Latin flair

comedy
MUY FUNNY | Dan Guerrero works for laughs while being gay and Latino in his one-man show.

Before he could write ‘¡Gaytino!,’ Dan Guerrero first had to find his roots

rich lopez  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Growing up gay and Latino can be a tough hand to play. In a culture that revels in religion and machismo — hell, the word “machismo” is Latino — coming out poses pitfalls.

But Dan Guerrero lucked out. With some artsy upbringing by a musician dad and a not-so-practicing Catholic background, Guerrero’s closet was easy to open. In fact, it was harder for him just to be Hispanic.

“Los Angeles never made me feel like I was good enough,” he says. “I fell in love with musicals in junior high. I wanted to hear Julie Andrews in Camelot! Who gives a rat’s ass about mariachi?”

His dad might have given one. He was famed musician Lala Guerrero, the father of Chicano music who popularized the Pachuco sound in the 1940s (the beats most associated with Zoot suits and swing dancing). While Guerrero appreciated his father’s legacy, he established his own identity by moving to New York to become an actor. That didn’t work out so much, but becoming an agent did.

“It was kind of by accident, but I ended up being an agent for 15 years,” he says. “I got into producing and I loved it.”

Although he stepped away from performing, Guerrero finds himself back onstage Friday and Saturday at the Latino Cultural Center with ¡Gaytino! The autobiographical one-man show is part comedy, part cabaret, with Guerrero recounting in lyrics and punch lines his experiences growing up gay and Latino, life with father … and having to rediscover his roots after moving back to L.A.

“The main reason I did the show is, I wanted to know more about my dad and my best friend. I was already fabulous,” he laughs. “So I don’t think of this as my story. I wanted to embrace his legacy and celebrate him and our lives, but also tell of being a born-again Hispanic.”

In L.A., Guerrero rediscovered his heritage. While still working in entertainment, he noticed a lack of Latinos behind the scenes. He started a column in Dramalogue to change that, interviewing actors like Jimmy Smits and Salma Hayek and producing shows that spoke to Latin audiences.

And then came ¡Gaytino!

“Well, the word itself hit me first so I trademarked it. Then it was madness as I set about writing it,” he says.

When the show debuted in 2005, Guerrero hadn’t performed in 35 years. He was a different man, no longer a young buck with nothing to lose and untarnished optimism. He was a behind-the-scenes producer and casting agent. He was — gasp! — older.

“I remember thinking, ‘What am I gonna do? What if I forget my lines?’ I’m an old codger,” he says. “But I got onstage and it was like I had did it the day before. Performing is just part of who I am.”

With his successful day job (he once repped a young Sarah Jessica Parker), a healthy relationship (32 years this November) and irons in many other fires, why bother with the daunting task of writing a show and carrying it alone?

“It still feels like I’m breaking into show business. At least when you’ve been around as long as I have, you can get the main cheese by phone,” he answers. “But really, I had something I wanted to say and I love doing it. I’ve been lucky to stay in the game this long but it’s not by accident; it’s all been by design.”

What he loves isn’t just doing his show, but how it pushes positive gay Latino images. He’s dedicated this chapter in his life to that. Guerrero now feels parental toward the younger generation — maybe because he has no children of his own.

“I do feel a responsibility and not just to younger people, but to all,” he says. “For ¡Gaytino!, I first want them entertained, but I hope audiences will leave more educated about some Chicano culture and history and Gaytino history.”

……………………………………

QUEER CLIP: ‘BEGINNERS’

screen

 

Beginners is such a dreadfully forgettable and generic title for what is the year’s most engaging and heartfelt comedy, you feel like boycotting a review until the distributor gives it a title it deserves.

Certainly the movie itself — a quirky, humane and fantastical reverie about the nature of love and family, with Ewan McGregor as a doleful graphic artist who, six months after his mother dies, learns his 75-year-old dad (Christopher Plummer) is gay and wants to date — charts its own course (defiantly, respectfully, beautifully), navigating the minefield of relationships from lovers to parent/child with simple emotions. It’s not a movie that would presume to answer the Big Questions (when do you know you’ve met the right one? And if they aren’t, how much does that matter anyway?); it’s comfortable observing that we’re all in the same boat, and doing our best is good enough.

McGregor’s placid befuddlement over how he should react to things around him — both his father’s coming out and a flighty but delightful French actress (Melanie Laurent) who tries to pull him out of his shell — is one of the most understated and soulful performances of his career. (His relationship with Arthur, his father’s quasi-psychic Jack Russell, is winsome and winning without veering into Turner & Hooch idiocy.) But Plummer owns the film.

Plummer, best known for his blustery, villainous characters (even the heroic ones, like Capt. Von Trapp and Mike Wallace), exudes an aura of wonder and discovery as the septuagenarian with the hot younger boyfriend (Goran Visnjic, both exasperating as cuddly). As he learns about house music at a time when his contemporaries crave Lawrence Welk, you’re wowed by how the performance seethes with the lifeforce of someone coming out and into his own. His energy is almost shaming.

Writer/director Mike Mills’ semi-autobiographical film suffers only being underlit and over too quickly. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to spend more time with these folks.

—Arnold Wayne Jones

Rating: Four and half stars
Now playing at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 10, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

CORRECTION: All major candidates for Dallas mayor vied for LGBT vote in 2002

In my cover story for this week’s paper, I made a minor mistake. Actually it was fairly major. The opening paragraph of the story, as originally written, stated that 2011 marks the first time in history that all major candidates for Dallas mayor have actively courted the LGBT vote.

As former DV staff writer David Webb pointed out in the comments to the story, that’s not true. In 2002, Laura Miller, Tom Dunning and Domingo Garcia — the three major candidates for mayor — all courted the LGBT vote.

From The Dallas Mornings News on Jan. 15, 2002:

Dallas gays and lesbians, who used to hope that they could just find a candidate who wouldn’t be hostile to their interests, find themselves for the first time being wooed from all directions in what boils down to a three-way citywide race – and disagreeing about whom to support.

“It’s the first time I haven’t had to go vote for the lesser of two evils,” said Deb Elder, a Laura Miller supporter and political organizer. “Nothing has piqued my passion like this mayoral vote.”

Put another way, with major candidates Ms. Miller, Tom Dunning, and Domingo Garcia all touting their support for including gays in a nondiscrimination ordinance, a sector of voters that was shunned not long ago can’t lose this time around.

“It’s historic. I knew it would happen, but I didn’t know it would be this soon,” said Michael Milliken, one of the city’s first publicly identified gay appointees. “The gay community is in a unique position this year.”

I had based my report on statements by openly gay former City Councilman Ed Oakley, who called the 2011 mayoral election “a watershed moment for the community” and “unprecedented.”

While that may be true in some other respects, this isn’t the first time all major mayoral candidates have sought the LGBT vote, and I apologize for the error.

—  John Wright

Jeopardy: Humans Lose To Computer

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Watch: Is Obama Trying to Lose the DOMA Cases on Purpose?

Baume

Matt Baume of Stop8.org speculates on NOM's unlikely theory, plus offers a few more updates.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Tiny violin time – Beck, Hannity lose their Philly area stations (4th largest market)

Does anyone feel like popping the cork on a bottle of champagne over this news?

Mediaite has learned Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are being dropped from their Philadelphia radio station, WPHT 1210 (The Big Talker), in January.

The station is a CBS affiliate, and Philadelphia is the fourth largest radio market.

Taking Beck’s 9am-noon slot is the local Dom Giordano, currently 6-10pm. Then comes Rush Limbaugh, noon-3pm, and Smerconish – who replaces Sean Hannity.

Semi-related hilarity:

* NYT Weekend Opinionator: Pam Spaulding = Glenn Beck

* Video: Glenn Beck’s tears of patriotic fervor generated by Vicks Vapo-Rub

* Sean Hannity loses his mind (again) over men kissing

* Sean Hannity smears Kevin Jennings, but suddenly HE is the victim?
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Workplace Protections Lose in South Bend

TRANSGENDER EMPLOYMENT X390 (GETTY IMAGES) | ADVOCATE.COMA proposal to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in South Bend, Indiana failed by a 6-3 vote in the Common Council.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Where The Dems May Lose House Seats

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver today takes aim at some of the polls crying doom and gloom for House Democrats previously thought to be safe, cautioning that the volume of losses may not be as bad as some fear.

Many of the polls are either partisan-affiliated, or were “robopolls” that used automated scripts rather than live interviewers, or both. Polls with an explicit partisan affiliation are on average about 6 points friendlier to their candidate than those conducted by independent groups. Robopolls have not shown any persistent bias in the past — but this year, they have been 2 to 4 points more favorable to Republicans than traditional surveys, and the differences have tended to be larger in polls of House races as opposed to conducted in Senate or gubernatorial campaigns. So this is a group of polls that you’d expect to be pretty Republican-friendly.

Silver’s own calculations, some of what are shown in the chart above, predict that the GOP will gain 45-70 House seats. But by pretty much everybody’s numbers, the Democrats will lose their majority.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Census Result: New York Likely To Lose Two U.S. House Seats, Florida Gains Two

One of most important aspects of the U.S. Census is the resulting reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives. While many of the changes will go as expected, a just-released new estimate suggests a couple of changes that were not.

A new estimate of House reapportionment gains and losses resulting from this year’s Census reveals a larger-than-expected impact on Florida and New York. According to Washington-based Election Data Services, which reviewed new Census data from a private-sector demographic firm, Florida would gain two House seats and New York would lose two seats. They would join two other states that already were projected to have multiple-seat changes.

Based on the tentative Census data, Texas is expected to gain four House seats and Ohio likely will lose two seats. According to the EDS estimate, six other states each would gain one seat: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. Eight states would each lose one seat: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In addition to the Florida and New York changes, the other major switch in the projected reapportionment is that Missouri will lose a House seat instead of Minnesota.

The formal Census report will be issued in December. Reapportioning becomes effective with the 2012 elections.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Just In Case You Lose Your Way From the Gayborhood, These Street Signs Will Guide You Back

Gay Street in New York City might be the most obvious marker of the West Village's homosexual roots (you know, besides Pieces bar), but now Ottawa's gayborhood wants in on the fun. So they're erecting street signs reading "The/Le Village" so gay bashers know exactly where to hang out. Which I find to be quite a gesture from the town gays, because gay bashers are stupid.


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Queerty

—  John Wright