Cuban comedian Guillermo Alvarez Guedes to be celebrated at UM event
For many years, Cuban comedian, actor and radio host Guillermo Alvarez Guedes was the undeniable king of Miami’s Spanish-language radio. His profanity-infused jokes and storytelling style dominated the airwaves of La Clásica 92.3 FM , where he hosted Aquí está Alvarez Guedes for more than a decade.
His radio show, which ended in 2011, garnered a loyal following of thousands. But it was his ability to tirarlo todo a relajo (make a joke of everything) as well as his larger-than-life personality that made him a star in the South Florida exile community.
Now, almost three years after his death, “Recordando a Guillermo Alvarez Guedes” (“Remembering Guillermo Alvarez Guedes”), an hour-long event hosted by the National Association of Cuban-American Educators (NACAE), , will celebrate the life and times of one of Miami’s most beloved and iconic comedians.
“Alvarez Guedes was a crucial cultural figure in Miami and in Cuba,” said Gustavo Pérez-Firmat, 67, who leads the association and is a David Feinson Professor of Humanities at Columbia University. “In Cuba, the question is not ‘to be or not to be’ but ‘eres vivo o eres bobo’ (you’re either bright or you’re a fool) and he was definitely ‘un vivo.’ He had that Cuban sense of humor and relajo. … He helped Cubans during that period of exile;he defined a whole epoch.”
Pérez-Firmat, who teaches Cuban-American Culture and Spanish-American Literature at Columbia and is the author of Life on the Hyphen: The Cuban-American Way, was born in Marianao, Cuba. His family moved to Miami when he was 11.
He remembers growing up listening to Alvarez Guedes’ jokes, anecdotes and stories.
And though he never met Alvarez Guedes, he says he attended many of his shows in Miami and Puerto Rico, where Guedes lived for a few years before settling in South Florida.
“It’s funny but one of the highlights of my life was following him [Alvarez Guedes] around Dadeland Mall because I was too timid to go up to him and say hello,” he said. “Ernest Hemingway once said, ‘As you get older, it’s more difficult to have heroes but it’s just as necessary.’ For me, he’s become one of my heroes.”
During the event, which will take place Thursday at the Casa Bacardí at the Institute of Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami’s Coral Gables’ campus, Pérez-Firmat will go over the Cuban comedian’s life and career. Afterward, he will open the floor for questions.
Continue reading HERE.