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JP: Pop culture. Welcome everyone to the big podcast my name is JP and I’m here with Fernando. Hola Fernando.
Fernando: Hola JP.
JP: Hola. So Fernando, today we’re going to talk about 5 pop culture phenomena from the Spanish speaking world, right?
Fernando: That is correct yes.
JP: Let’s dive right into it. What have you got?
Fernando: Basically the same things we have in other parts of the world. You got your music, you got your fashion.
JP: Ok, let’s start with music.
Fernando: Ok that’s a great one. I’m actually going to touch on two items there; fashion and music.
JP: Ok.
Fernando: As you might now there’s a big influence of bands from all over the world going into other countries because of the easy access of internet. What you’ll see now is a combination of fashion and musical influence.
JP: Really?
Fernando: Yes. Let’s say you’re walking down the street in Mexico City. What you will see most of the time is kids in skinny jeans, disheveled hair, kind of like the Williamsburg scene.
JP: Oh, it’s very hipster.
Fernando: I’m not going to say hipster because they’re not wearing tank tops and they’re not tattooing their bodies.
JP: But they’ve got the skinny jeans.
Fernando: They’ve got the skinny jeans, they’ve got the Converse
JP: Ok. What’s on their iPod?
Fernando: What’s on their iPod? Good question. We can look into it and what you’ll see is bands ranging from Zoe to Plastalina Mosh to the more electronic bands or DJs, which is perhaps Hernan Cataño from Argetina or Bomba Stereo which is a blend of Cumbia and electronic. They’re from Columbia. Very interesting, very cool stuff. Genres that you didn’t think of mixing in the past, now they’re doing that, that’s the “in” thing to do. Kind of like what Girltalk does in the U.S.
JP: Ok
Fernando: And, like I said, you’ll see similarities in the way people dress, in the genre. You can go from gothic, which is decked out in black and eyeliner and all that, to the more “hipster,” you know the skinny jeans, etc. Then you have the reggaeton, and you’ll see people wearing bling.
JP: How do you say “bling” in español?
Fernando: There’s not a literal translation.
JP: So do you say “el bling”?
Fernando: That would be a pochismo.
JP: So do you say it or not?
Fernando: No, you don’t say it. For me, fortunately or unfortunately I don’t know how to go about diving into that type of culture. We’ll just leave it there and I’m not going to make any assumptions.
JP: Alright. What’s another pop culture phenomena we can talk about?
Fernando: Let me start off with this; Poor Millionare, Without Breast There is no Paradise. What do you think I’m talking about when I’m giving you these titles?
JP: I don’t know, is this some kind of poetry that you’re talking about?
Fernando: You would want to think that.
JP: Ok, what are you talking about Fernando?
Fernando: These are titles to telenovelas.
JP: Telenovelas, ok so these are the soap operas in Spanish.
Fernando: The soap operas in Spanish, yes.
JP: Ok, so what are they called in Spanish?
Fernando: The Spanish name is “Pobre millionario” so Poor Millionaire, you know it’s kind of like very melodramatic. And then you have “Sin pechos no hay paraiso.”
JP: Ok, There’s No Heaven without Breasts.
Fernando: Without breasts, basically yes. And “pechos” is another way of saying breasts.
JP: Alright so why do you want to talk about telenovelas because we know that telenovelas have been around since the 1950s. What is “pop” about this pop culture phenomenon.
Fernando: You’ll have telenovelas for all shapes and sizes in the Spanish speaking world. What I mean by that is there will be telenovelas for middle school kids, there will be telenovelas for high school kids, there will be telenovelas for the contemporary couple. They run the gamete. You’ll see telenovelas start at 1:00 on certain channels, then the high-rating ones will run in primetime. It’s not like in the US where the big telenovelas or the big soap operas are running throughout the day from basically 11am to 3pm when the afternoon news comes on. So we’re talking prime slots, 9pm, 10pm, and then that’s when the news will come it. So you’ll have a window from basically 6pm-10pm of nonstop telenovelas and they’ll range from the humorous to the melodramatic, some deal with social issues, others try to tap into that beautiful lifestyle that everyone would like to live.
JP: Ah the escapist ones.
Fernando: The escapist ones, yeah that’s the one we’re talking about.
JP: Now, when we’re talking about telenovelas we’re always talking about beautiful people and melodramatic music and a lot of over-acting, right?
Fernando: Oh yeah, absolutely. I would say under-acting for some of them. They’re on based on their looks.
JP: Oh, I see what you’re saying. Well telenovelas are great for even Spanish language learners to watch because of the overacting or sometimes because of the bad acting you can follow the storyline even if you don’t understand everything that you hear.
