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Volume 6 Issue 5

SAN DIEGO

GAY

March 6 – 19, 2015

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Fat Tuesday Photo Feature Page 16

SERVING OUR LGBT COMMUNITY

4 COMMUNITY

A young leader stands out

Hook tapped as local ‘woman of the year’ Who will it be?

5INTERVIEW

Suzanne Westenhoefer will headline the San Diego AIDS Memorial Concert March 28.

(Photo by Ellie Perez – additional graphic added)

‘We’ll make your life count’ Fundraising for proposed San Diego AIDS Memorial to kick off with benefit concert Ricky didn’t lose his number

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OPERA

A tricky opera

q DINING

Margie M. Palmer | Contributor

AIDS memorials have been established in cities throughout the world since the start of the epidemic; San Diego will soon have one of its own. The kick-off fundraiser will take place on March 26 at the MG Multi-use Space, located at 3090 Polk Avenue in North Park. The concert will feature wellknown lesbian comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer, the famed Cher impersonator and winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Chad Michaels, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (SDGMC) and there will be a special performance by the Heartbeat Music Academy’s Thunder Drumline. The event will run from 7 — 10 p.m.

It’s been four years since Westenhoefer last set foot on a San Diego stage and she’s looking forward to doing it for this cause. “I love San Diego,” Westenhoefer said. “I actually am trying to do shows everywhere that have a ‘purpose,’ and the AIDS memorial is a natural fit for me. I started standup in 1990 in NYC and it was all we talked about. Now I’m concerned people think it’s ‘cured’ and that’s scary.” SDGMC is sending a contingent of about 30 singers to support the event and Artistic Direcsee AIDS Memorial, pg 3

“Woman of the Year” (Courtesy Rebekah Hook) Timothy Rawles | Contributor

In honor of Women’s History Month, Speaker Toni G. Atkins will honor 11 local women for their generous contributions of time and effort, and one of those women is from of the LGBT community. In the past, the speaker has chosen one woman from the 78th Assembly District as see Hook, pg 14

Films that tell ‘every story’ Latino Film Festival celebrates diversity through entertainment Timothy Rawles | Contributor

Buns for days

Index Community Voices.....….4 Opinion. . . . … . … . . . . . . . 6 Briefs.......….......…7

The 22nd annual Latino Film Festival (SDLFF) is coming to San Diego and it promises to be more exciting than ever. With a new venue and the addition of a career expo, organizers expect that this year’s event will go beyond anything attendees have experienced before. The festival begins on March 12 and will run through March

22, with films screening at both the AMC Fashion Valley 18 and the Digital Gym Cinema. Celebrating Latino films and the artists that make them, SDLFF will not only bring cultures together for 10 days of film, food and glamour, but also provide plenty of opportunities for aspiring artists to learn more about the see SDLFF, pg 15

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“Futuro Beach” is part of the Cine Gay track. (Courtesy SDLFF)


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NEWS

GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015

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(above) The new North Park music venue wants to get in good with the community. (Courtesy Observatory); (right) Tantrums on the Observatory stage (Photo by Big Mike)

Getting involved CRITIC’S CHOICE “A stunning production!” Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times

CRITIC’S CHOICE “Rich and poignant.” James Hebert, U-T San Diego

“A show not to miss!

Englander’s script, in the hands of Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and this superb cast, makes for a thoroughly engaging night at the theatre.” Diana Saenger, La Jolla Light

Nathan Englander Barry Edelstein Many Performances Sold Out – One Week Added! By

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Robert Dorfman, Ron Orbach, Eli Gelb, and Hal Linden. Photo by Jim Cox.

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New local music venue supportive of LGBT community Margie M. Palmer | Contributor

The venue formerly known as the North Park Theatre recently changed hands; not only has the new ownership rebranded the space as the Observatory North Park, their $10,000 donation to The San Diego LGBT Community Center is resonant of their commitment to the local community. On Feb. 15, the third annual Tantrums & Tiaras: Battle of the Bar Queens took place at the Observatory North Park and proceeds from the event benefitted The Center’s programs and services. Although the final fundraising totals for the event have not yet been released, the theater’s management said they were happy to make the contribution. “[Tantrums & Tiaras] was already booked before the new ownership took effect,” said Observatory North Park Operations Manager Ryan Blank. “When we found out more about The Center and what they were doing we felt there was an important need for that. North Park and Hillcrest have a big gay community and we saw [this event] as being important to residents; we wanted to be a part of it.” The new ownership is perhaps best known for their Orange County venue, which is

well known for booking national touring acts in addition to local favorites. Blank said what excites them most about coming into North Park is the flexibility of the space. “The theater is such a unique space which really gives us the creativity to use it to its full potential. In Orange County, we just do concerts, but here we can do everything from concerts to musicals to theatrical productions,” he said. “We can bring in stand-up comedians, drag shows and everything else under the sun that this venue can produce.” Ever since the changing of the guard became official, management has been active in reaching out to schools, community groups and North Park Main Street to let them know the Observatory North Park isn’t just an event space; they envision being a community partner. Blank said they have already begun dialogue with the Friends of Jefferson Elementary, a public benefit 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation that provides financial and community support for nearby Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. “Friends of Jefferson was one of the big ones we wanted to work with,” he said. “We’ve been active in trying to make some connections so we can learn more about what the com-

munity needs and how we can help facilitate that.” Venue management also confirmed they’re already working with the Tantrums & Tiaras team to set up a date for next year. “We are all very excited to be in North Park and to do as much as we can with the space that we have,” Blank said. “The staff is excited about the theater being more active; San Diego and North Park are awesome areas. We also hope our presence will help all the other businesses in the area. “There is only so much space in our restaurant and we hope that when people come to the Observatory North Park for events, they’ll explore the area, patronize the other restaurants and bars, and be able to see what else North Park has to offer,” Blank said. For more information about Observatory North Park, visit observatorynp.com or follow ObservatorySD on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about The Center’s programs and services, visit thecentersd.org or @LGBTCenter. —Margie M. Palmer is a San Diego-based freelance writer who has been racking up bylines in a myriad of news publications for the past 10 years. You can write to her at margiep@ alumni.pitt.edu.t


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GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015

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A 30-man contingent of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus will be performing to help raise money for a local AIDS memorial. (Courtesy SDGMC)

FROM PAGE 1

AIDSMEMORIAL tor RC Haus said the memorial project is near and dear to their hearts. “Every single one of us has been touched by AIDS,” Haus said. “It wasn’t that long ago that our chorus was not only singing at multiple memorials, but we were saying goodbye to our very own members. It was a difficult and tragic time. “Our chorus is extremely honored to be a part of this benefit and hope it helps bring our entire community together for healing, remembrance and hope,” he said. The Memorial will be a place of remembrance and reflection, according to members of the AIDS Memorial Task Force, and it will be funded entirely through private contributions. Task force co-chair and local LGBT activist Nicole Murray-Ramirez said he has long wondered why our city is without one. “I do a lot of traveling and whenever I visit a new city I like to visit the places and landmarks they are famous for,” he said. “I’ll look to see if they have an LGBT Community Center or an [LGBT] archives — in many of these cities I’m asked if I’d like to see their AIDS memorial. They are often simple and beautiful and I started to ask myself why San Diego doesn’t have one. “Approximately 8,000 people have died in San Diego County since the epidemic began and one new person gets diagnosed every day, which is why I thought this project was long overdue.” Mayor Kevin Faulconer was very receptive and supportive of the idea, MurrayRamirez said, and his wife, Katherine Stewart, agreed to co-chair the task force alongside him. Stewart said she was surprised to learn America’s Finest City didn’t already have a memorial in place.

“I was on board with this immediately,” she said. “Nicole is such a driver of the community and I was honored to be asked to help create a place where all San Diegans who have been impacted by AIDS can reflect and spend time. We want this to be a space where people can relax and go to for birthdays or other special occasions to remember a loved one; somewhere that is outdoors and peaceful.” The exact location has not yet been finalized, she said, but the goal is to raise $250,000 and to have an official unveiling in 2016. San Diego AIDS Walk founder Susan Jester said she too, was quick to get involved. In addition to joining the task force she has agreed to coproduce the event with local HIV/AIDS nonprofit Being Alive San Diego. “Nicole and I felt that some of the unfinished business surrounding HIV/AIDS was not just in finding a cure, but going back and remembering the history of what the experience of having HIV was like 30 years ago,” she said. “There was so much discrimination and bigotry; there was so much hate and fear surrounding the disease that many people were rejected by their families after they were diagnosed.” Jester said that even when funeral homes would agree to cremate or prepare those who had died from the disease for burial, many families refused to pick up the remains. “For me personally, going into the sunset part of my career I want to see a memorial happen,” she said, noting the first steps involved are finding a way to raise public awareness and to raise money. “We were looking for the right event to make something like this happen and we wanted to do something that reached out to the larger community, and music is a universal language.” Jester and other members of the task force are hopeful the concert will raise $30,000. “This is the perfect time to

do such a great thing for our community,” she said. “Not only will this memorial allow us to honor the lives of the 8,000 [local] people who have died from this disease, it will remind us going forward to not let disease or people with a disease be stigmatized.” The fact that Westenhoefer’s performance may be tied to the San Diego memorial forever is not lost on her. “We will make your life count, that’s our commitment to you,” she said, speaking to those whose lives will be remembered by the memorial. The AIDS Memorial Concert is a black tie event and includes a hosted bar, tray passed hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction. General admission tickets are $55, prime general admission (first four rows) $65 and VIP tickets $125 are available. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the SDAIDSMemorial page on Facebook. —Margie M. Palmer is a San Diego-based freelance writer who has been racking up bylines in a myriad of news publications for the past 10 years. You can write to her at margiep@alumni.pitt.edu.

—Editor Morgan M. Hurley contributed to this report.t

The San Diego LGBT Community Center offers HIV and prevention/PrEP information, HIV testing, counseling services (one on one, couples and group), and is an enrollment site for Covered California. thecentersd.org/programs/hiv-services facebook.com/#bethegeneration 619.692.2077 • 3909 Centre Street

This project is/was partially supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under H89HA00001, HIV Emergency Relief Project Grants for a contracted amount with the County of San Diego. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS, the U.S. Government or the County of San Diego.


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GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015

COMMUNITY VOICES

The joys of youth Life Beyond Therapy Michael Kimmel Lately, I’ve noticed a strange kind of reverse ageism in the psychology world. Until the past few years, not much was written about the joys of aging. Now, it seems like every magazine has a feature on it, telling — in great detail — how great it is to get older and implying that being young is basically a waste of time. I am moved to balance out this bias by writing here about the joys of youth. As a psychotherapist who sees lots of LGBT young men and women in their teens and early 20s, I feel like young people in our community are getting a bad rap: they’re slammed for narcissism, cell phone/technology obsession, selfishness … you name it. Let’s look at the big picture and address the joys, strengths and challenges of young(er) people in our community. I define “youth” as people in their teens and early 20s. For most of us, these are the fun years, the wild years, the “let’s try anything and see what happens” years. It can be a time of great experimentation and delight, but also emotional yoyoing, sorrow and loneliness. After reading UCLA Professor Daniel Siegel’s book, “Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain” and hearing him speak recently at a professional conference, I am inspired by Dr. Siegel to take a few of his ideas and elaborate upon them for the LGBT community. I love this quote from him: “Life is on fire when we hit our teens. And these changes are not something to avoid or just to get through, but to encourage.” From my work with clients, I know that this period is one of intensity and rapid change. Young people often feel very stressed out from all the growth and newness in their lives. Siegel says that brain changes during these youthful years bring about four types of exciting — yet scary — life changes: Novelty seeking — When you’re trying to figure out who you are, you need to try new stuff all the time. You want adventures and discoveries, which is great. However, it’s alltoo-easy to underestimate the downside of taking risks (e.g., auto accidents, unprotected sex, substance dependence). Finding a balance is usually a challenge. Social engagement — You want to be connected! You want to text, Instagram, Snapchat, tweet and be in touch with your friends all the time. You probably don’t like being alone much, preferring to hang out with groups of people. This is all for the good: People with solid friendship networks feel more loved, secure and confident. Increased emotional intensity — As a psychotherapist, this is the area that my clients most often ask me for help with.

Life feels intense and it’s not your imagination: Your brain is continually expanding and trying to keep up with what’s going on and your emotions are bouncing all around. It’s exciting, but not easy. Creative exploration — Ah, this is the best part! Young people are constantly able to think in new and creative ways as life throws them tons and tons of new stimuli, people and experiences. Your brain is excited to process lots of neverbefore-experienced information. Your life is exhilarating and full of surprises. How can you find a happy balance between excitement/ independence and feeling emotionally solid/grounded? It’s not easy, but here are some of the things that have been useful for my clients: • Give your brain the rest it needs — sleep helps a lot • Let your mind wander and relax — walking in nature, listening to music, writing, dancing or making art are good ways to notice what you’re feeling and sensing • Move your body — aerobic exercise is the best. Dance at Rich’s or Gossip until the sweat pours off you • Spend face-time with people you love and who love you — texting, Instagram and the like are not enough • Let yourself be goofy — try things you may not be good at, see what happens • Set some goals (but not too many) — it’s good to have projects and complete them It’s wonderful — yet challenging — to be young. If you are young, know that this is your time for adventure and experimentation; enjoy it. If you are, like me, an elder in the community, let’s support, encourage and mentor our young people. They deserve it. —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 lifebeyondtherapy.com.t

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We still have a long way to go South Bay Alliance Dae Elliott The incident Feb. 26 at Morse High School — where a student brutally attacked another student because he was gay — highlights the need that we as a community move forward in the fight for inclusiveness. Our youth still face enormous challenges — even in our area — surrounding issues of orientation and gender identity. According to the National School Climate Survey conducted by GLSEN in 2011, “Eighty-two percent of LGBT youth had problems during the previous year with bullying about sexual orientation,” while 64 percent and 44 percent felt unsafe at school due to sexual orientation or gender identity, respectively. Suicide rates are as much as eight times higher with the LGBT youth than other youth. We cannot and must not stand back and ask them to handle it themselves. Often the bullying that goes on seems overlooked — in some cases even considered “asked for” because our LGBT youth do not “conform — due to the heterosexism and homophobia that is left unaddressed in the adult population of our communities.

It is our responsibility to reach out to these young people in their endeavor to change attitudes for the better. One way we can do this is to support their activities. As for South Bay Pride Art & Music Festival this Sept. 12, we have some exciting events to share. This week we opened up the application process to our artisans. As part of the continued support of the immense creativity of our community, South Bay Pride has lowered the price of a 10-by-10-foot space for artisans to $75. These booths will be on display from noon – 6 p.m. during the day of the festival. We are striving for 100 booths dedicated to handcrafted art and we want to highlight the talents of our youth artists from the local high schools and colleges. This will be the fifth year that we have worked to expand the art component of this festival and the board is looking forward to making this a must-see for all that enjoy the amazing creativity and talent that surrounds us. We are still recruiting people to assist for the planning stages. In particular, if you are good at Wordpress and would like to help Sister Ida with the reorganization of the SouthBayPride.org website, send us an email at SouthBay-

Guess who will be our new columnist Starting with the next issue of Gay San Diego (March 20) we have someone special coming to join our writing staff as a monthly columnist. This person is well known and well loved within the local LGBT community and we are thrilled they have agreed to not only share their unique perspective on the community with our loyal readers but also keep us all up-to-date on what’s happening around town. Do you think you know who it will be? Send our editor an email at morgan@sdcnn.com with your guess (full name of the person you think will be our new columnist) and you may win two free movie tickets to Reading Theatres. Make sure you include your name and contact information in the email. Good luck and thank you for reading Gay San Diego!t

Alliance@gmail.com. In addition, we should open up the application process for bands, volunteers and vendor/ exhibitors by April 1. As always, South Bay Alliance is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that runs entirely on our donations and community support. Every little bit helps to keep this going and all donations are tax deductible. Please take a moment and donate what you can by visiting the SouthBayPride.org website and clicking donate. Corporate sponsors interested in supporting South Bay Pride should check out our partnership information on the website, or contact Joe Burke at jburke@southbaypride. org for this exciting way to reach out to the LGBT community and their allies with its diversity and incredible loyalty to those that support equality for all. I hope to see everyone at the San Diego “high school Pride” on May 23, showing your support to our LGBT youth. — Dae Elliott is a founding executive committee member and the current executive director of South Bay Alliance, a 501(c)3 nonprofit and organizer of the annual South Bay Pride Art & Music Festival. Contact her at southbayalliance@gmail.com.t


INTERVIEW

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Beyond the Bon-Bon Ricky Martin talks love life, shirtless selfies and how he’d react to having gay sons By Chris Azzopardi

A single tweet changed Ricky Martin’s life, and then it changed the world. When the Puerto Rican heartthrob of international fame came out in 2010, declaring himself on Twitter “a fortunate homosexual man” who’s “very blessed to be who I am,” Martin, 43, stepped out of the closet and into himself. Reflecting the free life he’s currently basking in are the raw sounds and personal soliloquies on the singer’s 10th studio album, “A Quien Quiera Escuchar” (“To Whomever Wants to Listen”). In conversation, Martin is notably laid-back, sincere and personal as he opens up about how his six-year-long relationship with Carlos Gonzalez Abella inspired his latest music (“I love being in love”), what he’s really trying to convey with all his shirtless selfies and the “powerful” coming out stories the LGBT community shares with him. And whether he’s ruminating on his two sons or anticipating shaking his bonbon with more male dancers onstage, his smile radiates even on the phone. This is a new, happier Ricky Martin, and yes, we’re listening. (Chris Azzopardi/CA) On behalf of the gay community, thank you for all you do. The world is a better place because of your shirtless selfies. (Ricky Martin/RM) [Laughs] Oh, man — thank you very much. I laugh so much at the reaction of the people; it’s so funny. It really is amazing. (CA) I get a kick out of it too. Are you more comfortable without clothes? Or do you feel it’s just your responsibility as a celebrated sex symbol? (RM) I just want to let people know how normal my life is, and I try to do it with a simple picture — that’s what Instagram is about. So the other day I was laying in the sun and I was like, “Hey everyone, I’m here. I’m in a good place.” You know, I’m a little bit obsessed with social media, to be honest. That’s the first thing I do in the morning. I check out my Twitter, my HeyHey account, Facebook and Instagram, and I read what people have to say and what they need from me as an artist. It’s fun, man. (CA) You’ve always been a sex symbol, but how does it feel being a sex symbol for a community of gay men who know you’re playing on their team? Is it different when there’s that mutual attraction? (RM) Listen, for me, it’s about liberty and it’s about being you — me, in this case — and living life with transparency and just being. It’s so

amazing to know that you have nothing to hide, man. What you see is what you get. And this is me. And I don’t wear a mask to go onstage, and the support that I’ve received from my community since I came out has been amazing. It’s one of those things that [makes] you say, “Oh my god, why didn’t I do this before?” But then again, Chris, you know how it goes — Ricky Martin just released his 10th studio album, “A Quien Quiera Escuchar” everybody (Photo by Nino Muñoz) accepts who they are at their own time. Rico. What I’m trying to say When I sent that tweet a few is that everything about this years ago just letting people creative process was so organic know that I am gay, it was the and so relaxed, and I didn’t most amazing day of my life have pressure from anybody. I after the birth of my kids. And just allowed myself to open my it is what it is. Now my life is book and I started reminiscing, simple and honest and transremembering different experiparent, and this is me. And ences that I had in my personal that’s what my social media’s life and being able to point out about — being yourself. specific emotions that I’ve been through — not necessarily this (CA) The ladies have obviyear, but through my life. And ously been infatuated with you then, I think, “A Quien Quiera since the beginning of your Escuchar” was born, you know? career — since you were in I listened to it today and I’m Menudo. But when did you first like, “Wow — there is poetry realize that LGBT fans enjoyed and there is honesty in these you as well? lyrics.” And there are some pow(RM) It’s always been there. erful slogans that people are Before I came out, the love was quoting through social media. there and I was very thankful. People are gravitating to [these Now, when I got to work dilyrics] and using them and turnrectly with the community once ing them into their own slogans. I came out, it went to another Once again, it’s about honesty. level and it’s felt amazing, but It’s about vulnerability. once again, just being able to talk to the media about who we (CA) How much of the music are and what we want and what on this album was inspired by we need, it’s just so powerful. your own personal love life, The equality slogan translates particularly your time with exso easily in any language. partner Carlos Gonzalez Abella? (RM) After six years of (CA) “A Quien Quiera Esbeing in a very steady relationcuchar” sounds like you at your ship with him, yes, we have a most authentic. I hear your eslot of stories and we have a lot sence, your spirit, your zest for of moments of love and lots of life. How does it feel to be able light and yes, he is part of this to be yourself musically? album. It’s not about what I’ve (RM) When I started recordlived [through] this year that ing this album I had no idea we broke up or even the last five what I wanted to talk about, years. It’s decades of allowing which is completely different myself to really go back and to what it was like in the past, remember specific relationwhen I said, “OK, I think I ships that really [affected] me wanna get into the studio,” and in many ways. And it became I had a blank canvas in front of music. It’s never too late. me and all I did was throw colors and started working with amaz(CA) You’ll be touring all ing producers, and they helped year across the world. me. It was the most amazing (RM) I’m addicted! psychoanalysis, to be honest, to work with other writers and co(CA) Live, do you still even producers who helped me to put perform “She Bangs”? myself in order. (RM) If people ask for it, I I started recording this will perform it. I would become album exactly a year ago in the character in the video and I Australia and then we went to would perform it. Los Angeles and we recorded in see Ricky, pg 13 Miami. I also recorded in Puerto

GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015

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6

OPINION

GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015

Editorial

What Christie’s Place means to me By Rachel Anne

I write this with a heavy heart. When I was diagnosed HIVpositive in March of 2013, I very quickly learned how little services there are available to HIV-positive women in San Diego. The nice woman at Planned Parenthood had very little information for me but she did hand me a short list of organizations in San Diego that provide services to HIV-positive people. There was only one place on that list that catered to women, that place was Christie’s Place. I’ll never forget that day as long as I live. It was a Saturday and unfortunately all of the organizations were closed for the weekend. I called every phone number on that list and I left a message on every voicemail praying for a call back. I was so very, very scared. You see, I had made the terrible mistake of Googling “HIV” and the first thing that popped up was a photo of David Kirby. He was lying in a hospital bed, his body nothing but a skeleton. He was taking his last breaths. I’ve never been so scared in my life. I just knew I was going to die. It was the longest, most horrible weekend of my entire life. First thing Monday the organizations were finally returning my calls and they were pouring

in. One after another they told me that they only cater to the LGBT community and there was nothing they could do for me. I think the third call that came in was from Christie’s Place. It was the sweet voice of a woman named Jay telling me that she would help me figure it all out and everything was going to be just fine. She explained that she was a peer navigator, and although at the time I had no idea what that title meant, but I had so many questions, I very quickly made an appointment to meet with her that same day. I was an emotional wreck. I remember pulling up to the address she had given me, thinking it looked like a house. That was oddly comforting; I guess I expected a building or some place much more clinical looking. I went inside and told the lady at the front desk I was there to meet with Jay and took a seat in the lobby, which was actually more like a living room, complete with couches, carpet and even pictures of people with their families on the wall. Jay walked around the corner and introduced herself, then asked if she could give me a hug. I’m not typically the “hug a stranger” type of person, but it was the best hug I had ever had in my life. I remember thinking,

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“this woman knows I have HIV and she still wants to hug me?” I needed that hug more than I have ever needed a hug. I think in some ways that hug may have saved my life. That day, I found out what having HIV meant and that I wasn’t going to die after all! Jay and Heather (another peer navigator) told me that they were also HIV-positive and doing just fine. They explained I would just need to take medication and I too could live a healthy, fulfilling life. I remember looking at them and thinking they both looked so “normal,” nothing at all like the man in the photograph. That is when I finally figured out what a peer navigator truly was and how amazing and instrumental they are to a person newly diagnosed HIV-positive. Jay went on to help me figure out the health care part of things. She even helped me find a doctor, schedule my first appointment and went to my first doctor’s appointment with me. From that moment on they were both, just, always there for me. Anytime I had a question or needed a hug I could call Jay or Heather and they would be there and I grew very familiar with Christie’s Place. I went there to get help with my health insurance and ADAP enrollment, for a while I went there Ilka Weston (619) 961-1955 ilka@sdcnn.com Andrew Bagley, x106 Lisa Hamel, x107 Yana Shayne, x113

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gay-sd.com for therapy, and when I was ready, I started attending the Tuesday night support group. I was so scared and nervous to go to that support group alone that I asked Jay to come with me and she did. She sat right next to me and I felt so relieved and thankful to have her there. I still go every week to the Tuesday night support groups. Christie’s Place became my second family. It was a place that I felt safe and like I belonged. When you are newly diagnosed it is very hard but very important to feel like you belong somewhere. It wasn’t long after my diagnosis that I knew I wanted to do something to help people with HIV. I didn’t know how but I knew I was going to do anything I could to help. I started my website, wearehiv.org and that fulfilled some of my desire. I even helped a few people get into care and helped others to find places that provide HIV testing. I remember the first time I helped a woman all the way across the country get linked to an organization much like Christie’s Place. When that woman emailed to let me know she had been to the doctor and got her meds, I felt a feeling I didn’t even know I could feel. Knowing that you helped someone save their life is monumental. Still I wanted to do more … Four months ago Heather told me there was a peer navigator position available at Christie’s Place. I knew I wanted that job and would do any and everything in my power to get it! Working for a nonprofit organization does not pay much monetarily but it is so very rewarding! I often say helping people is better than any paycheck you could ever receive. After a lengthy interview process I got the job! I was over the moon with excitement. I would finally get to comfort other people at quite possibly the worst time of their lives and I couldn’t have been happier. Plus, I would get to give out hugs to people that really needed hugs, and to me that was amazing! I’ve been here at Christie’s Place for three months now and I have loved every second of it. I have met amazing, inspiring women that I now could not imagine my life without. I have learned so much about HIV and the people living with HIV. I

Letters History not for sale How interesting that an organization calling itself the Historical Task Force would suggest that a school with over 100 years of history in our community should change its name (!) to that of a living politician [See “Oppostion still strong against Florence Elementary name change,” Letters Vol. 6, Issue 4]. What else can they change under their banner of history? I’m glad that this community has discovered our treasured school, but to change the name for money (support)? This is our history being sold. —Doron Rosenthal, via emailt

Feeling taxed by taxis Kudos to “Robert in Mission Hills” for his response to the editorial by Diane Sterritt on the downfall of regular taxi usage in San Diego due to Uber and Lyft [See “Opinion: Letters,” Vol. 6, Issue 4]. Why do I use Uber? I pull it up on my app, they tell me how many minutes before the car will arrive, and then call me as it arrives. The car is spotless, both exterior and interior; the driver is clean and neat, usually dressed in black pants and white shirt. I am greeted warmly by name, my luggage is put into a clean, empty trunk with no spare tires, grease cans, dirty rags, etc. I settle into the car, the door is closed politely by the driver and I am off to the airport. No blaring music, only polite conversation with a driver who speaks English. Once I arrive at the airport, the door is opened, the driver retrieves my luggage and all I need to do is thank him/her. The bill goes automatically to my credit card, along with the tip (so no argument and dirty looks from the driver if not enough in their mind) and within two minutes I receive the receipt on my cell phone. When local taxis can match this service, I may go back to using them.

see Christie's, pg 7

OPINIONS/LETTERS: Gay San Diego encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email either to morgan@sdcnn.com 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.

SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to morgan@sdcnn.com. For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email.

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

—W. Reed, via email t


NEWS

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GAY NEWS BRIEFS AIRPORT CREATES GENDERNEUTRAL RESTROOMS Following an amendment in bathroom signage, San Diego International Airport now boasts 12 single-stall, genderneutral restrooms. The U-T San Diego reported that the airport replaced its signage on all 12 of its single-stall public bathrooms to reclassify them as “all gender restrooms.” The sign depicts a man, a woman and a baby, as well as a hybrid of the man and woman symbols. It also includes the message, “Anyone can use this restroom, regardless of gender identity or expression.” Robert Gleason, chair of the San Diego County Regional Airport, told the U-T that the change resulted from an effort by airport staff to make the signage more inclusive. The 12 single-stall restrooms may be found in all terminals at Lindbergh Field except the Commuter Terminal.

LABOR DEPARTMENT EXTENDS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE PROTECTIONS The U.S. Department of Labor announced an update for the Family and Medical Leave Act’s definition of spouse. Now, workers in same-sex marriages have the same rights as opposite-sex marriages to care for a spouse with a serious health condition and take job-protected leave. The rule change followed the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which struck down a provision in the Defense of Marriage Action that limited the definition of “marriage” and “spouse” to heterosexual marriages. “The basic promise of the FMLA is that no one should have to choose between the job and income they need, and caring for a loved one,” stated U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in an announcement of the rule change. “With our action today, we extend that promise so that no matter who you love, you will receive the same rights and protections as everyone else. All eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages, regardless of where they live, can now deal with a serious medical and family situation like all families — without the threat of job loss.” Although same-sex marriage is still prohibited in 13 states, the ruling applies all across the nation. Same-sex married couples residing in a state where same-sex marriage is not legal will still be protected by the rule change.

GSDBA AND SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION REFORM PARTNERSHIP The GSDBA Charitable Foundation and the Greater San Diego Business Association (GSDBA) announced they will once again work together after years of separation. The two organizations will form a strategic alliance to leverage resources, create efficiencies and grow the Charitable Foundation’s scholarship fund. “I believe this alliance will help

connect our entrepreneur and business leader membership to the future of business in our community; aspiring entrepreneurs,” GSDBA CEO Barbra Blake stated in a press release. “We want to engage with LGBT youth as they begin to make college decisions to ensure that they consider entrepreneurship as a career path.” Over the last 13 years, the GSDBA Charitable Foundation has given more than $130,000 in scholarships to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. The Greater San Diego Business Association is the largest LGBT organization in California with more than 550 members in San Diego County. As the local LGBT “chamber of commerce,” it is dedicated to supporting its member’s businesses and growing the San Diego LGBT business community.

HUD ALTERS HOUSING RULES FOR GENDER SENSITIVITY The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a clarification saying all federally funded, single-sex shelters must provide access based on gender identity. The mandate will apply to a significant portion of U.S. shelters. This guidance also discourages shelters from requesting any documentation as proof, and urges shelters to provide training for facility staff on working with the transgender community. “Discrimination against transgender shelter-seekers is one of the most significant and dangerous types of housing discrimination that the LGBT community faces,” stated Maya Rupert, National Center for Lesbian Rights director, in a press release. “People attempt to access shelters at one of the most vulnerable moments of their lives. Forcing a transgender person to be housed by the wrong gender at a shelter is a terrible violation, and has resulted in many of them being denied access to emergency shelter. HUD clarifying that this constitutes discrimination will save the lives of many transgender people.” This issue was addressed previously with the 2012 LGBT Equal Access Rule, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status in

GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015

all HUD-funded public housing programs and services.

FROM PAGE 6

CHRISTIE'S

DINING OUT FOR LIFE VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT The annual fundraising event Dining Out For Life will take place April 30 all over San Diego County. The daylong event benefits both The San Diego LGBT Center and the North County LGBTQ Resource Center’s HIV/AIDS service and prevention programs. Restaurants participating will donate at least 25 percent of their proceeds to support those programs. The NC Resource Center is still in need of volunteers to assist on the day of the event. Those interested should send an email to maxrome@cox.net.t

OBIT Beloved local stylist dies Oscar Melero, longtime hair stylist at Indigo Salon and Spa in Hillcrest, died Feb. 15 in a car accident on his way to the California 10/20 run in Del Mar. He was 52. An avid runner, Melero was on target to complete the Viasat Half Marathon Triple Crown Series by completing three half-marathons this year — Carlsbad, La Jolla and America’s Finest City. A native of Juarez, Mexico, Melero is survived by his life partner Ryan Rhodes, his mother and 11 siblings, and many nieces and nephews in

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Oscar Melero (Courtesy Indigo Salon & Spa) Aurora, Illinois. His friends and family at Indigo Salon & Spa said a few words at his memorial. “An accomplished San Diego hairstylist, Oscar could be found most mornings at Peet’s in Hillcrest getting his morning coffee and on Sundays at the Farmers Market for coconuts and green energy drinks. His voracious love of food was legendary. His infectious appetite for life was ever-evident by the grin on his face as well. With no effort, his quiet acknowledgment made you feel that you mattered, and he taught all of us how to be better human beings. With an innate ability to connect, quick to laugh, honest without malice and without being conscious of it, he was leader, mentor and friend to countless. Your heart will never be forgotten.”t

have been deeply touched in a way that I had never expected. The passion in my soul had finally been met. Then, on Feb. 26, I and another peer navigator were informed that a large chunk of the funding for Christie’s Place was lost. Not only would we have to go part-time starting March 15, we could very possibly lose our positions altogether because they could no longer afford to pay us. That is why I am writing this today. Christie’s Place is an amazing resource for women living with HIV. If they do not have the funds needed for the work they do then ultimately, it will be the women that need the resources Christie’s Place provides the most that will lose out. So I am asking for your help. Being a woman living with HIV is hard and without all of the services Christie’s Place offers, it will be so much harder. I honestly cannot imagine where I would be today without Christie’s Place and Jay’s amazing hugs! —Christie’s Place is located at 2440 Third Ave., Downtown. Rachel Anne is a peer navigator at Christie’s Place and has been HIV-positive since March of 2013. Follow her blog at wearehiv.org. For more information about Christie’s Place, visit christiesplace.org.t

events attheCenter tuesday, March 17

Young Women’s Discussion Group 7:30 pm, the Center Miercoles

Grupo de apoyo “Las Manzanitas” 6:30 pm, the Center Las Manzanitas es un grupo de apoyo LGBT que provee información y apoyo para los que viven infectados/afectados por el VIH. No es necesario ser VIH+ para participar. El grupo se reine semanalmente cada Miercoles de 6:30 a 9pm y se proveen bocadillos. Amigos y parientes de la comunidad LGBT son bienvenidos el ultimo Miercoles del mes. Para mas informacion, por favor pongase en contacto con rogelio Sanchez al 619.203.5125, rsmoa@sbcglobal.net.

Wednesdays, March 11 & 25

FtM/SO Support Groups 7 pm, the Center The FTM support group meets on the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays of every month. Significant others are welcome for the 2nd Wednesday of every month meeting and on the 4th Wednesday of every month meet as a separate group (significant others, friends, family or allies of a trans person). For more information, contact Connor Maddocks at trans@thecentersd.org or 619.692.2077 x109.

Meet our new facilitator! Connect to The Center and the community. Join other 18-28 year olds to talk about relationships, sexual health, activism, community building and more. The young women’s group meets at The Center on the 3rd Tuesdays of the month. For more information, contact us at women@thecentersd.org or 619.692.2077.

tuesday, March 24

Senior Food Bank 1 pm, the Center The Senior Food Bank Program provides food and nutrition education to eligible low-income seniors 60 years or older once a month. Eligible applicants can enroll in the program by applying in person at our site on the day of the event or call the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank at 866.350.3663. For more information, visit the San Diego Food Bank website or contact Larue Fields at seniors@thecentersd.org or 619.692.2077 x205.

www.thecentersd.org The San Diego LGBT Community Center 3909 Centre Street • 619-692-2077 Twitter: @LGBTCenter

facebook.com/At.The.Center


8

THEATER

GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015

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(l to r) Robert Dorfman as Vasily Korinsky and James Shanklin as Agent in Charge in the West Coast premiere of “The TwentySeventh Man,” directed by Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein (Photo by Jim Cox)

An amazing chunk of truth

Theater Review Charlene Baldridge

Wait till you meet my parents

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Stunned and amazed; that seemed to be the tenor of audience comments following the Feb. 21 West Coast premiere production of Nathan Englander’s “The TwentySeventh Man” at the Old Globe’s White Theatre. Based upon Englander’s short story, it continues in an extended run through March 22. As he did in New York, Barry Edelstein, now the Globe’s artistic director, stages the work, reimagining it in the round upon Michael McGarty’s surprising set. This is the work’s first production since its premiere at the Public Theatre in 2012. The play concerns a littleknown bit of history (here slightly fictionalized for dramatic clarity) that took place behind the Iron Curtain. It is called “The Night of the Murdered Poets,” little known because it did not come to light until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. In 1952, twenty-six celebrated Yiddish writers were rounded up by Joseph Stalin and summarily executed. “The Twenty-Seventh Man” takes place in a prison cell where three of the detainees (Robert Dorfman as Vasily Korinsky, Hal Linden as Yevgeny Zunser, and Ron Orbach as Moishe Bretzky) discuss their arrests. They are joined by a 27th man, the uncelebrated, unpublished Pinchas Pelovits (Eli Gelb), who represents the future that is destroyed by the purge. Each deals with a separate reality as well as a Guard (Lowell Byers). Korinsky, who still believes in a benevolent Stalin, also deals with the Agent in Charge (James Shanklin), who serves him tea in an office that seems to materialize from thin air. Needless to say, after all the words are said, all the dreams are divulged, the denouement is not a happy one, but one that brings home the fact that writers are the bane of totalitarianism. Anyone who takes up the pen is courageous, the purges and

persecutions continue worldwide and regimes continue to obfuscate their real purposes. The same day I attended Englander’s play, McClatchey News reported that a Russian newspaper claims that an

“The Twenty-Seventh Man” by Nathan Englander

Tuesdays – Sundays Old Globe’s White Theatre 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park Tickets $29 and up theoldglobe.org or (619) 23-GLOBE official government strategy document outlined the invasion of Ukraine weeks prior to the collapse of the Ukrainian government. Remember Rome? Impressively, young Gelb holds his own among the illustrious company of esteemed actors whose credits began long before his birth. To many the name Hal Linden is synonymous with the television series “Barney Miller,” though if that is one’s only association, one is sadly bereft. Dorfman, though lesser known, has an equally impressive array of credits coast to coast. An on stage giant, the impressively credentialed Orbach exudes charm as well as gravitas. Edelstein is responsible for attracting such an assemblage. His staging of this important work, truly a wake up call for us all, is impeccable. Costume designer Katherine Roth under-

scores the message by garbing the elder detainees as if they were arrested hours ago, the press still in their suits, and the shine still on their shoes. The imminent tragedy is also upheld by Russell H. Champa’s lighting, Darron L. West’s sound, and Brian Byrnes fight direction. We walk out into the freedom we take for granted, perhaps unaware of the Globe program’s names and photos of writers imprisoned in Iran, China, Cameroon and Syria, a mere four of 900 currently serving time. According to PEN’s 2014 list [PEN International is a leading international literary and human rights organization]. —Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. Follow her artistic endeavors at charlenebaldridge.com. She can be reached at charb81@ gmail. com.t

(l to r) Eli Gelb as Pinchas Pelovits and Hal Linden as Yevgeny Zunser in (Photo by Jim Cox)


gay-sd.com

THEATER

GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015

‘Tricky Dick’ in baritone TURNING AGE 65? A unique opera comes to San Diego David Dixon | Contributor

An opera about a former president of the United States visiting communist China in 1972 might seem like an unusual idea. In fact, when “Nixon in China” first premiered in 1987 at the Houston Grand Opera, many critics had mixed reactions. Some were not sure what to make of John Adams’ minimalist music or Alice Goodman’s libretto. But time has been kind to the operatic piece, and it has since been reproduced all over the world the last few decades. A new interpretation from Director James Robinson, starring acclaimed baritone Franco Pomponi, will have a limited engagement with the San Diego Opera March 14, 17, 20, and 22. This is the first time the piece has been performed in San Diego. Robinson has his own theory about why reviewers have warmed up to the story over the years. “There are always new pieces, whether they’re plays or operas, that come out and people don’t know what to think of them,” he said. “They might be a little too close to the subject matter before people have a chance to step back and reassess it. I think with this one, it was just a very original subject and nobody had really heard anything like this. Now that it’s been produced so many times, a newer generation of people have come to appreciate it.” Although Robinson and Pomponi have never worked together on “Nixon In China,” neither of them are strangers to the opus. Robinson has directed renditions for numerous companies including Vancouver Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, and Opera Colorado. Pomponi’s introduction was a televised version staged by the Houston Grand Opera and shown on PBS. “At the time, I had never seen or heard anything like it before,” Pomponi said. The day after seeing “Nixon in China” live at the New York

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frail at the same time. He had a lot of paradoxes … there is a lot of information to grab onto. The psychology is really important to me.” Robinson feels that Nixon comes across as somewhat empathetic throughout the evening. “There are times where he does have his meltdowns, but it’s a very fair depiction of him,” he said. “The opera is a fictionalized account, but I think that is what the (above) Franco Pomponi as Nixon listens to creators intended to do.” Chairman Mao; (below) Nixon on “stage” in The director believes China (Photos by Ken Howard/Opera Theatre of St. Louis) that people who are intrigued by Nixon’s life and have Metropolitan Opera, Pomponi got a call asking if he would play never seen an opera before will enjoy “Nixon in China.” Nixon in Paris, at the Theatre “People who remember du Chatelet. Nixon in that time will find it “At first I didn’t think it was fascinating,” he said. possible, so I looked at the score Robinson also feels that it will and I had a lot of talks with hold equal appeal for music lovers. my agent who thought it would “Because it does require a lot be great to do the title role in of really great singing, I think Paris,” he said. “It turned out to an opera audience is going to be a fantastic experience.” like the piece,” he said. To get prepared for the part “Nixon in China,” presented in Paris, Pomponi conducted a by the San Diego Opera, will see lot of research in order to chana limited engagement March nel the spirit of Nixon. 14 – 22 at the San Diego Civic “I must have watched between 40-50 documentaries about Theatre, located at 1100 Third Ave., Downtown. For more the time period,” Pomponi said. information, specific show dates “I watched documentaries on and times, and tickets, visit Mao Zedong’s March as well as the Trial of Jiang Qing [known to sdopera.com. many as Madame Mao].” —A fan of film and theatre Pomponi said he didn’t want from a very young age, David to do a direct imitation of the Dixon has written reviews and infamous Head of State. features for various print and “I’m more interested in the online publications. You can man that he was,” he said. “He reach him at daviddixon0202@ was a very iconic president. He was egomaniacal and completely gmail.com.t

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9


10

DINING

GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015

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Fresh baguettes cost as little as 65 cents (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

‘K’ing of all sandwich shops Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr.

“THE WEEK THAT CHANGED THE WORLD”

MAR 14 • MAR 17 • MAR 20 • MAR 22 • 2015 Straight from the headlines and live broadcasts of the day, Nixon in China pays musical witness to President Richard Nixon’s historic trip to Beijing in 1972 and goodwill meetings with China’s Chairman Mao Tse-Tung. Nixon in China explores an heroic gesture by a sitting American President towards a burgeoning world power that changed history.

Tickets start at $45 sdopera.com (619) 533-7000 Tickets also available at

All performances at the San Diego Civic Theatre. Free lecture one hour prior to each performance.

ENGLISH TEXT DISPLAYED ABOVE THE STAGE

As any seasoned baker will attest, “The better the bread, the quicker it goes dead.” At K Sandwiches, the crusty, airy baguettes plucked from the oven in droves each day lose their meltin-your-mouth magic if you don’t break into them by bedtime. That’s why the Vietnamese eatery and bakery stocks the bins with fresh batches every few hours, starting at 6 a.m. daily. Yet if consumer traffic slows in the late afternoon, which is rare, bread-making gets postponed and you end up with a product better suited for the birds. The baguettes and banh mi sandwiches they spawn are dirt cheap, like prices reminiscent of the mid-1980s or earlier. Medium-size 10-inch baguettes sell for only 65 cents apiece; larger ones are $1.25. When filled with a vast choice of meats and veggies, they barely exceed $4, even if made instead with the shop’s shiny, happy croissants. When fresh, the baguettes hit all the high notes of a thin, perfected French crust sealing in moist and puffy breadiness underneath. And rightfully so, since the concept of banh mi sandwiches was born in bakeries and cafes throughout Vietnam after more than six decades of French colonialism, which left a mark on the country’s culinary landscape. In several visits I’ve made to K Sandwiches, the grilled pork banh mi has become my favorite. The meat is fairly tender, sporting caramelized edges that pair terrifically to daikon radishes, pickled carrots, fresh jalapenos, cilantro and house-made mayonnaise rich in egg yolks. By default, the said organics and mayo grace most of the sandwiches. More recently, a trio of us advanced into a banh mi share fest with the sardine (#7) and the Saigon pork belly (#2), both of which offered more audacious flavors than the ham and mozzarella baguette (#17) we also brought into the lineup. The latter was pleasing nonetheless, reminding me of the sandwiches I’ve devoured from European bakeries and train stations, where the fillings become footnotes to such superior baguettes. The sardine sandwich was expectedly fishy, but offset in part by the pickled carrots and leafy cilantro. Our third sandwich was downright unctuous, featuring a decent layer of cured, fatty pork belly that turned creamy from the heat

K Sandwiches 7604 Linda Vista Road (Kearny Mesa) 858-278-8961 Prices: Baguettes, croissants, sandwiches and prepared foods, 65 cents to $5.50 of our mouths. It was bacon-y without tasting trendy. The beauty of banh mi is that they can legitimately incorporate any consumable ingredients known to man. Some of the other choices here include pork meatballs, pork pate, grilled chicken or beef, tuna salad, turkey or just veggies. Seating is limited to several tables plus a few outside the doors. The atmosphere is often chaotic, especially on weekend mornings, but the lines tend to move swiftly. Between the sandwich counter and bakery bins, which also harbor plump, stuffed croissants amid stacked baguettes, is a section offering steam-tray items such as sesame balls (four for $1) and fried rice and noodles ($3.75 to $5.50). There are also egg rolls (two for $1), which are either joyfully crispy and delicate or brutally limp and chewy, depending how long they’ve been sitting around. At the order counter you’ll find a display case of pork pate chaud ($1.25 apiece), which are cupcake-shaped croissants stuffed with ground pork and light seasonings. Though basic in flavor, and with the meat a little dry, they ap-

pealed to us upon first bite. A couple aisles of Vietnamese grocery products are incorporated into the layout as well. Among them are prepared items made in-house, such as tapioca bean cakes, mung bean cookies and coffee flan. Pre-made smoothies are also available, although you can get them made to order as we did when choosing our sandwiches. The coconut smoothie was delectably sweet and icy, something I could drink in multiples on a hot, summer day. When asking a staffer at the order counter what the “K” stands for in the establishment’s name, she told us it “represents the vicinity of Kearny Mesa,” adding that K Sandwiches turns 10 years old in August and that prices have gone up only twice since they opened. —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. rr.com.t

A trio of banh mi sandwiches (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)


SPORTS

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Sports updates Dugout Chatter Jeff Praught Athlete injury updates Over the last two years, two very serious injuries have sidelined members of our LGBT sports community, but each athlete has made amazing progress in their perspective recoveries.

