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Transcending The Binary Local artist’s latest series celebrates trans stories Meet Echo’s 2016 Hall of Fame inductees


This special solo performance will offer a glimpse of a restless spirit who continues to push forward into exciting new musical terrain

The Capitol Steps

What to Expect When You’re Electing Friday, November 25, 8 p.m. | Saturday, November 26, 5 & 8 p.m. Sharing songs and skits from their new album, What to Expect When You’re Electing, the irreverent D.C.-based political comedy troupe pokes fun at all sides of the issues – from left to right – with fresh, up-to-the-minute material inspired by the latest headlines, scandals and more.

An Evening with

Bruce Hornsby

Friday, November 18, 8 p.m. An unforgettable solo performance by this Grammy Award winner, whose hits include “The Way It Is” and “Mandolin Rain.”

Adam & Anthony Live

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of RENT Saturday, November 19, 8 p.m. An inspiring concert with two of Broadway’s most beloved stars – Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp.

Tig Notaro

Thursday, December 8, 7:30 p.m. A stand-up night with the comedian and star of the semi-autobiographical comedy series One Mississippi. Presented in partnership with Stateside Presents

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

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


inside this issue Issue 686 | Vol. 28, #2 | November 2016

features NEWS 8 Letter From The Editor 12 News Briefs 14 Datebook 17 Joshua Tree Feeding Program to host fourth annual masquerade gala PREVIEWS AND REVIEWS 58 At The Box Office

Photo by Brandon McGill.

62 Opening Nights


66 Between The Covers

Hall of Fame We invite you to join Echo in congratulating the Class of 2016 and get to know a little more about these community heroes.


“Transcendent” Local artist creates platform for transgender and nonbinary community members to share their stories.

COMMUNITY 70 Talking Bodies 72 All Over The Map

ON THE COVER Lydia Leal (left) and Aiden Grae pose as part of Brandon McGill’s “Transcendent” series. Body painting and photo by Brandon McGill. Photo courtesy of The Pübes.


Combing through The Pübes Phoenix’s original queercore comedic rockers dish on making music, aging and redheaded sluts.

Photo by Devin Millington.


Redemption in Retrograde The Phoenix Mercury falls to the Minnesota Lynx in the 2016 semifinals. Bonus: A Season in Review

Transcending The Binary Artist’s series tells trans stories

Meet Echo’s 2016 Hall of Fame inductees





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

How To Avoid a Name Change Nightmare “Ask Lambda Legal” offers advice on one of the most important steps in transitioning.

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

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2016 Stay tuned for up-to-date on Phoenix and Tucson observances, scheduled for Nov. 20.

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 Stephanie Anne Donoghue.

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

online now

Good Business for Small Businesses Echo’s “Money Talks” experts discuss the importance of outsourcing.




letter from the editor By KJ Philp



ince there is a good chance you could be reading this before October has come to an end, I’d like to kick this issue off by wishing you all a happy belated National Coming Out Day, no matter where you’re at in your journey, as well as a happy LGBTQ History Month! For more than a decade now, Echo Magazine has observed this month by honoring LGBTQ community heroes who have helped raise awareness and spark change on the local and national levels by nominating them for induction into our Hall of Fame. In this issue, we’re proud to present the Class of 2016: Daniel Eckstrom, Olivia Gardens, Neal Lester, Sheila Lopez, Gabriel Medellin, Ron Passarelli, Stephanie Sherwood and Eileen Yellin. This group has made tremendous contributions in government and politics, nonprofit service, activism, academia and entertainment, both in the local community and beyond. It was a pleasure getting to know them all a little better and I’m proud to introduce you to them beginning on page 31. And, because this is Echo’s November issue, we’re observing Transgender Awareness Month in the pages ahead as well. To help us put forth a proper tribute, local artist Brandon McGill accepted the challenge of creating a trans flag-inspired body painting on two wonderful canvases – meet our fierce and fearless cover models Lydia Leal and Aiden Grae. Both individuals are a part McGill’s latest series of body paintings, a platform he launched for transgender and nonbinary community members to share their stories and gain visibility. We have more about the project and its participants in “Transcendent” on page 42. We also caught up with local author Georgia Lee McGowen to learn more about

her gender journey as she recounts it in her autobiography Dear Mom and Dad, You Don’t Know Me, But …, flip to “Between The Covers” on page 66 to see what she had to say. But it’s not all new introductions in this issue’s top stories; we also caught up with some of your old favorites. For the first time in five years, Phoenix’s original queercore comedic rockers are finally dropping a new album. We sat down with the band to inquire about what they’ve been up to and what fans can expect in “Combing through The Pübes” on page 48. On the heels of the Phoenix Mercury’s loss to the Minnesota Lynx in the 2016 WNBA semifinals, we have a full season recap, including a farewell to Penny Taylor, in “Redemption in Retrograde” on page 52. It’s not often we’re able to produce a special issue that highlights one segment of our community, but we felt that this was an especially appropriate opportunity to showcase those who represent the T in LGBTQ this month. This will extend on to our coverage of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) observances scheduled for Nov. 20 throughout the state. As a transgender-identified member of the LGBTQ community, I invite you to join us as we honor the lives of our brothers and sisters we’ve lost this year in acts of anti-transgender violence. We’ll have up-to-date information on times and locations of the 2016 TDOR vigils at as those details become available to us.




MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 16630 Phoenix, AZ 85011-6630 PHONE: 602-266-0550 NON-PHOENIX METRO: 888-echomag EMAIL: Copyright © 2016 • ISSN #1045-2346


Have a job to advertise? Need to rent a property? Looking to build your client base? Post an ad in Echo at NOVEMBER 2016

MANAGING EDITOR: KJ Philp CONTRIBUTORS: Cait Brennan 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

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

Echo Magazine now has free online classified advertising!



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.

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chat it out Your IGNITE Outreach Crew knows that sometimes, life can get complicated. It can take some time to figure things out, and sometimes, you just want to chat with upbeat people who get where you’re coming from.

each chat group meets twice a month in the community!

Beginning in November, IGNITE is bringing seven new chat groups out into the community so you can chat about common things many gay & bi men struggle with. Meet other gay men who may be feeling the same way and connect with people in your community to chat through those feelings. Safe. Confidential. Judgement-Free. Brought to you by:

find meeting locations & times at



gay men are “supposed” y wa e th k loo ey th l fee n’t do o wh n me For issues. to look and struggle with body image relationships For couples & individuals dating or inoth ’t. where one guy is HIV positive & the er isn ht guys, finding the right rig the ng eti me le ub tro ve ha o wh ys gu r Fo ps & in person dating. ap g tin da y ga ng ati vig na d an say to s ng thi ut at work or building the -o ng mi co s ge en all ch ve ha o wh n me r Fo workplace. confidence to bring your full self to the

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news briefs

ASU to Have First-Ever Campus Polling Place The Maricopa County Elections Department has agreed to have a polling location on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus on Nov. 8, the day of the General Election. The polling place will be at the Sun Devil Fitness Center. This is the first time ever that students will be able to vote on campus on Election Day. According to an Arizona

Advocacy Network (AAN) press release dated Sept. 6, “this accomplishment was made by a bi-partisan coalition of organizations and elected officials who came together in a common effort, despite political differences. In a time when our media is saturated with vitriol, at AAN we are filled with hope that a grassroots effort for positive change is still possible.” The Commission for

Photo courtesy of Arizona Advocacy Network.

Election Accountability (formed and led by AAN), which has been meeting with the Maricopa County Recorder about a number of election issues, brought together the Undergraduate Student Government, ASU Young Democrats, College Republicans, ASU Graduate and Professional Students

Association, and others to work on getting a polling place on campus. These efforts were supported by Maricopa County Supervisor Denny Barney, Supervisor Steve Gallardo, and Tempe City Council member Lauren Kuby. For more information on Arizona Advocacy Network, visit

HRC Endorses Kirkpatrick for United States Senate The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization – announced its endorsement of U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in her race for Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat. “Ann Kirkpatrick has been a strong supporter in our fight for equal rights and protections for all,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs. “Whether it’s her long-time support for nationwide marriage equality or the Equality Act, or fighting against attempts in Congress to write discrimination into federal law, Ann has a proven record of fighting to ensure LGBTQ people can live free from fear of discrimination. Ann is the person we need to fight to pass the Equality Act and help us finally move toward full federal equality.”

Courtesy photo.

Kirkpatrick spoke out this year against Republican leadership in the U.S. House who flipped enough votes to defeat an LGBT non-discrimination measure, calling it a “shameful, cowardly day in Congress.” Senator McCain has refused to support the Equality Act, comprehensive legislation to protect LGBT people from discrimination and opposes marriage equality. HRC President Chad Griffin led a volunteer phone bank in Phoenix with HRC members and supporters Sept. 22 to help turn out support for Hillary Clinton and Kirkpatrick. Courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign PAC and authorized by Ann Kirkpatrick for U.S. Senate

FacPAC announces endorsements for MCCCD Governing Board seats The Maricopa Community Colleges Faculty Political Action Committee (FacPAC) released endorsements for Linda Thor and Dennis Kavanaugh for Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) Governing Board seats, which will be on the Nov. 8 ballot. • County-Wide (at-large): Linda Thor Thor is a proven leader at all levels of higher education – faculty, college president and most recently chancellor of the FoothillDe Anza Community College District in California. She is the most qualified candidate we have ever seen for this publicly elected position. She brings a balanced view of fiscal responsibility and a teaching and learning perspective. Thor respects faculty and their vital role in empowering student achievement. For more on Thor, visit or email 12



• District 1: Dennis Kavanaugh Kavanaugh has a proven record of public service and commitment to the Maricopa Colleges. He is a nationally recognized attorney in social security and worker’s compensation law. In addition to his private practice, he has served four terms as vice mayor of Mesa. He has also served on the Advisory Council for the National League of Cities, chair of the Valley Metro Rail board of directors, chair of the Mesa Community College Commission on Excellence in Education, Mesa Community College Development Committee, vice president of the Child Crisis Center Foundation and a board member of Mesa United Way. Kavanaugh understands that the Maricopa Community Colleges are an essential part of the social and economic development of our community; the role of

community college as a bridge to the middle class; and that students and faculty are the core of our enterprise. For more on Kavanaugh, visit or email dennis@ Courtesy of Maricopa Community Colleges FacPAC. For more information, visit or call 480-442-8660.

Courtesy photos.

election 2016


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will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Sheraton Downtown, 340 N. Third St., in Phoenix.

oct. 23 oct. 28

AIDS Walk Arizona and 5K Run, presented by Aunt Rita’s Foundation, will take place from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Third Avenue and Washington Street in downtown Phoenix. OCt. 23

The first-ever PHX Zine Fest, which will offer the LGBTQ community a space for visibility and conversation, will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at The Icehouse, 429 W. Jackson St., in Phoenix. Echo Magazine is a participating sponsor of this event. OCt. 27

Join the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce for LGBT Night Out at the Ballet, which will include a private networking reception and a performance of Ballet Arizona’s La Bayadère at Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St. in Phoenix. oct. 28

One Community’s sixth annual Spotlight on Success Local Heroes Awards luncheon 14



Scorpius Dance Theatre and Davisson Entertainment present Arizona’s first-ever Vampire Ball, an evening of original dance and aerial vampirethemed works Photo by Rose Torres. created by the Valley’s leading contemporary dance company, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. at The Grand Ballroom at Club Palazzo, 710 N. Central Ave., in Phoenix.

nov. 8 – election day

Election day. The 2016 Arizona General Election Ballot will contain the offices of President of the United States, U.S. Senator, U.S. House of Representatives, Corporation Commissioner, State Senator, State House of Representatives, justices and judges and local offices. The general election ballot will also contain propositions to be voted upon by the people. For more information, including polling places, visit Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel, 1600 S. 52nd St., in Tempe. nov. 4 & 16

Join Equality Arizona in celebrating 25 years, at its Silver 16 Award events in Tucson at The Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm St., and in Sedona at the Heartline Café, 1610 W. State Route 89A, respectively. nov. 17

GLSEN Phoenix presents Sparkle, Glitter, GLSEN, its annual award ceremony and silent auction fundraiser, at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 50 E. Adams St., in Phoenix.

oct. 28

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art invites presents Out@SMoCA, celebration of the LGBTQ community’s support of the arts will include admission to fall exhibitions, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, conversation, a live DJ and a raffle benefiting the GLSEN Phoenix beginning at 6 p.m. at 7374 E. Second St., in Scottsdale. RSVP at oct. 29

