Documentary examines life of Latin musician


Pitt-Bradford will show the documentary “Chavela,” an award-winning film about the Lesbian ranchera singer Chavela Vargas, at 7 p.m. April 19 in the Bromeley Family Theater.

            Following the screening, filmmaker Daresha Kyi will hold a question-and-answer session. There is a $5 charge for the film and discussion, which are the last installments in a yearlong series of films at Pitt-Bradford, the On Screen/In Person tour, which brought filmmakers to campus to discuss their works and craft. Tickets will be available at the door and are free for all students.

            As a teenager, Vargas ran away from her home in Costa Rica to Mexico City, where she was a street performer. Later, she became a darling of the city's club scene, and challenged mainstream morals by dressing in men's clothing and singing love ballads intended to woo women.

            She lived for a year with artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and legend has it that she ran off with Ava Gardner after singing at Elizabeth Taylor's wedding to Mike Todd in Acapulco. She was famous for moving her audience to tears.

            On Screen/In Person is a program of the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts.

            Kyi writes, produces and directs film and television series in Spanish and English. She co-directed and co-produced “Chavela” with Emmy-nominated filmmaker Catherine Gund.

            “I have attended screenings in New York; L.A.; San Francisco; Montclair, N.J.; Mexico City and Guadalajara; Milan, Italy, as well as Madrid and Pamplona, Spain,” Kyi said. “On every occasion, I have been struck by how moved people are by her story. I can't count the number of times speechless men and women have approached me after a Q&A with tears streaming down their faces just to ask for a hug.”

            For more information on the film, visit

            For disability needs related to the viewing, contact the office of Disability Resources and Services at 814-362-7609 or