Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-12-12
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



FALL THEATER, 'Destinos' theme is lifelong journey for founder Myrna Salazar
by Amelia Orozco

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Think Rita Moreno mixed with your favorite world-traveler aunt who brings you trinkets from far-away lands and mesmerizes you with stories of intrigue and adventure. That's Myrna Salazar, executive director and co-founder of the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance ( CLATA ).

CLATA is in the spotlight this month, with Latinx artists from around the world joining forces for the second annual Chicago International Latino Theater Festival. Aptly named Destinos ( or Journeys ), the festival runs from Sept. 20 through Nov. 4. ( See sidebar )

"( Latinos ) constitute 44 percent of the student population in Chicago Public Schools and we have only two small theaters that have a home in Chicago," said Salazar. "Our stories need to be told. We have excellent talent, excellent playwrights. We want to generate new audiences." ( Chicago is home to Teatro Vista and Aguijon Theater, both dedicated to producing works that reflect aspects of the world's vastly varied and intricate Latinx cultures. )

Salazar has been on her own journey since long before CLATA was formed or Destinos was even a vision. She's been lauded with numerous awards for her work in the Chicago Latino community ( including kudos from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce ) and has been a panelist for numerous discussions on diversity and equality. Still, some of her most pivotal accomplishments come from facing circumstances as trying as triumphant.

Born in Puerto Rico, Salazar's family moved to Chicago when she was nine. Her first glimpse of Chicago was Midway Airport.

Salazar found joy in her new life. Her stepdad was a cuatro ( string quartet ) musician, a poet and a lyricist who performed regularly at weddings and quincenaras. Salazar loved listening to him play.

By the time she was ready for high school, Salazar wanted to attend public school. She no longer cared what the nuns had to say. For the first time, she found herself in a diverse student population, among young people with African-American, Mexican, Polish and Puerto Rican roots.

Did the newfound and exciting environment spark her creativity?

"No," Salazar said. "I got married. I married and stayed home." Being a wife and mother would have been the end of many typical stories for women steeped deep in traditional Latino culture in the 1960s.

But Salazar shattered the norm and recreated it as a beautiful mosaic.

"I come from a stock of very strong women," she said, crediting both her spirit and her upbringing. "Women are the driving force of any home whether you are Puerto Rican, Central American, or South American. We are the helm, the wheel, although much is said about Latino men being machista."

When Salazar married, she broke with tradition in a way that illustrated her fierce independent streak: She refused to take her husband's last name.

It was just as well: She eventually divorced her first husband, ridding herself of any further oppressive expectations. ( Her second husband, the late Cesar Dovalina, was one of the founders of La Raza, Chicago's Latinx paper of record. )

As a single mother of two daughters, Salazar found ways to earn extra cash. She put her strong Latina voice to good use by doing voiceover work. She tried to create a modeling agency that would cultivate Latina models, "but Chicago was not ready for that," she said.

She evolved the company she'd created with her own money into Salazar and Navas Talent Agency. For 25 years, she placed Latinx artists in important roles and vital positions. In a May interview with Voyage Chicago, She estimates that she helped more than 300 Latinx actor and models get jobs, often working with client base of more than four dozen Fortune 500 companies. Today, under new ownership, the agency continues to thrive.

Salazar has long been a connector of people, helping to create relationships among Latinx artists looking to create something original that reflects their lives, cultures and traditions. That's reflected in her response to someone who didn't know that the National Museum of Mexican Art was right here in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. "It's a gem," she told them. "You better go see it."

"That's what I like to be able to do, connect more people. It's something that I take pride in," she said.

CLATA reflects that: Salazar worked with some of the city's most influential and well-established Latinx organizations to get CLATA off the ground. International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago ( where she was Director of Development and Marketing for about five years ), the National Museum of Mexican Art and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance joined forces to create CLATA.

Ask Salazar how it feels to have touched so many peoples' lives and she responds humbly. "Don't let me be the center point," she said. The focus, she insisted, should be on CLATA. "It's the Alliance, these young people," she said.

For the full schedule for Destinos: The Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, visit . .

See related: .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

The Play That Goes Wrong 2018-12-12 - Playwright: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields At: Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. Tickets: . Runs through: Dec. 16. ...

Gay News

Hedwig' tour in Chicago in 2019 2018-12-12 - John Cameron Mitchell—the Tony-winning, Golden Globe-nominated co-creator of Hedwig & the Angry Inch—will bring his rock spectacle to the United States for the ...

Gay News

The Second City 107th Mainstage Revue, Algorithm Nation or The Static Quo 2018-12-11 - Writers: Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Jeffrey Murdoch, Emma Pope, Nate Varrone, Kimberly Michelle Vaughn At: The Second City Mainstage, 1616 N. Wells ...

Gay News

T.R. Knight talks about upcoming 'Dream' role 2018-12-11 - T.R. Knight might still be best known for his five-season run as Dr. George O'Malley on ABC's Grey's Anatomy—and for the infamous 2007 ...

Gay News

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins 2018-12-10 - Author: Michael Daily, from the book by Eric Kimmel At: Strawdog Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave. Tickets:; $20-$25. Runs through: Jan. 5 ...

Gay News

The Santaland Diaries 2018-12-10 - Playwright: Steve Scott, adapted from the essay by David Sedaris At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: $15-45; . Runs through: ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-12-10 - Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque, ( Sub )version Productions at Reggie's Music Joint, through Dec. 26. Fan-dancing snowflakes, a glass-eating "Calavera Catrina" and a ...

Gay News

Stomp 2018-12-10 - By: Luke Cresswell and Steve MacNicholas At: Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St.. Tickets:; $39-$84. Runs through: Dec. ...

Gay News

Les Miserables comes to Cadillac Palace Theatre July 2019 2018-12-10 - CHICAGO ( December 10, 2018 ) Cameron Mackintosh's acclaimed production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, Les Miserables, will ...

Gay News

Twelfth Night 2018-12-10 - Playwright: William Shakespeare At: Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Ct., Glencoe. Tickets: 847-242-6000;; $35-$80. Runs through: Dec. 16 In Shakespeare's mostly rollicking ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.