With his glittery capes, slinky dance moves and ultra-romantic lyrics, Mexican superstar Juan Gabriel was an unlikely king in a country known for its machismo. He never spoke about his sexuality, yet was widely assumed to be gay. It’s no surprise that the singer was an icon in Mexico’s gay subculture.
Having sold over 100 million copies worldwide, Gabriel is among Latin America’s best-selling singer-songwriters. His eighteenth studio album, Recuerdos, Vol. II, holds the distinction of being the best-selling album of all-time in Mexico, with over eight million copies sold.
During his career, Gabriel wrote around 1,800 songs. Releasing 35 albums over the course of his45-year career, he became beloved by multiple generations of fans in Latin America, Spain and the United States. His genres varied widely, from mariachi to salsa to disco.
In 2002, a few years before Mexico City legalized gay marriage, the famously effeminate singer shut down a journalist who asked if he was gay. “You don’t ask about what can be seen,” he said.
Although Gabriel never publicly claimed the gay community, that community certainly claimed him, with his romantic Spanish-language ballads belted late into the night in drag bars on both sides of the border.
Many have credited Juan Gabriel with opening the door to greater expression of gender and sexuality, even if he never explicitly called for it. Like Prince, or David Bowie, Juan Gabriel was known for his gender-bending clothing and occasional touch of eye makeup.
“I think he made a deep cultural change not by talking about his sexuality but by living it out on stage,” said Alejandro Madrazo, a law professor in Mexico who is an expert on the legal battle for same-sex marriage in the country. “Juan Gabriel taught us how to be feminine.”
Madrazo recalled seeing Juan Gabriel perform before a large crowd at a cockfight, a sport that exemplifies Mexico’s machismo culture.
“He would dance in a way that was sexy and provocative in front of all these stereotypes of a Mexican man,” Madrazo said. “He would literally shake … in their faces, and they would go crazy.”
In an homage to Juan Gabriel published on the website of Mexico’s Millenio newspaper, journalist Alvaro Cueva recalled friends making fun of Juan Gabriel for his effeminate stage presence. At some schools, his name was used as an anti-gay slur.
Cueva called Juan Gabriel subversive. “You … became an idol in a country of macho men,” he wrote. “You made homophobic people sing and dance.”
Eduardo C. Corral, the gay Chicano poet, shared a story on Twitter about how it was easier for his parents to accept him after he came out to them because of Juan Gabriel. “In high school, I came out first to my mom. She told my dad when he got off work at midnight. She was nervous. Afraid of his reaction. My dad’s response? He said, in Spanish, ‘So what? So is Juan Gabriel,’” Corral wrote.
The poet relayed an experience that was common for LGBT Latinos and their families. “Over the years, Juan Gabriel became part of many Mexican families. Yes, he was mocked. But there he was. In our homes. Familiar & strange. Queerness, then, became a presence in Mexican homes. In my home. This familiarity with queerness helped my father to keep loving his son,” tweeted the poet.
In all his glory, Juan Gabriel was an incredible performer and singer-songwriter, but it is his impact on the LGBT Latino community that must not be erased from the narrative of his legacy.
I was asked to make this post a while back, I’m sorry it took so long. A couple of things before we start:
By clicking on each movie’s title, you’ll be redirected to the trailer (with English subtitles when I could find them).
I checked, and all movies featured on this list have their own Wikipediapage if you’re looking for further information.
Hit me up if you want some help in finding places where you can watch these online.
I had to leave out many nice films, and I’ve surely forgotten some: feel free to add more!
I cento passi (2000) – the true story of Sicilian political activist Peppino Impastato, killed by the mafia in 1978 for his overt opposition to the latter. Drama, biopic.
Io non ho paura (2003) – ten-year-old Michele, living in southern Italy in the 1970′s, discovers a hole in the ground where a boy is kept prisoner. Based on a famous novel by Niccolò Ammaniti. Drama, thriller.
Notte prima degli esami (2006) – Technically speaking not the best movie on this list, but still a must-see if you want to understand what the dreaded high school finals (a.k.a. la maturità) mean for Italian students. Comedy.
La ragazza del lago (2007) – the peace of a little town in northern Italy is disrupted when the body of a young woman is found dead on the lakeshore. Thriller, drama.