The Phoenix Women’s Chorus presents FOR GOOD, a gala event featuring piano virtuoso Nicole Pesce. The fifth annual fundraiser will include tapas, a silent and live auction and a performance by the chorus (Halloween costumes are encouraged), beginning at 6 p,m, at the

nov. 20

In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, Phoenix and Tucson communities will honor the lives of transgender individuals lost this year at vigils. Check back with Echo for event updates as they become available. 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 Equality Arizona is hosting Silver 16 Awards Oct. 8 at the Vintage 45, Phoenix. Photos by

For more Echo photos visit




An Evening Masquerade Joshua Tree Feeding Program to host fourth annual gala By Laura Latzko


hen clients visit the Joshua Tree Feeding Program’s weekly food pantry, they receive 35 pounds of food. This year alone, Joshua Tree has already distributed approximately 110,000 pounds of food. To continue carrying out this mission, which is “provide nourishment to lowincome HIV+ residents of Maricopa County,” and to also make necessary improvements to its operation, the organization hosts various fundraisers throughout the year. One of Joshua Tree’s signature events is its annual Masquerade Gala. This year, the fourth annual event is set for Nov. 11 at the Four Points by Sheraton Phoenix North. “[This event] is Joshua Tree thanking the community for being there to help and support us,” said Joseph Gaxiola, Joshua Tree’s chairman. “It’s our thank you for everyone who’s helped us to keep these doors open for the last 28 years. If it wasn’t for all of the community members and organizations, we would have closed years ago.” According to Gaxiola, the funds raised as part of the gala will help the nonprofit continue to make a difference in the lives of their clientele. “We want to be self-reliant. While the community does a lot for us, we want to be able to pay our own bills,” Gaxiola said, adding that the organization plans to purchase updated refrigerators and freezers, new doors for the church and a refrigerated van or truck. The masquerade gala will feature an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet, a cocktail hour, a silent auction, a fashion show and entertainment. The gala, hosted by Olivia Gardens, will include Nicole Stanton as the keynote speaker, words from science fiction and fantasy author Gini Koch and live music from Lloyd Edward Pulley and Gina Fletcher and her band.


Joshua Tree will also honor individuals and organizations with the presentation of its annual awards, which include the Chairman Award, the Miss Ebony Fundraising Award, the Scott Robinson Volunteer Award (chosen from volunteer of the month recipients), the Community Legacy Award and the Founder’s Award. Along with the masquerade gala, Joshua Tree raises money through fundraisers such as bowling events, dodgeball tournaments and Taste of Italy nights. However, Gaxiola explained that Joshua Tree strives to set its annual gala apart from its other fundraisers. During the gala, Joshua Tree will host a silent auction for a wide variety of donations ranging from Disneyland and Phoenix Zoo tickets to paintings from local artists and a wine tasting party. As a result, the organization’s board members and volunteers will walk the runway in a live fashion show auction that will feature men’s and women’s attire that’s been donated by community members – including costumes donated by the event’s fundraising coordinator Jayme Christensen-Walker aka Nikki Starr. “We wanted to do our [gala] differently than everybody else,” Gaxiola said, adding that the masquerade is family friendly event. “We want to appeal to everybody with the masquerade, whether it’s a bar audience or families. We want everybody to be comfortable when they are at the masquerade.” For Gaxiola and the other staff members, getting to know volunteers and clients on a more personal level is an important part of the event. “It feels like a family,” Gaxiola said. “It’s like seeing old friends and family.”

Unmasking The Mission Throughout the 28 years that Joshua Tree has been serving the community, it’s grown from a modest effort of three founding members handing out donations from an apartment to its current large-

scale operation based out of the Phoenix First Congregational United Church of Christ, 214 E. Willetta St. in Phoenix, where it moved in 2013. Today, a staff of dedicated volunteers organize and run the weekly food pantry. According to Peter Rodriguez, Joshua Tree’s Vice Chairman, board members and volunteers all take on different roles and assist each other. “We all juggle different things at once,” he said. “Between all of us, we take on different [responsibilities] so one person isn’t getting overburdened.” With the closing of the AGAPE Network food pantry three years ago, Gaxiola said the number of clients Joshua Tree serves continues to grow – this includes clients of Chicanos Por La Causa and 50 to 60 pregnant women through a recently established relationship with the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. So far this year, the organization has worked with 337 unique clients. And 2016 is still far from over. “We’re a food pantry for the HIV and AIDS community,” Gaxiola said. “We have fun. We get the job done, but we have fun while doing it.”

Joshua Tree’s Masquerade Gala Nov. 11 Cocktail hour, 5 p.m.; dinner, 6 p.m. Four Points by Sheraton Phoenix North 2532 W. Peoria Ave., Phoenix Tickets: $50 in advance; $60 the door, $450 for a table of 10 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.




The latest, whenever, wherever.

Transcending The Binary Artist’s series tells trans stories

Transcending The Binary

Meet Echo’s 2016 Hall of Fame inductees

Artist’s series tells trans stories

Meet Echo’s 2016 Hall of Fame inductees


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out & about Tucson's 39th annual Pride in the Desert Festival Oct. 1 at Reid Park. Photos by Bill Gemmill.

For more Echo photos visit




out & about Tucson's 16th annual Pride on Parade Sept. 30 along Fourth Avenue. Photos by Stephanie Anne Donoghue.

For more Echo photos visit




out & about Rainbows Festival 2016 Oct. 15 at Heritage Square, Phoenix. Photos by

For more Echo photos visit







out & about 2016 Celebrate Life Event Sept. 28 at the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS. Photos by

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out & about AIDS WALK Tucson Oct. 9 in downtown Tucson. Photos by Stephanie Anne Donoghue.

For more Echo photos visit







Community Heroes Inducted into the Class of 2016 By KJ Philp


ach year, as part of LGBTQ History Month, Echo Magazine honors community heroes who have helped raise awareness and spark change on the local and national levels by nominating them for induction into our Hall of Fame. Echo’s annual Hall of Fame tradition was established in 2006, and each year LGBTQ and allied community members have been recognized for their contributions in government and politics, nonprofit service, activism, academia and entertainment. The individuals profiled on the following pages mark the 11th class to be inducted, and they join more than 100 others who have left a lasting legacy throughout the years. Congratulations to the Class of 2016.

Meet Echo’s previous Hall of Fame Inductees:

•Kirk Baxter •John Bircumshaw •Ed Buck •Bj Bud •Bill MacDonald •Bob Ellis •Amy Ettinger •Neil Giuliano •Don Hamill

•Bob Hegyi •Linda Hoffman •John King •Steve May •Marti McElroy •Dianne Post •Steve Schemmel •Tish Tanner •Dale Williams

•Bob Aronin •Morrie Carter •Babe Caylor •Dr. Kenneth Fisher •Gerrie MayerGibbons

•Katie Gummere •Bill Lewis •Artie Michaelis •Jeff Ofstedahl •Don Pintacura •Bob Spier

•Madelaine Adelman •Gregg Edelman •Mike Fornelli •Scott Jacobson •Barbara McCullough-Jones •Annie Loyd

•Dr. John M. Post •Boots/Ray Reid •Donna Rose •Bill Sheppard •Darin Simmer •Tom Simplot •Kyrsten Sinema

hall of fame

•Melinda Mae Brown •Bob DeJardine •Conrad Egge •Cheryl Emery •Bob Fernie •Regina Gazelle •Rocco Menaguale

•Tambra Williams •Dr. David Payne •Roger Rea •Lila Sherman •Rev. Patrick Stout •Bunny Tarquinio

•Ken Cheuvront •Randy Gorbette •Helena Grayson •Gary Guerin •Sam Holdren •Donna McHenry

•Barbra Seville •Brandi Sokolosky •Meg Sneed •Charlotte Strayhorne

•Jimmy Gruender •Lauren Henschen •Daniel Hernandez •Angela Hughey •Pussy LeHoot •Lawrence Moore

•Nancy Nunez •Sheri Owens •Amanda Simpson •Megan Schmitz •Micheal Weakley •Rick Welts

•Dr. Rebecca Allison •Ron Casola •Damon Dering •John Goldschmidt •Sen. Jack Jackson Jr.

•Robrt Pela •Kado Stewart •Rev. Brad Wishon •Rich Zavala

•Freddy Prinze Charming •Neil Cohen •The Rev. Charles Coppinger •Alan East •Al and Donna Ellis

•David Fiss •Austin Head •Kit Kloeckl •Lawrence Robinson •Donna Rossi

•Millie Carter Bloodworth •Rev. Jeffrey Dirrim •Linda Elliott •Jason Green

•Brendan Mahoney •Felicia Minor •George Martinez and Fred McQuire •Why Marriage Matters

•Eddie Broadway •Bruce Christian •Tempest DuJour •Dr. Bobbi Lancaster

•The Patterson Family •Marshall Shore •Keith Thompson •Claudia Work




Daniel Eckstrom Photos courtesy of Daniel Eckstrom.


rag Queens have been at the forefront of our community’s entertainment, education and fundraising efforts for decades. Here in Arizona, we have a long history of amazing performers making a difference in the lives of individuals and in the missions of community groups and organizations. But behind the glitter and glamour is one man: Daniel Eckstrom. – Tyra Marie

Echo: Congrats on a decade of promoting Miss Gay Arizona America (MGAA)! Describe how that feels and what makes this pageant system so important to you? Eckstrom: … Being the promoter for such a prestigious pageant makes me feel humbled, to say the least. I feel as though one part of my job is to ensure the legacy and the history of MGAA and to make sure that legacy is never lost. It is important for me to build this brand and to make the dreams of so many running for this title come true. In some ways I feel like the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, making sure each titleholder is ready for the ball! Echo: What is it about this pageant system that you love so much? Eckstrom: … One of the main things I love is that we are one big family. We may be a dysfunctional family, but we all care for and love each other. I also love making dreams come true ... I believe you can have more than one soul mate and that soul mates don’t have to be people. MGAA is like my soul mate, and that is something very special, 32



something you don’t find every day. Echo: You’re originally from Tucson, was there a defining moment when you knew that Phoenix was your community? Or is Tucson still really “home”? Eckstrom: I am one of the lucky few to be a true Arizona native! Believe it or not, I was only supposed to live in Phoenix for one year. I originally came here for an internship with Congressman Ed Pastor. That actually lasted three years and after that I decided to stay. I definitely feel Phoenix is my home and my community. I also feel the same about Tucson. I get to Tucson about twice a month, so I get the opportunity to keep my finger on both pulses. I feel really blessed to have the support of both communities … There is something about going home though. I am proud of where I come from and the community that molded me … Arizona has a really extraordinary LGBTQ community, something I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world! Echo: Tell us about your mother, Mary Alice Eckstrom. You’ve done a tremendous amount in

her memory; can you put into words why this is so important to you? Eckstrom: My mother was a strong, beautiful and caring woman. She taught me so much about life and love. She was a woman with strong faith and a strong opinion. In 2010, when she passed away, a big hole was left in my heart, a hole that really has never gone away. Each day I wake up I try to be the best son I can be. She did so much in her life, I only hope I can accomplish a fraction of what she did. I feel that every person wants to be remembered and not forgotten when they pass away. The night before she passed away I promised her I would never let her memory and legacy be forgotten. This is why, every chance I get, I celebrate her memory and her legacy. She is very much missed, but heaven gained one amazing angel. Echo: Who are some of your role models/ inspirations and why? Eckstrom: Nick Ray. My sister, Jennifer. Barbra Seville. Hillary Clinton. My dad, Dan Eckstrom. The entire Miss Gay Arizona America family.

READ THE REST interview To For readEcho’s morefull of Neal Lester's with Danielwith Eckstrom, visit interview Echo, visit hall of fame

Photos courtesy of Olivia Gardens.

Olivia Gardens


f the list of Olivia Gardens’ accomplishments could be summed up in a single statement, Team Echo has decided that “been there, done that” would be it.

From her earliest performances with the Arizona Gender Outlaws to swaying across the Dancing With The Bars stage to being crowned Miss Phoenix Gay Pride 2011 and Empress X of the Imperial Sovereign Empire of Arizona, Gardens is always finding new ways to use her talents to make our community a better place.

Echo: Congrats on a being voted the 2016 Phoenix Pride Parade’s grand marshal by the community! How did that feel? Gardens: Thank you! When I found out that I had been selected as grand marshal, I was overwhelmed. It was such an honor to have been recognized by the community, and I never would have imagined that I would even be considered as a possible selection. As the parade made its way down Third Street, I was proud to see the thousands of people gathered to celebrate the diversity of the Phoenix LGBTQ community. Echo: Congrats are also in order for your reign as Empress X of the Imperial Sovereign Empire of Arizona (opposite Emperor X Steve Marino)! Reign X raised a record amount for the court; can you tell us how you did it? Gardens: I was introduced to the Imperial Court eight years ago, when I participated in a fundraising event. At the time, I knew very little about the history and mission of the court, but I did know that they raised money for charities hall of fame

and had a LOT of fun doing it. To this day, that observation still holds true. In 11 years of operation, the members of the court have raised over $200,000 for charitable organizations. During Reign X, Steve and I were very fortunate to have the support and partnership of many individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the community. The credit for raising the record amount of money really goes to all of the court members and community volunteers who participated in our fundraising events throughout the year. Echo: You’ve done the most since Olivia Gardens debuted; tell us about bringing her to life. Gardens: I started performing as Olivia Gardens in 2009. I used to watch Savannah Stevens, now Miss Gay Arizona America 2016, perform at her weekly show back around 2008. We became friends, and she invited me to perform one night. At the same time, I reconnected with my friend Scott, aka Pandora Destrange, with whom I worked together on a couple of theater projects.

Both Savannah and Pandora encouraged me to perform in drag, and so Olivia Gardens was born. In fact, neither were fond of my name choice, but I always maintained that I would name myself after my favorite restaurant. Echo: You hail from the tropical isle of Oahu, but was there a defining moment when you knew that was YOUR home/community? Gardens: I’m very fortunate because I’m able to be a part of two wonderful communities. I’ve been in Phoenix since 2003, and I think it was after I had the opportunity to network with multiple organizations as Miss Phoenix Gay Pride that I felt a real sense of being a part of the Phoenix community. Hawai`i will always be “home” to me. It is where I grew up, and it is an integral part of my cultural identity. One thing we learn in Hawai`i is the value of `ohana, or family. Whenever the Phoenix LGBTQ community gathers in celebration or support of each other, I’m reminded of that sense of `ohana. I think that’s the best way to describe what community means to me.

READ THE REST For Echo’s full interview with Olivia Gardens, visit




Neal Lester Photos courtesy of Neal Lester.


rizona State University’s Project Humanities was conceptualized in 2010 when Neal Lester, Ph.D., served as Arizona State University’s dean of humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Lester’s university-level initiative engaged those within ASU and beyond in critical conversations about humanities research as well as about what’s happening in the world. What was initially slated to be a “Year of the Humanities” with intense humanities programming across disciplines has, with president Michael M. Crow’s support, become a year-round offering of diverse programming that continues to bring individuals and communities together to “talk, listen, and connect.” Echo: One goal of ASU Project Humanities is spreading awareness about racial, gender and sexual inequality. How do you achieve this? Lester: In our efforts to bring individuals and communities together across disciplines, professions and generations, we are fundamentally committed to critically exploring issues of “difference.” That means that we talk about race, gender, sexuality, class and such as we do programming on systems of privilege and unconscious bias. Acknowledging “difference” with respect is precisely what we see as a way to acknowledging our shared humanity. Each of us has unconscious bias and privilege. Each of us is “othered” in some way. This knowledge and this reality should make us more empathetic and more compassionate in our interactions with each other. Particularly through our Humanity 101 Movement with its emphasis on these seven principles – respect, integrity, empathy, compassion, forgiveness, kindness and selfreflection – can we acknowledge and respect 34



“difference” without threat or fear. Echo: With all your experience and expertise, how would you personally describe humanities, and the importance of having a space for it, in academia as well as the surrounding community? Lester: Our focus on “talking, listening, connecting” is an effort to demystify humanities … We are less interested in the question of “What makes us human?” than “How are we human?” Our goal is to make humanities work accessible and exciting, not something that separates us into “town and gown.” Echo: In your words, describe intersectionality and its importance within any marginalized community (including, but not limited to the LGBTQ community). Lester: Too often, people gravitate toward one axle when we talk about and think about our individual identities. We choose to focus on one aspect of our identity rather than realizing that we are all many things at once. Everyone is raced, gendered, abled in some way, classed,

aged, etc. We all have sexual identities at the same time we have other parts of our identities. The intersections of these parts make us who we are, however socially constructed these identities may be. This is one of the reasons I am always concerned when I hear folks reduce black folks to “the black community.” Is there a “white community”? We are members of different communities simultaneously. Talking about intersectionalty is essential to understanding systems of privilege and unconscious bias. Echo: What would you say are some of the biggest challenges facing the LGBTQ community today? How about LGBTQ people of color? Lester: I can’t speak about challenges within the LGBTQ community except to say that being LGBTQ doesn’t mean that those within the LGBTQ communities are without race, class, or other biases – conscious and unconscious. Being oppressed in one group certainly doesn’t exempt us from oppressing another group, or being sensitive and aware of the realities of one group doesn’t always transfer to sensitivity and awareness about other groups.

READ THE REST For Echo’s full interview with Neal Lester, visit hall of fame

Photos courtesy of Sheila Lopez.

Sheila Lopez


rizona is one of the states with the largest percentages of Native Americans, including 22 federally recognized tribes. Phoenix alone is home to 43,724 indigenous people. Originally from Winslow, Ariz., Sheila Lopez became a PFLAG mom in 2009 after her two oldest

children came out as gay. She was passionate about bringing PFLAG’s mission, which is uniting LGBT individuals with families, friends and allies, to Arizona’s American Indian community. As a result, she founded Native PFLAG, the first chapter in the country to focus on supporting Native American communities and emphasizing traditional Native American LGBT and Two-Spirit teachings in June 2011.

Echo: What part of Native PFLAG’s mission is the most meaningful to you and why? Lopez: Our mission is to support, educate and advocate. It’s hard to pick just one because they are all extremely important but this year we have focused on education. Echo: Describe what makes Native PFLAG unique? Lopez: Our chapter’s focus is on helping Native American LGBT individuals, their families and friends … Our group supports individuals/ families from the following tribes: Gila River Indian Community, Hopi, Navajo, Pascua Yaqui, Salt River Indian Community, San Carlos Apache, and White Mountain Apache … However, our organization is open to all and we do have non-Natives that attend our meetings and events.

Echo: Native PFLAG’s goal is to “keep families together and foster the traditional teachings of being LGBT/Two-Spirit.” Will you share some of those traditional teachings with us? Lopez: Traditional teachings were all positive when it came to LGBT individuals. LGBT individuals hall of fame

were recognized and had a role in our families and tribes. Unfortunately, with colonization those teachings were pushed aside. The term “Two Spirit” was adopted in 1990 at an Indigenous Lesbian and Gay International gathering to encourage the replacement of the term beradache, which is a negative term. Not all Native American LGBT individuals use this term to identify themselves but some do. A Two Spirit person is a male-bodied or female-bodied person with a masculine and feminine essence. The roles of Two Spirit people can vary from tribe to tribe. They can be name givers, match makers, medicine people, holy people, peace-makers, mediators, warriors, adoptive parents and much more.

Echo: Does Native PFLAG have a presence on neighboring reservations? Lopez: Yes, we have partnerships with H.O.P.E. (Helping O’odham Pursue Equality) on the Gila River Indian Community and with Salt River L.O.V.E. (Lifting Our Voices for Equality) on the Salt River Indian Community. Both groups can be found on Facebook. We were also asked to speak at an upcoming

conference being held by the Hualapai tribe.

Echo: In what ways has founding Native PFLAG changed your life? Lopez: I have been able to meet some incredible people that are working hard to improve Native communities in Phoenix, surrounding reservations, and across the country. I also have been able to share my story with others and hopefully inspire them to be the change in their communities.

Echo: Who are some of your role models/ inspirations and why? Lopez: My children are my roles models. They were brave to be who they are and they educated me when they came out …

Echo: If you could summarize your efforts and experiences in 2016, what would you say? Lopez: Native PFLAG celebrated five years supporting the community and has made new partnerships and continued to strengthen our partnerships with HOPE and LOVE. We also had two young native people (and their families) share their coming out stories at our NARD event. It was the first time we heard from young native people.

READ THE REST For Echo’s full interview with Sheila Lopez, visit




Gabriel Medellin, 1978-2016 Photos courtesy of


s the sun set Aug. 23, members of the LGBTQ community gathered at Charlie’s for a candlelight vigil celebrating the life of Gabriel Medellin.

From his days as a youth member of Valley One In Ten (VOIT) and Horizons and serving as a youth representative to Creating Change conferences, sponsored by The National LGBTQ Task Force, to his efforts with the Men of Charlie’s (July 2009; coordinator from 2013 to 2015) and co-promoting the Miss Gay Phoenix America pageant with his friend Todd Wycoff (2012-2016), Gabriel left his mark on countless Valley groups, organizations and individuals. But that wasn’t why he did it – giving back to his community was his calling. It’s with complete sadness [we] report the untimely passing of an amazing AGRA family member, friend and brother Gabriel Medellin … He has been dedicated to the Arizona LGBT community for many years and he has always made an effort to ALWAYS be included in fundraising and helping his fellow brothers and sisters out in any way he can … We will always love you and remember you, friend! – Arizona Gay Rodeo Association via This is hard for me. Gabe was my son from another mother. I knew him, raised him and mentored him for 20 years. I watched him evolve from a shy, closeted young man into a strong force and voice for equality. I was with Gabe in Oakland when he participated in his first protest march and he was interviewed about it on camera; his eyes grew big as he realized he came out on national TV. From that moment on, he was unstoppable. 36



Gabe’s life wasn’t easy. He grew up Mexican in Arizona, in a family populated with machismo, and he was gay. Still he carried himself with a quiet dignity. Even closeted, he had a self-assurance and maturity most 18 year olds didn’t have. I think that is what drew most of us to him; we recognized and saw the man he could be and were rewarded with watching him blossom into that man. You’ve heard the term, “give you the shirt off his back”? Yes. He would. He was full of ideas. I never once heard him wish for material things or great wealth. He just wanted his friends to be safe and healthy, his mom and the kids in his family have everything they needed, and he wanted [LGBTQ] youth to have a space; to have freedom and equality. He wanted to leave this world better than the way he found it. And he did; by God he did. – Babe Caylor Gabe’s personality was so engaging and his sense of fun so limitless it was impossible not

to love him. Countless people have remarked on Facebook since his passing that they cannot walk into Charlie’s, a place he insisted was not his second home (while many of us saw it as his first), without thinking about the fact that Gabe always greeted them with a smile and a hug and the offer of a shot. It didn’t matter that fireball tasted terrible, or that he knew you didn’t want the shot, it was always offered. And you were always expected to take it! Beyond his constant willingness to have fun and party harder than anyone around him, Gabe was serious about supporting the community he called home; whether his bar community via serving as a member and coordinator of the Men of Charlie’s, our drag community as a promoter of Miss Gay Phoenix America or people living with HIV/AIDS as a Joshua Tree volunteer. In truth, there wasn’t a cause that Gabe wouldn’t step up and support if asked – he earned this community’s love and respect day in and day out. – Nick Ray

READ THE REST For Echo’s full induction of Gabriel Medellin, visit hall of fame

Photos courtesy of Eric Moore.

Ron Passarelli, 1947-2016


on Passarelli was a humble man. He was not the sort of person who sought to be recognized for his work, other than in the normal credit for doing something. I consider him a role model in terms of how giving he was, his love of showing hospitality to others, and his ability to use humor to get through challenging situations. All of those things made him a classy human being, who didn’t know a stranger and who would do what he could to make anyone who started out as a stranger into a friend. – Liz Massey In July 2006, Ron presented Eric Moore with a ring and, because he failed to do so, Eric popped the question. They were married in the eyes of their family, friends, and the universe April 7, 2007. Then they renewed their vows for the state of Arizona April 7, 2015. They were a couple for 10 years and would have celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary this coming spring.

Echo: Ron was originally from Trinidad, Colo. What year did he move to Phoenix? Was there a defining moment when he knew that this was HIS home/community? Moore: Ron moved to Phoenix in 1989 when he accepted the position of director of design and construction with the Unispec Development Corporation … He started working in the LGBTQ community starting with the Arizona Committee for Progress which was the precursor organization to the Arizona Human Rights Fund (now Equality Arizona) … Ron was “at home” wherever he lived at the time. He took an interest in local government and politics. He loved hall of fame

historic preservation and was passionate about equal treatment under law for everybody … For Ron, community is about good governance, transparency, and inclusiveness in every sense of the word.

Echo: Readers may not know that the future Phoenix AIDS Memorial was founded and designed by Ron. What did this project mean to him? Moore: Like many of us, Ron lost many friends to this modern plague. Those losses included his little brother Jimmy, who died of AIDS in 1994. As a 30-year survivor of AIDS, Ron lived through those early dark days when thousands of gay men all over the United States were abandoned by their communities, their families and their nation. When Ron learned that an AIDS Memorial was proposed as part of the master plan for the redevelopment of the Margaret T. Hance Park in central Phoenix, he became the driving force for the creation of the memorial. Ron volunteered his architectural skills and talents in order to design

a Phoenix AIDS Memorial to serve as a reminder of the past and as a beacon of hope for the future. This project, when it is built (and it will be built), will be Ron’s final gift to the people of Phoenix.

Echo: What was it about Ron that made him so loved by this community? Moore: Ron was deeply concerned about the injustice we continue to experience around us every day. Whether thinking about the LGBTQ community or people living with HIV or the plight of migrant farmworkers, Ron considered it his civic responsibility to be concerned about others … He was always ready to offer advice and counsel or the hours needed to achieve to help others achieve their goals.

Echo: What is Ron’s legacy? Moore: Ron’s legacy is one of tenacity and justice. When he saw so many other gay men dying from AIDS, he did not walk away. He joined boards and raised funds and worked to make a difference. And with the memorial, he will provide future generations with a place to learn and remember.

READ THE REST For Echo’s full induction of Ron Passarelli, visit




Stephanie Sherwood Photos courtesy of Stephanie Sherwood.


cho first introduced you to Stephanie Sherwood in June 2014, following her coming out to, transitioning on and retirement from the Mesa Police Department.

“Most people don’t really have a good idea of what it means to be trans,” Sherwood explained to Echo as both her reason for not waiting until retirement to transition and for sharing her story with us. “Unless people start being open about it, things aren’t going to change.” And she did just that.

Echo: How has your life changed since we last spoke? Sherwood: In the past two years I have begun a new career, experienced a relationship as a woman, met family members for the first time since my transition … and made several new friends. I started attending support group meetings with Trans*Spectrum of Arizona (TSAZ) around the time of the last article and after a while, I decided that I wanted to get more involved in the community and try to give back some of the support that I had received from the group. I became a facilitator of the feminine-identified support group, a position I still hold. I still really enjoy the group meetings and have built strong relationships with many people who I have met through these groups. Some feel more like family than friends.

and continue to support others, as it had helped me. I took over the role of president in February … I felt that it was an opportunity for me to grow as a person, and to help the organization continue to move forward. It is very important to me that TSAZ thrives in our community because I feel that the support we provide to the transgender community, both to trans people and their families, changes people’s lives for the better. I have had many members tell me that the support they received has helped them immensely. Echo: In what ways has being involved with TSAZ changed your life?

Echo: Congrats on your new the role as president of TSAZ. How did that come about?

Sherwood: … As I became a part of the organization, I felt a strong sense of family. The members of TSAZ have empowered me to be a better person. So many times, I have seen people who were at first full of fear and confusion, receive the support from our members and go on to be the ones providing support for others …

Sherwood: I joined the board as the vice president because I wanted to help TSAZ grow

Echo: You hail from England, moved to California at 14, and landed in Arizona in 1988, but was there




a defining moment when you knew that this was YOUR home/community? Sherwood: I was married for 24 years and raised my two sons here. I also served for 25 years on the Mesa Police Department. Over the years, Arizona has become my home, but once I transitioned I really felt that I was involved in the community. I spend a lot of time volunteering alongside many fantastic people, and have met many more along the way. During this time, I have built several strong friendships. Community, to me, means the tight bonds we build with others that help us grow individually, and as a collective, to make society a better place for all. Echo: Where do you see yourself five years from now? Sherwood: The past two years my life has changed more than I could possibly imagine, mostly for the better. Hopefully I will still be active in the community, but maybe there won’t be a need for transgender support groups in five years. Maybe we will have the same acceptance as everyone else. Wouldn’t that be nice?

READ THE REST For Echo’s full interview with Stephanie Sherwood, visit hall of fame

Photos courtesy of

Eileen Yellin, 1956-2016


ith more than 20 years of teaching experience, Tempe High School’s Eileen Yellin has become one of the strongest proponents among local Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) sponsors.

Yellin recalls the time she learned one particular student was being harassed, and that was the moment she knew she had to make a change. “I decided to start up our school’s GSA because I simply did not want to see this happen again,” she explained. In 2000, her goal of developing a safe place for LGBTQ students and straight allies became a reality. And, with about 35 active members in Tempe High School’s GSA during the 2013–2014 school year, this club has grown into a “model” GSA for other schools to emulate. “The club is really what the members make it,” Yellin said. “We provide a place where they can meet, ask questions or find resources, ‘try on’ an identity or orientation, come out to staff, peers, or allies first — if they want — report incidents of disrespect or danger, and just be themselves without fear of ridicule or other consequences. – “A is For Alliance,” Echo Magazine, July 2014 Eileen Yellin was a founding board member of GLSEN Phoenix, part of the original steering committee that spent a year meeting monthly with local educators, students, parents, activists, advocates and other stakeholders to determine whether establishing a chapter in the Valley was a viable option. Turns out, it was. When the chapter was accredited in October 2002, Eileen already had been a high school teacher at Tempe High School for about 12 years, an established and well-respected educator, who had completed her Ph.D. in education and justice studies at Arizona State University. At that time, getting involved with GLSEN to champion LGBTQ students as a public school hall of fame

teacher was a courageous act. It still is in many places within our chapter’s “territory” … Because of her moral courage and generous leveraging of expertise, we think about her as a “justice provocateur,” someone who pursued a vision of fairness for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, ability, race/ethnicity, religion, you name it, and in doing so, inspired her students to join the safe schools movement. Eileen was that teacher whom students trusted, sought out, relied on, and remembered long after graduation. With Eileen’s guidance, the Tempe High School’s GSA became the host of a signature annual “Breaking the Silence” dance, which

marked the end of the GLSEN Day of Silence. In recognition of her innovative engagement with the Tempe High GSA, and enduring dedication to her students and colleagues to create a safe and affirming environment at school, the chapter presented Eileen with its inaugural Safe Schools Award in November 2015. To further her legacy after her untimely death, the award has been named in her honor. Not surprisingly, Eileen lived her values inside and outside of her classroom. She knew, too, that students who feel safe in school, and feel a sense of belonging within a school, are more able to come to school and learn. Anyone who knew Eileen was in awe of her optimism and constant embrace of new adventures. Her friends and family have said that she smiled with her whole body and hugged with her heart. GLSEN Phoenix was a grateful beneficiary of Eileen’s wit and intellect, persistent advocacy and welcoming embrace. – Maddie Adelman, GLSEN Phoenix co-founder and current board member

READ THE REST For Echo’s full induction of Eileen Yellin, visit























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out & about She Lounge Oct. 15 at Stacy’s @ Melrose, Phoenix. Photos by

For more Echo photos visit




Left to right: Sabre Collins, Trevon Champion and Lydia Leal. Photos by Brandon McGill.

Feature story


Local artist creates platform for transgender and nonbinary community members to share their stories by Danika Worthington


ranscendent, as defined by MerriamWebster, means “exceeding usual limits” and “universally applicable or significant.”

to sit under his brush, including James Beard award-winning chef Rob Connoley and former Miss Las Vegas Pride Lisa St. Laurent.

Which is partially why Phoenix-based artist Brandon McGill chose the name “Transcendent” for his latest body painting project, the objective of which is to give transgender and nonbinary individuals a platform for sharing their stories at a time when opportunities in traditional media remain limited.

“Transcendent” is McGill’s passion project in between his larger, more timeconsuming projects, including “Contact,” which explores relationships among subjects; “Heroes and Villains,” which he described as “fan service,” “Zodiac” and “Twist ed Fairy Tales.”

According to McGill, who began painting living canvases in 2013, he’s transformed 350 bodies into colorful, dramatic and eccentric pieces of art. His work continues to garner attention as more people seek 42



A Series of Personal Stories For this project McGill solicited transgender and nonbinary volunteers via his Facebook fan page – Art By Brandon McGill, which has more than 7,500 likes

–and transformed 14 bodies into works of art ahead of Transgender Awareness Month, which is observed in November. “My goal, really, is to give these individuals a place to feel like they have a voice,” said McGill, who identifies as a gay cisgender male. “From all different types of bodies, from all different types of identification, I want these people to feel like they matter and I appreciate them and I want them to have that voice.” McGill said he has been wanting to do a project that lends exposure to trans lives and issues for a long time. Although there was no defining moment that kickstarted “Transcendent,” McGill said the final push was a combination of North Carolina’s feature story

“Bathroom Bill” that regulates access to bathrooms based on the sex someone was assigned at birth, his large number of trans friends and the high suicide and murder rate among the trans community. “[This project is] something I wanted to do to help the trans community from a cisgender perspective,” McGill said, later adding, “I’m very much for standing up for the underdog and I kind of feel like that’s the trans community right now.” As an ally, McGill encourages others who want to be allies to start by showing love and compassion to the trans community. And if gender somehow comes up in conversation, he said, just tactfully ask what someone’s preferred gender pronouns are and move along. McGill started the “Transcendent” series in August and will finish the project in front of a live audience Oct. 23 as he paints Selene Denlinger, a canvas he’s painted five times prior. The individuals McGill paints do not feature story

have to be professional models, which is fitting, as McGill is self-taught in both painting and photography. Instead, he looks at why people are interested in being painted, what their personal stories are and whether or not they make sense for the role. Although McGill may have a general idea of where he wants each individual piece to go, he’s very open to interpretation as he uncovers who each canvas is as a person, what they like and what their influences are. Then he gets to work. The process can take anywhere between three to six hours, sometimes longer. But it’s not tedious; instead McGill chats with the model, cracking jokes and making them comfortable, which can be especially important when the model is either nude or partially nude.

vulnerable state, McGill said, adding that it’s a liberating feeling where people tend to show a different side of themselves. And, when his canvases puts their clothes back on, McGill said that he can see more confidence than they exuded before. “I never thought I would be comfortable taking off my clothes in front of a complete stranger,” said Lydia Leal, adding that she’s always experimenting with artistic ways of expressing herself. Leal said she’s modeled in nude shoots before but only with people she knows because she doesn’t want to be misgendered. She said McGill remained professional and the two just joked around the whole time. It wasn’t uncomfortable, quite the opposite.

Open To Interpretation

“Your eye isn’t focused on a private part or anything,” Leal said about the final outcome. “It’s more focused on the intricate details of his work.”

When the clothes, makeup and filters are taken away, someone is at their most

Leal, who said she always tries to inspire people, jokes that if she can




Danielle Esplanade (left) and Logan Crandell.

achieve something new then she’s not living a failed life. “Some things can be said vocally but I think there’s a lot to be said by telling something in an artistic way,” she said. “The audience can take their own interpretation out of it.”

Just A Normal Guy Sabre Collins lives a somewhat chaotic life and always gives 100 percent as he juggles working full time with a full load of classes. He’s also very active and loves the outdoors, whether it’s hiking or mountain biking. So McGill painted a powerful, yet hectic, tree on Collins’ chest with a green and yellow sky punctuated by pink clouds. Collins said he liked being able to express himself that way and he also appreciated that the canvas was his chest, adding that both it and his voice are things he’s worked hard for and is proud of. For Collins, this project was important because it showed the larger breadth of the trans and nonbinary community, which he said mainstream media tends to depict with a narrow brush, typically showing one radical viewpoint. “It’s really hard finding positive trans visibility in the media, whether it’s TV or modeling or anything like that,” Collins said. “That’s something I’ve always wanted to be — that positive trans role [model].” 44



For Collins, being transgender is not a major part of his identity; it’s just, as he puts it, happens to be part of his life. “The story we painted about has nothing to do with being transgender,” Collins said. “Being transgender doesn’t have to be all of who you are.” Additionally, Collins said the project gave him the opportunity to show that he’s just a normal guy who gets to share his story.

