We’re well into the holiday season, and that means it’s time to go home for las fiestas, where you’ll likely field questions from older relatives about your “strange” vegetarian lifestyle, or when you plan on having five babies. All awkwardness aside, chances are that when the posada gets popping, you’ll join family in rompope-fueled singalongs that will most likely include a few bangers from the late Juan Gabriel.
If you’ve been following the hashtag #The12DaysofJuanga, you may already know that our sagrado Lord and savior de la frontera himself plans to make his triumphant return from the great Noa Noa in the sky on December 15. Though no one knows exactly why El Divo de Juárez would choose to come back to the mortal coil (and leave the pachanga with his amor eterno Rocío Dúrcal behind), there are some hypotheses.
As is often the case, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. And it seems the “No Tengo Dinero” singer could be coming back to collect the money one El Paso businessman has been ordered to pay. According to reports, businessman Billy Abraham owes the singer a cool million in unpaid concert fees. And like a good fronterizo, Juanga’s not letting it slide. Also, if a million isn’t the world’s greatest smelling salt, who knows what is.
But debates about his reasoning for making a comeback aside, before he abruptly left in 2016, Juanga thrust a body of work upon the world that easily outshines many of music’s greatest legends. From love letters to Juaritos to music videos featuring more candles than La Sagrada Familia, Juan Gabriel’s repertoire seems almost infinite. So in anticipation of his resurrection, we picked a few activities you can partake in to celebrate. Aside from revisiting his entire discography (which tbh, should never leave your rotation to begin with) these should help soothe some of your nervios as you await news of his return.
Practice this priceless incantation: “Lo que se ve no se pregunta."
Mexican culture has a troubling history of stifling machismo and homophobia. As is the case with many other societies, men are expected to behave a certain way and portray a widely accepted ideal of masculinity. But El Divo couldn’t be bothered to pretend, and lived his life as he chose. For the most part, people knew better than to pose the question, because frankly, no one cared. When he was finally asked “¿Juan Gabriel es gay?” on Primer Impacto, his answer reflected what just about everyone in the country was thinking. “Lo que se ve no se pregunta, mijo.” This is also a great line to use on prying family members for just about any question they could ask. “Mijo, y tu novia?” “More tamales?” “Is Juanga really coming back?” Give it a try, and when he returns on Saturday, maybe you can thank him.
Binge on his cinematic masterpieces.
For many stars of yesteryear, pop culture domination came with with the obligatory slew of campy films meant as nothing more than vehicles to capitalize on fame. And like his contemporaries Los Tigres Del Norte, Juanga was no different. Except unlike say, Elvis Presley, Juan Gabriel’s film roles packed the kind of overwrought drama and quality entertainment we came to expect from the singer. Cuddle up under the blankets with a crush or your boo; it’s time for Juanga and chill. Check out a list of his best roles here.
We said it earlier: we suspect Juan Gabriel knew the old adage about doing things yourself all too well. And considering the fact that interviews like his infamous Primer Impacto sit-down resulted in uncomfortable moments, the bedazzled master of Mexican pop had to show them how it’s done. Rewatch this 2014 interview. You’re welcome.
Drink - No, seriously. Drink plenty.
Get some tequila and wine (you’ll need the vino to recreate one of his spill-the-wine moments), crank up the Juanga jams, and pretend you’re stumbling away from the once-seedy Mariscal Street in Juárez, making your way around the corner to El Noa Noa. And prepare yourself for either the greatest surprise of your lifetime when he triumphantly returns, or a heaping pile of disappointment. Either outcome requires un brindis anyway.
If you’re lucky enough to make a trek down to Juárez or El Paso, cross the Santa Fe Bridge downtown, walk a few blocks down Avenida Juárez, and gawk at the beautiful mural dedicated to nuestro Juanga. Though the original El Noa Noa burnt down years ago, just a few steps from the mural is Club 15, a veritable time capsule to old Juárez. Plop down, throw some Juanga on the jukebox, and imagine yourself in the hustle and bustle where El Divo de Juárez made his name.