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BILLY TWEEDIE on David DeAlba: 
The International Cuban Legend!
by Billy Tweedie

I remember a package arriving at my parents' home in Ireland in the
early 90's when I ran the original Judy Garland Fan Club.   It was from
David de Alba and it had in it a selection of press cuttings and
wonderful photos of David as Judy Garland.   That was the first time I
had heard of a proper male character actor who could be so good at it
that he would make you believe that he WAS Judy!~
Years passed and I finally left Ireland behind and came to America.   I
found David again and we have become friends here on the Web.   I
recently asked him a few questions . . . hope you enjoy!

Billy: What did you want to do when you grew up?

David: I think I grew up and turned out pretty much as I wanted to.   I
did become involved as a female-singer-impressionist at an early age and
that turned out to be exciting for me!   You see most of the female
impersonators have to pantomime to records.   Many of them are very
talented at that indeed, but singing with one's own voice is always much
harder, especially when a guy like me gives the illusion on stage that
he is really a female singer.   To me that is a challenge at its best!
That was the main reason why people flocked to Finocchio's, because we
all had to peform 'live' and that was not common in most of the female
impersonating revues then, or even now.   Oh, I almost forgot, I also
wanted to work as a zoo keeper at one time in my life, but I didn't pass
the written test to get into that field, so that took care of that
wish!   To this day I never understood why some of the questions were
asked, like for example: If I had to serve coffee for a gathering of a
certain number of people, how many spoons of coffee would I have to put
in the pot?   What does that have to do with caring for animals, I

Billy: Were you naughty when you were younger?

David: Well, I was naughty in a sexy way.   I loved seeing how many nice
looking people I could pick up in a bar or bathhouse, especially those
that I thought were gorgeous! . . . and some of those wonderful parties
I was invited to in Chicago as a teen.   Of course, this was way before
that horrible AIDS epidemic came about.   One good, clean thing about
me; I have never smoked nor taken any drugs and I don't really enjoy
alcoholic beverages.   Give me a nice piece of apple pie and a vanilla
milk shake and I am in Heaven!   (I guess I got away from your question
with my last statement about some of my favourite foods.)

Billy: What was your job before working as an entertainer?

David: As a teen I held partime jobs in Chicago at Walgreen's and even
at the fancy Drake Hotel as an elevator guy.   I didn't enjoy those jobs
at all, so I went to a well known beauty college, American School of
Beauty Culture, to study cosmetology, and after graduation my real bread
and butter job was hairdressing.   Throughout my life from then on I
mixed the hairdressing career along with Showbiz as means of income.

Billy: What is your most memorable moment?

David: I have two memorable moments in my life: First, the day I met
face to face with Judy Garland in the late 1960's in Chicago and I told
her that I impersonated her on stage.   Her reaction with her delightful
sense of humour was to kiss me on the cheek and say: "Do you really like
me that much?".   Then in the late 1970's in Miami, when I met my
singing Cuban idols, Olga y Tony, whom I admired since I was a little
boy in Cuba.   They recognized me when I told them who I was, etc. and
after hearing from me that I was an entertainer, they asked me to
perform in their show the next night.   After their act they sat in the
front row to hear me sing and to applaud me.   Imagine my idols
applauding ME!   I was really in Heaven on Earth!

Billy: What was your most embarrassing moment?

David: I was performing in San Francisco at a special one man concert at
Knuth Concert Hall for the studentbody of California State University.
At the end of my tribute act to Judy Garland, I was at the dramatic end
of "Over the Rainbow", and as I pushed my body and face back Garland
style, my Judy styled wig fell off my head!

Billy: What was your favourite TV Show?

David: I think I would have to answer, Dynasty!

Billy: Do you have a favourite TV actress?

David: Following the last question I would say that Joan Collins as
Alexis was it!

Billy: Do you have a favourite TV actor?

David: I always loved, and even as a teen had a crush on the handsome
and talented Richard Chamberlain as he portrayed Dr. Kildare on
Television in the 1960's.   Funny how life can be . . . in the early
1980's while working at the world famous Finocchio Club in San
Francisco, who do you think was seated ringside while I was singing
center stage . . . Richard himself!

Billy: Can you remember the first party you ever went to?

David: I recall it now very clearly; it was outside Chicago.   I took a
Greyhound Bus and I stayed at the YMCA for one night.   I got all
dressed up with a Beatle wig and costume and went to a Halloween party
at some fancy home that belonged to two lovers.   I forget now how I got
invited in the first place, but anyway . . .

Billy: What was the swankiest party you've been to?

David: Well, during the 1970's when I lived in San Francisco I was
invited, along with my partner Paul, to a gay party at someone's lavish
home in the elegant Nob Hill area.   I was invited because I was working
part time for a gentleman who owned a men's hair styling salon in that
area and he knew the people who were giving the party.   There were
handsome male model waiters dressed in skimpy costumes, equivalent to
Playboy Bunnies . . . lots of fancy drinks, etc.   Spaghetti was served
as one of the entrées and someone made a crack: "Spaghetti at a swanky
party like this?".

Billy: What party food do you like?

David: Well, let me answer this question in a different way . . . not
just foods at parties, but I have a very diverse palate, thanks to my
San Francisco experience of learning about all kinds of people,
nationalities and cultures.   Also thanks to my partner Paul who
introduced me to all sorts of International foods.   So I don't just
love my Cuban food, but I also like Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Greek,
Italian, and the list goes on and on.   As long as it is prepared well
and not greasy I am very open minded.

Billy: Do you hold dinner parties?

David: During what I call our heyday in San Francisco we threw some very
fancy parties.   My partner Paul, who is an excellent cook and host,
prepared the food and decor.   One time I hired a trio of musicians and
sang "live".   I actually did a mini-concert (out of drag) for the
guests, which included many of my clients from the well known hair salon
I owned called "Heri the Hairstylist", my parents, and some of the
neighbours . . . oh, and even one or two entertainers from Finocchio's
who had the night off.   Those were the days!

Billy: Who are the best people to go out with?

David: Well, I have gone out with some very straight laced people, even
some very famous people and I thought that was grand at the time.   I
also went out with some colourful gay men and lesbians, some
entertainers of course, some Judy Garland fan-followers and had fun with
all of them really, in different ways of course, but when I go out with
other impersonators it's more fun because we all speak the same
language.   Then I feel like Mame!

Billy: Who is your Guardian Angel?

David: I believe in angels and good spirits, including members of my own
dear family departed.   I pray every night and even in the afternoons
for guidance in my life, for strength to endure the harshness of the
present, and to keep me, my parents and Paul out of sickness and
accidents!   I also include in my prayers some dear friends.   When I
was a young child in Cuba I was told by a spiritual medium that I was
given two guides; an Indian by the name of Anahúac and an African by the
name of Tomasito.   I hope they are still near me!

Billy: How shiny is your Halo?

David: Well, I know I will never make it to be a saint like the late
dear Mother Theresa, but in comparison to others I meet every day in my
life, my halo ain't too tarnished.   At least, I hope God will see it
that way when He asks me to meet Him.

Billy: What is your idea of Heaven?

David: It would be nice to have the feeling that I could roam through
different planets free of the body, even be able to see other beings in
other galaxies, and see how they look and live.   Of course to see again
the people I loved on this Earth that have passed on and that I miss so
much.   One thing for sure, if I reincarnate I do not want to return to
Planet Earth, but I have the feeling that it is not up to us.   Who
knows how long Heaven would last for me.

Billy: What is your idea of paradise?

David: It is a complicated answer because of my needs and likes, but
here goes: Bring back my young days in Cuba with my family (most of them
have passed on by now); have Judy Garland alive, so I could see her
perform one more time; be able to see my Cuban idols Olga y Tony perform
together again (Tony passed on March 2001); be able to retain my
youthful good looks of the 1960's; be able to have some of my passed on
friends near me again . . . and if I could one more time be that happy
entertainer that played so many times at the world famous Finocchio Club
in San Francisco, but even Finocchio's is gone now.   So my paradise is
in the past I guess.   This is why I have earned the title among many
fans and critics of the female impersonation field as "The Cuban
Legend".   I guess I earned that title for what I have achieved in my
life thus far!

Billy: What is the nicest thing about you?

David: Well, I am a very loyal Taurus-person to my family, friends,
clients and fans.   I need to be loved all the time, by people writing
to me or calling me . . . not just once a year at Christmas or for
funerals.   I love my pets.   In my theatrical act I perform a lot of
tributes to great entertainers such as Judy Garland, Olga y Tony, and
Edith Piaf for example, trying to keep their music and memories alive.
Anyway, my dear friend Olga Chorens is still alive, but I still give
tributes to her as the superb artist she has always been!   Perhaps that
loyalty is one of the nicest things about my personality.   Also, my
partner Paul agrees with me on this, I am not moody or two-faced.
WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get).   The warmth you see in me when
you meet me in person, on stage or off, that is the real me!

Billy: What makes you angry?

