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Volume 6 Issue 13 June 26 – July 9, 2015

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A hero for our times


Local, lifelong HIV/AIDS activist honored

Sarge nabs a title


Love within the masses

Monica Medina |

(l to r) Alicia Champion, Lucian and Danielle Lo Presti hanging out in the same City Heights park where the couple recently produced IndieFest 2015. (Photo by Morgan M. Hurley) Standby for the U.S.


Local couple work to make everyone’s lives count Morgan M. Hurley | Editor Local powerhouse duo Danielle LoPresti and Alicia Champion — co-producers of the popular IndieFest — were both musicians and activists long before first crossing paths in 2003, but their bond became an explosion of creative artistry and progress. Born in Bellflower, California, but raised in San Diego, LoPresti said she made a soul connection with music very early on. “As a child, I never knew a quiet house,” she said.

BBQ to sniff about



“My mom constantly filled the house with sounds of Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight … whether she was busy, relaxing, joyful, grieving … she had music for every feeling and played it loud and constantly. I fell in love with music from the inside out.” Champion, a native of Singapore whose parents were both skilled musicians, moved to the San Francisco Bay area at the age of 9 and was already writing her own songs. She quickly became adept at recording and engineering the music and before enrolling in Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, had released her first album. Four years later the couple met, appropriately, at

see Masses, pg 11

Changes on tap at The Hole By Frank Sabatini Jr.


A longstanding tenant-landlord dispute in Point Loma has spawned the re-branding of an iconic LGBT bar, and possibly a new one that carries the original bar’s name. As of July 6, The Hole at 2820 Lytton St. will officially become The Hole in the Wall. Its landlords are taking over the business and preparing the property for a VIP reception on July 16, and a public opening the following day, assuring that it will remain “a comfortable place for the LGBT community.”


see Hole pg 19

Lambert takes shape

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Long live The Hole: The bar’s infamous signage faces Lytton Street and Liberty Station (formerly the Naval Recruiting Command) in Point Loma (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

If there’s one thing Terry Cunningham feels, it’s that he didn’t do enough. “If I could do it over, I’d do more,” said KPBS and Union Bank’s 2015 LGBT Pride Month Local Hero. “I would’ve pushed harder. How could I ever say I did enough when it’s still going on today?” As Cunningham recalls the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the 30 years he dedicated to combating it, the experience deeply affected him. Seeing so many around him die took its toll.

Terry Cunningham (Courtesy KPBS) “I had a friend in LA,” he said. “We used to call each other every couple of weeks. It was too hard to ask if somebody was still alive, so we would just say they went to Paris. That was the only way we could handle our grief. It was just too much.” To many San Diegans, Cunningham has long been the voice of HIV/ AIDS awareness and treatment. Two years ago he retired from his position as chief of the County of San Diego HIV, STD and Hepatitis Branch of Public Health Services. Yet Cunningham still gives of his time to organizations and serves on committees, including serving as chair of the host committee for the 2014 United States Conference on AIDS. Originally from Akron, Ohio, Cunningham remembers his first visit to San Diego in 1978, when he came here at the urging of a friend. “We rented a place by Mission Beach,” he recalled. “I took a look around and then sent one postcard

see Hero, pg 9



GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015

Live a great story by helping LGBTQ youth Local businesses to raise money for Hillcrest Youth Center By Gina McGalliard Hillcrest residents are invited to “Live the Journey,” a unique fundraising event July 2 from 5 – 9 p.m. to raise money for the Hillcrest Youth Center (HYC). Tabletop Commons, the game-themed bar located at 1263 University Ave., is partnering with Live a Great Story — a North Park-based clothing company that aims to share people’s inspiring and uplifting stories via podcasts, videos and blog posts through its website — to co-host the event. The new Hillcrest venue has more than 150 board, video and card games available, and features a menu of American-style cuisine with specialty cocktails and craft beer. Aside from the restaurant’s standard food, drink and game fare, the event will offer guests the chance to share their own unique life story through an interactive “story station,” designed to get attendees to think about their interests and goals and inspire them to go after them. “For the last year, we’ve kind of just been growing Live a Great

Story,” said Zach Horvath, president and founder. “So now we’re starting to get more involved in the community and getting out there.” The public relations team for Live a Great Story reached out to Tabletop Commons as a potential venue for a charitable event. “Tabletop Commons seemed to be a cool spot to collaborate on an idea and really use that venue to keep spreading what we’re doing and bring some light on to the new bar and just have a good time and connect with the people,” Hor vath said. Tabletop Commons is a twofloor bar geared toward the gamer crowd that you might find at Comic-Con, said Tabletop Commons owner and operator Evan Jones, who added that he recognized that a game-oriented bar was an unfilled niche in San Diego. It was this youthful vibe that also made the fledging business a perfect fit for an event to benefit young people, Jones said. “My demographic is roughly 18 to 44, so we’re a much younger crowd than some of the other bars around town,” he said, adding that the values of being true to yourself and creating a safe place for expression is shared between all three organizations involved. “For me, it’s about creating a place where people can come and do whatever it is that you’re nerdy or geeky about,” he said. “Some

Tabletop Commons has over 150 board and video games (Courtesy Tabletop Commons); (right) Live A Great Story has launched a visual public art project to share its message of inspirational personal stories. (Courtesy Live A Great Story) people just come in and play dominos, other people come in dressed up in outfits and play tabletop games that take hours. “If you go to a random bar in the city and you come in dressed as Link from the Legends of Zelda or whatever, people are going to think you’re weird,” he continued. “Here, no one will think you’re weird. Ever yone will think that’s cool.” Jones also felt having a benefit for the HYC, which also creates a safe space where teens can be themselves, made perfect sense. “My demographic is very young and I want to reach out to

the Hillcrest community as much as I can,” he said. “And besides just being the newest restaurant and bar, we’re also part of the community and I want to get as involved as I can.” The HYC is a program of the San Diego LGBT Community Center and is the region’s only recreational center specifically geared toward LGBTQ youth. Located at the southeast corner of Robinson Avenue and Park Boulevard, it serves youth ages 14 to 18 from all walks of life, but serves a large number of lowincome and underserved teens. The affirming space offers discus-

sion groups, workshops, creative and performing arts programs, and also holds a variety of social events throughout the year such as the Rainbow Prom. “The Hillcrest Youth Center’s Rainbow Prom is a celebrator y event that provides our LGBTQ youth a positive and inclusive

see Youth, pg 3


Casting call for ‘tops and bottoms’


YOUTH space to express themselves,” said Brandon Torres, HYC coordinator. “Prom has long signified a transitional rite of passage for youth across the countr y, but many proms still shun or even exclude LGBTQ students, robbing them of an opportunity to celebrate with their peers.” Ten percent of all sales at the “Live your Journey” event will help this year’s prom. “Through donating and supporting this prom, you are investing in our youth and helping to ensure that their identities are not just recognized, but are celebrated unconditionally by their community,” Torres said. Horvath and his team have installed “Live A Great Story” murals on the side of buildings around the nation and are starting to see them posted on social media. “Live a Great Stor y” inspirational merchandise will also be available for sale at the event, and raffles will also be held. All ages are welcome and no RSVP is required. For more information about the hosts of the event, visit and To learn more about the HYC, visit vices/hillcrestyouth-center.html. —Gina McGalliard is a local freelance writer. Follow her blog at —Editor Morgan M. Hurley contributed to this report.t

New local talk show to focus on gay and bi San Diegans By George Vernon An open casting call is planned for Tuesday, July 7 to find hosts for a new gay talk show called top2bottom. The casting call will be held at Urban MO’s Bar & Grill. The show’s producers said they are seeking gay and bisexual guys who live in the San Diego region and are over the age of 21 to become the co-hosts and faces of what they’re calling “San Diego’s hottest new talk show.” Jared Hall, executive director of the Community Engagement Multimedia Project (CEMP) and executive producer of the show, said top2bottom will cover a wide range of topics including sex, dating, relationships, health and life/culture. “At times it will be Q&A, advice, in-depth discussions — all aiming to be the go-to resource for gay and bi guys,” Hall told Gay San Diego. “It will combine co-hosts and special guests’ wisdom and wit.” The show will be very “hyperSan Diego,” Hall said, but they hope to eventually expand to a local and national focus. Hall said he decided to create the show because of his own search for information about the gay world. “I came out 16 years ago, and now, at age 32, I still don’t know all aspects of gay life,” Hall said.

“Technology has certainly influenced how we interact with and date each other. With that said, I am still asking questions.” He also wants to create a place for gay men to go to explore who they are, and not feel alone. “I know what it’s like to feel like the outcast, to feel like I am the only one on the road,” Hall said. “I want to create a show that serves as a ‘gay guy’s guide’ to all of the topics we plan to cover.” Lukas Volk, marketing director for the MO’s Universe family of restaurants, said he is looking for ward to hosting the open casting call at his company’s flagship restaurant. “Jared Hall messaged me via Facebook saying he had seen my graphic design and asked if I would like to be involved,” Volk said. “We met at a local coffee shop and before you knew it I was saying yes to joining the board of directors for CEMP. Being that my full-time career is working for MO’s Universe as the marketing director, I recommended hosting the casting call at Urban MO’s new upper deck.” Volk said that since Urban MO’s has been a staple in the community for over 23 years with a commitment to supporting local organizations, it seemed like a perfect fit to host the casting call there. He also noted that the filming of the locally produced online show “He Said/ She Said,” hosted by community personalities Aaron Heier and Ophelia Later, has been done at Urban Mo’s for many years. Hall and his team welcome

GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015 any guy 21 years or older who identifies as gay or bisexual and wants to share their experiences within the community to participate in the casting call. He said the producers are looking for all different types of personalities and backgrounds. “The only way to have a truly organic show is to hold an open casting call to create the diverse panel of co-hosts,” Hall said in a press release. “The other producers and I are aiming to ensure that the show will be instinctive and original.” Those interested in participating should show up to Urban MO’s, located at 308 University Ave. in Hillcrest, between 5-9 p.m. on July 7. No RSVP is required; the casting call is completely open. “We want the cast of co-hosts to really represent the gay and bi community, so I really encourage everyone to audition,” Hall said. “Our organization and production team are truly inspired by all LGTBQ experiences and stories.” The selected hosts will be announced on July 15, and Hall shared that top2bottom will premiere Aug. 26, and every Wednesday thereafter. It will also air on YouTube, Vimeo, CEMP’s website, and a few other commu-


nity organization sites and apps that will be announced as the show’s launch approaches. More information about the open casting call, visit facebook. com/events/846580095428528. —George Vernon is a local freelance writer. He can be reached at georgevernon76@

Stand out. Live comfortably. ®


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GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015

Fat? Old? Ugly? Life Beyond Therapy Michael Kimmel I was inspired to write this column after seeing an ad in an LGBT periodical (not from San Diego). The above three words were the large font headline. Nice, huh? So helpful and encouraging. It was an ad for plastic surger y; playing on our worst fears and offering a ver y expensive, and temporar y, solution. If only plastic surger y would solve all of our self-esteem problems, I’d sign up myself. Sometimes, I am asked to do psychological evaluations of people considering plastic surger y. The (ethical) plastic surgeons I work with refer clients to me when the surgeons think that the client’s expectations are unrealistic. The surgeons are afraid that their clients will be disappointed regardless of how well the plastic surger y turns out. And often, they’re right. Because, more often than not, “fat, old and ugly” is a state of mind, not a state of body.

I have often seen clients who feel worse after their plastic surgery than they did before. Why? Because their expectations were unrealistic. Fewer wrinkles, a flatter stomach and a tighter butt may be nice, but they won’t change the way we feel about ourselves, it takes more than that. A change in the outside doesn’t mean a change on the inside. I work with clients on this kind of self-esteem stuff all the time. We in the LGBT community usually have a lot of familyof-origin negativity to undo. Many of us were told all kinds of strange shit when we were younger and 99.99 percent of it wasn’t — and isn’t — true. Most negative stuff that people told us was really about them: jealous, unhappy, scared parents/siblings/teachers/lovers may have told you all kinds of unkind things about yourself. To me, this is brainwashing; our innate ability and desire to approve of ourselves as babies got corrupted. Have you ever seen a baby who said, “I just hate my nose,” or “My hips are too big”? Babies love ever ything about themselves and you were once like that. You started out just adoring

yourself — your natural state — and then, over time, other people brainwashed you and messed with your head. But here’s some good news: you can undo all those years of brainwashing. Ask yourself these realitycheck questions: • Who told me I was fat/old/ ugly? How old was I? Why did they say that to me? • Who would I be without the opinions of others? • Is there a core/essential part of me that is immune to what other people think about me? How can I get in touch with that place more and more? • What situations bring up these feelings for me? A pool party? Pride? A date? Going to a club/bar/restaurant? Notice your brainwashing triggers and begin to deprogram yourself by starting to look in the mirror at yourself. You may initially cringe or critique what you see. That’s okay, do it and let it pass. Then you’re ready to do some good, deep work. Look in the mirror and begin to deprogram yourself. Tell yourself things like: • “I am the perfect weight.” • “I am beautiful/handsome at ever y age.” • “I am willing to love my appearance.”

You may not believe this stuff at first, but you’re planting a seed and a seed takes time to grow into a great, big, gorgeous tree. If these phrases really stick in your throat, use the word “willing” in your affirmations: “I may not believe I am handsome today, but I am willing to believe it.” The copy at the end of the plastic surgery ad that gave this column its title read, “Fortunately, today we have medical options to achieve the look and feel you really want.” While that may be true, I would replace that statement with a much better one: “Fortunately, today you have the ability to deprogram your brain of self-criticism and self-hatred to achieve the peace of mind you really want.” Our body is always changing (even with plastic surgery), but peace of mind lasts. Don’t settle for short-term goals, go for the long-term ones and begin to experience yourself as beautiful at every age, at every weight, at every moment … regardless of whether other people agree with you or not. —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

Toasting anniversaries and Pride Back Out with Benny Benny Cartwright When I started writing this column earlier this year, we titled it “Back Out With Benny” as a nod to the “Out With Benny” column series I wrote for Update newspaper a decade ago. This issue’s column marks the 10 years that have passed since I wrote my first-ever column, which was published on June 29, 2005. In a front-page teaser, the editors previewed that first column by saying “Ben Cartwright … has all the dish on ever ything that’s going around in San Diego. Entertaining, informative, and fun, Ben’s unique perspective will be a welcomed addition to Update.” Since then, I’ve written for most of the LGBT publications that have existed in town over the last decade and continue to enjoy the opportunity to do what I set out to do in 2005: Be entertaining, informative, and fun! Thank you to ever yone who has read my work and supported me over the years, giving me the opportunity to share about so many things that I love. Here’s to another 10 years of writing and beyond! Now that summer is in full swing, there are so many exciting things going on around town that it’s hard to keep up with them all. San Diego Pride is just a few weeks away, and the “Pride buzz” that starts to take over the community will soon begin. The rainbow banners have gone up on the light poles in Hillcrest, the San Diego Pride guides have hit the streets, and the local bars and other businesses will soon start putting all of their Pride decor (pink flamingos throughout MO’s Universe!). For many of us locals, San Diego Pride is the most fabulous time of year, but it also means that many of us become very busy. Whether we’re hosting visitors, volunteering for the celebration, working extra shifts (especially those in the service industry), or just trying to keep up with all of the events, we often don’t get to spend much time celebrating with each other. Because of this, last year Rick Cervantes and I created the first annual “CHEERS! Benny & Rick’s Pride Kick-Off Happy Hour!” on the Monday of Pride week, so that all of us local community members could celebrate together before the craziness ensued. You are invited to join us (and 100+ of our friends and community colleagues) at #1 Fifth Avenue on July 13 at 6 p.m. for the second annual gathering. There’s no fundraising, no show, no work — just a great time toasting to San Diego Pride. There will be drink specials and free beer ’til the first keg runs out! Visit cheers. for more information or to RSVP. San Diego Pride weekend will be filled with events, including the annual rally, block party, parade,

see Benny, pg 9


‘Sarge’ takes the Losses and new additions international stage Out of the Archives Walter G. Meyer Our community suffered a couple of losses in the last few weeks. Al Best, one of the early LGBT candidates for public office whose history was featured in our last Out at the Archives event, has passed away. We are fortunate that back in 1991 he sat down with Frank Nobiletti of the Archives and recorded an oral history so his story will not be lost. The Center will host a celebration of Al Best’s life on June 28 at 2 p.m. All are welcome. We are continuing with our oral histories to record and preserve the memories of pioneers of the community before they are lost to us forever, as well as trans people, and others with interesting stories to tell. If you’d like to help us record these stories or would like to be interviewed, please get in touch. The other loss the community suffered was the destruction of the house at the corner of Florida Street and El Cajon Boulevard that was home to Bernie Michels and Thom Carey. These two hosted many meetings in their apartment that led to the formation of the Center for Social Services (later the Gay and Lesbian Center, now the San Diego LGBT Community Center (also known as simply The Center). The Archives, in conjunction with the Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO), was in the process of seeking historic status to preserve the building, but the developer had it hastily demolished. Although we lost the race against the clock to save this landmark, SOHO, the Archives, and other community representatives have vowed not to let this happen again and are now working to identify and protect sites important to LGBT history in San Diego, including the site of the original Center on B Street. If you would like to help or know of sites that may have escaped our notice, please get in touch! There is a lot happening at Lambda Archives and with Pride fast approaching, the pace isn’t likely to let up. Jen LaBarbera, our new head archivist, is still getting acquainted with our extensive holdings and expanding our finding aids so that our collections will be more accessible to researchers. With Jen, Ken Selnick, and myself on staff, we are now open Monday through Saturday from noon until 5 p.m. and stay open later on Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. Stop by, say hi, and take a free tour! The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation’s three public meetings about an LGBT cultural center drew over 100 members of the community and we heard many great suggestions on how the foundation’s building, which houses both Diversionary Theatre and the Archives might better serve the community. If you have any thoughts on the proposed cultural center at 4545 Park Blvd., it’s not too late to weigh in on what could be a new beginning for the home

we share with the theater. Visit to offer your opinion. Note: The Archives is currently looking for an experienced bookkeeper to work a few hours a week. We also always welcome new volunteers and board prospects. If you, or someone you know are interested in any of these roles, please get in touch! Once again, Lambda Archives will have a booth at the Pride festival July 18 and 19 in approximately the same location as previous festivals (left side, about a third of the way down the loop). Please stop by, visit our display, and learn how you can get involved. Watch our Facebook page ( and our web site ( for an upcoming meet and greet to welcome our new archivists. And to make sure you don’t miss out on all the activities, become a member of the Archives — we’ll keep you up to date on all we have planned! To volunteer or become a supporting member of the Archives, call us at 619260-1522 or email me at manager. —Walter G. Meyer is the author of the critically acclaimed gay novel “Rounding Third,” a regular contributor to Gay San Diego, and the manager of Lambda Archives. Reach him at manager.lambda.archives@

Profiles in Advocacy Ian Morton In March of this year, I dedicated a column to three amazing women in our community, one of them Tina “Sarge” Maravilla. At that moment in time, she held the title of Ms. San Diego Leather 2014-15 and was launching “The Stomping Ground,” a sex-positive community center. Now, just three months later, she is an international titleholder and ready to build an empire of positivity. I had a chance to sit down with Sarge at The Stomping Ground’s current home in Mission Valley, to chat about the whirlwind that is now her life. With her signature camouflage and sparkling blue eyes, this selfdescribed “futch” (femme-butch) Army veteran is a force of nature. Recently awarded the title of Ms. International Leather, the second time this title was held by a San Diegan leather woman, she is seeing the goals she set during her local title year come to fruition. She spoke to those dreams. “When I won the San Diego title last August, I said it out loud, while I had the stage, the people and the capability,” Sarge said. “When asked my two main goals as Ms. San Diego Leather, I said, ‘I want to

open up my community center and I want to bring home an international title.’ They looked at me like I was crazy, but they heard me.” As a business owner, Sarge understood the basic plan of launching her initiative, but she realized that this effort needed the buy-in and vision of her community. She began pulling together her board and enlisted the mentorship of Allena Gabosch, the executive director of the Center for Sex Positive Culture in Seattle since its founding in 1999. Allena agreed to hunker down with the fledgling board of 12 community members and, over the span of an intensive weekend, the plan was born. “Sex-positive” has been a descriptor that has come into vogue in the past years when looking at messaging in campaigns, especially in the wake of “shaming” tactics in public service campaigns based around topics like sexual assault and STD/HIV prevention. Sarge and I explored exactly how her vision fit into this dynamic. “Sex-positivity, in my center, is about individuals expanding their minds to the idea of ‘nonconventional sex,’” she said. “‘Sex,’ in truly conventional terms, has historically been for reproductive purposes. So, if you’re gay, kinky or even on birth control, you are having non-conventional sex! “Now, just being one of those things does not make you ‘sex-pos-

GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015


itive’; it’s the ability to have an open mind that others are intimately engaging in ways that might not fit your pre-conceived notion.” Sarge searched a little deeper to challenge the hard question she asked herself — “Is this initiative about the community or about my own need?” Interviews with and anecdotes from sexual health educators and psychologists helped form the conclusion that the embracing of our sexuality is key to living fully into one’s positive mental health. As she shifted her research to an international level, she found that, in the U.S., violence was actually the most consistent theme in marketing and entertainment, while openness around sexuality seemed to inform more progressive European countries. Now, as her role as an “international ambassador,” her platform has expanded to include mental health as a focus. Her own journey to sobriety and self-acceptance in the kink/BDSM community has been transformative and she plans to use her platform to raise awareness in the community. Sarge has initiated the “You Are Not Alone” campaign, which promotes discussion and empathy among community members. Suicide rates continue to disproportionately impact both the LGBTQ and kink communities and she intends to use her title year to bring this into the light in a way that uplifts, rather than shames the simple fact that humans need to connect with each other. The Stomping Ground San Diego is a reality and may be growing to a larger space in a few months and Sarge has brought home the International Ms. Leather title and

see Advocacy, pg 8



GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015

Letters An open letter about the 2015 San Diego Pride Parade


Here’s why we all need to #ThankFrank By Carl Fillichio Where would I be without the work I love? There is nothing more rewarding to me than working on behalf of American workers. Serving U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is both an honor and a joy, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished as a public servant during my “tour of duties” as a political appointee in the Clinton and Obama administrations. The work is exhilarating, interesting every day and has become a central part of who I am. But there was a time when it could’ve been taken from me in a heartbeat. Just because of another, equally central, part of who I am. What is now unthinkable for me was a bitter reality for Frank Kameny. An astronomer with a Ph.D. from Harvard and a World War II veteran, Kameny was fired from his U.S. Map Service job in 1957 simply because he was gay. He never worked for a paycheck again. Many know Frank’s story here in Washington, where I live and work, and where he made

his home and ran as the first out congressional candidate for the District’s seat in 1971. But he is less celebrated in other parts of the country. That’s going to change. On June 23, Frank Kameny was inducted in the U.S. Department of Labor’s prestigious Hall of Honor. Like Cooperstown for our national pastime, our Hall of Honor immortalizes the giants renowned for the highest achievements in the counterweight to our pastimes — that is, our work. The names of these inductees inspire the same awe in those of us who are passionate about working families as Babe Ruth and Ernie Banks do for baseball fans: Sen. Edward Kennedy, who did more to improve workers’ lives than any legislator in our history … Bayard Rustin, the mastermind behind our city’s most transcendent protest march for workers’ rights (and the Hall’s first openly gay inductee) … Dolores Huerta, whose bones were broken in the struggle for farm worker justice (and the only individual living Honor inductee) … Mother

Jones, who prayed for dead mine workers, but fought like hell for the living ones; and the father of the American labor movement, Samuel Gompers. Now, Frank Kameny. All his life he was told he didn’t belong, and he suffered for it mightily. He belongs now. Frank took incremental steps to change — for the better — the nation’s largest employer: the United States government. He played a pivotal role in the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. He organized the first protest for gay rights ever held in front of the White House, in 1965. He was a member of the first delegation to brief the administration on LGBT issues inside that same White House, under President Carter. He will be forever thanked by LGBT government workers like me for helping usher in an age when we could serve openly, love who we love and bring our full selves to our work. But more than that: The American people owe him a debt of gratitude as well. Were it not for his decades of advocacy, our country would be bereft of some of the sharpest minds and hardiest spirits overseeing the people’s business. Even a mind as great as Walt Whitman’s was wasted when he lost his government job soon

EDITOR Morgan M. Hurley (619) 961-1960

ART DIRECTOR Vincent Meehan (619) 961-1961

PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Ken Williams, x102 Jeremy Ogul, x119

PRODUCTION ARTISTS Todd Kammer, x115 Suzanne Dzialo

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chris Azzopardi Charlene Baldridge Michael Kimmel Monica Medina Gina McGalliard Walter G. Meyer Ian Morton Jeff Praught Frank Sabatini Jr. George Vernon

SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958

ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962

WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Jen Van Tieghem, x118 COPYEDITOR Dustin Lothspeich

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Sloan Gomez (619) 961-1954 Frank Lechner (619) 961-1971 Robert Jones, x113 Andrew Bagley, x106 Lisa Hamel, x107

WEB DESIGN Kim Espinoza 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.

after coming to Washington, it’s said because of the notoriety of his already-published “Leaves of Grass.” How many like him did we lose before Frank Kameny? How much good did we squander in those long decades of intolerance? Because of Frank, we no longer have to ask. To help commemorate Frank’s indomitable spirit and contributions this Pride month, in addition to inducting him into the Labor Hall of Honor, we’re mounting a social media campaign called #ThankFrank. We’re asking other LGBT federal employees across the country and around the world, and all federal employees as well as our allies, friends, supporters and federal government customers and owners (that means the American people) to post the reasons Frank matters. Check out our video to learn more and add your voice and story to thousands of others. Frank’s courageous efforts did more than help LGBT federal employees. He had a significant effect on American work, all American workplaces and the lives of countless American workers. It’s time to #ThankFrank. — Carl Fillichio is senior advisor to Thomas Perez, the Secretary of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C.t

Thank you to all who plan to attend this year’s San Diego Pride Parade. I’m writing in regard to activism that may temporarily disrupt the parade’s flow. This year’s Grand Marshal is the entire transgender community, and both Champions of Pride are transgender. We’re proud they’re leading the parade. Pride was recently contacted by members of the transgender community who notified us of their plan to conduct multiple “die-ins” during which individuals will lie on the street, stopping the parade, while others encircle them with crime scene tape and read the names of trans* individuals whom we’ve lost this year to murder and suicide. I obviously respect activism; it’s played a significant role in our movement for equality and fair treatment. At the same time, I respect others in the transgender community who do not wish for these die-ins to occur and who say they believe the Grand Marshal and Champion of Pride honors should be marked by celebration, not images of death. I’d further like to be considerate to our parade’s 200 contingents and 100,000 spectators, some of whom have asked us to minimize the stopping and starting and gaps that sometimes occur in the parade because they affect the flow of the experience for participants and spectators alike. There are several important interests to balance here. I’ll never know what it’s like to be transgender. I’ll never know how it feels to be shunned for being transgender by many in our society including some in the LGB community. I’ll never know the fear and rage of being a trans* woman of color who has seen others like her murdered for who they are. I can only obser ve that within the transgender community there are both feelings of celebration for the honor and visibility that accompanies being parade Grand Marshal, and feelings of continued outrage as week after week brings a new report of a murder or suicide of someone who is transgender. These feelings co-exist, and we should allow both to be expressed. Conflicted emotions are often our real experience, and there’s room in our parade for keeping it real. I trust those expressing their outrage during the parade will respect those who wish to celebrate, and I hope those in a celebrator y mood

see Letters, pg 15

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GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015




GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015

Moving on up! North County Update Max Disposti When The North County LGBTQ Resource Center first found a place to call home in December 2011, we already knew that we’d soon outgrow our cute little space. Within those 1,400 square feet, we worked tirelessly to catch up with all the needs and hopes of thousands of North County residents. This year, thanks to the collaboration of the city of Oceanside and their growing interest in serving our LGBT families and individuals, the Center will be moving into a 2,500-square-foot storefront office a little bit more inland, but properly served by public transportation. A federal grant from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) made this move possible and soon our new space, which is in need of renovation, will begin to take shape, with a move date of Nov. 1 expected. Because of the many activities, mostly run by volunteer efforts, our current Center was early baptized as “The Little Center that could.” We have created a safe but visible place in the heart of Oceanside, merely hundreds of feet from the entr y gates of Camp Pendleton. The news of moving into a bigger place came at the right time, but similar to every move, we are sad as we recollect the many memories that this place has created.

Thousands of people have walked through these doors and brought with them stories of isolation, family rejection, fear and desperation but also hope and dreams and ideas for a better future. Here, we have celebrated our legislative victories and hosted many events, but we have also mourned and cried for our loved ones.

Our visible presence — and the work of our volunteers and the determination and tenacious effort of our board of directors — turned this dream into a true experience. I remember that soon after we opened, people would just walk in, attracted by the visible and inviting rainbow flags and chairs, and then silently start to cry. They were in disbelief of what we had accomplished in the heart of Oceanside, where only 10 years before, being a visible LGBT person would have come with a price. This is a scenario that our volunteers and I witnessed for months, with people finding creative ways to walk in without being seen by the public. Our visible presence — and the work of our volunteers and the determination and tenacious effort of our board of directors — turned

this dream into a true experience. I am also grateful to our courageous youth, who despite their struggle through the tragic losses of our dear friends (Sage, Taylor and Kayle), have begged us ever since to keep going, and surrounded us with love and words of encouragement. I am personally grateful for their courage, determination and patience in understanding how sometimes change happens quite slowly. They are the reason why we keep fighting. We still have so much to do. Thousands more need to be reached in North County and many still do not even know that we are here. However, we hope that our next new location will increase our programs and activities and give space to the new and old comers. So much work went in and yet we are just at our beginning. So many more moves are in store for our future and each and every one will come with stories of new acceptance and love. Let’s reduce the gaps that distance our LGBT families and individuals from having access to vital and needed services. Let’s reduce the poverty, the stigma and the racial and gender discrimination that still afflicts so many even here in our county. Let’s make sure no more trans* youth will have to take their own lives and can instead live in an environment free from violence and hate. One LGBT Center at a time, together we can make community and change a possibility. —Max Disposti is a human rights activist, a community organizer and the founder and executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. He can be reached at


ADVOCACY she even hopes to see her work grow beyond San Diego. Shame, on many levels, is inherent in our society and she looks to play a role in undoing the unhealthy selfimage that many face after years of repression. You can find more information about The Stomping Ground, in- cluding their mission and services at thestompinggroundsandiego. org and meet many of their members this year at San Diego Pride in The Leather Realm. —Ian D. Morton is the senior program analyst at San Diego Human Dignity Foundation and produces the Y.E.S. San Diego LGBTQ youth conference. To nominate an individual or nonprofit for this column, please email the information to

Local Tina “Sarge” Maravilla, now Ms. International Leather, recently launched “The Stomping Ground,” a sex-positive community center in Mission Valley. (Photo by Everett Allen Photography); (Photo on cover by Rich Stadtmiller)


GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015


that is filled with newspaper the San Diego skyline, while FROM PAGE 4 articles and photos documentswimming, drinking, and lying ing highlights of his career and by the pool (and don’t worr y, important occasions. These meyou don’t have to swim, there’s mentos are a testament to a life plenty of space to lounge). For home to my parents that read, ‘I and two-day music festival. Visit devoted to fighting AIDS. Staring more information visit events. found paradise.’ It had been cold or check out Gay San at the brown-edge clippings and and wintry in Akron and when I Diego’s own Pride Guide in the July the faded photos, some with This week is also National came here, it was heaven. I had 10 edition for more information. people whose names Cunningham HIV Testing Week. Knowing worked as a junior executive for can no longer remember, he gives your status is important so take Goodyear for 12 years and was Back here at The Center, a deep sigh. the opportunity to get tested this tired of the rat race. I wanted out this weekend is going to be a “What a waste,” he said. “So week. You can visit and moved here.” lot of fun. One of my favorite many people died. It was crazy, locator to find a free testing site While working at a vegetarian events of the year, the annual why was this happening? If it near you. Also, The Center’s restaurant on Mission Boulevard, Pachanga de Frida, is Saturhadn’t been for Ryan White, if it #BeTheGeneration will be at the he noticed a sign at the Beach Area day night, June 27. This festive, hadn’t been for Kennedy, I think Faith-Based Action Coalition of Community Clinic, recruiting for high-energy party benefits we’d be in terrible shape right San Diego’s National HIV Testing medical assistant volunteers. The Center’s Latin@ Ser vices now and I think that it would’ve Day event on Saturday, June 27 “The sign said they wanted program and includes livebeen a huge backlash against the from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The event people interested in training music, a Frida Kahlo look-alike gay community. includes free HIV testing, music, to do triage, take contest, great food, and tequila! “I think that I if I entertainment, food, health inblood pressure and This event is always packed, so had it to do over again, formation and more! Stop by the temperatures before get your tickets now, and then I probably would’ve Malcolm X Library, 5148 Market patients see the docjoin me on the dance floor! Visit been a little louder.” St., to join in the fun. tor,” he said. “I had for The Local Hero The next time I write this been a pre-med stutickets and more info. program, launched in column, Pride will have come and dent at Denison UniThe next day, Sunday, June 1998, is co-sponsored gone, so I hope you all have a safe, versity for two years 28, come relax by pool! The by KPBS and Union fun, celebration! Happy Pride! before I transferred Andaz Hotel is hosting AQUA Bank and honors two to Kent State and mafrom 1 – 6 p.m. at their 360-pool local residents each —Benny Cartwright is the jored in English. So I area, benefiting the Hillcrest month of the calendar director of community outreach at signed up and started Youth Center and the anyear, those who go the San Diego LGBT Community volunteering.” nual Rainbow Prom for LGBTQ above and beyond for Center. He can be reached at 619Within a year, Cunyouth and allies ages 14 to 18. their respective com692-2077 ext. 106 or outreach@ ningham became the For just a $10 donation, you munity. Cunningham Byline photo volunteer director of the can spend the afternoon enjoyand Christine Kehoe by Rob Lucas Modern Aperture Men’s Sexually Transing the sunshine and views of were chosen as the Photography.t Cunningham, far right, accepts a gift from the March of Dimes on mitted Disease Clinic. 2015 Pride Month hon“Around that time, behalf of the San Ysidro Health Center (Courtesy Terry Cunningham) orees. Look for Kehoe’s in 1979, there was a profile in the last issue lot of information coming out about afford it otherwise. of Gay San Diego, or find it online gay men having more STDs [sexuat Though retired, Cunningham ally transmitted diseases] than To learn more about the prostill volunteers his time in the fight their heterosexual counterparts,” gram, visit against HIV/AIDS. He also serves he said. “We thought we should put on a committee to create an AIDS hey-neighbor/local-heroes/. together a program for gay men. memorial for San Diego, where more We started a screening program —Monica Medina is the director than 7,000 have died of the disease. called the Well Gay Males at the “I’m the chair of the HIV Health of diversity, engagement and grants Beach. The doctors trained me at KPBS. She can be reached at Services Planning Council,” he and I was giving full physicals and said. “I’m also on an ad hoc comdrawing blood. I loved it.” mittee for the unification project In 1982, Cunningham first started to do care and treatment and seeing patients with HIV/AIDS. prevention, and on another ad hoc “We had no idea what we were committee to look at how we can seeing,” he said. “I diagnosed actually stop HIV/AIDS by 2020.” a couple of people. If we saw At its peak, the number of someone that had really unusual patients diagnosed with HIV in San symptomology, thrush in their Diego was 20 to 30 per day. Today, Saturday, June 27 Wed, July 1 mouths, diarrhea, night sweats, or it’s approximately one a day. For swollen lymph nodes, we’d refer this Local Hero, as long as people them over to Dr. Chris Mathews, continue to contract HIV, he will an amazing man. He was founder continue to sound the clarion call. and director of the Owen Clinic at “I still am trying to get people UC San Diego, which would later to get tested and to stay on their 6:30 pm, 6 pm, the Center become the largest provider of meds,” he admitted. “Early on, the the Center Each year we celebrate HIV/AIDS care in San Diego. He lifespan was six weeks and people would take them from there. There were told, ‘I’m sorry you have the birthday of Frida Kahlo, Join us for Guys, Games & Grub with host Ben was really nothing anyone could AIDS. You have to get your affairs Cartwright! Meet new friends while enjoying commemorating the legendary life of one of the most do at the time. They were dying. It in order.’ Today, staying on your snacks, food, and drinks for only a $5 donation influential Mexican painters of the mid-twentieth was horrible.” meds can mean having a life expecto Men’s Programming. On the first Wednesday century while enjoying live music, art, a Frida look-aIn 1985, John Ciaccio, the tancy the same as everyone else’s. co-founder of The Gayzette, a San Yet, only 34 percent of those who of every month, nearly 200 men age 21 and over like contest, great food and Tequila! Tickets are only Diego newspaper for the LGBT have [HIV], take the meds.” gather at The Center for a night of games, pizza, $15 online or $20 at the door. This birthday party is community, died from complicaCunningham, who witnessed drinks and socializing. Some of San Diego’s most always packed, so buy your tickets today at events. tions from AIDS. Ciaccio was one the 1970 Kent State shootings interesting men are here – come join them. For For more information, contact of the first in San Diego to come first-hand while a student there, more information, contact aaron heier at out publicly with the fact that he said the experience taught him a ricardo Gallego at or had AIDS. lesson that would resonate with or 619.692.2077 x211. 619.692.2077 x116. Proceeds from this event benefit “John was a friend,” Cunhim later, when in the throes of Latin@ Services at The Center. ningham said. “He was on a lot of the AIDS epidemic. tuesday, July 7 committees that I was on. After he “I always believed that the died, I started the Ciaccio Memogovernment protects you, but Kent tuesday, June 30 rial Clinic, naming it after him.” State made me see things differAs the disease progressed, Cun- ently,” he explained. “Then, when 9-10:30 am, the Center ningham became known for being AIDS first hit in 1982, there was outspoken about HIV/AIDS. no government response. We, the The San Diego LGBT Community Center hosts a “I was out there talking about LGBTQ community knew that we distribution site once a month for the Community 4:30 pm, the Center what we knew about the disease,” had to take the lead in providing Cares Project of the San Diego Food Bank. On the Cunningham said. “I’d talk to education and whatever supportive The Center is excited to host the Equality Professionals people about the need to engage in services we could, to our friends first Tuesday of every month, visit The Center’s Network, a coalition that represents LGBT business safe sex until we had more informa- and partners with AIDS. That is parking lot for emergency food. For more professionals and their allies, for the 3rd Annual LGBT tion about what was going on and why so many grass-roots organizainformation, visit the San Diego Food Bank how it was transmitted. We didn’t tions began to address these needs. & Allies Career Event. This free event is open to all website at know anything, but we were pretty We hoped that the federal governLGBT community members and allies, and includes ment would recognize the need sure using universal precautions, a job fair, professional development workshops, such as condoms, could prevent it.” at some point and provide much needed relief. When the Ryan His philosophy in dealing with and networking. Meet recruiters from major local The San Diego LGBT Community Center White CARE Act was passed, there the epidemic was always about beemployers. to attend, register in advance at 3909 Centre Street • 619-692-2077 was a collective sigh of relief, feeling proactive. ing at last that we were no longer “We decided we weren’t going Twitter: @LGBTCenter alone in this effort.” to use scare tactics,” he said. “We Cunningham has kept a folder wanted people to get screened and



tested and have anything going on with them treated. A healthy immune system was the best defense. Our strategy gained a great deal of support.” Public perception of the epidemic reached a turning point when a teenaged hemophiliac in Indiana, Ryan White, contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion. As he and his mother fought for his right to attend school, public awareness of the disease — and the myths surrounding it — grew. After his death in 1990, Senator Edward Kennedy introduced the Ryan White CARE (Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency) Act, which provided HIV/AIDS treatment to those who could not


events attheCenter

Pachanga de Frida!

ePn annual Job Fair

Guys, Games & Grub

Food Bank



GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015

A musical based on 9/11 inspires

“Come From Away” by Irene Sankoff and David Hein Tuesdays through Sundays. Closes July 12 (l to r) Astrid Van Wieren, Caesar Samayoa and Chad Kimball are part of the “Come From Away” ensemble (Photo by Jim Carmody)

Theater Review Charlene Baldridge Word gets around: “Come From Away,” the new musical at La Jolla Playhouse, was extended twice before it had a chance to fully open in previews. Having officially opened June 11 under the direction of Artistic Director Christopher

Ashley, it now continues through July 12 in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. We meet two sets of people in Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s “Come From Away” — the inhabitants of Gander, Newfoundland, and “the plane people,” who came from away, having been stranded mid-air on 9/11. When terrorists hit and destroyed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York

The Musical Theatre Event of the Summer!

KISS ME, KATE Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter Book by Sam and Bella Spewack Choreography by Peggy Hickey Directed by Darko Tresnjak A co-production with Hartford Stage.

July 1 - August 2


a gathering of gay and lesbian theatre lovers.

Thursday, July 2 at 6:30 p.m. Show Starts at 8:00 p.m. In the Craig Noel Garden, just steps away from your theatre seats!

An evening for gay and lesbian theatre lovers and the whole LGBT community. This event includes three drinks from the wine and martini bar, delicious appetizers, and a pre-show mixer. Everyone is welcome. Just $24 per person in addition to your theatre ticket. Call to RSVP at (619) 23-GLOBE or select “Show + OUT event” when purchasing online. Sponsored by Sabuku Sushi

(619) 23-GLOBE (234-5623)

Top: The cast of Kiss Me, Kate. Photo by T Charles Erickson.

La Jolla Playhouse 2910 La Jolla Village Dr. | 858-550-1010 (above) Jenn Colella as a flight captain with the cast of “Come From Away”; (inset, l to r) Allison Spratt Pearce and Petrina Bromley (Photos by Kevin Berne) City that day, American airspace was closed and planes around the world were ordered to land and stay until further notice. Thirtyeight international flights landed in Gander, and for five days the local inhabitants, who had long ago staffed a major refueling hub, hosted 7,000 people, providing whatever they needed. 9/11 changed our lives forever, but none more so than those of the hosts and the stranded. From the opening chord of “You Are Here,” the husband-andwife team of Sankoff and Hein, who wrote the book, lyrics and music, sweep onlookers through 14 songs into the suspenseful saga, telling of those who opened their hearts and homes and those bedraggled souls who received kindness, bounty and

the courage to move on in a world forever changed. There is no doubt at any given moment which set of folks is center stage — they all are, whether playing Newfoundlanders or the stranded (there’s also an authentic eight-member orchestra on ethnic instruments such as Uilleann pipes, Irish flute and Bodhran). The 12-person acting/singing ensemble accomplishes multitudes with mere shifts in attitude. The piece is filled with joy — musically and physically — set afire with skilled acting, superb direction, and a rollicking, unique music descended from the Celts and refined by generations who survived long winters on spirits, dance and song, and don’t forget “screech-ins” with the cod.

The storytelling, the story, the music and the warmth never stop as we become inured with painful unknowing. There is never a maudlin moment despite the pain, despite the pathos — the work is simply awesome in every good and deep sense of the word. Not since “Memphis,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Jersey Boys” has a musical been so indelibly inscribed “hit.” The ensemble comprises Patrina Bromley, Geno Carr, Jenn Colella, Chad Kimball, Joel Hatch, Rodney Hicks, Lee MacDougall, Allison Spratt Pearce, Caesar Samoya, Q. Smith, Astrid Van Wieran and Sharon Wheatley. Each creates an array of characters, none so endearing as the elder Englishman (MacDougall) who falls in love with a woman from Texas (Wheatley). Or a New York couple (Kimball and Samoya), both named Colin. Or the American Airlines captain (Colella), who fought so hard to become what she is and still managed to raise a family simultaneously. Gloriously, Joel Hatch sings and acts the heck out of Gander’s warm and forceful mayor, and Geno Carr creates numerous distinct characters. The whole evening — beautifully created by Sankoff and Hein — moves so swiftly and smoothly in one act with no interval. One is hardly aware that the actors, their airline seats, all the accouterments brought to bear, and even the band, sometimes travel on scenic designer Boewulf Boritt’s turntable and populate his set, which evokes the watery landscape of desolation. Toni-Leslie James is costume designer; Howard Binkley, the genius lighting designer; and Gareth Owen, the sound designer who is ever supportive. Towering over all are August Erikson’s orchestrations, Ian Eisencrath’s arrangements, and Kelly Devine’s choreography. It’s as natural as real and every bit as inspiring as the real story. —Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. You can follow her blog at or reach her at


MASSES San Diego Dyke March in 2003, where they were both set to perform, fronting their own bands. “I was sound checking … when her band started loading in,” Champion said. “She introduced herself to me after sound check and I completely lost my breath upon laying eyes on her. “We switched emails and started working together musically and becoming friends,” she continued. “I started courting her almost immediately. She took some time though. Eight months later she finally came around.” The couple forged a relationship and merged their musical lives, with Champion soon joining her partner’s band, Danielle LoPresti and The Masses. The couple then moved on to create an annual performance space for “so much more than music,” as LoPresti has been quoted, and the women have since worked to establish a family both within the festival and together at home. “IndieFest was created to be a feast,” LoPresti said. “A little over a decade ago, we built a table, and have brought magnificent things to it that we’re passionate about and want to share, and we invite others to do the same. “The result has been a celebration of indie music, art, film, food, ideas … a day when non-corporate-backed artists, businesses and visionaries gather together so more people can discover and hopefully support them — at the ver y least, be inspired by them,” she continued. “Ever y year is like a family reunion. These people work really hard and give so much of their talent to make the event run as well as it does.” Launched in 2004 at The Abbey in Bankers Hill, San Diego Indie Music Fest outgrew the space after the next year and in 2007, it landed on the streets surrounding the Birch North Park Theatre, where it stayed for the next four years. By 2010, the newly renamed San Diego IndieFest had grown so big so fast that they had to turn away 1,000 people at the door. “That was painful,” LoPresti said. A move to Liberty Station in 2011 offered the space they needed for expansion, but the trade-offs were a concern. “The venue was beautiful — and huge — but we lost some of the culture and diversity that we cultivated all those years prior,” LoPresti said. It was around this time that their lives were also about to change quite drastically. “[Our son] Lucian was born on Pride weekend 2011 and it was magical,” Champion said. “We opened for Margaret Cho on the main stage that evening and then immediately drove to the hospital to pick him up as soon as we got off stage. “All the joy and celebration that we feel at Pride-time was amplified one-thousand-fold by the birth of our son,” she continued. “It made the feeling of Pride even more extraordinar y than it already was.” The couple had spent the last seven years on a worldwide search for a child to call their own. Champion called it a time “filled with disappointments, scams, discrimination and bureaucracy.” The endless search had left them emotionally spent. “After ever y attempt fell

went,’” Champion said. “I think so many of us are hesitant to listen to our instincts, or hesitant to be a squeaky wheel when it comes to our health … I’m so immeasurably grateful that we kept asking, kept up our search to figure it out before it was too late; as it was, by the time we found out it was cancer, I was dangerously close to that too-late mark.” The growth of IndieFest brought other issues to the table; ironically the reason the festival was created — to focus on the

Champion and LoPresti took 2014 off to recharge and regroup, and were legally wed on their 10th anniversar y in May of that year. Life had morphed into producing the festival, working as full-time musicians, balancing health concerns and motherhood, and the couple realized they had to make the festival sustainable if they were to continue. They decided to get back to their roots; and IndieFest 2015, their ninth event, was not only “scaled way down,” they brought it to City Heights, the neighborhood where they are raising Lucian. “Toni Atkins was ver y outspoken in her praise of IndieFest as a key player in the revitalization of North Park,” Champion said. “So we thought, ‘If we could do it there, we can do it even better here — in our own neighborhood.’” They reached out to the City Heights Community Development Corporation (CHCDC); the response was positive and (left) Cameron Wright, Danielle LoPresti and (right) Alicia Champion perform during a #BlackLivesMat- the decision ter tribute mash-up at IndieFest No. 9 in March. (Photos by Cali Greibel) was made. The festival would be music and indie label musicians held in the center of the new City ferent doctors, both who simply — was now flipping on its side Heights Urban Village. gave her antibiotics and told her as the big festival producers had It ended up being exactly the to “wait and see.” suddenly come calling. They right place at the right time. It wasn’t until a trip to her wanted Champion and LoPresti to “The recent rash of profiling acupuncturist, who pressured “go big” and move their festival and deaths of unarmed African LoPresti to go to Urgent Care to the summer. With LoPresti’s American men had our bellies in and “not leave until they take a cancer battle and motherhood as knots,” LoPresti said. “Racism, picture of your lungs,” that the their priorities that year, Chamhomophobia, sexism … injustice couple got answers. The diagnosis was a “wildly aggressive” pion said they gave in. of all kinds has been something form of lymphoma. The CT found “By the end of IndieFest 8, we’ve fought [through music] tumors all over LoPresti’s torso, we walked away having learned at ever y IndieFest; but now that the largest one lodged between a ver y powerful, albeit painful, we are raising our own beautiful, her heart and breastbone. lesson,” she said. “We knew how black son, there is a whole new “When we saw the image of to produce our event in our city. level of urgency to our advocacy.” that 12 cm wide tumor sitting on We had been growing slowly, but Champion had been working top of her heart, in the shape of wisely, and summer was defion a mash-up of a song LoPresti her heart, we both thought, ‘Oh nitely not the time for an event wrote about racism in 1996, “Call my god, that’s where all that grief like ours.” Me Sister,” with Michael Jackthrough, Danielle would tell me that she could feel her heart breaking — that she could literally feel the weight of that sadness cracking open inside her,” Champion said. A year after Lucian came into their life, LoPresti, who had been breastfeeding the newborn, began suffering from exhaustion and a ver y aggressive cough. They chalked it up to the trials of motherhood and doubled up on LoPresti’s natural resources, but did seek out the advice of two dif-

GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015


son’s “They Don’t Care About Us,” and she said the move and the nation’s climate pushed her to finish the piece, which became a #BlackLivesMatter tribute. Danielle LoPresti and The Masses performed the mash-up at the end of the festival — with LoPresti singing her words and musical guest Cameron Wright singing Jackson’s — from the main stage at Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park on 44th Street, which faces the Mid City Police Station. A video of the performance is now on YouTube and Champion said it’s their first YouTube video with “zero dislikes.” Today, with IndieFest No. 9 now behind them and their tenth anniversary scheduled for March 25, 2016, the parents of 4-year-old Lucian have hope; not only for the rights of our community, but his future as well. “You know as activists dedicated to social justice, it always seems that progress never comes fast enough,” Champion said. “However, it’s pretty incredible to see how quickly marriage equality has swept the nation since Proposition 8 became a national stor y. I’m extremely optimistic that SCOTUS will strike down discrimination over this subject once and for all.” For LoPresti, who has made racism a core issue of her activism, the tools of social media have enhanced the movement and she sees change ahead. “We are raising a black man in America, and there’s not a minute we forget the intensity of this blessing and responsibility,” LoPresti added. “Both Alicia and I are working to do make things better — and we are taking this very seriously. “[Today] we have the technology to see the abuse — in a way we never could before and it’s sickening,” she continued. “We now have more inspiration and more tools than ever before to fight it. This gives me hope.” Watch Champion’s #BlackLivesMatter mash-up here youtu. be/SiP3TgYZUUw. —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at



GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015



from across

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill 7510 Hazard Center, Suite 215 (Mission Valley) • 619-764-4411 Prices: Appetizers and salads, $4.95 to $14.95; burgers and sandwiches, $11.95 to $13.95; entrees, $13.95 to $31.95

the U.S.A.

Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. Like a divided Congress, there are two sides of the aisle when it comes to barbecue: one makes its case by blowing a lot of smoke and the other pontificates with scorching flames. Rarely does either party find common ground. The debate over what constitutes as “real” barbecue, however, hits a peaceful impasse at Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill, a Hazard Center newcomer where meat smokers and fiery grills operate in fluid concert. From smoked brisket and beef ribs (ala Texas-style) to saucebrushed “all-American” baby backs sporting stripes from direct heat (like those found throughout the Northeast), the menu captures an array of American barbecue options that aren’t typically available under one roof. It also offers the Kansas City delicacy known as “burnt ends,”

which are double-roasted, doublesmoked cubes of meat from the marbled, top layer of brisket. We sadly missed out on them because they’re available only as a special on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Wood Ranch was established 23 years ago when longtime friends Eric Anders and Ofer Shemtov rescued a failed barbecue joint in Moorpark, California. They’ve since branched into 16 locations, mostly throughout Southern California. For their San Diego debut, they gutted and remodeled what used to be Randy Jones’ All American Sports Grill (and Trophy’s before that). The reconfigured space mixes wood, brick and metal in a hip and comfortable motif that frequent restaurant-goers know well. Conveniently, a separate entrance is designated for take-out, and there are several parking slots reserved for receiving food orders to your vehicle before toting them to tailgate parties. The kitchen is equipped with more than a dozen Alto-Shaam smokers, which double as convection ovens for slow-roasting

brined chickens and other meats before some get finished briefly on woodfired grills. Among them is the BBQ half chicken, which yielded moist flesh and crackly, charred skin permeated meekly by semisweet barbecue sauce. The kicker came when applying to the bird a few drops of Texas-inspired habanero-peach puree served alongside. Fruity up front for about two seconds, it’s the spiciest sauce in the house. The tri-tip tasted Santa Mariastyle, though doesn’t claim to be. It’s caramelized over flames and seemingly marinated in a traditional salt mixture containing onion and garlic powders. The difference is that the meat initially receives a long, gentle roasting in the oven opposed to a full run on the grill. But so what; the texture was fork tender as we jabbed into numerous pieces strewn throughout a superb salad accented with muddled mint and tangy tomato dressing. St. Louis ribs are defined by their trimmed cartilage. In addition, their gnarly backside membranes are removed. Served straight from the smoker in precise, rectangular half slabs, they were dangerously delicious. Each rib oozed with just the right amount of fat while marrying with the ultra-tender meat and the prized sheath of “bark” that forms on top during the smoking process. The rub was on point — peppery with sweet undertones. It needed no interference from Wood Ranch’s proprietary, bottled barbecue sauce, a mediocre recipe with high-fructose corn syrup listed as a leading ingredient. But the house chipotle-cherry sauce we requested with a plate of tender brisket tasted lusciously homespun, wowing us with its striking balance of chilies and stone fruit. Chalk it up as one of those sauces tailor-made for red meat, whether smoked or broiled.

(clockwise from top) Tri-tip salad; half chicken with beans; St. Louis ribs and roasted corn (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.) In a subsequent visit, we loosened our belts for half-pound burgers licked wholly by mesquite flames. They were chubby, juicy and delicious. But we made the mistake of applying mustard and ketchup to them, which was as unnecessary as smearing A-1 Steak Sauce onto filet mignon. Carolina pulled pork from hormone-free pigs is also on the menu. So are Nebraska-sourced steaks broiled over non-pungent white oak to maintain flavor integrity. Pescetarians have less to choose from, with only grilled shrimp, rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon comprising the seafood list. Plates, burgers and sandwiches each come with a side dish. Our choices included lightly oiled peanut coleslaw; a full ear of grilled sweet corn; and a withered Idaho baked potato, lacking steam. Com-

pared to the latter, the mashed spuds were notably better, given their naughty lacings of butter and sour cream. At less than two months in, the wait staff appeared to operate sharply. Cocktails from the bar and house-made lemonade from the kitchen arrived to the table quickly. Our water glasses were refilled regularly, and there were no hiccups in our food orders. Based on the welcoming vibe of the place and the breadth of the menu, I’m betting that Wood Ranch is here to stay. —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


GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015


The 3,000-square-foot Allegro Bistro in Middletown will close by July 1, leaving open the possibility of a replacement under a different dining concept. The restaurant, annexed to 57 Degrees wine and craft beer bar, launched in October as a breakfast-only operation. “We will soon begin working with a consultant to explore new ideas,” said 57 Degrees owner, Russ Kindom, hinting that he’d like to see an American-themed restaurant “with Lousiana twists” come in. In the meantime, he plans on utilizing Allegro’s kitchen to add new lunch dishes and entrée-slanted items to 57’s daily food menu. 1735 Hancock St., 619-234-5757.

Food and drink combine with personal storytelling (Courtesy Tabletop Commons)

Got a story to tell about a personal accomplishment or overcoming a hardship? Share it with a cocktail or nosh in hand between 5 and 9 p.m., July 2, at Tabletop Commons in Hillcrest. The event, titled “Live the Journey” is co-presented by the locally based “lifestyle company” Live a Great Story. It will feature a “story station” for guests to share their inspirational experiences. The bi-level bar and restaurant, which is stocked with nearly 150 board games, will donate 10 percent of the evening’s sales to The Hillcrest Youth Center. 1263 University Ave., 619-487-1382. The Hillcrest location of Jack in the Box was the test ground for several changes that were recently made company-wide to popular menu items. According to employee Led Nives, customers gave their thumbs up to the new pre-seasoned beef patties now used in the Jumbo Jack Burgers and they quickly started digging the toasted, buttered buns used on many of the burgers. In addition, the company has phased out its onion mayonnaise in lieu of “real mayo.” 804 University Ave., 619-298-1273.

Positive changes are occurring at Mystic Mocha (Photo by Jerry Gentry)

Reorganization has begun at Mystic Mocha, the quaint breakfast-lunch café in University Heights that was purchased in early June by Hillcrest residents Francis Weidinger and his wife, Natalie Buczkowski. The couple has retained the popular dishes established under two previous ownerships, such as chilaquiles and assorted egg scrambles. But they’ve switched to organic ingredients in many of the recipes right down to the whipped cream used in mochas. A facelift to the structure and its garden-like patio is also under way, with freshly planted flowers and new table umbrellas already in place. Weidinger says the café will close for a few days sometime in July for repainting the interior, after which several new menu items will be introduced. “Our goal is to provide customers with an urban, organic oasis while supplying the menu with better products,” he adds. 2105 Mission Ave., 619-688-0858.

A personalized Heaven Sent cake (

The Front Porch in Mission Hills (Courtesy The Patio Group)

A second location of The Front Porch in Mission Hills is slated to open in early July in Coronado, at 918 Orange Ave. The shop, which specializes in kitchenwares and gourmet pantr y items, also holds “Fridays on the Front Porch” from 5 – 7 p.m. at its Mission Hills location. The events feature various vendors offering demos and samples of their products. 928 Ft. Stockton, Ste. 101, 619-377-0430. Remodeling is under way 3011 University Ave. in North Park, as Heaven Sent Desserts transitions into the space that formerly housed Ms Vintage Clothing Boutique. The baker y began operations

a couple doors away in 2006, at the corner of University Avenue and 30th Street. It’s scheduled to reopen by late July and will introduce a slate of new signature desserts and coffee and tea drinks. “We’re reinventing ourselves since we will no longer be cooking at our location because we’re using a commercial kitchen in Miramar. But we’ll have a whole new menu with new and old favorites, such as our Bourbon Street bread pudding,” said manager, Kimberly Harrison. To raise additional funds for the move, Heaven Sent will hold a Kickstarter fundraising event from 5 – 8 p.m., June 29, at Splash Wine Lounge (3043 University Ave.) Free desserts will be passed out. 619-793-4758. —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at



GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015

The reframing of Adam Lambert

welcoming do you think the music industry is to queer artists? (AL) I think things are definitely going in the right direction. I just wanna see more! The great thing about having more and more artists who identify as queer is it normalizes it so the media can’t sensationalize it as an idea. In the past, I felt the media painted me as someone who’s super hypersexual and someone who only wants to talk about his orientation. While I’m very comfortable doing that, I have a lot more to talk about in reality. So, it’s been interesting. But the more of us that are out there that provide some diversity, who can show different types of gay artists, it’ll make it so it’s not as much of a big deal. It’ll be an afterthought. We’ll get to move toward a post-gay presence.

The singer opens up about his ‘outlandish’ past, the lack of LGBT pop stars and his dating problems Chris Azzopardi | Q Syndicate Stripped of that glossy sheen, those painted nails and the purple mane that he famously flaunted on his 2009 post-“American Idol” debut, “For Your Entertainment,” Adam Lambert’s latest album cover isn’t even in color. His hair still reaches the same towering heights as his voice on “The Original High,” but otherwise, he’s unadorned. The glam is gone. In our recent interview, the “Idol” alum comes clean about how a long period of “overcompensation” — yes, the outfits — led him to the latest chapter in his life.

(CA) Hearing your collaboration with Tove Lo on “Rumors” on this album got me thinking: What do you think of doing a love song with another gay male artist, like Sam Smith or Jake Shears? (AL) It’s certainly possible, yeah. With “Rumors,” it’s funny; you can listen to that and go, “Oh, it’s like a romantic duet,” but before we wrote it we were talking about being an artist in the industry and having to maintain a personal life, and how it’s a little tricky and how it’s not always easy to balance the two. So, that’s what we were singing about; it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re singing to each other — it just means we’re singing about this thing together. But yeah, a duet with a guy — who knows, it could happen!

(Chris Azzopardi | CA) People are calling “The Original High” a reinvention. Is that how you see it? (Adam Lambert | AL) It’s not the most far off thing. I consider it more like a “reframing.” I feel like it’s still me at the heart of it. It’s still my voice, but a little more grown up, and I feel like the sonic frame around the vocals is something new. (CA) Why tweak your sound? (AL) Because repeating myself would be sacrilege. I will not repeat myself. But I don’t know — something new. I wanted to do something fresh and I wanted to do something that sounded like my life, and this is the kind of music that I listen to. (CA) Do your famously passionate fans add pressure to the creative process? (AL) Because my fans are so loyal and loving, and they’re so passionate about all the things that I do, I think that they recognize that if it’s something I believe in that’s exciting, they get excited by that. I always think about the fans, but with this album, more than ever, I’ve gone inward and wanted to make music that I have some integrity with, that meant something to me. (CA) Why at this point in your career? (AL) It’s time. It was time to make a shift, to do something a little different. I went through a lot of changes last year. I ended up leaving my first label [RCA Records], and I had to change management at the end of my

(CA) It should happen. (AL) You have to carry the flag! [Laughs]

San Diego native and “American Idol” alum Adam Lambert is finally coming into his own with his latest release “The Original High.” (Photo by David Roemer) last album; it was just time for something fresh. I just got off the tour with Queen, which was amazing for me and felt really good, and it gave me a lot of confidence and it made me not so scared about everything. It gave me a sense of career security in a way that I haven’t felt before. (CA) What were you scared of? You’ve clearly never had trouble being yourself. (AL) Over the last five years, right after “Idol,” I think there was a certain amount of overcompensation in certain ways. I was dressing really outlandishly, and it was a lot of fun and it’s definitely a part of who I am to wanna play dress up, but I think it got to a point where I was hiding behind it a bit.

Behind all of that, all of everything. It was like a preemptive defense mechanism. It’s like the kid who goes to high school dressed goth and he’s actually not into the devil at all but doesn’t wanna be bothered by anybody. [Laughs] I don’t think I realized it at the time, but I can see this in hindsight now. At the time I thought, “This is who I am; this is what I do,” and now it just feels like I’m in a new place in my life. I’ve grown up and evolved and I’m in a new place, and the album — the subject matter and the sound — reflect that. (CA) When it comes to LGBT artists, you really helped pave the way. These days, how

(CA) Right?! Isn’t that what we’ve been saying since the beginning of your career? (AL) It’s definitely been interesting. Really interesting. When I see that there can be a ripple effect of positivity and change and helping people just because I identify as one thing or another, and I’m OK to talk about it, that’s amazing. It’s amazing that it takes that little to make that much of an impact. (CA) “American Idol” wraps next year. In your opinion, what happened to the show? Why haven’t we seen another Kelly or Carrie or Adam in recent years? (AL) I’m not totally sure about that, but I do know that when the show first started it was a time in America when we needed something like that. I mean, 9/11 had just happened, so our country was looking for something to believe in. Not that “American Idol” healed us over 9/11 by itself, but it definitely reflected what we wanted from our entertainment at

see Interview, pg 17

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The San Diego LGBT Community Center offers HIV testing, prevention/PrEP information, counseling services (one on one, couples and group), HIV information and referrals, and is an enrollment site for Covered California. 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.


LETTERS will respect those who see it as an opportunity for activism. I think we’ve worked out a reasonable compromise under which three die-ins will occur at the beginning, the middle, and near the end of the parade route, and those in the trans* contingent who wish to celebrate will go first so as not to have to view the dieins, while those conducting the actions will follow. I also hope those watching the parade understand and appreciate that there will be both celebration and outrage. And perhaps there will be a couple of gaps. Our march toward equality and fairness has been full of starts and stops and conflicted emotions. Our march toward Balboa Park this year may be like that, too. In both cases, while it may be slow, I hope you watch our progress with pride. — Stephen Whitburn, executive director, San Diego Pride, via email

Embarassed about Hillcrest We just found out this morning (June 22) that the second floor of the Thrift Trader collapsed (around 4 a.m.) under the weight of stacking too many vinyl records on the second floor. It’s time to get the Thrift Trader out of Hillcrest. As if we need more trailer businesses in the lackluster community of Hillcrest. I hope the Thrift Trader is evicted. The Thrift Trader is simply a wake-up call concerning Hillcrest. Thrift Trader took Revivals (which had extremely nice signage and was meticulously kept inside) and “trailer-trashed” the building. Over the 15 years that I’ve lived in Hillcrest, time after time, I have had visitors shocked at how Hillcrest was a big disappointment as a travel destination. Hillcrest is NOT progressive, NOT growing and is embarrassment to the gay/ straight community. Just look at North Park and

Normal Heights, these communities keep growing and getting better and better. Where are our multi-level parking lots in Hillcrest? Where are new and multiple hotels in Hillcrest? Where are tall business/residential (multi-use) buildings in Hillcrest? Why have almost all the really nice stores to shop in, pulled out of Hillcrest? Why are so many people – vocal people – part of the selfchartered Hillcrest “Naysayers Club” and complain and whine when businesses want to build buildings in Hillcrest and tr y to make Hillcrest a better place to live? —Mike Hampson, via email

Kehoe shines Having Christine as a representative when I first moved to San Diego taught me she would work tirelessly for her constituents [see “Improving our quality of life,” Vol. 6, Issue 12]. Over the years I was impressed by her work for San Diego at the State Senate. But having had the opportunity to work with her directly as executive director of the California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative has taught me what a truly nice person and dedicated individual she is. This honor is richly deser ved. Congratulations! —Joel Pointon, via I remember when Christine Kehoe star ted making San Diego a great place for LGBTs. I believe it was during her first elected experience. I remember her showing up at [Club] Bombay’s and dancing and enjoying ever y moment. We had one dance, lol. I have always admired her ef for ts and her own being. Thank you Christine for all of the great things you brought to or star ted in San Diego! Thank you deeply for all of you fantastic ef for ts. Stay strong, you are wonder ful! —Debbie Waynick, via gaysd.comt


David Mannis, the publisher of Gay San Diego, one of the six hyper-local community newspapers that make up San Diego Community News Network (SDCNN), was recently honored at the Greater San Diego Business Association’s (GSDBA’s) 2015 Business Awards Dinner. Held on June 11 at the Kona Kai Resort & Marina, the annual awards are based on nominations and votes received from the GSDBA’s membership. Mannis was presented the Community Leadership Award for his many years of supporting the local LGBT businesses and community. In addition to Mannis, who was nominated along with Kurt Cunningham and Rich Reyes, four other awardees were named at the event. Empire National Construction received Emerging Business of the Year; Marriott International was named Corporate Partner of the Year; Mama’s Kitchen won Nonprofit of the Year; and Dr. Jeff Keeny, D.D.S. was named Business of the Year. Prior to the business awards, five students were awarded scholarships from the GSDBA Charitable Foundation. In addition, the GSDBA’s 2016 board was identified and each were sworn in. Next year’s business awards are scheduled for June 16, 2016. For more information about the GSDBA, visit

MICROCHIP YOUR PET FOR FREE San Diego Humane Society is of fering free micro chipping for two dog breeds and all cats in advance of the upcoming Four th of July holiday. While Independence Day is an annual day of fun, barbecues and fireworks, for many household pets it can be life threatening. Local shelters see a substantial

GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015

increase in pets that have left the safety of their homes after being terrified of the loud noises associated with fireworks. Many have been known to run away and even jump fences to escape the noise, not only putting them in danger, but at risk of being found by a stranger or dropped of f at a shelter with no means of identification. “There is typically a spike in the number of stray animals that we receive the day after a big holiday, like the 4th of July,” said Dr. Gar y Weitzman, president and CEO of San Diego Humane Society. “We want to help pet owners take precautions to protect their pets on these busy holidays, which is why we’re of fering free microchips for the animals most commonly seen in shelters — to reunite pets with their families faster.” Micro chipping and licensing will assist in getting your pets back to you. Pit Bulls, Chihuahuas and all cat breeds are welcome to the San Diego Humane Society’s four county locations for a free microchip: 5500 Gaines St. in San Diego; 3450 E. Valley Parkway in Escondido; and 572 Airpor t Road and 2905 San Luis Rey Road, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week. No appointment is necessar y. For more information visit Follow them on Twitter at @sdhumane.

NORTH COUNTY BUS TO SD PRIDE ANNOUNCED The Nor th County LGBTQ Resource Center has announced a bus ser vice to San Diego Pride’s parade and festival, July 18. The round-trip ser vice will be only $10 and riders may choose their depar ture and return times when they purchase their tickets. Morning trips are scheduled for 8:30 and 10:15 a.m. and will leave from the Resource Center, located at 510 N. Coast Hwy, Suite C. Riders are asked to park on the street, not in the Center’s parking lot. Those riding are also invited to march along with the NC


Resource Center in the parade. Return trips from the SD Pride Festival in Balboa Park will leave from the east side of Sixth Avenue between Juniper and Laurel Streets at 3:30 or 7 p.m. All buses will board 15 minutes prior to depar ture times. No food, animals, alcohol, or intoxicated riders will be allowed on board. For more information, visit

NORTH PARK ART STUDIO TO CELEBRATE COMICS The Studio Door, an ar ts incubator project located in the Nor th Park ar ts district, is launching the display of a juried ar t collection that will celebrate car toons and other pop ar t from July 3 – 26, in advance of and conjunction with of the annual Comic Con exhibition at the San Diego Convention Center. Called “STRIP: Caricatures, Satire and The Funnies,” the month-long exhibition will feature 14 par ticipating ar tists and it was juried by Javier Hernandez, co-founder of the Latino Comics Expo and storied car toonist of the cult comic book series “El Muer to,” which was later adapted for film. “It wasn’t Van Gogh or Warhol that moved me as a young man, said Studio Door proprietor Patric Stillman. “It was the pulp fiction and comic book illustrators. Jack Kirby, Mike Grell, Sergio Aragones and Frank Frazetta were the first ar tists that really opened my eyes. In the ’70s, I spent much of my free time fascinated with the visual stor ytelling of these talented ar tists. I’m thrilled to have The Studio Door produce a show like this bringing attention to new voices in the medium.” An opening reception will be held July 3 from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Nor th Park galler y, located at 3750 30th St. The exhibit will continue throughout the month during the galler y’s regular hours and with extended hours on July 11, Nor th Park’s Ray at Night monthly ar t walk. For more information visit t







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New York City • • June 21 – 28

Tijuana, B.C., Mexico • • June 27

San Francisco • • June 27 – 28

Flagstaff, AZ

• • June 27

Seattle, WA

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San Diego

• • July 17 – 19

Vancouver, B.C., Canada

• • Aug. 2

Reno, NV

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Chula Vista

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Gay Days Vegas • • Sept. 10 – 14

Las Vegas, NV

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• northcountypride. com • Oct. 10

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the time. It gave people hope that, hey, you can be from anywhere and you can have this dream and it can come true, and it was really positive in that regard. It also came at a time when the music industry was really suffering. I mean, we had all the pirating that was going on; all of a sudden the Internet had taken the rug out from underneath the record companies, and they were looking for an answer. All of a sudden we’re giving so much power to the people. That was really impressive, because up until that point the labels really held the strings and decided what the public was going to consume. (CA) Mariah Carey recently called “American Idol” “fake” and had some pointed words for the show. As a former contestant on the show, how did you feel about what she said? Did “American Idol” ever feel “fake” to you? (AL) It’s a TV show. I didn’t feel like it was fake at all. I knew what the concept was. Personally, if you’re blindsided by what “American Idol” is, then you weren’t paying attention. It’s not that difficult to know what you’re getting yourself into. That’s why I auditioned; I knew what I was getting myself into. Essentially, it’s a strategy for a contestant. It is about talent and it is about being a good performer, but you also have to put some thought into the songs you’re picking. I put some thought into it, and that’s partially why I think I did well. Picking a genre, picking songs that work for you, picking songs where you won’t be compared. For me, I was picking songs that are more obscure or doing them a different way. (CA) You were crafty about it. (AL) I’m crafty, yeah! I try to be crafty. [Laughs] And I think for the judges it’s a different game than it is for the contestants, obviously and things shifted a bit when the show wanted to focus on the judges more than the contestants. (CA) When we chatted in 2012, you told me a Glambert sent you a urethra rod. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for an artist you were a fan of? (AL) I’ve never done anything like that! That was so weird when that happened. I didn’t even know what that was. Like, “What the hell is this thing?” Then I looked it up and went “Whaaaaat?” I remember saying, “That’s a thing? People do that?!” I have to say, I’ve never been a super fanatical fan of anybody. I’ve definitely been a fan. I mean, my fans have called me out before, being like, “Oh, you’re fan-boying about so-and-so,” and it’s just because I said on Twitter, “Oh, you sound great on this song,” so I guess that’s being a fan! (CA) How often do Glamberts stop you on the street? (AL) It happens occasionally. Maybe not so much on the street … [laughs] I know that’s just an expression. (CA) Yes, literally in the street, in front of a car. (AL) [Laughs] “Stop! Don’t!” (CA) I sourced a few questions out to your biggest fans, so from here on, these are straight from the Glamberts. First, what is the

GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015

greatest “Original High” you’ve ever experienced? (AL) Standing on stage for the first time and singing. That adrenaline rush you get from that exchange with the audience is like nothing else. It bit me and then that was it. I was toast.

party or at dinner, and I don’t have good game. I don’t think to be outgoing or say the right thing, and then after the fact I’ll be like, “Why didn’t I just talk to that person? Why didn’t I just tell them I thought they were cute?!” I gotta say, sometimes I really don’t have very good game.

(CA) What do you think about when you go to sleep? (AL) My brain is crazy. I think a lot, so I think about everything I have to do the next day. Sometimes it’s hard for me to fall asleep because of that.

(CA) One fan wanted to know if you ever feel uncomfortable watching what’s said about you by the Glamberts on Twitter. (AL) I don’t’t think “uncomfortable” is the right word, but I’m not always the best at taking a compliment. I’m pretty hard on myself and sarcastic about things, so it’s always flattering, but it makes me feel like, “Ehh, let’s talk about something else.”

(CA) If you could do something all over again, what would it be? (AL) I don’t really have a lot of regrets, to be honest with you. I guess there have been plenty of times where I’ll meet somebody at a bar, or a friend will introduce me to somebody at a

(CA) What’s the first thing that attracts you to a man you’re interested in?


(AL) Charm. I think charm is an amazing thing because it can make them more attractive than they are — or, without it, it can make them less attractive. I think that’s something that’s developed as I’ve gotten older. Obviously, I have my set of physical things that I like, but if somebody’s a dud and they have no personality then it all goes out the window. Charm and personality are key. (CA) What’s one question you’re glad you’ve never had to answer? (AL) [Laughs] I think I’ve had to answer every fucking thing you can think of! —Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at and on Twitter (@ chrisazzopardi).t


GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015


Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival: Eighth annual fundraiser on the grassy North Promenade in front of the Women’s Museum of California. Over 1,000 attendees are expected to enjoy wine tasting, cheese and chocolate samples, plus live music from Sue Palmer. Over 50 food and beverage stands will be set up under the stars. 6 p.m. North Promenade, Liberty Station near museum at 2730 Historic Decatur Rd., Suite 103. Tickets $35 - $100. Visit Live Music — The Hillcrest Wind Ensemble: The ensemble presents “Hollywood Hits,” their cabaret concert of movie-theme songs and hits from films of the 1930s through the 1990s. Doors 7:30 p.m. Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. Visit

SATURDAY, JUNE 27 Pachanga de Frida: Annual celebration of Frida Kahlo’s birthday complete with live music, art exhibits, a Frida look-alike contest, food, tequila and more. Proceeds benefit Nicole Murray Ramirez Latino Services at The Center. 6 p.m. San Diego LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Tickets start at $15. Visit events.thecentersd. org/frida. The Pancakes and Booze Art Show: Featuring over 60 emerging artists, live body painting, an all-you-can-eat pancakes bar and drinks for purchase. $5 cover. 7 p.m. – 1 a.m. (drinks served until midnight). 57 Degrees, 1735 Hancock St., Middletown. Visit ‘The Breakfast Club’: Cinema Under the Stars presents the 1980s classic starring Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson. Additional screening on Sunday, June 28. 8 p.m. $15. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. For more info visit or call 619295-4221.

SUNDAY, JUNE 28 San Diego Vintage Flea Market: The parking lot of the North Park Observatory will be transformed into a large flea market featuring jewelry, clothing and other vendors. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The Observatory North Park, 2891 University Ave., North Park. Visit Seventh annual Phil’s Big BBQ at the Ballpark: Phil’s is aiming to raise $100,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters’ military mentoring program — Operation Bigs. The tailgate party will feature a kid zone, live music, beer garden and,


Live Music: ‘A Benefit Concert for Nepal by the San Diego Community’

This fundraising event at The Merrow in Hillcrest was organized by local musician Steph Johnson along with the help of other San Diego bands and community members. The concert aims to raise money for those affected by the earthquake in Nepal on April 25, in which thousands lost their lives and countless others were displaced and left homeless. The event will feature raffles and a silent auction to raise money. Entertainment will be provided by traditional Nepali folk dancers, the Steph Johnson Trio, Viva Apollo and many other bands and musicians. The event will close with The All-Star Jam Band for Peace featuring Steph Johnson, Rob Thorsen, and Fernando Gomez with several wellknown guest musicians and vocalists including: Robert Cowan, Rebecca Jade, Jeffrey Joe, Jamie Shadowlight, Whitney Shay and more. Kicks off at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Visit tktwb. tw/1dIWkxt for tickets. The Merrow is located at 1271 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit themerrow. com for more information.

of course, Phil’s ribs, chicken and sides. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Padres vs. Diamondbacks game starts at 1:10 p.m. Visit Aqua Pool Party: This festive pool party will benefit The Center with door donation of $10 and a portion of bar sales going to the Hillcrest Youth Center. The party features music by DJ Este, a taco stand and areas to lounge in. 1 – 6 p.m. Rooftop 600 pool at Andaz San Diego, 600 F St., Downtown. Visit Al Best Celebration of Life: This event will honor and remember one of San Diego’s LGBT pioneers and trailblazers. 2 p.m. San Diego LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit LambdaArchives/events. Souleil Season 5: Souleil kicks off a new season at a new venue with resident DJs and weekly special guests (Diz from Chicago and residents DJ ALA, Cris Herrera, Mikeytown and Omar Pariso). Happy hour from 2 – 6 p.m. features buy one drink, get a token for the next. $3 cover includes a $3 off food coupon (HH food not eligible). 3 – 10 p.m. Gossip Grill, 1220 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit

MONDAY, JUNE 29 Feeling Fit Club: New 50 or Better class for older adults and suitable for all levels on Mondays and Wednesdays. Improve balance, strength, flexibility, etc. Exercises can be done sitting or standing. 1 p.m. For more info contact La Rue Fields at seniors@thecentersd. org. The Center, 3903 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit

TUESDAY, JUNE 30 2015 Equality Professionals Network (EPN) Career Event: The EPN is a coalition that represents LGBT business professionals and their allies. This is their third event and will include a job fair, professional development workshops and networking. Free. 4:30 – 8 p.m. San Diego LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Register in advance at epn2015careerevent.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 1 Michael L. Walters as Dame Edna: “Purple Reign: A Loving, Musical Parody of the Diva from Down Under!” — a unique homage to Dame Edna by celebrity impersonator Michael L. Walters. Doors 6 p.m., show 8 p.m. Additional show on Thursday, July 2. $25 reserved seating with $15 food/drink minimum. Martinis Above Fourth,

3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit 

THURSDAY, JULY 2 ‘Meet the Archivists’: This event gives the visitor an opportunity to meet the new archivists at Lambda Archives along with seeing familiar faces. Light refreshments and free tours of the archives will be offered. 5:30 – 7 p.m. Lambda Archives of San Diego, 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights. Visit LambdaArchives/events. OUT at the Globe: A pre-play mixer for LGBT theater lovers includes three drinks from a hosted wine and martini bar, appetizers and door prizes. 6:30 p.m. $24 plus cost of a ticket to “Kiss Me, Kate” or “Twelfth Night.” Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park. For more information visit or call 619-234-5623. ‘Roman Holiday’: Cinema Under the Stars presents the classic romance starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Additional screenings on Friday, July 3, Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5. 8 p.m. $15. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. For more info visit or call 619-295-4221. Sue Palmer CD release party: The Queen of Boogey Woogey is throwing a party with her Motel Swing Orchestra to celebrate the release of their latest CD, “Bricktop.” “Inspired by legendary hipster/cabaret hostess Bricktop, Sue Palmer and Her Motel Swing Orchestra have created an event celebrating the music of Prohibition Harlem, Café Society Paris, New Orleans Jazz and redheads everywhere,” said a statement about the CD release. Band members include April West (trombone/vocals), Sharon Shufelt (drums/vocals), Deejha Marie (lead vocals), Jonny Viau (saxes/percussion), Steve Wilcox (guitar) and Pete Harrison (upright bass/ukulele). 5 – 7:30 p.m. Mississippi Room at the Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. For more information, visit

SUNDAY, JULY 5 Hillcrest Social Sundays: Happy hour prices all day, $1 Bud Light pints from 3 – 7 p.m., go-go dancer, beer pong and more. Flicks, 1017 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit

MONDAY, JULY 6 The Big Gay Improv Show: Local improvisers present hilarious scenes inspired by the real life stories of two guest monologists from the LGBT community. This month: Martha Barnette and Mauricio Diaz Rosales will be the guests. This show raises funds for the theater. $10 in advance, $12 at the door. 7 p.m. Diversionar y Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights. Tickets diversionar or call 619-220-0097.

TUESDAY, JULY 7 GSDBA Engaging Aging Professional Af finity Group: Greater San Diego Business Association’s program designed to provide professional development and education for members in professions that ser ve the aging population. RSVP required. Noon – 1:30 p.m. Via at La Jolla Villas, 8515 Costa Verde Blvd., La Jolla. Visit

WEDNESDAY, JULY 8 HIV testing: Lead the Way is offering this free and confidential ser vice ever y Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Walgreens, 301 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit



Free HIV Testing: Every Friday, confidential and anonymous with results in 15 minutes. 5 – 8 p.m. North County LGBTQ Resource Center, 510 North Coast Hwy, Oceanside. Visit

‘Pulp Fiction’: Cinema Under the Stars presents Quentin Tarantino’s hit movie with an all-star cast including John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis and many more. Additional screening on Friday, July 10. 8 p.m. $15. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. For more info visit topspresents. com or call 619-295-4221.


‘Red, White and Boobs’: The day of festivities at Gossip Grill starts with ’80s brunch from

solution on page 20


—Email calendar items to


1 Tennessee Williams “Summer and Smoke” heroine 5 To ___ it may concern 9 Snatch 14 Billy Crystal played gay on this sitcom 15 “The English Patient” nurse 16 Bones below elbows 17 Bear’s hangout 18 Declare firmly 19 Drop ___ (flirt, perhaps) 20 Photographer who recently shot 34-Across for “Vanity Fair” 23 Nervous gay man? 24 Writer Harper 25 Caesar’s threesome 27 Take a crack at 28 Hole dweller 31 Hunter and more 32 Easter Island’s owner 33 Shankar’s instrument 34 Transgender celeb, formerly known

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. with a bloody mar y menu and bottomless mimosas; happy hour is from 2 – 6 p.m. with buy one get one free drinks; BBQ by Chef Nicole from 2 – 7 p.m.; Spin Spin Sugar starts at 9 p.m. with DJ Dida ($2 cover after 10 p.m.) Gossip Grill, 1220 University Ave. Visit

DOWN as Bruce 38 Grand lineup 39 Charged 40 Sport in which sweaty men embrace 41 Diagram with a nocturnal bear, perhaps 43 Telly network 46 Popular fruit drink 47 Verb ending 48 Ms. Baker’s stage name 50 Reference preference of 34-Across 54 Anne Frank account 55 Casino call 56 Turner of records 57 Come together 58 Woods of “Legally Blonde” 59 Web surfer 60 Shrek and others 61 Told tales 62 Guitarist Townshend

1 Not straight 2 Get it while you’re being serviced 3 By and large 4 Time for a shower 5 Moby Dick’s lubricant? 6 Possess sexually 7 R.E.M.’s “The ___ Love” 8 Two-toned cake 9 Like a metrosexual 10 K-12 11 New member 12 Hope-Crosby “Road” destination 13 P-town clock setting 21 Lincoln’s four score 22 On top of, in poetry 26 A. Sharon’s home 29 Try to seduce, with liquor, e.g. 30 Buck of “Eating Raoul” 31 Salon offering 32 “So long!” 33 Type of tool

34 Seeking hotties 35 Type of quarterback 36 Fruity spread 37 Bewitched 38 It hangs from your butt 41 Uey from NNW 42 Essential part of cornholing? 43 S&M reminder 44 Rupert Everett’s hood 45 Son in Jeremy Irons’ “The Borgias” 47 “But of course!” 49 Still in bed 51 Art deco illustrator 52 Type of sci, in college 53 Rub the wrong way 54 Half of a foursome



For the next week, however, the bar will continue operating as The Hole under Steve Rock and his wife, Debi Williams. Their last day of operation is planned for July 5, which culminates with The Hole’s wildly popular “Sunday beer bust,” starting at noon. Rock and Williams owned the business for the past 17 years. They were leasing the 1,600-square-foot subterranean space from Karen Sherman and her husband, Roger Hull, who recently issued Rock a 60day eviction notice for supposedly failing to negotiate a buyout and neglecting the property’s upkeep. Sherman said she made her intent clear on purchasing The Hole starting from about two years ago, adding that in 2014 she gave Rock an “open-table” offer of $100,000, plus a $5,000 a month consulting fee for transitional guidance. “He didn’t respond until seven months later, saying that the business was worth $200,000,” Sherman said. “When I asked him to back up that figure with accounting evidence, he never responded — and he left us no choice.” Rock maintains he did try negotiating a fair price, which would have included assets such as refrigerators and ice machines. “We were accused of making so much money, when most of the time we were operating in the negative,” he said, adding that under his ownership he upgraded the patio at “quite a bit of expense from our own pockets.” The dispute carried over into who would foot the bills for general repairs and maintenance to the building, such as plumbing, roofing and electrical matters, as well as the installation of fire-exit signs, which Rock said he did on his own accord. “They were even putting termite damage as our responsibility. We repaired what needed to be repaired,” he continued, noting that Sherman did reimburse him twice for fixes he made to the roof. “Otherwise, everything that was spent for the property has been with our own money.” But Sherman asserts that only in “triple net” leases is the landlord responsible for wear-and-tear damages to a commercial property. “Steve’s lease required him to make sure the property is maintained. Only the actual structure is my responsibility,” added Sherman, citing that she nonetheless offered Rock rent deductions if he would provide her with a list of what needed to be done, and then oversee the repairs himself. “He never got back to us on

that,” she said. Rock, however, insists that the landlords have all along placed those financial burdens on him, going so far as to accuse Sherman and Hull as “slumlords who were trying to steal the bar away from us.” Despite their contentious differences, both parties are moving forward with separate business plans. Rock comes away with a liquor license that is valid for another year, and he also owns the rights to “The Hole” as a registered name. “We’re looking for a new location, something closer to the LGBT community and with a patio,” he said. “We’ve already been approached by quite a few people with properties for sale or lease. Rock also fondly recalled the “hundreds of charities for many LGBT organizations” that he and Williams hosted during his tenure in Point Loma. “What touched us the most is when the Imperial Court awarded us ‘friends of the community’ several years after we took over the bar,” he said. In his wake, Sherman says the existing space “will be brighter and shinier” as she begins relandscaping the property with drought-resistant flora and adding new bar equipment. The Sunday beer busts will continue and she will reinstate “wet underwear nights” on Mondays while introducing “martini Tuesdays,” “wine Wednesdays,” “Thai Thursdays” and “food truck Fridays” every week. With the exception of whiskey, drink prices will stay the same. She and her husband will also begin researching the history of The Hole through Lambda Archives and the San Diego Historical Society. Some claim the establishment dates back to the 1950s, when it catered to golfers, though it wasn’t until the early 1980s that it became a haunt for LGBT patrons, when the late Jay Rasmussen tended bar and eventually took ownership. “We want to look at The Hole through the ages and designate a wall inside to display pictures and documents showing its history” Sherman said. In doing so, she has created an email account (stories@ for those wishing to share anecdotes or photographs about the business, which for the coming years at least, will remain a solid fixture within the LGBT community. “Two of our five children are gay, so it’s an important place to us,” she said. —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at

Endings and new beginnings Firestorm caps exciting end to season Dugout Chatter Jeff Praught June 21 marked the final day of the spring season in America’s Finest City Softball League (AFCSL), and per usual, the day culminated with exciting finishes both in the games and the final standings. While every team that earned a berth to the World Series should be congratulated, one team, in particular, merits recognition because of the journey they have

traveled over the course of the past couple of seasons. Let me tell you a story about the Rich’s Firestorm softball team. The team toting jerseys that look like something out of the Electronic Daisy Carnival had been a perennial doormat in AFCSL’s C Division for several years. In truth, the focus of the team was not squarely centered on winning — fair enough in what amounts to a casual recreation league — but over the past three seasons, this squad added a player or two with reputable skills and slowly but surely began winning games. Firestorm finished a respectable middle-of-the-pack in 2014, giving some of the older teams fits with their dynamic speed on defense and

GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015


running the bases. But to refer to them as “a team of twinks,” as many league veterans do, does an injustice to the team that finished 14-9 and in third place this year, its first winning season on record. This team may be young, but it is sprinkled with veterans who helped teach the younger guys how to battle in close games. Both in tournaments and league play, the current roster has found ways to fight back from deficits when they would have collapsed in years’ prior. “Previous teams I have been on would probably have given up in the same circumstances, but not this one and I think that made the difference in our season,” said outfielder Eric Shadek. Part of that learning curve comes from experience, but learning to

see Chatter, pg 20



GAY SAN DIEGO June 26 - July 9, 2015


CHATTER win also comes from learning from veterans who have run the gamut before. Veterans such as Shadek, Brian Burnett and Zeke Thomas, who won multiple tournament and division titles with the former C division stalwart Outlaws, joined Rich’s Firestorm after the 2014 season. The middle infield features youngsters Gabe Lopez and Matty Anderson, each being lightningquick. Lopez, in particular, boasts a terrific arm that would rank among the top five in the B division, a landing spot he is sure to find himself in shortly if he keeps improving at his current pace. The outfield is manned by a pack of cheetahs, as Matthews,

Anthony Pineda, Shadek, and Kenny Willeford attack balls in the gap like raptors. Willeford is also blessed with a cannon of an arm, daring anyone to try and take an extra base on the left-centerfielder. Burnett, a long-time league vet and one of the best players in C Division for a long time, mans third base on occasion, but has taken a back seat to newcomers, allowing them the opportunity to flourish. Shawn Renkin provides a power threat at first base, while David Pence and Matt Forte give the team a pair of reliable pitchers. Chris Barna and Charles “CJ” Jacobsen are among other solid contributors. Firestorm plays excellent defense, and usually goes as far as their bats take them. In the C Division playoffs, it looked like their bats might doom them. When the Breakers won the division, they grabbed an automatic

World Series berth. Second-place Wicked was not going to be able to attend the Series, which lifted Firestorm to the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and a bye. They would face the winner of the third and fourth seeds, the Bruins and Loft C. In that first game, The Loft grabbed an early lead and ran away with a relatively easy 12-3 victory. The Loft, it should be noted, is a mostly-veteran team of players who have been around the league for 20 years. A lot of people would have loved to have seen the likes of Tim Bactad, Troy Camacho, Kent Hammond and Paul Shepard (to name a few) earn a Series berth so late in their career. And when their team jumped out to a 2-0 lead into the third inning of the C finals, the heavily favored Firestorm had every reason to be nervous. Firestorm finally scratched out a run in the bottom of the third, which may have helped ease the tension. When the Loft could not mount a rally in the top of the 4th, Firestorm responded with an eight-run rally that essentially announced that they belonged in the Series. The Loft could not answer, and Firestorm was headed to Columbus, Ohio. What makes Firestorm such a pleasure to watch is not just that they are a bunch of fun, young guys. It is their transformation from a bunch of undisciplined guys who always figured they would find a way to lose a game, to a unit that never believes they are out of any game. That’s inspiring. And one should not underestimate the power of motivation guiding this team in 2015: the Firestorm are the team of Mike Petracca, the player who suffered critical A Rich’s Firestorm player at bat brain injuries when hit by a (Photo by Jeff Praught) flying bat at a tournament in January. Though Mike has not back at some of the wonderful things fully recovered from the incident, he did return to play in a few games this that the otherwise polarizing Jimenez has done for AFCSL. season. His fight against the odds Running an organization means has been an inspiration to everyone being able to take a lot of bullets, and who knows him, and his teammates Jimenez has handled himself quite certainly rallied around him. well during a tenure that has seen “I couldn’t be more proud to be constant complaining from a small a part of this team,” Matthews said. core of veterans who could have run “It’s an amazing feeling to watch a for office and contributed their voices, team of friends grow together and but never did. Having served on the actually become as competitive as board with Jimenez for several years, we have.” I recall a man who always prioritized doing what he thought was right for Elsewhere in the league the league over what was best for Every team in B was granted his own team, even if not everyone a berth to the Series, but special agreed with the policies. Jimenez congratulations go out to Rob Harris has also worked tirelessly to affect and the FilmOut Strike Force, which change at the national level and he captured its first division title with spearheaded San Diego’s first attempt a fantastic 22-3 record, edging out to bring the World Series here in over national powerhouse Spikes. a decade. In the D Division, Shade capNobody worked harder than tured the division title on the final Jimenez during his tenure, and not day, edging out Babycakes. George just running AFCSL (along with Biagi’s Babycakes team is every bit Women’s Commissioner Dani Goodthe remarkable story that Firestorm lett), but directing the third-largest was, but they do not share the happy ending in common, as the third place LGBT softball tournament in the country, San Diego’s Autumn Classic, Redwing Rebels took down Babya tournament that routinely brings cakes in the D playoffs, following their own impressive season, and will nearly 100 teams every October to join Shade at the World Series. San Diego and takes an army to run. Leadership change in AFCSL My thanks go to Jimenez for his With new division winners and service to our league and congratulanew teams earning World Series tions to all the teams that will be comberths, AFCSL looks remarkably peting for titles at the World Series in different than it did even just two Columbus this August. years ago and another large change is coming. Commissioner Roman —Jeff Praught is actively involved Jimenez ran for a third term in league in the LGBT sports community, having elections but was beaten by Burnett, a participated in softball, basketball, former Commissioner. football and pool as a player, and servThere will be time to talk about ing on several boards in recent years. the future of the league under the He can be reached at dugoutchatter@ capable Burnett, but it’s time to look



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