Valiente to honor Mexico’s “‘Judy Garland’ at fundraisers

Posted on 05 May 2006 at 12:28pm
By David Webb Staff Writer

Gay Latino group plans to pay tribute to Latino celebrities like Durcal who promote diversity and acceptance through their work, lives



Rocio Durcal will be remembered at two Valiente fundraisers as a gay Latin icon. The native of Spain began her career in Spanish language film musicals and crossed over to a singing career in Mexico.

Valiente, Dallas-Fort Worth’s GLBT Latino group, will host two fundraisers next week honoring Rocio Durcal, a recently deceased singer who was a Latin gay icon and known as the Judy Garland of Mexico.

Fernie Sanchez, president of Valiente, said the group is honoring Durcal because she promoted tolerance.

“I think it is important for LGBT Latinos to recognize and pay homage to Latino celebrities who promote diversity and acceptance through their work and through their lives,” Sanchez said in a statement. “As Mexico’s equivalent of Judy Garland, Rocio Durcal was one such individual.”

The Valiente fundraisers will feature local Durcal impersonator Mimi Casanova. She has long been a fan of Durcal’s and appears in shows in the United States and Mexico.

Casanova, who is a member of Valiente, said she plans to donate the ticket sales and her tips to the Latino group.

“It is an honor to pay homage to the most Mexican Spanish lady,” Casanova said.

Durcal, 61, died on March 25 in her native Madrid, Spain, from lung cancer.
She enjoyed a 40-year career in films and music.

Her gay fans were most attracted to her ballads, but she crossed over several genres in Spanish music to gain widespread fame.

Durcal starred in several musical comedies in the 1960s and 1970s that made her famous in Portugal, France and the Pan-American countries.
She was at the top of her music career during the 1970s and 1980s in all of the Pan-American countries. She sang ballads composed by the Mexican singer and composer Juan Gabriel and recorded under the Sony/BMG label.

Her collaboration with the Mexican group Mariachi America resulted in smash hits and awards. Durcal’s album sales reached 30 million worldwide before her death.

Durcal, who adopted Mexico as her home, was married to Antonio Morales, a member of the Spanish group Los Brincos, which was considered a Spanish version of The Beatles.

Jesse Garcia, secretary of Valiente, said the performances at the fundraisers would likely be bittersweet for Casanova. “She has dedicated her life to perfecting her Rocio Durcal look and performance that has made Mimi famous on both sides of the border,” Garcia said.

Casanova’s Durcal performances won her the title of Miss Denver 2005.
Garcia said Casanova, 31, never got to meet her idol but saw her in concert often.

“She hopes her performance will bring back great memories for Durcal’s legion of fans in Dallas-Fort Worth,” Garcia said.

The fundraisers will be at Havana’s, 4006 Cedar Springs Road on Wednesday and at Hay K. Rico at 2525 Wycliff Ave. on May 14. Both shows start at 10:30 p.m., and admission is $3.

Valiente meets every third Thursday of the month at Havana’s at 6:30 p.m.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 5, 2006.

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