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Volume 5 Issue 17 Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter




Page 16

The Dog has his day New film takes Hollywood gleam off infamous gay outlaw

A new kind of pub crawl

8 DINING Mug shot of John “The Dog” Wojtowicz (Courtesy Drafthouse Films) (l to r) Andrew Hoffman and Jill Waters, both members of the San Diego Tennis Federation, competed in multiple events individually at this year’s Gay Games and won Silver together in C Mixed Doubles. (Courtesy Jill Walters) Sweet and spicy


Shakespeare’s Verona



Jason Mraz Day

Index Opinion………………….6 Briefs…………………….7 Spor ts…………….11 Classifieds…………….13 Calendar....…….....…..14

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San Diego tennis scores big in Cleveland Morgan M. Hurley | Editor Over 8,000 participants traveled from all over the world to Cleveland, Ohio last week to participate in the Gay Games, held Aug. 9 – 16. Presented by the Cleveland Foundation, it was the 10th such gathering of LGBT athletes since the event was first conceived in 1980 and established in 1982. Dozens of athletes traveled from

San Diego to the games this year playing in multiple events. A group from the San Diego Tennis Federation, many still fresh off of wins at their annual Open Tennis Tournament in June, fared extremely well. Held every four years like the traditional Olympic Games it is fashioned after, the first two Gay Games were held in San Francisco. Since then, cities across the world have stepped up to host the games,

including Vancouver, New York City, Amsterdam, Sydney, Chicago, and Cologne, Germany. The all-volunteer Federation of Gay Games was established as the umbrella organization that manages the collaboration of the games worldwide. Its founding principles are Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best, and the games are

see Gay Games, pg 4

Hutton Marshall On a hot summer day in 1972, John Wojtowicz, along with cohorts Sal Naturale and Bobby Westenberg attempted to rob a Brooklyn bank. Westenberg fled the scene in the robbery’s first few minutes, but for the other two it evolved into a 14-hour hostage standoff that ended with Wojtowicz arrested and Naturale dead. Scores of people gathered during the situation, many even cheering for the enigmatic Wojtowicz. The story was sensationalized by media nationwide after it was

see Dog Day, pg 2

A river runs through it Local event producer takes back Women’s Weekend Morgan M. Hurley | Editor Nearly 30 years ago, Carmen McKay had her hands in a number of successful women’s events and all these years later, she is still cranking them out. Her popular She She brand — which is committed to women 35 and over — offers weekend getaway retreats to places such as Baja, California, and it now also produces her monthly dances. The “shes” of She She are McKay and her partner in both business and life Annie Albright. Their events have always sought to bring women together for both community and good times. “We give people permission to connect,” McKay said. “They go to [these events] to connect. They want to meet other people and they want to be seen and feel like they belong. Even couples want to con-

nect with other couples.” A vegan and an avid animal rights activist, McKay has always donated 10 percent of her profits to shelters and animal rights groups, a practice she continues today. Earlier this year, McKay was approached by Hot Flash/Inferno/ Wildfire mogul Pauline Miriam about purchasing the floundering local women’s dance. McKay jumped at the chance and since then, the monthly She She dances in San Diego have been so successful, she is branching out to Los Angeles next month. Her dances, which have regularly brought upwards of 300 women per event, provide an opportunity for women 35 and older to mingle, engage, see live entertainment, and then listen and dance to “old school” Top 40 pop music, all at an affordable price.

McKay (right) and her partner Annie Albright on the Guerneville Bridge, which spans the Russian River (Courtesy Carmen McKay) “It’s great when you are in your 20s to go out and party and just get shit faced and go to the boys bars — but at our age we are over all that,” McKay said bluntly. “We want a place that is nicer; we turn the music down so people can actually hear each

other talk, and we’ve added live entertainment and we’ve added food.” The dances were held at Wangs, a venue quickly overcome by attendance, and the Sunset Temple,

see Weekend, pg 3



GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014

Big and getting bigger

(above) “Top of the Bay” happy hour in Little Italy; (bottom right) The new "Dirty Boy Scout" cocktail at “Top of the Bay”(Photos courtesy Porto Vista Hotel)

A spirited Friday-night tradition regained at ‘Top of the Bay’ Frank Sabatini Jr. A transition from one rooftop to another for Friday-night happy hour has resulted in a LGBT migration from Hillcrest to Little Italy, and with considerable steam. Earlier this year the Porto Vista Hotel & Suites at 1835 Columbia St. launched “Top of the Bay” after Wyndham Vacation Ownership purchased Inn at the Park in Hillcrest,

thus ending a weekly happy hour on the seventh floor that ran for 25 years and became known as “Top of the Park.” Its veritable replacement at Porto Vista is held from 5 to 10 p.m. every Friday on the property’s fifth floor, a 6,000-square-foot terrace stocked with six bars and a dozen cabanas. The open-air venue also affords views of Little Italy and San Diego Harbor.

“The event attracts on average about 500 people each week, mostly gay men ages 30 to 40 and up,” said Jayna Prest, food and beverage director for Porto Vista, adding that the patronage is “ever-growing” because of advertising and sustained social-media outreach. Free shuttle service is available during the happy hour, with regular pickups and drop offs made from The Loft and Caliph, both located on Fifth Avenue. In addition, complimentary valet parking is offered when checking in to Top of the Bay’s Facebook page. Over the past several months, a handful of bartenders from Inn at the Park moved over to Top of the Bay, along with the Inn’s “elevatress” known fondly as “Jersey.” After years of chaperoning guests aboard the property’s vintage elevator, she has since joined the weekly bar team. Also, the Inn’s longtime executive chef, Anthony Wilhelm, began heading the kitchen at Porto Vista’s fourth-floor Glass Door restaurant after Wyndham shut down the Inn’s food and beverage operations, which resulted also in the closure of its ground-floor restaurant, 525@Inn at the Park. Just recently, the regrouped bar crew at Top of the Bay began concocting new, specialty cocktails that will rotate weekly. Priced at $4 apiece, the series debuted this month with the minty vodka-based Dirty Boy Scout. Others are still in the works. Beer, wine and various mixed drinks using premium spirits and Svedka vodka range from $5 to $9. In promoting the Glass Door to the LGBT community, Wilhelm this month introduced 10 percent discounts off entire bills for patrons who descend one floor down on Fridays to dine and drink. He will soon enhance the promotion through a loyalty program by increasing the evening discount to 15 percent while providing Top of the Bay visitors with other restaurant price breaks that will extend throughout the entire week. “We currently get about 20 to 30 people into the restaurant from Top of the Bay every Friday, but we’re trying to get in more,” said Wilhelm, whose seasonal menus highlight different regions of the Mediterranean. Current offerings include Moroccan spiced scallops and harissa short ribs. “I have a lot of creative freedom here, and when I make the rounds on Friday nights I get to see people I’ve known for years from Inn at the Park,” he added. Visitors can also order food to go (at regular prices) from Glass Door’s menu and tote it up to the roof, which is used for weddings and private events on other days of the week. Prest says that the Human Rights Campaign booked the


DOGDAY revealed Wojtowicz was a gay man reportedly robbing that bank to pay for his partner’s gender reassignment surgery. This revelation, coupled with the 26-year-old’s cocky, magnetic personality, fascinated the country during the fledgling days of the gay rights movement, culminating in the critically-acclaimed Hollywood film, “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975), starring Al Pacino as Wojtowicz. Much less flashy and clean cut than the Pacino film, “The Dog” (2013) — showing at the Digital Gym this month — paints a different portrait of the young gay hero risking it all for his partner’s happiness. It’s the third documentary to be made about Wojtowicz, or “The Dog” as he refers to himself in his post-Pacino-flick glory, and it was reportedly 10 years in the making. Wojtowicz, the poor son of Polish immigrants, led a double life through much of his existence. On one hand, he married and had two

(above) Wojtowicz poses with guns and dollar bills (right) Liz Eden, Wojtowicz’s lover at the time of the robbery, strikes a pose (Courtesy Drafthouse Films) children with Carmen Bifulco after returning from the Vietnam War. His other, debatably truer persona, was a promiscuous gay romantic enthralled by The Village, then a hotbed for the young gay rights movement. His friends and loved ones describe both incarnations as a kind-hearted, though undoubtedly troubled person. “Dog Day Afternoon” portrays an

affable, energetic and kind-hearted Wojtowicz, where his promiscuity and abusive nature take the backseat to a sociable bank robber narrative that people could cheer for. “The Dog,” however, explores many of the facets Hollywood smoothed over too briskly to explore the conflicted man within. Differing from many biographical crime documentaries, this one is largely narrated by Wojtowicz himself, as well as his ex-wife Carmen and his mother. Right off the bat, his prowess as a smooth talker is apparent. With the accent of a lifelong New Yorker, he’s a captivating storyteller, though he doesn’t seem to have anything kid-friendly in his arsenal. In his defense, he doesn’t attempt to woo anyone or tone down his language to impress. In recounting his first sexual encounter with another man, he remembers being woken up in his bunk during basic training prior to Vietnam. A man in his training unit was fellating Wojtowicz as he slept. Recalling the encounter as a much older, heavier-set man (who looks more like a half-drunk football coach than a celebrated gay outlaw), Wojtowicz makes no attempt to fog his crass way of thinking. “And we kept having a relationship after that because he blew great. He was like a summer breeze,” Wojtowicz says in the film. Much of the fame surrounding

Wojtowicz comes from what appears to be a daringly romantic gesture: robbing a bank to pay for your true love’s surgery. But the truth isn’t always so clean and praise-worthy. First of all, it’s debatable whether Liz (then Ernie), was actually his true love, or just another of his countless sexual escapades. At one point while he was in prison for the robbery, Wojtowicz had three wives simultaneously, all of whom he claimed to love. He was also admittedly opposed to Liz’s operation, only accepting it after Liz attempted to take her own life a few days before the robbery. And the bonds of marriage didn’t limit him to those three. He boasts of having countless other romances during this period. Even on his selfless mission to procure funds for Liz’s gender reassignment surgery, Wojtowicz coerced Westenberg, one of the cohorts in the bank heist, into intercourse the night before the robbery based on the fact that Wojtowicz was paying Westenberg $50,000 to assist in the heist, and because Westenberg liked to wear women’s clothing. His justification for it onscreen was shocking. “I’m giving you $50,000 and you tell me I’m not getting a f*ck out of this? I’m getting a f*ck out of this,” an incredulous Wojtowicz says in the documentary. Finally, the initial amount Liz needed for her reassignment surgery was estimated to be $2,500, but Wojtowicz brags in the film that he almost got away with $250,000. Liz’s surgical procedures ended up costing almost

space for an event in May and that other LGBT groups are welcome to do the same. “We’re bringing people into the neighborhood that might not have ever come here and everyone is really happy with what we have to offer,” added Prest, recalling that Top of the Bay kicked off to a mediocre start on Feb. 7 because of rain. “But we had a great turnout on the second week and it still keeps growing.” The Porto Vista is a privately owned 190-room boutique hotel that opened in 2008. For more information call 619-544-0164 or visit or glassdoorsd. com. —Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. He has since covered the culinary scene and other subjects for various print and broadcast media outlets in the area. You can reach him at

$60,000, but it still seems unlikely that even half of his score from the robbery would have gone to his beloved’s surgery. During a TV interview in the documentary, Liz claims Wojtowicz committed the crime because of his debt to the mob. On a brighter note, there are several gratifying little tidbits for fans of “Dog Day Afternoon” to gather up from the documentary. For instance, prior to the robbery, Wojtowicz and Co. went and saw “The Godfather” (1972) to get in the zone for the job, so Pacino was inspired by Wojtowicz who was inspired by Pacino. The documentary also delves into several details of the heist that were glossed over by the movie for various reasons. Perhaps most notable: During the hostage situation, when Liz refused to approach the bank door to speak to Wojtowicz, whom she feared would attempt to take her life, the police instead brought Patsy, a former lover of Wojtowicz. The two open-mouth kissed in front of the enormous crowd gathered to witness the scene — quite a statement in 1972. For some, “The Dog” may be akin to finding out the tooth fairy isn’t real, but there is good examination of the psyche needed to garner fame in such an illicit way. Sure, much of the character Pacino portrayed is indeed true of the real man. In reality, Wojtowicz was indeed a passionate, larger-than-life personality who struggled adjusting to both post-incarcerated life, and an inflated sense of celebrity. Some may deem his existence sad, but if nothing else, it’s real. “The Dog” plays at The Digital Gym, located at 2921 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park, at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 30, 2:30 p.m. on Aug 31, and 7 p.m. on Sept. 2 and 3. General admission tickets are $11, with discounts for members, seniors, students and military. Visit for tickets and more information.t


WEEKEND which accommodated the crowd nicely but had no a/c and was expensive. Both original venues were in North Park, but McKay has finally settled at Bamboo Lounge in Hillcrest.

DJ dance parties, a crafts fair, a golf scramble and a jazz and blues comedy festival, Women’s Weekend 2 has something for everyone. Other activities include a Saturday night singles dinner mixer, a band contest, a large outdoor sculpturing experience — something McKay is calling “the largest single lesbian mixer in the world,” a newlywed game,

GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014


MichiganFest and the West Coast Women’s Comedy and Music Festival, attendees were forced to purchase an all-inclusive ticket for the entire weekend. At Women’s Weekend 2, attendees can purchase tickets individually for any of the Friday, Saturday or Sunday daytime or evening events. For those who want the full experience, weekend

McKay and Albright enjoy a recent scouting trip to Guerneville (Courtesy Carmen McKay)

McKay’s She She dances have been a hit in San Diego (Courtesy Carmen McKay) “The ladies love the outdoor patio,” she said. Though a monthly dance, the local She She outing, which just had its last event Aug. 16, will skip September and return Oct. 18. This is to make way for not only McKay’s expansion into LA, but something much greater she is embarking on. In 1986 McKay started Women’s Weekend in Guerneville, located in Northern California along the Russian River. Immediately successful, she enjoyed attendance that eventually peaked at 6,000 at the twice-per-year event for almost 10 years, before she decided to take a break and handed it over to the local community. A group of volunteers kept Women’s Weekend thriving for years on the momentum that McKay had built, but in more recent years, the event lacked direction and leadership and attendance has dwindled. This past May only 300 women attended. Reenter McKay. “I’ve always dreamed of going back because when I created this thing I had a very powerful vision about it,” she said. “A place where women could really connect and that the focus wouldn’t be on alcohol, it would be diverse. Over the years it really moved away from that vision, so I’m really excited because the whole thing behind all the events that She She does is about raising consciousness. Through fun and connection and love and community, it’s all about raising consciousness and bringing it back to where it was originally.” With a schedule that boasts a an all day music festival, two

and more. Though the weekend’s events are all 21 and over, information on childcare is available. Headliners for the weekend include The Voice’s Beverly McClellan, X-Factor’s Lori Moore, Susanne Westenhoefer and Julie Goldman, with Tori Roze and the Hot Mess and the Steph Johnson Trio also coming straight from San Diego. Leveraging her decades of solid connections in the industry to ensure her return is top notch, McKay also has a new formula for the rejuvenated event: “unbundling” the weekend and offering attendees more choices than ever before at affordable prices. In years past, as with other big name women’s weekends, including

passes are still available. Possibly the best part is that everyone chooses their own preferred method of accommodations, whether that be camping, bringing an RV, or staying at a hotel or B&B. There is even a work exchange program for those hoping to save a few bucks. Food concessions will be available all weekend and tightly controlled by McKay. Most options will be vegan or vegetarian, but chicken sourced from a local farmer will also be available. In addition to a crafts fair, the other daytime activities and entertainment will be surrounded by redwoods in the Monte Rio Outdoor Amphitheater, with nighttime events taking place at the

historic River Theater in downtown Guerneville. A conscientious producer, McKay is serious about giving back whenever she can. Ten percent of ticket sales for Women’s Weekend 2 will go to the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), 10 percent of alcohol sales will go to Positive Images, a women’s recovery resource group, and 10 percent of all food concessions will go to Animals Asia and St. Paco’s Place animal rescue. McKay seems to be at the right place at the right time, as once she flipped the switch, everything fell together quickly and ticket sales are already booming for the

upcoming event, which she has themed “Practice Random Acts of Kindness.” “My instinct was right about this,” McKay said. “Women wanted the old women’s weekend back and something a little classier and more conscious and where the definition of fun isn’t just getting shit faced and watching a wet Tshirt contest.” Women’s Weekend 2 will take place on the Russian River in Guerneville, California from Sept. 12 – 14. For more information about ride sharing, the complete schedule of events and to purchase tickets, visit



GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014


GAYGAMES now open to anyone, not just the LGBT community. With 35 different sports and culture events happening over the seven days, those 8,000 participants closely rival the Summer Olympics, which generally sees between 10,000 and 11,000 participants. With sport competitions as diverse as martial arts, billiards, water polo, dancesport, ice hockey, and darts, the games are also filled with traditional sports such as softball, soccer, swimming, tennis, rodeo, track and field, bowling, and rowing, with choral and band performances making up the cultural competitions. According to the Cleveland Foundation’s website, the Gay

Games have “built an international legacy of changing cultural, social and political attitudes towards LGBT people across the globe, while at the same time empowering tens of thousands with the transforming benefits of sports competition.” Aside from staging the multitude of sporting events at various venues, the cities of Cleveland and Akron were also alive with a host of other extra-curricular activities, including meet-ups, happy hours, film screenings, local tours, as well as celebrity comedy and musical performances. Boy George, the Indigo Girls, the Pointer Sisters, Hal Sparks, DJ Tony Moran and Karen Williams were just some of the entertainment provided over the seven days. San Diego had an impressive showing at this year’s games, and

members of the San Diego Tennis Federation (SDTF) led the charge with seven of their nine participants winning a total of 11 medals in the six day tennis competition. Andrew Hoffman and Allen Sanchez were Gold medalists in Men’s C Doubles; Jim Wilson took Gold in the Men’s Over 40 C Doubles; Vince Travaglione took Silver in the Men’s A Singles and Mixed A Doubles; Andrew Hoffman and Jill Waters were Silver Medalists in Mixed C Doubles; Todd Linke won Silver in Men’s Over 40 C Singles; Brian Woolford was a Silver Medalist in Mixed Over 40 B Doubles; and Allen Sanchez was a Bronze Medalist in Men’s C Singles. Walters, who also participated in several track-and-field meets, won a Gold medal in the Shot Put competition. Cleveland, as a Midwestern

Walters received a Gold, Silver and a Bronze medal in Cleveland. Also shown is her participation medal at far right. (Courtesy Jill Walters) town, would not traditionally be expected to embrace 8,000 members of the LGBT community descending upon their neighborhoods and retail centers, but what members of the SDTF actually found there was heartwarming. “The whole town was so incredibly welcoming, it was phenomenal,” Walters said, who was participating in her fourth Gay Games. “For example I bought a new computer while I was there and the salesman asked why I was in town and I said I was there for the Gay Games. He said ‘are you kidding me? You’re one of the people that’s here for the Gay Games?’ And they had this huge celebration in the store, ‘We have a Gay Games athlete here.’ The whole town was like that.” Walters, who competed in the San Francisco games in 1986, said the perpetually gay city’s support of those games absolutely paled in comparison. “Being gay was still sort of a clandescent thing,” she said. “So the [1986] Gay Games were just happening at the sports venues but the town didn’t acknowledge it at all. But Cleveland, the whole town — the economy, the newspapers, everywhere you turned. Every day the front page of the newspaper featured somebody, or some event or something.” Participants said they also heard stories of athletes getting on city buses with their medals on and having the entire bus stand up and cheer for them. Todd Linke, former SDTF membership chair and secretary, grew up in the region and graduated from Kent State and the University of Akron. “The cities of Cleveland and Akron, and the many Gay Games volunteers were friendly and welcoming,” Linke said. “The civic leaders were clearly ready to show the country and world that Northeast Ohio is a welcoming and affirming part of the country. They put on a high energy and very entertaining opening ceremony, hosted a festival village, and numerous entertainment venues every night of the Games. “Cleveland made ever yone feel welcome by lighting Terminal Tower in rainbow lighting, and business owners welcomed us by hanging rainbow flags all across the city.” Each of the SDTF doubles participants were paired with players from other countries for some of their matches, adding to their experiences in various ways. For Walters, even though she didn’t medal, the women’s doubles competition with her partner from Switzerland was her favorite match. “The level of competition was really tough,” she said. “We made some great friends. We were happy to be there, happy to meet people from all over the world, and happy to have the competition. It is kind of a unique experience in that way.” Linke, who participated in his first Gay Games in Cologne four years ago, said he had practiced

hard in preparation for Cleveland and, as a result, performed well in singles. His results were different for doubles. “I was assigned a partner from Germany for men’s doubles and a partner from Switzerland for mixed doubles,” he said. “It was amazing to meet and play with partners from Europe, but without the benefit of having played together [before], we didn’t fair too well, losing in the first round in both divisions.”  Linke was able to mix some family time with his trip, as two of his sisters and a best friend from his hometown were all able to out and see him play.

(l to r) Michael Myers, Gay Games tennis director and Todd Linke. (Courtesy Todd Linke)

Cleveland was Hoffman’s first Gay Games, and he made the most of it, attaining Gold and Silver in two of his competitions, something he said was “beyond my wildest expectations.” Hoffman roomed with Linke and Sanchez, and between them they brought back five medals. “It made the entire trip so special because we made it to the last day [of tennis],” Hoffman said. “We were able to squeeze in viewing some other sports (volleyball and beach volleyball), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a Cleveland Indians game. “The City of Cleveland was a wonderful host and I will have very fond memories of the games etched in my mind,” Hoffman said, adding that the entire experience made him proud to be from the Midwest. “It just proved how far the area has come in the gay rights movement.” The next Gay Games will be held in 2018 in Europe and Walters said they expect 15,000 to attend. “The [Gay Games] is a wonderful event, filled with good sportsmanship, positive vibes, and new friendships,” Linke said. “I highly recommend that any athlete, regardless of age, gender, ability, or sexual orientation make it their goal to attend the next one in Paris. It is an all inclusive event, and is a wonderfully affirming experience.” For a review of this year’s games, visit For information on the games to be held Paris in 2018, visit t


Porn Detox To detox is to eliminate poisons from our system. Too much “junk sex,” like too much junk food, can also poison our system. From talking to my clients, it seems like there is an awful lot of porn-focused sex going on in the LGBT community. There’s nothing wrong with porn: It’s erotic, it can be exciting, you can use it to get off or to watch with a partner (or partners) to make your sex life even more interesting. But porn, like junk food, is best consumed judiciously. Too much junk food and your body is unhappy. Too much junk porn and your mind is unhappy. It may feel good to get off on your favorite porn fantasies on a regular basis, but how does this affect how you interact sexually with real people? For this reason, I have suggested to more than a few of my clients that they consider a Porn Detox. This is a phrase I use to describe laying off the porn for a while to see what happens. What I’ve noticed in my work as a psychotherapist to the San Diego LGBT community is that too much fantasy-based sex (porn sites, like X-tube, Bel Ami, Sean Cody, etc.) often makes real life sex seem lame. Not only that, but since porn sex is so artificial (e.g., the boring parts are edited out so only the best parts are on screen), some of us begin to believe that our sexual experiences with real people pale in comparison with what we see in porn. Real people are much less predictable than porn: they aren’t always in the mood when you are, they may not know just what to do that makes you feel good, they want you to do

MICHAEL KIMMEL LIFE BEYOND THERAPY things that you may not be into. In short: Real people are more work. Porn is easy, real people are not (pun intended). Real people, however, can offer you much, much more. A lot of men and women in the community tell me that they’re lonely. They long for someone to fall asleep with, wake up with, and cuddle with. Only real people can offer you this. So, how do you find your ideal balance of real people sex vs. porn sex? I suggest some experimentation. If you are a habitual porn watcher, stop it for a while and do something else instead. You could get out of the house — on a walk, to a coffee shop — and be around some real people. Experiment. Often, we masturbate to porn because we’re bored or lonely. Porn is often a substitute for a more interesting life. Stop watching so much porn and you might learn something useful about yourself. Please know that I am not against porn: I too enjoy porn on

occasion, and there is nothing wrong with porn. It’s what we do with it that makes it either a treat or a substitute for a more interesting life. A little bit of porn is like something amazing from Extraordinar y Desserts: You don’t need much to enjoy the effects. If you ate at Extraordinar y Desserts ever y day, it wouldn’t be special for ver y long, because you’d get bored with that too (plus you’d probably gain a few pounds). On the other hand, if you rarely watch porn but find your sex life is kind of boring, you might tr y a little of it. Watch it with your partner or by yourself. It can be an interesting addition to a sex life (with or without a partner) that may have become rather predictable. Watching some porn that isn’t your typical thing, e.g., BDSM, leather, fetishes, could lead to a discussion that could make your sex life more interesting. If you watch a lot of porn, cut back. Porn, like food, can be a substitute for a less-thansatisfying life. Don’t just watch more porn and feel worse: Tr y watching less porn and replace it with something that makes you feel better about yourself. Porn detox — like junk food detox — may be a bit unpleasant in the short run, but, in the long run, it could really make your life a whole lot more fulfilling. Why not give it a tr y? I suggest that you start with a week and see what happens. —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

Strategically planning our future At the end of this year, the North County LGBTQ Resource Center will celebrate three years of its own existence and seven years of Pride celebrations. Just few years back, a group of dedicated board volunteers began working on the dream of opening a North County LGBT Center. We used to meet at my house first, then at coffee shops and libraries and together imagined what the Center should look like; the name, how to run it and how people could use it once opened. Those were our very first strategic planning sessions. As planned, we opened the Center in December 2011, filled it with people and services, created a safe space for everyone and accommodated over 10,000 people per year. Fantastic! However, now we need and want to do more. How can we accommodate the needs of almost a hundred thousand LGBT individuals that live in North County? How can we reach as far as Escondido while providing service programs and fun activities to anyone in need? How do we make sure that not only Oceanside, but also the rest of North County and its entire business community can become more LGBT friendly? Last but not least, how do we

MAX DISPOSTI NORTH COUNTY UPDATE get our own local LGBT people to financially support our presence and expand our visibility? To answer these questions, the board of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center went for a full retreat session during the first weekend of August. Centerlink Executive Director Terr y Stones came to facilitate our strategic planning, which he did with great enthusiasm and positive energy. Thank you Terr y! Like the previous retreat, this one will also take our organization to the next level. Ser ving the underser ved, increasing our

visibility, representation and political power in the North County region. A new mission statement with a new inclusive vision and added leadership are just a few of the changes our organization now faces.. We are even thinking about moving into a bigger space sometime next year to better accommodate all the growth we have planned for the future. If you live in North County and you want to stay connected to the local community, this is an opportunity for you to make a huge difference and contribute to our North County history. Become a board member a business sponsor or a monthly supporter — or all three — and be part of the change that you want to see in the future. For information please call our Resource Center at 760-994-1690 or visit our website at —Max Disposti is a human rights activist, a community organizer and the founder and executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. He is currently also serving as a board member of the Oceanside City Library and of Main Street Oceanside and previously served on Oceanside’s Community Relations Commission. He can be reached at

GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014


First things first JEREMY OGUL RAISING THE BAR In 2011, Vanity Fair published an article that described Grindr as “the world’s biggest, scariest gay bar.” It was a bit over the top, but there’s no doubt that for gay men, social networking apps such as Grindr, Hornet and Jack’d have in many ways become a substitute for the venerable (and venereal) watering holes that have served as de facto community centers for decades. Despite the techno-cultural shift toward online “networking,” more than a dozen LGBT bars continue to thrive in San Diego, each with its own personality, its own crowd and its own history. If you have any experience with the scene here, you know that there’s not a lot of crossover between the clientele at Pecs and at Rich’s; that you might suffer an estrogen overdose on a Sunday at Bourbon Street; that just because the Brass Rail is dead on a Tuesday night doesn’t mean it’s not banging on a Monday; and that you better be ready for some gender-bending good times if you stumble into SRO Lounge. The magnificent diversity of these establishments can be exciting and inspiring in a way that will never be matched by scrolling through page after page of headless torsos on a tiny screen, but this is only true when you make an effort to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. That is what I hope to do with this column. I want to explore why different bars develop different identities and cultures. I want to shine a light on the lesser-known bars, the ones that don’t have big marketing budgets. I want to understand just how some of these places have stayed in business so long. I want to know why the regulars keep coming back. And I want to know what the bartenders think. Don’t expect this column to be some kind of glorified Yelp review. There are hundreds of those out there already if you care to read someone complain about that mean thing the bouncer said to them one time. Instead, my goal is to add value to the discourse by using the techniques of journalism to tell the stories of the people and places that make San Diego’s gay bar landscape special. But first, let me grab a drink ... — Do you have a story you want to tell about one of San Diego’s gay bars? Write to Jeremy Ogul at



GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014


I’ve decided to come out Morgan M. Hurley | Editor Yes, it is true. I’ve decided it is finally time to come out. Not as gay, of course, most of you reading this already know that. I’m coming out as someone who suffers from depression. This news may come as quite a surprise to some, given that most people have a much different perspective of me based on what they think they see on my Facebook page. This isn’t really a new thing, although I’d say it has certainly taken a much darker turn in the last five years. Despite my public persona, I’m a very private person. And though it became harder to deny, I’ve never spoken openly about it before, even to those I feel closest to. I’m sure I’ve dropped hints here and there, and those that do know me well may have caught a glimpse of something, but I’ve managed to hide behind the façade of Facebook, a social medium that has often saved me. It was the tragic suicide of Robin Williams last week, which was absolutely gut-wrenching for me, that forced me out. As I was pummeled from every angle with media reports, acknowledging along with everyone else how unexpected it was, I realized I saw myself and needed to speak out. Ironically, I started taking medication for my depression the day Robin took his life. I’ve never ever taken medication before, though I’ve been fighting this bad boy for years. In the last few it has really grabbed ahold of me and I finally decided I needed help conquering it.

One week prior to Robin’s death I was at the VA Medical Center in La Jolla checking on a viral infection I had — thank goodness I have the VA right now — and I decided to do a random “walk-in consult” in the mental health wing. I just strolled in, put my name on a list until called, and told my story to someone that listened. I didn’t even know what was going to come out of my mouth but when I left, with tears still rolling down my face, I actually felt relieved. It took me a long time to get there. I’ve always known that my mother, although never diagnosed, was clinically depressed. Growing up, I experienced her roller coaster of emotions on a daily basis, self-medicating as she went along in her own brand of survivor mode. In the 1960s and ’70s there was no such thing as therapy or self-help groups like we have today, they’d just consider you crazy and cart you off to the funny farm. But while there are now thousands of resources available to us no matter where we live, and the stigma has somewhat lessened over the years, we still don’t talk about depression — the “D-word.” Why? Is it because we don’t want to look weak, or ask for help? Maybe we just aren’t able to reach through those dark curtains hanging in front of us. My mother had a massive heart attack at age 47 and eventually died at the age of 59. Her death at that young age was inevitable and completely self-inflicted. Six years before her death I begged her to seek help. Her response shut me up on the spot: “You can’t help me if I don’t want to help myself.” I knew then she’d

thrown in the cards and was just playing out the rest of her hand. It took me a long time to forgive her – until I realized I understood her. I’m nowhere near that bullet train of selfdestruction that she was on, but I must publicly acknowledge that thoughts of leaving this earth before my time have definitely crossed my mind. The hardest part is the overwhelming sadness that hangs over me, with my tears always “at the ready” for the slightest thing. Things aren’t fun anymore. Some people go through shorter and socially expected bouts of depression when a loved one dies, after a relationship ends, or at the loss of a job, a life-threatening illness, or even lack of acceptance. Then there are others who have been at a long slow boil for most of their lives. We’re now hearing news reports that Robin was on that track. It’s kind of like a small ball of yarn that rolls along, getting bigger and bigger as each incidence occurs. Robin’s ball of yarn just got too big for him to handle. How did I become depressed? I know there are dozens of things and this list is far from complete, but I’ve been deeply hurt and even betrayed over the years by those I love — family, close friends, lovers — and employers, including the U.S. Navy who hunted me like a dog in the years prior to DADT, another that demoted and eventually fired me for being a whistleblower, and one who didn’t feel my time was worth paying for. I’ve experienced death — a lot of it — some I’ve felt responsible for, others that were out of my control, some that happened quickly, others that were drawn out over time. I’ve never been sure which hit me harder, but the grief has never left me. More recently I lost my house, my corporate career, and a certain way

PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951

ART DIRECTOR Vincent Meehan (619) 961-1961

ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962

SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to

EDITOR Morgan M. Hurley (619) 961-1960

PRODUCTION ARTISTS Arielle Jay, x111 Todd Kammer, x115

For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email.

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jeremy Ogul, x117 Hutton Marshall, x102

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

WEB DESIGN Kim Espinoza

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chris Azzopardi Charlene Baldridge Max Disposti Michael Kimmel Jeff Praught Frank Sabatini Jr. WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Jen Van Tieghem, x118

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Sloan Gomez (619) 961-1954 Andrew Bagley, x114 Sloan Gomez, x104 Lisa Hamel, x107 Yana Shane, x113

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

of living (and being able to give to others) that I had gotten used to my whole life. But we’ve all experienced these kinds of things, right? The difference is, those of us more susceptible to the D-word have something different going on. We are more much sensitive, often selfless, and we take all those things much harder than others and it’s even more difficult to move on from them. August used to be a horrible month for me. For years I had an indescribable feeling of dread that weighed extra heavy on me the entire month. The only thing I could figure was that most of the losses I had experienced happened during the four months immediately following August. So every years it was like my soul was steeling itself for the worst. We often find that we need something tangible to look forward to — no matter how big, like plans with our beloved — or how small or insignificant, like the night sky or a simple sunrise. When we come up empty-handed, those are often our darker days. We lose interest in taking care of ourselves because we’re shut down and damaged on the inside, so the outside and our environment suffers. We avoid specific people or crowds where acquaintances may gather because we don’t want to answer questions. We feel helpless and incapable of changing our circumstances. We can’t sleep because we spend countless hours rehashing our troubles and feeling overwhelmed with our losses. I’ve sat alone and pondered death. It makes me cry to even type that out. Sometimes when the walls are closing in, it does feel like it’s the only realistic answer. Thankfully, I’ve always thought of the people who I’d leave behind; the ones who’d truly suffer if I took myself away from this life. They were the small pinholes of light I would see through that darkness. I’m grateful I’m still here and even more grateful that I asked for help when I did. For those of you who think a friend or loved one might be suffering from depression, reach out. Start telling those you love how you feel about them. Don’t expect anything in return, just make sure they know you care. Be there for them. Offer your assistance randomly and often. Make time for them. For those suffering, there is help. If you are a veteran — even if you are LGBT — call the Veteran’s Crisis Line at 800-272-8255. Or do a “walk-in” at the VA Medical Center. If you are not a veteran but need help, go to your local LGBT Center. There is always a counselor on duty during daytime operating hours. If you need help after hours, call The Trevor Project Lifeline at 866-488-7386. It’s free, confidential and available 24/7. In addition, everyone should visit, “It’s Up to Us,” a crisis resource website for anyone who suffers from or knows someone suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts. It’s time to talk about it.

Letters Times have changed That caricature of the wedding couple in the latest Gay SD was extremely racist [See Editorial Cartoon, Vol. 5, Issue 16]. Not all blacks, or even a preponderance of blacks, speak that way. Those “Gone With the Wind” days are over. You should know and do better! —Harvey Williams, via email t

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Michelle Malin (left), vice president of Boys & Girls Club San Diego, accepts a check from Caron Woodward, San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus vice president and board member Carlos Salazar. The $652 check, part of the chorus’ community outreach program, came directly from patron donations to the “ruby red slipper” at SDGMC’s recent LUV Madonna show. (Courtesy SDGMC)

GAY NEWS BRIEFS OPEN AUDITIONS SET FOR SDGMC’S HOLIDAY CONCERT The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (SDGMC) is looking for singers, dancers and “behind-the-scenes” volunteers to support their upcoming “Holiday Spectacular” concert at the Balboa Theatre in December. One of the largest and oldest gay choruses in the world, the organization is led by new Artistic Director RC Haus. “We’re looking for guys who love to sing, love to dance or would love to volunteer,” stated Haus in a press release. “Our goal is to change the world one voice at a time—and every voice counts!” Those wishing to participate are encouraged to attend SDGMC’s “Info Night” on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. at 2961 First Ave., or visit their website for details and to complete an application. Former members active as of

2010 will not need to audition. “We just had our biggest show ever with LUV Madonna and we can’t wait to take the Balboa Theatre stage once again,” said Joe Gregore, SDGMC membership director in the release. “I’ve been singing with the chorus for more than 15 years and love it! The guys are amazing and every performance is uplifting and puts a smile on your face. The holiday show is always so much fun.” Auditions will be held Sept. 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. and Sept. 7 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the University Christian Church located at 3900 Cleveland Ave. in Hillcrest. Dance auditions will be held Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. Rehearsals for the Holiday Spectacular concert will begin Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit

SDSU TOPS LGBT FRIENDLY COLLEGES San Diego State University was named as one of Campus Pride’s top 50 LGBT-friendly colleges and universities in the nation, based on ratings in areas such as academic, housing, providing a safe environment and other factors. Campus Pride uses an annual index of

GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014


research tools when assessing the policies, programs and practices of each institution rated, placing particular emphasis on those that work toward providing a safe and inclusive environment for both LGBT students and their straight allies. Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Brown, as well as other state schools such as UC Los Angeles and Northern Arizona State University are among others on the list. Campus Pride’s executive director told Mashable that last year’s list only had 25 schools, and finding double that number this year to meet the requirements proves that “universities want to be known as LGBT-friendly.” An all-inclusive list of colleges and universitites on the list can be found at

continued to grow in the region. Chlamydia cases, by far the most commonly reported among the three STDs, dropped by four percent from 16,538 cases in 2012 to 16,042 in 2013. Ghonorrhea cases, on the other hand, rose by 10 percent from 2,597 to 2,865. Primary and secondary syphilis cases increased by four percent, from 333 to 347 cases, most of which occurred in men. The report also showed infection rates were highest among African Americans and women between the ages of 15 and 34. To address these health concerns, the county has implemented “Don’t Think. Know.” This free home-testing program for gonorrhea and chlamydia is available to women under 26. Visit or call 619-692-5669 for more information.

CITY COUNCIL OVERRIDES MAYOR’S MINIMUM WAGE VETO San Diego’s City Council voted 6 – 2 on Aug. 18 to preserve the minimum wage increase and earned sick leave opportunities for thousands of San Diegans after Mayor Kevin Faulconer had recently vetoed the measure. “Today, more San Diegans know that they will be better able to buy groceries and pay their rent starting in January,” Council President Todd Gloria said after the vote. “Today the City Council stood up for the 63 percent of San Diegans who support fair wages and a responsible sick leave policy and all of our city will be better off.” The new ordinance will be phased in starting Jan. 15, 2014 with an increase to $9.75. It will move up to $10.50 on Jan. 16, 2016 and %11.50 on Jan. 2017. There are no exemptions for any business or industry. The measure, initiated by Gloria, also offers the opportunity for all workers to earn up to five sick days per year. This was Faulconer’s first major defeat since taking office in February. As a moderate Republican, he leads a Democratic majority on the city council.

