Shakira & Jennifer Lopez shined bright at NFL Super Bowl 2020 in Miami

Feb. 3, 2020 –Shakira and Jennifer Lopez were hotter than the summer heat in Vegas at The NFL’s Super Bowl LIV Halftime show. The two Latinas made headlines today with their saucy, sexy and salacious performance at Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Florida. Normally, I would not pick two pop stars to write about in a punk, metal, rock n roll zine like Rank & Revue – but our Editor is a huge football fan – and I’m a Latina, Lebanese girl and an artist that’s a huge fan of these two ladies. For decades, I’ve been following Shakira and J.Lo’s careers and mimicking their moves when I dance. I was addicted to watching Jennifer Lopez’s music videos before school in 8th grade. [I also danced to Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill and Ace of Base in the mornings.]

At the end of the show, I really smiled from the heart when Shakira was in gold and J.Lo was wearing silver, and they were holding hands, uplifting and complimenting each other, looking incredibly happy and vivacious. Clearly living out their dreams to the fullest. Silver and gold were colors of royalty, and I liked the way the girls ended the show together, hand in hand, rather than looking like a subtle competition for time and publicity. Each woman had a unique time to shine and relive the classic songs that made them famous. They showcased their unique dance styles. Then, the two passed the baton onto a younger generation as Jennifer Lopez’s daughter, Emme Maribel Muñiz, sang at the end while her mother danced and Shakira played the drums. There was a wide range of ages and generations performing on stage, which made me happy: to see beauty thriving at any age and how all women can be beautiful and powerful, especially in numbers, no matter your age. [Beyonce does an excellent job of showcasing black girl magic when she performs in masses, too!] So often, society is so shallow, and we idolize the youth like Greek gods and demonize women past a certain age. Seeing these women excelling and rocking it at ages 43 and 50 gives hope to all ladies that we aren’t just getting older, we’re getting better and stronger with age, like scotch. Although I doubt either of these women imbibe alcohol with abs like that. Dios mio!

Most of the coverage has been positive, but there has been quite the uproar amongst viewers and alike regarding their provocative dancing and clothing. Some of those NFL cheerleaders are wearing uniforms with a lot less coverage and a lot more makeup than what Shakira and J.Lo had on. And I’ve seen some of the cheerleaders’ dance routines, which can be pretty risqué, even at college games. Honestly, I don’t know why anyone that’s seen an NFL game is shocked by what they saw at Super Bowl 2020. Do you have to like it? No. But please don’t act surprised that sexuality has made its way into men’s professional football. We aren’t at church. Plus, male artists have performed shirtless at the Super Bowl, so, why the inequality and scrutiny towards female artists? Secondly, the NFL asked two Latina entertainers to perform the show. They didn’t ask a balloon artist, a magician, or a group of older jazz players in suits. They asked Shakira and Jennifer Lopez to perform. And these two ladies brought live entertainment. 

At our best, Latinas are a passionate, sexual, tantalizing and evocative group of females with mystical powers. No one should be surprised that two superstars like Jennifer Lopez and Shakira turned heads and seduced the crowd with their beauty, style, athleticism and artistic talent. The photo provided by Pepsi promoting the show was a bombshell of sex appeal, clearly letting the audience know: this will be provocative, times two.

Furthermore, belly dancing is hard. I would know because I am a belly dancer and have performed on stage at nightclubs. What Shakira is doing is hard work, and it’s more than just a few sexy hip thrusts: she’s showcasing cultural art, dance and music. She isolates parts of her body and her muscles to move each section, sometimes in a fluid and constant motion. I remembered years ago, one of my gay guy friends sent me a video of Shakira coming down the pole in her video “Rabiosa” with Pitbull and said, “this reminds me of you”. An ex of mine got jealous about it, which was absurd. True, the pole dancing by J.Lo in Super Bowl 2020 was pushing it a bit, considering kids were watching this event, but that is also a challenging dance form that requires strength. It’s not just for strippers, pole dancing is a great core exercise and can really make someone feel sexy and empowered. Even if you pole dance in private at home.

