Perez Hilton isn’t the only Latino out there with a blogspot account… Here, we give you the lowdown on some of our favorite NYC-based Latino blogs, rated for sarcasm, humor, sample posts, hipster quotient, and more for your reading (and surfing) pleasure. Let us know your favorites and who we might have left out (’cause there are MANY more!)
And now, in alphabetical order……
Slogan: “Spicy coverage for the Latino in you.”
Writers: Texas native Cindy Casares (Editor), 35; Carlos Nobleza Posas from New Orleans (Associate Editor), 22; and chilango Daniel Mauser (Publisher), 27.
Straight out of: Downtown NYC (East Village, Union Square, and SoHo representin’ here… can we move in?)
Written in: English
Description: A Latino Gawker, though on a much smaller scale, minus the Gawker-stalker/media insider element. Covers US Latino-related gossip, entertainment, and pop culture, with the occasional political commentary (usually Cuba- or border-related) in a very polished, well-designed site. The writing is quite good (albeit sarcastic, see below), and the bloggers clearly very smart.
How it started: A year ago, while Daniel Mauser and Nick Denton of Gawker Media were shootin’ the shit over sushi (say that ten times fast!). “The idea was to turn Latino media on its head,” says Mauser. Almost a month ago (June 1), Guanabee was born.
Target Audience: Jaded second generation Latinos too cool to admit to being wrapped up in the latest Eva Longoria chisme, but secretly thrive on it. Very non-Latino friendly as well.
Sample posts: Written in a tongue-in-cheek style with sex on the brain, recent posts have touched upon Cameron Diaz’s trip to Peru (communist slogan purse + potential new flame); YouTube gems (Brazilians dancing in their boxers, a claymation skit about the “6 million peso man”); and how a gringo blogger used an online translator to post information about Noelia’s sex tape.
Posts Per Day: Around 10. We can’t complain.
Check out (trademarks): They claim to have none just yet, but we see some in the works. ’Los Rants (blogger Carlos’s personal musings) topics so far have included Thalia’s pregnancy and the Forbes Celebrity 100 list, and there’s a daily summary of news at the end of the day (estilo Gothamist.com).
Humor Level: In true Gawker style, posts border between absolutely hilarious and more than slightly offensive, depending on your mood/political leanings/sensitivity level/sexual orientation.
Gossip Level: Medium. They comment on gossip, but don’t break it. So the chisme is there, but they’re more concerned with what they have to say about it.
Sarcasm Level: Bursting. And we thought we were sarcastic.
Hipster quotient: Eh, low. Guanabees would make fun of hipsters–if they haven’t yet, they surely will soon (but as their name suggests, they might just want to be slightly hipster themselves).
Defining Moment: According to Mauser, “an article on Peru’s decision to lower the age of sexual consent for teens which ignited a comment war between clueless conservatives and bubbly liberals. Truly awesome.” We can’t help but include the blog’s official apology and pledge of non-homophobia-ness (homofilia?), after readers were angered by a comment about gay Brazilian cowboys (huh?!?!).
What makes it addictive: You want to see who’s gonna get bashed next. Also, it’s a great way to keep up with the really cheesy mainstream gossip without having to result to the cheesy mainstream gossip pages…plus we like the battle of wits on the comments pages.
THE LATIN AMERICANIST (ourlatinamerica.blogspot.com)
Slogan: “The English-language forum for all things Latin American, covering business, politics, and culture.”
Writers: NYU grad students including Taylor Kirk and Erwin C. (he goes by an initial alone…I guess so we don’t confuse him with Erwin M.). Also, Maegan “La Mala” Ortiz contributes here as well, making her a double duty blogger.
Straight out of: New York (Erwin C. lives in Flushing.)
Written in: English
Description: Basically, a much more fun version of The Economist. Straightforward, thorough news briefs with some music and culture reporting thrown in.
How it started: Hatched by students at NYU’s Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, the blog launched in Sept. 2004.
Target Audience: Smart people. Or, as Erwin C. told us, “We hope our readers are open-minded with a desire to learn more about the variety and diversity of Latin America & the Caribbean. It doesn’t matter what one’s ideology or biases are as long as they want to get a better understanding of the Americas.”
Sample posts: Very short news items summarizing everything from the immigration reform battle, to the controversy around whether to lift the Cuban trade embargo, to the Brazilian soccer ref who plans to pose nude.
Posts Per Day: 5 or 6, but each one is packed with info. Impressive. How do they find the time?
Check out (trademarks): Quote of the Day, Daily Headlines.
Humor Level: low to medium. The Quotes of the Day can be funny but this blog is no George Lopez.
Gossip Level: low.
Sarcasm Level: nil.
Hipster Quotient: So nerdy that it’s actually very cool.
Defining Moment: “Getting the blog name-checked in the Washington Post last April for our reaction to Newt Gingrich’s remarks calling Spanish a ‘ghetto’ language,” says Erwin C.
What Makes it Addictive: It’s like a vitamin for your brain. The writers summarize news so well that in five minutes a day, you’ll actually understand what’s going on in the world.
