P.C.Pop with Pablo

Posts Tagged ‘family’

Mad Men Style

In Fashion, fatherhood, GQ, life, Mad Men, Malavenda, metro, metrosexual, Movies, Pablo Malavenda, parenting, Pop Culture, Rat Pack, Sinatra, TV, Uncategorized on March 26, 2012 at 10:25 am

Growing Up with GQ — Part 2:

Either You’ve Got or You Haven’t Got STYLE!


Robin & the 7 Hoods


This is the second PC Pop blog post in a series called Growing Up with GQ.  As you know from previous PC Pop blog post (Growing Up with GQ), I grew up surrounded by men who took great pride in how they looked, smelled, and were proud to be one step ahead of the latest fashion.  Every man in my family was voted “Best Dressed” in high school; and someone in our family has continuously subscribed to GQ magazine since the early 70′s.  We were metro before there was a word for it.

Robin & the 7 HoodsRecently I have realized that my son is the sole heir of this marvelous legacy.  He’s the only Malavenda male in his generation.  That’s a lot of pressure on him — and me. I have been looking for inspiration in many places and searching for opportunities to make the point without triggering the “oh, dad” so typical these days.  Not sure if you have noticed but men are dressing better in movies and TV — and men and fashion is once again acceptable.  And thanks to shows like Mad Men and characters like Don Draper there is a renewed interest in the classic fashion styles of the past — even the ’60’s. One thing my son and I do have in common is our love of “black and white” movies and TV — classic cinema and television.  He and I (to the dread of my wife and daughter) watch a lot of the Dick Van Dyke Show and movies on the classic movie channels. He loves the George Clooney – Ocean’s movies; so, we watched the original from 1960. Last weekend, we stumbled on a movie similar to the original Ocean’s 11 that featured amazing fashion — Robin and the 7 Hoods starring the Rat Pack.

Robbo played by Frank Sinatra is a mobster from Indiana who is now in control of Chicago’s north side during pre-prohibition times. Robbo and his band of thieves which features Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin are different from the other gangsters (Peter Falk) and corrupt Sheriff (Victor Buono).  With some of his money Robbo with theSinatra, Dino, Bing help of an orphanage director (Bing Crosby) creates a nonprofit social services initiative.  In addition to the orphanage, they run a homeless shelter and soup kitchen. The movie is a great vehicle for the Rat Pack with great music, dancing — and great costume design. The movie score features some of the most memorable Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen songs like “My Kind of Town,” “Bang! Bang!,” “Any Man Who Loves His Mother,” and “Don’t Be a Do-Badder.”

Ole Blue Eyes, Bing, Dino and Sammy are also dressed to kill the entire movie. Mad Men - Men's StyleThe fashion and style of this movie are classic, mobster, glamorous 1910’s style with a Technicolor – 1960’s – Vegas – Rat Pack swagger. More importantly the fashion in this movie has helped me make sense of my family. I forgot about the connection between the appreciation of GQ style with the men in my family — and the Rat Pack. The song and dance routine, “Style,” from this movie says it better than I. As the song goes, “Either you’ve got – or you haven’t got – style.” It would even inspire Don Draper.

Watch this clip from Robin and the 7 Hoods.  I think it speaks for itself.



Today, with the recent fascination with everything Mad Men and Don Draper — perhaps there is hope for my son to be more conscious about fashion and how he looks, smells, and dresses. A father could hope for a kid whose “got it” — yes?

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Survivor Leadership, Chapter 3 — Family First

In CBS, Group Dynamics, Leadership, Malavenda, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Reality TV, Survivor, TV shows, Uncategorized on March 8, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Island of Misfit Toys


Before reading this PC Pop blog post, you may want to read the first two posts about Survivor and Leadership: Survivor Leadership, Chapter 1 — The Leadership Primer and Survivor Leadership, Chapter 2 — Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.


Survivor: 24 premiered on February 15, 2012 with the theme of “One World.” How ironic that this group of contestants is behaving so badly. More and more, Survivor Tribes resemble the Island of Misfit Toys — without the love and acceptance — sort of like a family. What many of us know but rarely practice is that you can’t positively impact your “World” until you know who you are first. If you are to be a leader in your community, you must know your-SELF, then your FAMILY, then OTHERS. Once you become self aware of your own talents and issues, have the love, support and coaching from your family — you then impact your community and change the world.

