Things That Matter

HBO’s ‘Los Espookys’ Is The Spanish-Language And Comedy-Horror Show That Will Have Your Head Spinning And Heart Full

The launch of HBO’s much-anticipated series “Los Espookys” is almost officially here. The half-hour comedy series, created by Ana Fabrega and SNL alumni Fred Armisen and Julio Torres, has been on our radar ever since first reports of the series being picked up by HBO came through last year. Fans of horror, comedy, and Latin American identity have been waiting with bated breath for the series that has been described as following a group of friends who make a business out of their love for horror by providing it to those who need it.

Finally, after a year of excitedly waiting, the series – which follows a group of friends who make a business out of their love for horror by providing it to those who need it – is here! The show premieres tonight, June 14th.

HBO’s “Los Espookys” is expected to be the show of the summer.

 The comedy, which has already piqued online enthusiasm, has been called “delightfully weird,” “charmingly spooky” and “ wonderfully peculiar” by critics.

Set in an unnamed Latin American country, similar to Mexico, the show tells the story of a group of four oddball friends who launch a horror-productions company together. Individually, they all juggle the typical Latino concerns including family obligations and financial issues.

The show has a small cast, but critics say collectively they are packed with might.

HBO

Brazilian actor Bernardo Velasco (of “Belaventura”) heads up the cast as Renaldo, the group’s leader who is also obsessed with gory makeup. There’s also Andrés (Julio Torres) who is the heir to a chocolate empire, and Ursula, a dental assistant played by Cassandra Ciangherotti. The show’s co-creator, Ana Fabrega, also stars in the show as Tati, a woman who holds a laundry list of odd jobs.

The bilingual six-episode series relies on Spanish subtitles and slang.

HBO

While the show has yet to make its premiere (don’t forget to tune in tonight!) it’s trailer is a huge indicator of the direction mainstream networks are taking when it comes to television: English-only isn’t a thing anymore.

Thanks to shows like “Jane the Virgin,” “One Day at a Time,” and “Vida” American television is changing. The groundbreaking series, all of which strongly feature Spanish subtitles and the various cultures that make up Latin American cultures have slowly but surely exposed U.S. television viewers to the various nuances of Latinidad. All of this, while also providing Latinos with a chance to experience the shows they grew up watching from their own cultural point of view. “Los Espookys,” with its zany tone and pre-premiere buzz proves it will be no different.

Watch the trailer below.

Los Espookys premieres this Friday June 14 on HBO.

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‘For Rosa’ Unravels The Madrigal Ten’s Fight For Reproductive Justice After Forced Sterilizations In California

Entertainment

‘For Rosa’ Unravels The Madrigal Ten’s Fight For Reproductive Justice After Forced Sterilizations In California

It’s 1970. Groans of discomfort permeate a Los Angeles County Hospital hallway as a Mexican-American woman is in labor. This is going to be her first child.

Little does she know that it’ll also be her last.

Courtesy of Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.

“This is an example of erasure,” director Kathryn Boyd-Batstone told mitú.

For Rosa, details a harrowing reality for many women of color in 1970s California. Inspired by the 1978 Madrigal v. Quilligan case, the story follows Eva, a mother faced with the pivotal decision to join the Madrigal Ten after discovering she was unknowingly sterilized.

Wanting to highlight each individual experience, Boyd-Batstone described her heroine as “a fictional composite character” inspired by multiple plaintiffs from the Madrigal Ten.

At first glance, Eva’s story prominently resembles the experience of plaintiff Melvina Hernández.

Hernández, at 23, signed a document that allegedly consented to an emergency C-section. Fearmongering by doctors and nurses highlighted a perceieved risk of mortality, pressuring her to sign a document she couldn’t read.

Four years later, she was informed that she had actually signed for a tubal ligation.

The history of eugenics is an ugly one, acting as a form of silent genocide.

In Eva’s case, medical professionals take advantage of her. Doctors and nurses took advantage of her language barrier and the pain of child labor.

The story, while historical, is relevant in the current context of the Trump era’s immigration policies.

