Sergio Blass formerly Gonzalez.

The group recorded albums in Spanish, English, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, and Tagalog. A huge benefit of having friends in various countries was having them buy foreign releases and shipping them to the United States. Websites like eBay, Gemm, and Amazon have made tracking down rarities easier, even 20-something years later. The goal hasn’t changed, collect every recording ever made. Organized fans have spreadsheets listing what albums they own, the format, and country of origin. Album cover images are also important as they changed according to the group’s lineup and release location. Why go to all this trouble? Because we need mas, mucho mas.

As a whole, Menudo fans have broken world records. El Salvador ceased fighting when the group played Estadio Cuzcatlan with newspapers reporting that Menudo stopped the war. A new record in ticket sales was established at Radio City Music Hall. 250,000 fans in Argentina filled the streets to see Ricky Martin in action a few short years into his solo career. El Reencuentro’s (the reunion of 6 members) initial concert series in Puerto Rico broke records with 6 sold-out concerts in 2 weekends. The plan was for only 1 concert but the response was so enormous that they toured and still perform together 13 years after the initial regrouping.

Jose Luis "Joselo" Vega, the group's choreographer has a place in every fan's heart. Pictured with Sheila J. Clark of Kentucky.

The sad truth is that many of us were teased and tormented solely for our music preference. A high school classmate of mine told me after graduation that she was also a Menudo fan but feared telling anyone because off all the crap the kids gave me. I’ve never understood why the singers who make me happy would be fodder for someone else. Frankly, we don’t care what you think because Nefty, Fernando, Carlos, Oscar, Ricky Melendez, Rene, Johnny, Xavier, Miguel, Charlie, Ray, Roy, Robby, Ricky Martin, Raymond, Sergio, Ruben, Ralphy, Angelo, Robert, Rawy, Cesar, Adrian, Jonathan, Edward, Alex, Andres, Abel, Ashley, Ricky Lopez, Didier, Anthony, Daniel, Pablo, Troy, and Caleb will forever be los ultimos heroes.

K.O.L.M.

Get it Free for Your Birthday

17 Mar

Who doesn’t love receiving birthday presents!  Not only do your friends and family want to celebrate your entrance into the world but companies do as well, in the name of good customer relations.  Sign up for e-newsletters and/or special offers and you can eat cake or smell like cake.

Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse – Join The Creek Club online  and receive a free Big Foot Chocolate Cookie dessert with purchase of an entrée. The e-mailed coupon is valid for 3 weeks.

California Pizza Kitchen – Free dessert with purchase when you tell the server it’s your birthday.

Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT – Play one free bingo game on a  Tuesday during the month of your birthday.  Click on a month to view the calendar. You must have a valid government issued ID and be 18 years of age or older.

Sephora – Philosophy Vanilla Birthday Cake Shower Gel for ladies and a Jack Black product for men. This exclusive offer is only redeemable two weeks before or after your birthday, in store or with an online purchase. Enter your e-mail address at the bottom of the page.

 

 

Dunkin Donuts – Free medium coffee, latte, tea, Coolatta® or hot chocolate for your birthday.  Just sign up for DD Perks and they’ll send you a coupon.

  

Baskin Robbins – FREE 2.5 oz scoop of ice cream or a swirl of soft serve. E-mail coupon good for 11 days. Enlist in the Birthday Club.  

Ruby Tuesday – Free burger and fries for the birthday boy or girl. A coupon will be e-mailed to you and is valid for 14 days. No purchase required.

Local Restaurants

Massachusetts
The Chateau – With the purchase of one entree, receive a free birthday dinner entree. Not available for delivery or take-out. Sign up for The Chateau’s mailing list and be sure to include your birth date. 

Texas & New Mexico
Cotton Patch Café Free cobbler with purchase of any entrée. The coupon is valid for 14 days. Join the E-Club.

Discounts

AMC Entertainment – MovieWatcher Club members get an e-coupon good for a free large soft drink. The coupon is good for 31 days. AMC is currently reworking their reward program. Check their website for info.

Hot Topic – HT+1 members receive a coupon for $5 off a $30 purchase. The coupon is good for 30 days from date of issue. It can be used in-store or online.  Join HT+1 online or at your local store for free.

Sanrio – Receive a $5.00 coupon to shop online.  Good for 30 days. No minimum purchase required.  Sanrio created Hello Kitty and friends.

Warner Bros. – WB Insider Rewards members save 20% at www.WBShop.com the month of their birthday.

Do you know of other eateries and businesses who offer birthday goodies? Please leave the info and a link in the comment box below. Thanks and Happy Birthday!