The Manono (men’s) Tribe this season has many similarities to a true family.  When Colton told Bill during Tribal Council that they never would have been friends if they were not castaways together on Survivor — it reminded me of family. Just like a family, one begins to wonder how you all ended up together. If family members were brave enough to admit it, they would confess that they might not be interested in each other if they weren’t related. You’re stuck with each other — in your family and within your tribe on Survivor.  Every family has issues and dysfunction. One could believe that Matt, Colton, Bill and Tarzan could all be from the same dysfunctional family. Even Leif, Jay and Jonas can be believable members of this imaginary family. Leaders within the tribe, family or community know that you must see the value in all members and work hard to build trust through respect and love. So, what can leaders learn from Survivor as well as from a healthy family model? Families, especially leaders within a family, have the following:

  • Unconditional Love (Support, Tough Love, Respect, Empathy)
  • Values – Rules – Traditions – Loyalty
  • Mercy, Grace, and Forgiveness

Every family has freaks, bigots, sexists, geeks, homophobia, and ageism to name a few.. We all have a tough time talking about and supportingfamily members with psychological issues, addictions, and individuals with disabilities — but we do. Each family has individuals who make more money, have more education, and have different ideas about success and worth. Every family has had members make mistakes, big mistakes; and at these times, the family has to seek guidance, find grace, practice mercy and give forgiveness. In a healthy family you have dysfunction but the leaders of the family plead to never give up on one another.  Family leaders expect a lot and challenge other family members, and everyone knows they will always find love and acceptance. Family leaders and elders pass along a set of values and rules through stories and by example. When family members don’t follow the rules — they can count on being held accountable and asked to face the consequences.

If the Survivor Manono Tribe were a functioning, healthy family (with issues, of course), one would hope they would deal with things differently. Here are some examples:

  • Matt, the self proclaimed leader of the Muscle Alliance, would have been taken down a few pegs in a real family.  Just because you are strong, have a law degree and have declared yourself in charge doesn’t mean it is so.  Matt made the mistake of not becoming part of the bigger family, getting to know others, laughing and playing with others, and eventually trusting and supporting others. Matt and Michael may never understand why the tribe would vote off someone so “strong” but for the others it was easy because they had no emotional bond with Matt.
  • Leif and Jonas on the other hand don’t take initiative enough. Matt could not gain the tribe’s trust and respect because he asserted himself too much.  Leif and Jonas will eventually lose favor if they don’t stand up for what they know is right; and more importantly, speak up when things are not right, just or respectful. On some level though you have to admire Leif’s honesty and compassion but when challenged he must stand up for what he believes is right or else he is destined to be vulnerable and abused.
  • Bill is the joker of the family.  Laughter is a wonderful part of any family but it can go too far. Bill comes on too strong, too soon, and at inappropriate times. Bill doesn’t have much of a filter and goes too far.  When challenged he gets defensive which turns people away even further. My guess is that Bill lacks some confidence and relies on teasing and jokes to feel acceptance.  Bill should relax, be himself, and let others get to know him first — before the jokes begin.
  • Greg aka Tarzan is a creative, accomplished, and wise member of the family.  Like a lot of older family members, Tarzan struggles with balancing fitting in with the younger members of the family while being true to his values.  Tarzan, like many other members of the tribe, has not taken the initiative to bring the entire tribe together.  This tribe is too small to have two different alliances and Tarzan can do something about it.  More than anyone else in the tribe, Tarzan, because of his wisdom and demeanor has a responsibility to put the tribe, or family, first.  Tarzan is missing an important opportunity.
  • And then there’s Colton. There is really no excuse for how offensive, disrespectful and destructive Colton has been to this family. Much of what Colton says is behind people’s backs. He has been particularly insensitive to individuals with disabilities.  Leif who is a little person has been called an Oompa-Loompa and a Munchkin by Colton.  Colton has said “if you can’t see that I am in charge then you must be Helen Keller.”  Colton thinks these comments are funny. He is too ignorant to understand that words, like “ghetto trash” and language are very harmful and hurtful. Colton is also an elitist and classist who doesn’t have any empathy for those who suffer misfortune, who are unemployed, homeless, and poor. Colton needs the unconditional love of a family which would not tolerate his bigotry and disrespect of others.  A family would hold him accountable for his words and actions and beliefs and still love and support him.

