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Latinos Who Lunch: Identity And The Building Trades In Las Vegas

On their weekly podcast, “Latinos Who Lunch,” "they" are Favyfav and Babelito -  Justin Favela and Emmanuel Ortega.

You may recall that they were with us last month, and they’re going to be with us regularly on KNPR’s State of Nevada to talk about anything and everything.

You guys seem to talk a lot about food. Why is that?

Ortega: “That is the starter of the conversation. We started these conversations in a coffee shop or eating and we wanted to recreate that with actual food. But now we get these complaints from listeners that they get so hungry when they listen to us, which is pretty funny”

Favela: "That's the introduction to other cultures for a lot of people is you first start by eating their food. I also thought it was kind of a nice ice breaker."

There is a video of you guys eating lunch and recording the podcast at places all over the Las Vegas valley: 

Favela: “We were actually on location. This was the idea of Jazmin Garcia over at We Are Mitu, a Latino-centric social media network, and she’s a listener of our podcast. And she hit us up late last year and say, ‘I have this vision: you guys doing your podcast, then all of the sudden you show up in all of these different locations.’ Then we said, ‘perfect, that’s a great opportunity for us to talk about Latino visibility’ and how we’ve been pushed out of history here in Las Vegas, when we are a big part of it.”

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In your podcast about Latino history in Las Vegas, there is a lot of pride in your voice. Is that how you intended it to be? 

Ortega: There’s a lot of contradictions when it comes to our identities between Mexico and the United States, but one of the realities I always remind my friends in Mexico, my family in Mexico, is: this town fed us for a long time and still is. That is something I will never forget. Regardless of the all the contradictions, ideological contradictions that Las Vegas represents.

Favela: Las Vegas is seen as this transient town, which I thought was really interesting when I first got into art because that's what it's described as but for us Las Vegas is stability. Las Vegas is a job. My grandfather worked at the Hilton for most of his life. And he was able to buy a huge house for his family and have a great retirement because of this job cleaning slot machines. You really can come to Las Vegas, or my family did in the 70s and 80s, build this small empire in the hospitality business. 


Justin Favela, artist and co-host of the "Latinos Who Lunch" podcast; Emmanuel Ortega, co-host of the "Latinos Who Lunch" podcast

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KNPR's State of Nevada
KNPR's State of Nevada