Il divo (2008) – the story of Giulio Andreotti, 7-times prime minister of Italy and a controversial figure. Drama, biopic. Great to get a glimpse of the complex world of Italian politics.
Gomorra (2008) – five stories dealing with the Camorra (a criminal organization mostly based in the Naples area) and its relations with the population. Thriller, noir. Probably not the best one to watch if you want to practise Italian, as most lines are delivered in Neapolitan (and are thus incomprehensible to many Italian speakers as well).
Baarìa (2009) – an autobiographic epic in three generations of the Sicilian village where film director Tornatore was born. There are two existing versions, one in Italian and the other in Sicilian. Drama, comedy. I love family sagas, and sobbed uncontrollably I can’t remember exactly at which point in the movie.
La prima cosa bella (2010) – after years of estrangement, Bruno finally goes back to his hometown to visit his dying mother, Anna. Alternating present-day narration and flashbacks, the movie follows the life of a mother and her two children and their strong, albeit problematic, bond. Comedic drama, you might be crying bittersweet tears by the end.
Benvenuti al sud (2010) – stereotypes from both northern and southern Italy meet in the delightful remake of the French movie Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis when Alberto, the manager of a postal service in northern Italy, is banished to Castellabate, obviously located in the South. Comedy.
Basilicata coast to coast (2010) – a music group and a journalist cross the region of Basilicata by foot to attend a music festival. Comedy, adventure.
Habemus papam (2011) – a cardinal is elected pope against his wishes, and needs the help of a therapist to overcome his terror. Half comedy, half drama.
Il capitale umano (2013) – on Christmas Eve, a waiter cycling home from working at a prestigious private school’s gala is hit by a car, whose driver flees, leaving the man close to death. Connected to the accident are two very different families. Drama, thriller.
La grande bellezza (2013) – aging socialite Jep Gambardella tries to find some meaning beyond the lavish display of empty riches plaguing his Roman nights spent between parties. Drama, comedy, won an Oscar when it came out. Chances are you’ll either love it or sleep through it (personally, I liked it quite a lot).
Smetto quando voglio (2014) – driven to despair by their precarious conditions, a group of underpaid (if paid at all) university researchers team up to produce a smart drug still not illegal in Italy to make a fast buck. The unlikely gang is surprisingly successful… Comedy, among the funniest I’ve seen recently.
Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot (2015) – an unlikely (anti)hero rises in the slums of Rome when thief Enzo Ceccotti acquires superpowers by falling into the river Tiber. Sci-fi, action, drama. Superhero movies meet Italian cinema, and it works better than anyone was expecting. Language might be an issue, since everyone is purposefully Very Much from Rome.
Non essere cattivo (2015) – a story of crime, drugs and attempted redemption in the outskirts of Rome. Action, drama. Luca Marinelli is one hell of an actor. Again, the language is more Roman than Italian.
La pazza gioia (2016) – professed countess (and notorious motor-mouth) Beatrice and frail, quiet Donatella (who was “born sad”) flee the psychiatric institution that hosts them. The odd pair will embark on a journey together, looking for fun, love, and – you guessed it – some happiness. Comedy-drama, manages to be hilarious and deeply moving at the same time.
Fuocoammare (2016) – a documentary capturing life on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a frontline in the European migrant crisis.
Perfetti sconosciuti (2016) – seven friends know each other like the back of their hand… or do they? What would happen if, as a playful game around the dinner table, they decided to share with the others every text, call and e-mail they get on their phone? Could they turn out to be total strangers? Witty and thought-provoking comedy with a number of twists.
Fai bei sogni (2016) – a boy struggles to come to terms with his mother’s death. Scenes from the protagonist’s childhood are intertwined with Others depicting his adult life. Drama. Ultimately, Valerio Mastandrea always manages to play someone with mommy issues somehow (he was also Bruno in La prima cosa bella). Drama.
