Joaquin Lopez is a mainstay in Portland’s Latino arts community. He’s recently served as the Arts & Culture Manager for The Latino Network, a local nonprofit that’s mission is to positively transform the lives of Latino youth, families, and communities throughout the the metro area. He’s also an experienced event producer (Portland Art Museum, PDX Latinx Pride), serves on the board of The Hollywood Theater (northeast Portland’s beloved historic movie theater), and is a member of Los Porteños, Portland’s Latino writers group.
With all of that in mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the multi-faceted artist is also a talented musician. His debut record, “… for the Disenchanted,” came out in 2012. According to Lopez, that release was a Spanish-language “ode to melancholia and longing featuring original modern day boleros” — it was essentially a collection of beautiful traditional-leaning folk music.
Lopez’s forthcoming release, “UNIVERSO,” couldn’t be more sonically different. Due out later this summer, the 10 songs were inspired by his coming of age and coming out as a gay teen in 1989. It hearkens back to the dance clubs of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, with heavy influences from dance and electro-pop bands of that era like Erasure, Depeche Mode, George Michael, and Pet Shop Boys. With it’s thumping punk bass line and shimmering synths, the record’s lead single, “Entrego,” serves as the perfect introduction to the project.
The ever ambitious Lopez is also collaborating with Hand2Mouth to produce a live theatrical performance to accompany the album (Kickstarter). The show is slated to open at Milagro Theatre in Portland on July 11.