Flamboyant Entertainer Charo at the White Party
Name: María del Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Gutiérrez de los Perales Santa Ana Romanguera y de la Hinojosa Rasten but you can call her Charo!
Career: Musician, stage performer and TV personality
Home: Beverly Hills
Hails From: Murcia, Spain
Favorite City: New York City
Claim to Fame: “Cuchi-cuchi”
Should-Be Claim to Fame: One of the best Flameco guitarists in the world
Hey Charo! You’re performing at the White Party this year. Have you ever been before?
No, I was in Palm Springs three years ago doing a private shows for Golden Rainbow to raise money to fight AIDS, but never for the White Party. I’m excited to be bringing Sexy, Sexy (her new single). When I heard the demo in the recording studio, they were going to send it to Britney Spears, but I told them, F*&$ Britney Spears, this song belongs to me! It’s really sexy, so I knew only I could do it justice.
What are some of your favorite spots in Palm Springs?
My life sucks. I go from airport to hotel, then unpack, then to rehearsal, then we do our job, then back to the hotel. Then to the airport. Boom, boom, boom!
Besides the Love Boat, have you ever performed on a gay cruise?
Yes, the audiences on the Atlantis cruises are superior. Gay audiences are so sophisticated. During my show I start with techno and salsa, but then the last thirty minutes I change into a tuxedo and play nothing but my guitar. Mano a mano. And boy, do I get a standing ovation. After that I go to heaven.
As an international performer, you’ve traveled all over the world. What are some great destinations for gay travelers?
Santorini in Greece. It used to be a volcano, and when it erupted it made this crater. I can close my eyes now and see myself inside the crater looking out over the Mediterranean. If you’re crazy like me, you can ride a mule from the beach up to the top. Also, Hawaii. “Aloha” means “you’re welcome” no matter who you are: gay, straight, ugly or fat. It’s really a melting pot.
In 2008, you were grand marshall at the SF Pride Parade with drag queens marching along playing you. Any tips for pulling off drag Charo?
They don’t need my help! There’s this drag queen named Quesadilla that if I wasn’t a classically trained guitarist, she would be taking all of my engagements. Funny story now that we’re talking about drag queens. I was in Puerto Rico and someone asked me to judge a drag contest. They had Tina Turner, Cher, Madonna and me. And I told them: I don’t want to be a judge. I want to do me! So I borrowed one of their wigs, stuffed some napkins in my maracas and got up there. When it came time to name a winner, they told me I needed more experience. Son of a bitch! How embarrassing is it not win at doing you?! But you know, I’ve watching a lot of RuPaul’s show. A lot of talent goes into getting so close to the character and still being fabulous.
What do you enjoy the most about performing for gay audiences?
I’ve performed for kings and presidents, but gay audiences are the best. They dance! They are full of life! When we play our techno at the White Party, we are going to be so loud we are going break every glass window in every hotel in Palm Springs. They better have insurance!
And are you still performing in Las Vegas?
Yes, my show Hot Flamenco Night is at the South Point Hotel, the only one that didn’t go bankrupt in 2010. In the good old days, the ’70s and the ’80s, when people had money, Vegas was about gambling. Now it’s like Disneyland. But I bring talent. No smoke and mirrors. No one yelling, “Cut! Do it again.” It’s live and no matter opening night or closing night. Cause I go crazy on stage, but crazy with class.