Page 1

Volume 7 Issue 25

Holiday Guide Page 14

Dec. 9 - 22, 2016

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Bechdel's "tragicomic" life became a Broadway musical

3 FEATURE Four of this year’s five “Wreath Boys” (Kevin Messer, Nelson Marin, Ricky Quevedo and Alex Paradalopez) hold The Center’s submission, “A Sapphire Holiday,” which went for $1,000. Wreath Boy not shown is Grant Foreman. (Photo by Morgan M. Hurley)

#ItsForTheKids Morgan M. Hurley | Editor

Good eats for dogs, locally made


“A dose of brotherly love”


The 14th annual Charity Wreath Auction for the Queen Eddie Conlon LGBT Youth Fund took place Monday, Dec. 5, at Martinis Above Fourth Table + Stage. Longtime emcee Ian Johnson, director of development at the San Diego LGBT Community Center, was again at the helm along with Lady Ajax, the able auctioneer who always runs the bidding wars with an iron voice and a satin fist. Started in 2003 by former Martinis Above Fourth owners Chaz Weathers, Dale Dubach and Johnny Osgood, current owners Jim Simpson and Doru Tifui have happily continued the tradition. “This event is one of my favorites of the year,” Johnson said. “It brings many new faces and they have no idea what’s in store for them and end up having a great time. The auction is the primary source of funding for the Queen Eddie Youth Fund and those funds are changing lives.” Wreaths of all sizes and shapes are donated each year from businesses, nonprofits, individuals, couples — and even truples — from throughout the local community and beyond, making this one of the most dynamic and entertaining holiday-themed events of the year. Wreath donations came from the office of Mayor Faulconer; Cygnet Theatre Company; John Greenwell; Rufskin; Pacific Wine & Spirits; Moet Hennessy, USA; Hotel del Coronado; Imperial Court; Auntie Helens; San Diego Leather Pride; Svedka Vodka; and TransFamily Support

Services, among many others. Many wreaths came with additional gift cards, bottles of spirits, or other related items, such as the submission from Tyler Curry and Clarione Gutierrez, which included a signed copy of the LGBT-themed children’s book, “A Peacock Among Pigeons.” “Being in a room surrounded by caring community members who are there to make a difference in the lives of our youth is a highlight of the year,” Johnson said. “I believe the energy isn’t just something that affects us on stage but also everyone in the audience feels the excitement.” One of the additional draws of the auction is of course the scantily clad Wreath Boys, who parade each wreath down the catwalk and hold them up for review during the bidding process. With starting bids ranging between $60 and $250, this year’s 37 wreaths raised more than $23,000, which also included sales from raffle tickets and more than $1,000 in sales post-auction for the pajama bottoms worn by each of the Wreath Boys. The top selling wreath of the evening, “Elfs at Christmas,” was donated by Auntie Helen’s, and went for $2,000. Local businesses Pardon My French, Uptown Tavern, Great Maple, Martinis Above Fourth Table + Stage, Hard Rock Hotel, Hard Rock Café and Salon 1532 all donated raffle items for the 23 opportunity drawings. All sales were tax deductible and proceeds will go directly to the Youth Fund, which was established in Queen Eddie’s name by the Imperial Court de San Diego. For more information, visit —Reach Morgan M. Hurley at

People of the year “A Normal Heart” on stage

Index Community Voices .....….4 Opinion....................6 Classifieds................16 Puzzle......................18

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Morgan M. Hurley | Editor (Editor’s Note: First of a two-part series.) Time Magazine has its annual “Man of the Year” and the San Diego LGBT community has ours. The annual Nicky Awards took place a little later than usual this year, on Nov. 13, but were nonetheless as entertaining and enlightening as ever. The two top Nickys of the evening, “Man of the Year” and “Woman of the Year,” were bestowed upon two well-liked and longtime leaders of the San Diego LGBT community — not unusual, in fact that is generally how it works — but what was different is that the two winners were chosen despite the fact that they have both endured

see Man of the Year, pg 13

Every year, San Diego Pride gives back a percentage of the profits from its annual weekendlong celebration to deserving LGBT-serving organizations in the area and has given more than $2 million over the years. This year, the San Diego Pride event was so successful, 40 different organizations will split an $80,000 disbursement through the Pride Community Grant Program. “Pride’s annual celebration, year-round advocacy and education efforts serve our community well, but no one organization can do it all — which is why our grant programs are so vital,” said Fernando Lopez, San Diego Pride director of operations. “Pride grants help to fund HIV testing, LGBT youth programs, sobriety services, programs that support our transgender community, LGBTQ arts and culture, QPOC programs and a variety of other LGBTQ health and human services that our community relies on and enjoys.” This year’s list of recipients includes 2-1-1 San Diego; Being Alive San Diego; Breakthrough Workshop Theatre; Casa Ruby; DETOUR (Depositing Empowerment Through Outreach & Urban Redevelopment); Diversionary Theatre; Family Health Centers of San Diego; Fierté Simcoe Pride; FilmOut; GLSEN; Greater San Diego Business Association (GSDBA); Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center; Lambda Archives of San Diego; Lead the Way; Live and Let Live Alano Club; Mama’s Kitchen; Mental Health America; North County LGBTQ Resource Center; PFLAG San Diego County; Political Animals; RISE San Diego’s LGBTQ Fellows Initiative; San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition; San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus; San Diego LGBT Visitors Center; San Diego Unified Council of PTAs; San Diego Women’s Chorus; SEED – Malaysia; Special Delivery San Diego; Stepping Stone of San Diego; Strength for the Journey; San Diego LGBT Community Center; The Industry – Chula Vista; The Neutral Corner; The Recovery Ride; Trevor Project; Trans Youth Project; TransFamily Support Services; TransPride 2017; Uptown Community Service Center; and Y.E.S. San Diego. For more information about San Diego Pride, visit


Embattled leaders Stephen Whitburn, former executive director of San Diego Pride, and (right) Barbra Blake, current CEO of the GSDBA, won “Man (and Woman) of the Year,” respectively, at the recent Nicky Awards. (Facebook)

After a closely fought race for County Supervisor representing District 3, openly gay incumbent Dave Roberts finally conceded the race to Kristin Gaspar on Nov. 28, nearly three weeks after the election.

see Briefs, pg 13



GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016

Catching up with Alison Bechdel

dark and so sad, it seemed like the antithesis of a musical. (CA) Because of the emotional depth you explored in your book, did you have trepidation about how it might be portrayed on stage? (AB) If I had known more about musicals when I said yes to that project, I would’ve had a lot of trepidation, but I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. I also knew that Lisa Kron would be writing the book [for the musical] and I was a great admirer of hers and really trusted her to get it right as much as she could.

Out cartoonist on new “Dykes to Watch Out For,” the universal appeal of “Fun Home” and her initial doubts about making it a musical Chris Azzopardi | Q-Syndicate

For all her newfound commercial clout, it might seem strange that Alison Bechdel recently returned to her less-mainstream roots. Even though her self-proclaimed “tragicomic” graphic novel “Fun Home” has become a Tony Awardwinning commercial smash and is currently on its first national tour, Bechdel couldn’t ignore her despair when Donald Trump was elected president. Attempting to process the startling outcome, the Vermontbased graphic novelist sat down to draw the iconic characters from her popular “Dykes to Watch Out For,” which was first published in 1983 in a feminist newspaper, WomaNews, before being widely syndicated to outlets across the U.S. Bechdel hadn’t revisited her popular strip’s lesbian clan in eight years. Within that time, she released two graphic novels: 2006’s “Fun

Home,” about her father’s gay secret and her coming out and its 2012 companion piece, “Are You My Mother?” Then in 2014, Bechdel was the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Grant. Recently, the 56-year-old artist talked about getting back to the lesbian characters that first endeared her to LGBT audiences decades ago, the next-level catharsis she experienced when “Fun Home” hit Broadway, and the pressures of critical and commercial success. (Chris Azzopardi | CA) Are you a fan of musicals? (Alison Bechdel | AB) Honestly, I really have not been. I didn’t quite understand the whole culture around musicals and there are just people who are so passionate about musicals. That was not me. You know, I sort of thought of musicals as “Guys and Dolls” and people bursting into song inexplicably, but I also understood that there are

(above) Bechdel in her studio (Courtesy John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation); (inset) a page from the graphic novel, “Fun Home.” (Courtesy Alison Bechdel) beautiful musicals out there. I was a big fan of Sondheim, but somehow didn’t think of Sondheim stuff as musicals in the traditional sense. (CA) Do you have a new appreciation now that “Fun Home” is one? (AB) Absolutely, yeah. It’s an amazing form, or it can be in the right hands. I’m just thinking about the sort of stock Broadway musical where there’s a conflict, but things end up all happy. That’s not so interesting. But the amazing emotional depth you can get in a musical is really interesting to me and I was excited to see that happen with “Fun Home.”

(CA) What was your first thought when you heard “Fun Home” was getting the musical treatment? (AB) My first thought, honestly, was, “That’s impossible. Yes, I’ll take your option money, but good luck.” I did not know much about musicals or the stage at all and it just seemed like a crazy, complex book. Of course, they left out large parts of the book as one has to do, but in the early days, I just couldn’t imagine how that would be put on a stage. Also, because it’s just so

San Diego Unified School District Connected to Fast, Reliable Network Ninety two San Diego Unified School District schools now have access to a 175-gigabit network as part of an agreement with Cox Business. As part of the agreement, Cox Business built out 54 miles of fiber in San Diego. A total of 189 schools in the district are now connected to a fast, reliable Ethernet network through Cox Business that will enable all types of digital learning, not only inside the classroom, but also distance learning between schools and organizations outside of the district.

largest fiber project the company has undertaken for a single customer in San Diego to date.

“San Diego Unified students already have access to some of the best technology in education today, but as anyone who has ever left their cell phone service area knows, the best technology is only as good as the Internet service that connects you to the world,” said Cindy Marten, superintendent of San Diego Unified School District. “Thanks to this partnership with Cox Business, our students will have access to enterprise class WiFi service, allowing them to collaborate with their teachers and peers in amazing new ways.”

Serving more than 130,000 students, from pre-school through grade 12, San Diego Unified School District is the second largest district in California, with a diverse student population representing more than 15 ethnic groups and more than 60 languages and dialects.

The network that Cox Business has built for the district is the

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Cox Business is the commercial division of Cox Communications that serves business customers of all sizes, school districts, medical facilities, hotels, local government and the military. For more information on Cox Business, visit

(CA) Were you consulted during its evolution? (AB) I had pretty much zero to do with what you see on stage and didn’t have any official involvement in making that show. (CA) How difficult was giving up control of your source material? (AB) It was a leap of faith. I trusted Lisa and [composer] Jeanine Tesori came on board. I also had trust in her. When I say I wasn’t involved, it wasn’t that they kept me out — I just didn’t have any formal role. But they would meet with me periodically and pick my brain about ideas about the book and my process writing it. So, I felt very connected to them even though I didn’t know what I was doing or what I was telling them. [Laughs] (CA) “Fun Home” opened offBroadway in 2013 at New York’s Public Theater. When did you first see it and what was your initial impression? (AB) The whole process took years, but the first thing I saw or heard was at the end of 2010. I got a script in the mail and a CD with music on it from a workshop they had all done that I didn’t see. Up until then, it just seemed like a fantasy that may or may not happen one day. But when I heard those songs, I was just blown away. It was really powerful and very few of those actually made it through to the final musical. There were so many songs that came and went, but I knew that they had something really magical happening. (CA) Do you remember the experience of seeing this stage interpretation of your life? (AB) That too went through an amazing transition. At one point the stage set was an exact replica of my home studio, where I spend all my time and that was really freaky. It was like I was looking in the window at myself working. But that got abandoned at one point and the set became a much more stripped down, sort of imaginary space. But it was pretty freaky all around, watching this musical about me and my family. (CA) Do you have a favorite song from the musical? (AB) It’s really hard to pick. I know that sounds corny, but I love all of the songs. Of course “Ring of Keys” is just incredible. You know, I’m not really a big song person. Some people just don’t have that

see Bechdel, pg 7


An evolutionary endeavor

LGBT business partners grow budding dog treat company By Dave Fidlin It started with an experiment in the kitchen and has since blossomed into a small, local business venture that has yielded partnerships, a film cameo and many, many happy four-footed pets. Longtime friends Jason Dean, Jose Padilla and Tom Reise — who are all part of the local San Diego LGBT community — share another common bond: a love of dogs and a steadfast belief that the food they consume is a vital part of their longevity. The outgrowth of their shared interest is Evolution Dog Treats, a grain-free, all-natural, handmade product that comes in three flavors — liver, peanut butter and salmon — and has a short list of accompanying ingredients, including sweet potato, potato flour, flaxseed oil and eggs. Evolution’s, um, evolution as a dog treat company is traced back to two years ago. Padilla began tinkering with a recipe after a conversation with a friend, who is an herbalist. Once a recipe was established, Padilla and Dean began selling the product at a number of farmers markets, namely in University Heights and the Little Italy Mercato. “For us, the important thing all along has been to keep it simple,” said Dean — who serves

Business partners (l to r) Tom Reise, Jose Padilla and Jason Dean, at a local screening of the film, “Pup Star.” Their dog treats (inset) were featured in the film. (Courtesy Evolution Dog Treats) as Evolution’s vice president of operations — of the budding company’s mission statement. “We’re part of a mentality that’s changing all over the world.” Reise joined the fold a year10.25provided in. and-a-half ago and an infusion of capitol to help advance the business’ objectives through

the lens of marketing, branding and similar efforts. “People are starting to feed their pets as they’re feeding themselves,” Reise said. “Our pets are an extension of us and it’s important to give them the right combination of foods.” During a chance encounter

GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016 at one particular farmers market, Padilla struck up a working relationship and a friendship with Barbara Jeanine. Jeannie, a retired Navy veteran, co-owns Industrial Grind coffee shop and bakery with her wife, retired Navy Master Chief Kathy Hansen. The couple has two Industrial Grind locations in Hillcrest— one at 3922 Park Blvd., just north of University Avenue and one at 1433 University Ave. — and have additional locations in Santee and Tierrasanta. Evolution’s products are now created within Industrial Grind’s baking facilities. Jeanine and Hansen’s business offers gluten-free baked goods, which meshes with the care and attention Padilla said is needed for Evolution’s line of treats. high-qualIn addition to their high-qual ofity facilities, Padilla of fered another reason he and his business partners wanted to work with Jeanine and Hansen. “It’s important to support the LGBT community in any way we can,” Padilla said. “We have to support each other, as a community.” Jeanine said she is thrilled to help foster the success of a fellow LGBT-owned business, though she looks at mentorship through a broader prism. “I love business so much that I want to see people be successful,” Jeanine said. “When they approached us and asked about using our space, I was happy to do it.” In addition to local farmers markets, Evolution’s line of dog

treats are also sold online and in retail storefronts — including Industrial Grind. In its brief life, Evolution’s treats have even received the Hollywood treatment. They were recently featured in the Netflix family film, “Pup Star,” which was created by Air Bud Entertainment. Dean, Padilla and Reise held a special screening of the film recently at the Museum of Photographic Arts within Balboa Park to mark the occasion. “The dog treats were actually a part of the storyline,” Reise said. “We were excited to be a part of the film.” Dean, Padilla and Reise said the toil needed to grow and evolve their business is never ceasing, though they would not have it any other way. “We all have a love for animals,” Dean said. “I would probably have a whole farm full of animals if I could.” From Reise’s vantage point, the future growth possibilities are endless, though he said he and his business partners are being measured and methodical, but noted that a line of petfriendly hotels has agreed to carry their products. “I’m really proud of them for taking it slow and steady,” Jeanine said. “I think they’re being smart about it, quite frankly.” For more details on Evolution’s line of dog treats, visit —Dave Fidlin is a freelance journalist with a special affinity for San Diego and its people. Contact him at


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GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016

All I want for Christmas is the perfect relationship Life Beyond Therapy Michael Kimmel As Christmas nears, many of my single clients want Santa to bring them the “perfect relationship” and leave it under the tree (nicely wrapped, of course). As a psychotherapist, I am happy to play cupid, but I insist on being a cupid based in reality. In this column, I’ll include questions you can ask yourself to increase the likelihood of finding that perfect woman/ man under your Christmas tree. I believe that there are many potential “perfect” partners for all of us and that we could be happy with any number of people. So, if there is not only one perfect partner, what about finding a wonderful partner? Someone who we can give love to, receive love from, who has our back, puts up with us when we’re fabulous and even when we are cranky. Let’s talk about that kind of partner. How can we find someone like that? To me, finding your perfect partner is a balancing act between being active and passive. What have you done to look for a perfect partner? How successful was your “hunt”? The active aspect of finding your perfect partner is about putting yourself in places where you’re likely to meet the kinds of people who are compatible. Yes, folks, you need to get off your butts and get out there into the world and

be around people, meet them, talk to them and see how you both feel about each other. How active have you been in your search for a perfect partner? How did that work, or not work, for you? The passive phase requires that once you put yourself out there, you relax and let things unfold. It’s not about forcing something or manipulating someone into thinking you’re someone other than who you are. How good are you at letting people come to you? Can you relax and let things unfold when you’re dating someone? See the balance? Both phases are crucial: blow either one and your perfect partner(s) will never get to meet you, or, if they do, you’ll be so anxious and intense that they’ll run screaming into the night. Just how high should you aim for a perfect partner? Does this person need to be much more perfect than you are? Better looking? More successful? If this is how you’re setting it up, good luck. Your perfect partner is probably about as well adjusted and/ or messed up as you are. In fact, research shows that happy partnerships are forged more on similarities than differences. What are your standards for a perfect partner? Are they the same or different than your standards for yourself? Your perfect partner may be different from you in many ways, but you’ll hit it off well from the get-go if you have similar values, e.g., honesty, integrity, kindness and generosity. Study after

study shows that similar values are the most important traits that happy couples share. How similar have you been to past (or your present) partners? How have you been different? To avoid repeating old dysfunctional dating patterns, it’s important to identify the obstacles in your path when searching for your perfect person. What has historically stood in your way when trying to meet great people and dating them? What patterns do you see in your past relationships? What do you see as your biggest obstacles in meeting your perfect partner? Fear is a big obstacle for many of us. We’re afraid of getting hurt, falling in love with someone who doesn’t love us back, or having our hearts broken. Honestly, we’ve all had our hearts broken, and we will continue to have them broken, heal, and have them broken and heal again and again. Luckily, you don’t need to be perfect to attract the perfect partner. Start by considering the above ideas and begin telling yourself, “Some amazing man/woman is going to be lucky enough to have me as their partner,” and be willing to be surprised. The perfect partner for you may be on their way to you right now, but you might not recognize them. Let go of your old ideas and see what wonderful people you’ll attract … and enjoy the process! —Michael Kimmel is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in helping LGBT clients achieve their goals. Contact him at 619-955-3311 or visit t

In defense of flaking Back Out with Benny Ben Cartwright I had an interesting conversation with a man at a bar recently. After sitting next to each other for about 10 months, we struck up a conversation and the topic of “flaking” came up. “Flakes,” for those who don’t know, are those who tend to say they’ll show up somewhere or do something, but then bail out, usually with no notice, reason, or phone call. So many gay men I come across say that San Diego has one of the highest concentrations of flakes, more so than they’ve experienced in many other places. I doubt there’s any research data to back this up, but I’ve only lived in San Diego, so I don’t have any other city to compare it to. I’ve always been a fierce defender of my hometown, and usually tell people who make the “flaky San Diego” claim that it might just be gays in general, or it could be because of the culture of social media and hookup apps that have led people in general to be less serious about following through on promises made. I’ll admit it: I’ve flaked before. I’ve said I was going to some parties or events, and didn’t make it. I’ve even once or twice flaked on a friend or date. I’ve been late to meetings and events. But I will make one thing clear: I very much value other people’s time, feelings and respect mutual agreements and plans, and do my best to keep my commitments whenever possible. Flaking isn’t cool. But this very cool-talking, down to earth, seemingly “all together” guy at the bar asked me to think about it differently: Why are our lives so controlled by schedules? “Flakes aren’t bad people, they’re just living in the moment,” he said. It was an interesting perspective and really

see Benny, pg 6

events attheCenter Saturday, Dec. 10

Wednesday, Dec. 21

Come home for the holidays

Lunch & Learn: Depression, anxiety, & the holidays

5 pm, the Center The holidays are almost here! Join us at The Center for Home for the Holidays as we celebrate the diverse cultures & traditions within the San Diego LGBT Community. This event is familyfriendly and free to all. Come to dance, learn something new, and meet your community. Free food and nonalcoholic beverages will be available!

Saturday, Dec. 17

hillcrest Wind ensemble: holiday rhapsody 7 pm, San Diego Women’s Club Join Hillcrest Wind Ensemble for “Holiday Rhapsody” at the San Diego Woman’s Club (2557 3rd Ave) in Banker’s Hill. Guest harpist Tasha Smith Godinez and a special appearance by the Hillcrest Wind Ensemble Holiday Singers will add to the festivities. Home baked goods and other refreshments will be available during intermission. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, available at The Windsmith 3875 Granada Ave. in North Park and at For more information, visit

12 noon, the Center This presentation will discuss seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression, and anxiety in relation to older adults. We will talk about coping tools and community resources that can be helpful during the holiday season. The Beck Depression Inventory and Beck Anxiety Inventory will also be discussed. For more information on this event or to rSVP, please contact Larue Fields at or 619.692.2077 x205.


3 sessions for $99*

Wednesday, Dec. 21

Bi Coming Out Group 7-8:30 pm, the Center Join The Center’s discussion group on bisexuality on the third Wednesday of every month. It’s a welcoming space to share your experiences, ask questions, discuss community issues and meet like-minded people. This group is open to all persons who are sexually and/or emotionally attracted to more than one gender. For more information, contact aaron heier at The San Diego LGBT Community Center 3909 Centre Street • 619-692-2077

Mission Hills 4019 Goldfinch Street San Diego, CA 92103 *Limited time offer. Terms and conditions apply. See studio for details. 2016 Fitness Together Franchise Corporation. All rights reserved. Each Fitness Together® studio is independently owned and operated.


Twitter: @LGBTCenter

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The donkey and the well Senior Matters William E. Kelly Senior Matters is a column of reality, hope, history — and information and stories that are of curiosity, interest and/or assistance to readers of all ages — as perceived, seen and experienced by me, a youth who lived to become a senior. As such, it seems reasonable to share a little bit about the journey my husband Bob and I have taken to “seniordom.” Together we have survived nearly half a century of the challenges, tests and trials of life in a homophobic world. We lived in Chicago, where a mutual friend introduced us in the fall of 1978, thinking we would have a lot in common since we were both bankers. Bob was a likable, savvy, well-traveled man brought up in a California beach town who exuded confidence and spoke of things I knew little about. I was a friendly but naive MidWesterner. If ever there was a more unlikely pairing, it was us. Our backgrounds, families, interests, experiences and most of our character traits couldn’t have been more opposite. It was hardly a surprise that we would resist our initial introduction, where neither of us was impressed with nor drawn to the other. To say there was no spark would be an understatement. We merely exchanged brief, civilized pleasantries and headed our separate ways with a polite nod of acknowledgement. An unplanned meeting in a Chicago watering hole suggestively called The Bushes on Jan. 5, 1979, gave us a second chance. I was sitting at the bar when Bob came in and sat next to me. We sipped our beers and gradually found ourselves sharing stories about our lives. Hours later the lights dimmed and the bartender announced “last call.” Suddenly it was 2 a.m. and that something that drew us together was about to unknowingly shape our futures in ways we could not possibly have imagined. I smiled and said, “Would you like to go for a coffee?” His response was more characteristic of my boldness than his reserve, when he replied, “I really had more than coffee in mind.” Yes, we were attracted to each other, but what drew us together like the opposite poles of a magnet was not just a physical attraction. In our lost hours of conversation, we had touched on and discovered our common

core values of trust, loyalty, love and friendship, all which would become the foundation of the rest of our inseparable lives. As a child I asked my grandmother what it was like to be old. She replied with a story that will set the tone and focus of future writings. I share that story with you now: One day, a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, the farmer decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway, so it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They each grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down into the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that had hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing; he had shaken it off and taken a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take another step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off. Life is going to shovel all kinds of dirt on us all. Our job is to shake it off and help others brush off what they can’t shake off. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We never stop. We never give up. We free our hearts of hatred and our minds of worries about what could happen. We focus on appreciating what we have and not on what we are missing. We expect less from others, more from ourselves and give a hand to others who need our help. This column will not be a series of woe-is-me articles, a wringing of hands or a Pollyanna story of happily ever after. Nether will it be about merely surviving the senior years; but rather how you, your friends and families can thrive in them. Thank you for welcoming me into your lives. This is your column. Please email me with your thoughts, concerns and the senior matters that are important to you and those you love and care for. —Bill Kelly is a longtime local activist who currently focuses on LGBT senior issues and moderates the Caring for our LGBT Seniors in San Diego Facebook page. Access to the group is free to all seniors, their advocates, families, friends and caregivers. Reach Bill at

GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016


Beware of Home Inspection Pitfalls Before You Put Your Hillcrest Home Up for Sale Hillcrest According to industry experts, there are over 33 physical problems that will come under scrutiny during a home inspection when your home is for sale. A new report has been prepared which identifies the eleven most common of these problems, and what you should know about them before you list your home for sale. Whether you own an old home or a brand new one, there are a number of things that can fall short of requirements during a home inspection. If not identified and dealt with, any of these 11 items could cost you dearly in terms of repair. That's why it's critical that you read this report before you list your home. If you wait until the building inspector flags these issues for you, you will almost certainly experience costly delays in the close of your home sale or, worse, turn prospective buyers away altogether. In most cases, you can make a reasonable pre-inspection yourself if you know what you're looking for, and knowing what you're looking for can help you prevent little problems from growing into costly and unmanageable ones. To help homeseller's deal with this issue before their homes are listed, a free report entitled "11 Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection" has been compiled which explains the issues involved. To hear a brief recorded message about how to order your FREE copy of this report call toll-free 1-866-220-9502 and enter 1003. You can call any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get your free special report NOW to learn how to ensure a home inspection doesn't cost you the sale of your home. This report is courtesy of Moore & Sons Realty BRE #01990368. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract. Copy right © 2016

How to Sell Your North/South Park Home Without An Agent And Save the Commission North Park If you've tried to sell your home yourself, you know that the minute you put the "For Sale by Owner" sign up, the phone will start to ring off the hook. Unfortunately, most calls aren't from prospective buyers, but rather from every real estate agent in town who will start to hound you for your listing. Like other "For Sale by Owners", you'll be subjected to a hundred sales pitches from agents who will tell you how great they are and how you can't possibly sell your home by yourself. After all, without the proper information, selling a home isn't easy. Perhaps you've had your home on the market for several months with no offers from qualified buyers. This can be a very frustrating time, and many homeowners have given up their dreams of selling their homes themselves. But don't give up until you've read a new report entitled "Sell Your Own Home" which has been prepared especially for homesellers like you. You'll find that selling your home by yourself is entirely possible once you understand the process. Inside this report, you'll find 10 inside tips to selling your home by yourself which will help you sell for the best price in the shortest amount of time. You'll find out what real estate agents don't want you to know. To hear a brief recorded message about how to order your FREE copy of this report call toll-free 1866-220-9502 and enter 1017. You can call any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get your free special report NOW to learn how you really can sell your home yourself.

This report is courtesy of Moore & Sons Realty BRE #01990368. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract. Copy right © 2016 This report is courtesy of Moore & Sons Realty BRE#01990368. Not intended to solicit buy ers or sellers currently under contract. Copy right © 2016


GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016



Guest Editorial

A message from the board of San Diego Pride San Diego Pride has the challenging responsibility to represent the complex nature of the full diversity within San Diego’s LGBTQ community. While the board, staff, and volunteers are diverse in expertise, age, race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, faith, and ability, we strive to listen, reflect, and respond to the ever-evolving needs and concerns presented to the organization. We want everyone to know that we have heard them and will continue our efforts to best support the diverse community that we all share. Our board has been focused on strategic planning and has spent the last two months meeting with key community stakeholders, community members and elected officials. Additionally, the board has implemented and adhered to a code of conduct, and will continue to work under this code. It is our plan that in addition to our signature events, we will drive our energy and resources to continue and expand our advocacy, education and community organizing, which are so clearly needed in this post-election world. Our board has undergone

EDITOR Morgan M. Hurley (619) 961-1960 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Ken Williams, x102 Jeff Clemetson, x119 ASSISTANT EDITOR John Gregory CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chris Azzopardi Charlene Baldridge Ben Cartwright Dave Fidlin William E. Kelly Michael Kimmel Frank Sabatini Jr.

other leadership changes and will be continually working to improve our representation of the community. Our board is currently in the process of welcoming new members. The newest addition to the board is Martha Henderson, whose years of community service, volunteerism and efforts to coordinate a wide range of organizations and events are well known in San Diego’s LGBTQ community. In January, San Diego Pride will be relaunching our Community Advisory Council. One of Pride’s founders, San Diego Human Relations Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez, will be leading this effort to bring together community change-makers and advisors to connect the board with the community. Co-chairing the council along with Nicole Murray-Ramirez will be former AIDS Walk executive director and current Greater San Diego Business Association (GSDBA) CEO, Barbra Blake. The two co-chairs will invite community organizations to nominate representatives to serve on the council. San Diego Pride is committed to work in collaboration with our partners to see that our efforts

WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Jen Van Tieghem, x118 COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich

continue to impact not just our San Diego LGBTQ community, but our global community as well. As we do every year, we will hold a town hall meeting, which will be announced soon. We always welcome your ideas and suggestions; please send them to As an organization founded on advocacy for the LGBTQ community, the San Diego LGBT Pride Board of Directors would like to extend our gratitude to the community for sharing their voice and support in moving forward with our mission to foster pride in and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, locally, nationally, and internationally.

got me thinking, especially as we enter this very busy holiday season, which has my calendar so locked tight, I could barely find time to go over to my mom’s house one night this month for dinner. We schedule ourselves so tight with meetings, obligations and other things, that sometimes, the obligations lose their fun. It feels weird to have to schedule “friend time.” Maybe it’s because I’m a Southern California boy, I’ve always been fairly flexible, try to take my time on things, enjoy sleeping in whenever I can and am just a bit slower about things (although I admit I talk and walk a mile a minute!), but my work, personal and social activities can really get overwhelming sometimes. While I certainly don’t plan to make a bunch of plans and then “flake” on them, I’m going to really start looking at my calendar and deciding which events and obligations are really that important and which ones not so much. I want to think more about what “living in the moment” might look like for me, without hurting or “flaking” on others and be more mindful of my own personal time. What does “living in the moment” look like to you?

Getting Out With Benny

We’re in the midst of the busy holiday season, so there is just so much going on that I’m not even going to get to most of it, but here are some highlights that I’m looking forward to. The Center’s “Come Home for the Holidays” on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 5-8 p.m. is an annual community tradition where everyone is invited to come together and enjoy food, treats and holiday cheer. Dozens of community groups will provide food and share information about the work they do. For more info, visit The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus’ annual holiday show, titled “Jingle,” is another holiday tradition that so many look forward to. The Sunday, Dec. 11 show is already sold out, but you may be able to get some of the final remaining tickets for the Saturday, Dec. 10 show. Details here FilmOut San Diego is presenting “Auntie Mame” (the Rosalind Russell version) for their next monthly screening on Wednesday, Dec. 14 from 7-9:30 p.m. I love this movie and can’t wait to see it on the big screen! More information here: inyurl. com/jtlub7z. Finally, I’m vice chair of the Hillcrest Town Council and would love to see all of my Hillcrest neighbors (and friends who love Hillcrest) at our first annual Hillcrest Holiday Mixer! The event will be on Friday, Dec. 16 from 6-9 p.m. at Gossip Grill with hosted appetizers, holiday cheer, special presentations and more! Join us: Happy Holidays! —Benny Cartwright is the director of community outreach at the San Diego LGBT Community Center. He can be reached at 619692-2077 ext. 106 or outreach@ Note: Byline photo by Rob Lucas Modern Aperture Photography.t

Signed, Bianca Burt, Co-chair Jim Seal, Co-chair Matthew Verdeflor, Treasurer Phyllis Jackson, Secretary Martha Henderson, Board Member Nenette Agulto, Board Member Lynn Barnes-Wallace, Board Member Judi Schaim, Board Emeritus Joe Mayer, Board Emeritus Jeri Dilno, Board Emeritus Doug Moore, Board Emeritus t

ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962


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BECHDEL part of their brain and I think I’m one of them. [Laughs] It’s funny to me to see how that song has caught on in the culture, to see just how it’s gripped people, especially young people. Children just love that song. I mean, little kids who don’t even know what it means are singing it on YouTube — it’s crazy. (CA) “Fun Home” is the first Broadway musical with a lesbian lead, which is groundbreaking. Did you ever think we’d have a lesbian lead on Broadway and the lesbian lead would be you? (AB) No, I never did! [Laughs] Not that Broadway ever took up any space in my brain at all, but yeah, it’s pretty surprising all around.

(Courtesy Alison Bechdel)

(CA) How do you process the mainstream appeal of “Fun Home” and its resonance beyond the LGBT community? (AB) I guess it’s just really a picture of what’s been going on in the culture and my story and the play came along at this particular juncture when people were finally open to hearing a queer story that’s also a human story. There was finally space for that. I think if the play had come out a little sooner, if the book had come out a little sooner, it might not have caught on the way that it did, but somehow people were ready for it. (CA) What do you think it is about the musical and the book that is resonating on such a universal level? (AB) For one thing, it’s about a family. Everyone’s got a family, of one fashion or another. Also, I think it’s about a family with secrets and most families have some kind of secret. I think people relate a lot to that, to the catharsis of having a secret brought out in the open. I’ve heard stories of people from all different kinds of permutations — not just gay family members, but all kinds of issues: mental illness, affairs, double lives. I think it’s a great relief for people to see this secret cracked open. (CA) What have been some of the most memorable responses you’ve heard regarding the book over the years? (AB) God, you know, it’s hard to hang onto those. Whenever I go to the show — I’ve seen it 15 or so times — people will recognize me in the audience afterwards and I

hear the most incredible stories and people are sobbing. I get so caught in those exchanges — it’s really intense — that I can’t remember the details. So, I’m sorry I can’t give you a good anecdote, but I’ve had amazingly intimate encounters with audience members. (CA) Of the three characters representing your life at various stages in the musical, do you have a favorite Alison Bechdel? (AB) [Laughs] I don’t. To me they all sort of fuse into a whole and they’re bound up. I couldn’t single one out. I do think it was a really interesting choice to have the adult Alison telling this story because that wasn’t really technically part of the book at all. That was part of Lisa Kron’s genius and it’s an odd role. She’s just mostly observing the action. The adult is having memories of her childhood and her young adulthood and her family, and they’re playing out before her as she’s trying to write about them, trying to make sense about them. So in a way, she’s kind of a passive observer, but she’s really not; she’s actually very actively engaged with these memories of her former self. I think it really pulls everything together in an amazing way. (CA) Is there something you get out of somebody else’s interpretation of your life versus the way you presented it in the book? (AB) Yeah, I feel like this play has been such a gift to me — a real kind of healing or catharsis that I thought I was getting from writing my book. But there was another level the play went to that’s much more emotional. Before, I was talking about the emotional power of musicals and I felt … it sounds so trite to say healed, so I don’t want to say that. It was just such an amazingly respectful look at my particular family, the way that they stuck to my story and the details of the character. They invented a lot of stuff — they invented almost everything the character said because there wasn’t much dialogue in my book — but somehow it felt very accurate to what I had written. (CA) Did you worry about the way they might portray your father? (AB) I hadn’t considered the ramifications of that and then in these early versions that I saw — different workshops and stuff — he would go from being a super negative character to being a little too soft. It was very interesting to see how that got calibrated in the end. It’s a very delicate balance to make him sympathetic enough to care about and also threatening enough for the story to work. (CA) So you were seeing these drafts of his evolution? (AB) I was seeing actual actors portraying him in different ways, reading the same lines in many cases but with really different emotional resonances. Some lighter, some darker. (CA) What intersections do you see between graphic novels and musicals? (AB) There’s a way the combination of music and drama is sort of like the combination of pictures and text. Very different, too. But the way those two planes combine to create

something greater than the sum of their parts is very similar. (CA) What kind of influence does the mainstream appeal of “Fun Home” have on your current work? (AB) I feel a bit like there are more eyes on me than there used to be. [Laughs] I used to be able to work free of that sense of anyone waiting for my work. So, I feel like there’s a little added pressure now, but I’m trying to use that in a positive way, like to motivate me. (CA) How’s the fitness memoir coming along, then? (AB) It’s coming along. I’m not as far along as I’d like to be. I’m juggling a lot of different projects, so it’s hard to stay focused, but it’s coming, you could say that. (CA) Are these projects you’re working on graphic novels?

GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016 (AB) Oh, some of them. I’m doing a lot of big stuff I can’t really even explain.


local alternative weekly and put it on my website.

(CA) Do you ever plan to revisit the characters from “Dykes to Watch Out For”? (AB) Funny that you should ask that, because right now I’m just so distraught over the election that the only way I could see out of it, the only way I could help myself figure it out, was to start writing a “Dykes to Watch Out For” strip. I haven’t thought about these characters in eight years, but I’m right in the middle of writing an episode and kind of dragging them all out of storage.

(CA) Why did this feel like the right time to revisit these characters? (AB) When I wrote the comic strip, I did it in some ways just for myself to figure out what was going on in the world. I always found the world so confusing and baffling, and by using my characters and having to talk through stuff that was happening in the world, I could find my own way. I felt like — I’m so confused at what just happened to our country that I needed to sit down with these characters and figure it out, so that’s what I’m doing.

(CA) I can’t think of a better and worst time. (AB) I know. [Laughs] I don’t know if I’ll keep it up, but I’m definitely writing at least one episode. I’ll put it up online. I’ll do it for my

—Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at and on Twitter @chrisazzopardi.t



GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016

PHILLY SANDWICH MASTERS Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. On a recent layover in the Philadelphia International Airport, hubby and I walked straight into Tony Luke’s at our connecting terminal. We arrived having eaten only yogurt parfaits prior to boarding our flight in San Diego. Our much-needed meal at Tony’s, which flaunts multiple locations throughout Philly, involved two glorious cheesesteaks — one with sweet and hot peppers and Provolone cheese, and the other oozing with onions and Cheez Whiz. Both came on excellent, semi-chewy rolls baked supposedly onsite. We endured serious cravings for the sandwiches until returning home. Based on eating these iconic artery cloggers a few times in urban areas of Philadelphia as well, I have three trusty benchmarks for judging cheesesteaks made in San Diego: the tenderness of the beef, the juice factor, and the crust-to-fluff ratio of the roll. With a commendable dose of brotherly love, Gaglione Bros. Famous Steaks & Subs nails them down. The Point Loma eatery launched in 2004 after siblings Joe, Andy and Tony Gaglione made multiple visits to the Northeast to visit family members. In doing so, they developed a taste for authentic cheesesteaks and other

submarine sandwiches slung from various neighborhood eateries and decided to replicate them locally. They’ve since opened two other locations, in the Mission Gorge area and Encinitas. With the exception of twice biting into gristle, the cheesesteaks here stand up precisely to any I’ve had in Philly. The well-marbled rib eye is otherwise tender, and chipped down to ideal thinness with the edge of the cook’s metal spatula. The natural juices of the beef are largely retained during grilling while a little extra moisture is picked up from grilled onions, mushrooms or cherry peppers if you request them. I opted for the latter, and the result was a well-contained cheesesteak with white American cheese binding the innards, though dripping just enough to appease the many Philadelphia transplants an employee said frequent the place. Other cheese choices are Provolone, Swiss and Cheez Whiz. The co-star of these cheesesteaks is the roll. Gaglione imports them a few times a week from the legendary Amoroso’s Baking Company in Philly. They’re architecturally wondrous with crusty outer shells, airy interiors, and cornmeal-dusted bottoms. Bakers in San Diego and elsewhere who’ve tried copying them fail consistently. Hubby tried the chicken cheesesteak with grilled onions and mushrooms and white American, relegating his urge


e ti un A ame


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619-758-0646 Prices: French fries, $2.29 to $7.49; cheesesteaks and specialty sandwiches, $7.49 to $15.49

(above) Beef cheesesteak with sweet and hot cherry peppers inside an “architecturally wondrous” Amoroso roll; (below) the storefront faces Midway Drive; (inset) jalapeno-cheez fries (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)


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for Cheez Whiz to an order of medium-cut french fries covered with diced jalapenos. He wolfed down the sandwich

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esteak, I’ll take traditional steak instead of trendy chicken with my cheese any day. From the “specialty sandwiches” category, we also tried the “Father Joe,” comprising soft, house-made meatballs, Provolone, bright marinara and fresh parsley, all enveloped by Amoroso’s bready love. And unless the parsley was tricking our palates, we detected a nice hint of mint in the meatballs. Either way, it was a tasty, solid sandwich you’d easily find in back-East restaurants. Other sandwich options include Buffalo-style chicken, a “turk” using fresh-baked turkey, chicken parmesan, and the Sophia Loren with capicolla, Genoa salami, pepperoni, Provolone and veggie garnishments. Along with the cheesesteaks, they’re available in three sizes, with the largest measuring 18 inches. Gaglione’s original spot is located on the east end of Midway Towne Center. The atmosphere is casual and somewhat noisy. There are about five tables inside and a few on the front patio. It isn’t licensed to serve alcohol, although beer is available at the Mission Gorge location, at 10450 Friars Road, #B. —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 t


GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016


What’s Going to Happen to Health Care? In 2017, the healthcare system inside California isn’t going to change. You will still be required by law to purchase health insurance. And federal subsidies will still help pay for the insurance if you qualify. 2017 will bring around a new president, but any changes to the healthcare system won’t go into effect until 2018. What’s going to change after 2017?

Brunch is now served at Soda & Swine

(Photo by Arlene Ibarra)

Weekend brunch was recently introduced at Soda & Swine in Normal Heights. The six-dish menu, crafted by Chef Jason McLeod, captures the restaurant’s famous hand-rolled meatballs, which appear in a slider with egg, cheddar and chipotle mayo. Other choices include french fries with sausage gravy, bacon and egg; huevos rancheros; a breakfast sandwich on jalapeno-cheddar biscuits; and chorizo-wrapped Scotch eggs. Mimosas and Champagne slushies are also available. All of the food and drink items are priced at $8 or less. They’re available from 10:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays. 2943 Adams Ave., 619-269-7632, Northern California transplants and local sandwich lovers alike are applauding the recent arrival of Beach Hut Deli near Downtown, across from the USS Midway Museum. The ever-growing franchise, founded in 1981 in Granite Bay, California, is famous for its meaty over-stuffed sandwiches, many of which contain cream cheese and avocado. They’re whimsically named to reflect beachside culture, such as the grilled Buffalo-style chicken “Sunburn” with bacon and buttermilk ranch; the “Shark Bite” with ham, bacon, Swiss and cream cheese; and the “Beach Bikini” combining turkey, cream cheese, cranberry sauce and alfalfa sprouts on wheat bread. The eatery’s stylish interior is distinguished by a beachside theme featuring surfboard tables and memorabilia reflecting California’s coastal lifestyle. There’s also a full bar and flat screens in every booth. 900 Bayfront Court, Suite 104, 619-501-3551,

Uptown Tavern’s executive chef, Lety Gonzalez, with her winning chili

(Photo by Gary Hussey)

Lety Gonzalez of Uptown Tavern grabbed double honors at the seventh annual SoNo Fest Chili Cook-Off, held Dec. 4 at 32nd and Thorn streets. The event featured 40 other chefs competing from restaurants throughout Uptown and Gonzalez and her team won for “best overall chili” by the judges as well as the People's Choice Award with a recipe using smoked and ground pork, black beans, corn, chicken chicharro and cilantro crema. Gonzalez said the hearty chili will be making “special appearances” on Uptown’s menu over the winter season. 1236 University Ave., 619-241-2710, An events space featuring stadium-style seating and “dealing with food” is in the works at Specialty Produce in Middletown, said Bob Harrington, who owns the respected produce outlet with his brothers, Richard and Roger. Due for completion in early March, it will be available for cooking classes and other culinary demonstrations conducted by local chefs and instructors, some of whom worked at the former Great News in Pacific Beach before it closed.

see Specialty Produce, pg 16

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Mixologist Erick Castro will take imbibers through the history and basic steps of making certain cocktails in a “holiday spirits” class to be held from 6–8 p.m., Dec. 19, at Polite Provisions in Normal Heights. The class is limited to 14 attendees, who will each be afforded their own workstation stocked with the essential ingredients. The cost is $60 per person. 4696 30th St., 619-677-3784, The public is invited for a sneak peek of the upcoming, second location of Nomad Donuts, from 6–9 p.m., Dec. 13. The open house coincides with a fundraiser for David Harp’s Foundation, which empowers at-risk and homeless youth achieve academic success through music and multimedia education. The 3,100-square-foot North Park space is due to open in spring at 3102 University Ave., less than a mile from its original location at 4504 30th St. A variety of gourmet donuts will be on sale for $2 apiece during the event, with more than half the proceeds earmarked for the foundation. 619-431-5000,

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I have absolutely no idea. At a national level, I imagine there will be significant changes to the kinds of money funneled into the healthcare system. But repealing all aspect of the Affordable Care Act will be very, very, very difficult. So, some aspects of the law aren’t going to be undone easily - like refusing coverage to anyone with pre-existing conditions. On the state level, I hope our state lawmakers will create a system that mimics the Affordable Care Act beyond 2017. If you’ll recall, before the ACA, Massachusetts had universal health care created by Mitt Romney. The Massachusetts plan is a good example of how a state can successfully run a universal health care program without the federal government. And Covered California (our state’s ACA marketplace) is very successful in helping Californians access health insurance. What about “Repeal and Replace”? A significant number of people who voted for the new president did not cast a vote solely because of his promise to repeal and replace the healthcare system. Although it may have been a common phrase used during the campaign, there’s evidence that most voters want affordable, universal healthcare. Keep in mind, the original cry was to “repeal” Obama’s law. Then, it magically became “repeal and REPLACE.” Once voters have had a taste of affordable health insurance, it’s tough to take it away. Especially if the politicians want to keep their jobs in 2018. How Do I Buy Insurance? There are three primary options for buying health insurance. And the cost is the same. The difference is the difficulty in understanding your options. You can call the health insurance carriers directly. And to compare prices, you’d have to call all the companies offering ACA plans in San Diego County. You can call Covered California directly and speak to a call center representative. Or you can use a broker (like me) who will remain your health insurance agent throughout the entire year. Again, no difference in cost. I suggest you call a friendly, licensed agent (like me) who can remain a resource for you in 2017. And beyond.

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GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016

GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016



GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016


MAN OF THE YEAR some serious challenges in their careers this year; but been embraced by the community at large, regardless. “Man of the Year” went to Stephen Whitburn, former executive director of San Diego Pride since 2012. Whitburn was released from his duties by the board of directors in September much to the disappointment of a large faction of the local LGBT community. In the weeks following his dismissal, large numbers of his supporters rallied support, protested board meetings, demanded his reinstatement and wrote letters requesting the board resign based on a lack of confidence. While no public explanation was given for Whitburn’s dismissal, the board has remained steadfast on their decision and as of press time, continues the search for his replacement. Barbra Blake, CEO of the Greater San Diego Business Association (GSDBA), was honored as “Woman of the Year.” Blake, too, has had some harsh critics in recent months regarding the organization’s seemingly slow bounce-back from the troubles that put her in the CEO seat in 2014. We will explore what Blake has been up to and what her plans for 2017 are, in our next issue.

Man of the Year: Stephen Whitburn Whitburn grew up in Albany, New York, where he began a long career in radio broadcasting as a teenager. He moved to San Diego after vacationing here in 1998, taking a job as a newscaster. He later worked in public affairs for the American Red Cross and has made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to be elected to the City Council. When the board of San Diego Pride had a very public meltdown and reorganization in 2010, Whit-

Before being dismissed by its board of directors, Whitburn served as executive director of San Diego Pride for four years. (Courtesy Stephen Whitburn) burn was one of the local leaders who helped rally the community to hold the board accountable for the egregious actions that had been taking place. He helped put a new staff in place and even served on the board himself. All that involvement was no doubt key to the board’s later decision to bring him on board as executive director. “As executive director of San Diego Pride, I felt a profound responsibility to the community,” Whitburn said in response to this article. “The goal was to make the Pride events meaningful for as many people as possible and to raise money for LGBT-serving organizations. I wanted to do right by our community, so needless to say, the community’s support of me has been truly heartening and I’m very grateful for it.” Since his dismissal, Whitburn has remained in the public eye and while he refuses to comment on the circumstances of his departure, he has not shied away from continuing to attend local events, offer positive words for the Pride organization and its volunteers, or embrace the support he has been shown from the community. In September, Whitburn released the following message to the local LGBT media. “I want to say how deeply grateful I am for your expressions of how meaningful you’ve found the work we’ve all done together. I am touched by your com-

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ments, overwhelmed by your support and humbled to be a part of this tremendous community. Thank you to the wonderful Pride volunteers and staff and community members for your kindness and I have very much appreciated the calls from community leaders and elected officials. It is a privilege to have your friendship. Thank you again. — Stephen” San Diego Pride has come a long way since the troubles that riddled the board in 2010 and despite the rain disaster that impeded much of the 2015 festivities, the 2016 weekend-long celebration was the “most financially successful in the organization’s history,” according to Whitburn, who was released shortly after the final accounting had been done. Whitburn said one of the biggest accomplishments of the organization is that it earned the community’s trust again, after the events of 2010. “We really listened to people and we tried to do what people wanted whenever we could,” he said. “We were entirely focused on benefiting the community and I think people recognized that.” On the flip side, he admitted that it was a challenge trying to accommodate all the things people think a Pride organization should be, because the reasons people participate in Pride events


GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016 are so varied. “For some people, it’s the activism; for some, it’s the party,” he said. “For others, it’s about spending time with people who have similar characteristics. Pride is for the entire community, so we tried to support everyone in the community as best we could.” After overseeing four of the annual Pride celebrations (2013–16) as executive director, Whitburn said some of his fondest memories are watching the huge crowds at the festival enjoying the headliner acts. “People had such a good time during Kesha’s performance this year and Ruby Rose’s last year,” he said. “Knowing you helped bring a joyful experience to thousands of people is pretty rewarding.” While Whitburn told Gay San Diego that he is not sure what the future may hold for him — whether he will go back to radio or public relations, throw his hat back into politics, or stay the course with nonprofits — it is clear that receiving the “Man of the Year” award gave him a needed boost. “You can imagine how heartwarming it was when they announced my name, and I went up to receive the award,” Whitburn said. “There were plenty of other deserving candidates for ‘Man of the Year’ and I know many of the votes I received were a reflection of the circumstances. People told me they were unhappy I was let go from Pride, so they cast their votes to make a statement and show their support for me. That was a very kind thing for people to do, and I thank everyone who voted for me. It’s very heartening to know your community has your back.” Stay tuned for our Dec. 23 issue, where we talk to Barbra Blake about her award and her plans for the GSDBA. For a list of all the 2016 Nicky Award winners, visit jkb5mag. —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at

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Roberts was leading on election night by 2,300 votes, but eventually trailed by 1,242 votes at the time of his concession. Gaspar’s lead was less than half of a percent but fewer than 1,000 votes remained to be counted in the district when Roberts chose to make the call. He said he offered Gaspar his help with the transition. In an email sent to supporters, Roberts thanked them for their “dedication, support, patience and encouragement” and called for the community and the nation to come together to heal. “I am so proud and grateful to have been given the honor of serving as your County Supervisor,” Roberts said. “I am looking forward to continuing to work to fulfill our vision for a prosperous San Diego County that protects our quality of life today and for future generations.” Roberts — who is married and has five adopted children with his husband Wally — suffered multiple accusations of impropriety from four of his former employees, each of them filed lawsuits seeking damages, which were later settled to the tune of $310,000. After a yearlong investigation into the supervisor’s workplace, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said earlier this year that no charges would be filed. Many feel all the turmoil made it difficult for Roberts to win re-election. Gaspar’s win brings the County Board of Supervisors back to an all-Republican board as Roberts had been the first and only Democrat for over two decades.


One of the last things City Councilmember Todd Gloria did before jetting off to Sacramento to be sworn in as the new Assembly member representing District 78 was officially designate the first gender-neutral restroom inside a city-owned facility. That facility was the University Heights Public Library, located at 4193 Park Blvd. on the Hillcrest border. The restroom begins the city’s official compliance with California State Assembly Bill 1732, calling for all single-user public toilet facilities to be labeled as “all-gendered” beginning March 1, 2017. Well in advance of the required date, the gender-neutral bathroom proves the city of San Diego’s support for its LGBT community. “Now more than ever, I am proud that the city of San Diego continues to be a leader and a champion for equality and inclusion,” Gloria said. “Today’s designation of gender-neutral restrooms demonstrates our city’s unwavering commitment to the basic rights, respect, and dignity of all people. More importantly, from this day forward, all of our public single-user restroom facilities will be more safe and accessible for all people.”t



GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016


Broadway San Diego

San Diego Civic Theatre 1100 Third Ave. 92101 619-570-1100 |

a Victorian Christmas card for a unique storytelling experience that is sure to delight the entire family! Visit

“Mannheim Steamroller Christmas”

Diversionary Theatre

Grammy Award-winner Chip Davis directs and co-produces tour performances with MagicSpace Entertainment. The spirit of the season comes alive with classic Christmas hits from the signature sound of “Mannheim Steamroller,” all with dazzling multimedia effects in an intimate setting on Dec. 28.

Cygnet Theatre

The Old Town Theatre 4040 Twiggs St. 92110 619-337-1525 | “A Christmas Carol”

Written & Directed by TODD SALOVEY Based on the play by S. Ansky Original Music Written & Performed by YALE STROM Starring RON CA MPBELL

NOVEMBER 23 - DECEMBER 18 Book Tickets Now! Ask About Free Parking! 619.544.1000 | SDREP.ORG | Lyceum Theatre | Horton Plaza

s41_dybbuk_gaysd.indd 1

Founded in 2003, Cygnet Theatre is a leading regional theater company and one of San Diego’s cultural icons. In the spirit of the holidays, they are proud to present the return of the holiday classic adapted from Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of hope and redemption, “A Christmas Carol,” with shows through Dec. 24. This re-imagined, fully staged production features original new music, creative stagecraft and puppetry, and live sound effects. Step into 10/25/16 3:15 PM

4545 Park Blvd. #101 92116 619-220-0097 | “The Mystery of Love and Sex” Diversionary Theatre was founded in 1986 with a mission of providing an inspiring and thought-provoking theatrical platform to explore complex and diverse LGBT stories, which influence the larger cultural discussion. This holiday season they are proud to present “The Mystery of Love and Sex,” through Dec. 24. As Charlotte and Jonny tumble into their 20s, confronting the mysteries of their own bodies and desires, Charlotte’s parents face their own perceptions about love and happiness. Traversing years, shifting relationships and unexpected outcomes, this provocative Southern Gothic romantic comedy peeks behind the curtain of sexuality and race to illuminate secrets of the heart and the fabric of a family. Visit

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La Mesa, CA 91942 619-535-7527 At Joiful Health, we are passionate believers in the power of massage and other holistic modalities to support good health. We use high quality essential oils, organic products and equipment for the best health outcomes possible. Aromatherapy is included in every session at no additional charge. Customized services will focus on your needs and preferences to leave you feeling special and relaxed. Clients discover that regular massage reduces illness by boosting immunity and lowering stress. Many find chronic pain is diminished and new body strains are minimized. Our convenient La Mesa location has free, plentiful, and accessible parking. New customers receive a 50-percent discount on their first visit and discounts are always available for veterans, seniors and students. Discounted holiday gift certificates and appointment scheduling are available online.

The Old Globe Theatre

1363 Old Globe Way 92101 619-234-5623 |

see Holiday, pg 15


GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016


San Diego Repertory Theatre Lyceum Space 79 Horton Plaza 92101 619-544-1000 | “The Dybbuk for Hannah and Sam’s Wedding”

619-570-1100 |


HOLIDAY “Dr. Seuss’‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’” Back at The Old Globe for its 19th incredible year, the family favorite “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” features the songs “This Time of Year,” “Santa for a Day” and “Fah Who Doraze,” the delightful carol from the popular animated version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” through Dec. 26. Celebrate the holidays as the Old Globe Theatre is once again transformed into the snowcovered Whoville, right down to the last can of Who-hash. Visit

San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus Balboa Theatre 868 Fourth Ave. 92101

Sycuan Casino 5469 Casino Way, El Cajon 92019 619-445-6002 | “Jingle” The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, one of the largest gay choruses in the world, is proud to present “Jingle” at Balboa Theatre Dec. 10 and 11, and two shows at Sycuan Casino, Dec. 17. The family friendly spectacular includes wintry and wonderful holiday music from traditional favorites like “Silent Night,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “The Christmas Song” to modern classics like Frozen’s “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman,” to a hilarious look at how Broadway stars celebrate the holidays. Featuring special appearances by SDGMC's Chamber Chorale and the Mood Swings ensemble. Visit tinyurl. com/hydsdg3.



San Diego Repertory Theatre is San Diego’s resident professional theater —celebrating year-round on three stages and in art galleries the diversity and creativity of the community. “The Dybbuk for Hannah and Sam’s Wedding,” showing through Dec. 18, features nationally renowned master actor and clown Ron Campbell playing all 21 characters in this mystical story centering on a broken vow that results in a wandering spirit taking possession of a bride on her wedding day. Boundaries between the natural and supernatural worlds dissolve in this tale of powerful young love and spiritual possession. You will find yourself in the spell of a Yiddish classic that is a humorous and horrific folk tale of wondrous meaning. Visit “A Snow White Christmas” San Diego Theatres, in collaboration with San Diego Repertory Theatre and Lythgoe Family Panto, present “A Snow White Christmas!” with performances through Dec. 24. “A Snow White Christmas” is the American Panto version based on the “Snow White” fairytale, which includes singing, dancing and interactive fun and magic. Whether young or old, a Panto will be enjoyed by all members of the family during the holiday season. Visit


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“A matchless holiday favorite. As witty, sweetly charming, and rewarding as ever!” The San Diego Union-Tribune

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Hurry! Some performances already sold out! Limited engagement through December 26!


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Book and Lyrics by Timothy Mason Music by Mel Marvin Directed by James Vasquez Original Production Conceived and Directed by Jack O’Brien

Generously sponsored by Audrey S. Geisel 619-220-0097

(619) 23-GLOBE! (234-5623) J. Bernard Calloway. Photo by Jim Cox. Dr. Seuss Properties TM & (c) 1957 and 2016 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All Rights Reserved.



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A new level of cuisine arrives to Hotel Circle

(Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

A cafeteria-style restaurant featuring scratch cooking with locally sourced ingredients opened Nov. 28 in the Hotel Circle space previously occupied by Adam’s Steak & Eggs. Named Crust Kitchen, owners Steve Abbo and Andy Hirmez designed the restaurant with busy hotel visitors in mind while catering also to locals with elegant displays of salads, pizzas, sandwiches, roasted meats, side dishes and desserts. Customers queue up in line and point to the items they want to purchase, much like the system in place at Lemonade in Hillcrest. Abbo and Hirmez also own the adjoining Travel Mart (formerly Albie’s Beef Inn) and Value Liquor and Mini Mart next door. 1201 Hotel Circle South, 619-501-1112, —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at




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‘Jungle Bells’: This annual event at the San Diego Zoo starts today and runs through Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. Special performances, festive foods and twinkling lights can be found all around the zoo with many activities included with admission or membership. San Diego Zoo, 2920 Zoo Drive, Balboa Park. Visit AMPA holiday happy hour: The American Military Partner Association (LGBT military families and allies) will gather for a happy hour with pizza and appetizers provided. 5:30 p.m. Hillcrest Brewing Company, 1458 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit Divas ‘Fifty and Fabulous’: Celebrate Scott Parman’s 50th birthday with guest appearances by Chad Michaels, Sonique, Mr. Continental 2016 Mykul Valentine, Dolly Levi, Kickxy Vixen-Styles, Travis Ti, Gigi Masters, and Lala Too. $10 entry fee ($3 off with a donation of blanket or socks for local homeless.) Doors at 6:30 p.m., hors d’oeuvres at 7 p.m. and show at 8 p.m. Rich’s San Diego, 1051 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit ‘The Princess Bride’: Cinema Under the Stars presents the cult favorite fantasy starring Robin Wright and Cary Elwes. Additional screenings on Saturday, Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 11. 8 p.m. $15. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. For more info, visit or call 619-295-4221.


Pride Youth Lunch Bunch: Every second Saturday, the San Diego Pride invites LGBTQ+ junior high and high school-aged youth to mingle with one another with free lunch and activities. This month, the Lunch Bunch will be decorating “gender bread” cookies. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Contact Josh Coyne at with questions. San Diego Pride office, 3620 30th St., North Park. Visit Lamba Archives board elections and meeting: All active members of the Archives can vote on nominees to the board. The meeting will be followed by a member appreciation party on the patio. 1–4 p.m. Lambda Archives, 4545 Park Blvd., Suite 104, University Heights. Visit ‘Come Home for the Holidays’: This gathering will celebrate the diverse culture and traditions within the San Diego LGBT community. It is a free and familyfriendly event with dancing, free food and non-alcoholic beverages. 5–8:30 p.m. San Diego LGBT Community Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit

‘Jingle’: The San Diego Padres present the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus’ annual holiday show. The family-friendly event will feature traditional favorites and modern classic with special appearance by the SDGMC’s Chamber Chorale and Mood Swings ensemble. 8 p.m. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., Downtown. Visit


Councilmember Chris Ward’s Inauguration and Reception: District 3 Councilmember-elect Chris Ward will be inaugurated at Balboa Theatre (868 Fourth Ave., Downtown) at 10 a.m. with a reception later that evening at Panama 66 (1450 El Prado, Balboa Park) from 5–7 p.m. Visit


County of San Diego LGBT and Allies Association holiday dinner and board meet and greet: This group will celebrate the holidays with this dinner and meet and greet. 5:30–8 p.m. at Giovanni’s Restaurant, 9353 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite A. For questions, contact Ben Parmentier or Jennifer Sieber at 619-584-5049 or Visit


FilmOut presents ‘Auntie Mame’: “Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!” That’s just one of many memorable lines uttered by Rosalind Russell in the 1958 classic film, “Auntie Mame,” which FilmOut San Diego will showcase as its holiday screening. Director Morton DaCosta’s film was nominated for six Academy Awards and is noteworthy for Russell’s exquisite performance as Auntie Mame, a progressive and independent woman of the 1920s who is left to care for her young nephew when his wealthy father dies. Look for a breakout performance by Peggy Cass. Tickets are $10 at or at the door. Money raised by a raffle before each movie goes into FilmOut’s annual budget to present monthly screenings and the annual San Diego LGBT Film Festival. 7 p.m. Hillcrest Landmark Theatre, 3965 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit ‘Dreamgirls Revue’: This weekly revue features a rotating cast of performers and offers drink specials and this special edition of the revue will raise funds for Trans Family Support Services. There will be auctions and raffles in addition to the show hosted by Chad Michaels. $10. Showtime is 8 p.m. Urban MO’s, 308 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit


‘Randy Roberts Live!’: The Randy Roberts Show is a multimedia tribute to beloved performers whom Roberts has been impersonating for the past 20 years. Some of his notable impersonations include Cher, Bette Midler, Mae West, Joan Crawford, Carol Channing, Phyllis Diller and more. Doors 6 p.m., show 8 p.m. $25 reserved seating with $15 food/drink minimum. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Tickets visit


