Thursday, August 30, 2007

Last week

It seems silly to repeat the old adage that things happen in three's but sometime they do!Last week 2 significant people died as I mentioned before and then on my way to work at the convenience store, Famima, my friend called me from the mountains she didn't say where, to tell me that Mr. Lee Shelley had passed away and that his funeral was that day. I guess it was important for me to know that. Mr. Lee Shelley was one of the founders of the interdenominational missionary organization (conservative) Christians In Action that I joined just after I turned 18. While I was serving, working in Guatemala and El Salvador waiting for my visa to Colombia where I was originally supposed to go he traveled down with his wife to conduct a Latina American Tour. At the time he was the president of the organization. I traveled with them along with a reluctant senior missionary who did not want to leave Guatemala. We stopped in several countries along the way to Santiago, Chile. One of the things I enjoyed about Mr. Shelly also known as "Papa Lee" was his quiet sense of humor. The one thing I didn't appreciate him was that he would not listen to me when I met with him in December of 1980 when I was making my decision to resign from the organization. He would not take me seriously and I was telling the truth. Of course my truth, yes, but it was necessary to have a clear picture of what really took place in Chile when I served there. In the end one missionary couple apologized to me for the mistakes made and the suffering. this aided in my healing and it took me years to talk about what happened and why I resigned as a missionary. It was a painful memory and I'm glad that Don Hawthorne does his morning seminar about 3 times a year at All Saints Pasadena called Healing of Painful Memories. Yes it's possible I can tell you the story here but not now. I'm very tired. I'm going to bed.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I have a headache

But I want to write some sad news I received today all within a 3 hour block of time. My long time friend Lillian West whose daughter Bertae West has been battling with a rare disease for the past year or so passed away last Friday. August 17, 2007. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
I met Bertae when she was a child. She was always so sweet. I met her after I met Lill through Carmen and Anna Maria who were the first chicana lesbian couple I met through my wonderful teacher and mentor Professor Klausner way back in 1981. We worked together on the first Women of Color Califia in Los Angeles.
and speaking of women of color a long time butch activist and so much more Yolanda Vargas Retter passed away Saturday August 18, 2007. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
I will paste some information about her so you'll know who she is too. On Sunday after the last Sparks home game we (Bridgette, me, Ginger and Leslie) were talking and laughing and commenting about Yolanda's endless conversation about butches and femmes. That means she was in our midst. I mourn the death of these two friends and everything they mean to me. Spoken and unspoken.
Saturday August 18, 2007, the Los Angeles lesbian community lost a longtime uber-activist, intellectual and gad-fly extraordinaire Yolanda Vargas Retter, a preeminent Latina lesbian-feminist, community scholar and librarian who died in her Van Nuys home of cancer. Born December 4, 1947 in the United States, her mother was Peruvian and her father American. She was raised first in El Salvador and then in Connecticut.

She is survived by her partner of 13 years Leslie Stampler who said, “She would want to be remembered for how she lived, not how she died.” Leslie said a memorial will take place in 6 to 8 weeks. I will send an email when I receive information.

Most recently, Yolanda worked as archivist for the UCLA Chicano Studies Resource Center. She also volunteered as the chief coordinator of the Lesbian Legacy Collection at ONE Gay and Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern Californiawhere she built an extensive collection of Los Angeles lesbian history.

She also devoted time, energy and vision to the West Hollywood-based June Mazer Lesbian Archives. In the 90s Yolanda was the librarian overseeing the Chicano Resources Center at the Los Angeles County Public Library community library inEast Los Angeles. Yolanda also ran Lesbian Central in the late 80s at the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Centerwhen it was located on Highland Avenue.

She was a passionate advocate for lesbians as well as the need to expand community history to include and celebrate women of color. She never tired of a life-long passion for ensuring that less-empowered communities not themselves exclude as they fought oppression.

As community historian and scholar Stuart Timmons relates, Yolanda wrote more than
a dozen articles and co-authored at least four books on LGBT topics. To quote Stuart Timmons:

“She called herself a lesbian history and visibility activist and preferred the term herstorian.” Her dissertation (Universityof New Mexico) was called “On the Side of the Angels: Lesbian Activism in Los Angeles 1970 – 1990.”

“As an Internet author Yolanda created web sites for LA lesbian history, for lesbians of color, and other projects. I believe due to her health these may not be posted, but were important at a critical time. In its day, her lesbian site was rated among the top 5% by Lycos. Yolanda was an exemplary resource manager, especially for disenfranchised people.”