Ultimately, no matter where you stand on sexuality, it shouldn’t be a shock, especially since J.Lo was nominated for her role in the film “Hustlers”. Which featured a dance routine with her on the pole wearing not very much at all. Believe me, when I say, she toned it down for the Super Bowl. Mind you, I did notice there were a lot of spread-eagles and close-ups of intimate lady parts and was rather graphic. [Remember in the film “Chicago”? Catherine Zeta-Jones caught her husband and her sister doing the spread-eagle?] Either way, I noticed that Shakira and J.Lo’s dance routines and their performances were dripping with sexuality, perhaps many didn’t appreciate the sex factor. Again, why are so many people shocked? This isn’t anything new for either entertainer or The National Football League.

Today, my boyfriend played sports radio, and three men talked about the Super Bowl Halftime show. Listening to three straight Southern men speak about the performance was amusing, cringe-worthy, depressing and cliché. I love men’s sports talk! But this was quite silly to waste this much air-time on gossip. Instead of talking about the costumes, hair, makeup, and fantastic dancing or their successful careers; the focus was on the women’s sexiness, appearances, and ages. The men talked about how Shakira had an outer belly button, and “usually” that’s not sexy, but she pulled it off. One guy talked about how Jennifer was too old to be dancing like that, and so was Shakira. Other men defended the ladies right to entertain, which I appreciated.

Although I did understand some concerns from one man, speaking as a parent, because little girls are looking up to these women and we’re already under so much pressure to be sex objects. Sadly, us ladies are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. We get treated like sex objects, no matter what. We are too sexy, not sexy enough, too young or too old, too skinny, or too fat. Too confident or too submissive. It’s always something. Aesthetically, we can’t please every man, and it’s not our job to do so. It’s exhausting how women are still expected to smile and ‘be ladylike’ and never be too pushy or look like a bitch. It’s merely impossible for girls to please everyone. So, I think the message is clear, and just like Rihanna and Madonna said, we should “shine bright like a diamond!” and be “unapologetically ourselves.” J.Lo and Shakira give so much back to the community. Why didn’t the men talk about the fact Jennifer Lopez has an estimated net worth of $400 million, and Shakira has an estimated net worth of $300 million? Hips don’t lie. How about numbers don’t lie. These women are two fiery powerhouses that know how to make money, create a brand, and flourish in a man’s world.

The first thing I said to my boyfriend, Steven Mark, after we saw the Halftime show, “I loved their costumes! I want every single one for me!” Because anyone that adores fashion knows that J.Lo’s handmade Versace and Swarovski clothes were to die for! I wanted to do a photoshoot in it and I can just imagine all the people around the world about to mimic these iconic looks. Already, a local dance studio here in town is offering Super Bowl Half Time classes for dancers to replicate the routines. All in all, it was an unforgettable performance that reminded me of Las Vegas.

¡Gracias chicas! Your hard work has paid off. ¡Viva Latinas!

“There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
It is a special one, it’s never seen the sun
It only comes out when the moon is on the run
And all the stars are gleaming
It’s growing in the street right up through the concrete
But soft and sweet and dreamin
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There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
With eyes as black as coal
That look down in my soul
And starts a fire there
And then I lose control
I have to beg your pardon
. I’m going to pick that rose
And watch her as she grows in my garden.”

– Ben E. King

Note: This story was originally published in Rank & Revue, 2020 issue

Mark Thomas Studio offers hair, make-up and skin care specials for Valentine’s Day

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Photography provided by Mark Thomas Studio.

Mark Thomas Studio is featuring specials in honor of Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re giving a gift to a loved one, or buying your own Valentine as a token of self-love, the studio is ready to beautify clients with their hair, make-up and skin care services. Located on Jefferson Square in Austin off West 38th Street, Mark Thomas is the only boutique in Texas that offers the European brands Philip Kingsley and FACE Stockholm makeup together in one place. Recently they debuted a Quick Eye Blow Dry Bar next door to their studio. Mark Thomas Studio bestows exceptional service reminiscent of a lavish boutique infused with Southern hospitality, permeating luxury and gentility into one location. Book an appointment by February 28, 2018 and these Valentine’s specials will apply to the following services.

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Blow Out & Make-Up
  • Book with Madison to get a shampoo, blow out and style for $25. Monday- Friday 3 P.M. – 7 P.M.
  • Book with Robbie for two Blow outs, shampoos with styling for the price of one: $45. Monday- Friday 3 P.M. – 7 P.M.

Creative eye shadow application is included with each shampoo with style.

The Look of Love: Eyelashes & Brows

  • Book with Mia to obtain 50% off full sets of eye lash extensions. This offer applies to new clients only. Lash sets range in price from $300-$375. 
  •  Book with Nancy to receive $100 off on microblading. 

Current clients that purchase a lash fill receive a complimentary brow shaping & lash tint. 

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Photography provided by Mark Thomas Studio.

Skin Care

  • Book with Kathy and purchase an ultimate facial to receive a complimentary brow wax. The ultimate facial costs $114 and is worth every dollar. I’ve personally had this facial and it leaves skin radiant, refreshed and youthful. 

Love is in the Hair

  • Book with Lacey and purchase a full highlight or a single process tint to receive a complimentary shampoo & hair cut.
  • Book with Mark Thomas and purchase a full Balayage, haircut & a blow out in order to obtain two complimentary shampoos with blow out styles at Quick Eye Blow Dry Bar. Mark is a Master stylist and colorist and always leaves my long locks looking beautiful and healthy. 

Pucker Up: Lips and Make-up

  • Book with Amanda and purchase a full make up application for $65 and receive one complimentary lip pencil, lipstick or eye shadow.

For more information please visit their website at www.markthomasstudios.com or call Mark Thomas Studio at 512-459-6900. 

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Mark Thomas Studio and Quick Eye Blow Dry Bar
1601 W 38th Street, Suites 9 & 10
Austin TX 78731

Mark Thomas Studio transforms and beautifies with their royal treatment and southern hospitality

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Mark Thomas Studio will transform and beautify your hair, scalp and skin with their royal treatment. All guests will leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and more polished than ever before with the salon’s all-encompassing and luxurious products. Mark Thomas Studio provides exquisite services inside a fun, playful and relaxing atmosphere located in the heart of downtown Austin off West 38th Street.

This high-end salon is the only location in Texas that offers Philip Kingsley products and FACE Stockholm makeup together in one boutique. Mark Thomas Studio bestows exceptional service reminiscent of a lavish boutique infused with Southern hospitality, permeating luxury and gentility into one location. You will not find another boutique like it within all of Texas or the Midwest.

“For those unaware of Philip Kingsley, he coined the phrase ‘bad hair day’ and is the world’s most respected authority on hair and scalp health. With over 55 years of Trichological experience, Philip Kingsley’s past and present clientele include politicians, royalty and celebrities. Called the ‘Hair Doctor’ by The Sunday Times and the ‘Hair Guru’ by The New York Times, Philip has written many publications on both sides of the Atlantic. Philip has recognized the need to bridge the gap between science and hairdressing as well as providing solutions for the most extreme hair and scalp problems, and those who just want the best from their hair.”

Whether you are in need of a new cut and color – or whether you seek a bikini wax and a deep pore facial – or whether you simply want to have a makeover. Mark Thomas Studio will cater to your every need without the stress. This intimate salon is perfect for men and women of all ages. And they offer the best products and services– striving for every client to leave satisfied.

For more information please visit their website at www.markthomasstudios.com or call Mark Thomas Studio at 512-459-6900. 

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Photography of beauty parlor provided by Mark Thomas Studio.

Top Drawer opens a second thrift shop in the heart of Austin

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Photography provided by Top Drawer and Project Transitions.

A welcome party was held in honor of Top Drawer’s second thrift shop located in the Crestview neighborhood within the heart of Austin, Texas. This newly released thrift shop operated by Top Drawer opened its doors earlier this spring. However the official party was hosted at 7101B Woodrow Avenue on May 15, 2016, the exact date as the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial. Top Drawer Thrift is the social enterprise arm of Project Transitions. “Since 1988, Project Transitions is a non-profit dedicated to serving people with HIV and AIDS by providing supportive living, housing and hospice in compassionate and caring environments.” Top Drawer’s original location on Burnet Road has been open since 1993, always sustaining a focus to sell items in support of Project Transitions. To this day, all proceeds directly benefit the programs of this nonprofit and volunteers mostly run the shops.

Arts and Entertainment Writer, Nicolette Mallow, interviewed the Manager of Top Drawer thrift shop, Karin Kokinda. The two spoke of donations, the history of the shop and how the employees often get sentimentally attached to the pieces. (An audio recording can be found on YouTube.)

“I can’t begin to tell you how excited Project Transitions is to dive into this new experiment. For over 20 years we’ve had the Top Drawer location at 49th and Burnet and it has been amazingly successful and popular,” said Karin Kokinda, Top Drawer’s manager. “The new store gives us the opportunity to showcase some of the more special and unusual items that are generously donated.”

The welcome party at Top Drawer’s second shop in Crestview featured complimentary wine, fruits, cheeses and crackers. All items were 20% off during the party. Entering the thrift shop, guests will notice it’s like an infusion of a high-end fashion boutique, antique library, art gallery and a retro thrift shop with vinyl records and other goodies of the past. Inside the store there is something to be desired for purchase by anyone and everyone. Top Drawer is beautifully decorated and arranged to where the space is filled top-to-bottom with inventory, and yet it does not feel crowded or scattered. The room is neatly organized and the eyes can never get bored. Boots, dresses, books, tables, lamps, giant mirrors, old cameras, artwork, imported goods and other miscellany are available for purchase.

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Arts and Entertainment Writer for Examiner, Nicolette Mallow, attended this special event and purchased a lovely, handmade Italian brown leather notebook as a keepsake and a literary diary. After the purchase, Mallow interviewed the Manager of Top Drawer, Karin Kokinda. The two spoke of donations, the history of the shop and how the employees often get sentimentally attached to the pieces. To hear the interview, please click on the video above.

To contact Top Drawer Crestview about acceptable items or more information, please call 512-454-5161. The store hours of operation are 11 A.M. to 7 P.M. every Monday through Saturday. Donations will continue to only be accepted at the Burnet location. For more information about Project Transitions, please visit www.projecttransitions.org or call 512-454-8646.

“It’s a collaboration between the community and Project Transitions. It starts with our donors who provide our inventory, then our loyal customers that come shop in our store, and finally, our clients who directly benefit from 100% of the proceeds,” said Madge Whistler, Project Transitions Financial Administrator.

 Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in June 2016.  

Psyche Jewelry by designer Nina Berenato launches retail boutique on Barton Springs in ATX

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Nina Berenato. Photography by Reese Vonderschmidt.

On April 9, 2016 an exclusive, media-only launch party was held to celebrate the opening of Psyche Jewelry’s first boutique. Designer Nina Berenato consented to an interview with writer, Nicolette Mallow for Examiner.com.Founder and Designer of Psyche Jewelry, Nina Berenato, has launched her first ever retail boutique in Austin, Texas and an exclusive, media-only opening party was held on April 9, 2016 during the late afternoon. Beginning a jewelry career in Brooklyn—Berenato has now made a debut in Texas and the party celebrated her arrival and showcase of Psyche design collections. To much delight, attendees of the party were offered the chance to have a piece of metal personally engraved by the artist. Nina Berenato hammered alphabetic letters, initials and quotes into the metal for all guests and it was a pleasure to observe her hands work. The party also featured a braid bar sponsored by PRIV, readings by Psychic Betsy, live music, dessert and wine. Tealights glowing in the background when dusk arrived.

To listen to a recording of their interview, please visit Mallow’s YouTube page or click here.

