Latin flair

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

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.”





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

Evolution of the Spoken Word today

Spoken word with purpose
Audaciously Speaking presents the 4th Annual Evolution of Spoken Word. Local out poet, Audacious brings together an impressive lineup of local poets and artists, all who are ready to drop some knowledge on you.

DEETS: Chocolate Secrets, 3926 Oak Lawn Ave. 3 p.m. $15. 682-472-9396

—  Rich Lopez

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 04.29

These kings wanna get rocked
The peeps behind this show are pretty brilliant — not to mention a kick-ass flyer. Drag kings and local bands make up Mustaches & Music hosted by Christina Love. After Julian 4Play and the rest of the kings perform, Screaming Red and Electro-Shock Machine bring the rock out to finish the night. Sweet.

DEETS: Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St. 9 p.m.


Saturday 04.30

No, it’s OK to have that buzz
Festivals come left and right this time of year, but we’re prone to those encouraging us to eat and drink. The Dallas Wine and Food Festival has been doing just that for 27 years. We long for Saturday’s wine seminars at Mockingbird Station spots topped off by happy hour at Margarita Ranch.

DEETS: Mockingbird Station, 5321 E. Mockinbird Lane. 11 a.m. Through Sunday. $15–$25.


Sunday 05.01

Spoken word with purpose
Audaciously Speaking presents the 4th Annual Evolution of Spoken Word. Local out poet, Audacious brings together an impressive lineup of local poets and artists, all who are ready to drop some knowledge on you.

DEETS: Chocolate Secrets, 3926 Oak Lawn Ave. 3 p.m. $15. 682-472-9396

—  John Wright

SOTU Word Cloud

(Via Steven Thrasher @ Village Voice)

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Tennessee Highway At Last Adorned With God’s Word

THE SHOT — A pair of billboards in Putnam County, Tennessee, that went up a couple months ago are getting the NOM treatment. Says Lois Irby, a local supporter of the outdoor ad campaign: "I just thought this billboard was a marvelous idea," said one of several Cookeville-area supporters of the sign. You hear so much about same-sex marriage on TV, and it's so readily accepted by the public. Children, unless they have some kind of religious training at home, are taught to accept it and not question it or feel that it's wrong. I think God's word needs to be inserted as often as possible to reaffirm that homosexuality is wrong. It doesn't need to be presented in a glorified light as just an alternate lifestyle." I agree, more of God's words inserted as often as possible. Like this one from Leviticus 25:44-46 (NLV): "However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way."


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“Marriage.” It’s just a word, why does it matter?

Thanks to Ben Smith at Politico for posting this charming, humorous and informative video, “Civil unions, ‘not good enough.'”
Apologies to the video impaired. It really isn’t useful to transcribe the text anyway, the meaning would be lost absent the actors’ performances.

To the video impaired, I refer you to Judge Vaughn Walker’s opinion finding Proposition 8 unconstitutional (PDF). This video is an excellent dramatization of the testimony heard at the trial and summarized below:

Social epidemiologist Ilan Meyer testified about the harm gays and lesbians have experienced because of Proposition 8. Meyer explained that Proposition 8 stigmatizes gays and lesbians because it informs gays and lesbians that the State of California rejects their relationships as less valuable than opposite-sex relationships. Proposition 8 also provides state endorsement of private discrimination. According to Meyer, Proposition 8 increases the likelihood of negative mental and physical health outcomes for gays and lesbians.

[LINETTE SCOTT, in her official capacity as Deputy Director of Health Information & Strategic Planning for the California Department of Public Health] explained that domestic partnerships cannot substitute for marriage because domestic partnerships do not have the same social and historical meaning as marriage and that much of the value of marriage comes from its social meaning. [Psychologist Letitia Anne] Peplau testified that little of the cultural esteem surrounding marriage adheres to domestic partnerships.

Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians, including: gays and lesbians do not have intimate relationships similar to heterosexual couples; gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals; and gay and lesbian relationships do not deserve the full recognition of society.

At the heart of all this, I believe LGBT citizens struggle with America’s stubborn refusal to recognize our families as important, as valuable, as worthy of respect.

  • The US Federal Government and most states deny LGBT citizens the privileges and benefits endowed so carelessly to heterosexual couples.
  • Our soldiers are not allowed to even speak of their family. The forces will not provide housing, transportation, health–or any–care for them.
  • Department of Homeland Security deports our non-citizen partners, even our lawfully wedded ones.
  • Our employers are free to fire us, regardless of job performance, because of who we go home to at night.
  • We are told who we may or may not bring to prom, to school dances.

For these reasons, I support only full marriage equality.

For more information:

Freedom to Marry

Marriage Equality USA

So, if you hear someone ask the question, “Why does the word matter?” Ask them if it would matter to them.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

So If Winona Ryder Has Black Friends Who Say ‘Nigger,’ She’d Use That Word Too?

It's just crazy because I'm very sensitive to that issue and if I thought something was offensive I wouldn't want to be part of it. … Plus all my gay friends use that word all the time so (protesters will) have to go and give them a hard time too. The line has, however, been pulled from the movie's trailer following complaints.