Transcending the Status Quo Art acts as a storyteller, McGill said, and tells the stories of trans people like Leal and Collins who have their own experiences throughout their unique journeys in life. “I think that sort of normalizes it and I think by normalizing it, that leads to acceptance,” McGill said. According to Selene Denlinger, all of the stories in the “Transcendent” series work together to normalize the trans experience. The fact that the majority of body painters will mainly work with cisgender female models who fit the mainstream definition of beauty, Denlinger said, sets McGill apart – his nonconformity makes him unique. McGill is the only body painter Denlinger knows who welcomes working

with a wide range of gender identities, gender expressions, ages, sexual orientations, body types and stages in transition. She said this was evident in the “Transcendent” series, which includes multiple gender identities and expressions, noting that the two are different. Much like Leal and Collins, Denlinger reiterated points about the narrow exposure of trans people in popular culture, which typically extends to just Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner and Chaz Bono. The issue with that, she explained, is that all of them can afford to look the way they want to, which is not always the case for transgender individuals. “That contributes to a cis-normative standard of beauty, which is one thing that I’ve really hoped this project will debunk,” Denlinger said. “[Let’s] celebrate that we’re beautiful in our own way rather than the way that cisgender people are.” To view the complete “Transcendent” series, or for more in formation on Brandon McGill, visit artbybrandonmcgill. Danika Worthington, a graduate from ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has contributed to the Denver Post, Arizona Republic and Phoenix Business Journal. feature story

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Combing through The Pübes

Phoenix’s original queercore comedic rockers dish on making music, aging and redheaded sluts By Art Martori

Ivana Pluchya. Photos by Mr. Nice Skye.


ealously, summer is releasing its grip one August night at Cash Inn Country, one of Phoenix’s LGBTQ mainstays. But each person who walks through the door lets in an abrupt dragon’s snort of monsoon air. And lots of people are coming to see the band tonight. Nighttime temps might’ve plunged into the high 80s, but it’s getting pretty warm and moist in here as everyone slithers around for a good spot. Setting up onstage are The Pübes, Phoenix’s original masters of queercore comedic rock, with such notable songs as “Cameltoe,” “Snatch” and “Oops, I Caught the Gay.” Tonight the lesbian power trio is releasing a live album, 10/10 Live Again at the Cash Inn Country, a 13-track homage to the venue they’ve played regularly throughout a career spanning more than a decade. In that time, The Pübes have become somewhat of an artifact of Phoenix’s LGBTQ scene, a name you drop signaling you’re no newcomer to the gayborhood. These days, The Pübes are in their prime. Members might now be pushing into their 40s, but still they’re clearly a band’s band. They’re seasoned performers who get onstage, melt your face and leave everyone talking about the




show for days while they’re scrambling to find the next one. In maturing, they’ve also become adept recording artists. On Nov. 5, The Pübes are releasing better, Better. BETTER!, the studio album that demonstrates a dedication to music making often overlooked at their raucous live sets. “We are definitely, I think, a live band,” explained Baretta Lynn, who handles lead guitar and contributes vocals with both her bandmates. “When we go into the studio we kinda don’t know what we’re doing ... Well, not that we don’t know what we’re doing; what we really want to do is get drunk and play music and have a good time. When you’re in the studio, you can’t do that. You have to get it right.”

Having Fun in LoFi Ahead of this particular performance at the Cash Inn Country, The Pübes take a break from setting up for the show to join me at a table behind the stage. Baretta, an outgoing blonde with spiked hair and earnest brown eyes, is joined by Ivana Pluchya, bass and vocals, and Roc Smith, drums and vocals. (Band members prefer to use their stage names for all Püberelated activities.)

Ivana is far more gentle than her mullet hairstyle suggests, always quick with a friendly smile in a girl-next-door kind of way. Roc, who just turned 40, is the band’s wunderkind, a former heavymetal drummer who lends her technical skills to keeping time, mixing songs and other wizardry. Ivana and Baretta were founding members in 2005, while Roc joined the band in 2009. The drummer remembers being attracted to The Pübes’ laid-back approach to making music, as before she’d been in a serious metal outfit where everything, from songwriting to practicing, was very structured. “One of things drew me to this band was, ‘Oh we don’t care; get drunk have fun …’” Roc says. Then she can’t help but take a shot at her bandmates’ laid-back attitudes: “Do you know what that word means, practice?” In addition to the live album they’re releasing tonight and the studio album set for November, The Pübes have cut two other albums: Pretty Fresh, recorded in 2011 at Studio Analog in Tempe; and Live & Unruly, a DIY recording done in 2007 in a house. Baretta and Ivana chuckle remembering the latter album, noting they used pillows to deaden sound and feature story

had different instruments set up to record in different rooms throughout the residence. “It sounds like it was recorded in a house,” laughs Baretta. Ivana is a bit kinder, explaining, “I like to call it LoFi.”

Spawned from Douchebaggery Offstage, it’s easy to see why The Pübes are so good onstage. They have those oldfriends’ habits of completing each other’s thoughts and injecting offhand remarks or inside jokes. If you recorded the band’s banter between songs, and then dubbed it over a Judd Apatow movie, it would likely work pretty well. (I mean, c’mon, they call themselves The Pübes.) “We don’t take ourselves seriously,” admits Baretta. “We were like, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we were a bunch of women in a band called The Pübes? And it’s still going, man. It spawned from our douchebaggery, I’d say.” And that, explains Roc, leads to a special relationship with fans. You’re either a die-hard from day one, or mortally offended and day one is the only day. “You’re gonna think we’re funny. Or you’re gonna think we’re awkward and funny,” Roc says. “Or you’re just gonna leave because you’re gonna be like, ‘Uh, your song’s called “Cameltoe”?! I can’t.’” That’s not to say it’s always so cut and

dried. At a meetup over beers some weeks later, also at Cash Inn Country, Baretta is telling me about a show from years back: They were playing at a straight establishment, and standing right in front of the stage was a creepy-looking guy with a hoodie drawn over his face. Baretta says she immediately thought of all kinds of unpleasant scenarios. Baretta remembers announcing, “Alright, this next song is called ‘Cameltoe,’” to which he replied, “FUCK YEAH,” she reenacts, throwing up a sign of the horns to illustrate their new fan’s enthusiasm. A more recent encounter was harder for them to deal with. At a show last summer at Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix, the band was approached by a woman who said she was forced to leave because she found the band offensive toward women. That, obviously, didn’t sit well with The Pübes. “I talked to her a while and said, ‘Just give me an explanation of the lyrics that are offensive,’” Baretta says. “And she couldn’t come up with one. I said, ‘If you listen to us tonight, I’ll happily have a conversation with you. And she did not. And that’s fine. That’s fine. People are not all gonna love what we’re doing.”

The Creative Process The Pübes’ creative process is collaborative, with ideas for new songs

often coming when one member comes up with a riff the others like, and then everyone builds on it. For example, Baretta might be noodling around as the rest of the band gets ready for practice, and then Roc jumps in with a backbeat. Ivana, who typically comes up with lyrics in their final form, joins in on bass. “She’s like, I dunno, just making something up and two weeks later it’s a song,” Roc says, summing up the creative process. But how does the band … go there? How do they decide to write music about body parts and functions and things other groups usually avoid? It’s a whiteboard process, where somebody might just be thinking out loud, the idea gets jotted down, and then later at some point it becomes a song. For example, at a recent practice someone pondered that, scientifically, you might call the removal of a lesbian a dyke-otomy (get it?). And so now they’re working on a track about getting kicked out of Cash Inn Country. It’s all born out of the band’s commitment to not take itself too seriously, Ivana explains. “Part of it is women playing music on our terms. A lot of that has to do with fact we already played bands before,” she says. “Our mission is to be play music and be happy and have fun and never take ourselves too seriously.”

Baretta Lynn (left) and Roc Smith.

feature story




Blue-plate Specials The band is pretty open about getting older. Everyone has a daytime job. Baretta has a 4-year-old child. These days, they’re not hustling to book shows so much as carefully picking out weekend gigs. Preferably ones that start earlier, like around 9 p.m. They joke about drinking a lot, but in truth they’re no longer hitting it that hard. If a fan happens to send over a round of redheaded sluts, well, so be it. “Baretta parties. When Baretta is here, she parties,” explains the guitarist. “It’s the persona of the band. When we practice, we have a couple beers. When we play, it’s no holds barred, let’s do this. Were not partiers normally, we all have fulltime jobs. But when Baretta is here, it’s

on like Shelley Long.” And as far as keeping up with the fast-paced lifestyle of a rock star, Ivana explains that now they’ve reached a point where they’re no longer desperate to book gigs. These days, taking it as it comes works just fine for the band. “It’s so nice to be in our 40s now and just enjoying what we’re doing,” she says. “We can say, ‘Yes, we’ll do that,’ or, ‘No, we don’t wanna do that.” So when does the ride end? According to Baretta, not any time soon. “The minute it’s not fun anymore, we’ll know it,” she says of energy the band feels, even when they’re alone jamming. “It doesn’t matter if there’s anyone near us,

The Pübes album release party 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Nov. 5 Last Exit Live 717 S. Central Ave., Phoenix




something magical happens ... When that stops we’ll be done. “I would love to be taking my fuckin’ AARP card out and being like, ‘Don’t you have a blue-plate special, bitches? Because we’re playing here tonight at 5:30!’”

A Look at the Lyrics Most Existentially Philosophical line: It seems to me … that the truth … is true. (“All By Myself”) Best Fall Fashion Tip: What is it about the way people act when they think they ‘bout to catch the gay? Cuz we all know gay is in the genes and Mama don’t stitch no rattyass seams. (“Oops, I Caught The Gay”) Sexiest Line: Purpose…I got a purpose. I’ll sink my teeth into your jeans … folding, my legs are folding and now your scolding … makes me scream! (“What I Need”) Most Likely to Remind You of The Menses: But what should come on my trusty TV but a long distance love affair that really can’t be! Into my kitchen, my diet is shattered; gimme chocolate, any kind, it really doesn’t matter! (“Red Riot”) Most Likely to Marry Google Maps: What’s the capital of Tanzania and how did you get in my bed?! (“Nice to Meet You”) Art Martori is a Phoenix-based freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines.


Sports Feature

Redemption in Retrograde Mercury fall to Lynx in 2016 semifinals Story and photos by Devin Millington Brittney Griner and Candice Dupree.


he Phoenix Mercury’s 20th season was dubbed “Out 4 Redemption” and with Diana Taurasi returning from her “vacation” last season, the Mercury seemed poised to return to championship form.

According to the 14th annual wnba. com GM survey, the Mercury received 58 percent of the votes as the team most likely to win the 2016 WNBA Championship. Most agreed, as the Mercury’s starting line-up was identical to their 2014 Championship season. The roster, stacked with all-star talent, seemed unstoppable on paper. Then something happened; the season started.

A Disastrous Start After the Mercury dropped its first two (road) games, the mood in the arena for their first home game was pensive, yet jubilant. Most assumed the mighty

Mercury would win their home opener, but they were wrong, as the Mercury dropped their first two home games as well. Sloppy play, inconsistent effort and a defense resembling that of a sieve made victory impossible. It was shocking that the Mercury, so full of talent, started the season at 0-4. Frustration began to take hold on the court. Fans started grumbling online with complaints of low energy, high turnovers and questionable coaching as key reasons for the team’s poor performance. Finally, the first victory came against Washington (a team that failed to make the 2016 playoffs). Interestingly, the Mercury failed to earn a victory against a playoff team until June 12, against the Chicago Sky. Still, nobody was ready to throw in the towel.

An International Intermission As the season wore on, the Mercury was unable to sustain any kind of streak. Two wins followed by a couple of losses, followed by another win, then a loss. Roster adjustments were made, but the inconsistency remained. It didn’t help that Penny Taylor missed nine games prior to the Olympic break with a hip injury. The 2016 Olympic Games split the WNBA season with a month off from July 23 to Aug. 24, but WNBA teams were not equally affected. The LA Sparks had only one player, Serbia’s Ana Dabovic, making the trip to Rio. And the Connecticut Sun had no Olympians. Conversely, the Phoenix Mercury had six players representing five countries in Rio – the most of any team in the WNBA. Once Taurasi, Griner, Taylor (Australia),

Brittney Griner and Sylvia Fowles.




sports feature

Penny Taylor and Diana Taurasi.

Marta Xargay, (Spain), Sonja Petrovic (Serbia) and Lindsey Harding (Belarus), returned from the Summer Games, the Mercury put up an impressive streak of three consecutive wins. But the three losses they team followed the streak up with made the playoff push all the more difficult. However, on Sept.16 the team clinched their fourth consecutive playoff berth, the 11th in franchise history.

Playoff Rollercoaster The Mercury entered the 2016 playoff race as the eighth seed and was considered an underdog throughout their run. The team’s first opponent was the strong, but equally inconsistent, Indiana Fever. While they had homecourt advantage, they didn’t have Taurasi who scored a team-high 20 points. Five Mercury players put up double digits, but it was the team’s defense, that held

the Fever’s scoring to just 37 percent, that secured the win. A few days later, the Mercury traveled to Madison Square Garden to challenge the No. 3 seed, New York Liberty. The Mercury’s defense offense shot a perfect 24 for 24 from the free throw line – and it certainly didn’t hurt that Taylor and Taurasi put on a shooting clinic from behind the arc. The Mercury impressively shot their way into the WNBA semifinals. Despite losing to the Minnesota Lynx three times during the regular season, many believed that the Mercury was peaking at the right time as they went into the best of five series. The Mercury was now faced with the daunting task of upsetting the Lynx on their home court, a feat achieved against both the Indiana Fever and the New York Liberty. But the Lynx proved too powerful on their home court and easily dispatched the Mercury by double digits in both games. The Mercury returned home Oct. 2 in the hopes of extending its season and staving off Taylor’s looming retirement. The game was evenly contested in the first half and the team’s energy was high. When the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year Sylvia Fowles got into early foul trouble, and subsequently had to ride the pine for significant chunks of time, the Mercury’s

Assistant Coach Todd Troxel and Diana Taurasi.

Penny Taylor.

offense took full advantage. The Mercury went into half time trailing by only one point, 38-39. The second half started with Fowles quickly earning more bench time after picking up her fourth foul, but this time the Mercury failed to capitalize on it and the Lynx went on a 6-0 run. Frustration mounted, especially with the officiating. Uncharacteristically, Dewanna Bonner was called for a technical foul in the middle third quarter. Minnesota’s lead grew steadily. By the middle of the fourth quarter, the Mercury was down by 20 points and fans slowly started to make their way to the exits. At the three-minute mark Alex Harden entered the game for Taylor, and as Taylor walked to the bench, tears streaming down her face, the X-Factor rose to give her a much-deserved standing ovation. She gave each of her teammates an emotional goodbye hug, crying as she squeezed each player. The 2016 season was indeed the rollercoaster ride. And like all rides, it had to come to an end. Surely fans will jump back on this ride next summer, even though it won’t be the same without the Mercury’s “Penny from Heaven.” Devin Millington is a retired teacher-turned-freelance writer and photographer. He is also the web designer and accomplished portrait artist behind




out & about Young Professional Multicultural Network Event Sept. 27 at The Newton, Phoenix. Photos by

For more Echo photos visit




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By Hans Pedersen

King Cobra

Hurricane Bianca

Available on iTunes/Amazon Oct. 21 | 92 minutes

On DVD Oct. 18 | 84 minutes | Unrated

If you caught feisty Bianca Del Rio on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” you’ll remember her razor-sharp tongue, her sassy quips and superb timing. The actor under the wig, Roy Haylock, plays Richard, a teacher who moves from New York to Texas for a small-town teaching job and then gets fired because he’s gay. Faster than you can say Mrs. Doubtfire, voila! He returns to the school disguised as Bianca Del Rio, educator extraordinaire. RuPaul and a couple of her girls, Willam Belli and Shangela, co-star in this cheeky heart warmer with Alan Cumming, Margaret Cho and Rachel Dratch.

Billed as the Boogie Nights of gay porn, this edgy crime drama is based on chilling true events. When young and attractive Sean Paul Lockhart meets the head of Cobra Video, he’s dubbed “Brent Corrigan” and starts having sex on camera for cash. But an ex-military brute and a former youth church leader who run a competing porn business try to lure him away, and the conflict between the purveyors of porn leads up to a brutal murder. The movie, directed by Justin Kelly (I Am Michael), stars Christian Slater, Molly Ringwald, Keegan Allen (“Pretty Little Liars”) and James Franco, who’s no stranger to gay porn as he co-directed and appeared in the explicit indie Interior. Leather Bar.

Moonlight Nov. 4 | 110 minutes | R

Certain Women In theaters Oct. 28 | 107 minutes | R

A female ranch hand is attracted to Beth, a law student (Kristen Stewart) in one of three insightful tales that examine the lives of women in the northwest. Beth enjoys meals with the enamored woman, who soon wants more than a friendship. Michelle Williams plays Gina, a wife and mother who faces obstacles trying to build a dream home. And, in a stunning performance, Laura Dern portrays Laura, a lawyer facing a hostage situation with a disgruntled client. In each of the intersecting stories, directed by Kelly Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff), these women face men who are dismissive toward them as they imperfectly blaze their trails. 58



With a gorgeous palette of blues and purples, this film about discovering oneself focuses on Chiron (Ashton Sanders), a young man growing up in a dilapidated Miami neighborhood that’s rife with back alley drug deals. Three major events in the young man’s life define his character as he tries to get in touch with both his sexuality and masculinity – and come to terms with his feelings for his best friend. Written and directed by Barry Jenkins, this slow-burning, realistic coming-of-age tale, co-starring Mahershala Ali, dissects identity politics, and chronicles Chiron’s effort to find joy in a painful world.

Hans Pedersen is a freelance writer based in Phoenix. movies

First Girl I Loved

Award-winning indie film offers authentic look at the coming out process By Hans Pedersen


f you watched the coming-of-age romance First Girl I Loved with no prior knowledge of it, you might find the tale to be so radiant with authenticity you’d assume the writer and director was inspired after coming-out as a teenage girl in high school. But this lovable indie was actually written and directed by a straight man: Kerem Sanga does an admirable job of getting inside the shoes of Anne, a high school student who’s falling in love with another girl, stepping out of the closet and facing unjust pressures and violations. Anne (Dylan Gelula) is also a bit of an outsider when she’s instantly smitten with a popular new cheerleader named Sasha (Brianna Hildebrand). When she confesses to her best friend, Cliff (Mateo Arias), that she likes the girl, essentially coming out to him, he is first unnerved, and then grows unhinged. Turns out Cliff is secretly attracted to Anne, who had always believed there was only a friendship between them. Her bewitching bestie turns on her, brutally betraying her in more than one fashion. Meantime, Anne and Sasha embark on a series of awkward flirtations, leading up to one of the sweetest falling-in-love moments ever depicted on the silver screen. Their amorous communications




via smart phones feel natural and function neatly in the plot, without feeling too overwrought or gimmicky. But as the new cheerleader finds herself settling into the confines of the school’s social politics, her attitude toward Anne cools. Ultimately, our heroine must decide whether or not to fight for Sasha. Anne’s process of coming out shows that recognizing and declaring your sexual identity is still no easy task for teens. And, as events unfold, Sanga helps his performers master the illusion of the first time and the lovable and authentic qualities to their performances help elevate the believability factor, keeping us invested in the characters. Anne and Sasha respond to one another a few times in a sing-song, almost selfmocking fashion, like real people do. From such inflections to the use of sarcasm,

“Characters’ nuances are well developed; they feel like real people with moral gray areas who struggle with ethical conflicts and darker sides.” Hans Pedersen

naturalism seems to just emanate from these dynamite performances. Characters’ nuances are well developed; they feel like real people with moral gray areas who struggle with ethical conflicts and darker sides. Sanga keeps the action moving along at a crisp pace, and never risks lulling us into a second-act slumber as some lowerbudget films can. A soundtrack also keeps the story rolling along, reflecting the action and echoing the tone without being feverishly hip. Even from the memorable opening melody as the camera lingers on Anne, the musical choices always serve the story. Sanga’s film could be a nearmasterpiece of indie cinema if it weren’t for the pigtailed monstrosity that’s perched on top of one actress’ head. It’s the only unbelievable element in the entire movie: the atrocious wig worn by Hildebrand in her role as Sasha. You keep wondering when she’s going to pull it of and reveal her real ‘do, even if you haven’t seen her work in Deadpool. Such comments, admittedly, sound terribly nitpicky. Until you see what’s parked on poor Sasha’s skull. The fake red wig is a real distraction since it’s hard to overlook. The poor choice of headwear undercuts what is an otherwise closeto-perfect movie. But it is important to point out that despite the petty hair complaints, Hildebrand and Gelula both do an incredible job of fleshing out Sasha and Anne and bringing the love story to life. First Girl I Loved is available on iTunes. movies

Writer and director Kerem Sanga offers behind-the-scenes look at his new film The title of First Girl I Loved tells it all: coming-of-age, young love and first real kiss. What’s unique about this tale of a teen love triangle is how believable the performances are, and how exquisitely it all unfolds.

Photo courtesy of

Writer and director Kerem Sanga (pictured) has captured a girl’s comingout process vividly, and with a remarkable sense of authenticity in this independent film, which won of the Audience Award in the Best of Next category at the Sundance Film Festival. Following his Q&A appearance with the cast after screenings at the Sundance, Sanga spoke with Echo about this love story and his talented cast. Echo: What was the genesis of the project? Sanga: It was kind of the confluence of a few things ... I’ve been around young people teaching standardized tests. And a while ago my sister came out to me. But in terms of the story, and my version of the coming out process, I just had this idea for a character. She was very cool to write because on the surface she seems very confident in who she is … but at the same time, she doesn’t let people in on who she is. So in that way, she’s still a little timid. I didn’t have an intent or an agenda. Because these people were so far away from my own experience – I’m not gay, [the character is a] teenage girl. It was just very simple. She was someone who wanted something …

Echo: Do you think it’s easier getting LGBTQ films made these days? Sanga: I think that’s really a case-by-case basis. I can only speak to my own journey trying to raise money for this film. Yes and no. No, in that I made a film before this, The Young Kieslowski, that was kind of a charmed thing … It was harder to raise money for this one. There were questions from people who were looking out for my best interests, definitely, but who were a little concerned. It just seemed like a lateral move from that movie to this movie. And also, it’s a gay niche movie. Especially reading in the paper the main character is gay, people don’t know, and the movie goes into another category. Echo: I am sure there are a lot of young people who will have their hearts lifted by watching it. Sanga: I hope so. I hope that young people will see it …

READ THE REST For Echo’s full interview with Kerem Sanga, visit

Hans Pedersen is a freelance writer based in Phoenix.

Christmas with

Clay Aiken Friday December 16 7:30pm

Saturday, February 25 7:30pm

Sunday, February 12 · 3pm

Stormy Weather The Story of Lena Horne Starring Mary Wilson

Sunday, March 5 · 6pm

Sunday, April 9 · 7pm For full season listings:

Sunday, March 19 · 3pm

Saturday, March 25 · 7:30pm 480.782.2680




Photos by Rose Torres.

opening nights By Richard Schultz

A Vampire Tale 13 Oct. 27-Nov. 5 Hormel Theatre at Phoenix Theatre 100 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix Tickets: $29-$45; 602-254-2151

A Vampire Tale 13 Oct. 27-Nov. 5

Dubbed “The Nutcracker of Halloween,” this yearly haunt, presented by Scorpius Dance Theatre, is celebrating its 13th consecutive season. How lucky for local audiences! Audiences will be indulged with all the trimmings of a dark and sexy drama with quirky and comedic episodes and visually

Piaf! The Show

stunning dance and aerial feats. This sellout production predates all of the current pop culture vampire phenomena and evolves annually to keep audiences coming back for more with the look and feel of a live concert. In A Vampire Tale, a young woman is

The Sound of Music

Through Oct. 22

Through Oct. 23

This tribute show celebrates the life and music of legendary French actress and singer Edith Piaf (1915–1963), one of the 20th century’s greatest performers. Starring vocalist Anne Carrere, the multimedia show narrates the rags-toriches story of the Parisian singer’s career through her classic songs and neverbefore-seen photographs. Carrere and a quartet of musicians on piano, percussion, accordion and double bass take the audience on an unforgettable journey through the streets of Paris during the time of La Vie en Rose. Conceived and directed by Gil Marsalla, Piaf! The Show premiered in 2015 as a tribute to “The Little Sparrow of Montmartre” on the centennial of Piaf’s birthday. It has become a worldwide success, packing theaters and earning rave reviews.

This new production, directed by Tony Award-winner Jack O’Brien, tells the spirited and romantic story of Maria and the von Trapp Family. As the final collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, this beloved musical follows a postulant who proves too high-spirited for the religious life and is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval Captain. Her growing rapport with the youngsters, coupled with her generosity of spirit, captures the heart of the Captain, and they marry. Upon returning from their honeymoon, they discover the Nazis have invaded Austria and are demanding the Captain’s immediate service to their navy. The award winning score includes “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and the title song.

Piaf! The Show Through Oct. 22 Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale Tickets: $29-$69; 480-499-8587

The Sound of Music




Through Oct. 23

drawn to the dark side and finds herself lured into an assorted band of bloodsuckers. Frightened yet fascinated by their shadowy showmanship and seductive transactions, the girl struggles to avoid becoming part of their underworld when she becomes infatuated with the king vampire.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

The Price

Through Oct. 30

Through Nov. 26

“Goin’ courting” has never been as much fun as in this rip-roaring adaptation of the classic MGM film. This rambunctious musical teaches that it takes a bride to turn seven unshaven, unkempt brothers into manly gentlemen – and to turn desire into romance. Set in Oregon in 1850, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers follows Millie, a young bride, and her plan to civilize and marry off her six rowdy brothers-in-law to ensure the success of her own marriage, which backfires when the brothers, in their enthusiasm, kidnap six women from a neighboring town to be their brides.

This searing drama by Arthur Miller, the voice of the American everyman, is a riveting story about the struggle to make peace with the past and create hope for the future. When the Great Depression cost his family their fortune, Victor Franz gave up his dream of an education to support his father. Three decades later, Victor has returned to his childhood home to sell the remainder of his parents’ estate. His wife, his estranged brother and the wily furniture dealer hired to appraise their possessions all arrive with their own agendas, forcing Victor to confront a long-stifled question about the value of his sacrifice.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Through Nov. 26 Hale Centre Theatre 50 W. Page Ave., Gilbert Tickets: $18-$32; 480-497-1181

The Price Through Oct. 30 Theatre Artists Studio 4848 E. Cactus Road, Ste. 406, Scottsdale Tickets: $25; 602-765-0120

ASU Gammage 1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe Tickets: $20-$150; 480-965-3434

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


“We found it...Hidden in the Hills!”


CELEBRATING 20 YEARS! Engage in the passion and the artistic process at the 20th Annual Hidden in the Hills free, self-guided studio tour and sale! Purchase original works of fine art directly from nationally recognized and emerging artists.

November 18-20 & 25-27 10 am to 5 pm each day • Cave Creek, Carefree & N. Scottsdale

FREE ADMISSION The collectible 136 page full-color directory shown at right features all participating artists, includes a map and can be purchased in advance for only $5 online at or by calling the Sonoran Arts League at 480.575.6624. You can also customize your tour using the interactive map found at

Jamie Parnell (Nick Arnstein) and Liz Fallon (Fanny Brice) in Arizona Broadway Theatre's producton of Funny Girl. Photo by Shari Corbett.

Funny Girl Local actress takes on iconic role By Richard Schultz


hen Liz Fallon accepted her most recent leading role, she knew she has taken on quite a challenge. And she’s more than ready for it. Fallon stars as Fanny Brice in Arizona Broadway Theatre’s latest production the musical Funny Girl, the same role that launched Barbra Streisand’s ascent into stardom both on the Broadway stage and in film. Fallon acknowledges Streisand’s imprint on the role and even plans to utilize a few of Streisand’s touches as part of her portrayal. “Well, of course I’m influenced by Barbara Streisand. I grew up watching Funny Girl the movie with my mom and singing “My Man” and the rest of the soundtrack with my aunt,” Fallon said. “The film is such a wonderful part of musical theater history and is a small part of what influenced me to pursue acting.” Fanny Brice was one of the most celebrated entertainers of her time and starred in the Ziegfeld Follies, Hollywood films and on the radio. With humor, talent and chutzpah, young Fanny, an awkward Jewish girl who “isn’t pretty,” defies the odds and becomes one of the greatest stars of her generation. Her Local audiences may remember Liz Fallon as Charity Valentine in either Arizona Broadway Theatre’s staging of Sweet Charity or Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical.




rise to super-stardom and her turbulent romance with gambler Nick Arnstein, is explored through Bob Merrill and Jule Styne’s unforgettable Funny Girl score, which includes “I’m the Greatest Star,” “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” “People,” “The Music That Makes Me Dance” and “You Are Woman, I Am Man.” As Fallon prepared for the lead role, she read the biography Fanny Brice: The Original Funny Girl. Although the musical isn’t exactly historically accurate, Fallon said she admires Brice’s drive and sees parallels to her own career in the theater. “Personally, the sacrifice and perseverance hit home for me,” she said. “Being an actress is incredibly rewarding, but it takes a lot of drive. Fanny is inspirational; she never quits. She keeps trucking until she gets what she wants.” According to Fallon, she particularly relates to the beginning scenes where Fanny is trying to break into theater, but doesn’t fit in with or look like the other girls. And as a New York-based actor, Fallon has dealt with that dynamic in every audition. “During the ‘busy season,’ you’re at seven or 10 auditions a week. They are long days. You’re usually too short, too tall, too big, or too small for someone’s show,” she said. “Most times, you do just want to pull a Fanny and scream, ‘somebody give me a chance! I’m a bagel on a plateful of onion rolls!’” Fallon believes that everyone can relate to the show’s themes of unconditional love and sacrifice. “Funny Girl is such a great show, but it’s more than fun dance numbers and big songs,” she said. “It has so much heart.” Above all, Fallon insists that the musical is truly a love story, and that’s what renders the show timeless. “There are so many different kinds

of love in the show,” she pointed out, “unconditional love, romantic love, self love, the love between a parent and a child, the love between friends and between co-workers. Some of the themes in the show are universal.” The stage and film versions do differ in several ways. For example, instead of the “Swan Lake” number in Act II, there’s “Rat Tat Tat Tat”, a WWI military-themed tap number. The stage version also offers more insight into Fanny’s relationship with her husband, Nick Arnstein, played by Jamie Parnell. Fallon feels that “Who Are You Now,” a simple, but gorgeous ballad in Act Two, reflects on how much Nick means to her, and hopes that he feels the same. Fallon emphasizes that her research helped her develop insights into Brice and what made her tick. Yet, her portrayal of the character will be distinctively her own. “The great thing about acting and theater is that it’s so personal. So, while I’d love to be Babs or Fanny Brice, I never will be. My Fanny is going to have a lot of Liz Fallon in her, but with the heart, mind and goals of Fanny Brice, as told in the musical.” With a smile, she adds, “And with a sprinkle or two of Babs, just for kicks.”

Funny Girl Through Nov. 13 Arizona Broadway Theatre 7701 West Paradise Lane, Peoria Tickets: $77-$98; 623-776-8400 Richard Schultz is a playwright, actor, director and freelance writer based in Phoenix. theater

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Local author recounts gender journey in autobiography By KJ Philp


uring the summer of 2007, Georgia Lee McGowen (pictured) began working on her autobiography. In preparing a compilation of previously written essays and articles for publication she realized this manuscript would mean absolutely nothing without what she describes as “the backstory.” After a year and a half of “hit-and-miss” progress, the back story was published as Dear Mom and Dad, You Don’t Know Me, But … and serves as an account of the author’s journey from George to Georgia, and the coexistence of both identities. Echo caught up with McGowen, a 29-year Valley resident who began a gradual transition from male to female at age 63, to find out more about her journey, her book and future plans. Echo: What was your goal as you embarked on this project? McGowen: I had two goals in mind. The first was to help the [cisgender] people

Photo courtesy of Georgia Lee McGowen. 66



of this world understand the compelling and omnipresent nature of a gender identity that doesn’t match the body a person is born with. The second goal was to help people who are struggling with a gender identity that doesn’t match the body they were born with [and relay] that acknowledging one doesn’t necessarily require denying the existence of the other. Echo: Why was it important for you get have your story published? McGowen: I genuinely believe that what I have written is important for all people to read so that when they see someone whose physical body obviously doesn’t match the clothes they are wearing … they will have compassion for that person and treat them accordingly. Echo: How do you identify today? McGowen: I consider myself dualgendered although the rest of the world considers me a trans woman ... My reason for that is confusing to some people. I fully realize and accept that there are many people in this world who genuinely feel they were, and therefore probably were born in the wrong body. I know quite a few that fit that description to a T. They have no male emotions, identity or personality at all and have no doubt about their gender identity. I, on the other hand have had numerous circumstances, some of which I share in my book, when that part of my soul that belongs to George springs to the surface of my mental makeup in most dramatic and definite ways. The fact that I have transitioned physically and legally does not for a second mean that I believe the judges gavel or the surgeon’s knife have eliminated George’s spirit or emotions any more than I was a figment of his imagination for most of our life. Bottom line? He got the use of this body for 60 plus years, now it’s my turn.

Echo: Is George still around? If so, what’s the relationship like between Georgia and George today? McGowen: I think I inadvertently answered part of that question already but I will add this: George was always and remains a gentleman which means that if I need support from his set of emotions or even physical defense I will have it. Echo: At one point you were holding seminars to help educate students – is that something you’re still doing? Why is this important to you? McGowen: Yes, I still speak to as many groups as I possibly can … The second item in my PowerPoint presentation is a discussion on why I feel it important to increase awareness of [trans] issues. The preservation of families is one of the most important factors in my mind. … I encourage the audience that if they, themselves or someone they know is struggling with their gender identity, to figure it out now. Love is not going to make “her” or “him” go away. Don’t wait until they’re married and have children to figure it out. The preservation of lives is also important. The suicide rate in the gender identity community is horrendous. Get help. Don’t try to figure it out on your own. And it’s important to accept who God made you to be.

READ THE REST For Echo’s full interview with Georgia Lee McGowen, visit

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

Dear Mom and Dad, You Don’t Know Me, But …


ne, as they say, is the loneliest number. It’s no fun to go somewhere by yourself, to be half a couple, to go solo. Two’s company, three’s a crowd, four’s a party and in the book Dear Mom and Dad, You Don’t Know Me, But … by Georgia Lee McGowen, sometimes, you’re not really alone. George and Georgia were born on the same day, but no one knew it for years. They were not twins, but two parts of a whole child whose parents thought they had a son. When George was a child, the family moved around a lot, which perhaps made him an introspective boy with a good imagination; still, there were times when he didn’t quite understand what was inside him. He was fascinated with his mother’s clothing and shoes, and furtively wore them when the rest of the family was out of the house. He loved girls, but was a bit confused by his love of girly things. He wasn’t homosexual, but there was something different about him and when “Georgie was alone, he inevitably found himself wondering why he wasn’t like all the rest of the boys his age.” Throughout his adolescence and young adulthood, George seemed to forget about those differences, however. He went to

college and was somewhat of a ladies’ man. When his college sweetheart became pregnant, he married her and had a family, left college and ultimately achieved his dream of becoming a ranch hand. He divorced, married again, and battled addiction to drugs along with his second wife. But something happened in the middle of his second marriage: the alcohol and drugs allowed his inhibitions to be “stifled,” and his feminine side surged. His wife, who was initially supportive, eventually considered his new obsession “disgusting” and so, once again, George had to hide his interests. But there was no way to put this cat back into the bag, and Georgia became stronger by the day. They – George and Georgia – hated the dishonesty but they were happy when their wife finally embraced her “girlfriend …” Though it is readable and offers a unique look at how one individual came to accept their “dual-gendered” life, there’s no denying that Dear Mom and Dad, You Don’t Know Me, But … is rough. This Valley-based author’s story is set at a time when being different, gender-wise,

even in the smallest way, was frownedupon or even dangerous. The timeframe of this book is good, and quite eye opening, but the story is way too long and terribly loaded with inconsequential details. Readers who can forgive the flaws will be rewarded with a story that’s alternately sweet, quaint, sassy and empowering. If that’s the kind of book you want, then this is the one. 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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Five Steps to Hall-of-Fame Fitness By Tia Norris


o, you want to be a contender, do you? You want to go from good to great? We’re not talking about mediocre here, we’re talking about Hall of Fame diet and fitness. If you’re ready for that level of excellence and recognition, here is my tried and true blueprint to success in five steps, if you want to be one of the best. Step #1: Ask For Help First and foremost, check your ego at the door. Accept the fact that there are many people out there who know more than you do. Accept the fact that you are not yet an expert. And, accept the fact that being “coachable” is an essential character trait that all achievers of excellence must possess. If you can find the right trainer, they will help you arrive at a better destination, faster. They have

already made the mistakes and conducted the experiments so that you don’t have to waste time with guesswork. And remember, being “new” at something is refreshing! It teaches you how to take constructive criticism, how to think on your feet and how to survive discomfort – this is essential if you want to truly become great. The best leaders, start as the best followers.

an expert and stick with it. And second, you’ve got to recover faster and better than your competition if you want to ascend the ranks. I’m talking about deep tissue massage work, chiropractic adjustments, stretching and mobility, sleep, stress management and all the other activities that happen behind the scenes that will speed up your recovery. Make it a priority and watch your potential skyrocket.

Step #2: Invest In Yourself

Step #4: Stick To The Basics (Don’t Make It A Fashion Show)

Along the same line, take a good hard look at your budget and be prepared to make an investment in the process. Consider this an investment in yourself physically and mentally, and don’t be afraid to hire someone to manage this part of your life! Everybody outsources parts of their lives – no one does it all. No one! I always use the analogy of me hiring an accountant for our business. I typically am a “Jane of all trades,” but I just will not plan/execute/care about a budget, ever. So I pay someone to do it for me. It’s that simple. Outsource the planning, accountability, and knowledge of your diet and fitness program and your life will become much easier. Trust me. Step #3: Focus On The Details Diet and recovery are what will ultimately separate the good from the great, and great from elite. Everyone at this stage “wants it,” but it is not just about work ethic anymore. So, first, no matter what your fitness program looks like, diet is one of the factors that will make or break your goal of excellence. From triathlon to bodybuilding (and everything in between), you cannot and will not perform to your full potential without giving your diet the attention it deserves. Accept that. Consult




Too many people like buying shiny new fitness toys – this computer, that gadget, this ultra high-tech gear, straps/wraps/ bands/shoes, and whatever else. While at an absolutely elite level this stuff might make a hairline difference, the truth is that in most cases you really don’t need to break the bank to achieve the results you’re seeking. This is where your coach will come in and hopefully help you cut through the b.s. sales gimmicks. Most of the devices out there are just fringe. Some tools are necessary, yes, but so often I work with people who see the gadget as a shortcut instead of actually focusing their attention on doing the work. Step #5: Remember: Heavy Is The Head That Wears The Crown If you want to be the best, you must train, sleep, eat, and, most importantly, sacrifice like the best. At the more elite levels of performance, it’s no longer just about what’s convenient. Hall of fame athletes live and breathe their sport. You will need to be prepared to sacrifice a lot of time, sleep, fun, tasty food and (partially) your sanity if you want to get to the top. Many average people think they want this, but they are truly not prepared for the level of sacrifice this requires. This is where you will really be tested as a person and an athlete and at the altar of sacrifice sits at the threshold of all Halls of Fame. Be prepared for discomfort, stress, anxiety, pain and change. If you can check your ego, make the investment, focus on the details and master the basics, you will be well on your way. Rest assured, with the great investment comes even greater reward and it is so very worth it! Tia Norris is the president and head trainer at FitPro, LLC, a local fitness company. Find out more at health & fitness


Feeling with the Enemy By Liz Massey


y the time this issue of Echo leaves the newsstands, Americans will have elected a new president. While hopefully the pro-equality major party candidate will prevail, it’s certain that we will gain some LGBTQ and LGBTQsupportive elected officials this cycle, and lose some, as well. We are making progress at levels ranging from city councils to the U.S. Congress, but our legal equality, where it exists, is still fragile and vulnerable to attack. And anti-LGBTQ forces are still succeeding in mounting campaigns that harm trans people, queer youth, and LGBTQ people of color. As this tumultuous election cycle has proven, our community must seek out new ways of predicting our opponents’ intentions, rather than continuing to spend all of our time, energy and political capital in response to threats to our existence. One new way of anticipating our opponents’ next moves is strategic empathy, a technique developed by historian Zachary Shore. Shore says it’s necessary to empathize with one’s enemy in order to craft an effective response to their actions, but he doesn’t use that word in a cuddly, conciliatory sort of way. He asserts that the best way to divine an opponent’s intentions is to watch what he or she does during chaotic, unpredictable periods, which he calls “pattern breaks.” It’s especially telling if an opponent responds to crisis with an action that costs them dearly among their own supporters. An example of this dynamic at work is how the religious right wing pivoted after marriage equality happened to focus its attention on anti-trans legislation, including the demeaning and ridiculous bathroom bills. These opponents often doubled

down on support of these measures when faced with economic sanctions from allies of the LGBTQ community who identify as common-sense fiscal conservatives – warning us that it will take more than just boycotts to defeat these type of laws. Seeking to understand strategic empathy on a more international level, Arizona State University’s Center for Strategic Communication has published research revealing that Islamic extremists recruiting future terrorists do not agitate them by filling their heads with visions of world domination, as hard-liners in the West often accuse them of; rather, these recruiters paint a picture of fellow Muslims being oppressed by nonbelievers around the world, and frame their violent actions as part of a holy struggle for justice. Similarly, our opponents on the right also frame their struggle as one of holy obligation – despite the fact that Christianity is the majority religion in the United States, and the reality that our equality doesn’t take anything away from American cultural conservatives, except their cultural dominance. There are several ways that activists and everyday LGBTQ people and their allies can practice strategic empathy as they participate in the conversation about how our community should move forward after the 2016 elections. Watch how our opponents act when they lose. Or when the mainstream community is in the midst of a crisis. The steps they take at that point can often tell us what their true intentions and motives are. Remember that everyone likes to position themselves as David – no one wants to play Goliath. The scary “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” making the rounds of state

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legislatures in the wake of marriage equality are perfect examples of this. Don’t assume your enemy wants what you want. This caveat reminds us to realize our opponents have motivations that are unique to them. The passage of HB2 in North Carolina demonstrated that those who crafted the anti-trans law were driven by ideology and attempts to shame supporters with economic threats haven’t been effective in getting it repealed so far. Craft counter-narratives that subvert your enemy’s message and resonate with THEIR supporters. In other words, our messages have to hit home with the people our opponents are trying to win over. The CSC study highlighted the value in offering alternate means to achieve the enemy’s goal that doesn’t involve harming “our side,” as well as undermining the image that the enemy is trying to project in ways that will be meaningful to their supporters. Don’t forget the value of humor. Our community has always found ways to critique the dominant culture using humor, through drag pageants, our “camp” sensibility, and our ability to turn social norms inside out. Defeating our opponents doesn’t have to be gravely serious all the time – helping people laugh with us, and to see the foibles of our opponents in a new light, can be some of the most effective advocacy work we can do. It appears that regardless of who wins the 2016 presidential election, we’re going to need strategic empathy and other tools to get a sense of our enemy’s intentions. As Shore said when asked how strategic empathy works, “Leaders who ‘read’ their enemies best did so not by focusing on the enemy’s pattern of past behavior, but instead by scrutinizing their behavior at pattern breaks. At those moments when the routine norms of daily business were completely overturned ... how people behaved revealed what mattered to them most. And the leaders who focused on their enemies’ behavior at those patternbreaking moments gained powerful insight into their enemies’ minds.”

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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OUT & ABOUT Trans*Spectrum of Arizona’s Masquerade Ball Oct. 15 at The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness. Photos by Devin Millington.

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OUT & ABOUT The Ninth Annual Witches Ball – Dia de los Muertos Oct. 14 at The Rock, Phoenix. Photos by

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lambda directory Please support our advertisers who help keep Echo free. To find out more about advertising in Echo, call 602-266-0550.

ACCOUNTANTS/TAX PREPARATION Jeffrey J. Quatrone PLLC p. 65 Robert F. Hockensmith, CPA, PC p. 45 Steve Price, CPA p. 76

Stacy’s @ Melrose


James Kelly D.D.S My Dentist Open Wide Dental

Child Crisis Arizona

p. 56

ADULT ENTERTAINMENT/ RETAIL Flex Spas Phoenix p. 81 The Chute p. 80 AIR CONDITIONING & HEATING Mustang Air Mechanical p. 75 Valdez Refrigeration p. 76 APARTMENTS Aura at Midtown East and West Apartments Skyline Lofts The Trend

p. 46 p. 74 p. 13 p. 83

ART GALLERIES Exposures International Gallery of Fine Art p. 74 ATTORNEYS Hartman Titus PLC Jackson WhiteAttorneys At Law Matthew Lopez Law, PLLC Phillips Law Group Michael J. Tucker Tyler Allen Law Firm Udall Shumway Law Firm Zielinski Law Firm, PLLC AUTO SERVICES Community Tire Pros

p. 57 p. 40



COUNSELING SERVICES People Empowering People of AZ, Inc. p. 65 DENTISTS p. 70 p. 65 p. 4


MASSAGE Rainbow Massage Therapy

p. 75


Jeremy Schachter, Pinnacle Capital Mortgage p. 3

China Chili Hula’s Modern Tiki Marcellino Ristorante

Maricopa County Community College District p. 73

Two Men and a Truck


CVS Specialty Pharmacy p. 72 Fairmont Pharmacy p. 81

Ballet Arizona Big Gay Sing-A-Long Chandler Center for the Arts DTPHX Downtown Phoenix Inc. Festival of the Trees Mesa Center for the Arts Paint & Sip Night Red Brunch Scottsdale Center for the Arts Sonoran Arts League The Big Heap

p. 68 p. 55 p. 61 p. 47 p. 69 p. 40 p. 50 p. 30 p. 2 p. 63 p. 50


p. 75

p. 27


p. 77 p. 9

Benefits Arizona p. 63 Edward Vasquez, Allstate p. 3 Health Markets Insurance p. 46

Don’s Painting Service Lyons Roofing Rainbow Bug Studio Z The Mattress Man

p. 74 p. 65 p. 75 p. 76 p. 81

Community Church of Hope First Congregational UCC





Lysa Garcia, Farmers Insurance


p. 29 p. 15 p. 76 p. 5 p. 21 p. 67

BAR & CLUBS Bunkhouse Charlie’s

p. 79

p. 76



p. 74 p. 75

p. 55 p. 55 p. 55

RETAIL Easley’s Fun Shop p. 74 French DesignerJeweler p. 45 Off Chute Too p. 78 RETIREMENT PLANNING

p. 65

REAL ESTATE Contour on Campbell p. 74, 84 The Rosedale Residences p. 23 REALTORS Arizona Gay Realtors Alliance p. 3 Berney Streed, Re/Max Excalibur p. 76 Bradley B. Brauer, HomeSmart p. 3 David Oesterle, ReMax p. 3 Fred Delgado Team, Keller Williams p. 3 Jan Dahl, HomeSmart p. 3 Matthew Hoedt, Realty One p. 3 Nicholas Yale, Realty Executives p. 3 Rob Gaetano, HomeSmart p. 75 Shawn Hertzog, West USA p. 3 Stephanie Fourie, Home Smart Elite Group p. 75

Calvin Goetz, Strategy Financial Group p. 3 SALONS Salon Exodus

p. 76

WELLNESS Avenger Fitness, LCC p. 74 Banner Health p. 56 Dr. Wilson & Associates p. 73 Enhanced Image Medspa p. 67 FitPro, LLC p. 75 p. 26 IGNITE Community Chat Groups p. 10, 11 SIZEmatters p. 51 Skinny Bus - Mobile Cool Sculpting p. 59 Southwest Center for HIV/ AIDS p. 71 TERROS Health-LGBTQ Consortium p. 45 Total Rejuvination p. 76 Triumeq p. 18-21 Willo Medi Spa p. 76 lambda directory

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This is not an offer to sell, nor a solicitation of an offer to buy, to residents of any state or province in which registration and other legal requirements have not been fulfilled. Void where prohibited by law. All plans, amenities, availability, completion dates, prices, improvements and incentives are subject to change without notice. All measurements are approximate. Sales and marketing by LaunchPad powered by Launch Real Estate.

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8/22/2016 5:18:52 PM

Echo Magazine November 2016  

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

Echo Magazine November 2016  

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