Mika CDC Event – Mar 15, 2014

March 10th, 2014

mika_1aCosta Mesa’s Mika CDC – 10th Annual C3 Basketball Tournament and Community Fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday March 15, 2014. Sponsorships are still available for this event that is filled with Costa Mesa residents and families.


The tournament teams are made up of 1 Cop, 1 Church Leader and 1 Community member for a 3 on 3 double elimination tournament.


Join the fun with the community fair that includes games for kids, raffles, and information about local agencies and activities. The Kids Area will include a Bounce House, Games, Face painting, crafts and more!


Food will be available to purchase from local restaurant sponsors as well as from the Fire and Police Association. Proceeds will support community projects in Mika’s neighborhoods.


Mika Community Development Corporation exists to identify and equip leaders in low-income neighborhoods to build communities with vision.


Admittance is FREE and includes activities and the opportunity for the community to come together.


For more information:





2014 YouTube commercial

The #KnottsPass Facebook Contest

March 4th, 2014

Has it been a while since your last visit to Orange County’s theme park that has something for everybody? Knott’s Berry Farm wants you back and they are presenting the Knott’s Season Pass Ticket Giveaway Facebook Contest! Here is an opportunity to win four (4) Knott’s Berry Farm Season Passes until March 17th, 2014.


Need a refresher as to why you’d like to go back all-year long? 


Here are 5 good reasons of mine:1knotts


Discovering “Camp Snoopy” with my daughter. While I had been to the park time and again, seeing it through the eyes of my daughter was just like being a kid again myself. Her favorite ride “The Red Baron” piloting her own airplane (32 inch height requirement) was a 3 time ride requirement. Let alone the “Rocky Road Trucking Company” ride (Adults welcome/Supervision required) where she is the driver of a mini semi truck. “Charlie Brown’s Speedway” scaled-down stock cars kept a smile on her face as well. When it was time to slow down we rode “Choo-Choo’s” or as they are really called “Calico Railroad” with bandit holdups and the Calico Mine Ride” which gets really dark but my daughter held my hand and I was “okay”.


Hello “Roller Coasters”! some of the biggest and coolest rides are right here in the OC. The Xcelerator blasts you through an exhilarating 205-foot ascent and immediate descent at a 90-degree angle. I haven’t been on it myself but I have watched family members do it! What I have ridden again and again are the new Coast Rider, Montezooma’s Revenge, Boomerang, GhostRider and my all-time favorite the Silver Bullet!



The Boardwalk Pier with the “Surfside Gliders” ride which lets guests take the ride into their own hands as they pilot their aircraft from a height of 28 feet. Then there is the “Pacific Scrambler” the perfect date ride and a family favorite as a traditional Boardwalk attraction.


Knott’s cares about our community and now through March 31, 2014, Susan G. Komen Orange County and Knott’s Berry Farm are working together to raise money for breast cancer awareness, services and research by offering a special “Pink Ticket” and limited edition specially designed “pink” merchandise with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Komen Orange County.


Last but not least “Knott’s Scary Farm” (Discounted for Season Pass holders) nothing is more fun than introducing nieces and nephews to all the things that go bump in the night. From mazes to rides all decked out for Halloween — it is scary good times. Knott’s celebrates Valentine’s Day and Christmas as well. Like I said something for everyone!


snoopy_2014Regular Season Passes supply unlimited visits all year round, exclusive ride times on select rides during the summer, discounts to Knott’s Scary Farm, discounts on select food and merchandise and more. The passes are family friendly with beginning prices starting as low as 6 payments of $14.00.



For more information:


Knotts SEASON PASS to purchase tickets:  



Knott’s Season Pass Ticket Giveaway Facebook CONTEST:  


Lyceum Live OC – March 8, 2014

February 24th, 2014

lyceum_liveStay Connected OC presents Lyceum Live OC 2014 on Saturday, March 8, 2014 from 8 am to 12 pm featuring experts in the field of life and business coaching, personal growth and inspiration. They will be sharing their wisdom at the Common Ground Spiritual Wellness Center, 550 N. Golden Circle Drive in Santa Ana.


There will be two ways to attend including the Lycem Live OC Event & Founders Luncheon for $50 which includes a private luncheon with the Lyceum Live speakers. Tickets to the Event Only are $20.


The event will be hosted by Ruben Alvarez, President & Chief of Stay Connected OC and he will be presenting the collective wisdom of five inspirationalists including:



Gutierrez is an International Business Consultant, Motivational Speaker, Radio Personality and Author of Stepping Into Greatness: Success Is Up To You.



President of Holistic Chamber of Commerce-OC and Owner/Consultant of One Source Wellness.



An internationally known Energy Healer and Transformational Leader. For nearly 20 years, Mark had a successful career in sales and executive management.  Even with this success, the calling for him to be of greater service to humanity is what, ultimately, encouraged him to change his direction.



An Expert of Intuitive Leadership, and the founder of Sparkling Results. Sarah works with heart-centered and mission-driven entrepreneurs to produce real financial results that feel good.


This event is geared to “Accelerate Your Personal Evolution” and start your life transformation!


For more information:



International Space Station Day Feb 22

February 21st, 2014

lil_sciThe California Science Center will be hosting “International Space Station Day” on Saturday, February 22, 2014 from 10am – 5pm. Admission is FREE but parking is $10.00.


The one-day event with special activities is in conjunction with NASA’s Destination Station exhibit currently on view at the California Science Center. Visitors can experience hands-on activities exploring the extreme temperatures in space, astronaut cuisine and more. International Space Station Day will also feature a special multi-media experience that immerses visitors in the story of NASA. Guests will learn why we explore, discover the challenges of human space exploration and how NASA provides critical technological advances to improve life on Earth.


As part of this unique exploration experience, you’ll have an out-of-this-world opportunity to touch a 4 billion-year-old moon rock brought back aboard Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the moon in 1972. The moon rock is one of only eight lunar samples in the world made available for the public to touch. 


The Destination Station exhibit explores life aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the largest space station ever constructed. The ISS serves as a permanent research laboratory in low Earth orbit where astronauts from around the world conduct experiments in human health, life and physical sciences, earth and space science, and test technologies for enabling future exploration.


Hands-on activities, imagery, and audio-visual displays allow visitors to learn how the ISS operates through an international partnership of five space agencies representing 15 countries, and communicates the real and potential contributions of the International Space Station in everyday life.


Destination Station was developed by NASA to inform and energize the public about the discoveries produced by the International Space Station, an orbiting laboratory 250 miles above Earth.


California Science Center

700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles 90037

Enter visitor parking at Figueroa and Exposition ParkDrive/39th Street

Parking is $10






¡Aparato! to rock Orange County

February 10th, 2014

aparato_2014Two shows are coming up on February 16th in Orange and an Album Release Party March 22nd.


Nancy “Cat” Mendez and Alexandro D. Hernández Guitérrez aka “El Tejarocho” dropped by to deliver the news that they have a new full-length album coming out on March 22, 2014. The Post-punk, socially conscious ethereal rock group that performs with traditional Mexican instruments and jamming beats is on the fast track for success in the big time.


Two shows in Orange County are coming up on Sunday, February 16th a FREE show with the Radio Active Chicken Heads who are celebrating their 20th anniversary at The District Lounge in Old Towne Orange from 2pm to Midnight. Then there will be the Full-Length Album Release Party on Saturday, March 22nd beginning at 7pm at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Arts (OCCCA) in Santa Ana.


When I first met Nancy “Cat” Mendez she was this humble and kind singer / songwriter / guitarrista looking to promote ¡Aparato!’s first EP. After hearing her sing and watching her dedication to the craft of music – it was easy to see I am just one more step to helping this musician become whoever it is that she wants to be.


EP’s are supposed to have obvious technical glitches and sound like they were recorded in a garage but Mendez transforms to the ¡Aparato! sound. The music takes you on a voyage beyond the mechanical realm and into the heart of the sound. In songs like “Kriminal” or “Aire” Mendez commands the song like a young Chavela Vargas, Lila Downs or Mercedes Sosa.


This was also a day when I met “El Tejarocho” unmasked as Alexandro D. Hernández Guitérrez who defines himself as a “Tejano-Fronterizo Michoacano San Quilmense Angelino born in Chinatown” from Del Rio, Texas. While we could go on about the music Alexandro reminded me of their purpose. ¡Aparato! began in support of the Eastside Cafe in Los Angeles. They also raised awareness for the Korean Cort Guitar Workers in the struggle of their labor in unventilated rooms full of fumes and solvent, forced overtime and below-minimum wage pay, incurring injuries and lung diseases, and undergoing the abuse of their managers, these workers unionized to finally get minimum wage only to be padlocked out of the jobs they were fighting for. In the local area they also support the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp For Girls Orange County” empowering girls and women through music.