Hillcrest Town Council’s holiday mixer: The HTC invites Hillcrest residents and friends to their first-ever annual holiday mixer. The casual get-together will include hosted appetizers and guests will receive a free HTC reusable tote (while supplies last). 6–9 p.m. Gossip Grill, 1220 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit ‘Love Actually’: Cinema Under the Stars presents this holidaythemed romantic comedy with an ensemble cast including Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth and many more. 8 p.m. $15. Additional screening on Saturday, Dec. 17. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. For more info, visit or call 619-295-4221. DILF San Diego Men’s Private Underwear/Jock Party by Man UPP: Celebrate the holidays with end-of-the-year music by DJ Matt Effect plus a sexy Santa DILF and his elves. Wear your holiday boxers, underwear or jock! 9 p.m.–2 a.m. The Rail, 3796 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit


‘Holiday Rhapsody’: The Hillcrest Wind Ensemble will present this concert with the music of Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve. Homemade goodies and refreshments will be available during intermission. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. 7 p.m. San Diego Woman’s Club, 2557 Third Ave., Bankers Hill. Visit Holiday Fashion Contest and Blanket/Toy Drive: Hillcrest Social is hosting their third annual toy/blanket drive to benefit children and the elderly in Tijuana, Mexico. Attendees are invited to dress in their best “holiday fashion” with the chance to win great cash prizes. 9 p.m.–2 a.m. Flicks, 1017 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit


Walking tour of Hillcrest LGBTQ History: Do you know where San Diego’s early gay bars


‘Bitchy Bingo’ with Ross Mathews: This special bingo session will benefit Lucky Pup Dog Rescue with drink specials and happy hour BOGO tokens available. TV personality Ross Mathews will host this fun event. Bingo boards are $3 each or 2 for $5. 2–4 p.m. Gossip Grill, 1220 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit

were? Have you read the hatecrimes plaque? Have you looked at the base of the flagpole? Have you peeked into the secret garden? This tour by Lambda Archives of San Diego will showcase these places and more. $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers. 9:30–11:30 a.m. Meet at University and Third avenues. Visit and


Trump Opposition Rally: On the last day for electors to change their vote, this rally will be held to send a message to the Electoral College. Attendees are encouraged to wear yellow. 9 a.m.–6 p.m Horton Plaza Park, 900 Fourth Ave., Downtown. Visit


‘$6 Tuesdays with Show tunes’: A weekly sing-along with show tunes from all eras and musical clips from TV, movie and stage productions from 5–10 p.m. All-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner for $6 and $6 drink specials (Urban MO’s Blackout Lemonades and Skyy Vodka cocktails) offered from 5 p.m. to closing. Urban MO’s, 308


1 Dances like Hines 5 Mary’s little pet 9 Come together 13 Small singing bird 14 “The African Queen” author 15 Actress Adams 16 “Tell ___ the judge!” 17 Verlaine’s mother 18 Erotic opening 19 Seventies sitcom starring Florence Henderson 22 Use the Divine Miss M’s name in vain? 23 Way back when 25 B. Bean’s greatest hits 26 ’50s dance 29 ___ Hall University 30 Clearest of head 33 Candace Gingrich’s half-brother 34 He played Florence Henderson’s husband on 19-Across 36 Red Skelton’s ___ Kadiddlehopper 38 Family of Mary, Queen of Scots 39 He played Huxtable

41 ASCAP alternative 42 Mineo of “Rebel Without a Cause” 45 Gave a tongue-lashing to 48 “Bear” that’s not a bear 50 Group with step-kids, like 19-Across 53 Arc on Bernstein’s music score 54 Tight-assed 55 It’s for skin care 56 Dorothy’s dog 57 Office slip 58 “The Children’s ___” 59 Blows away 60 Dance instructor’s topic 61 They’re performing, in “Fame”


Leslie Jordan in ‘Stra?ght Outta Chattanooga’: Emmyaward winning actor and comedian Leslie Jordan brings a hilarious new show to MA4 with stories from his childhood in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Additional performance on Thursday, Dec. 22. Doors 6 p.m., show 8 p.m. $40–$60 with $15 food/ drink minimum. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Tickets visit


‘The Mystery of Love and Sex’: Diversionary Theatre presents the San Diego premiere of this Southern Gothic romantic comedy exploring themes of race, sexuality and secrets of the heart. Recommended for audiences ages 16 and older. 8 p.m. 4545 Park Blvd., #1, University Heights. Visit —Compiled by Jen Van Tieghem. Email calendar items to t



University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit

solution on page 16 DOWN 1 Wiggle the nose like Samantha 2 Poet Rimbaud 3 Paige and Cameron 4 Snooty types 5 Star of “Hello, Dalai?” 6 Like fine wine 7 Miranda in “The Devil Wears Prada” 8 Bannon’s Brinker 9 French playwright and activist 10 Well-versed. 11 He played a transsexual in “The World According to Garp” 12 Bloom of “The Producers” 20 Place where you go straight 21 Us, to Rilke 24 Can. province 27 “A Room of ___ Own” 28 Like boobs that don’t sag 30 Hats from Kahlo’s country 31 Broadway ticket souvenir 32 Amsterdam transport 34 Firm 35 Eleniak of “Baywatch”

36 Meas. for Dr. Kildare 37 Fellatio, for one? 40 Yokohama moola 42 Person in the Navy 43 Closet-emptying cry? 44 Cake parts 46 Affleck’s “Chasing Amy” crush 47 Credo 49 Montgomery Clift’s hometown 51 Edna, for one 52 Lay an egg 53 Dupont Cir., on the Metro


A tense moment between actors is captured during Larry Kramer’s AIDS drama, “The Normal Heart,” now playing at ion theatre in Hillcrest. (Photo by Daren Scott)

ion’s timely ‘Heart’ Theater Review Charlene Baldridge Fielding a splendid ensemble that includes two ion theatre newcomers, co-directors Glenn Paris and Claudio Raygoza opened a fine production of Larry Kramer’s 1985 tragedy, “The Normal Heart,” on Nov. 19. The work was one of the first plays to address the AIDS crisis. The other was William Hoffman’s “As Is.” Kramer’s play, which asks the question, “What kind of activist do you want to be in a time that calls for activism?” concerns an incendiary leader, Ned Weeks (the Kramer character, forcefully played by Raygoza), in the early years (1981-1984) of the AIDS crisis, when gay men were dying of a malady about which no one knew anything at all. Moreover, few cared; and local and national governmental representatives, including New York City Mayor Ed Koch, turned a deaf ear to pleas for support and funding for scientific investigation. As Dr. Emma Brookner (excellent Kim Strassburger) says in Kramer’s play, “Who cares if a faggot dies?” A prickly, outspoken writer, Ned has never had a partner, has criticized the gay lifestyle and continues to do so especially as it becomes apparent that the disease is likely caused by sexual activity. Ned’s friends are dying. He (Kramer) founds (founded) an organization based on (known as) the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) from which he is summarily ousted in one of the play’s most affecting scenes. The tears that well up in Raygoza’s eyes say it all. Meanwhile, he has fallen in love with Felix Turner (endearing and unaffected Alexander Guzman), a closeted New York Times lifestyles writer, who becomes (or tries to become) a leavening force in Ned’s life. When asked to support GMHC, Ned’s heterosexual brother, an attorney who is building a $2 million home, reveals his true feelings/disapproval of Ned’s homosexuality. In his ion debut, Daren Scott beautifully portrays brother Ben. Felix’s scene with Ben, to whom he goes to make his will, is one of the best in the play and the brothers’ ultimate reconciliation scene, over Felix’s deathbed, is a humdinger.

“The Normal Heart”

By Larry Kramer Directed by Glenn Paris and Claudio Raygoza Wednesdays–Saturdays through Dec. 17 ion theatre BLKBOX Elaine Lipinsky Stage 3704 Sixth Ave. Hillcrest Tickets $32 with discounts for seniors, students, military 619-600-5020

Other ion actors play men whose real-life identities were revealed by Kramer at the time of the play’s 2011 Tony Awardwinning revival. They are Stewart Calhoun as (the fictionally named, as all are) Tommy Boatwright, executive director of GMHC; Fred Hunting in two roles, as Craig Keebler and Hiram Keebler, a representative from the mayor’s office; Michael Lundy as Mickey Marcus; Joel Miller as Bruce Niles, president of GMHCH; and Glenn Paris in multiple roles. At the time of the play’s 1985 premiere, New York Times critic Frank Rich said that Ned’s brother and Dr. Brookner were “too flatly written to emerge as more than thematic or narrative pawns,” and that the play was “a parochial legal brief designed to defend its protagonist against his political critics.” The passage of time (more than 30 years), the acting of Raygoza, Scott, Strassburger, the six additional members of this tight ensemble, and Paris and Raygoza’s canny direction prove otherwise. “The Normal Heart” is more than polemics about what is bygone. It has much to say to our current political situation (apathy or activism?) and to changed community attitudes towards AIDS. “The Normal Heart” is well supported by the sleek physical production, the Raygoza-conceived scenic design, projections and music, plus Mary Summerday’s costumes, Kevin Kornburger’s lighting design, Kate Schott’s muralist designs and Melissa Hamilton’s properties. — Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. You can follow her blog at or reach her at charb81@gmail. com.t

GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016



GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 9 - 22, 2016



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