Though final autopsy results will not be available for several weeks, Salinas's sister, Star LaTronica, told TheaterMania that -- unbeknownst to her and to Brian Carmichael, her bother's partner -- Salinas was found to have had advanced heart disease and may have died of a heart attack.
Salinas was born in Iowa. At an early age, his desire to become a musical theater lyricist inspired him to initiate what turned out to be a long-lasting correspondence with Stephen Sondheim. After moving to New York 25 years ago, Salinas wrote two unproduced musicals. He was a contributor to The Village Voice and held a position as news editor at the New York Native before founding TheaterWeek magazine in 1988. More recently, he was employed as a news and feature writer by Back Stage and TheaterMania.com.
From 1992 to 1999, Salinas worked in San Francisco at the Bay Area Reporter, earning acclaim for both his theater-related stories and his writings on political issues and AIDS; the latter included his famous "No Obits" feature in 1998, marking the first week in 17 years that the paper had not run a PWA's obituary. Over the course of his career, Salinas was an outspoken proponent of gay and AIDS-related causes, pursuing such stories as corruption and mismanagement within AIDS organizations and sexual abuse by members of the clergy.
According to Back Stage news editor Roger Armbrust, "Mike had a long history in journalism and activism, and I think anybody who knew him professionally in those fields knew that he was dedicated to them. As far as my personal relationship with him, we not only worked together at Back Stage but we also took time to talk about our mutual interests in the arts. Mike was involved in everything from writing plays and songs to poetry. He was constantly energized by the arts, and by speaking and writing about them. It's a sad time for those who knew him."
Below are links to the news items and features Salinas contributed to TheaterMania:
- Don't Call Us: City Council Bans Use of Cell Phones in Performance Spaces
- Bill to Ban Use of Cell Phones in NYC Theaters Vetoed, But Not Dead
- Creating the Culture
- Paper Mill Revises Del Rossi's Role to Supporting
- Memorial Service to be Held for William Marrié, Movin' Out Dancer Killed in Motorcycle Accident
- Song Long and Strong in Harlem
- HOLA, MTC Among Governor's Arts Awards Recipients
- No More Kidding Around: The Goat to Exit
- Lesbian Playwrights Are Recruiting
- SDCF to Honor Jack O'Brien with Mr. Abbott Award
- Gypsy of the Year 2002 Set for December 9 and 10
- Broadway Holiday Tree Lighting Set for December 11
- Playwrights Horizons to Open New House With Old Favorites
- Drama Book Shop Announces More Programs for Theater Lovers
- Vinnette Carroll, Groundbreaking Director, Dies at 80
- Scripts Sought for Midtown International Theatre Festival
- Harlem to Keep Singing Its Song, at Least Through This Weekend
- Hayley Mills Hosts 'Only Make Believe' Benefit Tonight
- Russell Simmons Gets Def In It
- Imaginary Friends, New Play With Songs, May Puzzle Awards Nominating Committees
- No Happy Ending to Moscow Theater Drama
- Americans Reported To Be Among Theater Hostages in Moscow
- Dramatists Guild Looks Holmesward in November
- Audience Members Held Hostage at Moscow Musical
- Fund Me, Kate!