I highly suggest joining them at one of these shows because it won’t be long before they are touring like their contemporaries La Santa Cecilia, Ozomatli, Pistolera or Julieta Venegas. Also the name ¡Aparato! means Machine and was inspired by the band Café Tacvba.


Para más información:




Preview the EP







Barrio Writers Indiegogo 2014

February 5th, 2014

BW_2014I am going to explain why I have supported the Barrio Writers Indiegogo campaign to publish their 5th Edition and develop Summer 2014 FREE creative writing programs for youth 13-21 years old in California & Texas!

They had me at “Hello” those amazing young students of the Barrio Writers of Orange County. I have seen them at Downtown Santa Ana events and most recently in Fullerton at a book release. What interests me most about these students is that their commitment to community and higher education is fostered by their love of poetry. It is a world seen by youth caught between two cultures and two Americas. As each poet grows they become proud enough to recite the beauty and contradictions in the barrios they come from.

Founded by Sarah Rafael García author of Las Niñas: A Collection of Childhood Memories, in June 2009. The Barrio Writers program hosts free workshops & additional “Café Hours” (one-on-one tutoring) throughout the academic summer break and monthly cultural arts events during the school year for teens. Through these workshops & events, students build their skills in reading, grammar, creative writing and freedom of expression through the cultural arts.

One goal of the program is to publish an anthology collection of written works demonstrating the diverse backgrounds of youth (13-21 years old). All profits from the book will be returned to the Barrio Writers program for future years. The long-term goal is to publish a new edition every year with hopes that more neighborhoods will adopt the program.

Most recently Barrio Writers have been providing free workshops at the Travis County Juvenile Probation Department in Austin, Texas. Youth have the option to attend a BW workshop once a week in exchange for community service hours and a pipeline to higher education. For the last 9 weeks they have served 11 youth.

One youth in particular has attended all the workshops consistently even though he has completed his community service hours. He, along with another participant, are submitting their creative writing for publication in the next collection. Their enthusiasm has inspired everyone, along with the Probation Officers who have witnessed their motivation. They hope you get to read their words too.

Para más información:



Coolest post for OCGente!

February 5th, 2014

From the Barrio Writers for contributing to their Indiegogo campaign, They repaid OCGente with the greatest gift possible…their words.

For OC Gente

O-ur community is what you pride in.



E-ndless gratitude comes from us.

N-ever ending dedication,

T-o everyday people,


Nancy Alcala, founding Barrio Writer member

Make a difference with @BarrioWriters @indiegogo programs fundraiser #authors #poets #poetry #nonprofit http://igg.me/p/629790/twtr

La Santa Cecilia’s ‘GRAMMY’ 2014

January 30th, 2014

lsc_2010Winners! It was just in 2010 that I bought a hand made covered CD by the band members of La Santa Cecilia. The concert was held in Santa Ana as a fundraiser for Breath of Fire hosted by community leader Sara Guerrero. Their latest CD “Treinta Días” won a GRAMMY for best Latin rock, urban or alternative album on January 26, 2014.

It seems that La Santa Cecilia has had an upwards trajectory established by great music and by leaving audiences mesmerized show after show. La Santa Cecilia exemplifies the modern-day creative hybrid of Latin culture, rock and world music. This six-member group draws inspiration from all over the world, utilizing Pan-American rhythms like cumbia, bossa nova, rumba, bolero, tango, jazz, rock and klezmer music. They are proud to be from the City of Angels. The band consists of accordionist and requintero Jose Carlos, bassist Alex Bendana, percussionist Miguel Ramirez and lead vocalist Marisoul.

Treinta Días, the band’s major-label debut, is more sophisticated and diverse than anything they’ve previously issued — but is no less danceable.

From the opener “Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles” finds La Marisoul wedding gospel to flamenco; Jose Carlos knows that blues is what links them and builds a bridge with his accordion. He gets punchy rhythmic help from percussionist Miguel Ramírez, Alex Bendaña, and guest Jeff Babko on B-3 (he plays vibes and trombone elsewhere here).

Cumbia meets ranchera and Latin pop in the jaunty “Monedita,” a track that, despite its brevity, captures all the complexities of La Marisoul’s musical personality.

