FavyFav And Babelito On Fireworks, "Vida," And A Cute Coastal Town

The Latinos Who Lunch are artist Justin “FavyFav” Favela and art historian Emmanuel “Babelito” Ortega.

They do a weekly podcast about Latino life in Las Vegas but this week, they're in two different places.

Favela is in Portland, Maine.

"It’s very cute. It looks like a movie set," he said.

Favela is doing an art residency at Portland's Space Studios.

"A lot of work I do is based on symbols of Latindad, of Latino culture, and something I’ve been thinking about for years is the history of fireworks and what they symbolize,” he said. 

He noted that fireworks are used to celebrate but they're really a symbol of violence. He is exploring that idea in this installation.

“A lot of my work is done in a piñata style, which also has that kind of dichotomy. It’s very celebratory to have a piñata but then, in the end, it’s a very violent act to break a piñata open.”

Favela recently returned from a Pride festival in the Canary Island. 

“I was living my white woman fantasy on the Canary Islands, just laying out tanning, all-inclusive resorting. It was like Margaritaville all over the place,” he quipped.

Favela said he got to meet some of his idols, including RuPaul Drag Race season seven winner Violet Chachki and Spanish singing star Alaska.

Support comes from

Emmanuel is in Los Angeles doing research for his dissertation on Franciscan Art of the 18th Century.

Both are preparing to host a panel discussion about the TV program, "Vida," at the Latino International Film Festival.

But in August, the two will come together for an installation in Collegeville, Pennsylvania at the Berman Museum of Art.

Favela said he had been asked to do the art installation in one part of the museum but the museum's director had heard their podcast and wanted Ortega to curate an art show of Favela's works in the rest of the museum.

“This is the first time that Emmanuel writes about my work in an academic way these copies of old landscape paintings that I’ve been doing for years," he said.

Ortega said there are aspects of Favela's work that he has been thinking about for years. He's happy to help select and write about those works.

He said it is part of what they've been talking and thinking about for a long time, which is what it means to be Latino in the U.S., in Nevada, and in Las Vegas.

“I think this is going to be the culmination of years of thinking about some of these critical ideas,” Ortega said.

And Favela loves the idea that someone who understands Latino culture will be writing critically about his work. He said too many articles or essays focus on his "brownness" or his "otherness" but he knows that is not what Ortega will do.


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

KNPR and NPR Thank-You Gifts including t-shirts hoodies and cap

More Stories

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