Speaking Our Truth Meet Epiphany Mattel and other LGBTQ artists whose voices are shaping the storytelling movement LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT | VOL. 29, #5 | ISSUE 701 | FEBRUARY 2018 | COMPLIMENTARY
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inside this issue Issue 701 | Vol. 29, #5 | February 2018
features NEWS 8
Photo by Martin P. Asselin.
Letter From The Editor
12 News Briefs 14 Datebook
PREVIEWS AND REVIEWS 40 Without Reservations 46 At The Box Office 50 Opening Nights 54 Between The Covers
Stories on Screen The 2018 Desperado LGBT Film Festival celebrates nine years of showcasing community-focused titles.
Epiphany Mattel Local transgender recording artist shares how she is using her burgeoning music career to tell her story.
56 All Over The Map
ON THE COVER Epiphany Mattel on the set of the â€œFix Yo Faceâ€? music video. Photo by Martin P. Asselin.
Photo by Coco Aramaki, courtesy of Shore Fire Media.
Andrea Gibson Spoken word artist starts the conversation on the queer experience ahead of Arizona tour dates.
Photo by nightfuse.com.
Speaking Our Truth We invite you to check out some of our favorite storytelling events. Where will you tell your story in 2018?
inside this issue
echomag.com web exclusives PHOTO GALLERIES Did the Echo cameras catch you out and about at this month’s events? Find out at echomag.com/ gallery/2018-photos. COMMUNITY CALENDAR From pageants to advocacy, this is where the community goes to find out what’s going on in the gayborhood. Recordings | February 2018 Echo’s music expert Julio C. Reyna dishes on three new albums he’s listening to this month. echomag.com/recordings-feb-2018
Fire and Fury Terri Schlichenmeyer dishes on Michael Wolff’s recently released look inside the Trump White House. echomag.com/fire-and-fury
community-calendar COMMUNITY DIRECTORY Looking for a local group to join? Have a group that’s seeking new members? Either way, this is the place to connect. echomag.com/ community-directory MARKETING SOLUTIONS Find out why Echo is the publication your future clients are already reading. echomag.com/ marketing-solutions
Photo by nightfuse.com.
Talking Bodies | February 2018 Echo’s fitness expert Tia Norris shares five lessons she learned while training for Ironman Arizona. echomag.com/talking-bodies-feb-2018
Hit Me With Your Best Shot For all the Out & About photos in this issue – and more – visit Echo’s online photo gallery. echomag.com/gallery
LETTER FROM THE editor By KJ Philp
ere at Echo, one of our new year’s resolutions was to take a closer look at the storytelling movement that’s happening right here in our own backyard – both among LGBTQ individuals as well as our geographic community. What we’ve discovered is that a growing number of you are finding new outlets to use your voices to address such issues as intersectionality, identity and equality (and so much more), making these platforms vehicles for advocacy, visibility and even to document oral history. While we’ve only scratched the surface in the pages ahead, we’re excited about the research and networking we’ve accomplished within the local storytelling community and we’re proud to welcome you to an issue filled with individuals who are fearlessly starting tough conversations about their experiences. First up is our flawless cover model Epiphany Mattel. We caught up with the Phoenix-based lyricist to find out more about her journey into the spotlight as well as her plans for 2018. You can find her story in “Epiphany Mattel” on page 28. For those of you who prefer to watch storytelling on the big screen, the ninth annual Desperado LGBT Film Festival is right around the corner – Feb. 9-11 at Paradise Valley Community College, to be exact – and we have a sneak peek at the titles that will screen at this year’s event in “Stories on Screen” on page 20. This year is also off to an impressive start for spoken word artist Andrea Gibson. With a new book, album and tour, the multiplatform storyteller is starting conversations about
everything from politics and gender to love and feminism. We have details on their upcoming Arizona tour dates too, in “Andrea Gibson” on page 34. If any of your new year’s resolutions involve putting your experiences down on paper and getting in front of your community to share them, we have you covered. Just turn to “Speaking Our Truth” on page 36 for some of our favorite upcoming storytelling events. Speaking of your experiences, this issue also marks our annual launch of the Echo Readers’ Choice Awards which, for the first time ever, have a presenting sponsor for 2018. Thank you, Smirnoff for sharing our vision and commitment to this 18-year-old tradition and welcome to the Echo family! Now we just need you to weigh in with your expertise on EVERYTHING local. We’ve brought back all your favorite categories and we invite you to nominate your favorites in all 28 by Feb. 23 at echomag.com/noms2018. From there, the top five in each category will move on as finalists in the voting phase, which will take place March 1 to 30. This year’s winners, as determined by your votes, will be revealed in the May issue, which comes out April 20. While that covers it for our first issue of 2018, we’re heading into a fierce event-filled spring and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on what’s to come –in print (see “Datebook” on page 14), online at echomag.com and via Echo’s social media. Stay tuned!
KJ Philp is the managing editor of hed Echo Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linkedin: Echo Magazine
LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT PUBLISHER: Bill Orovan ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Bill Gemmill EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR: KJ Philp CONTRIBUTORS: Anthony Costello James Fanizza Tamara Juarez Laura Latzko Liz Massey Tia Norris
Hans Pedersen Seth Reines Julio C. Reyna Terri Schlichenmeyer Rachel Verbits Megan Wadding
ART DEPARTMENT PHOTOGRAPHY: Stephanie Anne Donoghue, Fernando Hernández and nightfuse.com. ADVERTISING DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING: Ashlee James ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Gregg Edelman Rosanna Portugal-Miles NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE: Rivendell Media, 212-242-6863
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Echo Magazine is published by ACE Publishing, Inc. Echo is a registered trademark of ACE Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Written permission must be obtained in advance for partial or complete reproduction of any advertising material contained therein. Opinions expressed therein are not necessarily those of the publisher or staff. ACE Publishing, Inc. does not assume responsibility for claims by its advertisers or advice columnists. Publication of a name, photograph of an individual or organization in articles, advertisements or listings is not to be construed as an indication of the sexual orientation, unless such orientation is specifically stated. Manuscripts or other materials submitted remain the property of ACE Publishing, Inc.
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The Center of Tucson SAAF Announces Opening of Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) celebrated the opening of Tucson’s newest youth center: the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th, 526 N. Fourth Avenue. Members of the community as the media were in attendance for the Jan. 18 ribbon cutting and open house. The center is named after Curtis Thornhill, originally from southern Arizona. “I am very excited to be part of a project giving youth, especially LGBTQ youth, a safe space in southern Arizona, Thornhill said. “The Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th will remind our whole community that our youth are loved and welcome.” According to SAAF, the objective of the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th is to serve youth through programming, direct client services, and community engagement, with a direct focus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) youth.
“What started a couple years ago as a dream of a few in the community is now a reality,” said Adam Ragan, SAAF’s associate director of LGBTQ initiatives. “Youth will have a safe space to access programs, education, art, and most importantly, each other. We know the power of peer-to-peer programming can really impact the lives of youth for years to come.” The central program of the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th is Eon, a safe space for LGBTQ and allied youth. According to a recent SAAF press release, at Eon, youth can work on homework, access art programming through a collaborative with the Museum of Contemporary Art, participate in peer-to-peer education opportunities and harm-reduction, empowerment-driven programming. In addition to Eon, SAAF will collocate other youth programming at the center in order to best serve the community.
“SAAF has always been driven by transformative action,” said Wendell Hicks, SAAF’s executive director. “The Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th will change and save the lives of many, many youths and I couldn’t be prouder of that.” SAAF started a $2-million capital campaign in early 2016 to undertake the funding necessary to purchase a building and undertake renovations. The Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th is located on both Streetcar and bus routes, providing access across the community. Eon Lounge hours are 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and every third Saturday evening. For more information on SAAF visit saaf.org or call 520-628- SAAF (7223). For more information on the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th, or to schedule a tour of the new center, visit saaf.org/support/tlc4 or like the center on Facebook at facebook. com/tlc4tucson. – Courtesy of SAAF.
one•n•ten Board Names Interim Executive Director one•n•ten, Arizona’s leading LGBTQ youth development agency, announced that Nate Rhoton (pictured), has been named the interim executive director by the nonprofit’s board of directors beginning Jan. 1. After six years leading the organization, the former executive director, Linda Elliott, retired Jan. 1. Rhoton, a central Phoenix resident, has served as one•n•ten’s director of finance and operations for a year and, prior to that, served as its director of development. “As the board works through our official executive search process, Nate is stepping in to lead the agency,” said Carmen Jandacek, one•n•ten board chair. “We want to make sure that the board is thoughtful in its efforts to bring in the right person for our new executive 12
as we grow in our reach and impact on hundreds of LGBTQ youth here in the Valley and in parts of the state.” The board named Rhoton to the interim position in December and he officially took over the role effective Jan. 1. Having worked with several companies, including General Mills, Gap, and Sky Construction and Engineering, Rhoton is seasoned in operations and finance. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University in economics, is a graduate of Valley Leadership and a Flinn-Brown Leadership Fellow. Rhoton has also been civically involved as board co-chair for Equality Arizona, The Melonhead Foundation and as the gala committee chair for the Human Rights Campaign. He has been
recognized for his community service with Echo Magazine’s 2016 Leaders of the Year recognition, Phoenix Pride’s Mayor Phil Gordon Community Spirit Award in 2015, the Neil Giuliano Alumni Award from ASU in 2013 and the Local Hero’s Award from One Community in 2012. Rhoton will be tasked with overseeing one•n•ten programs, which include the Queer Blended Learning Center, an online high school diploma partnership with K12; OUTdoors! Camp, the largest LGBTQ camp of its kind; the Promise of a New Day (P.O.N.D) housing program for homeless youth; the YES program, a life skills and youth employment program; and a six one•n•ten satellite centers across Arizona. According to Jandacek, the board hopes to have a permanent executive director named by mid-February. For more information on one•n•ten, visit onenten.org. – Courtesy of one•n•ten. news
Your Community, Your Voice Echo launches 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards presented by Smirnoff Each year, Echo Magazine recognizes your community favorites. From local leaders and performers to stage productions and places to wine and dine, we rely on you to tell us who is deserving of this honor. We’re excited to announce that this year marks our first-ever presenting partnership, officially making these the 2018 Echo Readers’ Choice Awards presented by Smirnoff. Also for 2018, we brought back all your favorite categories, which means that you
have 28 opportunities to nominate and vote for your favorites, as you’ll find four categories under each of the following titles: • Community • Local Heroes • Drag • Gayborhood Bars • Cocktails & Dining • Out & About • Music
categories at surveymonkey.com/r/ NOMS-2018. Nominate once a day (per IP address) to ensure your nominees are among the top five in each category that will proceed on to the voting phase, March 1 through 30.
This year’s winners, as determined by your votes, will be revealed in the May issue of Echo Magazine, which comes out April 20. So, mark your calendars and stay tuned for additional details.
Through Feb. 23, you’re invited to nominate your local favorites in all 28
For a list of category descriptions, visit echomag.com/noms-2018.
datebook Feb. 3
Arizona Opera will celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s 100th anniversary with Out at the Opera, the company premiere of Candide in Phoenix, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Phoenix Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St. in Phoenix. azopera.org/events/out-opera Feb. 9
Scorpius Dance Theatre and Davisson
The final prelim for the Country Idol 2018, an annual singing competition sponsored by the Arizona Gay Rodeo Association, will take place at 9 p.m. at Stacy’s @ Melrose, 4343 N. Seventh Ave., in Phoenix. facebook.com/azcountryidol Jan. 20
Brunch Bash 2018, benefiting one•n•ten, will feature an extensive brunch spread and live acoustic music from noon to 6 p.m. at CityScape, 1 E. Washington St., in Phoenix. brunchbashaz.com jan. 21
The 2018 Women’s March To The Polls: Phoenix is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol Building, 1700 W. Washington St., in Phoenix. womensmarch.com Jan. 21 & 28 | Feb 4
Phoenix Pride will host its final three prelims, at the conclusion of which Miss Rock, Miss & Mister Krazzy Latinos and Miss & Mr. Stacy’s will be crowned and qualified to compete in the 2018 Phoenix Pride Pageant, at The Rock, 4129 N. Seventh Ave., at 6 p.m.; The Cash, 2140 E. McDowell Road, at 8 p.m.; and Stacy’s @ Melrose, 4343 N. Seventh Ave., at 8 p.m. phoenixpride.org/events/pageant-royalty Jan. 23 & 30
IGNITE Your Status invites the Phoenix LGBTQ community to tune in to its weekly Facebook Live broadcast, during which local celebrities will answer questions 14
entertainment present Vampire Ball, Love Bites – a vampire-valentine-sexystylish affair hosted by Stella Prince and Faris DuVall – will take place from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at The Grand, 718 N. Central Ave., in Phoenix. scorpiusdance.com Feb. 14-March 18
The Boob Show, an uplifting, comedic musical celebrates women and their breasts through song, will take
related to Trans sex and your wildest sex dreams, respectively, from 7:30 to 8:30. facebook.com/igniteyourstatus
the stage (select dates) at Phoenix Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Road, in Phoenix. phoenixtheatre.com/boobshow Feb. 16-18
The national tour of Kinky Boots will take the stage at Orpheum Theatre, 203 W. Adams St., in Phoenix. (See story, page 52.) broadwayorpheum.com
The ninth annual Desperado LGBT Film Festival, which will screen more than 15 titles, will take place at Paradise Valley Community College’s Center for the Performing Arts, 18401 N. 32nd St., in Phoenix (See story, page 20.) desperadofilmfestival.com
Gay Skate AZ presents its Winter White Party, a benefit for More Than Bars, from 8 to 10 p.m. at Great Skate Glendale, 10054 N. 43rd Ave., in Glendale. facebook.com/gayskatearizona Jan. 26
Fierce Friends of Phoenix invited you to A Fierce Night Out: LGBTQ Mixer beginning at 7 p.m. at the Clarendon Hotel, 401 W. Clarendon Ave., in Phoenix. facebook.com/groups/ fiercefriendsofphoenix Jan. 28
The Imperial Court of Arizona presents The Emperor’s Ball XII, an evening on the Sunset Strip, beginning at 5 p.m. at The Rock, 4129 N. Seventh Ave., in Phoenix. imperialcourtaz.org Feb. 8
Rebels On Pointe, a film by Bobbi Jo Hart that follows the riotous, irreverent all-male comic ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, will screen at 7 p.m. at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St, in Scottsdale. (For more information, visit echomag.com/thetrocks.) scottsdaleperformingarts.org
one•n•ten’s ninth annual Fresh Brunch, presented by APS, will take place from 11 a.m.2 p.m. (followed by the Bank of America Garden Reception) at the Arizona Biltmore Resort’s Frank Lloyd Wright Ballroom, 2400 E. Missouri Ave., in Phoenix. onen.ten.ocm/fresh Feb. 11
The Mr. Gay West Coast America pageant, featuring Mr. Gay America Kyle Ean, will take place at The Rock, 4129. N. Seventh Ave., in Phoenix. mrgaywestcoastamerica.com Feb. 16-18
The 33rd annual Arizona Gay Rodeo, featuring International Gay Rodeosanctioned events, the Country Idol 2018 finale and more, will take place at the Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds, 7611 S. 29th Ave., in Laveen. agra-phx.com mark our calendars
To have your event considered for Echo’s print and online calendars, submit your event details to echomag.com/ community-calendar. All submissions are subject to Echo’s discretion. events
OUT & ABOUT Dress Matters: Clothing As Metaphor Jan. 4 at the Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson. Photos by Stephanie Anne Donoghue.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.
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OUT & ABOUT PGFFL Fruit Cake Bowl Dec. 25 at Colter Park, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.
OUT & ABOUT Phoenix Fire Kickball Leagueâ€™s Glitter Bowl II Tournament Jan. 7 at Encanto Park, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.
Stories on Screen Desperado LGBT Film Festival celebrates nine years of community-focused titles By Megan Wadding
his year, Desperado LGBT Film Festival presents its ninth annual event Feb. 9 to 11 at Paradise Valley Community College. The weekend-long event will showcase titles that range from international and animated films to documentaries and shorts – all with an LGBTQ element – before equally diverse audiences. “Our goal is to create a balance of LGBTQ content,” said Alan East, the festival’s programmer, adding that the films are decided by the festival’s sixmember film selection committee. “Once the films have been narrowed down, I program those which were most highly recommended by the team.” According to East, coming together and celebrate the stories of our community on screen is important, and a lot of fun. “Being together at an LGBTQ film festival starts conversations, and that’s always good,” East said. “Our selected films represent many aspects of life – some are fun, but some are really hard to watch. That’s the brilliance of what film is as a medium.”
Roll Credits This year’s festival will kick off Feb. 9 with an opening reception and a screening of Heart, Baby! followed by a Q&A session with Shawn Caulin-Young, the actor who portrays Crystal in the
film, will lead a Q&A session. (For more on Heart, Baby!, see page 22.) The Feb. 10 screenings will begin with the world premiere of A Year In Transition, followed by the first collection of mixed shorts, Against The Law, Signature Move, the second collection of mixed shorts (free outdoor screening) and After Louie. A Year In Transition is a documentary written and directed by Lorne Clarkson that follows a 20-year-old Arab-American trans man in his first year of transition. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offenses Act which decriminalized homosexual acts in England and Wales between adult males in private. Against The Law, directed by Fergus O’Brien, is a drama that revisits the dramatic events that led to this act. Directed by Jennifer Reeder, Signature Move is a comedy that examines modern families and the complexities of love in its many forms while celebrating the many faces of this country at a time when stories of diversity and acceptance are needed more than ever. After Louie makes sense of contemporary gay life through the story of Sam (Alan Cumming), who must take a step back to understand how he – and his community – got to where they are today. This portrait of what happened to the generation of people who were young activists during the AIDS epidemic is
directed by Vincent Gagliostro. The Feb. 11 screenings will kick off with the third collection of mixed shorts followed by Thelma, Snapshots and Saturday Church. A supernatural drama directed by Joachim Trier, Thelma follows a shy young student as she leaves her religious, small-town family to study at a university in Oslo where discovers feelings for a female friend who’s in love with her which causes her subconsciously-controlled psychokinetic powers which emerge as extreme seizures with devastating results. Snapshots brings together a matriarch with a secret past, her daughter with an angry present and her granddaughter with a secret future and asks the question, “can the love of three generations be enough to accept decades of deceit?” Directed by Melanie Mayron, this film co-stars Phoenix native Max Adler (“Glee,” “Switched at Birth”). Following the screening, Adler will participate in a Q&A with festivalgoers. Closing out the festival is Saturday Church, directed Damon Cardasis. Set In New York City, this coming of age story offers viewers everything from choreographed musical numbers to a little religious conflict while taking a closer look at why acceptance and support is so critical for LGBTQ youth. (For more on Saturday Church, see page 24.)
Left to right: Heart, Baby!, A Year In Transition and Against The Law.
Desperado LGBT Film Festival Weekend Schedule Feb. 9 Left to right: After Louie and Signature Move.
Importance of LGBTQ Films LGBTQ filmmakers, East believes, have a unique job, which is essentially to “keep a diary of the LGBTQ experience” through their storytelling. “If you look at films over a period of years, you can see that the topics covered have evolved dramatically,” he said. “Our LGBTQ family suffers and succeeds along with many other culturally diverse families, so films recording our lives must be supported. Due to LGBTQ films, our community’s history and wide-ranging culture will be preserved.” East believes that the tradition of storytelling and representation are vital to any community, adding that it is necessary for current and future generations to understand LGBTQ history and how far we have come. One of the biggest shifts in the representation of the LGBTQ community in the media, according to East, is the visibility of LGBTQ actors as a result of their ability and willingness to out themselves, and having the safe space to do so. “LGBTQ actors – in many cases, younger actors – have made the commitment to not hide their sexual orientation,” East said. “This is a huge shift from just 20 years ago when coming out would end a career.” For many years, LGBTQ actors were denied roles based on their orientation. Oftentimes their straight counterparts would portray LGBTQ characters, instead of giving the roles to LGBTQ actors who would have arguably been able to play the same role with more authenticity – an issue the transgender community is still facing today.
