Tradiciones. I wanted my daughter to experience traditional celebrations from an early age. Quite a few we established as our own family though neither Rambo nor I had experienced them as children including setting up a Nativity crèche during Advent, building an altar for Dia de los Muertos, and celebrating SuperBowl Sunday with our extended family of college friends. Some I inherited from my own childhood: celebrating Nochebuena, honoring El Senor de lo Milagros in October, and being aware that 28 de Julio was as important to my folks as 4th of July. Some I continued from my single days: participating in the Dance-Along Nutcracker and hosting an Oscar party. These are our traditions. We celebrate them year after year with our loved ones. They help us savor the seasons and make the most of moments.
|The kiddos approved of the 2015 host|
In recent years, the Oscars have gotten increasingly disappointing. They have always been god-awful long. They have always had their share of too-long speeches and ill-conceived musical numbers. They have always been really white. I have watched the Oscars since I was a junior in high school and the Oscars have rarely featured folks who look like me. Now I love J-Lo but she don’t look a thing like me. Besides, she is nowhere near winning one of the coveted gold statues. In any case, the closest someone I can truly relate to was even close to an Oscar was when my man crush por siempre and once-upon-a-time dinner mate Benjamin Bratt was escort to Julia Roberts. So, yes, #Oscarssowhite and yet here we are, a household of brown people and our multiculti clan of friends and family still gathering over a feast to watch the damn awards. You may wonder why.
Sometimes I ask myself that question. Rambo pleads with me at least once a year to give up and host an Alma Awards party. My one-word answer: tradition. When I was a misunderstood artsy high schooler, film became a passion. I would hop on BART and head to the Embarcadero or downtown Berkeley and check out all the Best Picture or Foreign Film nominees. Once I could drive, I’d make my way to the Piedmont. As with books, movies became a vehicle to unwind or an opportunity to let my own creativity be inspired. So, watching the Oscars became a way to celebrate some of those films and performers.
|Before the New Parkway opened in Uptown, we mourned the loss of the original|
The annual Oscar party became a way to share my pastime with my friends but more importantly to bring folks together. Now, in our 13th year, my close friends expect my Oscar party. They know I will choose a theme, that I will cook main dish and sides in conjunction with the theme, and that we will roll out our own red carpet. On occasion, I have given out Oscars for best movie-themed costume. My brother is our Meryl Streep, having won the award the most times (twice). Now that the little ones are older, they will cheer for the Best Animated Film nominees and maybe admire a dress or two. The grown folks will vie for the award for best commentary. With Rambo in the mix, even more shade is thrown. If I was more Twitter –savvy, I’d live tweet some of our zingers. We have a great time, even when the awards show is a fail as when poor James Franco and Anne Hathaway nearly killed us with their ill-advised co-hosting gig.
If throwing an Oscar party in light of all the boycotts this year makes you question my ability to think critically, then question away. Folks have been questioning my “wokeness” for years. It’s my party and I will cry or laugh if I want to. I’m well aware of how race and ethnicity have played out in Hollywood and it is maddening and frustrating. But canceling a party that loved ones remember fondly won’t change that mona que se viste de seda. Chris Rock and I will be holding it down. Besides, maybe Queen Bey will crash the party and let everyone have it with more “Formation.” One can hope.
|M's 2011 red carpet look|