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inside this issue Issue 700 | Vol. 29, #4 | January 2018

features NEWS 8

Letter From The Editor

12 News Briefs 14 Datebook


16 ADHS pilot project distributes more than 400 at-home HIV test kits throughout Arizona


18 Mr. Phoenix Leather competition celebrates 10th anniversary PREVIEWS AND REVIEWS 48 Without Reservations



50 At The Box Office 52 Recordings 54 Between The Covers

Year in Review In honor of issue 700, we invite you to take a look back at Echo Magazine’s top 7 stories of 2017.


Meet the 2017 Leaders of the Year Through their foundation, Bob and Renee Parsons are championing “underdog” causes, including LGBTQ nonprofits.

COMMUNITY 56 Talking Bodies 57 All Over The Map ON THE COVER A special thank you to all the photographers who contributed to Echo Magazine’s editorial and event coverage throughout 2017.





Safe Out This Valley support organization’s leadership shares reflections on first five years and refocus for 2018.


New Chapters for 2018 Arizona Theatre Company and Phoenix Chorale set the wheels of change in motion ahead of the new year.

inside this issue web exclusives PHOTO GALLERIES Did the Echo cameras catch you out and about at this month’s events? Find out at gallery/2017-photos. COMMUNITY CALENDAR From pageants to advocacy, this is where the community goes to find out what’s going on in the gayborhood. The Lotterys Plus One Echo’s bookworm Terri Schlichenmeyer explores the story of a very diverse family – for all ages.

A Visit To The Archives Echo Magazine published its 600th issue on Sept. 13, 2012. We invite you to take a look back at this milestone issue. community-calendar COMMUNITY DIRECTORY Looking for a local group to join? Have a group that’s seeking new members? Either way, this is the place to connect. community-directory MARKETING SOLUTIONS Find out why Echo is the publication your future clients are already reading.

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Guest Columnist Nanny-turned-award-winning journalist Sarah Toce recounts career-changing series of events.

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot For all the Out & About photos in this issue – and more – visit Echo’s online photo gallery.




LETTER FROM THE editor By KJ Philp


elcome to one of the wildest issues of the year! Not only do we masterfully craft the first issue of the new year while everyone else is still decking the halls and donning that gay apparel. We started diving head-first into 2018 weeks before the rest of the you had even touched the fruitcake. LOL. But no matter when you’re reading this, happy holidays! In case you missed the memo on the cover, we’re celebrating another holiday this season as well. Yes, since 1989 the Echo family has delivered 700 issues of “LGBTQ News, Views and Entertainment” to you, our beloved readers! For this milestone, we decided to celebrate 700 faces of Echo that we’ve captured throughout 2017. There may not be exactly 700, but you get the picture: it’s you who make us possible. And we certainly could not do what we do without the contributions of our writers, photographers and advertisers. Thank you for a very memorable 700, and we look forward to celebrating 800 issues with all of you in 2025. Now back to the present (it is still technically 2017 after all), we’ve revisited our top seven stories from this year for you in “A Year in Review” on page 27. If you’ve missed any of them the first time around, you can read the full stories at The truth is that that no matter what the new year has in store, we’re part of a wonderful community of individuals and we’ve been able to share so many unique stories throughout this year. But, as you know, we always save the best for last! Now I invite you to join me in congratulating Echo’s 2017 Leaders of the Year Bob and Renee Parsons. The best part about interviewing these philanthropic trailblazers was uncovering the ways in which their


generosity and support has directly impacted the LGBTQ community. But that’s just a teaser of what we have in store for you. We hope you get to know this Valley “power couple” a little better in “Dealing in Hope” on page 36. We also have some wonderful endof-the-year coverage for you here, too. It’s the season of change in the Valley! Team Echo wishes two of our community’s executive directors the best of luck in their new endeavors in 2018. Effective Jan. 1, both Linda Elliott, of one•n•ten, and Justin Owen, of Phoenix Pride, have announced that they will be stepping down from their respective roles. Find out more on what the future has in store for both of these local leaders at and elliott -retirement, respectively. Additionally, we caught up with the folks behind the scene of local support organization Safe Out to learn more about the mission – and how it’s changing for 2018. We’re thrilled to share the details with you in “Safe Out” on page 42. Last, but not least, more changes! Both Arizona Theatre Company and Phoenix Chorale gave us a sneak peek at the changes taking place behindthe-scenes this season. Join us in welcoming David Ivers and Billy Russo (ATC) and bidding a fond farewell to Charles Bruffy (Phoenix Chorale) in “New Chapters for 2018” on page 44.

KJ Philp is the managing editor of Echo Magazine. He can be reached at

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PUBLISHER: Bill Orovan ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Bill Gemmill EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR: KJ Philp CONTRIBUTORS: James Fanizza Tamara Juarez Laura Latzko Art Martori Liz Massey Devin Millington

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That’s it for 2017, thank you again for a memorable year. Team Echo wishes each and every one of you (our chosen family) a festive 2018. And may you slay all of your new year’s resolutions!



Echo Magazine is published by ACE Publishing, Inc. Echo is a registered trademark of ACE Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Written permission must be obtained in advance for partial or complete reproduction of any advertising material contained therein. Opinions expressed therein are not necessarily those of the publisher or staff. ACE Publishing, Inc. does not assume responsibility for claims by its advertisers or advice columnists. Publication of a name, photograph of an individual or organization in articles, advertisements or listings is not to be construed as an indication of the sexual orientation, unless such orientation is specifically stated. Manuscripts or other materials submitted remain the property of ACE Publishing, Inc.


news briefs

Phoenix Pride Announces Leadership Change Organization bids farewell to executive director The board of directors of Phoenix Pride has announced that the organization’s executive director of nearly five years, Justin Owen, will be departing his professional role at the agency Dec. 31. Owen has accepted the position of executive director of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy in Scottsdale, beginning Jan. 1, 2018. “For more than 20 years, the pride movement has been a home and an extended family for me, and serving as the executive director of Phoenix Pride over the past four and a half years has been the greatest honor and privilege of my career to date,” Owen stated. “I fully intend to remain connected to Pride in a volunteer capacity, and to stay active in pursuing equity and parity for Arizona’s entire LGBTQ community, even as I move into my new role beginning in January.” Under Owen’s nearly five years of leadership at Phoenix Pride, the organization has undergone tremendous

growth, and 2017 will stand as one of the most successful years in the agency’s history, with record attendance and revenue at the Phoenix Pride Festival and Parade April 1-2, Rainbows Festival Oct. 21-22 and local Unity Rally for Equality and Pride June 11. In addition, the agency awarded more than $80,000 in community grants and scholarships during the ninth annual Community Spirit Awards June 23. According to Mark Leeper, Phoenix Pride board president, the board has hired veteran business owner, Pride board member and community leader Michael Fornelli to serve as interim executive director upon Owen’s departure. “I am truly honored and humbled to be entrusted with the professional leadership of Phoenix Pride, an organization that I have loved, admired and supported for many, many years, and I am especially excited to continue working with Mark and the entire

Phoenix Pride board through this critical next phase of the organization’s existence,” Fornelli stated. Fornelli, owner and president of BS West in Scottsdale since 1992, has served as a festival entertainment manager and pageant director for Phoenix Pride since 2013, and joined the Phoenix Pride board of directors earlier this year. In addition, he is an Echo Magazine Hall of Fame inductee who serves as board director and chief of staff for USofA Pageantry and previously held a three-year term on the board of directors of local LGBTQ youth support organization one•n•ten. – Courtesy of Phoenix Pride.

READ THE REST For the full press release from Phoenix Pride, visit phoenix-pride-leadership.

NPR Releases LGBTQ Discrimination Poll Results NPR released the fifth portion of the series You, Me and Them: Experiencing Discrimination in America Nov. 21.

unfairly stopped or treated by the police because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Based on a survey conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, this multiplatform series will delve into personal experiences of discrimination in America from representative samples of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, whites, men, women and LGBTQ adults.

• 18% say they have avoided medical care, even when in need, due to concern that they would be discriminated against because of their LGBTQ identity. Additionally, of the LGBTQ Americans of color polled, • 32% say they have personally experienced discrimination because of their LGBTQ identity when applying for jobs, compared to 13% of white LGBTQ individuals.

The fifth portion explores the experiences of LGBTQ Americans: Key Findings: Of the LGBTQ Americans polled, • 57% have experienced slurs about their sexual orientation or gender identity. • 53% have experienced insensitive or offensive comments about their sexual orientation or gender identity. • 57% say that they or an LGBTQ friend or family member have been threatened or non-sexually harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. • 51% say they have been sexually harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 12



• 51% say they have experienced violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

• 24% say they have personally experienced discrimination because they are LGBTQ when interacting with the police, compared to 11% of white LGBTQ people.

• 34% say that they or an LGBTQ friend or family member have been verbally harassed in the bathroom or been told or asked if they were using the wrong bathroom.

• 15% say they have avoided calling the police even when in need, due to concern that they would be discriminated against because of their LGBTQ identity.

• 26% say that they or a friend or family member who is also LGBTQ have been unfairly stopped or treated by the police because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

For the full report on LGBTQ Americans, visit

• 26% say that they or a friend or family member who is also LGBTQ have been

For more analysis from NPR, visit news

OUT & ABOUT Sparkle, Glitter, GLSEN Nov. 16 at the Heard Museum, Phoenix. Photos by Jared Moore (JSM Photography).

For more Echo photos visit




datebook Dec. 22, 29 | Jan. 5, 12, 19 & 26

The Lesbian Social Network, an alcoholfree alternative to meeting women at bars that features games, discussions, special guests, movies and more, takes place every Friday from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Faith Alive Church, 801 E. Camelback Road, in Phoenix. lesbian-social-network-phoenix Jan. 5

Dec. 23

Rhymes With Equality, a community benefit for the film You Racist, Sexist, Bigot, will feature poetry, live art, dance and live music beginning at 7 p.m. at Valley Bar, 130 N. Central Ave., in Phoenix.

Jan. 14 & 21

Transgender Support Group with therapist Mary Brasch meets from 6 to 8 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the room at the Northwest corner of the parking lot at the corner 3040 E. Cactus Rd., Suite #6, in Phoenix.

Dec. 25

one•n•ten’s annual Queermas celebration, a safe and sober place for youth 11-24, will take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Youth Center, 1101 N. Central Ave., in Phoenix. Dec. 27

Cityskate It Forward, an ice skating event benefiting one•n•ten, will take place from 3 to 11 p.m. at CityScape, 1 E. Washington St., in Phoenix.

Jan. 6

The 2018 Mr. Phoenix Leather Contest, part of an event-filled leather weekend, will take place at 8 p.m. at Embassy Suites by Hilton Phoenix Airport, 2333 E. Thomas Road, in Phoenix. (See story, page 18.)

Phoenix Pride will host two January prelims, at the conclusion of which Miss Supreme and Miss Rock will be crowned and qualified to compete in the 2018 Phoenix Pride Pageant, beginning at 6 p.m. at BS West, 7125 E. Fifth Ave., in Scottsdale, and The Rock, 4129 N. Seventh Ave., in Phoenix. Jan. 20

Brunch Bash 2018, benefiting one•n•ten, will feature an extensive brunch spread and live acoustic music from noon to 6 p.m. at CityScape, 1 E. Washington St., in Phoenix. Jan. 20

Jan. 3, 10, 17 & 22 IGNITE Your Status invites the Phoenix LGBTQ community to its monthly mixer from 5:30 to 8:80 at Bliss/ReBAR, 905 N. Fourth St., in Phoenix.

Dec. 28 | Jan. 4, 11, 18 & 25

For Positive Men weekly meetings take place every Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Casa De Cristo, 1029 E. Turney Ave., in Phoenix. Dec. 28

Prelims for the Country Idol 2018, an annual singing competition sponsored by the Arizona Gay Rodeo Association, will take place at 9 p.m. at Bunkhouse (428 Seventh Ave.), The Cash (2140 E. McDowell Road), Los Diables (1028 E. Indian School Road) and Stacy’s @ Melrose (4343 N. Seventh Ave.) in Phoenix, respectively.

The Imperial Court of Arizona presents Red & Wild Strawberry Social, benefiting Muligan’s Manor, from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Rock, 4129 N. Seventh Ave., in Phoenix.



Jan. 20

You’re invited to join American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona communications director Steve Kilar for a session on Legal Developments for LQBTQ+ from noon to 1 p.m. at the University of Arizona Office of Diversity and Inclusion, 435 N. Fifth St., room C206, in Phoenix. Register:

Jan. 13

Arizona Drag Stars Holiday Bash, downtown Phoenix’s premier drag show, will feature Valentina and some of the Valley’s hottest performers beginning at 8 p.m. at Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second St., in Phoenix.


mark our calendars

To have your event considered for Echo’s print and online calendars, submit your event details to community-calendar. All submissions are subject to Echo’s discretion. events

OUT & ABOUT Transgender Day of Remembrance 2017 Nov. 20 at the State Capitol Building, Phoenix. Photos by Derek Archer.

For more Echo photos visit

OUT & ABOUT Phoenix World AIDS Day Vigil Dec. 1 at the Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, Phoenix. Photos by Derek Archer.

For more Echo photos visit




Testing, Testing ADHS pilot project distributes more than 400 at-home HIV test kits throughout Arizona By Tayler Brown and Kalle Benallie


ainbow flags hang proudly outside the otherwise average-looking business complex facing 7th Avenue in Phoenix’s Melrose District. The flags fly as a testament to the strides the LGBTQ community has made to dispel negative stereotypes in its collective quest for acceptance and equality in mainstream society. Patrick Kelley, owner of the Off Chute Too – a LGBTQ-focused boutique that’s nestled into the south end of the complex, believes that accurate information surrounding HIV/AIDS, such as treatment and transmission facts, has not been taught to the public as much as it should be. And, in an effort to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS within Arizona, Kelley’s business was one of the locations the Arizona Department of Health Services piloted a Home HIV Test Kit Project throughout the summer. Kelley has devoted countless hours voicing LGBTQ issues and concerns to local authorities and agencies while bringing awareness to LGBTQ topics. Through this ADHS project, he says he was given the opportunity to bring information on HIV-related healthcare to the community most in need of it. According to John Sapero, ADHS office chief of the Arizona HIV Prevention Program, the state health department developed this pilot program as an initiative targeting the MSM segment of the population – due to the associated high-risk sexual behavior – to see if they were willing to receive the test kits and learn about their HIV status. “Back in the ’80s and ’90s … the stigma of HIV and AIDS was blamed on the gay community,” Kelley said. “We offer testing here because knowledge is power. When you know you have something, [it’s] easier [to] address it.” We tried to make it as easy as possible” Today, for many millennials AIDS/ HIV is seen as an issue of a bygone era, however according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, these health issues continue to affect more than 1 million people nationally. “The younger generations today are somewhat desensitized to HIV because they didn’t live through the trauma 16



Patrick Kelley displays Home HIV Test Kits at Off Chute Too this summer. Photo by Tayler Brown.

[caused by the AIDS epidemic in the ’90s],” Kelley said. “And they didn’t have to bury their friends.” The CDC reported HIV/AIDS is still a major health concern in Arizona. Approximately 15 percent of Arizonans with HIV do not know they carry a positive status. Qualified participants, Sapero explained, included those who had not done an HIV test in the past year as well as those who had never been tested. However, individuals who did not qualify for the program were provided information about alternative locations that provide testing. Each kit included an oral HIV test (retail value approximately $30), instructions on how to conduct the test, information on the next necessary steps in healthcare after determining their HIV status and tickets offering free HIV testing at healthcare clinics, if participants decided against taking the test at home. Those who requested kits were required to complete a survey for the ADHS that included HIV status and comments on their experience with the program, which Sapero summarized as positive feedback and words of thanks. Of the more than 450 requested test kits throughout the state, Phoenix residents requested 106 kits, Tucson residents requested 100 kits and Mesa residents requested 32 kits. Kits were picked up by MSM of all races and ages with white men requesting the most kits (201) and individuals between the age 18 and 30 being the highest age demographic requesting kits.

Through the pilot project, the DHS was successful in discovering six new cases of HIV in the state – in a short period of time, Sapero pointed out, compared with HIV testing agencies in Phoenix that examine about 1,000 people a year. “In eight weeks … we did half of the testing they do in a year,” Sapero said. “We found similar or better positivity that the CDC wants us to have.” Sapero explained that the magnitude of discovering any new cases helps curb rising transmission rates of HIV because persons unknowingly living with the virus may continue high-risk behaviors, such as unprotected sex, leading to more exposures. The pilot program only targeted MSM in Arizona, which is only one of many at-risk groups for contracting HIV, according to a study released by the DHS this year on HIV and AIDS in the state. The same study states that MSM continue to be the minority most heavily affected by the issue; however, infection rates per 100,000 people have almost doubled for African-Americans since 2014. “We were targeting men who have sex with men on a very specific platform [gay social sites] for a short amount of time,” Sapero said. “We got fantastic results with that, but in terms of cultural appropriateness, language, ad placement it is going to be entirely different if we focus on, say, African American women.” The HIV Prevention Program has picked up the test kit effort to be part of their HIV testing strategy, beginning in January. And Sapero’s goal for the program is to continue to reach the MSM community in 2018 and then to expand to reach more affected communities.

READ THE REST For more information on the Home HIV Test Kit Pilot Projector Phoenix’s commitment to becoming a fast track city, visit Tayler Brown and Kalle Benallie are both students enrolled at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. NEWS

OUT & ABOUT RED Brunch Dec. 2 at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix. Photos by

For more Echo photos visit




Photo by

“We subscribe highly to the philosophy that a titleholder shapes his own year,” Anthony said. “As producers, we’ve always stepped back and said, ‘All right, what is it that you want your legacy to be?’” It’s because of this philosophy that Heitman advises contestants to be true to themselves and be committed to the title.