East believes that it can be preferable, although not entirely necessary, to cast LGBTQ characters in LGBTQ roles. “When [an LGBTQ actor is portraying] an [LGBTQ] character is onscreen, there’s a natural truth to their performance,” East said. While LGBTQ actors are having an easier time getting roles and the portrayal LGBTQ characters on the screen has greatly evolved in recent years, East said that support for LGBTQ filmmakers and writers remains crucial. “Our community has to support our filmmakers,” he said. “We need our images, our stories, our drama, our laughter, everything up there on the screen,” East said. “Life is better, film … is better, but we’re a niche and will always be. Full-blown stories committed to our LGBTQ family will always be important.” Most who have attended a movie screening, a live concert or an art show would agree that the experience of partaking in these mediums in the company of others is quite different than experiencing them solitarily. “Watching [a film] in a theater, experiencing the reaction of those around you, then spending time in the lobby discussing what you’ve just seen is the very definition of a film festival,” East said. “If we’ve changed just a few hearts and broadened a few minds, then the Desperado LGBTQ Film Festival has been a success.” Proceeds from the event fund the festival and LGBTQ scholarships through the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation. For more information, visit mcccdf.org. Left to right: Snapshots and Saturday Church.
7:30 p.m. HEART, BABY! *Screening followed by a Q&A with actor Shawn Caulin-Young (Crystal)
11:30 a.m. A Year In Transition 1:15 p.m. Saturday Mixed Shorts: More Than God | Kev Cahill, Ireland | 9 minutes Britney-holics: A Spear-itual Awakening | Jerell Rosales, USA | 10 minutes Pearls | Shelley Thompson, Canada | 9 minutes Violet and June | Linnea Ritland, Canada | 7 minutes Boys in the Street #Pride | Louisa Bertman, USA | 5 minutes The Real Thing | Brandon Kelley, USA | 8 minutes Sunset | Katie Ennis and Gary S. Jaffe, USA | 16 minutes Prudence | Angela Jude, USA | 9 minutes 3 p.m. Art Gallery Mixer 3:15 p.m. Against The Law 5:15 p.m. Signature Move 7 p.m. Outdoor Surprise Shorts (free) 8:15 p.m. After Louie
Noon Sunday Mixed Shorts: Bride of Frankie | Devi Snively, USA | 19 minutes Cuddlefish | Cheryl Briggs, Brianna Jaeger, Jared Bittner, USA | 7 minutes Mrs McCutcheon | John Sheedy, Australia | 17 minutes Out Again | Robin Cloud, USA | 11 minutes Something New | TJ Marchbank, USA | 17 minutes Haygood Eats | Hazart, USA | 4 minutes 1:45 p.m. Thelma 4:15 p.m. Snapshots *Screening followed by a Q&A with Phoenix native Max Adler (Joe Muller) 6:45 p.m. Saturday Church
Desperado LGBT Film Festival Feb. 9-11 Paradise Valley Community College Center for the Performing Arts 18401 N. 32nd St., Phoenix desperadofilmfestival.com Megan Wadding g is a freelance writer and travel addict with a degree in journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @MeganWadding. EchoMag.com
Heart, Baby! Prison-based film pairs raw boxing action with unlikely love story Gbenga Akinnagbe stars as George in Heart, Baby!
By Hans Pedersen
boxing movie set in prison in the 1980s may not seem your typical LGBTQ fare. But diverse audiences are likely to appreciate this love story about the real-life prison romance between an undefeated boxing champ and a transgenderidentified devout Christian – as well as the transphobic inmate whose attitude toward their love swiftly evolves. Set in the Central Tennessee State Penitentiary in 1984, the film’s opening scenes unfold in a boxing match. And, keeping us squarely fixed in that era, an ’80s anthem blares out as if on cue. Reveling in the decade’s corniness just a tad, director and writer Angela Shelton makes it easy to settle into her vision and strong sensibility with her knack for wrapping up human warmth into an aesthetically pleasing tableau in each scene. Shelton quickly introduces the central characters at the prison chow table. George (Gbenga Akinnagbe) is an African-American guy who robbed a house at the age of 18 and got a 40-year sentence, but time in the slammer has made him a winner in the boxing ring. This wholly likable guy exudes such raw talent in the ring, he sends other contenders to the mat in mere minutes. His pal, Andy aka Doc (Jackson Rathbone), is easy on the eyes, but contributes to his share of hatemongering against trans folks in this diverse prison setting until the veil is lifted from his eyes. Then there’s Crystal (Shawn-Caulin Young), a lovely Christian transwoman who quotes verses from the book of 2 Samuel about the love between two men, strengthening her belief in the LGBTQ cause. Crystal and George have been
cellmates for years, and she keeps up their little pink den with a feminine touch. But life isn’t all sunshine for Crystal either, since this gal harbors a harrowing addiction, too. The Friday boxing nights where George gets his chance to shine is also a night of freedom for the girls; it’s established that’s when they can wear full feminine make-up and hair, as opposed to practice nights when their outfits are restricted. And while Andy appears homophobic and transphobic at first, viewers will be encouraged by the fact he ultimately has a huge change of heart once he realizes his friend George is in love with a trans woman. The boundary-breaking film is a bit reminiscent of Stephen Frears’ My Beautiful Launderette in the way love bubbles up half an hour into the movie amidst themes of violent tensions in underrepresented subcultures. Only instead of a gay romance amid Pakistani-British relations (as in Frears’ acclaimed film), it’s a trans love story in the middle of a prison drama. And fortunately, despite the fact it’s set the mid-’80s, love is colorblind in this tale. With a diverse cast, Shelton has a little something to say about how the prison’s white powerful men at the top, literally, are watching down on the boxing ring, bragging how they are becoming enriched by George’s success in the sport. George ultimately does his best to put his legendary status in the ring to good use, yet his efforts are thwarted. Shelton does not pull any punches: she has crafted a gritty world replete with assault and prison murders. Her scenes are brimming with context and
conflicts in the background that add to the realism. A couple of riveting subplots heighten the tension, revealing how a child predator in their midst meets a unique and grisly fate. And when a trans inmate starts getting sexually assaulted, another convict intervenes, imposing shame on the culprits and showing compassion for the victim. The movie clicks along at a relatively swift pacing and well-staged action sequences that don’t stall the story, but actually contribute to the drama instead of stretching it thin. Yet in the final act, there is a bit of a sputter as the storyline heads toward a resolution. The film’s final gut-wrenching scenes reinforce the fact this is ultimately a love story, not a drama about boxing matches or even about the prison riot that ensues. It’s the story of two people who love each other, despite all their circumstances. Shelton skillfully balances the sensitivity of Crystal’s world with the ferocity and violence of George’s. And while a few moments do not ring entirely true, or the acting hits a false note, this imperfect independent film is still a perfect movie for audiences of widely different backgrounds. Heart, Baby! ultimately features far more interesting characters than a lot of last year’s studio blockbusters — plus it has a heck of a lot more heart. If you have closed-minded relatives, this prison boxing drama with a surprise love story may be a good selection if you’re hoping to open their minds. Heart, Baby! screens Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit heartbabythemovie.com. Feature Story
Shawn-Caulin Young stars as Crystal in Heart, Baby! Courtesy photos.
“Even Andy thought he was dead,” she said, “and the movie is what brought them back together.” One day Andy told her, “I’ve found more information on George,” she recalled. To which she replied, “Oh no, when did he die?” That’s when Andy dropped the bomb, “He’s alive, I’m going to pick him up right now!” Shelton then secured the rights to his story just days before shooting began –a wild way for film development to unfold. The filmmaker also turned to other former inmates to help authenticate details of her film, pointing out how few options exist for “returning citizens” who are often more pejoratively known as “ex-cons.”
Director dishes on Heart, Baby!
ngela Shelton is not your typical Hollywood director. She doesn’t live in Hollywood or Silverlake, but rather, she’s a wife and mother of three in a small town back East. So naturally, her tearjerker feature Heart, Baby! is not your typical Hollywood film either. Despite it being a trans love story set in prison, it’s inclined to appeal to conservative audiences.
The film’s popularity among conservatives makes it one of the best allies to today’s LGBTQ rights movement, as the movie will melt the hearts of most the cold souls out there who still haven’t grasped that “love is love.” Based on real-life events, Heart Baby! focuses on a trans-identified Christian inmate named Crystal, who quotes scripture in support of LGBTQ rights and challenges the self-righteousness of others with her own fiery brand of vim and verve – a performance that Shelton said has subsequently inspired many LGBTQ viewers to return to church. The actor playing the role, ShawnCaulin Young, is a friend of Shelton’s and co-produced the movie. “I did audition trans actors,” Shelton says in defense of her controversial choice to cast a cisgender actor in the role. “There were none who were as good an actor as him … He was the best human to play that part.” Another intriguing character in Shelton’s script is Andy aka Doc, who goes from rampant homophobe and transphobe to supportive, gay- and trans-friendly dude. In real life, Andy is the person who first told Shelton about this love story. Feature Story
Shelton first met Andy years ago on the speaking circuit for her awardwinning documentary Searching for Angela Shelton, which focused on healing from rape, incest and domestic violence. Andy had been lobbying for prison reform and, upon meeting, the two became instant friends. “Whenever you’re around Andy he tells you prison stories. It just happens,” she recalled. “And me and husband were about to get married and he said, ‘I’ll tell you a love story,’” she intoned, mimicking his baritone Southern drawl. “He told us the story of George and Crystal and I lost my mind. I started crying. I was bawling. My husband’s crying, the dogs are crying.” Instantly moved by the story, and believing George to be dead, Shelton sought the rights to this enchanting prison story. After hiring a private eye to track down George’s death certificate and the details of what happened to him, she said they discovered that George was most definitely alive. Heart, Baby! director Angela Shelton.
“I wanted to show a true slice of life in this moment in 1984 in prison, as if we’re looking through the window as the audience and peeking in,” she said. “I met more honest good guys inside than I ever have outside, especially in Hollywood,” Shelton said. Ultimately, for Shelton, the bond between George and his friend Andy is the real emotional core of the story. Her personal connection to Andy may be one reason Shelton settled on him as such a relatable character. “The foundation of that story for me is Andy, and how Andy hated Crystal and loved George,” she said. “And as a devout Catholic, for him to have a true ‘cometo-Jesus’ [moment], oh I cry just thinking about it.” Told from the viewpoint of the straight white male character, Andy, the movie forces viewers to identify with him the most, Shelton says, to ease conservative viewers into the same awakening that Andy experiences. “I wanted the audience to be very much like him … He has a total transformation just like every audience member does,” she said. “If they don’t know there’s a true love story, they’ll go.” Among conservative groups in different cities that watched the movie, Shelton proclaimed, “Every single audience member changed their minds about the bathroom issue.” The director hopes the film continues to attract more conservative audiences. “They’ll have a true transformation. And they’ll come around just like Doc [Andy] did,” she said with optimism in her voice. “Their hearts will open to this world.” Hans Pedersen is a freelance writer based in Phoenix. EchoMag.com
Luka Kain as Ulysses in Saturday Church. Courtesy photo.
Saturday Church Coming out story pairs musical score with NYC ball scene By Hans Pedersen
aturday Church is an inventive, masterfully made film that will likely leave you in tears while feeling exhilarated. Director and writer Damon Cardasis manages to escape the pitfall of other filmed musicals: the infusion of music into the story never feels repetitive, instead it feels like an essential element. Dazzling, impressive and invigorating, this outstanding movie gives more visibility to LGBTQ people of color, who are typically underrepresented in cinema. Ulysses (Luka Kain) is a 14-yearold growing up in New York City who is relentlessly bullied at school. Following the death of his father, the effeminate youngster is coping with new responsibilities as “man of the house.” Simultaneously, his conservative aunt Rose (Regina Taylor) moves in to help his mother, Amara (Margot Bingham), take care of him and his little brother Abe (Jaylin Fletcher). In addition to all the challenges already facing him, Ulysses is confronted with his aunt’s overbearing demeanor and religious zealotry while pursuing his quest for self-discovery. Trying on mom’s shoes gets Ulysses in trouble with Aunt Rose, who shames and scolds the teenager. Ultimately, Ulysses takes the subway down to the gay mecca – the West Village’s Christopher Street neighborhood – and follows someone to the piers, where he meets Ebony (MJ Rodriguez), Dijon (Indya Moore) and Heaven (Alexia Garcia), LGBTQ
community veterans who quickly take the lost young soul under their wings. They bring Ulysses to a place known as Saturday Church, a safe performance space where the fierce, but tender, divas perfect their looks and practice the art of voguing. The teenager is emboldened by his discovery that there are others like him, who also like adding a little color in their lives, all while staying grounded in a sassy pair of heels. Soon, Ulysses is imagining a fantastical world infused with music and dance as an escape from his oppressive life at home and school. But when his home situation takes a turn for the worst, Ulysses learns the brutal, earth-shattering reality of living on the streets. Kain does an outstanding job carrying the film: the young man is a skilled actor and singer who deserves all the acclaim he’s receiving. Fans of the old NBC/PBS series “I’ll Fly Away” may remember Taylor in that show’s lead role. Here she takes a delicious turn as she portrays the wicked role of Aunt Rose and shows no mercy for Ulysses. At one point, Rose laments that as a young African-American, Ulysses will face even more discrimination if he wears heels. Adding some transgender credibility to the talented cast is author, playwright performance artist and gender theorist Kate Bornstein as Joan, the woman who runs Saturday Church, which is actually a real-life locale in New York City for trans teens. The director seamlessly fuses the memorable music by Nathan Larson, rich cinematography by Hillary Spera and dynamic choreography by the cast to bolster the creative team’s talents into a single uplifting package. Other musicals could be criticized for featuring one song too many, or for
introducing a musical number that breaks the diagesis, killing the suspension of disbelief at an inopportune time. But in Saturday Church, Larson’s musical numbers are perfectly timed, never becoming ill-placed, until perhaps literally the final minute of the film. Cardasis fills most of the scenes in his script with spoken dialogue, so viewers spend a lot of time learning about and relating to the characters before anyone breaks out into song. The smattering of musical numbers help share their stories and feelings, but the music never seems to become the dominant mode of expression. Rarely, if at all, will you ask yourself, “Are they going to sing again?” In fact, there never seems to be a song that doesn’t belong, or a tune you’d want to tune out in the film. Calling this musical La La Land meets Paris Is Burning would be reductive, but it’s fair to say that this project is another brilliant expression of the way young people are living their lives honestly and fabulously. And folks are taking notice: the film earned nominations at the Tribeca Film Festival, won the Grand Jury Award at Outfest Los Angeles 2017 and received honorable mention at the Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival. Cardasis has created a vibrant testament to what life can be like for a young LGBTQ person of color, and his inspiring and entertaining film is worth checking out. Saturday Church screens Feb. 11 at 6:45 p.m. For more information, visit samuelgoldwynfilms.com/saturdaychurch.
Hans Pedersen is a freelance writer based in Phoenix. Feature Story
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Epiphany Mattel Local trans recording artist is using music to tell her story By Anthony Costello
Photo by Scotty Kirby.
t 9 years old, an only child who grew up attending performing arts academies in Kansas City, Mo., was watching the movie Heart Angel, in which Lisa Bonet stars as Epiphany Proudfoot. That was the day she decided she wanted to be her, and she adopted the name Epiphany without knowing the irony of the word. Throughout the years ahead, Epiphany Mattel’s intuitive grasp of reality through each event, both simple and striking, defined her. She came out to her parents as transgender in her teens, which led to a “dysfunctional setting” in the home and, ultimately, her running away to live her truth. “Leaving home was hard, but I came to the point, the realization, that it was the best thing for me, it was what I needed to do to survive,” she said. “Staying with other runaways didn’t compare to the dangers I was constantly subjected to at my parents’ [home].” A father figure of Mattel’s was dating Desiree DeMornay at the time and he introduced the two and asked the trans queen to take the teen under her wing. “Whenever I ran away from home, I’d run to Desiree’s house,” Mattel recalled. “She took great care of me and met with my mother to let her know where I was staying and [they] came to a spoken agreement of guardianship … where I didn’t have to live by their rules.. Even though my mother didn’t agree with my life, she felt comfortable knowing I was with a good person instead of out on the street.” In Desiree, Mattel found a mother figure and home between ages 14 and 18. “I’d seek refuge at clubs. As long as you had a wig, they would let you into the bar as opposed to ripping and running out in the street,” she said. “[Desiree] allowed me to explore LGBT[Q] life with boundaries... She got me into performing and doing shows. I love being on the stage.” While her experiences as a young trans woman in Kansas City weren’t good, Mattel estimates that they weren’t that bad either. “I was considered passable, so my experience wasn’t as bad as [it was for] some of my peers,” she said. It’s these real-life experiences that molded Mattel and fueled her passion for writing. But it wasn’t until after she completed her cosmetology license in Boston that she would have the opportunity to combine these aspects of her life into a new platform for speaking her mind. Enter Latrice Royale. “I met Latrice through a mutual friend named Chelsea Page … a good girlfriend of hers [who] saw my blogging and parody songs,” she recalled. “Latrice was on ‘[RuPaul’s] Drag Race’ at the time and released a single with Manila Luzon (“The Chop” in 2012) after being on the show,” she COVER Story
explained. “Chelsea brought the idea of a collaboration to Latrice as she was looking to release her own single.” Mattel met Royale’s producer, Michael, and they began working on the single together. “She sent me the track to submit my verses,” Mattel said. “The actual single doesn’t have all my verses but the video version remix with the video we shot had all my lyrics because I had rewrote the song for fun and I wanted to provide enough material they could use in different ways.” Mattel’s work ethic – something she’s proud of – paid off. The song, “Weight” was released in January 2014 and subsequently hit No. 13 Billboard’s United States Comedy Digital Songs chart. “It did extremely well,” Mattel said. “Once we met face to face, [Latrice] told me, ‘there’s a voice missing in hip-hop, and I’d like to manage you.’ So, of course, I said yes and the rest was history.” Fast forward two and a half years to the release of Mattel’s debut single, “Fix Yo Face,” the world’s formal introduction to the in-your-face lyricist. And, much like her perspective on the LGBTQ community, she’s not concerned with putting genre-defining labels on her work. “I’m still a work in progress, and I couldn’t exactly tell you what my style is,” she said. “I just write what I feel, I’m not thinking in the genre when I do … When I really write from my situation in life, which is what most artists do, I’m not concerned what style people want to box me in. It’s about my lyrics and message. As long as you receive the message, categorize it what you want.” While she’s been told she raps like Trina or Nicki, she just attributes that to her brashness, adding that Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, K. Michelle and Common are among the artists she listens to. “I’m drawn to lyricists more than rappers,” she explained. “People who tell stories, rather than ‘Look at my Rolls Royce’ or ‘Rolex this, I’ve got hoes.’ People like Jay-Z tell stories, paint pictures with their music. Erykah Badu is very into consciousness, with herself and the universe and it’s something I identify with. If I had to be compared to anybody right now it would be K. Michelle. She knows how to use her words, people may think it’s aggressive, but she grabs your attention with it.” As far as the subject matter addressed in Mattel’s music, it’s a collection of topics she feels strongly about or situations she has delt with firsthand. Her inspiratrion for “Fix Yo Face,” for example, is directed toward pretty people who look unattractive because of their attitudes. “The song is all about people just muggin’ and scowling at people having a good time,” she said. “They’re just so insecure about who’s looking at them .. [their] sense of entitlement comes from insecurity, pointing
out other people’s flaws, lookin’ at people crazy [because] they’re having a good time. It’s a gut punch to the mean girls. You’re creating your own situation, and not allowing yourself to have a good time … stop acting so serious.” The song “Switch Hittaz,” Mattel explained, is about the experience of being a trans woman and getting involved with down low men who live a double life. “[DL men are] using their wives as beards over here, but spending the majority of [their] time with me, but in a closet,” she said. “If you can’t love me in the open, then I’m not going to stick around for that. I’m not going to be your secret.” Using the same formula, and an approach she describes as “riding the beat,” Mattel is currently working on new music. “I am in the process of writing my EP … I’m thinking about six tracks for it,” she teased. “Does Not Play Well With Others is the name of that, which falls into the whole doll thing, playing in the sandbox concept. The EP is going along with that sassiness, shoot from the cuff, playing with words based on all different subjects. I have some other things in my notebook I’m pulling together, but I have three songs officially lined up for it.” The EP, which is due out later this year, will include “Switch Hittaz,” as well as “Drink Manny,” a song about a breakup. In the meantime, fans can look for Mattel’s writing on Latrice’s forthcoming single, “Excuse the Beauty,” which is set for a February release. The song is currently in post-production and, according to Royale, fans should stay tuned to around the timeframe of RuPaul’s DragCon LA, which is set for May 11 to 13. But that’s just the first of Mattel’s 2018 accomplishments. “LRI [Entertainment] is focusing on putting my tour together. You will start to see Epiphany out in your favorite clubs, performing music for you to love,” she said. “We can write about me all day, but until I perform I won’t achieve that connection with people. So, 2018 is about debuting and exposing my music.” EchoMag.com
Beyond the Music Epiphany Mattel talks community, common misconceptions and what she plans to conquer in 2018 Echo: You’ve been in Phoenix for about 13 years, what brought you here? Mattel: I moved here, moved away and then came back, that type of thing. My family lives here: one of my ‘children’ who needed help getting off crystal meth and my cousin lived here and I didn’t want to leave her by herself. So I ended up staying. This is my last year here though, I’m moving to Atlanta. It’s a business decision. Phoenix has been nothing but good to me, but I’ve outgrown it. I came here after a long-term relationship ended and here is where I found my independence, who you’re seeing today. But, in terms of business resources, Phoenix doesn’t have that for me. I want to be able to jump up and get into a studio when I need to. In LA and NYC, I’d just be a starving artist, but Atlanta is an entertainment hub and the cost of living is comparable. Echo: We’ll be sorry to see you go. In the meantime, do you feel “Fix Yo Face” applies to the Phoenix club scene? Mattel: Kind of, I really don’t go to a lot of the gay bars here. And that’s just because they don’t play the music I groove to. I do Scottsdale with the hip-hop clubs, and the girls [there] are just so concerned about who’s seeing them and look so unpleasant. You’re beautiful, but you look so unpleasant. Photo by Martin P. Asselin.
Echo: You work closely with drag artists, but have made it clear you’re not a drag queen. To what do you attribute people automatically assigning you labels without knowing? Mattel: I think the saying goes ‘ignorance is bliss,’ and a lot of people just don’t know. Most of the LGBT[Q] community knows the subcultures within our culture, but cis people and heterosexual people think it’s one of two: you’re either straight or gay … [And] they don’t recognize what drag means, all they know from that is, ‘Oh, you’re a drag queen.’ They don’t realize with trans people, it’s who we are, it’s not a facade. I don’t take Epiphany Mattel off at the end of the day. I don’t say ‘That was just me at the club.’ I am a trans woman and this is what I live, it’s not connected to a job. This is my life, it’s not a choice. Even with gay people in general, they think we actually choose this. I didn’t wake up on a Wednesday saying, ‘It’s 86 degrees and I’m going to be trans today.’ Who would choose a life of adversity, where they would subject themselves to abuse and discrimination? I identify as a heterosexual woman, but get mistaken for transexual … I’m just me and it’s my mission to correct that. As soon as people stop judging [others] for situations beyond their control, when people stop that, things will be much better. Echo: It’s sad to say, but transphobia exists in the LGBTQ community. How do you confront it? Mattel: People don’t take the time to understand something … There are plenty of people who follow and perpetuate stereotypes, with big followings, so people end up saying ‘Oh, they’re this and this presenting themselves this way, so everyone must be this way.’ There’s good and bad straight people, gay and trans people. We just all put each other in a box. If you’re not taking the time to get to know a person, please don’t slap a label on [someone before you] take the time to get to know someone. Echo: What kind of impact do you hope your music has on hip-hop and the current cultural climate? Mattel: That transwomen have a voice also, and we speak from our experience, but I want my music to come across and say ‘we’re people too.’ There’s not a big LGBT[Q] presence in hip-hop, it’s
Connect with Epiphany Mattel Twitter: @team_mattel Facebook: epiphanymattel Soundcloud: epiphany-mattel
always underground. Young M.A. hit it big as a butch lesbian, which is funny because people are quicker to accept a masculine personality than a gay man or trans person. Hopefully my presence will penetrate the mainstream and my lyrics are relatable to anyone. At the end of the day we go through the same bullshit. Rapping about a man keeping me secret is no different than rapping about being a cisgender side chick. I just want people to know transwomen and alt[ernative] lifestyle people are not as different as you make us out to be. Everyone just wants to point out the differences, but we all just want to be loved and seen. Echo: While we’re on the subject, what’s one misconception about you that you want to get straight with your audience? Mattel: That’s a difficult question for me to answer. I don’t think I’ve become known enough to have people have an opinion about me. I just don’t want people to feel I’m intentionally mean; I’m a bitch, but with a heart. A lot of people, when you speak your mind, they take it the wrong way. I’m a girl who came from a middle-upper class family, but I put myself in the streets and in that mentality and what I’ve learned is people will accept a lie faster than a truth. If you tell it like it is, it’s like you’re doing more harm than good. I just speak my mind, and don’t sugarcoat things. Me speaking my mind is not bashing you, my opinion comes from a place of love and people have a hard time accepting that. You never know how people will receive your message, but you’ll never please everyone. I’m just speaking from my view. I don’t come from a place of malice or hate, I’m just speaking my truth. Echo: I see you’ve described yourself as a lyricist, MC, model, stylist and blogger. What do you want to conquer next? Mattel: I’m a firm believer [that] we speak our experiences into existence. I’ve been running around telling people I’m the first transwoman on the “Empire” label (laughs). My next big channel is getting into TV. Latrice is like, ‘That’s not even a real label,’ and I’m like ‘I’m going for it!’ Doors are being opened and I want to get in on that. Anthony Costello is an award-winning writer, a graduate of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a fraternity brother of Sigma Phi Beta, a gay, straight, bisexual and transgender fraternity. COVER Story
Photo by Coco Aramaki, courtesy of Shore Fire Media.
Andrea Gibson Spoken word artist is starting conversations on the queer experience ahead of Arizona tour dates By Megan Wadding
hat began with a break-up poem at an open mic in Boulder, Colo., in 1999 has led to kicking off an international tour, a book release and a seventh full-length album – all in just the first month of 2018 alone – for Andrea Gibson. The award-winning spoken word artist released their 16-track album “HEY GALAXY” Jan. 12, published their pocket-sized collection of poetry “Take Me With You” Jan. 23 and hit the road on a 40-city tour. As part of the tour, which will be making stops in Phoenix March 30 and in Flagstaff March 31, Gibson will recite pieces both solo and with musical accompaniment from the new album along with a few catalog pieces. Chastity Brown will open all shows. Echo caught up with Gibson to find out more about their thoughts on the spoken word movement, how storytelling can help people express their truths and connect with society as a whole and here’s what they had to say:
Echo: What is it like to attend a spoken word performance? How is it different from other types of shows and in what ways? Gibson: It is in a really emotional experience to go to a spoken word show, so I think that it has to be changing culture. To be in a room with somebody that is being that personable with you, and you’re looking the artist in the eye and the artist is looking you in the eye. It is just a really powerful experience. Echo: What is it about individuals sharing their stories/words face to face that is so important and relevant? Gibson: The spoken word movement has been growing so much that I am certain that it has to be influencing the whole culture and connecting the political with the personal, but also by giving people permission to tell the – maybe – harder truths of their lives in a more vulnerable way. It also gives us, culturally, maybe a new experience of listening and also of being present and just sitting with somebody else’s emotion.
Echo: In your estimation, what role does spoken word play in the fight for justice and advocacy – in general and also with concern to visibility for marginalized communities? Gibson: It is one of the few art forms where you have somebody sort of telling empowered or vulnerable stories about their own lives that connect to a greater political issue. It’s so powerful to be [a] witness to those types of stories. I think our minds, at least in this culture, don’t change very quickly or easily … art is the vehicle in which our minds can be changed and our hearts can be changed in an instant … I think that joy is a radical thing, right now, especially for a marginalized people. I think to be radicalizing our joy because it is hard-fought right now, and to be creating communities where we are sort of encouraging and backing ... each other, is so important. I just think [spoken word] is an amazing vehicle for lifting up the voices of marginalized people. Echo: What drew you personally into the world of the spoken word? Gibson: It’s so powerful, as a queer artist, for me, to tell stories in, and be in, the space where people are listening. Maybe we are all sort of seeing the ways that our lives connect even if we are still called strangers. Echo: Tell me about one of you most profound moments as an audience member of spoken word performance? What was the subject matter and how did it affect you? Gibson: There have been so many instances where I’ll go to the spoken word show and I’ll just be weeping about how my mind has changed so much on a single issue in just a few moments, or I have been inspired me to action. It could be a cause that someone is speaking about, or I hear a poem that personalizes something so much that I am walking out of the show that night trying to brainstorm ways I can be active or do something. Echo: What can we expect from the show? What do you want to see attendees walk away with? Gibson: The topics that I’ll be talking about on stage are so varied. I never go a show without reading a few love poems. Well, some are heartbreak plans. There will be a ton of feminism and I’ll be reading poems about police brutality, mental health, mental illness, specifically within the queer community. I want to be writing and speaking poems about celebrating the queer experience.
Connect with Andrea Gibson Facebook: @AndreaGibsonPoetry Twitter: @andreagibson Instagram: @andrewgibby Tumblr: andrewgibby.tumblr.com Website: andreagibson.com years. You know that quote where they say, ‘Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable’? I want to do that. It is important for me to have people leave a show feeling like the truth’s been told, but not like the hard truth like what we’ve been waking up to every day this year. I love when people leave the show wanting to be active or create art. I like thinking of art as sort of a domino [effect] of goodness. Echo: Lastly, congrats on your book, Take Me With You. What was the process of compiling the this collection like? Gibson: I had this idea of having a book that was small, that somebody could carry around. You know how we carry our cell phones around with us? Lately, I open my phone all the time to awful news stories and for the rest of the day I am struggling to keep some help in my chest.… So I wanted to make the book that was positive and affirming and would be small enough for somebody to take with them. It is a book about trying to combat the sense that we are alone in whatever is happening in the world right now. It is something that could be comforting, although there are also some pieces in there that could rile you up. I collaborated with an amazing artist, Aceda Coleman, she illustrated it. For more information on Andrea Gibson, visit andreagibson.org.
Andrea Gibson “HEY GALAXY” Tour
7: 30 p.m. March 30 (doors open at 7 p.m.) Crescent Ballroom 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix crescentphx.com 8 p.m. March 31 (doors open at 7 p.m.) Orpheum Theater 15 W. Aspen Ave., Flagstaff orpheumflagstaff.com
READ THE REST T For Echo’s full interview with Andrea Gibson, visit echomag.com/ hey-galaxy.