Fernando: But I have to mention this, they are not a reflection of the society in which they are broadcast. If that were the case, trust me, a lot of Latin American countries would be extremely wealthy and that unfortunately is not the case.
JP: Let’s move on to the next pop culture phenomena. What are you going to talk about now?
Fernando: Well, I think this is a good way to move into cinema and cinema has seen a revival recently in Spanish-speaking countries. We have the popular directors from Mexico; Alfonso Cuarón who directed Y tu mama también. We have Alejandro González Iñárritu who directed Amores perros, Babel, 21 grams.
JP: All of those are very famous, very critically acclaimed in the US. Now both of those directors that you mentioned, González Iñárritu and Cuarón, they both use that guy, what’s his name?
Fernando: That guy, Garcia Bernal.
JP: Este.
Fernando: And this is basically what’s brought him international acclaim.
JP: Absolutely. Now he was just in an Almodóvar movie as well, right, from Spain, Pedro Almodóvar.
Fernando: Yeah, a while back it was called The Bad Education.
JP: Ok, La mala educación.
Fernando: That was also critically acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic, yes. And it did have its detractors as well because there were some crude scenes in the movie.
JP: Well you have to expect that from Pedro Almodóvar, right, because he’s kind of a shocker.
Fernando: Yes you should.
JP: Yeah, Almodóvar is definitely a favorite of Spanish language cinema and a few years back he won the Oscar for Foreign Language Film of the Year for, what was it’s name?
Fernando: Todo sobre mi madre
JP: Todo sobre mi madre, yeah that was a great film, I remember that.
Fernando: We can go on and on I mean there’s Guilermo del Toro who directed The Labyrinth who also directed the Hellboy films.
JP: Oh, ok I don’t know those.
Fernando: Yeah, it’s based on a comic. And you have Alejandro Amenábar who directed Vanilla Sky, which Vanilla Sky in Spanish, not literally translated, is called Abre los ojos.
JP: Abre los ojos, both of which started Penelope Cruz.
Fernando: Exactly.
JP: Ok, Fernando now all of these directors are internationally acclaimed but I know in the US these are considered like very artsy directors, very cinematic directors, you know like with a capital C in Cinema. What do the regular people watch?
Fernando: There’s definitely a genre for mainstream. You know, big production companies like Televisa or Tebesteca, and then you have the C-rated or D-rated and I’m talking if you were going to give these movies a grade you’d give them an F because they’re so horrible. But they are part of that pop culture. You’ll always see them during the mornings, on the weekends.
JP: What are the names that are involved in these?
Fernando: If you were to do a search for “los hermanos Almada” you’ll get a ton of movie titles from them where they’re acting and they’re all part of it.
JP: Ok, these are actors, these are action stars.
Fernando: Yeah.
JP: Cool. Ok so we talked a little bit about fashion, popular music, what’s on TV, we talked about cinema. What else can you tell us about pop culture in the Spanish speaking world?
Fernando: So all these categories have one thing in common.
JP: What is that?
Fernando: Famous people. So I think that goes without saying, anywhere in the world you’ll want to know what’s going on with your celebrities.
JP: Ok so who are the celebrities in the Spanish speaking world, who is everybody talking about now?
Fernando: Shakira, Alejandro Sans, David Bisbal, Talia
JP: Now you just named four musicians, right? Alejandro Sans is a musician, David Bisbal también?
Fernando: He’s also a musician, yes, he’s from Spain.
JP: And Talia is from Mexico?
Fernando: Talia is from Mexico. And you’ll want to know who else is a celebrity. Sports stars. Now we’re talking soccer players mostly or futbolistas.
JP: Oh, futbolistas. Now who’s hot right now? Which futbolistas is everybody following around?
Fernando: Lionel Messi, of course, he plays for Barcelona, he’s from Argentina. He’s the next Maradona.
JP: Ok, and the paparazzi are following him around?
Fernando: Yes absolutely. They’re following his every step. I mean there are other cases where Rafael Marquez has been involved with a Mexican actress.
JP: And Rafael Marquez plays for who?
Fernando: He plays for Barcelona as well.
JP: Well, if you do want to keep track you can find all this information on the internet or in the magazines at the newsstands and you can get the Spanish versions
Fernando: Absolutely. No question about it. And there are also the celebrity shows dedicated to all of these happenings.
JP: Oh, that’s right.
Fernando: Yeah, so it goes without saying, they’ll cover everything.
JP: Ok, all right. So we’ve covered a lot of pop culture phenomena. Do you have anything else for us today?
Fernando: I think that just about does it.
JP: Alright, thank you Fernando, thanks folks for listening and we’ll see you on the next All About Spanish podcast. Hasta luego.
Fernando: Bye-bye.