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Volume 8 Issue 26 Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018

Calendar inside inside! Page 14

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The year online’s most-read stories of 2017

“Gaysian” holiday comedy

4 COMMUNITY A look back at the ppeople and topics within our local looc ocal LGBT community that made madde our top stories online. online Morgan M. Hurley | Editor Every year, I look forward to this last issue in December, because as we rapidly approach the end of 2017, it gives me a chance to look back at the stories we’ve shared with our readers over the last 12 months.

This year’s Truax Award


As most know, Gay San Diego comes out every other Friday in print and in tandem with our sister paper, San Diego Uptown News. As a hyper-local community newspaper, we strive to bring you relevant, engaging and interesting stories about the people, nonprofits and businesses that impact our local LGBT community.

The final stretch The Center’s steady-hand CEO prepares for her final six months at the helm Still your “other mother”



Updates on the Napizza space

(l to r) Barbara Bry (now a City Councilmember); Dr. Delores Jacobs, CEO of the San Diego LGBT Community Center; and Rebekah Hook-Held, now The Center’s Chief Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Officer; pose in the City Council chambers after testifying in support of raising the minimum wage in San Diego. (Facebook)

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Morgan M. Hurley | Editor Last spring, Dr. Delores Jacobs, CEO of the San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest, announced that she would be stepping down from the post she has

held for the last 17 years. With a scheduled departure of June 2018, the advance notice would allow The Center’s 12-member board of directors to conduct a proper search for her replacement, which is currently underway.

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While many readers appreciate turning the pages of a newspaper, others are always on the go; for them we also publish each story online once our paper has hit the street. This end-of-the year wrap up shares the 15 stories in the previous 25 issues of 2017 that Starting with a much smaller staff and footprint in 2000 than she has today, Dr. Jacobs has built The Center into a bigger, stronger, more inclusive and engaged LGBT community center — one that can now claim to be the nation’s second oldest and the third largest, with its staff of 55 and more than 1,200 volunteers. Her main goal for the next six months is to make sure that the transition with her replacement is as seamless as possible, The Center’s infrastructure is strong and stable, and her replacement is set up for a successful tenure of their own. “Is everything running as well as we can make it run? I want to make sure there’s financial stability — certainly this match will help with that — I want to make sure there’s program stability and that there’s something we can turn over to a new leader and say, ‘Here are some of the issues, you might want to start thinking about how you want to solve them.’”


Currently, The Center is in the final push of a $400,000

see Jacobs, pg 9

have risen to the top of our online audience. The criteria to make the list is always that the story be locally written, published within 2017, and ranked highest regarding the number of unique page views according to Google Analytics.

see The year pg 8

Murder by escort Life sentence for porn star who killed another for money By Neal Putnam The would-be murder victim met his future killer at a Pacific Beach hotel after he answered a Craigslist ad for an escort in 2013. Jake “J.C.” Merendino, 52, had no idea that David Enrique Meza, then 23, would kill him two years later so that he could inherit Merendino’s estate. Meza produced a one-sentence, handwritten will that Meza mailed to a probate court in Texas in an unsuccessful effort to win his boyfriend’s wealthy estate. Meza, now 27, was sentenced Dec. 11 to life in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Miller in San Diego, during a three-hour hearing in a packed courtroom. He was

see Murder, pg 2



GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018


MURDER previously convicted May 2, by a jury of eight women and four men, of the murder of an American citizen in Mexico and conspiracy to obstruct justice in San Diego. Judge Miller imposed a 20-year concurrent sentence for the conspiracy charge. Meza declined to say anything as recommended by his lawyers who told the judge he would be appealing the convictions. Meza has appeared in gay porn films under the names of Mario Romo and Francisco. In an interview with Next Door Studios, Meza said he was straight but was doing gay films for the money. Meza’s attorney, Reuben Cahn, noted the relationship began as “a commercial transaction,” when Merendino paid $100 to Meza’s escort services ad. Merendino would later shower Meza with gifts, such as an $11,665 motorcycle, a $45,000 sports car, cash and other gifts totaling $100,000, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Ciaffa, who said Meza considered Merendino his “sugar daddy.”

“He wanted to show Mr. email to his girlfriend, which Meza off as a possession, as was read to the jury. arm candy,” Cahn said. Merendino’s death ocThe victim’s cousins and curred two days after his a friend told the judge about $273,000 ocean view conthe horrific murder, in which dominium closed escrow in Merendino’s throat was slashed Rosario, Mexico. Meza called twice and he was stabbed 24 Merendino around 2 a.m., saytimes on May 2, 2015. His body ing he was stranded on a road was dumped in a ravine outside outside Rosarito, and then atRosarito, Mexico, around 3 a.m. tacked him with a knife after Unknown to Merendino, Merendino got out of his car. Meza was living a double life “The defendant is a liar, and had a girlfriend, Taylor an accomplished con man,” Marie Langston, now 22, who Ciaffa said. “He took advanlater pleaded guilty to conspirtage of Jake to rip him off. He acy to obstruct justice when she gutted him like an animal lied to federal agents and gave and threw him off a cliff. an alibi for Meza during the “He repeatedly lied to Jake time of the murder. Merendino [saying] that he Langston was sentenced on loved him,” Ciaffa continued. June 16 to 21 months in federal “He was gay for pay. He sent prison, and she has been given Jake naked pictures to keep a release date of Dec. 26, 2018. Jake interested.” Meza and Langston got marJennifer Sojka, Merendiried before they were arrested no’s cousin, said she went to on Dec. 23, 2015, in Imperial Rosarito to claim his body. “That picture has been enBeach. graved in my mind forever,” Cahn had urged the judge she said. “Jay loved David to impose a 25-year sentence Meza. David is a predator.” instead of a life term. He then “He played our cousin’s recited a text message Meza affection like a fiddle,” said sent to Langston during this Mark Faggard, another coustime, which said: “Be patient. in and a lawyer in Texas. The reward will be great. One Miller said the murder day we’ll have more than we was “unusually heinous, unneed.” usually cruel,” and that Meza “I really hate this guy. I hate was manipulative and used him so much,” wrote Meza in

Body cam supports charges in North Park stabbing By Neal Putnam In a dying declaration played in court, Spencer Thompson told police the man who stabbed him in North Park was his friend, Brandon Kyle Cooper. A police officer’s body-worn camera was played in the preliminary hearing of Cooper, 37, who was later ordered to stand trial for murder. Thompson’s family members said he was gay and they told KNSD-TV (Channel 7) they considered the Memorial Day slaying a hate crime. A Feb. 26, 2018 trial date was set for Cooper on Nov. 30. He pleaded not guilty in San Diego Superior Court and another court hearing was set for Jan. 9. The videotape of Officer Nicholas Dabbaghian’s body camera showed Thompson, 38, who was sitting up against a wall near Glenn’s Market in the 2800 block of University Avenue. “He was moaning in pain,” Dabbaghian said. Dabbaghian and his partner asked Thompson who stabbed him in the abdomen. Thompson was in a lot of pain and didn’t answer immediately. He told the officers it was his friend, Cooper, and that he was wearing blue jeans when asked what clothing Cooper was wearing. Dabbaghian said Thompson told him he and Cooper were “hanging out, drinking” that night, before he was stabbed around 9:30 p.m. “Mr. Cooper stabbed him for an unknown reason,” Dabbaghian said.

Paramedics loaded Thompson into an ambulance and Dabbaghian stayed with him for the trip to Mercy Hospital. The officer said Thompson went in and out of consciousness. Thompson had surgery to close the wound, but he died afterwards from cardiac arrest, said deputy medical examiner Othon Mena. Mena testified the stab wound itself was about 1.5 inches long, but it was lethal. His liver was severely cut, a kidney vein and two arteries were injured, and he suffered internal bleeding, Mena said, adding that the cause of death was the stab wound. Thompson’s blood/alcohol level was found to be 0.13. San Diego Superior Court Judge Kathleen Lewis saw surveillance camera footage that showed both men together on University Avenue. Cooper was seen inside a store about the same time. Detective Paul Tom testified police tracked Cooper’s phone to Seaport Village and Harbor Police assisted in his arrest on May 30 at 7:30 p.m. Cooper had two small kitchen knives in his waist and both were seized. A crime lab witness testified that the victim’s DNA was found on one knife. Dabbaghian’s body-worn camera video was played by Deputy District Attorney Oscar Hagstrom. Police said Cooper was homeless at the time of the murder. He remains in jail on $2 million bail. —Neal Putnam is a local freelance writer. Reach him at▼


The North County LGBTQ Resource Center is seeking a director to head Pride by the Beach, the annual LGBTQ festival in Oceanside. The contracted position is considered part-time for most of the year, but becomes full time in the three months prior to Pride. Salary range will be $13,000 to $17,500, according to the job posting. The Pride director will report to the executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center and work in partnership with a pride committee, volunteers, stakeholders, as well as directly with community members of diverse backgrounds. This position supports the organization’s objective of building a culturally rich LGBTQ community in order to create a North County region where LGBTQ people thrive. To find the job description, visit To apply, submit a cover letter and a resume in a Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF document by email to No phone calls or in-person applications will be taken. Applications will be reviewed beginning on Dec. 15 until position is filled.


The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education elected new officers at its annual organizational meeting on Dec. 12: Kevin Beiser, from District B, was selected as president; and Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, from District E, as vice president. “deception over a significant period of time,” before concluding that a life term was warranted. One puzzling question is why did Meza willingly have sex with men while steadfastly claiming he was straight? His lawyer said it was related to his upbringing in which an older male relative molested him. “Scarred by this abuse, David believed himself of no value except as a sexual object for other’s pleasure,” Cahn wrote. The judge noted that Meza was a high school graduate and attended some college. He said Meza previously worked at a grocery store and did some cement work in construction before going into the gay porn industry. “ His double life was collapsing under its own weight,” Miller said. Miller ordered Meza to pay five of Merendino’s cousins and a friend restitution in the amount of $9,916.08. The cousins had to pay funeral costs and transportation of the body from Mexico. “The United States will use every tool at its disposal to investigate and prosecute offenders who prey on U.S.

citizens abroad,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman in a press release afterward the sentencing. Meza received no jail credits because a life term was ordered, and there is currently no option for Meza to ever be paroled on a federal life sentence unless the law changes. Meza and his wife have a young daughter who is currently being cared for by Meza’s father. The three-week trial had many witnesses, including one man who said he could not identify Meza because he was wearing clothing. Meza had a misdemeanor trial in June 2014, in which he was found guilty of prostitution with an undercover male police officer. He received probation in San Diego Superior Court. Meza had also pleaded guilty in March 2014, of battery upon Langston, when he got drunk, dragged her off the bed and angrily tipped a shelf on top of her in Chula Vista. He was ordered to attend a 52-week Domestic Violence Recovery Program on terms of three years of probation.

Beiser takes on his new role after serving as vice president. He said he will continue to focus his efforts on maximizing the district’s resources to preserve lower class sizes and enrichment programs for students such as art, music, magnet schools and GATE. Beiser is passionate about implementing research-based reforms that have helped turn around underperforming schools. “I am truly honored and humbled to be elected president of the San Diego Unified School Board … by my colleagues. I will continue to fight for our kids. I am committed to continuing to strategically allocate our finite resources in an equitable manner to improve student outcomes,” Beiser said after the vote. Beiser will chair the board meetings and act as the district’s chief elected official during the tenure. An award-winning teacher, Beiser was first elected to the school board in November 2010. He also was elected school board president in December 2013. Beiser and his husband Dan Mock live in Serra Mesa.

SDHDF board president. “She took the review board through a step-by-step procedure with every project that we asked her about, and showed a propensity for cultural responsiveness for all diverse communities,” Harris continued. “Most importantly, she came to the table with a plan to build the foundation, through efficient long-term marketing concepts for the long haul. She is a dedicated team player with the strength and diplomacy to be in a position of leadership, dealing with strong personalities.” Singh’s résumé boasts a broad spectrum of professional experience, including work in development, health services and projects emphasizing the needs of underserved populations. Her work in the San Diego LGBT community includes co-chairing the Young Professionals Council at the San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest and directing the development committee of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus. “Prabha’s extensive background working within the HIV and LGBT communities, coupled with her passionate philanthropic spirit, made her the perfect candidate for this position,” said Robert Hubbard, a SDHDF board member. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to engage in the challenges faced by the LGBT community, and work to position the foundation to address barriers to fulfillment and equality, for all community members,” Singh said. “SDHDF’s mission of promoting equal treatment, tolerance, wellness and human dignity align with my own personal values. I look forward to working with the board and stakeholders to accomplish the missions and goals of the SDHDF, and to create positive


Prabha Singh will take over the position of director of operations at the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF) on Jan. 1, 2018. After narrowing down the applicants, members of the SDHDF board of directors and San Diego LGBT community leaders interviewed the final candidates. “We put our final candidates through a comprehensive interview process, and Prabha aptly demonstrated her expertise in cultivating funders both within and outside of the LGBT community,” said Joselyn Harris,

—Neal Putnam is a local freelance writer. Reach him at▼

see Briefs, pg 5


GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018


Putting the ‘ho’ back into holiday Actor and comedian Alec Mapa set for Martinis Dec. 28 Morgan M. Hurley | Editor The holiday season is never complete without a hostess with the mostest, and actor/ comedian Alec Mapa will be serving up his own brand of holiday-style “Gaysian” hosting from the Martinis Above Fourth stage on Dec. 28. I’d originally scheduled a “phoner” with Mr. Mapa and planned to write a story based on that interview, but he was on set and had time to kill, so we decided to do an email Q&A. I often still write stories based on the content from these type of Q&As, but I found that his responses were so funny, I decided to leave it as-is. Put your seat belts on, San Diego. (Gay San Diego | GSD) Where did you grow up? (Alec Mapa | AM) I was born and raised in San Francisco. Whenever I’m accused of sounding too gay, I tell them I’m proud of my Bay Area accent and to check their femme shaming — which of course is rooted in deep sociological misogyny. I’m hilarious. (GSD) What got you into comedy? (AM) Humor for a gay kid is always a form of self-defense. I wore glasses, a retainer and corrective shoes at the same time. I used to kick my own ass at recess. I couldn’t beat anyone up, but I could act like an idiot and get a laugh. Humor always got me out of trouble and it gave me social currency. (GSD) When did you come out? (AM) I was out in high school to my friends, the men I had sex with, but not to my parents. They were strict Filipino Catholics. Filipinos don’t just believe in God, they believe in everything; vampires, leprechauns, Bigfoot. It astonishes me to this day that homosexuality would even register as problematic when a host of supernatural dangers lurked around every corner. By the time I came out to them in college, they didn’t care. My gayness and my inability to be anything other than myself literally wore both my parents down to a nub.

(GSD) What was your first big break and how did it change your life? (AM) My first job was the original Broadway production of “M. Butterfly.” That was bigtime show business. The national tour brought me to Los Angeles and I became a perpetual gay television guest star 10 short years later. It changed my life because my talent and value as a performer was affirmed in a big, fat professional way. That experience has kept me afloat during the lean times. (GSD) Have you been to San Diego before? (AM) Yes, I love San Diego. Absolutely love it. I did two plays in La Jolla in the ’90s and always enjoyed the city. It’s Southern California without any of the desperation to be famous. It’s a completely different vibe. Think about being surrounded by people who experience such a deficit of self-worth that they have to be universally adored and that’s LA. Whoops. I just cast a stone in a glass house! Anyone got a broom and dustpan? (GSD) You’re calling your show a “Seasonal Extravaganza” — what can we expect from your gig at Martinis Above Fourth? (AM) Fart jokes. Anecdotes about my family. Firsthand stories about butt sex gone wrong, ya know, typical holiday fare! It’s been such a shitty year politically, especially for marginalized communities like ours. Women, people of color, the spectrum of our LGBTQ family, we all feel targeted in a way we haven’t in forever. But humor is our queer superpower. If you can’t laugh when times are tough, life will break you in half. When we laugh, we release serotonin and endorphins, which gives us the resilience to soldier on. Hopefully you’ll laugh till you pee, feel better about life and have at least one revolting story you can’t wait to share. (GSD) You recently tweeted at Joely Fisher over mutual scenarios of mistaken identity — which I thought was hilarious because I interviewed her two weeks ago for her own Martinis show this past Monday. You

both also champion foster/adoption advocacy. You’re a father/ co-parent, yourself, right? (AM) Yes! I love Joely and like her, I am a foster-adopt parent. In 2010, my husband and I adopted a 5-year-old African-American boy from Compton. I’m Asian, my husband is white and our son is black. We look like the last two minutes of It’s A Small World. My son is 12. He’s going through puberty. The struggle is real. I surround myself with pictures of how cute he was when he we adopted him to keep from losing it. But my son is hilarious. He’s become a star on my Instagram. He refers to my followers as his followers. I’ve created a monster. I’m also a spokesperson for Raise A Child (RaiseAChild. org), a nonprofit that advocates for people wishing to start a family through foster adoption. More and more LGBTQ people are adopting through foster adoption; I think because we’re not afraid of people who are different and we have great empathy for people who are discriminated against. (GSD) Do you think Twitter has been impacted — positively or negatively — because of the Trump campaign and administration? (AM) I think Twitter is less fun now. It used to be a great forum for wit, and joke writers, and it was fun. Now it’s a constant slugfest and that kind of negative back-and-forth is a real soul suck for me. I use Twitter to let folks know I’m around, but I’m on it less now, because it bums me out. I’m addicted to Instagram. I’m always on it. I’m probably looking at it right now. I look at houses, home interiors and male models in their underpants. (GSD) Has Trump given you lots of material? (AM) Yes and no. Honestly, I think of my show as my very own holiday party and that asshole isn’t invited. Talking about what a dick our president is gets tired after five minutes. We’ve all heard too much about him for two years now. Alabama just elected a Democratic senator. The tide is

The “gaysian” comic is planning a fun holiday show for San Diegans. (Courtesy Alec Mapa)

turning. As Madonna said, “It’s time for the good times, forget about the bad times.” Spend a holiday in Alec Mapa!

to say UPN stood for the “U People’s Network.” I love any show that’s smart enough to hire me. Daddy has a mortgage.

(GSD) You’re filming something right now, which seems to involve large birds. (AM) I’m guest starring on “Raven’s Home” which is RavenSymone’s new show on the Disney Channel. I play a taxi passenger who has a falcon. I usually enjoy a large bird in my hand but this is a wild animal. You can see a photo of me looking terrified on my Instagram @alecmapa. Terrified of the falcon, not Raven.

(GSD) So let’s shamelessly plug your current stuff. (AM) I have a weekly podcast on called “Nooner” with my fabulous co-host Calpernia Addams, America’s trans sweetheart and the most exciting woman in show business. We stream live every Wednesday at noon and I have all my celebrity friends on for a kiki. It’s totally NSFW so I always tell everyone to turn it up! My Showtime special “Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy” is available on my website alecmapa. com for $5 or on the HERE! TV network. But come see me live at Martinis Above Fourth! I’m even more of a pocket gay in person! I’ll actually be performing perched on the rim of your cocktail! Happy Holidays, San Diego! I can’t wait to see you! “Holiday in Alec Mapa” hits the stage Thursday, Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. at Martinis Above Fourth, Table + Stage, located at 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. For tickets, visit

(GSD) What’s been your favorite show so far? (AM) Don’t make me choose, that’s like “Sophie’s Choice.” I loved being on “Ugly Betty” because the cast and crew were amazing and I loved being on “Desperate Housewives” for the same reason. I was super proud of being on “Switched at Birth,” because half the show was in American Sign Language, and it made superstars out of some super talented non-hearing actors who wouldn’t have been featured otherwise. I had the best time working on “Half and Half,” the black sitcom I did on the now-defunct UPN. There were so many black shows on our network, we used

—Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at morgan@sdcnn. com.▼

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GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018


A. Brad Truax Award winner for 2018: Joe Burke Profiles in Advocacy Ian Morton December remains a nostalgic time for me, as it marks the anniversary of my start as a columnist for Gay San Diego, when I profiled the 2011 A. Brad Truax Award winner, Elizabeth Johnson, née Brosnan, who was at that time the executive director of Christie’s Place. It has become my December tradition, which also happens to be World AIDS Month, to profile that year’s winner. Named for Dr. Brad Truax, the top award given at the reception held in his memory is presented to an individual that embodies his spirit of compassionate advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS. The Truax awards present an opportunity to nominate those who push for advocacy and services in the San Diego HIV community and give recognition to those who work both as visible leaders and behind the scenes. Joe Burke, the recipient of the 2017 A. Brad Truax Award, began his advocacy work in a different sort of way — as a member of the music industry in the 1980s, working with Elektra Records. Though at that time, it may not have been “marketable” for vocalists and lead singers in bands to be “out” as LGBT individuals, the production side of the industry

became a bastion of safety for the queer community. “It might surprise some to know that the music and entertainment business was a ‘safe haven’ for gays,” Burke explained. “There were actual consequences for any sort of gay-bashing or mistreatment. While they may have been in the closet, many of the executives and owners were gay, so there were repercussions for abuse, as early as the 1970s. “It was around this time that people who I met, through theater and the music industry, literally started dropping dead,” he continued. “I’m still kind of surprised that it took us as long to catch on to it [AIDS], which you know was initially ‘GRID’ [Gay-Related Immune Deficiency]. Really, I feel like we lost an entire generation in the record and entertainment business.” Within the industry, Burke worked not only bi-coastally, but internationally, and was privy to the evolution of media representation, as talent was recognized and marketing determined. A significant breakthrough he personally witnessed was the scouting and signing of Culture Club, in London. “I remember getting a call from Epic Records vice president of national promotion, Frank DiLeo, asking me if I had a couple days off to travel with him to check out a band in London,” Burke recalled. “On the flight, he showed me the

Truax Award winner Joe Burke (left) with Dan Uhler, who not only produces the event, but creates a unique, stained glass award for recipients each year. bio and let me hear the demo, which was very in line with the ‘New Romantic’ sound at the time, but he would not show me a photo. When they took the stage — in full on cross-dressing — I had no idea how we would make this work. We ended up prohibiting any DJs or promoters from releasing photos of Boy George and Culture Club until their music reached top five on the Billboard charts. This was our way of introducing new ideas of gender and sexuality to the broader masses.” While working in London, Burke became acquainted with Mark Aston, a gay rights and HIV activist. He had the opportunity to witness the coalition between lesbian and gay activists and the Miner’s Union, which took place at that time, a moment in history that galvanized Burke’s belief that coalitions could happen among the most unlikely of allies. Stories of that time were chronicled in the 2014 U.K. film called, “Pride.” Returning to Los Angeles, Burke continued in the music industry and also spent time working with the office of thenLos Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley to advocate for those living with

AIDS. Bradley soon signed the city’s AIDS anti-discrimination bill in 1985, and was also known for signing the first “homosexual rights” bill in 1979. Paralleling these legislative victories, Joe found himself increasingly involved with music projects that supported or promoted awareness about HIV/AIDS. He found advocacy and messaging opportunities in the LA Street Scene music festival, which raised seed funds for AIDS Project Los Angeles; and he worked to hit the underground clubs — where risk was high for HIV transmission — and saw events like “Madonna’s Dance for AIDS.” He viewed these moments as the music industry rising up against the death they were experiencing on a daily basis. As with all things, that momentum eventually began to slow, and Burke found himself becoming more engaged in public policy and intentional activism. AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) was on the rise, and their slogan “Silence=Death,” had become pervasive as a rallying cry. In San Diego, Burke is well known within the advocacy community for his cross-border work. In the mid-1990s, his partner at the time (who lived bi-nationally) was diagnosed with late-stage AIDS, and it highlighted the lack of partner services between the U.S. and Mexico. This, combined with Burke’s experience in the business realm, spurred him to champion swiftly implanted, evidence-based programming, accessible to those living with or at risk for HIV, on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border. “We are sister communities,” he emphatically stated. “Infectious disease doesn’t recognize that border, and we need to be able to have conversations, and at least share best practices. Can we have effective bi-national partner services?” A current passion of Burke’s is the Border Health Profile, which he hopes to see collect the epidemiological data necessary to formulate sound strategies to combat HIV in the border region. Engaged with the California Planning Group (for HIV) and the California State Office of AIDS, Burke was happy to see the San Diego Board of Supervisors adopt the World Health Organization’s “Getting to Zero” strategy, and he is hopeful that this will prompt greater support and engagement by local government in reducing new infections. While Burke continues to work within the formal framework of HIV advocacy, he hopes to see the music industry return as part of that message again. One dream is to see a border-based music festival, not dissimilar to LA Street Scene, where they provide HIV and PrEP messaging, testing and linkage to care. “These are the venues where we need to have harm reduction available,” he said. “We have these at-risk communities who love the music and will show up for these types of events. These are the spaces where we can continue to normalize the conversations that can create a healthier San Diego and Tijuana. We have to face that ‘sex, drugs and rock and roll’ still happens, so let’s show up in those same venues.” To learn more about Brad Truax, visit —Ian D. Morton is the director of operations at San Diego Human Dignity Foundation and produces the Y.E.S. San Diego LGBTQ youth conference. To nominate an individual or nonprofit for this column, please email the information to▼

Burke surrounded by all the other nominees, who received community service awards.

(Photos by Kameron Kicklighter)


The best gift of all Life Beyond Therapy Michael Kimmel Fatigued from an overload of shopping, spending and travel? You’re not alone. Most people describe this time of year — Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and other celebrated holidays — as stressful instead of enjoyable. A 2016 telephone survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (that compared the holidays to other times of the year) found that 44 percent of women and 31 percent of men felt more stress during the holidays. In addition, 51 percent of women and 42 percent of men said purchasing and giving gifts added to their stress. At this time of year, many of us feel pressure to find our loved ones the “perfect” gift. While gift-giving is typically considered a good way to express your love, an August 2017 research study suggests that the best gift of all doesn’t need to be dramatic or expensive to feel meaningful. The study, “What Does it Mean to Feel Loved?” published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, found that small acts of kindness, not expensive presents, make people feel most loved and supported. “It’s Presence, not Presents,” as the saying goes. It’s about being there emotionally for those you love. The gift of love is the best

gift of all. And you don’t have to be rich to give it. This year, why not focus on giving more of yourself, not your credit card. What might this look like? To me, it means giving those you love the gift of your time, your attention, your voice, your hugs, your kisses (if it’s that kind of relationship) … you know, that kind of stuff. This doesn’t mean that it’s bad or wrong to give gifts; but that gift would probably be more meaningful if it includes spending time with its recipient. And spending time with someone doesn’t need to cost money. Let’s say you have no money for a gift. Nada. What can you do? Well, have you ever met up with a friend for a walk? For a hike? To go for a drive and look at Christmas lights? These are basically free. If you have a little money, why not take your friend to a café and buy her/him a delicious dessert and coffee? Or take them to a movie (bargain matinees are good). You could make them a nice brunch or dinner, if you cook. But, most of all, it’s your presence — your loving presence — that will really make a difference, not what you give or buy, but who you are when you’re with them. This is love. Love. You’re expressing your love for them, to them. And, hopefully, they can receive it and bask in it, like the golden waves of San Diego sunshine on a cloudy winter day.

I used to work for San Diego Hospice as a social worker for dying children and their families. That job changed me for life. Emotionally supporting terminally ill children taught me to stop making assumptions about my life: stop assuming that I will be alive tomorrow; stop assuming that people I love will be here tomorrow. As a result of that work, which was intense and demanding, I began to let people in my life know that I loved them whenever I saw them. I didn’t do this before, always assuming that I could tell them at some future time. It was a bit startling to my friends when I began to say, “I love you” each time I saw them, but when I explained why, they got it. I invite you to do the same. Don’t assume that people you love — or you — will be here tomorrow. Give the best gift of all today, when you’re with the people (and animals) that you love. Tell them you love them now. Don’t wait. You never know: This may be your last chance to give the best gift of all. —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▼


BRIEFS and lasting contributions for the LGBT community.” For more information about San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, visit


The local fundraiser held during the recent Postcards from the Edge exhibition and the Day With(Out) Art event has raised $975, according to organizers. The events, which originated in New York City, are held worldwide every year on Dec. 1 in recognition of World AIDS Day. San Diego held its inaugural Day With(out) Art on Dec. 2 at the Media Arts Center in North Park. Local event organizers Patrick N. Brown of the Escondido Arts Partnership and Patric Stillman of The Studio Door in North Park said a third of the money goes to Visual AIDS (New York) and the rest will be given as material grants in the form of gift cards to local artists living with HIV. Artists may find information on how to apply for the grants on The Studio Door website at Those who may have missed the local screenings sponsored by POZabilities can watch this year’s Day With(Out) Art artists create videos online at bit. ly/2BgykCo.

GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018


In conjunction with You Can Play San Diego, a special engagement of “LGBTs In The News” with Thom Senzee will take place two days before the game. The panel will feature Matt Savant, Gulls president of business operations, plus celebrity athletes and experts exploring the challenges and opportunities LGBT players face in professional, amateur and school sports. Happening on Thursday, Jan. 18 with a meet-and-greet at 6:30 p.m., the panel will get underway at 7 p.m. at Gossip Grill, located at 1220 University Ave. in Hillcrest. More information can be found at and


The BCAUSE Fund at the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF) recently donated a total of $37,505 to the San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest and Planned Parenthood Federation of America (Planned Parenthood) to address women’s health issues. Both gifts will be matched, with the gift to The Center matched at a ratio of 4-to-1, due to their current campaign and the charitable gift from Ron Bowman, with his husband Stan Zukowfsky. The BCAUSE Fund was started in 2004 by breast cancer survivor Peggy Walkush and her spouse, Jan Tisdale. Walkush was then a board member of SDHDF with a deGULLS TO CELEBRATE sire to ensure lesbians in San DIVERSITY NIGHT Diego had adequate access to You Can Play and the San Diego health care and awareness of LGBT Visitors Center will the risk factors for breast canbenefit from the celebration cer. The BCAUSE Fund hosted of Diversity Night with the an annual Wigfest event for San Diego Gulls hockey team several years, whereby particon Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 ipants dressed in colorful wigs at Valley View Casino Center and costumes to raise money when the Gulls take on the San for the fund. Jose Barracuda. Over the years, the BCAUSE Tickets cost $25 and include Fund made grants to support admission to the Bud Light meals to those in treatment, pre-game tailgate party. Up breast cancer awareness camto $9 of every ticket sold at bit. paigns and sponsored an anly/2kNXnln will be donated nual concert featuring the San back to the San Diego LGBT Diego Women’s Chorus, which Visitors Center and You Can benefited the chorus and the Play. Make sure to use the proLesbian Health Initiative at motion code word “Diversity” SDHDF. before purchasing tickets. “For more than a decade, Tickets can also be purthe BCAUSE Fund has been a chased at the LGBT Visitors generous donor to The Center’s Center, located at 502 programs for women’s health,” University Ave. at the Fifth said Dr. Delores Jacobs, CEO Avenue intersection in Hillcrest. of The Center. “We deeply apThe Anaheim Ducks Sled preciate this gift, which comes Hockey Team, the San Diego at such an important moment, Chill and You Can Play will aland we thank Peggy and Jan so be among the many honored for their years of dedicated during the evening. support.” You Can Play is an initiative With these two final gifts that works to ensure safety and — $19,505 to The Center and inclusion for all who participate $18,000 to Planned Parenthood in sports, including LGBTQ — the BCAUSE Fund will be athletes, coaches and fans. closed. “You Can Play is excited to “Jan and I felt the timing partner with the Gulls to prowas right to close the fund and mote inclusion and respect in disburse the gifts, especially hockey and beyond,” said Chris given the current political enMosier, vice president of provironment and defunding of gram development and commuwomen and children’s health nity relations at You Can Play. care, birth control, preventative “This night shows LGBTQ care and reproductive rights,” athletes, coaches, and fans and Walkush said. “The Center and their allies that they are not Planned Parenthood are two only welcomed at Valley View very important organizations Casino Center with open arms, deserving of our support.” but also valued as members of see Briefs, pg 15 the San Diego Gulls family.”



GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018

Letters Cheers for speaking out

[Ref: “Editorial: #BreakTheSilence,” Vol. 8, Issue 25, or online at]

Morgan, thank you for sharing your personal thoughts and the statistics. You and all who are victims of sexual and/or any form of abuse do us all a favor when you bravely share your worst lived nightmares. The real-life nightmares that others experience but never find the strength or opportunity to divulge for the fear of so many unfair consequences can only be flushed out when such behavior has too many faces to deny. Then justice will be served. Write your story or book. I encourage all to do the same.


Five ways to be a better queer in the New Year By Mikey Rox Replace the traditional New Year’s resolutions that you probably won’t keep (I know how hard it is to stick to an everyday gym routine when it’s arctic degrees outside) with something more meaningful — like committing to ways to be a better queer. Here’s a short list to get you started.

1. Give more of your time to local LGBTQ organizations.

Most communities have an LGBTQ support center, but you might not know it if you’re not seeking LGBTQ support. Still, it’s there, and it may need your support. In 2018, make it a point to pop in to offer your assistance. Maybe you can volunteer your time for an upcoming event; attend an activity (I had a fun evening at drag bingo hosted by my local center recently), mentor LGBTQ youth who desperately need responsible, caring adults in their lives; or offer financial support to keep The Center’s valuable programs on track. For many of these organizations, just opening the doors on a daily basis is a struggle, and they will appreciate every hour and dollar EDITOR Morgan M. Hurley (619) 961-1960 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS (619) 519-7775 Ken Williams, x102 Jeff Clemetson, x119 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chris Azzopardi William E. Kelly Michael Kimmel Ian Morton Neal Putnam Frank Sabatini Jr. WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA Sara Butler, x120

donated by community members like you.

2. Support an LGBTQ film festival.

I’ve attended several LGBTQ film festivals over the years — in my hometown of Baltimore; my current home of Asbury Park, New Jersey; and most recently, the OUTshine Film Festival (which is really top-notch, by the way), both in Miami and Fort Lauderdale — and these programs are the only place you’ll find a conscientious slate of curated films that represent the entire queer community in one mega-celebration of diverse filmmaking. If your home city doesn’t offer a film festival, maybe it’s time you and your group of go-getters put the wheels in motion to establish one. Otherwise, travel to the LGBTQ film festival near you — or plan a vacay around this affair — so we can all continue to push LGBTQ movies into mainstream consciousness. Hollywood will take notice of our full breadth of films eventually, like it has in the past 18 months with “Moonlight,” “Call Me By Your Name,” and 20th Century Fox’s groundbreaking gay-teen COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958 ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS (619) 519-7775 Annie Burchard, x 105 Michele Camarda, x116 Heather Fine, x107 Sloan Gomez, x104 Brenda Vergara, x110 INTERNS Alex Ehrie Jennifer Gottschalk Erik Guerrero Denise White

romance “Love, Simon,” in theaters nationwide on March 15 (which is a big frickin’ deal, if you don’t already know).

3. Serve as a mentor for LGBTQ youth.

It may seem like the world is a more accepting place than ever for LGBTQ youth (and on the whole it is), but there are still kids out there who struggle not only with their sexual orientation and identity but also with friends, family, teachers and authority figures who refuse to accept them as they are — and that’s where you come in. If you’re a successful queer person, contact your local school district to find out how you can speak at Gay-Straight Alliance meetings to let these youth who may be having a hard time know that it does, in fact, get better. Moreover, programs like Live Out Loud’s Homecoming Project helps connect high school alumni to their alma maters, making it easier for you to reach out and inspire. You’ll make a bigger difference than you realize, I promise.

4. Spend more money at LGBTQ-owned businesses.

I’m not recommending you stop spending your money at hetero-owned business — though I’m sure there’s a faction of us out there who would recommend that — but rather take some time to research your local retailers and restaurants ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962 WEB DESIGN Kim Espinoza

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

to see who’s family. Many times, you can glean this information by word of mouth or just a little digging on social media. When we support each other personally and professionally, our communities are stronger. Just look at what we did to San Francisco. And New York. And LA And Miami …

5. Stand up for yourself and your sexual orientation.

Don’t let people put you down, and don’t let anyone make you hide in the closet — period. Actress Marsha Warfield recently relayed an anecdote about how she’s been out privately forever, but her mother didn’t want her to come out publicly because she’d be embarrassed by it. Whitney Houston dealt with the same issue, as do countless other ordinary people. F**k that, OK? This is your life, you get one shot at it, and if anyone is embarrassed by who you are, you should feel confident enough in yourself to tell that sad, angry person that you will only be better without them. You don’t need that shit. Because it’s 2018, honey. F**king live! —Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He splits his time between homes in New York City and the Jersey Shore with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Twitter @mikeyrox.▼

—William E. Kelly, via

Expert advice

[IRT: “Letters: Musings on open relationships,” Vol. 8, Issue 25, or online at bit. ly/2B3ETE8.] I would like to respond to T. Curtis who commented on a GSD article I wrote about monogamy and open relationships [Ref: “Life Beyond Therapy: Gay marriage: Monogamous or open?” Vol. 8, Issue 12, or online at bit. ly/2iMbB9m.]. Mr. Curtis said that, in his experience, a lot of gay men lie about being single, when in actuality, they’re not. I am sorry Mr. Curtis had that experience. I guess the gay men I have worked with and interviewed over the years are a more honest bunch. I would advise Mr. Curtis — or anyone — to be very direct about this when meeting someone new, asking them, “Are you in an open relationship or seeing anyone else?” before you go out with them. I would hope that such a direct question would evoke an honest answer. If it doesn’t, I’m not sure what else any one of us could do in that situation. —Michael Kimmel, author of Gay San Diego’s “Life Beyond Therapy,” via▼

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

SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email. Copyright © 2017 San Diego Community News Network

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


GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018

Choosing care, community and county supervisors Senior Matters William E. Kelly There are various local, state and national laws, statutes and guidelines specific to senior housing and care, but they vary from one geographic location to another. Therefore, it is critical that one understands the options that exist in their area. It is imperative to plan ahead for your or a loved one’s current and future needs. Spearheaded by San Diego County Board of Supervisors’ Dianne Jacob and Greg Cox and approved by the board in 2014, the Choose Well program is a group of volunteer members working to establish a new bar for the standard of care all San Diego families should expect. Sponsored by the County of San Diego and supported by its Health and Human Services Agency, Aging and Independence Services (AIS), Choose Well is the first of its kind in the United States; a “free, innovative web-based program” that demonstrates the county’s long-term commitment to be an “age-friendly” community. Designed to assist San Diegans in making informed

choices for assisted living facilities, it gives you the ability to search Choose Well providers throughout the county and do side-by-side comparisons of their features. Facilities partnering with the county in this program, agreeing to be rated and to display their scores, demonstrate their commitment to the San Diego community. Those that do not have the Choose Well program logo/icon next to their name have not volunteered for the program. If you would like to know why, contact and ask the facility’s owners and/or management. The 11 quality measures for scoring were developed by stakeholders. Scores demonstrate a provider’s compliance (since 2010) with the state regulations related to each of the following measures: activities and socialization; emergency disaster planning; facility maintenance and safety; food and nutrition; non-compliance summary conference status (a list of any provider “... deficiencies prior to requesting administrative action to revoke their license.”); resident rights; staffing; civil penalties; specialty care; basic resident care; supervision; and medical needs and responsiveness. Details concerning the list, measures and scoring can be viewed at choosewellsandiego.

org. Using the “facilities search” tab, facilities can be searched for and compared. I reiterate, Choose Well is a voluntary program for San Diego County assisted-living facilities (also called Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly, or RCFEs). The Choose Well scores cannot and do not measure all aspects of resident care and it is recommended that those seeking care or services still visit and take a tour, have a meal and discuss with the providing agency’s administrator your or a loved one’s needs. Ask for references and talk to others who have used their services or have a family member who has experience with them. Make note of the monthly costs, what is not included, the distance the facility is from you, its cleanliness and any unpleasant odors, scenes or experiences and those other things that matter. Another useful tool is the San Diego Union Tribune’s 2018 edition of “San Diego Eldercare Directory” a “Guide to Independent Living and Long-Term for San Diego County and the Temecula Area.” This comprehensive publication contains facts, advice and resources to help you find answers to your questions and can be accessed online at Hardcopies are available

in libraries, senior and community centers, and from many providers of care and services to older adults. A hardcopy can also be requested by calling 619-293-1680, emailing, or sending a written request to: Attn: San Diego Eldercare Directory, San Diego UnionTribune, LLC, P.O. Box 120191, San Diego, CA 92112-0191. As a continuation on the topic of senior challenges, my upcoming January 2018 Senior Matters column will discuss the aging crisis as a time of reckoning. The February piece will delve into the San Diego Board of Supervisors’ efforts/roles in addressing the challenges. March through May, the written replies to the same four questions asked of each of the six candidates for District 4 Supervisor Ron Roberts’ seat will be shared without any personal commentary on my part. The six candidates are Omar Passons, Nathan Fletcher, Lori Saldana, Bonnie Dumanis, Ken Malbrough and Marcia Nordstrom. While there are many priorities that constituents look to the county leadership for guidance with, since this column focuses on Senior Matters, the four questions that have been posed to each candidate include:

Martha Stewart: still your other mother Lifestyle icon talks ‘1860s’ approach to equality, gaydar and same-sex weddings (CA) That wedding issue was a big deal as it was one of the first mainstream wedding magazines to feature a gay couple’s wedding, and then there was another in 2011. (MS) I know! And that was my nephew. That was Christopher Herbert marrying a Native American man [Timothy Long].

By Chris Azzopardi You don’t have to tell Martha Stewart that gay men love her like their own mother. The influential entrepreneur and domestic diva’s deep-rooted connection to the LGBTQ community goes beyond special appearances on “Ugly Betty” and “Ellen,” when she appeared as herself in a 1995 episode of the groundbreaking sitcom. Stewart, throughout her half-century-long career, has long embodied a quality near and dear to the queer community: perfection. After all, before “live your best life” was a meme, it was Stewart’s honed methodology. Could that affinity for precision and flawlessness — for the perfect Christmas ham, the perfect vegetable garden, the perfect dating persona — be why Stewart is very clued into the fact that many gay men perceive her as a mother figure? It’s a relationship worth exploring, and during my tight 15 minutes with Stewart, I dove into the lifestyle maven’s personal affiliations with many LGBTQ people: her nephew, as well as her dearest gay friends, whom she hosts at her various homes. While “in a car, so any confusion, blame the cell service,” Stewart, 76, was reflective and laid-back as she served up a savory platter of gay talk: Her age-appropriate philosophy on equality, gays who host Stewart at their get-togethers, and her memories of

Martha Stewart still bringing her “A game” (Photo by Fadil Berisha) transforming, unforgettably and stunningly, at the [big] hands of late, gay makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin. (Chris Azzopardi | CA) I’ve really appreciated the inclusivity on VH1’s “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party,” with guests ranging from LGBTQ icons like Patti LaBelle and Kathy Griffi n to gay TV personality Ross Mathews and also Laverne Cox. How aware are you of being LGBTQ inclusive when it comes to this show and also your career as a whole? (Martha Stewart | MS) Oh, thank you. Well, we’re kind of in the showbiz world and being inclusive, that just sort of goes with the terrain. I don’t care who the person is; I care about what the person does, and how they do it.

(CA) Martha Stewart Weddings magazine famously introduced same-sex couples into its pages in 2009, with Jeremy Hooper and Andrew Shulman sharing their vows with family and friends in Litchfield, Connecticut. Why was it important to be at the forefront of marriage equality in that way, and what did that moment mean to you? (MS) I believe in “all men are created equal.” I think I go back to the 1860s, and before! [Laughs] And I don’t think any compromise is necessary. I think it’s absolutely a fact that all men are created equal, and so I just treated people like equals my entire life. Equals in every single way, no matter what their proclivity is or what their sexuality is, or their color or their race. It doesn’t matter to me.

(CA) Seeing as though gay marriage wasn’t even recognized legally coast-tocoast then, were Marthaworshipping housewives open to displays of same-sex affection?


● Priorities for each candidate if they were to be elected supervisor, in order of importance and why. ● Objectives and goals that can and need to be accomplished and why. ● Proposals for achieving those objectives and goals. ● Experiences, qualifications and talents each candidate offers voters. The board of supervisors is critical in the strategic planning that impacts the lives of all county residents, and the board yields far more influence and controls far more assets than most voters realize. I will attempt to provide information to readers who weigh the challenges faced by seniors, their families, caregivers and service providers. Like many voters, I am still gathering information so that I might make the most informed decisions I can to prepare for my needs as a senior and choose the District 4 candidate I feel is best suited and prepared to address the needs of all seniors. While I am not ready to endorse anyone yet, my column in the May issue of Gay San Diego will share my personal endorsement and why. —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 wekbill@yahoo. com.▼

(MS) It was legal in Massachusetts, where they actually got married. I went to their wedding. They had a pre-wedding in Massachusetts, which was the legal wedding, and then they had the family celebration at my farm, which was another tying of the knot. The ceremony and that Celtic tying of the knot was so beautiful. (CA) Was that the best same-sex wedding you’ve been to? (MS) I’d say it’s one of them — I’ve been to a lot! I mean, I have a lot of gay editors, both male and female. One of our style directors at Weddings got married and he had a fantastic

see Stewart, pg 13


In a Nov. 24 story about a World AIDS Day event, [“NYC’s ‘Day With(out) Art’ comes to San Diego,” Vol. 8, Issue 24, or online at], we incorrectly credited a piece of artwork we ran with the story to Patric Stillman, the gallery’s principal and a co-producer of the event. The above artwork, called, “I Found You,” should have been attributed to Danné Sadler. We corrected the caption online and regret the error.



GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018


THE YEAR The winners run the gamut this year, including feature stories on local members of our community; the redesign of an iconic bar; a food review; a theater review; columns from our regular contributors touching on topics such as LGBT bars and homelessness; and even an obituary.

• Online:

3. Hillcrest CityFest Street & Music Festival returns [Issue 16, Aug. 4]

This was a surprise, since we generally promote this annual day-long Hillcrest street festival, deemed by many as “Pride lite,” which takes place just a month after our Pride weekend. • Online:

with serial killer John Wayne Gacy. • Online:

8. ‘Cabaret’: Still spectacular, still much to consider [Issue 19, Sept. 15] 10. Hillcrest gets aggressive [Issue 19, Sept. 15]

With the recent outbreak of hepatitis A this year, Hillcrest Business Association shared ways they were working to combat the problem on the streets of Hillcrest. • Online:

11. Community mourns death of Meldon ‘Mel’ Merrill [Issue 17, Aug. 18]

1. Out of the Archives: The history of our bars [Issue 5, March 3]

(Courtesy Lambda Archives)

Our No. 1 read story doesn’t surprise me at all. It is often said that our LGBT bars have been the focal point of every gay area in every city; having served as in many cases the only place where we could escape, be our true selves and socialize with like-minded folk, organize, and build lasting friendships and community. The San Diego LGBT bar scene has changed greatly over the years, and this column from regular contributor Lambda Archives generated tons of conversation and continues to do so. Two other articles about local LGBT bars are also on the list, and still another made the top 25 stories of the year, proving the topic’s resonance to readers. • Online:

2. Where in the world is

The two women who own and operate South Bark Dog Wash and South Bark Professional Pet Products have done so for the past 17 years. What was different about this year, was that vandals broke through their glass front door and made off with retail products — costing them thousands of dollars — twice in a six-month period. The appreciative South Park community rallied and lifted the women and their humble dog wash through the challenges. It was definitely a feel-good story that made you want to adopt a dog, just so you could take it there. • Online:

5. Out with the brass, in with the new [Issue 8, April 14]

The oldest gay bar in Hillcrest, called The Brass Rail until earlier this year, underwent a huge makeover — inside and out — and our resident foodie Frank Sabatini Jr. interviewed the owners and got the dish, er, story, about the rebranding. • Online:

(Photo by Daren Scott)

Hillcrest’s ion theatre — run by founder Claudio Raygoza and his life partner Glenn Paris, among others — just brought the iconic powerhouse “Cabaret” to their small, intimate stage. With the help of choreographer Michael Mizerany, the show was anything but small, with its “barely dressed dancers doing wonderfully athletic and decadent routines,” wrote theater critic Jean Lowerison. It is important to note that while this review just hit the internet by way of our last issue on Dec. 8, it quickly shot into the top 15. P.S. You can still catch this performance through Saturday, Dec. 23. • Online:

(Courtesy David Ramos)

Mel Merrill helped prop up most of the nonprofits in our LGBT community for decades and was a staunch political organizer and supporter. He died in August at the age of 80. Contributing editor Ken Williams not only told Merrill’s story, but reached out to members of the community to get comment. • Online:

12. Crepes and croques under cozy conditions } [Issue 18, Sept. 1]

A small but comfortable Hillcrest restaurant, Le Bonne Table — known for its quaint setting and “concise” French dinner selections — started offering brunch earlier this year. Sandra Tristan, a Rome native

(Courtesy Elizabeth Hannon)

Elizabeth Hannon [Issue 12, June 9]

When the CEO of the Uptown Community Parking District seemed to drop off the map for a time earlier this year, people wanted to know what had happened to the engaging lesbian whose personality and smile seemed to brighten rooms wherever she went. My interview solved that mystery and shared what empowering new endeavors Hannon had since involved herself in.

7. The strange case of Glen Meadmore [Issue 19, Sept. 15]

Pat Sherman, a former editor of Gay San Diego, penned this unique story about an even more unique musician, Glen Meadmore, who also happens to be gay and was bringing his “country punk” show to town. Meadmore collaborated with San Diego native RuPaul in the 1990s and commissioned artwork from and corresponded

Regular columnist Ben Cartwright often invokes his personal experiences around the community as catalysts for his column. For this one, he took a late-night assault from a homeless person and turned it into the opportunity to make a plea to others to look at the situation differently; offering that homeless people are people too and “don’t want to live on the streets, many of them have illnesses (mental, addiction, etc.) and others are just down on their luck. So many of us could be just one illness, car breakdown or lost paycheck away from homelessness.” • Online:

15. Back Out with Benny: A farewell to Numb3rs [Issue 18, Sept. 1]

Cartwright again made the list with his tribute to Numbers Nightclub, another iconic LGBT bar that San Diego lost in September, one of many in the last decade. He shared his affection for the “underrated” club, which allowed him to “dance to a Cuban band on one side and then hop over to a sweaty kink party on the other …” and thanked the management for keeping it alive as long as they did. He also reminded us that “LGBT bars are important and necessary.” • Online:

6. A Very Reverend reverend [Issue 8, April 14]

The Very Reverend Penny Bridges is Dean of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bankers Hill, which in recent years has bent over backwards to embrace the local LGBT community, not only welcoming them into their cathedral but be a part of its celebrations throughout the year. Bridges has made it a personal goal to make sure that transgender people feel included. “Pastorally, my heart is with the trans folks,” Bridges told writer Joyell Nevins. This story about the dean’s life and the mission of her church clearly touched people. • Online:

What else would an LGBT newspaper want on its front cover on the inauguration day of President Donald J. Trump? Why, the community’s Log Cabin Republicans president, Gina Roberts, a transgender woman who was going through her own physical transition on the very same day that President Barack Obama was transitioning out of office and Trump was transitioning in. This very personal story was a hit with readers of all genres — including Roberts’ Republican colleagues and allies — both straight and LGBT. • Online:

14. Back Out with Benny: The impacts of homelessness [Issue 1, Oct. 13]

(Photo by Big Mike)

4. The ‘South Park blueberry girls’ [Issue 17, Aug. 18]

13. A peaceful transition [Issue 2, Jan. 20]

(Photo by Morgan M. Hurley)

9. A tremendous splash of color [Issue 22, Oct. 27]

F Street sat at the corner of University Avenue and Florida Street for decades. Everyone knows what F Street was about. A few years ago, F Street moved out, the building was given a makeover, though still with drab colors, and a retail clothing store opened up. Then suddenly over a weekend in October, the building transformed into what some described as a “unicorn throwing up rainbow” all over it. Everyone wanted to know what the hell was going on. While I was unable to reach the owners for comment, I did a bit of investigating and my story was well read. As a result of the story, the owners eventually did reach out and promised to share their future plans for the building. I’m hoping that happens just after the first of the year. • Online:

and the wife of French owner and chef Renaud Tristan, took the initiative to add it to the restaurant’s weekend “magic” dinner service. Frank Sabatini Jr.’s descriptions and photos of the Frenchthemed brunch were divine and readers ate it up. • Online:

(Courtesy Gina Roberts)

Thank you for reading the Gay San Diego newspaper and website. On behalf of the entire staff of San Diego Community News Network, parent company of Gay San Diego, we wish you the happiest of holidays and a safe New Year. —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at morgan@sdcnn. com.▼ Established in 2012, the YPC Academy is an annual program that meets on Saturdays from February to June and takes 20 eager young members fundraising drive through Dec. of our local LGBT community, 31 — one that will turn that introduces them to the funcinto a $2 million total donation, tionality of our community outthanks to a $1.6 million, 4:1 side of the bar scene, and gives match offered by Ron Bowman them the tools they need to be a and his husband Stan Zukowfsky. leader today. Announced at The Center’s Jacobs developed the curric45-year Sapphire Gala in ulum and has been at the helm October, the gift is the “single of each class since its inception, largest matching opportunity but again, she sidesteps praise The Center has ever received.” for the endeavor. Since then, donations of “How the academy works is all sizes have been bestowed [we bring] in a variety of people on The Center, including a from the LGBT community, recent $5,150 donation from from the justice community, San Diego Pride, which due and from San Diego in general, to the match, became $25,750. to talk for an hour so folks can Though many pledges they’ve meet them, and hear what they received since October may have to offer in terms of their never materialize, as we go to leadership and their mission,” press, there is approximately Jacobs explained. “So it’s not $15,000 left “in the door” to all me. I’m there, I’m connectreach the drive’s maximum ing some themes or whatever, goal of $400,000. but the whole point of it is to Under Jacobs’ leadership, give them some exposure to The Center has a strong depeople doing good work in San velopment department, which Diego and see where for themworks closely with regular selves they think they fit. donors and is constantly culti“I hope it is an introduction vating new, long-term donors. to what is truly an ongoing Sometimes, however, communi- international movement, the ty members decide on their own issues within it, and the ways to bequeath a portion of their they connect and don’t connect.” worth to one of its programs. The YPC Academy is accomWhen it comes to an enplishing its mission; many of dowment such as the one its graduates have gone on to from Bowman and Zukowfsky, do great things; for example, Jacobs emphasized, it doesn’t Georgette Gomez is now a San just happen overnight; rather it Diego City Council member; evolves more organically from Benny Cartwright is the direc“the generosity and the wisdom” tor of outreach at The Center; of the donor. and Prabha Singh was just “This couple had been selected by the board of the planning for almost 10 years San Diego Human Dignity — we’re talking long-term reFoundation to be its new operalationships — people have to tions director. think about it,” she continued. Applications for the 2018 “Sometimes their circumstances academy are now being acchange.” cepted through Dec. 31. To When it was suggested that learn more or apply, visit bit. a donation of this size was a ly/2BgRHao or follow them on testament to her leadership Facebook. Space is limited each and steerage over the 17 years, year, but Jacobs encouraged apJacobs was quick to offset that plicants to not be discouraged praise. and keep applying. “There are a whole lot of Her legacy — #BTG people that work on this stuff The Center dedicates about — the staff, the volunteers, the 35 percent of its resources board — I’m involved in it but to HIV services of all kinds. it’s not about me, it’s about Jacobs, as well as many other all of those folks,” Jacobs said. leaders within our local LGBT “And it’s about broadening the community, lived through the number of people who are doAIDS crisis of the 1980s and ing that work. [Development ’90s. Back then, amid the grief is] all about relationships and and loss and the constant fight getting to know folks and what they care about,” she continued. for government recognition and solutions, it often didn’t seem “It’s more listening than it is there would ever be a light at talking. At the end of the day, you want the donor to feel good.” the end of the tunnel. For those who came up If you’d like to be a part of this historic $2 million gift, vis- behind us, our young leaders of today, they experienced an it educational environment that Her legacy — YPC equated being gay with death. While it is hard to nail down The prospect of coming out was those 17 years of service and horrifying for many of them fit something into a box that and the stigma around the diswould identify the legacy of Dr. ease remained so great, those Jacobs, there are two programs who had HIV themselves, rethat seem to stand out, in adgardless of age, were not free to dition to the LGBT-affirming talk about it, even within our senior housing that Bill Kelly own community. recently discussed with her “There are 65- and 70-year [Ref: “Senior Matters — North olds who survived some of Park senior apartments: the the AIDS crisis but then the journey,” Vol. 8, Issue 23, or next generation of leadership online at]: the is 55–60, and there is a gap. Young Professionals Council Why is there a gap? Because so (YPC) Academy and the many died,” Jacobs reflected. #BeTheGeneration effort to “People aren’t going to be able end the stigma of HIV and to appreciate that for another the advancement of future little while, until they’re not so infections. scared and until they get the



FEATURE message that for a few million dollars and a really focused effort, we can make the difference here. We finally have a chance.” Enter #BeTheGeneration. In 2014, The Center launched a program that would not only create change around how we address HIV individually, but how we talk about it among ourselves. With 50,000 new infections still identified every year in the U.S., #BTG became an aggressive campaign to not only end transmissions in the next decade — by getting people tested and proactive — but also end the stigma, which would be key to getting them tested and proactive. The initiative, along with The Center’s own HIV testing program, has been hugely

GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018 successful in making headway in accomplishing that mission; HIV is now talked about, people are getting tested regularly, hundreds are now taking PrEP, and even gay men in our community who have tested positive for decades are finally feeling comfortable enough to discuss their status. “It’s making a difference and we’re excited by that and we could make a bigger impact if we could drive more information out to the public about how important it is to test early, test often, and get on meds if and when you test positive for HIV,” Jacobs said. “Somehow as a culture we’ve driven that message about early detection when it comes

see Jacobs, pg 15



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GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018


Lety Gonzalez has taken the position of executive chef at Beerfish in North Park since leaving Uptown Tavern in September. Since settling into her new gig, she has tweaked some of the recipes and plans on adding new sandwiches, fryups and raw items next month. “We started making our own seasonings in-house such as Ole’ Bay, and we changed our batter recipe to make it crispier and more flavorful,” she told Gay San Diego. In addition, the restaurant recently implemented full table service and features half-price oysters on Mondays. 2933 Adams Ave., 619-263-2337,

Accomplished chef Marco Maestoso from Italy will soon open a restaurant in Hillcrest. (Courtesy Contour PR + Social)

Look for menu changes at Beerfish by new executive chef, Lety Gonzalez. (Courtesy Beerfish)

Additional details have emerged since we last reported on the Italian restaurant moving into The HUB Hillcrest Market in place of Napizza. The venture has since been re-named Maestoso (instead of Casa Maestoso) by its chef and co-owner, Marco Maestoso, who opened a namesake restaurant two years ago in Rome. He also ran a series of acclaimed popup dinners in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles before moving to San Diego this year and partnering in

Five bars, a dance club, live music, outdoor games and Bajainspired food will prevail within one address at the upcoming Mavericks Beach Club, formerly Pacific Beach Bar and Grill. The project, due to open in February, is a joint venture between members of the Verant Group (True North Tavern, Barleymash, The Smoking Gun) and David Cohen, formerly of West Coast Tavern. 860 Garnet Ave.,

An all-in-one restaurant, bar and dance club that includes an outdoor games area is coming to Pacific Beach. (Rendering by Blue Motif)

Lyft, the ever-expanding transportation company, held its third annual Lyftie awards to celebrate the most popular passenger

destinations in 32 cities, including San Diego. This year’s local awards went to: Urban Mo’s Bar & Grill for the most visited restaurant;

PB Shore Club for the most visited bar; Petco Park for the most visited event space; and SDSU for the most visited university.

All Southern California locations of Barons Market have begun carrying Nomad Donuts’ famous Montreal-style bagels. They’re available in four types: plain, sesame, poppy and “everything.”

Unlike traditional New York-style bagels, these are boiled in sweetened water rather than plain or salted. And they’re wood fi red instead of baked in convection ovens,

resulting in thinner bagels with bigger holes. Locally, Barons Market has locations in North Park, Point Loma and Rancho Bernardo.

business with Napizza’s owner, Christopher Antinucci. Maestoso’s menu will offer some Italian novelties such as “pinsa,” which is the Roman ancestor of pizza made with a blend of rice and wheat flours. Customers will also fi nd pork tenderloin in dark cherry sauce; butternut squash “steak” in ginger-beet puree; build-your-own pasta dishes; and daily “chef-to-table” specials. The restaurant is expected to open by February. 1040 University Ave.

events @THECENTER Through Dec. 31

Tuesday, Jan. 2

Community Food Bank 9-10:30 am, The Center

Academy Applications Open Applications and supporting documentation for the 2018 YPC Academy must be received by 8pm on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, to be considered. The mission of YPC is to develop and empower young LGBT professionals and their allies through the Young Professionals Council Academy (YPC Academy). Approximately 20 candidates will be selected for the 2018 class. Find out more and apply at For more info. contact

Wednesdays, Dec. 27 & Jan 10

Diamonds in the Rough 12-1 pm, The Center Therapist-lead support group for transgender women and transfeminine individuals, topics vary. Group is closed format and must meet with group facilitator prior to joining. Contact Paty 619 692 2077 x200 for more information or email This group meets the 2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month (with referral).

The San Diego LGBT Community Center hosts a distribution site once a month for the Community Cares Project of the San Diego Food Bank. On the first Tuesday of every month, visit The Center’s parking lot for emergency food. For more information, visit the San Diego Food Bank website at

Point Loma is making way for a casual eatery specializing in fresh fish and tacos. (Courtesy Alternative Strategies)

Fresh seafood catches, seaweed salads and tacos are on tap at the upcoming Point Loma Fish Shop, due to open in the next month or two. The 2,200-square-foot space will provide indoor/outdoor seating

and the same menu as Fish Shop locations in Pacific Beach and Encinitas. It will also offer $1 oysters on Thursdays and allow wine to be brought in for a $5 corkage fee per bottle. 1110 Rosecrans St., #100.

Wednesday, Jan. 3

Guys, Games & Grub 6-8:30 pm, The Center Everyone is welcome to The Center on the first Wednesday evening of each month for GGG! The popular board game and social night, presented by Men @ The Center, includes pizza, snacks, beer, wine, soft drinks, and hundreds of board games. Come alone and meet new friends, or come with a group for a fun evening out. The popular Team Trivia game is hosted by John Lockhart and everyone is welcome. Suggested donation of $5. For more information contact Ben Cartwright at or 619.692.2077 x106. The San Diego LGBT Community Center 3909 Centre Street • 619-692-2077

Twitter: @LGBTCenter

Shake Shack's Smoke Shack single burger (Courtesy Bay Bird Inc.) Mission Valley has become home to a second San Diego location of Shake Shack, the New York-based burger chain that made its local debut in October in Westfield UTC mall. The newest outpost, which opened Dec. 21, is located within The Millennium Mission Valley mixed-use complex. In addition to its usual lineup of burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, crinkle-cut fries and frozen custards, the menu features two versions of the frozen custards unique to

Mission Valley: the chocolate “shark attack” with fudge sauce and chocolate-truffle cookie dough; and the vanilla “salt N’ SANDiego” with salted caramel sauce, crumbled sugar cone and bananas. Craft beers by Modern Times, Bear Republic and other local breweries are also available. 675 Camino de la Reina, —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at fsabatini@san.▼


8302 Parkway Drive La Mesa 619-461-1100 Prices: Soups, salads and appetizers, $6 to $10.99; entrees, $12.99 to $19.50; lunch specials, $9.99

the bonus of fresh dill. We were in poultry heaven, greeted at the gates by dense mashed potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes. We then proceeded to chicken stroganoff, available also with beef or no meat at all. Despite the absence of red meat, the dish was sinfully rich thanks to its bedding of buttered spiral noodles draped in creamy mushroom-onion gravy. Bazar and Makarova grew up in the same apartment building in the Ukrainian town of Ternopil. They eventually moved to the U.S., got married in Las Vegas and settled in Spring Valley. They opened the restaurant more than six years ago and named it partly after the Ukraine’s national berry bush, the kalina.

(clockwise from top left) Chicken Kiev; a mix of cheese and potato-filled pierogis; potato and eggplant salads; and tea and honey cake (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

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

Edward Watts and Dan DeLuca.

It’s been a while since a meal made me jump into the air with such excitement, especially from a restaurant that isn’t awash in hipster hype or flaunting some multi-million-dollar theme. We’re talking about an ultra-homey Ukrainian joint called The Village House Kalina. It’s squeezed between a 7-Eleven and a taco shop in a small, unglamorous strip plaza — exactly the kind of setting in which you find such occasional gems. So what exactly is Ukrainian cuisine? As summarized by Alexander Bazar, whose wife Tanya Makarova does the cooking, it’s a confluence of Russian, Georgian and Polish foods that have resulted over the years in recipes specific to the Ukraine, such as borscht soup. Here, you can order the beet pottage stocked traditionally with beef, potatoes, cabbage, onions and herbs. There’s also a vegetarian version without the meat. We slurped down the former and were awed by how smoothly the flavors of the cubed beef and softened veggies united in the obligatory presence of sour cream spooned on top. It was pure liquid comfort. Many Ukrainian recipes call for judicious uses of mild vinegars, dill, parsley, onions, garlic and other savory ingredients that impart subtle tang to salads, dumplings and meats. Such is the case with the wildly addicting table butter infused with garlic and herbs. Ditto for two outstanding salads — the Olivier, combining chilled potatoes, peas and carrots; and an eggplant puree, accented with walnuts and onions. Butter took center stage in a generous order of vareniky dumplings, known commonly in the U.S. as pierogis. They’re filled with either a choice of potatoes and very mild farmer’s cheese or potatoes and onions. Both were exceptional and appealed to my half-Polish roots, although those unfamiliar with Slavic food might find the frilly dumplings bland, since salt, pepper and onions are used rather scantly in the dish. If you’ve never encountered chicken Kiev before, this is the place to plunge into it. Bazar pointed out that in the Ukraine, the dish shows up mostly in restaurants rather than in households because of its tricky maneuverings of rolling the breast filets around chunks of butter, and then sealing the chicken in leak-proof casings of eggs, flour and bread crumbs. My only attempt at making the dish after having it on an overseas flight (when airlines used to serve hot, edible meals) resulted in a messy disaster. Here, the breading on the chicken was even and crispy, giving way to the coveted spurt of melted butter when cutting into it. The center cavity also included

The Village House Kalina

The dining room is rustically cute, a recreation of a village o farmhouse, replete with pa parlor m their and kitchen décor from homeland. heme is Missing from the scheme vodka or booze of any kind since the restaurant doesn’t have a liquor license. But customers can tote in alcohol and consume it onsite free of charge. isit Regardless if you visit u’ll for lunch or dinner, you’ll hout be remiss to leave without erbal indulging in a pot of herbal y cake. tea and a slice of honey ipe The cake is the recipe ngy of Bazar’s aunt, a spongy i multi-layered masterpiece boasting nuts, custard and sour cherries. The cherries appear also in warm syrup served alongside, which you pour over the cake, into your tea, or both. We declared to each other halfway through the meal that we’ll eagerly return in the near future to try some of the other entrees, such as the Russian-style ground steak cutlets and the Zharkoe beef stew with prunes. But the dessert was a finale that threw us into a greater state of urgency to come back, which will be much sooner than later.

Special thanks to Audrey S. Geisel/ The Dr. Seuss Fund at The San Diego Foundation

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STEWART wedding at a nightclub in Brooklyn. That was so fun, and that was also featured in the magazine. And I’ve been to several female weddings. You know, every wedding is special to me. (CA) Is it intimidating for people to host Martha Stewart at their wedding? (MS) I don’t know if it’s intimidating, but I think it ups their game a little bit! [Laughs] (CA) What do you look for at a same-sex wedding? (MS) I like to see what the couple is wearing. I like to see how they handle relatives. But I don’t differentiate a gay wedding from a straight wedding. I just don’t differentiate. I just went to Steven Gambrel’s wedding. That was so beautiful! He’s a very famous, very wealthy interior designer, and he married his longtime partner at their beautiful home in Sag Harbor, Long Island. It was an extraordinary evening. The father of Steven’s partner got up and said, “This is our family’s first gay wedding,” and he said, “It’s a momentous occasion for our family and we embrace it.” It was one of the nicest father speeches I’ve heard at a wedding. Everybody sort of wanted to cry because he was visibly uncomfortable and yet accepting at the same time. It was very moving. (CA) You also attended out Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld’s A-list tribute party in October. (MS) Oh my god, that was a fantastic party! Mariah Carey singing! She sang a couple of songs for Karl dressed in a Chanel sequined dress that was, you know, perfectly clinging. It was beautiful, and Karl was so thrilled. (CA) Growing up in New Jersey in the ’40s and ’50s, what was your introduction to the LGBTQ community? (MS) In my class, I knew that several of the boys were gay. It wasn’t talked about, and nobody made fun of them. Nutley High School was a pretty liberal but also quiet school, so there were some gay boys that we knew, and I think one or two girls. But they hadn’t come out, and the boys really were not out, if you want to use that word. But they were definitely gay. And then in our own family, I had one cousin who was gay who lives in Buffalo and then my nephew is gay, and I think even though he didn’t come out until college, we all sort of knew he was gay. My daughter who has radar like crazy, Alexis, who I’m sure you know, she knows. And my mother didn’t have a clue. It wasn’t part of her lifestyle. She just didn’t have those friends. (CA) Snoop Dogg has said that you love to get him drunk. Do you have a gay friend who’s especially good at getting you drunk? (MS) I don’t like getting drunk, so not necessarily, no.

“Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” doesn’t even strive to be inclusive, but it is, because Martha. (Courtesy VH1) (CA) Tipsy? It was the guy who worked for me (Alex Peruzzi). He’s Linda (MS) If I get tipsy, it’s probEvangelista in the book — he ably because I haven’t eaten anything. I don’t get up saying, was head of merchandising in “Oh, I’m gonna get drunk today.” my craft department. A very I just don’t do that. handsome boy. (CA) Is entertaining a group of sophisticated gay men the ultimate challenge? (MS) No. Again, I don’t differentiate if I have a group of gay men [over]. I just don’t ever think that way. I don’t differentiate. [Artbag business owner] Christopher Moore came to my house recently with four gay friends just to look at the gardens and I gave them cappuccinos and they were happy. I actually didn’t have any food in the house, so I couldn’t give them anything to eat, but they were perfectly happy. I just don’t ever think that way. I don’t differentiate. (CA) Wait, let’s back up, Martha. You didn’t have any food in your house? (MS) Well, nothing except eggs. I could’ve made them scrambled eggs. I thought after, “I probably should have fed them something”... but I didn’t. [Laughs] (CA) Is it true that Cher was the one who convinced you to work with famous late, gay makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin when he photographed you as Veronica Lake for his 2000 book “Face Forward”? (MS) No, I knew who Kevyn Aucoin was, and he was such an amazing makeup artist. And I like doing things like that. I have a face that can become other people. And I just thought, “Oh, God, what an opportunity.” He did such an amazing job. (CA) In the gay community and beauty world, those photos are quite legendary. (MS) Oh, I know who it was!

(CA) How do you reflect on that shoot? (MS) I didn’t know that Kevyn was suffering from a pretty hideous disease, but I did remark on the size of his hands. He had that disease that enlarged appendages. His hands, his feet, everything was oversized. And I couldn’t believe that someone with such monster hands – these big hands – could do such delicate makeup work, but he did. He did amazing, amazing work. It was an art form of his to see a structure of a face and turn it into another face. (CA) Looking back, have any gay people influenced your fondness for decadence or even your path to becoming a lifestyle icon? (MS) No, not really. Although when I was catering [Stewart launched a catering business in the ’70s] many of the young men who were my waiters were gay, and they still are. The gay community works a lot in the catering business in New York; they are either actors or artists and they need to make money, so they make money in catering. But they were all chosen on skill and aptitude for the kind of job they were doing, and they were all great. But my daughter and I both have lots of gay friends. My closest friend is Kevin Sharkey and he’s also like the surrogate uncle to Alexis [and her family] and he lives in their same building, and he’s Tio Kevin to them. I even introduce him playfully to friends as my gay son. (CA) I want to be Martha Stewart’s gay son.

(MS) Lots of his friends would like to be Martha’s gay son! (CA) How does one achieve Martha Stewart “gay son” status? (MS) He’s worked for [me for] 18 years, that’s how! He worked his way up!

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


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GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018

Friday, Dec. 22

Dick the Halls: Kick off your Christmas weekend with a San Diego Kings Club Holiday Show! It’s not Santa’s usual elves but definitely some of his favorites and you can see who’s been naughty or nice while they rock the house and dick the halls. $5 gets you in and there will be door prizes for some lucky guests. 7–9:30 p.m., Gossip Grill, 1220 University Ave. in Hillcrest. bit. ly/2BgrD3p Onesie wonderland and snow party: Gossip Grill will deck the halls with this Winter Wonderland Onesie Party. Throw on your favorite onesie or PJs — and receive no cover and half off your first drink, then head to the dance floor where DJ Kinky Loops will be spinning for the festivities. A snow machine will help blanket the bar in holiday magic every hour starting at 8 p.m. Drink specials to keep you warm. Cover begins at 10 p.m. 8 p.m.–2 a.m., Gossip Grill, 1220 University Ave. in Hillcrest. bit. ly/2yZn3Aq Paris’ ‘Home for the Holidays’ show: This longtime Hillcrest holiday tradition continues with blessings and a familiar face, host Paris Sukomi Max. Join her and a cast of fabulous entertainers — Cassidy Richards, Lolita VonTease, Kickxy Vixen-Styles, and Keex Rose — to get you and yours ready to be home for the holidays. Doors open at 7 p.m., with some complimentary refreshments; the show starts at 8 p.m. Use your desktop computer and choose your preferred seat on the seating map. Tickets: $20 (tables); $15 (seated); $12 (standing). 8-10 p.m. Urban MO’s, 308 University Ave. in Hillcrest. bit. ly/2Bgxm9m

Saturday, Dec. 23

Queen Nation rocks Pala Casino: Take a break from holiday shopping and hit up Pala Casino for some table fun and a ticket for Queen Nation, a tribute to Queen and Freddie Mercury. Formed in 2004, Queen Nation has performed all over the world. For more info, visit 8-11 p.m. Pala Casino, 11154 Highway 76 in Pala. SPOTLIGHT Unwrapped: Join in on this fun drag experience and talent competition show that will be giving back this holiday season with a raffle, drink specials for you and entertainment by your favorite queens. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m., but get there early for great seats and drink specials the first half hour. 7-10 p.m., Gossip Grill, 1220 University Ave. in Hillcrest. bit. ly/2oPqvOf

Sunday, Dec. 24

CHRISTMAS EVE Christmas Eve Sunday Brunch: Celebrate with family and friends at this intimate French bistro in Hillcrest with a special a la carte menu. Learn more about their brunch in our cover story on page 1. 10 a.m.–3 p.m., La Bonne Table, 3696 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest.

