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MARCH 2017 Events, LGBTQ+ Prom and more!

Spring Garden Planner

Phillip & Vincent: a Story

LGBTQ+ Health

SCYLLA KONE


Letter from the Editor Dear Co community, You may have already noticed that we are releasing our first spring issue one day late. We are sorry to say that among our very small Co-ZINE staff, times have been hard this month! But we are still here, because tough times call for community. When I’m deep inside my own hardships, I often find that the most important thing I can do is reach out to others. I’m not afraid to let someone know if I need support, and in turn, I’m always ready to give some back. This is why I’m so happy to be part of the Co Community. We remind each other every day how important it is to be all-inclusive, compassionate, and there for each other. That’s what it means to be part of a community, after all! So, this spring, the Co-ZINE team wants to remind you that we are still here for you as a resource to join your community, explore far off communities, and as a bridge to other resources, should you ever need help. If you have any questions, would like to help with or submit to Co-ZINE, I can always be reached at codubuque.cozine@gmail.com. Thank you for reading! We love you!

Andrea Becker, editor in chief

@ The Smokestack March 30th, 7:00 pm

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KEY

KEY

Start a Spring Garden

Area Events

Scylla Kone’s Story

LGBTQ+ Health

Hepatitis C in Iowa

Help Raise Funds for Marcia and Mary

8 12 13 16 17

20 Palmer Hair Design 23 Phillip and Vee: a Story 28 Zodiac 32

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Co-ZINE | codbq.org


Editor in Chief Andrea Becker

Co-ZINE is a monthly, online publication. Links to this publication are found at www.codbq.org/cozine, but Co-ZINE is not an affiliate of Co Dubuque. The views represented in Co-ZINE are strictly those of their authors and do not represent the views of Co-ZINE or Co Dubuque staff members or volunteers. Advertisements involving products or services are not investigated by Co-ZINE, and Co-ZINE does not claim responsibility for these products or services. © 2017 Co-ZINE

Layout and Design Alina Crow

Contact Co-ZINE contact.cozine@gmail.com

Headquarters

Co Dubuque 1900 John F Kennedy Rd. Dubuque, IA 52002

President (Co) Luis Morteo

Vice President (Co)

180 MAIN ST, DBQ

Cindy Lewis

Call for Writers and Artists

We consider submissions from members of the LGBTQ+ and ally community. .

Articles

 • Personal Experiences  • Opinion Pieces  • Photography/Art  • Journalism  • …and more!

Submit to

contact.cozine@gmail.com

Notification

Applicants will be notified by March 25th, 2017.

/THELIFTDUBUQUE

March 2017 | Co-ZINE

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hi! i’m laura klavitter, horticulture educator for iowa state university extension AND OUTREACH in dubuque reminding you that it’s

time

to start thinking about

starting seeds

(!)

FIRST, ASK YOURSELF, “WHAT DO MY FAMILY AND I LIKE TO EAT?”

SO, FOR INSTANCE, IF YOU ALWAYS HAVE CHIPS AND SALSA AROUND YOUR HOUSE LIKE I DO, START THERE when you’re picking out seeds.

you’ll be more motivated to tend to your crops in the long run, and you’ll spend less energy and time figuring out what to do with them.

whatever you do, keep it simple and consider growing extra.

there are lots of options for excess produce, from canning and preserving

to sharing with your neighborhood. to donating to somewhere that helps those in need.

pa

y r nt


y

this is also the time to consider joining a community garden

it’s not all hard work-- it can be a lot of fun!

community gardening is a great way to meet people and get your family and friends involved.

you get to learn from others, or at least share your discoveries.

you get to pool supplies, tools, labor, time and other resources. things that might not have been achievable on your own suddenly become a reality!

it also provides an opportunity that you might not have if you live in an apartment or don’t have a yard.

so how do i join? does it cost money?

sometimes, but they’re all structured differently. some are free, some aren’t, some offer individual plots, some have shared spaces. you just have to explore what’s in your area.

what if there isn’t a community garden near me? you could look into starting your own, if your’e crazy enough. it’s a great idea, but a lot of work.

just get feedback and make sure there’s interest. the main reason community gardens fail is a lack of volunteer support.

also, don’t make your neighbors mad, and learn everything you can about local laws, ordinances and customs.

that said, you might find plenty of support for the idea. sometimes, you can find city lots on the cheap, and you might also find funding opportunities from community groups or home and garden stores.