Last year, an ICE nurse whistleblower reported the nonconsensual mass hysterectomies of migrant women detained at the border.

In the U.S. and Canada, Indigenous women have continuously been sterilized despite pro-sterilization policies ending in the 1970s.

“Although the court case happened over fifty years ago, we are still in a time where reproductive rights are not respected,” Boyd-Batstone said. “This is not an issue of the past, and so the fight continues.”

California’s eugenics laws disproportionately targeted Latinas.

California was one of the leading states in eugenics-informed practices.

After passing a law in 1909 that allowed medical practitioners to sterilize patients, the motives of cultural erasure became clear.

Hiding behind “good medicine” were racist and xenophobic incentives aimed to eliminate potential “welfare” cases.

Under this discriminatory pretense, Latinas were 59 percent more likely to be forcibly sterilized.

The United States has an extensive history of nonconsensual medical experimentation on Black and Brown communities.

Studies like the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male,” which lasted over 40 years, in part, shaped the mistrust between the Black community and the medical industry.

A mistrust that remains prevalent in the 21st century.

The Madrigal Ten is a testament to the fight for reproductive rights and women of colors’ autonomy.

In 1975, Dolores Madrigal alongside nine other women filed a class-action lawsuit against L.A. County-USC Medical Center for the nonconsensual tubal ligations that occurred during child labor.

A complicated ordeal that received little funding, 26-year-old Chicana Civil Rights attorney Antonia Hernández impressively took on the case. Boyd-Batstone who read the court documents said, “it became obvious that at the time the hospital did not have adequate steps in place to make sure their patients could give informed consent.”

Dr. Karen Benker, the only physician to testify against the hospital, told the New York Times in 2016 that “voluntary informed consent” didn’t exist in the early 70s.

That is until after the National Research Act of 1974 following public outcry from the Tuskegee study.

Following Roe v. Wade, the Madrigal Ten case sought to end the forced sterilizations of women of color, define informed consent and provide consent forms in Spanish at a reading level individuals could understand.

In 2016 PBS released a documentary on the case called “No Más Bebes,” which greatly inspired Boyd-Batstone to create For Rosa.

“The main feeling that stuck with me after watching the documentary was how much strength it must have taken these women to face someone who tried to take their identity and demand accountability,” she said.

Validating women of color’s experiences was essential for Boyd-Batstone. While the film mirrors the malpractices of the medical industry, brought upon by systematic racism and bias, she also hopes that women who have felt “diminished or uneasy around doctors” find the courage to speak out.

For Rosa, sheds light on traditional themes of womanhood and Chicana feminism.

“Stop Forced Sterilization” poster by Rachael Romero, 1977. // Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Simultaneously, the lawsuit took place during the rise in Chicana activism.

As tensions between mainstream white feminism and women of color peaked; Chicana activists put legislative reform and reproductive justice at the forefront. Furthermore, they brought awareness to discrimination as it intersects race, class, gender, and immigration.

Though on the sidelines, the case also harbored on the cultural question of defining femininity.

Worried for the state of her marriage, the correspondence of fertility with femininity felt dense. Heavily ingrained in machismo culture; the pain and frustration of no longer being able to conceive are palpable.

But the strength and courage to speak out defies all odds.

“As women, especially Latina women, I don’t think many stories show us how to do this,” Boyd-Batstone said. “So it was important to me to, one, honor the Madrigal Ten’s bravery but [to also] show young girls what it looks like to stand up and fight for your rights.” 

Though it has been nearly 50 years since the Madrigal Ten case, the fight for women’s autonomy and reproductive rights is ongoing.

Courtesy of Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

On June 7, 1978, the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the USC Medical Center. Judge Jesse Curtis stated that miscommunication and language barriers resulted in unwanted sterilizations.

Nonetheless, the lawsuit’s impact was potent. The California Department of Health revised its sterilization guidelines to include a 72-hour waiting period and issued a booklet on sterilization in Spanish.

In 1979, California abolished its sterilization law after 70 years.

More than 20,000 people of various races and ethnicities were sterilized during this time.

For Rosa ends with archival footage of Dolores Madrigal and Antonia Hernández announcing the lawsuit. Nevertheless, its timely release is indicative of the continual demands for justice today.

Now more than ever we must remember the narratives of the Madrigal Ten, and other Black and Brown activists who continue to pave the way for change.

“My hope is that For Rosa humanizes the women so that whatever culture or race or gender you are, you can empathize with the women as human beings,” Boyd-Batstone said.

“My hope is that every person who watches understands that these Latina women are deserving of respect.” 

Para Rosa (For Rosa) is available to stream on HBO Max.

READ: Joe Biden Says ‘Healthcare is Not a Privilege, It’s a Right,’ Donald Trump and the GOP Disagree

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HBO’s ‘Allen v. Farrow’ Documentary Sparks Potential Lawsuit

Entertainment

HBO’s ‘Allen v. Farrow’ Documentary Sparks Potential Lawsuit

Updated Feb. 24, 2021.

Dylan Farrow’s name has been tightly linked to the story she has been telling since 1992.

For three decades her account of being molested by her adoptive father, director Woody Allen, while in her mother Mia Farrow’s attic in Connecticut and molested her when she was seven years old has not wavered. She first told the story at the time of the incident to therapists, then she told police, and years later in 2014, she wrote an oped to the New York Times and again in 2017 for the Los Angeles Times. In 2018 she spoke about the incident in a televised interview with CBS and now she’s telling the same story, which many have cast doubt on in a four-part documentary from HBO titled Allen v. Farrow.

Allen v. Farrow investigates the abuse allegations and subsequent custody battle that gravely affected Farrow’s career but has only recently begun to create problems for Allen.

The new documentary series aired its first episode which examined the ways in which Allen’s behavior toward Dylan struck family, friends, and even a psychiatrist as inappropriate. The episode details how Allen took up an obsessive interest in Dylan after her adoption.

“I was always in his clutches,” Dylan remembered in the first episode. “He was always hunting me.” Dylan goes onto recall instances in which Allen would “direct” her on how to suck his thumb and what to do with her “tongue.” At one point a family friend backs up this behavior saying she’d seen Dylan doing this one time while other family members and acquaintances said they’d also witnessed Allen’s oddly sexual treatment of Dylan.

Allen has always denied the allegations brought forth by Dylan and has largely gotten away from the stain of such claims to continue his career based on the “woman scorned” trope.

Allen has proven to be the exception to the #MeToo movement in Hollywood despite many who claim to support the efforts to end sexual abuse in the industry. Prominent actresses like Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, and even Selena Gomez worked with Allen in the decades after he was accused of abuse. Gomez starred alongside Timothée Chalamet in Allen’s 2017 film A Rainy Day in New York, which was eventually shelved by the movie’s production company, Amazon Studios after Dylan reiterated her claims in the 2017 op-ed.

Since the 90s, Allen has maintained that Farrow, his former partner of 12 years, conducted a smear campaign against him after she discovered his affair with her 21-year-old adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.

At the time of their tumultuous divorce, which came as a result of the affair, Allen claimed that Dylan had been coached by Farrow. In response to the documentary, Allen denied interview requests for the documentary and described it after the fact as a “hatchet job riddled with falsehoods” and a “shoddy hit piece.”

As a result, Allen v. Farrow v. Skyhorse v. HBO might be up next. 

Skyhorse Publishing, the publisher behind Allen’s latest book, “Apropos of Nothing,” has threatened to sue the makers of the new docuseries for sampling excerpts from the famous director’s audiobook. 

“Neither the producers nor HBO ever approached Skyhorse to request permission to use excerpts from the audiobook,” Tony Lyons, president of Skyhorse said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “[W]e believe that its unauthorized use of the audiobook is clear, willful infringement under existing legal precedent . . . We will take the legal action we deem necessary to redress our and Woody Allen’s rights in his intellectual property,” the statement went on. 

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