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Leading By Example Find out how Echo’s 2016 honorees are investing in the future of the community LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT | VOL. 28, #4 | ISSUE 688 | JANUARY 2017 | COMPLIMENTARY


Loft Living in the Heart of Downtown Phoenix with Resort-Style Amenities

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inside this issue Issue 688 | Vol. 28, #4 | January 2017

features NEWS 8 Letter From The Editor 12 News Briefs 14 Datebook PREVIEWS AND REVIEWS 40 Without Reservations 44 At The Box Office 46 Opening Nights 49 Between The Covers


COMMUNITY 50 Talking Bodies

The Quiet Champion For some lawmakers, social issues are opportunities. For Sen. Katie Hobbs, they’re business as usual.


The Professional Altruist Nate Rhoton leaves behind a successful business career to bolster fundraising at Phoenix nonprofit one•n•ten.

52 All Over The Map 54 Money Talks 62 Phoenix Bar Map

ON THE COVER Echo Magazine’s 2016 Leaders of the Year Nate Rhoton and Katie Hobbs celebrate at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails in Downtown Phoenix. Photo by Scotty Kirby.





Before the Credits Roll Echo’s film expert Hans Pedersen rounds up five films with LGBTQ themes that you may have missed in 2016.


KIRBYGIRLS 2016 If you missed the live unveiling of local photographer Scotty Kirby’s latest drag photo collections, we’ve got you covered.

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/2016-photos. COMMUNITY CALENDAR

Photo by Colin Boyd Shafer.

2016 Holiday Spirits Guide Mikey Rox serves up cocktail recipes, spirited gift guide and party ideas to jingle all your bells this season.

Boy Erased: A Memoir Author Garrard Conley details his experience growing gay in a Baptist household in this coming-of-age biography.

From pageants to advocacy, this is where the community goes to find out what’s going on in the gayborhood. 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. marketing-solutions

Photo by Gregg Edelman.

Mr. Phoenix Leather 2017 Ninth annual contest, an International Mr. Leather a preliminary, is now accepting contestant applications.

online now

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



ven though this is officially the January 2017 issue, we have a few important orders of business to cover before we get to the Happy New Year wishes. As the last issue to drop before 2016 is over, this seems like the most appropriate time to take a look back at the past 12 months and revisit the highlights, review the lessons learned, remember those we’ve lost and rally for what’s to come. Additionally, I couldn’t be more proud of our entire Echo family – it takes so many individuals to bring you a fresh issue each month and there’s no way we could ever possibly make this happen without our team of talented writers and photographers, all our volunteers and collaborators, our wonderfully supportive advertisers and our sales team who makes sure all their marketing needs are met. And year after year it’s the community members, who still pick up this print publication after 27 years, who continue to blow us away with immeasurable loyalty and dedication. Thank you! 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 of your 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 2016 Leaders of the Year Sen. Katie Hobbs and Nate Rhoton. The best part about interviewing these two tremendous leaders was uncovering the ways in which their dedication and passion have brought them together in support of a variety of

efforts – from politics and dancing to Camp OUTdoors! and Valley Leadership. But that’s just a teaser of what we have in store for you. As you flip through this issue, we hope you get to know Hobbs a little better in “The Quiet Champion” on page 24 and find out more about Rhoton in “The Professional Altruist” on page 28. We also have some wonderful end-ofthe-year coverage for you here, too. First, we had the chance to catch up with a couple local award winners: Congratulations to Catherine Alonzo, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s ATHENA Young Professional Award winner, and to Kyle J. Penniman, Sierra Tucson Treatment Center’s 2016 Spirit Recognition Award recipient. Turn to page 12 for more on these individuals. Before we get into the 2017 film season around here, you might want to check out “Before the Credits Roll,” on page 44, for five movies you may have missed in 2016. Similarly, if you missed KIRBYGIRLS 2016, we have you covered there too. Local photographer Scotty Kirby has shared his most recent drag series with us on pages 36-37. For those of you already planning your New Year’s resolutions in the health and fitness department, our resident badass Tia Norris has some sage advice for you in “Talking Bodies” on page 50. (Good luck, by the way!) That’s it for 2016! Have a happy holiday season and a safe and festive New Year!




MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 16630 Phoenix, AZ 85011-6630 PHONE: 602-266-0550 NON-PHOENIX METRO: 888-echomag EMAIL:


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

Have a job to advertise? Need to rent a property? Looking to build your client base? Post an ad in Echo at JANUARY 2017

MANAGING EDITOR: KJ Philp CONTRIBUTORS: Tony Contini Tia Norris Anthony Costello Hans Pedersen Laura Latzko Terri Schlichenmeyer Richard Schultz Art Martori Liz Massey Michael J. Tucker Devin Millington Rachel Verbits Melissa Myers Megan Wadding David-Elijah Nahmod Danika Worthington

Copyright © 2016 • ISSN #1045-2346

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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. 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

one•n•ten launches Adopt-A-Diva Program for Queermas Each year, one•n•ten’s Youth Center is open on Christmas Day for youth, ages 14-24. Because nearly half of the youth in one•n•ten’s programs are homeless, or otherwise disenfranchised, the organization launched its annual AdoptA-Diva program as a way to ensure personalized gifts await youth under the tree as part of its annual Queermas celebration. In an effort to include the community in its gift-collecting efforts, small Adopt-ADiva Christmas trees will be displayed at various locations throughout the Valley. To Adopt-A-Diva, community members are invited to visit one of the nearly 30 Adopt-A-Diva Christmas tree locations and select a wish tag, which lists a youth’s name and the items they have put on their Holiday Wish List. For youth who didn’t have the

opportunity to fill out a wish tag, one•n•ten is always accepting the following items: scarves, gloves, winter hats, light blankets, holiday candies, backpacks (new or gently used), school supplies (all types), reusable water bottles, shoes/sneakers (all sizes), grocery store gift cards, Target/ Wal-Mart gift cards, bus passes (single day), new socks (M & F) and new packs of underwear (all sizes M & F). Gift/donation drop off takes place between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. MondayFriday by Dec. 21st at the one•n•ten admin offices, 2700 N. Third St., Suite #2011, in Phoenix Donations may be dropped off unwrapped or in gift bags. For a full list of Adopt-A-Diva Christmas tree locations, visit queermas. For more information, call one•n•ten’s admin office at 602-400-2601.

LGBTQ community advocate named GPCC’s ATHENA Young Professional Award winner

Stonewall Institute founder and CEO receives Sierra Tucson Treatment Center’s Spirit Award

Finalist Catherine Alonzo sat among the crowd at the 29th annual ATHENA Awards Oct. 26 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, waiting to hear who won the Young Professional Award.

Sierra Tucson Treatment Center honored Stonewall Institute’s founder and CEO Kyle J. Penniman with its 2016 Spirit Recognition Award at its nineth annual “Gratitude For Giving” celebration Dec. 2 at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix.

The awards, presented by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce celebrate outstanding Valley businesswomen who make a difference in our community through excellence in business and leadership, exemplary community service and mentorship of other women. Alonzo is a founding partner in Javelina, a branding and marketing firm that works with political campaigns, nonprofits and businesses. Alonzo has also worked extensively with Equality Arizona as a volunteer and co-board chair, where she has led multiple campaigns, including Why Marriage Matters and Competitive Arizona. She’s currently focusing on Project Jigsaw, which advocates for equality in foster and adoption. 12



Arizona statutes still give priority to married men and women despite marriage equality for LGBTQ couples, she said. The campaign works to change such things as paperwork verbiage and training county-level employees on how to give support to LGBTQ couples. “The playing field just isn’t even,” she said. “What I want to do with my life is even out the playing field just a millimeter.”

READ THE REST For Echo’s full story, visit

This award honors a professional who has assisted clients in a specialty area such as eating disorders, chemical dependency or mental health. For Penniman, those contributions have been within the local behavioral health community in advancing clinical knowledge and advocacy for LGBTQ clients and families. Penniman, who has worked in the addiction treatment field for nearly 20 years and is a licensed therapist, founded the institute having seen a great need for such a facility in Arizona. “Research affirms that a non-judging and empathetic environment fosters the greatest likelihood that one

will succeed in recovering from addiction,” Penniman explained. “Prior to 2009, facilities throughout the state lacked training and education in how to best serve LGBTQ clients and families.” These factors, Penniman added, really ignited him and directly led to his desire to create Stonewall Institute and to offer training and education to clinicians throughout the state.