On “Cuchara,” cumbia jumps in with banda and rock & roll — dig Andy Abad’s surf guitars! Elvis Costello makes a vocal appearance on “Losing Game.” His and La Marisoul’s voices are perfectly balanced in this cinematic, souled-out rock and rumba groove. With its organ, electric guitars, and handclaps urging La Marisoul’s deep Latin soul vocal (think Alice Russell meets Joe Bataan).

lsc1The song “Falling” is driven by reggae and cumbia backbeats, a gospel backing chorus, and Carlos’ requinto. Set closer “ICE-El Hielo” (a play on the acronym for the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is an understated, moving, and militant bossa that portrays the stresses of everyday life for the undocumented inside the U.S.

Having embraced North American sounds — rock, hip-hop, soul, blues, etc. — they seem to have had them grafted into musical traditions from the rest of the Americas without watering them down, and have created a bold, bouyant, international pop music. “Treinta Días” is a winner and the band keeps on moving up. “Felicidades!”

Para más información:



One Million Bones ‘Revolution’

January 29th, 2014

onemillionbones2The TED (Technology Education & Design) website posted this story on January 28, 2014. About an event that happened in the Summer of 2013. I pride myself on being informed about non-profit events and this story makes me realize I missed the ‘Revolution’. From here on out though they are on my radar.

from TED

Last summer, TED Fellow Naomi Natale and thousands of volunteers laid down one million hand-made bones on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Meant to symbolize a mass grave, The One Million Bones Project is a dramatic petition against ongoing genocides in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

The bones were made by artists, activists and children around the world, honoring our common humanity and those who have been lost to genocide.

One Million Bones is a project of The Art of Revolution, an organization dedicated to leveraging the power of art to inspire activism. They believe that art is such an incredible tool with which to engage and mobilize communities around a specific social justice issue. Art offers a tangible way for people to connect to things that are not presented to them daily. Please visit the Art of Revolution website for more information and to keep an eye out for future projects!

Photos by TED Fellow, @terukuwayama. #onemillionbones

For more information:





Naomi Natale 2010 TED Global One Million Bones

One Chef Can 86 Hunger

January 29th, 2014

one_chefThe Food Network show “Chopped” featured Chef Max Hardy as one of the contestants in which course by course, four chefs will be “chopped” from the competition until only one winner remains. In between one of the segments Chef Hardy announced that he was going to used the prize money from the show $10,000 dollars to help fund his foundation “One Chef Can 86 Hunger”. What a great cause here is a little more about the foundation.


Chef Maxcel Hardy, personal chef to NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire, founder of One Chef Can 86 Hunger, and culinary entrepreneur, first began his culinary experience in the Culinary Arts Program at Wharton High School in Tampa, FL. Working under the program’s Executive Chef, Edward Bujarski, Chef Max began catering events in the Tampa community. Recognized for his exceptional culinary skills and his talent on and off the basketball court, Chef Max was awarded a scholarship to attend Johnson & Wales University in Miami, Florida.


Shortly after receiving his degree in Culinary Arts, Chef Max began working in casinos in the Florida area before opening Chef Max Miami, a catering company specializing in a range of recipes of American, Asian, Caribbean, French, and Kosher cuisine. Proving to be a success, Chef Max has been able to train and employ a number of chefs between Miami, New York, and Los Angeles.


Chef Max’s clients include award winning Hip Hop and R&B artists, actors, professional athletes, and dignitaries like the Prince of Dubai and Prime Minister of Turks and Caicos. In 2010, Chef Max became the full-time personal chef for NBA All-Star Amar’,e Stoudemire.


Outside the kitchen, Chef Max created Chef Max Designs, a chef apparel line that gives a modern style to classic chef wear. In 2011, Chef Max founded the foundation One Chef Can 86 Hunger; its mission is to help fight the hunger crisis in America and educate people on maintaining a healthy lifestyle cost effectively. The foundation also raises money for students in culinary arts programs.


Chef Max has been featured in “Bon Appétit” and his hard work and persistence has been the key to him reaching his success before the age of 30. Chef Max continues to excel in culinary arts and has no desire to stop–hoping that with each dish he creates, people will be able to “taste his dedication to excellence in every bite.”


Chef Max is a winner in our book with a mission where “Hunger” will one day be Chopped.


For more information: