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Volume 9 Issue 3 Feb. 2 - 15, 2018

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Up for the challenge

Shape-shifting Mardi Gras


City Councilmember Georgette Gomez addresses the huge crowd at the Women’s March in San Diego on Jan. 20. (Courtesy Office of Georgette Gomez)

Openly gay Latina focuses on ‘lifting’ her district up Morgan M. Hurley | Editor Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three-part series about our sophomore LGBT city council members. We explored

Learning from elders

Beyond the meetings


Get to know the Live & Let Live Alano Club By Eric Carroll

Bagels from the Big City



Anything for a buck

Index 6


what their first year in office has been like and what the future may hold for them … and us. Georgette Gomez, the first openly LGBT Latina to







Contact us Editorial/Letters 619-961-1960

There is an unassuming commercial building near the intersection of Monroe Avenue and Park Boulevard in the trendy University Heights neighborhood. Many walking to the nearby restaurants and bars may stroll past it wondering why there are people milling about in the few parking spaces located in front of the building. On the bottom floor resides the Live and Let Live Alano Club (LLLAC), a nonprofit sober clubhouse that keeps its doors open 365 days a year to serve the San Diego LGBT recovery community. Named after a traditional Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) slogan, “Live & Let Live” — which in this case is also a nod to living an authentic life — the mission of LLLAC is to help others find a better way of living through recovery and community resources. The Monroe Avenue club has decades of LGBT memorabilia on its walls, including the stained-glass window from their original Fourth Avenue location, where it was launched 35 years ago. The facility hosts approximately 50 different

12-step and other support meetings throughout the week and as a result, serves nearly 1,000 members and visitors seeking recovery on a weekly

run or hold a San Diego City Council seat, is a longtime public servant and well known throughout the district she now represents. Gomez spent years working “in the weeds” of her communities and dedicating her time to affording better lives to all.

Now a policy maker herself, she can have even more of an impact on affecting change and it appears already that the sky is the limit as to where her ambition to help others will take her.

basis (that’s more than 42,000 people per year) and they do it without a full-time staff. In its 35 years of operation, LLLAC has held a total of 124 events, including potluck holiday dinners, dances, movie and game nights.

Husband of Navy man accused of murder

see LLLAC, pg 3

By Neal Putnam

Board members celebrate the reopening of LLAC’s coffee bar, which serves as a central hub of this sober club, Jan. 20. (Courtesy LLAC)




A judge has refused to lower the $1 million bail set for a gay man charged with stab-bing his husband to death on Jan. 1 in their Downtown apartment. Terry Ray Benson, 27, is accused of killing Navy Hospital Corpsman James Leslie Hearn, 28, with a knife. Hearn listed his nickname as “Dizzy” on his Facebook page, and the couple were married Aug. 22, 2015. Benson’s attorney, Ashby Sorensen, asked San Diego Superior Court Judge Maureen Hallahan to reduce the bail to $100,000 on Jan. 17. “There’s no doubt it’s a domestic dispute,” Sorensen said. “He’s not a danger to the community. He has a lot of friends. “He’s not a flight risk,” she continued, adding that it is not in his character to run away from problems.

see Murder, pg 3

Time For A Raised Foundation


San Diego Community News Network

see Challenge, pg 8

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Mardi Gras on the move

Annual event now takes revelers through the streets and businesses of Hillcrest Morgan M. Hurley | Editor While many neighborhoods and cities are putting their Mardi Gras celebrations on hold or nixing them altogether, the folks at the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) have spent the last six months coming up with what they hope will become a perma-nent alternative to the traditional Hillcrest Mardi Gras block party-style celebration of years’ past. Called “Party Bus Bar Hop,” this year’s new celebration, to be held Saturday, Feb. 10, from 6–11 p.m., will take its participants on the road, involving all corners of the Hillcrest gayborhood, rather than just a few cordoned off blocks for a dance party and drink fest. For just $10, each participant will receive an “Allinclusive Mardi Gras Party Pass,” granting them travel via distinct party buses between at least seven different party stops, each with a different Mardi-Gras-inspired theme, where they will then visit the participating bars, nightclubs, retail shops and restaurants located in that area. Themes are named after familiar New Orleans landmarks, including Bourbon Street, Vieux Carre (The French Quarter), Southern Decadence, The Garden District, Royal Street, The


















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Voodoo Courtyard and Frenchmen Street. See sidebar for specific loca-tions. “Any business can participate, so if your business is near any of the party stops, you can sign up to provide some sort of welcome shot or unique beads that offer some-thing special or a promotion,” said Eddie Reynoso, membership and marketing direc-tor of the HBA. Starting out from Will Call at the Hillcrest Pride Flag, which is located at the inter-section of Normal Street and University Avenue in east Hillcrest, four different double-decker and/or limo-style party buses, and a surprise party bus yet to be revealed — each decked out by a different

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local sponsor and emceed by a different drag queen — will make its way through the various themed areas, allowing riders to hop on and off as often and as many times as they like. Revelers will enjoy welcome shots and other giveaways also known as “throws” in “Mardi Graspeak” and unique to each venue. Once you step off the party bus, you will be on a self-guided tour, styled similar to the HBA’s annual Taste ’n’ Tinis Christmas event. Retailers throughout Hillcrest are en-couraged to sign up to take advantage of the foot traffic and the HBA offers to make it easy. “We come in with our bar food and our liquor, pull a liquor license for [retailers] and create a welcome sample for them to share,” Reynoso said. “The benefit is that you get an influx of 400-plus people who may not have known about your business.” Most of the throws offered throughout the evening from various participating busi-nesses will be celebratory beads, and in many cases a little something extra. “Each of the stops will have some sort of collectable beads,” Reynoso said. “Grace Threading [located in The HUB] for example, is providing beads with a free service on a future date, so the beads become valuable. Rich’s Nightclub will have beads that have a shot glass attached to them, so when you go around collecting your welcome shots, you have your own personal shot glass.” Reynoso pointed out that on standard walking “taste” tours, it is often difficult to get to every participating restaurant or venue because they can be so far apart; with par-ty buses running on constant rotation, it should be easy to hit every themed area and still have time to go back and visit your favorites again before the end of the night. He also explained that each bus will have its own drag queen and corresponding en-tertainment, and revelers will want to see them all. Chris Shaw, owner and president of the four restaurant bars — Urban MO’s, Baja Betty’s, Gossip Grill and Hillcrest Brewing Company — that make up MO’s Uni-verse, is pleased with the new event, since now rather than just one of his venues benefitting from its close proximity to the block party, all four will be involved. “MO’s Universe looks forward to Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday events in Hillcrest for 2018,” Shaw said in a press release. “We invite all of San Diego to experience the col-orful nightlife Hillcrest has to offer, as we provide a safe, fun and sassy neighborhood to let your cares go.” While riders wait for their scheduled party bus pickup, there will be musicians, street performers, and buskers on hand to keep them entertained. “There are several reasons why we decided to change it,” Reynoso said. “One reason, the cost of producing a block party is has gone up; [there are costs associated with] shutting the streets down, police, security, and the rerouting of buses. Closing Nor-mal Street is less expensive because it is not considered a major thoroughfare.” Another advantage, Reynoso said, is that Mardi Gras falls on an earlier date this year, which means that weather could easily and even unexpectedly come into play. “Historically, when Mardi Gras have been early in the year, weather has affected at-tendance,” he said. “If it is cold, people would rather go out and be inside the bars, so we also lose liquor sales.” “We thought this year participating in a bus tour would be a fun change to a block party that lets participants experience the festivities at many of the local establish-ments in our community,” said Michael Saltsman, co-owner of Uptown Tavern. “For attendees of this bus tour, it’s a bit like going on a Mardi Gras parade/pub crawl of their own through Hillcrest!” Bus transportation and inside venues takes care of that concern; and any drinks purchased in addition to the welcome shots will take place at each of the respective bars or nightclubs on the route, with most are offering drink specials to accommodate attendees. “Uptown Tavern will be offering a specialty cocktail developed specifically for this year’s Mardi Gras Bus Tour party,” Saltsman said. “The cocktail is called the Piña Picante and is made with tamarind vodka, pineapple juice and a touch of chili pepper to finish it off with a bit of a kick. Uptown will also be handing out beads to guests as is traditional Mardi Gras custom.” In addition, based on the event’s hours, you could easily go to dinner prior to taking the Party Bus Bar Hop and still be home at a decent time; if you are a night owl, however, you could also hit up the party bus tour prior to making an appearance at your favorite latenight club for the evening. “I can’t stress enough what value you are getting for $10,” Reynoso said. “The shots alone … there may be some food bites along the route but make sure you eat along the route.”

see Mardi Gras, pg 3

Party Stops and participating locations • In addition to no cover, many of the participants are offering express entry and collectible beads, welcome shots and other specials and giveaways • Keep checking back at for more updates.

Bourbon Street (Hairspray parking lot) • Urban MO’s Bar & Grill; Fiesta Cantina; Subterranean Coffee House

Southern Decadence (Fifth Avenue between Brookes and Pennsylvania avenues) • The Loft

French Quarter (Fifth Avenue between Evans Place and University Avenue) • Brass Rail; Babycakes; #1 Fifth Avenue; Crest Cafe

Royal Street (University Avenue between 10th Avenue and Vermont Street) • Flicks; Rich’s

Voodoo Courtyard (University Avenue between Vermont and Richmond streets) • The Merrow; Manfest; Gossip Grill; Uptown Tavern

Garden District Party Stop: (University between Richmond Street and Park Boulevard) • Baja Betty’s; Brick Bar; Hillcrest Brewing Company

Frenchman Street (Park Boulevard between University and Robinson avenues) • Pardon My French “I think I’m most excited about getting the whole neighborhood involved. I have been in Hillcrest for almost eight years and I can count the number of times that I’ve had a drink at The Loft. It is one of those places that I’ve always forgotten about, so I think this event will remind people that there are really cool places in Hillcrest that they never get to. —Eddie Reynoso, membership and marketing director, HBA



They also have a coffee bar on premises — which just reopened after upgrades Jan. 20 — and staff sell sobriety tokens and provide free literature about recovery options and other 12-step meetings. Their website also links to LGBT-friendly 12-step meetings all over San Diego County. “An Alano Club is a sober clubhouse, ‘the space between the meetings,’” said Robert Tice, the outreach board member for LLLAC. “We are open for fellowship and peer-to-peer support roughly 12 hours daily. A newcomer may not feel comfortable speaking at a meeting, so members and guests hang out in the coffee bar. It helps if someone can identify with just one person who seems to reflect their ‘story’ of loneliness, isolation, and turmoil.” Tice is also an alcohol and drug counselor and recommends having a sponsor. AA states in its official literature, “The process of sponsorship is this: An alcoholic who has made some progress in the recovery program shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through AA.” An alternative to the bar scene and a safe place for LGBT people in recovery, the LLLAC is able to provide a sense of fellowship and community, which they believe, is key for someone to stay

on the life path free of substance abuse and addiction. It offers a source of support outside the traditional AA meeting environment — and is an extension of the 12-step program. It also offers alternatives to traditional 12-step, including the first SMART meetings — a four-point self-empowering recovery method — in an Alano Club setting and hosts more non-traditional AA meetings than other clubhouses in California. Within their onsite offerings are an array of “specialty meetings,” which include meetings for atheists and agnostics, the leather and kink community, and those who identify with the bear culture of the LGBT community (called “Sobearity”). They also host meetings for Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA), Sexual Compulsive (SCA), Codependent Anonymous (CODA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), Nicotine Anonymous (NicA) and Marijuana Anonymous (MA) meetings among others. Tice said that while the LLLAC has held true to its original mission by continually serving the LGBT community for 35 years, this is not the only demographic that benefits from their resources these days. The military recently selected the LLLAC as the weekly meeting location for its enlisted personnel and officers enrolled in their Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP). “The Alano Club is proud to be serving our nation’s military in such a powerful and

personal way,” Tice said, adding that abused women often feel safe at LLAC, too.

The future

In a cooperative effort with North Park Family Health Centers, LLLAC recently added monthly HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C testing and education, and also plans to add meetings for Spanish speakers, transgender and dual-diagnosis persons. LLLAC will also be taking a more proactive role with outreach into the local LGBT bars and restaurants of our community, to let people know there is a space that exists if they want


Sorensen said there had been a struggle and that his client was in “a chokehold.” He also said there was a history of domestic violence from the vic-tim, calling it “a tragic situation.” Deputy District Attorney Amy Colby agreed it was a domestic violence case, but Benson told police several different versions of what happened. Colby said Benson originally told police his husband fell on a knife; about 1 1/2-hours later, Benson said his husband had possession of the knife. When he was re-interviewed later, Benson claimed Hearn had him in a chokehold. “The story has changed significantly,” Colby said. The prosecutor said Benson stabbed Hearn in the chest. She acknowledged they were a same-sex couple. The defense attorney countered that Benson’s statements changed when he learned what happened and that Hearn was dead. Hallahan said she had read a number of character letters recommending a lower bail. “You have a world of support behind you,” she said, alluding to family members in the audience and elsewhere. Regardless, the judge said she didn’t see any change in current circumstances that would warrant lowering bail.

Parking is free at the DMV lot, with entrances on Lincoln Avenue, Normal Street and Cleveland Avenue. Hillcrest Mardi Gras was first established in 2001 as a community event designed to draw locals and tourists to Hillcrest during a traditionally slow time of the year. It is now the largest LGBT Mardi Gras celebration outside of New Orleans. Proceeds from the event benefit the beautification projects of the HBA,


Navy Hospital Corpsman James Hearn ( She was the same judge who set bail at $1 million when Benson was arraigned before her on Jan. 4. She added she would keep the letters in his file should another judge consider lowering the bail. A preliminary hearing was set for April 5. Benson has pleaded not guilty and remains in the central jail. Hearn’s funeral was in Newport News, Virginia, which is his hometown. According to his obituary, he was buried with full military honors at the A.G. Horton Memorial Veteran’s Cemetery in Suffolk, Virginia. —Neal Putnam is a local freelance writer. Reach him at


This nondescript building on Monroe Avenue in University Heights houses a comforting respite for the LGBT recovery community. (Courtesy LLAC)



GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018

or need help overcoming alcoholism or addiction. The biggest challenge for LLLAC, like many nonprofits, is funding. They are able to keep the place open with an all-volunteer staff; through the sale of food, beverages and recovery tokens; collecting dues from members; as well as “passing the hat” at each 12-step meeting; but they need consistent, ongoing support to continue to provide the extensive resources and support for those seeking recovery. Want to help? Tice said the board is proud of the fact that LLLAC has received a “hard-earned”

platinum gold star rating from Guide Star, a rating and research organization that provides information to the public so donors can make educated choices on where they give donations. To learn more, visit their website,, or Guide Star at, or contact Robert Tice at robertt@lllac. org.

which under the guidance of Executive Director Benjamin Nicholls, represents over 1,300 businesses in Hillcrest, acting as liaison on their behalf with the city of San Diego, advocating for economic development, keeping its streets clean and safe, maintaining the Hillcrest sign, and more. “The importance of Mardi Gras to Hillcrest’s economy cannot be understated,” Nicholls said in a press release. “It not only supports jobs in the hospitality and en-tertainment sector, such as bars, nightclubs and restaurants, but also buoys local Hillcrest retailers and boutiques, which supply

the materials to create the costumes, decorations, and the art, associated with our Mardi Gras celebrations. It pumps mon-ey into the community through vendors who supply the merchandise, transportation, sanitation, printing, and advertising, as well as the security required to produce a successful event.” For more information or to buy tickets, visit or follow the HBA on Facebook, /FabHillcrest; Twitter, @ FabHillcrest; and Instagram @FabulousHillcrest.

—Editor Morgan M. Hurley contributed to this report. —Eric Carroll is a freelance graphic designer, photographer and writer. Reach him at

—Reach Morgan M. Hurley at

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Loving our fellow humankind Back Out with Benny Ben Cartwright A few days ago, a candidate for local office whom I connected to on Facebook posed the question on social media: “What social issues are you passionate about?” I wanted to reply, but actually had trouble “deciding” which issue(s) to list — not because I’m not passionate about any social issues, it’s the complete opposite — it was because it felt strange prioritizing one issue over another. Then it dawned on me that I just care about humans and their wellbeing. Politics aside, the advancement of social justice for all people should be the social issue we are all passionate about. In the comments section under the post, people listed all sorts of things: homelessness, access to healthcare, walkable neighborhoods, safety, drug addiction, mental illness, immigration, racism and more. All of these things (and many other issues) are equally important so I’m challenging myself and others to be passionate about other people. Usually in

my February column I write something related to love, so let’s this call this loving our fellow humankind. The candidate who posed the question also wrote the following, which I wholeheartedly agree with: “Stand up for all issues when fighting for social justice. Don’t be silent on certain issues because you assume they don’t directly impact you. Educate your mind and take the time to understand each social issue. Everything is interconnected.” He’s exactly right: Everything is interconnected. Whether your cause is feeding the homeless, or cleaning up your neighborhood, or fighting systemic racism, it’s all really about taking care of each other and making sure every human being is treated fairly. It’s my dream and wish that we could spend less time politicizing what should be basic human rights and more time just loving each other. We can all do our part to make social justice a reality. Speak up when you see something that is wrong. Spend less time in social media wars and more time connecting and interacting with people in person (people tend to be nicer — even when arguing hot topics

The art of loving Life Beyond Therapy Michael Kimmel My first column for Gay San Diego made its debut in the Feb. 14, 2001 issue. The title? “We Need Some Self-Love.” Some subjects are timeless, like love. Many self-help gurus say stuff like, “You can’t love anyone else if you don’t love yourself.” Sounds good, but, what does that mean? Loving yourself is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight. It progresses — in stops and starts — over the course of your life. It may go well for a while (you feel pretty good about who you are and what you’re doing)

and then, typically, you bomb out and things seem bleak and depressing (for a while, anyway). This is normal. No one gets to Happyville and stays there forever. As teenagers, we seldom get there. When we get into our 20s, we begin to experiment: What makes us happy? Who makes us happy? And we experience little “bursts” of self-love. As we get into our 30s and 40s, it becomes clearer to us what loving ourselves really is: treating ourselves kindly, especially when times are tough. We get more clarity about the kind of work, friends and romance we want. Our bodies start to age: This can be a threat to our selflove. How do we accept the changes in our bodies? In our 50s and 60s, we

— when they’re not hiding beyond a computer or smartphone screen), and get to know people who are different than you. These seem like such a simple things, but we don’t do it enough. We need to spend more time loving people — even people we don’t know — and it will be a little bit closer to a more perfect world. On another note, but related to love and social media, my good friend (and amazing musician) Don LeMaster, recently posted this: “I think I’m gonna start another movement: Too many people say “love you” and “miss you.” I believe that just sounds insincere, is it just me? Why not just add one more letter and say “I love you” or “I miss you.” That’s more personal and sounds like you actually mean it! Try adding the “I” and see if people react differently, and if I leave out the “I” please call me out on it! I love you all!!! Let’s do this!” I’ve started doing this — and being more intentional when I say those phrases — and it actually has completely changed the way it feels! I remember when I was a kid, every night before going to bed I would yell down the hall to my mom “love you ... night!” Of course I love usually have more access to loving ourselves: We’ve been through enough life experiences and we are much more sure of what works for us. We’ve seen the ups and downs of life enough to know that nothing lasts forever and even the worst times come to an end. Once we reach retirement age, it’s a whole new game: we may not work at a job anymore, we may lose friends or lovers, we may have health challenges. On the other hand, we typically have a whole lot of wisdom, which makes it easier to love and forgive ourselves (and others). Regardless of our age, we can all improve our self-love. A good way to start is to become more aware of what you say to yourself. Your selftalk is much more important than what you say to others. I encourage my clients to treat yourself as you would a beloved child — encourage my mom dearly, but thinking back, saying it that way just seemed robotic and insincere. Similar to how it’s just standard to say “How are you?” when greeting someone, but do we really care how the person is doing? Since I’ve added the “I” to my “love yous” in the last couple weeks, I’ve found myself stopping to think more about what I’m saying, looking the person in the eye, and trying to make a genuine connection in that moment. Give it a try! And if I haven’t told you lately, I love you! Getting Out With Benny Can you believe it’s already February? As usual there’s just so much going on. Here’s a few events I’m looking forward to: Saturday, Feb. 10, 6–11 p.m. — Hillcrest Mardi Gras. Word is that Downtown San Diego’s annual Mardi Gras bash is cancelled this year, so Hillcrest is definitely going to be the place to be that weekend. The Hillcrest Business Association has put together a brand new Mardi Gras event that incorporates many of the neighborhood’s bars on a Party Bus Bar Hop. It’s going to be a lot of fun! More information is in this issue of Gay San Diego. Saturday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m. — Imperial Court de San Diego’s Coronation

XLVI. The annual Coronation celebration is the Imperial Court’s most elegant affair, and if you’ve never been before, you might want to consider attending just to see the very royal outfits! At this very formal event, the organization’s new emperor and empress are elected, along with entertainment, protocol, and other honors. I even heard that a few of my friends and I are getting a cool honor. bit. ly/2BH3wWY Sunday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m. — Tantrums & Tiaras 2018: Battle of the Bar Queens (All Stars). San Diego’s amazing over-the-top drag competition is back for an all stars edition! Five returning contestants from previous years, each from various bars within our community, will take to the stage to “snatch” the T & T crown in this show, which is always full of surprises. And the best part is that it benefits The Center! This event always sells out so get tickets now. bit. ly/2E51x3V

and forgive this child, set healthy boundaries for them and praise them whenever you can. Doing this for your adult self is a big part of loving yourself. Few of us are raised this way. We more typically internalize beliefs like: “Bite the bullet and do what you gotta do” and “Don’t baby yourself, it’s a sign of weakness. Be tough.” This isn’t loving yourself, this is manipulating yourself by using what I call the “should school of life.” You should do this and you should do that. A wise old friend of mine told me years ago: “Don’t ‘should’ on yourself.” She’s right. Let me close by mentioning what I call Healthy Loving Relationships (HLRs). Many people don’t really know what healthy love is, they think it’s like a business deal: “You do this for me and I’ll do this for you.” Or they confuse

love with obsession: “I can’t be happy without you.” This isn’t love and it‘s not any kind of healthy relationship either. HLRs are based in freedom and mutual respect. This sounds good, but it isn’t easy. HLRs depend on each person in the relationship doing their own inner work and not expecting their partner to “complete” them. HLRs are comprised of two (or more) independent people who don’t need each other, but choose to be with each other because of the joy and pleasure of it. When HLRs go through difficult times, both partners do their best to tell the truth respectfully and gently, growing even closer from hardship. HLRs, not surprisingly, are made up of people who have a lot of self-love: This makes it relatively easy for them to share their love with others. Want to learn more about self-love and HLRs? On Saturday, Feb. 10, from 1:30 to about 3 p.m., I am offering a workshop: “The Art of Loving: SelfLove and Healthy Loving Relationships” at Barnes and Noble, 5500 Grossmont Center Drive, San Diego 91942. Come join us! There is no charge and I’m giving away a few copies of my book, too. It would be great to see you there: please come up and introduce yourself.

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—Benny Cartwright is the director of community outreach at the San Diego LGBT Community Center. He can be reached at 619-692-2077 ext. 106 or outreach@thecentersd. org. Note: Byline photo by Rob Lucas Modern Aperture Photography.t

—Michael Kimmel is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in helping LGBT clients achieve their goals and deal with anxiety, depression, grief, sexually addictive behavior, coming out, relationship challenges and homophobia. Contact him at 619-955-3311 or visit


GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018

Meet your LGBTBE peers


Equator Coffees & Teas, a company with a conscience #LGBTB2B Michelle Burkart In our past columns, we gave you the background of the LGBTBE business certification movement, reasons to become certified, how to become certified LGBTBE, as well as other certifications, resources for success, and buzzwords to learn. This year, we plan to introduce you to those LGBTBEcertified businesses from all over the world that are “working it” to help to grow their business. With that in mind, meet the power trio at Equator Coffees & Teas, headquartered in San Rafael, California, just north of San Francisco. In 1995, Helen Russell and her partner Brooke McDonnell founded the company, and Maureen McHugh joined them three months later. When I met them at the NGLCC Annual Supplier Diversity Conference in August 2017, I learned that when Helen and Brooke started roasting coffee in a garage in Marin County, it marked the beginning of a journey to build a high-impact coffee company focused on quality, sustainability and social responsibility. While their goals have remained the same — today they have more than 500 wholesale accounts, seven retail cafes, a team of more than 100

employees, and a commissary for food production —they still truly love what they do. In the April-May 2015 issue of Barista Magazine, Helen explained that in 1995, there were no specialty coffee stores in the Bay Area. In their visits to the Northwest, they realized that coffee cafes were the meeting grounds for the social justice movement, a gathering place for community interaction. Thus, the social consciousness of Equator Coffees & Teas was born, which still exists today in all seven of their café locations. In speaking with Maureen, vice president of operations, in regard to why they became an LGBTBE-certified business, she detailed the analytical side of a business decision first. ● They had opened a location in SF and joined the local LGBT chamber. ● Why not identify with like-minded LGBTBE businesses and be counted nationally? ● There was potential for expanded opportunities. ● They had other business certifications including WBENC (women-owned), and B Corp (identified as “for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.”) and they were the first coffee roaster in the nation to hold this certification.


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● They had other product certifications to include Organic and Fair Trade. Her responses correlated with the company’s mission of social responsibility since its founding, according to the Barista Magazine article. Back then, it was the “coffee as a social justice movement” that helped to start the business and now, it is the national “LGBTBE certified as a business movement,” which can help sustain and expand it. I asked Maureen if the expanded opportunities had materialized by being LGBTBE certified and what experiences could she share with others that are considering it. “There is no certification that will guarantee you will get more business,” she said. “However, we do feel that the intangible benefits have translated to more goodwill with our customers by taking this public stand to become LGBTBE certified. We have participated in the LGBTBE matchmaking events at the annual NGLCC conferences in order to meet Supplier Diversity representatives that may or may not be a good fit. We also had a booth at the conference Marketplace, which provided more outreach nationally.” There are also two specific pending opportunities that Maureen said she can also

attribute to Equator Coffee becoming LGBTBE certified. “While we have not consistently measured quantitatively a ROI on our certification, we strongly feel that it has helped us to nurture our customer relationships, and to expand our company recognition in the Bay Area community, and nationally,” Maureen said. This power trio has come a long way from roasting coffee in a garage. In 2016, the company was awarded the Small Business Administration’s National Small Business of the Year award, becoming the first LGBTBE business to attain this honor. Their expanded team of employees remain passionate, not only while providing quality products, but creating community gathering spaces in their

cafes and online store ( In talking with these business owners, it was apparent their certifications, whether product or business oriented, exemplify their company mission of social responsibility and sustainability. Being true to your company’s core values is one key to success; by being LGBTBE certified, the principals of Equator Coffees & Tea continue to “walk the talk,” which keeps their customers coming back for more. —Michelle Burkart is the principal at Diversity Supplier Alliance. Questions? Reach her at For more information on LGBTBE certification, visit



GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018


Feedback on ‘Conversations with Nicole’ [Ref: “The ‘Mayor of Hillcrest’ has landed,” Vol. 9, Issue 2, or online bit. ly/2DsQ6Qd].

It might be wise to do better research before slandering people online. That “holiday card” photo is a satirical post my husband did on our own IG account, @rick_and_ the_griffopotamus. Our post referenced the scandal of Traveling Butts in a satire of how Christmas is now about worshipping Santa and commercialism, i.e., posing nude in front of a “religious temple.” Please remove this article as well as our image, as we have not given permission for your publication to present it. Thank you. —Rick and Griff TwombleyKing, via, email and voicemail Nicole says, “I contacted some of my connections in the State Department and also got the assistance of a local member of Congress.” Yeah, sure you did. Why didn’t you just claim you went over there and single-handedly busted them out of prison?

see Letters, pg 7

OPEN LETTER TO COMMUNITY To our community, We want to begin by affirming that all of us at San Diego LGBT Pride are steadfast in our commitment to our long-standing mission and vision — to foster pride, equality and respect for all LGBT communities locally, nationally, and globally. This has been our guiding principle since our inception and why we have worked continuously to unite and empower the LGBT community, not just in San Diego, but around the world. Each of us on the board of directors recognize the space San Diego Pride holds and continues to occupy within our community, but now it’s time to grow. With growth comes change and we want to share some of those changes with you. First, we are saddened to announce the departure of Eric Heinritz, our current executive director. Eric EDITOR Morgan M. Hurley (619) 961-1960 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS (619) 519-7775 Ken Williams, x102 Jeff Clemetson, x119 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Michelle Burkart Eric Carroll Ben Cartwright Michael Kimmel Jean Lowerison Sam Moehlig Neal Putnam Nicole Murray Ramirez WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA Sara Butler, x118

dutifully served both this organization and our community well, and we are extremely grateful for the sacrifices and time he has dedicated to us. We wish Eric nothing but the best wherever he goes in the future. Effective Monday, Feb. 5, Fernando Lopez, our current director of operations, will assume the role and responsibilities of executive director. Fernando’s commitment to San Diego Pride and our community is without question. Coupled with his knowledge and extensive history at San Diego Pride, we are all excited to see what he will accomplish as we move forward. While this news has already been speculated in the media, we know these are important changes for our organization and community and that is why we wanted to address it directly. In addition, we want to COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958 ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS (619) 519-7775 Heather Fine, x107 Sloan Gomez, x104 Brenda Vergara, x110 SALES INTERN Erik Guerrero EDITORIAL INTERN Cassidy Klein

make very clear that our emeriti to the board are a valued resource to our board of directors, but do not have voting rights. We believe their portrayal in recent media reports are tremendously unfair and distasteful and they will continue on in their role as advisors to the board. With all of this in mind, it’s more important than ever that we begin to move forward together. Our current national climate demands unity and that is exactly what we must promote and practice. San Diego Pride will continue to envision and strive for a world free of prejudice and bias and we hope you will stand with us. Sincerely and with pride, The San Diego LGBT Pride Board of Directorst ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962 WEB DESIGN Kim Espinoza

DISTRIBUTION Gay San Diego is distributed free every other Friday of the month. © 2017. All rights reserved. PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951


Looking back on 2017 and what’s in store for 2018 By Kenyon Farrow I can safely say 2017 was a year for the record books, and in some ways that we’d never expected. Given the Trump administration and the Paul Ryan (R-WI) / Mitch McConnell (R-KY)-led House and Senate, we were in danger of losing so much ground by the efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The president’s budget called for major cuts in domestic and global HIV spending. Work to end mass imprisonment and the war on drugs was set back by the appointment of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, who vowed to ramp up the full prosecution of people under criminal drug laws, no matter how minor. The threats to immigrants in the United States have created an even more hostile environment, particularly for people of color, and the list can go on and on.

But the HIV community fought. Not only did the community fight, we won several key battles. HIV/AIDS organizers Jennifer Flynn, Jaron Benjamin and Paul Davis created a national, grassroots strategy of civil disobedience that mobilized thousands of people to demonstrate against the rollback of the ACA. And their strategy — which many believe was the deciding factor in pushing back round after round of terrible bills — helped do what many of us always say we want to do: move HIV out of its silo and connect it to larger movements for social justice. Positive Women’s Network, under the leadership of Naina Khanna, created toolkits and mobilized call-in days for people living with HIV around the country to become local leaders

see Letters, pg 20

OPINIONS/LETTERS: Gay San Diego encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email either to and include your phone number and address for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity and accuracy. Letters and guest editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or staff. Business Improvement Association

SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email. Copyright © 2018 San Diego Community News Network

Gay San Diego 123 Camino de la Reina, Suite 202 East San Diego, CA 92108 (619) 519-7775 Twitter @GaySD


Rick Ford at the recent annual GayAVN Awards in Las Vegas (Photo by Charles Ching)

Conversations with Nicole Nicole Murray Ramirez The Holocaust ... never forget

This past weekend was the “International Holocaust Remembrance Day” as 73 years ago the Allies liberated the death camps of the Nazis. Over the last year in Europe and beyond, there has been a rise of ultra-nationalism, extreme right-wing groups and anti-Semitism. Some right-wing leaders even try to say that the killing of 6 million Jews did not happen. We know that thousands


LETTERS It’s really nice to see that after the 150 years you’ve been around, you’re still a mean spirited, self-absorbed braggart, judgmental, simple-minded drag queen without a real purpose. And for the record, you’ve sure done a lot worse than exposing your butt cheeks, all eight of them. In every column, you always tell us how wonderful you are, how someone else is evil, and yet in your twilight years, you’re still a miserable old hag that is and always has been mooching off the government tit. You’re a disgrace not just to the gay community, but to the human race. Some things never change, especially when it comes to someone giving you a platform to spread your own form of hate and misinformation. —Gino, via Gay San Diego has hit a new low by providing NMR a platform. The LGBT community was waiting with baited breath for this nasty queen to ride off into the sunset and yet you have revived him. I can only hope that he is not paid for this drivel. David and Morgan, what were you thinking? —Mitch Collins, via gay-sd. com I should not be surprised this opportunist, nobody, hasbeen, has wormed his or her

of GLBT people were killed in those camps as well. The Jewish people have been the most persecuted people in the world. Since the last American presidential election, there has also been a rise in hate groups and hate crimes. It is now more important than ever that the GLBT community builds stronger relationships with other communities.


Current predictions for the upcoming elections for the 4th District seat of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is that former State Assembly member Nathan Fletcher and former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will make the way to another column. I never thought my opinion of Morgan could sink lower! —Kevin, via There are a number of people who’ve sent me some hateful FB posts defending the Dasilvas. I’m glad to read your article here to see I’m not alone. I was told because of my age, I had no right to condemn my fellow GLBT brothers and their embarrassing behavior. These American representatives failed in the responsibility of all tourists to respect the laws of all other countries. Unfortunately, I was baited by these “youngin’s” and posted traveling butts ought to have been “caned” prior to their deportation. Sigh … —David Dale, via It’s not often that I agree with NRM, but he is spot on in this case!!! These two self- absorbed buffoons are an embarrassment to the gay community. Pathetic that they are trying to make a $$ on it also. And finally, when you’re in your 20s it might be cute to go around flashing your butt, but come on, you are almost 40, guys. Grow up! —Rocky, via Reading Nicole Murray Ramirez’s column in Gay San Diego on funding for a San Diego AIDS memorial at Olive Street Park — “Over 8,000 San Diegans have died of AIDS and the San Diego AIDS Memorial Task Force will soon be seeking names for the San Diego AIDS

run-offs, with Lori Saldaña being a possible strong dark horse candidate in this race. I want to make it very clear that while I have endorsed Nathan, I have the highest respect for Bonnie. Word is that possible future District 3 City Council candidate Will Rodriguez Kennedy offered another possible candidate, Tyler Renner, a top job on his staff if he would not run. Meanwhile, Nick Serrano has launched “trail balloons” about his possible candidacy and Benny Cartwright is beginning to think about a possible run. This past weekend, Sen. Toni Atkins was honored by one of our city’s most prominent black churches, Calvary Baptist Church, with its “Social Justice Award.” I was at Todd Gloria’s table and had a great time with a wonderful meal and entertainment by the world-renowned Rance Allen Group. Pastor Dr. Emmanuel Whipple gave a most stirring speech and it was great to break bread with popular Mayor Racquel Vasquez of Lemon Grove. Keep your eyes on this woman as she definitely has a great future ahead of her. In my opinion, the best Democratic nominee for the 49th Congressional race would be Doug Applegate, and the best Republican nominee would be Rocky Chavez. Council President Myrtle Cole will be honored with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the upcoming annual Bayard Rustin Honors at the San Diego LGBT Community Center. Memorial, set for its groundbreaking in 2019 at Olive Street Park in Bankers Hill. On Dec. 11, 2017, the City Council voted unanimously for $500,000 to be designated to build the San Diego AIDS Memorial at Oliver Street Park.” — makes me wonder how the City Council passed this $500K allocation without any public comment? Reading the Council Resolution of Dec. 12, 2017, R311466, on page 13, items 83, 84, and 85 seem intertwined? Movement of funds from and to Gas Tax Fund, General Fund, to Olive Street and the same amount mentioned by NMR? [City Council docket for Dec. 12 can be found online at bit. ly/2n2iiCd]. Is it because the mayor’s wife is on the AIDS Memorial Task Force that the task force has no public accountability? Editor’s note: The author of the above letter included links to the following other two articles for further context, but note that one of them refers to Ramirez as a “she.” “Proposed AIDS memorial for Olive Street,” San Diego Reader, Oct. 24; and, “AIDS memorial plan not so great, residents say,” San Diego Reader, Oct. 31 —Charles Kaminski, via email —Letters to the editor are encouraged. We pull them from email, Facebook, and comments left on articles on our website. If you’d wish to send a letter to the editor directly, email

GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018 Congratulations to Councilmember Georgette Gomez, the new chair of the prestigious Metropolitan Transit System.

Rick Ford Hall of Fame inductee

San Diego businessman Rick Ford was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the annual GayAVN Awards (established to honor work done in the gay porn industry) in Las Vegas last week, held at the famous Hard Rock Hotel with over 1,000 video stars, producers and business owners from all the U.S. in attendance. Not long ago, Ford was also inducted into the hall of fame at the Harvey Milk Plaza in Long Beach and has been a successful businessman in San Diego since the 1970s. He was the founder of All Worlds Video, Club Top Deck, All Worlds Resort, and currently the Adult Depot stores. Ford has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars these last decades to countless GLBT organizations, civil rights causes, AIDS agencies, charities, etc. A Rick Ford Lifetime Achievement Award was established in Long Beach with Mayor Robert Garcia as one of the first honorees. Ford is also a lifelong member of the Imperial Courts of Long Beach and San Diego. It can be said that San Diego’s adult businesses have contributed millions of dollars to our community these last five decades. We owe a lot to Frank Stirriti, Mr. and Mrs. Greg Vasic, Darl Edwards,


Paul King and Rick Ford. —Nicole Murray Ramirez has been writing a column since 1973. He has been a Latino/gay activist for almost half a century and has advised and served the last seven mayors of San Diego. He was named the “Honorary Mayor of Hillcrest” by a city proclamation and has received many media awards including from the prestigious San Diego Press Club. Reach Nicole at EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written in this column are the author’s own and by no means reflect or represent the opinions of the staff and/ or publisher of Gay San Diego and/or its parent company, San Diego Community News Network (SDCNN) and they should be held harmless of liability or damages.t

(l to r) Mayor Racquel Vasquez of Lemon Grove and Assemblymember Todd Gloria (Photo by Nick Serrano)


GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018



CHALLENGE Her start — or “seed” as she refers to it — came through community organizing, a public service that has been around for decades but became a political buzz word during former President Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. He got a lot of heat from the opposition for listing that on his resume, but as Gomez will tell you, it is hard work, with deep impactful connections to the marginalized communities and neighborhoods that are often overlooked. She spent many years working in the community nonprofit sector, serving on a number of service-related or community-space providing boards, planning boards, redevelopment committees and the like, and spent a lot of time advocating for the people she served in front of the City Council. While some in the LGBT community weren’t aware of her name until her 2016 election bid, Gomez was also a graduate of the inaugural class of The San Diego LGBT Community Center’s Young Professionals Council (YPC) Academy. Launched in 2012, YPC offers up-and-coming members of the community a close-up look at how we navigate the political arena, interface with the justice system and provides an introduction to the vast array of LGBT-themed nonprofits in existence. Now in its sixth year, some graduates find themselves

Councilmember Gomez poses with some of the people who gave emotional first-hand accounts to the City Council in opposition to President Donald Trump’s border wall last September. (Courtesy Office of Georgette Gomez) moving toward the nonprofit sector, while others, including Gomez, have ended up on political staffs or in politics themselves. “One of the things you get exposed to at YPC are current legislators and they share their stories and how they got where they are,” Gomez explained. “You get an intimate opportunity to really dive in with them. it was pretty inspiring, for sure.” She said that what YPC specifically did for her — besides help further solidify her commitment to public service — was challenge her to get out of her comfort zones, “step up” more and find her “place.” After a successful City Council campaign, today she is a guest speaker at YPC, sharing the stories like others before her. “I’m still engaged and try to promote it and encourage others to apply,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity and its very

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intimate — the conversations that you have with electeds stay there — so you get to see not only the elected for who they are but on a personal level, which is a unique opportunity.” Rocking the vote When Marti Emerald stepped down and Gomez decided to run, people in District 9 did their own stepping up. While the primary field split the votes, Gomez still came in a strong second against Emerald’s chief of staff Ricardo Flores, but wiped him out in the general election. One thing she is really proud of is the voter turnout and the excitement her campaign brought to the voters in the district. she said the district was developed to offer more Latino representation on the council, but it still hadn’t happened. Having a Latina run, especially one they were so familiar with, woke up the electorate. “I do know that representation matters, so being a Latina in a district that is heavily Latino mattered,” Gomez said. “Traditionally in that particular district if you look at who comes out [to vote] for the most part it is Kensington residents, Talmadge residents, College area residents — a bit more educated, more fluent — that was not the case for the primary, there was a bigger increase of turnout from City Heights, so we were able to shift who was coming to the voting booth. “And that’s important — not only was it important for my race, it was important, period,” she continued. “As somebody who has been working on engaging voters to participate because voting matters — it was really reflective of my campaign.”

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a different narrative. It is an opportunity to humanize government but also share what government is.”

New MTS chair

Gomez made news in recent weeks when she was appointed by her peers — including a huge vote of confidence from Mayor Faulconer — as chair of the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), a two-year position. “Transit is very close to my heart; I was dependent upon it and I see how marginalized communities are hugely dependent upon it, because public transit is an opportunity for better access to jobs, education and health care — all important aspects to underserved communities,” she said. “We need to improve it.” One of Gomez’ goals with MTS, aside from beefing up its infrastructure and bringing in a fleet of electric buses, is to diversify its ridership. She has lots of ideas, including discounted or even free passes for short distance rides between places like Hillcrest and North Park, and is looking to success stories in other cities that might work here. “We need to better our urban environments and minimize our impacts to the environment and public transit is in the center of both of those solutions, so we gotta do better,” she said.

Border wall resolution

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Last September the San Diego City Council passed a resolution opposing President Donald Trump’s border wall. Gomez was a huge proponent of the resolution and said the emotional testimonies they heard reminded her of the stories she’d heard from her own working-class parents when they first immigrated here in the 1970s. She said it was difficult to hear the level of racism that still exists in San Diego and passing the symbolic resolution was the right thing to do. “It was quite significant,” she said. “I said earlier ‘representation matters,’ and it matters because we bring a different voice to the table, we bring a different story. Bringing the border wall issue forward was important to me for many reasons, but this is our neighbor; I’m a firm believer in treating your neighbors with kindness and building a wall is not that. So it was important to have the city of San Diego — not only due to the magnitude of the type of city that we are, but this is our backyard — have a stake in this discourse.” Something else Gomez said in the year-end video was, “I want to lift up district 9 more.” Pretty sure she’s already doing some pretty heavy lifting. To learn more about Councilmember Gomez and her team, visit http://bit. ly/2rZEqmz. Make sure you watch her year-end video. Editor’s Note: If you missed the first in the series, which was about Carlsbad City Councilmember Cori Schumacher, visit bit. ly/2nABqr9.

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For her staff, Gomez purposely chose women for the strongest positions. “The major theme of my [inauguration] speech was bringing a different perspective to City Council and trying to shift how we do business,” she said. “In leadership positions, men tend to get them and I was really trying to break that mold. I wanted my team to be different.” This is made apparent by checking her staff page, reading her newsletters and viewing her “Year-end video 2017,” which is available on her D9 page. It covers the year’s accomplishments of her office and lets her staff shine. “[The video] really captured a lot of the feelings and [the staff] have a really good sense of what their work means to their constituents and how they are able to make a difference,” said Chief of Staff Dominika Bukalova. “She is humanizing the staff and making people feel like they can come to us.” Gomez identified a goal for 2018 in the video. “I want to bring City Hall to District 9.” She’s already begun doing that by holding “open office hours” at the City Heights Rec Center every Friday of the month. She makes every effort to be there but if she’s not, her staff is. Another way she is bringing City Hall to the district is through monthly community canvassing — which is good old fashioned, unannounced door-to-door visits. She and her team hope to cover the entire district and they hope to soon start tying them in with neighborhood cleanups and “Coffee with your councilmember” events as well. “There is no personal agenda aside from, ‘Hey, this is your city council member, if you have any community issues, let us know,’” she said. “We’re actually being proactive and residents are pretty shocked that it’s happening.” Feedback from the Southcrest neighborhood she’s walked have been positive, especially since people in these communities are not used to seeing a politician show up at their door unless it is election time. “There is truth to that, so I’m trying to be a different public servant,” Gomez said. “Some of the residents are hesitant, they are not used to it but it’s good that we are creating

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Valentine’s Day events Feb. 14 ‘Some Like It Hotcakes’ breakfast at Café 222:

Cafe 222’s Valentine’s Day breakfast will include three dark chocolate pancakes drizzled with cream cheese frosting, chocolate sauce and topped with fresh strawberries. 7 a.m.—2 p.m. 222 Island Ave., Marina District. Call 619236-9902 for reservations. bit. ly/2nn4CCY

10 tips on how to find love in 2018: 1. Close the laptop. Turn off the device and try things differently, or more traditionally. 2. Get fresh. Consider a makeover, teeth whitening, new trendy frames or contacts. 3. Meet up. Check out the social online site of, only long enough to find and schedule three events to attend. 4. Volunteer. Sign up to work events. Consider helping out at a registration table for your passion, politics or pets. 5. Go shopping. Hit the mall for two weeks or up to two months. Also try a new gym, new coffee shop or new church. 6. Break up. For two months, change up your routine. Try out different grocery stores, dry cleaners or car wash. 7. Call your crushes. You know who they are — set a goal to invite three of them for a coffee or a drink. 8. Headshot. Update your online profile, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, with a new photo. 9. Plan a holiday or 2018 mixer. Buddy up with a friend or neighbor to have a social with a strategy. For example, every couple must bring a dateable single. 10. Start 2018 fresh! If you do any or all of the above in 2018, you’re going to be a more refreshed and interesting you! Learning new topics, going to new places, and meeting new people will help promote a new you ready to take on love in the new year. —Tammy Shaklee is the founder of H4M, an offline, traditional matchmaking service for gay men and women.

‘Love & Lobster Paella’ at Café Sevilla:

Enjoy a special four-course Valentine’s menu from the Spanish restaurant and tapas bar. The evening includes a Flamenco Shoe Performance. There will also be Salsa dancing packages available. Early birds can celebrate a day before to beat the crowds. 11:30 a.m.–1:30 a.m. 353 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter. Call 619233-5978 for reservations. bit. ly/2nnjXmU

Va va voom, it’s Valentine’s Day at Gossip Grill:

Celebrate with a decadent night of fabulous cocktails, delicious food, and naughty entertainment. For dinner and drinks, reservations can be made by calling or texting 206229-1623. Chef Nicole’s fabulous four-course surf and turf dinner will be available for couples for $90 or individually at $50 per person. Also includes your choice of a glass of house wine or champagne to go with your meal. Bartenders will be featuring The Tasty Pastie for $8 — a blend of Nolets gin, St. Germain, house lavender simple syrup, fresh lemon and a champagne float, served with a candied pansie on top! Then starting at 9 p.m., Gossip’s Booby Trap girls will be putting on a Valentine’s Day themed Burlesque show for your viewing pleasure.

Dinner and drinks at Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant:

Spoil your Valentine with a lovely three-course meal and drink pairings Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant. Enjoy a romantic prix fixe menu and exclusive beverage pairings. $45 per person; $30 beverage pairings. 4:30–9:30 p.m. 2202 Fourth Ave. Call 619-231-0222 for reservations.

Valentine’s Jazz Evening at The Abbey on Fifth Avenue:

Take your Valentine back to the sublime romance of the 1910s at this historic venue. Enjoy an intimate private table and flowing champagne presented by Hornblower Events. Live jazz performance from David Patrone. Gourmet hors d’oeuvres and desserts offered. Starting at $55 per person. 8 p.m.—10 p.m. 2825 Fifth Ave. Reservations are required. Purchase tickets by phone at 619-686-8715 or online. bit. ly/2nnHx2V

‘Bad Ass’ Valentine’s Day El Chingon:

Calling all novios and novias! Lobster and tequila will

GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018

‘Romantic Greek Getaway’ at Mezé:

set the mood for lovers at El Chingon: “Bad Ass Mexican.” The evening featured threecourse Puerto Nuevo Love Feast for two with a specialty cocktail. $79 per couple; $12 per cocktail. Call 619-501-1919 for reservations. 560 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter. bit. ly/2nrDLFG

Experience the romance of the Greek Isles with a three-course Valentine’s Day dinner and wine pairings at Mezé Greek Fusion. $45 per person, with optional wine pairings priced at an additional $65. Entertainment from a live band will be featured at 6–10 p.m. 345 Sixth Ave., Downtown. Call 619-5501600 for reservations. bit. ly/2npfhwO

Dinner cruises on the Hornblower:

Outdoor Movie — ‘Bonnie and Clyde’:

Find romance between the sea and sky with a Valentine’s dinner cruise. Enjoy spectacular bay views with famous San Diego landmarks, wonderful food to choose from with a special Valentine’s Day menus and music for dancing. Dinners start at $115. Additional Valentine’s Day cruises available on Feb. 10, 11 and 17. 6 p.m. VIP boarding; 6:30 p.m. general boarding. Cruise 7–10 p.m. 1800 N. Harbor Drive, Embarcadero. Call 619-6868715 for reservations. bit. ly/2nnqVbH

Bring your Valentine for an outdoor screening of “Bonnie and Clyde” in the Headquarters outdoor courtyard. The former Police Headquarters makes the perfect venue to watch this 1967 love and crime classic featuring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Free admission, all you need to bring is blankets and chairs, a few friends or that special someone. 6–9 p.m. The Headquarters Seaport, 789 W. Harbor Dr., Marina District, Downtown. bit. ly/2DwhVLg

Wine tasting in Hillcrest:

Valentine’s Day romantic tour and garden picnic:

Join Colleen and Jay and Ammunition Wines for a special Valentine’s Day wine tasting. Treat your Valentine to a fun wine tasting of all this Sonoma-based winery’s wines; it is their first tasting in San Diego. $5 tasting fee. 5:30–7:30 p.m. VomFass, 1050 University Ave., Hillcrest. bit. ly/2DDw9JD

‘The Divine Miss Bette’ at Martinis:

Catherine Alcorn is bawdy, brash and just as fabulous as the original Divine Miss M … this is your chance to become intimately acquainted with one of the greatest cabaret performers alive. Trained by the man who discovered Bette Midler, Alcorn will take you on a thrilling ride with Bette’s classics. Bring your valentine. 8 p.m. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest.

Embrace romance with an after-hours, love-themed art tour of the Museum of Art’s most romantic and love-filled works of art, available exclusively on Feb 14. Following the tour, visit the May S. Marcy Sculpture Court and Garden at Panama 66 and enjoy a gourmet picnic basket for two. Relax in the sculpture garden


under the California Tower and amongst the museum’s sculptures, a truly romantic setting on such a romantic day. Tours offered in half-hour time slots from 5:30–8 p.m. Choose your preferred tour time and the picnic will be enjoyed after your tour time. Tour times and picnic basket options available at link provided. Price per couple: $125 non-members, $110 for members. 5:30–9 p.m. San Diego Museum of Art, 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. bit. ly/2n5VyBt

Rockstar singing telegrams:

Surprise your date with a rock star singing telegram for a romantic treat. Telegrams come with a performance from a professional musician, rose chocolates and a balloon. A dozen roses and video of the performance are available for an additional cost. Call 619363-4760 for reservations and availability.

‘Cupid to the Caribbean’ at Havana 1920:

Take a romantic trip to Cuba with dinner and drinks at Havana 1920. The threecourse meal includes a traditional jibarito sandwich, a choice of criollo-style filet medallions or Havana salmon, and a dessert empanada. Cocktail specials also available. A prix fixe menu will be offered for ‘Mistress Day’ on Feb. 13. 5 p.m.–1 a.m. 548 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter. Call 619-369-1920 for reservations.


Valentino cruise on gondolas:

Take your valentine on a relaxing and romantic cruise through the canals and waterways of the Coronado Cays in an authentic Italian gondola. This cruise includes a complimentary dessert plate. Blankets, an ice bucket, and souvenir wine glasses are provided. Select wines are available for purchase or guests are invited to bring their own beverage. Each cruise is 50 minutes. Three dates available: Tuesday, Feb. 13, $185; Wednesday, Feb. 14, $215; Monday, Feb. 15, $165. All prices are for two guests. Additional guests are $20 per person, up to six passengers per boat. Must be paid in full at time of reservation and is nonrefundable. Upgrade any cruise package by adding a professional mandolin or violin player for $100. Payment for the upgrade is required at time of reservation to secure musician and is nontransferable and nonrefundable.

3-Course Lobster Prix-Fixe Menu $39 per person (a $55 value!) Regular Menu Also Available

Tue, Wed & Thu, Feb 12, 13 & 14

MAKE RESERVATIONS NOW! 619.692.4200 141 University Ave San Diego, CA 92103


GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018


This is only a brief summary of important information about taking TRUVADA for PrEPTM (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. This does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your medicine.



Before starting TRUVADA for PrEP:

• Those in the “Most Important Information About TRUVADA for PrEP” section. • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. • Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat. • Severe liver problems, which in rare cases can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain. • Bone problems.

• You must be HIV-1 negative. You must get tested to make sure that you do not already have HIV-1. Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 unless you are confirmed to be HIV-1 negative. • Many HIV-1 tests can miss HIV-1 infection in a person who has recently become infected. Symptoms of new HIV-1 infection include flu-like symptoms, tiredness, fever, joint or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, night sweats, and/or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or groin. Tell your healthcare provider if you have had a flu-like illness within the last month before starting TRUVADA for PrEP. While taking TRUVADA for PrEP: • You must continue to use safer sex practices. Just taking TRUVADA for PrEP may not keep you from getting HIV-1. • You must stay HIV-negative to keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Get tested for HIV-1 at least every 3 months while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you think you were exposed to HIV-1 or have a flu-like illness while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. • If you do become HIV-1 positive, you need more medicine than TRUVADA alone to treat HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat over time. • See the “How To Further Reduce Your Risk” section for more information. TRUVADA may cause serious side effects, including: • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. TRUVADA is not approved to treat HBV. If you have HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking TRUVADA. Do not stop taking TRUVADA without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months.

TRUVADA can cause serious side effects, including:

Common side effects in people taking TRUVADA for PrEP include stomach-area (abdomen) pain, headache, and decreased weight. These are not all the possible side effects of TRUVADA. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with TRUVADA for PrEP.

BEFORE TAKING TRUVADA FOR PrEP Tell your healthcare provider if you: • Have or have had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis. • Have any other medical conditions. • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. • Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. If you become HIV-positive, HIV can pass to the baby in breast milk. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take:

ABOUT TRUVADA FOR PrEP TRUVADA for PrEP is a prescription medicine used together with safer sex practices to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 through sex. This use is only for HIV-negative adults who are at high risk of getting HIV-1. • To help determine your risk of getting HIV-1, talk openly with your healthcare provider about your sexual health. Do NOT take TRUVADA for PrEP if you: • Already have HIV-1 infection or if you do not know your HIV-1 status. • Take certain medicines to treat hepatitis B infection.

HOW TO TAKE TRUVADA FOR PrEP • Take 1 tablet once a day, every day, not just when you think you have been exposed to HIV-1. • Do not miss any doses. Missing doses may increase your risk of getting HIV-1 infection. • Use TRUVADA for PrEP together with condoms and safer sex practices. • Get tested for HIV-1 at least every 3 months. You must stay HIV-negative to keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP.

• Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. • Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about medicines that should not be taken with TRUVADA for PrEP.

HOW TO FURTHER REDUCE YOUR RISK • Know your HIV status and the HIV status of your partners. • Get tested for other sexually transmitted infections. Other infections make it easier for HIV to infect you. • Get information and support to help reduce risky sexual behavior, such as having fewer sex partners. • Do not share needles or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them.

GET MORE INFORMATION • This is only a brief summary of important information about TRUVADA for PrEP. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more, including how to prevent HIV infection. • Go to or call 1-800-GILEAD-5 • If you need help paying for your medicine, visit for program information.

TRUVADA FOR PREP, the TRUVADA FOR PREP Logo, the TRUVADA Blue Pill Design, TRUVADA, GILEAD, and the GILEAD Logo are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. Version date: April 2017 © 2017 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. TVDC0160 07/17

TVDC0160_PrEP_C_10-25x14-52_GaySanDiego_Cafe_p1.indd 3

1/3/18 2:31 PM


GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018


Lessons on a youth talking to an elder in the gay community By Sam Moehlig I feel so lucky to be born in the time that I was, because I grew up in a bit more of an open-minded time period than Nicole Murray Ramirez. There are five decades worth of history in between us and I was thrilled to learn more about him and his past experiences, as well as his current thoughts on our community. Not that he needs an introduction, but our very own Nicole Murray Ramirez is currently a San Diego City Commissioner and former chair for the San Diego Human Relations Commission. He is a Latino gay activist, having been so for the last 45 years, and has accomplished some outstanding achievements in his lifetime. Nicole is also the Queen Mother 1 of the Americas, Empress of the Imperial Court, and International Titular Head of State. He founded many organizations to help those living with HIV/AIDS. According to Nicole, one of his biggest accomplishments was when he received the Cesar Chavez Social Justice Award given by Cesar’s wife, Helen Fabela Chavez. I got a rare opportunity to sit down and interview Nicole, and I walked away with more knowledge than I ever received in school. (Sam Moehlig | SM) If you could, would you have done anything different in your life? (Nicole Murray Ramirez | NMR) I reflect on this a lot. What created Nicole? My dad went to his grave not accepting me, but he taught me how to be involved in the community. Every day I had to read the paper and/or watch the news, then he would ask me, “What did you learn?” My mom was very religious and that’s why I’m spiritual. My dad would say I was going to be a congressman. My mom would say I was going to be a bishop or a cardinal. They didn’t say monk, or priest, or councilman. I lived in a Caucasian community but I was a minority. I remember my dad at dinner one night [I was in kindergarten] telling me there was a chalkboard monitor election the following day and I better win it. I’m thinking, “How did he even know this?” and “How am I going to do this?” So, I asked my mom for money to buy candy to give to my classmates so they would vote for me. Guess who got elected? I was the first Latino to win elected office in my school. Next, newspaper editor. I realized the power of the pen. I don’t think I would change anything. I understand the street life and the addiction. I have met them all. Actually, I think I would skip the heavy drugs and the anguish it gave my mom. Ultimately, no regrets. (SM) What things are most important to you now and why? (NMR) There’s a lot of things, but my biggest goal is coalition-building. I worked with Cesar Chavez and Harvey Milk in the

’70s. Chavez walked with us during the National March on Washington. Everyone said he wouldn’t, but he said yes. Others told him to not go to the queer march and he came. I introduced him. He walked the whole march and he was the first major civil rights leader to come out for gay rights. Harvey supported Cesar and that is how you build coalitions. We helped put on the first San Diego Cesar Chavez parade. Sometimes it is a simple act, or just telling your story, and you are breaking down barriers. [The Imperial Court de San Diego] started an Easter egg hunt for low-income families. At one of them, we raffled off a bike and a little boy won it. I saw the wife elbowing the husband to come talk to me. Finally, he did and reluctantly shared, “My son wanted a bike for his birthday but we couldn’t afford it and just said ‘it is coming soon.’ He thinks this was all for him,” he said with a tear in his eye. And just like that, we changed that family’s opinion of our community. I believe simple acts of caring will change the world. (SM) Who are three people you most admire? (NMR) 1. Cesar Chavez — the March on Washington was a long walk. Chavez was much older at that time and he walked the whole route. I was in charge of the VIP tent. At the end of the walk, I encouraged him to come enjoy the VIP tent and he said, “No, I don’t go to VIP tents. I eat with the people.” I was starving but we went to mingle for three hours! He was such a humble man and a true humanitarian. 2. Harvey Milk — I loved his sense of humor and downto-earth-ness. He understood my browness and my pink and lavender. He embraced it and understood it. I admired him for his vision. 3. Coretta Scott King — I had the honor of talking with her and getting to know her. She came out for gay marriage, civil rights and gay rights. You knew you were in front of greatness when you were with her. Of course, I have one more to add, Jose Sarria — he was a drag queen and ran for office in 1961, 15 years before homosexuality was legal. So, here’s this drag queen, Latino, WWII veteran who runs for public office. The police and officials were stunned because he almost won the election. He shocked the establishment and many think that is when gay rights started. I call him truly the Rosa Parks of the gay rights movement. For him to be bold and proud of who he was, he was brave and out when everyone felt it was taking your life in your own hands. Not only out but led the community. Plus, he also crowned me his successor as Queen Mother so, end of story! They all had this in common: they didn’t see the world through their own struggle. They saw the world as a human world, no barriers, one human family. That’s why I admire them.

Sam Moehlig — with Nicole — holds a photo of Queen Mother of the Americas, signed by Nicole (Courtesy Kathie Moehlig) (SM) How do you define a good and successful life? (NMR) Treat others the way you want to be treated. I know that I can also be difficult and confrontational. It is the real friendships that people think of. I saw a memorial with 500 guests of an African-American drag queen, crazy wild, and a heart of gold. She showed others warmth and beauty, was down to earth, and genuine. As it has been said, “You make a living on what you get, and a life on what you give.”

My own lessons from the interview: I feel Nicole’s main message is coalition-building and educating the community. Personally, as a gay trans youth, I have had the privilege of a pretty smooth transition. To follow Nicole’s legacy would be for the community to stand as one community and not isolate anyone. Many trans individuals are still feeling swept under the rug. I truly feel the best thing we can do as a

community is to continue to have the support from the LGB. We all want the same thing and we all want equality and happiness. We will get there faster united rather than apart. As Nicole says, “We are all in this together.” When it comes to educating, we will never be done. Nicole said, “It was a knock down, drag out about adding the T. So, we added the T and that’s all we did. We have never educated our own community on what T means.” There is always more to learn and people can only take in what they can at one time. Some people need baby steps and some can understand all at one time. If you are afraid of something, you really can’t say it is wrong unless you know about it. For me, I think it is healthy to be curious instead of scared or apprehensive when it comes to learning about the LGBT+ community. —Sam Moehlig is a 17-year-old gay male living in North San Diego County. He is a competitive gymnast, a third-degree black belt in TaeKwonDo and a junior in high school. He enjoys writing, hanging out with cool people, playing video games and advocating in the trans community. You can find him on Instagram @sammgymnast1 or reach him at sammoehlig@

Imperial Court de San Diego Cordially Invites you to

46th Annual Coronation Gala "A Military Affair"

February 10, 2018

Dinner 6pm Coronation 7pm Crowne Plaza San Diego

2270 Hotel Cir N, San Diego, A 92108

 Ticket Info call: Richard Poole 619-288-1183 $75 General $95 VIP

45 years of Noble Deeds San Diego’s Oldest GLBT Organization



GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018

Boiled bread at the crack of dawn Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. At BCB Cafe, you can eat for the betterment of your health or cave into options your personal trainer would advise you to skip. The acronym in the name stands for “Big City Bagels” — and these dense, chewy “rolls with holes” are made twice daily in assorted varieties — early in the morning and again in mid-afternoon. Launched years ago, by longtime friends Jennifer Reynolds and Kristee Gilbert, the cafe is one of the first businesses that awakens in the HUB shopping complex every morning; at 6 a.m. to be exact. It’s a magnet for everyone from gym rats and nearby residents to business owners and church people placing catering orders. In keeping with the centuries-old tradition upheld particularly throughout New York City, the dough is hand rolled, boiled and then baked. Some of the finished products are speckled with sesame or poppy seeds. Others are seeded with both in addition to salt and minced garlic and onions. Those are the “everything” bagels. A handful of New York transplants I know say BCB’s bagels pass muster. The finicky ones insist they lack flavor. In two recent visits I

made, just as the sun was rising, and conveniently before lines began forming inside the long, narrow space, the various bagels I tried ranged from bland to memorable. Some served as the bread for sandwiches I ordered, such as a sun-dried tomato bagel I chose for BCB’s well-conceived “fit” breakfast sandwich. Filled with cooked egg whites, fresh avocado, paper-thin turkey bacon and Frank’s Hot Sauce, I couldn’t taste or see a sun-dried tomato for the life of me. But a healthy option it was, perhaps not as much as the cafe’s Brazilian blend acai bowl or one of its power smoothies. A chocolate bagel I ordered off to the side was visually convincing with its cocoa color and scant chocolate chips strewn throughout. But it overall tasted flat until I smeared it with butter. Conversely, the blueberry, cinnamon crumb, jalapeno-cheddar and yellow-tinted egg bagels I tried over my visits each offered identifiable flavors, with the latter tasting particularly smashing when toasted and given some strawberry-infused cream cheese. The most decadent item I tried was the pastrami Cali Reuben on an everything bagel, which offered the strongest burst of flavors compared to any of them — maybe too aggressive a bagel choice given the garlic and onions on top competed a bit with the spiced

BCB Cafe 1010 University Ave. (Hillcrest) 619-574-7878, Prices: Soups and salads, $2.95 to $9.99; sandwiches, $5.49 to $11.89; crepes, $5.59 to $9.95; single bagels, $1.19 and $1.49 meat, sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese inside. The sandwich normally comes on whole grain bread, but substituting that for a bagel was appealing. I’ll try it next time on a seeded one. And I will also request again Thousand Island dressing since nothing ruins a Reuben more than mustard, which is the default condiment here. Other sandwich choices (many of them named after New York themes) include the Central Park with turkey, Muenster cheese, veggies and spicy mustard; the Brownstone featuring roast beef, Swiss cheese, mayo and mustard; and The Village, a vegetarian construct of hummus, avocado and tons of veggies. All of the sandies are available on a choice of bagel or bread. In addition, BCB offers sweet and savory crepes and slings some decent baked goods that are made in-house, such as moist banana bread and dense chocolate brownies — perfect come-ons to a host of coffee drinks from Cafe Moto. It’s also a place for washing down a sprightly salad with a fresh-made smoothie if you’re watching calories. The berry lover I am keeps

The cafe is one of the HUB’s oldest tenants (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

An early-morning stock of fresh bagels me reordering the “sweet tart” smoothie, which blends raspberries, strawberries and blueberries with orange juice and non-fat yogurt — a nonguilty pleasure until pairing it with a meaty sandwich and pastry.

—Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at fsabatini@san.

The “fit” breakfast sandwich on a sun-dried tomato bagel

The Cali Reuben on an “everything” bagel

A berrypacked “sweet tart” smoothie


GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018

The address that has seen a fleeting number of eateries pass through and last housed Crave Grill at 3825 Fifth Ave., recently became home to Vancouver Wings, a burgeoning chain that first launched in Guadalajara several years ago. With nearly 80 locations throughout Mexico, this is the company’s first U.S. presence. Aside from chicken wings available in a

This “Little Big Burger” is soon headed to San Diego. (Yelp)

Studio Diner is no longer a 24-hour restaurant. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.) San Diego’s options for 24/7 dining recently grew slimmer with the change of hours implemented at Studio Diner in Kearny Mesa. A manager at the Hollywood-themed eatery told us that owner Stu Segall and his son, Cory, “took financial aspects into account” when deciding to operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily in lieu of 24 hours. The menu remains the same, which since the diner’s opening in 2003 has been serving classic American fare with West Coast twists for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 4701 Ruffin Road, 858-715-6400,


variety of sauces, the eatery also serves poutine, nachos, burgers, and domestic and Mexican beer on tap. But good luck placing pick-up orders because the staff rarely answers the phone and the franchisee has been oddly reluctant to publicize the phone number on websites such as Yelp. In addition, their website isn’t in English. 619-7701883,

Mission Valley’s foodscape is making room for yet another burger chain with the San Diego debut of Little Big Burger, which will open in the next month within a 2-mile radius of The Habit, In-N-Out Burger, Fuddruckers and the new Shake Shack. The fast-casual eatery was founded eight years ago in Portland, Oregon, and specializes in quarter-pound burgers made with meat from Cascade

Natural Beef. They can be topped with a chevre, bleu, cheddar or Swiss cheeses. The concise menu extends to a signature veggie burger, truffle fries and root beer floats. Craft beer and ciders will likely be available as well. The outlet moves into the space formerly occupied by Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop in the Park Valley Center shopping plaza. 1620 C Camino De La Reina,

Tacos Perla is out and The Taco Stand is in. The new arrival to the North Park space brings its famous rotisserie pork, flame-grilled carne asada and corn tortillas made to order. The menu also includes loaded fries, Mexican corn on the cob and breakfast burritos. Draft beer is available as well. This marks the fourth San Diego location of the Tijuana-inspired eatery, which is owned by locally based Showa Hospitality. 3000 Upas St., 619-795-8797, —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at fsabatini@san.

(l to r) A Baja fish taco and al pastor taco from The Taco Stand (Courtesy Alternative Strategies)

“The most perfect comedy in the English language.” The Daily Telegraph

By Oscar Wilde Directed by Maria Aitken Now – March 4

Staffers at The Friendly strike a pose in celebration of the eatery’s recent opening. (Courtesy The Friendly) The Friendly sprung onto the North Park scene this month with a bill of fare that spans from pizzas to foie gras. “We’re more than just a pizza joint because we do cool things with daily specials,” said Mario Maruca, who runs Caliano food truck and opened The Friendly with business partner and culinary adviser Brandon Zanabich.

In addition to pizza and burgers, ingredients such as foie gras, quail eggs, black truffles and fresh produce arrive to the kitchen for gourmet specials that change daily. The eatery offers indoor seating and features an open kitchen and dining counter. A beer and wine license is in the pipeline and a website is still in the works. 4592 30th St., 619-892-7840.

By Anton Chekhov Translated by Richard Nelson, Richard Pevear, and Larissa Volokhonsky Directed by Richard Nelson February 10 – March 11

(619) 23-GLOBE (234-5623) Top: Helen Cespedes and Kate Abbruzzese. Above: Jay O. Sanders. Photos by Jim Cox.



GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018

Letting it all hang out Theater Review Jean Lowerison San Diego Musical Theatre celebrates its 10th anniversary with a return to their debut show — “The Full Monty” — which, coincidentally, got its start in 2000 at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre. Those steel-drivin’ strippers from Buffalo will now go through their paces through Feb. 25 in their new digs, the Horton Grand Theatre in the Gaslamp Quarter. You remember the plot, based on the 1997 film: Six steelworkers in Buffalo get laid off and find themselves home, playing househusband — and feeling like “Scrap” — while their wives go out to work. The major players are Jerry

Lukowski (Steven Freitas) and Dave Bukatinsky (Danny Stiles). Jerry is separated from wife Pam (Amy Perkins) and in arrears on child support payments, to the point that Pam has taken their young son Nate (Owen Schmutz) and moved in with richer boyfriend Teddy Slaughter (Alex Nemiroski), leaving her and Jerry with barely a civil word to say to each other. Dave’s problem isn’t wife Georgie (Joy Yandell), but the extra pounds that have made him so self-conscious that he hasn’t even approached Georgie in months. The search for jobs proves fruitless. One day, Jerry sees a bunch of local women excitedly lining up to pay $50 to watch the Chippendales — and the thought dawns that a one-night show featuring steelworkers as strippers might save their hides, or at least pay the rent

(l to r) Jack Eld, Jon Sangster, Danny Stiles, Steven Freitas, Richard Van Slyke and Ron Christopher Jones offering up their full monty (Photo by Ken Jacques) for a month or two. It’s a crazy idea, right? But hey — if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Now to recruit dancers. Auditions (and rehearsals) are a hoot and so is Devlin as accompanist Jeanette Burmeister, a down-to-earth theater broad who’s seen and heard it all and has a wisecrack for every occasion. The only applicant with any dance experience — Harold (Richard Van Slyke) — reluctantly agrees to take on the job of teaching the quintet how to do it, though his experience is in ballroom dance. But several of the guys are game. Elderly (by stripper standards) “Horse” (Ron Christopher Jones) proves age is no barrier to ability (though it may take a bit of a toll on

events @TheCenTer Tuesday, Feb. 6

Transgender name and Gender Marker Change Program

6:30 pm, The Center USD Pride Law is sponsoring the Transgender Name and Gender Marker Change Program to provide legal assistance to trans* individuals seeking name and gender marker changes through the San Diego County court system. Law students and attorney volunteers will assist eligible clients in completing the requisite applications and navigating the process of obtaining a name and/or gender marker change. Appointments are available at The Center on the first Tuesday of each month, beginning Feb. 6. To schedule an appointment, call 732.567.8394 or email

Wednesday, Feb. 7

Guys, Games & Grub 6-8:30 pm, The Center Everyone is welcome to The Center on the first Wednesday evening of each month for GGG! The popular board game and social night, presented by Men @ The Center, includes pizza, snacks, beer, wine, soft drinks, and hundreds of board games to choose from. Participants are welcome to come alone and meet new friends, or come with a group for a fun evening out. The popular Team Trivia game is hosted by John Lockhart and everyone is welcome to drop in. Suggested donation of $5 is requested for admission. For more information contact Ben Cartwright at or 619.692.2077 x106.

Friday, Feb. 16

Free Family Movie night 6:30-8:30 pm, The Center

agility), and gets to sing a gas of a song called “Big Black Man.” There’s also lonely Malcolm MacGregor (Jonathan Sangster), in his own words “a complete loser who still lives at home with his mother Molly” (Amy Perkins). The good news is that one night he finds friends in Dave and Jerry when they rescue him from a suicide attempt. The better news is that he auditions. Then there’s Ethan Girard (Jack Eld), who cheerfully admits he can’t sing or dance, but causes general gasping when he displays other attributes. But how to compete with those Chippendales hunks? Clearly, these local steel-drivin’ men will have to get a gimmick. How about going the full monty? That’s the slight plot. The show (nominated for 10 Tonys) works because of Terrence McNally’s charming, funny, sometimes even poignant script, David Yazbeck’s music and lyrics and the sheer humanity of these characters, just trying to get through life and pay their bills. The versatile rented set allows Director Neil Dale to keep the action going, and

“The Full Monty” Through Feb. 25 Wednesdays and Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m. Horton Grand Theatre 444 Fourth Ave., Downtown. Tickets: 858-560-5740 or Kevin Anthenill, Michelle Miles and Janet Pitcher contribute fine sound, lighting and costumes. And the invisible 12-member band performs mightily, under the fine direction of Don Le Master. “The Full Monty” makes no claims of profundity, but it’s an amusing, energetic production with a message that is still relevant. —Jean Lowerison is a long-standing member of the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle and can be reached at

Join us at Family Movie night every third Friday of the month. Come in your favorite pajamas and bring your sleeping bag or blanket. Enjoy popcorn and snacks while you watch a family-friendly movie. For more information, contact us at

Sunday, Feb. 18 6-9 pm, The Observatory north Park Start your engines and let the best queen win! This “FUN”-raiser is a high-quality spoof beauty pageant featuring local talent! In collaboration with MO’s Universe, you can expect a fabulous, over-thetop night of fierceness. This year, 5 past winning contestants will return to battle for the coveted “ALL STAR” title, so you know it’s one show you won’t want to miss. Proceeds benefit the programs and services of The San Diego LGBT Community Center. Purchase tickets at For sponsorship opportunities please contact Ian Johnson at

(l to r) Out of work steelworkers Dave Bukantinsky (Danny Stiles) and Jerry Lukowski (Steven Freitas) plan a scheme to make some money. (Photo by Ken Jacques) The San Diego LGBT Community Center 3909 Centre Street • 619-692-2077

Twitter: @LGBTCenter

(l to r) Jack Eld, Jon Sangster, Danny Stiles, Steven Freitas, Richard Van Slyke and Ron Christopher Jones in a scene from "The Full Monty"


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GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018

Friday Feb. 2

Film: ‘Barbarella’: Jane Fonda’s sci-fi space opera, “Barbarella,” is Landmark Hillcrest’s classic film for February. Fonda plays an astronaut from the 41st century sent into space with a blind guardian angel, played by John Phillip Law. It’s way out there, for sure. Four showings: 2:30 p.m., 4:50 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinemas, 3965 Fifth Ave.

Saturday Feb. 3

Being Brave Together – Transgender leaders retreat: Transfaith, a national multi-tradition, multi-racial, multi-gender nonprofit led by transgender people, supports transgender spiritual/cultural workers and their leadership in community by working closely with many allied organizations, secular, spiritual, and religious, transgender-led and otherwise. Believing that the experiences, spiritual vitality, and leadership of people of transgender experience make our communities stronger and more vibrant, the nonprofit brings people together to develop conversation, strategy, and community.. 9 a.m.–4 p.m. MCC, 2633 Denver St., Bay Park. Comedy – Sandra Valls and Jennie McNulty: These uber-funny girls are together for two shows in one night in North Park. Sandra performs in two Showtime hit comedy specials, “The Latin Divas of Comedy” and “Pride: LGBT Comedy Slam!” and voted one of Curve Magazine’s top 10 funniest lesbian comics. Jennie McNulty is one of the premiere comedians in the country as proclaimed by the New England Blade. The Examiner called her an “infectiously energetic, remarkably deft comic with a warm disarming style and some of the best improv skills in the business.” And Curve Magazine rates her among the top 10 lesbian comics. Her playfully sarcastic style is sure to win you over and most definitely make you laugh. Come early; music will open up the evening at 4 p.m. for early ticket holders. First show is at 5 p.m., with a second show at 7 p.m. Torque Moto Café, 3604 30th St., North Park. Tickets are $27 at (Note: use the drop-down menu to choose the 7 p.m. show). bit. ly/2n4rAyy Winter Celebration Open House: Celebrate winter with the owners of Vom Fass with an all-day and evening party. Raffle prizes, gifts with purchase, appetizers and more. From noon–5 p.m. enjoy winter fare and mulled spiced wine samples; stay from 5–7 p.m. for a cocktail party with appetizers, wine and winter cocktail samples. Noon–7 p.m. VomFass, 1050 University Ave., Hillcrest. Film – ‘Harold and Maude’: The iconic 1970s movie is the Ken Cinema’s classic film for February. It’s just here for one day with four showings: 2:30 p.m., 4:50 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 4061 Adams Ave., Kensington.

Sunday Feb. 4

Gossip Super Bowl party: Join the girls of Gossip for a Super Bowl party with the big game on all TVs, including a large projector screen on the patio with the sound on. Extended happy hour until the end of the game. Shot specials after each score. Special Super Bowl food menu so come cheer on your favorite team. Immediately following the game, DJ Kinky Loops will be dropping the beat to heat up the dance floor. 2–7 p.m. Gossip Grill, 1220 University Ave., Hillcrest. MO’s Super Bowl party: Watch the game on their giant screen with hot shot boys, food and drink specials and sound on all 25 TVs throughout the entire restaurant. Reserve a table for the ultimate in game watching. Sit on the dance floor: $25 for a table of four, $50 for a table of four, plus eight big Bud Lights for

the table. $150 for a table of four with bottle service. 3–9 p.m. Urban MO’s Bar & Grill, 308 University Ave., Hillcrest.

Monday Feb. 5

Mobile medical unit at The Center: The Family Health Centers of San Diego mobile medical unit will be located in the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s parking lot every Monday from 3–7 p.m. Services include basic primary care, immunizations, PEP & PrEP (through Rx), STD screening and treatment, chest/breast cancer screening, family planning, pap smears, pregnancy testing, hormone therapy, and sick and well visits. To make an appointment, call 619-6922077 ext. 208. The Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Mazing Mondays at the Caliph: Sing along to the songs of your past with Carol Curtis from 5–8 p.m. and enjoy karaoke with Danny from 8:30 p.m.–12:30 a.m. at this easygoing cocktail bar and lounge that has been in our community since 1960. Happy hour 4:30 p.m.–1 a.m. The Caliph, 3100 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill. Visit

Tuesday Feb. 6

Free legal clinic – name and gender-marker changes: Hosted by ProjectTRANS at The Center, meet with attorneys and law students who can provide assistance and guidance filling out the forms required to apply for a court order necessary to change your name and/or gender marker on birth certificates and other official documents. Sponsored by Pride Law at University of San Diego School of Law, Tom Homann LGBT Law Association and The Center. Appointment times are 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. To schedule, email TransClinic.SanDiego@ Walk-ins based on availability. Repeats monthly; March 6 and April 3. 6:30 p.m. The Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest.

Wednesday Feb. 7-8 Thursday Feb. 8 A Night with Janis Joplin: San Diego is invited to share an evening celebrating the woman with the unmistakable voice and raw emotion who exploded onto the music scene in 1967 as the queen of rock and roll. Experience a tribute to the must-see headliner in the hit musical that includes a live on-stage band, A Night with Janis Joplin. Fueled by such unforgettable songs as “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Mercedes Benz,” “Cry Baby” and “Summertime,” this sensational show is a musical journey celebrating Joplin and her biggest musical influences — icons like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, who inspired one of rock and roll’s greatest legends. 8 p.m. Historic Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., Downtown.

Wednesday Feb. 7

GGG Games and Trivia: Join Men @ The Center for February’s GGG. Everyone is welcome for an evening of Live Team Trivia, board games, pizza, drinks, snacks and socializing. Hundreds of board games available to choose from, or bring your own. A donation of $5 to support men’s programming at The Center. For more information, contact Benny Cartwright at 619-692-2077 x106 or email outreach@thecentersd. org. 6–8:30 p.m. The Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. bit. ly/2n5bEff The Tammie Brown Show: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Tammie Brown makes her MA4 debut with an evening of original music, sing-along entertainment and Tammie’s signature brand of jokes. Enjoy unique humor from Planet Tammie, with musical accompanist Michael J. Catti. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. bit. ly/2rFwJ4J

Thursday Feb. 8

Out at The Globe – ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’: Out at the Globe is an evening for gay and lesbian theater lovers and the whole LGBT community. This


1 Lesbos, even to straight people 5 Bodies of sailors 10 “How queer!” 14 Sphincter opening? 15 It can cut your pole 16 Kill, as a bill 17 Words from Rimbaud 18 Playful aquatic critter 19 Michelangelo’s David, and such 20 Beginning of a quote from “The Left Hand of Darkness” author Ursula Le Guin (1929-2018) 23 “Guys and Dolls” co-creator Burrows 24 Long, to a Samurai? 25 Robin William’s “Mork and Mindy” partner Dawber 26 Poke fun at 28 Spoke like Sparky on “South Park” 30 Boom Boom Room beach 32 Say without thinking 33 Org. for Dr. Susan Love

36 Mapplethorpe models, often 37 Boxers eat it on the floor 38 Bodies of soldiers 40 Cincinnati team 41 More of the quote 44 Atlantic City casino, with “the” 47 Blow job with a twist? 48 Up to, for short 51 In-your-face 53 Market tail? 54 Seine feeder 56 “What Will Mary Say” singer Johnny 58 Where a top puts it? 59 End of the quote 63 One that attacks a fly 64 Where a queen may rule 65 Elizabeth of “Transamerica” 66 Janis Joplin’s “Down ___” 67 Montezuma, for example 68 Parker of “South Park”

‘RuPaul’s All Stars’ viewing party: The queens are back! MO’s will stream it on all their screens with your hosts Chad Michaels, Glitz Glam and Paris Quion. Arrive by 7 p.m. to get dance floor seating to watch on the big screen. 8 p.m. MO’s Bar and Grill, 308 University Ave., Hillcrest. bit. ly/2CWU2eX Black Light party: Hosted by LE Parties, black lights come alive at Flicker with DJ John Joseph and his go-go boys. Get ready to kick off Mardi Gras weekend with some giveaways and also some drink specials. 9 p.m.–2 a.m. Flicks, 1017 University Ave., Hillcrest.

Friday Feb. 9

Film – ‘Pretty Woman’ under the stars: Come view this iconic fun love story at a private table out under the stars with your favorite person. Repeats Saturday, Feb. 10. 8–10:15 p.m. Cinema Under the Stars, 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. Queer Girls Valentine Weekend: Skyler Madison will be headlining the next QueerGirl party for Valentine’s Day weekend with a ’90s-heartthrob theme. The party starts at 9 p.m. (but come early) and will include go-go girls, San Diego and LA’s top female DJs (DJ Heabnasty is opening), valentine-themed Jell-O shots, beer pong, Jenga, and other performers. While the event is

see Calendar, pg 19



pre-show event takes place in the Craig Noel Garden, just steps away from your theater seats, includes three drinks from the wine and martini bar, appetizers, and a preshow mixer. Special guest, actor Christian Conn, will give attendees the inside scoop on working with the distinguished and accomplished cast, and what it’s like to play one of Oscar Wilde’s most unforgettable characters, the witty and stylish Algernon Moncrieff. Everyone’s welcome – bring your valentine. Just $24 per person in addition to theater tickets. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park.

solution on page 17 DOWN 1 “___ Spartacus!” 2 One of Frosty’s pair? 3 Get slick in the shower 4 “Showboat’s” “Nobody ___ But Me” 5 Sated 6 Be unfaithful to 7 Piercing rebuke from Caesar? 8 Sassy kid 9 Aileen Wuornos’ kind of killer 10 Porter’s “Well, Did You ___” 11 Close role in “Hamlet” 12 Got 13 Deer in Maria’s song 21 Nureyev’s refusal 22 Guy under Hoover 23 “Mamma Mia!” band 27 Opera villain, typically 29 Fast food pioneer Ray 31 Richard Simmons, to fitness 33 “Corydon” author Gide 34 A. A. for children

35 One may shed this 38 One, to Frida 39 Gay Games VI site (abbr.) 42 Top floor 43 Sex appeal 44 Red fruit used as a vegetable. 45 “DeDe Dinah” singer Frankie 46 It’s tossed off a ship 48 Bear or bull 49 Chant 50 Street named for writer Harper? 52 James Beard partner William 55 Roll with the punches 57 Felder or Teasdale 58 Gomer Pyle’s branch 60 “___ who?!” 61 Inked decoration, for short 62 Heady stuff



GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 2 - 15, 2018



in the fight. In conjunction with the grassroots mobilizing, The Federal AIDS Policy Partnership worked tirelessly on The Hill to advocate against the regressive bills that would have left millions without health coverage. It’s no exaggeration to say that if it were not for the HIV community stepping up with those waves of civil disobedience, reproductive rights/justice, disability justice organizations and the entire country could have lost all of the unnamed benefits and protections that the ACA put in place.

Not just defense: Progress in the pre-Trump HIV agenda Not all the work that happened was fighting against losses. Many people in the community continued to pursue the fights that were important before this administration and Congress took seat in office. Advocates in several states introduced legislation to end or severely reduce the use of HIV criminalization laws. We were most successful in California and Colorado, where we won clear victories. Advocates across the country continued to support Michael Johnson in Missouri; though he remains in prison, he did win an appeal which led to a reduced conviction of 10 years, and an admission by the prosecutor that the law (one of the most severe in

the nation) should be repealed. Missouri advocates are currently working to build off the momentum to develop a new bill to repeal this law. Other activists continued to join the national movement to develop local, county and state “ending the epidemic” or “getting to zero” plans. The ACT NOW: END AIDS coalition led a fiery plenary session at this year’s USCA conference, showing the collaborative leadership of activists, providers and health department leadership. Treatment Action Group and Southern AIDS Coalition partnered to support key jurisdictions in the South to develop End the Epidemic plans; Nashville, Alabama and Louisiana have held meetings to begin working on those in 2018.

Kenyon Farrow (Photo by DW Photography) And in New York state, the first to launch a plan, there’s evidence that the strategy working: they recently reported drops in new HIV diagnoses — even among black and Latino gay and bisexual men, where very few jurisdictions have seen any success. Unfortunately, rates of HIV remain extremely high among black gay/bisexual men nationwide and HIV rates for Latinx gay/bisexual men and transgender women continue to climb, for reasons we have yet to find. Resources for transgender women and men facing HIV remain low. One of the most significant game-changers in HIV happened this year when CDC announced it was adopting the science that shows people who are undetectable are also untransmittable. This change happened not just because of the incontrovertible science on this issue. The Prevention Access Campaign, which launched the U=U movement, organized for more organizations and health departments to sign on to this statement, and continued to advocate for CDC leadership to do the same. Issues brewing for 2018 In addition to the outright attacks on the ACA, the tax reform bill upended the individual mandate upon which the ACA depends. This means that individuals can now choose not to purchase insurance, removing the incentive for insurers to offer plans on the ACA marketplace to begin with. This leaves fewer options for people living with HIV and makes the existing plans largely unaffordable. And people with HIV living in states that did not expand Medicaid now have even fewer options for coverage. Other issues brewing for 2018 abound, with many direct threats to existing HIV research, prevention and care. Recent news reports have suggested Congress is considering moving resources from the Ryan White HIV/ AIDS Program into opioid addiction treatment and services. Indeed, evidence-based harm reduction models and drug treatment are critical to a comprehensive strategy to prevent HIV; but there are debates about whether the focus on creating more infrastructure on opioid use in rural and white America would come at the detriment of resources for urban and black and Latinx communities — including resources for HIV care. While federal spending on research through the NIH is

often touted as one of the few areas of bipartisan support in Congress, HIV research funding has specifically been questioned by Republican members of Congress and may not be receiving overall increases to the NIH budget that have been appropriated in recent years. And while AIDS research funding itself remains in question, the NIH has begun its process of restructuring and setting priorities for its global AIDS research networks, which will affect the HIV research portfolio through 2027. News and facts matter We have a lot of things happening at once that may challenge our ability to keep making gains in ending the epidemic, even as we’re beginning to see some new possibilities for success. We ended the year with news that we may be going back to explicit or implicit gag orders on word usage, Bush-era style, including words central in HIV like “transgender” and “evidence-based.” The Federal Communications Commission voted to end net neutrality, which means even public health news sources, like, could be blocked by internet providers because they don’t like the content that provides news and information about sexual health for people and communities living with HIV. But the reason I’ve remained in HIV so long is not just because I’m a black gay man; it’s not just because, despite being HIV negative, it remains a primary issue that impacts me and my community. I have continued to do this work because I have found community in some of the bravest, smartest, most strategic people I’ve ever known, despite being among those who are the most socially maligned. The HIV community knows how to show up, despite our many differences, when we need to save people’s lives. We remain committed to facts, to evidence, and to sharing information as resources to help people feel less alone, less afraid. In the HIV media, we will continue to provide the news, the analysis and the opinions of the community. We don’t have a choice — lives are at stake now. But for us, they have been for a long time. —Kenyon Farrow is the senior editor of and Follow Kenyon on Twitter, @kenyonfarrow.t

Gay San Diego 02-02-18  
Gay San Diego 02-02-18