David: Unkindness from anyone, but especially from people that I like.
Here is an example that actually happened recently.   I have worked very
hard trying to do a good job in creating my online Celebrity Interviews
Series along with the remarkable work that my partner of many years,
Paul, has done with his Webmastery, helping me with the editing, photo
layouts, graphics, etc..   We do this for free and work very long hours
at it.   We even ran out of space with my Internet host and it costs us
extra money per year from now on to feature these interviews.   Well, to
get to my point, a dear entertainer friend of mine who I asked to
participate in my interview series said to me in an angry manner:
"David, what is your agenda behind doing these interviews?   Don't ask
me again!"   I am sure he is not the only one who thinks that way.
There is no agenda or self-serving motive on my part.

Most of the people I have interviewed have been appreciative of my
effort to promote their careers over my own, and have been prompt with
their answers.   One FI in particular I had to practically beg for a
response to get the interview on-line, and when it was finally launched,
instead of apologizing for the delay, criticized me for being so
pushy.   It takes all kinds of people to make a community . . . c'est la
vie!   I just want to celebrate the talent and humanity of other
entertainers and celebrities, and also to record some valuable history
in the field of female impersonation for the benefit of young
entertainers and fans.

Billy: Is there anything you would go back and change?

David: Sometimes I feel that if I had been more butch looking and
acting, my life would have been easier, but on the other hand I could
not become something that I am not.   When I see how nice I have viewed
my life and others around me through the soft lens of the feminine part
of me that is in my being, then such regrets are gone from my mind.
When I see a guy trying to act macho, I feel he lacks something that I
am fortunate to have . . . the warmth and softness of my feminine
side.   I don't have to be glued to a TV watching football like the big
boys do.   Instead I can stick to listening to wonderful female singers
like Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Petula Clark, Olga Chorens,
Josephine Baker and Edith Piaf.

Billy: Do you have any regrets?

David: Well, yes, for example, not bringing a camera when I met Judy
Garland and Ella Fitzgerald in Chicago in the late 1960's.   The same
thing happened, no cameras either, when I visited Connie Stevens and
Chita Rivera at length in their hotel suites after their performances in
the Venetian Room at The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco during the late
1970's.   Now all of them could have been in my Celebrity Scrapbook Page
on my Web site.   Oh yes, and so many famous people that were seated in
the audience at Finocchio's while I was on stage, that I was never able
to take a photo with them.   Also I regret that I didn't have pictures
taken with the late Charles Pierce, Craig Russell and Lynn Carter, three
fabulous female impersonators that I had the honour of talking to
backstage.   With Charles Pierce I was even honoured to be part of his
show once and can you imagine I have no pictures of that!   One more big
regret I have, I wish I had started my Online Celebrity Interviews years
ago.   By now I would have had people like Charles Pierce included in it
and also some of my wonderful co-workers and entertainer friends at
Finocchio's like Carroll Wallace, Russell Reed, Lucian, Bobby De Castro,
and a few more that have passed on by now that I would have loved to
interview.   Of course in those days I had no idea about computers or
Web sites.

Billy: Of all the Stars you interviewed, who has impressed you most?

David: I was lucky to have interviewed some excellent entertainers and
fine people for my Online Celebrity Interview series.   Some gave me
interesting and soulful answers and some were too short and a little
flat I thought, but my interviews on Shaundriana, Robin Price, Robbie
Ross and Jimmy Tai, I feel were among the best of the female
impersonators that I have interviewed.   Of course I was honored to have
such famous celebrities as Buddy Ebsen, Robert Goulet and Dr. Lawrence
Foster join my series, and female singers like Amapola and Marilyn

Billy: What would you do with a million dollars?

David: Well, after you pay taxes, there will a lot less than a million
dollars left I am sure, but with whatever money is left, it would be
nice to buy a home on the beach with at least an acre of land for my
pets to roam around, in a place like The Canary Islands or Costa Rica.
Also I would buy a Jaguar . . . I think it's really an elegant looking
car . . . hopefully with enough money left so I would never have to
worry about how to pay my bills.   But really, this is just a fantasy,
because it has been my lot in life to work hard for everything I have
achieved, and to never get anything for free.

Billy: Do you make any New Year's resolutions?

