THE RELATIONSHIP ISSUE From passions to personal connections, it's our annual look at the ties that bind
LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT | Vol. 31, #5 | Issue 725 | February 2020 | COMPLIMENTARY
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ISSUE Issue 725 | Vol. 31, #5 | February 2020
12 News Briefs 14 Datebook
COMMUNITY 42 Without Reservations 44 Bands 46 At the Box Oﬃce 48 Opening Nights 50 Recordings 52 Between the Covers 54 Talking Bodies 56 Not That You Asked
Online dating: the catﬁshing phenomenon The world of meeting romantic partners online is complex. Those who partake in order to catﬁsh others don’t make it any easier. Learn more about this detrimental and all-too-frequent behavior.
Out & About 16 Aunt Rita’s Red Brunch 19 NYE at Stacy’s 22 NYE at Charlie’s 28 Community Church of Hope 40 Are You Worth A Rug Burn? 62 Mr. and Ms. Phoenix Leather 64 NYE at Bunkhouse
THE RELATIONSHIP ISSUE From passions to personal connections, it's our annual look at the ties that bind
LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT | Vol. 31, #5 | Issue 725 | February 2020 | COMPLIMENTARY
Distinctive Dates You can’t Netﬂix ‘n’ chill every night, right? Michelle Talsma Everson has compiled a number of interesting options for your date night, from engaging in a museum mystery to a fun way to get messy.
Life After ... Miryam Lerma: For State’s Sake
This Phoenician is an advocate for every voter in Arizona. Tom Reardon talks to her about her project For State’s Sake, where she works to educate voters, assist candidates, and ask the questions that many are afraid to pose.
Losing a partner through death, divorce, or a breakup isn’t easy. It can be hard to picture a light at the end of the tunnel. Kimberly Blaker oﬀers some tools and resources to help as you move into the next phase of your life.
Karina Manta in action. Courtesy of Cirque de Soliel.
LGBTQ ﬁgure skater Karina Manta on life, relationships, and Cirque du Soleil At 23, Manta has been a competitive skater for Team USA and a performer for the renowned Cirque du Soleil. She talks with Timothy Rawles about her career’s past and present, coming out, and what she loves about the world of Cirque. ECHOMAG.COM
EDITOR’S NOTE By Amy Young
ou’ve had plenty of time for the holiday dust to settle. Now we can get into thinking about other things, like relationships. Whether it is with our own self, our careers, or other people, we want our interactions to be strong and productive. In this issue, we explore relationship realms. Online dating. If you’ve done it, you have stories — good and bad, and probably hilarious. Unfortunately, you may have found out the hard way that catfishing is all too real. You’d think with the popularity of the MTV show designed to expose those posers, it would give creeps some pause, but sadly, that's not the case. Kimberly Blaker’s article has some facts about this repugnant phenomenon. Need help thinking of what to do on your next date? Thanks to Michelle Talsma Everson (page 24), we’ve got a slew of options. Get out of your rut or comfort zone and try something new — binging a new show will still be an option when you get home.
Voting is on our minds here at Echo. We are devoting space in the magazine this year to highlight voter advocacy and the people and organizations that are fostering and facilitating voter education.
Miryam Lerma wants you to have a good relationship with voting. Her new project For State’s Sake (page 30) serves to assist and educate Arizonans on the voting process. Tom Reardon talked to her and was awed by her tireless dedication to raising voter awareness. Breakups, divorce, and death are devastating and traumatic. As we work through grieving and healing processes, it can still be difficult to see a new or different future. On page 36, find out about different tools and reading materials that can help.
LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT PUBLISHER: Bill Orovan ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Bill Gemmill EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR: Amy Young CONTRIBUTORS:
Don’t forget to find us online for these stories and exclusive content.
Kimberly Blaker Grace Bolyard Edward Castro Jenna Duncan Buddy Early Michelle Talsma Everson Melissa Fossum Tamara Juarez Justin Keane Jason Kron Jeff Kronenfeld Laura Latzko
Next month — forks out! It’s the return of Echo Eats. Until then, stay hungry.
At 23, figure skater Karina Manta is killing it. She’s been a successful competitor, as well as a Cirque du Soleil performer. Timothy Rawles chatted with this inspirational talent.
