Page 1

LGBT

Volume 4 Issue 15 July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

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GAY

SAN DIEGO

Wedding Guide Pg. 10

SERVING OUR LGBT COMMUNITY

Marriage licenses under fire

3 NEWS

San Diego County Clerk joins anti-gay lawyer to halt marriage equality Controversial Blackfish

By Anthony King | GSD Editor

8 COMMUNITY

stop in San Diego. At the time, Pruneda and the cast were in Los Angeles, staging the show at the Pantages Theatre for three weeks. “It’s so fun to be a part of a show that literally just spreads joy across the country. Every audience, after the show, is literally standing on their feet and singing along with us,” he said. “It’s just so much fun to hear the audience having a great time.” Pruneda grew up in Texas and graduated from the musical theater program at Oklahoma City University before moving to New York City eight years ago. As an openly gay actor and singer, he now calls New York home, in part because of the acceptance he feels from the community there. With two suitcases and a trunk, however, Pruneda said he is fascinated by seeing that acceptance spread across the U.S., to parts of the country he never would have visited. “The overall theme of the show, at the end, is ‘spread the love,’” he said. “Even though we may have differences, we should just come together and love one another, and spread the joy and enjoy time together.

Members of the LGBT community organized and held a press conference at 8 a.m. Tuesday, July 23 on the steps of the San Diego County Administration building to protest the action of County Clerk Ernest Dronenberg, who filed documents with the California Supreme Court on Friday, July 19 requesting a stay to be placed on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The stay was denied Tuesday afternoon, following the press conference. Acting without financial support nor backing from the County – but in his “official capacity as County Clerk of San Diego County,” documents state – Dronenberg filed the suit with the help of Charles LiMandri, an anti-gay lawyer and University of San Diego alumnus. At the press conference, Sean Sala and Log Cabin Republicans, San Diego President Susan Jester called out Dronenberg and LiMandri for their actions, which Sala said was based on religious beliefs. “Your religion, I respect it,” Sala said. “I don’t agree with it, but my religion and your religion do not run this land. The constitution of the United States runs this land.” While previously stating Dronenberg was using taxpayer money for the lawsuit, Jester also raised issue with partnering with LiMandri. “Hiring Charles LiMandri for clarification of law on this issue would be like sending the fox into the hen house to count the chickens and the eggs,”

see SisterAct, pg 12

see Clerk, pg 4

(l to r) Charles Barksdale, Ernie Pruneda and Todd Horman in “Sister Act” (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Seeing change through ‘Sister Act’ Breaking the silence

9 DINING

Bankers Hill + love

i INTERVIEW

Singer-actor Ernie Pruneda & cast travel to San Diego for 8 shows starting July 30 By Anthony King | GSD Editor Touted as the over-the-top spectacle with “nuns that rock,” Broadway San Diego brings the everpopular “Sister Act” to town, the latest and last in their 2012-13 season. The show opens Tuesday, July 30 for a six-day, eight-show run. Produced in part by Whoopi Goldberg – she brought the story’s lead character, Deloris, to life in the original 1992 movie – “Sister Act” the stage musical first premiered in Pasadena, Calif. in 2006 and, after a brief run in Atlanta, moved to London’s West End in 2009. In 2011, it made its debut on Broadway to great acclaim, winning five Tony Award nominations: Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book and two Best Actress nods. Singer and actor Ernie Pruneda was a part of that original Broadway cast, and made the move to the North America touring show in 2012. Getting the chance to see other parts of the United States, he said, was one of the reasons he wanted to tour. “It’s really cool to go to different places around the country, and get to know people in these communities and know what their concerns are,” he said before the

Love & parody in a time of equality Local lesbian music and comedy duo seeks creative project funding By Morgan M. Hurley | GSD Assistant Editor

The mind of John Grant

INDEX BRIEFS…………………..5 OPINION………………..6 THERAPY…………………7 CALENDAR………………14 CLASSIFIEDS…………….16 SPORTS.………………18

CONTACT US Editorial/Letters 619-961-1952 anthony@sdcnn.com

Advertising 619-961-1958 mike@sdcnn.com

Brooklyn born and raised Nicki Walker and Goleta, Calif. native Melanie Peters were both musicians charting their own separate courses through life when a chance meeting at a Hollywood coffee shop in 1997 put them on each other’s radar and a friendship soon forged. Now both San Diego residents, also by chance, the two recently merged their musical skills and are

about to cut their first CD together, and they are asking fans and other interested parties to help them meet a funding goal. “Songs in the Key of Divorce” is a LGBT music and music-comedy effort inspired by events in the spring of 2011 when the two friends were both going through separate longterm relationship breakups. Walker had shown up on Peters’ doorstep with just a bag of clothes and her guitar, needing a place to stay.

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Though the two had always been musicians – Walker as lead for the rock trio DropJoy, while Peters fronted Room Fulla Nipsey and, more recently, Girls Gone Band – the two had never played together. Peters had produced DropJoy’s last studio record, but that was as far as it went. However, with Walker now camped out on Peters’ couch, pouring their angst into new lyrics and banging out matching tunes on their guitars became a natural,

see Nick&Mel, pg 19

(l to r) Melanie Peters and Nicki Walker (Photo by Elsa Flores)


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GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

gay-sd.com


NEWS

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GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

3

ENDA jumps first hurdle, bigger ones loom Full Senate to take up non-discrimination bill in fall By Lisa Keen | Keen News Service The Senate committee vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) July 10 brought a happy surprise in the form of yes votes from three Republicans, including a leading conservative from Utah, Orrin Hatch. It was a special relief, given that the text of the bill this time includes protections for transgender people and nobody tried to amend those out. The 15-7 vote in the Senate committee was a relatively low hurdle. The committee is dominated by Democrats. The tougher barrier will be the full Senate. The chamber is dominated by Democrats, but Republicans have become highly motivated obstructionists. They threaten filibuster on everything these days, a strategy that requires every piece of legislation to get 60 votes just to be considered on the floor. And even if ENDA supporters do evade hostile amendments and stumble out of the Senate with a bill worth fighting for, the Republican-dominated House will almost certainly stand ready to do nothing, effectively killing the measure for this Congressional session. In fact, ENDA is a noble but lost cause until either Democrats dominate both houses or Republicans morph into a kinder, gentler people. Beyond those harsh facts, LGBT civil rights activists tried to accentuate the positive. The July 10 committee vote was the first time the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee – or any Congressional committee – has approved a bill that includes both a prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation and one against discrimination based on gender identity. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said she was “extremely heartened.” Picking up the votes of three Republicans – Hatch, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – makes her feel more optimistic about gaining 60 votes to force a vote in the Senate. Kirk is a co-sponsor of the bill. The Human Rights Campaign said it arranged for constituent contacts with Hatch (4,107 postcards, emails and

phone calls) and Murkowski (2,229). HRC also directed more than 5,000 to Republican committee member Richard Burr of North Carolina. Burr voted against the measure. Hatch’s Senate office did not respond to a request for comment. It released three statements to the press on July 10; none addressed Hatch’s vote on ENDA. But Hatch told the Salt Lake Tribune, “I oppose any form of discrimination, though I do draw the line on the definition of marriage.” The Tribune noted that, as a Mormon, Hatch was not in conflict with the church over his vote because the Mormon church has not taken a position on ENDA. Hatch also noted that the ENDA bill includes a much stronger religious exemption than did the last ENDA bill he voted against, in 1996. But Hatch and Murkowski also voiced some reservations about the bill. A Murkowski press statement issued after the committee vote says she wants to be sure that the bill does not “unduly burden” employers with compliance costs, “as well as striking the appropriate balance among legal remedies and redress.” She noted the bill also includes provisions that “prohibit preferential treatment and quotas, do not permit disparate impact lawsuits, and provide a religious exemption.” “Improvements might be in order in the form of floor amendments,” she said, “but discrimination should never be tolerated in the workplace.” Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) issued a statement noting that the July 10 vote was the first time the committee has voted on ENDA since 2002. Keisling said the full Senate would likely take up the bill this fall. The Senate consists of 54 Democrats and Independents and 46 Republicans, at least until a special election is held to elect a senator to finish out the term of Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, who died in June. According to Lambda Legal, “only 22 jurisdictions in the United States expressly ban discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation and only 18 cover gender identity and expression explicitly.”t

Orca travel in pods in the wild. (Courtesy Our Turn Productions)

Capturing ‘Blackfish’ Controversial film opens at Landmark Hillcrest July 26 By Anthony King | GSD Editor There is a line in the Neko Case song “People Got a Lotta Nerve” that says, “You know, they call them Killer Whales. But you seem surprised when it pinned you down to the bottom of the tank, where you can’t turn around. It took half your leg and booth your lungs.” Gruesome, for certain, but surprisingly true. Case’s 2009 song is not featured in the new documentary “Blackfish,” nor could she have been referencing the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld Orlando, the jumping off point for filmmaker and director Gabriela Cowperthwaite. “Blackfish” opens Friday, July 26 at the Landmark Theatres Hillcrest Cinemas. “Dawn Brancheau, a reknowned [sic] SeaWorld trainer, was killed by Tilikum, a 12,000-pound orca,” Cowperthwaite wrote in her director’s statement. “I remember fragments: something about a ponytail, something about her slipping and falling, something about how this almost never happens because in these parks, the animals are happy and the trainers are safe. But something wasn’t right.” It turns out something was not

right in an entire, 40-year history. Tilikum, who recently returned to performing in SeaWorld shows this year, had killed before, but he is not the villain in “Blackfish.” The story goes back to the early 1970s, when businesses – SeaWorld included – were capturing orca whales in Washington State’s Puget Sound. In the instance presented in the film, seven young orcas were captured, taken from their pods and transported to parks around the world. Three adult orcas were killed as well. During a 15-year span of unfettered access to orca pods in Washington and British Columba, Canada, 275 to 307 whales were captured, the website Sea World of Hurt states. In 1976, Washington officials sued and won, explicitly naming SeaWorld in the court’s decision that prohibited the forced removal of orcas. As “Blackfish” shows, that did not stop the whale’s capture. Hunters then moved to waters off of Iceland, showing a global epidemic. While whales are no longer captured today – SeaWorld insists all current orca in their care are

see Blackfish, pg 12


4

GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

NEWS

gay-sd.com

PrideFIT: Fostering a healthy lifestyle within the LGBT community By Ben Cartwright | SDGLN Staff Writer People looking to lose weight or get in better physical shape can easily become overwhelmed with the myriad diet programs, fitness plans and conflicting advice that is out there. It can be even more challenging for members of the LGBT community who might be looking for a program that is sensitive, friendly and understanding. Earlier this year, a group of community members banded together to carry out the vision of local activist Carlos Salazar to form PrideFIT. Salazar, who embarked on a personal weight-loss goal in spring 2012 and has since lost over 280 pounds, wanted to create something to inspire others to make healthy lifestyle choices. In a few short months, PrideFIT has hosted numerous events, created an informative website and has developed strong plans for its future growth. San Diego Gay & Lesbian News recently chatted with Salazar to learn more about this new healthy living resource for San Diego’s LGBT community. SDGLN: Why did you start PrideFIT? Carlos Salazar (CS): For years I always felt like I was living life from the outside looking in. Having been over 400 pounds for a large majority of [my] adult life has caused me to learn to thrive in other ways: focusing on leadership, education and personal development. In the spring of 2012, I came to a crossroads in my life where I had to make a choice whether or not my life was worth saving. I choose to live and as my weight dropped and I felt healthier, I realized that I was not the only one going through this and that I could inspire others around me to stop putting their lives on hold and to prioritize their health. With the help of several community leaders, we decided to launch PrideFIT and begin planning events that would help our friends reach their goals and have fun while doing it. SDGLN: What are your goals for the group? CS: We quickly realized that there are many organizations that focus on weight loss but most of which come at a steep price. Moreover, although we focus on active events, we try to create a friendly open environment welcoming to everyone at any point on their journey. We take pride in providing most events at no cost to our members and provide a warm atmosphere that welcomes all body types and fitness levels to join us. We understand that not everyone likes to run on a treadmill or [can] pay a monthly gym fee, but [they] still want to get their fitness on and get fit; this organization is a tool to get there. We encourage our members to eat right, develop achievable goals and work towards them at [their own] pace. Everyone loses weight differently and some just want to have fun; weight loss is simply a bonus. A side effect of our events is making new friends who share a desire to better themselves and have a passion to help others.

FROM PAGE 1

CLERK Jester said at the conference. In the separate statement, Jester said LiMandri was “bullying” the state. In addition to Sala and Jester, other invited speakers at the conference were Lori Hensic, director of education for the American Military Partners Association (AMPA); AMPA member Lisa Mata; and Missiongathering Church pastor Richard McCullen. Dronenberg showed up at the press conference near the end, in part to address allegations he was using taxpayer money. He also said he was asking for the stay “to protect” LGBT couples. “I asked for a stay because I believe it is cruel to set up people,” he said. “In 2004, the last time there was a case, the court came out against it and they had to unwrap 4,000 marriages. That is hurtful. That should not be government.” Dronenberg was referencing the thousands of marriages that were performed in 2004 in San Francisco under authority of then-Mayor Gavin Newsom. The marriages were voided

SDGLN: You personally had much success in your own weight loss. Is this group a good start for someone who is thinking about embarking on a similar path? How did you find your motivation? CS: I am so proud to have lost over 280 pounds! Still unbelievable, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends. I wish I would have known of something like PrideFIT when I started on this path, but [I’m] not sure I would have joined because of fear. This stems down from being the last person chosen for every team growing up. The true hurdle was overcoming that barrier and believing in myself enough to fight for [a] healthier me. Working out and changing your eating habits is difficult enough, but doing it alone is usually the hardest part. We have found that many of our members are friends of friends and we make new friends at each and every event. Having someone you can talk to and someone who understands where you are means so much more then you can imagine. In the LGBT community, many of us struggle with body image issues and work tirelessly [to] look our best, but we unintentionally push out those in the community that don’t quite measure up. That stops now. We create unhealthy standards that are almost impossible to meet, even if you work out regularly and eat right. With that being said, PrideFIT allows for everyone to feel accepted and find support in reaching their goals. We welcome anyone who just wants to have fun and have the desire to hang out with cool people. A favorite quote of mine is, ‘No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch.’ Editor’s note: PrideFIT board members include Salazar, Alexia Velissaropoulos, Miguel Larios, Fernan Balsalubre, Zach Nelson, William Kennedy-Rodriguez, Michael Tactay, Danny Varela, Bianca Burt and Ben Cartwright, the author of this story. Their next event is Saturday, July 27 lead where they will be leading a four-mile hike at Black Mountain, starting at 9 a.m. For more information, visit pridefit.org or Facebook.com/prid Facebook.com/pridefitsandiego/. —Ben Cartwright is a staff writer at San Diego Gay & Lesbian News (SDGLN), a media partner of Gay San Diego. He can be contact at ben@sdgln. Carlos Salazar (Courtesy Salazar) com.t

Aug. 12 of that year. Dronenberg said he is looking for “direction” on how to currently proceed. “I’m asking for a stay to protect you,” he said, however the documents filed by LiMandri on behalf of Dronenberg state he was seeking direction to “refrain from issuing marriage licenses contrary to state law defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman.” The document continues: “Petitioner [Dronenberg] has been placed in an unsustainable position because, among other things, he has been threatened with legal action by the Attorney General for exercising his public duties consistent with state law defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman.” In addition to insisting state law does not allow room for marriage equality, Dronenberg’s lawsuit asks for clarification on the jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court’s July 26 ruling, insinuating it is applicable only to the counties where the original Proposition 8 plaintiffs resided. The suit also contends the federal district court that ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional has no jurisdiction over Dronenberg’s position as County clerk.

As of now, marriage licenses for same-sex couples in San Diego County will continue to be issued. Written arguments on the questions raised in Dronenberg and LiMandri’s filing are due to the state Supreme Court Aug. 8. Before the stay request was denied, local and state officials came forward to denounce the lawsuit, including State Attorney General Kamala Harris, who said there were “no new arguments” presented. “The federal injunction is still in effect, and it requires all 58 counties to perform same-sex marriages. No exceptions,” she said. County Board of Supervisors Greg Cox also released a statement, reiterating that the County had no part in the filing. In a more detailed statement, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez called the lawsuit “hurtful” and asked Dronenberg to reconsider his actions. She applauded the fact that the County does not support Dronenberg on this issue, and called him a “rogue official.” “The lawsuit filed by our County clerk is an affront to residents of San Diego County who have waited too long for their equal rights to marry the one they love,” she said.t


NEWS/COMMUNITY VOICES

gay-sd.com

GAY NEWS BRIEFS PALM SPRINGS PRIDE ANNOUNCES HONOREES Organizers of the 27th annual Greater Palm Springs Pride Parade and festival will be honoring a host of community and national LGBT leaders. The 2013 Community Parade Grand Marshals are Melanie Jones, Ellen Zimmerman, Mark Jones and Brian Vatcher, and are being recognized for their “positive and lasting impact” on the Palm Springs community, a press release stated. The parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Nov. 3, and the festival is Nov. 2 – 3. Additionally, Tom Bianchi, Katherine Forrest and Ginny Foat will receive Lifetime Achievement awards from the organization. Shann Carr and Christopher Kennedy are being given Spirit of Stonewall Community Service awards; Michael Green and Stephen Boyd will be honored as Volunteers of the Year; and Lucy Debardelaben and Gail Christian are being given Spirit of Pride awards. This year’s Friends of Pride honorees are Carl and Mike Balasa and Katy and Sam Wilkerson. All will be officially honored at an awards ceremony Oct. 4 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Palm Springs. Tickets for the ceremony, which support the Pride LGBT Landmark Monument Fund, are available at pspride.org. HIV/AIDS RESOURCE NONPROFIT RECEIVES MATCHING GRANT The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation awarded $10,000 to Christie’s Place, a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive social services to individuals with HIV and their families, press releases from both organizations stated. The check, which was presented at the Del Mar Racetrack for Christie’s Place’s annual “Day at the Races” fundraiser, matched the $5,000 raised by supporters of the nonprofit. SDHDF’s grant program matches funds raised by the organization and was announced earlier this year as part of efforts to support qualified nonprofits serving the greater LGBT community. “This funding will help foster hope, health and empowerment for those impacted by HIV/AIDS in our community and will greatly contribute to their ability to live vibrant, healthy and fulfilling lives,” Christie’s Place Executive Director Elizabeth Brosnan said in a release. Christie’s Place has served the San Di-

ego LGBT community since 1996, working to provide health care access to low-income and marginalized communities affected by HIV/AIDS. JELL-O WRESTLING COMPETITION RAISES MONEY FOR AT-RISK YOUTH The fourth annual Throw Down for a Cause, Women’s JELL-O Wrestling Fundraiser raised over $10,000 for The LGBT Center’s Sunburst Youth Housing Project and Project Love Out Loud on July 4. Both organizations provide services for LGBTQ and at-risk teens, as well as promote awareness around the issue. The fundraiser drew a crowd of more than 200 people at Rich’s San Diego in Hillcrest as comedian Julie Goldman hosted the 12 wrestling matches, featuring local women volunteers. “It’s amazing to think we started as a backyard event, raising $500 just four years ago. It’s a real testament to the dedicated individuals who organize Throw Down for a Cause and our community that has given us incredible support,” Throw Down for a Cause cofounder Elizabeth Caliva said in a release. Project Love Out Loud provides creative workshops for teens at the Toussaint Academy in Downtown San Diego. Sunburst Youth Housing Project, run by The LGBT Center, provides affordable, supportive housing for homeless youth ages 18-24, with a focus on LGBTQ individuals who were kicked out of their homes because of sexual orientation.t

GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

5

Celebrating North County Council of LGBTQ Centers first year Not many people are aware that in North San Diego County, the panorama of LGBT activities and visibility is slowly but steadily changing. Only in the past five years has the work of many local leaders and supporters come to fruition. California State University, San Marcos opened their first Pride LGBT Center in 2008 at a beautiful location within the campus. Director Robert Aiello-Hauser has already established a rich and diverse program of activities available to students, staff and faculty. Their vision is to create community, serving as a voice of advocacy and sponsoring programs and events, while providing educational resources and opportunities. The university has also twice hosted the annual Gay Straight Alliance Awards ceremony, as well as the first North County LGBTQ Resource Center Pride Prom. In 2011, after years of tenacious work, Palomar College established the third in the nation Pride Center within a community college. Located in San Marcos, co-chairs Abbie Cory, an English professor, and Monika Brannick, a math professor, became responsible for creating a safe space for every LGBT student and ally. In response to years of intimidation towards LGBT students and faculty members, Monika and Abbie have been instrumental not only for the realization of the center itself, but also for more LGBT awareness inside and outside the campus by participating in, sup-

MAX DISPOSTI

NORTH COUNTY UPDATE porting and creating numerous initiatives. The Cal State San Marcos and Palomar College Pride centers are now beacons of hope within the North County community, and the only inland, organized and visible LGBT resources you can find. Hence, when in December 2011 the North County LGBTQ Resource Center opened its doors in Oceanside, we soon realized that North County needed more coordinated team and leadership efforts. This is when, last year, Abbie’s idea of initiating a North County Council became a reality in order to coordinate the many activities that spring up between the Cal State San Marcos Pride Center, Palomar College Pride Center

and the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. The council was also intended as an opportunity to organize common events and to take stands on social-justice issues regarding our LGBT community, creating a united front to increase the visibility and organization of our LGBT family throughout the North County region. At this point, The North County Council of LGBTQ Centers is made up of leaders from the North County LGBTQ Center (where I serve along with our board chair and Project Youth founder Carolyn Bolton), the Cal State San Marcos Pride Center and the Palomar College Pride Center. With time, our goal is to extend the participation not only to organized entity, but also groups and individuals that have an interest in the North County LGBT community. The Council’s mission is to increase and affirm the visibility and diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/ questioning individuals and allies by developing, coordinating and sharing resources that advance inclusiveness and acceptance in North San Diego County. —Max Disposti is the founder and executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, a human rights activist, a community organizer and in his spare time a real estate broker. He has also served on Oceanside’s Community Relations Commission for several years. He can be reached at maxrome@cox.net.t

events attheCenter tuesday, august 6

Saturday, august 24

Food Bank

Senior art Fair

9 am, the Center

2 pm, the Center

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, 9-10:30 am, visit The Center’s parking lot for emergency food. For more information, visit the San Diego Food Bank website at sandiegofoodbank.org.

Join 50 and Better Together for the annual Senior Art Fair, showcasing some of the work of our Aging Artists Group. Wine, non-alcoholic cider, cheese and fruit will be served. Items will be presented for display and sale and there will also be several opportunity drawings. This is a FREE event! Please contact Larue Fields at seniors@thecentersd.org or 619.692.2077 x205 for more information.

Wednesday, august 7

Save the Date – We’re turning 40!

Guys, Games & Grub 6:30 pm, the Center Guys, Games & Grub has become a San Diego phenomenon! On the first Wednesday of every month, nearly 200 men of all ages (21+) gather at The Center for a night of games, pizza, drinks and socializing. Some of San Diego’s most interesting men are here – come join them. For more information, contact aaron heier at aheier@thecentersd.org or 619.692.2077 x211.

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

Twitter: @LGBTCenter

facebook.com/At.The.Center

40th anniversary Gala October 19, hilton Bayfront Join us as we trace The Center’s history from a single answering machine set up in a utility closet to a thriving community center that provided more than 50,000 service visits last year alone! The Center’s 40th Anniversary Gala will be our finest and most fabulous fete yet! For more information or to buy your table today, visit events.thecentersd.org/gala.


6

OPINION

GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

gay-sd.com

Letters

‘Disappointing decision’ at Stepping Stone

Editorial

On interviewing Amy By Chris Azzopardi Editor’s note: we printed Chris Azzopardi’s Q&A interview with Amy Grant in the last issue of Gay San Diego, the Christian-crossover singer’s first for LGBT press. Here, Azzopardi reflects on preparing for the interview and Grant’s responses. Grant appears at the San Diego Symphony’s Summer Pops series Friday and Saturday, July 26 and 27 at 7 p.m. Back in the mid-’90s, I watched from my seat at The Palace of Auburn Hills, just outside Detroit, as kids circled Amy Grant onstage with overzealous glee while she sang “Say You’ll Be Mine.” I wanted to get in on that dance carousel to be as close to this woman – my childhood idol – as possible. I wanted that so badly. Shy little me just couldn’t find the gumption for that. I was intimidated by all those thousands of people. And her. I’d been an Amy diehard since I pretty much ransacked my mom’s “Heart in Motion” cassette. I couldn’t get enough (sorry, Mom). Obsessed with “Galileo,” I’d replay the song – in other words, I rewound that thing so many times I eventually wore out the tape – because I had mad nerd love for Ben Franklin, and Amy clearly did, too. She was singing about him. As a kid who attended catechism and took communion nearly every Sunday, I connected to her messages of faith, compassion and being all-inclusive. I didn’t care what she thought about homosexuality then, only that hers be the voice that help me come to terms with it. I clung to those messages of “love conquers all” when things got hard, when I felt like ending my life. And I thought about it plenty of times. But I’d close my eyes and listen and hear that voice of com-

fort and faith filling my heart. She was the big hug in my headphones. That connection – an affinity that anyone who’s admired a musician from afar knows well – was the reason I almost didn’t pitch an interview request to her people when I found out she was releasing her first studio album in 10 years, “How Mercy Looks From Here.” Did I want to know how Amy felt about gay issues? About my community? About me? I was the little kid too scared to get that close to her all over again. This time, I went for it. Amy listened intently and responded thoughtfully. She expressed herself in the best way she knows how: with stories. And she did all of this for an hour. Amy didn’t take any strong stands, she didn’t directly come out as pro-gay and remained relatively neutral, but she spoke honestly and from the heart: just as I expected her to. People will say her statements about not dividing her fan base were safe, and maybe they were. But I didn’t sense that at all. What I found was, truly, a person who didn’t know my world. Our world. And who can blame her? I haven’t taken communion in over 15 years. She referred to being gay as a “lifestyle,” but remember: this is a woman who’s never spoken to gay press before, and you won’t see her in a Pride parade anytime soon (she is not Lady Gaga, people). And if we’re going to play that game, call me out, too: I misidentified her religious upbringing when I called it “strict.” We are clearly two people divided by radically different lives, generational gaps and family histories, and that’s OK. I can live with not knowing where she stands on issues that are important to me but may not be to her,

because I know there’s no judgment. She sees people as they are: as people. The questioning seemed to reveal something I wasn’t aware of. I’ve been doing gay press interviews for years. This was Amy’s first. “This is interesting, because I have never done an interview where it feels like every question is saying, ‘Tell me I’m OK.’ That’s what feels like the underlying energy behind the questions and I’m just going, that’s a powerful kind of energy – and for different reasons,” she said. Acceptance, I learned in that moment, comes in many shapes and forms many people: parents, peers, the president. But how about the people we idolize? The performer whose music wasn’t just music, but memories? I might not know where Amy stands on gay rights. I might never know. But I’ve decided it doesn’t really matter. For my 30th birthday, my mom asked me to go on a getaway with her, so we’re road-tripping to Amy’s hometown for her Nashville Weekend. We go this fall, and I’m already creating a playlist of songs in my head that I hope to hear. When I’m dancing under the sun and stars on her Tennessee ranch, I won’t be thinking of gay marriage or government policies. It will just be about the music and how much it matters to me and everyone else there. Some of the people will be just like me and some will be different, but as Amy said in our interview, “I figure we must have some things in common because, of all the music we’re all attracted to, at least we share this music in common.” And that’s enough. It really is enough. Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at chris-azzopardi.com.t

PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951 david@sdcnn.com

DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING

ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962 accounting@sdcnn.com

EDITOR Anthony King (619) 961-1952 anthony@sdcnn.com

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Portia Jacobs (619) 961-1963 portia@sdcnn.com

SALES INTERNS Charlie Bryan Baterina Martina Long

ASSISTANT EDITOR Morgan M. Hurley (619) 961-1960 morgan@sdcnn.com

Sheri Hayeland (619) 961-1957 sheri@sdcnn.com

Chris Azzopardi Blake Beckcom Gwen Beckcom Patricia Morris Buckley Ben Cartwright Max Disposti Dae Elliott Michael Kimmel Paul McGuire Ian Morton Jeff Praught Caleb Rainey Frank Sabatini Jr.

EDITORIAL INTERN Anna Frost ART DIRECTOR Rebecah Corbin (619) 961-1961 becah@sdcnn.com PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Vincent Berling

Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958 mike@sdcnn.com

Sloan Gomez (619) 961-1954 sloan@sdcnn.com Kyle Renwick (619) 961-1957 kyle@sdcnn.com

SALES & MARKETING SPECIALIST Isabelle Estrella (619) 961-1958 isabelle@sdcnn.com

CONTRIBUTORS

OPINIONS/LETTERS Gay San Diego encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email both to editor@gay-sd.com. Include phone number and address for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters and editorials for brevity and accuracy. Letters should be no longer than 350 words in length unless approved by staff editors. Letters and guest editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or staff. SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS Press releases and story ideas are welcome. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to anthony@sdcnn.com. For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email. DISTRIBUTION GAY San Diego is distributed free, biweekly, every other Friday. COPYRIGHT 2013. All rights are reserved.

My name is Joey Sago and I am an addict. I am also a proud alumnus of Stepping Stone San Diego. I had the privilege and honor of going through the house from November 13, 2012 to May 2013. I graduated the six-month residential treatment facility and have recently had the honor of living at Enya House, a Stepping Stone-affiliated sober living home. I am currently coming up on nine months consecutive clean time. At the end of June 2013, those of us living at Enya House were told that due to a grant received by Stepping Stone we needed to vacate the premises immediately for two weeks during a painting and carpeting renovation. Those of us who were unhappy about it and expressed such unhappiness were told that “if we don’t like it, we can find another place to live”: the first of three threats of homelessness in as many weeks if we spoke up against disservice, inconvenience and the will of the CEO and CFO of Stepping Stone San Diego. After being out of the house for two weeks – our belongings strewn around the house and some ruined by paint, some of us staying in a hotel for a week – we were asked to come back for a house meeting on Wednesday, July 10 at 6 p.m. The meeting was held outside of the house on our front stoop because the furniture had been thrown away. After waiting for an hour and a half … we were told to move our things back into our rooms and sign a contract stating that during San Diego Pride we would not leave the house for any reason (including recovery meetings) or we would be put out on the street: the second threat of homelessness. … On Friday, July 19 at 9:30 a.m. I received a call from [a Stepping Stone staff member], who requested that I come to Stepping Stone to speak with [an administrator]. I stopped by Stepping Stone on my way to work and was served with a 30-day eviction notice due to a “threat of violence” when I stood up and smoked a cigarette during the house meeting. All seven of my housemates who attended that meeting agree that I handled the situation well at the time. I truly believe this is [Stepping Stone staff’s] way of retaliating against me for speaking out about their punitive contract during Pride weekend. If they are willing and able to do this to me, a sober member of Enya House, they can (and will) do this to anyone living in an associated Stepping Stone facility. Their message through this action is “don’t speak your mind about disliking a policy, even if you follow it, or we will make up an excuse to throw you on the street.” I am assuming that the professional affiliations of most of the staff at Stepping demand that they sign a Code of Ethics, most of which state “The alcoholism and drug abuse counselor, in the presence of professional conflict must be concerned primarily with the welfare of the client.” I believe that I am lucky to be a part of Stepping Stone. This organization saves the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community. Stepping Stone is not made up of CEO’s, program managers or staff, but by those of us who are residents and alumni, living clean and sober lives that show the rest of our struggling community that recovery is possible. I am lucky to have a place to stay because I have a strong support group in recovery and great friends. Those who are new to the rooms of recovery may not be so lucky. Imagine what the relapse rate of alumni would be if Stepping Stone’s staff continuously act on their egos and emotions and kick an addict out of their home because they expressed their distaste of punitive, unreasonable actions? I was given my voice back because of Stepping Stone and the rooms of recovery, and I am now being thrown out on the street because I am strong enough in my program to use it. This disappointing decision was made by people in charge of a program who claim to be working the 12 Steps of AA. I forgive their humanity, and hope beyond hope that they are able to realize their errors in judgment before they do this to an unfortunate recovering addict who doesn’t have a strong enough program to weather this type of storm. —Joey Sago, via emailt