Psyche Jewelry’s mobile boutique is located at The Picnic near Zilker Park. “The Picnic is Austin’s premier food trailer park located on Barton Springs Road in the heart of Austin.” And Berenato’s mobile, to-go shop will be located here for the foreseeable future. Periodically, Austinite’s can also expect to find her at other local artisans fairs. Her jewelry designs possess a lot of metallic. A lot of gold and silver shines and tantalizes the eyes. Geometric shapes, keys, arrows and circles are evident, too. Despite the strong metallic presence, Nina Berenato intertwines colorful stones into the designs as well. Her designs are dainty and intricate, yet strong and bold. A mixture of Greek and modern day. Berenato has a refreshing skill of combining masculine and feminine to her collective.

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The jewelry collections for Psyche include the following lines: Sophosyne, Hidden Universe, Anti-Symmetry, Time Traveler, Shaman’s Trance, and Warrior. A little more about the name itself, “Psyche is the muse of Designer, Nina Berenato. The myths of the Greek goddess inspire Nina’s designs and reflect the journey toward personal growth. Nina’s work is a reminder of the defining emotions, thoughts and experiences that make each of us unique. The collections evolve with each passing season. Bridges of experience allow the past to inform the present, creating something for this moment. Something wild and beautiful. Something for our journey.”

During the media party for Psyche Jewelry, Designer Nina Berenato took the time to chat with Austin Examiner, Nicolette Mallow. An audio recording of the interview is included above. Take a moment to listen to Berenato speak of her childhood, learning the Greek myths during bedtime stories and how this love of the story lead her to become a jewelry designer. Take a moment to listen to the start of a journey for a jewelry designer, metalsmith and goldsmith. Within the interview, Berenato talks about her passion for design, the launch of her own branding and the learning process of designing her artistic craft. The interview also entails discussion about Berenato’s affinity for time travel, romance, authenticity and cultural influences.

To view Nina Berenato’s collections or purchase jewelry and other design pieces, please refer to Psyche Jewelry’s website at www.psyche-jewelry.com.

Psyche Jewelry To Go Mobile Boutique:

1720 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78704

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Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in April 2016.  

Stardust art legend David Bowie dies after his 69th birthday

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A mural of David Bowie in Brixton on January 11, 2016 within London, England. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

Yesterday the world lost an illustrious artist: David Bowie. After battling cancer in secret for 18 months, Starman David Bowie died on January 10, 2016 at the age of 69. Around the globe fans are mourning the loss and memorializing the life of their beloved Bowie.

Since the 1960’s, David Bowie illuminated and fascinated the world with his magnetic and cosmic career in the arts. Born in England on January 8, 1947, David Robert Jones—better known by his stage name David Bowie—soon become a universal icon. Bowie’s distinct presence and energetic life force permanently transcended the music, art and fashion industries with his unique sound, vision and style. David Bowie is also recognized by his many alter-personas that include the following: Ziggy Stardust, Thin White Duke, Major Tom, Aladdin Sane, Halloween Jack, and Elephant Man. Partaking in various films as well, Bowie is notorious for his role as the Goblin King in the film Labyrinth which debuted in 1986.

On the day of Bowie’s 69th birthday—January 8, 2016—he released a final studio album titled Blackstar. A hauntingly beautiful album of seven songs, Blackstar almost reminds listeners of an artistic and modernized requiem. The Telegraph posted an article stating, “David Bowie’s final record was a carefully-orchestrated farewell to his fans, his producer has confirmed. Lazarus, released on the Bowie’s 69th birthday just two days before his death, opens with the lyrics: ‘Look up here, I’m in Heaven!’ Tony Visconti, the producer who worked with Bowie to complete his final album, has released a statement saying it was deliberately created and timed as a ‘parting gift’ for his fans.”

Even though David Bowie’s mortal life may have come to an end. Thankfully his spirit will live on forever within the art world and our hearts. Returning back to the stars that gleam in the galaxies above—David Bowie’s legendary artistic career will radiate eternally on planet earth.

Note: This article is originally published on Rank & Revue and Mallows Miscellany.