By Will Underhill
The lost history of gays and lesbians from the poet Sappho of ancient Greece to talk show host Ellen Degeneres paraded across the stage of McCreless Theater Monday.
San Antonio native and former student Jade Esteban Estrada performed his one-man comedy show “Icons: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 2.”
In “Icons,” written by Estrada, he portrays famous icons from gay and lesbian history, including the painter Michelangelo, playwright Oscar Wilde of Victorian London, author Gertrude Stein and Sylvia Rivera of the Stonewall riots.
Sappho is called the first lesbian by scholars; however, all except a few fragments of her poetry have been lost.
“I wrote poems and sang songs with my lyre,” said Estrada, as Sappho. “And I’m so happy to see that you still have liars in your time. I just don’t understand why you put them in the White House.”
Estrada attributes his ability to perform shows like “Icons” to being Hispanic.
“If I was a straight white man, I couldn’t do this show without you guys walking out saying ‘what the hell was that?’” Estrada said.
During his career as a Latin pop singer, Estrada wanted his next project to incorporate singing, acting and dance equally.
He originally planned to write a show about the gay Latino experience, focusing on Sylvia Rivera but decided to take a world view when he debuted “Icons: Vol. 1” at the Columbus National Gay and Lesbian Theater Festival in 2002.
“I think they thought I was going to do a salsa show or something,” Estrada said. “A lot of people are surprised that a Latino like myself is taking such a world view.”
The last time Estrada performed in McCreless Theater was as a student of Alan Ross, retired theater and communication professor.
“My show is about history, and I found it heart warming to perform in a theater that is part of my past,” Estrada said.
After the show, Estrada answered questions from the audience and was given a Gay and Lesbian Association T-shirt and a framed copy of the promotional poster by GALA President William Brent and Treasurer Nathan Kinsey.
For more information, visit the Icons Web site at http://www.iconsofhistory.com/iconsabout.htm.