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Volume 6 Issue 21 Page 20

Oct. 16 – 29, 2015

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Coward in repertory

9INTERVIEW Kurt Cunningham, who took his life Oct. 10, was also once known as the Imperial Peacock Empress. As a result, dozens of people have posted peacocks on his page or changed their profiles to them in his honor this week. (Facebook)

The death of an Empress By Walter G. Meyer Cho on the go


One of Hillcrest’s brightest lights has gone out. Kurt Cunningham, who was never one to hide his flame under a bushel, died on Oct. 10, after a long battle with depression. He was 46. As with everything he did, Cunningham wasn’t shy about talking about his mental health issues. Ironically, he worked for Mental Health

America of San Diego County and ended his life while in the San Gabriel area for a mental health ‘First Aid’ conference in Pasadena. When he received the 2015 Nicky Award for Community Activist in August, Cunningham insisted on speaking, telling those present that if they were having mental health issues to reach out and seek help. Frank Jones, who had been Kurt’s friend for over a decade and his roommate for the last three

Girls, ghosts and good times The Flame’s end of an era Well travelled fare


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By Frank Sabatini Jr. Chalk it up as a victory for preservation-minded citizens who favor architectural history and splendor over transitory cookie-cutter development. To the delight of many, the Mondarin-style structure built in 1954 at 3780 Park Blvd., which was home to San Diego’s longestrunning lesbian bar, is here to stay. Hillcrest developer Jim Nicholas purchased what has long been known as The Flame earlier this month for $1.9 million, which included an existing liquor license issued decades ago. The sale was brokered by Location Matters, a Del Mar firm that has handled the leasing for a majority of restaurant space in HUB, and brokered the sales of properties that formerly housed R Gang Eatery and the first location of Gossip Grill. Nicholas will retain the building’s iconic sign, “The Flame,” although he plans on gutting the

single-story structure in preparation for a build-out that will include six rental apartment units, a courtyard, and a 2,000-square-foot space reserved for a potential bar vendor. The large basement, he said, will be modified for tenant storage. “I love that sign. It’s not going

years, spoke to Gay San Diego about his friend. “Kurt dealt with suicidal thoughts on a regular basis for years,” Jones said. “I don’t know that anyone could have talked him out of it.” Jones said Cunningham had clearly been planning to take his life for a while as evidenced by the amount of work he had prepared prior to it. He sent a package to Jones and several other friends that included letters for each of them. Jones’ letter was eight, typed pages. In it, Jones said, Cunningham wrote that it was a struggle he had been challenged with for years and he didn’t want people to feel guilty. “We stigmatize mental health issues, but it is a disease like cancer,” Jones said. “It can go into remission, but it’s still there and can come back. He struggled with it every single day.” Still trying to cope with the loss of his friend, Jones spoke tearfully of Cunningham’s work in mental health awareness. “Kurt was very passionate about educating people,” he said. “There is nothing to be embarrassed about. He was open about it and as a result, people came to him for advice and help and are still here today because they talked to Kurt.” Jones later took to Facebook to break his public silence about his friend. “I ask you not judge or be mad at Kurt.” He wrote. “Do not feel guilty that you did not do more to save Kurt. Would you be mad at Kurt had he passed from cancer or other disease? Would you feel guilty because you could not prevent Kurt from passing from kidney disease?” Cunningham was active in many facets of San Diego’s LGBT community. Whether working for AIDS Walk, volunteering behind the desk of the San Diego LGBT Community Center, producing the local talk show “He Said/sHe Said,” or as Summer Meadows, an Empress of the Imperial

anywhere. And the walls of the building are in good shape,” he said, noting that he will restore the building’s façade to its “vintage glory” with the hope of having the entire project completed by spring of 2017. Nicholas also owns The Egyptian condominium building a few addresses away on the same street. Long before The Flame operated as a women’s bar (from 1984

see Flame, pg 15

In a photo taken in 2014, the property was left available to taggers for several years before finding a buyer. (Photo by Jim Winsor)

see Cunningham, pg 2

Freedom to serve Local ‘Wall of Honor’ to see its fifth induction Morgan M. Hurley | Editor On Sept. 20, 2011, gay, lesbian and bisexual service members in the U.S. Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, National Guard and Air Guard were given the freedom to serve their country openly. Six weeks later, the San Diego LGBT Community Center unveiled the Ben F. Dillingham and Bridget Wilson LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor, with Dillingham and Wilson as its first inductees. The Wall, conceptualized by Nicole Murray Ramirez and located inside The Center’s large auditorium, was meant to consist of an annual induction ceremony to celebrate and honor those members of our local LGBT community who served their country honorably and with distinction, and either served in silence, or were kicked out of the military merely for being gay. This honor, for most everyone, would be the only

see Wall, pg 3



GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015


CUNNINGHAM Court de San Diego, he provided a well-known face around town that was loved by many. He was recently appointed to the mayor’s LGBT advisor y committee and was also a go-to person for fundraising. When his good friend Doug Lathrop died, Cunningham stepped up to launch a campaign to raise money for a scholarship for disabled students in Lathrop’s name through The Center. Lathrop’s mother Patricia was touched by Cunningham’s gesture and knew how close her son and Kurt had been. After Cunningham’s suicide attempt several years ago, her son had visited him in the hospital. “I remember how upset he was at Doug’s memorial ser vice,” she said following Lathrop’s death. Ian Morton, cofounder and producer of Y.E.S. San Diego, was one of hundreds who posted on Cunningham’s Facebook page after news traveled about his death. Cunningham was to be coproducer for Y.E.S. in 2016.

The many faces of Kurt Cunningham; during Coronation with mom and with many of his closest friends. (Photos courtesy of Facebook) “I was able to coordinate a group of 19 San Diego LGBTQ youth to attend the Models of Pride Conference for LGBTQ youth and their allies because of Kurt’s advocacy in getting funds from Imperial Court de San Diego for vehicle rental and travel costs,” Morton wrote. “What I need to remember about the day that our community lost him, was that something else was being born, thanks to his efforts. [That] 19 San Diego LGBTQ youth got

to experience a conference with over 1,000 young people just like them. They got to feel a little less alone in the world.” Morton said Cunningham had planned to meet the group at the Models of Pride Conference in Los Angeles Oct. 10 and was to drive separately, direct from the conference he’d been attending. Morton’s many calls to check in on him when he never arrived went unanswered. Born Jan. 12, 1969 in Hun-

tington Beach, Cunningham had been a fixture in Hillcrest for over 25 years. His mother died in August of 2012 — a loss from which he never fully recovered; he would speak of her often and grow misty-eyed. Cunningham’s father died when he was a teenager. He leaves one brother, Robert and his wife, in Fallbrook, as well as a niece and a nephew, along with his beloved Mr. Kitty. Cunningham could be controversial and brash, a little bigger

than life, and his smile brightened many an event in Hillcrest. According to Jones, in Cunningham’s letters to friends, he left specific instructions. “How he wanted the ser vices, what he wanted given to whom, how to dispose of the rest,” Jones said. Cunningham also asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Center’s Behavioral Health Ser vices. Jones said he had to laugh when he thought of how micromanaging his friend could be, even in death. Cunningham’s closest friends have formed a “Kurt Committee” to carr y out his wishes, which will include a memorial to be held Nov. 1, at 2 p.m., at the San Diego LGBT Community Center, 3909 Centre St., in Hillcrest. More details will be shared as soon as they are finalized. There are several memorial pages already created and friends and loved ones are still posting memories and photos on Cunningham’s Facebook page: Remember, suicide rates are much higher for members of the LGB community than the general public and even higher still for Trans individuals. For those in need, help is available at little or no cost: The Center’s Behavioral Health Services: 619-692-2077; San Diego County Behavioral Health Services: 888-724-7240; and 24-hour crisis lines: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255; and the Trevor Project (focused on LGBT Youth, but willing to help anyone in need): 866-4887386; and the Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860. —Walter G. Meyer is an author, community activist, regular contributor to Gay San Diego, and a friend of Kurt Cunningham’s. He can be reached at walt.meyer28@



time they would have the opportunity to be publicly honored for their service and acknowledged for being openly gay. “The Center began as a helpline for the LGBT community that was often a lifeline for LGBT service members and continues today to serve our LGBTQ military family,” said Dr. Delores Jacob, chief executive officer of The Center. “When Nicole Murray Ramirez first suggested a veterans wall, he also commented on The Center’s and the entire San Diego LGBT community’s strong connections to the military. Harvey Milk was stationed in San Diego when he was in the Navy.” An advisory council was soon established, to both vet the annual nominations and to plan and oversee the ceremony. Each year since, on the Thursday before Veterans Day, local political and community leaders, Center staff, advisory council members, community members, and friends and family, all gather to honor a new group of chosen inductees. “We’re proud of our LGBT veterans and feel it’s vital to listen to their voices and honor their experiences,” Jacobs said. “The Ben F. Dillingham III and Bridget Wilson Veterans Wall of Honor is for our veterans and about our veterans. It seemed fitting to name it for two San Diego LGBT veterans who have not only been very active in the community, but also served honorably and worked for many years to end the ban on openly LGBT service members. “The advisory board that serves for the Wall is an integral part of the Wall and ceremony,” she said. “It

ensures that the Wall continues to represent the voices and experiences of our veterans.” This year, the fifth annual induction ceremony will take place Thursday, Nov. 12, at 5:30 p.m. The program lasts about 90 minutes and includes a color guard, local entertainment, remarks by local community leaders, induction of the honorees, and a reception with refreshments and tastes from local eateries. The 2015 honorees include: Mitchell Eugene Cantrell (USA); Diane M. “Semo” Cimochowicz (USN); Alberto Cortes (USN); Phyllis A. Daugherty (USAF); Camille Emily Davidson (USAF); Jackie K. Jackson (USN); Lester Lefkowitz (USA); Trent Alan Osier (USN); Gordon K. Wahl (USA); and Donna F. Walker (USN). Two of this year’s honorees are being inducted posthumously, Cantrell and Wahl. In addition to proving they served honorably and with distinction, each of these former service members also had to prove that they have since worked to advance equality in their community. The selectee does not have to currently live in San Diego, but a strong connection to San Diego — whether by being stationed here for a period of time, as is the case with Harvey Milk, or having lived here — is a requirement. Milk was inducted in 2012. Though the country is still waiting to see that transgender service men and women can serve openly, open service is on the horizon. Despite this, transgender service members are still welcome to be honored on the Wall. Kirstin Beck, a retired Senior Chief Navy Seal who came out as transgender shortly after retirement and is now running for Congress, was inducted in 2013. Beck, who was the subject of a

CNN documentary at the time, had the CNN cameras tagging along during her induction ceremony and about 10 minutes’ worth of footage from The Center ceremony was included in the documentary “Lady Valor.” The film is available on Netflix. Ben Cartwright, director of community outreach, is The Center’s representative to the advisory council. “It’s been a fascinating process working with our LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor advisory council the last two years as we work together to find honorees to induct onto the Wall,” Cartwright said. “Learning about the many LGBT veterans who have a connection to San Diego — most of whom served in silence under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or prior —has been a very rewarding part of my work here at The Center. “While I have never served, being a life-long San Diegan I recognize this region’s deep ties to the armed forces, and am so proud to be a part of an organization and community that has this mechanism to honor these important contributions,” Cartwright said. Ironically, being gay, lesbian or bisexual really didn’t have anything to do with a service member’s perfor-

GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015

mance of duty while serving their country; however, their country had been making their sexual orientation a major offense since the McCarthy era of the 1950s, long before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” (DADT), became the compromise DoD Directive that President Clinton issued on Dec. 21, 1993. Prior to DADT, gay service members, especially women, were regularly treated to witch-hunts by the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) and the Criminal Investigative Department (CID), and were often pitted against each other. Thousands were discharged, simply for being gay — in some cases just for being accused of being gay — despite their pristine military records. In 1987, one of the highest years on record, the Pentagon reported that 1,380 members were discharged. Once DADT appeared on the scene in late 1993, military officials at first were not sure how to interpret the controversial directive and numbers slowed. However, eventually the numbers began to creep up and according to a report by American Progress, in 1997, 1,027 service members were discharged that year alone. Seventeen years later, almost to


the day, President Obama signed the DADT Repeal Act of 2010 into law on Dec. 22, 2010. This legislation set forward the march toward full repeal of the directive, which took place 10 months later after much training and preparation throughout the Armed Services. When DADT was officially repealed on Sept. 20, 2011, it shed the chains that had for so long had held our community hostage. No more third-person pronouns; no more fake relationships or convenience marriages to members of the opposite sex; no more “next of kin” issues. No more constantly looking over one’s shoulder. No more hiding. No more. Today, service members who experienced the shame and difficult life challenges of serving under such hurtful policies may finally be honored this way. The Center and its advisory council encourage members of our community to not only attend the induction ceremony each year, but to nominate friends and loved ones that you know suffered in silence, or were kicked out, and still work to push forward equality for the LGBT community at large today. Today, all nominees are expected to have served during or prior to DADT; though that may one day change. “We should keep the focus on those who served in silence until it is no longer practical,” Wilson said. Attend this year’s’ service on Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the San Diego LGBT Community Center, located at 3903 Centre St., Hillcrest. For more information, visit or email Ben Cartwright at and click on “Programs.” —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at



GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015

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‘We are a family’ Back Out with Benny Ben Cartwright A question I’m frequently asked when I speak on various panels, or answer people’s interview questions is “What do you like best about being part of the LGBT community?” I’ve never once had to think hard about this question, because the answer really is simple: We are a family and despite our many differences (many of those differences are what make this family so beautiful), we are there for each other on our best days and our worst days. This family — our local San Diego LGBT community — has certainly come together over the last few days following the news of the loss of one of our own, Kurt Cunningham. A long-time activist and fighter for our collective community family, Kurt was beloved by many, as evidenced by the hundreds (maybe thousands) of social media posts that continue to appear following his death. Some community members have taken it harder than others and it has been comforting to see

folks come together to take care of each other, check in on each other, and just lend a supportive ear or shoulder to cr y on. Our community will get through this together, as we have before, and hopefully, each time something like this happens, we’ll take a moment to think about how precious life is and reconsider the various squabbles and disagreements that cause us to fight and distance ourselves from each other. R.I.P., Kurt! With that said, there are many great community events coming up where we can all come together and raise funds and support for the many organizations and causes in our community that exist solely to help others in need. MARYAH — the Metropolitan Area Realtors for Young Adult Housing — will host their 10th annual Har vest Howl on Thursday, Oct. 22 from 6 – 9 p.m. at the San Diego Downtown Central Librar y. This is one of my favorite events of the year, filled with food, drinks, and some really cool people who care about The Center’s Youth Housing Project. To top it off, Olympic Gold Medalist Greg Louganis will be

on hand to speak to the crowd (did you know Louganis is a San Diego native) — check out Gay SD’s inter view with him from this summer after his HBO Sports documentar y came out: Tickets and more info are at mar I have some news from Delores: “As a result of recent unexpected community events, at the requests of some mourners for more time to grieve, and out of respect for the Celebration of Life for Kurt Cunningham on Nov. 1, The Center will reschedule its new Masquerade event as a Mardi Gras celebration on Feb. 11, 2016. All sponsors and ticket purchasers will be offered the opportunity to attend and/or sponsor the rescheduled event on Feb. 11, 2016 or, alternatively, have their purchase refunded. Community members who have not yet purchased their tickets or sponsorships can do so for the new date beginning Oct. 19. Then, on Halloween night (which falls on a Saturday this year!) is Nightmare on Normal Street, Hillcrest’s original Halloween block party! Taking place on Normal Street at University Avenue, the event will include a street fair and dance party from 6 – 11 p.m. Nightmare on Normal Street is a longtime Hillcrest tradition, and proceeds from the event benefit The Center, as well as the Hillcrest Business Association’s neighborhood improvement programs. More information and tickets are here: One of the events that I get to work on for my job at The Center that I am most proud of is the annual Benjamin Dillingham and Bridget Wilson LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor Induction Ceremony, this year taking place on Thursday, Nov. 5 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. This will be the fourth year of honoring LGBT veterans who have ties to San Diego and have made significant community contributions. The ceremony will include a color guard, music, presentation of induction certificates, and a reception. Ever yone is invited to join us for this event to honor those who have ser ved us all. Contact me at bcartwright@ or 619-692-2077 ext. 106 for more information. Did you think LGBT Pride season ended when summer was over? Luckily, we get another chance to celebrate at the annual Palm Springs Pride celebration, taking place Nov. 6 – 8. This is one of my absolute favorite Pride celebrations, complete with a parade, block party festival, special events, and more — all in the beautiful desert oasis that is Palm Springs. I hope to see you there for the final Pride celebration of the year! More info at With that, don’t forget to take of each other and remember that we are one big family! We won’t always get along, but we need each other! —Benny Cartwright is the director of community outreach at the San Diego LGBT Community Center. He can be reached at 619-692-2077 ext. 106 or Note: Byline photo by Rob Lucas Modern Aperture Photography.t



Poll Results What are your Halloween plans? 61% – Stay home 13% – Attend Nightmare on Normal 0% – Trick or Treat 26% – Private Party

This week's Poll Palm Springs Pride is the last celebration of 2015. Will you attend? Yes No Maybe

To cast your vote, visit


The challenges of internalized homophobia Life Beyond Therapy Michael Kimmel The other day I was talking with a client, a well-adjusted gay man, who told me, “I don’t think I’m homophobic anymore. I think I’ve worked all that through.” My response was, “Really? Do you think that’s possible?” He was pretty surprised to hear me say that. And that led us to a discussion of what homophobia really is. Internalized homophobia is based on fear. A fear that who we are is not okay and that if we allowed how we feel inside to show outside, we’d never fit in. Ironically, for many of us, this fear encourages us to act as if we are superior to others. It combines — unfortunately — with racism, misogyny and ageism to manifest in a variety of subtle and not-so-subtle ways in our community: men feel superior to women; white people feel superior to people of color; gay men and lesbians feel superior to bisexual and transgender men and women; young people feel superior to older people; wealthy people feel superior to poorer people … and young, middle-class gay white men feel superior to everyone else in the LGBT community (but still feel inferior to their straight counterparts). Yes, dear reader, I hear you saying that generalizations like this aren’t always true. Granted. But, in all-too-many cases, our fears encourage us to believe — often subconsciously — that people like us are better than people who appear to be different from us and it goes unexamined. Until now. To me, internalized homophobia is the process of how we take negative stereotypes, beliefs and prejudices about being lesbian/gay/ bisexual/transgender and use them against ourselves.

The intensity of our internalized homophobia depends on how much self-hatred we have consciously and subconsciously internalized. Growing up in a conservative, Republican family in a small Ohio farm-town, I was filled to the brim with internalized homophobia. I had so few allies and so little support that I didn’t come out until my early 30s when — in a men’s support group in NYC — I burst out with: “I don’t want to be gay, but I am. I am.” I so not wanted to be gay that I struggled hard for years not to be. Or, more accurately, not to admit it to myself. Internalized homophobia also applies to the things we do and the ways we act (or try to act) to conform to heteronormativity. Have you ever seen profiles on Grindr or OkCupid that stress how “masculine” the guy is? Or all those “No femmes, no fats, no old guys” statements? No internalized homophobia there, right? Let’s be clear: There is a difference between having preferences and internalized homophobia. You can prefer to be with a certain type of partner and that’s all good, as long as you don’t feel a need to condemn people who don’t match your preference. Behind most internalized homophobia is fear: We want to fit in and be accepted. It’s too scary to be alone, isolated and “weird,” so we hide the parts of ourselves that may not be acceptable to our circle of friends/community and promote the parts that everybody seems to like. The psychological term “ego-dystonic homophobia” refers to a sexual orientation that is at odds with your idealized self-image: Who you are is a bad fit with who you want to be. The result is depression, fear, shame and — in the most extreme cases — suicide. I can honestly say that in my early 20s, I felt such self-hatred for my same-sex attractions that I occasionally thought about suicide. Luckily, it never went further than that. But not every young LGBT

person is so fortunate. Internalized homophobia is strongly correlated with suicidal thoughts and acts among LGBT youth. What can we do? We can start by telling ourselves the truth about the parts of ourselves as LGBT people that we hide and are ashamed of and getting support to address them. We can tell the truth to our friends, counselors, mentors and lovers. We can notice when we feel shame and ask ourselves, “What is going on with me right now?” and “Where does that come from?” This is the first step on the path to freedom: We stop fooling ourselves. Even if we convince others we’re cool, what really matters is what we say to ourselves. Our own self-opinion is much more powerful than what others think of us. This is why our own unspoken internalized homophobia has great destructive power to mess with us. If you feel bad about your sexual orientation, you probably find lots of ways to subconsciously sabotage yourself. No surprise there. To be really free and happy, I invite you to explore the parts of your personality that have long been “missing” or embarrass you. How will you recognize them? Just notice the types of people in our community that make you uncomfortable … and be grateful to them: they are truly your best teachers. —Michael Kimmel is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in helping LGBT clients achieve their goals and deal with anxiety, depression, grief, sexually addictive behavior, coming out, relationship challenges and homophobia. Contact him at 619-955-3311 or visit

GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015


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GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015

Letters Kudos for Kimmel


How Matthew Shepard shaped my life By Bruce Shank In 1994, fresh out of high school and a summer of fun, I began the process to join the Navy. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was so brand new that the question “Are you a homosexual?” was still on the enlistment forms but marked through with the single slim line of a pen. We were instructed not to answer that question, as they couldn’t ask us that anymore. Fast for ward to 1998 and I was now a Senior Airman in the United States Air Force stationed in Langley, Virginia. I don’t remember the exact date but I had just returned home from a walk. I remember taking in the solitude and beauty of walking along a wooden stream basked in the crisp autumn colors. As I turned on the news, the stor y of Matthew Shepard was starting to get national attention. As the details emerged, the Zen from my walk in solitude turned into one of terror. I cried myself to sleep that night thinking about what Matt had been through; the fear, pain, and suffering from being alone on a cold barren plain. What must his parents be going through? What would be my parent’s reaction if that were I attacked EDITOR Morgan M. Hurley (619) 961-1960 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Ken Williams, x102 Jeff Clemetson, x119 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chris Azzopardi Charlene Baldridge Ben Cartwright Michael Kimmel Walter G. Meyer Kurt Niece Frank Sabatini Jr. GaySD


and left for dead? I was mad, angr y, and I wanted to take action. But what could I do in a closeted militar y? I knew of several great men and women that were dishonorably discharged for nothing more

Matthew Shepard (SDCNN file photo) than being LGBT. I had a good thing going and I didn’t want to lose it. I was selfish. For many years I stayed in the closet about my sexuality as a gay man. I knew from a young age that I was primarily attracted to other men. It was WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Jen Van Tieghem, x118 COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich ART DIRECTOR Vincent Meehan (619) 961-1961 PRODUCTION ARTISTS Todd Kammer, x115 Suzanne Dzialo SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958 ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Sloan Gomez, x104 Andrew Bagley, x106 Lisa Hamel, x107

easy for me as I was by birth, naturally masculine. And yes, I denied many times being gay and taking extra steps to up my play-it-straight game. I was in fact jealous of those more effeminate who were able to live freely in their skin without having to hide – yet understanding the ridicule and dangers they faced. I would smile at seeing someone loving their life — it was a beautiful thing — especially contrasted to me living a lie to my authentic self out of fear. In a way I wanted to be them. I never did any of the gay things. Never went to Pride, or LGBT bars or events. I was in my high school drama club so maybe that was a clue. Several years ago on a road trip with my dad through Wyoming, I asked him to pull off to the side of the road. It was ver y near the spot Matthew was left for dead. I so wanted to believe in angels. I cried into the ground where his blood poured. Even then I couldn’t muster the strength to talk to my dad. The man who when I was an early teen bellowed he would never allow a homosexual to live under his roof. A man to whose credit I must also say has changed for the better in his ways of acceptance. I’ve come a long way from the young man who was petrified after his first public kiss with another man in the parking lot of

see Shepard, pg 7 PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951 ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962 WEB DESIGN Kim Espinoza

DISTRIBUTION Gay San Diego is distributed free every other Friday of the month. COPYRIGHT 2015. All rights reserved.

Hi Michael, I want to thank you for your recent article in Gay San Diego on Sept. 18, 2015 [see “Life Beyond Therapy: Stuck in the (bisexual) closet,” Vol. 6, Issue 19, or visit]. I am a bisexual man slowly coming out of the closet. I’m currently married 22 years with a 7-year-old daughter and contemplating the balancing act of meeting the needs of my daughter, my wife and myself. For the past year I have been attending the monthly Bi Coming Out group at The Center in Hillcrest and look forward to sharing the article at our next meeting. This year I also began running with the gay Front Runners group in Balboa Park. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how accepting that group and the gay community is becoming toward bisexuals, especially those married to straight spouses. So when I read your article, I was both happy to see the exposure about bisexuality as well as reading your wonderful advice in response to the question. I will take that advice to heart in my own journey. Thanks again and best regards, —Dan King, via email Great write up, Michael [see “Life Beyond Therapy: The ‘well of loneliness,’” Vol. 6, Issue 3, or visit]. Loneliness is temporary that we need to embrace and ride out. A very thoughtful article, which I hope will help others. Poignant stuff. —Mike, via I have personally never seen anything really good come from relationships where one man / woman is a cheater and the other is not [see “Life Beyond Therapy: Cheaters,” Vol. 6, Issue 17, or visit]. When a couple comes together knowing and agreeing they will ‘see other people’ then that’s a whole different bag-o-beans! The personal trauma, not to mention the insult, that comes from such a partner can be devastating depending on the personality of the one being cheated on. If you’re a strongwilled, tough-minded person who is willing to take the abuse and let it run off your back perhaps you can manage it with communication, giving permission (very important) and moving forward but few people are that tough, especially when they are in love or when love is new. For sensitive people, this is a recipe for disaster and can lead to trauma, trust issues and serious psychological damage which is

often dismissed by gay society as frivolous – swept under the societal rug. But it is quite real and if a man/woman is sensitive the best thing to do is, with as much class and decorum you can muster – dump her/him. Stay friends if you wish but preserve your dignity at all costs. The ego is an important mechanism and while it is lauded as this bad emotional aspect, it also needs to be protected and nurtured. It’s a long hard road back from traumas like these when we let them get the best of us. Proceed with caution and selfrespect. You can’t get walked on if you don’t lay down. Cheers. —Bill, via

Coronado is for lovers That’s awesome! [see “Briefs: Cheers to Oscar and Gary, Vol. 6, Issue 20, or visit briefs-oct-2-15-2015]. What wonderful ladies! It was an honor to get to attend Oscar and Gary’s “redo” wedding last year, and meet some of those wonderful women. —Benny Car twright, via I’m so happy to see Coronado people rising up to meet the needs of gay people. It’s so simple and yet so very courageous what these divine women have done and continue to do. This is a small view into the window of what Americans are capable of. It is also an indication that American citizens, and people are moving forward despite the politics, the national shames that seem to come every day over the news. As a gay man, the actions of these women warm my heart in a way that only a man of my age can feel. Older gay men, when we see this kind of response to injustice know there is a special place in heaven (and on earth) for people like these divine women. Thank you is not enough … blessings with a hope for a better future for America. —Bill, via

Quinto’s great example Great interview – and Mr. Quinto is a great example of someone whose career has flourished despite ‘coming out’ [see “Q Interview: The name is Quinto … Zachary Quinto,” Vol. 6, Issue 20, or visit]. Wonder what he thinks of Matt Damon’s recent remarks on why he thinks gay actors should not come out and take the chance of ruining their careers. He quoted Rupert Everett as an example of a gay actor Hollywood chooses to ignore. —Jim Bowie, via email t

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.

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Sister Gaia Love on her trademark bicycle (Courtesy Bruce Shank) FROM PAGE 6

SHEPARD a diner just off base. I knew I had to do more to pay my rent in life, to live up to my grandfather’s declaration of my broad shoulders being used to uplift others. I left the militar y in 2001 deciding not to make it a career. I didn’t want to live in the shadows with the threat of a dishonorable discharge from DADT over me. Still, it took me a long time to find that calling to give back and comfortably come out of the closet. All the while Matthew’s story and his amazing mother, Judy, preserving his legacy and ensuring his death wasn’t in vain, stayed close to the front of my mind. Watching and supporting the LGBT community from the sidelines, it wasn’t until 2008 that I saw and heard my calling to give back. I was riding my bicycle through Balboa Park when I encountered the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence outside the Pride festival. The more I learned and followed this organization, I knew this was to be my vessel. On Oct. 8, 2013, the 15th anniversar y of the attack on Matthew, I met Michele Josue, a close friend of Matt’s and director of the documentar y, “Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine” during a screening of the documentar y in San Diego. The film revisits the torture and murder in one of the most notorious hate crimes in U.S. history with never-before-seen photos, rare video footage, and revelations about Matt’s too-brief life. Hundreds of people filled the standing room-only San Diego LGBT Center and there wasn’t a dr y eye in the house. The tears that flowed from my eyes were the same I shed 15 years ago having first learned of this tragedy on the news. Later that weekend, North County Pride in Oceanside fell on Oct. 12, the 15th anniversar y of when Matt finally succumbed to his attack. Many of us wore purple that day in remembrance.

I felt a sense of the circle completing that night as I took my makeup off. What began as a spark with Matt’s tragedy, for me to want to stand up and do more, culminated with remembering and celebrating his life so fondly as a Sister

I knew I had to do more to pay my rent in life, to live up to my grandfather’s declaration of my broad shoulders being used to uplift others. with some of his closest friends. Matt’s tragedy was an awakening for many of us around the countr y. After many years of living in the shadows I finally had the chance to add my sliver of the spectrum to the rainbow of the LGBT community. Today, I proudly ride my bicycle in a habit, as a drag nun, 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money and

awareness to HIV/AIDS prevention and ser vices. Just this weekend I strutted my stuff down the runway in my first drag fashion show in Project Nunway LA. I take ever y opportunity I can to manifest outside the typical LGBT strongholds to spread the Sister’s mission of “promulgating universal joy and expiating stigmatic guilt” and the acceptance of all colors and hues. As I write this on the 17th anniversar y of Matt’s death, I only wish I had taken this path sooner. What more could I have done earlier to replace hate with understanding, and compassion, by standing up rather than staying quiet? It’s because of people like Matt and their tragedies that I was able to emerge from my cocoon. The LGBT community, especially the transgender community, continues to suffer hate crimes and murders at an astonishingly high rate. Depression from struggling to feel accepted, from living up to certain standards, or wherever it may come has taken far too many good lives. We have taken measurable steps as a society to prevent this but there is still much to do. Just last year the California Assembly passed a bill authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla by a vote of 50-10 barring the use of “trans panic” or “gay panic” defenses in California courts. Gov. Brown’s signature made ours the first state in the U.S. to officially ban the use of so-called panic defenses in court. The fight for equal rights and the acceptance of those inhabiting ever y spectrum of the rainbow not only benefits the LGBT community, they also liberate straight folk who are often chained to narrow stereotypical gender roles and societal norms. As with the popular saying “as California goes, so goes the nation”; we can only hope. —Bruce Shank, aka Sister Gaia Love, is the former president of the San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s “Asylum of the Tortured Hearts.” She moved to Los Angeles earlier this year and now manifests with the Los Angeles house of SPI. You can follow Sister Gaia Love on Twitter at @SRGaia and donate to her AIDSLifecycle page at tofighthiv. org/goto/sistergaia.t

GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015



The peacock has flown By Morgan M. Hurley What a week. We lost one of our own last Saturday, when a beloved member of our local LGBT community — who meticulously planned his exit to the very last detail — chose to leave his earthly vessel. Kurt Cunningham was a largerthan-life personality and had one of the winningest smiles most people have ever seen. In the 25 or more years that he graced San Diego with his wit, humor, sassiness, snark, authenticity, kindness and compassion, there wasn’t a person he ever met — whether on the street or through social media — that he didn’t make some kind of an impact upon. Kurt was so many things. He was a gorgeous man and made a stunning Imperial Peacock Empress in the late 1990s. But he was also a passionate activist; a tireless volunteer; a beautiful drag queen (Summer Meadows); a devoted and loyal friend; a fierce and vocal enemy; a thoughtful and funny guy; an oft-nominated community leader; and a mental health advocate. We both received Nickys in August, and by golly, he was the only one out of dozens of honorees who boldly grabbed the mike and took his five minutes; Kurt was nothing if not controversial. But most of all, Kurt was human; a human who suffered from clinical depression. I’ll be honest, Kurt and I got off to a rough start. Six years ago I helped launch a local online-only gay and lesbian news website. Though I had lived in San Diego since 1987, after leaving active duty in the Navy, my direct involvement with our local LGBT community was limited to the couple years that I’d worked at Paradigm Women’s Bookstore on Adams Avenue in the 1990s, where Lestat’s is today. In fact, I’d just spent the last 10 years raising my two nephews out in the Granite Hills area of East County, so I had very little access but was eager to jump into the fray and get my feet wet again as part of the community.

One of the hardest days of my journalism career happened just a year later, when I had to call folks around the community and alert them to the fact that another iconic figure in our community — Michael Portantino — had taken his life. My father, a small-town newspaper editor himself, once told me the hardest thing he often did as a reporter was having to talk to people immediately after the death of a loved one, simply to “get the story.” I learned exactly what he meant that day. I indeed got my story after being the one who broke the news to countless leaders of our community in the wee hours of the morning following that death. In the coming days, our community reeled from Michael’s passing, and being that close to it shook me to my core. Looking back, I didn’t know Kurt yet, but I sure was about to get to know him. Within a year of Michael’s death, as an employee of that online media company, I inadvertently got caught up in the whirlwind of the San Diego mayoral race and all the mudslinging that went on along with it; something that Kurt was heavily involved in. He was so passionate about his cause and his position with regards to the political figures running, that he regularly trashed me and my colleagues on social media right along with the man he deemed as his political foe; it was guilt by association. I was shaken again, not understanding the personal attacks, but I eventually shrugged it off to the crazy politics of that race. I eventually moved on from that media organization and I’ve been at SDCNN, the parent company of Gay San Diego, for three and a half years now. Last year, after the death of Robin Williams, I wrote an op-ed piece in Gay San Diego ( p84uwdp) about my struggle with depression and how, like Williams, I was certain most who knew me never would have suspected it based on my Facebook posts. The tremendous outpouring I received as a result was quite unexpected and it meant so much.

see Peacock, pg 17



GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015

Cygnet opens Coward X 2 ‘Beastliness in repertory’

Theater Review Charlene Baldridge Cygnet Theatre’s Artistic Director, Sean Murray, has a penchant for producing related plays in repertory. He’s done so twice with “Travesties” and “The Importance of Being Earnest,” once at North Coast Rep and again at Cygnet Theatre; with Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s series of plays, “The Norman Conquests,” and now, two by Sir Nöel Coward; his sequential hits of 1924 and 1925 — the breakthrough, controversial drama, “The Vortex,” and the more popular drawing room

comedy, “Hay Fever.” These two plays ran simultaneously in London’s West End before moving to the U.S. Coward wrote “The Vortex” intending to play the leading role, and paid most of the costs of the initial production. (John Gielgud was his seldom-used understudy, and Coward had to replace his leading actress prior to opening because he expanded his own part in an effort to improve the play, and she was affronted.) Both “The Vortex” and “Hay Fever” concern post-World War I British upper class society. Women’s attitudes and mores had been liberated by the war, and now they were bobbing their hair, flattening their breasts, wearing shorter skirts and more overtly expressing themselves both sexually and philosophically. The young Coward, as a guest having been exposed to the upper classes about which he wrote, likely considered their behav-

(l to r) Rosina Reynolds and Charles Evans, Jr. in “Vortex” performed in repertory with “Hayfever” (Photo by Daren Scott)

(l to r) Paul Eggington, Rachael VanWormer, Rosina Reynolds, and Charles Evans, Jr. in Noel Coward’s “Hayfever” (Photo by Daren Scott) ior, as his character, Nicky, suggests, “The vortex of beastliness.” The matriarch of both plays (Rosina Reynolds) is a sexually voracious, retired actress with children, a rather reclusive husband (Paul Eggington), and a string of lovers, the current one played by AJ Jones. Her son is played by Charles Evans, Jr., who in addition to numerous musical roles at Cygnet, is remembered for Lamb’s Players’ “Fiddler on the Roof” and ion theatre’s [sic] “Grey Gardens.” The servant in both plays is Rhona Gold, who gets laughs simply by moving across the stage. The fop in each — a decorator and a diplomat respectively — is portrayed by James Saba, a superb physical comedian with wondrous feet, whether dancing or merely shifting position. Others in the vastly talented Coward companies (all appear in both plays) are Lauren King Thompson, Jill Van Velzer and Rachael VanWormer. I have watched VanWormer’s growth for years. She now has the maturity to

“Hay Fever” and “The Vortex” by Nöel Coward Playing in alternating repertory through Nov. 8 Cygnet Theatre 4040 Twiggs St. Old Town State Historic Park Tickets or 619-337-1525 present an astonishing sophisticate. Although Coward addresses the same privileged milieu in each play, “Hay Fever,” which is directed by Cygnet Associate Artistic Director Rob Lutfy, is by far the lighter in tone. The Bliss family of four — Eggington, Evans, Reynolds, and VanWormer — have each invited a weekend houseguest. Unaware, the guests become the entertainment, targets of charades and other cruel games played by the super intelligent Bliss family. It is riproaringly funny with clever one-liners

see Cygnet, pg 16


GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015


psyCHO Margaret Cho thinks we need a woman to follow in David Letterman’s footsteps. STAT. She’s probably right, since there are at least a dozen males battling it out on the late night television shows these days. (Photo by Pixievision)

With Joan Rivers as one of her lifelong mentors, Cho thinks there are several women comedians in the running to do so, including herself, Fortune Feimster, and Amy Schumer on the short list.

Margaret Cho’s “psyCHO” is currently on rotation on Showtime. She will perform in San Diego, Oct. 22 (Photo by Mary Taylor)

The Cho must go on Margaret Cho laments loss of comedy heroes, talks tour, bisexuality and this ‘f*cked up’ world By Chris Azzopardi | Q Syndicate Margaret Cho was a comedian even before she knew it. “As a kid, I was thinking all these things,” Cho, 46, recalled, expounding on her surprising childhood shyness, “and when I would say them, people would laugh. I was really confused by that.” It makes sense now, of course. Cho, after all, has turned life’s ugly truths – from political injustices to homophobia and the gory details of her colonoscopy – into 20 years of comedic gold. Luckily, for Cho, the world is still insane. Everything happens right in front of us, in real time, and we can’t turn away. And Cho, naturally, has something to say about that. You know, along with gun control, beheadings, the Amy Schumer movie shooting, rape, female comedian sexism and the “systematic slaughter of African Americans.” Yes, Cho is still fearless. Yes, she is still notorious. And yes, her latest tour, “psyCHO,” will — like

all things Cho — tear down the world’s wrongdoers in the fiercest and funniest of ways. [Chris Azzopardi | CA] The first time I interviewed you was while I was in college. And the world, it seemed, was less fucked up then. [Margaret Cho | MC] [Laughs] It’s still being fucked up. Like, I think it was always this fucked up and we didn’t know about it because we didn’t have Facebook and Twitter to alarm us every single day. I remember when you really had to look for beheading videos … [laughs]. You couldn’t just start playing them. [CA] How do you — and how should we — deal with the accessibility of ... everything? [MC] I understand that there are a lot of things that need our attention, and I think maybe pick your battles. Which causes do you really want to look at and think about? I just wanna get over police brutality. That, to me, is the most pressing issue, so my thing is dashboard cam. I’m so dashboard cam / body cam; that’s what I watch for hours on end. [CA] Your upcoming show will assess some of the serious issues we’re facing today. How do you balance

comedy and sociopolitical issues? [MC] You have to find a truth there. For me, comedy or humor is often a coping mechanism. A lot of what I’m talking about is police brutality and the different sides of it that I’ve encountered and what I see happening in the media. As a comedian, it’s a kind of alchemy that’s really the magic, you know. Something so tragic and terrible as this systematic slaughter of African-Americans in this country — how do you find some way to talk about that that isn’t totally depressing? [CA] How do you? And moreover, how do you turn it into comedy? [MC] It’s funny, because whenever white and black people fight, Asians and Mexicans don’t know what to do. ’Cause we’re like, “Are we white? Or are we black? We just wanna pick the winning side.” [Laughs] For me the joke here is the gradations of how we view racism. Everybody’s a human being, so it’s very hard to figure out how to talk about it, so that’s my take on it. And I have a lot of different things that I’m talking about in the show; gun control and also different kinds of police brutality that I’ve witnessed. [CA] Another comedian, Amy Schumer, whose movie was playing

San Diegans will get the chance to see Cho’s latest tour, which launched Oct. 1 in support of her Showtime “psyCHO” special, which is currently in rotation. See her Thursday, Oct. 22 at 8 p.m. at the historic Balboa Theatre, located at 868 Fourth Ave., Downtown. For tickets, visit, or or when a gunman opened fire in a Louisiana theater, is taking on gun control as well. [MC] It’s great. [CA] How do you think comedy can create sociopolitical change? [MC] Comedy now is a major player in politics. A lot of people are responsible for this, but the main ones are Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Hannibal Buress and Stephen Colbert — now Amy Schumer. These are people who are actually changing the way we feel about politics, about who is gonna be president, about race. Comedy can really shift the way we view everything. Comedy’s a really big part of politics, whether it seems obvious or not. Amy’s been doing it with feminism, and now she’s been thrust into gun control because she’s forced to. This is something that happened at the showing of

her film. The most non-violent thing you could want to do is go see a comedy with her in it. Her perspective and her voice is so needed and so fresh, and it’s so not a shoot-’em action experience. For me, that’s very heartbreaking, because her success is so important to me. I consider her like my daughter in comedy. Comedy’s a mentoring art form, so you have your mentors — that’s another part of the show. My mentors are dead, which is very strange. Joan Rivers and Robin Williams and Taylor Negron — they all passed away last year. So for me, this tour — this is the first time I’m going out without a mentor, without my teachers. They’re all gone, and that’s a really weird feeling. [CA] Regarding Joan: You call

see Cho, pg 12



GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015

From Turkey to Europe

to San Diego (clockwise from top left) Lentil and walnut salad; the lamb and beef plate; and rotisserie chicken used in the doner kebabs (Photos by Frank Sabatini, Jr.)

Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. The hottest selling fast-food item in Germany has nothing to do with sausages or any type of grub stemming from American franchises. It is instead a sizable serving of slow-cooked meats sliced from vertical spits and swaddled in flat bread with chopped veggies and powerful yogurt-garlic sauce. Known specifically as doner kebabs and consumed widely by late-night clubbers throughout Holland, Belgium, France and Scandinavia as well, they’re now readily available in a neighborhood near you at The Kebab Shop. The homegrown chain aims to capture some of the modernday street food that Turkish immigrants began introducing to Western Europe decades ago. The doner kebabs in particular, are a big draw. They were supposedly invented in the early ’70s by a Turk living in Berlin, who began con-

The Kebab Shop

1570 Camino de la Reina (Mission Valley) 619-491-0279 Prices: Salads and sides, $1.99 to $4.99; wraps, sandwiches and boxes, $7.99 to $8.99; plates, $9.79 to $11.99 solidating all the components of a traditional kebab plate into pillowy lavash bread — the meat, salad, and whatever condiments. Much like a burrito, with one half enveloped securely in butcher paper or foil, they allow consumers to eat a substantial meal while

walking, biking or driving. Beyond its original East Village location, The Kebab Shop has spawned locations in Mission Valley, Little Italy, Mira Mesa, Encinitas and Rancho Bernardo. The menu at each features wraps, sandwiches, plates and boxes spotlighting slices of lamb and beef combined, as well as chicken, salmon or crispier-thanaverage falafel. If this is beginning to sound like common Eastern Mediterranean food, it is and it isn’t. Indeed, you’ll find the usual suspects: basic no-frills hummus, which didn’t send me over the moon; tomato-feta salad with onions and olives dressed in light, herby vinaigrette; and

ground-beef (kofte) shish kebabs accented justly with onions and coriander seeds. More unique is elbow macaroni salad with pinkish bits of soy bacon. Creamy and somewhat sweet, it struck an odd parallel to versions you’d find on Hawaiian plate lunches. My favorite side dish is the green lentil salad with walnuts, which offers a pleasant crunch and whispers of bay leaves, garlic and mustard. Consistently, it has tasted exotically Turkish and rustically

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French at the same time. As for the starring dish, the doners are doozies in terms of size. Priced at an easy $7.99, they’re packed from end to end with warmly spiced chicken from a vertical rotisserie stacked with sweaty thigh meat. Tomatoes, cucum cucumbers, lettuce and fresh mint are also tucked inside. I’ve come to embrace the me mediocre pita used for these kebabs, which doesn’t compare in texture and flavor to the bread used on those I’ve had in Wiesbaden, Germany, some years ago, the city where I first experienced them. Here, the yogurt-garlic sauce is also inferior, but still feisty enough to break up a party if you leave it hanging on your breath. If opting for the chicken kebab opposed to the doner kebab, you end up with an outer casing that is no different than a jumbo flour tortilla. And the chicken inside is char-grilled breast meat instead of the juicier doner-style thigh meat. It costs about 60 cents extra, but it’s still a delicious deal, especially with the support of the garlic sauce and the house-made spicy red sauce, which mingle exceptionally well together. Since becoming a regular visitor to the Mission Valley location, a friend and I recently tried the lamb-beef meal plate accompanied by somewhat flavorless saffron rice and the tomatofeta salad as our sidekicks. We watched the curly ribbons of compressed meat tumbled onto a tray as the cook shaved the coned meat with what looked and sounded like electric shears. The result was tasty gyros sporting precision buzz cuts. I’ve yet to try the eatery’s Iskender kebab featuring wider strips from the beef-lamb cone, plus tomato sauce, yogurt and a grilled pepper served atop buttered pita bread. The creation dates back a couple hundred years to the Turkish city of Bursa. With classic shawarma sandwiches also in the offing, The Kebab Shop offers a taste of ancient cultures from several regions throughout the Middle East, fusing them together with modern adaptations done rather well. —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 Oct. 16 – 29, 2015


space that previously housed the Morena Club. The bar, which opened Oct. 15, carries local craft beer, and features a dog-friendly patio as well as flat screens that fire up starting at 10 a.m. each week for Sunday football. 1319 Morena Blvd.

Chef Fred Keller of Counterpoint (Courtesy Bay Bird Inc.)

Top of the Hyatt reopens with better views (Courtesy Manchester Grand Hyatt)

After an extensive renovation, Top of the Hyatt at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in Downtown has reopened. The lounge is perched on the hotel’s 40th floor and features reconfigured seating, new lighting elements and a redesigned bar. Heavy draper y that previously framed the floor-to-ceiling windows has been removed to allow for unobstructed views. Libations and appetizers such as lobster bruschetta and queso fondue with warm pretzel rolls are ser ved daily. 1 Market Place, 619-232-1234. In celebration of its upcoming 30th anniversar y, Saf fron Noodles and Sate in Mission Hills will bring in a Tibetan Buddhist monk for a ceremonial blessing of the restaurant followed by a complimentar y, vegetarian buffet ser ved on the patio. The event starts at 11 a.m. Oct. 19. In addition, owner Su-Mei Yu is offering 30 percent discounts on select daily specials through Oct. 25. 3731-B India St., 619-574-7737.

The Tractor Room is for sale (Courtesy The Tractor Room) After a 10-year run, The Tractor Room in Hillcrest is up for sale. Owner Johnny Rivera, who also runs Hash House A Go Go and Great Maple, said he decided not to renew Tractor Room’s lease because “a lot is going on with opening three other Great Maples in Southern California (outside of San Diego County) plus another Hash House in Dallas.” He assured, however, that “we will choose a right buyer that fits the neighborhood, and that we will stay open until that happens.” 3687 Fifth Ave., 619-543-1007. The hip and contemporar y Quarters Korean BBQ out of Los Angeles is coming to the Westfield Mission Valley mall, where it will occupy a chunk of space left behind by Seau’s. The menu will focus primarily on tapas using top-quality meats and prepared on tabletop grills. Still under construction, the restaurant is slated to open by the end of the year. 1640 Camino del Rio Nor th.

A new chef is in the house at Counterpoint in Golden Hill, which has entered into its sixth year of business. Fred Keller arrives from Chicago’s highly acclaimed Roka Akor after working as a private chef on a yacht in the Caribbean. A graduate of the Culinar y Institute of America, his other gigs have included stints at Bistro d’Asia in Coronado, a restaurant in New Zealand, and the former Martini House in Napa Valley. Keller has revised the menu at Counterpoint with dishes spotlighting freshly sourced seafood and house-made pastas. 830 25th St., 619-564-6722.

A new drinking establishment called Clutch Bar has emerged in the Morena District by former Aero Club bartender John Hasten-Wright, who remodeled the

Empanadas for cheap at Cueva Bar (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Ever ything’s coming up in fives at Cueva Bar in University Heights as chef-owner Oz Blackaller celebrates the establishment’s fifth anniversar y this month. From Oct. 20-23, a number of food and drink items are priced at $5, such as empanadas, half-size flat breads, house sangria, local craft beer and more. 2123 Adams Ave., 619-269-6612. —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at

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GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015 in the house — I shut it off in the water main! Everything is shut down! [Laughs]



her your comedy “mother.” What parts of her life and career do you connect with most? [MC] Just her love of show business, her love of comedy, her love of comedians. Her constantly trying to get me to see the value of my life, and to have gratitude for everything that I receive and to know that I would be safe. She always felt that comedians live the longest in terms of career; we’ll never have to worry; we’ll always have steady work, which is different from actors, especially women, who are only able to work for a short period of time in their lives. And she was fearless, but actually full of fears because she was very, very anxious about whether jokes worked. She put forward this space like [imitates Joan], “I don’t care! I’m a funny person! It’s a joke!” But she was seriously scared about what people would think, and she was always scared people were gonna kick her ass. So that was funny about her. But I really admire her because she challenged the status quo in comedy. When she was performing comedy in the ’60s and ’70s and she was pregnant, she couldn’t even talk about that. She had to use euphemisms to talk about her pregnancy while doing comedy. So that’s how far we’ve come in terms of censorship: what we allow women to talk about. [CA] How do you think the landscape for female comedians has shifted? Are we at a place now where they’re fully accepted by the comedy community and the public? [MC] It’s gotten a lot better.

Cho with her rescued Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix, Gudrun (Photo by Mary Taylor) I think we’re way past that weird Christopher Hitchens’ thing that women aren’t funny. Now that thinking seems very old fashioned. It’s very Jerry Lewis to go there. (Laughs) It’s odd that Jerry Lewis even felt that, because I worked with a lot of his contemporaries ’cause I’ve been around forever. I was, like, discovered by Bob Hope and worked with Alan King and Robert Klein and they always really accepted me. Milton Berle too! Very, very accepting of my presence in comedy. [CA] Do you still write a joke a day? [MC] I try to. It takes different forms, but I try to write either a

joke or some kind of observation. I’m also working on a book and trying to bring forth this idea that sexual abuse survivors should come forward and stop thinking of themselves as victims and think of themselves as survivors instead. [Cho recently revealed to Billboard that she was raped as a teenager.] So, it’s either a joke or an idea or a song or some type of artistic endeavor that would benefit me creatively. I try. [CA] Is the book only focused on rape victimization? [MC] That’s part of it. Part of it is a memoir — the history of my work in comedy and the people that I have known. There’s a lot of

different kinds of stories in there, but one of them is just trying to talk about this idea of victimization. That if we got rid of that word and really focused on the survivor part of it, it would be maybe easier to handle. [CA] When you were young, your father wrote joke books. What was his influence on you when it came to comedy? [MC] He still has an influence; he’s a funny guy. My parents are both really funny people, and they’re also very respectful of the creative life — they think it’s the highest kind of life you can aspire to. And they love writers and writing, so they’re very proud of that aspect of my work. So, it’s good. My dad’s still always telling me what I should be writing and what he wants me to discuss, so he’s very alive in my creative world. [CA] And your mom, of course, is as well. How often do people come up to you and ask you about her? [MC] Oh, all the time. She’s a genius! She really is. She’s a guitarist and she’s much better than I am. She plays flamenco guitar. She’s a very, very beautiful singer. She’s a seamstress; she taught me how to sew, which is where I get my design side. I do a little bit of fashion design on the side still. But that’s where I get my inspiration — she’s inspired me to do a lot of different things. [CA] Your tour name is a play on the word “psycho.” What is your definition of a psycho? [MC] I think it’s allowing your rage to consume you, allowing your insanity to consume you, allowing other people’s insanity to consume you. I think psycho is often a very feminizing term. “Oh, she’s a psycho bitch.” “She’s fucking psycho.” That’s the worst thing you can say about a woman. Even the movie “Psycho” —Anthony Perkins is trying to be his mother, so that’s a psycho. It’s a feminized kind of experience. It’s almost hysterical. Women are always hysterical or psycho. So that’s why I like it. [CA] Do you have any psychotic tendencies? [MC] I’m actually more OCD than psycho. There’s a drought in California, so you’re always checking – I’m always checking — the tap. I’m always going online when I’m away to check the water meter. First of all, I shut off the water when I leave. Not only shut it off

[CA] We are currently, and thankfully, experiencing increased trans visibility. As someone who identifies as bisexual, where do you see the bisexual movement headed? [MC] I think it’s different. Bisexuality is considered one foot out, one foot in. You don’t qualify as gay all the time. There’s this element of distrust. Visibility is very important for the trans community because of the suicide rate of teenagers and the violence that goes underreported and the disappearance of trans women all over the place. There’s not been a lot of rage about that because people didn’t know. Now, there’s more of an understanding and it’s not acceptable anymore, so I think that’s wonderful. I would love to see that for the bisexual community, but I also have an understanding too. I get it because I started as a lesbian and then realized that there was more to my sexuality than I realized. I thought I was being very free and very out, but there was more to the story. It’s hard; I felt like, “Am I going through a phase?” You always question yourself in the bisexual community. You don’t really know. [CA] When did you first know you were funny? [MC] It took a while to figure out how to be a standup comedian. And this is when I met Robin Williams. I actually met him when I was much younger, but I met him again as a comedian. He had become very famous doing “Mork and Mindy” [1978-1982], and he was doing movies at that point and he had been the doorman at a comedy club that I lived across the street from called the Holy City Zoo [in San Francisco]. I would perform there and he would always come in and do surprise performances, but this was, like, every night, so it really wasn’t that much of a surprise. He was there every day, and I would always have to perform after him. I don’t know why he got it in his head, “I have to go before her all the time,” but I learned how to do comedy by going after him and bombing for years. [Laughs] [CA] When you eventually did launch your professional comedy career, why was it important to you to be as open about your life as possible? [MC] That style became very cool. When I started, I was just trying to figure it out, but when I was in my early 20s, talking about things in great obsessive details was really brought on by doing comedy in bookstores and people like Janeane Garofalo and Marc Maron, who were in more of the alternative scene. Which is Colin Quinn, which is actually Ben Stiller. We would do these weird midnight writing sessions with Ben Stiller and Judd Apatow at this coffeehouse on La Brea and you would see all these comics. Now they’re very famous people, of course. But they would get together to write at midnight. It was this thing that was very powerful and very alive, and the more you could make yourself look bad as a person, you looked better as a comic. —Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at and on Twitter (@ chrisazzopardi).t



A scene from “Please Like Me,” Season Three (l to r) Josh Thomas, Tom Ward (Photo by Ben Timony)

G’day mate; please like me All Screens Considered Kurt Niece “Please Like Me” makes me yearn. Bittersweet as baker’s chocolate, “Please Like Me” will take you back. Friday, Oct. 16 marks the third season — and with it, 10 episodes — of this often overlooked and critically acclaimed Australian import. The series is aired on the American digital cable and satellite television network, Pivot. Owned by Participant Media, the channel is targeted at young adults between 18 and 34 years old. “Please Like Me” features Josh Thomas, a twenty-something gay lad stumbling through Melbourne and Victoria, Australia, in his first decade of adulthood. Though I’m glad I was young in the ’80s — disco, big hair and all, “Please Like Me” makes being 20 seem pretty darned good again. Experiments, crushes, crushing insecurity and the novelty and newness of just about everything are Josh’s hallmark. Yet, he’s resistant. He’s a little standoffish. With some success he attempts to navigate drama and post-adolescent angst. He maintains a moderate degree of detachment, but the operative term is, moderate. Life’s travails continue to burst through

his force field of humorous, ironic dispassion, but try as he might, Josh just can’t help being Josh. Josh plays Josh in the series and I couldn’t help but wonder: is Josh, Josh? In an exclusive interview with Gay San Diego, Josh Thomas speaks of Josh with his boyfriend, Josh, who listened in and made an occasional contribution. I’m not kidding. All these Joshes are a little confusing, so to help clarify I asked real-life Josh Thomas the last name of the character he portrays. It didn’t much help. “We don’t have a last name [in the series], it got all complicated with weird, legal stuff and we came to find we can’t have a last name. There are never any props, never any credits, and calling me Josh Thomas was just too cracking weird, so it’s just Josh,” he laughed. When asked the burning question, “Is real life Josh Thomas the Josh he portrays?” he responded quite thoughtfully. “He’s a little bit more patient than I am, but other than that we’re similar,” Josh Thomas said. “The first season is especially so. It’s just as fun as it looks, too. I hang out with my buddies and we get to make a TV show. It’s pretty great. But the character Josh doesn’t want anything complex. He’s emotionally stunted in a way.” Is Josh a role model for his times? Does he feel like he repre-

(l to r) Tom Ward, Josh Thomas, Keegan Joyce and Emily Barclay (Photo by Ben Timony)

sents a generation? The questions, asked in all sincerity, elicited a genuine LOL. “Yeah, well no, but yeah — when I speak to gay issues and gay people, sure but, generally no. I don’t believe that I’m particularly a role model. It started when I was 20, when I first realized I might not be straight. I had a girlfriend and I’d never kissed a boy. But then I fell in love and things changed and I realized I was gay. For four years I thought over and over, ‘I want a TV show,’ and then it actually happened.” This degree of success in selfactualization could go to anyone’s head, but Josh comes across as quite level. When asked if indeed that’s the case, he conferred with his boyfriend. “Do you think I have a level head?” he asked. “Josh said yes,” Josh Thomas confirmed. “Though I find it quite hard to think about people actually watching the show. One girl told me that she saw an episode during the early stages of labor, which really is quite weird. People in some countries have legally subtitled versions and then there are bootlegged subtitles in other languages. And it’s odd to think about someone watching, in China.” The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) — not to be confused with the American Broadcasting Corporation — is responsible for releasing “Please Like Me.” This other ABC is considered “the network wonder from down under” — a consistent producer of world-class programing and proof positive that stateowned and nationally-funded arts programming works. Real life meets fiction and fiction meets real life. Not quite a sitcom and not quite reality programing, “Please Like Me,” is in another class. And in the footsteps of “Queer as Folk,” “Please Like Me” is eminently entertaining and poignant. If you’re not twenty-something it will indeed, take you back. If you are twenty-something, it will take you there. If you don’t have access to Pivot, catch an episode or two on Hulu. It’s a great way for people of all ages, tastes and persuasions to celebrate National Coming Out Week. —Kur t Niece is a freelance writer who focuses on enter tainment on all viewing platforms. You can reach him at kur tniece@

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) along with the local Jewish Federation of San Diego County is inviting LGBTQ members of the Jewish community to travel to Israel on a “unique and historic mission.” The mission will allow LGBTQ members to experience Israel, connect with the land and the people, learn about the successes and challenges the community faces, and feel “part of the Jewish collective.” The trip is planned for May 26 – June 2, 2016, with visits to Jerusalem’s Old City, Tel Aviv city, Tel Aviv’s beaches and Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride festival. The trip will also include various other meetups and activities with local LGBTQ leaders, a festive opening trip dinner with the president of the state of Israel Reuven Rivlin, and a chance to meet best-selling artist and Israeli pop star, Ivri Lider. Tel Aviv is known to many as the “gay capital of the Middle East.” To learn more, email Miriam Norten at or visit pk6b99p.

WELCOME TO ‘FAB FRIDAYS’ IN HILLCREST Access Hillcrest, formerly known as Park Hillcrest, is a service of the Uptown Community Parking District. UCPD has been offering various free shuttle services in Hillcrest to assist patrons with parking issues and they continue to improve on their offerings. The ParkHillcrest Trolley operates on Friday and Saturday nights — taking those who either park for free at the DMV on Normal Street or choose to valet their car at the parking garage on Fifth Avenue — up and down University Avenue between Fifth Avenue and Normal Street free of charge. In addition, they also recently launched the Lunchtime Loop, another free trolley service that operates on the

GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015


western end of Hillcrest, shuttling employees on their lunch hour who work at UC San Diego Medical Center and other businesses in the area to various spots along a loop that allows access to up to 100 dining locations. Now through Dec. 18, when you park at the DMV and ride the Friday night ParkHillcrest trolley, you will have a special treat waiting for you. The “Fab Friday” trolley rides will offer live music, comedy, improvisational dance teams and various other local artists to entertain riders. In addition, Pacific San Diego magazine representatives will be on board offering discounts and promotional items for local businesses and you may even find a few special performances along the trolley route at various locations when you hop off. “We want residents in Hillcrest, as well as adjacent neighborhoods like Downtown, North Park and Normal Heights, to know that it’s easy to ‘Access Hillcrest,’” said Elizabeth Hannon, chief operating officer of the Uptown Community Parking District. Hannon added that they not only want to highlight the free parking at the DMV lot, but to also show how easy and reliable it is to get on and off the trolley. “We wanted to make it super fun to boot!” she said. A complete list of artists should be finalized and up on the Access Hillcrest Facebook page by Friday, Oct. 16. Visit for more information.

JOB OPENINGS AT PRIDE San Diego LGBT Pride released the descriptions of two new job openings with the local nonprofit, which will allow them to not only improve their events but increase their financial support of the local LGBT community. The two positions include Director of Entertainment and an Office Manager. Director of Entertainment is a full-time position with some evenings and weekends required and the person chosen for this position will be “responsible for growing the level of entertain-

see Briefs, pg 18

14 14

GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015


‘Thao’s Librar y’: This film by Elizabeth Van Meter will be shown at AMC Fashion Valley through Oct. 22. It tells the story of two women who forge an unlikely sisterhood 40 years after the Fall of Saigon. Showtimes vary. 7037 Friars Road, Mission Valley. Visit Queer People of Color Mixer: The Center will host this evening of drinking, dancing and mingling for free (everyone over 21 is welcome). 6 – 9 p.m. San Diego LGBT Community Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit ‘Vertigo’: Cinema Under the Stars presents this Alfred Hitchcock psychological thriller starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. Additional screening on Saturday, Oct. 17. 8 p.m. $15. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. For more info, visit or call 619295-4221.


Taste of North Park: This year’s event will feature over 40 restaurant samples and 10 craft beer tasters (for guests over 21). 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Visit SD Kings Club Spooktacular: Special Halloween show by San Diego’s Drag Kings Club and a birthday celebration for Craven Morehead. $5 cover. Doors at 6 p.m., show 7 p.m. Numbers Nightclub, 3811 Park Blvd., Hillcrest. GNOSD Halloween Scare Dance Event: Nonstop dance music all night with Music Master SuSu. This event by Girls Night Out San Diego includes a “Thriller” line dance and three flash mobs. 6 p.m. Pool party to follow on Sunday, Oct. 18. Brass Rail, 3796 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit on.fb. me/1jmuEC1. ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’: Join Young Professionals Council (a program of The Center) for this midnight showing of the cult classic film. Costumes highly encouraged. RSVP (not required) to $8.50. 11:55 p.m. Ken Cinema, 4061 Adams Ave., Kensington. Visit


Girls Night Out San Diego Pool Party: In addition to their monthly dance event, the girls are putting on a special pool party presented by Sally Hall, SuSu Jones and other community partners. Happy hour specials on bloody marys, mimosas, sangria, and beers. $15. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. Visit

Waterfront Park Pumpkin Patch: A free family event where kids can pick out and decorate their own pumpkin (while supplies last). There will also be inflatable bounce houses, music, crafts and food trucks on site. Visit tinyurl. com/pfdulkd.


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 – 2 p.m. For more info contact La Rue Fields at seniors@thecentersd. org. The Center, 3903 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit

auction, raffle and tasting stations by local restaurants. $40. 6 – 9 p.m. Downtown Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., East Village. Visit PrideFIT hike club: Meets every Thursday, hosted by Carlos Salazar. 7 p.m. Parking lot at Golfcrest Avenue and Navajo Road, in San Carlos. Visit prideFITsandiego. ‘Young Frankenstein’: Cinema Under the Stars presents Mel Brooks’ horror spoof starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle and Teri Garr. Additional screenings on Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24. 8 p.m. $15. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. For more info visit or call 619-295-4221.


Top of the Bay: Weekly LGBT happy hour featuring cocktail specials, shuttle service from The Loft and The Caliph, and more. 5 p.m. Glass Door, 1835 Columbia St., Little Italy. Visit TopOfTheBaySanDiego.


‘Taboo Yardies’: A special documentary screening and panel discussion led by filmmaker/director Selena Blake on LGBT rights in Jamaica. Also attending: Angeline Jackson a leading lesbian activist who founded Quality of Citizenship Jamaica. 6:30 p.m. San Diego LGBT Community Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit TabooYardies. HRC Connect: This month’s event will feature special guest Councilmember David Alvarez (District 8) who will discuss how voting can impact our community. 7 – 9 p.m. True North, 3815 30th St., North Park. Visit hrcsandiego.


‘Taboo Yardies’: A special documentary screening and panel discussion led by filmmaker/director Selena Blake on LGBT rights in Jamaica. Also attending: Angeline Jackson a leading lesbian activist who founded Quality of Citizenship Jamaica. 6 p.m. Valencia Park/ Malcolm X Branch Library, 5148 Market St., Central San Diego. Visit


MARYAH’s 10th annual Har vest Howl: The Metro Area Real Estate Professionals for Young Adult Housing and The Center will host this Halloween-themed event to benefit The Center’s Youth Housing Project. There will be live entertainment, a hosted bar, silent

Madonna during “Rebel Heart” (Photo by Kevin Mazur for WireImage/Getty) THURSDAY, OCT. 29

Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour: The living music icon will make a stop in San Diego on her tour throughout North America and the UK. The multi-Grammy Award-winner is touring in support of her 13th studio album on Interscope Records, “Rebel Heart.” The Queen of Pop’s current single “Ghosttown” has an accompanying video starring Terrence Howard, which was directed by longtime collaborator Jonas Akerlund. $44 - $359. Doors at 7 p.m.; show at 8 p.m. Valley View Casino Center, 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., Point Loma. Visit the evening’s performance of Noel Coward’s British comedy “Hay Fever.” 6:30 p.m. Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town. Visit


tumn in New York’: Local favorite Karrant will put his signature style on jazz, Broadway and show tunes. He’ll be joined by Gilbert Castellanos on trumpet, Joshua White on piano, Justin Grinnell on bass and Brent Sanders on drums. Doors open at 6 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $20 – $25 reserved seating with $15 food/drink minimum. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit


Night Music: This cabaretstyle, Halloween-inspired night of music is presented by the San Diego Women’s Chorus and is a fundraiser to get the ladies to the annual GALA Chorus Festival in Denver, Colorado. Doors and happy hour 6:30 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. Irenic, located at the MG Multipurpose Event Space, 3090 Polk Ave., North Park. General admission and VIP tickets available at


Artist meet and greet: Walter Redondo: The opening night for Walter Redondo’s solo exhibition at Alexander Salazar Fine Art will include a wine reception and a chance to meet the artist and view his original paintings. 4 – 9 p.m. 1040 Seventh Ave., Downtown. Visit Martini Tasting Night and ‘Hay Fever’: Guest bartenders from Martinis Above Fourth will be serving two cocktails before

Date Night at Croce’s: Every Wednesday get a shared appetizer, two entrees, a bottle of wine, Croce’s ambiance and live music for just $49. Tonight’s live music by Louis Valenzuela duo. 6 – 9:30 p.m. 2760 Fifth Ave. #100, Bankers Hill. Visit


Sister Nora Torious’ 50th Birthday Wake: Join the San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for a celebration and fundraiser with a show, Jell-O shots, cake and more. Redwing Bar and Grill, 4012 30th St., North Park. Visit


PrideFIT run club: Meets every Monday, hosted by Miguel Larios. 6:30 p.m. Corner of Sixth Avenue and Upas Street. Visit


Jonathan Karrant in ‘Au-

AMAZING ACTRESS 1 Where open drawers can reveal a lot 5 Early AIDS play 9 Garbo, for one 14 Police incursion at Stonewall 15 Bone in a limp wrist 16 Stand next to Eakins 17 Type of geometry with triangles 19 Milan showplace, with “la” 20 1985 movie with the actress in circles 22 Bond opponent 24 Prepare to shoot off again 25 It may keep you up at night 27 Cheapest bas reliefs of Lincoln 31 Fabric name ending 32 Title character for Barbra 36 The two of them 38 McKuen and more 40 With 57-Across, 1984 movie with the actress in circles 42 Kind of package

DOWN 43 At some remove 44 Brought up the rear? 46 Swell location 47 Olympic nickname 50 Placed one inside another 52 Ready for action, in the men’s room 56 “___ Side Story” 57 See 40-Across 62 Trooper’s device 63 Sweet, hairy guy? 67 Top 68 From square one 69 “Otello” villain 70 What a jockey straddles 71 Untouchable head 72 Oman man

—Compiled by Jen Van Tieghem. Email calendar items to morgan@ sdcnn.comt


Center for Community Solutions’ 11th annual Chef Showdown: Ten local chefs will battle in five competitions at this fundraising event. VIP tickets include free-flowing cocktails, food, valet parking and a gift bag. $250. 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. The Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, 1000 North Harbor Drive, Marina District. Visit ccssd. ‘The Birds’: Cinema Under the Stars presents this Alfred Hitchcock classic starring Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor. Additional screenings on Friday, Oct. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 31. 8 p.m. $15. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. For more info, visit topspresents. com or call 619-295-4221.

1 Eminem’s mentor 2 What 50 million Frenchmen never drink 3 Caesar’s thus 4 Duet partner for Tony Bennett 5 Subject of autoerotic fantasy? 6 More devious 7 Like someone blown away 8 Vixen’s master 9 Part of Ali Babi’s opening 10 Queer 11 Actor Morales 12 Woody valley 13 Jerusalem server 18 “Maurice” director James 21 Extra in “Lord of the Rings” 22 Go extinct 23 “Grease” director Kleiser 25 Wang in fashion 26 Bygone nuclear agcy. 28 Network of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” 29 Says “Bottoms up!” 30 Castro, in San Francisco

solution on page 17 33 Little black bk. listings 34 Stuff for a blow job? 35 Tony Randall’s “7 Faces of Dr. ___” 37 All that’s seen of the Wizard, at first 39 B’way hit sign 41 Alternative to smoking 45 Disney duck 48 Gave a hoot 49 Areas for Dr. Callie Torres 51 Balkan region 53 Hawke or Allen 54 Fairy tale hag 55 The sounds of music 57 Very in Vichy 58 “Hold your horses!” 59 Falco of “The Sopranos” 60 Mr. Right-now 61 They have boughs for bows 64 Stud site 65 Eastern title 66 “Chicago” director Marshall


FLAME to 2004), it was The Garden of Allah, a steak and cocktail joint owned and built in 1946 by Bill and Margaret Pickney in the Egyptian Revival-style to match the Egyptian Quarter neighborhood. Following a major fire in 1954, they rebuilt the structure with the Mondrian-style façade, and appropriately renaming it The Flame after the fire that had previously ravaged it. “My grandfather worked there as a chef from 1958 until the early’60s,” said Tom Lovelle of South Park, who shared with Gay San Diego several old menus that were passed down to him. On a lunch-special sheet dated Sept. 28, 1959, the bill of fare included grilled swordfish almondine for $1.45 and a “French fried turkey burger” for $1.25. From the regular menu, whole baby lobster was a mere $3.25 and peach melba only 50 cents. By the time Carla Coshow bought the building 1984 and transformed it into a lesbian bar with four partners that included entrepreneur Chris Shaw and his partner Doug Snyder, the space had been dark for a number of years. “It was an empty shell, except for the bar that was still standing,” she recalled. “So we created a dance floor, added more restrooms and took out the kitchen because we didn’t have any interest in serving food.” Coshow is credited for bringing lesbian bar culture to Hillcrest at a time when others operated outside the neighborhood, such as The Apartment in Mission Beach, the Box Office in Mission Gorge, KC’s in University Heights, and Club Bombay in Middletown, which later turned into Six Degrees for a short time. “I wanted something nice for women, which was always my goal,” she said. The venture became a destination dance bar for lesbians of all legal ages, and attracted on occasion notable performers such as Thelma Houston, Pussy Tourette and Cece Peniston. It also drew heterosexual males who didn’t always behave appropriately.

Irene Meza-Herrig worked as a security guard at The Flame from 1994 to its last day of operation in 2004. “I would have to sometimes remind straight males that they were in a lesbian bar and I’d ask them to respect the women. ‘If a girl says no, she means no,’ I would tell them.” And then there was “Annie,” the name given to a supposed ghost that many staffers believed took random residence at The Flame. Other employees believed a second ghost named “Hands” roamed the building during the wee hours. Meza-Herrig recalls closing the bar one evening and stacking chairs onto the tables. When she walked away briefly, a chair fell onto the floor. Assuming she didn’t secure it properly, she picked it back up. “Then it happened again a couple minutes later. When I went back, the chair was on the floor with the legs sticking straight up. It was kind of freaky,” she said, adding that her years at The Flame were full of fond memories and she still savors the experience of having worked with a close-knit group of employees. “A lot of times at the end of the night, we’d all grab a beer and go inside the walk-in cooler, which we called ‘the winter wonderland.’ We would talk about the evening and write our names on the wall. I don’t know if our names are still there, but it will be nice to see at least a little part of the bar operate under the building’s new ownership.” For bartender Moe Girton, who worked at The Flame during its final four years before becoming a managing partner of Gossip Grill, one of her favorite memories involved The Red Hot Chili Peppers. “I was closing up on a Monday night and when I went to lock the doors, a limo pulled up. It was all of the band members and some female groupies,” she said. “So we brought them in, and everyone was drinking and dancing way past closing. I didn’t tell Carla about it for years.” After Coshow sold The Flame to the owners of Numbers across the street, Girton would go back and visit occasionally to a remodeled space boasting a higher-energy dance floor and a mostly gay-male patronage.

GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015

(above) (l to r) Walter Magnuson, Doug Snyder, Carla Coshow, and Tim Talent stand in front of the iconic façade in 1984; (left) menu cover from The Flame when it operated as a restaurant more than 60 years ago (Photo by Tom Lovelle) “I liked it, but the place didn’t feel the same,” she said. “The Flame was always very homey, and this was more of a modern nightclub.” The Flame would change hands again, but without ever regaining a steady clientele or firm identity. The building finally shuttered about four years ago. Coshow, who now owns Coshow Real Estate Group in Hillcrest, cherishes several mementos from The Flame’s heyday — matchboxes, posters, and an old pint glass and letterman jacket with logos of The Flame. As for the ghosts, “I never had any expe-

riences with them, but a physic woman came in once, and she said there was definitely something go on there. “It was a really fun run,” she added. “I had some amazing women working for me. And not many bars have lasted that long, especially lesbian bars.” —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














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PEACOCK It also taught me that there are a lot of us out there who suffer from depression. A month after my op-ed piece ran, Kurt sent me one he had written about surviving a suicide attempt in the fall of 2012 (tinyurl. com/olax3fw). I was completely unaware that in the midst of that dark, mudslinging mayoral race, Kurt had attempted to take his life … and nearly did. I read his essay with wonder and sadness but quickly realized it was too long to run in Gay San Diego; so I was glad when it was picked up by the online media outlet. Kurt and I exchanged emails about our essays and our shared illness, and even compared notes. Then he apologized to me. “I was in a bad place back then and I did some bad things,” he said to me. I understood. He made it easy to move on. In this last year as Facebook friends, I began to get to know

OPINION / PHOTO FEATURE the other side of this man who wore ever ything on his sleeve and was surrounded by friendship and love. We often liked and commented on each other’s posts, sent each other messages to check in, and on occasion, continued to compare notes. Most recently, when he found out his cousin was the police officer gunned down in a gas station in Texas, I reached out and offered him space in Gay San Diego to tell his stor y, hoping it might assist in the healing process. He thanked me and said he’d consider it, but I soon realized that trip would take some time to process. On Sept. 8, during Suicide Prevention Week, I reposted my depression op-ed from last year on Facebook. Kurt immediately sent me a private message. “When you go back and read your own story, how does it make you feel?” he asked me. I told him it made me cry all over again. “Yep, it’s tough reliving it,” he said, confirming he’d just reread his own. Once again, we began comparing notes; and while we

both agreed we were better, neither of us were where we wanted to be. Then he spoke the words I could not say. “Most of the time lately I’m doing great but at times I get down to a very sad place,” he said. “Life circumstances always throw me for a loop.” He was right; it is indeed all too often “the little things” that knock those of us with this insidious disease down the furthest. Our conversation morphed into Kurt agreeing to write an op-ed piece to support Suicide Prevention Month. I said I was concerned about burdening him with it, considering all he had going on, but he appeared eager to take it on. Ten days later, he politely asked if he could “pass” on writing that piece, because he was “going through a little something.” That was Sept. 15. It was the last time we spoke directly. I was shocked at the news on Saturday, Oct. 10, and I’ve mourned his passing all week, taking to his Facebook page with regularity to soak up the goodness and the memories being left behind there. Kurt was so well loved, and he was a very brave man; he did everything he possibly could to try and stick out this tough world we all live in. He just realized it wasn’t his thing. No harm, no foul. It was time. In his essay last year, he talked about all the things he’d learned about surviving that first suicide attempt, but I think what he learned the most was how to do a better job and not screw it up this time around. Rest in Power, Kurt Cunningham. You and Summer are gonna love the party this community will be throwing for you on Nov. 1.

GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015

North County LGBTQ Resource Center’s Pride by the Beach Oct. 10, 2015 Oceanside Civic Center (Photos by Vanessa Dubois/XPOZD)

—Morgan M. Hurley is editor of Gay San Diego. She can be reached at

Kurt sharing his popular smile while taking a break during the remodel of Auntie Helen’s (Facebook)

Local suicide prevention and support #itstimetotalkaboutit LGBT in crisis: The Center’s Behavioral Health Services: 619-692-2077 SD County Behavioral Health Services: 888-724-7240 24-hour crisis lines: Up2SD Crisis Hotline: 888-724-7240 | Trans: The Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860 Survivors: Survivors of Suicide Loss (SOSL): 619-482-0297 Teens: The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386

Kurt (left) as Summer Meadows during a San Diego Pride Parade (






GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015


BRIEFS ment and attendance at Pride Music Festival” and other events that San Diego Pride will be involved with, including logistics and production of those events. They are looking for someone with verifiable booking

experience; professional industry relationships; festival and/or concert marketing experience; strong negotiation, organizational and leadership skills; and more. The office manager will run the day-to-day activities of the Pride office, including accounting, reception, facilities, human resources and IT functions. A complete list of duties, respon-

sibilities and candidate requirements can be found at To apply for one of these positions, they request you send your cover letter, resume and salary expectation to No walk-ins, emails or phone calls will be accepted. bership and community,” Executive Director Benjamin Nicholls said after the election. “I am ver y excited to see our board reflect that ver y same diversity here tonight.” To learn more about the HBA visit



The Hillcrest Business Improvement Association (HBA) held its annual meeting Tuesday, Oct. 13, and business owners current on their BID assessments as of Sept. 1 were eligible to participate in the election of nine new board members to round out their 15-person board of directors. Those newly elected were Tami Daiber of Carleton Management — who was also later elected to the position of president; Michael Brennan of Carlson Douglas — who was later also elected to secretary; Charles Kauffman of Bread & Cie; Ryan Bedrosian of Rich’s Night Club; Larry Malone of Empire House Urban Palate; Paul Smith of The Merrow; Alphonso Tsang of Comerica Bank; Gioia Marino-Fanelli of Gioia’s Room; and Delour Younan of Hillcrest Shell. Other officer elections held after the nine board members were chosen included Glenn Younger of Grah Safe and Lock as vice president; and Cecelia Moreno of Crest Café as treasurer. Other board members still serving their terms out are Maggie Roland of Maggie Roland Associates; Bryan Lovering of Adam and Eve; Pete Katz of Katz Real Estate; and Sam Korish of Heat Bar and Kitchen. “As our board continues to evolve, we have been able to move for ward and progress because of the diversity of our mem-

The 16th annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, presented by the Pacific Arts Movement, will take place Nov. 5 – 14. Venues for the popular festival are located throughout the county, and include Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where the opening and closing films will be screened; UltraStar Theaters in Mission Valley, considered the “home base” for the festival; Museum of Photographic Arts, site of the Kiju Yoshida Spotlight; UC San Diego CaLit2 Atkinson Hall Auditorium, screening the Taiwan Film Showcase; and the La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas. The San Diego Marriott Mission Valley will be home to the festival’s Gala awards dinner this year as well as the annual MOVEfest. “This year, we’ve got a great lineup of queer-themed films,” said Michael Chen, one of the festival’s programmers. Following is a synopsis of this year’s LGBT-themed films included at SDAFF: Feature Film: “Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm” – San Diego Premiere, Nov. 7, 1 p.m., UltraStar This compelling documentary delves into one father’s relationship with his daughter, who returns with the intention of stepping into her father’s work boots

on the family farm. “Nothing is forever, and certainly not on the Masumoto family farm. Despite the peach farm’s renown, age and a depleting water table threaten its longevity. Enter Nikko: daughter, hapa, queer, and the personification of the farm’s changing season as well as its enduring spirit,” organizers said in the release. Short Films: “Mommy Queerest” — Nov. 7, 7:35 p.m. at UltraStar. In this program: “Operation Marriage,” “Sex, Politics & Sticky Rice,” “Family Gathering,” “Talking to my Mother,” “Homophonia,” “When Mom Visits,” “Paper Wrap Fire,” “Coming Home.” “From mama drama and a possessed phone to an off-the-rails dinner party, the queer life sometimes veers over the top,” festival organizers said. A reception with food and beverage will follow this series of shorts for ticketholders. For more information visit bit. ly/1GEx8R2. Feature Film: “Thanatos, Drunk” — Nov. 7, 5:30 p.m., Callit2 Atkinson Hall Auditorium; Nov. 9, 8:30 p.m., UltraStar An award-winning Taiwanese drama about an anguished punk, his gay brother and their gigolo friend. “The aptly named Rat crawls through a subcultural, emotionally subterranean world left to him by an alcoholic mother and shared with a gay brother who has just returned from the United States. Chang Tso-chi’s despairing, shockingly felt drama plays like a woozy dream interrupted by bouts of emotional acuity,” said organizers in the release. For more information, visit For tickets or more information, visit


GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015


GayBowl XV The 15th annual GayBowl was held over Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 9 – 11, hosted by the San Diego Polo Club at the Del Mar Polo Fields in Del Mar. With 36 teams participating it was a ver y exciting weekend. Heading into the tournament as three-time national champs, the San Diego Bolts were looking to claim their fourth win on home turf, and win they did. The San Diego Bolts beat the

Xxxx. (Photo Xx)

DC Admirals 33 to 12. “It was absolutely amazing,” said Russ Edra, tournament co-director. “San Diego’s tournaments are known for its organization and volunteers and we did not disappoint. A fantastic time was had by all, and we’re now four in a row national champions.” The San Diego Breakers, of the women’s division, took third in the championship. For more information about your local LGBT flag football league, visit

(above) The San Diego Bolts won their fourth consecutive national championship; (below) action shots from the weekend at Del Mar Polo Grounds (Photos by Russ Edra)



GAY SAN DIEGO Oct. 16 – 29, 2015

A rebel Madonna opted for a number of classics during her stop in Detroit. (Kevin Mazur for WireImage/Getty)

with a cause

Madge thrills fans with her guitar skills during her “Rebel Heart Tour.” She’ll be in San Diego Oct. 29. (Photo by

By Chris Azzopardi | Q Syndicate

Kevin Mazur for WireImage/Getty)

Madonna prepares to slide back into San Diego Morgan M. Hurley | Editor On Oct. 29, Madonna will be bringing her Material Girl self to the Valley View Casino Center (formerly known as the San Diego Sports Arena), promoting her 13th album, “Rebel Heart.” The pop album, recorded in 2014 and released on Interscope Records March 6, was met with much anticipation as Madonna had spent months teasing her Instagram followers with photos taken during the recording sessions. The LP debuted at No. 2 on Billboard and is available on both Amazon and iTunes. Local fans should be excited to see the singer live, who last made an appearance in San Diego for her

11 classic Madonna moments from her ‘Rebel Heart Tour’

“Sticky and Sweet Tour” at Petco Park in 2008. Gay San Diego decided to offer readers a preview of the “Rebel Heart Tour,” penned by Chris Azzopardi of our media partner, Q Syndicate. Azzopardi was able to catch Madge’s show in Detroit, Michigan, Oct. 1, and was pleasantly surprised how many classic hits she performed from her decadeslong career. Although Azzopardi admitted the pop star icon made a couple changeups to her standard “Rebel Heart” set-list for her hometown appearance, we felt this sneak peek would still give our longterm Madonna lovers something to look forward to. If you attend the Oct. 29 show, please send us your thoughts on her performance to morgan@ We will compile all

comments received into a review for the Nov. 13 issue of Gay San Diego. Madonna will perform her “Rebel Heart Tour” at the Valley View Casino Center, located at 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., Point Loma, on Thursday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. General admission tickets are available from $44 to $359. VIP packages (Party, Tour and Fan), which include various additional perks the night of the concert including dinner, premium seating, parking, swag, and VIP entrance, must be purchased in pairs and are $375 to $775. For tickets, visit To watch a video of “Ghosttown,” Madonna’s latest single from “Rebel Heart,” visit tinyurl. com/ljr2gm3. To watch “Bitch I’m Madonna,” featuring Nicki Minaj, visit

Be still my gay heart. Though Madonna’s latest spectacle, “Rebel Heart Tour,” spotlights her 13th studio album of the same name, the concert queen still reached into her back pocket and pulled out a swoon-worthy collection of classics. Ones she hasn’t touched in years — and an exclusive addition just for her fellow Detroiters. “Hometown girl is back!” Madonna proudly declared on Oct. 1 in Detroit. And, oh yes, she was. The icon’s stop at Joe Louis Arena could only be described as the stuff of dreams, a delicious fusion of old and new, writhing nuns and blissed-out fun. “Rebel Heart” was all sweet… not sticky. And nostalgic. Gays, we have so much to be thankful for. “True Blue” “Baby, I love you,” Madonna gushed, dipping into her back catalog for this adorable 1985 relic. Stripped of its pop sheen, “True Blue” became a finger-snappin’, hand-clappin’ campfire sing-along, with Madonna plucking away at a ukulele. Yes, baby, we love you too. “Deeper and Deeper” In 2004, for the “Re-Invention World Tour,” she took her great disco rave from 1992’s “Erotica” to the cabaret, quieting it down for a lounge-style slowie. Not this time. For “Rebel Heart,” “Deeper and Deeper” retained its original pulse, dizzying the crowd of queers with its dance spins as Madge and her crew worked the heart-capped catwalk with a voguish hustle. “Burning Up” Flame bursts boomed from behind Madonna on a towering backdrop, but the diva herself was the one bringing the heat. As she punched her electric guitar, transforming this 1983 fan favorite into a rockin’ rush, someone probably should’ve called 911. “Like a Virgin” Bitch, she’s Madonna. Owning the stage like a boss during a solo hip-hop take on “Like a Virgin,” Madonna bounced her booty during a ravishing display of agelessness — proof that Pilates and full-powered Beyoncétype fans are a girl’s best friends. “La Isla Bonita” Toro, toro! No, there wasn’t a bull, and this wasn’t “Take a Bow” (sigh). Hand to pelvis, Madonna moved to the Spanish vibes of “La Isla Bonita,” showing off her slow-mo gyrations amidst her

festively-attired stage gang who came together for a performance that was muy bien. “Dress You Up” medley If Madonna wants to spoil us, who are we to argue? Not only did “Dress You Up” (in full!) make the cut, but the diva went deep into the ’80s for “Into the Groove” and “Lucky Star,” essentially giving life to all basking in her presence. #Humanitarian “Who’s that Girl” Dusting off the title song from her 1987 film, “Who’s that Girl,” Madonna gave this ditty a guitar-guided makeover — nearly 30 years after last performing it on tour! Despite the fact that Madonna was actually there, donning gypsy attire and taking our collective breath away, it was hard to tell if this was real life. “Frozen” This used to be her playground, which Madonna enthused during her hometown stop, proclaiming that, “Detroit made me who I am today.” And she didn’t stop there. She swapped set-list staple “Ghost Town” for “Frozen,” her stunning “Ray of Light”-era trip to the dark side, stripped to merely the rawness of acoustic guitar and a vocal that left everyone, well, you guessed it: frozen. “Material Girl” Raise your hand if you wet yourself during this one. Beyond the obvious fact that “Material Girl” sits atop Madonna’s smoldering hit heap, the way she folded it into “Rebel Heart” — simple, chic, “Great Gatsby”-inspired — was pure blast-from-the-past pleasure. “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” After shoving a faux lover down a spiral staircase at the end of “Heartbreak City,” Madonna caused a ruckus when she launched into her show-stopping ballad “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” from 1984’s “Like a Virgin.” It was just a snippet, a tease — because, you know, she’s Madonna. “Holiday” It didn’t take this, the encore, to know that Madonna had let her hair down again, ditching brooding theatrics for the essence of early Madonna: frilly fun. “Rebel Heart Tour” was a two-hour-plus celebration of Madonna’s career, and it all came to a boisterous, confetti-filled head with “Holiday.” —Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at

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