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Born in Costa Rica in 1919, Chavela Vargas ran away to Mexico City as a teenager to sing in the streets. By the 1950s, she became a household name in her adopted country, delivering her performances with a raw passion and unique voice. Just as influential were her cultural contributions; Chavela was a bold, rebellious, sexual pioneer who was known for having many female lovers at a time when being out in Mexico was dangerous.
Chavela centers around a 1991 interview--the singer's first public appearance after 15 hard years lost to alcoholism and heartbreak. In the final years of her life, Chavela openly comes out as a lesbian and rises into her momentous third act, becoming a muse to filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, earning a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and selling out performances at prestigious concert halls around the world.
Chavela Vargas was an icon in so many ways. She was a pioneering female artist in Mexican Ranchero music; a fierce lesbian who continues to empower the Mexican LGBT+ community; her 70+ year career survived turmoil and heartbreak, and she continued to perform well into her 90s, still selling out ...