Juan Gabriel 1950-2016

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My godson MT3 calls me this afternoon with this news: “Nina, Juan Gabriel died. Just wanted you to know.” WWWOOOWWW.

One of the giants of Mexican and Latin music, gone.  He was at one of his homes in Santa Monica, CA and had a heart attack today 8/28/2016.  Juan Gabriel was currently on tour and had done his final concert at The Forum in Los Angeles, CA on Friday night.

Once I got home, I went straight to the TV hoping that I had not missed news coverage on the passing of this icon.  Fast forward, four hours later, and there is still coverage on Spanish TV about Juan Gabriel’s death.  What struck me was the astounding amount of songs that this man composed in his lifetime.  Every story would have Juanga’s music playing, “Amor Eterno”, “Yo No Naci Para Amar” “Abrazame Muy Fuerte” “No Tengo Dinero” “Querida” “Noa Noa” “No Me Vuelvo A Enamorar” “Hasta Que Te Conoci” and the list goes on and on and on.   My social media has blown up with every other post on Juanga’s passing.  So much of my radio and event fam has a story to tell about him.

Throughout my entire career in radio, I have been surrounded by Juan Gabriel music, all of his MANY hits I have played on the radio, to so many of his concerts, I have taken winners in to “Meet & Greets”, given out concert tickets, and I remember one time that we were taking winners to take pictures with Juan Gabriel, who, at the time, was not crazy about taking pictures.  So there I go making sure that my winners get their photo, and my crew and I each take a picture with him.  When we got the pictures back, we were told that they had been “damaged” during the processing and everyone’s pictures with Juanga came out fuzzy, grainy, and dark.   Sera cierto?  My picture is somewhere in my storage unit, so I have not included it in this entry.

Another time, I took winners to LA to see a concert at Universal Studios, it wasn’t Juan Gabriel :).  My BFF Maria GarciaRIP and her friend went with us.  As I was flying to SFO with winners and Maria was flying to Sac Airport, my flight left first.  Later that evening, I get a call from Maria saying that her flight had been delayed.  While they were waiting for their flight, they decided to go to one of the airport restaurants.  Once seated, to their absolute shock, guess who was at the next table?  None other than Juan Gabriel!  You better know Maria checked it all out and proceeds to tell me that Juanga had iced tea and a salad with Thousand Island dressing, and that he kept asking for more dressing LOL

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Juan Gabriel was one of Mama’s favorite artists EVER.  One of the joys of my life was to have been able to take her to see him in concert, she loved it.   I was very excited when Rocio Durcal (Mama’s #1 artist) and Juan Gabriel were on tour TOGETHER.   When they sang together, it was pure magic.  And, as Rocio became an international star by singing songs written by Juan Gabriel, including my mother’s favorite song, “Amor Eterno”, everytime I hear either of these two legends, my thoughts go first to Mama and how much she enjoyed their music.  Here they are “a duo” singing “Fue Un Placer Conocerte”, straight-up perfection.

Out of all of the many, many, many songs of Juan Gabriel, I have always been a fan of his straight-up, in your face, tomacabron songs OF COURSE accompanied by mariachi.  His phrasing, his fast-paced style of fitting so many words in one line so they sound like one lyric is second to none, I would sit in amazement wondering when this man took a breath.   Juanga felt every word and every note of the song, his interpretation was, many times, more than a performance, it was a tour de force.  Juan Gabriel was fun, flashy, emotional, divo, authentic, original, gifted, prolific, and would leave it all on the stage, every time.   Check out the video below and see for yourself!

My all-time favorite Juan Gabriel songs are “Se Me Olvido Otra Vez”, “Insensible”, “Te Voy A Olvidar” and “La Diferencia”… here is Rocio Durcal in what is my very favorite version of “La Diferencia”

I could go on and on and on.  Juan Gabriel was already beloved in life for the music that was the soundtrack to people’s lives.  His influence on future composers and musicians will be felt for many years to come.  No habra otro igual.  Que En Paz Descanse Juan Gabriel.

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The Power of ‘NO’

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I’ve written on this subject before so that means that I still needed some work on the word ‘no’.  So many times, when I have said ‘no’, I was afraid. Afraid of the power of the word, afraid that people wouldn’t like me, afraid that I would mess up the status quo, afraid that someone would get mad, afraid to use my God-given mind, afraid of the sound of my voice.  Hoping that my voice wouldn’t betray me by shaking, afraid that my tears would fall out of my eyes and that I would appear weak.

Then, last week happened. Suffice it to say that all hell broke loose, every fear came at me face-first, humiliation, defeat, death, weakness, sadness.   Everything manifested itself physically with me violently ill vomiting all over the car while driving on the freeway.   As I sat at my friend’s house, cooled off, and calmed myself, I had just enough energy to get in my car and drive home slowly.   Nothing really hit me until the next day…here I was physically sick and still trying to control every part of my world, trying to keep that lid on tight.  Well, of course, that didn’t end well.  I was still throwing up and still trying to do it all myself, trying to control the rage and action of others.  Then it hit me, by letting go and by saying ‘no’ and meaning it, I could get myself back in gear.

