2013 La Gente Youth Sports Special Events
- 23rd Annual Fishing Derby
May 25, 2013 NEW DATE: MAY 4th, 2013
- Horshoelake (City Park)
- 11th Annual Juan Madrid Adult Softball Tournament
- Tournament @ St. Annes Adult Softball Tournament
- And Many Others Events Hosted by Individual Sports Teams
2009 Star Gala with special guest John Leguizamo
Thanks for Everything John Leguizamo Hollywood star shares tales of ornery youth at La Gente gala.
By JEFF TUCKER
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
Hollywood actor and comedian John Leguizamo shared a little bit of his life with more than 600 people Saturday, telling anecdotes about his upbringing and life on the set in his trademark rapid-fire humor.Leguizamo was the keynote speaker at La Gente Youth Sports' Annual Star Gala, entertaining the crowd with humorous stories of his life. "I grew up mad poor," Leguizamo said of his tough, Queens, N.Y., neighborhood. "We couldn't afford therapy so we had to be funny." Leguizamo said he acted out throughout much of his youth, starting with kicking in a conductor's door on a subway train, taking the microphone and telling what jokes he knew. He said that as the police officer took him to the 110th precinct, he told the young comic that his jokes needed more substance. Leguizamo talked about how he used to lock teachers out of classrooms and organize walk-outs at his high school. He was on the verge of flunking out when a teacher told him to find a way to channel all of his nervous energy. Leguizamo said he went home, opened the Yellow Pages and found the Showcase Theater, and he began to study acting and comedy. "I was handed a whole stack of plays and I read all of that stuff and I learned that no matter how messed up your life was, you could put it all down on paper," he said.
Leguizamo was the only Latino in his class at The Actors Studio with Lee Strasberg. He talked about landing a role on Miami Vice, "the Latin exploitation TV series" and about turning down a role in the blockbuster "Philadelphia" for the bomb "Super Mario Bros." "I could have been Tom Hanks' lover, but I didn't think he was cute enough," Leguizamo joked. He talked about working with screen legend Al Pacino, who would tell him to just do less and he would respond by doing more instead.
The lesson from those confrontations? "Don't ever argue with anybody who is smaller than his Oscar," Leguizamo said. He talked about his work as a drag queen in "Too Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar," including a fist-fight he had on the set with Patrick Swayze while both men were dressed in drag.
Leguizamo was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work in the movie and said he might have been too good. "I started getting lots of prison mail," he said. "I don't even jaywalk I'm so afraid." While Leguizamo has enjoyed widespread fame and success and helped pave the way for younger Latinos in Hollywood, he told the crowd that the stories he shared Saturday were to show that people from humble beginnings can be successful, but they don't get there on their own.
It takes guidance and dedication. Leguizamo toured the La Gente Youth Center earlier in the day and met about 75 children from the program.
The organization serves as many as 1,000 children in the community. "I had a lot of mentors along the way and a lot of people who pushed me and shaped me," he said. "I see what you do with the kids here, and that's why I have to give you guys big ups or whatever you do here."
2007 A Year in Review!!