READ THE REST For Echo’s full story, visit



Jan. 5-8

The ninth annual Mr. Phoenix Leather Contest, a preliminary to International Mr. Leather (IML), will take place from 8 to 10 p.m. in the ballroom of the Embassy Suites Phoenix, 2333 E. Thomas Road. The Mr. Phoenix Leather contestant application deadline is Dec. 29, 2016. Interested parties email For more information, see story at Jan. 5

Cigar Social at 7 p.m. at The Rock (for addresses, see Bar Map on page 62). jan. 6

Meet & Greet from 7 to 9 p.m. at Anvil. Tim Starkey Memorial Bus Tour kicks off at 8:30 p.m. at Anvil. jan. 7

Leather Happy Hour and Silent Auction at 3 p.m. at Plazma. Mr. Phoenix Leather 2017 Contest at Embassy Suites Ballroom (see above). Parking Lot Party and Vendor Mart from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Anvil. jan. 8

Bacongate Brunch at 11 a.m. at Bunkhouse. Victory Party, Beer Bust and Barbecue at 3 p.m. at Nu Towne Saloon.

locations, visit Gifts, as well as other donations, can be dropped off at one•n•ten’s administration office (2700 N. Third St. #2011) during business hours through Dec. 21.

Dec. 16-18

The Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus presents Home For the Holidays, voted “Best Christmas Show – 2015” by the Phoenix New Times, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m., Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. at Phoenix College’s John Paul Theatre, 1202 W. Thomas Road, in Phoenix.

Safety Pin Nation presents #StrongerTogetherAZ, a peace vigil uniting the community in solidarity and song, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 N. Third St., in Phoenix.

Dec. 17 Through Dec. 21

jan. 20

Select dates through Jan. 19

Safe Out and the LGBTQ Consortium invite you to their annual end of the year community celebration, which will include awards, music, refreshments, performances and art, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at {9} The Gallery, 1229 Grand Ave., in Phoenix.

benefiting the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at FilmBar, 815 N. Second St., in Phoenix.

Country Idol 2017 preliminaries are underway. For those interested in competing to qualify for the finale, which will take place at the 2017 Arizona Gay Rodeo, the remaining preliminaries begin at 9:30 p.m. at the following bars: The Twisted Peacock (Dec. 21), Los Diablos (Jan. 4), BS West (Jan. 8), Stacy’s @ Melrose (Jan. 10), Karamba Nightclub (Jan. 16), The Cash Nightclub & Lounge (Jan. 18) and Anvil (Jan. 19). jan. 19 jan. 27-29

The eighth annual Desperado LGBT Film Festival, which will include screenings, Q&A discussions and special guests, at Paradise Valley Community College’s Center for the Performing Arts, 18401 N. 32nd St., in Phoenix. Tickets: mark our calendars

one•n•ten’s annual Queermas: Adopt-ADiva program is accepting gifts for LGBTQ youth via wish tags placed on various trees throughout the community. For tree 14



You’re invited to The Big Gay Sing-Along: Chicago, and evening of drink specials, giveaways and costumes (encouraged)

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 RED Brunch Dec. 10 at Sheraton Grand Phoenix. Photos by

For more Echo photos visit




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out & about Festival of Trees Dec. 3 at The Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Photos by

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ROMEO & JULIET February 9 – 12, 2017 with The Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall Experience eternal love Valentine’s weekend with this famous tale of two star-crossed lovers’ pursuit of true love and tragic end.

Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

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out & about Transgender Day of Rememberance Vigil Nov. 20 at the State Capitol lawn. Photos by

For more Echo photos visit




out & about Worlds AIDS Day Vigil Dec. 2 at The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness in Phoenix. Photos by

For more Echo photos visit




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feature story


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 local heroes, Echo bestows its Leaders of the Year recognition. We’re proud to announce Sen. Katie Hobbs and Nate Rhoton as the leaders who have earned this recognition for 2016. Not only are both of these individuals ongoing contenders for Echo Readers' Choice Awards, they also support our unofficial (coincidental, really) tradition of honoring a pair of outstanding community members who have crossed paths while supporting causes they’re passionate about. Throughout the past few months we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know this dynamic duo a little better, and what we discovered is that they have a truly unique chemistry and their individual leadership styles complement each other well. But don’t take our word for it. In the pages ahead, we invite you to get to know Sen. Katie Hobbs and Nate Rhoton 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 22 years of honorees who paved the way!

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Meet Echo’s previous Leaders of the Year: 1994: Bill MacDonald & Dianne Post

2005: David Fiss & Kyrsten Sinema

1995: Barb Jones & Mark Colledge

2006: Bill Lewis & Brandi Sokolosky

1996: Beth Verity & Ken Cheuvront

2007: Tom Simplot & Regina Gazelle

1997: Linda Hoffman & Neil Giuliano

2008: Gary Guerin & Annie Loyd

1998: Kim Charrier & Steve May

2009: Micheal Weakley & Tambra Williams

1999: Amy Ettinger & Steve May

2010: Meg Sneed & Jimmy Gruender

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




The Quiet Champion

For some lawmakers, social issues are opportunities. For Sen. Katie Hobbs, they’re business as usual. Photo by Scotty Kirby.

By Art Martori

“For me, being in politics right now is just about how I can try to bring about social justice, not any particular issue. Social justice is social justice.” Katie Hobbs

Photo by Scotty Kirby.


anging on a wall in the office of State Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs, nestled among artwork created by her friends and children, and service awards she’s garnered over the years, is a simple wooden sign. It reads Illegitimi non Carborundum, a euphemism in Latin meaning Don’t let the bastards get you down. How appropriate. Hobbs, a Democrat representing Legislative District 24, is a liberal in a sea of conservatism. As a lawmaker she’s constantly paddl ing upstream to push an agenda where her most notable bills often don’t even make it to the floor of the Senate.

“Our participants were homeless youth that we had to try to get on the road to self-sufficiency by the time they reached adulthood,” she said. “Many of our youth were parenting teens, and many others were homeless because they were LGBTQ – something I didn't really know anything about.” Because there weren’t any specialized resources for LGBTQ youth at the time, Hobbs credits Gail Loose, the nonprofit’s program manager, with helping build a network of services for them – a process Hobbs said taught her a great deal.

in those kinds of debates are putting it all out there on the floor, knowing we get our points made on the record, but the amendment is not going to pass. “It’s really, really, really frustrating a lot of the time.” As of late, Hobbs has been engaged in countless hours of conference calls, voter outreach and fundraising ahead of the riotous Nov. 8 election in which Donald Trump became president-elect, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was ousted and Arizona Democrats gained a seat in the Senate, but still face a 17-13 Republican majority.

She’s a progressive, calling for commonsense sex education in schools. She’s a former social worker and a champion for the disadvantaged.

“As a parent, I want to ensure that youth have strong supports in their lives,” she said. “If they can't get that from home because of who they are, I want to help in any way that I can so that they are getting that somewhere.”

She’s also a wife to her husband of 20 years, Pat Goodman, and a mother to children, Sam, 18, and Hannah, 14.

One of the ways Hobbs lives out this mission is by volunteering at one•n•ten’s Camp OUTDoors! for the past four years.

“I think that being a parent changes everything about the way I see the world and how I want to be in the world,” she said. “It makes me fight harder for the ones who are struggling to try to be good parents and the ones who don't have that support at home.”

“one•n•ten is an organization that I have made a very strong connection with,” she said. “I will go back [to camp] as long as they keep taking me; it's an experience that I'm sure I get more out of than I put into.”

“I didn’t run for this office so I could run for something else. As long as my constituents want to keep me here, hopefully I’ll do a good job representing them,” she explained. “For me, being in politics right now is just about how I can try to bring about social justice, not any particular issue. Social justice is social justice.”

Not “Just A Bill”

All The Right Stuff

She’s also a new kind of standardbearer for the LGBTQ community, having unseated Ken Cheuvront – first openly gay man elected to the Arizona House of Representatives – in the 2012 primary election.

Hobbs bridles explaining how a bill designed to curb school bullying has continually failed to make it out of committee.

Hobbs, an Arizona native, reached the Senate via a career in social work. As the director of government relations at the Sojourner Center, the country’s largest domestic violence shelter, she managed millions of dollars in government contracts. She’s also served on numerous commissions that align with her commitment to social justice, such as the Phoenix Women’s Commission and the Phoenix Human Services Commission.

“I had to make this really hard decision to run against him,” Hobbs recalled of running against Cheuvront. “But is wasn’t about taking out a gay elected official, it was about our district being well represented. I take that responsibility very seriously, representing the LGBT[Q] community.”

Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’s Future After earning a bachelor of social work from Northern Arizona University and a master of social work from Arizona State University, Hobbs’ first job out of college was with Tumbleweed, a safe space for collaborating with youth and young adults in our community who are vulnerable or experiencing homelessness.

