home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 
 
 
Advertising Opportunities
Press Kit
Research Guide
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Copyright
 
site guide
search tips
research guide
editors & contributors
contact us
send feedback
write the editor
 
 
 
 
subscribe
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter to receive a spotlight on glbtq culture every month.
e-mail address:
 
 
 
  unsubscribe
 
 
Popular Topics in The Arts
Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators
Female impersonation need say nothing about sexual identity, but it has for a long time been almost an institutionalized aspect of gay male culture.
 
Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
 
Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male
Given the historic stigma around making, circulating, and possessing overtly homoerotic images, the visual arts have been especially important for providing a socially sanctioned arena for depicting the naked male body and suggesting homoerotic desire.
 
New Queer Cinema
Independent films that aggressively assert homosexual identity and queer culture, the New Queer Cinema can be seen as the culmination of several developments in American cinema.
 
White, Minor
Renowned photographer, teacher, critic, editor, and curator, Minor White created some of the most interesting photographs of male nudes of the second half of the twentieth century, but did not exhibit them for fear of scandal.
 
Halston (Roy Halston Frowick)
The first international fashion superstar, Halston dressed and befriended some of America's most glamorous women.
 
Surrealism Surrealism
An artistic movement that grew out of Dadaism and flourished in Europe shortly after World War I, Surrealism embraced the idea that art was an expression of the subconscious.
 
Winfield, Paul
Film, stage, and television actor Paul Winfield was openly gay in his private life, but maintained public silence about his homosexuality.
 
In Memoriam
 
In Memoriam: Chavela Vargas (1919-2012)
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 08/06/12
Last updated on: 08/06/12
 
Bookmark and Share

Acclaimed Costa Rican-Mexican singer Chavela Vargas died on August 5, 2012 in a hospital in Cuernavaca, where she had been admitted for heart and respiratory problems.

In his glbtq.com entry on her, Miguel A. Segovia observes that "Vargas became notorious for the eroticism of her performances and for her open expression of lesbian desire."

As Isaac Garrido reports in the Huffington Post, Vargas defied gender stereotypes to become one of the most legendary singers in Mexico. She "rose to fame flouting the Roman Catholic country's preconceptions of what it meant to be a female singer: singing lusty 'ranchera' songs while wearing men's clothes, carrying a pistol, drinking heavily and smoking cigars."

Segovia notes that a crucial element of Vargas's radical performance art was her seduction of women in the audience and her singing songs written to be sung by a man to a woman.

A major figure in Mexico City's mid-twentieth century artistic explosion, she was a friend and frequent house guest of the Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. She had an affair with Kahlo and was close to the gay Spanish poet Federico García Lorca.

Fittingly, she appeared in Julie Taymor's film Frida (2002), where she hauntingly sings "La Llorona," or "The Crier."

After gaining fame in the 1960s, Vargas fell into alcoholism in the 1970s. She retreated from the public sphere for about twelve years. She attempted comebacks with only modest success, though she did sing in local cabarets, especially those frequented by gay men, who throughout her career constituted a large fraction of her admirers.

In 1981, she made a major comeback with stellar performances in the Olympia Theatre of Paris, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico, and the Palau de la Música in Barcelona.

She experienced another revival in the early 1990s. Gay filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar helped bring her a new audience by incorporating her bold, expressive, and seductive music into his films.

In 2000, the President of Spain presented Vargas with "la Cruz de la Orden Isabel Católica," one of the most prestigious awards for artistic production.

Vargas pursued an active working life into her nineties. In 2011, she released a new album of García Lorca's poems and appeared in concerts, singing from her wheelchair.

The video below captures Vargas in concert late in her life.

In the clip below, from Frida, Vargas sings "La Llorona."

___
 
Related Encyclopedia Entries
 
browse:   arts   literature   social-sciences   discussion boards
 
learn more about glbtq       contact us       advertise on glbtq.com
 
Bookmark and Share

glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2014, glbtq, Inc.

Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.