Amy Young is the managing editor of Echo Magazine. A longtime journalist, her work has appeared in numerous publications, regional to international. Please contact her at editor@ echomag.com.
Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen Tuesday Mahrle Judy McGuire Ashley Naftule David-Elijah Nahmod Tia Norris Timothy Rawles Tom Reardon Mikey Rox Terri Schlichenmeyer Colby Tortorici
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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. 8
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risk of transmitting the virus. 2015: Obergefell v. Hodges: Marriage Equality Nationwide #LoveWins! In a historic decision that included Lambda Legal’s case Henry v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that denying samesex couples the freedom to marry violates the U.S. Constitution. This decision invalidated all state statutes and constitutional amendments barring same-sex couples from marriage. 2016: Brook S.B. v. Elizabeth C.C.: Nonbiological Parents’ Rights to their Children
A Decade of Justice: Defending Equality 2010-2020 Ten years of progress — written by Lambda Legal
ambda Legal is the largest legal organization in the United States fighting for full equality for LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV. This has been our sole purpose since our founding in 1973. And while the specific battles in our overarching march towards justice have varied over the years, we have stayed true to this mission. We made no exception in the twenty-teens, and indeed, this was an incredibly momentous decade in advances won for civil rights. As we approach the end of this decade, here are some of Lambda Legal’s greatest hits. 2010: Langbehn v. Jackson Memorial Hospital: Acknowledgement of Same-Sex Families in Medical Settings Although a federal district court rejected Lambda Legal’s lawsuit, ruling that no law required the hospital to allow her and their three children to see her dying partner, Janice Langbehn and Lambda Legal continued to work with other LGBTQ organizations and officials at Jackson Memorial Hospital to change hospital policies on visitation and respecting the wishes of same-sex couples and their families. Because of her work, President Obama called Janice Langbehn personally to apologize and as a result announced his plan to ensure LGBTQ patients and their families are respected in hospital visitation policies. 2011: Glenn v. Brumby: Employment Rights for Transgender People In 2007, Vandy Beth Glenn informed her boss at the Georgia General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Counsel that she planned to proceed with gender transition. Her boss fired her on the spot. 12
We filed a federal lawsuit, and ultimately, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that the Georgia General Assembly discriminated against Vandy Beth Glenn in firing her. This remains a cornerstone federal ruling to date supporting the rights of transgender employees. 2012: Couch v. Wayne Local School District: Students’ Rights to Free Speech In April 2011, Maverick Couch, a high school student in Waynesville, Ohio, wore a T-shirt with a rainbow Ichthys, or “sign of the fish,” paired with the slogan “Jesus Is Not a Homophobe” in observation of GLSEN’s National Day of Silence and the school principal threatened him with suspension. We filed a lawsuit on Maverick’s behalf and the school conceded in one day. Our victory affirmed students’ rights to free speech. 2013: Hollingsworth v. Perry: Marriage Equality in California Lambda Legal acted as amici and assisted with trial preparation in a case contesting Proposition 8, which halted same-sex marriages in California. The Supreme Court ruled that proponents of Prop 8 had no right to appeal the district court’s ruling blocking the law and restored the freedom to marry in California. 2014: Rhoades v. Iowa: Fighting HIV Criminalization Lambda Legal represented Nick Rhoades, a man living with HIV who was sentenced to 25 years in prison and made to register as a sex offender after a one-time sexual encounter in which he used a condom. The Iowa Supreme Court reversed his conviction, recognizing that the scientific understanding of HIV transmission is evolving and HIV-positive individuals who have a suppressed viral load as a result of effective treatment may pose little
