Julieta Venegas concert review

Julieta Venegas at Ace of Spades, Sacramento

Julieta Venegas at Ace of Spades, Sacramento

It was all about the music on Sunday night’s Julieta Venegas’ concert for her Los Momentos tour at Ace of Spades in Sacramento. Venegas has always been a humble artist and never quite fit in with the other pop divas in the Mexican music scene and last night’s show proved, that for her, it’s the music that matters.

With a simple set up with her four musicians, she took to the stage and opened with “Hoy” from her latest album Los Momentos, an album she’s received critical praise but little air play especially on this side of the border. Los Momentos is a richly infused album with electronic pop and piano driven sound which is a departure from her signature pop and accordion style that launched her career in Mexico and much of Latin America.

The crowd was silent and a little stumbled when she opened with “Hoy” a synthesized piano driven song about letting true love in, which was most likely written about her new born daughter, and unless they were die-hard fans, they probably hadn’t heard this catchy tune, which is a shame.  Dressed in a simple pink dress, Venegas addressed the crowd after her second song and told the audience she would be performing more songs from Los Momentos.

With her quiet demeanor, she jumped right back into singing. To some this might be oft-putting, however, she is not one to bring a big spectacle show with outfit changes or backup dancers. She kept it simple throughout the night with the only major changes were her musical instruments from her guitar, piano, and her famous accordion.

The crowd finally started to get into a rhythm when she addressed her audience for “Despedida,” a song she said she wrote about acknowledging a relationship that didn’t work out but accepting and even toasting the end of the relationship just like how it started.

When she played hits from her 2006 album Limón y Sal, the crowed livened especially in “Eres Para Mi.” She let the crowd sing right along with her and smiled when her fans pointed at her when she sang “Tu eres para mi/yo soy para ti” (“You are for me/I’m for you”) and even rapped Anita Tijoux’s part.

Venegas continued to speak throughout the night and told a story of a friend who asked if it was safe to travel to Mexico. “Don’t let fear be the reason you don’t take a chance on doing something,” she told the audience before performing “Vuelve.” Translated into “Return,” the song speaks about her concern with the recent drug-related violence that plagues Mexico.

She picked up her accordion several times throughout her set list including in the crowd pleasing “Me Voy” and “Sin Documentos.” It’s a heavy instrument but she played it so effortlessly even as she danced on the stage.

The show ended with an encore of 2 more songs “Algo Está Cambiando” and “Andar Conmigo,” which the crowd ate up. Although the show seemed brief, it was a modest yet pleasing performance of Venegas, one that not just her die-hard fans would enjoy. She is still on tour and I highly recommend catching her before she heads to South America.

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Q&A with Ben Delacreme from RuPaul’s Drag Race

Ben Delacreme drag star from RuPaul’s Drag Race

Her name is synonymous to the best of the crop, the crème de la crème and so far Ben Delacreme is one of the top contestants to beat on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 6, and she’ll make her first appearance in Sacramento this Saturday at Badlands.

Her unique style is a throwback to the 1950’s pinup girl and her charisma and sweetness has made her one of the favorite queens this season. Delacreme, who has been performing drag for 11 years, attributes her style to burlesque and cabaret shows and old cartoon where women were idolized.

“As a kid, I was really into those older Warner Brothers cartoons where the wolf is whistling at the lady,” Delacreme said. “That kind of image of womanhood was the thing I was most excited about growing up.”

Delacreme has made a career out of this sexy bombshell image performing burlesque shows in Seattle where she lives and around the country. She is part of the “The Atomic Bombshells” burlesque troupe and a producer of the Seattle “Tuck” dance/drag event.

On Drag Race she is one queen who stays true to the style that has inspired her look for many years. So far this season, Delacreme has won two challenges and is praised by RuPaul and the rest of the judges for her dazzling style and charm. She’s also spent time at the bottom lip-singing for her life but surviving.

“I think it really shows a realistic range of what it’s like to be a performer and a human,” Delacreme said. “I work really hard; I do my darnest to put my art out there and be true to myself and also give the audience what they want and sometimes you falter and when you do, you gotta get back up and try your harder.”

But on this week’s episode she flew back up with her fly-inspired look on the runway and her personable interview with Chaz Bono and Georgia Holt (Bono’s grandmother).  Delacreme lived to see another week of Drag Race.

Below she discusses what to expect Friday, her inspiration for Delacreme and her current addiction.

Jorge Moreno: You have a unique style of drag, so what can your fans expect Saturday?

Delacreme:  Well I am a queen of many faces, so you can definitely expect comedy, something a little bit out of the regular form of what the other queens do. I’ll be performing live and possibly doing a parody I wrote myself or something a little bit more complicated but bringing you all on a comedic journey. [Laughs]

JM: Where did DelaCreme come from?

