Monthly Archives: October 2009

Judgmental Halloween

Politics and current events always make for creative Halloween costumes. In 2004, I remember seeing a Florida with hanging chads. I’m sure there will be plenty of folks representing the recession or health care reform.

That said, if I was going to be a political figure, I’d be Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

  • Black judge’s robe* (can be substituted with a graduation or choir robe)
  • White high-neck blouse and skirt/pants below the robe (or a red/blue power suit)
  • Gavel
  • Copy of the US Constitution
  • Wavy dark hair
  • Bonus: for those of you who think you’re wise Latinas, a “wise” tshirt below the robe and a baby doll cut in half (see: King Solomon)

Unless you find a tiny robe, this costume doesn’t satisfy the theme for most adult women’s costumes. Oh well.

*While doing research for this, I found a “sexy” judge’s robe. Um. Really?

A very Moz Halloween

A few years ago, I created a costume inspired by a Morrissey song. I was a “Hairdresser on Fire.” It was way too conceptual — and warm — to wear on the crowded dance floor in a club. Still, it was a simple, cheap, and original costume.

Morrissey and the Smiths songs are rife with titles that could easily be converted to something visual.

Some ideas:

Hairdresser on fire
– Smock with scissors, combs and other stylists’ tools
– Decorate the smock with fake flames (I used red, orange and yellow felt), my smock also had a made up hair salon
– Wear whatever you want under the smock

Vicar in a tutu
– Dress like a member of the clergy (all black with the collar)
– Tutu

The boy with the thorn in his side
– Boyish clothing
– Thorn made out of construction paper, styrofoam cone, or whatever else that works

Death of a disco dancer
– Shiny clothing
– Platforms
– Something to indicate a death (e.g., fake gunshot wound, zombie-ish makeup)

First of the gang to die
– Cholo or chola costume
– See “death of a disco dancer” above

Pretty girls make graves
– Dress girly (cute dress, cute hair, cute shows… you get the picture)
– Fake gravestones (hold the gravestone with you)

Bonus: Halloween with Morrissey (Cheekyboy remix)

Corporate hypocrisy

Dear Target,

What’s up with this Illegal Alien costume?

I don’t get why a corporation that boasts about giving back to the community (can’t say I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the ¡Bienvenido Dudamel! concert a few weeks ago) and celebrates Nuestra Gente would sell such a despicable costume. (I know not all undocumented immigrants are Latino, but we do make up a plurality of the population.)

Is it to make a buck? Is that enough to alienate (no pun intended) undocumented immigrants, their allies and our dollars? Couldn’t you make a buck by not selling “humorous costumes” that demean and make light of the situation faced by many undocumented immigrants and advance dehumanizing language?

Is it humorous that thousands die trying to cross the US/Mexico border? Between 1998-2004 1,954 migrants died on the perilous journey north source). Since 2004, the Arizona Star Border Death Database has recorded 1,193 deaths at the border.

Funny, no?

What about exploitation from shady employers? How about the rise in anti-Latino hate crimes?

¡Chistoso!

Last, what about undocumented youth who face an educational glass ceiling as college is out of reach without financial aid and high non-resident fees?

I expected something different from Target. I was wooed by those free days at museums, free concerts and all that red (my favorite color). I thought Target wouldn’t be like other vendors who sell racist costumes playing on tired stereotypes and caricatures.

Qué lástima.

Sincerely,

Disgruntled Target Shopper

P.S. Anyone who pays $39.99 (plus shipping and tax) for such a costume is not only racist, but also stupid.

Updated: Target also sells a tequila pop n’ dude and Mexican costumes for adults and kids. Nopal not included. Guess they are showing their appreciation for mi gente.

Cross posted at LA Eastside

Loss record

In the middle of the summer, I attended a birthday party for my cousin’s daughter. It was the first time in a while I had seen a lot of my cousins and tíos/tías. They noticed the weight loss and complimented me, asked questions and made some off-color jokes (“are you anorexic?”). As I’ve mentioned before, I’m ambivalent about the comments. It’s nice to see that others recognize my efforts, but I’m still uncomfortable the attention to my body when the comments come from men or are mentioned loudly in a group.

One comment still resonates a few months later.

As I was making the rounds and saying goodbye to my family, my uncle pulled me close.

“You look great, mija. But no more… don’t lose anymore.”

I didn’t say anything as I did the quick calculations of how much I still needed to reach my goal, or even be within the healthy weight range for my height.

“Um, thanks tío,” I said softly and then continued on to say goodbye to my other tíos and cousins.

A few months later, my uncles words still ring in my head, especially as I’m getting closer to the number I arbitrarily set for my goal weight and I’m not sure how I’ll feel once I’m there. I’m also tired of having to buy new clothes, especially with the cooler temperatures.

Maybe I should set a different goal: being able to share clothes with my sister. (My mom already passed down a bunch of skirts.)

Progress photos after the jump.
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Bottom of the 9th

I’ve been to a lot of Dodger games, but this one was the best one ever.

It didn’t start out so well. We were down 2-1 and the Cardinals brought in closer Ryan Franklin (who does not deserve #31) to earn the save. The first two batters he faced, Andre Ethier (who hit a homerun against Matt Wainright in the 4th) flyed out. Manny Ramirez flyed out too.

Two outs.

And then comes James Loney. He hits a simple fly ball to left center. Matt Holliday goes for the catch and drops it, making a big error and likely hurting more than his ego. Loney hustles and reaches second on what should have been the game ending out.
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Naming names

The emotional complexity of that cultural changeover means that parents don’t just switch from Latin names to English ones in a single go. Rather, says Jasso, they may pass through a three-stage process, “with bilingual names becoming popular for a while. Those are names like Hector and Daniel for boys and Sandra and Cecilia for girls.” [Time Magazine, Adios Juan and Juanita: Latin names trend down]

When my parents, Carlos and Luz, chose baby names, they picked names that would sound good in English and Spanish. It made sense to them. They were born in Mexico, but emigrated as school-age children. Although they are fluent in their native and adopted tongues, their parents barely spoke English. Thus, they avoided names that would be mangled by their parents and chose Daniel (well, Grandma chose that name), Cynthia, Laura and Adrian.

I like their approach. I’m not sure mom and dad saw themselves in some sort of “cultural changeover,” but their names as well as the names they chose for their children fit into the three-stage process.

As I read Jeffrey Kluger’s article on Latino names trending downward I wondered about the general premise: distinctly Latino names are dying out as the percentage of foreign born Latinos diminishes and those who are here become more assimilated. Kluger cites data from the Social Security Administration on changes in popularity for baby names.
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DIY Halloween series (coming soon)

I love October. It’s got baseball playoffs, the World Series, loved ones’ birthdays, and at the end we dress up and celebrate Halloween.

In case you don’t know, I’ve always loved Halloween. I’m pretty sure it’s genetic, as my parents dressed up in some crazy/silly get-ups in their youth. (There’s a photo floating around of my dad in drag. No, I won’t post it.)

As a kid, my mom would ask what I wanted to be. I’d pick something and she’d proceed to make the costume. (Mom also used her sewing talents to make some of our clothes.)

One year, I embraced gender duality and told my mom I wanted to be the bride/groom I’d seen in Big Top Pee Wee. She proceeded to cut up the dress I wore as a flower girl in my tía Nellie’s wedding and at my First Communion (we were into recycling before it was trendy). She got an old suit that belonged to my cousin Danny and pieced together my greatest costume ever.

I won first prize for that costume.

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October is also the time when I post the series on low-cost, DIY and culturally-relevant costumes. You can find costume ideas from 2008 and 2007 here. I’ll be back with more for 2009.