Brook and Elizabeth were together for seven years, and they planned for and had a son together. When Elizabeth cut off contact abruptly in 2013, Brook filed for custody and visitation. The case made its way up to the highest court in New York State, who ultimately issued a groundbreaking ruling, finding that non-biological parents have the right to seek custody and visitation. 2017: Hively v. Ivy Tech: Employment Rights for LGB People In August of 2014, Kimberly Hively sued Ivy Tech Community College, arguing that the school violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when she was fired after being seen kissing her then-girlfriend in the parking lot of the school. In a groundbreaking 8-3 decision, the full Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation violates federal civil rights law. 2018: Passion Star a/k/a Zollicoffer v. Livingston: Rights for Incarcerated Transgender People Passion Star is a Black transgender woman who was incarcerated in male facilities. We represented her in filing a lawsuit alleging prison officials failed to protect her from sexual and physical abuse. In 2018, we secured a favorable settlement for Passion Star, sending a strong message to prison officials that sexual assault and violence against LGBTQ people who are incarcerated will not be swept under the rug. 2019: Gore v. Lee: Fighting for Transgender Rights Last year, we filed a lawsuit in Tennessee, making it the fifth jurisdiction in which we have challenged an existing categorical exclusion preventing transgender people from correcting their birth certificates. Accurate identity documents are extremely important. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, almost one-third of transgender individuals who showed an identity document with a name or gender marker that conflicted with their perceived gender were harassed, denied benefits or services, discriminated against, or assaulted. This filing builds on our victories in Puerto Rico, Idaho, and Kansas where we secured victories in court that prompted necessary policy changes. NEWS
DATEBOOK February 2
Miss and Mr. Kobalt present Night of a 1000 Showtunes. Drag stars performer Broadway tunes at this musical event. Proceeds from the show beneﬁt the Phoenix Pride Scholarship Fund. The fun happens from 7 to 9 p.m. at Kobalt, 3110 N. Central Ave., Ste. 175, in Phoenix. phoenixpride.org
Sports fans — this one is for you! The Superbowl Party and Barbecue is being held to beneﬁt the hospitality for Coronation XV and for you to have fun. Watch the game on a big screen and enjoy dishes like burgers, dogs, and nachos. Yes, there will be Jell-o shots. There’s also a Jennifer Lopez and Shakira concert-viewing party. This party kicks oﬀ at 1 p.m. at The Rock, 4129 N. Seventh Ave., in Phoenix. imperialcourtaz.org
Spend a morning enjoying food and signature cocktails at one•n•ten’s Fresh Brunch. Hear about the organizations programs, successes, and plans for the future. Mingle with members of the community from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets start at $125. This fun and informational event happens at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, 5350 E. Marriott Drive, in Phoenix. onenten.org
February 7 January 26
Head to Arizona Opera’s afternoon performance of La Bohème to celebrate the LGBTQ community. Get caught up in the dramatic love story set in 1830’s Paris. Tickets start at $40 for the 2 p.m. show at Phoenix Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second Street, in Phoenix. azopera.org
January 31-February 1
RipplePHX loves throwing a Winter Carnival so much, they’ve extended it to a two-day celebration. In addition to the live entertainment, enjoy a thrilling escape room, food vendors, sideshow attractions, and plenty of games. The 21 and older party will also oﬀer drink specials. Admission is free. Make your way from 7 p.m. to midnight each day to Stacy’s @ Melrose, 4343 N. Seventh Ave., in Phoenix. ripplephx.org 14
Don’t miss your chance to celebrate Bearracuda’s Ninth Anniversary at this celebratory shindig that features DJ Freddy King of Pants, all the way from Seattle. Get there before 10 p.m. to pay $6 — after that it goes up to $8. Another night of fun at The Rock, 4129 N. Seventh Ave., in Phoenix. bearracuda.com
Whether you’re a mermaid or a merman, this is the fashion show you need to attend. It’s the Fifth Annual Project NUNway: Nunder the Sea, hosted by The Grand Canyon Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The evening is full of design, art, fashion, and music. Head to the Mermaid Lagoon where the art comes to life. There’s a VIP reception at 6 p.m. and general admission happens at 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from $20 to $450. This splashy soiree is at The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, 1101 N. Central Ave., in Phoenix. azsisters.org
Saddle up — it’s time for the 2020 Arizona Gay Rodeo. This annual event features traditional rodeo activities. There will also be some AGRA Royalty on site. The awards ceremony happens on Sunday at this IGRA-sanctioned event. Tickets are $15 and the daily start time is 10 a.m. at Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds, 7611 S. 29th Ave., in Laveen. agra-phx.com
Mark Our Calendars
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Aunt Ritaâ€™s Red Brunch Dec. 14 at the Sheraton Downtown, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2019-photos. 16
OUT & ABOUT
New Year’s Eve
Dec. 31 at Stacy’s @ Melrose, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2019-photos. OUT & ABOUT
Love is in the air Or are you just being catfished? By Kimberly Blaker
he number of couples who meet online, in all age groups, continues to grow.