Echo: What are your goals for this tour? Gibson: I have a lot of goals for the tour. It’s the longest tour I’ve done in a while and I’ve been touring for a number of Feature Story
Megan Wadding is a freelance writer and travel addict with a degree in journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @MeganWadding. EchoMag.com
OUT & ABOUT The Storyline Slam: Winter Dec. 29 at Changing Hands Bookstore, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.
Where will you tell your story in 2018?
Vinyl Voices is a monthly storytelling event where members of our community share a story and a song on vinyl in front of a live audience on the last Tuesday of each month. The January event will feature an LGBTQIA+ takeover, including Ruben Gonzales from 11th Monk3y, Michael, Soto from Equality Arizona, Niki D’Andrea from Times Media Group and others, beginning at 8 p.m. Jan. 30. Location: The Coronado, 2201 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix Event page: facebook.com/ vinylvoicesphx Bar Flies, Flies, Phoenix New Times Times’’ monthly storytelling series features a different theme each month, begins at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.). 36
Jan 11 - “Wildcard” - Feb 8 - “Who Runs the World?” March 15 - “Guilty” Location: Valley bar, 130 N. Central Ave., Phoenix Event page: facebook.com/ barfliesaz Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Chatterbox Storytelling is a weekly open mic show (Wednesdays) where everyone is welcome to share their story, including the themes “great Outdoors Jan. 24 and “Daredevil” Jan. 31, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Sign up is available at the door before the show. Location: Fair Trade Café, 1020 N. First Ave., Phoenix Event: facebook.com/ chatterboxaz
Untidy Secrets Storytelling is an evening of storytelling that encourages writers to share stories, zines, and other written literature on the final Friday of every month beginning at 7 p.m. Location: Ash Ave Comics, 806 S. Ash Ave., Tempe Event page: facebook.com/ untidysecrets The Whole Story, Story, a personal storytelling event that seeks to bring greater depth to our understanding of the human experience from the Black perspective through personal stories, The Whole Story, Part V will take place May 4.
OUT & ABOUT Untidy Secrets Storytelling: Sorry, I Ain’t Sorry Dec. 29 at Ash Ave. Comics, Tempe. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.
Location: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix Event: facebook.com/ thewholestoryshow Contact: email@example.com
Wordplay Cafe is a month storytelling series presented by Creative Catalysts and Mesa Arts Center. The 2018 themes will follow the seven deadly sins – pride, envy, sloth, gluttony, greed, anger and lust (chronologically) – on the second Thursday of each month beginning at 7 p.m. Writing/performance workshops begin at 6 p.m.
Location: Volstead Public House, 105 W. Main St., Mesa Website: bit.ly/wordplaycafe
Fuckup Nights Phoenix – a chapter of FuckUp Nights which takes place in 200 cities and more than 70 countries – is a monthly storytelling and networking event where fellow entrepreneurs, soon-to-be “fuckupreneurs” and others learn from and celebrate stories of failure. Event: facebook.com/ fupnightsphx Contact: fupnightsphx@ gmail.com
Arizona Storytellers Project Project,, part of the USA Today Network, combines oral storytelling and journalism to serve and reflect the community at this monthly event. Jan. 24: “New Beginnings” from 7 to 9 p.m. at Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, 10580 N. 83rd Drive, Peoria. Feb. 8: “Romance – or Not” (two shows) from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and 8:30 to 10 p.m. at Changing Hands Bookstore’s First Draft Book Bar, 300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix. March 14: “Stylish Stories” from 7 to 9 p.m. at Phoenix Art Museum, Great Hall, 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. Contact: storytellersproject.com/ phoenix/speak Tickets: tickets.azcentral.com EchoMag.com
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Mowry & Cotton Story and photos by Rachel Verbits
ince the beginning of a new year is the most popular, and appropriate, time to commit to making healthy choices, Phoenix foodies may find that dining out it the most precarious landscape when it comes to sticking to them – especially when it comes to brunch, which is everyone’s favorite, isn’t it?
geeky about history as you are about cuisine, google George Mowry and James Cotton.) So, on a near-perfect winter Saturday, my dining partner and I saddled up for a social dining experience within the confines of my new year’s resolution. Spoiler alert: It was a huge success.
The truth is, The Phoenician beat us all to the “new year, new you” claims when it opened the doors to Mowry & Cotton, a posh Modern American Restaurant in the space formerly inhabited by Il Terrazzo, last fall.
Situated next to the resort’s famous pool (read: killer view), Mowry & Cotton combines the elegance of the Phoenician with an easygoing vibe that’s welcoming to locals and visitors alike. Rustic wood, leather accents and fluffy chic flannel seating provide comfort and familiarity in the otherwise luxurious resort. Although we weren’t on vacation ourselves, we certainly felt like resort guests, as we were treated with a stunning view of the property from our table.
With a menu described as fresh, innovative and healthy, and a local history-inspired, modern-meets-OldWest aesthetic, Mowry & Cotton was at the top of our list of must-trys in the new year. (Editor’s Note: If you’re as
Because we all know that one of the most common things to stay away from when watching your figure is alcohol, Mowry & Cotton has shaken up some “guilt free” cocktail selections that weigh in under 120 calories, such as their
If you’re one of the many who has vowed to eat healthier, but can’t imagine sacrificing your favorite weekend activity, fear not. Going out to eat doesn’t have to equal a death sentence for your diet, if you know where to feast.
Cucumber Gimlet and Raspberry Cosmo. Their Blueberry Buzz is another choice you can feel good about: Made with acaiblueberry vodka, fresh blueberries and maple brown sugar syrup, this cocktail is light, refreshing and packed with antioxidants for good health. Topped with a mini waffle and slice of crisp bacon (everything in moderation, right?), the bartenders’ attention to detail is second to none. And, depending on what your new year’s resolutions are, there are virgin options that are just as tasty for sipping on. I tried the Arizona Sun, made with fresh orange, grapefruit and carrot juice. As someone who isn’t a “juicer,” I was delighted by the sweet combination and I didn’t miss the alcohol one bit. After tickling our taste buds with drinks, we turned to the brunch menu in hopes of finding delicious offerings that were on the lighter side, and we were not disappointed. All of the restaurant’s menus feature delicious, locally sourced ingredients that are specially crafted by Chef de Cuisine Tandy Peterson, who is known for using bold flavors and
Left to right: Citrus, Salmon and Chickpea Bowl, Apple Camembert Flatbread and Caramelized Cauliflower.
seasonal produce in her dishes. Many of the options are gluten and meat free, making it an inclusive spot for anyone with dietary goals or restrictions. Not only will it make your vegetarian friends happy, but swapping out meat-centric foods for fresh veggies is a great way to keep you feeling satiated, not stuffed. Luckily, Mowry & Cotton’s proteinpacked salads and bowls, like our choice of the Citrus, Salmon and Chickpea Bowl, are designed to do just that. Served over a bed of chickpeas, the protein-packed bowl featured fresh beets, crunchy cucumber, creamy avocado and perfectly cooked medium-rare salmon all pulled together with a dill, green goddess dressing. It was filling, fueling and, as a bonus, was just as much a feast for our eyes as it was our stomachs (pretty enough for my Instagram story). In addition to Chef Tandy’s coal grill and Basque-inspired cooking techniques, Mowry & Cotton boasts a hearth oven where many of the signature dishes are created, including the unique fladbread choices. Since elevating American classics is the basis of the menus here, seeing such offerings as green Chile pork shank and a croque madam-inspired flatbread with prosciutto and a sunny side up egg came as no surprise. We wanted a taste of the familiar without going overboard, so we ordered the Apple Camembert Flatbread, topped
with roasted acorn squash, sage and watercress. The creamy Camembert, crunchy apples and tender squash made up a trio of delightful textures, and was the first thing we cleared from our plates!
Pro tip: Pair the flatbread with a veggie side, like we did with the Caramelized Cauliflower, you’ll feel even less guilt about the carbs involved. Roasted until tender, covered in toasty pine nuts and Calabrian chilies and then topped with a creamy pine nut puree, this beautiful head of cauliflower could serve as a meal all on its own – but as a side dish, it’s the perfect complement to any meal. Packed with rich flavors, this take on the versatile vegetable proves why it’s become so trendy (don’t worry, it comes out ready to share among your dining party). If your new year’s resolutions have absolutely nothing to do with counting calories or curtailing your favorite flavors, you won’t be disappointed either. Trust me, we were eyeing the Mowry Monkey Bread and the House-Made Hog Breakfast board. Nevertheless, Mowry & Cotton’s dedication to fresh, fuelbased food and Chef Peterson’s ongoing experimenting with new flavors and seasonal ingredients, it’s a little easier to still enjoy brunch without having to chalk it up to a “cheat day.”
Mowry & Cotton (at The Phoenician) 6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale Hours: Monday-Friday • 6:30-10:30 a.m. Breakfast • 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Lunch • 5-9 p.m. Dinner Weekends • 7-10:30 a.m. Breakfast • 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Brunch mowryandcotton.com. Rachel Verbits is a published writer and a selfproclaimed foodie who spends her time exploring all the amazing eats Arizona has to offer.
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By James Fanizza
The Party A Fantastic Woman In Theaters Feb. 2 | R | 104 Minutes | Drama
Daniela Vega stars as Marina, a transgender singer, and Francesco Reyes portrays Orlando, a small business owner 20 years Marina’s senior. After celebrating Marina’s birthday one evening, Orlando falls seriously ill and passes away just after arriving at the hospital. Instead of being able to mourn her lover, Marina is treated with suspicion: Neither the doctors nor Orlando’s family trust her, and as a result, a detective launches an investigation to determine whether or not she was involved in his death. To make matters worse, Orlando’s ex-wife forbids her from attending the funeral. Marina battles the very same forces she’s fought just to become the woman she is – a complex, strong, forthright and fantastic woman. Written and directed by Sebastián Lelio, A Fantastic Woman is Chile’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards.
In Theaters Feb. 16 | 71 Minutes | Comedy, Drama
Written and directed by Sally Potter, The Party centers around an intimate gathering of friends that Janet (Kristen Scott Thomas) is hosting in her London home to celebrate her political ascension, while her husband, Bill (Timothy Spall), seems preoccupied. Janet’s acerbic best friend, April (Patricia Clarkson), arrives and others follow, some with their own dramatic news to share, including the news that Jinny (Emily Mortimer) and her partner Martha are pregnant. However, an announcement by Bill provokes a series of revelations that gradually unravel the sophisticated soirée, and a night that began with champagne may end with gunplay.
Game Night In Theaters Feb. 23 | R | Action, Comedy, Crime
Sebastian Available on VOD Feb. 6 | 80 Minutes | Drama, Romance
One fateful day, Alex (played by me) initiates a fling with Sebastian (Alex House) who is visiting from Argentina, despite the inconvenient fact that his boyfriend is Sebastian’s cousin. The pair feels badly about what they’re doing, but they don’t consider not doing it – knowing the relationship will end when Sebastian catches his flight back home at the end of the week. But the affair is irrepressible, the kind that changes them and unlocks things hidden deep inside. Written and directed by yours truly, Sebastian is a heart-wrenching love story that co-stars the hilarious Katya Zamolodchikova (Brian McCook). For more information, visit echomag.com/james-fanizza. 46
A weekly game night, hosted by Max and Annie (Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams), gets kicked up a notch when Max’s brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler), arranges a murder mystery party – complete with fake thugs and federal agents. So, when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all supposed to be part of the fun. But as the competitors set out to solve the case, they discover that neither the game, nor Brooks, are what they seem to be. Written by Mark Perez and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, Game Night promises unexpected twists and turns over the course of one chaotic evening. James Fanizza is a proudly queer filmmaker, writer and recent Valley transplant. He can be reached at @jamesfanizza on Instagram and Twitter.
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Photo by Joseph Sinnott, THIRTEEN Productions, LLC, Peter Glebo.
Just in Time Tommy Tune and Chita Rivera reunite for Arizona show By Seth Reines
ommy Tune is back on the road, this time with Broadway legend Chita Rivera in Chita and Tune: Just in Time. Celebrating six decades on the Broadway stage, Tune has received 10 Tony Awards including the 2015 Tony for Life Achievement in the Theatre and holds the unique distinction of being the only person in theatrical history to win Tony Awards in four separate categories and to receive the same two awards two years in a row. His touring partner, Broadway legend Chita Rivera has won two Tony Awards as Best Leading Actress in Kiss of the Spider Woman and The Rink and starred in the original Broadway productions of West Side Story, Bye Bye, Birdie, Chicago and, most recently, The Visit. In 2002, she became the first Hispanic woman to receive the Kennedy Center Honor and seven years later, was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Echo caught up with Tune ahead of the duo’s Jan. 26 Arizona Musicfest show and here’s what he had to say: Echo: How did you two Broadway powerhouses team up for Just in Time? Tune: It was all Chita’s idea. On her 80th birthday, Chita was doing a benefit for the Actors’ Fund in New York. Dick Van Dyke, her original Broadway co-star in Bye Bye, Birdie was supposed to join her, performing a number from the show. But Dick had to drop out due to illness. Chita knew I had done it on the road with Ann Reinking and asked if I would fill in. I jumped at the chance and the audience just loved it! The next time I saw her was three years later. Luggage in hand, we literally ran into each other in the lobby of the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach. She had just closed her one-woman concert and I was opening Tommy Tune Tonight the next day. She said, “You know, we should do a show together.” When Chita’s The Visit closed on Broadway, we both agreed the time was right. We originally called the show Two for the Road, but since I believe in “truth in advertising,” we changed the title to Chita and Tune: Just in Time. (laughing) Here we are tonight. Get it while it’s hot! Echo: I hear you had a big project last year. 50
Tune: I don’t like to do revivals of my shows, but last year I was asked to do Grand Hotel again. This time in Japan with 100 women! To adjust the show to a cast that size with all the roles played by women was a real challenge. But it came out great and, so, I’m still really proud of Grand Hotel. (Editor’s Note: Grand Hotel is considered by many to be Tune’s masterpiece.) Echo: What advice do you have for young artists with show business aspirations? Tune: I tell them, if you can be happy and fulfilled doing anything else, do it! But, if you will implode if you don’t get up on stage and do what you do or sit out in the audience and see what you want to see onstage, go for it! If you have that dream, hold onto it and make it a reality. If you find something you love to do and can make a living out of it, you are in high cotton. (Spoken like a true Texan!) Echo: If you were to write a love letter to the LGBTQ community, what would you say? Tune: We’ve been through so much, and I’m so proud of us. You know, I’m old, and to think that in my lifetime you could get
married! That was not even part of the dream. To think how invisable we were, and now we’re not. It’s beautiful. And I’m so proud of everybody – the people whose footsteps I followed in and the people who are leading us now.
Chita: A Legendary Celebration 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23 Centennial Hall 1020 E. University Blvd., Tucson uapresents.org/chita-rivera Chita and Tune: Just in Time 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26 Arizona Musicfest Highlands Church 9050 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Scottsdale azmusicfest.org/festival/2018/ chitaandtune M. Seth Reines is an award-winning theater buff who has directed more than 500 productions nationally for stage and television, and formerly served as head of Roosevelt University’s musical theatre program.
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Kinky Boots is Back Cast members share what this iconic show means to them By Seth Reines
inky Boots is back! Last seen at ASU Gammage in 2014, the Tony Awardwinning musical will take the stage at Phoenix’s Orpheum Theatre from Feb. 16 to 18.
Inspired by a true story (and the 2005 British film by the same name), Kinky Boots is the story of Charlie Price, a young shoe factory owner who is struggling to save his late father’s business. Enter Lola, a fabulous drag queen in need of sturdy stilettos. Charlie and Lola form a partnership that ultimately saves the business and teaches audiences the messages of tolerance and acceptance. Echo caught up with the cast of Kinky Boots ahead of the Phoenix tour dates to find out what this show means to them. Here’s what they had to say:
Daniel Joseph Baker “As a member of the LGBTQ community, Kinky Boots affected me deeply when I first saw it. To see an unabashed portrayal of acceptance be received the way it was by a large audience of all types of people made me so happy. I was living in LA … when I saw Kinky Boots for the first time and it actually inspired my move into musical theatre. I knew that I could be myself in this show and from that moment on I knew wanted to be a part of it one day.”
Eric Stanton Betts “I believe what’s glorious about this show is that, while there is an underlying perception of ‘gay’ or ‘transgender’ themes, it is never ever explicitly talked 52
about or even said out loud. Beyond that, you have every type of person on stage that every audience member can relate to. They can see a factory worker’s heart and mind change simultaneously as their own changes over the course of the story.”
Tyler Jent “Performing as a drag queen in this show has taught me a lot about self-love. Growing up gay and closeted was really challenging, especially during puberty. Once boys began to experience testosterone, they used their masculinity as a weapon. Their own insecurities brought them to attack anyone who was not as ‘masculine’ as everyone else. This led me to really suppress my natural femininity that I believe all heterosexual and LGBTQ+ people experience. Touring around the country as a woman has allowed me to embrace my feminine beauty. When I leave the show, I feel a balance of my femininity and masculinity. I feel whole. I feel beautiful.”
Andrew Malone “In October, I had the honor of stepping into the stunning heels of ‘La-La-Lola!’ And because of my excitement, I’ve posted all over social media of me in makeup, dresses, and fabulous wigs; in full beat, honey! Well, somehow the pictures got around to a very respected
cousin who strictly follows the religious traditions in my family. He texted (in short), ‘God is not pleased.’ ... being a person who proudly practices my family traditions and spirituality, [I] was at a crossroads of emotions; I could either be the victim or the victor. I confidently responded (in short), ‘Thank you for your concern. I love you.’ Lola, these characters, this story ... has taught me to proudly stand up for what I believe in, and become the change I want to see. My cousin noticed that I’m not backing down – my heels are waaaay too high, and he sweetly responded, ‘I love you, too.’ It all begins from within.
Madison Pugh I find that Kinky Boots provides a great way to open a dialogue about a lot of LGBTQ issues. Early on in the tour, there was a group of four teenagers at the stage door and I got to speak to them for a moment. They confessed to me that they were all in the LGBTQ community and had pooled their money together to buy tickets to the show. They began to talk animatedly about how they wanted to recreate Lola’s red finale dress – a couple of them could sew. Then, one of the group said that she wanted to wear Charlie’s finale outfit to her homecoming dance. I laughed and Theater
The national tour of Kinky Boots. Photo by Matthew Murphy.
said that her school might not be willing to let someone wear boxers and thigh high boots for homecoming. She said her school would probably have a harder time reconciling a girl wearing a blazer. That one moment chilled me and made me realize that though weâ€™ve come a long way with LGBTQ rights, there is still so much left to do and to discover. I wouldnâ€™t have been able to talk to these teenagers about this issue if it werenâ€™t for Kinky Boots.
Ernest Terrelle Williams I am now 22 years old and came out of the closet as gay when I was 16. Even though I began my journey as an out gay man a few years ago, I never saw myself in heels or in makeup or a wig, and thatâ€™s because my upbringing never allowed me to venture outside of the toxic masculinity that I was brought up on. It just feels natural doing what Iâ€™m doing in this show. Itâ€™s like the last puzzle piece putting together who I am and how I want to live MY life.
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Kinky Boots Feb. 16-18 Orpheum Theatre 203. W. Adams St., Phoenix broadwayorpheum.com M. Seth Reines is an award-winning theater buff who has directed more than 500 productions nationally for stage and television, and formerly served as head of Roosevelt Universityâ€™s musical theatre program. Theater
between the covers
Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality By Terri Schlichenmeyer
ou’re not in any hurry. The ring’s on your finger, the engagement was just announced, and you both feel like you’ve got plenty of time. Now’s your chance to enjoy the process of getting married. Here’s your opportunity to plan the future. But Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality by Katherine Franke asks the question: why marry at all? When President George Washington died, his will stipulated that his slaves be given their freedom when his wife, Martha, who inherited them, would die. This, Franke says, accidentally “put a price on” Martha’s head but moreover, it was an acknowledgment on Washington’s part that shows one complexity of slavery: marriage between the Washington slaves meant that freeing his without freeing hers could break up families. This issue, and others before and after the Civil War, illustrates how “many of the experiences of African Americans held out a message to the same-sex marriage movement today.” Throughout American history, Franke says, the “rules” of marriage for nonwhite or same-sex individuals hid a double-edged sword of enhanced rights and enforced matrimonial laws complicated by pre-Emancipation fluidity of relationships and looser definitions of “marriage” within African American communities then; and by somewhat of a lack of awareness in the LGBTQ community, complicated by different state laws now. The bottom line that’s often not emphasized: when a couple marries, the state suddenly “acquires a legal interest in your relationship.” Now, as then, marriage may also be legally “forced” on a couple: in the case of former slaves, to gain benefits in wartime; for LGBTQ couples, in the continuation of health benefits. Even after all that, marriage, as Franke reminds readers, has never offered a guarantee from discrimination. Is it possible, Franke asks, that “the inability to marry creates a kind of freedom from the ‘bonds’ of marriage?” At a time when the rates of marriage
Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality by Katherine Franke. New York University Press, 2015 | $26.
in the Black community are low and LGBTQ parents are demanding new legal definitions of “family,” will marriage become antiquated? Or is the “freedom” to marry just another way for society to meddle in the lives of marginalized individuals? Surely, few readers would consider Wedlocked a fun weekend read. It’s not exactly what you’d take to the beach with you. Fun, no. Interesting, absolutely. It’s also quite thought-provoking. Franke is, in part, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University, and in this book, she asks hard questions between jawdropping history lessons and proof that marriage is both burden and boon to anyone who’s not white and straight.
That’s not to say that the institution is dead; instead, Franke wonders if, of all rights denied former slaves and LGBTQ individuals, marriage may’ve been the oddest choice for legal battles. But which other right would’ve been better? The answer to that seems to be left open for discussion; indeed, readers are given much to ponder from this heavy-duty, scholarly book. Just beware that time is the key to opening Wedlocked, now in paperback. Enjoy and contemplate, but don’t be in any hurry. Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm, lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 13,000 books. She’s been reading since age 3 and, to this day, she never goes anywhere without a book. books
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Dorian committed both faith and action to disadvantaged youth stigmatized in the LGBT community. As a foster parent, she and her wife Melinda fostered seven at risk youth in their home, and are very proud of all their foster kids and grandkids. Dorian was widely known for her humor and 'stand-up comedian' talents. Dorian is survived by her beloved wife and partner of more than 18 years, Melinda Murphy, along with her brothers Mark Kreiling and Bill Sullivan, sons Dan and David Preuss, grandchildren Jared, Erik, Taylor, Danielle, Joshua, Brendon, and Noah Preuss. Also John and Joan Liemer her favorite aunt and uncle, niece Lacy Magnolia and nephew Colton Kreiling, as well as many loving cousins and many friends. She was adored by so many! In lieu of flowers, please donate to the the Community Church of Hope (www.communitychurchofhope.com) or One-in-Ten organization (www.onenten.org).
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ALL OVER THE MAP
Taking My Own Advice By Liz Massey
everal years ago, my office book club read “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20: A Crash Course On Making Your Way In The World” by Stanford professor Tina Seelig. Her main message to younger adults was this: the choices you make now can open up an entirely new world for you later on. She emphasized that creativity can be learned and that remaining optimistic can lead to better luck, because you’re more approachable and observant in that frame of mind. And she included a tip that I found useful when I read it (at way past 20!) … when making a difficult decision, ask yourself “how do I want to tell this story later.” Seelig’s advice got me thinking about mentoring, especially in the LGBTQ community. It was much harder to find a strong mentor a generation ago when I was a young adult. But many of our kids still suffer from a lack of hope and a lack of role models. Projects such as “It Gets Better” and the Trevor Project have done a wonderful job of keeping our kids alive, but mentoring shows them precisely HOW it can get better. I’ve often pondered, since reading Seelig’s book, what I would tell 20-yearold me if I could go back in time and have a heart-to-heart with myself. I would hope that young-me would listen to now-me. At that age, I was just on the cusp of coming out and still afraid of admitting when I didn’t know something. Sometimes I used my good grades as a shield against trying something new at which I might fail. I became a lot more humble, and curious, once I moved out on my own. All of this taught me that the key to having
a message that a younger person can listen to is to be the sort of human being who can remember what it was like to be young. There’s a lot I would want to share with Liz the Younger, but if I were short on time I could boil it down to five points. 1. Don’t let fear rule your life. I would emphasize that struggle is inevitable, but remind younger me that problems can also provide unexpected opportunities. 2. Trust your gut. I had amazingly accurate hunches about people and situations as an adolescent and young adult. The problem was, I rarely followed them. Intuition is like a muscle – it grows stronger when you put it into action. 3. Stretch yourself. This is a natural outcome if my younger self put #1 and #2 into play. Life is a lot more rewarding, not to mention fun, when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. 4. We’re all in this together. School is terrible at teaching healthy approaches to teamwork. But reciprocity and lifting others up is most of what makes life as a human worth living. It is also most of what makes organizations of all sizes healthy and effective. 5. Persistence wins the day. Young Liz was actually pretty persistent, but I would let her know
that this was a trait worth amplifying. And I would remind her that our opponents have a vested interest in getting us to give up, so one of the most revolutionary things she could do is simply continue to exist. If had a few minutes remaining with 20-year-old Liz after the advice giving but before returning to my own time, I would read her a quote from Seelig’s book, because I know at that point she could have used some reinforcement about embracing what she already knew would be a unique life path. “All the cool stuff happens when you do things that are not the automatic next step,” Seelig wrote in her book. “The well-worn path is there for everyone to trample. But the interesting things often occur when you are open to taking an unexpected turn.” In my case, “unexpected turns” happened when I moved to Phoenix at the age of 28 … when I took a job making industrial training videos that my friend told me about … when I asked my now-partner out on a date at Souper Salad. I could not have predicted how these things would change me at the time, but now I know that being open to the unknown can lead to unexpectedly beautiful new horizons. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. COMMUNITY
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OUT & ABOUT United We Stand Opening Day Reception Jan. 8 at the State Capitol Building, Phoenix. Photos by Bill Gemmill.
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11 *Map is not drawn to scale
2424 E. Thomas Road
M, D, L
AQUA NIGHT CLUB
1730 E. McDowell Road
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3702 N. 16th St.
M, N, E
901 N. Fourth St.
M, N, E
4301 N. Seventh Ave.
MF, D, E
7125 E. Fifth Ave.
MF, D, E
4428 N. Seventh Ave.
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727 W. Camelback Road
M, C, E, D
3108 E. McDowell Road
MF, D, E
3702 N. Seventh St.
3432 E. Illini St.
105 W. Portland St.
FLEX SPAS PHOENIX
1517 S. Black Canyon Hwy
1724 E. McDowell Road
3110 N. Central Ave., Ste. 125
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1028 E. Indian School Road
MF, R, N
NU TOWNE SALOON
5002 E. Van Buren St.
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OFF CHUTE TOO
4115 N. Seventh Ave
1804 W. Bethany Home Road
1560 E. Osborn Road
MF, N, E
ROYAL VILLA INN
4312 N. 12th St.
STACY’S @ MELROSE
4343 N. Seventh Ave.
MF, D, N
THE CASH NIGHTCLUB & LOUNGE
2140 E. McDowell Road
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1440 E. Indian School Road
4129 N. Seventh Ave.
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Adult Retail & Entertainment Mostly Males Mostly Females Mixed Male/Female
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Neighborhood Bar Full Restaurant Dance Club Country Dancing
L E G AO
Leather/Bears Entertainment (Karaoke, Drag) Go-Go Dancers Accommodations/Other
bar specials BUNKHOUSE S $1 drafts & HH prices all day & night
OUT & ABOUT Mr. Phoenix Leather 2018 Contest
T Latin Night with Diego
Jan. 6 at Embassy Suites By Hilton Phoenix Airport, Phoenix.
W 9 p.m. Karaoke
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M 7 p.m. Darts with Acxell
T Underwear night: $1 off all drinks if in skivvies! GoGo dancers 9p.m.
F 8 p.m.-close: $2.50 Miller family products. 4 & 6 p.m.: Free-to-join poker
S 8 p.m.-close: $2.50 Bud family products
CHARLIEâ€™S S Super HH 4-7 p.m., $3 pitchers; $3 Long Islands open to close
M 2-8 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestic bottles, $3 pitchers; 8 p.m.-close, 1/2 off drinks for wearing underwear, $3 Jack Daniels
T 2-8 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestic bottles, $3 pitchers; 2-4-1 cocktails & beer 8 p.m.close
W 2-8 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestic bottles, $3 pitchers; $3 Three Olives vodka, 8 p.m.close
T 2-8 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestic bottles, $3 pitchers; 2-4-1 drinks open-close
F 2-7 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestics, $3 pitchers; HH 7-9 p.m.; $1 well & domestics, $1 drafts 10 p.m.- midnight
S Noon-7 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestics; HH 7-9 p.m.; $1 well & domestics, $3 Absolut & Bacardi 10 p.m.-midnight
STACYâ€™S @ MELROSE S $1.50 Rolling Rock pints & well drinks until 10 p.m.
M Karaoke, 9 p.m.-close; HH & $3 charity shots ALL DAY
T HH, 4-8 p.m.; $1 draft pint, $3 charity shots, $4 Mojitos & Caipirinhas ALL DAY; live DJ
W 2-4-1 ALL DAY; $3 charity shots ALL DAY; live DJ, top 40 & dance
T HH & $1.50 draft pint, 4-8 p.m.; $1.50 draft pint & wells, 8 p.m.-midnight; live DJ, top 40 & dance, 8 p.m.-close
F HH, 4-8 p.m.; $3 charity shots ALL DAY; $2 Kamikaze shots ALL DAY; live DJ, top 40 & dance, 8 p.m.-close
S HH, 4-8 p.m.; $3 charity shots ALL DAY; $2 Kamikaze shots ALL DAY; live DJ, top 40 & dance, 8 p.m.-close 62
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OUT & ABOUT AGRA’s Totally ’80s Bar Crawl Jan. 13 at Charlie’s, Phoenix. Photos by Bill Gemmill.
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OUT & ABOUT Trans Queer Posada Dec. 17 at 1726 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix. Photos by courtesy of TQP.
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Fall in Love â€¦ All Over Again! ODC/Dance Thu, February 15
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Mark Cortale Presents Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Featuring Seth Rudetsky as Pianist and Host
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Echo Magazine – Arizona's leading media outlet dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in news, views and entertainment. February 2018 Iss...
Published on Jan 18, 2018
Echo Magazine – Arizona's leading media outlet dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in news, views and entertainment. February 2018 Iss...