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“GLSEN was a major stakeholder in drafting the safe schools bill that I have introduced every year since I've been in office,” she said. “We know that schools can be a source of a lot of pain for students, even if they have support at home. GLSEN helps make schools a safe place.” And another piece of legislation – which would bar discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status – died in committee upon its first reading in May. “It would be easy to go, ‘Oh, if I go the establishment route, I’ll get more stuff done,” Hobbs admitted. “That might make you popular with the Capitol crowd, but that’s not what got you elected. All of us

Hobbs, who ran unopposed, explains that these successes are just part of the job. She doesn’t see them as stepping stones toward greater personal achievement.

Deep down, Rep. Lela Alston (D-Phoenix) explained, Hobbs is someone who truly believes in what she’s doing. Alston is a close associate at the Capitol and 18-year veteran of the Legislature. She’s been around long enough to see when someone is a career politician – and when they’re a leader. Hobbs, she said, is the latter. “She’s wonderful. She’s a natural,” Alston said. “Some people have all the right stuff. And she has all the right stuff to be an elected official. She’s smart, number one,




and she’s well informed. She has the right values, from my point of view.” Lately, Hobbs has made headlines for her push to process thousands of untested rape kits held by law-enforcement agencies throughout the state. It’s something that even Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, has been vocal in supporting. “I want to thank the task force for their work, especially Senator Katie Hobbs who has championed this issue for years,” Ducey said in a statement released in October. “My office will continue to work hand-inhand with policy experts, law enforcement, and community leaders to protect our communities and provide victims with a much-needed sense of relief.”

the underserved and underrepresented needed a champion. Running for office was a natural progression in her career. At some point, she began sitting in for her boss at meetings at the Capitol. Eventually, she became chair of a legislative board where she helped community members and lawmakers work together on policy issues. Maybe it wasn’t an epiphany that Hobbs had, but more of a reaction to the way things got done in the legislature. “I thought, ‘I could do a better job than some of the people down here,’ Hobbs recalled.

An Advocate For Everyone

She took office as a State Representative in 2010, and in 2012 she won the primary election against Cheuvront and went on to win a seat in the State Senate.

There was never an “aha moment,” as Hobbs describes it, when she realized

As a Senator, bills she’s sponsored read like the wish list of Arizona’s scant liberal

base. In addition to the sex-education and non-discrimination legislation, Hobbs has pushed for abortion rights, abolishing the death penalty and putting an end to school bullying. She adds that, despite recent advances in LGBTQ rights, there’s still much work to be done. “It would be easy to look at marriage equality and say, ‘Okay, we’re done,’” Hobbs said. “I see the LGBT[Q] civil rights movement as the big movement of our time. But we’re also seeing progress faster than we’ve seen it in any other movement, and there’s still so much that needs to be done.” Still, Hobbs stresses the importance of access to leaders and transparency in government and accountability to the people who elected her. “There is more responsibility because you have a platform. I have a platform,” Hobbs explained. “Now that I have a title in front of my name people want to hear what I have to say. So even if I can’t take the actions that make something happen, I’m still using my voice to make sure that [each important] issue isn’t forgotten about.” Art Martori is a Phoenix-based freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines.




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out & about Sparkle, Glitter, GLSEN Nov. 17 at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown. Photos by Yolie Contreras, courtesy of GLSEN Phoenix.

For more Echo photos visit




The Professional Altruist

Nate Rhoton leaves behind a successful business career to bolster fundraising at one•n•ten. Photo by Scotty Kirby.

By Art Martori

“Within the first week of coming [to one•n•ten], I just felt so much more challenged – in a good way – than I had in a long time. So it was well worth it.” Nate Rhoton

Photo by Scotty Kirby.


he language of business has always been native to Nate Rhoton, and in that world he’s enjoyed much success due to an innate ability to crunch numbers, juggle RFPs and close deals.

benefiting the organization. In its ninth year (but the first since one•n•ten acquired it from SWAY Events), the event raised more than $53,000 – tripling the record set in previous years.

But that has always left him just short of completely fulfilled, which is what prompted Rhoton to pursue volunteering as a way to scratch his altruistic itch.

This success, Rhoton credits to several new approaches. One such example was an effort to bridge the gap between participating bars and event attendees by creating pop-up versions of such gayborhood hotspots as Stacy's @ Melrose and BS West.

That is until last November, when Rhoton realized it was time to leave the for-profit world to become development director at the Phoenix nonprofit one•n•ten. In this role, where he’s responsible for the organization's fundraising lifeblood, Rhoton represents the merger of two juxtaposed forces: success as business would define it and success in the philanthropic sense. With his formidable business acumen, merged with a passion for one•n•ten’s mission of serving LGBTQ youth and young adults ages 14 to 24, he’s a new kind of nonprofit professional. “Working with donors and being a donor myself, I saw how powerful it can be to work one-on-one with those donors and facilitate greater giving,” Rhoton said. “Just to further engage them and make them feel connected to our mission.” It was Linda Elliot’s style of running the organization that Rhoton said first resonated with him, when this opportunity presented itself. And, of course, he was eager to meet her for dinner and a serious discussion about the future possibilities. From there, a few formal interviews took place before Rhoton was notified that he was the best candidate for the position. When he formally started at one•n•ten in November 2015, Rhoton remembers the feeling of knowing this decision changed the course of his life. “Within the first week of coming [to one•n•ten], I just felt so much more challenged – in a good way – than I had in a long time,” Rhoton said. “So it was well worth it.”

The Show Stopper Among his accomplishments since joining one•n•ten, Rhoton said he especially proud of Dancing with the Bars 2016, a dance competition held in August with proceeds

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“It really created that fun atmosphere of going up to a bartender who knows you,” Rhoton explained. “And you have that banter back and forth that you typically don’t get at an event. We need more of that. We need that sense that it’s the community putting on an event, rather than just, ‘This is Nate at one•n•ten putting on an event.’” This, Rhoton explained, was all made possible due to careful planning and preparation, and securing an event license from the city of Phoenix

Return on Investment Today, one•n•ten operates on a $1.875 million annual budget, Rhoton explained, about quadruple the organization’s cashflow of four years ago. According to Linda Elliott, one•n•ten’s executive director, Rhoton was her choice for nourishing that growth due to his professional experience and active participation in the community surrounding her organization. “Nate was the best candidate for the job because he brought a rich network of community and corporate contacts, a wealth of experience in fundraising and PR and, most importantly, a passion for the mission of one•n•ten,” Elliott said. For Rhoton, it’s a responsibility that remains top of mind. His salary comes via a grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, which he said allows him to feel more impactful knowing the money he raises never funds his own paychecks. “It also makes me feel accountable and energized to do my best job, because, at the end of the day, this is a foundation that believes in our mission and wants to make a difference in our organization,” he

said. “I feel like I need to have a return on investment for each one of those dollars.”

Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’s Future Indeed, big things are happening at one•n•ten as the organization heads into its 24th year enhancing the lives of its youth by “providing empowering social and service programs that promote selfexpression, self-acceptance, leadership development and healthy life choices.” Now in its fourth year, one•n•ten’s Promise of a New Day housing program, for example, puts roofs over the heads of otherwise homeless LGBTQ youth in Arizona. According to Rhoton, one•n•ten has already secured the money necessary to build a new, larger housing facility in Phoenix. It’s been challenging, he explained, because the facility needs to be near the light rail, and that kind of real estate is typically prohibitively expensive. “I love that I can solve these problems, whereas before I was using my mind to work out a change order,” Rhoton said. “I love that now it’s a marriage of what I used to do as a volunteer with what I do for a living. It makes it not feel like work.”

Getting Started Rhoton landed at one•n•ten after more than 15 years in corporate jobs, which included roles as a business planning manager at General Mills, a Fortune 500 company, and operations director at SKY Construction & Engineering, Inc. The latter is his family’s business, which Rhoton said had an annual budget of $25 to $30 million. Fresh-faced and yet to turn 40, Rhoton laughs remembering one of his first meetings at General Mills, back when he had just graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in economics and business administration (and looked even younger than he does today). At the meeting, a grocer eyed him suspiciously, possibly wondering how much business savvy he could expect from this young man. “He said to me, ‘Are you even old enough to drive?,’” Rhoton recalled. But, like most people he’d meet over the next 15 years, Rhoton earned his respect.