A whopping 39% of heterosexual couples and 65% of same-sex couples who met in 2017 met online. This was reported in a new study, “Disintermediating your friends,” by Michael Rosenfeld, from the Sociology department at Stanford University. Eighty-five percent of those who’ve tried online dating are under the age of 55, according to Pew Research Center. Two age categories, however, have seen the most growth. The 18-24-year-old group tripled to 27% in 2015 over a two year period. Also, the 55-64-year-old group that’s tried online dating doubled to 12%. Men make up more than half of those in online dating sites and apps.
Online dating has led to numerous committed relationships and marriages. But as too many can attest, it’s not all fun — and there are plenty of games. In fact, according to studies, more than half of users lie on their online dating profiles. It’s often fairly innocent (though frustrating to those who uncover the deceptions) in regard to their age, weight, or height.
Financial gain, however, is just one of the motives of catfishers. But catfishers (scammers who lure people into a sham relationship) are a whole different
breed. They lie about nearly everything, including posting stolen photos to beguile and lure victims. In 2016 alone, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 15,000 complaints under the category of romance scams and confidence fraud. Most, however, likely don’t get reported. We’ve all heard a well-publicized story of someone losing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to an online catfisher. But the truth is, it’s far more common than most people realize. Financial gain, however, is just one of the motives of catfishers. While many are out to scam people of their hard-earned cash, others have different sinister intentions. Some are seeking sexually explicit videos or photos for either personal use or to post online. Some catfishers find it an effective method for identity theft. Tragically, pedophiles also catfish to groom and lure children. Even adults are sometimes catfished for the purpose of causing physical harm. There are also those who do it for revenge, to catch an untrustworthy spouse, or to live an alternate reality. In the end, regardless of the FEATURE STORY
catfishers’ motives, victims often experience emotional trauma, as well. Here are some particularly eye-opening facts: • Women make up 64% of catfishers. • Fifty-one percent of online daters are married (though most lie and say they’re not). • At least 10% of dating profiles are catfishers. How do catfishers choose their targets? One thing about catfishers is they’re pretty slick when it comes to choosing their victims. Senior citizens are frequent targets. But catfishers scam people of all ages. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission found that of all fraud victims surveyed in 2016, 21% fall between the ages of 30-39. Those in their 40s and 50s are a close runner up. Catfishers also look for those who are desperate for love, gullible, or sympathetic. Such people are easy to woo, guilt, or manipulate in a variety of ways and feed right into the catfisher’s hand. How to protect yourself from the get-go Catfishing has been around since long before the internet. But the world wide web provides catfishers an endless supply of prey while making it easier to conceal their identity. So, whether you’re in an online dating site or app and even in social media, keep your fisheye peeled and follow these precautions. First, know the red flags to look for before you begin communicating with someone you don’t know. Some catfishers provide detailed, elaborate (but deceptive) profiles. Often, though, their profiles are incomplete and vague. By providing such limited detail (other than, perhaps, a very attractive photograph), they’re able to capture the interest of more potential victims. It also gives them the advantage to make things up as they go that best fits their victim’s wants, needs, and desires. Photos are another big clue. If they have no photo, this can be a red flag. Also, does their only photo look extremely dated? You know, the ones with that orangish hue that date back to the ‘70s. Or does the photo look
like it came straight from GQ or Glamour? Of course, many are smarter than that. Even when the photos look kosher, they might be stolen from someone else’s social media profile. So always do a reverse image search. Just right click on the photo and select ‘save image as’. Then go to Google images. Drag and drop the photo into the search bar. If Google shows identical results for the image, do some investigative work. Also, watch for broken English in their messages. If you notice odd language such as ‘I would like to get to know you’, be wary. It might indicate they’re from a foreign country commonly known for catfishers. On the same token, some scammers use broken English intentionally. They do this to weed out those intelligent enough to easily catch on to them. Catfishers want to invest their time in those who seem to be gullible. Another reason they may intentionally use broken English is to create the illusion they lack sophistication. This gives them the advantage that you won’t suspect they’re crafty enough to be a catfisher. On the other hand, beware that many, and perhaps most catfishers don’t show broken English. Plenty of catfishers are American, or English is their native language. Good English doesn’t necessarily deem them legitimate.