SUFFRAGE RALLY AND PARADE TO BE HELD IN BALBOA PARK In order to celebrate the anniversary of women being given the right to vote in 1920, representatives from the offices of Susan Davis and Scott Peters will join the Womens Museum of California and other local women’s organizations on Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. in Balboa Park. Participants will meet at the Kate Sessions statue, located just north of Laurel Street and Balboa Park Way, and just east of Sixth Avenue. Congressional representatives will lead the rally, themed “Votes for Women = Equality for All,” followed by a welcome from Cath DeStefano who will be dressed as Kate Sessions. Anne Hoiberg will then emcee a program that will include the stories from noted suffragists (local women dressed in traditional 1900s costumes) Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Judy Forman, owner of the Big Kitchen), Susan B. Anthony (Marti Kranzberg), Carrie Chapman Catt (Kay Ragan), Dr. Charlotte Baker (Ashley Gardner), Ellen Browning Scripps (Christina Marzocca), and Virginia Gildersleeve (Eunis Christensen). At approximately 5:50 p.m. Marchers will be dressed in period clothing and carrying historic flags, signs and banners. Forman will lead the parade across the Cabrillo Bridge to the Organ Pavilion, where marchers will then enjoy the Twilight Concert there. The Womens Museum planned the event to coincide with Women’s Equality Day, which is Aug. 26. The rally and parade is free. For more information, visit

STD RATES FLUCTUATE IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY A report released by the San Diego County Health and Human Services in late July showed a mixed bag among the prevalence of various sexually transmitted diseases last year. While chlamydia cases dropped by 4 percent, the number of gonorrhea and syphilis cases



GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014

T hai food on the quick D I N I N G W I T H F R A N K S A B AT I N I J R .

(l to r) Pineapple fried rice, Tom ka soup, Spinach-topped param with chicken (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)


he interior at Bahn Thai is about the size of a dorm room. A few tables compete for precious space with a water cooler, the condiment station, a trash receptacle and an order counter clustered usually by long lines. The sidewalk patio is only a tad bigger, yet despite the eater y’s cramped ambiance, the well-

portioned meals deliver sturdy flavors at ver y affordable prices. Expect the usual Thai standbys like papaya salad, the Tom soups, pad Thai, drunken noodles and fried rice dishes. Hidden among them are a couple of slightly less Americanized items such as red-curr y roast duck with pineapple and an excellent stir fr y called param, which features

flash-cooked spinach over thick peanut sauce and your choice of meat. A friend in our trio ordered the dish with chicken, but he felt the sauce wasn’t as complex as his favorite version of the recipe at Saffron in Mission Hills. It was indeed more peanut-y and less spicy, but the rest of us didn’t mind when dipping into it. The highlight, however, was the underlying smoky flavor that permeated the tender poultr y and barely wilted spinach leaves. Where coconut milk was involved, such as in our Tom ka soup and a potato-rich yellow curr y entrée with chicken, it was used liberally and tasted sweeter than most. But we weren’t complaining, especially when balancing the creamy curr y with a few daubs of chili oil. Pineapple fried rice is a dish often ruined when the fruit’s canned, syrupy juice sneaks in. Here, the sweetness was pure and light, with the pineapple tasting seemingly fresh amid pieces of pork that were juicy and tender. You also get mouthfuls of cashews, green onions, raisins and fresh cilantro strewn throughout the fluffy, non-starchy rice. It was my favorite dish on the table. Bahn Thai’s two-page menu

is easy to navigate. For noodle, rice, curr y and stir-fr y entrees, you choose from a list of proteins that includes fish and a couple of mock meats, each showing specific prices. Roast duck rings in as the most expensive for $12.95. Spice levels are spelled out rather than calculated across a 10-digit scale. They range from mild to medium to hot and ver y hot — plain and simple. However, we ordered the yellow curr y at medium and it came out meek enough for a toddler to handle. But thanks to Bahn’s robust chili oil and hot red sauce, we raised to volume to our liking. Appetizers such as crab Rangoon, chicken satay skewers and fried spring rolls are ser ved five to an order. We started out with the latter, which turned up icecold in their centers. The apologetic staff gave us a new batch that was crisp and piping hot, but their fillings were a little salty. Customers order at the counter and the food comes out quickly, just as it did during our visit on a busy Sunday afternoon. Aside from the mishap with our egg rolls, ever ything appears cooked to order. The eater y does a brisk takeout business as well, which might be a better option during

Bahn Thai 4646 Park Blvd. (University Heights) 619-299-6363 Prices: appetizers, soups and salads, $3.95 to $9.95; entrees, $7.95 to $10.95

peak hours in that it allows you to satisfy your Thai food fix within the comforts of home rather than in the midst of jabbing elbows. —Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. He has since covered the culinary scene and other subjects for various print and broadcast media outlets in the area. You can reach him at fsabatini@san. t

Hillcrest Newsstand

Featuring San Diego’s best collection of hard to find international magazines! We also carry all your favorite local & national publications, as well as souvenirs, snacks and lotto tickets!

529 University Ave.- Hillcrest (619) 260-0492


MINDFULLY MRAZ How the musician is changing the world one label at a time


By Chris Azzopardi

won’t tell you what Jason Mraz told me during our interview in early 2012. Realizing after the fact that a political remark could potentially shake up his love club, he graciously asked me to omit that bit from the story. I did. Over two years later, I’m reminded once again of Mraz’s mindfulness. Evident both in the meditative nature of his sun-kissed ditties and his conversational style — ruminations preceded by long stretches of thought-processing silence — it’s a quality that continues to endear the self-proclaimed “geek in pink” to hopeless romantics around the world. The do-gooder’s foundation for solidarity was set during the dawning of his big break just over a decade ago, when — with his 2002 majorlabel debut, “Waiting for My Rocket to Come” — he had the “Remedy” for you, but also for his soaring career. Now, and certainly with his latest release, “Yes!” it’s not just the mission of the singer-songwriter’s music, which has long been part of a grander plan to bring the world into community. For Mraz, it’s a manifesto. “Labels separate us,” the 37-yearold said outright on his blog after our last chat — a chat that inspired him to profess his post-interview thoughts in a 1,200-word essay on one point in particular: the boxes we put one another in. “In our short lives, we strive to find meaning here,” he wrote on March 23, 2012, “and we long to be loved and accepted while we’re at it. Therefore, anyone calling us anything other than brother, bro, friend or amigo, is literally cutting us down ... ” Fast-forward to a recent call: Mraz is in Japan, where it’s currently 4 a.m., and we’re picking up where we left off. Dead air lingers as I ask him exactly “how” labels neutralize our efforts to achieve what he’s long stood for: unification. “Man ...” (Mraz divulged via his blog that answering “why” questions are a challenge for him; “how” inquiries turn out to be just as demanding.) “Deep breath.” He mulls it over and eventually recalls an NPR segment he heard that morning. The talk concerned digital etiquette and whether it’s ever appropriate to text at the dinner table, and it

perfectly dovetails his take on labels. “There’s a time and place for it,” Mraz ultimately concluded, mirroring manners and labels. “So, I think it depends on how you use it [the label]. By breaking down labels and barriers, it allows us to really see that we really are in this human struggle together every day — this struggle for survival.” Mraz knows the struggle. He’s lived it. In high school, he was the victim of harsh ridicule. Jocks called him “fag” for being a cheerleader, and his fondness for musical theater only intensified those perpetual taunts. But, Mraz said, bullying — which he told me is “a social pain in the ass” — exists because labels do. “The more that we can break down labels and understand that all of us are gonna be insecure from time to time, I think that’s a plus for us all. Name-calling and all this — that’s labeling. It just comes down to manners. Manners are the best thing we can do — say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ before and after just about everything. “Saying ‘I did it. I am victorious. I am the winner in this struggle, and I’m really proud of that and proud of who I am’ — there’s nothing wrong in being victors, but at the same time, do so in a way that doesn’t separate yourself from others. In fact, do it in a way that invites others to share in that glory.” Mraz certainly has. From the get-go, he’s invited everyone into his winner’s circle. You could say, actually, that his whole career has been one big group hug. The “Lucky” musician’s prizewinning path, from ridiculed outcast to Grammy-winning pop star, is a victory in and of itself, but it’s a victory he shares with fans; with Raining Jane, the girl group who paints “Yes!” with their distinct harmonies and writing skills [he’s currently touring with them because, he says, they’re so integral to his latest music]; and, especially, with the gay community. Donating resources to LGBT organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund, Mraz continually fights on the front lines of equality. Having gone as far as vowing not to marry until everyone has that right, he’s been such a champion of gay issues that his own sexuality has been a constant subject of speculation. Mraz chalks it up to the times.

“We’re in a period of transition where the nation is coming out. Whether you as an individual are coming out literally and announcing what your sexuality is, or we as a nation are just finally embracing it. “Certainly in my younger years it wasn’t like this. I have a feeling in the next 10 years it’s gonna be even more revolutionary. So, during any period of transition we’re free to talk, we’re free to have those curiosities, and we want everyone to just come out. The more that we all just come out about it, the less interesting it’s gonna be and then the transition will be complete.” Though he’s been pegged as “bisexual,” the freewheeling hipster has never made any definitive “coming out” statement regarding his own sexuality (remember, he doesn’t do labels), but he’s always indulged the public’s curiosity with respectable integrity and, to keep you guessing, an air of mystery. Regarding the interest to know how he swings, Mraz laughs. “I’m flattered when anyone is curious about my sexuality, because that makes me think that they assume I’m gettin’ some no matter what,” he said. In our 2012 interview, Mraz expressed his desire to live more fearlessly when it comes to his sexual endeavors, noting, “I’m keeping more of my options open.” He stopped short of explaining how, but he did go on to confess that, “I’ve been invited by couples to join them and I’m really turned on by that. I’ve never taken them up on it, though.” He admits now, during this follow-up, that sexuality is “a very delicate thing to have a conversation about — and with anyone!” But he understands why it’s a conversation he continues to have. In fact, Mraz has the same curiosities about people. His own buddies, even. In particular, he mentions a lady friend who may or may not be a virgin. “I don’t know what her sexual interests are,” Mraz said. “And I actually feel kind of creepy that I’m curious! But she doesn’t kiss and tell, and I really admire that. I kind of wish I could be that way.”

see Mraz, pg 15

GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014

Mraz is a huge supporter of LGBT equality (Photo by Jen Rosenstein)




GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014



(left) Kristin Villanueva as Julia; (below) Britney Coleman as Silvia (Photos by Jim Cox)

Gentlemen in tights

(l to r) Rusty Ross as Speed and Richard Ruiz as Launce with Khloe Jezbera as Crab in Shakespeare's “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” (Photo by Jim Cox) By cutting out a lot of folderol with minor characters, guest director Mark Lamos trims the Old Globe’s production of “Two Gentlemen of Verona” to 95 minutes performed without interval. An engaging evening with exceptionally pleasing visual design by John Arnone, it opened on a shirtsleeve evening (Aug. 16) and continues through Sept. 14 in the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. “Two Gentlemen of Verona” is an early Shakespeare comedy with many glimmers of characters and situations yet to come and a through line that’s a dog. I mean, really a dog.

A dog named Crab (Khloe Jezbera), who belongs to a servant named Launce, a character whose role was mercifully uncut. Crab is quite literally superb, an obedient black lab garbed in an Elizabethan ruff by costume designer Linda Cho. Launce (Richard Ruiz) is factotum to a young gentleman of Verona named Proteus (Adam Kantor), who is in love with Julia (adorable Kristin Villanueva). Proteus, who turns out to be quite detestable before the play is over, is sad when his best friend, Valentine (Hubert Point-Du Jour) is sent to Milan to complete his education at the Duke’s court.

The Duke (Mark Pinter) hopes his daughter, Silvia (Britney Coleman), will wed the wealthy fop Turio (Lowell Byers), who, garbed in green, has an outstanding codpiece. Valentine, however, has already fallen in love with Silvia and she with him, something Proteus learns but ignores. Proteus’s father (Arthur Hanket) sends Proteus (accompanied by Launce and Crab) to the court as well, and when Proteus sees Silvia, he, too, falls in love with her, immediately forgetting Julia and his promise. Through numerous devices, the cunning Proteus does

everything within his power to separate Silvia from Valentine, her father and Turio. Valentine is ousted from the court when the Duke discovers his intent to elope with Silvia. Meanwhile, back in Verona, Julia, certainly made of steel, disguises herself as a young lad and follows Proteus to the court, where she learns the truth about his promise of fidelity to her. In this cut version of the play Sir Eglamour (Adam Gerber) helps Silvia to escape the madding crowd, and all, including the Duke, wind up in a forest near Mantua, where the exiled Valentine has become leader of a group of exiles. Despite his dastardly machinations, Proteus is forgiven, everyone is properly paired, the exiles are forgiven and a joyful wedding with dancing ensues. Fitz Patton’s original music is a plus, and so is the movement provided by Jeff Michael Rebudal.

“The Two Gentlemen of Verona” by William Shakespeare

Through Sept. 14 Tuesdays through Sundays, 8 p.m. Lowell Davies Festival Theatre The Old Globe, Balboa Park Tickets start at $29 or 619-23-GLOBE Stephen Strawbridge is lighting designer, and Acme Sound Partners is responsible for excellent lighting that helps determine locale, along with Arnone’s clever, reversible trees. This Shakespeare veteran is especially fond of Arnone’s fairytale castles. Such scenic design is now possible because playing Shakespeare in alternating repertory is no longer practiced, giving the designers more creative freedom. The Globe/USD actors are wondrously used here. Villanueva takes the trophy for the toughest Shakespearean balls. Though also a female, the unflappable Crab comes in a close second. Director Lamos’s production is thoroughly frothy, with all the darker elements swept under the forest floor. Why belabor darkness when there is so much light, and even bare-chested boys? — Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. Her book “San Diego, Jewel of the California Coast” (Northland Publishing) is currently available in bookstores. She can be reached at




Pick up a stick

Chris Hamlin is a first-year player on Flicks' "Playing For Fun" D team (Courtesy SD Pool League)

I have had the pleasure of participating in several of the local LGBT sports recreational leagues San Diego has to offer, both as a player and board member in multiple leagues. I served on the board of America’s Finest City Softball League (AFCSL) for several seasons in multiple capacities. I have played in the league since 2003, while managing my Loft B team since 2010. I’ve been a D Division coach for the Flicks Fireballs (formerly Baja Betty’s Sin Nombre) since 2009. I am about to wrap up my fifth year on the board for San Diego Hoops, including the last three as commissioner. I began playing in the league in 2006. I also played two years in the San Diego American Flag Football League (SDAFFL), and intend to play again after a brief hiatus. There is a point here, and it is not to outline my LGBT sports resume. Instead, I wanted to share some observations about the most recent league I have been participating in, the San Diego Pool League (SDPL), from the perspective of a new, unknown player. The reasons I want to share these observations with you are probably somewhat selfish: I would like to see the league grow and re-invent itself. This is not to suggest that SDPL is a lousy league. It is not, by any means. Truth be told, my observations come from being a player just in his second season, and only in the D Division, SDPL’s lowest-ranked group. It is the only local league I have ever played in where I was not a decision maker. I am not clued in to behind-thescenes conversations about rules or schedules. I have never seen the league’s bylaws. Instead, I want to give you my observations because I am just the average Joe Schmoe who joined a league in which he did not know many people. It was an opportunity to play a competitive sport without having any responsibilities. It is a fun league, and I want you to consider joining next season.

League structure The league is broken up into four divisions, from highest to lowest: A, B, C and D. Now that I have played into my second season, I say without hesitation that A players may not actually be human. They are that good at pool. What I find rather strange is that team ratings have nothing to do with the playing ability of the players on the roster. There are B-quality players playing in D — guys who almost never lose — yet their team remains D because those players have teammates who are more like novices. I find this strange because, assuming those star players play like they should, this almost guarantees the D team four of the eight points necessar y to win their match on any given evening. There are 16 head-to-head matches, so obviously you want to win eight or more. The point here, mainly for newbies, is to not be surprised if you join the league as a beginner player and run into matches against fantastic players. It will not happen often, but it will happen. League scheduling Matches are played on Monday nights, rotating between the sponsor venues. I play for Laura Szymanski’s Flicks D team. Other sponsor bars include Redwing, SRO Lounge, The Merrow and The Eagle. Long-time straight allies of the league such as The Alibi, Kelly’s Pub, Mission Valley Resort, The Hungr y Stick and True North have all sponsored teams at one time. In the regular season, my D team will only play other D teams, and we will play three times each. Home teams practice from 6 to 6:30 p.m., while the visitors get the table from 6:30 to 7 p.m., after which the formal match begins. Matches generally last until around 10:30 p.m., but we had one run past midnight once last season. Regardless, if you want to join pool, be prepared for a major time commitment on Mondays.

The league runs essentially year round, with about a month’s break in July between its two seasons. That said, teams are allowed to have as many as eight people on the roster, so you typically are not required to play every Monday. You also do not have to play four matches. We often have two players split their four games between them to shorten everyone’s night. League camaraderie Most teams are friendly, but the interaction is sometimes awkward. Part of this is due to the nature of pool. Bars are places where people are a bit noisy and let loose. Pool is a game of concentration, and ever yone is encouraged to keep quiet. Teams do not always sit even within talking distance. I have seen a wild and loud team of drunks, as well as the super-competitive and antisocial group. Ever y week, you get something different. As far as the people, it is readily apparent to me that the majority of the league membership has been playing in SDPL for years, if not decades; SDPL was founded in 1978. The majority of them are older, know all of the other players and are pretty set in their ways. I love meeting people of all types, but I will plead guilty to laughing inside my head at the serious pool players who get so intense, as if winning a pool match is their own personal Super Bowl. I am definitely grateful to be playing on a team whose name is Playing For Fun, since we have a good time regardless of the outcome. Why should you join? Like all of our great leagues (let’s not forget our wrestlers, tennis players, ruggers, runners, bowlers and others), SDPL affords us a chance to meet new people and make friends in ways we other wise would not. Playing pool is not a social app, nor is it the sometimes awkward bar meeting or online dating. The cost is ver y affordable, at just $8 per week if you play all four games. This price includes a $1 halftime beverage, compliments of the host bar. As a league member, I want you to consider joining (regardless of your skill level) because I would selfishly like to see new blood injected into the league. The more new players we get, the more their ideas trickle up towards the top. The league has lasted since 1978, so there are no insinuations here that change is required; hardworking people have been running this successful league. I know the difficulties in promoting and growing a sports league. I just think it would be even better for SDPL to have more teams with new players as well. Forming a team for the next season is as simple as finding teammates and finding a sponsor bar that will let you have their pool table on Monday nights at 6 p.m. For more information on the league, visit —Jef f 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 of ficers in various capacities and is currently the commissioner of SD Hoops. He can be reached at dugoutchatter@

GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014

NUMBERS TO KNOW San Diego Police Department 24-hour non-emergency and general info: 619-531-2000 Residents with 858 area code: 858-484-3154 Miscellaneous To report a pothole, a broken traffic signal, or other street hazard 619-527-7500 “Before you dig” call SDG&E 811 San Diego Mayor’s Office Kevin Faulconer


San Diego City Council offices D1 Sherri Lightner 619-320-6458 D2 Ed Harris 619-320-6422 D3 Todd Gloria 619-320-6401 D4 Myrtle Cole 619-320-6437 D5 Mark Kersey 619-320-6003 D6 Lorie Zapf 619-320-6531 D7 Scott Sherman 619-320-6606 D8 David Alvarez 619-320-4954 D9 Marti Emerald 619-320-6615 State Assembly D77 Brian Maienschein D78 Speaker Toni Atkins D79 Shirley N. Weber D80 Lorena Gonzalez

858-675-0077 619-645-3090 619-531-7913 619-338-8090

State Senate D39 Marty Block


U.S. House of Representatives CA53 Rep. Susan Davis 619-280-5311 CA52 Rep. Scott Peters 858-455-5550

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Finding Senior Housing can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be. “You can trust A Place for Mom to help you.”


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(800) 217-3942 A Place for Mom is the nation’s largest senior living referral information service. We do not own, operate, endorse or recommend any senior living community. We are paid by partner communities, so our services are completely free to families.

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3487 Kurtz St. 3610 Barnett Ave. 1155 Garnet Ave. 3203 Hancock St. 1018 Rosecrans 2820 Lytton St. 3606 Midway Dr. 4876 Santa Monica Ave. 4765 Voltaire Ave. 5400 Remington Rd. 6321 University Ave. 4531 59th St. 5987 El Cajon Blvd. 2633 Denver St. 414 N. Coast Hwy. 101 128 W. E St. 434 N. Coast Hwy. 101 510 N. Coast Hwy. 101 333 S. Twin Oaks. 510 N. Coast Hwy. 524 S.Coast Hwy. 510 N. Coast Hwy. 7520 Mesa College 8993 Mira Mesa Blvd. 1157 Sweetwater Rd.



GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014 14

m oc.ds-yag

Friday, Aug. 22

Fridays on Fifth: Sponsored by the Hillcrest Business Association, a weekly Friday happy hour event encouraging people to “eat drink and shop” from 4 – 9 p.m. on Fifth Avenue between Brookes Avenue and Washington Street. For more info, visit

Saturday, Aug. 23

Women’s self defense class: Learn how to get out of holds and grips, and the vital points to strike. Discuss awareness and how to reduce risk. Wear comfortable clothes and sneakers. North County LGBTQ Resource Center, 510 North Coast Hwy, Oceanside. RSVP to Leah at investinginwomen@ Call 760-994-1690 or visit Wine and Canvas: Step-bystep instruction and materials are included in this event to create 16x20 inch gallery wrapped canvas painting to take home. Today’s painting: “Love.” No outside food or drinks, both available for purchase. $35 per person. 1 – 4 p.m. Mia Francesca, 12955 El Camino Real G-4, Del Mar. Visit Countr y Western Line Dancing: Every Thursday and Saturday night come check out the cowboys and cowgirls as they spin across the floor, join in or even take free lessons. All skill levels encouraged. Drink specials. 7 – 8:30 p.m. Tonight MO’s will feature a special performance by The Podunk Poets from 9 p.m. – midnight. $2 cover at 8 p.m. Urban MO’s, 308 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit

Sunday, Aug. 24

39th Annual Nicky Awards: The Nicky Awards honor outstanding achievements in the local LGBT community. Red carpet at 6 p.m., doors at 7 p.m., San Diego Central Librar y, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Visit

Monday, Aug. 25

Movie Monday: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is this week’s screening at 7 p.m in the ExPatriate Room at Croce’s Park West, 2760 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill. Call 619-233-4355 or visit – FREE with food or drink purchase. Transgender Coming Out Group: Welcoming transgender people in all stages of exploring their gender identity and their

friends, family and loved ones. 7 – 8:30 p.m. San Diego LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. For more info visit Live Music: Soultry Monday with Tori Roze and the Hot Mess. 9 p.m. Bar Pink, 3829 30th St., North Park. Free. Visit

Saturday, Aug. 30 Wet Bear contest: Come out to The Hole, located at 2829 Lytton St. in Point Loma for Ophelia’s “Wet and Wild” Wet Bear contest. Contestants in their underwear (cover your butt, please) needed — with a cash prize to the winner. Cover is $5 and all proceeds go to the charities of Bears San Diego, which includes Stepping Stone, Special Delivery and the San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. 6 p.m. For more info contact Aaron at membership@ or visit

Tuesday, Aug. 26

Lesbian Meet-up: New weekly early morning business networking meeting, offering a chance to share and support each other’s business and passions. All lesbians in community are invited. 7:30 ­– 8:30 a.m. Caffe Calabria, 3933 30th St., North Park. Spaghetti & Showtunes: When was the last time you had an all-you-can-eat plate of fabulous spaghetti for a mere $6? Now that’s a bargain. 5 p.m. – 2 a.m., every Tuesday. Urban MO’s, 308 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit Women’s Museum Suffrage Rally and Parade: Old-fashioned rally with staged performances by a cast of “historic” characters. March into the Organ Pavilion for a free summer concert and picnic on the grass. Bring your signs, your banners, your flags, and your enthusiasm! 5 p.m. Meet at the Kate Sessions statue, corner of Sixth Avenue and the Laurel Street Bridge in Balboa Park. Visit event/suffrage-rally-and-parade.

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Bitchy Bingo: Hosted by Kiki and Ophelia every Wednesday. Play for goodies and prizes. No cover, food minimum: $15. 7 – 10 p.m. Lips San Diego, Lips, 3036 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. Visit Pictionar y: Come play with Tiger and Sister Ida Know on the back patio. Match your skills, win fun prizes and raise money for a good cause. 7:30 – 10 p.m. #1 on Fifth, 3845 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest.

Thursday, Aug. 28

GSDBA Advocacy Committee Meeting: The Advocacy Committee fights for public policies consistent with GSDBA mission and core values. The public policy priorities of premier concern to GSDBA are attaining full business equality for GSDBA members and full equality for LGBT persons. 12:15 – 1:30 p.m. American Cancer Society, 2655 Camino Del Rio N., Ste. 100, Mission Valley. Visit

Live Music “Cool Miss B! Betty Br yant in Concert”: Jazz icon Betty Bryant will perform classic blues, jazz and originals with a light swingy touch. Doors 6 p.m., show 8 p.m. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Tickets visit Democrats for Equality: Monthly meeting of San Diego’s LGBT democratic club will discuss potential action on the recently passed minimum wage ordinance. Meeting begins at 7 p.m. with social time beginning a halfhour prior. Joyce Beers Community Center, 3900 Vermont St. (Hillcrest)

Friday, Aug. 29

Music Festival – Awesomefest: Three-day DIY festival kicks off today with a lineup stacked with punk and other genres. Venues include U31, The Office, Soda Bar and The Hideout. For full band listing and schedule visit Out at the Races: This event by San Diego Pride will take place at a private Out at the Races Seaside Tropical Cabana at the track. There will be happy hour drink specials, an elevated platform for watching the races, private betting booths, and a “Craziest Hat” contest. Gates open at 2 p.m., first race at 4 p.m. Del Mar Racetrack, 2260 Jimmy Durante, Del Mar. Visit Live Music – Sue Palmer: Enjoy a fun Friday with the queen of boogie woogie starting at 7 p.m. in the Ex-Patriate Room at Croce’s Park West, 2760 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill. Call 619-233-4355 or visit

Saturday, Aug. 30

Painting and Vino: Local professional artists instruct attendees on painting a masterpiece. Today – “Golden Forest” at Roppongi, 875 Prospect, La Jolla. 12 – 3 p.m. 21+. $45, all supplies included, registration required. Food and beverages available for purchase. For more info, visit LGBT Cinema: “The Dog”: An intimate portrait of John Wojtowicz, the inspiration behind Al Pacino’s character in “Dog Day Afternoon.” Today’s showtime 3:30 p.m. (Additional showings Aug. 31 at 2:30 p.m., Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 3 at 7 p.m.) Digital Gym, 2921 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. Visit:

Sunday, Aug. 31

Sing Along Brunch: Enjoy the new brunch menu while singing along with memorable pop culture tunes. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Gossip Grill, 1220 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit “Pageant” at Cygnet: Last chance to see the hilariously funny musical directed by James Vasquez. The audience crowns a different winner every night. Today’s performances are at 2 and 7 p.m. 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town. Tickets 619-3371525 or

Monday, Sept. 1 – Labor Day

Cocktails & Furr ytails Fundraiser: Event hosted by leaders of San Diego’s LGBT community with 100 percent of proceeds going to the San Diego Animal Support Foundation. 4 – 9 p.m. Doghouse Bar and Grill, 3515 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit news/ticketPage.html

Tuesday, Sept. 2

Community Food Distribution: The first Tuesday of the month, receive emergency food, pre-screen for Food Stamps and sign up for a range of other services, including employment and medical and well as low-cost utility programs. 9 a.m. The Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit and Trivia Tuesday: Every Tuesday come alone or with a group of friends for a chance to win valuable HBC gift cards. 7 – 9 p.m. Hillcrest Brewing Company, 1458 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit or call 619-269-4323.

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Gay Men’s Chorus Info Night: If you’re interested in auditioning either as a singer, dancer, or as a volunteer, this event is for you. 7 – 9 p.m. University Christian Church, 3900 Cleveland Ave., Hillcrest. Visit Pictionar y: Come play with Tiger and Sister Ida Know on the back patio. Match your skills, win fun prizes and raise money for a good causes. 7:30 – 10 p.m. #1 on Fifth, 3845 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest.

Thursday, Sept. 4

“Regrets Only”: A bubbling comedy about the politics of marriage (written by Paul Rudnick); runs through Sept. 21. Tonight’s show 8 p.m. Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights. Tickets or call 619-220-0097. —For inclusion into the calendar, email the editor at


BLU COLLAR WORKER Across 1 Blow to the buttocks 5 “A Boy Named Sue” singer Johnny 9 “The Audacity of Hope” author 14 Hilary Swank’s ex Chad 15 For-skin cream ingredient 16 Like Alexander Pope? 17 It makes gelatin get hard 18 Polo of “The Fosters” 19 Behind 20 Susan Blu’s line of work 23 Take a five-finger discount 24 Queer ___ three-dollar bill 25 Motorist’s offense, briefly 28 Sheryl Swoopes and Michael Sam 30 Topple from the throne 33 Time gone by 36 Blu did Aimee Brightower in this series 39 One that sucks some sap 41 Non-Judy garland 42 Sweet heat source

43 Blu did J.B. McBride in this series 46 Split 47 This way 48 Like a member that’s not upright 50 Bullring shout 51 Liza, to Lorna 54 Sample some buns, e.g. 57 Blu did Futura in this series 61 Island of Mead’s research 64 Tender ender? 65 Milk-colored gem 66 Word used to stop seamen 67 Barely managed, with “out” 68 Jack in Mexico? 69 It can cut your pole 70 Ward of “Once and Again” 71 Trickle through the cracks Down 1 Navratilova, for one 2 Company emblems 3 Anticipate the coming of

Blu Collar Worker solution on page 12 4 Penetrating 5 International Male puts it out 6 Mapa of “Switched at Birth” 7 Rather, informally 8 Will beneficiaries 9 Withdraws, with “out” 10 Meadow sounds 11 Lending letters 12 Foaming at the mouth 13 Hayworth’s Khan 21 Stud site 22 Evian waters 25 Get the hoar hot 26 “Paint Your ___” 27 Billie Holiday’s “___ to Be You” 29 It’ll spice up your meat 31 B’way locale 32 Some infielders in Glenn Burke’s sport 33 Large phallus painter Picasso 34 Eliot’s “cruellest month” 35 Ice cream treat

37 DeLaria of “Orange Is the New Black” 38 Opera solos 40 Chef Traci ___ Jardins 44 Fair-to-middling 45 The Capitol dome is its top 49 Fourth notes for Menotti 52 Lesbos and Man 53 Add fuel to 55 Tonto’s erection 56 Use a rubber 57 “Hey, I never thought of that!” 58 Type of crime 59 Jessica of “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry” 60 Pig repast 61 Actor Mineo 62 Gardner of “Show Boat” 63 Where wrestlers lie together




The popular singer was honored Tuesday by Mayor Kevin Faulconer with a proclamation that said August 19 was Jason Mraz Day in San Diego. (Photo by Morgan M. Hurley)

Mraz for a day

Local musical legend gets a surprise Morgan M. Hurley | Editor

Jason Mraz was presented a proclamation from Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Tuesday, commemorating August 19 as “Jason Mraz Day” in the City of San Diego. Mraz, in town for a threenight set of performances to kick off a summer tour for his recent album “Yes!,” was completely surprised by the gesture. His collaborators on “Yes!” a fourpiece female band called “Raining Jane,” had told the musician he was going “next door” (to the City Administration Building) to sing happy birthday to a dear friend of theirs. When Mraz arrived, a throng of reporters and news cameras awaited his arrival. Mraz, who hails from the East Coast but now calls Fallbrook home, was clearly humbled by the mayor’s gesture. “I love San Diego. I call it my home,” he said. “I love working, now most recently in the Unified School District here in San Diego, supporting the local beaches, keeping our water clean and working with some local farmers and organic farmers. “San Diego County has more registered organic farms than any other county in the United States, and that excites me,” he continued. “There is so much diversity here. So I am honored that you would consider me a San Diegan and take time out to say that.” On how he got here: “Music actually is what brought me to San Diego,” Mraz said. “I was pretty much living out of my car, touring around California, I’d never been here before. Started in San Francisco, went to LA, and I met some great folks who said ‘check out San Diego.’ “Almost immediately I found the coffee shop scene, which was thriving. It had a built-in audience, it had amazing songwriters and I thought ‘I can make a home here. I can collaborate with these songwriters, I can work with these audiences and it will keep me from having to have a real day job.’ That was my goal. I just wanted to immerse myself into the music scene and San Diego was the right scene for me.”

Mraz, who has publicly admitted to being bullied in high school for being part of his school’s cheerleading squad, has been very outspoken about bullying and the fight for equality. Asked at the press conference about his experience with bullying, Mraz said he thinks bullies are just projecting onto their victims what they are receiving elsewhere. “It toughened my skin, when I was bullied,” Mraz recalled. “I said, ‘Wait, you just wait. I’m not going to hit you back, I’m gonna hit you back with all the success I’m gonna have. I’m gonna hit you back with being an awesome person to ever ybody I meet.’ And that’s how I feel we can tackle that issue.” He also said that when his best friend came out in high school, his parents weren’t immediately supportive. However, that has all changed today. “Equality rights issue is something I’ve seen dramatically change since I was in high school,” he said. “It tells me that the conversation has finally hit ever y home in the United States and it needs to continue to do that.” As a staunch ally of LGBT rights, Mraz was asked whether he was aware of the San Diego LGBT Center. He said he’d taken a tour of The Center and learned all about the things the organization is doing for the community, including HIV prevention and assisting homeless youth. “It’s no accident that I landed in San Diego,” he said. “I came here for music, but having had the experiences I had in high school, with my best friend, the fact that I would land here, in a city that embraces LGBT is no accident. It’s only strengthened that message outside of San Diego.” We thanked him for that message. Jason Mraz and Raining Jane play tonight and tomorrow (Aug. 22 and 23) at 8 p.m. at the San Diego Civic Theatre, located at 1100 Third Ave., Downtown. For more information or tickets, visit Also visit his website and learn about his foundation at t

Regarding who geeks his pink, it all goes back to manners — to time and place. “It depends on what the use is for,” he said about people wanting to know how he sexually identifies. “If it’s my mom and she wants to know, if it’s a friend of mine, I get it, but — no offense — if it’s just a magazine who wants to talk about me, then I don’t know what the true integrity is of that question.” So then, of course, I ask if, in the two years since we last chatted, he’s been able to live more “fearlessly.” You know, can Jason Mraz check off that “threesome” box on his to-do list? He cracks a reluctant laugh. Silence. “I wanna be politically correct and be honest with my answer at the same time ...

GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014 “I’ll just say, in the years after we last spoke, I had a great time exploring this and that and checking a lot of things off my curiosity list. As a result, I found myself in a really solid relationship with someone who loves me ‘because’ I have been strong enough to pursue my career dreams, and to explore my curiosities, and to have many muses and to be who I am. So yeah, to answer your question, and without giving you any details, I had ‘a lot’ of fun.” Mraz, a farmer, is more forthcoming about the “fun” he’s had with avocados: “On more than one occasion I probably put them down my pants or up my shirt and pretended to have much larger erogenous zones.” Once a relatively open book to the media (in a 2008 Out interview, he recalled “random, quick gay club experiences” that were sexual, and his story about getting peed on by a guy is pretty great), he admits that, as a public figure, giving too much of


yourself away is a “fine line.” He isn’t just minding his manners –— Mraz is being “mindful.” “I learn every year, because I open my mouth in some ways thinking I’m helping and I end up hurting someone’s feelings. I have to atone for my mistakes and learn from them and try to be a little more accurate and clearer with my intentions,” he revealed, before mentioning a career endeavor that we can, and should, thank him for: “I’ve spoken up for the things that are important to me, and I just hope that other people speak up for what’s important to them.” Jason Mraz performs in San Diego Friday, Aug. 22 and Saturday, Aug. 23 at the San Diego Civic Theatre. For more information, visit —Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at


GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2014


Poets of boot-kicking equality Jen Van Tieghem

The Podunk Poets return to MO’s by popular demand (Photo by Lukas Volk)

Country music and the LGBT community may not seem to go hand-in-hand, but the popularity of Urban MO’s biweekly Kickers Country Line Dancing events certainly suggests otherwise. Consider that with the successful recent appearances by LGBT-friendly country band The Podunk Poets and it seems the two pair quite well in San Diego. The Podunk Poets possess a fun-loving spirit, which made them an ideal choice to play MO’s last month. Inspired by other duetfronted acts like Johnny Cash and June Carter, the L.A.-based band blends twangy sounds and contemporary themes while staying true to their country roots. This combination makes the five-piece band a refreshing departure from the recent rash of pop-country artists; playing a style vastly more appealing to those that adore conventional country. Fans of this brand of classic country are in luck as the band has been invited back to MO’s for an “encore” performance Saturday, Aug. 23. “We are having them back … because our country night [patrons] had such a good time listening and dancing to live music,” MO’s marketing coordinator Lukas Volk explained. Fresh off a performance at San Diego Pride in July, the band is equally enthusiastic about returning. “We couldn’t wait to come back,” said singer Cindy-Lou Jollotta in an email. “San Diego Pride

was absolutely amazing. It felt like we were celebrating with one big family. [And] last time we were [at Urban MO’s], the dance floor stayed hopping with line dances and couples dancing throughout both of our sets.”

compete for the affections of the titular lady. “Cindy-Lou and myself are members of the LGBT community ourselves,” Kidd explained of the band’s LGBT connection. “So getting involved came naturally.”

(top) The band fashions themselves after Johnny Cash and June Carter (Courtesy Podunk Poets); The Poets shown performing last month at MO’s (Photo by Lukas Volk) Listening to The Podunk Poets, it’s easy to hear how they keep people moving and why they fit well with our local scene. Their wildly infectious tune “Lucy” is just one prime example, with an entertaining music video that shows what the band is all about. “Anyone who has seen [it] knows that we definitely don’t play it safe,” Jollotta said of the video. “A lot of our music is cheeky, some would say edgy, but we have been lucky enough to be embraced by conservative and liberal communities alike. We do what we love with the people we love and that is what translates to our fans — no matter their political or religious views.” The song and video have also been embraced as a bisexual anthem of sorts. In the video Jollotta and Kelly Kidd (vocals) playfully

“I am a member of amBi, a social and activism group whose mission is to promote bi-visibility,” Jollotta expanded further. “The band has partnered with amBi on many of their events, including the West Hollywood, Long Beach, and San Diego Pride parades.” Jollotta and the band definitely feel at home in their niche within the community. “As much as we try to support the LGBT community, we feel much more support in return.” Put on your dancing boots and head to Urban MO’s on Aug. 23 to catch The Podunk Poets live set. Line dancing lessons are from 7 to 8:30 p.m. with the band starting around 9 p.m. Cover is $2 after 8 p.m. For more details visit, and to keep up with the band visit

Gay San Diego - August 22 2014  
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