Arizpe, Carrizales wow crowd with performance on final day of 10-day Pride celebration in England
Ed Walsh | Special Contributor [email protected]
MANCHESTER, England — A couple from Dallas brought a bit of Texas to England this week and stole the show on the final day of Manchester Pride 2010, the city’s 10-day Pride celebration.
Mel Arizpe and Laura Carrizales were the winners of Dallas’s Voice of Pride, an annual contest sponsored by the Dallas Tavern Guild. Arizpe came in first place, winning a trip for two to Manchester and $3,000.
As luck would have it, Arizipe’s girlfriend, Laura Carrizales, won second place in the contest.
So naturally, Arizipe took Carrizales for the trip to the UK.
The couple, performing as “La Diva Loca,” also won the Voice of Pride’s duo category.
All those talents were put to good use at Manchester Pride 2010 on Monday, Aug. 30. The couple took to the stage at 2:40 p.m. and performed for a short 10 minutes — but they enthralled the crowd for each second.
Arizpe took to the stage first. “All the way from Dallas, we’ve come to sing to you all,” she told the British crowd in a Texas twang before launching into the Whitney Houston hit “I’m Every Woman.”
The Brits roared their approval.
Carrizales joined Arizpe next on stage for their duet medley of four different songs: The Fugees “Ready or Not,” followed by En Vogue’s single “Never Gonna Get it,” and two different versions of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” — first the fast dance version, then the slower “Glee” version.
The Dallas couple made sure that their abbreviated version of “Poker Face” included the line, “I wanna hold ’em like they do in TEXAS please,” with a strong emphasis on “Texas.”
And the crowd was thrilled with the Gaga tribute, many dancing and singing along.
The medley, put together by their friend Danny Anchondo, was the same duet performance that helped them win the Voice of Pride group category.
Said Arizpe after the show, “I was happy they were responding. I think they really enjoyed the duet.”
Carrizales said they were concerned about the sound system, but in the end, she noted, it sounded great.
Arizpe and Carrizales appeared confident and relaxed on stage. They said that it helped that they were performing for strangers who they would never have to face again if they gave a bad performance. “It was a comfort that we didn’t know anybody,” said Carrizales.
The couple also said they were impressed by the scope of Manchester Pride: “It’s 10 times the size of Dallas,” said Carrizales. “They block off a whole section of the city [in Manchester].”
Added Arizpe, “We get a good turnout in Dallas but nothing like this.”
The idea to award Dallas’s Voice of Pride winner with a trip to Manchester was hatched by Andrew Stokes, who is both the chairman of Manchester Pride and the chief executive of the city’s official tourism office.
Stokes came up with the idea after visiting Dallas and visiting with his friend George Carrancho, who is part of American Airlines LGBT-dedicated “rainbow” sales team. Stokes watched part of the Voice of Pride competition while he was in town.
“I thought what a great thing it would be to bring the winner to Manchester,” Stokes said.
He worked out the trip with Carrancho and American Airlines, who helped sponsor the trip. Stokes and Carrancho introduced Arizpe and Carrizales before the couple’s performance.
So what’s it like for a couple of Texans in England?
Carrizales and Arizipe said they were welcomed warmly by the English and were given the VIP treatment during the four days they were in town. They were surprised that they were asked to march at the start of the parade, right behind the grand marshal, actor Sir Ian McKellan. That was an impressive honor considering that there were 101 contingents in the parade.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 3, 2010.