If you see each tribe as a family — you can begin to see hope for their Survival.  The problem with this group of men is that there was no true leadership and as a result they started this journey without ever seeing any value in their own family — their tribe.  They split up into two separate alliances the Muscle Alliance and the Misfit Alliance. They have mocked the notion of “One World.”  They have such little concern over the strength of the family as a whole — they voluntarily went to Tribal Council, a first in Survivor history.  The family would not have and cannot come together without the emergence of leaders who intentionally work at it.  This is where they care for each other as individuals, support and love each other, and help each other grow and learn and develop into better citizens.  This makes the family stronger.  Once the family is strong then collectively and individually they can start having a positive impact on the community. This unfortunately never happened with the Manono Tribe.

Just like your family — there is hope for the Manono Tribe.  Just when you think no one will every get along again — something happens that brings you all together. And like the Island of Misfit Toys, we’re not looking to change anyone — just for everyone to accept us, respect us, and love us unconditionally. One World.


Read more about studying Leadership while watching the CBS reality TV show, Survivor, in the PCPop blog posts:





Have Yourself A Rosie Little Christmas

In Malavenda, Oprah, OWN, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Rosie O'Donnell, The Rosie Show, TV shows on December 14, 2011 at 10:25 pm

The Rosie Show - Rosie O'Donnell

On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, the Malavenda clan had an epic day.  During the Fall of 2011 we have hit a very, very low point. Somehow though on this special day we managed to have one of the best days in the history of our family. It all started when Oprah put Rosie O’Donnell back on the air.  My partner and I have LOVED Rosie O’Donnell for a very long time.  During our time at UConn, I managed to get ~50 tickets to see a taping of the new Rosie O’Donnell Show at “30 Rock” in New York City.  On January 12, 1998, during Rosie’s second season of her original show my partner and I chaperoned a busload of college students to the Big Apple.  It was a great day.  We have forever been die-hard Rosie fans. That is why when Oprah announced that Rosie’s Show would be a part of the line-up for her OWN network, we were very happy.  To our surprise and delight, Rosie would be taping in Chicago.  Rosie the ultimate New Yorker was moving to Chicago and taking over the Harpo Studios.  We knew that we had to be there.  After 25 years of failure in getting tickets to see Oprah, we got on it right away with Rosie.  My partner was on the website every day and NOTHING.  All of a sudden one day, dates appeared.  We put our names in for every date available.  BINGO.  We got tickets.  We were going to the ROSIE SHOW!

We put our heads together and decided to make it work.  Our plan was to give this as an early Christmas gift to our kids.  Our budget is fine for now but if our situation doesn’t change in 2012, money could be an issue.  Using this as a Christmas present made sense financially.  The beauty though (and irony) is that our kids would much rather have experiences like this than any game or electronic device.  We also decided to make it a surprise to our kids.  It was not easy though.  On Friday, Rosie’s people emailed us the Friday before our taping encouraging us to wear our “ugliest Christmas sweater” to the taping.  We don’t have any ugly clothes so my partner posted a request on Facebook.  She got an immediate response from several friends.  Once that ugly sweater was in our possession our kids started to ask questions.  What do you need the sweater for?  Whose party is it for?  When is the party? Are we going to the party too? We dodged those questions for most of the weekend.

Thank goodness Monday arrived and the kids went to school.  Our kids got home from school, participated in their after school activities, made it home and immediately began working on their homework.  It was around 9 p.m. before they were both done with their work.  They got the clothes ready for school because it was going to be spirit day and they got ready for bed.  They went to bed.  We waited about 5 minutes and called them back downstairs to our family room.  I turned off the TV, had them sit on the couch across from me, and told them I had to tell them something — something good.  We told them they were not going to school the next day and that we were going to Chicago to see the taping of the Rosie Show.  They thought we were kidding.  Once they figured out we were “for real” they went to bed, of course, too excited to fall asleep right away.

