[OutVoice] New Orleans, LA: "Humor And History"

TheChorusBoy at aol.com TheChorusBoy at aol.com
Fri Aug 31 03:54:38 EDT 2007


Jade Esteban Estrada takes on the  persona of historic characters to 
celebrate the contributions of gay  people   
Friday, August  31, 2007   
By Doug  MacCash 
Art critic  
Read it  online: 
He's a singer, with the  1998 dance hit "Reggae Twist" under his belt. He's a 
dancer who, for a time,  choreographed camp queen Charo's stage act. And he's 
a comedian, who's used  topical material to coax laughter from audiences 
across the country. But when  people ask him what he does, the first answer that 
pops into the back of  Jade Esteban Estrada's mind is "I transform."   
On Saturday, at the Contemporary Arts Center, Estrada will transform aplenty, 
 from Alexander the Great to Queen Christina of Sweden, to Susan B. Anthony, 
to Harvey  Milk, to Billie Jean King and, finally, Sept. 11 hero Mark Bingham, 
who helped  wrestle control of Flight 93 from terrorists. Estrada's 75-minute 
one-man show,  called "ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 
2," is one of the  highlights of DecaFest, the second annual festival of 
lesbian, gay, bisexual and  transgender culture, taking place through Monday.  
"What I enjoy about 'ICONS  2,' is that I only mention the word gay once," 
said the 31-year-old San Antonio, Texas, native. ". . . These were great  men 
and women who shaped our culture and, by the way, they were gay."   
Estrada hopes audiences  will be amused by his depictions of homosexual 
heroes, but he's quick to say  that he doesn't ridicule his subjects. In 
conversation, he describes them in  loving historic detail. In Estrada's telling, 
Alexander may have been a world  conqueror, but he understood global economics 
millennia before it became a  buzzword. In the 17th century, Queen Christina 
sacrificed her personal life in  order to become a monarch, then sacrificed her 
monarchy for her religious faith.  Anthony strove for universal equality, not just 
women's suffrage. King used her  tennis racket to battle for feminist rights 
in a male-dominated sports world.   
The jokes, he hopes, arise  from the details. Considering invading Babylon, 
Alexander says: "We'll strike with  all the might of Macedonia, and gold, 
silver, art, literature  and really cool haircuts will pour through." When King 
triumphs over a male  rival, she recalls that sportscaster Howard Cosell asked 
her: "Do you consider  yourself an athlete or a woman?"  
"I like to go as far as I  can with the meat of the dramatic situation," 
Estrada said by phone. "I don't  let it get too heavy. I'm a comedian."  
Comedian or not, sometimes  the situations are a bit biting. In his Harvey 
Milk routine, played as a George  M. Cohan-esque tap dance, the San  Francisco 
politician runs for office again  and again and again, like the little train 
that could. Trouble is, when he's  finally elected, he's assassinated for his 
trouble. The Harvey Milk segment of  "ICONS 2" can be seen at www.youtube.com.  
Estrada performed "ICONS  1," featuring a different selection of homosexual 
heroes, at the first DecaFest  last year and described the post-Katrina crowd 
as sophisticated and wise with,  what he called, "old knowledge."  
"There was a lot of talk  about healing," he said. "I don't have to explain 
anything in New  Orleans, which is great, because I don't  have to teach, I 
just have to be funny."  
What:Performer and comedian  Estrada impersonates a series of historic 
characters as part of DecaFest, a  celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and 
transgender culture that continues  through Monday. The festival is based at the Omni 
Royal Orleans Hotel, 621  St. Louis  St., with events at various venues.   
Where: The Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp  St.  
When: Saturday 8 p.m.; box office opens at 7.   
Admission: $25. For advance  tickets, go to www.decafest.org. A ticket desk 
will be set up in the Promenade Room  of the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel.  
For details, call (504)  945-6789.  
_www.getjaded.com_ (http://www.getjaded.com/)  

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