David de Alba's Newspaper Clippings

Here is included some of the press coverage that the Legendary David de Alba has received throughout the years for a historical look back on his career (Chicago, Illinois, San Francisco, California and Phoenix, Arizona.)

David de Alba in the first of his two features in The National Insider    NOTE: At that time in Chicago David's stage name was Heri Del Valle.

David as Judy Garland 
 Cover of The National Insider

Female Mimic

There was talent a plenty. The stage show by professional and near-professionals came close to the quality and glamour standards set by the internationally famous Jewel Box Revue.

Heri del Valle was astounding with his impression of beloved songbird Judy Garland. His interpretation was near-perfect, from his skillful make-up job to the stunning "pajama suit" so char-acteristic of Judy.

Throughout the evening's program proceedings, we wondered: Just what sort of individual becomes a mimic? Why does a male become attracted to the hautte monde of elegant female fashion? What is the daily life of a female impersonator really like?

For answers, we stepped behind the scenes to talk to the talented Del Valle. Born 20 years ago in Cuba, he's been a resident of Chicago for five years. Del Valle is a licensed cosmetologist, and his skill is readily apparent to anyone who has the opportunity to meet him face-to-face. He's also a past master of creative hair styling.

All of this, however, is merely a prerequisite. The real test of an excellent mimic is the ability to be lovely and natural as a girl. This is where the amateurs fail, but it's where a pro-fessional like Heri Del Valle excells.

Special Something

Del Valle's impersonation is not a burlesque or a caricature. It's a close approximation of the real thing-just as close as nature and a lot of talent will allow. When the house lights dim and Del Valle steps to the edge of the stage, taking up to the opening notes of "Over the Rainbow"-you'd swear you were in the presence of Judy herself.

Besides the Finnies' Ball, Del Valle has entertained audiences in Milwaukee, Chicago and San Francisco with his interpretation of "Judy Garland at The Palace". He's flying back to Frisco this January for a string of club dates.

Vocal talent and skill with cosmetics and costume can take one so far, however. The essence of female impersonation is something that comes from the heart and soul. Whatever that special something is, Del Valle has it!

NATIONAL INSIDER                 JANUARY 12, 1969                PAGE 13

He Makes Like Judy Garland      By GLENN HOLLAND

Heri Del Valle would rather switch than fight. In fact, he'd rather swish than fight.

And he proves it regularly at El Latino Club in Chicago's Old Town District. Heri has displayed his special talents in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Madrid, Spain, San Francisco and Chicago. Heri Del Valle has appeared on television talk shows and has performed excerpts from his act for the benefit of the TV viewers.

The term "TV" is used advisedly. For those initials stand not only for television, but to the cognoscenti they are a symbol of transvestism. Heri is a variant of the tranvestite. He is known in Showbiz as a female impersonator. That is, he's ostensibly a male who dons female appurtenances

and tries to pull the wool over the eyes of male customers.

A full-time cosmetologist, Heri offers a professional perform-ance to intrigue the El Latino's patrons. He sings, dances, plays jazz and climaxes his stint with a "take-off" on Judy Garland. Heri's act is so smooth that he frequently beguiles male customers - who either believe they're viewing an attractive female, or aren't sure what they are ogling.

Del Valle has an excellent voice and a good sense of timing. The Insider's critic found him to be a born entertainer.

And for those whose curiosity extends beyond the footlights, forget it! Heri has a girl friend. Which proves that things aren't always as they seem.

NATIONAL INSIDER                 NOVEMBER 30, 1969                PAGE 17



A Tribute to Judy

Female Impressionist
David De Alba And His Class Act
                   by Gordon Salter

ou look like a Star and you are going to do Judy from now on!" So exclaimed David de Alba's hairdresser friend when he was only 17 and preparing for a big dance event in Chicago. From that moment on, David has spent his life perfecting his "tribute" to Judy Garland.

    Coming from Cuba in the late 60's, de Alba was so impressed by the Carnegie Hall records of Garland that he began to collect her records avidly, including rare pressings.