Mr. Phoenix Leather competition celebrates 10th anniversary By Laura Latzko


or the past 10 years, the Mr. Phoenix Leather contest (MPL) – and the event-filled weekend that accompanies it – has serves at a space for the leather community to gather, connect, serve and celebrate. Competition founders Stephen Bloom and Kenneth Anthony brought their experiences as Mr. Padlock Leather 2001 and Mr. Cellblock Leather 2008, respectively, together to form the Mr. Phoenix Leather contest. After attending the International Mr. Leather contest (IML), Anthony said he and Bloom were inspired to create a similar space for camaraderie and brotherhood to the Phoenix area. “We came [away from] that experience with feelings of being connected to something larger than ourselves,” he said. “When we created the Mr. Phoenix Leather contest, we always wanted to remember that feeling and provide some of that to the people who compete and participate in our weekend.” According to Anthony, the longevity the Phoenix contest – the only Arizona preliminary contest for International Mr. Leather in Chicago each May – speaks to its significance in the leather and greater LGBTQ communities. “It’s been a really rewarding experience, and it’s been a lot of fun actually, watching the contest continue to grow, watching the excitement that people feel when they come into the contest,” Anthony said. “I’m proud of the fact that I have been a part of making that happen.” As part of the event-filled weekend, the 2018 Mr. Phoenix Leather contest will take place Jan. 6 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Phoenix Airport. During the competition, contestants compete in the categories of onstage




appearance, skinwear, private interview, formal leather and speech and overall weekend presentation. The judging panel will feature local and out-of-state titleholders such as Mr. Phoenix Leather 2017 Jerry Heitman, International Mr. Bootblack 2017 Ryan Garner-Carpenter, International Mr. Leather 1989 Guy Baldwin, Southwest Leather boy 2017 Michael May and American Leatherman 2016 Doug Kuhn. Former titleholders Jefferson “Tugger” Ely and Steven Loki will serve as the emcees. The winner becomes a representative for the Mr. Phoenix Leather competition, as well as the Phoenix leather community, and goes on to compete at the International Mr. Leather competition May 24-27 in Chicago. The deadline for Mr. Phoenix Leather 2018 contestant applications is Dec. 27. And, according to Heitman, who will step down as part of the 2018 contest, anyone seeking this title should have a few specific qualities. “You need to be open, and you definitely need to be decisive, passionate,” Heitman said. “You’re going to meet all types of people … You need to be flexible, you need to be available.” Additionally, many titleholders give back to the community through educational endeavors or fundraising efforts for local organizations. “I do think that the title and our encouragement of involvement, not just in the leather community … has really contributed to the community at-large’s understanding what the leather community is and getting some of that cross-understanding,” Anthony said. Each year, Anthony said, the winner brings something distinctly his own to the title and to the broader community.

“It is what you make out of it,” Heitman said, adding that his experience has inspired him to remain active once his reign has concluded. For more information on the 2018 Mr. Phoenix Leather contest, visit or email info@

Mr. Phoenix Leather 2018 Weekend The 2018 Mr. Phoenix Leather weekend festivities will take place Jan. 4-7 at various locations throughout the LGBTQ community. In addition to the Mr. Phoenix Leather contest* on Jan. 6, weekend festivities will also include:

Jan. 4 • Cigar social | 7 p.m. at The Rock

Jan. 5 • Meet & Greet | 7 p.m. at Anvil • Tim Starkey Memorial Bus Tour* | 8:30 p.m. departure from Anvil

Jan. 6 • Porn Star Cocktail Party | 3 p.m. at Plazma • Parking Lot Party and Vendor Mart* | 8 p.m. • Afterparty | 11 p.m. at FLEX Complex

Jan. 7 • Infamous Bacongate Brunch* | 11 a.m. at Los Diablos • Victory Party, Beer Bust & Barbecue | 3 p.m. at NuTowne Saloon For additional information, and tickets (* indicates ticketed events), visit

2018 Mr. Phoenix Leather Contest 8 p.m. Jan. 6 Embassy Suites by Hilton Phoenix Airport 2333 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix Laura Latzko is a Phoenix-area freelance writer, originally from Michigan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English and communication studies from Hollins University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.


OUT & ABOUT Festival of Trees Dec. 2 at The Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Photos by

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OUT & ABOUT Winter Wonderland Gala Dec. 16 at the The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, Phoenix. Photos by

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Meet this year’s scholarship recipients

The Wedding Issue Find out what local experts and Valley newlyweds have to say about planning your perfect big day

IGNITE Your Status Find out how one outreach project is working to promote sexual health and eliminate the stigma around HIV



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OUT & ABOUT LabelHorde Fashion Show Dec. 2 at the West Deck of Tempe City Hall. Photos by L.J. Garcia (@backto_july_media).

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feature story

Year in Review

In honor of issue 700, we’re taking a look back at the top 7 stories of 2017

1. Changing Gears Trans cyclist’s path leads to El Tour de Tucson victory By Liz Massey, January 2017 From the time she was a child, cycling always offered Jillian Bearden a sense of freedom – a way to feel independent and powerful. As she grew up, and realized the male gender she’d been assigned at birth didn’t match how she felt, cycling offered a powerful escape from gender dysphoria and other difficult life situations. “Cycling has always been a safe spot for me. Colorado Springs, where I grew up, had lots of mountain biking trails, so I was always out in the woods,” Bearden, 36, said. “By my mid-20s, I turned to cycling to cope. I was hiding behind the bike, but it was also a safe place for me to work things out on the trail.”

Cycling was also a place for Bearden to make a difference. When competing as a male, before transitioning in 2014, she moved up from a Category 4 mountain biker to a Category 1 – the final category before a cyclist can go pro under USA Cycling (USAC) rules. In the past two years, as her life path has diverged from the one society might have originally expected for her, Bearden has continued to make a difference, emerging as a trailblazer.

Bearden’s pre-transition success and connections as a cyclist opened the door to work closely with the International Olympic Committee Courtesy photo. (IOC) and USAC to clarify competition guidelines for post-transition transgender female athletes. She’s also become an advocate for transgender females competing in cycling events, which led her to enter the El Tour de Tucson, a 106-mile race that skirts the perimeter of southern Arizona’s Old Pueblo on Nov. 19, 2016.

1. Changing Gears For the full story from Echo’s January 2017 issue, visit




Competing in the event as part of “Team SAGA,” a team sponsored by the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance (, Bearden won her first-ever victory as a female racer, and brought new visibility to the issue of transgender women competing on an equal basis with cisgender female athletes.

2. All in the Family Now 15 children strong, the Ham family celebrates progress and togetherness By Liz Massey, March 2017 The 17 members of the Ham family are no strangers to the spotlight. They’ve shared their story with the Arizona Republic, they’re the recipients of the ONE Community’s inaugural Change Agent Award and, yes, you’ve gotten to know them through several stories in the pages of Echo Magazine over the years. We last sat down with the thenDelightful Dozen for the June 2010 issue (see story at the-delightful-dozen). But the family made headlines again last year with the adoption of their 15th child, a 4-yearold named Amaya May. While super dads Steven and Roger Ham, a gay couple who has gone from zero to 15 children throughout the past 13 years, might seem like the ultimate examples of how the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality empowered families headed by samesex partners, they don’t see it that way. According to Steven, they are both just grateful for the way in which their lives have been simplified once their relationship received legal recognition. He added that, because they have never left anything to chance in that area, they were already covered by all available legal protections before the feature story

3. A Survivor’s Strength Steven and Roger Ham in 2017. Photo by Fernando Hernández.

decision was handed down. “We didn’t let [the lack of marriage equality] impact us,” Steven said. We always found loopholes to ensure if something happened to one of us, the other person would be protected as the children’s guardian … We went to the extreme to take care of ourselves legally.” But that’s not all that’s changed with the growing brood since the last time Echo checked in on them. Steven and Roger have adopted three additional children (Bella, Julian and Amaya), their two oldest kids (Vanessa and Michael) have left the nest to attend college, the Hams have moved to a commodious house in the West Valley and the men have come full circle in their journey as adoptive gay dads by mentoring other LGBTQ parents who are new to the foster/ adoption system in Arizona.

2. All in the Family For the full story from Echo’s February 2017 issue, visit

Members of the Ham family in 2010. Photo by Cinthia Schmidt.

Local leader works to increase visibility, awareness for LGBTQ sexual,domestic violence victims By Tamara Juarez, May 2017 Sexual and domestic violence is prevalent across all demographics, including the LGBTQ community. In fact, an average of 61 percent of bisexual individuals and 43 percent of gay and lesbian individuals experience sexual violence at least once during their lifetime, according to a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010. Incidents of domestic violence and other forms of sexual violence, such as rape and sexual assault, occur in the LGBTQ community as frequently as the rest of the general population. However, most cases do not identify the sexual orientation of the victim when recorded in a database at local shelters or advocacy organizations, limiting the amount of information available about victim demographics. Considering the additional obstacles minority victims face when attempting to escape an abusive relationship, most experts agree that sexual and domestic violence is under-reported in the LGBTQ community.

awareness campaigns include the LGBTQ community,” she explained. “And, as a result, survivors may be less knowledgeable about their options following victimization, their rights as victims and the availability of community resources.” Unlike heterosexual victims, LGBTQ survivors face additional obstacles – such as outing themselves – when seeking help or in the process of reporting the crime to law enforcement, healthcare providers or shelters. From Victim to Survivor, LLC’s CEO, founder and president Melisa Mel, who recently received the 2017 Beth McDonald Arizona Woman of the Year Award, explains some of the unique challenges LGBTQ victims face …

3. A Survivor’s Strength For the full story from Echo’s May 2017 issue, including Phoenix Pride’s press release, visit a-survivors-strength

Courtesy photo.

There are many factors that can discourage LGBTQ members from reporting sexual violence. Tasha Menaker, director of sexual violence response initiatives for the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, believes one of main problems with the process is institutionalized heterosexism and cissexism. “Rarely do domestic and sexual violence outreach and feature story




4. No Justice, No Pride

This year’s event was met with a protest by members of Trans Queer Pueblo (TQP), an autonomous LGBTQ+ migrant community of color that “works to create community solutions to build the leadership of our people and the power of our community to create concrete social change here in Phoenix.” The message: Phoenix Pride should be using its influence to make both Phoenix and Pride safe for LGBTQ+ people of color (POC).

Trans Queer Pueblo shares the message behind parade protest By KJ Philp, June 2017 On the morning of April 2, more than 12,000 spectators lined Third Street, from Thomas Road to Steele Indian School Park, awaiting the Phoenix Pride Parade. The

Photo by Diego Nacho.

annual procession, according to, comprises more than 2,000 individual par ticipants with decorated vehicles, color ful floats and festive walkers.

Following the protest, Echo Magazine caught up with Dago Bailon, an assistant with TQP who has been organizing to create safe spaces for people who identify as undocumented and queer since 2011. Here’s what he had to say …

4. No Justice, No Pride For the full story from Echo’s June 2017 issue, including Phoenix Pride’s press release, visit

5. Igniting the Conversation Outreach project works to promote sexual health, eliminate stigma By Art Martori, September 2017 Normalizing the conversation about HIV status means creating an environment free of stigma or judgement. This is the mission of IGNITE, an HIVawareness program sponsored by the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS. And it’s the tribe of volunteers who make sure it’s carried out. While the IGNITE crew does have a space under the same roof as the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, Jeremy Bright, IGNITE’s marketing and community outreach director, explains that the whole point of the program is venturing out where you’d already find potentially affected individuals, and then engaging them on their turf.

the most repeated names in the Phoenix LGBTQ community. In 2014, Bright was hired to create a community outreach program that received funding to distribute condoms. There were four volunteers, tasked with approaching people in bars. That year, and they handed out about 40,000 condoms. The group also administered 18 HIV tests.

“We take the harder road of trying to find space out in the community to host them,” Bright says. “We do everything outside this building. We go out to the people instead of trying to bring them here.”

Last year, IGNITE’s 50 volunteers handed out some 185,000 condoms. They created a condom bar, where people could go to shop for protection that made safe sex more personal. They’ve also been a visible participant in National HIV Testing Day, and, Bright says, in 2016 did more than 100 tests in a single night. They also employ a specialist who helps people find ways to get in interested and qualified individuals on a regimen of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

The monthly mixers are an example of the success IGNITE has experienced, growing from a small group of volunteers with a limited mission to becoming one of

“We accomplished our mission, by far,” Bright adds. “I think it’s our approach. Everything we do is from the community, for the community.”




Photo by Fernando Hernández.

5. Igniting the Conversation For the full story from Echo’s September 2017 issue, visit igniting-the-conversation. feature story

Photo by Scotty Kirby.

6. The Art of Drag Local queens to showcase Arizona’s excellence at Miss Gay America By Buddy Early, October 2017 “She’s an America Girl.” To those in the know, that phrase means a female impersonator who has a polished look, is intelligent and professional, and aims to attain the highest standards of entertainment. It refers to those entertainers who have matriculated in the Miss Gay America (MGA) Pageant system, and in Arizona being successful in the system is, well, a crowning achievement. Across the state on numerous nights throughout the week drag shows are hosted by a slate of former (as well as the reigning) Miss Gay Arizona America (MGAA) winners: Pussy LeHoot, Barbra Seville, Celia Putty, Diva, Nevaeh McKenzie, Savannah

Stevens, Olivia Gardens. Virtually every female impersonator you’ll find on a local stage has had an America crown on his head at one time. That crown symbolizes “Excellence,” the brand of MGA since Arkansas’ Norma Kristie was honored as the first Miss Gay America in 1973. These entertainers carry with them the duty to maintain excellence beyond their competition days, but many more continue to hone their craft—and hopefully snag that ultimate shiny hat— by returning to the prestigious pageant year after year. This year’s Miss Gay America Pageant, which took place Oct. 4-7 in New Orleans, featured six contestants from Arizona.

7. Growing From The Center New location expands one•n•ten’s mission of serving Valley youth By Liz Massey, November 2017 Although the organization was able to salvage very little from the Third Street location following the fire damage, Linda Elliott, one•n•ten’s executive director, attributed the fact that construction was already underway on the new youth center with their success in continuing services for youth without interruption. “If we hadn’t had plans in the works, we would have had a big scramble to Photo by Fernando Hernández

7. Growing From The Center For the full story from Echo’s November 2017 issue, visit

keep going after the fire,” Elliott said. The center has provided a springboard for the organization to expand their services to youth on a number of fronts. The move to the Parsons Center was made possible thanks to a $275,000 grant from the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation (for more information, see “Dealing in Hope” on page 36). That grant, along with additional grant monies, have

6. The Art of Drag For the full story from Echo’s October 2017 issue, visit

(Throw in one former Miss Gay Arizona now representing Texas and one former Miss Gay Tucson who resides in Key West, Florida, and Team Arizona have an embarrassment of riches at the contest.) Josstyn Redulla, aka Miss Gay Arizona 2017 Olivia Gardens, confidently predicted that there would be multiple [Arizonans] in this year’s Top 10, and he was correct …

allowed one•n•ten to shape the youth center’s 5,00 0-square-foot location into what Elliott called a “hub” for LGBTQ youth support activities throughout the Valley. Co-locating at the Parsons Center, which is across from the Roosevelt Street light rail stop, means that youth will have easy access to a number of the center’s other tenants, including the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, the Phoenix chapter of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), McDowell Healthcare Center and Avella Specialty Pharmacy. Elliott said that this will enhance collaborations among the organizations, such as HIV/AIDS prevention programs and other health promotion efforts. “It’s going to be a great collaborative space and a true community center,” Elliott added. The LGBTQ and allied community also played a key role in the opening of the new center, according to Stewart. Since the fire in July destroyed most of the organization’s physical assets, the new location has been stocked with furniture and supplies gathered through a donation campaign that went viral on social media. Stewart said that the youth served by the center were greatly encouraged by the community response. “It’s provided a renewed sense of hope,” Stewart said. “Given the political climate of the past year, it’s been beautiful to see the youth and the community to step up to help.”




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s each year comes to a close, the Echo Magazine team takes pause to reflect on the events that defined the past 12 months and the exceptional individuals who led the way. To these individuals, Echo bestows its Leaders of the Year recognition. We’re proud to announce Bob and Renee Parsons of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation as the leaders who have earned this recognition for 2017. If you know their names, then you know that their support has made possible, and sustained, such community pillars as the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS and the new one•n•ten Youth Center. Throughout the past few months Team Echo has had the pleasure of getting to know these philanthropic trailblazers a little better, and we’ve also learned that there are many aspects of the LGBTQ community that fall under their foundation’s three primary areas of concentration – veterans, youth and medical causes. And, in the pages ahead, we invite you to get to know a little more about the faces behind this foundation and find out how their work in the community has earned them Echo’s highest honor. But first, let’s take a look back at the past 23 years of honorees who paved the way!

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Meet Echo Magazine's past Leaders of the Year honorees: 1994: Bill MacDonald & Dianne Post

2006: Bill Lewis & Brandi Sokolosky

1995: Barb Jones & Mark Colledge

2007: Tom Simplot & Regina Gazelle

1996: Beth Verity & Ken Cheuvront

2008: Gary Guerin & Annie Loyd

1997: Linda Hoffman & Neil Giuliano

2009: Micheal Weakley & Tambra Williams

1998: Kim Charrier & Steve May

2010: Meg Sneed & Jimmy Gruender

1999: Amy Ettinger & Steve May 2000: Richard Stevens & Marti McElroy

2011: Caleb Laieski & Kado Stewart

2001: Kathie Gummere & Doug Klinge

2012: Greg Stanton & Nicole Stanton

2002: Don Hamill & Jeannie Metzler

2013: Julian Melson & Trudie Jackson

2003: Kirk Baxter & Madeline Adelman

2014: Kit Kloeckl & Angela Hughey

2004: Brad Wishon & Cathy Busha

2015: Katy June & Stacy Louis

2005: David Fiss & Kyrsten Sinema

2016: Sen. Katie Hobbs and Nate Rhoton




Dealing in Hope Bob and Renee Parsons champion “underdog” causes, including Valley LGBTQ nonprofits By Liz Massey




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f you visit Bob Parsons' personal website, you’ll discover that the founder of domain-registration giant GoDaddy doesn’t primarily view himself as a philanthropist or a man of means. On that site,, he prefers to discuss his roles as a Marine who served his country during the Vietnam War, an entrepreneur who has owned 15 businesses, and a guy who’s had to use his moxie to bring his aspirations to life. And that may indeed be the key to understanding Bob and his approach to giving back to the Arizona community that has nurtured his business success. Bob and his wife, Renee, have a net worth (according to Forbes) of $2.6 billion, but it’s that interplay between all the other roles they’ve experienced that provides the clearest insight into their generosity. Two significant beneficiaries of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation are the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS and the local LGBTQ youth support organization one•n•ten. The Southwest Center is now located in The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, thanks to funding it received from the couple in 2012 and 2013. The organization later received other funding from The Parsons, including $1.1 million dollars from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation that enabled them to enhance various aspects of their operations. one•n•ten also has received several key grants from The Foundation, including a $275,000 grant during 2016-2017 that allowed the organization to complete its new 5,000-square-foot Youth Center, which is also located at The Parsons Center at 1101 N. Central Ave. in central Phoenix. Bob notes that support for AIDS service organizations and LGBTQ youth groups fit right in with his foundation’s mission: “Anywhere we find a cause that may not appeal overwhelmingly to the public but is doing a good job, we’ll be there.”

Learning to Hustle and Following Civic Role Models Neither member of this Valley “power couple” was born into wealth. Bob described his upbringing in a blue-collar neighborhood of Baltimore this way: “We were poor as church mice. My parents gambled, and lost, and we were always in debt.” Bob realized early on that he would have to earn his own money if he wanted any, so he pumped gas, got groceries for neighbors and delivered newspapers to earn spending cash. Once he was old enough to hold a wage-paying job, he would always ask for extra hours – just in case. He also developed the habit of helping others whenever he could during this era. feature story

“If I was around someone who needed help, I would help, although I often had just as little as they had,” he said. Bob credits his service in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War for giving him the discipline he needed to succeed. Upon his return from the war, he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Baltimore and went on to start Parsons Technology, a tax software company, in his basement in 1984. – which he sold it for $64 million dollars in 1994. After that, he started Jomax Technologies in 1997, which eventually grew into the company known today as GoDaddy. Renee, on the other hand, was raised in a college town in Michigan. Her father was a small business owner who was involved in the civic activities of the day, including service clubs and some political efforts. “There were lots of ways to give back,” she said. “I grew up around good examples of community involvement and smaller-scale philanthropy.” The combination of growing up in an entrepreneurial household and working in her family’s restaurant business from age 13 shaped Renee’s worldview. With a professional career in sales and marketing, Renee later joined GoDaddy as the corporate events planner and vice president of community outreach, leading GoDaddy’s philanthropic work worldwide. Renee and Bob were married in 2009. And, as diverse as the duo’s backgrounds were, they shared a core of common values that influenced their charitable giving work. “We root for the underdog,” Renee said. “Bob and I resonate with the needs of

marginalized populations. When we give to them, it makes a larger impact, so it is more of a game-changer for them.”