Monday, Dec. 25

CHRISTMAS DAY Christmas Day at The Del: Celebrate Christmas on the West Coast with a holiday feast in the oceanfront

Ballroom or iconic Crown Room. Guests will feast at an elegant holiday buffet decked with classic trimmings and gourmet surprises. Enjoy live music, spectacular décor and ocean views (from the ballroom only) and more. Visit bit. ly/2iAKi1o to reserve your spot. Note: The Del’s holiday events are reservation only and must be prepaid. Self-parking $5 for up to three hours with validation. 11 a.m.–2 p.m., Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave. in Coronado. bit. ly/2CI8e7H

Tuesday, Dec. 26

‘Motown: The Musical’: The true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to a heavyweight music mogul. He launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Enjoy classic songs such as “My Girl” and“ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and experience the story behind the music. All audiences (ages 10 and up). Broadway San Diego at the San Diego Civic Theatre, 3666 Fourth Ave. in Downtown. bit. ly/2CG0CCR Sisters’ Saturnalia: The San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence invite you to participate in their annual meeting and winter celebration. Celebration; recognition; inspiration; perhaps a libation! They gather together to celebrate the work they accomplished in 2017, recognize outstanding organizations and individuals, and inspire themselves and others. All this with a nosh and a drink or two. 7-10 p.m., Brick Bar, 1475 University Ave. in Hillcrest. bit. ly/2BhemI1

Thursday, Dec. 28

San Diego International Auto Show: Hosted by Alfa Romeo USA, this annual four-day automobile show features more than 400 of the latest model cars, SUVs, trucks, electric and autonomous vehicles, and more; a dozen different test drive opportunities; exotic cars; automotive products; exhibitor booths; and more. Tickets $15 (adult), $11 (children), $12 (senior and military). Show runs through Jan. 1. Times vary, today 10 a.m.– 9 p.m. San Diego Convention Center, 111 Harbor Drive in Downtown. Frozen Fairgrounds at Del Mar: San Diego sometimes makes it hard to get into the holiday spirit, with people wearing shorts and T-shirts. Del Mar Fairgrounds has the answer — visit their holiday event, Frozen Fairgrounds — with two covered outdoor ice skating rinks: the Community Rink, which gives you plenty of room for epic twirls and spins or graceful/ ungraceful falls; or the NHL Rink, where you can tear up the ice just like a pro hockey player, then shoot pucks at numerous interactive skill zones or just hang out at the onsite concession stand or lounge area. Ticket includes skate rentals and an all-day skating pass. Noon – 10 p.m. 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. in Del Mar. bit. ly/2oQADGI Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade: The scenic bayside streets of Downtown will come alive with the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade presented by National Funding. This annual family event brings together world-class marching bands, floats, drill teams and a procession of enormous balloons. With more than 100,000 patrons expected, grandstand seats at the television broadcast area are

suggested. These seats can be reserved and are the best seat in the house, where parade entries will perform as they march by. Limited number of seats available, $22 each, in advance ($25 day of, if available). Accessible seating is also available. SDCCU Holiday Bowl Day event timeline: Solar Turbines 5K, 9:45 a.m.; Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade, 10 a.m.; Battle of the Bands at Broadway Pier, 11:45 a.m. and the SDCCU Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm Stadium), 6 p.m. kickoff. Free. 10-11:30 a.m., Embarcadero in Downtown. bit. ly/2D4evvs

Friday, Dec. 29

San Diego International Auto Show: Hosted by Alfa Romeo USA, this annual four-day automobile show features more than 400 of the latest model cars, SUVs, trucks, electric and autonomous vehicles, and more; a dozen different test drive opportunities; exotic cars; automotive products; exhibitor booths; and more. Tickets $15 (adult), $11 (children), $12 (senior and military). Show runs through Jan. 1. Times vary, today 10 a.m.– 9 p.m. San Diego Convention Center, 111 Harbor Drive in Downtown. Rich’s Massive Weekend: Party all weekend long heading into New Year’s with a three-day pass for Rich’s Massive weekend party. Guaranteed entry, front of line for Electro POP with John Joseph on Friday; Euphoria with a live performance by DEV on Saturday including after-hours till 4 a.m.; and NYE Massive with after-hours till 4 a.m., cash drop, and a hosted Champagne toast at midnight. Tickets $44.28. Rich’s Nightclub,1051 University Ave. in Hillcrest. bit. ly/2kmKL5m

Sunday, Dec. 31

NEW YEARS EVE NYE morning yoga on Sunset Cliffs: Prepare for your New Year’s Eve fun by exhaling 2017 and inhaling 2018 and getting centered with a vinyasa flow and yoga, overlooking the ocean at Sunset Cliffs. All levels are welcome, especially new yoga enthusiasts! Bring a towel or blanket for under your mat, water, a sweater in case it gets cold and an open mind. Message organizers with any questions. Note: If you are a new student, please sign our waiver before class bit. ly/yogajawnwaiverEB. Free, but donations accepted (hugs count). 11 a.m.–12 p.m. hosted by Yoga Jawn, 1253 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. in Ocean Beach. On With The Show IV: Enchanted Carnivàle: Fourth annual New Year’s Eve event with three venues, a huge music lineup, dinner show, raffles and more. This show will take you back to the traveling carnivals from the 1920s and ’30s.

see Calendar, pg 16


solution on page 12


ACROSS 1 Connoisseur Allen and others 5 The Village People’s kind of man 10 They’re performing, in “Fame” 14 Drilling org. 15 Wife of Portia 16 Leg smoother 17 In a recent episode she played a man who was playing a woman 20 Milano opera house, with “la” 21 Foaming at the mouth 22 Jude Law title role 23 Character played by 17-Across 26 Contemporary of architect Johnson 27 Dorm VIPs 28 “Arsenic and ___ Lace” 31 Ruled like a queen 35 Title for Oedipus 38 Member that stands tall 40 Deer in Maria’s song 41 Go down 43 Glenn Burke, formerly

Saturday, Dec. 30

Whiskies around the World: Come join Colleen and Jay, to taste the best whiskeys which come from small distilleries around the world. Samples include American, Irish and Scotch whiskies as well as a few of their newest international whiskies. Food pairings will be available to go with each tasting. Tickets $35. 6:30–8 p.m. VomFass, 1050 University Ave. in Hillcrest. bit. ly/2BJJH5w

44 Become husband and husband on the fly 46 “A Summer Place” actor Richard 47 Gilbert of “Roseanne” 48 Gold Olympic award for Megan Rapinoe 49 Skirt worn by a Hawaiian man 50 Will of “The Waltons” 52 Early newspaper publisher Ben 54 Porter musical 57 San Francisco's Eagle, e.g. 61 Stop up 63 Civilians prepared to shoot off 64 “The Double Man” author 65 Separates the men from the boys, e.g. 66 Where sailors sleep with their first mates? 67 Ogle in a gay bar, for example

1 Pussycat counterparts 2 “Spartacus” or “Ben-Hur” 3 Kid’s “tattoo,” for one 4 Lug around 5 Rev. White of Soulforce 6 “___ Children” 7 “On a ___ day...” (Streisand line) 8 Drag queen ___ Lettuce 9 “Every Man Has a Man” singer Yoko 10 Bend over and grab them 11 Boat bottom bumpers 12 Polo of “The Fosters” 13 It makes watching porn harder 18 Hamburger Mary’s, e.g. 19 Where PrideVision originated 24 Reason for extra innings 25 Land of O. Wilde 28 Doesn’t rent 29 Marlene’s “Blue Angel” role 30 Gay activist, e.g. 32 One who screws around 33 With 42-Down, TV series of the episode

34 Tibet neighbor 35 Spaghetti sauce choice 36 It comes at the bottom of a list 37 Warrior Princess of the boob tube 39 Where 17-Across played a man who played a woman 42 See 33-Down 44 What Michael Denneny did to text 45 One who doesn’t use pica? 51 ___ Cologne 53 Music style for Ricky Martin 54 Bullies 55 BenGay target 56 Trojans’ org. 58 Verb of Verlaine 59 Novelist ___ Mae Brown 60 Tammany Tiger creator 62 Rosie O’Donnell has two 63 Rainey and Kettle


STRETCH to breast cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes,” she continued. “We’ve gotta drive that message about HIV, and the only early detection method is testing.” To learn more about #BTG and The Center’s testing services, visit

Retirement and her future

The Center’s board of directors has a goal of hiring the new CEO by April, giving Jacobs about 90 days to conduct her turnover. The selection process, currently ongoing, is being conducted by a private firm. Once her work is complete and the reins have changed hands, Jacobs has tentative plans to take a two-month vacation, which undoubtedly will include a visit with her two

infant grandchildren, one her oldest daughter is expecting in the coming months. “Taking some time to think about what’s next also feels like the right thing to do,” she said. “I can’t really think about that while I have this job and am in the middle of trying to make sure the transition goes well. “It’s also a different world this year — so the question of what I do next is a different question than it was the last 16 years,” Jacobs continued. “The world is different and I need time to decide ‘How do you want to play in this world? and ‘What don’t you want to do?’” While the community eagerly awaits to hear what’s in store, we wish her all the best for this final chapter of her tenure at The Center and will continue to report successes before her departure. —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at▼

Dr. Jacobs, shown here with Sen. Toni G. Atkins, will step down from the San Diego LGBT Community Center in June. (Facebook)



Indie Fest founders and former San Diego residents Danielle LoPresti and Alicia Champion released a holiday video in 2016, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” which featured the married couple and their adopted, mixed-race son Lucian. The couple were inspired to produce a video that reflected the progressive, same-sex, multi-racial and foster-adoptive families that exist today. One year and more than half a million views later, the video is still the No. 1 ranked LGBT family Christmas music video online.

“The holiday season can be extremely challenging for a lot of people,” LoPresti said in a press release. “And for those who may not have secure, loving, supportive families to turn to during a time that is supposed to be about family, the season can be downright tragic. Representation matters, and it can save lives. Sometimes the best activism we can do is to simply live our authentic lives out in the open.” “The ‘American family’ is indeed under attack,” Champion added. “In this new political era of justified bigotry, families like ours need to feel represented more than ever before, especially during the holidays. If our little video can help add a bit more light to this dark time, we’re grateful for that.” To view the video on YouTube, visit▼

MICHAEL KIMMEL Psychotherapist Author of "Life Beyond Therapy" in Gay San Diego 5100 Marlborough Drive San Diego CA 92116 (619)955-3311

GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018




GAY SAN DIEGO Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 4, 2018


CALENDAR Three venues: The Big Top, with circus acts and roaming entertainment, DJs, dancing and surprises; The Hall of Illusions, where you’ll think you’ve wandered into the supernatural; The Odditorium, with its musical electricity and peculiarities in the legendary Mississippi Ballroom. Drink tickets are available for pre-purchase in bundles

of 10. Exclusive dinner show in The Odditorium also available for $60, 6–9 p.m. 21 and up. For dinner reservations, contact Overnight rooms available. 8 p.m.–2 a.m. Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, 2223 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park. Rich’s Massive NYE: Party the end of 2017 away at Rich’s with DJ K-Dwift, DJ Cross, DJ Hektik, then

after-hours till 4 a.m. with DJ dirtyKurty, $1,000 cash drop and a hosted Champagne toast at midnight. 9 p.m.–4 a.m. 21 and up. Rich’s Nightclub, 1051 University Ave. in Hillcrest. Martinis Above Fourth NYE: Emile Welman’s New Year’s Eve spectacular includes a high energy evening of jazz and hiphop fusion paying tribute to the American songbook

while reinventing with his own style. $125 includes four-course prix fixe menu and Champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m.–1 a.m. Martinis Above Fourth,

3940 Fourth Ave. in Hillcrest.

Monday, Jan. 1


Gay San Diego 12-22-17  
Gay San Diego 12-22-17