now, lettuce

pick out seeds if you start the following crops now, you can put them in the ground about mid-may to be safe from the last frost. broccoli and kale can go in earlier if hardened (acclimated) properly. everything in the top row likes the soil temp to be warm so wait until at least mid-may.

direct sOw

*

* eggplant

t o m at o

cucumber

pepper

you can sow these seeds directly in the ground all root vegetables *lettuce beans peas *melons SQUASH *CUCUMBERS POTATOES ONIONS CORN

melon m e lo n

*

cabbage

broccoli

lettuce

kale ADJUST YOUR STARTS BY TAKING THEM OUT WHEN THE WEATHER IS FAVORABLE AND START WITH PARTIAL SUN (this process is called “hardening off”. BRING THEM IN WHEN THE TEMP DROPS. DO THIS FOR AT LEAST A WEEK. AFTER A COUPLE OF WEEKS YOU CAN PLANT YOUR STARTS WHEN THE WEATHER IS RIGHT.

you will need potting soil cell p ack sprayer

or

LID

S

or

or

or

syringe

baster egg shell

paper cup

tp roll

c sti pla ap wr

damp towel

soil plugs

or

+ paper pot maker

er

popsicle stick + seed packet

popsicle stick

p spa

new

heat mat lighting *(optional)

or

(more on the next page)


ready? let’s begin! 1

2

fill containers with soil

create a depression about three seeds deep. place three seeds into the hole.

3

pre-wet your soil by mixing water and soil into a bucket. follow the instructions on the bag as this step is very important!

more than one seed means better chances of something coming up, plus you get to pick the best one

5

4

6 germinating…

cover the seeds with soil. don’t pack it down, just smooth the soil over

cover the tray. be sure to punch holes for ventilation.

wait patiently! just make sure the soil stays moist. place on your heat mat if you’RE using one.

7

as soon as you see the first sign of green, uncover and move into the light!

fluorescent

natural + artificial light led

no incandenscent good and very affordable

8

after a few days, you should notice that those other seeds are coming up to. pick the best one and thin out the rest.

even better but less affordable

maximum plant happiness!

congrats! you’re well on your way. don’t worry, have fun, and see you in the garden!

p

sni

ab

gr

dominicvelando.com


EVENTS

IA & Tri-States Cedar Rapids Events PFLAG Monthly Meeting Thu, March 9th, 7pm – 9pm Grant Wood Area Education, 4401 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404, United States Belle’s Basix Drag Show Every Friday and Saturday $5 @ the door and cover starts at 9 p.m. 3916 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa The Crucible, Theatre Cedar Rapids March 24rd to the 31st, $21 - $30 102 3rd Street SE, Cedar Rapids, 52401 /

Des Moines Meetings for Parents of Gender-Creative Kids Children’s Library at Plymouth Church 3rd Wednesday of every month, 6 p.m. 4126 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312 Beauty and the Beast, Civic Center 233 Center St, Des Moines, IA 50309 March 28th 7:30 PM Tickets start at $15.00 Feminine Wiles: A Burlesque Revue Iowa Stoner Theater, 221 Walnut St, Des Moines, IA 50309, March 11th 8PM, $21.50 I See You Made An Effort, Febst – Match 12th The Temple Theater, $20.00 - $38.00 Des Moines Diversity Chorus Welcomes New Singers at Westminster Presbyterian Church Monday evenings, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. 4114 Allison Ave, Des Moines, IA

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Des Moines Vet Center LGBTQ Support Group 2nd Monday of every month, Vet Center 1821 22nd Street #115, West Des Moines, 50266 First Friday Breakfast Club (FFBC) Hoyt Sherman Place, 1501 Woodland Ave, Des Moines, IA, 1st Friday of every month, 7:00 a.m. LGBTQIA Sexual Assault Support Group 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month; 7:00 p.m., 3030 Merle Hay Rd, 50310 PFLAG in Des Moines, Unitarian Universalist Church, Every 3rd Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. 1800 Bell Ave, Des Moines, IA POCQAT, Monsoon Community Resource Center 1st Sunday of the month from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. 4952 Franklin Ave, Des Moines, IA Transformations Iowa, Community Room of the Mickle Center, Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. Wednesdays: Community Room of the Mickle Center, 1620 Pleasant St, Des Moines, IA, Saturdays: Urbandale United Church of Christ, 3530 70th St, Urbandale, IA

Quad Cities Connections Game Night, Wednesdays 822 W 2nd St. Davenport, IA Connections Drag Show, Fridays at 11:00PM Connections Night Club, 822 W 2nd St. Davenport, IA

Continued on page 27


saa

SCYLLA KONE B

eing raised by a single lesbian mother and having an interest in androgyny, fashion, and queer pop culture, it should come as no surprise that I turned out to be a drag queen. Throughout life, I’ve found myself enjoying the aesthetics and humor of androgynous and trans celebrities such as Jeffree Star, Johnnyboyxo and Chris Crocker. I thought their modes of self-expression through comedy and visual art were exciting and refreshing as opposed to heteronormative pop culture. It really took off a few years ago. My friend Emilia introduced me to a show on YouTube known as “Willam’s Beatdown”. It was a show where drag celebrity Willam Belli would react to internet videos by using insult humor against the people shown in the videos. At the time I had no idea how big drag culture was, or even who RuPaul was, but it wasn’t long before I fell into the rabbit hole of binge-watching movies, shows, and videos surrounding drag. I started watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, a reality show about drag queens competing in challenges involving comedy, acting, dancing, and fashion. I was very inspired to start doing drag by Sharon Needles, Jinkx Monsoon, Milk, but most of all, Trixie Mattel. Trixie

made me believe there were no boundaries in drag. You could paint your face as crazily as you wanted to and still be a success. I was absolutely devastated when she was sent home so early in season seven. I knew that later, one of the eliminated contestants would return, so I promised myself that I would start practicing drag if it was Trixie. Needless to say, her return to the competition was final factor that helped me decide to pursue my interest in drag. The following summer, I got my first job. I was sixteen and spent all of my money on drag: makeup, wigs, costumes, shoes. I spent more than $1,300 on drag in less than six months. Now, even though I had all of the materials, I had no idea how to use them. I came across a profile on Facebook for “Jonathan Ramirez” and noticed the nickname “Anabelle Lektor”. I creeped through his profile and instantly became obsessed with his makeup artistry. To show my appreciation of his work, I jokingly posted on his wall, “Teach me how to make-up!” I didn’t know it yet, but that post was the catalyst for a friendship that would change my life forever. He sent me a message expressing how he’d be happy to help me with makeup, to give me advice and tips. I practiced making myself

March 2017 | Co-ZINE

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up in my bedroom frequently, showing him the outcome, gratefully absorbing his constructive critique and advice. Over time, we became more than teacher and student. We became best friends. We talked about more than just makeup and drag – we talked on the phone, video chatted on Skype, we reminisced about liking Jeffree Star and “Blood on the Dancefloor” when we were younger, and even quoted lines from their videos, laughing and having fun. We bought each other Christmas gifts, and complained about our boyfriends. We truly became sisters. The most challenging part of my drag career soon followed. What would my drag name be? It needed to be unique, interesting, and memorable. I created so many that didn’t make the cut: Envy Tension, Baby Swiss… I asked Anabelle for advice, because after all, Anabelle Lektor is the coolest drag name I know. He told me that it needed to be special to me and have significance in my life. He was a fan of Hannibal Lecter, so naturally Anabelle Lektor was the perfect name for him. I went through hundreds of names before mine came to me. Then, one day, I was sitting in my mom’s car brainstorming and it came to me. I was really into this video game called SMITE, which featured characters from mythology. One character’s name

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was Scylla, a terrifying sea monster disguised as a little girl. She’d trick sailors into saving her from drowning in the ocean, but once they saved her, she viciously shipwrecked them. I decided to name myself SCYLLA KONE (Silicone). A perfect name for the mixture of a devious sea monster and a substance used in plastic surgery. About a year after Anabelle and I became friends, I was deciding where I wanted to go to college. I was really interested in the Chicago drag scene, with icons such as Imp Queen, Lucy Stoole, and Nico Bombshell. I was also interested in what South California had to offer, and luckily for me, that’s where Anabelle Lektor lived. My mom and I discussed making the trip so I could visit schools and she could vacation. We set up a tour with a school in Southern California and before I knew it, I was on my first flight to LAX. I had told Anabelle the news, and he was excited to meet me. I couldn’t believe I was meeting an online friend of a year – who lived across the country, no less – in real life. The time I spent with Anabelle went by way too fast. He painted my face, we went shopping downtown for cheap fabric, eyelashes, and jewels. He even took photos of me in drag outside of the large


made a costume for the show. I was really nervous to be leaving the house in drag for the first time, but I had the support of friends and family. The art show was amazing, I got to walk down a runway in the costume I made, makeup done by me, and hair styled by me. It was satisfying to know all my hard work paid off even if only for a fraction of a minute of one night. Shortly after the art show, I received a message from a friend of a friend. She asked me how old I was, and told me she could get me a chance to perform in Dubuque. She got me in touch with a drag queen named Marsha, who gave me the opportunity to perform three numbers in a drag show at The Smokestack. I was ecstatic. I started planning my songs, and creating costumes to go along with them. The days before the show seemed to get shorter and shorter, and in the blink of an eye I was on stage, dressed in fishnets and balloons, standing before all of my friends, lip-syncing to “E.T.” by Katy Perry. The evening passed rapidly, and I was so in the moment that I can hardly remember it! That night was the first of many spent at The Smokestack with Dubuque kings and queens... and I look forward to more that will come.

gay venue there, WTF Fridays. I ended up skipping the school tour to spend more time with him. I would later apologize to my mom for that, but she wanted me to go to school in Chicago anyway, so it all worked out. It saddens me to think that we won’t be living in the same city when I move out, but I know we both have bright futures ahead of us, and we will exist in the rest of each other’s lives. A lot changed in February of 2016. I competed in Iowa’s All-State Speech Competition for my school, I’d just ended a relationship to focus on myself, and I was planning on showcasing my drag in my school’s art show. I practiced makeup, walking in heels, and even

So here I am now; 17 years old, almost finished with high school at Dubuque Senior, and getting ready to move to Chicago for school in August. I was recently accepted into Douglas J. Aveda Institute of Chicago’s cosmetology program, and I’m ready to be there to continue my education. I still practice drag makeup and create costumes regularly when I have time, because I think it’s important to never stop practicing a craft that you love, and constantly trying to better yourself. I’ve had amazing opportunities for my drag this year, between my art show, The Smokestack, getting drag portfolio pictures done by my best friends, and having the support of a couple thousand people online. I’m thankful I was given the opportunity to write this article for you now through Co-ZINE, and I hope this pushes you to never stop practicing your passions, because through hard work and dedication you will persevere. There will be so many moments that reassure you that hard work pays off. Finally, if there’s one thing I could say to others beginning drag, or any passion, I’d quote from legendary makeup artist Mathu Andersen: “Talent is thousands of hours of work.”

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LGBTQ+ Health C

rescent Community Health Center (CCHC) is committed to providing equitable, inclusive care for LGBTQ patients and their families, who often face critical challenges in securing quality health care and the respect they deserve. CCHC’s staff recognize that LGBTQ patients often have unique needs that require equally unique responses. We have the range of experience and expertise to bring health, hope, and peace of mind to our LGBTQ patients, regardless of what issues they may be facing. Our services include: •

General Health Exams/Physicals & Immunizations

Preventative Care: GYN exams, IUD Insertion/Removal

STD/HIV testing

Specialty care referrals

Chronic disease management

Adolescent-specific care

Acute care concerns

• Referrals given for mammograms, colonoscopy, age and gender appropriate services, etc. recommended by the U.S Preventive Task Force Crescent Community Health Center opened its doors in October of 2006. Founded by a group of dedicated board members, made up of the community who identified the need for primary medical and dental care for underserved populations. Since then, Crescent has been providing primary and preventative care to the members of our community.

Come see us at Crescent, where you're a person, not just a patient.

www.CrescentCHC.org 1789 Elm Street Suite A Dubuque,        IA     52001                                                        563.690.2850

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Hepatitis C Virus IN IOWA

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). HCV is the most common blood-borne illness in the United States. Hepatitis C can cause serious health problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death.

HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE HCV?

As of December 31, 2015, there were 21,748 Iowans diagnosed with hepatitis C who were reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Based on this number of reports, there are likely 35,865 to 136,900 Iowans with hepatitis C infections, with 15,330 to 117,174 of these cases undiagnosed.

WHO IS INFECTED?

63% of hepatitis C cases reported to IDPH as of March 2016 were among people between 45 and 64 years of age. However, many new cases are among those 30 years of age and younger. Age Distribution of People Living with HCV 80 Percentage

WHAT IS HEPATITIS C?

60 40 20 0

WHERE IN IOWA?

18-30

31-44

45-64

65+

Age Group

Over 55% of people living with HCV who were ages 18 to 64 reported residency in one of six counties: Polk, Linn, Scott, Woodbury, Pottawattamie, and Black Hawk.

HEPATITIS C CASES ARE INCREASING

HCV diagnoses have increased sharply in Iowa since 2000. Over 2,000 Iowans were diagnosed in 2015, an increase of 182% since 2000. HCV diagnoses among those between ages 18 to 30 have increased 300% since 2009.

WHO SHOULD GET TESTED    

Those who currently or have ever injected drugs Those who were born between 1945 and 1965 Those who received blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992 Those who are living with HIV

For more information on hepatitis C and to view the recently released profile of Hepatitis C in Iowa, please visit: http://idph.iowa.gov/hivstdhep/hep/hep-c. Bureau of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis Iowa Department of Public Health 321 E 12th St. Des Moines, IA, 50319-0075

Number of People

Hepatitis C Cases Reported Each Year 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0

Year

Men make up a majority of Hepatitis C cases ever reported to the IDPH.

Women 37% Men 62%

Issued December 2016

March 2017 | Co-ZINE

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MOVIES

MINDFRAME

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Marcia and Mary’s Story H

ello, everyone! Let me introduce myself and my wife to you. My name is Mary and my wife’s name is Marcia. We met via an online dating service in September of 2006. We messaged each other via the service for two weeks, then I took the plunge, paid the fee and got her email address so we could take it further. We emailed and spoke every day for another two weeks.

moved to ICU as her heart rate doubled. Marcia has since been moved to a Rehab Facility in Des Moines, Iowa. This facility, four hours from home, was the nearest facility they could get her into right away. We have learned that she will never be able to do stairs again, so we are on a search for a new apartment. Also we learned from the results of a CT scan that she also has degenerative disc disorder.

We eventually met in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where I lived in October 2006. Marcia was living in her hometown of Dubuque, Iowa. Our first date was hilarious. She arrived the night before she was due to arrive… I was forewarned, but what made it hilarious was the fact when we met, she accidently locked her keys in her car in the pouring rain. She had to call somebody to open the car – to this day, we still laugh about that incident.

As a self-employed contractor for the local newspaper, I have never had any extra money to put away for the rainy day that has now hit us. Marcia served her country for 15 years in the Navy. She was stationed mainly State-side but she did serve in Oahu, Hawaii and she did two deployments in Okinawa Japan. She loved the people she met and served with during her time in the Navy.

On November 25th, 2006, Marcia moved to Kenosha to be with me and we have been together ever since. We moved back to Marcia’s hometown in September, 2007. On November 22nd, 2013 we got legally married.

We are currently holding two fundraisers to help support Marcia and make sure her medical bills and her needs are taken care of till she is in receipt of disability, which is a long and difficult process. We have a GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/ marciak and locally, we are holding a Chili Supper Benefit on March 10th from 5pm till 8pm at the Smokestack (62 East 7th Street, Dubuque, IA). At the chili supper, we will hold a raffle with many great prizes already donated. If you live nearby and wish to join us, have a good night, and help raise funds to support a Veteran and her wife please come. The more the merrier!

The reason I am sharing our story today is because on January 31st of this year, Marcia suffered a stroke with no warning signs at all. She is only 53 years young and the only insurance Marcia had was through the VA. We have huge bill coming from the first hospital they took her to in Dubuque... after her admittance here, she was transferred to the VA in Iowa City, and two days later

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QUOTE

of the month

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

John Holmes

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PALMER

Award-Winning Native Dubuquer Returns to His Roots

P

almer Hair Design is located at Center Grove Suites in Dubuque and was founded by Paul Palmer, or as he prefers, Palmer. “The use of Palmer as my formal name really began to stick early in my career while I was living in Arizona and working as a Platform Artist for companies like Sebastian, Paul Mitchell, Focus 21 and Zoto’s,” he said. “It was during that time I earned Arizona Hair Dresser of the Year, and runner up the following year.” Palmer was just easier, and it was his childhood nickname, too. Palmer is the son of Dick and Genna and he graduated from Hempstead High School in 1976.

Palmer is also a certified laser technician and served as Director of Skin Care at Heartland Plastic Surgery Center. He will formally begin serving clients at Palmer Hair Design from October 15, 2017. Learn more at www.palmerhairdesign.com. 3338 Center Grove Drive, Suite 106 • Dubuque, IA 52003 • 563.690.1527 ext. 2206

Palmer is returning to Dubuque after working in the Des Moines area for twenty-one years. There, he started his Salon and Day Spa by Palmer and won “Best of Des Moines” by City View Magazine and Business Publication two years in a row. Palmer also launched the first M.A.C. Cosmetics counter in West Des Moines in collaboration with Holly Mordini of Global Artistry for Smashbox Cosmetics. Also among Palmer’s entrepreneurial experiences are photo projects and talent scouting. “I did a great deal of research prior to moving back to the community,” Palmer said. “My research confirmed there is incredible talent here and that’s exciting to me. It allows me the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals in all areas of beauty and skin care to help clients achieve their very best look. That’s my goal and what is personally fulfilling to me as a[n] artist.”

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photos by Andrea Becker


Quad Cities March Events Mary’s on 2nd St. Sunday Funday with Bobby!!!! Euchre Tournament Every Sunday at 5 PM Sharp 832 W 2nd St, Davenport, IA 52802, $5

We are not authentic! We are HOME COOKING!

Michael Londra’s Celtic Fire, Adler Theatre Thursday, March 16th 7:30 PM 136 E. 3rd Street, Davenport, IA, 563.326.8500 Tickets ($25, $25, $55) 800-745-3000.

Iowa City Events GLBTQ Movie Open to Public for FREE Every Monday at 4:00 p.m. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. for seating Iowa City Senior Center, 28 South Linn Street, Iowa City, IA Lady Macbeth, Riverside Theatre Febth – March 12th, 7:30 pm – 9pm $28 - $30 213 N GILBERT STREET, IOWA CITY Sasha Belle Friday Drag & Dance Party Every Friday, 8pm , Studio 13, South Linn Street, Iowa City, IA

1091 University Ave. • Dubuque, Iowa 52001

563.556.0563

Mon.-Sat. 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM Sunday 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM

BOOK OUR FOOD TRUCK FOR SPECIAL EVENTS!

Madison Events Aces Wild, March 18th @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm 2701 International Lane, Suite 101 Madison, WI 53704 (608)-255-8582 Open Annual Dinner March 10th @ 6:00 am - 9:00 pm 1 John Nolen Dr., Madison, 53703, $65.00 - $480.00 The Bed, March 18th 800 Langdon St , Madison, 53703 $10.00 - $29.00 2pm matinees on March 11, 12, 19. PFLAG Madison Meeting March 19th @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm 1704 Roberts Court, Madison, WI Rollers (Retired Older Lesbians) Lunch March 21st 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm Elie’s Family Restaurant, Madison, WI, 4102 Monona Dr Queer Tango Lessons $15.00 March 6, 13, 19 and 27th @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Happy Bambino, 4116 Monona Dr., Madison

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Phillip & Vincent

by Jeremy Stough. Jeremy is an Iowa native, currently living in Dubuque with his partner Scott, and their guinea pig, Chabi.

P

hillip hated the drive home. It wasn’t particularly arduous, nor was it dangerous. The only factor that made the ten mile exercise daunting was, simply, boredom. After living most of his adult life in Tempe, Arizona, Phillip had been overjoyed to find himself in Iowa. The bland reds, tans and browns swapped for luscious greens. The overt tapestry of fallen leaves in the fall had also been a welcome sight. What he hadn’t been prepared for, wasn’t the winter, but the short time directly before it. After the last leaves had finally given up their grip and tumbled to the ground, but before the flurries of snow began to coat everything in bright, pure dazzling white. In that short interim, the entire state seemed to become white-washed, and appear only in shades of gray. The fields had all been harvested, leaving only dry husks and furrowed mounds of dirt. The bare trunks of trees appeared gray and lifeless. It certainly didn’t help much that the sun was semi-permanently hidden in the overcast sky. Phillip sighed and adjusted his hands on the steering wheel. Even the old country highway he was driving down was gray, having been made of pavement as opposed to asphalt. If it weren’t for the bright yellow lines down the center of the road, he’d probably fall into wondering if he’d actually lost the ability to see colors. His mind drifted off for a moment, following that line of thought.

