Remembering La Movida / Recordando La Movida

“La movida si me gusta

La movida si me va

Esta cosa es la locura

Viva la felicidad”

(From “La Movida” by Verónica Castro)

Alfonso Muñoz Calixto, known in the LGBTQ and Milwaukee’s South Side communities as La Movida, had a sudden and tragic death on Thursday, Jan. 31, that affected the entire Latinx and LGBTQ communities of Milwaukee. We now learned that his death was ruled accidental. La Movida, 46, was the victim of combined drug intoxication. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the death resulted from “acute mixed drug intoxication (cocaine, heroin and ethanol). Manner of death: accident.”

About La Movida: He is the loving son of Alfonso Muñoz Balenzo and Carolina Calixto Peralta and the pride of Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. He moved to Milwaukee 28 years ago, just months after his father died. La Movida was an original dreamer in the way that the American dream was defined. La Movida fulfilled his dreams of becoming a hairstylist and was an affectionate, generous human being who would give his life for family and the close friends he called “sisters,” including the late Julian, Baby, La Rene, La Richie, La Drupi, Connie, Rosa, Lucio, Luis and so many more.

Ana, his youngest sister, said: “He was a happy person, always doing for others, giving advice, making us laugh and smile; he had you feel loved and welcomed. It wouldn’t matter what situation you were in or your background, Movida welcomed everyone. He did not care what others thought of him; he was very proud to be an out gay person.”

Sometimes, La Movida dressed as a man and he was handsome and sharp; sometimes La Movida dressed as a woman, and she was beautiful and mysterious. Either way, La Movida did it in a way that people envied his/her courage, power and strength at a time where gay people were not as out, and people were not as accepting. ‘We Learned to Fight for Ourselves’

According to La Movida’s friend, Baby, “Movida taught me how to embrace my sexuality. We were crazy and adventurous, and we learned to fight for ourselves to protect ourselves, because a lot of people had it in their heads that we didn’t cry, hurt or bleed the same way as they did, but we do. Dressing as a man or as a woman was OK, Movida would say; the message was that a person can be both. There is no need to hide it; instead, embrace it and enjoy it.”

Rene Ramirez met Movida through Julian in the late ’80s and said, through tears, “I was on my way to work when I heard the news that La Movida had died, and I just couldn’t believe it. I loved Movida with all my heart—she was my sister, we were inseparable, we were ready for anything, we’d go anywhere and everywhere she was amazing. Movida was la más atrevida of everyone. My life isn’t going to be the same—Movida brought us all together.”

Ricardo “La Richie” Perez said, “When I first saw it on Facebook, people saying she had passed away, I was in suspension of disbelief. I couldn’t believe it, because it wasn’t the first time people claimed she was dead on Facebook. But when it was confirmed, I felt vertigo; I couldn’t believe it; my heart was broken into a million pieces. We could never underestimate La Movida, she was a genius. A true gay legend is gone.”

According to everyone I spoke with—including Terry Byrd, owner of Paul Mitchell, where La Movida was recognized as an award-winning hair stylist for 20 years—she opened the doors for the next generation of young, up and coming Latinos who were coming out. La Movida’s styling career began in Acapulco and then later in Milwaukee at Cuteria, where her creativity and talent became widely known. La Movida did fashion and drag shows, quinceañeras, weddings and special events for the who’s-who. Not only did La Movida design hair, but she also styled the outfits, the look and the makeup, as well as the scenery for a show.

La Movida will always be remembered for happiness, joy, creativity, beauty and bringing together our Latino sisters and brothers, as well as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

“La movida se va conmigo

Y bailando por la ciudad

Voy juntando un montón de amigos

Y con todos me muevo igual

Y mañana al caer la noche

Cada cual con su copañía

Para estar juntos nuevamente

Sentiremos llegar el día

La movida si me gusta

La movida si me va

Esta cosa es la locura

Viva la felicidad

La movida me reencanta

La movida aqui está.”

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