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Rose Quintana

Rose was one of those individuals with an inner light when she hit the stage. She glowed while performing, capitivting audiences evening after evening. 

Rose was a beloved community member who emceed drag shows every Sunday night at the iconic Old Plantation club downtown from 1978 through? Her iconic style was full of witty banter with the audience. Rose would also entertain the audience with her beautiful singing voice. She  sang everything from Wind Under Your Wings to Mexican love songs. She loved showcasing drag performers but was no stranger to “throwing shade” in the time-honored tradition of cleverly crafted critique and insults in the drag community. Rose mentored many budding drag queens in the scene in the 1970’s and 80’s. 


Rose graduated from Jefferson High School. She was in the marching band during high school and played clarinet. Her singing talent was noted even in her teen years , when she brought honor to Jefferson High School by qualifying for the All-City Choir, an elite choral group featuring the El Paso's best. She majored in opera at UTEP with the help of the Chorale Aid scholarship, though she did not complete her degree. Her love of music permeated every aspect of her life.

Fellow Border Hero Manny Rivera recounted how he met her at the bar called the Time Machine, downstairs from the San Antonio Street bar. She was the door person there taking cover charges and greeting customers.  Around 1977-78,  when the OP opened, Rose became the regular emcee at their drag shows. Manny recalls that she'd lip synch the song The Town Without Pity by Gene Pitney.  

When you're young and so in love as we
And bewildered by the world we see
Why do people hurt us so?
Only those in love would know
What a town without pity can do

If we stop to gaze upon a star
People talk about how bad we are
Ours is not an easy age
We're like tigers in a cage
What a town without pity can do

The young have problems, many problems
We need an understanding heart
Why don't they help us, try to help us
Before this clay and granite planet falls apart

Take these eager lips and hold me fast
I'm afraid this kind of joy can't last
How can we keep love alive
How can anything survive
When these little minds tear you in two?
What a town without pity can do

How can we keep love alive
How can anything survive
When these little minds tear you in two?
What a town without pity can do

No, it isn't very pretty what a town without pity can do

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Dimitri Tiomkin / Ned Washington


If you are inspired, stop and sing a little Karaoke for Rose. She reigned supreme in her role as the O.P.'s drag show emcee except for a few weeks when Bill Morris took over. Bill was tragically murdered in 1979.











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Rose was well known in the drag community across the state, including at the Rose Room, a prestigious drag bar in Dallas. Rose was always willing to lend her talents to raising money for good causes.  See this article that remarks on a drag show she organized to raise money for Special Olympics in El Paso. With the support of Bob Bonaventura, The Old Plantation's owner, Rose worked her magic with the crowd to solicit donations. And as the article indicates Bob and Rose's efforts spanned over multiple years.
Rose Mary Quintana died on  10/25/1992. 

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