NUEVA YORK (nuevayorkguide.com)
Slogan: “The complete blog to Latino life in the five boroughs.”
Writers: Journalists Carolina Gonzalez (who has her own blog at soundtaste.typepad.com, which we also love), 41, and Seth Kugel, 37.
Straight out of: Prospect and Jackson Heights (by way of the DR and Massachussetts), respectively. But as the name suggests, this blog is straight up Nueva York.
Written in: English
Description: A spinoff from their book, Nueva York: The complete guide to Latino life in the five boroughs, Carolina says Nueva York seeks to “fill the same grievous gap online that we tried to fill with our book. Meaning, no one focuses on Latin food and culture (aside from you guys, of course!)” (Thanks!) Posts are decidedly food-heavy (which we always welcome!). We like the clear writing, but the posts get a bit long at times (they are coming from print media, remember).
How it started: This blog is brand-spanking-new, having officially launched June 19.
Target Audience: Latinophile New Yorkers–of all ages and backgrounds. These two know where it’s at, but make the info accessible to the masses. (You can blame them if your favorite taco joint becomes awash with pasty gringos who can’t say “huitlacoche” to save their lives.)
Sample posts: All the latest news on the Red Hook ball fields, info on Brazilian food in Astoria, and a music recommendation (Andy Palacio at BAM and SOB’s–we concur).
Posts per day: One or two.
Check out (trademarks): Still too soon to tell (remember, they’ve only been around for a week!) but the “Street Food” and “Advanced Lessons” sections look promising.
Humor level: Next to none. These are serious writers, here.
Gossip level: nil. Unless you count food chisme.
Sarcasm level: 0.
Hipster quotient: None whatsoever… They cover the areas with the good food years before the hipsters move in and jack up the prices.
Defining Moments: Says Seth, “Two days after starting, Food & Wine wrote about us, then Grub Street at NY Mag picked up on it, and hits started flooding in. Now Remezcla is onto us!!!”
What makes it addictive: We’re hungry most of the time, and always on the lookout for cheap yummy, Latin eats. Need we say more?
Writers: A group of buddies. From Caracas, Venezuela: Carlos Pavan, editor, 30 and Etty Beke, editora, 25. From Esshpaña, Marc Esparza, 29 (Barcelona) and Virginia, 29 (Madrid), plus Mari Steverlynck, 26, the lone uruguasha (and Remezcla photo editora).
Straight out of: The East Village + Brooklyn (Williamsburg and Clinton Hill) + now Spain (Marc recently moved back to Barthelona).
Written in: Español
Description: Intelligent musings and commentary on indie music, NYC happenings, local and Latin American politics, YouTube phenomena, and retro Latin cultural treats. Look for lots of music reviews, interviews, and recommendations, as well as the occasional political rant. Though the blog is in Spanish, it is not centered on Latino-related material by any means.
How it started: Founder Adam Baruchowitz says: “Some call it the Panama Canal, we call it Nuyorker.” The blog was started in November of 2005 by Leo Prieto (en Chile), Adam B., Marc and Carlos.
Target Audience: Spanish speakers around the world who look to NYC for all that is hip and cutting-edge. Many of their readers are actually non-NuYorkers (Spain, Chile figure among the top countries).
Sample posts: Info on cool NYC events (Fete de la Musique, Asian Film Festival, etc.), mini-tribute to the late El Fary, interview with Brooklyn band Au Revoir Simone.
Posts Per Day: Varies wildly. Usually 2-3 a day, sometimes not for days on end, sometimes 5-6 a day. Depends on the weather and what’s going on in the city that day, we presume.
Check out (trademarks): Bimonthly mixtapes (Carlos says, “Nuyorker’s content is almost 70 percent music oriented, so we decided to share some of the music we write about.”) and Spanish Bizarro (“all those incredible moments where art, comedy and kitsch clash to create something beautiful, like this……. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNuZ2Sehl-E)
Humor Level: Pretty good–mostly found in the Spanish bizarro posts and YouTube finds.
Gossip Level: 0. This isn’t about gossip. It’s about cool. Or what the NuYorkers deem cool.
Sarcasm Level: Mais o menos. Not too much, but there’s just enough for us to know they don’t take themselves (or who they write about) too seriously.
Hipster Quotient: High. But in the selective taste/music snob kinda way, so not that odious. Bloggers’ favorite hangout is Union Pool–’nuff said.
Defining Moments: “We’ve had our share of weird moments,” says Carlos. “Once we received a psycho poem about Michael Jackson. Also, we posted something about how Vanilla Ice sucks and to this day we’ve gotten 34 comments of hard core angry
Vanilla Ice supporters. Apparently the kowabunga rap is still big somewhere.
“Anyway, we also did a crappy post about a “love calculator” for Valentine’s Day and, wow the Internet never ceases to amaze me…… the comments page became like a chatroom for teenagers in love. Incredible. It suddenly became ugly when one of the
girls called another one “changa peluda”.
One more. “When our post about the Aqua Teen Hunger Force LED arrests was linked by this HUGE porn/freak/geek blog from Madrid. A lot of our readers come from Spain now.”
What makes it addictive: You-heard-it-here first music tips and the excellent (read: campy, bizarre) YouTube finds.
Slogan: “Pagina fea, pero informativa”
Writer/s: Remo del Orbe, Dominican eccentric. He wears a mask in every picture, and turned down our request for personal details saying he was “too boring” to be interviewed. All we can deduce about him is that he was born in Villa Mella, Dominican Republic, that he lives somewhere in Queens, that his favorite foods are rice and beans…and that considering how often his blog is updated, he may have some kind of borderline OCD…or just be the hardest working dominicano in show business. But thank God for that, because Remolacha is truly the most thorough blog we’ve ever seen.
Straight out of: Queens
Written in: Spanish
Description: Anything newsworthy, funny, cool, or crazy that happens to a Dominican, anywhere in the world, you’ll find it here. There’s other Latino stuff too, but the focus is mostly on Santo Domingo and the diaspora.
How it started: As a page about bachata.
Target Audience: Remolacha has a cult following among Dominicans here and abroad, plus other Latinos who get addicted.
Sample posts: Recent posts include a dispatch from a reader showing his bullet wounds after being mugged in D.R.; some photos of a Dominican police officer moonlighting as a taxi driver while still wearing his uniform; ruminations on whether Noelia released that home-porn herself for attention; and the creation of an environmental protection site in the Dominican Republic.
Posts Per Day: Literally, a zillion.
Check out (trademarks): Pueblorazzi, or photos sent in by readers of everything from major underreported news events to funny signs in the streets.
Humor Level: Often hilarious, but if you aren’t versed in Dominicanisms, you may not get a lot of it.
Gossip Level: Pretty high, considering this isn’t a gossip site. This guy should work for the CIA—a lot of times he reports stuff way before others.
Sarcasm Level: Thankfully, nonexistent.
Hipster Quotient: The site doesn’t try to be cool, which makes it extremely cool.
Defining Moment: A few months back when Remo tried to quit doing the blog and his fans flooded his inbox with desperate pleas to carry on.
What Makes it Addictive: The constant updates and Pueblorazzi.
REPUBLICA UPDATE (republicaupdate.com)
Writers: Led Black, a Dominican-American guy who lives in suburban New Jersey, has three kids, a wife, a day job…and a talent for making even dry political news really entertaining.
Written in: English, with some Spanish.
Straight out of: Jersey…via Washington Heights.
Description: This blog is a publicity vehicle for Republica Trading, a Latino clothes company. Which would make you assume it’s probably dull and self-serving. Pero, au contraire. It’s actually one of the better written blogs we’ve seen, when you skim through the gadget reviews and head for the meatier commentary pieces.
How it started: Launched in 2003, the blog grew out of an email feed.
Target Audience: “Global multi-cultural urbanites ages 18-34,” says Republica’s founder Rafael Jimenez.
Sample posts: A review of the Miami Herald’s recent Afro-Latino series; an open letter to Latino-bashing baseball player Gary Sheffield; and a commentary on Hillary vs. Obama (“Jay-Z vs. Nas writ large,” as the blog puts it.)
Posts Per Day: sometimes just one per week, sometimes three a day.
Check out (trademarks): Politics as Usual and the excellent DR Travelogue.
Humor Level: Definitely has its moments, especially if you go back and read the DR Travelogue.
Gossip Level: Not so much.
Sarcasm Level: Low
Hipster Quotient: No.
Defining Moment: Rafael Jimenez says, getting widespread attention for posting a mashup video of George Bush performing Sunday, Bloody, Sunday.
What Makes it Addictive: The thoughtfulness of some of the writing.
VIVIR LATINO (vivirlatino.com)
Writers: Preppy-looking marketing consultant Jennifer Woodard Maderazo (who hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana) and Nuyorican leftist poet/mom Maegan “la Mala” Ortiz.
Straight out of: San Francisco and New York
Written in: English with a little Spanglish
Description: A mix of celebrity tidbits, cultural factoids and serious Latino-related news
How it started: Launched Oct. 12, 2005, the website tells us “VivirLatino was created for and is written with second and third generation Latinos in the U.S. in mind who, regardless of their country of origin, have a shared vision, language, and goals that have made them the one of the most dynamic “minorities” in the country.” (Sorry, but no one answered our request for an interview, so you’ll have to make do with this description.)
Target Audience: Pochos (see above.)
Sample posts: A report on Perez Hilton’s legal woes; info on job growth in Latin America; bochinche about Thalia’s baby; and coverage of the most recent immigrant rights marches.
Posts Per Day: three to four
Check out (trademarks): There are no gimmicks here.
Humor Level: Good.
Gossip Level: Medium—they won’t usually break news, but they have a good eye for what we might actually want to read.
Sarcasm Level: Just right—not habanero chiles, but not Wonderbread either.
Hipster Quotient: It’s not Williamsburg or Greenpoint…but it’s also not Bay Ridge. We’ll call it Jackson Heights…cool but not because it’s trying too hard.
Defining Moment: Wish we knew! They never got back to us for an interview.
What Makes it Addictive: It gives you just the right amount of tidbits to talk about at lunch.