The next morning we headed to Chicago for one of the BEST days of our history as a family.  We had a wonderful breakfast at Ina’s, we found parking right across the street from Harpo for only $10 for the entire day, and we got in line about an hour before we were supposed to be there.

Waiting in line and waiting to get in the studio was a lot of fun.  Once inside Rosie’s people gave us a very yummy cupcake.  We then got our seats and although we weren’t in the front section, we had perfect seats.  We could see the band and the main-stage without any problem.  Under our seats were Snuggies because Rosie keeps the studio really cold (because of her hot flashes) and she wants us to be comfortable.  Of course our boy put his on right away. As the time passed the show started to come together.  There were ugly sweaters all over the audience as well as antler ears, Rudolph noses, Santa hats, (Christmas) light-up clothes and lots of bows, tinsel and garland.  The stage was decked out with several Christmas trees and decorations including candy and cookies.  The audience coordinator gave us our instructions, the warm-up comic did his stand-up routine, Holly the announcer got into place, and the band arrived including Katreese Barnes their leader.  And the show was about to start and out comes — R O S I E!

She was brilliant and gracious.  The show theme was “It’s a Crafty Christmas.”  The guests were Marjorie Johnson, the Blue Ribbon baker and Rosie’s favorite craft guru, Bobby Pierce.  The musical guest was Casey Gorab from the new A Christmas Story: the Musical which is on tour in Chicago (hoping to make it to Broadway).  The show was great but what made the experience special was Rosie.  Our theory is that since there wasn’t a big star on the show, Rosie was being very engaging with the audience during breaks — and she gave us lots of stuff.  My boy actually caught her attention and was able to ask her a question during one of the breaks.  His question was great.  He asked “What kind of performing did she do as a kid?”  She was not sure at first if he was a boy and then she called him a cutie patootie.  She then gave a great answer and asked him if he has been performing.  They chatted about the PMO Christmas Show. It was a wonderful interaction between Rosie and my boy.  After the show, Rosie invites children to the stage to meet her and take a picture with her.  Rosie immediately called out my boy’s name and was delightful with both our kids.  They not only got a perfect photo with Rosie (see above), but she also gave them Hanukkah gelt, huge Christmas cookies, candy canes filled with chocolate, and chocolate truffles — all directly from the Christmas set that the crew was tearing down around us.  We were walking on a cloud.  She was engaging, gracious, generous, and slightly humble.  She really likes kids and seemed to like ours. We filed out of the studio with the rest of the audience and gathered up our loot. We ended up with the following:

We contemplated getting in the “Stand by” line for the second show which featured Penny Marshall but it was full.  We decided to pack all of our Rosie give-a-ways in the car and go get some deep dish pizza.  (When in Rome….)  We have had deep dish pizza many, many times but we have not been to Giordano’s Famous Pizza restaurant.  It was close enough to walk and even the walk to the restaurant in the Greek Town neighborhood of Chicago was fun.  We walked through the Adams-Sangamon Park which had an awesome sculpture, a doggie play area, a great view of the Sears Tower, and a lighted Christmas tree.

Because it was only 4 p.m., we were seated right away, got our pizza and were very content (full) with pizza. Surprisingly, it was some of the best deep dish pizza we have ever had. We headed home to Indiana and reminisced on a great day. The best part of the day was that we were able to share it with our kids.  My partner and I have seen a few tapings in our day in New York City and Los Angeles (SNL, Letterman, Maury) but I cannot describe how wonderful it is to share something like this with your kids.  Especially a taping of a show like the Rosie Show.  It was truly entertaining from beginning to end. We experienced something very special. We all had a great day — TOGETHER.  It was perfect.

We even got our Christmas card picture (see below), finally made it to Harpo Studios (check it off the bucket list), got lots of loot, didn’t spend too much money (We even lucked out and found gas for only $3.09 a gallon in Merriville), and have a reason to go back to Chicago soon — to see A Christmas Story – the Musical (for free)

The next day, my partner signed up for tickets for all of the tapings of the Rosie Show in January 2012; and my boy spent most of the night in his new Snuggie.

It might actually be a great Christmas after all.  Thank you, Rosie (& Oprah); and Thank you to my precious family. Peace – Love – Laughter! (Especially NOW!)

Snowflake Dazzle Christmas Card
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