Delacreme: I grew up watching old MGM musicals who featured Ann Miller, the tap dancer, and she was one of my first female icons, and she’s always wearing those little showgirl one piece outfits. I also get a lot of drag inspiration from the burlesque and cabaret world since I was around women who were referencing that time period as well so a lot of my style is entrenched in that background.

JM: What is a moment that stands out from being on the show?

Delacreme: Well so far, since I can’t give out the rest, has been winning the Snatch Game. It was really phenomenal because I wasn’t expecting it. I was really nervous coming in to do an impersonation [She impersonated the great Maggie Smith] and of course Snatch Game this year was really hot and heavy because there were really good performances from the other queens. So that win was totally like a high for me.

ME: Which queens did you bond the most on the Drag Race?

I got a really close with Adore [Delano] and you don’t really get to see that on the show except for little moments like when I jump on her back or hold hands but she is someone I talk to pretty frequently. Also, Bianca [Del Rio] and I developed a good friendship as well.

JM: Have you felt any negativity since appearing on the show?

Delacreme: It’s been really positive and I’ve been overwhelmed by how awesome and positive the response has been. I get tons of letters and emails with people telling me how they connect to me and the character and they feel inspired. I’ve been working in this field for 11 years and getting this kind of response really makes it feel like it’s totally worth it. Like I am doing the right thing with my life

JM: You were compared by RuPaul to Michelle Vasage. Do you see the resemblance?

Delacreme: I’ve been hearing that for a couple of years now. At first I was like, no I don’t know what you’re talking about but of course now that I see us on TV I totally see it. [Laughs]

JM: How hectic has your life been since appearing on the show?

Delacreme: I had experience doing shows before but this has been insane. I’ve been going to parts of the country that I’ve never been to and the audiences are different, and you kind of have to be ready for everything. I’m also working on writing new material, and creating new shows that I’ll be collaborating with others in the future.

JM: Will these collaborations be with any of the other Drag Race contestants?

Delacreme: Well, there are some things in the works but nothing that I can really talk about yet, but I can tell people there are things coming they can look forward to.

JM: You are also part of “DeLouRue Presents,” tell me about that?

Delacreme: It’s my production company with my two best friends, Kitten la Rue and Lou Henry Hoover, who are burlesque queen and a drag king, and the three of us have been working together in different ways for the past six years. We do shows that have cabaret and burlesque, and drag, comedy and social commentary and huge dance numbers. I like to think of it as a cross between an old MGM musical, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” and a contemporary drag show.

JM: What advice do you have for anyone in Sacramento or anywhere who wants to do drag?

Delacreme: My number one advice is, and what makes the coolest drag, is when you just listen to your own head. If people just focus on the things they love the most that’s when they will come up with the most interesting things in drag.

JM: What drag accessory can you not live without?

Delacreme: It’s hard to just pick one thing but what feels the most like Dela is having the right hair. Like she always has like a big bump in the back no matter what the hairdo is. When I get the hair pined in and I can feel it squishing behind me, then I know I am her.

JM: What’s your addiction right now?

Delacreme: Oh my god, I have a lot of addictions! [Laughs] As I travel around the country I realize that my true Seattlelite comes out because I cannot seem to get enough coffee in my body. I feel like the coffee everywhere else is half the strength like the coffee in Seattle. Caffeine is my drug of choice.

You can catch Delacreme on Monday’s on Logo TV at 9 p.m.  She also has her own products and you can learn more here. Admissions into Badlands for the show starts at 8 p.m., and you can purchase tickets for a meet-and-greet here or at the door.

Recap and clues from The Walking Dead Season 4 Finale

It’s been a WHOLE week since the season finale of The Walking Dead aired and I’m still suffering post-WD syndrome, so to get a fix I rewatched the season finale and found some clues that I missed the first time around since I was left pretty much with my mouth open after Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) bit Joe on the neck and ripped Joe’s throat out. SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched the season finale of TWD, which you either must be out of your mind or been on vacation somewhere really warm, then stop reading now and go back to your regular program and put on the season finale of TWD!

First clue: Rick (pre-throat biter) is showing Carl and Michonne how to trap an innocent bunny by building a walking path where the animal will most likely walk though and be snatched by Rick’s handy trap. Most of the second half of season 4 has been a trap set by the people at Terminus posting maps in various locations leading to Terminus. The separated groups have all seen the signs and believe the sign of “Those who arrive, survive” or at least believe that the others would have headed in that direction for sanctuary if they survived the Governor’s attack. In the penultimate episode, we saw Glen and Maggie and Co. walking into Terminus with Mary greeting them with some grilled meat. Yum! What looked like an insignificant moment of survival tip by Rick was foreshadowing the trap set up by the Termites.

