Madame Tussauds unveils Selena Quintanilla wax figure

Madame Tussauds Hollywood's unveiling of singer Selena immortalized in wax at Madame Tussauds on August 30, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds Hollywood)
Madame Tussauds Hollywood’s unveiling of singer Selena immortalized in wax at Madame Tussauds on August 30, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds Hollywood)

Madame Tussauds Hollywood on Tuesday unveiled the highly anticipated wax figure of the “Queen of Tejano” Selena Quintanilla, who more than 20 years after her death continues to influence music and pop culture. Now fans can see, hug and take photos with Selena’s likeness in California along with other iconic lifelike figures including Marilyn Monroe and Lady Gaga.

“On behalf of our family we would like to express a huge amount of gratitude to Madame Tussauds in creating such an amazing lifelike wax figure of our beloved Selena,” Selena’s sister Suzette Arriaga said in a news release. “This is yet another step in making sure that her legacy lives on and that her fans new and old can appreciate her as a person, an artist and one whom we can all identify with.”

RELATED: SELENA’S LEGACY LIVES ON

HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 30: Selena's husband Chris Perez (L), sister Suzette Quintanilla (2nd-L), and brother A.B. Quintanilla (R) onstage during Madame Tussauds Hollywood's unveiling of Singer Selena immortalized in wax at Madame Tussauds on August 30, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds Hollywood)
Selena’s husband Chris Perez (L), sister Suzette Quintanilla (2nd-L), and brother A.B. Quintanilla (R) onstage during Madame Tussauds Hollywood’s unveiling of Singer Selena immortalized in wax at Madame Tussauds on August 30, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds Hollywood)

Madame Tussauds Hollywood announced plans in July to immortalize the legend with a wax figure after more than 10,000 Selena fans signed a Change.org petition requesting the honor. Madame Tussauds worked in partnership with the Quintanilla family as well as a team of sculptors and artists to recreate a 1993 stage look from Selena’s concert performance at Memorial Coliseum in Corpus Christi. The Grammy-winning album “Selena Live!” was recorded there.

On Selena’s Facebook page, fans poured in with their thoughts about the new wax figure. “It’s so amazing as a fan to see this happen,” wrote Clarissa Ramirez. “Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, makeup line, (and now) her own wax figure. She’d be so proud of all her accomplishments if she was alive to see it today.”

RELATED: SELENA INFLUENCED STYLE, BEAUTY

This fall there will be more posthumous honors for the pop culture icon. In October,  Selena will be inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame and MAC cosmetics will release a limited-edition Selena makeup line.

“At Madame Tussauds, our figures represent icons who have made a significant impact on our culture. That perfectly describes Selena,” Colin Thomas, general manager of Madame Tussauds Hollywood, said in a news release. “Her influence has transcended generations and her passionate fans continue to be inspired by her to this day. We recognize this and in response, we are proud to join her fans in celebrating her legacy by immortalizing her.”

MORE LATINO CULTURAL ARTS: CULTURA EN AUSTIN

Remembering Mexican singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel

In this Nov. 4, 2009, file photo, Juan Gabriel performs at the Latin Recording Academy Person of The Year event in his honor in Las Vegas. Representatives of Juan Gabriel have reported Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, that he has died. Gabriel was Mexico's leading singer-songwriter and top-selling artist with sales of more than 100 million albums. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
In this Nov. 4, 2009, file photo, Juan Gabriel performs at the Latin Recording Academy Person of The Year event in his honor in Las Vegas. Representatives of Juan Gabriel have reported Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, that he has died. Gabriel was Mexico’s leading singer-songwriter and top-selling artist with sales of more than 100 million albums. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

My father recently dusted off a batch of old family records that had been sitting in storage for years and gave me a musical treasure trove that I’m still sifting through with awe. The hefty record collection ranges from the obscure to classic Mexican musical gems, mostly from the 1970s.

When news broke of the death of iconic Mexican singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel on Sunday, I dug through the old crates. Tucked inside were a pair of his records from the 1970s, with album covers featuring Juan Gabriel’s boyish face staring off into the distance. The prolific artist, who was scheduled to perform Sunday night in El Paso, Texas, died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California. He was 66.

He leaves behind a musical legacy that spans more than four decades. According to Billboard.com, Juan Gabriel had the highest-grossing Latin tour of 2015, earning $31.8 million for 32 shows in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Songs such as “El Noa Noa,” “Amor Eterno” and “No Tengo Dinero” have served as the soundtrack for generations of Latinos. His showmanship and grand stage presence earned him the nickname the “Divo of Juárez.”

Juan Gabriel albums from 1972 and 1977 from the Flores family collection. Nancy Flores/American-Statesman
Juan Gabriel 1970s albums from the Flores family collection. Nancy Flores/American-Statesman

As a late summer shower pours down on Austin on Sunday evening, I’m listening to the magic of Juan Gabriel’s music on my record player with pops, hisses and all. It’s probably been more than 20 years since these family records have been played, but today Juan Gabriel’s debut album “El Alma Joven” and his 1978 album “Siempre en Mi Mente” will fill my home with the classic pop and rock that will continue to inspire music lovers.

