Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

CRAZY for Luis Miguel

The Latin superstar, who is in concert here tomorrow, is the object of a 76-year-old’s fascination.

MARK WYCKOFF Citizen Calendar Editor

Her friends think she’s crazy. Her husband thinks she’s crazy. But Jeanette Giacomazza doesn’t care. She knows she’s crazy. And she’s loving every minute of it.

”I’m 76 years old, feel 35 and my husband says I act like I’m 17,” she said. ”I have been married 52 years to the same man, I’m a great-grandmother and I’m obsessed with a 27-year-old Hispanic singer.

”Ridiculous, isn’t it?”

The object of her fascination is Latin superstar Luis Miguel, who returns to Tucson tomorrow for a concert at the Tucson Convention Center Arena. Giacomazza, who is president of the Tucson Luis Miguel Fan Club, can’t wait for the show.

In fact, the day tickets went on sale, she wrapped herself in a blanket, braved the frigid earlymorning air and waited for three hours in front of the TCC Box Office just so she could be first in line.

”My feet went numb,” she said. ”But it was worth it. I got great tickets.”

But they’re not front-row seats. Those were $100, and Giacomazza – who had flown to Los Angeles two months earlier to see Miguel in concert at the Universal Amphitheater – felt she had to draw the line somewhere. She settled for $50 seats.

”But if I hadn’t just been to L.A., I would have gotten the $100 tickets in a heartbeat,” said Giacomazza, a Brooklyn native who moved to Tucson 41 years ago.

She’ll go to the concert with several of her club members. Her husband will sit the gig out.

”You gotta be kidding!” she said. ”He’d never go.”

Miguel has been recording since 1982, when he was 12. Over the years, he’s released a string of million-selling discs, including ”Un Hombre Busca Una Mujer ”(A Man Looking For A Woman), ”Segundo Romance ”(Second Romance) and ”Aires,” which won a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album in 1994.

Giacomazza, who retired recently as secretary of the University of Arizona Wildcat Club, didn’t become a fan until 1991, when her son, Robert, returned from a trip to Ecuador with a cassette copy of Miguel’s ”Romance” album. He liked the album so much, he made a copy for his mom.

”That was all it took,” she said. ”I had no idea who he was. I had no idea what he looked like. I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. And a month went by before I even found out his name. But I fell in love. It’s his voice, I guess. And the arrangements. He just sings the most beautiful Spanish love songs. The fact that he’s gorgeous doesn’t hurt either.

”I have dissected him from his hair to his feet, even his walk, and I can’t find anything wrong with him,” she continued. ”Although I’ve never met him, I have heard and read that he’s as nice as he is gorgeous and talented.”

Once she caught the bug, it wasn’t long before Giacomazza was making the trek from her foothills home to Tucson’s South Side, scouring Yoly’s and other Hispanic-oriented record stores, looking for every Miguel album and video she could find. Once a month, she makes a stop at Southwest Supermarkets, a grocery-store chain she says has the best stock of Latino music magazines.

Her favorite Miguel album is his latest, ”Romances,” which came out in August. The album, his final installment in an album trilogy of classic Spanish ballads, features such swoon-worthy tracks as ”Sabor A Mi ”(Taste of Me), ”Amanecer ”(Dawn), ”Encadenados ”(Chained Together) and ”De Quererte Asi ”(Loving You Like This).

”I swear, I don’t know how he can surpass this,” she said. ”I’ve heard he’s thinking about starting to crossover and record in English, but I hope he doesn’t switch. First of all, I think he’d lose some of his charm. And secondly, we have too many English singers already.”

Even though she doesn’t speak Spanish, Miguel’s songs still speak to Giacomazza.

”I don’t need to understand every word to get the gist of the song,” she said. ”I understand a few words. You know, like corazon is heart. That sort of thing. That’s all I need.”

As her Miguel collection has grown over the years, Giacomazza’s house has become a mini-shrine to Miguel.

There’s a framed color shot of a crooning Miguel hanging on the wall. A smaller picture rests atop the entertainment center. Concert T-shirts are lovingly hung in the closet. A scrapbook holds articles and pictures. CDs and cassettes – Giacomazza figures she has more than 20 now – constantly occupy her Walkman, boom box and car tape deck. (Robert Goulet and Johnny Mathis are history). For the self-proclaimed ”Gray Groupie,” every moment is a Miguel moment.

And every first Saturday of the month, there’s a fan club meeting.

Giacomazza started the club last year, urged on by the president of Miguel’s San Diego club. The Tucson club has 13 members now – all younger than Giacomazza – including fans from Tombstone and Scottsdale. People in Toronto and Massachusetts, whom she’s met through the Internet, are also interested in joining.

The routine at the club meetings is the same: A little coffee. A little breakfast. Lots of talk. And no guys.

Well, except for Miguel.

”We play his tapes on my boom box. We share new pictures and articles we’ve found. It’s just a big gab-fest, really. That’s why I keep turning down the men who want to join. I don’t think men would understand. So, no men.”

Giacomazza’s husband, Carl, is one of the male non-believers. He’s a retired jazz musician, so he can appreciate Miguel’s musical prowess. But he can’t begin to comprehend the hypnotic hold the singer has on his wife.

”Everybody in the club is in the same boat,” she said. ”All our husbands think we’re crazy. But, you know, sometimes you just have to be a woman.”


What: A concert by Luis Miguel.

When: 7:30 p.m. tomorrow.

Where: Tucson Convention Center Arena, 260 S. Church Ave.

Cost: $27.50, $50, $75; available through Dillard’s (800 638-4253) and TCC outlets (791-4266).


Sample Luis Miguel’s latest WEA Latina album, ”Romances,” this week on Listen Up!, the Tucson Citizen’s music line. Dial 573-4630 to hear the Grammy-winning singer croon three tunes from the disc.


If you’re interested in joining the Tucson Luis Miguel Fan Club, e-mail Jeannette Giacomazza at UACATS67@aol.com. Dues are $5 a year, and members receive a monthly newsletter.


Check out the Luis Miguel World Wide Web site (http://www.luismiguel.org/) for lyrics to his songs in Spanish and English, a discography, photos, links to other fan pages, a chat board and information on finding Luis Miguel pen pals.

His record company’s page is http://www.warnermusiclatin.com/mexico/miguel/.


Jeannette Giacomazza is president of the Tucson Luis Miguel Fan Club.

Giacomazza holds up some of her Luis Miguel CD collection.

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