I had an assignment in a support group I belonged to a couple of years ago:  our assignment was to say ‘no’ and mean it, with no apologies, no ‘I’m sorry’ after that ‘no’.   I was all big and bad in my group and then promptly went outside to get gasoline, when someone came up and asked me for money.  First thing out of my mouth:  “I’m sorry but no…” Fail. LOL.

Fast forward 3 or 4 days, I’m still a little shaken up but my resolve is stronger than ever.  For me and for others, for the good of all concerned, it is time to say “no” and mean it, no apologies, no excuses, no rage, no anger, and most important, no fear.   I am sifting through all of the crazyass madness that took place in the past week, I am sorting out the good and bad, the things I must say no to, for my own good.  It will not be easy.  It will not be pretty,  It is necessary,  It is time to say no to drama, to anger, to rage, to control, to keeping things in, to keeping quiet, to letting myself down time and time again.   Saying ‘no’ will allow me to heal, to stop living in fear of what others want, think and/or do.   I can now see that I have been through worse and, at the end of the day, when I thought about it, it was when I said “No” that things truly changed for the better, it’s all in how you look at things.

I have lost so much in the past few days, but I have gained something too:  thanks to the grace of God, I’ve been able to gain perspective, which I really needed, I was able to see that, things happen, no one is perfect, and that no one should live life with a pit of negativity in their stomach.  NO is a complete sentence and respecting my boundaries will never lead me wrong, no matter what happens.

Maria Antonieta Garcia: BFFSisterFamFriend! I Will Miss You.

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Said my final goodbyes to my friend Maria during these past couple of days.   It has been a sad time for me.   I have been blessed to have friendships that have lasted years and years.  Maria is the first of my group of BFFFamiliaByChoice friends to leave and, as I drove thru her town today, all I could do was cry for my friend.  The one thing that she had asked was that we remember her with a smile, but for that minute, I could not.

When I got to her reception, I was able to see so many friends that we had in common, so many people that I have met thru Maria, so there was so much to talk about as we remembered our friend and so many ways that we honored her:  one friend catered with Maria’s favorite foods, one friend described that everything she wore that day had been gifts to her from Maria – from her jewelry to her clothing;  sooo many teachers were present (as Maria was a teacher) and it was very cool to see/hear the impact she had on their lives.

I sat with friends who had me laughing (and crying) as we talked about adventure after adventure like:

  1.  When we used to go out to the clubs, guys used to come up and ask our guy friend’s permission to dance with us LOL and el muy cínico used to answer “dos dolares por favor” LOL
  2. How I publicly thanked Georgia, Maria’s friend, who used to let us ALL stay over at her house in SF after we’d close down the clubs.  I didn’t remember that it was a studio apartment until today.
  3.  The time my creative friend dressed up as “Miss Zanahoria/Miss Carrot” for a Halloween party and she made her kickass bouquet of carrots and made a CROWN out of baby carrots — sooo awesome and I remember telling her, “WHO could top that?”
  4. The many times we got kicked out of the Student Union and various other places on campus por desmadrozos.
  5. The time Carlos had the nerve to ask Maria why women got so irritable during that time of the month LOL  Girl broke it down for him about half of our insides coming out of this little hole, etc. in such graphic detail that I still laugh about it and get serious asco too.
  6. Then there was the  time that there was an enano/midget who was dancing right near Maria’s chest — Hilarious and we never let her live this down!
  7. The time we all went to the Mariner’s /A’s baseball game with Maria, and we sat on the Mariner’s side and kept cheering for the A’s and checking out the fine ball players.  Girl was a serious game-watcher and we really tried her patience that night LOL.

There are soooo many more that I will save for when I meet up with all of my friends when we hang out together in Maria’s honor.  In fact, we’ve already started planning our next get-together.  You know there be great food, algo para tomar, chisme, chisme, chisme, music, tears, and, of course, laughter.

One of Maria’s aunts saw me sitting there, laughing and crying, and she told me to keep doing that, to keep honoring her niece forever.  It will not be hard, Maria was one of my greatest friends.  Below please find my thoughts the actual day that my friend left us … Saturday, July 23rd at 1:30pm:

 

My BFF Maria Garcia left this world earlier this afternoon. I’m very sad that Maria has left us so soon, I’m very proud that my friend fought until the very end, I’m so grateful that she wanted to be my friend for all of these years, I’m blessed to have had Maria as a member of my BFFs, a sister that I chose for myself and my familia, and I’m very hopeful that Maria will be reunited with her beloved Mama and maybe she’ll see my Mama as well in her eternal home. Thank you Jesus Lord Virgen of G for allowing me to have such an awesome group of BFFs, we are missing one now but we will be able to remember and honor Maria always: fun-loving, hilarious-funny, could talk to anyone anywhere anytime, major baseball and sports fan, great dancer, loved fine dining, always had her makeup and nails on point, love it that we could share makeup always being the same color LOL, creative, great teacher, kind-hearted, giving, patient with me:  her non-sports loving, non-animal loving, non-adventureous foodie who always wanted tacos or papas instead of trying out new foods. I will miss you sooooo very much, I was always happy to be your friend, and will never forget you Maria Antonieta Garcia, love you sister.

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