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Friday, April 21 • 3:45pm - 5:15pm
Remembering Juan Gabriel

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Among the many notable and disheartening deaths of 2016 was Mexican pop icon Juan Gabriel. American media compared Juan Gabriel to Elton John, Liberace, and Prince among others for his virtuosity and queerness, however, this only begins to do justice to his legacy. Considered one of Mexico’s greatest performers and cultural icons, Juan Gabriel’s career spanned over four decades and included innumerable hits and accolades. Like many great artists Juan Gabriel reinvented himself continuously through various genres of Mexican popular music. From mariachi, to pop, to disco, to American classic rock covers, Juan Gabriel’s range was legendary. His popularity cut across deep divisions in Mexico, the Mexican diaspora and other Latin American countries—he is at once a queer icon, a Mexican national icon, and an international superstar. Juan Gabriel’s flamboyant dress and performances defied masculine gender norms and his sexuality was an open secret. His songs can be heard at birthday parties, quinceañeras, funerals, and anywhere mariachis gather. For Mexican immigrants in the U.S. Juan Gabriel represented a sonic connection to the Mexico they left behind and imagined still existed. His rags to riches life story also connected with their aspirations and struggles. Juan Gabriel was among the first Mexican artists to routinely tour and sell out large arenas in U.S. cities, paving the way for the Mexican regional music industry in the U.S. and other genres and performers.

This roundtable considers the legacy or lasting impact of Juan Gabriel’s musical career. Themes to be addressed include: Juan Gabriel’s performance aesthetic, the diversity of his audience, transnational musical migrations, and music industry impact.

avatar for José G. Anguiano

José G. Anguiano

José G. Anguiano is an Assistant Professor in the Honors College and the Department of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Anguiano is a cultural studies scholar with a primary focus in listeners and audiences of popular music. Dr. Anguiano’s research documents how popular music links communities of listeners across time and space, and how listening can be an active and creative form of... Read More →


Iris C. Avendaño

Iris C. Viveros Avendaño was born and raised in Mexico. She is a Ph.D. Candidate and a McNair Scholar at the University of Washington whose academic interests and research emphasize the integration of third world feminist approaches to analyze the impact of colonialism in present-day systems of violence. Iris’s scholarly work focuses on the connection between cultural production—in the form of participatory music, dance... Read More →

Anel Bautista Bravo

Anel Bautista Bravo received her BA from Cal State Los Angeles in Chicana/o Studies and is currently a Masters student at Cal State Northridge in the department of Chicana/o Studies. Her research interests include cultural production and identity, popular culture, decoloniality, and feminist theory within folklórico. She has presented at various conferences exploring folklórico and has danced for over five years... Read More →

Nicholas F. Centino

Nicholas F. Centino is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He earned his doctorate in Chicana and Chicano Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he also received his undergraduate degree. His work examines the political economy of a historical moment through the lens of popular culture. From 2014–2016, he served as the UCI Community and Labor Project Postdoctoral... Read More →
avatar for Jorge N. Leal

Jorge N. Leal

Twitter | | Jorge N. Leal is an urban and cultural historian whose research focuses on transnational Latina/o urban communities in Southern California. Previous to pursuing his doctoral training in History, Leal was an active participant in the Latina/o music scene in Los Angeles, both as rock critic for local publications and concert... Read More →

Fabian Romero

Purepécha poet-scholar Fabian Romero was born in Michoacán, Mexico and raised in the Pacific Northwest. They co-founded and participated in several writing and performance groups including Hijas de Su Madre, Las Mamalogues and Mixed Messages: Stories by People of Color. Their scholarship, poetry and experimental films are rooted in personal two spirit, queer and immigrant experiences. They are currently a Doctoral student in the... Read More →

Friday April 21, 2017 3:45pm - 5:15pm
JBL Theater MoPOP, 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109