Updated at 11:25 p.m. Feb. 5, 2013
Lucy Cabezas is a self-described “goofball” from the Jackson Heights and Queens area of New York City with two overriding passions: La Mesa and Betty White.
So why not combine them?
Cabezas, a La Mesa resident since July 2007, on Saturday launched a Facebook page to drum up support for her dream of bringing the 91-year-old actress and celebrity to Christmas in the Village, the annual downtown festival.
But Facebook drives are a dime a dozen.
How serious is Cabezas about wooing White?
“If this takes me eating fire or sword-swallowing, let me know the time and place and I will do it,” she said Tuesday in a phone interview.
It just so happens that Cabezas, 30, has performed as a fire-eater and sword-swallower in a multifaceted career that she says includes burlesque, true-crime writing and playing in a band.
Her Facebook page—La Mesa Wants Betty White—had only 20 Likes as of Tuesday, but Cabezas has been talking it up at haunts like Cosmos Coffee Café in The Village and elsewhere.
“I know that [follower] numbers are a huge deal,” she said. “I would love to see people in the hundreds who also feel that Betty White is awesome and should visit La Mesa in all its cute Christmassy glory.
“Betty White would just love it here. There’s no rhyme or reason to [the Facebook drive]. It just came to me.”
Actually, she has good reason for liking the Emmy Award-winning actress—a radio and comedy veteran best known for TV stints on The Mary Tyler Moore, The Golden Girls, game shows and Hot in Cleveland.
Betty White’s agent may have let the air out of Cabezas’ tires, however, responding to a Patch inquiry late Tuesday night.
“Betty’s schedule does not permit with two network primetime shows in production,” wrote White’s agent, Beverly Hills-based Jeff Witjas of the Agency for the Performing Arts.
Before word came from Witjas, Cabezas said in her New York twang: “I grew up watching Betty White.”
When Cabezas had some “down times,” she would go on YouTube, search for White, and “it would make me feel better.”
And when she shared the idea with friends, “not one person has said anything negative,” she said. “I want everyone in California to back this up.”
White, a Brentwood resident, would love the friendly vibe of La Mesa, Cabezas said, and wants her to serve as grand marshal at the two-day Christmas in the Village in mid-December—the event organized by the La Mesa Village Merchants Association.
In a blog post on La Mesa Today, Cabezas wrote:
With the help and encouragement of a lot of people, I decided to create a Facebook page asking Betty White to come and visit us. My little fantasy? Betty White as the Grand Marshal of Christmas in the Village (even if there is no such title, one should be created).
Yeah I know some guy created a Facebook to get NBC to get Betty White to host SNL, I figured I would at least try. Even if we don’t get her to come down here, how awesome would it be if everyone in our community agreed on this. I spoke to local merchants and citizens alike and they all say to me: “LUCY! YOU HAVE TO GET US BETTY WHITE!”
Although her personal Facebook page features her stage persona of “Evil Lucy,” Cabezas has a practical streak.
She recently earned an associate’s degree in information technology from the online University of Phoenix and works in telemarketing for Geary LSF in downtown San Diego. She’s worked in web design and has done a comic strip.
She’s also engaged to be married—in April 2014. And her fiancé “supports me fully” in her Betty White quest, she says.
Cabezas rents an apartment on La Mesa Boulevard near Mario’s de La Mesa restaurant and the University Avenue intersection.
In her Facebook page—founded Feb. 2—Cabezas says:
One day I was talking to some friends of mine and I don’t know how we ended up on this topic, but the idea of Betty White coming to La Mesa was beginning. I talked to random people about how they would feel if Betty White visited us, and all their answers were the same: “F--- YEAH! I'd love to meet Betty White.”
I want to take it a step further, I want to see if I can talk to La Mesa officials and ask them if we can make Betty White the Grand Marshall of our annual Christmas in the Village. … Please help me try to get this legend here to La Mesa!
Cabezas confesses to not having a budget to bring White here, “but I should like to think that I can work hard and possibly pay for a hotel room, get a sponsor, perform on streets.”
How else might she promote the drive?
“I will be going around the neighborhood talking my head off,” she said via email Tuesday afternoon. “Other than that, I might see if I can afford a [website] domain name for the cause.”
Born in Santa Fe De Bogota, Colombia, Cabezas came to New York in 1984 about age 2 and says she gained U.S. citizenship in 1996.