Mike Petracca At the Sin City Shootout in Las Vegas this past January, local softball player Mike Petracca suffered a severe brain injury after an unthinkably fluke accident. He was walking between fields on a concrete pathway when he was struck by a bat that had flown out of the hands of a batter at one of the nearby fields. His original prognosis after the Jan. 17 injury was that he may never regain normal function of his right hand, the right side of his face, or his ability to speak. Friends and softball members from around the country rallied for Mike’s cause, raising over $50,000 to aid his uncertain rehabilitation costs. After spending a week in a Las Vegas hospital both in intensive care and then in a private room, Petracca was transported back to San Diego for another week of rehabilitation before being sent home. Fast forward to March 1, and I am ecstatic to report that Petracca was not only able to make his first public appearance in Hillcrest since the accident, but that he has regained a significant portion of his speaking ability. Though his speech is somewhat slowed and continues to require significant speech therapy, he moves around normally, has regained most functions, and has been cleared to resume exercise. His personal goal is to return to the softball field by May with his Firestorm team. Having a brain that is only 28 years old certainly helped Petracca, as it healed nicely when the consequences of the wayward bat could have been so much worse. His hard work and positive attitude have been an inspiration to so many friends in America’s Finest City Softball League (AFCSL).

David 'Mona' Valenzuela Back in January of 2013, Mona was facing a potentially life-threatening situation. An untreated infection of his toe had spread into his bones, requiring amputation of the toe. When pain persisted, Valenzuela, who is also diabetic, had to have his leg amputated just below the knee in order to stop the spread of the potentially deadly infection. Valenzuela, who is wellknown throughout the local sports community for having played in softball, flag football, and basketball, was facing an uncertain recovery that

affected not only his ability to play sports, but also his means of making a living. Mona has been a server at various restaurants for years, and losing his leg proved to be a stunning setback. Now two years later, Mona has made a remarkable adjustment to his new life as a disabled person. Instead of letting a prosthetic leg give him grief, Mona has made the best of it by adapting and always keeping a humorous attitude. Not only has he returned to work — he

Nothing sidelines David “Mona” Valenzuela (Courtesy SD Hoops) is a server at Don Chido in the Gaslamp Quarter, Downtown — but he also returned to the softball diamond in 2014 with his Loft B team. On the mound, it looked like Mona did not miss a beat, and he was actually able to reach base at a better clip in 2014 than he did in 2012. Valenzuela returned to the basketball court during SD Hoops’ 2014-2015 regular season, albeit in a limited capacity. He serves as coach for the No. 2-ranked Urban MO’s team that is fighting for a title in this year’s playoffs. He recorded two points and grabbed a rebound in the team’s quarterfinal playoff victory over Baja Betty’s on Feb. 25. Congratulations to Mike and Mona on their amazing comebacks, and of course, continued good health in the future.

San Diego Wrestling Club The San Diego Wrestling Club (SDWC), the only local wrestling club catering to the LGBT community, is approaching its 17th birthday. Founded on April 18, 1998 by Russ Connelly and Dennis Mori, this club offers people of any skill level the opportunity to learn the basics of wrestling. SDWC is a charter member of USA Wrestling, the national governing body for amateur wrestling in the United States. The club invites those interested in learning freestyle wrestling to attend practices on Thursdays from 7 – 9:30 p.m. and Sundays from 4 – 7 p.m. at The San Diego LGBT Center. Bring your workout gear and

be ready for a good workout as you hit the mat. The Center is located at 3909 Centre St., just off University Avenue on the eastern edge of Hillcrest. The SDWC and its talented coaching staff focuses on the adult wrestler and offers a place for all those interested in wrestling, regardless of age, weight, gender or orientation. The club is especially interested in welcoming beginners to wrestling. The club also participates in tournaments and competitions including its own Bulldogs Wrestling Tournament, hosted here in San Diego every February. Wrestlers from SDWC have participated in several Gay Games, including last year in Cleveland. Membership to SDWS is just

GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015 $45 per season, which runs Sept. 1 – Aug. 31. Active duty and college students receive a $10 discount. The cost to attend practice at The Center is $5 per person. Active members with a USAW card ($50 per year) receive full mat privileges, a bi-monthly subscription to USA Wrestler magazine, and secondary insurance. Visit sdwrestling.org for more information about the San Diego Wrestling Club.

March 7-8 — the big weekend Two of San Diego’s most popular sports leagues kick off their seasons this weekend. The San Diego American Flag Football League (SDAFFL @ sdaffl.com) boasts 16 teams. SDAFFL opens its season Saturday with games

11

at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and noon at Doyle Park near University Town Center. America’s Finest City Softball League (AFCSL @ afcsl. org) opens its softball season on Sunday, with games in Poway and Santee beginning at 8 a.m. and running until 3 p.m. The women’s division will play in Santee with a handful of teams from the Open Division. —Jeff Praught is actively involved in the LGBT sports community, having participated in softball, basketball, football and pool as a player, serving on AFCSL’s board, and currently serving as the commissioner of SD Hoops. He can be reached at dugoutchatter@gmail.com.t


mo12 c.ds-yagGAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015

FRIDAY, MARCH 6

Jersey Party: Annual event by the San Diego American Flag Football League preceding their season opener on March 7. Coaches and captains will hand out official team jerseys. Upstairs lounge/bar area, Wang’s North Park, 3029 University Ave. Visit sdaffl.com. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I: Cinema Under the Stars presents the third installment of this popular series starring Jennifer Lawrence, Julianne Moore, Elizabeth Banks and more. 8 p.m. $15. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. Movie also screens Saturday. For more info visit topspresents.com or call 619-295-4221.

SATURDAY, MARCH 7

Rummage Sale: Fundraiser hosted by Live and Let Live Alano Club and Revivals (recently closed their Hillcrest store). LLLAC, 1730 Monroe Ave., University Heights. Visit lllac.org. ‘Baby with the Bathwater’: Opening night for the comedy by Christopher Durang; directed by Andrew Oswald. Through March. 29. 7 p.m. Use code GAYSD05 for $5 off tickets. Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights. Visit diversionary.org or call 619220-0097. Bears San Diego 20th Anniversary: This event will honor founding members Wayne Dietz, Robert Sokolowski and John Winkelman. Dietz will serve as emcee plus there will be live entertainment. $5 donation requested to benefit Special Delivery, Stepping Stone and The San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. 5 p.m. Numbers Nightclub, 3811 Park Blvd., Hillcrest. Find the event on Facebook. Spirit Message Circle: Every first Saturday of the month: a “public spirit message bearing” with Rev. Anthony, a clairvoyant medium. $20. 6 – 8 p.m. Purity Apothecary, 127 West University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit purityapothecary.com.

SUNDAY, MARCH 8

Victory Fund Champagne Brunch: Annual brunch with guest speakers and more to celebrate progress and continuing work of the Victory Fund. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Bahia Resort Hotel, 998 W. Mission Bay Dr. Visit victoryfund.org.

gay-sd.com

International Women’s Day celebration: A fundraiser by The Inspire Initiative and Waves of Freedom promises a night of film, dialogue, surf art, local beer and live music by Sapphire Road. $25. 6 – 10 p.m. Bird’s Surf Shed, 1091 West Morena Blvd., Bay Park. Find the event on Facebook. So You Think You Can Drag? Every second Sunday, Lips’ monthly amateur/ professional drag contest is hosted by Paris. $100 cash prize for winner. 7 p.m. 3036 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. Visit lipssd.com or call 619295-7900.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11

Feeling Fit Club: New “50 or Better” class for older adults and suitable for all levels, Mondays & Wednesdays. Improve balance, strength, flexibility, etc. Exercises can be done sitting or standing. 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Contact La Rue Fields at seniors@thecentersd. org. The Center, 3903 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit thecentersd.org.

MONDAY, MARCH 9

HIV testing: Lead the Way is offering this free and confidential service every Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Walgreens, 301 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit leadthewaysd. com.

TUESDAY, MARCH 10

Painting and Vino: Local professional artists instruct attendees on painting a masterpiece. Tonight – “Sunrise from Balboa” at Café Bella Italia, 1525 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach 6 – 9 p.m. 21+. Cost $45, all supplies included, registration required. Food and beverages available for purchase. Visit paintingandvino.com.

Live Trivia Night: Every Monday night, join the crew at Urban MO’s for an exciting night of live trivia for the chance to win gift cards from MO’s Universe, good at all four restaurants. First place: $60; second place, $40; and third place, $20. 308 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit mosuniverse.com. LGBT Parents Connect: This group features a monthly presentation followed by Q&A on topics of interest to LGBT parents. Free child care available. 6 – 7:30 p.m. San Diego LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit thecentersd.org or email families@ thecentersd.org. Sue Palmer Swings with Lex & Joe: The Queen of Boogie Woogie brings her high energy to a performance with musicians Lex Romane and Joe Riillo. $39 reserved seating includes three-course dinner. Doors at 6 p.m., dinner service at 6:30 p.m. $15. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit martinisabovefourth.com. Live Music – Steph Johnson and Rob Thorsen: Enjoy Music Monday starting at 6 p.m. in the Expatriate Room at Croce’s Park West, 2760 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill. Call 619233-4355 or visit crocesparkwest.com. Vinho de Truffle: A special wine and chocolate pairing event with a twist; port wines will be paired with hand-made chocolates from Andrea’s Truffles. $20. 6 – 8 p.m. The Wine Pub, 2907 Shelter Island Dr. #8. Visit thewinepubsd.com.

THURSDAY, MARCH 12

An Intimate Evening with Tom Goss: An activist and spokesperson for the LGBT community, Goss will perform his deeply personal power pop songs. Doors 6 p.m., show 8 p.m. $15. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit martinisabovefourth.com. Kickers Country Line Dancing: Every Thursday and Saturday night come check out the cowboys and cowgirls as they spin across the floor, join in or even take free lessons. All skill levels encouraged. Drink specials. 7 – 9 p.m Urban MO’s, 308 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit urbanmos.com .

FRIDAY, MARCH 13

La Jolla Symphony and Chorus with San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus together: The first of three performances of “Requiem” by Hector Berlioz by the symphony and chorus along with special guests – the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus. 7:30 p.m. (Additional performances: Saturday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m.) Mandeville Auditorium, UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla. Visit lajollasymphony.com.

SATURDAY, MARCH 14

Cesar Chavez Day of Service School Beautification Project: Gay For Good will participate in this project to honor Cesar Chavez Day. 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Horton Elementary School, 5050 Guymon St., Chollas View. Find the event on Facebook or register to volunteer at sdchavez.org/volunteers.htm. Shamrock 2015: This annual St. Patrick’s Day bash presented by Jameson and The Field will take over the streets of the Gaslamp with live entertainment, green beer and more. 4 p.m. – midnight. Visit sandiegoshamrock.com. Studio Artists Exhibition: A reception for this exhibition will be held in conjunction with 30 Block North Park Art Night and Ray at Night. The work will be featured from through March 22. 6 – 9 p.m. The Studio Door, 3750 30th St., North Park. Visit thestudiodoor.com She She Groove: Event for women over 35 with DJ dancing (old school, top pop and salsa). Dinner and appetizers available for purchase. $10. 7 – 10 p.m. T-Lounge (formerly Bamboo Lounge), 1475 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit sheshefun.com.

SUNDAY, MARCH 15

Sunday Night Supper Club: Weekly fine dining and entertainment series with seatings at 7 & 9 p.m. Featured local musician Devan Moncrief performs at 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. Gossip Grill 1220 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit bit.ly/ gossip-supper-club.

MONDAY, MARCH 16

Transgender Coming Out Group: Every Monday, welcoming transgender people in all stages of exploring their gender identity, and their friends, family and loved ones. 7 – 8:30 p.m. San Diego LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit thecentersd.org.

TUESDAY, MARCH 17 St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day at Flicks: Happy hour all day, green beer, corned beef sliders and karaoke at 9 p.m. highlight celebration. Flicks, 1017 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit sdflicks.com. St. Patrick’s Day Business Social: Presented by the GSDBA. $15. 5:30 – 7: 30

p.m. Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. Visit gsdba.org.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18

GSDBA Essential Contracts for Small Business: Seminar presented by Paul C. Cataudella and David Gibbs on the importance of written contracts for any type of business owner. 9 – 11 a.m. Aztec Room, Wyndham Garden San Diego, 3737 Sports Arena Blvd. Visit gsdba.org. ‘She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry’: Showing as part of the Women’s Film Festival at the museum, this film explores the history of the women who founded the modern women’s movement in the ’60s and ’70s. Museum doors open at 6 p.m., film at 6:30 p.m., panel discussion to follow. Women’s Museum of California, 2730 Historic Decatur Road, Barracks 16, Liberty Station. Visit womensmuseumca.org. Out Night at Cygnet: An evening for theater-lovers in the LGBT community. Pre-show mixer on the patio for everyone with a ticket to tonight’s performance of “My Fair Lady.” The show runs through April 26. 6:30 p.m. 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town. Tickets 619-337-1525 or cygnettheatre.com. FilmOut Screening: Double Feature: “Come Back to the 5 and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean” and “Airport 1975” — Two films starring Karen Black — the first also stars Cher and Kathy Bates. 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Landmark Cinemas, 3965 Fifth Ave. #200, Hillcrest. $10 for both movies. Visit filmoutsandiego.com.

THURSDAY, MARCH 19

Donny Most Sings and Swings: This show with Donny Most (Happy Days) features a five-piece band and songs by great crooners from Sinatra to Darin. Doors 6 p.m., show 8 p.m. $15. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Tickets visit martinisabovefourth. com. Local Art Night: This monthly event returns with five local artists and the theme “United States of [Evil]ution” 8 – 11 p.m. #1 Fifth Avenue, 3845 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. Find the event on Facebook. —Email calendar items to morgan@sdcnn.com.t

QSyndicate.com

Q Q PUZZLE PUZZLE

SAM SMITH'S SECRET TO SUCCESS ACROSS

1 Poses for Mapplethorpe 5 “Peter Pan” critter, for short 9 Job for Burr’s Mason 13 Booty 14 Locks in a salon 15 Chip in a chip 16 Start of Sam’s secret 19 Jane Spahr, for one 20 Elevator alternative 21 More of the secret 24 Greenish-yellow fruit 27 Deity identified with Diana 28 Nuts and bolts 32 A, as in Acapulco 33 Parts for Dykes on Bikes 35 Constellation over Sydney 36 “The Lion King” king 38 Spoof 40 More of the secret 45 Zipper problem

46 Caesar’s last question 47 Film canine 48 Coat for Mary’s lamb 50 Paranormal 54 ___ Records (Etheridge label) 59 End of the secret 62 Baseball diamond cover 63 Former netman Nastase 64 Wang in fashion 65 Withdraws, with “out” 66 Songwriter Holly 67 Cruising hazard DOWN

1 You don’t want to get a pink one 2 Least bit 3 Pulls behind 4 Back talk, slangily 5 Laugh coined by Lewis Carroll

6 Hauled ass 7 Tin Man’s request 8 Chappell of soaps 9 Where PrideVision originated 10 Voting no 11 Direction from Rick Rodgers 12 Phallic swimmers 17 Signal that goes either way 18 Shoshonean tongue 22 IRS review 23 Composition of some chains 24 Arrests 25 Burger layer 26 Rio step 29 Sites for three men in a tub 30 Balkan native 31 He comes once a year 33 Homophobe/attorney general Bondi of Florida 34 Lotion letters at South Beach

solution on page 14 37 Ask on one’s knees 39 Hollywood’s Hagen 41 He came after Gorbachev 42 Sault ___ Marie 43 Summer for Rimbaud 44 One hell of a guy? 48 Sore throat producer 49 Night school subj. 50 Sgt. Snorkel’s pooch 51 Split in the skin 52 Pre-kiss insert 53 Dave Pallone and others 55 Billie Jean King’s zip 56 Blown away 57 Uncool sort 58 Make-or-break date 60 Land in la mer, for Debussy 61 Snoop group


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Martin said he “loves to be in love” (Photo by Nino Muñoz) FROM PAGE 5

RICKY (CA) You’ve always been flanked by female dancers. Now that you’re out and proud, does that mean that more male dancers get in on the mix? (RM) Hey, let’s be fair: Come on, it’s about equality, you know? And when I walk onstage I present different scenarios of life and, yes, I do have more one-on-one dancing with male dancers, but when you’re at a party, you just dance. It doesn’t matter who’s next to you, you grab a guy’s or a girl’s hand and you just go for it. And that’s what my show is about. It’s about freedom. And it’s about being comfortable in your own skin. (CA) That must be a great feeling for you to be comfortable enough to dance with a guy in front of millions of people. (RM) It’s greaaaaat! And the reaction of the audience is even better! [Laughs] (CA) Now that you’re back on the market, what is dating like for someone as widely known as Ricky Martin? (RM) [Laughs] Mmmm. To be honest, I love being in a relationship, Chris. I love waking up in the morning and, if you’re not with your boyfriend, [sending] that first message or text in the morning: “Hey baby, how ya doing? I hope you’re fine. I just woke up. I’m doing this and this and this today.” I loooove that. I really do. And I love picking up my phone and waiting for that reply from that text — it’s great. But at the same time, right now, I’m enjoying being single. I’m enjoying this process. I’m not saying that I don’t want to be in a relationship — I would be lying to you. I love being in love. (CA) You strike me as the hopeless romantic type. (RM) I am, I am, I am! You’re damn right about that. (CA) How often have men used a pickup line on you that references your bon-bon? (RM) Ohh, man. If someone goes there I’d be like, “Dude, you gotta start again. I’ll give you another chance because of your pretty face.” [Laughs] (CA) Considering your own coming out experience, what would you tell your 6-year-old

