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Chavela Screening at the Brooklyn Museum

April 19, 2018 | 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


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Chavela Vargas

Ranchero singer Chavela Vargas

Thursday, April 19, 2018
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor

In honor of Chavela Vargas’s birthday and Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985, we’re screening the award-winning documentary Chavela (Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi, 2017, 93 min.), which explores the life of the trailblazing queer icon and legendary Mexican singer. Before the film, queer rancherx Ceci Pineda opens the evening with a birthday tribute to Chavela. Followed by a talkback with directors Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi.

Born in 1919, Chavela left Costa Rica as a teenager bound for Mexico City, where (by the 1950s) she was a darling of its thriving bohemian club scene. Chavela sang the very popular ranchera style of music, but she did it differently, laying bare the exquisite desperation at its core. In a bit of a queer twist, she also did it in men’s clothing, and refused to change its romantic pronouns to refer to men instead of women. Chavela’s talent, passion for living and undeniable individuality are what make her unforgettable, but her incredible life story adds icing to the cake. In the film, we hear stories about her drinking hard and loving deeply, told with reverence by those who treasure the experiences with this singular woman — who was once the lover of Frida Kahlo, who seduced scores of other women (including the wives of prominent politicians and Eva Gardner at Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding) Sadly, she fell out of the public eye for many years due to severe alcoholism but then resurfaced in the early 1990s to reach the height of her fame at 71 and then continued to sing until her death in 2012 at age 93. Pedro Almodovar became the great champion of her comeback — using her music in several films kissing the stage on which she was about to perform when introducing her.

Tickets are $10 and include Museum general admission.

Questions about this event? Email [email protected]


April 19, 2018
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Pkwy Brooklyn, NY 11238 + Google Map