“One of the most important parts of Yolanda’s work was her relentless insistence that people of color, especially lesbians, speak for themselves. This used to be a somewhat controversial idea, but has become broadly accepted. On the Internet, in her work as a librarian (both at USC and UCLA), as a historian, and over and over and over again in individual circumstances, she really dedicated herself to preserving otherwise overlooked history, and in the most authentic possible context.

“Yolanda was a very strong personality, unafraid to ruffle feathers, but she earned very wide respect in the community.”

Yolanda’s uncle was Alberto Vargas, the famous pin-up artist, and her grandfather was a Peruvian photographer of note. She held a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s as well in Library Science. She held a PhD in American Studies.

Friday, August 17, 2007

3rd Annual Gay Mafia Comedy Competition

This year my friend and comedy buddy Mark asked me if I was going to participate. I had been thinking about it so his question got me moving on a 5 minute set. Thanks to lots of support and suggestions on the content I was able to memorize it. Last night I was there to do my 5 minutes at the club. It was an unusually small crowd, about 10 audience members. I did my set and got laughs which is what comedians live for. I was able to stay in the moment and notice that some noise in the background had stopped and I commented on it. I mention this because my improv training helps with being in the moment. I know it takes years and practice, practice, practice. My Toastmasters training has been so helpful. Results: I didn't have any of my people there to vote, so I don't go to the finals but I will continue. I am enrolled in a comedic performance class at Pasadena City College this semester. Yipee! I showed up! Thank you to every one of my close friends who gave me your time and support as I prepared. I feel good!

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Hi friends and family,
I wanted to let you know what's happening with me during these summer days. I'm still driving a school bus but doing odd jobs during 4 week summer break and catching up on communication with ya'll.
Recently, I was elected to be the President of my Toastmasters Club. We meet on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at the Kaiser building in Pasadena on Walnut and Euclid, unless it falls on a holiday. From 1:15 to 2:30. Toastmasters is a fun, inexpensive and supportive way to improve speaking skills whether you are a public speaker or not it's very helpful for the self-confidence and you meet all kinds of really cool people. You can discover more about Toastmasters at
I invite you and hope you come by for a visit and check it out one day soon!
Also I will be performing in the comedy competition that is organized by Mike Player of the Gay Mafia, whom I have worked with since 2001. Each performer brings their own audience, that's where you come in :) so I hope you can make it on Thursday the 16th at 8pm See ad below.....
You can hear me every Monday night on KPFK 90.7 FM at 7pm on the IMRU program
and finally I have started my own blog now that I plan to keep up
See you soon!
Love and friendship,
Vivian Marie Varela

Which Queer Comedian will win...??

"The 3rd Annual
Gay Mafia Comedy Competition!"
Laugh Times:
Prelim --- Thursday, August 9 2007 --- 8 p.m.
Prelim --- Thursday, August 16 2007 --- 8 p.m.
Finals --- Friday, August 24, 2007 --- 8:30 p.m.

more info click here


With guest performances by

The Gay Mafia!

and surprise guests

Hosted by Jerry Calumn

Tangier Restaurant

2138 Hillhurst Avenue in Los Feliz

Los Angeles, 90027

serving dinner -- full bar -- valet parking

$10 suggested donation

No Reservations Required

Saturday, August 4, 2007

South Pacific

Last Friday night my sister Rebecca invited me to the Hollywood Bowl to see South Pacific. Her friend from work is an actor and he was one of the navy men. He did an excellent job!the musical concert was great. The singing was excellent. My teacher for elementary voice class suggested I do one of the songs in this musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein so she lent me the movie and I perused the music. I ended up not doing any of the songs but the one song I find so powerful and moving is You've Got to Be Carefully Taught. It's really the anchor( pun intended) that holds it down makes you stop and think and then you make a change and move on! I love that song! ng Here's the info:

Musical Concert South Pacific at the Hollywood Bowl

Fri. Aug 3 8:30 PM South Pacific with Reba McEntire and Brian Stokes Mitchell
Reba McEntire, Ensign Nellie Forbush; Brian Stokes Mitchell, Emile de Becque; Hollywood Bowl Orchestra; Paul Gemignani, musical director; David Lee, director; Mark Esposito, choreographer; Armelia McQueen, Bloody Mary; Aaron Lazar, Lt. Joseph Cable (USMC); Conrad John Schuck, Capt. George Brackett (USN)
Michael McKean, Luther Billis

Rodgers and Hammerstein: South Pacific

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the stage musical. For the 1958 film, see South Pacific (1958 film).

For other other uses, see South Pacific

South Pacific is a musical play, with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by both Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The story is based on two short stories by James A. Michener from his book Tales of the South Pacific, which itself was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950. The issue of racial prejudice was sensitively and candidly explored, particularly for a 1949 work. James Michener claimed he was pressured to ask Rodgers and Hammerstein to remove the song You've Got to Be Carefully Taught, because of its biting comments about racial prejudice.

South Pacific is generally considered to be one of the greatest musicals of all time [1] [2], and a number of its songs, such as "Bali Ha'i," "Younger than Springtime," and "Some Enchanted Evening," have become worldwide standards. South Pacific is the only musical to date (12/18/2006) to have won all four Tony Awards for acting. It was nominated for 9 Tonys and won all of them.


On a South Pacific island during World War II, a U.S. Navy nurse, Ensign Nellie Forbush, falls in love with a middle-aged French plantation owner, Emile de Becque.

Meanwhile, the restless U.S. Navy sailors, led by the entrepreneurial Seabee Luther Billis, lament the absence of women or combat to relieve their boredom, when Lieutenant Joe Cable of the U.S. Marine Corps arrives on the island to take part in a dangerous spy mission that might help turn the tide of the war against Japan. As only officers can sign out boats, Billis convinces Lt. Cable to accompany him to the mysterious and valuable island of Bali Ha'i. There, Bloody Mary, the native souvenir dealer, introduces Cable to her teenage daughter, Liat, and the two fall in love.

The two couples prosper, and proposals of marriage are made; however, Nellie has deep-seated ethnic prejudices, and Emile is a widower with children from his marriage to a Polynesian wife. Nellie has to choose between her long-held biases and her heartfelt love of Emile. Similarly, Cable refuses to marry Liat due to her race, infuriating Mary. Though recognizing, and being ashamed of, their bigotry, Nellie and Cable feel that they have no options, due to pressures of society and their own upbringing.

Dejected and with nothing to lose, Emile agrees to join Cable on his dangerous mission behind Japanese lines, successfully sending back reports on enemy forces. The Americans use this information to intercept and destroy Japanese convoys, "Operation Alligator" gets underway, and the previously idle sailors, including the reluctant Luther Billis, are sent into battle. Cable is killed during the mission, and Emile narrowly escapes a similar fate to return home to the now-understanding Nellie and his children.


Act I

  • Overture - Orchestra
  • Dites Moi (Tell Me Why) - Emile's Two Children or Islander chorus
  • A Cockeyed Optimist - Nellie
  • Twin Soliloquies - Nellie and Emile
  • Some Enchanted Evening - Emile
  • Dites Moi (reprise) - Emile and his Two Children
  • Bloody Mary - Men's Chorus
  • There Is Nothing Like a Dame - Men's Chorus
  • Bali Ha'i - Bloody Mary
  • I'm Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta My Hair - Nellie and Women's Chorus
  • Some Enchanted Evening (reprise) - Emile and Nellie
  • A Wonderful Guy - Nellie and Women's Chorus
  • Younger than Springtime - Cable
  • Bali Ha'i (reprise) - Offstage Chorus or Islander chorus
  • A Cockeyed Optimist (reprise) - Emile and Nellie
  • Twin Soliloquies (reprise) - Nellie and Emile
  • A Wonderful Guy (reprise) - Nellie and Emile
  • Finale: Act I (Some Enchanted Evening) - Emile

Act II

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Today was the last day of summer school so for me a school bus driver it means no work for a month. Would be nice to make enough money during the year to have enough money to take a vacation somewhere or even to stay home to write and do decoupage and fix up my little space here in the lovely city of El Sereno. They've been re-paving the streets and fixing up the neighborhood. Wow! Surprise. back to my concern or wish or dream.... and not worry about paying the rent and bills, but such is life for me right now. I don't really have much to say today but i wanted to make and entry so here it is. I'm working on some stand up comedy material to perform this month. I'll let you know the time and date. Gotta go!
I will still try to do some of the above activties in between looking for work and working at other jobs. I have a lot to be grateful for like .....amazing friendships and lots of supportive people in my life. Folks who care and listen. I edited my first radio piece entirely by myself after Curtis re-taught me what I knew minimally. He added the music or rather the Margaret Cho little diddy that was passed on to me by Steve. See how nothing is done on one's own? We need to help each other. I am looking forward to the Latina Lesbian Conference coming up in September here in Los Angeles.