“I wonder if that’s actually a thing…” Phillip said aloud to the empty car. “Late onset complete color blindness. I bet Vee would probably know. I’ll have to ask him when I get home.” Phillip shook his head and returned to the present, just in time to see a speed limit sign. It was one of the few landmarks available to navigate. He was almost home. For the last four years, since he’d moved to Iowa, Phillip had lived in, and now around, the city of Dubuque. It was a decent place, the people were nice, but he found it dreadfully boring. Compared to the sights and smells, the hustle and bustle of the cities he’d previously lived in, Dubuque’s historic calm, and serene beauty were almost... too quiet. When he’d first moved in, it had been himself, Vee and four other roommates living in a small house in a residential neighborhood. Two of the roommates had gotten married, and moved out to start their lives together. Another had moved to Indianapolis, with his long time girlfriend. The fourth had more-or-less dropped off the face of the planet, choosing an over-the-road trucking career and living in the tractor-trailer instead of renting a place he’d almost never see. After that, Phillip and Vee had moved to a large place on Main Street. It had been right in the heart of Dubuque’s downtown district. It had been nice, but expensive. Finally, they’d found their current home. It was a small farmhouse, a few miles out from the city. It had a modestly sized yard, and solitude. It was surrounded on three sides by fields, also owned by the man they were renting the house from. The place had all of the rustic charm that Phillip had come to expect of Iowa, and also happened to be in their price range. Slowing down just enough to make the corner, Phillip turned onto an old dirt road. He knew that he was being too hard on the city. Most of the hardships he’d experienced since moving there had either been his own fault, or of no relationship to Dubuque itself. He tried to focus on the happier memories, and there were quite a few. Hiking among the hills and cliffs. Walking out and looking over the grand beauty of the Mississippi. Even all of the people he’d met. It was difficult to attribute a word to, or even put a palpable statistic to, but there was just something different about the Midwest. It was subtle, but most definitely noticeable. He slowed slightly at the top of a hill. From that spot, he could gaze down onto his favorite view, not only in all of Dubuque, but probably the entire world. Nestled firmly at the base of the hill, surrounded by a thin perimeter of trees, was his home. It was a small, somewhat old-fashioned farm house. Two stories, painted white, with black trim. The gray tin roof parted slightly around a brick chimney, which was purely aesthetic. The lawn, neatly mowed not long ago, was just starting to appear unkempt. Phillip

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vaguely wondered if it would need to be mowed again. That was definitely a question Vee would be able to answer. Phillip pulled up the gravel driveway and paused for a moment before getting out of the car. He was looking up at the house. The drapes were all pulled, making the windows appear black from outside. Cement steps led up to the front door. Given the motif of everyday life in post-fall, pre-winter Iowa, he wasn’t a fan of the color scheme, but for better or worse, it was home. He stepped out of the car and stretched. It was cold outside, as December should be. But the constant breeze, the seemingly ceaseless gusts, had vanished. The air had taken on a strange, hushed sensation. It almost felt as though the world were building up to some unknown conclusion. Phillip shrugged, and made his way to the house. Inside, with the door shut firmly, the cold of the outdoors was almost completely forgotten. The heat was on, as it had been for weeks. More than that, though, was the heat that carried with it a scent. The telltale hint of savory meat, and what Phillip assumed were vegetables. The front door led directly into a small mud room. He deposited his coat onto a standing rock, and stepped into the kitchen. The warmth and smells enveloped him almost immediately. It was a large, country-style kitchen that had been recently redone. Bright and shiny linoleum reflected the overhead lighting, giving an added depth to the hanging and under-counter cabinets. The appliances had all been replaced with their newest counterparts. One of the best details, though, was the picture windows, just above the sink, looking out across the backyard. Phillip’s favorite part of the kitchen wasn’t a permanent facet, but a frequent one nonetheless. Standing in front of the oven, wearing a plain black apron and stirring a pot, was Vee. Vincent, or Vee for short, had been born and raised in rural Iowa. He’d never lived without the ever-present greenery of his home state, and never escaped the constant, looming threat of winter that accompanied it. The furthest he’d ever been from Iowa, Vee would often explain, was his trip to Arizona, to bring Phillip home. Taking care to move as silently as he could, Phillip slipped out of his shoes and began tip-toeing his way across the kitchen. Vee was in a world of his own, bobbing his head along to whatever song he happened to have gotten stuck. He never saw it coming. Phillip snuck up behind him, and in one fluid movement wrapped his arms around Vee’s stomach. Vee jumped, his entire body going rigid for a moment, before he turned around. “God! You scared the crap out of me!” Though he was trying to scold Phillip, he had a wide smile on his face, and a mischievous glint in his eye.

Phillip sat at his desk, checking through various social networks. Vee, not far away, was lying on the sofa, book in hand. Occasionally, Phillip would look up and glance at Vee. His face always seems so calm, so placid. It had been a long standing mystery as to what thoughts may be swirling beneath the smooth surface. He was currently entertaining such curiosities, and also reconsidering his harsh critique of Iowa from earlier, when Vee suddenly set his book aside, and stood up. Phillip watched him, various. Vee walked slowly over to a small closet, and grabbed a blanket, draping it over the couch. He then disappeared into the kitchen. Phillip could hear drawers open and close, and rustling. After a moment, Vee returned, carrying a candle. “What are you doing?” Phillip finally asked. “Come here.” Vee smiled, He lit the candle, and set it on the small coffee table in front of the couch. As Phillip stood, Vee flicked a light switch, casting the room into relative darkness. “Okay, but…” Phillip moved through the darkroom, dodging the silhouettes of furniture, “I’m still validly curious as to what you’re doing.” Vee continued to smile, the expression almost becoming frightening in the candlelight. Phillip sat on the couch, pulling the blanket over him. It was a thick quilt, evidently handmade. He couldn’t recall where they’d gotten it. Vee moved to a window, opposite the couch. The drapes were closed, offering privacy and helping to keep the warmth in. He grabbed onto the fabric and in a fluid, languid movement cast them open. The view was fairly minimal. The window opened onto the front yard. A light, perched on top of a large pole supporting the house’s power lines, illuminated a small circle of the yard. Generally, Phillip wasn’t a fan of the view. The solitary yard light casting a cold, white glow into the lonely darkness of their empty yard. The entire scene just seemed...melancholy. As Vee sat next to him, though, Phillip realized it was entirely different. Outside, the overcast sky had finally burst, letting loose the flurries it had held back. The flakes, small and fleeting, flashed in great waves across the light in the yard. The way they moved and swirled within the light was spell binding. Vee slid beneath the blanket, and moved to rest his head on Phillip’s shoulder. Phillip smiled, and wrapped his arm around Vee. Outside, winter was finally coming in full bore. Inside, in the warm orange light of the candle, with Vee sitting with him beneath the old quilt, Phillip had to smile. He had most certainly, he decided, been much too harsh on his critique of Iowa earlier. He leaned down and kissed Vee. Iowa was everything he could have ever wanted.

“Oh, you love it.” Phillip helped Vee finish up cooking, and they ate dinner together while speaking about their respective days. Vee worked from home, making his inputs more about the weather and trending news reports. For Phillip, it was mostly difficult calls he’d had to take, or any fun happenings around the office. They had at one point discussed, and occasionally revisited, the percentage of adult life that was nothing but mundane. It had been difficult for both of them to accept, but over time they had. With dinner completed, and the dishes started in the dishwasher, the two fell into an easy, contented silence. It was a part of their everyday life. After work, the two would cook together, eat, then separate for a moment of decompression.

March 2017 | Co-ZINE

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ZODIAC

ZODIAC

What Does Your Zodiac Sign Say?

Aquarius You know that love trumps all. Fight, fight, fight for that love and cherish it forever. It is the most important thing you could have. Do it for yourself and for others.

Leo Open your heart and “rub some dirt on it”. In other words: you need to heal. Tough love goes a long way, but how far will others go?

Virgo Pisces Maybe you can find solace in another, but if Understand that your emotions can damage you don’t recognize why you feel pain, you’ll others. That’s your own karma – it’ll come never solve the problem. It’s within yourself. back if you don’t keep them in check. Who You can decide what you feel. are you helping here? Libra Aries Dang, have you got things going for you! Hurry and see...! The circus is coming to town Keep under the radar and keep it up. Don’t and you want to be in the seats, not the enter- forget to organize a few gatherings, you social tainment. Be diligent and strive for resolution butterfly. or you may unravel. Scorpio Taurus Happiness is blessing you. You deserve it. Be Be the best at what you do and you will always happy and bask in the light when you can; have your stability. Plus, it feels good to have dark nights are all too familiar to you. something important to focus on. Sagittarius Gemini You have a life altering decision to make and Still moving at the speed of light and talking you need to know that it is for you. Know that even faster. Take a breath and enjoy the wits it is in your favor if you can accept it. Love is of others. Yes, other people have them too. worth it, and you deserve that love. Maybe you should start listening. Capricorn Cancer Keep hiding away and find yourself. It’s best Be wary of the advice you give. You are on the that no one sees. You cause too much ruckus inside and tend to know secrets. You can do and nobody needs that right now. Don’t damwhat is true and right, or cause harm. Beware! age anything more.

32 Co-ZINE | codbq.org/cozine


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Co-ZINE March 2017  

Co-ZINE is a community-focused publication seeking to showcase work by and for the LGBTQ+ and ally community. This issue features local quee...

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