Thursday, January 29, 2004

We Met Rickie! / Our So-Called Night

by Andrea and Chelle
(editors note: we wrote these seperately then smashed them together,
eliminating redundancy, with rare exception.)

Last night we went to DePaul University to see Wilson
Cruz, aka Rickie Vasquez. *sigh*

First of all, he looked hot! He was wearing a
tightish black shirt, and really well-fitting jeans.
Yeah. Rickie grew up and got stylish :)

Delia: Okay, but um.. you're gay, right?
Rickie: Well, I... you know I ...
Delia: Oh I'm sorry... I didn't...
Rickie: No, it's's okay...
Delia: That came out so rude...
Rickie: No, see I try not to um, I don't like um ... yeah. I'm gay.
just don't usually say it like that.
Delia: How do you usually say it?
Rickie: I don't usually say it. I mean I've actually never said it.

Wilson: Yeah, that? I was like, ten. Seriously. Okay maybe not

They played that clip to introduce him, and when he walked on stage,
were the first words he said.

When he came onstage he was behind a podium. Before
he said anything, he started singing "Over the
Rainbow", and we just looked at each other and
thought, Vic would die! Only we didnt' say anything,
since we knew what the other was thinking. We just

Wilson went on to talk about inspiration, and his inspiration and
motivations, and how having inspiration is important not just as an
but as a person. (Why do we all like that song? It inspires us.)

The first part of his talk was prepared. He was
looking off notes and was quite formal. After that he
came from behind the podium with a hand-held mic and
was much more natural. His mannerisms really reminded
both of us of John Leguizamo. Just the way he moves.

He talked about his Puerto Rican family and heritage, and how his
gave him an immense sense of pride in that regard. He has a tattoo of
Puerto Rican flag on his upper left arm. He talked about moving from
York City to Holland, Michigan to California. He detailed his
struggle, in
growing up, with coming out to himself and to other people. Everyone
laughed as he described his best friend in high school, the one who
"kick you in the face" but carried a purse. (Look Wilson, you're a
fag, I'm
the only one here people hate more than you, so we might as well hang

The two organizations hosting the event were a Latino
fraternity and a GLBT organization, so being a gay
Latino man was what he talked about most. He talked
about when he realized he was gay, the denial he went
through, and what it was like coming out to his

It was during the audition for the character of Rickie that he realized
had to come out, to everyone, including his parents, if he were to play
part. He wanted his portrayal to be true, and couldn't bring himself
to do
so under false pretenses. He waited until the show was finally picked
up by
the network. His mom was driving and was sobbing, but seemed to take
well. His father, upon hearing the truth, kicked him out of the house.
was Christmas day.
Wilson was homeless and lived in a car for three months before filming
Throughout the duration of the series, he was able to contribute much
Rickie's character direction and development. Some of the storylines,
you can probably see, were taken directly from Wilson's life.
It was after So-Called Angels aired that his father called him to speak
him again.

He also talked about the way characters of color and
GLBT characters are portrayed in the media, and his
lack of satisfaction with them. He said he's sick of
getting scripts portraying Latinos as thugs or
druggies, and all the stereotypes therein. He did say
he liked the way David's relationship on "Six Feet
Under" is portrayed. When he opened it up to
questions, one person said that if he wasn't satisfied
that maybe he should think about writing something for
himself, and he said he's already on that, so maybe
we'll see something from him in a couple of years :)

Wilson is an activist for GLBT issues, especially homeless youth and
He considered leaving the world of entertainment to become a full-time
activist. He answered questions from the audience, about being an
actor of
color, about being a gay man of color, about being a gay man of color
in the
entertainment industry, about jeans, movies, music, religion and love.

He just seemed so genuine and honest. He answered all
the questions honestly, he didn't skirt around
anything. One guy asked, "You have a beautiful voice,
will you sing to me?" And he did!!! And he does have
a beautiful voice. Many people thanked him for the
way he portrayed Rickie, how important that was in
their lives. He seems really unaffected, like he'd be
a great person to know.

As I sat at my desk at work today, I grew more and more excited for
tonight's presentation. I wondered just how much of Wilson there was
Rickie, and vice versa. I wondered if he would be as funny, dynamic,
beautiful in real life. I wondered if the food would be good. (It
was. And
free!) I wondered if I would get my photo with him. I thought about
the list, and how many people I wished I could bring along.
But mostly I thought about Kent. Our Katimski. And more than anyone,
wished he could have been there tonight with us. I think he would have
ecstatic not just because Wilson is as fabulous as anyone could hope,
because as a gay man of color, he's living the responsibility of
standing up
and having a voice and making himself heard. The importance Wilson
on that, and the sincerity, and all his activism... it was beyond
He was an inspiration. Just like Kent. I hope that somehow Kent knows
this. I believe he does.

While I was at work during the day I was getting
excited about it. The scenes of Rickie with Mr.
Katimski were in my head, and the first listee who
came into my head was Kent. I thought about how much
he would have liked to have seen Wilson, and how much
I miss him. How genuine he was. It's been a few
months since I thought about Kent, and it made me
happy and sad at the same time. Sad that he's no
longer here with us, but happy about what he meant to
us. How unfortunate it was that I didn't get to know
him any better than I did.

But on a more upbeat note, there are pics!!! Yes, we
spoke with him! He was so gracious. We told him how
much we loved MSCL, how great it was. He touched my
elbow and said "Thank you so much." He was just so
nice. At one point Chelle said, "I wish I could take
him home with me," and I so agree. He seemed so sweet
and nice. I admire his activism and sense of responsibility.

We got to spend our evening with Rickie. And yes, you better believe
it, we
had a time.

- Andrea & Chelle :)


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