Helping LGBTQ Organizations Grow Bob and Renee formalized their philanthropic efforts with the launch of The Foundation bearing their name on Feb. 1, 2012, with the hope to change the lives of our country’s critically wounded veterans and to improve outcomes for individuals and families living in poverty. Today, the three primary areas of concentration for The Foundation's giving are veterans, youth and medical causes. Laura Mitchell, executive director of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, explained the organization’s approach to vetting grant partners. “We first ask the question, ‘is this in our wheelhouse?’ To become a partner, an organization must, at the heart of their operations, be serving people living in poverty, critically wounded veterans, or marginalized populations,” she explained. “We then begin ... reviewing an organization through the lens of financial health, accountability and transparency.” Often, donations from The Foundation can catapult a nonprofit into unprecedented territory. Linda Elliott, who recently announced her retirement (effective Jan.1) as the executive director of one•n•ten, noted that in addition to providing more than 80 percent of the funds to open the Youth Center, the foundation also helped boost its Promise Of A New Day (POND) program. A two-year grant allowed the organization to provide supportive housing to 29 youth experiencing homelessness, and an additional




Photos courtesy of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.

building grant enabled one•n•ten to hire a development director and to conduct an evaluation of the POND program. “Their investment in one•n•ten is significant because it enabled the agency to grow in a responsible way with little risk to our existing programs,” Elliott said. “We would not be half of what we are today without their generous investment.” Another advantage of the Parsons’ approach to philanthropy is that their grant-making terms require organizational recipients of the foundation’s funding to be LGBTQ inclusive, Elliot said. “This is a value that promotes inclusiveness and equality, so that they give in a way that benefits the entire community,” she added. Similarly, Kristin Kalla, executive director for the Southwest Center, noted that by supporting the development of The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, The Foundation had established a space in Phoenix that focused on the health needs of LGBTQ persons. “The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness includes organizations that serve LGBTQ and allied communities,” Kalla said. “Service providers located in the Parsons Center include the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS; the McDowell Healthcare Clinic; Avella Pharmacy; and one•n•ten. The Parsons Foundation’s support of these organizations has helped establish 38



The Parsons Center as a focal point for LGBTQ-friendly services in the community.”

Always Moving Forward ... As The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation celebrates its fifth year of existence, neither Bob nor Renee are content to rest on their current accomplishments. “It’s so rewarding to meet individual leaders making a difference,” Renee said. “It’s reinvigorating, and it tells us we’re doing the right thing.” This forward-thinking attitude fits with the 16 rules for success that Bob has posted on his personal blog. Rule No. 7 is titled “Always be moving forward,” and he advises: “Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way.” While Bob stepped down as GoDaddy’s CEO in 2014, he remains on the board of directors and is the company’s largest shareholder. Both of Echo’s 2017 Leaders of the Year for 2017 work together to manage The Foundation. “Bob and Renee have a real heart for those who are marginalized,” Mitchell said. “They’ve consistently focused on causes and organizations that don’t appeal to other donors. Our tagline is true: ‘We deal in hope. And we want to do that for the people who most need it.’”

Foundation Facts Since its founding in 2012, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation’s mission has been to inspire “hope by providing critical funding at critical times to communities striving to make a difference.” To date, The Foundation has donated a grand total of $135 million, worked with 96 partner organizations and made 274 grants. The Foundation grantees include: • Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona • Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona, Inc. • Girls Scouts of America – AZ Cactus-Pine Council • one•n•ten • Southwest Center For HIV/AIDS • Semper Fi Fund • National Museum of the U.S. Marine Corps Source: Liz Massey has been involved in LGBTQ community-building activities in Kansas City and the Valley of the Sun, and is a former managing editor of Echo Magazine. She can be reached at feature story




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Safe Out Valley support organization’s leadership shares reflections on first five years and refocus for 2018 By Megan Wadding

afe Out, a program of Terros Health that was established in 2012 to address excessive alcohol consumption within the LGBTQ community, is ready to start the new year with a focus on youth outreach. While promoting health, wellness and awareness to prevent underage drinking, binge drinking, substance use and suicide among LGBTQ youth and young adults, Safe Out provides support to those in the LGBTQ community who seek its services, specifically individuals between the ages of 18 and 44. According to Ann Maxwell, Safe Out community development coordinator, Safe Out is the only program funded by Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care that is devoted to substance use prevention education, as well as suicide prevention within the LGBTQ community of Maricopa County.

There has also been a thorough revamping of Safe Out’s programming throughout the last few years, according to Akapnitis, which has led to the creation of many new goals for the program heading into 2018. End-Of-The-Year Wrap Up This past year brought about both changes and accomplishments for Safe Out. Some of the program’s proudest moments, according to Maxwell, included the honor of presenting at the Northern Arizona Suicide Prevention Conference and the 10th Annual HOPE Conference, among many other places around the Valley. Safe Out’s largest project this year, Maxwell explained, centered around the new focus of beginning an extensive youth outreach initiative.

“[Throughout the past year], we are really focused on youth, young adults and the people who support them,” Maxwell said. “Our focus age [range] is 14 to 26 and, within that, we are really stepping up our connections with local schools and organizations that serve these young people.” In addition to tabling at local schools, Safe Out participated in the Teen Suicide Prevention Awareness month in September and a rally at Tempe Marketplace, where Maxwell estimates they were able to reach more than 500 youth and young adults. Still, Maxwell said, Safe Out plans to collaborate with a few new partners to create even more events for youth and safe places for them to socialize, and will continue to build and improve Safe Out’s new academy that will focus

“We focus on providing education without shame and blame because we recognize that the LGBTQ+ community has more barriers to overcome in their access to care,” Maxwell said. After completing a comprehensive needs assessment back in 2014, gaining input from community members and organizational partners, and looking closely at needs and service gaps, Isaac Akapnitis, Safe Out’s lead community development coordinator, explain that the decision was made to expand the mission to include a younger age group, additional substances and suicide prevention for 2015. “It became apparent that we needed to address underage drinking, marijuana use, opioid misuse and abuse and suicide risk among LGBTQ youth in Maricopa County through additional workshops and youth specific programming,” he said. 42



Ann Maxwell, Safe Out community development coordinator, and Isaac Akapnitis, Safe Out’s lead community development coordinator. Photos courtesy of Safe Out.

Connect with Safe Out: Facebook: @safeout Instagram: @safeoutaz Email: #BeSafeOut on leadership and alternative coping methods. “We have launched a Youth Leadership Academy that is a six-part program designed to increase resilience in our LGBTQ+ youth, as well as provide education and alternative activities besides using drugs and alcohol as coping methods,” explained Maxwell. “We hope to have more cohorts of youth complete this programming and pass on what they’ve learned to their friends.” Safe Out has also continued to provide free workshops on substance use prevention for youth and adults, safeTALK suicide prevention workshops and education for health and crisis response providers on how to appropriately care for LGBTQ individuals. During the last fiscal year, Safe Out directly served over 1,000 people through

workshops, education, and community development. So far since July, in addition to the tabling outreach during Teen Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Safe Out has served close to 200 people through our workshops and events, according to Akapnitis. Looking Ahead To 2018 Throughout 2017, as well as in previous years, Akapnitis said Safe Out worked in a partnership with the LGBTQ Consortium to provide education and information to community members through educational workshops, social media and billboard campaigns, advertising, community collaborations, information dissemination, and referrals to other LGBTQ supportive health care providers and community organizations. “[In 2018, we would like to] expand

our partnerships to have greater reach throughout Maricopa County and to work with youth to create more youth-driven messaging campaigns to reach their peers to reduce drugs and alcohol as a means of coping with stressors or socializing, [as well as] to encourage peers to reach out for support to prevent suicide and to continue encouraging their friends to make healthy decisions that support their goals and dreams,” Maxwell explained. In the New Year, Akapnitis said, Safe Out will continue working toward its goal of reaching more youth across the Valley who are not already connected to services and support, to create more alcohol- and drug-free events for LGBTQ youth and young adults and to partner with existing organizations and events to encourage youth to attend. “We have increased our tabling presence at more events in and around the youth community,” Maxwell said.” We are also networking with different organizations via meetings and events to provide supports to youth-focused organizations.” Additionally, Safe Out has increased and diversified its social media presence, all with the goal of connecting youth to the resources Safe Out has to offer. “[We want] to encourage them to find ways they can celebrate themselves and our community while sober and proud,” Akapnitis said. “Safe Out remains committed to its mission and goals of preventing and reducing suicide and substance use among LGBTQ youth. We will continue to work with our community partners in accomplishing our goals to creating safer, healthier LGBTQ communities.” Megan Wadding is a freelance writer and travel addict with a degree in journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @MeganWadding.

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New Chapters for 2018 Arizona Theatre Company and Phoenix Chorale set the wheels of change in motion ahead of the new year By Seth Reines ATC embarks on next half century with new directors Last season Arizona Theatre Company (ATC) celebrated its first half century as The State Theatre of Arizona, committed to “inspiring, engaging, and entertaining – one moment, one production, and one audience at a time.” Founded in Tucson in 1967 as the Arizona Civic Theatre, ATC achieved professional status in 1972, hiring Actors’ Equity performers under a modified League of Resident Theaters (LORT) contract. The Arizona Civic Theatre began presenting part of its season in Phoenix in 1978 and, a year later, became Arizona Theatre Company, performing full seasons in both Phoenix and Tucson since 1983.

To lead ATC into its second half century, the Board of Trustees recently cast a dynamic new artistic/management team: artistic director David Ivers and managing director Billy Russo. Ivers served as artistic director of the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare

Festival for seven years, acting in or directing more than 55 productions with that company throughout 20 seasons. During his tenure, the theatre boasted a $40 million facilities expansion that included two new theatres and a significant rebranding of the organization.

ATC now boasts Arizona’s largest seasonal performing arts subscriber base and is the only resident theatre company in the U.S. fully based in two cities. More than 130,000 people attend ATC performances annually at the Temple of Music and Art in Tucson and the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. Each season, ATC presents a wide range of productions – from classics and contemporary plays to musicals and new works – plus community outreach and educational programming and new works initiatives. The theatre recently closed its provocative “Fairy Tale for Adults,” The River Bride, 2013 winner of ATC’s National Latino Playwriting Award.

“I am happy and inspired to carry the torch with the hope the next 50 years will bring us together surrounded by stories that help contextualize our world even as they entertain and inspire.”

David Ivers, left, and Billy Russo. Courtesy photo.

David Ivers 44



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“I am happy and inspired to carry the torch with the hope the next 50 years will bring us together surrounded by stories that help contextualize our world even as they entertain and inspire,” said Ivers about his excitement about his new role. Russo, who resides in Tucson with his husband, Richard Giuliani (a graphic designer with no relation to the mayor!), previously served as managing director of Harvard’s American Repertory Theatre. During Russo’s residence, the company generated a 50 per cent increase in contributed income.

At New York Theatre Workshop, Russo retired a $1.3 million deficit, enabling the company to produce the world premieres of Tony Award-winning Once and Peter and the Starcatcher. In the program for ATC’s 2017 season opener, Chapter Two, directed by Marsha Mason, Russo asserted, “We are thrilled to be embarking on this next chapter together from a position of strength and growth.” (Editor’s Note: ATC almost shuttered for financial reasons in 2016. However, last season’s subscription

sales increased 16 percent, single ticket sales 45 percent and annual contributed income 25 percent above the past ten-year average.) ATC’s 2018 season continues with the “Impossible Dream” musical Man of La Mancha (Jan. 5-28), Tony-nominated romantic comedy Outside Mullingar (Feb. 15-March 4), musical revue Low Down Dirty Blues (April 4-22) and historical drama The Diary of Anne Frank (May 17-June 3). For more information, visit

After 18 years, Phoenix Chorale’s maestro begins new chapter After 18 artistically successful years, Grammy-winning conductor Charles Bruffy recently stepped down from his Phoenix podium. Bruffy joined the Phoenix Bach Choir in 1999, transforming it into a worldclass classical vocal ensemble now known as the Phoenix Chorale. “I originally agreed to be in Phoenix for one season, but then one day I turned around and my first season had turned into 18 years,” Bruffy said. “From where we started to where we are now, it’s been quite a journey and I am so proud of what we have accomplished together.” One of America’s most admired choral conductors, Bruffy began his career as a tenor soloist with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers. Shaw encouraged his development as a conductor, and in 1996, he was invited by American Public Media’s Performance Today to help celebrate Shaw’s 80th birthday with an on-air tribute. In 1999, The New York Times dubbed him “the late, great conductor’s potential heir.”

Charles Bruffy. Courtesy photo.

Renowned for his passionate interpretations of choral standards,

“I originally agreed to be in Phoenix for one season, but then one day I turned around and my first season had turned into 18 years. From where we started to where we are now, it’s been quite a journey and I am so proud of what we have accomplished together.” Charles Bruffy Feature Story

Bruffy has commissioned and premiered choral pieces for concerts around the world. Recording with both Nimbus and Chandos Records, he has been recognized with 12 Grammy nominations and five wins, including “Best Choral Performance” in 2016 for Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil with the combined voices of the Phoenix and Kansas City Chorales. Last Fall, The Phoenix Chorale celebrated its association with Bruffy with a series of concerts titled Bruffy’s Best. Bruffy’s husband of many years, Don Loncasty, serves as the executive director of the Kansas City Chorale. Bruffy will continue as artistic director of that organization and the director of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus. In his spare time, Bruffy will pursue his other passion: raising and breeding Arabian and Saddlebred horses on their ranch south of Kansas City.

“He has given so much to the Chorale – years of dedication to our singers, patrons, and our Phoenix community,” said Jen Rogers, Phoenix Chorale president and CEO. “Over the years, he has built such a solid foundation, a choir with an impeccable reputation for creating musical art of the highest caliber. He’s confident we are ready for the next chapter.” For Phoenix Chorale, the show(s) will go on in 2018, including Nordic Songs (March 2-4) and Sing of Spring (April 27-29). For more information, visit M. Seth Reines is an award-winning theater buff who has directed more than 500 productions nationally for stage and television, and formerly served as head of Roosevelt University’s musical theatre program.





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without reservations

Zen Culinary Story and photos by Rachel Verbits


ecember has finally arrived. And with it comes not only the excitement of enjoying all our favorite comfort foods, but also the one-year anniversary of Zen Culinary – our compliments to the chef!

outside, we discovered a number of games available to patrons, including corn hole and life-size Jenga, which we made good use of on our happy hour visit (3-6 p.m. daily). Now for drinks …

If you have yet to experience the true enlightenment that’s tucked away in the Sonora Village shopping center just off the Loop 101 and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, do yourself a favor and take a break from the turkey and tamales this season to savor this exquisite selection of Asian fusion flavors this spot has become known for. Because who doesn’t need a little zen after an evening with family?!

Zen’s adventurous craft cocktails set the tone for the harmonious dining experience ahead with names like East Meets West and Mist Walker Shandy. Catching our eyes, however, was Just Zen Time, crafted with strawberry infused Campari, gin, prosecco, yuzu marmalade, fresh cane sugar and lemon juice. The namesake cocktail packed the perfect blend of sweet and citrus flavors, reminding me of a nextlevel gin fizz.

Beckoning patrons with its sleek exterior – a contrast of warm wood and a cool concrete water fixture, perfectly accented with succulents – Zen Culinary is an aesthetic oasis for all of the senses. Inside, an ornate gong and electric grand piano await guests. The vaulted ceiling adds dimension and ambiance to the upscale, yet comfortable space that’s lined with plush booths and an eye-catching bar. The restaurant’s dining room (which seats about 300) seamlessly gives way to the serene garden patios. And with the “winter” weather finally upon us, we opted to enjoy the outdoor space, complete with cozy fireplace. Upon being seated

Along with an impressive wine and beer selection, Zen offers some inventive nonalcoholic drinks. We were intrigued by the fresh coconut water and delighted when a freshly cracked coconut (served with a straw and a spoon!) arrived at our table. The coconut water was naturally sweet and, thanks to a few tips and tricks from the staff, our heaping plate of fresh coconut meat was delicious, too. This was a brilliant move for nibbling as we turned our attention to Zen’s wide variety of offerings. Here, the authentic Asian fare – made with predominately locally sourced organic ingredients – blends a number

of Thai favorites and unique sushi rolls with American classics, creating an innovative menu that offers a mix of familiar and unique dishes. Just think: everything from hot wings and spinach artichoke dip to tuna tartare and shrimp tempura under one roof. Zen is also an unexpected place for a great deal on sushi. Every Monday is allyou-can-eat sushi rolls, featuring neverending fresh selections for $20. Look beyond the sushi menu, and you’ll find an impressive selection of seafood entrees, including the honey-glazed Steelhead salmon and smoked Chilean seabass, both served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Meat lovers will appreciate the range of American favorites, from bone-in prime rib eye with a red wine demi-glaze to duck breast medallions served with an apple cider gastrique. In hopes of trying as many of the selections as possible, we started our tour “tapas style,” by ordering small plates to share, starting with Shumai, which are open-faced pork and shrimp dumplings served with a savory Thai dumpling sauce. They can be prepared either steamed or fried (we chose the latter), but you really can’t go wrong with these bites either way! The Honey Toast, which also features pork and shrimp stuffing served up in a completely different way, arrived looking just as it sounds. Our generous portion was delivered hot, crispy and filled with a creamy pork and shrimp stuffing. Drizzled with honey for just the right amount of Left to right: Shumai, Pork Belly Bao and Honey Toast.




dining out

Left to right: Just Zen Time and Fresh Coconut.

sweetness, the toast pairs perfectly with the sweet chili sauce and cucumber chutney that accompanies it. We rounded our appetizer adventure with the Pork Belly Bao, a popular (and addicting) Asian sandwich. The steamed buns came stuffed with Korean marinated pork belly and cabbage and then topped with crushed peanuts, scallions and cilantro, and this traditional combination was the hit of our table. If this appetizer leaves you wanting more, this selection is available as an entrée as well, alongside crispy potato tots. (Well played, Zen!) Consistent with the generous serving sizes of our appetizers, Zen’s main menu offers family-style portions of noodles, rice and curry, and we absolutely recommend sharing. The Thai Boat Noodle Soup, practically served in a boat, is full of sliced beef and meatballs, rice noodles, bean sprouts and scallions swimming in a rich and savory beef broth. Notes of garlic and white pepper add a kick of spice to this selection, which we were glad to have met on a chilly evening. Unlike many Asian restaurants, rice is a star of the show and not just a side dish here. The pineapple fried rice (perhaps the most Instagram-worthy selection on the entire menu) offers a combination of jasmine rice, pineapple, yellow curry, white onions, egg, herbs, golden raisins, cashews, shrimp, and bell peppers served in a halved and hollowed out pineapple, and is as delicious to look at as it is to eat. Although it’s presentation was a tiny bit less exciting, we couldn’t resist the Thai BBQ chicken, which showcases Thai

marinated chicken breast served with seasonal vegetables, jasmine rice and topped with “Zen BBQ sauce.” As a perfectly executed example of the fusion Zen’s known for, this symphony of flavors brought creative and classic elements together in a way that would [please the most particular palate. This one received our “crowd pleaser” award. However, we all know that it’s dessert that’s the true crowd pleaser. But don’t worry, you’ll find true enlightenment among the mango sticky rice, candy sushi and fried banana ice cream. All we can say is (n)om, (n)om, (n)om. Get it? Whether you’re after ambiance or appetizers this season, or just a little zen after a holiday with the family, we’re here to remind you that it’s OK to ditch the leftovers in favor of that lemongrass chicken with purple sticky rice. According to the website, diners can expect to see Zen Thai Café downtown in 2018, so stay tuned. And in the meantime, happy first birthday to Zen.

Zen Culinary 15544 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri and Sat Rachel Verbits is a published writer and a selfproclaimed foodie who spends her time exploring all the amazing eats Arizona has to offer.

DAILY HAPPY HOUR  WEEKEND BRUNCH  ISLAND STYLE EATS Left to right: Thai Boat Noodle Soup and Thai BBQ Chicken.





at the box office

By James Fanizza

The Commuter In Theaters Jan. 12 | PG-13 | 104 Minutes | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Saturday Church Available on VOD Jan. 12 | 90 Minutes | Drama, Fantasy, Musical

Written and directed by Damon Cardasis, Saturday Church tells the story of a shy and effeminate 14-year-old boy named Ulysses (Luka Kain) who finds himself coping with new responsibilities after the death of his father. Living with his mother, younger brother and conservative aunt Rose (Regina Taylor), he is also struggling with questions about his gender identity. Ulysses’ journey takes a turn for the better when he encounters a vibrant transgender community, who takes him to “Saturday Church,” a program for LGBTQ youth. Ulysses manages to keep his two worlds separate – appeasing his aunt while discovering his passion for voguing and the NYC ball scene. When his double life is revealed, Ulysses must find the courage to be who he truly is despite the risk of losing those he cares about most. The legendary American author, playwright, performance artist and gender theorist Kate Bornstein makes an appearance as Joan.

Insurance salesman Michael McCauley (Liam Neeson) is on his daily commute home, which quickly becomes anything but routine. After being contacted by a mysterious stranger, he is forced to uncover the identity of a hidden passenger on the train before the last stop. As he works against the clock to solve the puzzle, he realizes a deadly plan is unfolding, and he is unwittingly caught up in a criminal conspiracy that carries life and death stakes for everyone on the train. Directed by Jaume Collet-Sera and written by Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi, The Commuter also stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson.

Please Stand By In Theaters Jan. 26 | PG-13 | 93 Minutes | Comedy, Drama

Proud Mary In Theaters Jan.12 | Action, Thriller

Taraji P. Henson is Proud Mary, a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston. Her life is completely turned around when a young boy crosses her path after a professional hit goes awry. Directed by Babak Najafi (London Has Fallen), this thriller promises a lot of action and suspense. Plus, it’s great to see Henson be the bad-ass we all know she is, alongside Billy Brown and Danny Glover, Margaret Avery and Xander Berkeley. 50



Wendy (Dakota Fanning) sees things differently: she’s fiercely independent, with a brilliant mind and a mischievous sense of hilarity. Wendy also has autism. To her, people are an indecipherable code and the world’s a confusing place. Inspired by her no-nonsense caregiver, Wendy escapes from her home and sets out to deliver her 500-page manuscript to a writing competition. Directed by Ben Lewin and written by Michael Golamco, Please Stand By follows Wendy on the road trip of a lifetime. Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine) and Alice Eve co-star. James Fanizza is a proudly queer filmmaker, writer and recent Valley transplant. He can be reached at @jamesfanizza on Instagram and Twitter.





recordings By Julio C. Reyna

be able to escape from the feeling of longing she’s been left with. With Blue Lips, Tove Lo is not only able to deliver a complete and cohesive continuation of her original project, but she also manages to best it. She has never been one to shy away from uncomfortable subject matter and her eagerness to be that vulnerable and get that personal will continue to be her best overall attribute. Conceptually, sonically and lyrically, this album is her strongest work to date.

Tove Lo Island |

The album kicks off with the first single, “disco tits.” Attention-grabbing title aside, this carefree disco-tinged track finds her both embracing her sexual prowess and losing herself in the excitement of seeking out her new lover. It’s all a consequence-free party, and if you one is lucky they may get an invite. The heartfelt album closer, “hey do you have drugs?” is the complete opposite. The track plays out like a lonely walk home that slowly builds to her realization that her affair has truly come to end. Throughout she repeats, “you won’t save the night for me.” By asking if anyone can help her find a high like the song title suggests, she may 52



Still, there’s an ever-present threat that culminates with nothing more than mere mentions of social and political change sprinkled throughout. On “City of Angels” we find Miguel living in an imagined Los Angeles that has been reduced to rubble. In this post-war or, perhaps, post-apocalyptic world, he spends his time seeking out his lover amid the chaos. Like the title suggests, this album finds itself somewhere between the pursuit of pleasure and facing the consequences of a world that is quickly changing. Ultimately, this project is less “war” and more “leisure.” Perhaps that is the overall point he is trying to make here: While the changes are lingering in the background, is there really anything wrong with simply enjoying the present?

Blue Lips (Lady Wood Phase II) As a sequel to last year’s Lady Wood, Tove Lo returns with Blue Lips. Like its predecessor, the album is separated into two chapters by the interludes “LIGHTBEAMS” and “PITCHBLACK,” contrasting the highs and lows of a relationship. The subject matter is all too familiar here: drugs, blatant sexuality and the aftermath of a split that’s wrapped in either an electro-pop dance affair or a late-night drunk confessional. The only thing these two scenarios have in common is that they both take place between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m.

of everything eventually being OK. “Sky Walker” shows the album’s most obvious attempt at big pop ambition. With the playful boasting and trap beats, the song is more suited to be on one of featured guest Travis Scott’s albums. It also brings one of the standout and cheeky line “I’m Luke Skywalkin’ on these haters.”


War & Leisure RCA |

On Miguel’s War & Leisure the familiar hedonism remains the central point, with a certain fear of impending doom lingering throughout. While the album is not the political proclamation that he had alluded was coming, it does attempt to mix in some real-world reminders that the world we live in now is quickly becoming a different place. If the world truly is ending, Miguel is not only going out with a bang, but also a fist full of bangers. One standout, “Pineapple Skies” is synthy and bass line heavy affair that echoes Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” The song is punctuated by repeated “woos” and the repetitive reassurance


Songs Of Experience Interscope |

For its 14th album, U2 delivers a project that’s intended to act as the sequel to music

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2014’s Sounds Of Innocence. While the album is an improvement from the band’s previous work, Songs Of Experience is a collection of work that oscillates between songs that are too eager to be relevant and familiar homages to its greatest hits (or an attempt piggyback off of them).

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One of the more confusing moments comes during the transition between “Get Out of Your Own Way” and “American Soul,” where the guitars become distorted and, following an initial pause, a familiar voice begins to speak. If U2 making a cameo on Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. was confusing, then him returning the favor here is even more so. Perhaps the short and sweet cameo’s intention to serve as an attention grabber, but it certainly seems out of place. On “The Little Things That Give You Away,” one of the standout tracks, the band manages to simultaneously sound familiar and brand new. This is a song that could easily fit into the band’s The Joshua Tree era and one they appropriately debuted during the 30th anniversary tour for the album. The album and the delivery feel may not be phoned in per se, but at times there are moments were it feels like it’s trying too hard. Like most legacy acts, U2 stands in a challenging position where they have to continue speak to their fan base while still trying to find relevance in an ever changing music world. Like most, they also fall victim to this idea. While the album is better than its predecessor, and their best in years, it is nothing remarkable. Perhaps everyone with an iTunes account will simply be thankful that the album wasn’t forced onto their accounts this time around. Julio C. Reyna is a music festival nomad who is finally getting paid for his quick wit, signature snark and musical prowess. He can be reached at @wholeeoh on Instagram. music

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between the covers

Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury By Terri Schlichenmeyer


ast year, this season was particularly rough. Every time you opened a newspaper or turned on the computer or TV, it seemed as though someone – a Hollywood actor, singer, or stage performer you liked – had died.

Even now, whether six months, a year or, as in Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury by Matt Richards and Mark Langthorne, more than a decade has gone by, you still miss them. Farrokh Bulsara was born in India in the fall of 1946 to Parsee followers of the prophet Zoroaster, facts he tried to hide it as a young man. For reasons he didn’t belabor, Bulsara claimed that he was “Persian” and seldom discussed his relatively privileged childhood. He even changed his name to Freddie. Known as a shy boy and famously ashamed of his prominent front teeth, Freddie was nevertheless so in love with music that he helped form his first band in 1958, in part to “impress the girls.” As soon as he was old enough, he moved to London, where he became a hangeron for two popular local bands, one of which eventually hired him as a lead singer. Freddie, say the authors, loved to put on a show. At around this time, he also fell deeply in love with a woman, though he “was struggling to come to terms with whether he was straight, gay or bisexual.” Indeed, despite social mores and legalities of the time, he was also undoubtedly sleeping with men, but he “had no intention of coming out … even if in truth he had felt able to.” By mid-1970, Freddie changed his surname, while his latest band changed its name to Queen; both began attracting attention in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Mercury fell in love with someone whom he considered his “common-law wife.” She, too, seemed to have no idea that he slept with men, which might not have mattered much anyhow: Mercury had led a “hedonistic” life for years and that was just Freddie being Freddie. 54



Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury by Matt Richards and Mark Langthorne. Weldon Owen, 2016 | $24.95.

But then, possibly some time in 1982, he was infected with HIV …

and dates in a bounce-around narrative on a story-loop.

Richards and Langthorne did an exhaustive job with the biography of the Queen front man. But Somebody to Love is also a surprising biography of the AIDS epidemic, beginning more than a century ago, which is often imagined, since exact circumstances are unknown.

There’s merit in this book – early sections on the beginning of AIDS and the beginning and end of Mercury’s life are all stellar – but much of the middle part is pretty ho-hum. In the end, Somebody to Love may still rock you loyal fans.

While it makes for a fascinating tale, it stretches too slowly, gets too breathy, and loses its punch (think: 400 pages, sans notes). Even Mercury’s career seemed a mess here; readers get names

Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm, lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 13,000 books. She’s been reading since age 3 and, to this day, she never goes anywhere without a book. books

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talking bodies

Sugar 101: Everything You Need To Know By Tia Norris


ugar. It’s everywhere. It’s in everything. And it’s always a hot topic of discussion when it comes to theories and guidelines for those who indulge. As we all know, the holiday season always presents increased opportunities for sugar consumption – whether it’s grandma’s famous cookie recipes or champagne toasts – so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to serve up Sugar 101, everything you need to know before indulging this season. Yes, you need sugar to function; the amount you need depends on your physical activities and fitness goals. No, you most likely don’t need to consume as much as you currently are; and ultimately, you cannot and should not avoid it forever. Like with most things in life. Here are four tips to help you navigate the sweet post between these two extremes:

1. You Need Sugar To Function (To Some Degree) Sugar is a basic, essential group of molecules that our bodies need for everyday functioning. So really, we should start calling them “sugars.” Sugars fall under the macronutrient, carbohydrates, which also include starches (like those found in potatoes and grains) and fibers (like those found in legumes and fruits). Starches and fibers are more complex molecules which digest more slowly. Sugars are generally simpler in structure, and therefore digest more quickly. This can be good and bad, in terms of health – the second section will discuss when you’ll want slow versus fast carbohydrates. 56



Carbohydrates, and particularly sugars, are your body’s preferred source for energy; fats are second and proteins are last. Generally, the reason low-carb dieting works is because when you remove your body’s preferred energy source, your it is forced to consume, in part, body fat for energy. This is also the reason performance athletes are always trying to “carb up,” carbs are your body’s favorite and easiest source from which to produce energy.

2. The Amount You Need Depends On Your Activities And Goals Consider two very different profiles: First, a triathlete, who exercises four to six hours per day and burns thousands of calories in those workouts; and second, a sedentary individual who does not exercise at all and is unhealthy in every way. Of course, the demand for sugars between these two individuals is vastly different. Here are my formulas to guide your sugars consumption: The performance-based athlete, particularly of the cardio variety, should generally consume 100calories per hour of activity. So, the chews, goos, gels, sodas and all those sugary fuel sources are exactly what you need. The sedentary individual should consume as little as possible sugar as possible. With low activity levels, your body will not be needing sugars for fuel, and so most consumption will directly add weight. For everyone else, who most likely fall in between these two, consuming as few grams of sugar is recommended for achieving results. Generally, half a gram per pound of body weight is a good starting point.

3. You’re Probably Consuming Too Much Because most people do not exercise enough, they don’t need much sugar for functioning. However, most people consume more than 15 tablespoons of sugar per day (that’s at a minimum). All the extra sugarthat’s not used is quickly stored as fat. The myriad of sources citing overconsumption of sugars and the associated dangers of such are overwhelming. However, my favorite summary of the sugar epidemic in this country is the book Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It by Jeff O’Connell.

4. Balance Is Key If you’re being smart about your activity leveland sugar consumption ratio, then virtually everyone can have SOME sugars SOME times. You simply won’t be able to avoid it forever. And you shouldn’t! Remember, sugar is an essential, basic nutritional necessity, to some degree! If you need help with making a plan as to which amounts correspond to your goals and lifestyle, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional. There is so much more to cover when it comes to sugars. This was, after all, just the 101 course. But, for the season ahead, remember that moderation is always a good thing. Savor the season, be safe and overindulge, because in most cases it will just lead to steeper, stricter New Year’s resolutions. Tia Norris is the president and head trainer at FitPro, LLC, a local fitness company. Find out more at HEALTH & FITNESS


Our Place In The Tribe By Liz Massey woke up giggling the other day because I had a long, elaborate dream about competing in a combination karaokeand-long-form-storytelling contest at a local bar. I realized after the dream was over that, as campy as things seemed, it really wouldn’t be all that far-fetched for me to be involved in something like that.

as carriers of one or more archetypes. Indigenous societies understood that it took everyone’s contributions to maintain a strong group. A similar focus in our community could bring purpose and direction to our youth, as well as help us all strengthen and cultivate our shared queer identity.

I identify as a nonfiction storyteller and a musician, to the point of mentioning it on my social media profiles.

So, what primitive prototypes might we claim for ourselves, if our idea of “roughing it” is staying at a two-star motel? Arrien reduced her “four-fold way” to the roles of teacher, warrior, visionary and healer. Jung and others named a larger cast of archetypal characters, including the caregiver, the rebel, the explorer, the lover, the artist and the magician or trickster. We all know friends and community members who fit these descriptions, as well as delightfully unique queer-specific ones such as leathermen, fairies, male/female illusionists and aesthetic tastemakers.

At this point in my life, I find such easy self-identification as comforting and not confining. One of the gifts of middle age for me has been a much greater sense of who I am. This gift has been especially helpful in times of crisis; for example, earlier this year it was much easier for me to figure out my role in the resistance movement because I already had an understanding about which of my talents might be most useful to others. Some might say that this blessed increase in personal power has happened because I embraced the archetypes, or vocational prototypes, most suited to my skills and my personality. While Americans like to think of themselves as rugged individualists, the truth is that our society is just as tribal as all the ones that it is built upon. Cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien called archetypes “blueprints for human behavior,” and the influential psychologist Carl Jung asserted, “All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes.” Our LGBTQ community could benefit from viewing our individual members

Embracing your archetypes starts by simply noticing which of these labels resonate for you, or what other selfdescriptions come to mind without a great deal of thought. Other steps toward living an archetypal life can include these: Deepening one’s capacity for selfreflection. You can’t become more completely who you are if you don’t really understand who you are. Arrien recommended silence, time spent in nature, creative activity and truth-telling as the “universal empowerment tools,” and they are definitely a great place to start.

Acknowledging the “shadow side” of your archetypes. Every role can be overdone. Visionaries can float away to dreamland, warriors can destroy everything around them, healers can cure everyone except themselves, and teachers can atrophy into vindictive schoolmarms or masters. No archetype is better than any other, and we need all of them to function as a whole society. Recognize and encourage each other’s archetypal embodiment. When you see a friend or relative exercising their talents and benefiting others with their gifts, point it out to them. People are often modest and uncertain about what they do well; it’s a good thing to let them know you see their excellence and love them for sharing it. Help young people discover and express their archetypes. We so often view children as needing to be filled up with knowledge before they can find their life path. Education is important, but sometimes the most helpful thing for a is child having adults who keep them walking on the path of fascination and delight that they found when they were very small, and guiding them back to that roadway when they get lost. Getting in tune with your archetypes is not conforming to negative community stereotypes – it is yet another way to reinforce each person’s individual mix of talents, skills and positive qualities. Feminist author bell hooks, writing in the book “Teaching To Transgress,” illuminated the path between this act of spiritual selfdefinition and the power of community: “When we talk about that which will sustain and nurture our spiritual growth as a people, we must once again talk about the importance of community. For one of the most vital ways that we sustain ourselves is by building communities of resistance, places where we know we are not alone.” Liz Massey has been involved in LGBTQ community-building activities in Kansas City and the Valley of the Sun, and is a former managing editor of Echo Magazine. She can be reached at





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S Noon-7 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestics; HH 7-9 p.m.; $1 well & domestics, $3 Absolut & Bacardi 10 p.m.-midnight

STACY’S @ MELROSE S $1.50 Rolling Rock pints & well drinks until 10 p.m.

M Karaoke, 9 p.m.-close; HH & $3 charity shots ALL DAY

T HH, 4-8 p.m.; $1 draft pint, $3 charity shots, $4 Mojitos & Caipirinhas ALL DAY; live DJ

W 2-4-1 ALL DAY; $3 charity shots ALL DAY; live DJ, top 40 & dance

T HH & $1.50 draft pint, 4-8 p.m.; $1.50 draft pint & wells, 8 p.m.-midnight; live DJ, top 40 & dance, 8 p.m.-close

F HH, 4-8 p.m.; $3 charity shots ALL DAY; $2 Kamikaze shots ALL DAY; live DJ, top 40 & dance, 8 p.m.-close

S HH, 4-8 p.m.; $3 charity shots ALL DAY; $2 Kamikaze shots ALL DAY; live DJ, top 40 & dance, 8 p.m.-close 62



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Echo Magazine January 2018  
Echo Magazine January 2018  

Echo Magazine – Arizona's leading media outlet dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in news, views and entertainment. January 2018 Issu...