Estrada has shared the stage with dreamboat Ricky Martin and the Material Girl herself, but he is a super-estrella in his own right who has won numerous awards with the phrase “performance artist of the year” attached. Whether the job calls for singing, dancing, acting — even stand-up comedy — Jade can deliver, making him a modern renaissance man of the performing-arts industry. You’ve probably seen him on Comedy Central, or maybe you caught him in the hit stage production Tortilla Heaven, written and performed by the extravagantly talented Estrada family. He returns to the Alamo City next week for an encore performance of the work that has made him a legend in Say-Town and beyond, ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 1.
Jade spoke with the Current recently from his home in New York.
You came down here to shoot your video at the Silver Dollar Saloon; why?
We went out and searched several places … and Silver Dollar had the mood we were looking for for those segments of the video.
What was the mood or vibe you were looking for?
Well, the song that it is, “Bella Morena,” it’s very party, it’s very up. But, because I’m originally from San Antonio, there was like a Tejano feel to `Silver Dollar` … anyone who lives here probably doesn’t notice because it’s just a normal part of the culture, but me looking at it from a New York or L.A. standpoint, there’s a very unique style to the venue and to the people that go there, whether they realize it or not. And I wanted to make a video that you could just tell it had San Antonio all over it.
Has anything about the biz surprised you as a performer?
I was very, like, pro live theater, pro stand-up comedy, pro live performances, and then I did like one thing on Comedy Central (The Graham Norton Effect) and the first bit that I did, I swear, I had never had so much response in my email box. In my head I was like, “I have done great things on stage that no one has ever seen, and I do this one silly bit on Comedy Central for like a couple of minutes and all of a sudden I’m a star to you.”
You’ve been called the “Most Notable Gay Latin Act in the Country.” What does this title mean to you?
Um, about the “Notable Gay Latin Act,” thing, there’s like … maybe me, and maybe me? I don’t know anybody else who’s like that, so it’s hardly an amazing title to have. As far as the gay thing, I’m comfortable with it, but it used to bother me … I believe in people identifying however they want to identify themselves, and because I feel this way, I have people identifying themselves with me, whatever that might be, as a performer, as a Mexican-American, as a gay man, as a lesbian or transgender person — I’m all about that … So I would be a hypocrite not to nod in acceptance and approval of people saying things about me … The video is all about, no matter who you are or what you are, it’s beautiful. And as many times and as cliché as that might sound … you always have to deal with a new generation of people who have never heard that idea.