Saved by Mario!
Mario Lopez started his acting career at the tender age of 10. It wasn't until his role in "Saved By The Bell" that helped him rise to fame and with his good looks, win the hearts of millions of people. And when it comes to his Latino fans, Mario definitely has a heart. To prove it, he made a special appearance to sign autographs at Futura, a Latino nightclub in San Francisco. qvMagazine was on hand to speak to Mario. Here's what he had to say before his autograph session:
Where are you from? Mis padres son de Culiacan, Sinaloa y yo nací en Chula Vista, California.
¿Hablas español? Bueno, nací en este país y mi papá me dijó, "Mario, naciste aquí-tienes que hablar ingles."
When did you start acting? A los diez años. I was in a TV show at the age of 10. Then, I was in a program called, "Kids Incorporated." "Saved by the Bell" followed.
How did you end up in "Saved by the Bell?" I auditioned, like everyone else. I was a junior in high school; I was going to turn 16-years-old.
As a Latino actor, what did it mean to you to be in the show? It felt great because the role was a crossover role. They (the producers) cast the role blindly. The character's name wasn't Latino, but that wasn't important to me. It was a good opportunity to show that Latino actors can play any role.
What else besides, "Saved by the Bell," have you done? Obviously, the "Greg Louganis Story." I've also done a couple of TV movies. In fact, I'm in a movie that is coming up on the Sci-Fi Channel. Oh yeah, and I'm supposed to be making a movie in August called "Malagana" with Billy Bob Thorton.
Tell me something about the "Greg Louganis Story" movie. I auditioned, and after five or six call backs, I got the role! Greg and I grew up in the same neighborhood; we were both dancers and athletes. With time, he became a famous diver, and I became an actor. I never thought I would be portraying his life.
How was that experience for you? Cool! Greg had so much going on in his life. After I read the book, I had a new respect for him. He had an abusive father, he was adopted, and he was a gold medalist.
The role you played was a QV character. How do you feel about that? I don't have a problem with that. I see the character as a guy with a whole set of problems. You know, with all the problems I told you about. The character was a person who happened to be QV.
Have you played any other QV characters? No, I haven't.
Have you been to the Bay Area before?About eight times or so. I have a few friends here. I am also a 49ers fan.
What do you think of being at "Futura," a QV club (San Francisco)? I hope people like me!
Trust me, they will. (Bantering) If not, I am going to come back and hunt you down!
The Homosexuality Controversy
Recently, a coalition of conservative organizations, including the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, and Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, among others, placed full-page advertisements in the Washington Post, the New York Times and USA Today claiming that through faith, prayer and religion, homosexuals can become heterosexual. One of the ads featured a photo of a "former lesbian" with a large headline underneath that read, "I'm living proof that truth can set you free."
"These advertisements claim that lesbians and QV men are not-and cannot-be people of faith. This fallacy does a shameful disservice to thousands of lesbians and QV men who are central to their place of worship," said Jennifer H. Einhor, Director of Communications at the QV and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
The ads come at a time when the issue of homosexuality may be headed to the forefront of coming elections and public policies. According to GLAAD, well-funded religious political extremists have been lobbying Capitol Hill in an attempt to deny millions of Americans basic human rights.
The political issues at hand include same-sex marriages and equal employment opportunities among other issues. Many far-right Republican congress members are calling for the GOP to take a tough stance against the "homosexual agenda." According to the Human Rights Campaign, "Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott kicked off a wave of anti-QV rhetoric when he recently said that homosexuality was a sin and likened QVs to alcoholics and kleptomaniacs."
In response to the ads, a coalition of QV and QV-friendly organizations, including GLAAD, the HRC, the National Latina/o LGBT Organization (LLEGO), Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & QVs (PFLAG), and others, has placed its own ads showing an elderly couple with their lesbian daughter and a caption that reads, "We're living proof that families with lesbian and QV kids can be whole, happy and worthy of all that this great country promises."
As elections approach this year, and the as presidential election in 2000 nears, this issue may be one that we Latinos very well need to keep a close eye on.
What do you think about this controversy? Email your comments to qvMagazine@aol.com.
Brotherhood in Mexico City
NACCS (National Association for Chicana/Chicano Studies) held its 25th annual conference in the heart of Mexico City's Centro Histórico-June 24-27.
Under the theme, "Chicanos/as-Mexicanos/as: Dos Comunidades, Un Mismo Pueblo," the conference attracted over 1,500 participants, and gave Mexican-Americans the opportunity to interact with their Mexican foreign counterparts.It was a time in which scholarly topics and debates were met alongside personal stories and events that further encouraged cultural ties between the two groups. QV and lesbian Chicanos/as-Mexicanos/as were able to participate in both the Joto and Lesbiana Caucuses and in conference panels directed towards QV and lesbian Latinos.
Although the Joto Caucus had been in the works since 1992, it wasn't until the 1995 Spokane Conference in Washington that QV Chicanos were formally recognized by NACCS. Until that time, they had no real place to formally meet as a group.
For the Mexico City conference, unfortunately, there were some challenges for the Joto/Lesbiana Caucuses. In early June, NACCS e-mail list members received a disturbing e-mail regarding the Joto/Lesbiana Caucuses' inclusion in the Association. Members of the Nation of Aztlán (NOA) accused jotos and lesbianas of "infiltrating" Chicano studies and "contaminating" the (Chicano) movement. The NOA went on to express its belief that a person cannot be both Chicano and QV or lesbian. The irony is that this organization's purpose is to educate and encourage young Chicanos about their culture and history-instead, they are spreading hateful messages about what they don't attempt to understand.
The Joto Caucus had other troubles in Mexico City. Many of the QV and lesbian conference participants had been advised to stay at the Hotel Marlowe, which was believed to be a QV-friendly hotel. The chairs of both the Joto and Lesbiana Caucuses had made prior arrangements to have their caucus meetings (including their "Noche de Joteria") in the hotel, but these reservations were cancelled by the hotel because "room space was unavailable." Because of this, the caucuses decided to find the caucus member with the largest room and hold the meeting there. As people were making their way to that meeting, they were stopped by hotel employees and told that it was against hotel policy to have more than four people in any room at any time. When asked to see the policy in writing, the hotel management pulled out a flyer for the "Noche de Joteria." The manager said that the Hotel Marlowe "was a family establishment" and that they had a "national reputation to protect." The caucus was told that if the meeting in the hotel room was not disbanded, that they would be kicked out of the hotel.
The meeting was moved to the hotel lobby where members discussed what steps to take-either to leave the hotel or stay and make a stance. Fortunately, for the Caucus, organizers of Mexico's Pride Parade had come to the meeting and helped move the reception to a local club. They also advised suggestions of what steps to take against the hotel.
Word of the incident at the Hotel Marlowe quickly got to the office of Mexico City's mayor, Cuahtemoc Cardenas, and at his suggestion, the caucuses filed a formal complaint to his office so that an investigation could be made.
Yet, with all the mishaps that occurred, caucus members maintained a positive attitude. "From day one, jotos and lesbianas pulled together their agenda and made very important impacts on the conference," said Samuel Rodríguez, a conference participant.
The unity among the members of the Joto and Lesbiana Caucuses was best seen during their participation in Mexico City's 20th Marcha del Orgullo Lesbico, QV, Bisexual, y Transgenérico. Conference goers had the opportunity to be with their QV and lesbian brothers and sisters from Mexico as they celebrated their sexuality. People who were on the sidewalks joined in and marched alongside-QV and straight.