sprightly man made six costume changes as he played Sappho,
Michelangelo, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Rivera and Ellen DeGeneres with such
high energy, it seemed to crackle in the air.
What do all these people on this timeline have in common?
They are all gay historical icons and Latin pop singer, entertainer and
Jade Esteban Estrada
played each of them in his one-man show called, "ICONS:
The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 1," Friday evening
in the Union.
"My show is about fate and destiny...that there is proof of fate and
destiny," Estrada said. "I want to remind people that inspiration is
always sitting next to you."
Estrada enjoys doing a one-man show, where he changes into each character
and their clothes while remaining on stage, as opposed to having others
work on the set with him.
"Artistically, I can make it exactly as I want, I can change it on a
dime," Estrada said. "I enjoy the artistic control and one of my greatest
talents is my ability to transform."
Working alongside Jennifer Lopez at the American Musical and Dramatic
Academy in New York, Estrada became talented at singing, dance, acting and
comedy which he enjoys exercising in his one-man shows.
"Personally, I enjoyed singing in Spanish, but there's just so much more I
wanted to do," Estrada explained. "I feel like a lot of artists are
cheated about who they are. I think it's beautiful when artists can do
Many people may wonder what inspired Estrada to represent each of the
icons he has chosen.
"I really love history and I love historical characters," Estrada said. "I
was bored with some of the projects I was doing before."
He also added that he loves to study human behavior which seems to be
captured in the choreography of each of his characters.
"[Human behavior] fascinates me," Estrada said.
Prior to the show, Nicky Damania, Graduate Assistant in the Center
Multicultural and Academic Initiative for LGBTA-Q Programs and Services,
anticipated Estrada's performance.
"He's a very high-energy individual, so this show will be phenomenal,"
said Damania, who brought Estrada to the campus for his first time. "He
got really great reviews from other universities."
After Estrada's vigorous presentation, many people left the room with not
only a more educated view of homosexuality, but a more educated view of
"It was very impressive, I never really came to a show like this," said
University graduate student Naoko Shimizu. "It surprised me. I didn't
realize how many [historical] people were gay."
Estrada seemed very down to earth, sitting after his show, signing
autographs for everyone while chit-chatting with each person.
Among the people surrounding him was Owens freshman Emily Carros, who was
also awed by Estrada's performance.
"He was outrageous and he kept people's attention," she said. "I think
he's really trying to educate people. He educated me."
Considering himself a "professional homosexual" who is being his
extremity, Estrada believes he is living "the American dream."
"I'm being my extremity and that's not a gay thing, it's not American,
it's human," he said.
However, doing a one-man show can have its challenges, Estrada added.
"Things go wrong all the time, improvisation is your friend on stage," he
said. "When things go wrong, sometimes it can be the best thing that could
ever happen to you and the audience because it's real."
Learning to find humor in oneself is an element Estrada believes holds
great significance, especially in his work.
"Laughing at yourself is one of the best things people can learn as a
skill," he said.
Estrada's show holds great meaning to him personally as well.
"It's the beginning of my masterpiece. It's a trilogy,” he said pointing
to a large mirror on stage, comparing himself to it. "That's my job as an
artist, to reflect."
Estrada believes great benefits can be gained by this presentation.
"When I step onstage and see a whole audience worth of people, I realize
that any one of them could be my seventh icon," he said. "With this in
mind, it is an honor for me to perform for them."
"But you know what? The more you look at people's differences, the more
you realize that we're all the same."
©2005 Bowling Green News