3737 Fifth Ave. Suite 201 San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 519-7775 www.gay-sd.com

Business Improvement Association


COMMUNITY VOICES

gay-sd.com

Learn about marriage laws before tying the knot

PAU L M C G U I R E

LEGALLY LGBT Marriage equality is a wonderful thing. I am very excited about getting married. Marriage equality also means that divorce is treated the same whether a same-sex or opposite-sex couple is involved. Many couples go to marriage counseling but few take the time to learn all the details of what it means to be married according to the law. Of course, nobody goes into a marriage expecting it to breakdown. The goal is to commit to someone whom we can truly be with for the rest of our life. We also wear our seatbelts every time we drive even though most people don’t think they will ever get into an accident. We’re all perfect drivers right? We’ve all seen the movies where a couple’s marriage is held up and sometimes breaks down because one insists on a prenuptial agreement. Most often this is because of some significant assets they own. One person worth millions of dollars usually insists that the other agree to forsake any interest in millions of dollars in order to marry. I am not suggesting that everyone needs to negotiate a prenup before getting married. I do think that it would be wise to do your research before tying the knot. As Attorney Mark Baer wrote in the Huffington Post, everyone has a prenuptial agreement whether they negotiate for one or not.

The law recognizes that there needs to be some uniformity among couples that split. Over time, most states have developed default rules that apply in the event of a divorce. The simplest example of this is division of property. California and other Community Property states treat all money earned during marriage by either spouse as community property. This means that in the event of a divorce, each spouse has an equal right to half of that money, or property purchased with it. For many people this is no problem. Other couples may decide to agree on an alternative. Another thing to consider is how much harder it is to divorce once children are involved. One may end up paying child support to the other. You will also have to decide how to divide time with the children. Children can bring a lot of joy to your life. The law places the interests of the children first in a divorce. Most same-sex couples can’t have children without planning. Part of that planning should involve learning about how the law treats children in a divorce. You might also be wondering if you should get married if you are already registered domestic partners. Each couple’s specific circumstances may differ but for now in order to get federal benefits, you must be married. You might have some personal reasons why you want to be married as well. It also helps if you plan to travel to another state where they may not recognize your domestic partnership. Learning how the law works can help you make informed decisions throughout your marriage. Getting married is one of the most important steps you will take. With proper guidance through the process, you can better prepare for all possible outcomes. —Paul D. McGuire is an openly bisexual family law attorney in San Diego who assists families dealing with dissolution of marriage and domestic partnerships. He writes a blog on family law and LGBT issues at paul-mcguire.comt

GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

Money, sex & power

MICHAEL KIMMEL LIFE BEYOND THERAPY A lot of couples come into my office telling me that they are fighting about money. Other couples tell me that they are arguing about sex. When I was a brand-new therapist, I used to think that’s what the problem really was. Now I know better. Most couples are really fighting over power. Money and sex are often the arenas in which power struggles play out. Power is the ability to influence people to get what you want. We all want the power to have the kind of life we dream. A healthy expression of power best occurs through open and direct communication of our needs and wants. In abusive relationships, violence comes from a need for power and control of one partner by the other. An abuser uses verbal, physical, emotional, sexual or financially abusive behaviors to maintain control over his or her partner. For some people, money is power. We all expect successful, wealthy people to have power, yet I’ve seen relationships where the person with less money uses this to manipulate or “guilt trip” their partner into doing what they want. The

wealthier partner feels guilty at their success and gives up some of their power to make their “poorer” partner feel better. The relationship between sex and power is equally fascinating. I’ve worked with couples where sex is (usually unconsciously) withheld as punishment: no sex until you give me what I want. This is blackmail and it doesn’t work for long. The person feeling not powerful needs to be able to express their anger or frustration, and stop using sex as a weapon. Coercive sex is also used as punishment: I want to have sex, yet you don’t really want to, but I’m gonna get it from you because I can. There is no perfect balance of power in any relationship; it shifts over time as circumstances change. Today, I’ll be on top of the world because things are going well (I feel powerful) and I want to give all the love (power) I can to my partner, who has the boss from hell. Tomorrow, I’ve been fired (I feel powerless) and I need love and support from my partner because he – even with a bad boss – still has a job (power). See how it can work? We try to get power through behaviors like passivity, aggression and assertiveness. Truly powerful people are neither passive nor aggressive. They don’t allow themselves to be walked on nor do they need to walk on other people to feel powerful. Truly powerful people are, surprisingly, often rather quiet. They don’t have to yell, cry or grab your attention. Truly powerful people are assertive when they need to be, and they do it in a respectful manner. They usually get what they want because they are easy to love, live with and employ. Truly powerful people

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are also comfortable with vulnerability. They can admit it because it doesn’t threaten their self esteem. They can say, “Hell yeah, I’m scared,” without falling apart. How can we become truly powerful? The first step is awareness. Notice when you are passive: what are you telling yourself? Is this familiar? Does this allow you to justify being sneaky and manipulative to get what you want? Don’t judge, just notice. Be aware of your aggressiveness: when does it surface? What triggers it? Be grateful that you can see it, as it can be your teacher. It’s there to show you where you feel weak and scared. Does it get you what you want? Does it alienate people? Experiment with being assertive. For many of us, it’s quite a new thing to be calmly assertive and state what we want or need directly and respectfully. Assertiveness is the key to feeling powerful. It shows that you trust yourself to take good care of yourself, and neither react nor repress yourself in difficult situations. You don’t have to yell or be passive-aggressive (manipulative) to get your needs met. We all want power. It’s normal. Power struggles are part of every relationship – friendships, lovers, siblings – as there’s no avoiding it. Be aware of how you go after power and find ways to get what you want without disempowering others. You can do it. Start today. —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. Michael is currently accepting new clients. Contact him at 619-955-3311 or visit lifebeyondtherapy.com.t

Q PUZZLE

RADICAL RADCLIFFE Across 1 It may bite your shorts 5 Be intense like a queen 10 Not straight 14 “Take ___ leave it!” 15 Caesar, for one 16 Queens stadium 17 Start of a quote from Daniel Radcliffe 20 ___ Sec. 21 Ballet follower 22 Shed tears 23 With tutti-frutti, e.g. 25 Pairs of grooms walk them 27 “___ Be” 28 River rapids 31 “We ___ Family” 32 Org. for narcs 34 Saint, in Rio 35 The A in GLARP 36 More of the quote 39 Some hosp. workers

41 Born, in gay Paree 42 Letters in some church names 43 Ice in Ulm 44 Factions that sound like fornication? 46 Spin doctor 50 Lesbian couple on a cake 52 In favor of Chaz? 54 “The African Queen” author 55 Deli subs 57 Theology subj. 58 End of the quote 61 Subway Series team 62 Trump of old 63 Early AIDS play 64 Oral attention getter 65 Think fit 66 What a small shooter shoots off

Radical Radcliffe solution on page 15 Down 1 Prayer book, to Father Mychal Judge 2 Peter who played Lawrence 3 Rum Tum Tugger, for one 4 Bygone Eur. realm 5 Austrian analyst 6 Unties 7 REM gear 8 International ___ 9 Uey from WSW 10 Grate stuff 11 Rear-ender injury 12 Many summer residents of Fire Island 13 Use your mouth 18 For now 19 Boob, to a Brit 24 King with the golden touch 25 It comes with a lei 26 D. Feinstein title 29 To date, but not to go out with 30 Car assemblers’ org.

33 Endora portrayer 35 Like sourballs 36 Perceptions 37 NRC forerunner 38 Make obligatory 39 Neighbor of Isr. 40 Jolly Roger fliers 44 James Baldwin’s “The Evidence of Things Not ___” 45 Popped (up) 47 Having been dumped, e.g. 48 Lack of zip 49 As a surprising fact 51 Franklin, religiously 53 “Laugh-In” cohost 55 Sweet spot 56 Morales of “Resurrection Blvd.” 58 Shakespeare’s Puck, e.g. 59 Tease 60 Type of sucker


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GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

COMMUNITY VOICES/DINING

gay-sd.com

‘Yes Means Yes!’ CALEB RAINEY OUT ON THE PAGE “Sexual Intimacy, embodied affection, physical contact. These are as intrinsic to our human well-being as are fresh air, clean water, wholesome and nutritious foods. And these are just as likely to be commercialized, commodified, and contaminated by this dominant pharmo-bio-industrialmilitary culture.” –Toni Amato “Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape” is an anthology that was edited by two young white feminists, Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti, who wanted to create a book that included a diverse array of voices from across the sexual, gender and race spectrums that could serve as a starting point for conversations and activism aimed at ending sexual violence, abuse and harassment. Sexual violence is an issue that touches all of our lives in one way or another, and the issue of sexual violence or abuse has become particularly relevant in our community given the scandal surrounding Mayor Bob Filner and the recent series on gay male rape by San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. The essays and authors in “Yes Means Yes!” focus on the roots of sexual violence, homophobia, sexism and rape culture. The title itself highlights that in order to end sexual violence we cannot only focus on “No means no.” We must also be able to celebrate and affirm that yes does indeed mean yes. Several essays in the anthology focus on this need for what has been termed “enthusiastic consent.”

The articles that stand out the most on this topic are Heather Corinna’s piece “An Immodest Proposal” and Brad Perry’s “Hooking Up With Healthy Sexuality,” which are both fantastic sex-positive approaches to ending sexual violence. Both authors argue that one of the underlying causes of rape and sexual violence is the negative outlook on sexuality that permeates our culture. Sex-negativity still affects our community and “Yes Means Yes!” holds that the negative outlooks on sex fuel rape culture by allowing certain forms of sex to be looked at as honorable and good and other forms of sex to be viewed as trashy or dirty. A good example of this dynamic is the differences between the way we view sex during a hook up and the way we view sex in a committed relationship. We often assign a lower value to the hook-up type of sex, which can and does easily get translated into a lower valuation of the person with whom you are having sex. Another aspect of this anthology that sets it apart from other books that focus on ending sexual violence is its incorporation and centering of race and racism within the discussion. Several writers brilliantly demonstrate how traditional models of dealing with sexual violence – such as reporting to law enforcement and seeking arrests – are not and should not be the only, or even primary, responses to sexual violence because they can create barriers for women of color. The anthology also argues that our notions of purity, virginity and chastity are based on white, racist models of womanhood that leave women of color, particularly queer

BY FRANK SABATINI JR.

women of color, out in the cold and unprotected. Indeed, several of the authors point to higher rates of sexual violence against women of color as the result of the combination of racism, sexism and homophobia. While the anthology is targeted to women, it provides an important model for thinking about sexual violence and can be easily translated to be effective in LGBT communities. LGBT people are disproportionately vulnerable to sexual abuse both inside and outside our communities. We are often silent regarding abuse for fear of backlash from our close-knit community. “Yes Means Yes!” helps us break that silence and begin having critical discussions about how to create queer communities that are free of sexual violence, abuse and harassment. If you would like to engage in more thoughtful discussions around similar issues, join the San Diego Multicultural LGBT Book Club at Bluestocking Books, 3817 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest, on the first and third Sunday of every month at 7 p.m. The August selection is “Yes means Yes!” —Caleb Rainey recently graduated with his master’s degree in cultural studies. He is a long-time activist, and the founder and current facilitator of the San Diego Multicultural LGBT Book Club. Contact him at calebrainey73@yahoo.com.t

Luxury chickens with French roots have arrived to American soil, making their national debut at the Hillcrest Farmers Market. The four-pound birds, which sell for $25 each, are reproductions of Bresse chickens from the namesake region in eastern France. Culinary experts rate them as the best-tasting chickens in the world. Vendor Ray Shields of Tzaddik Farm near Jamul introduced the free-range birds last month to market goers and offers them in whole, raw form every Sunday. They are raised on vegetarian diets supplemented with barley for about 16 weeks before processing. In their final two weeks, they undergo a “sedentary lifestyle” that ultimately fattens them up with tender, marbled flesh. “They are more flavorful and their texture is toned,” Shields said, adding that in France the chickens can fetch up to $150 apiece. “We’re the only ones in the U.S. raising American Bresse chickens. They’re brand new to the U.S. consumer market.” His recommendation for cooking the coveted breed: “Do it the oldfashion way, on the stovetop for six to seven hours over low heat, in a pot with liquid, veggies and seasonings.” 619-823-5079. Restaurateur Joshua Hamlin hopes to bring some culinary magic to University Heights when he opens American Voodoo next month. The “modern Americana” menu in the works will be implemented by Chef Daniel Sanaugstine, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who recently worked in Los Angeles with celebrity caterer, Laura Diaz-Brown. Hamlin is involved with two restaurants in New York and recently opened a bar in Dover, N.H., where he resides in addition to his native San Diego. For American Voodoo, he took over a couple of storefronts that previously housed a frame shop and imports boutique. The name, he said, was inspired by the voodoo dolls his mother began making after she retired from the military. Several of them will be incorporated into the décor. “My goal is to get a Michelin star for the restaurant by offering a unique one-of-a-kind dining experience,” he said while hinting at dishes like turtle soup and rabbit that could end up on his seasonal farm-to-table menu. 4655 Park Blvd.

Both The Linkery and Hubcap in North Park have closed. Owner Jay Porter said in an email sent to friends that he and his two partners “are finding that we can’t, given our circumstances, make our restaurants the best they can be, which I believe is the least and most we can ask of ourselves and any community enterprise.” Porter went on to indicate that he has set his sights set on the Bay Area for opening his next restaurant. There’s no word yet on what will replace Hubcab, but The Linkery will reportedly transform into a similar restaurant concept called Waypoint Public, spearheaded by the proprietor of Bottlecraft stores in North Park and Little Italy.

The finishing touches are being put on the upcoming BBQ 81 in North Park, where owner Brandon Jessie will show off the barbecuing techniques he learned from his late father, Ron. The menu promises a full array of ribs, chicken, pork tenderloin, burgers and salmon cooked over mesquite or oak, along with scratch-made sides that include the curious offering of barbecue spaghetti. No exact opening date has been set, but it’s estimated that we’ll start smelling smoke within the next month. 2302 El Cajon Blvd., 619-534-0874. Local beekeeper Paul Maschka will team up with staff from Venissimo Cheese for a class focusing on the luscious pairing of honey and curds, at 4 p.m., Sunday, July 28, at Mission Hills Nursery (1525 Fort Stockton Drive). The event, titled “Bees and Cheese,” is presented by Slow Food Urban San Diego. Tickets are $35 and can be obtained by visiting brownpapertickets.com.t


DINING

gay-sd.com

Dining with

FRANK SABATINI JR.

Beer-battered chili relleno stuffed with shrimp (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

T

here are good reasons why Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant attracts a brisk business without so much as making a peep in terms of marketing. For starters, street parking is relatively easy within this quiet hang between Downtown and Hillcrest. Secondly, both the atmosphere and food attain high levels of originality that spare the restaurant from being called another trend spot. The three-room interior is unrecognizable from the days it operated as Liaison and more recently, Modus Bar & Lounge. Wood, steel and radio vacuum-tube lights are everywhere, which I realize are all too familiar in modern-day restaurant designs. Ditto for the deer heads poking out from a wall above the spacious bar, which we’ve also seen before in establishments bent on rustic themes. The difference here, however, is that the architectural elements flow naturally without appearing forced. Lighting is where it belongs while paned windows and cobblestone flooring add a sense of genuine solidness. Ornamentation is sparse, except for a giant sheet of canvas that reads “World’s Strangest People.” The striking wall hanging originates from a 1930s Coney Island freak show, and we’re told it wasn’t cheap. The restaurant, now three years old, is co-owned by Chef Carl Schroeder, founder of Market Restaurant + Bar in Del Mar, Calif., and Terryl Gavre, who operates Café 222 in Downtown’s Marina District. Their combined expertise in the food industry became evident starting from our pre-dinner cocktails made with fresh fruit juices to our final spoonfuls of butterscotch pudding with pecan toffee for dessert. Dishes across Schroeder’s menu are simultaneously familiar and novel. Few visitors can pass up the nostalgia of deviled eggs, especially when they’re festooned with zesty

capers and Parmesan, and cradled in lightly dressed arugula. The plate also features house-made lemon potato chips, which on this particular evening were sliced from colossal Kennebec potatoes. Another starter, a beer-battered chili relleno, was so above-board that my companion declared it as “the best thing” ever eaten. Filled with chunks of marinated shrimp, avocado and a little cheese, it was crowned with lime cream and encircled by deeply flavored guajillo chili sauce. We didn’t want it to ever end, thus concluding that if Schroeder removes it from his seasonally driven menu, we will loudly protest. An exceptional pairing of grapefruit sections and roasted red beets comprised an arugula salad with citrusy vinaigrette coating the greens and honey-mustard lacing the beets. Spiced sunflower seeds provided heat and crunch. All combined, the hodgepodge of flavors united in well-conceived fashion. Equally memorable was chilled tomato-coriander soup with corn, cucumbers, avocado and crème fraiche. On summer’s hottest days, customers will be well served with this simple take on

GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

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gazpacho. But as our astute waiter warned, what’s here today could be gone tomorrow. A dish that will stick around at least until Labor Day is Schroeder’s rubbed, sauced and oven-cooked baby back ribs. Finished briefly on the grill, the ultra-tender meat takes on numerous key ingredients from the country’s best rib recipes, such as paprika, brown sugar, cumin, dry mustard, molasses, soy sauce and garlic, you name it. The intricate recipe is posted on the restaurant’s web site, at bankershillsd.com. Not a single mediocre dish hit our table. Had there been one, I might have guessed it as being the chicken fettuccine that my companion ordered. But with lemon-Chardonnay sauce at work, and the homemade pasta strewn also with pancetta and summer-ripe snap peas, it was impossible to pull our forks away. As a result, some of the dreamy, creamy butterscotch pudding dessert that was accompanied by sticks of shortbread was relegated to a doggie bag. Part of the lure of Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant is its modesty. With the food and ambiance holding such strong appeal, the place excels mainly from word-of-mouth rather than through splashy promotions. And everyone inside appears to revel in the discovery.t

Deviled eggs with lemon potato chips

(Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)


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GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

Congratulations to the LGBT community Anneville Studio 2750 Historic Decatur Rd., Suite 209, San Diego, CA 92106 619-488-7540 | annevillestudio.com/index.html By the recent Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality, Anneville Studio in Liberty Station has created a line of rings for the LGBT community. The “equality” rings can be worn as wedding rings or simply as a celebration of gay rights to show solidarity and support. You can have personal service and select your ring and design at the studio all while looking at real samples. With over 20 years of jewelry and metal experience, all rings are created with recycled material at the studio, direct from the artist.

hotels | rings | tuxedo & dress rentals | reception ven

Call Sloan

TODAY

to Advertise!

Sloan Gomez

(619) 961-1954 sloan@sdcnn.com


GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

Old Town Trolley Tours wants to spruce up your wedding Old Town Trolley Tours trolleytours.com/san-diego/wedding.asp | 619-298-8687

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GAY SAN DIEGO

In addition to being called “San Diego’s best sightseeing tours,” Old Town Trolley Tours also offers a unique brand of transportation – “Transportainment” – a combination of transportation and entertainment that allows your group to receive the added enjoyment of a narrated tour of the City as you make your way from one location to another during your next special event. In addition, Old Town Trolley Tours’ exclusive wedding trolley “Felicity” is available by private charter year round for any special occasion that would be cause for celebration, and is the perfect addition to any wedding. Felicity is elegant and classy both inside and out and chauffeured by professional tuxedo-clad drivers. This charming white trolley has a maximum capacity of 22 people and will ensure that your group arrives in style! Red carpet treatment awaits you and your wedding party aboard “Felicity.”

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12

NEWS

GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

FROM PAGE 3

BLACKFISH

The cast of “Sister Act” in action (Photo by Joan Marcus) FROM PAGE 1

SISTERACT “It’s so interesting hearing the audience at the end of the show … where it all kind of comes to a head, hearing them applaud that idea.” Pruneda referenced the June 26 Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality – the show was in San Antonio, Texas at the time – as important milestones for the U.S., and said it was interesting to be outside New York when the decisions were announced. “It’s so exciting to be all around the country as these things are happening,” he said. “I really feel like we’re seeing the change happen.” Without missing a beat, Pruneda said he is also excited to be touring the U.S. because he and the other LGBT people on the tour get the chance to see so many different communities. They have not been quite as lucky, however, hitting up all the different Pride festivals.

“You will not believe,” he said, laughing. “We missed every single Pride in every city.” Including, it seems, San Diego Pride. “You know what we’ve been doing, since we haven’t been able to go to any Prides? We’ve been trying to go to a drag show in every city,” he said. A die-hard “RuPaul’s Drag Race” fan, Pruneda and others from the cast scope out the local drag scene in as many cities as they can, in part to immerse themselves in the cities they are visiting as well as give back to the people who come to the shows. While he said he may not “party as hard as some of the other boys” from the cast, it is important for him to be out in the local communities. Keeping his job in mind, Pruneda said one of the reasons he holds back at times is because of his “Sister Act” role. The singer plays Pablo, one of a trio of henchmen that is searching for Deloris in the nun’s convent, where she is hiding. The part has Pruneda singing falsetto – a difficult part

for any singer, trained or not – through most of the show. He said the trio sings in a “Bee Gees kind of style,” providing some of the comic relief throughout the production. His thug-mates, Charles Barksdale as TJ and Todd Horman as Joey, are a perfect match. “Not only do our voices blend beautifully when we sing, but we have such a great rapport, on stage and off,” Pruneda said. “It’s just a joy to work with them. When you see the show, you’ll see the three of us work really well together.” San Diego is no doubt in for a treat when Pruneda, Barksdale and Horman, as well as the entire cast, come to town. Show times are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m.; Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 and 6 p.m., July 30 – Aug. 4. The entire run is at the San Diego Civic Theatre, located at 1100 Third Ave. For complete show and ticket information, visit bradwaysd.com or call 619-570-1100.t

captive-born, several sired from Tilikum – the affects are astonishing. “I feel very, very strongly about marine mammals, or really any animals, for entertainment,” Cowperthwaite said in a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) interview promoting the film. “I think that’s the lowest rung on the ethical totem pole. It’s the strangest practice, I think, when you actually really strip it down and unpack everything that SeaWorld does. It’s reduced them to these circus animals.” While SeaWorld refused to be interviewed during the filming of “Blackfish,” weeks before the film’s release the company’s vice president of communications, Fred Jacobs, emailed approximately 50 film reviewers in the United States “rebutting various points in the film,” promoters of “Blackfish” said. Jacobs addresses eight issues in total, ranging from the assertion that 80 percent of SeaWorld orca were captive-born and the average lifespan of wild versus captive whales, to the breaking up of orca family units and abuse, or whale-towhale bullying, in captivity. SeaWorld also attempted to refute several points in the film surrounding Brancheau’s death, which served as an emotional and dramatic arc. By then, however, the message had meticulously and respectfully been presented. “Tilikum did not attack Dawn [Brancheau],” Jacobs’ email stated. “All evidence indicates that Tilikum became interested in the novelty of Dawn’s ponytail in his environment and, as a result, he grabbed it and pulled her into the water.”

“Blackfish” representatives responded to Jacobs’ response, posted on the film’s official website and, for some, the ponytail issue might not seem important. It is the details, however, that filmmakers present – through court testimony, interviews with former SeaWorld trainers and video footage – that make the documentary so compelling. “One great thing about this film, I hope, is that it has a life of its own. It’s a worthy tool for people that need to inform other people. It starts with us, telling them that what they’re doing is not OK,” Cowperthwaite said in the PETA interview. “SeaWorld, given the fact that they have the resources that they do – $2 billion a year for people coming through these turnstiles – they have to be convinced that we won’t continue to make the decision to watch their shows,” she said. “Blackfish” opens in San Diego July 26. Hillcrest Cinemas is located at 3965 Fifth Ave. For more information and show times, visit landmarktheatres.com. For information on the film, visit blackfishmovie.com.t


THEATER PATRICIA MORRIS BUCKLEY

GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

13

THEATER REVIEW

Bringing swagger to Shakespeare Fierce, charismatic acting highlights timeless, enjoyable story

T

he last time The Old Globe Theatre mounted “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which many consider Shakespeare’s most accessible play, the production had a sweet, euphoric charm about it. This time there’s little charm or sweetness, and yet the result is just as satisfying. In director Ian Talbot’s version, the male fairies are like bikers wearing leather vests with chains and no shirts, and adopting a rock ‘n’ roll swagger. The female fairies look as if they’re wearing camouflage, and both sexes have a sort of dandelion-top hair, especially the king, whose coif rivals any dollop of cotton candy. Puck, the king’s right-hand fairy and perhaps one of the most loved characters in the theatrical cannon, is less charming and more wickedly mischievous: and a bit lusty. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a fairly simple story. Egeus wants his daughter Hermia to marry Demetrius, but she is in love with Lysander. Her best friend Helena worships Demetrius, but he only has eyes for Hermia. Egeus appeals to Duke Theseus of Athens, who says she must marry Demetrius or die, which angers Theseus’s fiancée, Hippolyta. Lysander plans an elopement with Hermia that begins with a nighttime meeting in the forest. But it so happens that the fairy royalty, King Oberon and Queen Titania, are spending the night there as well and are at odds with each other. Oberon commands Puck to bring him a flower enchanted by a drop from Cupid’s arrow for Titania’s eyes so she will fall in love with the first creature she sees upon opening them. Then, seeing De-

metrius spurn Helena (who followed their eloping friends there), Oberon commands Puck to put a drop from the flower on the man’s eye as well. But Puck puts it on Lysander’s eye and when he awakes, he falls in love with Helena and Titania falls in love with a common fool who wears a donkey appearance, thanks once again to Puck. By the end, all is well, although there are many misunderstandings, counter-charms and hurt feelings along the way. All the actors play their roles with a fierce intensity, which makes their passion all the more urgent. Jay Whittaker, who played Mozart in The Globe’s “Amadeus,” is both the fool as Theseus and the avenger as Oberon. Balancing Whittaker’s razor edge is the warm voice and manner of Krystel Lucas as Titania and Hippolyta. The lovers (Winslow Corbett, Nic Few, Adam Gerber and Ryman Sneed) play their story as a tragedy, and perhaps it is for them. It’s interesting that they keep stripping off clothing, as if to show that they are stripping off the expectations of society. The simple townsmen who put together a play for the Duke’s wedding celebration are the only ones who are really charismatic. Miles Anderson (known for his King George and Salieri at The Globe) plays Bottom – turned into a Donkey – with an energetic appeal that makes the character appealing to watch. And the resulting play is without a doubt the highlight of the production, reducing everyone to tears of laughter. Ralph Funicello’s set wisely plays up the woods behind The Globe’s outdoor stage, although the fake flowers on the set were

(l to r) Winslow Corbett as Hermia and Adam Gerber as Lysander (Photo by Jim Cox) jarring. Deirdre Clancy’s turn-of-the-century Athens costumes are fun, but the fairies’ wigs all looked the same and the color palette is a bit boring. Unfortunately, Bottom’s donkey transformation made him look far more like a giant bunny. If any of the designers make the stage magical it’s the flowing lights of Alan Burrett and the haunting musical compositions of Dan Moses Schreier. Talbot’s confident direction – he’s appeared in and directed the show many times – brings a sense of unity to the production that makes it feel almost real; we could easily slip into this fairy world. He has proven that there is more than one way to enjoy this timeless story. And enjoy it, we do.t

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” In repertory through Sept. 29 The Old Globe Theatre 619-234-5623 oldglobe.org


14 GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

Friday, July 26

IMMIGRATION REFORM: This morning’s Community Coalition Breakfast at The LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St., brings Pedro Rios of the Immigrant Rights Consortium to speak on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. What does it mean? How does it affect our community? Admission to the 7:30 a.m. event is free, with breakfast for a $10 suggested donation. For more information visit thecentersd.org. FREAK FRIDAY: Get extraterrestrial at Urban MO’s with host Glitz Glam (performing ET!) with Vic Ladyvajayja Carmona. San Diego Clubkids & ToyBox Dolls will be there too, from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Bring

your “out of this world alien realness” to 308 University Ave. For more information call 619-491-0400.

Saturday, July 27

FEELIN’ GROOVY: The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus presents a trip back to the psychedelic era with “Feelin’ Groovy: Songs of the ’60s.” The chorus performs three shows this weekend at the Birch North Park Theatre, 2891 University Ave.: today at 8 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 and 7:30 p.m. For tickets and information visit sdgmc.org or call 877-296-7664. BODY GLOW: SDPIX celebrates 11 years in the community with a special Body Glow Party tonight at Rich’s San Diego, 1051 University Ave. Con-

grats to an amazing feat! DJ Taj and DJ dirty KURTY spin, with free glow body-paint throughout the club. For more information visit sdpix.com.

Sunday, July 28

UPTOWN ANNIVERSARY: It’s a special luau party celebrating the oneyear anniversar y of Uptown Tavern, today from 3 – 7 p.m. All are invited, and dress with your best tropical luau attire: grass skirts, Hawaiian shirts and puka shells, you name it. There will be a special luau performance at 4 p.m. (don’t miss this one). Uptown Tavern is located at 1236 University Ave. For more information call 619-241-2710.

Monday, July 29

KARAOKE AT FLICKS: Join Rebekah for a night of karaoke, starting at 9 p.m. It’s billed as the best karaoke show in Hillcrest, and happens every week. Flicks is located at 1017 University Ave. For more information visit sdflicks.com.

Tuesday, July 30

AMELIA & AARON: It’s LIVE! with Amelia & Aaron at Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave. The show is from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. For more information call 619-400-4500.

Wednesday, July 31

PICTIONARY: A longstanding tradition for #1 Fifth Ave. is Wednesday’s Pictionary party. Totally relaxed, there’s always drink specials and raffle prizes, starting at 7:30 p.m. #1 is located at 3845 Fifth Ave. For more information call 619-299-1911.

Thursday, Aug. 1

ARTIST’S TALK: Now with two shows in San Diego – the current exhibit at the jdc Fine Art and participation with the Museum of Art’s contemporary art festival Aug. 1 - 10 – trans photographer Jess T. Dugan is taking the region by storm. In conjunction with “Summer Break 2013: Double Portraits” at the Balboa Park museum, 1450 El Prado, Dugan will present an artist’s talk lecture at 7 p.m. For more information visit sdmart.org. GRACE ANN: Join artist Grace Ann Piano as she presents her current exhibition, “Denizens,” at Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center, 3925 Ohio St. The paintings explore human expression, and will be up through Sept. 1, however Piano will be at the opening reception tonight from 7 – 10 p.m. For more information visit graceannpiano.com.

Friday, Aug. 2

FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Moxie Theatre takes over the Diversionary space to present the one-woman show “Freedom of Speech,” playing now through Aug. 11. Written and performed by Eliza Jane Schneider, the show recounts Schneider’s trip through the U.S. in a beat-up ambulance. She’s a master of the voice, and the show plays Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. (tonight included!) and Sundays at 2 p.m. Diversionary is located at 4545 Park Blvd. For more information and tickets visit moxietheatre.com or call 619-220-0097.

Saturday, Aug. 3

POLITIFEST: Organized by Voice of San Diego, this year’s annual Politifest event will feature community groups, activities, panel discussions and entertainment. The focus in on neighborhoods, which means yours must be represented by attending. The free event takes place from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Liberty Station’s Central Promenade, 2618 Historic Decatur Rd. For more information visit voiceofsandiego.org. WILDFIRE NIGHTS: Hot summer nights are always cool with San Diego WILDFIRE, a ladies dance night from 6 – 10 p.m. at The Brass Rail, 3796 Fifth Ave. Lady Jane will be there, and there will be glow bracelets for all the single ladies. Cover is $8 for the first hour, $10 after 7 p.m. For more information visit infernodances.com.

Sunday, Aug. 4

IN THE HEIGHTS: “Queer Eye for The Straight Guy” star Jai Rodriguez has been popping up around town for a good reason; he’s starring in San Diego REP’s “In the Heights,” which has their opening night tonight at the Lyceum Stage, 79 Horton Plaza. The show runs through Aug. 25 and tonight’s performance is at 7 p.m. For tickets and more information visit sdrep.org.

Monday, Aug. 5

FAMILY BUILDING: Organized by Fertility Specialists Medical Group, today’s LGBT Family Building Event from 5:30 – 7 p.m. is a complimentary informational session with Dr. Arlene Morales and Dr. Wendy Shelly. The meeting is located at 8010 Frost St., Suite P. For more information email info@ivfspecialists.com or call 858-505-5500.

Tuesday, Aug. 6

CHRIS SHIFLETT: Yes, you read that right. Foo Fighters lead guitarist Shiflett will be in town touring for his debut album “Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants.” It will be more rockabilly and Americana than the rock style of the Fighters, and it will be a show not to be missed. Doors open at The Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, and can be found at casbahmusic.com or by calling 619-232-4355.

Wednesday, Aug. 7

AT THE PINK: Starting at 9 p.m., DJ Grand Masta Rats takes over Bar Pink, one of our favorite dive bars in North Park. Cheap drinks, loud music and an amazing crowd mean a great night at 3829 30th St. For more information visit barpink.com.

Thursday, Aug. 8

BLUES BROTHERS: Get your tickets early to the Mission Hills Cinema Under the Stars screening of the comedy classic, “Blues Brothers.” The theater is at 4040 Goldfinch St. and tickets are $15 general admission. For more information or to make reservations visit topspresents.com or call 619-295-4221.t

Vancouver, B.C. Aug. 4 Reno, Nev. Aug. 17 San Jose, Calif. Aug. 17 – 18 Las Vegas Sept. 6 – 7 Chula Vista, Calif. (South Bay Pride)

Sept. 14 Oceanside, Calif. (Pride @ the beach)

Oct. 12 Bakersfield, Calif. Oct. 19 San Bernardino, Calif. Oct. 26 – 27 Palm Springs, Calif. Nov. 2 – 3


BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL

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H R Tactics Strategic Planning, Tactical Training Joe Whitaker operates H.R. Tactics, a full-service human resource consulting firm in Mission Hills, providing a broad range of human resource support, products and solutions for small to midsized companies with fees designed to put affordable human resources in reach. He can be contacted at 804-4551 or e-mail at hrtactics@cox.net.

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New Adam & Eve Store opening in Hillcrest Adam & Eve Franchising Corporation is proud to announce the opening of its newest store on Saturday, July 6, in the Hillcrest district of San Diego, operated by franchisees Jan and Bryan Lovering. Adam & Eve stores are upscale specialty retail boutiques for discerning couples to explore romance and erotica that invoke the quality, class and comfort associated with the Adam & Eve brand. “We are very excited to create a welcoming and comfortable intimacy boutique that will let our customers shop and explore in a fun, friendly environment,” said co-operator Bryan Lovering. The San Diego location will help customers learn new and exciting ways to explore intimacy and reignite the passion in their lives. The Adam & Eve staff, whose main goal is to exceed customers’ expectations, is highly trained and knowledgeable about our wide range of products, which include lingerie and apparel, shoes, books, games, pleasure products, and instructional & self-help manuals. “Our store is going to provide customers with quality, top of the line merchandise from wellrespected brands to bring a bit of extra class and romance into our shoppers’ lives. We are really excited about this opportunity,” Jan Lovering said. The store is located at 415 University Ave. and will be open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

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16

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INTERVIEW

gay-sd.com

Musician’s tell-all interview on HIV,

By Chris Azzopardi | Q Syndicate John Grant’s head is like a prison, and inside are words waiting to get out. These words flood the melodies of the songs on his second LP, the critically praised “Pale Green Ghosts,” and they also free-flow in conversation like he’s been wanting to get something off his chest. The former Czars singer is personal without any probing, a patient sitting across from his therapist exorcizing all his innermost demons and the sea of emotions welling inside: anger, disappointment, regret. All of Grant’s words are laced with these feelings. And these feelings are a result of, as Grant puts it, “self-hatred” and “self-loathing.” Without reservation, the Iceland-based artist chats with the same easy candidness of his debut, 2010’s “Queen of Denmark,” and its recently released follow-up “Pale Green Ghosts,” rife with frank confessions regarding his flawed self-assurance, being a target of small-town homophobia, his addiction with addiction and the result of the latter: his HIV diagnosis. “Who wants to hear about some diseased faggot and his disease that he got that he deserved because he’s living this horrible lifestyle?” Grant said outright when he explained his HIV catharsis piece “Ernest Borgnine,” a self-proclaimed “expression of anger and absurdity” that sorts out his behavior through the perspective of the track’s actornamesake: a song he says isn’t a fit for radio audiences. No matter, as it wasn’t for them anyway. It was written for Grant. “I needed to explore why I allowed myself to get HIV after I spent so much time getting sober and turning my back on self-destructive behavior,” he said. “Why did I have to keep the self-destructive behavior in the realm of sex for myself?” It was always some realm for Grant: the realm of drugs, of alcohol or of sex. “It didn’t matter what I could get my hands on to achieve that different state of mind,” he said. “I can do it with food, or with spending money.” He could do it, unprotected, with an HIV-positive man. And he did, resulting in his seroconversion. “This shouldn’t have happened, and yet, here we are,” he said. “And what does it say about you that you still allowed this to happen?” By turning the song’s perspective onto Borgnine, an actor Grant adores and once met at a New York City restaurant, he said he found his answer: “That you weren’t completely willing to let go of your self-loathing. That I still had a long way to go … and still had many things that I needed to let go of. “I was holding onto things that were still hurting me. The truth is, it was self-destructive behavior just like any of the other addictions that needed to be dealt with, and it came directly from the self-hatred and self-loathing of the last 25, 30 years or whatever. Getting the HIV

diagnosis was a huge wake-up call for me, that [I] still have a long way to go.” Being open about his status, which he revealed during his initial gig for a Hercules and Love Affair show in London last year, was part of the process. That was, for him, acknowledging he wasn’t invisible anymore. That fantasy world he’d always escape to? It was gone. “I have a very strong tendency to want to avoid things and hide from them,” he said. “I was standing on a stage when I said it and I was about to sing a song that had everything to do with that, but I didn’t want to be dramatic. … This whole shame thing is what gets me into a lot of trouble anyway, this hiding, this feeling like I should be ashamed and that I’m a lesser human because of this.” Now, though, he’s more human because of this, as Grant’s revelation – to himself, and to the world – has broken down the same doors that many HIV-positive people hide behind for fear of being judged. Not to mention, he’s been sober since 2004. “I don’t think that I’m this maverick who’s going to change the way people think about certain things,” Grant said, “but I can talk about my own experience. And by being open about it, who knows, maybe there’s people out there dealing with certain issues. Maybe they’re ashamed about it and maybe they’ll think to themselves, ‘Well, if he can say something about it – and he’s up on stage – then maybe I can admit it to myself. Maybe I can deal with it.’” The cover image of “Pale Green Ghosts” doesn’t reveal much. Sitting in a coffeehouse Grant frequents in Reykjavik – the largest city in Iceland, and also the capital, where he currently lives – he’s stoic and still as he sits alone at a table with two books and a brew. There’s mystery and intrigue, and none of the transparency of his unambiguous words. “It was really early in the morning, and I didn’t want to show any emotion,” he said. “I suppose in photos maybe I look serious, because I don’t want to reveal too much of my vulnerability with my eyes, which is really easy to do in photos if you don’t control it.” That Grant can be completely guileless musically but less so in photographs is telling: a contradiction that’s not lost on him. “There’s a part of me that wants to look strong and not vulnerable at all, because I learned that’s what a man is,” he said. His sharp tongue is his shield. Even when he’s self-analytical on album standout “GMF,” saying he’d be the underdog if ever cast in a film, he masks his insecurities with biting wit and self-boasting that even he doesn’t seem to entirely believe. The song’s acronym refers to him, the “Greatest Mother Fucker.” “Humor has always been my default protective mechanism,” Grant said, calling himself “a pro” at self-deprecation. One of the most poignant moments on “Green Ghosts” comes during the coda. The song “Glacier,” he said, is about “the whole gay marriage circus” and his feelings of

GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

addiction and revealing new album

frustration, despair and disappointment. The song inspires with a mantra that could just as easily be his own – “don’t become paralyzed with fear when things seem particularly rough” – but in conversation, that passion turns to anger. Though Grant’s stream-of-consciousness songwriting is, again, at the forefront of his work – as is that rich baritone of his – the sound echoes 1980s electro, the music of the singer’s adolescence, in which “Green Ghosts” is firmly rooted.

“That’s when all the problems really started and where I began to see that I was up to my ears in shit,” he said. Grant spent the first 12 years of his life in Buchanan, a city on the far west side of Michigan that is no more than five miles wide. His first album, “Queen of Denmark,” reflected those tumultuous childhood years. “It was a nightmare,” he said of small-town life. “It was like a horror movie, because you saw yourself

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turning into this creature that was completely unacceptable. The more you realized there was nothing you could do about it, the more horrible it became.’” What’s the sound of a 44-year-old man who’s weathered everything from drug addiction to HIV? “Lots of distortion and Wall of Sound guitars mixed with huge cinemascapes and electronic Vangelis-esque ‘Blade Runner’-scapes,” he said. It is a sound that could inspire his next album, which he suggests may follow the trajectory of his work so far and explore the next phase: adulthood. —Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at chris-azzopardi.com. The cover photo of Grant was taken by Garoar Olafsson.t


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SPORTS

GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

JEFF PRAUGHT

gay-sd.com

DUGOUT CHATTER

SD Hoops summer league reaches halfway point SD Hoops, San Diego’s LGBTthemed recreational basketball league since 1999, elected to experiment with the idea of a summer league for the first time in its 14-year history. The league has traditionally held a six-month season that begins in October and features eight teams. During the 2012-2013 season, that number expanded to nine teams and offered evidence that there would be enough interested players to make a shorter summer league viable. To make a summer league work, enough players would have to commit to playing from June until the end of August, not only to have enough teams to make the league interesting – nobody would want to play the same team week after week – but to generate enough revenue to cover the cost of renting the gym at the Golden Hills Recreation Center, as well as paying for referees. The Board of Officers hoped it would have enough players to field four teams this summer. Instead, SD Hoops has six teams and a fantastic inaugural summer season filled with parity. When a couple players went down with seasonending injuries, the league sent out an open roster announcement, and nearly a dozen more players expressed interest in joining midseason, demonstrating that the popularity of SD Hoops is strong. This summer consists of 10 weeks of regular-season play, followed by playoffs in late August. Through the first five weeks, what we have seen is that the teams are evenly matched, top to bottom.

Baja Betty’s (4-1) stands alone in first place, led by sharp-shooter Noah Ingram, whose season total of 86 points are good for first place in SD Hoops by a wide margin. Included in their win total are oneand three-point victories. Betty’s enjoys the rare benefit of having two “big guys,” with lanky Jeff Lehmann and myself putting up a few extra inches of defense in front of the rim. Devin Timpson is explosive and gets to the rim quickly, while Brian Jinings joins Ingram as the team’s outside threats. The oft-overlooked Marcus Lenihan is perhaps the most intense player in the league, somehow coming away with every loose ball that gets within five feet of him. Flicks (2-3) is tied for last place but might be the most intriguing team in the league. They lost talented forward Bob Iddings to a knee injury in the first week. Then, rookie guard Armando Guerra was lost for the year with a torn Achilles. Down two men, the league allowed Flicks to add a few players from the wait list, and coach Dave Batzer selected 2012-2013 Big Man of the Year winner Tommy Miles, as well as versatile guard and forward Pat Jackson. Miles joins league rebounding leader Greg Carson (averaging 14.7 rebounds per game) as another, more talented “twin towers” combo. If they can protect the basketball, Flicks could be the favorite come playoff time. The Loft (3-2) is coached by John Crockett, the man who piloted the league’s championship-winning

team during the 2012-2013 season. Crockett drafted a few players from that team to play this summer, and recently added Darius Artiola to the mix. They have Ray Valenzuela and Brandon Patchett to drive the lane, Sami Sweiss to knock down shots on the kick out, and high-energy Ace Vieyra grabbing rebounds and scoring 13.5 points per game. This team is tough to defend and well coached. Wsup Now (2-3) features some of the league’s most talented players in Patrick Schoettler and Jon Dyer, two players who were edged out by Jeff Leas for last year’s Most Valuable Player honors. Each player averages a double-double per game (at least ten rebounds and ten points), and is difficult to defend because they can score inside but also have a deadly outside shot as well. Schoettler ranks second in the league in scoring and fourth in rebounding through five weeks, while Dyer is second in rebounding and ninth in scoring. Pecs (2-3) is a team that has some strong pieces but has not been able to get its featured players together at the same time often enough. Darin Adler can run the point but will likely miss the playoffs due to his upcoming wedding. Coach James Vidovich, a teammate of mine last season, is more than capable of getting the ball up the court. He is a very streaky shooter who has his ice-cold runs, but can also will a team to victory by nailing shot after shot. Because he is so streaky, Vidovich does not often command a double-team to defend

(l to r) The Loft’s Martin Vargas and league-leading scorer Noah Ingram (Photo by Joe Covino)

him. The extra defender is also necessary to help contain center Brandon Horrocks, who is as smart in his rebounding and positioning as any big man in the league. Veteran Frank Nunez has been added to the roster and has a knack for hitting killer 12-foot jumpers when a team thinks it has everyone defended. Sean Brunle and Mick Graham are capable of dropping 10 points in any given game as well. The team does not feature any of the league’s superstars, but it has as much depth as anyone. Urban MO’s (2-3) is much like Pecs in that they do not have a superstar on the roster, but they have several players capable of putting up double digits on the scoreboard. Paul Piercy (17.3 PPG) is quietly the league’s third-leading scorer, getting his points via clutch jumpers or driving the lane and getting to the line. Daniel Rodriguez averages over 10 points per game, and Derek Rice can range anywhere from twoto-20 points on any given night. Most of the games have been single-digit, tight contests. Wsup

Now and The Loft even battled into triple overtime during Week Four, a rarity in league play. The few blowouts that have taken place have been the result of either a major ingame injury hampering a team, or teams playing shorthanded by starting only four players and having to play four-on-five, an exhausting task. Games are held on Wednesday nights between 6 – 9 p.m. Players interested in joining the league are encouraged to come watch the games and meet the players. Sign-ups for the full fall season will take place in September. For more information about SD Hoops, visit the league website at sdhoops.net or email me at commissioner@sdhoops.net to get added to the mailing list. —Jeff Praught is actively involved in the LGBT sports community, where he plays in the local softball (AFCSL), football (SDAFFL) and basketball (SD Hoops) leagues. He has served on AFCSL’s board of officers in various capacities and is currently the commissioner of SD Hoops.t


gay-sd.com FROM PAGE 1

NICK&MEL creative – and healing – therapy for the two friends. It was out of this same period that “Nick & Mel” was born, their music- and comedy-based act that many liken to the old Smothers Brothers TV show. The duo premiered at Bourbon Street Bar & Grill in August 2011, and have since played various locations around the city, eventually launching their own online web series called “The Nick & Mel Show.” Last summer, Nick & Mel arrived “in character” at Poppy Champlin’s Queer Queens of Qomedy show at the Birch North Park Theatre and interviewed Champlin for their web series. The lesbian comedian was immediately taken by their energy and booked them to appear as this year’s special guests when it returns to the Birch on Sept. 7. “We are the only musical act on the bill,” Peters said, “and we are thrilled.” The Queer Queens lineup will also include Sandra Valls and Shann Carr, two other lesbian comedians. Champlin emcees the show – which travels all over the country showcasing different lesbian comedians wherever it goes – and performs her own comedy in between acts. Tickets for the Curve Magazine-sponsored event are $25 for general admission and $40 for VIP, which includes meet and greets with the performers. Nick & Mel will kick off the comedy show and Peters said she and Walker are pushing to get their CD recorded and pressed in advance of the event. She is eager to start laying tracks for the record.

NEWS “This time around, we know each other better musically and have a rapport in the studio together,” she said. “It’s always hard to produce yourself, because you can only be so objective and creative at the same time, but Nick and I have developed a way to gently nudge each other into exceeding our own expectations. And I just love working with her, such a huge talent. Plus she makes me laugh so damn hard.” A recent press release described the duo’s style and offers a glimpse of what fans can expect, not only of the record, but their upcoming live performance as well: “Nick & Mel are pioneers of the old and new, bringing back the old TV age of variety shows with very contemporary alternative rock and blues original music, all inspired by gay, lesbian, transgender romance, love and, especially, divorce.” Though inspired by troubled times, much of “Songs in the Key of Divorce” are fun parodies, and Peters said at least one tune is even hopeful. “Some of the songs on this record … are now fun crowd favorites,” she said. “Fans sing along and throw out suggestions … but I’d have to say my favorite song might be ‘Happier In June,’ as it is one of the only potentially positive songs on the record. It’s about the beginning stages of a relationship and the navigation we make as we get to know each other and sometimes struggle to get rolling.” The opposite, she said, is “Lesbian Vulture,” a newly written song about the “other end” of a relationship. “When you break up with your partner, there is often a vulture that’s been sniffing around your backyard for sometime, just

GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

19

Nick & Mel performing at Bourbon Street in August 2011 (Courtesy Nick & Mel)

waiting to pounce on the carcass of your former love affair,” Peters said. “It’s a nice, bitter, visually-biting tune.” In a twist of nuptial irony, Peters will be officiating weddings at this year’s South Bay Pride, and Nick & Mel are even sponsoring the marriage event, which takes place a week after the Queer Queens show, on Sept. 14 in Chula Vista, Calif. An established recording engineer in her own right, Peters said she and Walker will produce the new record themselves to save money, but getting studio time and other material costs still add up. Their fundraising goal is $4,500. To garner help, they’ve

launched an Indiegogo account. Visit indiegogo.com and search for “Nick & Mel.” Indiegogo is different from other crowdfunding websites, in that there is no minimum dollar amount to meet and all funds raised by their deadline will go to Nick & Mel. Extensive details regarding their plans for the record, including back-up musicians they hope to enlist and what perks donors will receive in return for helping, can all be found on their personalized Indiegogo site. For more information about Nick & Mel, their record, or their Queer Queens of Qomedy gig, visit Facebook.com/ NickAndMelMusic.t


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GAY SAN DIEGO July 26–Aug. 8, 2013

gay-sd.com

Gay San Diego  

July 26, 2013 edition

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