He credits that to the role model his father provided, who, he said, is best described as charismatic. “How I connect with people I would definitely attribute to my dad,” Rhoton explained. “My dad can be a little crazy, but at the end of the day, he’s a really good, charismatic person. His belief is that everyone has a story, and he wants to hear it. And I am completely like that. I love hearing other people’s stories.” But despite his business pedigree and inherited ability to make friend and influence people, Rhoton said there was still a part of him that wanted to do something different, something more. Over the years Rhoton learned that volunteering provided him an avenue to fill that void and, as a result, he’s held various leadership positions with such nonprofits as Equality Arizona, Human Rights Campaign, Melonhead Foundation and the

Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

It Takes a Community Travis Shumake, now fundraising chair for one•n•ten, remembers working with Rhoton at events for Human Rights Campaign, Equality Arizona and one•n•ten. Shumake agrees Rhoton is excellent at executing projects while energizing people involved at the same time. “He does a great job of highlighting the strengths of a person. That’s very rare in a volunteer network,” Shumake said. “You can’t really coach people. You get what you get. However, he’s an extremely effective nonprofit leader and special events taskmaster. He can pull out strengths and passions for a task. He makes you want to come back again.” This year also marks another milestone for the young professional, Rhoton

applied for and was accepted into Valley Leadership, a nonprofit dedicated to equipping community leaders with the tools to transform the greater Phoenix area, as part of its Class 38. “We consider Valley Leadership a lifetime commitment to our alumni,” said Christy Moore, VL president and CEO. “We’re here to link them up with opportunities that align with their passions.” Upon completion of the yearlong program next August, Rhoton will join the ranks of more than 2,000 VL alumni, including many LGBTQ community leaders. As Rhoton heads into his second year with one•n•ten, he’s focusing his efforts and energy on the organization’s eighth annual Fresh Brunch, scheduled for Feb. 19, 2017, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa. “Through this special event, we are able to invite donors to be a part of our truly special story and unique impact on the lives of nearly 1,000 youth ... I measure our success in lives saved and our donors make that possible,” he said. “Fresh [Brunch] is different ... [It’s] the perfect mix of laughs, smiles, possibly some tears … the ideal recipe for the perfect Sunday!” Art Martori is a Phoenix-based freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines.




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Lazy Eye.

Before the Credits Roll

Five LGBTQ films you may have missed in 2016 By Hans Pedersen


n 2016, fewer A-list stars shone on the silver screen in Oscar-worthy LGBTQ roles – along the lines of say, Carol or The Dallas Buyers Club – than in recent years. Perhaps you were wowed by the inspired performances in Moonlight. But you might have been left cold by King Cobra, a film about gay porn that was frequently compared to Boogie Nights, but wasn’t half as endearing.

No Men Beyond This Point This clever mockumentary elaborates on the radical feminist idea that men are expendable. The award-winning film’s conceit is to chronicle a modern world where there really are almost no men left. It explains that in 1954 asexual

reproduction became possible, and males soon became unnecessary to perpetuate the human species. In this matriarchy, women eventually stopped giving birth to men, and most couples are lesbian moms. Very few members of the male species remain. No Men Beyond This Point.

Movies that were well-reviewed in Echo’s pages, such as Spa Night and First Girl I Loved, are now streaming online, as well as the heart-wrenching Viva, the Molly Shannon comedy Other People and the ensemble tale The Intervention. Still, we’ve rounded up a few additional films (available now on various streaming platforms) that we think you’ll enjoy before this year officially comes to close. In no particular order, here are five great films featuring LGBTQ themes that you may have missed in 2016.




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Tab Hunter Confidential.

Most of the subjects in the “documentary” are women, except for a guy in his mid-30s – a novelty – who works as a nanny. While one mom is concerned about their giggling daughters’ exposure to a rare example of a strapping male, her more progressive partner seems more comfortable with the abnormal arrangement. He’s treated in exactly the condescending way that upper-middle class families still treat their female nannies now. Heterosexuality is a subversion to this society’s norms: it’s a fantastic one-note gimmick that works, at least for a while. Written and directed by Mark Sawers, this mock doc offers a glimpse into a world where males are an aberration. Tab Hunter Confidential Many recall Tab Hunter, the heartthrob who was alienated by Hollywood amid a gay scandal. Only now, for this rosecolored portrait in a documentary produced by his partner Allan Glaser, is Hunter willing to talk openly about his sexuality. That’s not to say he’s comfortable with the idea, which makes him a bit of a squirmy subject. Hunter, who remained closeted for decades, defends anyone who wants to stay private about sexual orientation.


And he never apologizes for being closeted, the way, say, “Star Trek” actor George Takei did in To Be Takei. It’s important to remember, as the documentary explains, Hunter was raked over the coals by such folks as powerful Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper. It also outlines how AIDS cast a shadow over LGBTQ media representation in the early 1980s. Hunter co-starred with a drag queen in John Waters’ Polyester, a career move that gave cross-dresser Divine mainstream visibility and crossover appeal, while boosting Waters’ credibility too. (The two actors appeared in a second film together, and Hunter went on to appear in the underrated Grease 2, while Divine starred in Waters’ Hairspray.) The story unfolds as Hunter’s fascinating meteoric rise, thanks to the Hollywood machine, happens nearly as quickly as his fall: he was the victim of a bad career move, as well as severe homophobia. This behind-the-scenes Hollywood documentary is brimming with tons of archival footage, interviews, riveting stories and a detailed discussion of Hunter’s romantic relationship with the late Anthony Perkins (Psycho), who was apparently bisexual.

Lazy Eye Directed by Tim Kirkman, this oddly compelling character study, set against postcard-perfect landscapes, follows the story of two men who haven’t seen each other for 15 years. Dean (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) is a Los Angeles-based graphic designer who reconnects with his ex-lover Alex (Aaron Costa Ganis) in Joshua Tree, Calif. Once the two men reunite, the sparks immediately start to fly. Dean and Alex get to know each other over drinks and a dip in the hot tub overlooking the desert. But the truth each of their lives is cryptic: Alex is so far off the grid that he’s unsearchable on the Internet, meanwhile Dean is the one with a real secret. Curiously, the title has little bearing on any of this, except for an eye exam in an opening scene. In a biting remark meant with zero acrimony, the ophthalmologist tells Dean, “It’s perfectly normal for people to experience a dramatic change in vision around middle age.” The crestfallen look on Dean’s face is priceless. Ultimately, the talents of the lead duo carry this wistful and surprisingly memorable film, and they deliver their lines with such naturalism that it’s easy to forget they’re acting. Me, Myself and Her

Me, Myself and Her.

Golden Globe-winner Maria Sole Tognazzi directed this Italian comedy about two very different women in their 50s who, in their five years together, have built quite a nice life together. Federica is an architect who is reserved and not out at work. Marina, a oncefamous actress, now runs a health food restaurant. They live together and make love in the bed they share, but what’s unclear – even to them – is whether or not they’re a couple. As Marina considers a return

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be accepted at a prestigious performing arts school, but her brother’s medical issues are eclipsing her preparations for the big, important admissions audition. In the meantime, Gus is a wrestling fan whose roughhousing is getting out of control, and he’s also testing societal boundaries for prescribed gender roles.

to acting, Federica’s eye wanders when she meets up with an old boyfriend – and the fact that she is attracted to both men and women comes into play. Set along a gorgeous Mediterranean backdrop, this comedy about how bisexuals have too many options was released in December, and stars Sabrina Ferilli (The Great Beauty) and seven-time Donatello Award-winner Margherita Buy. The director of this endearing romp is the daughter of Ugo Tognazzi, one of the stars of the original La Cage Aux Folles.

Rhythm of the Dance Sunday, February 12 · 3pm

Art Garfunkel: In Close-Up Saturday, March 11 · 7:30pm

And finally, Matt is a boy whose two moms are very visible in the Gayby Baby. fight for marriage equality. But he is struggling to reconcile the fact one mom has faith in the Catholic Church, despite its doctrine toward Gayby Baby the LGBTQ community, and he must decide Directed by Maya Newell, this Australian for himself what he believes. documentary about four different kids Ultimately one big unifying event and their same-sex parents offers up an brings all four subjects together in a big entirely different perspective on LGBTQ affirmation of their lives. The movie is lives. ideal viewing for families with same-sex For example, Graham has trouble parents, and there are issues viewers of reading, despite help from his two dads. all ages will find relatable. The boy encounters even more challenges when his entire family moves to Fiji, where they must decide whether to hide his Hans Pedersen is a freelance adoptive parents’ same-sex relationship. writer based in Phoenix. Then there’s Ebony, who yearns to

Pump Boys and Dinettes

Saturday, February 25 · 7:30pm

Friday, March 3, 2017 · 7:30pm

Piano Battle

Sunday, March 19 · 3pm

Sunday, April 9 · 7pm Full season listing

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photo feature


Local photographer unveils latest drag photo collection Photos by Scotty Kirby 2


or the second year in a row, local drag photographer Scotty Kirby summoned a cast of his most colorful clients to bring his work to life in front of a First Friday crowd.

KIRBYGIRLS 2016, which took place at Live On Central’s Grand Ballroom Dec. 2, included the unveiling of two new photo collections as well as runway performances by 13 of the fiercest queens. This year’s participants included Gia DeMilo (1), Holly Peña Popper (2), Savannah Stevens (3), Luna Love St James (4), CoCo Montrese (5), Nikki Knowles (6), Piper M’shay (7), Coco St James (8), Farrah Moan (9) , Naomi St James (10), Alisha Wynters (11), Miley Mitchells (12) and Egypt (13).



11 10







5 6






OUT & ABOUT KIRBYGIRLS 2016 Drag Photo Exhibition Dec. 2 at Live On Central’s Grand Ballroom in Phoenix. Photos by

For more Echo photos visit




OUT & ABOUT ONE Community’s Eighth Anniversary Party Dec. 5 at FOUND:RE Phoenix. Photos by Bill Gemmill.

For more Echo photos visit




Photo by KJ Philp.

without reservations

Sosoba By Rachel Verbits


ust like that, it’s winter in Phoenix. This most certainly means two things are occurring throughout the Valley: First, locals are digging into the back of their closets for that extra layer, scarf or beanie and second, they’re heading out to their favorite eateries for warm comfort food. And because Team Echo is no exception to either of these, we’ve been waiting until this perfect opportunity to introduce you to Sosoba Phoenix, the nonstop noodle shop that opened in late September. This ramen oasis – sister to the Flagstaff location that’s been in business since November 2014 – serves up uniquely inspired noodle dishes that combine authentic and seasonal ingredients from local sources aka bowls of piping hot goodness that will melt the winter chill away.

Billed as “not your traditional ramen shop,” Sosoba it’s a full-service restaurant, complete with a bar and patio, located on the north side of Roosevelt Street between Second and Third avenues. On my first visit to Sosoba, I arrived for lunch intrigued, hungry and chilly. The aroma of sweet sauces and grilled vegetables welcomed me as I stepped into this cozy space. The chef was preparing fresh meals in the corner of the open kitchen’s bar. At first glance, the menu seemed small; however, I soon realized most of the dishes were designed for adding, subtracting and even swapping out ingredients for a myriad of choices. And even at a place known for it’s noodles, I had to start by trying a couple of the shareable menu items with my table to

General Tso Tso Cauliflower.

get things started. First to arrive from the kitchen was a plate of General Tso Tso Cauliflower, which was flash fried and coated in General Tso sauce and adorned with fresh chilies, garlic, scallions and peanuts. I admit, I’m not always the biggest cauliflower fan, but this plate was devoured in mere minutes. Next up was a plate of spicy housemade mac and cheese balls, aptly named Balls of Fire. These individual servings of cheesy heaven come enveloped in a

Left to right: S.U.V. (So... You’re Vegan) , Chile Glazed Udon Noodles and Mr. Karl Katsu.

udon noodles, there’s pork belly, carnitas, chicharon, ham fries, soft boiled egg, house-made kim chi, scallions and bacon. #micdrop, indeed. Along with the ramen bowls that Sosoba is so well known for, they also specialize in a variety of glazed noodle dishes. Containing either ramen, soba or udon noodles just begging for chicken, pork belly, ground pork or tofu to be added.

Balls of Fire.

perfect sphere of panko crunchiness. And, at only $3 dollars each, this new twist on an old favorite is definitely a must-try. Both of these dishes are tasty options for vegetarians, but wait, there’s more: At the top of the menu, Sosoba boldly boasts, “ Just ask us … we can accommodate most dietary restrictions.” So don’t be afraid to inquire. As I followed the menu into the entrees, I learned that one of Sosoba’s most popular items is the Mr. Karl Katsu – precisely the bowl of ramen you’d dream of on a cold, winter day. Crispy panko chicken is placed atop a bowl of ramen filled with scallions, carrots, corn, bacon, narutomaki (Japanese cured fish) and a soft-boiled egg. The house-made corn/ miso broth is creamy and smooth, but interestingly, tasted more like corn than the miso base diners may expect. For heat-seeking palates, The Mic Drop! packs not only a punch, but also the most diverse array of ingredients on the menu: Steeping in a 15-hour tonkotsu pork broth, this bowl of literally everything combines

Dining out

I ordered the sweet chile glazed udon noodles, a dish that combined familiar flavors with new tastes. Drenched in a flavorful sweet chili sauce, this noodle bowl consisted of fresh carrots, cabbage and cilantro and was topped with three generous slices of pork belly. Peanuts and chiharron add a salty crunch that balanced out the sweet, soft noodles for a meal that is not to be missed.

Sosoba Phoenix 214 W. Roosevelt St., Phoenix Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Sun-Wed 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thurs-Sat

Rachel Verbits is a published writer and a selfproclaimed foodie who spends her time exploring all the amazing eats Arizona has to offer.

My vegan dining companion was elated with the discovery of the S.U.V. (So… You’re Vegan), which stars soba noodles, Ramona Farms tepary beans, potatoes, sautéed greens, seasonal squash and rayu (chili oil) in a Japanese curry sauce. What some would perceive this dish lacks in, well, meat, it most certainly makes up for in flavor.` Diners craving a cocktail to accompany their meal (or just something to sip on while people watching on the patio – especially on a first Friday) will find the specialty drink menu enticing. A signature cocktail will run you about the same amount as your meal, but it’s well worth it to savor the flavors of a creation deserving of the name Agent Orange or Honey And Knives. Whether you’re looking for some unforgettable comfort food or you just need a big bowl of warmth to defrost this season, Sosoba’s “unabashedly in-authentic” cuisine is delicious at (almost) any hour of the day or night.




Michael “Mike” Skiff Aug. 26, 1963 – Nov. 22, 2016 After attending Camelback High School and graduating from Northern Arizona University in 1985, Michael “Mike” Skiff relocated to Hollywood and became a director, writer, cameraman and editor for Catalina Videos. Mike and his partner of 17 years, Tony, founded Third Rail Media, and Mike went on to direct and film two award-winning documentaries: Kink Crusaders (2011) and Folsom Forever (2014), which made its world premiere in London prior to screening in many countries around the world. Mike also filmed many of the IML International Mr. Leather contests and produced music videos. Always one who cared deeply, Mike was also a youth mentor in the Lifeworks Program for the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center. He and partner Tony were legally married in April, 2015, at their home in the Hollywood Hills. After four years of fighting throat cancer, Mike passed peacefully, at home, with Tony at his side.


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at the box office

Shared Rooms

Alexander Neil Miller (left) and Justin Xavier in Shared Rooms. Photo courtesy of Wolfe Video.

Director shares the importance of creating holiday films for the LGBTQ community By Hans Pedersen


f you’re looking to don some gay apparel this holiday, you may remember our joyful list of holiday films with LGBTQ themes, including Rent, The Family Stone and Tales of the City (well it’s a mini-series, but who doesn’t love it?).

hoping people have double features at their homes.

Just as Santa is always updating his naughty-or-nice list, Echo is freshening up its own holiday movie list with the addition of Shared Rooms.

Williams: That was really the main theme … how these storylines intertwine and how they’re related. I realized it was all about family – whether it’s finding true love, your husband or boyfriend, finding your biological family or finding your friends. I think it is true for so many people in the LGBT[Q] community that their friends are their family… you embrace your friends, I think, in a way that is very unique to our community during the holidays.

The newest seasonal film, written and directed by Rob Williams (Make the Yuletide Gay) and released by Wolfe Video released last month, features three intertwining storylines that play out during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Echo recently caught up with Williams to find out more about his new movie and his hopes of bringing upbeat messages to LGBTQ audiences this holiday season. Echo: Up until a decade ago, there were hardly any LGBTQ-themed Christmas movies. Are you proud to have changed that, first with Make the Yuletide Gay and now with Shared Rooms? Williams: Absolutely. I am a big fan of Christmas movies period. I definitely felt like when I started making films about a decade ago … I don’t think there were any Christmas gay-themed films. So that’s what we set out specifically to do … We got such a wonderful response [with Make the Yuletide Gay] … people love bringing it out and watching it for the holidays. So it was natural to think, “Hey, let’s try that again.” [We] did it with Shared Rooms and we’re hoping people love it just as much. I’m 44



Echo: One of the movie’s opening lines, which I liked, was the line “December 24th is when friends become family.” Could you talk about that a little bit?

And that is what we wanted it to be about, that search for family, and this coming together of this group of men to create a family. I feel that’s so important … I think now more than ever we need to rely on each other for this family, because we’re not going to get it a lot of other places. Echo: Your film does have a reference to Trump, so it’s topical. Any advice to LGBTQ community for surviving or thriving in President Trump’s world? Williams: I think we all have to band together and realize we have to stand steady. We have to be stronger together. We have to realize a lot of people in this last election did not really see the big picture. I think they’re realizing the big picture now, as already people are talking about taking away the rights of our community. So I think that is going to bring us all together. We’ll

have to fight more than ever and really stand up and be counted, and say, “No, you cannot do this to us, you cannot take away our marriage rights,” and really fight for it … We started making films 10 years ago because there was so much negativity in the world, but also negativity in gay films. I think it’s so important to put out positive messages through the media, and to say, like in Shared Rooms, it is possible to find true love. It is possible to find family that loves you and supports you, and it is possible to have a happy ending in your life. I’m not saying our films are important in that sense, but I do think that art is important in showing people what is possible. And I think now, more than ever, it is going to be important for us to show positive images, and put out positive messages about the community and to the community about what we can do and what we can accomplish. Even if it’s just telling someone, if your parents kick you out of your home for being gay, there is a community that will love and support you ... I know movies can do that, because people tell me our films have done that for them.

READ THE REST For Echo’s full interview with Rob Williams, visit

Hans Pedersen is a freelance writer based in Phoenix. movies

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The Illusionists – Live from Broadway ASU Gammage Jan. 17-22 1200 S. Forest Ave. Tempe Tickets: $20-$125; 480-965-3434

opening nights By Richard Schultz

Photo by Joan Marcus.

Love letters

My Life on A Diet

Jan. 6-15

Jan. 7-8

Saturday Night Fever – The Musical Jan. 13-15

This funny and poignant tale of what could have been details a friendship sustained throughout the years and an affirmation of the adage that your first love is the hardest to forget. Two friends, rebellious Melissa Gardner and straight-arrow Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, have exchanged notes, cards and letters with each other for more than 50 years. Through these messages from second grade and summer vacations to college and well into adulthood, they discover that though they have spent a lifetime physically apart but, perhaps, they are as close spiritually as only true lovers can ever be.

Hollywood legend, Renee Taylor takes the audience on a trip through her more than 60-year career in movies, Broadway and such iconic roles as Sylvia, Fran Drescher’s overbearing, food-loving mother on “The Nanny” and Ted Mosby’s neighbor, Mrs. Matsen, on “How I Met Your Mother.” Throughout this show, she shares how her perseverance and dieting, as well as her 47-year marriage to actor and director Joe Bologna (who staged this play), have been the true constants in her life. The journey includes dieting advice she received from Hollywood stars including Joan Crawford and Marilyn Monroe, as well as stories of many other stars she knew and with whom she worked.

Love Letters Jan. 6-15 Fountain Hills Theater 11445 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills Tickets: $25; 480-837-9661 ext. 3

My Life on A Diet




Jan. 7-8 Invisible Theatre Berger Performing Arts Center 1200 W. Speedway, Tucson Tickets: $42; 520-882-9721

Winterfest: Hamlet & Much Ado About Nothing Jan. 13-28

Put on your “Boogie Shoes” for one of the most loved dance stories of all time! It’s 1979 in Brooklyn, New York, and Tony Manero is young man with only one ambition in life: to become the disco king. When he meets Stephanie, who also dreams of a world beyond Brooklyn, they decide to train together for a dance competition and their lives are forever changed. Based on the 1977 film that became a cultural phenomenon, the electrifying score is packed with legendary hits from the Bee Gees, including the classics “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever,” “Jive Talking,” “You Should Be Dancing” and “How Deep is Your Love?”

Southwest Shakespeare is staging two of William Shakespeare’s greatest works in repertory. Hamlet is a milestone in Shakespeare’s dramatic development – a portrait of a man torn between two forces: the need to remain morally pure and the need to take revenge. One of the cleverest comedies The Bard ever penned, Much Ado About Nothing, features one of the most engaging and unlikely romantic couples in all of Shakespeare, Beatrice and Benedick. In all its intrigues, battles of wits, buffoonery and drama, this romantic delight looks beneath the surface of love – past human frailty to humility and forgiveness.

Saturday Night Fever – The Musical Jan. 13-15 Theater League Orpheum Theatre 203 W. Adams St., Phoenix Tickets: $35.25-$82.25; 602262-7272

Winterfest: Hamlet & Much Ado About Nothing Jan. 13-28 Southwest Shakespeare Company Mesa Arts Center 1 E. Main St., Mesa Tickets: $15-$44; 480-644–6500 theater

The Illusionists – Live from Broadway Jan. 17-22

This spectacular production, which has shattered box office records around the globe, is packed with thrilling and sophisticated magic of unprecedented proportions. Audiences will witness stunning acts of grand illusion, levitation, mindreading, disappearance and, for the first time ever in history, a full view water torture escape during which acclaimed escapologist Andrew Basso will hold his breath for more than four minutes as he attempts to escape from his underwater cell. This group of world-class performers takes their cues from the great illusionists of the past, such as Harry Houdini, and pairs it with a contemporary set and costume design aesthetic. You won’t believe your eyes!

Night of the Chicken: Curse of the Crusty Claw Jan. 13-29

When a science experiment gone wrong first turned Andrea Hafferton into a teenage werechicken, she thought she had it pretty bad. Now, three episodes later, things are even worse! Andi is forced to give a disastrous pep rally speech, Taco Tuesday gets cancelled, and someone lays an egg and blames it on her! Meanwhile, she still has to keep everyone at Ronald Reagan Junior High from discovering her monstrous secret. Written by Carrie Behrens and directed by Kim Porter, the fourth installment of this radio play series will be performed onstage with live sound effects. Night of the Chicken: Curse of the Crusty Claw Space 55 | 636 E Pierce St., Phoenix Tickets: $15;

Fiddler on the Roof Through Jan. 29

Featuring a cast of 28, under the direction of David Ira Goldstein, Arizona Theatre Company’s debut of Fiddler on the Roof also marks company’s largest production in more then 30 years. Based on the stories about Tevye the Dairyman by Sholem Aleichem, this international stage sensation tells the follows Tevye, a poor milkman whose love, pride and faith help him face the oppression of turnof-the century czarist Russia. When Tevye’s eldest daughter, Tzeitel, begs him to let her marry a poor tailor rather than the middle-aged butcher who he has already chosen for her, Tevye must choose between his own daughter’s happiness and those beloved traditions that keep the outside world at bay. Meanwhile, there are other forces at work in Anatevka, dangerous forces that threaten to destroy the very life he is trying to preserve. This 1964 Tony Awardwinner for Best Musical is includes a timeless score, featuring “To Life,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset” and “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.”

Fiddler on the Roof Arizona Theatre Company Tickets: $30-$80

New Year, Same You - Just better! Make your resolution to be drug free.

Tucson: through Dec. 31 Temple of Music and Art 333 S. Scott Ave., Tucson 520- 622-2823 Phoenix: January 6-29 Herberger Theater Center 222 E. Monroe, Phoenix 602-256-6995

#BeSafeOut Follow us on social media to learn more! & THIS PROGRAM IS FUNDED THROUGH

Richard Schultz is a playwright, actor, director and freelance writer based in Phoenix.





Local musician conducts Broadway revival at SMTC By Richard Schultz


ow in its sixth year, Scottsdale Musical Theater Company (SMTC) prides itself on “bringing Broadway’s favorites back to life.” Now in its sixth year, this ambitious local theatre company continues presenting large-scale productions of Broadway musicals – including professional sets and costumes, local talent and a full live orchestra for every show – at the Tempe Center for the Arts. From Jan. 5 to 8, the company turns its focus to Guys and Dolls, the 1950 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical based on short stories by American author Damon Runyon. A key component in recreating the magic of Broadway musicals, of course, is finding a musical director with a passion for reviving these classic productions. For SMTC, local musician Curtis Moeller (pictured) fits the bill and has helmed numerous shows with the company.

Moeller, a graduate of Arizona State University, has also worked with theater companies throughout the Valley, including Heathers at Stray Cat and Next to Normal at Nearly Naked Theatre. Echo caught up with Moeller to find out more about his take on this production of Guys and Dolls. Echo: What is the theatrical significance of Guys and Dolls? Moeller: Guys and Dolls has rightfully earned a secure spot in the musical theater canon. Since its premiere in 1950, it has received numerous Broadway and West End revivals and countless productions worldwide. It won five Tony Awards, including best musical. I believe it technically should have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama because it is a truly American story that enriched our country’s shared heritage. Echo: How does Guys and Dolls represent that period of Broadway musicals? Moeller: Like South Pacific, The King and I and many other 1950s musicals, the central theme is a love story between people from opposite sides of the track. Being a musical comedy, though, of course we can rest assured knowing that the guys will end up with the dolls by the end of the show. It also follows closely on the heels of Cole Porter and others by including the stock characters of gamblers, showgirls and religious crusaders. Echo: How are musicals today similar or different than Guys and Dolls? Moeller: The composer, Frank Loesser, incorporated complex jazz harmonies and advanced musical structures that we rarely find in contemporary musicals. In this way, it is both high and low brow. Although most people in the audience probably won’t know what




a “fugue” is, they can tell that the opening song “Fugue for Tinhorns” sounds pretty amazing. Echo: Why does this musical still resonate with audiences? Moeller: There is a great balance of humor and wit mixed with a charming love story. Echo: Often audiences will know a film version better than the stage version. What makes the stage version so unique? Moeller: Being a music director, the biggest differences are the songs. A few songs were swapped out in the movie version without too much effect, but they unfortunately cut Abernathy’s song to Sarah “More I Cannot Wish You,” and the female leads’ duet “Marry the Man Today.” Both subtractions sadly reduce the full range of these characters on film. Echo: Do you have a favorite musical number in the show and why? Moeller: [That’s] a tough question, but I’d lean towards “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat.” I love that it comes at such an unexpected moment, from an unexpected character, and so suddenly and successfully turns the whole scene into a toe-tapping tent revival. Echo: Please complete the following statement: Local audiences should not miss this production of Guys and Dolls because … Moeller: … with these actors onstage, I guarantee you’ll have a good evening!

Guys and Dolls Jan. 5-8 Scottsdale Musical Theater Company Tempe Center for the Arts 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe Tickets: $33-$42; 602-909-4215

Richard Schultz is a playwright, actor, director and freelance writer based in Phoenix. theater

between the covers

Fair Play: How LGBT Athletes are Claiming Their Rightful Place in Sports By Terri Schlichenmeyer


s long as your team wins. That’s all that matters, isn’t it – just that they win? You don’t care what they ate for breakfast. You don’t give a rat what they weighed this morning. And, as in the new book Fair Play: How LGBT Athletes are Claiming Their Rightful Place in Sports by Cyd Zeigler (pictured), you don’t care who they sleep with. Less than a generation ago, if a professional athlete came out publicly as gay, it was cause for controversy (at best) and harassment (at worst), from the stands and from the locker room. In today’s arena, however, gay and lesbian athletes enjoy wider acceptance from fans and followers; sadly, the intolerance that formerly came from the bleachers can now just as easily come from behind the scenes. It used to start in the early years, and while there are still some problems with hazing in high school locker rooms, Zeigler indicates that many public schools are more inclusionary of gay athletes and staff than they’ve ever been. High schools are also less willing to put up with incidents of homophobia. In college sports, though, something different emerges: teasing (which is mentally depleting, despite that it’s ostensibly meant for bonding), hazing (of which Zeigler demands an end), anti-gay rhetoric (at religious institutions) and general torment are all practiced and are psychically hurtful to anyone, but particularly to gay athletes. Conversely, lesbians and transgender athletes’ experiences almost bookend those of gay men. On one hand, lesbian athletes receive unusually high fantolerance, which may be because higher numbers of lesbian athletes are matterof-factly uncloseted; indeed, when a female athlete comes out as lesbian, it’s rarely newsworthy anymore. On the far other hand, many transgender athletes still receive fierce backlash. Yet, times are changing, albeit gradually. Teammates and staff who voice homophobia might now receive punishment along with negative fan reaction. Mere humanity makes a difference, too. The biggest change, though, seems to come from fans, and from their quiet acknowledgement that


a player’s sexuality doesn’t matter at all to an enjoyment of the game itself. With bullying as such a hot topic in schools and media these days, it was only a matter of time (and it’s about time) that someone tackled the subject in context of the sporting world. Even so, I was rather disappointed to see that Fair Play, although its subtitle indicates that it’s about LGBT athletes, is more about gay males in sports. I suppose one could argue that most professional sports are maledominated, but Zeigler, though he admits his focal point, truly needed more about lesbians, and bisexual and transgender players. That slim coverage left me wanting. Still, it’s hard not to be fascinated with what’s definitely not your usual game coverage. Zeigler is a nationally-known sports writer, and this book is filled with insider peeks, big-name examples, astonishing incidents, and up-and-comer encouragement – therefore, ultimately, what’s in this book overshadows what’s not, and it becomes something that I think will be enlightening for fans both straight and gay. Despite a little lacking, if you’re an armchair cheerleader, then, Fair Play will really score.

Fair Play: How LGBT Athletes are Claiming Their Rightful Place in Sports by Cyd Zeigler. Akashic Books | 2016.

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.

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talking bodies

Three steps to setting specific, realistic and individually appropriate New Year’s resolutions By Tia Norris


s a fitness professional, New Year’s is simultaneously one of my most and least favorite times of year. The “new year, new me” promise to get in shape is the No. 1 resolution year after year – regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race and so on. On one hand, January is exciting because I am able to help a brand new group of people work on their fitness goals and make the lifestyle changes that support them. But on the other hand, it’s an incredibly frustrating time of year because of the influx of doomed-to-fail type of goal setting that we see all too often in the fitness industry. While most of us have good intentions with wanting to become better with each passing year, the truth is that most people flat-out suck at setting specific, realistic and individually appropriate goals. To remedy this epidemic, I’ve decided to share my three top-secret, industry-proven solutions to help you make better fitness resolutions for 2017. 1. Be Specific. There is no such thing as being too specific when it comes to goal setting. First, you need to write down everything that you want, and how badly you want it on a scale of 1 to 10. And, yes, you must write it down … writing down your goals will make them more real. There’s an unseen, inexplicable magic that occurs when you record your intentions in this manner. So just do it! Next, cut the general b.s. “Losing weight” is too general, “getting in shape” is too general and “getting healthy” is – you guessed it – also too general. To succeed, you must get as specific as 50



possible, Examples could include losing 10 pounds, losing three dress sizes or exercising for 60 minutes, three times per week. And don’t forget about timelines. Add in an end date by which you need to achieve the goal; if you have a specific event in mind, that’s even better – use it to your advantage. Finally, you need to be specific in your plan. It’s a great start to say you want to work out for 60 minutes, three times per week – but where will you work out? What will you do, exactly? Will you follow a particular workout plan? What time of day will you exercise? Will you work with a trainer? And if so, how will you find them, and how much are you willing to pay for them? You need to leave no stone unturned. The more specific your plan is, the more likely you are to succeed. 2. Know Thyself. Now that you’ve got your incredibly specific plan in place, we need to be sure that your goals are realistic. We need to consider your athletic background as well as your current lifestyle. For example, if you’re a former college athlete, and you’re familiar with “the grind” of a grueling athletic program, you can set the bar higher in terms of frequency and difficulty of your fitness program. But if you haven’t worked out much in your life, or if you have fallen off the wagon for a long time, you’ll need to set the bar lower. It’s also important to take your current lifestyle and how much you’re willing to sacrifice into consideration. Are you willing to spend the necessary time in the gym and not at happy hours or dinners out or partying all weekend? This will all factor into how high your expectations can and should be.

Finally, the most important question you need to ask yourself is “am I really ready to take the plunge into an entire lifestyle change?” I’m not trying to scare you away – that would be a terrible business model for me. But I am in the business of being painfully realistic. So, prepare for make sacrifices, make changes and feel the discomfort that follows. Make sure you’re at your true breaking point and ready to make serious changes, if you want to see serious results. Remember, it is worth it! 3. Plan For Triggers And Regressions. For those who never pursued fitness before, you must know that it will not be all sunshine and rainbows. For those who have pursued fitness before, you know that it can be a vicious cycle if you mismanage the process. It will start out as exciting, new and liberating, but will soon become challenging, draining and seemingly out of reach. Prepare yourself for regressions and failures, and resolve to not quit – no matter what! You can’t quit your job when you have a bad day or if you don’t feel like going, right? Fitness is exactly the same. Resolve to stick with it, prepare for setbacks and keep going. Remember, the secret to achieving your New Year’s resolutions in 2017 is to start by setting better goals. This year, start by resolving to be specific, realistic, individually appropriate – and stick with your goals no matter what!

Tia Norris is the president and head trainer at FitPro, LLC, a local fitness company. Find out more at health & fitness



Making Beautiful Trouble By Liz Massey


ell, we lost. I mean, Donald Trump didn’t just become President-elect on Nov. 9. Notorious gay-hater Mike Pence became Vice President-elect, and the GOP achieved majorities in both houses of the U.S. Congress. This, combined with GOP successes in downticket races, could mean significant threats to LGBTQ advances toward full equality gained during the past eight years – including marriage equality, the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” bans on anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy for underage minors, anti-discrimination statutes and much more. The bad news is that many members of our community are scared, and rightfully so, as they stand to lose healthcare, benefits, relationship recognition and more, if the most draconian projections of the Trump Administration prove accurate. The good news is that we have more allies in our fight for equality than ever before. Suddenly, millions of Americans from all walks of life and across a good chunk of the political spectrum are realizing that the only way to avoid the political scapegoating promised by Trump as a candidate is to organize and fight together. Some of our newfound allies are very inexperienced in the ways of nonviolent social reform. As I see it, two of the largest threats to this emerging resistance are that these folks will either 1) lose heart when they realize that this could be a long, difficult, and nasty fight, or 2) lose their way because they aren’t able to figure out how they’ll work with a variety of groups toward a common goal. Luckily, our predecessors in America’s social reform movements (including previous LGBTQ battles) have left us plenty of guidance on how to fight the good fight. Here’s a small sampler of things we can do to create a world that values diversity, respects the promises of the U.S. Constitution and creates liberty and justice for all.




We Won’t Go Back: How to Resist Injustice, in a Nutshell 1. Understand the big picture. This election is different. This election cycle was far more frightening than most, with ethnic, religious and other forms of scapegoating taking center stage. Since no one is just their religion, their skin color or their sexual orientation/gender identity, it’s important to become familiar with the concept of intersectionality and why unjust targeting of one minority threatens all marginalized Americans. Another part of understanding the big picture is ensuring that the information we receive from the media is accurate; it’s imperative that we now become discriminating news consumers and support quality journalism outlets with subscriptions and donations. 2. Claim your personal power. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t end segregation by himself. Harvey Milk didn’t stop discrimination against gays alone. Gloria Steinem hasn’t advanced women’s rights in a vacuum. Each one of these leaders was supported by a huge network of ordinary people who stepped up and participated in direct actions, lobbied elected officials, voted, marched in the streets, and/or helped organize other activities that moved society toward greater justice and equality. The way you tell your personal story … the choices you make when you shop … the letters, emails and phone calls you chose to make … and how you present your cause when you’re interacting with friends and loved ones can all accelerate positive change. 3. Know your game plan. Social justice activists need a strategy to guide their actions, just as the groups they work with do. Connecting with likeminded others on social media is great, as is attempting to persuade and inform via those platforms, but most of our activism work will take place away from these arenas. If you want to do some selfeducation on the best ways to engage

for change, there are websites such as Beautiful Trouble, a toolbox for revolution (, and Actipedia, a wiki for creative activism (actipedia. org), that have detailed information on resistance strategies that have worked in various contexts, and your library can supply you with books and documentary films about past social reform efforts that can inspire you. 4. Remember you’re descended from a long line of activists. If you’ve been involved in the LGBTQ or allied community for any length of time, you’ve heard the stories of how our tribe cared for persons with AIDS when there were no medicines to treat it, fought back when we were being bashed and no one would protect us, and celebrated our relationships when no one else valued them. It’s in our DNA to resist injustice and press forward, demanding equality every step of the way. If you’ve never considered yourself “political” before this, now is a great time to start! The coming years may prove more daunting to our community than anything we’ve experienced since Stonewall, but the future also holds the potential for building incredibly durable alliances that could significantly strengthen our movement. To rise successfully to this challenge, each one of us will need to commit to leading positive change, the sort advocated by Benazir Bhutto, the first female prime minister of Pakistan and the first woman to lead a Muslimmajority nation. “Ultimately, leadership is about the strength of one’s convictions, the ability to endure the punches, and the energy to promote an idea,” she said. “And I have found that those who do achieve peace never acquiesce to obstacles, especially those constructed of bigotry, intolerance and inflexible tradition.” 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 COMMUNITY

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What about Marriage (and More) Throughout The Next 4? By Melissa Myers and Michael J. Tucker

Melissa Myers: After Election Day, my office had many inquiries from LGBTQ people fearful about the validity of their marriages in the upcoming presidential administration. Michael J. Tucker: Same here, with questions following some common themes: Will my marriage be valid after Jan. 20? Should my partner and I rush to get married before the inauguration? Myers: The LGBTQ national legal advocacy organizations have since spread the word that in the short term, at least, nobody’s marriage will be legally invalidated. Tucker: Right. The legal consensus is that legally married couples will continue to be married, and anyone who encounters problems with their marriage being fully respected should contact a LGBTQ legal group immediately. Myers: For more information if you are experiencing any issues with the recognition of your marriage, call the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Helpline at 800-528-6257. Tucker: There’s more. If you are married legally anywhere, you are married here. Folks in Canadian marriages (or from the United Kingdom or anywhere it was legal, for that matter) need not re-marry in the United States. Your marriage is recognized and valid nationwide. Myers: If you are not married, there’s no rush to get married. While Inauguration Day could signal major difficulties for some LGBTQ Americans, both culturally and legally, it’s not likely to mean the end of the freedom to marry. Tucker: If you do decide to get married, please be informed about the legal consequences of marriage. Ask your advisers. Myers: For those wanting to dive deeper into your legal protections, we recommend reading one of national advocacy organization’s websites, such as Tucker: Or read one of the books becoming available on this subject, such as my 54



colleague Elizabeth Schwartz’ new book Before I Do: Legal Guide to Marriage, Gay and Otherwise.

communities of color.

Myers: Please familiarize yourself with the legal points these sources raise and don’t rush in to a marriage.

Myers: The unapologetically homophobic vice president-elect is leading the new administration’s transition team, creating concerns for many LGBTQ people and those living with HIV and AIDS.

Tucker: Marriage equality probably won’t be overturned. Those who are less optimistic acknowledge, at least, that a U.S. Supreme Court rollback of marriage rights couldn’t happen abruptly. Court cases take time.

Tucker: Importantly, members of our trans community who might seek to obtain federal documents (such as passports, social security cards, and immigration records) with corrected gender markers should do so now.

Myers: Still, if you are in a binational relationship and one of you is undocumented, you may want to seek counsel from an immigration lawyer to see whether marriage would help adjust your status.

Myers: Definitely. The current streamlined policy that President Obama put in place is potentially in jeopardy.

Tucker: That way, if the political campaign threats of mass deportation are carried out, you’re protected. Myers: Beyond marriage, our community faces plenty of other threats. For parents, it is now more important than ever to obtain confirmatory adoptions by court order, even if you are married. Tucker: This might be the most important point. The right to marriage equality may be enshrined across the country, but how a marriage impacts parental rights is decidedly not universal. Myers: An adoption or parentage order from a court, which confirms your parental rights, even if you are both already on the child’s birth certificate, may become critical. Tucker: Now more than ever, having a will in place and clear advance directives for your health care will be important for everyone. Myers: These protections continue to be essential for all LGBTQ people. Tucker: It is incumbent upon all of us to speak in solidarity with LGBTQ people of color, who can feel particularly vulnerable in the wake of a presidential campaign dialogue that targeted African-Americans, Muslims, Latinos and many other

Tucker: Arizona law still doesn’t require employment non-discrimination and other laws protecting against discrimination. Take care to protect yourself and your family. Myers: Another segment of the LGBTQ community facing increased vulnerability in the near future is our elders. Tucker: Many protections older LGBTQ adults count on, such as financial security, health care access, affordable and welcoming housing, and culturally competent services, can be compromised by a rollback of the progress achieved at the federal level. Myers: If you or a loved one are part of this population and need help, support or referrals, the SAGE LGBTQ Elder Hotline is ready to take your calls at 888-234-SAGE.

Melissa Myers is a certified financial planner with Camelback Retirement Planners, in Phoenix, a registered representative with Commonwealth Financial Network and a registered investment adviser. Michael J. Tucker is an attorney with Michael J. Tucker, P.C., in Phoenix, and is a certified specialist in estate and trust law. For more information, see their ads in this issue. This material has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute either tax or legal advice. Investors should consult a tax or legal professional regarding their individual situation. Neither Camelback nor Commonwealth offers tax or legal advice. finance

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Ring In The NEW YEAR! Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Thursday, January 26, 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 27, 8 p.m. Putting a new spin on the art of dance, this all-male company performs faithful renditions of the most celebrated ballets.

Storm Large

Saturday, January 14, 8 p.m A finalist on CBS’ Rock Star: Supernova and a regular guest vocalist with Pink Martini, the sensational Storm Large performs with her fierce new band.


Friday, February 10, 8 p.m. Saturday, February 11, 8 p.m. The athletic young men of KODO perform a bold and exhilarating display of thundering percussion.

Plan your Scottsdale Arts experience today! scottsdale center for the performing arts

Click Call 480-499-TKTS (8587) Visit 7380 E. Second St.

Echo Magazine January 2017  

Echo Magazine – Arizona's leading media outlet dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in news, views and entertainment. December issue. Le...