—Winona Ryder not understanding what all the fuss was about the "so gay" line in The Dilemma, which she stars in, because after all she would never "be part" of a movie she thought was so "offensive" (though I'm pretty sure S1m0ne offended me to my core). Ah yes, the but my gay friends excuse! I haven't seen that one in a long time. [via]

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Sarah Palin’s ‘Refudiate’ Added to New Oxford American Dictionary, Declared ‘Word of the Year’


Remember when Sarah Palin used the word "refudiate" and then compared herself to Shakespeare?

The Oxford American Dictionary says that "refudiate" has not only been officially added to the dictionary, but they have declared it "word of the year."

Palintweetrefudiateverb used loosely to mean "reject": she called on them to refudiate the proposal to build a mosque. 
[origin — blend of refuteand repudiate]

 They write:

From a strictly lexical interpretation of the different contexts in which Palin has used 'refudiate,' we have concluded that neither 'refute' nor 'repudiate' seems consistently precise, and that 'refudiate' more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of 'reject.'

Although Palin is likely to be forever branded with the coinage of “refudiate,” she is by no means the first person to speak or write it—just as Warren G. Harding was not the first to use the word normalcy when he ran his 1920 presidential campaign under the slogan “A return to normalcy.” But Harding was a political celebrity, as Palin is now, and his critics spared no ridicule for his supposedly ignorant mangling of the correct word “normality.”

Also, Palin's TLC show Sarah Palin's Alaska was the most-watched debut in the network's history, bringing in 4.96 million viewers.

Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

WATCH: Early Word on Pentagon DADT Study — Repeal No Big Deal for Majority of Troops


(via Igor Volsky at the wonk room)

On Rachel Maddow's show, NBC News' Richard Engel reports on early word on the Pentagon troop survey, which asked service members a variety of questions regarding serving alongside gay soldiers and 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal.

Engel reports that "these studies show a relative if not positive outlook, at least an accepting outlook."

Said Engel: "The findings are that for most soldiers, and this wasn’t the sum total of all soldiers, it wasn’t that big of a deal…The majority — the number one answer, first answer was ‘I don’t care.’ That's significant."

Engel adds: "A key thing this study kept coming back to is that it’s very important about the chain of command. What commanders say. How far commanders act. What tone they set. The marines were the most negative out of the services. They had the most people who were — with negative responses. And the marine corps leadership has taken a stance and has been very vocally against this issue. And the study found that most soldiers and sailors and all different service members follow a chain of command. So if the chain of command accepts this as the law, the data is that so will the soldiers."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Dan Choi responds to using the ‘P’ word

It’s not often that we get to talk about p*ssy, huh? In my post about the expansive, no-holds-barred profile of Dan Choi by Steven Thrasher in the current Village Voice, I cited this paragraph:

“Harry Reid is a pussy,” Choi angrily said after the failed vote in the Senate last month, vowing to speak out about the Democratic leader, “and he’ll be bleeding once a month.”

I left it hanging out there without any comment on my part, save “That won’t get him a job as a Beltway mouthpiece, lol.” It wasn’t that I didn’t have an opinion; I didn’t want to lead the conversation in any particular direction. However, it was no surprise that the maelstrom of responses (in the comments, my inbox, and on Twitter), decided to take on the misogyny embedded in Dan’s choice of words.

Obviously Dan, saw many of them and he responded in the blunt fashion that I would have expected from him:

Go ahead: call me a ‘misogynist.’ I’m still pro-choice, pro-ERA. I also happen to think @HarryReid is a #DADT #FAIL.

I appreciate your criticism; I apologize for using the slur, and resolve to educate others in any capacity I’m afforded in the future.

What do I think about the whole dustup? It’s good to have the conversation about misogyny within the community and how it manifests itself. But if you read the entire Village Voice piece, which digs a lot deeper into Dan’s foibles, his earnestness, and off-the-cuff manner, I was not surprised that a military guy would “go there” – it’s part of the military culture, for good or ill and there it was in black and white. It actually didn’t offend me as I read the article; it was contextually right in line with Dan’s lack of inner politically correct censor at times.

I’m not going to defend a military culture that denigrates women as part of daily conversation (not to mention institutionalized slaps on the wrist for sexual assaults by men against their female service member colleagues). The Voice profile is enlightening precisely because our heroes are flawed, and all too human. The last time I checked, we all have the capacity to learn from mistakes; those in the public eye don’t have the latitude to go private when they screw up. Dan did say something boneheaded. misguided – and he apologized.

So the misogyny discussion is important, one of those teachable moments, but it does also raise the question of how often are our own chosen words in private that reflect bias against women, people of different ethnicities, religions, etc.? How often do we think about those choices, and if they are something you wouldn’t say in public, examine why the ease in saying them privately? Good essential topic, but way far astray than the impression I was left with about Dan Choi, his activism and commitment to the movement after reading the entire Village Voice piece.

For two completely different takes on Dan:

* Rachel K at Autostraddle: Dan Choi is People

* Derek’s Big Fat Democratic Adventure: Dan Choi: Media Bully – Or It Doesn’t Get Better
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin