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

‘DADT’ UPDATE: Where We Stand in the Senate — Lieberman Pushes, Reid Stalls, White House Gets Defensive

Lieberman

UPDATE: Service members announce Senate sit-in.

At 12:15 pm ET Friday Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is announcing they are holding a sit-in in the Senate gallery until a 'DADT' repeal vote is taken. Senator Joseph Lieberman is planning to join them at the press conference.

Servicemembers United has also been actively lobbying (see end of post).

******

With more than 60 noted commitments to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the Senate, it appears that the only factor in the way right now is time, scheduling, and will. However, if 'DADT' is to be repealed legislatively, it must be done this year.

Senator Joe Lieberman appeared on MSNBC this afternoon and said that he believes 'DADT' repeal should be voted on this weekend, before any vote on the START treaty, because the treaty can be ratified next year.

At his press briefing this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters that he doesn't know if he'll bring the bill up before Christmas, but promised a vote on 'DADT' and other measures before the end of the year.

"I'm not sure we can get that done now. I'd like to get it done, but I'm not sure we can."

It's unclear who would return after Christmas break for a vote. And the measure must be passed in the lame duck or repeal is toast legislatively.

Then later, in his press briefing, Robert Gibbs was unwilling to give an answer why Obama isn't using his position as a bully pulpit to get the measure passed. When pushed on it, Gibbs seemed to get defensive:

"Let’s be clear, we would not be at this point if it wasn’t for the President’s leadership in bringing this issue to the floor. You mentioned, I believe we have the votes….There is time to do this if there are those on the other side of the aisle that wish to get this done and it’s clear that whether it’s Senator Brown or Senator Murkowski or Senator Snowe or others, there is an effort to get this done if we have time to."

Finally, Joe Biden (See clip below) doesn't want to hear the Senate nonsense about Christmas! He was talking about the START treaty, but when is one of our leaders going to start making these demands about DADT?

In related news, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) is still undecided about where he stands on the issue.







Active lobbying is being undertaken by Servicemembers United

Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, announced today that, for a second day in a row, teams of DADT repeal advocates have fanned out across Capitol Hill as part of the Servicemembers United Action Fund's "OPERATION RENEWED ENGAGEMENT." The campaign is geared toward raising visibility for the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" issue on Capitol Hill in the waning days of the lame duck session and toward pressuring Senate offices that are supportive of repeal to also support staying in session long enough to let the issue get a final vote.

Snow_capitol "Despite the ongoing snow storm in Washington, DC right now, gay veterans and allies are storming the Hill for a second day in a row to demand that the Senate finish the job on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' before leaving for the holidays," said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and the Servicemembers United Action Fund. "The fact that these advocates are braving the snow to fight for what they believe in should demonstrate that we will not accept any excuses from lawmakers for failing to get this done, including bad weather or time running out."

Repeal supporters will be on the Hill for one final day on Friday as part of this campaign. Those interested in joining OPERATION RENEWED ENGAGEMENT on Friday, December 17th from 1:00pm – 4:00pm should contact Jarrod Chlapowski at jchlapowski@servicemembersunited.org today.

What you can do is contact your Senators, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and demand a vote on 'DADT' before the holidays.

The phone number for the switchboard is (202) 224-3121. Call today.

You can also sign Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's petition demanding the Senate pass repeal.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Sec Def Gates pushes for legislative DADT repeal because it will give the Pentagon ‘flexibility’

Right: a conversation about the absurdity.



Number one, it’s hard to take anything Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says regarding repeal at this point, since he’s been part of the foot-dragging maneuvers to begin with. Number two, for him to cite legislative repeal as giving the military more “flexibility” in handling implementation of repeal only raises more questions about what the Pentagon’s “needs” are related to rollout.  (The Advocate):

In making his case, Gates referenced a two-week period in October when the Pentagon went through “four different policy changes” after a federal judge issued an injunction on the law and then denied a stay request until she was overruled by a higher court.

“So I, I think we have the least flexibility – we have the least opportunity to do this intelligently and carefully and with the kind of preparation that is necessary, if the courts take this action as opposed to there being legislation,” Gates concluded.

What does he mean? What flexibility in implementation and preparation would be hampered by the courts? Does he want to leave asinine ideas like separate-but-equal quarters on the table for the homophobes in the ranks at the Pentagon’s disposal? Left alone, Gates’s remarks leave much to be desired (and that’s being charitable).
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Veteran Pushes for Repeal in New Hampshire

The following comes from Mary Lou Paquette, A veteran from New Hampshire who has worked closely with HRC on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal:

I’m a late bloomer as far as activism goes. It took me 21 years of serving in the military to finally speak out about equality and justice. Emotionally, I had to become active in the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” It has taken such a toll on my life that I couldn’t stay silent any longer.

In June of this year I met Christine Sloane of the Human Rights Campaign and began attending events and collecting petitions in support of the repeal of DADT. Christine’s enthusiasm and ever present positive energy was the motivation that kept me going.

Today I was afforded the opportunity to drop off hundreds of signatures from New Hampshire residents in support of repealing DADT.  Senator Gregg has not announced whether he is voting for or against the repeal.  We’ve worked hard to show Senator Gregg that the right thing to do is to pass the National Defense Authorization Act and repeal this discriminatory law.

One of the first lessons I learned in the military was “never assume.”  I’ll be pacing the floors until the vote and until we see full repeal. I am confident, however, that I’ve done all that I can.

I’d like to thank Christine, Congressman Paul Hodes and all of the New Hampshire residents who voiced their support for the repeal.

Elie Wiesel, author of “Night” wrote, “neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.”  It is time; I hope you will join me in continuing to fight for equality to all.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

#VVS2010 pushes buttons

On hand at the Values Voters Summit, G-A-Y pal Chris Geidner scored himself some swag:

Screen Shot 2010-09-17 At 5.36.11 Pm

@chrisgeidner

Chris says he was told it’d be the “most controversial button [he]‘d ever own.” That “controversy” of course existing between credible science and those (like the button seller) who chose to turn credible science into a manufactured controversy.




Good As You

—  John Wright