twin sons, Matteo and Valentino, if one or both were to come out to you one day? (RM) You know what, for us, at least in my family, that’s not an issue because that is the normal in my house. So if my kids ever tell me that they’re gay, I’ll be like, “Yeah? OK, cool! Brilliant! Bring it on.” But it all starts from the day that we’re born, and every time they ask me questions about anything — ‘Who’s your boyfriend? How come I had two daddies?’ — the important thing is to answer with honesty and transparency. And it doesn’t matter how old your kids are. If they are capable of formulating a question, it’s because they are capable of receiving the answer. (CA) Have you taught them the famous Ricky hip swivel yet? (RM) Oh, it’s in their blood, buddy. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s there. [Laughs] (CA) As an out gay man with an enormous platform, what do you hope you’ve contributed to the LGBT community? (RM) I had the opportunity to write a book that is called “Me” and I’m very proud to say that it is a New York Times best-selling book. There have been people who’ve come to me and said, “Because of you and because of that book I know my father better, I know my grandmother, I know my uncle, my aunt, my sister, my brother.” And that’s it. I mean, I will always keep on talking about the importance of equality and basic human rights that we as members of the LGBT community are longing for, but to this day, and every day — the book was released about four years ago — I get a tweet or a Facebook post from someone saying, “Ricky, thank you so much for that book; it changed my life.” (CA) What do those stories mean to you? (RM) It tells me that my fears were just in my head and that I feel nothing but gratitude. And I get goose bumps, man, when I get these stories and these testimonies from people from all walks of life coming to me to say, “Listen, I was homophobic until I read your book.” It’s very powerful, and I’m very, very pleased. —Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at chrisazzopardi.com.t


14

FEATURE

GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015

FROM PAGE 1

HOOK

“Woman of the Year” — this year Betty Peabody from Point Loma — who will be honored March 9 in Sacramento for her achievements. Atkins decided to expand her Women of the Year project for 2015, and asked local community groups to nominate women from 10 different San Diego communities. Atkins will honor these women, along with Peabody, this month at a private luncheon held at the Catamaran Resort in Mission Beach. Local LGBT community leader Rebekah Hook of North Park was nominated by the San Diego Leadership Alliance (SDLA), and will be one of the women honored at the local ceremony. Other women from the district to be honored at the luncheon include Rommie Amaro, La Jolla; Hazel Bailey, Imperial Beach; Lisa Marie Harris, Mission Hills; Linda Katz, Del Mar; Lisa Montes, Solana Beach; Laura Mustari, Pacific Beach;

Maria Nieto Senour, University City; Doug St. Denis, Coronado; and Midori Wong, Downtown. Hook is the director of public affairs for The San Diego LGBT Community Center and demonstrates the type of commitment to community that the SDLA said they were looking for when they nominated her. Originally from Indiana, Hook earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. After receiving her degree, she moved to San Diego with her partner Shawna, and began focusing on finding a career in America’s Finest City. Hook said her colleagues in Washington state were surprised by her move, given the amount of important connections and networks she had developed there. Encouraged to prove she had made the right decision, Hook attended an event with the San Diego Young Democrats club, where she met partners Vanessa Cosio and Barb Moreno. “They were quick to welcome me to San Diego and sug-

gested I get involved with The Center’s Young Professionals Council (YPC).” Hook said. From there, Hook became heavily involved with the YPC and through that work was introduced to the San Diego Leadership Alliance (SDLA). She said that within a year she applied for and was accepted into the 2013 Leadership Institute; a local organization sponsored through the National Leadership Council (NLC). Although SDLA separated from the NLC in 2014, Hook remained and now sits on the SDLA board of directors. She said there are a great many young people who are interested in politics nationally, and San Diego is prime example of that. “The biggest thing I have noticed that is changing, is that younger leaders — who are qualified and strong candidates — are being elected to serve their community,” she said. “I think the norm was that people had to be a certain age, but all of that seems to be changing — and for the better.” Hook also said the political climate for the LGBT commu-

gay-sd.com nity is changing as well. Not long ago the thought of meeting an openly gay elected official — or even be one herself — was extraordinary. “When I moved to San Diego, I couldn’t believe how many LGBT elected officials there were from the eighth largest city in the U.S.,” she said. “And now, not only are LGBT people being elected to office, they are leaders of their party and their elected bodies, like the Honorable Speaker Atkins.” Atkins said she is very proud of Hook for the diversity of her contributions. “Rebekah Hook is a dynamic leader in San Diego’s LGBT community,” she said. “Her work at The Center has helped increase civic engagement and shape smart public policy. She has also dedicated her time to mentoring other young leaders with San Diego Leadership Alliance. Her work does credit to the community of North Park and all of San Diego.” Hook is modest about the award and said she looks to Atkins for inspiration. “I am very fortunate to call

San Diego my family’s home, and to work in a community that I love,” Hook said. “Speaker Atkins is a tremendous role model, and I am humbled and thankful for this opportunity.” Hook said this recognition has inspired her to continue working to make changes and work within the community. She hopes to create diversity and opportunities for young leaders and civic pioneers. “We have a lot of work to still do, and I look forward to being a part of that,” she said. —Timothy Rawles is a local freelance writer. He and his husband live in Mission Hills with their two children. He can be reached at reporter66@msn.com.t

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LOCAL NEWS

gay-sd.com FROM PAGE 1

SDLFF entertainment industry. Festival founder and Executive Director Ethan Van Thillo said this year’s event includes a new “Creative Careers Expo” that will not only showcase opportunities within the film industry but also many other industries. The expo is free for all ages and will take place on March 14 from 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, located at 404 Euclid Ave., in City Heights. Van Thillo said the new partnership with the Jacobs Center will allow people to take part in the festival in a unique way. “We need more young Latinos, African-Americans and immigrant youth to get involved in careers in technology, software, visual arts, journalism, film and video, music, fashion and more,” he said. “Additionally, we need young people who will help our country grow by being creative and innovative, no matter what industry they choose.” Exhibitions Director Phil Lorenzo thinks the new venue at Fashion Valley will give loyal attendees a new appreciation for the festival. He is excited to bring an element of fashion into the works — through both the expo and the new venue — something he said has been a big part of both the Tribeca and Sundance Film festivals. The SDLFF will also include a showcase of films for the LG-

“Liz en Septiembre” (top) and “Cuatro Lunas” are both part of San Diego Latino Film Festival’s Cine Gay track of films. (Courtesy SDLFF)

BTQ community. Cine Gay began nine years ago and consists of films from Venezuela, Mexico, Chile and Brazil. Van Thillo explained why this aspect of the festival is important, not only to the LGBTQ community, but the Latino community as well. “The annual San Diego Latino Film Festival has for years been working on break-

ing down borders and barriers,” Van Thillo said. “Not only have we strived to create a better understanding between the Latino and Anglo-American communities through film, we’ve also strived to celebrate the diversity within the Latino community itself. It’s important to fight for the rights of the LGBT community. It’s important to

GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015 fight against machismo and make sure women’s voices are heard. Diversity is what makes our country great and is what makes our communities and neighborhoods even stronger.” Though this is a Latin film festival, one might think that speaking Spanish is necessary to fully appreciate all it has to offer. However, Lorenzo said that is not the case, adding that attendees merely need to keep their minds open. “The stories that Latino filmmakers tell are the stories of you and me; they are every story,” he said. “Humanity is the key in filmmaking, it is tapping into the vein of what makes us, well, us.” Organizers assure that all films will be screened with subtitles and many of them are already in English. If you plan on attending the festival this year, expect everything a Hollywood-type experience would include: stars, directors and Latin filmmakers, because Van Thillo said he wants attendees to be immersed in the Latin entertainment culture. While listing off some of the more well known Latin celebrities that will be joining the festivities — including Kate del Castillo, Adal Ramones, Edward James Olmos, Maria Rojo, Sandra Echeverria, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Hector Jimenez, and Julio Bracho — Van Thillo said getting the chance to meet the films’ makers and stars and participate in Q&As is what make all the

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annual festivals so special. “The recent wins at the Oscars were a wonderful victory for both the filmmakers, producers and Latino cinema in general,” Van Thillo said. “It shows the world what we’ve known for 22 years now; that Latino filmmakers and storytellers are some of the best artists in the world.” With Alejandro González Iñárritu’s best director and best picture awards for “Birdman” being a first for the Latin community, Van Thillo said he hopes the SDLFF will continue to foster Hollywood’s — and the public’s — appreciation for Latino filmmakers and their talents for years to come. And who knows? Maybe this year’s SDLFF will be the place where Hollywood finds its next Oscar winner. The 22nd annual San Diego Latino Film Festival will run March 12 — 22, at the AMC Fashion Valley 18, located at 7037 Friars Road in Mission Valley, and the Digital Gym Cinema, located at 2921 El Cajon Blvd., in North Park. For tickets and more information about the festival or the Creative Careers Expo, visit sdlatinofilm.com. —Timothy Rawles is a local freelance writer. He and his husband live in Mission Hills with their two children. He can be reached at reporter66@msn.com.

—Editor Morgan M. Hurley contributed to this report.t


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GAY SAN DIEGO March 6 - 19, 2015

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