The late Mexican mariachi star Lucha Reyes will soon be memorialized in Boyle Heights with a street renamed in her honor. Reyes gained fame performing in Los Angeles in the 1930s and ’40s, including a stint at the Million Dollar Theatre. New trees, lighting, and artwork (expect a life-size statue of Reyes) have been installed near the Mariachi Plaza Metro station at a cost of $12 million dollars.
Reyes died in 1944 at age 38, in what the Los Angeles Times described as a “Self-administered overdose of sleeping tablets after love worries.” Her life seems ripe for a glossy biopic, or at least a Lifetime movie, what with stories about financial problems, a dying father, miscarriage, divorce, singing in the church choir, and then discovery and fame. Historian Timothy Mitchell compares Reyes to Janis Joplin and other ill-fated stars with “truly magnetic personalities and awe-inspiring degrees of talent and fecundity.” Councilman Jose Huizar is hosting the dedication this Saturday at 1pm with a free concert featuring performances by Ezequiel Peña, Juan Mendoza, and Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano.