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Volume 6 Issue 7 April 3 – 16, 2015 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter



AIDS Memorial Photo Feature Page 10



Alive on the vine


Tasting success with VinDiego Morgan M. Hurley | Editor

Rimes with gay



Sanker’s longtime love affair with the desert continues Snakes at the Globe



Groban on bears



getaway event for a lot of my LA friends. I’d seen similar types of events being done for the lesJeffrey Sanker has been called the “father of the bian community,” Sanker said. “For the first few modern gay event party,” but don’t call him "daddy"! years, it was very intimate and I actually lost “Ha! Ha!” Sanker said, laughing at the little joke. money. We only took up part of a hotel and a very small pool area. I always knew it would be a good “I like ‘high priest of gay parties’ better! It sounds event. That’s why I kept doing it.  just a bit more youthful!” “Did I expect it to become the largest gay dance The Miami Herald is credited with anointing music festival in the world with nine parties in 72Sanker with both of those titles. plus hours? Sometimes I look out over the event from Here it is 26 years since Sanker produced his first White Party in Palm Springs, and he insists that he a platform and ask myself, ‘OMG what have I done?’” After decades of bouncing around Easter, in had no clue it would become the premier party for 2014 Sanker settled on consistency and chose gay men across the globe. “The event originally started as a weekend see White Party, pg 2 Kevin O’Brian | Contributor

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Make your mark on Hillcrest What do you want Pride Plaza to look like? Hutton Marshall | Contributing Editor

A different kitchen for mama

When David Fraschetti walked away from his lifelong career as a sales executive to work for himself, his friends thought he was crazy. But he said he just kept reminding himself of that infamous line in the 1989 film, “Field of Dreams”: “If you build it, they will come.” For decades, Fraschetti was in pharmaceutical and dental equipment sales and he traveled all over the country meeting clients, organizing large sales meetings and managing trade shows. Today he produces the annual VinDiego, a two-day wine festival taking place April 10 and 11 at NTC Liberty Station. “It’s all about logistics,” he said. He and his wife Lynn have always enjoyed attending wine shows and once he got the idea in his head to launch his own festival, they spent two and a half years doing their due diligence in market research. “We attended 18 different festivals … up and down the coast, and from Arizona up to Washington state,” he said.

Every Sunday until April 26 at the Hillcrest Farmers Market, a special booth will allow visitors to create and suggest design elements for the “Pride Plaza” park project at the corner of Normal Street and University Avenue — the same location as the weekly farmers market near the Hillcrest Pride Flag. The booth, run by the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA), will solicit input on exterior design elements for the space ahead of a semi-permanent mockup planned for June, where a portion of the intersection will be closed to traffic for months to replicate plans for a

permanent park. Three renderings of the project space allow anyone to hand draw and suggest their own designs. The Pride Plaza will span approximately 7,300 square feet, according to architect Michael Brennan, an HBA board member active on the project. He also said the plans will allow the space to swell as large as 34,000 square feet for special events like the Hillcrest Farmers Market. “The different variations well ebb and flow from those extremes,” Brennan said. The booth’s first Sunday in operation was March 23. Accordsee Plaza, pg 4

One of three artist’s renditions of the Pride Plaza mock-ups available for review and feedback in the HBA booth at the Hillcrest Farmers Market (Courtesy HBA)


GAY SAN DIEGO April 3 - 16, 2015


Revelers enjoy the White Party pool party at the Renaissance Hotel in Palm Springs; (inset) Jeffrey Sanker, "the high priest of gay parties" (Photos courtesy WPPS) FROM PAGE 1

WHITEPARTY 72-plus hours? Sometimes I look out over the event from a platform and ask myself, ‘OMG what have I done?’” After decades of bouncing around Easter, in 2014 Sanker settled on consistency and chose the third weekend of April as White Party Palm Springs weekend moving forward. This year, that amounts to April 24 – 27. Thousands of people will come from all over the world to attend the festivities, including pool parties, the famous White Underwear Party, the White Party at the Palm Springs Convention Center, and the Climax After Hours. The blockbuster Sunday Circus T-Dance — billed as the largest outdoor T-Dance in the world — will feature a live performance by country and pop star LeAnn Rimes. Sanker said White Party Palm Springs is a year-round endeavor for his company, Jeffrey Sanker Presents. “Planning and executing an event like this is a year-round job,” he said. “But it’s the best job in the world. I’m always researching and looking for new ideas. Before the party starts I’m already planning for the next year. I have great people working for me and travel the world’s LGBT events to get news idea each year.” Sanker gets a lot of credit for “discovering” young talent, from singers to deejays. Even after a quarter-century, one such “discovery” stands out for him. “My favorite example is from 2008, back when Lady Gaga was just starting out,” he said. “She really hadn’t performed with dancers in front of a large group before. No one knew who she was. We had her booked as the third act at the Sunday Pool Party. “One year later, she’s the biggest pop star in the world and returned to headline the Saturday night main event, doing a full-on concert to show her appreciation.” In recent years, two of the newer features are the naming of the Queen of the White Party and the White Party Ambassador. This year, Kelly Osbourne will be crowned the Queen and Frankie Grande will be designated as this year’s White

Party Ambassador. Sanker shared how he picks celebrities for those honorary positions. “I take a look at not only who is hot at the moment, but who would be a good fit, who people are suggesting,” Sanker said. “Of course I get lots of emails from celebrities who want the opportunity, but really it’s all about who is the best fit for the party and who can contribute to the overall ‘once in a lifetime’ experience and is passionate about LGBT causes.” White Party has made Sanker famous around the world, and he explained how it has impacted his life. “I can get away with mixing business and pleasure! Ha! Actually I’m very grateful and honored,” he said. “The main thing is that I get to work with some of the most talented and creative people in the world. It’s also fun having 30,000 of my closest friends go on spring break with me every year.” Sanker first sniffed the sweet smell of success way back in the 1970s at the height of the disco era, when he learned from the best. “As a teen when I was first starting out, I worked for Steve Rubell at Studio 54 [in New York City]. While he may not have been the best role model, he knew how to throw great parties and make every guest feel special,” Sanker said. “We had had a lot of great times and I learned many great lessons I still use today. One thing in particular he told me: ‘The one thing you own in life is your name’ and ‘always show up for your own party.’” Sanker took those lessons to heart, and now via White Party fame he has gained global visibility and a platform to use his own celebrity for the betterment of the LGBT community. “I’m always delighted White Party’s visibility can lend itself to bringing visibility and support to LGBT causes,” he said. “I’m very proud to have worked with many different organizations in a variety of creative ways, including The Trevor Project and Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing (GLEH).” Sanker said that at last year’s 25th anniversary party, they held a benefit for Desert AIDS Project with the help of Duke Shoman, a renowned photographer whose celebrity portraits were auctioned off for the charity. “Also, we worked with Get

Tested Coachella Valley, having their colorful van staffed and accessible at the entrance to our events as part of their annual and ongoing campaign,” he said. “Education is key to prevention and we have always prided ourselves on being a leader in keeping patrons safe and informed.” His longtime presence in the Coachella Valley and the overwhelming success of the White Party have translated into Sanker being honored in 2014 with a star on the famed Palm Springs Walk of Stars. His star is embedded along Palm Canyon Drive. “I feel very humbled,” he said. “It is such an honor to be recognized by the Palm Springs community in such a beautiful way and to have my name alongside such legends as Bob Hope, Liberace, even a few former U.S. Presidents and now Lisa Vanderpump, our past White Party Palm Springs Queen. “My parents were absolutely thrilled and flew out to attend the ceremony!” While Sanker is now immortalized with a star along Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs is immortalized by his White Party. It’s a longtime love affair that shows little signs of dimming. White Party Palm Springs will be April 24 – 27 in Palm Springs, California. The Renaissance Hotel Palm Springs, located at 888 Tahquitz Canyon Way will be party central as the host hotel, with the Palm Springs Convention Center, the Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs waterpark and various other venues also participating throughout the weekend. For information about Jeffrey Sanker Presents, visit For a schedule of events taking place each day over the three-day weekend including featured DJs, visit For all-inclusive weekend passes and individual party tickets, visit —Kevin O’Brian is a local freelance writer. He can be reached at Front page photo credits (left) Kelly Osbourne will be crowned Queen of White Party 2015 (Photo by Jordon Nuttall/ The CW Network, LLC); (right) a group of San Diegans enjoy the White Party dance at last year’s event (Photo by Cali Greibel/sdPIX); overlay artwork by SDCCN


GAY SAN DIEGO April 3 - 16, 2015


Nothing ‘blue’ about White Party LeAnn Rimes to charm attendees in Palm Springs Timothy Rawles | Contributor

Two-time Grammy Awardwinner LeAnn Rimes will be performing at this year’s White Party in Palm Springs. The singer has long been an LGBTQ supporter and is looking forward to performing at the annual gay dance extravaganza on April 26. Ms. Rimes took some time out of her busy schedule to talk to Gay San Diego about the White Party, her connection to the community, and what she has planned for the future. Gay San Diego (GS): Country music has always been considered a “straight” genre, but with Chely Wright coming out in 2010, and then Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman coming out last year, that stigma may be changing. Do you think America is ready for gay male country artists and can they thrive in the industry? LeAnn Rimes (LR): It is such an exciting time for this country overall — I really do think we are getting to a place where most Americans agree that people should be allowed to love whoever they choose. And with established artists like Ty and Billy coming out, hopefully this allows fans who may not otherwise embrace the LGBTQ community to realize that the singer and songs they have always loved, are in fact still the same.   (GS): As a long-time supporter of the LGBTQ community, why do you think your participation in the White Party important? (LR): The White Party is a celebration of the LGBTQ community and acceptance overall; I am happy to lend my voice, literally, to celebrate this community and to have some fun in the desert!