Celebrate the legendary artist’s life with this playlist of some of my favorites:

 

 

 

Selena Quintanilla to be inducted into Texas Women’s Hall of Fame

Selena performs at Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, TX, April 24, 1994.  Photo by Sung Park / The Austin American-Statesman
Selena performs at Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, TX, April 24, 1994. Photo by Sung Park / Austin American-Statesman

Pop culture icon and the “Queen of Tejano music” Selena Quintanilla Pérez  will be inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame this fall.

The Governor’s Commission for Women announced the 2016 inductees on Thursday, and an induction ceremony will be held on Oct. 21 at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. Selena will be inducted along with four other Texas women including aviation pioneer Emma Carter Browning, entrepreneur Susie Hitchcock-Hall, University of Houston president Renu Khator and Ginger Kerrick, a division chief of the Flight Operations Directorate Integration Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

“I am honored to welcome these five extraordinary women into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news release. “Whether in public service, the arts, business or education, these leaders have inspired generations of Texans to reach new heights, achieve new goals and elevate the Lone Star State. I would like to thank each of the honorees and their families for their enduring contributions to the State of Texas.”

RELATED: SELENA’S LEGACY LIVES ON

For Selena, the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame news comes after a slew of posthumous honors this year. In June, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced that the superstar will receive a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 2017. In July, Madame Tussauds Hollywood announced plans to immortalize the legend with a wax figure.

Fans will have more to celebrate in October when M.A.C. cosmetics releases the limited-edition Selena makeup line.

RELATED: SELENA INFLUENCED STYLE, BEAUTY

On March 31, 1995, Selena’s former fan club president Yolanda Saldivar fatally shot her at a Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi. But for many fans of the Tejano superstar, who was on the brink of crossing over to the English-language music market, Selena’s legacy lives on. Fans will celebrate her life at the third annual Fiesta de la Flor festival in Corpus Christi on March 24-25, 2017.

“Selena’s story transcends cultural differences and continues to inspire people around the world,” according to the Texas Governor’s Commission for Women. “She is remembered as an icon for her musical accomplishments as well as for the joy that the memory of her charismatic personality continues to bring to her fans.”

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Teatro Vivo presents Latino comedy showcase Aug. 4-6

mexcentrics

Humor can bring people together and often helps us find our commonalities. For one weekend only (Aug. 4-6), Teatro Vivo presents Mexcentrics, a Latino comedy showcase that will feature everything from ensemble performances to solo acts that highlight Latino life and culture “with authenticity, sincerity and laughter,” according to the Latino theater group.

Comedian Howard Beecher will host the showcases at 8 p.m. on Thursday and 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. In addition to performances by Mexcentrics, the comedy troupe behind sketch comedy shows such as “Pulga Nation” and “Pulga Time Machine,” other featured comics include actress, improviser and sketch comedy writer Vanessa Gonzalez, stand-up comedian, writer and actor Jesse Pangelinan and improv comedy troupe Shades of Brown.

RELATED: GET MORE LATINO CULTURAL ART NEWS

“It’s exciting to have such a talented team of professional actors and comedians who love to make people laugh and are dedicated to delivering an honest look at the Latino experience,” said Teatro Vivo’s Artistic Executive Director Mario Ramirez in a statement.

But you might want to leave your children at home. Teatro Vivo warns that the shows contain adult content. Tickets, which range from $15-$20, can be purchased at teatrovivo.org/buy-tickets/.

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Gina Chavez concert to benefit Niñas Arriba college fund

Gina Chavez
Gina Chavez, who co-founded the Niñas Arriba college fund, performs at the Austin Music Awards at SXSW 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

In 2009, Austin singer-songwriter Gina Chavez and her partner Jodi Granado took a life-changing mission trip to San Salvador’s gang-dominated suburb of Soyapango. While teaching English at a girls’ school for eight months, they met inspiring young women struggling through daily life in El Salvador.

They knew helping these girls afford a college education could potentially transform their future. When the couple returned to Austin, they founded the Niñas Arriba college fund. Through annual benefit concerts, they’ve raised more than $15,000 for scholarships. This year, Niñas Arriba has something special to celebrate – their first college graduate, Xiomara Cordova.

RELATED: Gina Chavez Trio named cultural ambassadors

Cordova, 25, studied at a private, Catholic university while juggling marriage and motherhood. She’ll be in attendance at the benefit concert and college graduation celebration at 7 p.m. on Aug. 13 at Stateside at the Paramount. Featured performers include Chavez, Sara Hickman and Suzanna Choffel.

Tickets, which range from $22 for general admission to $56 for VIP, are available at austintheatre.org. Doors open at 6 p.m.