Hola, quiero reservar esta publicación para contar 50 cosas sobre mí. Si me sigues y te gusta mi blog apreciaría mucho que lo leyeras y me conocieras un poco más :)
1. Mi nombre completo es Miguel Ángel Parra Delgadillo.
2. Actualmente tengo 18 años (aunque aparento menos).
3. Nací el 22 de Agosto de 1998, en Caracas, Venezuela (Dónde actualmente vivo)
4. Amo la comida china.
5. Amo el chocolate.
6. Mi país favorito es Reino Unido.
7. Mi ciudad favorita es Londres.
8. Amo el frió.
9. Amo la fotografía.
10. Me gusta la montaña.
11. No me gusta la playa, pero sí el océano, es decir, alta mar.
12. Me gusta la piscina.
13. Mi sueño es llegar a ser un gran actor.
14. Soy bisexual, pero me gustan mucho más los chicos.
15. Soy una persona muy cambiante, puede pasar de ser muy cariñoso a ser muy odioso.
16. Mis relaciones amorosas, desgraciadamente, no llegan al mes.
17. Soy belieber, directioner, little monster y larry shipper.
18. Me gustaría irme a otro país, conocer nuevas personas, nuevos ambientes, comenzar de cero.
19. Amo tumblr.
20. Cree mi blog a finales de 2013, y aún hoy, 22/4/2017 lo mantengo.
21. Mis comidas favoritas son la pizza y el pasticho.
22. Aparte de Londres, me encantan New York, Paris, Los Angeles y Chicago.
23. Si pudiera vivir en cualquier ciudad latina, seria la ciudad de Panamá o Buenos Aires.
24. Amo el acento argentino y el español.
25. Estudio idiomas modernos.
26. Una de mis grandes metas es hablar inglés fluido y lograr el acento británico.
27. Me encanta la historia, sobre todo la europea.
28. Me encanta el arte, leer, ver películas y series.
29. Mis géneros favoritos son misterio, suspenso, drama y romance. (Y una serie o película que tenga todos esos géneros juntos, es el paraíso)
30. Mis series favoritas son: El internado, El barco, Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, Supernatural, Aliados, The 100.
31. Mis peliculas favoritas son: La saga de Harry Potter, Hermosas Criaturas, Bajo la misma estrella, Ciudades de papel, La saga de Mazer Runner.
32. Amo el genero post-apocalíptico. Sin embargo, no me llama la atención los zoombies.
33. Mis marcas favoritas de ropa son: Zara, Bershka, Pull&Bear, y Chanel.
34. Me encanta la moda.
35. No necesariamente tienes que usar ropa cara o tener mucho dinero para vestirte bonito.
36. Me gusta vestirme bonito y considero que lo hago.
37. Me gusta que la gente que esta conmigo se viste igual de bonito que yo.
38. Amo el maquillaje, considero que es un aliado para uno verse mejor.
39. Algunas personas me dicen superficial, y, no me importa en lo absoluto su opinión hacia mí.
40. En cuanto al autoestima, o lo tengo tan alto que se vuelve insoportable, o lo tengo tan bajo que pienso en el suicido. Sí, soy extremista.
41. Me encanta que me hagan sentir especial, ¿a quien no?
42. Me gusta que me amen o que me odien, odio la indiferencia.
43. Una persona que me ve por primera vez, dirá a simple vista que soy egocéntrico, que me la tiro de “divo” y todo eso, pero, una persona que realmente pasa tiempo conmigo e intenta conocerme, sabrán que soy muchísimo más que eso; para prueba, mi tumblr.
44. Me tomo mucho tiempo y trabajo, pero realmente las criticas y los malos comentarios no me afectan.
45. Tengo muy claro lo que soy y lo que quiero, y el único que puede hacerme sentir mal soy yo mismo.
46. A pesar de parecer muy fuerte, también tengo mis momentos de depresión, y, déjenme decirle que es horrible.
47. Soy muy contradictorio, puede decirte algo ahorita y contradecirlo al minuto siguiente. Ni yo me entiendo.
48. No pierdo la esperanza y sigo esperando al amor de mi vida. Nunca me cierro a las posibilidades.
49. Me han roto el corazón más veces de las que podría contar.
Hein. Não é bom saber que você
tem um amigo que te ama mais que um amigo? Olha, eu sei que você andou cruzando esquinas a fim de uma pessoa que não era eu, só que não ligo. Essa coisa de orgulho e dignidade nunca foram comigo mesmo. E ainda que eles tenham levado pra longe tudo que você parecia ter de bom, eu não me importo de ficar com o amargo- azedo que restou. É mais do que tudo que já me pertenceu em quatro encarnações.