LeAnn Rimes will perform at the T-Dance. (Courtesy WPPS) (GS): What would you tell aspiring LGBTQ country singers who want to, one day, be as successful as you are? (LR): I would tell them to stay true to who they are and to never stop working towards your dream. With the music industry changing the way music is delivered now, there are so many different ways to have your music heard by fans. So don’t ever give up! (GS): Can you tell us if you’re working on anything new? (LR): I am working on so many fun projects that I hope I can share in the near future. My second Christmas album is well underway and I have been traveling and writing with so many amazingly talented songwriters across the world. So stay tuned! (GS): What is it that you hope fans take away from your appearance at the White Party? (LR): I hope all of my fans walk away tired from dancing

too much, hoarse from screaming and singing along with the lyrics, and happy, because they had an amazing time. (GS): Can you give us a hint of your set list for the event? (LR): Nope – you just better get your ticket for the White Party to find out! The White Party in Palm Springs is a colossal annual celebration, known as the largest gay dance festival in the world. Rimes will take to the stage, live, on April 26, during the enormous outdoor T-Dance party, across from the Palm Springs Convention Center. For event information and tickets, visit —Timothy Rawles is a local freelance writer. He and his husband live in Mission Hills with their two children. He can be reached at

(GS): Have you ever participated in any large-scale LGBTQ events/parades before? (LR): Yes! Just last year I performed at Orlando Gay Days and Charlotte Gay Pride and over the years have sung with the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus, among others.   (GS): Carrie Underwood experienced a huge blow back when she came out publicly supporting marriage equality. Have you ever experienced anything similar through all your years of supporting the community? (LR): Well as someone used to negativity being spread around and/or about themselves, I can honestly say the least amount of blow back has come from supporting the LGBTQ community! (GS): How did you become involved with the White Party in Palm Springs; is this your first appearance for one? (LR): This is my first White Party and I cannot wait! The costumes, the dancing, the energy — all of the things that still make me excited to be a performer.

The San Diego LGBT Community Center offers HIV and prevention/PrEP information, HIV testing, counseling services (one on one, couples and group), and is an enrollment site for Covered California. 619.692.2077 • 3909 Centre Street

This project is/was partially supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under H89HA00001, HIV Emergency Relief Project Grants for a contracted amount with the County of San Diego. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS, the U.S. Government or the County of San Diego.



GAY SAN DIEGO April 3 - 16, 2015

The pursuit of universal themes Out on the Page Katrina Young “Happiness is like water. We’re always trying to grab onto it, but it’s always slipping between our fingers.” This line from the short story “Grace” in Chinelo Okparanta’s “Happiness, Like Water” is the theme laced throughout the book. “Happiness, Like Water” is a compilation of 10 stories of Nigerian women looking for answers on how to achieve happiness. Often the objects of their desire seem to be within close reach, but prove hard to obtain. Okparanta gives well-articulated accounts of the internal and external drivers that push these women to pursue their aspirations. Whether they are hoping for a better life in America, struggling with fertility issues, needing to escape from an abusive husband/ father, or involved in a forbidden lesbian relationship, the stories show that the most intimate things in life are the

ones everyone can relate to. Everyone is trying to grab their own version of happiness. People want to feel loved, safe, secure and accepted. Even when I wanted to hate a character, their ache for a utopian life evoked unbidden compassion. That was definitely the case with “Story, Story!” in which a depraved woman preys on pregnant women because she herself does not have a hus-

band or a child. She gains the women’s sympathy by telling them the story of her pregnant best friend’s death (leaving out the true cause of death) and then she murders them. Likewise, in “Fairness,” the characters are not the most savory but their ploys to achieve fairer skin address a very prevalent issue among people of color. The lighter your skin, the closer you are to being white and therefore making you better than your darker counterparts. Unfortunately, parts of the story paint the goal for fairness as a superficial matter with only glimpses of the depth and meat of the overarching issues. Then there were times that I championed for the women throughout the tale. “America” is a story of a woman longing for a life where she can be with her lesbian lover without fear of lawful punishment. Although the story does include some intimate moments between the two women, appreciatively, it is not an overly sexualized account of lesbian love. The substance of the story surrounds the need

to live and love freely, and the sacrifices made in order to meet this need. While the plots in “Happiness, Like Water” were lucid and stimulating, the prose was often lacking, though I won’t completely fault Okparanta for this. When it comes to short stories, authors often have to make sacrifices in order to keep the story length in check. Characters come alive and a short story can easily become a full-length novel. Overall, “Happiness, Like Water” is a nicely assembled collection of original stories. Considering the diversity among them, the book flows well and the stories consistently reflect the central theme. From the viewpoint of these Nigerian women, Okparanta sheds light on the universal pursuit of happiness. —Katrina Young is the treasurer of the Multicultural LGBT Literary Foundation, She is a lover of literature and a developing activist. Contact her at

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ing to HBA Executive Director Benjamin Nicholls, some of the suggestions included a sculpture garden, a “hammock garden” and a “happy hour dog park,” where a dog park would take over a portion of the space for designated hours each day, likely 5 – 8 p.m. “There are certain things that have to go in there: bike lanes, car lanes, parking, but there’s a lot of other space to play around within that,” he said. After the booth’s final Sunday on April 26, a design will be mocked up and presented, said Nicholls. After that, the HBA plans to use temporary design elements — likely paint and planters — to cordon off the area for several months to demonstrate how the plans would change pedestrian use and traffic flow. Brennan said more pedestrian space around the Pride Flag is sorely needed. “It’s such a cool idea to kind of expand on what we’ve done at the Pride Flag, and it seems like every time they raise a different flag there, there’s a gathering that spills into the street,” Brennan said. While the project’s budget won’t be known until the final design is produced in early summer, Nicholls estimated a minimum amount of $800,000. He said that while the HBA has done much of the organizing around the project thus far, other stakeholders will need to contribute resources. “So we’re doing sort of the groundwork, but everybody’s going to have to come to the table pretty soon,” Nicholls said, mentioning the Uptown Community Parking District’s large funding reserves lying dormant. “There are very few projects in this city where one group does everything.” He also said that certain design elements might open doors for other funding opportunities. “Depending on what people want to do, we’ll free up different pots of money,” Nicholls said. “If there’s a storm water improvement piece of that park, then that will free up storm water money.” Securing city support for the project will be imperative as well, which Nicholls and Brennan said is already underway. They said a meeting with key city officials earlier this year showed excitement for the development. “A lot them were pretty enthusiastic to make this thing work and to kind of grease the skids to get the city approval and permitting process,” Brennan said. —Contact Hutton Marshall at

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Considering parenthood? Life Beyond Therapy Michael Kimmel Two of my friends — a lesbian couple — recently had a child. Another friend of mine — a bisexual woman — adopted a teenager last year. Currently, my clients include: two gay dads with two kids (one adopted, one via a surrogate); a gay man and a bisexual man who adopted a child; a “marriage” of three gay men who adopted two special needs children; a transgender man and his lesbian wife who recently were awarded custody of their three grandchildren; and quite a few same-sex couples who are parents (and stepparents) to children from previous relationships. LGBT parenting is definitely here, and the number of forms it can take are infinite. I am an LGBT elder who really likes kids. They “get” me and I “get” them. I was a preschool teacher in NYC and worked as an intern for “Sesame Street.” I also wrote a master’s thesis on how having same-sex parents affects children’s personalities. As a psychotherapist here in San Diego, I work with adolescents and their parents (together and separately) in my private practice. I have worked with children and parents for over 30 years and would like to present some ideas for your consideration if you are thinking about becoming an LGBT parent:

Why do you want to be a parent? This is crucial to consider, rather than just “going along” with your partner, friends or family because they think you “should” or that you’d make a great mom or dad.

may — ironically — have more in common with straight parents than single LGBTers.

Age of your child(ren): Some people love babies but are less thrilled as kids get older; other people find babies annoying and only enjoy children they can converse with. Know thyself, and if partnered, discuss this with her/him.

Time commitment: You can’t overestimate how much time and energy it will take to be a parent. Whether you have a baby or adopt a teenager, your life is changed forever. Even when your child is an adult, you are still their parent. You may someday be 90 years old, but if your child is still alive and kicking, you’re still a parent.

Financial commitment: According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (August, 2014), the average cost of raising a child born in 2013 up until age 18 for a middle-income family in the U.S. is approximately $245,340 (or $304,480, adjusted for projected inflation), not including college. Is this something that you (if single) or you and your partner can handle? The luxuries you currently enjoy (e.g., travel, dining out) may not survive the financial demands of parenthood. Are you okay with that?

Emotional commitment: This may be the biggest challenge of all. The parent-child bond is powerful, long lasting and laden with many joys and sorrows. While not a parent myself, I see how my family, friends and clients are incredibly bonded with their children. As a result, these kids can give them “heaven” but also put them through hell.

What happens if your relationship status changes? Many people start out as part of a couple who choose to become parents and end up as two single people sharing custody of a child. You see this in straight couples all the time, but it could happen to you, too. Give some serious thought to how you would handle parenthood if your relationship ended.

Have I discouraged you? I hope not. My intention is to be a reality check, not a Debbie Downer. We all had parents and they all did their best, however that looked at the time. If we become parents, we’ll be doing our best, too, and we will make mistakes, lose our tempers and inadvertently hurt our kids. That’s how life works. Despite this, no one can really measure the potential for joy, satisfaction and love you can share with a child. Many have written — so beautifully — about this, yet it remains almost indescribable. If you are considering parenthood, please don’t take this responsibility lightly. It’s the most powerful, long-lasting commitment a human being can make. It has been my intention to present some ideas to consider in your decision-making process. Whatever you decide, please do it conscientiously.

Change of status in the community: If most of your friends are single, parenthood may rock your social life, big-time. Those weekend trips to Palm Springs may not be possible anymore. Those late nights out may have to go, too. Your single friends may not understand how your life has changed. You

—Michael Kimmel is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in helping LGBT clients achieve their goals and deal with anxiety, depression, grief, sexually addictive behavior, coming out, relationship challenges and homophobia. Contact him at 619-955-3311 or visit

Is your partner as committed as you are? In my 30s, I felt a strong desire for fatherhood, but my then-partner didn’t share it. I was tempted to push the issue, but am glad that I didn’t. I would have ended up as a dad who was into it with dad No. 2 who wasn’t, and what child deserves to grow up in a situation like that?

• •

GAY SAN DIEGO April 3 - 16, 2015


A tribute to Sage North County Update Max Disposti A month ago, a North County teen who went by the name of Sage took his life. Sage was one of us and was one of the many LGBTQIA teens that frequents the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. Our Center’s youth want to celebrate Sage’s life and remember his legacy of love and acceptance, and not dwell on his pain. While so many have been questioning the reason behind this tragedy, Sage was loved and respected by his family and peers and this is how his closest friends here at the Center want to remember him. However, Sage’s story brought to our attention just how vulnerable our LGBTQIA youth really are, constantly challenged by a society that only seems to accept and impose a gender binary idea of the world. During the days that followed Sage’s passing, his closest friends stood up to honor him and reach out in solidarity with the many whose voices still can’t be heard. They brought to “our little Center that could” their wisdom, but also their determination to never be silent. We are all so proud of them! For this reason, I have shared my space with Jasper this month. Jasper is a participant in one of the Center’s youth groups and one of Sage’s closest friends. He and so many others that were close to Sage are offering closure and support for everyone that needs it. Very recently — and I mean very, very recently — I lost a close friend of mine. Tuesday afternoon I was sitting at my desk working on a flier for an upcoming theater production my school is putting on. My phone rang and it was my friend that usually doesn’t call me out of the blue. Her voice was soft and sort of monotone and when I asked what’s up she swallowed what seemed to be tears she was fighting back. “Sage is, uh ... Sage is no longer with us,” she said softly. My heart dropped and I froze. I wasn’t able to speak. I stayed on the phone with her for a short while before we both acknowledged we should hang up. As soon

as I set phone my phone down back on the desk, I put my head back and started crying. It was all so surreal; it still is, to be honest. I didn’t — I don’t — want to believe he’s gone. I don’t remember Sage not being my friend. He seamlessly entered my life and brought what seemed to be the simplest form of love. He loved, and he loved deeply. Sage isn’t someone you forget and he will never be forgotten. People always say those who take their own lives are selfish. As much as I wish he were still here, it’s selfish of me to want him to be here, knowing he would still be suffering. I know that wherever he is, he’s better. He’s not suffering anymore and he’s not battling depression or struggling to even just get through the day. Sage always talked about wanting to be with his mom because he lost her years before in a car accident. I know he’s with her and so do all of our friends. I didn’t want to talk about what happened or how I felt with anyone but our mutual friends. After his funeral, we were all able to spend time together and focus on the positive. Remembering who he was, not what happened. The week he died I stepped up and organized a candlelight memorial we had at the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. That’s where I met Sage, actually, at the teen group on Thursday nights. I met my other friends there, too; the friends that went to school with Sage; the friends that I was able to talk to about how I felt. Sage was a wonderful, kind soul. He is the sweetest person I’ve ever met and I am so grateful for him every day of my life. He will not be forgotten. He will live on, through us, for the rest of our days. Rest in peace, plant boy. We love you. —Jasper Skye Mc —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 on the boards of the Oceanside City Library and Main Street Oceanside and previously served on the city’s Community Relations Commission. He can be reached at



GAY SAN DIEGO April 3 - 16, 2015

Letters Benny is back I know you already do great things through the [San Diego] LGBT Community Center, but I’m so pleased you can now share these things through a [monthly] column in Gay San Diego [See “Let’s end HIV in our lifetimes,” Vol. 6, Issue 6]! Your enthusiasm and love for helping others will now be acknowledged by more people. This is something to really celebrate! I’m very excited for your goals about ending HIV cases, too! Benny, you are a gift to so many!

Local women making it count What a remarkable person you are Rebekah [See “A young leader stands out,” Vol. 6, Issue 5]. Congratulations, and thank you! —Erin, via This is a great read [See “Profiles in Advocacy: In their own words,” Vol. 6, Issue 6]. Great to get to know you all a bit more. —Little Big Daddy, via

—Candace Pauchnick, via

What a great article! Thank you. —Liv, via gay-sd.comt

You have my commitment to continue leading in all areas of inclusion, in addition to creating an LGBT public municipal employees group. My staff will mirror the district and we will have caring and talented people to serve the residents of District 3. Citizens from the third district deserve a representative who will champion groundbreaking programs for the LGBT community. I look forward to building public safety trust with the LGBT community, creating affordable housing for LGBT senior citizens, and designating an LGBT-themed collection at the Hillcrest-Mission Hills Library. You also have my commitment to lead our city to a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index. Though we’ve won the battle for marriage equality in California, we need to continue to fight LGBT discrimination in the workplace and in housing decisions, particularly for transgender people. I am happy and proud to live in such a vibrant and diverse district. Now I want to do even more to serve these communities that I have grown to love. I want to represent you, not as a Latino or a straight man, but as a public servant who has worked hard over the past six years alongside Todd Gloria to better our neighborhoods.

My commitment as the next councilmember for District 3 will be exactly the same as it has been while serving Councilmember Todd Gloria: to always listen to you and keep you informed about the actions being taken with the issues you care about. I’ve worked behind the scenes to name Harvey Milk Street and to install the Pride Flag that flies year round at University Avenue and Normal Street, and I promise that all the unique issues facing the LGBT community will always be treated with the same urgency as any other issue in San Diego. These are the reasons why LBGT voters can be confident voting for me for San Diego City Council.


I’m ready to represent 'all' of District 3 By Anthony Bernal

When I was in college at University of the Pacific, a dear friend who was struggling with his sexual orientation was the victim of a hate crime. After seeing the hurt my friend suffered, I committed to work as an ally to build safe communities, workplaces and schools free from harassment and threats of violence. We must ensure equality for everyone, no matter their sexual orientation, gender, race, or ethnicity. Those basic values have driven me to make the decision to dedicate my professional life to public service. More than six years ago, Councilmember Todd Gloria chose me to serve on his team. He valued my dedication to working class families, my commitment as an ally on the Human Rights Campaign San Diego Steering Committee, and my drive to deliver results for small local businesses. Most of all, he knew that I care about people, whether they are fighting for equality, improved neighborhood services, or safer streets. I’m grateful for this opportunity to have worked for a public servant who assembled a team that prioritizes full equality for all people while handling the many other

(l to r) Anthony Bernal and Councilmember Todd Gloria (Courtesy Anthony Bernal) needs of his district. Todd has been my mentor. He encouraged me to run for City Council. But why would LGBT people vote for me, a straight man, in what has historically been considered an LGBT council seat? I would say that you should vote for someone you trust who can deliver results while always maintaining your values. My trusted leadership and proven results are what our neighborhoods need. While it’s true that I don’t know what it’s like to be gay, I do know what it’s like to grow up as a member of a minority facing nearly

PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951

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CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Hutton Marshall, x102 Jeremy Ogul, x119 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chris Azzopardi Charlene Baldridge Max Disposti Michael Kimmel Kevin O'Brian Timothy Rawles Frank Sabatini Jr. Katrina Young

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daily discrimination. I was raised in a Latino family in California’s Central Valley. My family and I were the targets of racial slurs, and sometimes even anti-gay epithets. My parents taught me at a young age that any individual’s civil rights are in danger unless we protect them for everyone. That principle of basic equality underlies everything I do. When President Obama won the election in 2008, he said, “Americans just sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.” That message along with my experiences have transformed my view of the world — igniting in me a passion for service, as I see new possibilities of action, unity and equality. Our great city has already been acknowledged for providing non-discriminatory workplaces; recognizing every relationship status; providing programs and services to LGBT families; following law enforcement practices that are inclusive; and fostering a relationship with the local LGBT community. But there’s still more work to be done. Ilka Weston, x108 Andrew Bagley, x106 Lisa Hamel, x107

ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962 WEB DESIGN Kim Espinoza

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

—Anthony Bernal is running for San Diego City Council District 3, with the primary election to be held in June of 2016. Bernal is a native Californian and has lived in San Diego for over a decade. For the past six years, he has worked as director of business and community projects for Councilmember Todd Gloria, during which time he has received numerous accolades and awards from various community and civic organizations. Bernal lives in the Cortez Hill neighborhood of Downtown with his wife Amy. You can visit his website or follow him on Twitter, @AnthonyBernalSD.t

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

SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email.

Business Improvement Association

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


GAY NEWS BRIEFS PFLAG, SDHDF TO ‘LAUNCH LEADERS’ PFLAG San Diego County and the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF) are coming together for a fundraiser to support the PFLAG SDC scholarship fund. The inaugural “Launching Leaders” event will consist of a luncheon and scholarship awards reception. PFLAG SDC has provided scholarships to deserving LGBT high school seniors and college undergraduate and graduate students since 1998 and have since awarded over $116,000. SDHDF, a local LGBT philanthropic organization, has long supported the PFLAG SDC’s scholarship programs but is now stepping up that support with this fundraiser. “We’re excited to be taking our partnership with PFLAG SDC to a new level this year,” said SDHDF board president Drew Jack. “Collaboration between organizations with co-equal goals is the way to go. Our vision is that this event will launch not only LGBT leaders, but also our capacity to sustain LGBT scholarship funds and expand the number of participating scholarship funders in the years to come.” Tickets to the event can be purchased online at and are $50 each, with tables that seat eight available for $400. SDHDF is seeking sponsors for the family members of award recipients. Contact Ian Morton at or at 858-255-1274. For more information about PFLAG SDC, visit

WALTERS REACHES AGREEMENT WITH PRIDE In 2011, San Diego resident Will X. Walters was arrested for nudity while wearing leather chaps on the San Diego Pride Festival grounds and the incident made national headlines. Shortly after the arrest, Walters filed a lawsuit against San Diego Pride, which was dismissed by a federal judge last year. Walters soon filed an appeal with the 9th District Court of Appeals, but recently announced that he and San Diego Pride had since reached an “amicable agreement” and Pride is no longer a defendant in the lawsuit. “I’m happy to have come to an agreement with Pride,” stated Walters in a press release. “I look forward to supporting our shared goals, especially when it comes to educating people that we all have rights as they were outlined so eloquently by the founding fathers in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I intend to keep fighting to ensure that what happened to me never happens again to another member of the LGBT community or anyone else.” Walters has since launched a nonprofit “FreeWillUSA” with a mission to educate others about everyone’s constitutional rights and promote and defend people despite their nationality or citizenship. San Diego Pride Executive Director Stephen Whitburn, who was not yet at the helm when the incident

occurred, lauded the agreement in a press release. “We understand and appreciate our shared objectives,” stated Whitburn. “Will, his team at FreeWillUSA, and San Diego Pride agree this is a time for the LGBT community to work together and build on the momentum we’ve gained toward equality. We join Will in seeking to end discrimination against gender and sexual minorities.” To learn more about Walters’ nonprofit, follow @freewillusa on Twitter. For more about San Diego Pride, visit

GERI JEWELL TO WALK ON SET OF ‘LOST EPISODE’ On April 2, “Facts of Life: The Lost Episode” began turning Diversionary Theatre into Eastland School for a threeweek run. The parody of the 1980s hit sitcom has an allmale cast portraying Mrs. Garrett and all the girls — Tootie, Natalie, Jo, and Blair. It was just confirmed that Geri Jewell — who played “Cousin Jeri” on the popular television show — will make a walk-on appearance for two performances during the parody’s final weekend. Jewell and playwright Jamie Morris — who also plays Edna Garrett in the spoof — wrote the additional skit several years ago and Jewell walked on during the play’s last run at Diversionary in 2013. Jewell, who came out publicly in 2012 with the release of her autobiography, “I’m Walking as Straight as I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond,” will have a meetand-greet after the show and sell copies of her memoir. For more information about “The Lost Episode” and tickets, visit

LGBTQA YOUTH MARCHING BAND TO MAKE DEBUT The first ever Pride Youth Marching Band will step off during the 2015 San Diego Pride Parade this July 18. Part of San Diego Pride’s commitment to youth programs, the marching band was created to “foster character development and leadership [within] LGBT– identified youth,” stated a press release. The band is open to anyone currently enrolled in a high school or college band class and all sexual orientations and gender identities — including allies — are encouraged to apply. Participants must have completed ninth grade. Direction of the band will fall to local band directors, all members of the Big Gay Band and Orchestra Association (BGBODA). Rehearsals are scheduled from 6 – 9 p.m. on July 13,15 and 16, just prior to the annual Pride celebration. Attendance at two rehearsals minimum is required to participate in the Pride weekend activities. The morning of the parade, band members will gather at 8 a.m. and receive a San Diego Pride Youth Marching Band t-shirt, with their duties wrapping up by 1:30 p.m. Band members will need to provide their own instruments, but music will be provided. For more information or to register, visit

GAY SAN DIEGO April 3 - 16, 2015


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tuesday, april 7

Friday, april 10

Food Bank

transgender Day of empowerment 6 pm, the Center

9-10:30 am, the Center The San Diego LGBT Community Center hosts a distribution site once a month for the Community Cares Project of the San Diego Food Bank. On the first Tuesday of every month, visit The Center’s parking lot for emergency food. For more information, visit

Wednesday, april 8

UC San Diego health System: ensuring the health of the LGBtQ Community 6:30 pm, the Center Join UC San Diego Health System and The Center for a special forum on the Health of the LGBTQ Community. Learn more about UCSD’s Owen Clinic, which is one of the nation’s top HIV care programs, and PrEP, the oncea-day medication used to prevent HIV infection. This free event will be held at The Center and is open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, contact Ben Cartwright at

Join us at The Center for speakers, entertainment, awards and light refreshment as we celebrate the diversity and strength of San Diego’s transgender community! This year’s event will focus on transgender women of color and will include the inaugural Tracie O’Brien Transgender Student Scholarship, which will be presented by former Assembly Member and LGBT activist Tom Ammiano. For more information, visit

tuesday, april 14

Free Legal Consultations available at the Center 9-11 am, the Center The Access to Law Initiative, a project of California Western School of Law sponsored by City Councilmember Todd Gloria, holds legal clinics the second Tuesday of each month at The Center. Attorneys will be available for free, 30-minute consultations to help evaluate legal issues. to make an appointment or for more information, contact Joshua Bruser at 858.342.0551 or The San Diego LGBT Community Center 3909 Centre Street • 619-692-2077 Twitter: @LGBTCenter



GAY SAN DIEGO April 3 - 16, 2015

(l to r) Amy Kim Waschke, Jon Norman Schneider, and Tanya Thai McBride in The Goodman Theatre production of “The White Snake” (Photo by Liz Lauren)

A fairytale at Old Globe Theater Review Charlene Baldridge

“This play deserves a hearty ‘Hello, gorgeous!’” New York Daily News

“Seriously funny – a remarkably sustained slice of absurdist whimsy!” The New York Times

David Turner. Photo by Jim Cox.

BUYER & CELLAR By Jonathan Tolins Directed by Ron Lagomarsino

What’s a renowned diva to do with decades of memories that light the corners of her mind? If you’re Barbra Streisand, you enshrine them in a mini-mall in your basement where you can pretend to go shopping! Out-of-work actor Alex More can’t pass up the oddest of odd jobs— an offer to play shopkeeper for one tough customer who doesn’t let anyone rain on her parade. Soon it begins to take a toll on his patience, his love life, and his view of people (who need people).



a gathering of gay and lesbian theatre lovers.

Thursday, April 16 at 6:30pm Show Starts at 8:00pm In the Craig Noel Garden, just steps away from your theatre seats!

An evening for gay and lesbian theatre lovers and the whole LGBT community. This event includes two drinks from the wine and martini bar, delicious appetizers and a pre-show mixer. Everyone is welcome. Just $24 per person in addition to your theatre ticket. Call to RSVP at (619) 23-GLOBE or select “Show + OUT event” when purchasing online.

(619) 23-GLOBE (234-5623)

To showcase Mary Zimmerman’s “The White Snake,” playing through April 26 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage at the Old Globe, designer Daniel Ostling created three walls and a raked floor. Apparently, Zimmerman (who directs her own work) did the rest, imagining elements to support the fable, which originated in the East and took up residence and enchanted enhancement in ancient China. Zimmerman’s lovely adaptation/production of “The White Snake” received its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland (Feb. 18 – July 8, 2012) and has since traveled to major regional theaters including Chicago’s Goodman, Princeton’s McCarter, and the Berkeley Rep. Acknowledging there are many versions of the tale, “The White Snake” is a transformation story. White Snake (Amy Kim Waschke) grows weary of thousands of years in the mountains. Fascinated with human kind, she slithers down the mountain in company of a feisty companion, Green Snake (Tanya Thai McBride, who creates an endearing character, part of which is her edgy voice). Having transformed themselves into human form, the two pose as mistress and servant, with Green Snake taking on the more daring and confrontational tasks. Along the way to civilization, they encounter Xu Xian (Jon Norman Schneider) who ferries them across the lake and loans White Snake his umbrella, a transaction during which their age-old, foreordained attraction manifests itself. Though Xu Xian is a lowly chemist’s assistant, White Snake weds him and — again through magic — provides enough funds for a home and their own pharmacy, which is a raging success due to White

Tanya Thai McBride in the McCarter Theatre’s production of “The White Snake.” (Photo by T Charles Erickson)​

“The White Snake” Tuesdays through Sundays Through April 26 Old Globe Theatre 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park Tickets start at $29 or 619-23-GLOBE Snake’s healing abilities. The evil abbot of the local Buddhist temple, Fa Hai (Matt DeCaro), knows of White Snake’s true identity and sets out to ruin her marriage, success and happiness. She must go on a perilous journey to find the one remedy that will cure Xu Xian. As with all fables, there are many messages to the beholder; among them, we love the one we love, sometimes at our own peril; but in the grand scheme of things, love triumphs. In the unfolding, Zimmerman employs music, dance and pageantry, all supplied by her dazzling and sincere company, two of whom are veterans of the Ashland and subsequent productions, and the artistry of Ostling and the original design team comprising costume designer Mara Blumenfeld, lighting designer T. J. Gerkens,

sound designer and composer Andre Pluess, and projection designer Shawn Sagedy. Many of the effects are as magical as the tale. Initially, I found myself impatient with what seemed like overuse of parasols and puppets (snakes can do only so much); however, the story eventually overcame its means of telling, and the visual and aural, sans parasols and snakes, began to enthrall. The pageantry, which employs battle, lanterns and movement, is thrilling. Played live and scored for flute, strings, cello and percussion, Pluess’s score could overwhelm the singers’ diction; however, they are subtly miked so most all the text is understood. Ably done and beautifully integrated, the movement is a mix of ancient forms, most recognizably Noh and tai chi. Zimmerman’s text, based on numerous sources that came down through written and oral traditions, strives for poetry throughout; however, the final 10 minutes — a simple statement about love and loss delivered by the company — makes up for whatever impatience might have been engendered prior to this truly poetic moment. —Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. You can follow her blog at or reach her at


Josh Groban 'bears' all Troubadour talks bear fans, drag queens, gay rumors and his dream Broadway role It all began with the bears. “I’m like, ‘Are you a baseball team?’” said Josh Groban, recalling an early-career encounter with a man who informed the crooner about his growing number of gay bear fans. Nearly 15 years later, members of the LGBT community — even the non-hairy ones — are still feeling struck and soothed by Groban’s elastic range. “Stages” is yet another swoonworthy set from the singer. His first collection of songs from musicals, Groban takes on some of Broadway’s best for the album, which includes “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel” and “The Phantom of the Opera” showstopper “All I Ask of You,” a duet with Kelly Clarkson. While discussing the release during a recent interview, the 34-year-old also highlighted the significance of performing with the Washington, D.C. Gay Men’s Chorus during Obama’s 2009 presidential inauguration, the validation his younger “awkward” self felt after being named “Sexiest Newcomer” and how Ryan Gosling put the singer’s sexuality to the test.

(CA): During an interview you did regarding that performance, Rufus referred to you as a “dreamboat.” At this point in your career, are you used to that kind of attention from gay men? (JG): Yeah, it’s happened from time to time. Look, when Rufus Wainwright is complimenting you, musically or otherwise, it’s a great honor. Something that was surprising to me that happened when I first got signed at 19, 20 years old: I was at some kind of shop, and I was walking around with someone — it was probably my girlfriend — and this guy comes up to me and goes, “Hey, I just want you to know, the bears love you.” I’m like, “Excuse me? What?” And I didn’t know what that meant! I’m like, “Are you a baseball team?” (CA): How did you figure out what type of bears he was referring to? (JG): I think some Googling had to take place. And it was like, “Oh. Ohhhh!” [Laughs] (CA): And you’re like, “Not the bears in the forest.” (JG): Yeah, and not the Chicago Bears.


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Chris Azzopardi (CA): I was fortunate enough to see you during the summer of 2014 in Toronto for Rufus Wainwright’s “If I Loved You: Gentlemen Prefer Broadway — An Evening of Love Duets,” where you got your gay on. Josh Groban (JG): [Laughs]. I’ll always put my gay on for Rufus.

GAY SAN DIEGO April 3 - 16, 2015

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Josh Groban is about to release "Stages," a collection of songs from musicals. (Photo by Olaf Heine)

(CA): You’re from L.A., and you went to arts schools, including Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. I imagine you’ve been immersed in the gay community for much of your life. Did you find a lot of gay people gravitating to you at a young age? (JG): Like you said, I went to a wonderful arts camp at Interlochen. I went to a great arts high school in Los Angeles — LA County High School for the Arts — and grew up in Los Angeles and with a wonderful arts background, and I got to meet all sorts of people. Many of my friends were gay at these places — at camp, at school. The wonderful thing I found about the arts and the arts connection was, I had come from a situation where I had a hard time making friends at school and I was bullied, and I finally went to school where everybody had the same inspiration for the arts, everybody had the same passion. It was the first situation where I had felt that everybody was friends with everybody, and everybody felt the most comfortable being themselves at these places. And so, for me, the arts were the first scenario where I found a connective tissue between everybody. (CA): When you look back, did that closeness to the queer community ever make you question your own sexuality? (JG): No, not at all. It wasn’t in any way, shape or form about

my own life or my own sexuality — it was about understanding and accepting everybody, and being friends regardless of that. I think that’s also what the straight community needs to understand — that it’s about friendship and alliance. It’s not about questioning yourself or anything like that — it’s about the togetherness of it. I think the wonderful thing about the arts is that I grew up in a community where I felt there was acceptance and friendship regardless of our own personal lives. (CA): And co-starring with Ryan Gosling in “Crazy, Stupid, Love” — that didn’t challenge your heterosexuality? (JG): [Laughs] Listen, if I was gonna be gay, that would’ve been the moment. That was probably my greatest test, and I failed. (CA): You came out as “not gay” on Twitter a couple years ago. How do you feel about people speculating about your sexuality? (JG): Honestly, if I were gay, I would have had no problem saying it from day one. It’s such a thing when people speculate. I would have nothing to hide if that were the case. People have speculated, have wanted to speculate — whatever, fine. I’m not gay, but if I were, I don’t view it as a bad thing. If I were, I’d say, “OK, fine, speculate all you want and let’s talk about it.” see Groban, pg 11

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GAY SAN DIEGO April 3 - 16, 2015

know now.” (JG): I don’t think you ever wanna peak in high school either. I don’t think you want to have your most confidence when you’re 15 or 16 years old, or you turn into Al Bundy. It’s good to go through [that] period where you don’t have your shit together, where you feel like you do need to figure out what your identity is … where your walls should be and where your confidence needs to lie. If I didn’t have that period where I didn’t fit in and I didn’t make the team, then, truly, I don’t think I would’ve had as much of a desire to really find my true self in my 20s.



(CA): It’s not like you’re in a community where that wouldn’t be accepted. (JG): Exactly. I’ve grown up with gay friends; my parents have had great gay friends. I come from such an open-minded family background. I am so lucky to have the parents that I have and to have grown up with the environment of “accept and be accepted” and “love and be loved,” so when that kind of talk comes up, I think to myself, “All right, I’m happy to say what is and isn’t true,” but at the same time, I don’t see why that’s like, “Ohhhh.” Like that would be an insult. I don’t get that. If that were the case, I would just say it and it would be no big deal. That’s the thing that bugs me more than anything, though — that the mention of it would be considered provocative when, really, in this day and age it shouldn’t be. (CA): Assuming you selected the songs on “Stages” because they have relevance in your own life, which ones mean the most to you? (JG): There are actually a couple of songs that really have nostalgic memories for me. “All I Ask of You” from “Phantom” was the first song that I ever sang professionally to get a record deal, so when I found myself at Abbey Road, singing that song and with Kelly [Clarkson], it was just like, “Oh, man!” Very rarely do I ever pat myself on the back or give myself a high five — I’m always kind of selfcritical and moving forward — but it was one of those moments where I was listening to that orchestra and having memories of the 17-year-old kid in the ill-fitting tuxedo that first sang that song, and I’m like, “You know what, go you. You did it.” A song like “Bring Him Home” is a song you can’t help but hear and think about what’s going on now in the world, and how many people are hoping and praying the same things today. The wonderful thing I’ve found about these songs is there’s so much relevance and poignancy to them today, regardless of the show that they’re in, and that was a wonderful discovery. One of the things that really dictated what we chose and what we didn’t choose was if they could live independently on their own.


Josh Groban’s girlfriend was a recent judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and he became an instant fan. (Photo by James Dimmock) (CA): You obviously have theater aspirations. What’s your dream Broadway role? (JG): I’m a Sondheim nut. I like his stuff because it allows for really operatic singing without dancing. I’m a terrible dancer. So, for me, I would love to do something like “Sweeney Todd” or “Sunday in the Park with George.” I was introduced to “Chess” when I was 24 or 25 — I did it for the Actors’ Fund on Broadway — and I’ve always thought that show got a bum rap. Just the music alone can go toe to toe with the great musicals. I think it deserves, at some point, a chance. Maybe a different kind of direction, a different kind of vision, but that would be another dream role.

amazing, and then you see the competition. The episode that Kat did — I took Shakespeare class, like I was in very heavy Shakespeare instruction when I was young and in theater school, and so watching them put on Shakespeare was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life. It was a wee bit of a train wreck, and I think Ru knew that, but it was really funny to watch. And yeah, you never know. I would be happy to be a judge on it, but I think I would be so impressed with the fashion that I don’t think I would know how to critique it. I’d be like, “Wow! I could not walk in those heels; congratulations to you! That is amazing! Well done! Ginger Minj — I salute you!”

(CA): You’d like to star in it? (JG): Absolutely. I mean, there are a bunch of roles that I think would be fun. It’s really been a timing issue. It would be a dream come true to do something on the Broadway stage. With album and touring life, and when you have a record deal, you have to satisfy commitments. It’s just a matter of taking the time to do it right.

(CA): I like to imagine you doing karaoke. You’re out with friends and you’re probably drinking. What’s your go-to karaoke number? (JG): I hate to brag, but it’s a really unfair advantage. I kind of crush karaoke. The thing about karaoke is it makes everybody a ham. I’ll go in there, peruse the little binder, and just hang back with the tambourine for a few songs and then go straight into “We Are the Champions” and “I like big butts and I cannot lie …” It just goes into all out ’80s and ’90s hip-hop and hair metal, and that’s basically a night for me. I remember I was singing “November Rain” and the guy came in to tell us we were out of time, and he heard me singing it. Instead of telling us to leave, he brought us free nachos.

(CA): Your girlfriend, Kat Dennings, recently appeared on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” (JG): She crushed it! (CA): When’s it your turn to guest judge? (JG): [Laughs] She got me into that show! I mean, RuPaul’s incredible. The influence she’s had on everybody is just

(CA): On your list of accomplishments, where does that time in 2002 rank, when People Magazine named you “Sexiest Newcomer”? (JG): Oh, somewhere floating in the middle, I’d say. When you talk about high fives to your younger self, when you read something like that, you think about every girl who rolled their eyes when you’d go up and say hi to them, and then you’re all like, “Good job!” If I could go back and tell that young kid, “You’re gonna be People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest,’ he would’ve had a lot easier of a time.” Those awkward times give you character, though, I think. (CA): And then you think, “If only I knew then what I

(CA): You notably sang with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. during President Obama’s inaugural opening ceremony in January 2009. What was it like being a part of such a big moment in LGBT history? (JG): Those steps and that environment were about equal rights in the African-American community 50, 60 years ago, and to be able to represent the LGBT community and one of the great equal rights issues of our times — and share that moment proudly on those steps — was a tremendous honor for me. I was so thrilled that this administration had the wherewithal to understand the importance of it, and to do that musically — it’s one of my favorite things that I have done of all time. —Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at Please go to to read the complete interview.t

Vote and enter to win movie tickets! Visit to vote for your favorite places in San Diego! ENTRY RULES: Choose your favorite! Tell us who the “best of the best” is and you’ll be entered into our free drawing. One “best of” will be awarded in each category. Please complete at least 50% of the ballot. One ballot per person. Ballots must be submitted online by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 11, 2015.

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‘50 to Watch’ preview reception: Art by San Diego contemporary artists will be showcased through May 15 before being sent to galleries nationwide. Reception from 6 – 9 p.m. The Studio Door, 3750 30th St., North Park. Visit ‘Mamma Mia’: The hit musical opens tonight with additional performances on April 4 and 5. 7:30 p.m. Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., Downtown. Visit ‘The Imitation Game’: Cinema Under the Stars presents this biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the gay cryptanalyst in WWII. 8 p.m. $15. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. Movie also screens Saturday. For more info visit or call 619-295-4221. ‘The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode’: This parody of the vintage sitcom by Jamie Morris (“Mommy Queerest,” “Re-Designing Women”) runs through April 19. 8 p.m. Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights. Visit or call 619-220-0097.


City Royals: Drag at Random: The first Saturday of the month featuring performances, prizes, drink specials and more. Special guest performance: Landa Plenty. $5 cover. 7:30 p.m. Brass Rail, 3796 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit


‘Sunday’s Best Gospel Brunch’: Entertainment for this Easter brunch will be provided by the R&B Divas of San Diego. Menu includes fried chicken and waffles, bottomless mimosas and more for $19.99. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Numbers Nightclub, 3811 Park Blvd., Hillcrest. Find the event on Facebook. 12th annual community Easter egg hunt: Easter baskets, an egg hunt (for children 12 and under), raffle and more family fun presented by Imperial Court de San Diego. 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Old Trolley Barn Park, 1998 Adams Ave., University Heights. Find the event on Facebook.


Cygnet Theatre presents ‘Lerner and Loewe’s Musical Mon-

day’: Performers from Cygnet will showcase songs from current production “My Fair Lady” at this free event. 7 – 8 p.m. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit


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. The Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit thecentersd. org and


‘The Future of San Diego Real Estate’ workshop: San Diego Human Dignity Foundation welcomes real estate experts for a free, interactive workshop. Lunch provided, space is limited. 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Pizza Nova, North Harbor Drive, Point Loma. RSVP to by April 6. Visit Levi Kreis in ‘An Evening with Levi Kreis’: Tony Award-winner, singer-songwriter and pianist Levi Kreis makes his MA4 debut. Doors 6 p.m., show 8 p.m. $20 – 25 with $15 food/drink minimum. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit ‘Ensuring the Health of the LGBTQ Community’ forum: UC San Diego Health System and The Center present this special forum with topics including: UCSD’s Owen Clinic, PrEP and more. Free. 6:30 p.m. San Diego LGBT Community Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Find the event on Facebook.


Greater San Diego Business Association April Business Social: Enjoy drinks, hors d’oeuvres and mingling with GSDBA members and guests before a performance of “My Fair Lady.” Get $10 off tickets for the show with code: GSDBA. 5:30 p.m. Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town. Visit Harold Sanditen in ‘Flyin High’: Harold Sanditen makes his MA4 debut with a brand new show and guest perform-

ers Doors 6 p.m., show 8 p.m. $20 reserved seating with $15 food/drink minimum. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Tickets visit


12th annual Transgender Day of Empowerment: The event will feature speakers, entertainment and light refreshments in a celebration of San Diego’s Trans* community. 6 – 9 p.m. San Diego LGBT Community Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit ‘Wild’: Cinema Under the Stars presents this film starring Reese Witherspoon based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trial.” 8 p.m. $15. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. Movie also screens Saturday. For more info visit or call 619-295-4221.


3rd annual VinDiego Wine and Food Festival Grand Tasting: Over 300 wine and food vendors will be serving up fine selections at this event. 4 – 7 p.m. NTC Liberty Station, 2640 Historic Decatur Road. Visit 35th annual Roosevelt Dinner: Awards will be given to exemplary Democrat volunteers and leaders from around the county. Speakers for the event include: the Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins, keynote speaker Kevin de León, President Pro Tempore of the Senate Alex Padilla, and California’s Secretary of State, and Assemblymember Shirley Weber, the evening›s honorary chair. 6 p.m. Hilton San Diego Bayfront, 1 Park Blvd., Downtown. Visit


So You Think You Can Drag? Every second Sunday, Lips’ monthly amateur/ professional drag contest is hosted by Paris. $100 cash prize for winner. 7 p.m. 3036 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. Visit or call 619295-7900.


‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ viewing party: Hosted by Chad

Michaels every Monday and featuring Jasmine Masters, extended happy hour, prizes and giveaways. “Drag Race” will be on all TVs and big screens with sound. 9 p.m. Urban Mo’s 308 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit

TUESDAY, APRIL 14 Free Cone Day: Ben and Jerry’s annual Cone Day from noon – 8 p.m. Find your participating Scoop Shop at Cakes 101 baking class: Hands-on lesson on the fundamentals of baking, crumble-coating and finishing a three-layer cake. $75. 6 – 8:30 p.m. Bake Sale, 815 F St., Downtown. Visit LGBT Parents Connect: This group features a monthly presentation followed by Q&A on topics of interest to LGBT parents. Free childcare available. 6 – 7:30 p.m. San Diego LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit or email

Replacing the former Bourbon Street Bar & Grill in University Heights is Park & Rec, which opens sometime in May with a cocktail-focused theme devised by ELE Collective, the operators of Waypoint Public in North Park, and Revelry Cocktail Co., founded by veteran bartenders Trevor Easter and Anthony Schmidt. The remodeled property will feature three cocktail bungalows surrounding an open-air courtyard stocked with ping-pong tables and shuffleboards. As a nod to the ostrich farm that operated nearby in the early 1900s, Park & Rec’s logo will feature an image of the flightless bird wearing a top hat. ELE Collective also acquired the former Lei Lounge next door, but its president, John Pani, is still juggling several concepts for the space. 4612 Park Blvd.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15 FilmOut Screening: “Drop Dead Gorgeous” — mockumentary cult film starring Denise Richards, Kirsten Dunst, Kirstie Alley and more. 7 p.m., Landmark Cinemas, 3965 Fifth Ave. #200, Hillcrest. $12. Visit

THURSDAY, APRIL 16 OUT at the Globe: A preplay mixer for LGBT theater lovers featuring a hosted wine and martini bar, appetizers and door prizes. 6:30 p.m. $24 plus cost of a ticket to “The White Snake” or “Buyer & Cellar.” Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park. For more information visit or call 619-234-5623. Bonnie Kilroe in ‘DIVAS – Vegas Meets Vaudeville’: A one-woman show combining over 40 songs and more than 20 characters. Doors 6 p.m., show 8 p.m. $20 – $25 with $15 food/drink minimum. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Tickets visit —Email calendar items to

Vegans with a sweet tooth can feast on donuts free of animal products at Nomad Donuts, which just introduced several varieties using plant-based milks and shortenings in lieu of dairy. A few different flavors will rotate through the selection daily, such as ube-taro coconut and strawberry-raspberry lemonade. According to co-owner Brad Keiller, “You can barely tell the difference if you put them side by side to our non-vegan donuts.” 4504 30th St., 619-431-5000.

Organic eggs at The Crack Shack (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

A restaurant with a theme we haven’t seen before in San Diego is coming this fall by restaurateur Michael Rosen and Chef Richard Blais, both of Juniper & Ivy. On the same block they see Foodie, pg 13



ACROSS 1 Lorca’s stick 5 Bandleader Shaw 10 Like a stereotypical wrist 14 Wife of Buck’s Wang 15 Quick raid 16 Canal of New York ferries 17 With 34-Across, “”a sort-of survival guide” by Leighton-Dore 20 Reeves of “My Own Private Idaho” 21 Bear with a small package 22 Where to find a date in a hot place 23 “Beatle Bailey” dog 25 Revolting 27 Delinquent 30 Flockhart of “The Birdcage” 34 See 17-Across 35 Author Leighton-Dore 36 Islands instrument 37 Brings indignity to 41 Gift of Ellen DeGeneres

42 Abound (with) 44 Screwed up 45 Edna, for one 46 Like an active partner 48 Lubricant 49 Language of Leif 50 Poet ___ Wu 52 Cold feet 54 Leighton-Dore’s kiddie lit book about coming out 59 Strip a fruit 60 Rub it in 61 Sound of being banged? 63 Tutti-frutti ingredient 64 “Wonder Woman” star Carter 65 Put in a position 66 Cleans the floor 67 Day one 68 Go up and down 1 11th U.S. president

DOWN 2 Soothing agent for skin 3 Composition of some beds 4 Monotonous 5 It’s south of Eur 6 A gangster shoots it off 7 Long pants, for short 8 Like Shakespeare’s feet 9 Optimist’s place for a cock? 10 Toast of the cut 11 Bisexual writer Murdoch 12 Skimpy skirt 13 Sheehan’s tees, e.g. 18 Went one one better 19 Stein’s Alice 24 Eliza Doolittle, for one 26 Checked out the joint 27 “Breakfast on ___” 28 Clay of “American Idol” fame 29 Shooting type 31 Type of daddy

solution on page 10 32 Lions and Tigers and Bears 33 “A Delicate Balance” author 38 Area of the Audre Lorde Project 39 Paul Newman role in “Exodus” 40 Successful on one’s own 43 Heather’s parents, in kiddie lit 45 Oz visitor 47 Letter before omega 49 Beauty sleep 51 “West Side Story” Jet, e.g. 53 Annoy during a blow job? 54 “Othello” villain 55 Bend in a sink pipe 56 Charged particles 57 John Goodman’s “Normal, ___” 58 Intense rage 59 Cager Parsons 62 To God, in Latin

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will be launching The Crack Shack with a menu that’s all about chicken and eggs made every which way. The free-range, non-GMO proteins will be sourced from local farms in addition to produce accompanying the dishes. A “bread program” is also planned for the restaurant, which will go into a vacated mechanics shop at the corner of Juniper and Kettner streets in Little Italy.

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Spicy corn on the cob, green papaya salad and rice crepes stuffed with minced chicken are among the specialties planned for a Thai New Year street celebration presented by Su-Mei Yu of Saffron Noodles & Sate and Saffron Thai Grilled Chicken in Mission Hills. The event kicks off in front of the restaurants at 4:30 p.m., April 10, with a blessing ceremony. It continues through 7 p.m. with Thai dancers in full regalia. Food items will range from $2.50 to $10. 3731 and 3737 India St., 619-574-0177. La Jolla has a new rooftop restaurant in the redesigned La Plaza Center at Wall and Girard streets. Launched by Whisknladle Hospitality, the 3,700-square-foot Catania gives diners a taste of coastal Italian cuisine, based on a twoweek culinary road trip through Italy taken by owner Arturo Kassel and company chef Ryan Johnston plus subsequent visits they’ve made. Helming the kitchen is Executive Chef Vince Schofield, a San Francisco transplant who brings to the table quail with sage and prosciutto, clam pies, house-made pastas and Neapolitan-style pizzas. 7863 Girard Ave., 858-551-5105.

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The “chillaxin roll” will be in the offing at Sabuki Sushi's upcoming smackdown. (Courtesy WickedCreative) In an effort to gauge customer satisfaction on its food, Sabuku Sushi in Normal Heights has launched a monthly series of “sushi smackdowns” that allow guests to sample and rate 17 menu items for $35. The tasting includes things like “no-so-miso soup,” bite-size rolls, sashimi, desserts and more. Since starting the promotion a couple months ago, the restaurant’s bacon rolls have netted the highest points. The next smackdown is scheduled for 6 p.m., April 20. Also in the pipeline: Guest brewers are coming in once a month to match their suds to sushi rolls crafted specifically for those events. The lineup includes Stone Brewing Company on April 27 and Mother Earth Brew Company on May 18. Prices for the pairings range from $16 to $20. 3027 Adams Ave., 619-281-9700. —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at


GAY SAN DIEGO April 3 - 16, 2015

Where’s mama? Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. Until last week, I hadn’t ducked into Mama’s Bakery & Lebanese Deli for at least 15 years. Its name may have been slightly different back then, perhaps with “Lebanese” in front of “bakery” and “deli” not even in the title. What I do remember were the large meal portions and hot, airy flatbreads sliding off an authentic globe-shaped saj oven and landing alongside my baba ghanouj. The original owner was an endearing woman who everyone called “mama.” She opened the eatery in 1988 and has since retired. After changing hands a few times, the current “mama” in the house is Eddie Haidar, an affa-

Pesto hummus and baba ghanouj with flatbread (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)


Mama’s Bakery & Lebanese Deli 4237 Alabama St. (North Park) 619-677-6767 Prices: Appetizers and salads, $3.99 to $8.99; wraps and savory pies, $5.99 to $7.99; entrees, $6.49 to $11.99 ble fellow who previously ran a computer wholesale business. A few other things have changed since my last visit. The patio-like dining area, which sits adjacent to the small kitchen, has been spruced up with sturdier tables and a mossy green paint job. Additionally, prices have gone up, but only a notch. Nearly everything on the menu is $10 or less. The original saj oven remains in place, a workhorse that continues puffing up the same recipe for whole wheat pita flatbread that mama introduced 27 years ago. The soft, pockmarked disks appear frequently; they come with hummus, baba ghanouj, lebni (strained yogurt) and meal plates. They’re also the basis for a variety of wraps and savory Lebanese pies brimming with meats,

cheese and veggies. Our trio began with the usual lineup of starters indigenous to most Lebanese restaurants: smoky baba ghanouj, a lemon-spritzed salad and creamy hummus, which we took with an optional plop of pesto on top. The falafel balls we sampled, however, were dry and crumbly until slathering them with tahini sauce. Another appetizer of grilled or fried eggplant strips caught our attention. The friendly woman working the order counter recommended the fried version, saying it’s tastier. Made without breading, the flavor was sweet and agreeable, but the residual veneer of oil clinging to every piece wasn’t. Two of us ordered the “manaeesh ultimate,” a wrap capturing a blend of herbs and spices (zatar), plus tomatoes, olives, mint and lebni. The wraps were big, beautiful and intensely earthy in flavor. We also shared a meat pie filled with mildly seasoned ground beef, onions and tomatoes. Though moist and

The combo meat plate; fried eggplant with tahini sauce (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

satisfying, it became particularly perky after squeezing an accompanying lemon wedge over it. The five-star entrée was my other companion’s meat combo plate, an impressive piling of tender beef and chicken shawarma mingled with ground beef patties (kafta) revealing hints of onions and allspice. Tucked underneath was basmati rice, which turned scrumptious from the herb-kissed meats sitting on top. The plate is the most expensive on the menu, ringing in at $11.99. But with the inclusions of hummus, salad and hot pita, it’s one of the best meal deals I’ve seen anywhere lately. Mama’s menu has seemingly grown over the years, with choices extending to bean stew

(fool mudamas) with pickled vegetables; zatar presented several ways, Armenian beef sausage wraps and turkey-Swiss wraps with mayo and mustard, should you fancy a classic American sandwich swaddled in traditional Lebanese bread. But who needs that from a kitchen ruled by Middle Eastern spices and tenderly cooked meats? —Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at fsabatini@san.


(l to r) VinDiego hosts only the finest wineries; David and his wife Lynn Fraschetti are the sole proprietors of the popular event. (Courtesy VinDiego) FROM PAGE 1


At each festival, they approached the wineries in attendance and asked the people pouring the same two questions: What would you change, and, what did you like about the festival?” He said they got the same answer about what the wineries would change every single time. ‘“Get rid of the beer and the spirits,’” he said they told him. ‘“We’re tired of dealing with a bunch of drunks that don’t even know what the heck they’re drinking.’” The entrepreneur said it is clear that many wine festival organizers try to be everything to everyone, often including craft brews, tequila, rum, scotch and even vodka. “One shot of tequila and your palate is shot,” Fraschetti said, adding that usually by the time attendees get around to the wine booths, they are too inebriated to appreciate what is being poured. “The wineries all call them ‘drunk fests.’” Avid wine lovers themselves, the Fraschettis noticed that same trend in San Diego’s wine scene, where too many spirits and food vendors were diluting the whole concept of a wine festival. As a result, many wineries weren’t seeing the benefit and were pulling out. “It’s a new crop of wineries all the time, year after year, because they all say ‘heck with it,’” Fraschetti said. He and Lynn, a full-time fashion recruiter, decided to change that. VinDiego is built on several important premises: 1) there are no spirits, just a limited number of great wines; 2) only the finest wineries are chosen to participate; 3) there is a cap on attendance; and 4) the number of food vendors are also limited. The focus at VinDiego is on wine, wine, and more wine. With that formula and a business model in hand, Fraschetti said he makes a promise to each winery. “VinDiego is going to be a high class, high-end event, not a typical drunk fest,” he said he tells prospective clients. “You’re going to find that our attendees — because we’re not going after the super young demographics who are just there to get hammered — are people who enjoy

wine; whether they be serious sommeliers or people who just want to have a great glass of wine and learn more about it.” He’s definitely doing something right; VinDiego’s first year sold out at the Port Pavilion on Broadway, and they doubled in size the second year, relocating to Liberty Station. Now in its third year, he has a 72 percent return rate on the wineries, something he calls “unbelievable,” but not when you consider those wineries are continually thanking him for keeping his promise. “It’s a small operation and it’s amazing what we can accomplish and get done,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but man oh man, it’s rewarding to see how popular it’s become.” You can sense his enthusiasm for his new career, though Fraschetti still travels the country throughout the year meeting with clients. His visits are something the wineries tell him is unusual, claiming they are the ones doing the traveling to get included at such events. “It is important because they truly are my partners in this,” he said. “I can’t do it without them. I’ve been in sales my entire career. I know how important customer service and that relationship is. They need to know who I am and the VinDiego story and what we are creating here.” Though Temecula has a burgeoning wine country right in our backyard and a number of wineries are popping up in Ramona that are trying to establish themselves, Fraschetti has only chosen a handful of wineries from all of San Diego County to participate, because he wants his attendees to have a one-of-akind experience. “We are very, very selective as to whom we allow to come to VinDiego to pour,” he explained. “Our tickets are not inexpensive and we want great quality wine; unless that winery can show us and demonstrate to us that they consistently produce great wines, they’re not invited. I don’t even reach out to a lot of wineries for that same reason.” VinDiego started as a oneday event in 2013, but last year they added a special fundraising element on Friday night called the “Sunset Rare and Reserve Tasting.” It will take place April 10 from 6 – 8:30 p.m. at NTC Liberty Station’s

McMillin Event Hall and include less than a third of the wineries on hand for Saturday’s Grand Tasting event. With Brad Perry from KUSI emceeing and only a maximum of 350 tickets available to ensure it remains intimate, Fraschetti said for $125, attendees will enjoy live music, tray-passed hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, and tastings of the very top end wines that these 20 wineries produce — none of which will be poured on Saturday. Proceeds from Friday night’s silent auction and a portion of the tickets sales will go to Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank. Tickets for the Grand Tasting on Saturday are $95, with VIP $125, which gives ticket holders admission an hour earlier.

GAY SAN DIEGO April 3 - 16, 2015 Groups of 10 or more will pay $70 each for general admission. Fraschetti recommends attendees “scour” the VinDiego website before they arrive, since links to all 75 participating wineries are readily available there. Wineries at the Grand Tasting will be organized geographically by region: Paso Robles; Napa; Sonoma; Santa Barbara County including Santa Ynez Valley; Santa Lucia in Monterey County; Oregon; and a few small wineries from Lodi and San Diego County. In addition, a special Paso Robles CAB (Cabernet and Bordeaux) Collective will be on hand to share their best wines. Food, while not the focus, is indeed a necessity at an event like this, and Fraschetti has


signed up a diverse group of 17 food vendors. “Good food pairs with great wine and that’s what we are all about,” he said. “I’m just like a little kid when I’m at VinDiego. I look around and see smiling faces and I have to pinch myself.” VinDiego’s Grand Tasting is Saturday, April 11, from 4 – 7 p.m. with a special “Rare and Reserve Tasting” fundraiser for Jacob and Cushman San Diego Food Bank on Friday, April 10, from 6 – 8:30 p.m. at NTC Liberty Station. For more information or to buy tickets, visit —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at morgan@sdcnn. com.t


GAY SAN DIEGO April 3 - 16, 2015

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