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

Religious right doesn’t want lgbt children to have parental support

crosssposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

A new study has come out saying that lgbt youth who receive support from their parents are less likely to engage in destructive behaviors such as suicide or substance abuse.

According to U.S. News and World Reports, the study which appears in Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing:

. . .also found that those adolescents with highly accepting families have much higher levels of self-esteem and social support when they're young adults.

The study included 245 white and Hispanic LGBT young adults, aged 21 to 25, in California who were open about their sexual orientation to at least one parent or caregiver during adolescence.

Examples of positive parental and caregiver support include supporting their gender expression or advocating for their children when they are mistreated because of their LGBT identity.

However, leave it to the folks at the American Family Association's One News Now to object to the study. And what makes the phony news publication's objection more shameful is that it doesn't even try to refute what the study says.

 

Instead, it quotes Dr. Andre Van Mol, a private physician in California. Mol calls the study “indoctrination”:

“This is ideology and indoctrination in high gear, and it carries with it the implicit [threat] 'or else your kid will kill themselves,' which is ridiculous,” contends Dr. Andre Van Mol, a family physician in private practice in Redding, California.

. . . “Love is not the same as enablement and co-dependency,” counters Van Mol. “A parent can fully love and accept their [LGBT] teen, give them a safe home where they know that they as a person are accepted, and still have it be known that their parents feel that acting out on that sexual orientation will be an inherently negative thing,” he suggests. “I don't think that's contradictory.”

The family physician goes on to tell OneNewsNow the study pushes the fruits of a strategy to take over the medical field with the ideology and indoctrination of homosexuality.

I think it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Mol doesn't know what he is talking about.

Apparently One News Now isn't alone in raising an objection about the study:

In a November commentary, Christopher Doyle of the support group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX)calls efforts to scare parents into embracing their children’s sexual behavior for fear of suicide “minority stress” theory propagated by gay activists.

Even in gay-tolerant cultures, the occurrence of suicidal behavior is much higher among homosexuals than heterosexuals,” he explained.

Doyle, an ex-gay and PFOX board member, cited a 2006 study of homosexuals in the Netherlands, which was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. Gay men were five times and lesbian women were 10 times more likely to contemplate suicide than heterosexuals. Another study found that a lower level of social hostility toward homosexuals in the Netherlands and Denmark compared with the U.S. was not associated with a lower level of psychiatric problems among homosexuals in these European countries.

Of course Doyle is inaccurate. The “studies” (actually there weren't two different studies. The article in the Christian Post is inaccurate. There was only one study) Doyle referred to was the work of Dr. Theo Sandfort. In an email written last year, Sandfort objected to how his work has been distorted.

On the whole, this entire needless controversy is a perfect example of how religious right groups operate. Was it really necessary for them to object? Common sense tells one that children who receive love and support from their family tend to have less problems with self-esteem. And we all know that unfortunately in some homes, lgbt children are robbed of that crucial support system because of the real fear that they will be rejected by their parents or even worse, kicked out on the streets.

The study just affirms this. But leave it to the religious right to object solely on ground that the lgbt identity is involved. And according to them, the study has nothing to do with making sure that lgbt children are safe and sound, but some evil plan by “gay activists” to force acceptance of homosexuality.

Such an idea is devoid of not only common sense, but basic Christian decency and kindness.

The sad irony is that without parental support, lgbt children are more likely to engage in behaviors such as suicide and substance abuse, and thereby becoming a statistic eagerly cited by religious right figures such as Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg regarding the so-called “dangers of homosexuality.”

One can't help thinking that the only reason why the religious right objects to parents giving support to lgbt children is due to the cold fact that depressed, drug addicted lgbt youth are of more use to them than happy lgbt youth.

Related posts:

One News Now, Matt Barber dehumanizes recent suicide victims
 
Why can't the religious right stop denigrating gay suicide victims?

Phony Christians shedding crocodile tears over the bullying of lgbt teens

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin