Nora, Tommy & the Hispano Bloggers Awards

We’re halfway through 2012, and the Fifty/Fifty challenge is looming LARGE, taunting me, as if it already knows I’m not going to make it.

For, I’m falling behind like nobody’s business.

But, cut me some slack, okay? You all know how busy I am. Frankly, I don’t know why I agreed to this aggressive challenge, anyway, but the fact of the matter is I did, and now I just have to deal.

So here’s what I did this month: I embraced my romantic side.

Yes, this jaded Latina from Queens, who still has the scars of divorce imprinted on her heart, still wants to believe in that happily ever after ending. Maybe it’s a dream. Maybe I’m in love with love, or, rather, love, as it appears in the movies. Too bad life doesn’t imitate art.

And no one portrays love in the cinema like Nora Ephron, the greatest, happy-go-lucky romantic of them all, who, sadly passed away this June. Nora looked on the bright side of life, and her movies resonate with her upbeat style and sensibility. Which is why I decided to have myself a Nora Ephron movie marathon, which I started in June and, time got the better of me, so my marathon sort of wiggled its way into early July (Happy Fourth, Nora!) and I haven’t quite finished (Mixed Nuts and Julie and Julia, you’re next!)

I watched Heartburn (the most empowering movie about divorce, ever!), Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally. I have to tell you, after watching these four films, I’ve come to the conclusion that Nora’s movies are not necessarily love stories centered on two people. Nope.

What these films really and truly represent, is an exquisitely gift-wrapped homage to what was undoubtedly Nora’s greatest love of all:  New York City. Manhattan, the city that never sleeps.

These movies celebrate all that is beautiful, dreamy and sublime about the city. The music sets the tone and the stories capture the jazzy mood of Manhattan, much like the films of Woody Allen.  Even, Sleepless in Seattle comes to a rousing, starry-eyed finale at the top of the Empire State Building, which is all lit up—thanks to technical wizardy—with a giant red heart. Ah, love! Ah, New York!

Ah, Nora! Ah, Tommy!

Singer/Songwriter, Tommy Torres

Tommy? Yes, Tommy.  For, when it comes to love, what better way to express the feelings it stirs than through music? As Shakespeare himself, wrote, “If music be the food of love, play on.”

Sure, Harry Connick, Jr. and Jimmy Durante have it down in Nora’s movies. Their love songs trip the light fantastic, building upon the idealistic feelings the films convey. But, any Latina knows, that when it comes to genuine, heartbreaking, passionate, die-for-love romance, Latin lovers have a way with words—and song.

And lately, here’s whom I’ve been listening to: Tommy Torres. He’s a big sensation in Latin countries, but that’s changing, so watch out. Tommy Torres is crossing over.

Now, I love coming across new talent. But, Tommy’s been around for over a decade, writing songs for the likes of Alicia Keyes and Ricky Martin. He’s got a voice and a way around a keyboard that reaches into the depths of your soul. His music and his voice, which reminds me of the style of Jamie Cullum and James Morrison, are very sexy, indeed.

I could listen to Tommy Torres all day long. And, if you ask me, there’s nothing like a love song enhanced by the sound of a piano, guaranteed to tug at my heartstrings.  Listen to his latest, titled “Querido Tommy” (Dear Tommy) and see what I mean. It is a love letter, an impassioned request for advice from a lovelorn fan:

What’s special about this song is its roots in social media. A fan named Paco, contacted Tommy through Twitter, asking for his advice. At first, Tommy didn’t respond, so Paco sent him another message. This time, Tommy replied by creating this song. Released through social media in late May, it became an instant hit, and to date has received more than 800,000 visits on YouTube.

Tommy has an album coming out in August (The album release date was actually moved up as a result of the song’s success). So, stay tuned. For, I am certain Tommy and his music are going places!

Hispano Bloggers In other news, Ashley (who you may recall, recently adopted a puppy) has nominated me for a 2012 Hispano Bloggers award! This is such an honor–and incredibly flattering. It is also unexpected (I did not put her up to this!), but, now that I’ve been nominated, I must do my part to help Ashley help me win!

So, here’s where you come in: Ashley and I would love it if you tweeted the news about my nomination. Here’s the info for the tweet, which you can copy and paste:

@AshleyR125 just nominated @monicastangled for the 2012 #HispanoBlogger Awards:! #2012HBAwards #Hispz #Latism.

The more it’s tweeted, the better my chances, so I’m counting on you!

Oh, and getting back to my Fifty/Fifty challenge, I actually read a book and saw a couple of other films in June, and you can find them on my Fifty/Fifty page.

So, tell me, what have you been up to, vis-à-vis, movies, music and/or mayhem? And, while you’re at it, any books to recommend?