David: This may sound cynical to some, but here's how I feel about it:
Every year that passes by, I get a little older, and I don't see much
change in the world because the nasty people seem to outlive the nice
ones.   I guess once I was told while vacationing in Havana, Cuba by my
Mom Tila that there was no Santa Claus, the world was never the same to
me.   Now that most of the people and even my own personal pets that I
have known, loved, liked, needed, and admired for years have passed on,
the physical world seems to be a little less important to me.   Without
making promises or wishes many good things still come about in my
life.   I have met some interesting and kind souls over the Internet
such as my friends John Anthony Miller in Ventura, California, Patrick
in San Diego, California, Thomas Lynch in New York, a dear Puerto Rican
lady Rosa in New Jersey, and Maisy in The Canary Islands.   I receive an
award or a tribute here and there, either for my Web site or for my
accomplishments as an entertainer, or an interview such as this from
someone I admire like you, Billy, and those are really nice things that
come my way.

I thank you dear Billy from my heart for taking the time to care about
me as a person and as an artist and for you to create such interesting
questions for me to answer.   I hope I did well in doing so.   I have
been interviewed in my theatrical life many times, but this interview
holds a lot of special meaning for me, because I have known you for many
years, you in Europe always and me here in the United States.   Never
got to meet you in person as of yet, hope I will someday soon.   Thank
you and God bless, as always your friend (Come Rain or Come Shine),
David de Alba, The Cuban Legend.

"Also, if you wish to see my interview on David's own award winning site
formulated by his Webmaster Paul Ryner with a different approach
graphically and with a musical background, please go to this link on
David's site! "

David's site:


David de Alba sings a loving tribute to Olga and Tony
Review by Billy Tweedie

In this first CD of 2002 David has selected many of the International
hits of his beloved idols and friends from Cuba, the singing husband and
wife team of Olga Chorens and Tony Alvarez. Included are musical
selections of Edith Piaf, all performed in Spanish with the exception of
David's own theme song which is done in English and Spanish as a bonus

I have never studied Spanish nor do I understand one word on this CD
(except for the last track, most in English!). However, I am
mysteriously drawn to listen to it over and over. David's voice, so
alluring, sensual, and earthy all at once is one-of-a-kind. I know of no
one alive today who can sing as Piaf/Garland sang, but David's
re-creation of his songs from 1970 thru 1986 are simply amazing!

I thought it would be hard to listen to, but as with anything else that
is truly worthwhile, I decided to stay with the CD and give it, at
least, the respect the artist deserves by listening a few more times.
Obviously, my patience has more than paid off....if only because I can
now appreciate the immense talent that he possesses. While sounding
unlike any other vocalist that I had previously known David is able to
contain more "raw emotion" in one song than most vocalists can emote in
an entire CD!

The sounds of the track devoted to Edith Piaf, 'Potpourri Francés' can
bring goosebumps. What heart touching

This is really a great album to put you in a good mood, as well as for
appreciating top of the line musicianship.The Gold Star award for the
songs must go to "Te Adoraré", which is just that, and the impossibly
infectious "Tengo una Debilidad", (try and play it just once!).

Open-minded fans are in for a treat. The songs are based on different
local styles, as the liner notes explain. There's an amazing variety of
rhythms - all irresistible. The melodies are catchy and David delivers
them with his customary warmth and assurance. David goes back to his
Cuban roots (he was born in Cuba, came to the States in the early
1960's) and when you hear him sing in Spanish, you know for sure that he
is proud!

You don't need to understand the words in Spanish to enjoy this joyful
music, but I am sure it's a real bonus if you do. It is perfect for any
day of the year when your body and soul need a little refreshment.

The cover photo by Concetta Jorgensen is divine. David's management
Ryner/Alba Entertainment should be
buzzing with gigs shortly for this CD will sell the entertainer to the

Despite the language barrier, the emotional content of this artist comes
through without doubt. It's a CD that can withstand many, many
listenings, and still retain its ability to give pleasure.

I cannot wait until the Spring when I can hopefully review David's CD
that will feature his backstage memoirs including anecdotes from his run
at Finocchio's in San Francisco, CA along with some rare audio
recordings singing on stage at Finocchio's. Many thanks to his friend
and Emcee Carroll Wallace who was able to capture those moments from the
wings on David's small tape recorder. The third CD David will re-create
some of the hits of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli that he sang on
stage, plus some medleys and show tunes from his own International
Boy-Chic Act at Finocchio Club. To date David de Alba is the only artist
from the world famous Finocchio Club to record and release to the public
any material from that club. A must for any collector of female
impersonation memorabilia!

Another Great man in our Art, Culture & Entertainment! 
That is the Unique David de Alba!

Contact Alba/Ryner Ltd. to order CD(s) at    
David will personally autograph your CD upon request.

Billy Tweedie, Billy's Entertainment World.


see more of David's pics!