Second clue: the flashbacks to the prison pre-Governor’s attack were a peaceful contrast to the gruesome reality of Rick sitting in a dazed shock covered in blood.  In the flashbacks, Hershel is trying to show Rick to be a farmer so that in return Rick can show Carl he can do more than just killing. At one point the beloved and missed Hershel tells Rick that “It could be like this all the time.” Unfortunately, it can’t be as  we see Joe and his merry men show up in the middle of the night to kill Rick, Michonne and Carl. This is when Rick goes all cannibal (hint!) on Joe and rips his throat out. You can’t blame the guy for doing it. He’s in a post-apocalyptic zombie world and he’s watching his son get molested by a fat guy and is just trying to survive. Can you then blame the people at Terminus for doing what they do since they are just trying to survive as well?

Third clue: the backpack, the poncho, the riot gear and the watch. After sneaking into Terminus and meeting Gareth, Mary is offering Rick and the rest of the gang some food but Rick notices the watch that Alex is wearing and shit gets real! Rick recognized those belongings to his friends and wants to know where they got it from. Gareth then orders his band of merry men to shoot at Rick but it seems these rooftop men are bad shooters since they are missing every shot. But the group is just being led to a TRAP through a maze in this big factory-like building, going from one creepy room to the next. In one warehouse, the room is lit with candles and phrases written all over like “Never Again,”  “Never Trust,” and “We First, Always.”  As the group is running, they run past a cage filled with bones with meat still on them. Finally, the group is lead into the train car. Mouse trap! (Aside: if Rick doesn’t trust Terminus before going in, why would the four of them all go in at the same time? Wouldn’t be practical to say have 2 people stay behind? End of aside)

The Walking Dead, AMC

Fourth clue: powder milk. When Rick is ordered first to go stand by the train car, he looks down and sees ripped cartons of powdered milk. No biggie, right? Or could this be, I don’t know, baby Judith’s milk formula?! Or could it be the food the Termites are giving the prisoners to fatten them up? Inside the car, Rick sees Glen and Maggie and Co. The gang is finally back together! Almost, we are still missing Carol and Tyrese but they could be in one of those train cars we heard people yelling from and Beth is still MIA or is she the grilled meat Mary was so kindly serving?

As you, no doubt gathered, the people at Terminus are not what they seem and if you are familiar with The Walking Dead comic books, you know these people are not vegetarians. TWD left me wanting more especially after Rick delivers the line “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”  Badass Rick is back! What other clues or tidbits did you find after the third or fourth watch of the season finale? And what will you do on Sunday’s with no WD on? I’ll be ironing my clothes…

April Fools’ Day pranks to pull

A few years ago, a former co-worker and I played a joke on a co-worker who used to park all the time on the handicap parking space at the office. This co-worker wasn’t handicapped but felt entitled to park there since it was an open space and no one ever parked there. So we looked up the city’s logo and ticketing information and printed a fake ticket and stuck on his windshield wiper. Somehow our co-worker found out it was fake and turned the joke around on us by pretending he was furious that someone had reported him to the police and now he had a $400 ticket to pay and was not happy about it. Of course we felt bad, and came clean. But in honor of April Fools’ Day, I have compiled a list from the internet of some fun pranks to pull and some of the best pranks pulled by the media.

Pranks to pull:

  • If you have children, wait until they are fast asleep to pull the old switcheroo! Switch them to different beds while they are sleeping.
  • Get the ugliest most disgusting temporary tattoo and wear it proudly to work.
  • Fake Parking Tickets – Print out this printable parking citation and leave on an unsuspecting friend’s vehicle and follow it up with a fake delinquent notice.
  • Change the cell phone language from English to another language. Just make sure you are able to change it back to the proper setting!
  • Swap the signs on the men’s and ladies’ rest rooms.
  • Hide all of the desktop icons on someone’s computer and replace the monitor’s wallpaper with a screen-shot of their desktop.
  • Leave cryptic notes warning someone of an impending prank then do nothing all day.
  • Place a small piece of Post-it note over the ball under someone’s computer mouse so that it won’t work.

Here are some pranks pulled by some corporations:

  • In 1957, Richard Dimbleby lent his voice to a BBC Panorama program about how Swiss farmers were struggling to cope with “an exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop”. The director-general of the BBC, Ian Jacob, admitted to being fooled himself, looking up “spaghetti” in his encyclopaedia.
  • In 1989, entrepreneur Richard Branson planned an audacious hoax to generate publicity for his new airline. He took to the skies in a hot air balloon shaped like a UFO, aiming to land in Hyde Park in London on 1 April. Unfortunately, the balloon was blown off course, and ended up touching down in a field in Surrey. Still, the hoax fooled some motorists who made emergency calls to the police to report sightings of an alien spaceship.
  • Google told the world it had launched a new product called Google Nose last year, complete with its own “aromabase”, using the tag line “smelling is believing”.
  • In 2012, YouTube announced it was putting every video ever uploaded onto DVDs, which would initially be delivered in 175 trucks — pack mule for users who live in rural areas. To make a comment, users would have to complete a paper form and mail it to the video creator directly. See the video above.