    When Judy made an in-person promotional tour for the film Gay Purree (in which she was the voice for a violet kitty), David was struck with her "mesmerizing" appeal. "She was dressed in pale lilac with purple chalk streaks in her hair and crystal shoes just like Cinderella. I was hooked visually and emotionally to her at that moment."

    His collection of Garland materials expanded to photographs and then, through the English Fan Club and a Texas off-shoot of that club, includes now such memorabilia as the original lobby card from Carnegie Hall concert and her shoes from the film I Could Go On Singing.

    At a large auction held by Garland's ex-husband Sid Luft in Los Angeles, he obtained many of the original Mort Lindsey music arrangements. Others he has recreated from records and these are now pre-recorded on audio tapes, and his presentation David sings "live" with the orchestrations.

    At the same auction, David saw Judy's last wedding dress, and although it was too expensive for him to buy, he noted that some of the beads on it had fallen off the floor. "I did manage to scoop some of those beads into an envelope."

    While he started by pantomiming Garland's records, he did sing along with them and eventually, after voice lessons, began doing Judy "live." He says: "I've never tried to be a duplication, but only an impression. It is a tribute to the immortal Judy Garland, and it would be impossible for anyone to sound like her exactly. After all, if I did, I would be at The Palladium, but I do look very much like her."

    His costumes are either exact dupli-cations of the original Garland outfits or are patterned after them. He has met and chatted with Lorna Luft and Joey Luft, two of Judy's offspring, but Liza is elusive. "That girl! She is impossible to get to!"

    When asked if anything unusual has ever happened because of his devotion to Garland, he recalled a performance on The Peninsula a few years ago. "It was a very hot day and the theater was stifling. I was sitting on my trunk doing Over the Rainbow. Suddenly, I felt very cold. It was cold all around me in that space. Even people who were sitting next to the stage felt it. When I came to the moment I had to cry (I always cry on cue), I had no control left at all. I had a feeling Judy was near by and that I was slightly possessed." David de Alba, A Tribute to the Immortal Judy Garland. Theatre Rhinoceros, Aug.29 and 30; 861-5079

BAY AREA REPORTER                 AUGUST 28, 1986                PAGE 24

October 21, 1992 - November 3, 1992
Nights of wine and roses
by Jeff Ofstedahl

    If you're a little bit like I am, you probably don't get a chance to get out too often and enjoy a really nice dinner and a show with your lover or a friend. That's why, whenever I get the chance to sneak out, I like to make it count, because, let's face it, in today's economy, one has to look for the best bargain and still receive the quality you want that will pamper you to satisfaction. That's also one of the reasons I became so excited when I began to see the advertisements for Livia's new "live" entertainment.

    I've been a fan of Livia's Italian Restaurant on 7th Avenue for quite some time. And now, for the first time in Phoenix, Livia's also presents Legendary David de Alba in his one-woman show.

    David has recently moved to Scottsdale from San Francisco where he performed extensively doing his female imper-sonations. Now, I'll be the first one to admit it, one of my number-one pet peeves is lipsynching. This is why De Alba's show is so refreshing. He performs each number "live" and in his own voice. Whether he's doing Judy Garland or taking the dining audience back to the days of torch songs gone by, De Alba embraces his characters from the heart!

    What I found refreshing and surprising, David's repertoire in Spanish and Italian language numbers is the perfect European compliment of Livia's decor and style; not elegant, but comfortable, relaxed and seductive. He doesn't bring a lot of glitz and glamour typically found in an over produced Las Vegas casino show, but he's honest in appearance and his demeanor.

    Livia's is located at 4221 N. 7th Avenue in Phoenix. Call 266-7144 for reservations. Featuring 'live' enter-tainment Tuesday - Saturday.

San Francisco's Fabulous David De Alba every Wednesday & Saturday.

Well-known San Francisco FI historian/interviewer Ms Bob, did a two-part in-depth interview in "LadyLike" Magazine called "FlashBack with Ms Bob. David de Alba".

Part I: Issue #43, Year 2000
Part II: Issue #44, Year 2001

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