It also gives them the advantage to make things up as they go that best fits their victim’s wants, needs, and desires. When you begin communicating with someone online, ask for their full name, and beware if they won’t tell you. Then do an online search for their social media profiles, job information, places they’ve lived, and anything else you can learn. If you can’t find the person online or something doesn’t seem right, cut your ties. If someone you haven’t met starts getting romantic quickly or comes out with the “L” word before you’ve ever met, be suspicious. It’s true, some legitimate relationships have started out this way, but it isn’t the norm. It’s fairly common, though, with catfishers who quickly try lure you into a phony whirlwind romance. They often move quickly and begin talking about a relationship, being in love, or a future together before you’ve met. Most important, regardless of how perfect or real someone seems, don’t allow yourself to get emotionally involved before you’ve met in person. In fact, once you’ve done the investigative work above, try to meet for coffee as soon as possible. That way you don’t waste time or risk getting emotionally entangled with a fraud. Some people have found themselves reeled into years-long sham relationships without ever having met
SIDEBAR IDEAS OR WAYS TO LOCALIZE: Interview locals who do online dating for experiences on being catfished. their predator. They only learn after wasting years of their life and sometimes all of their savings. More ways to recognize a catfisher Be wary if: • they’re often difficult or impossible to catch on the phone. • they’re unwilling to video chat. • they always have an excuse for why they can’t meet you in person. They may claim to be out-of-state or the country. Also, they often claim, repeatedly, to be dealing with a major crisis or setback. This is to gain your sympathy, so you’ll accept it without question. • they won’t provide their exact address, especially even after professing their love, an extended courtship, or asking to borrow money. (It should be noted for women’s safety, however, never give your address to someone you haven’t met and gotten to know well in person.) • they try to manipulate you by shaming you, playing on your sympathy, or being overly charming, complimentary, or empathetic. What to do if you’ve been catfished or suspect it If you suspect you’re communicating with a catfisher but are uncertain, gather everything you know about the person, print their profile, communications, and photos. Then share it with trusted family and friends for objective opinions. Also, report catfishers to the dating or social media website where you met. Then file a report with the FBI at https://www.ic3. gov/default.aspx. Kimberly Blaker is a freelance family writer. She also does blog and content writing for a variety of industries and is an expert in on page SEO. ECHOMAG.COM
New Year’s Eve
Dec. 31 at Charlie’s, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2019-photos. 22
OUT & ABOUT
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22ND AT TEMPE TOWN LAKE
Registration at 3:00 PM Walk & Run begins at 5:00 PM
ZERO NEW INFECTIONS ZERO STIGMA www.AIDSWalkAZ.org REGISTRATION: Runner Registration ..........$45 Team leader and walker .. $35 Student with I.D. ................$20 Dog(s) ................................... $10 Children 12 and Under ... Free
TEMPE BEACH PARK EVENING WALK/RUN ENTERTAINMENT Entertainment stages along the route! Food Trucks Featuring Paws for the Cause and Kids for the Cause!
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Distinctive dates Switch things up with these unique date night ideas By Michelle Talsma Everson, photos provided by featured venues
hether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, Singles Awareness Day, or anything in between, it’s time to have some fun. You can only get dinner and see a movie so many times. To help, we’ve rounded up some of these unique date ideas — perfect for a romantic night out or a get together with your BFF. We hope you find something that makes you want to swipe right!
inspired art studio and wine bar and designated Splatter Room. Couples can take part of a Bachelor-esque date night by donning goggles and protective clothing and go wild with splatter paint in the splatter room. The Splatter Night Date package includes one large or two small canvases, a glow in-the-dark upgrade, chocolates, and champagne for $99. For more information, visit pinspiration.com or call 480.636.8010.
Cosmic Cocktails at From The Rooftop
Who doesn’t love to get messy and color outside the lines? Phoenix is home to Pinspiration, the world’s first DIY, Pinterest-
Downtown Phoenix’s newest rooftop bar is celebrating Pisces in a big way. The Rooftop at Cambria Hotel Downtown Phoenix is hosting an evening of guided stargazing,
tarot card readings, Pisces-inspired cocktails and music from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on February 26. Bring your favorite Pisces and enjoy 360-degree views of Phoenix at FTR’s second Cosmic Cocktail event of the year. Visit cambriahotelphoenix.com to learn more. Mystery in the Museum
Every season the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) unleashes another Mystery in the Museum. Guests will enjoy an evening filled with curious puzzles, brainteasers and riddles. Will you be able to crack the code? Cash bar throughout the evening and light bites to follow. Visit smoca. org to learn more, including specific dates and times.
Channel your Inner ANIMAL
Scorpius Dance Theatre brings ANIMAL back to Phoenix audiences. An original show created by Scorpius’ Director, Lisa Starry, it is inspired by her love of animals and passion for their well-being. ANIMAL explores the relationship we have with animals, as well as their social interactions, physicality and movement. Overall, a lighthearted and entertaining show, Starry is also taking the opportunity to provide awareness and support for animals in our community and globally. A portion of ticket sales will benefit local animal charity Lost Our Home Pet Rescue. ANIMAL is being presented at the Madison Center for the Arts on February 7 and 8. Learn more at www.scorpiusdance.com. See a Show Join the greatest rock and roll jam session in history now through February 16 at The Phoenix Theatre Company. Million Dollar Quartet follows the story of Elvis Presley, Jonny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis when they cross paths for a night of musical magic. Audiences get a behind-thescenes look when the rock and roll legends produced an impromptu record that changed
music forever. The Phoenix Theatre Company offers more than just a show with cocktails at the ArtBar + Bistro. Enjoy a Real Wild Child, a blend of Jack Daniels, Mas Mole bitters and ginger beer or The Million Dollar Margarita. Visit phoenixtheatre.com to learn more.
Zen Zone featuring yoga classes and three stages featuring a full day of live and local music, presented by The Listening Room Phoenix. The event is held at Margaret T. Hance Park on February 29. Visit www. phxveganfest.com to learn more.
Seek the Spirits
Presented by Davisson Entertainment, the PHX Vegan Food Festival returns for its fifth anniversary. New this year, the festival will be offered from day until night! The PHX Vegan Food Festival will showcase more than 100 of the state’s most beloved vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants, food trucks and vendors, as well as some out of town favorites. Restaurants, bakeries, food trucks and food and beverage artisans will be selling their delicious creations. In addition, product vendors will be showcasing and selling their vegan-friendly offerings. There will also be a
Arizona is underrated when it comes to its beauty and history and Spirit of Arizona Tours will show you why. The new company launched last year with 10 different tours across the state, from historic day trips to Jerome and Tombstone to the eerie Murders and Mysteries tour in Phoenix. You hop on a 14 passenger bus and experience a private tour — and it’s BYOB. The owner, Jarrod Riddle, is a Mesa native and has been a historian and tour guide for nearly a decade — previously working for Arizona’s most wellknown tour companies. For more information, visit spiritofarizonatours.com.
Art on the Wild Side beautiful outdoor class on Sunday, February 9 from noon until 2 p.m. and get your hands dirty while learning the secrets of an ancient art form of bonsai. This beginner’s plant workshop will focus on utilizing succulents to create a living piece of art and includes all materials needed to create two kokedamas to take away. Expert plant care and maintenance will also be covered. Visit www. thefarmatsouthmountain.com to learn more. Taking place through May 31, this art exhibit at the Phoenix Zoo will feature three different artists: Lucy Dickens, Anne Peyton and Joye DeGoede. Through this rotating exhibit, guests can engage in the Zoo’s mission to care for the natural world while being inspired by nature and animals. Art is available for purchase and Zoo admission is required to visit the Savanna Gallery. Visit phoenixzoo.org to learn more.
Get Your Kicks
most famous maritime disaster of the 20th century. Find out more at TitanicAZ.com. Trivia Night @SMoCA
Bonsai! The Farm at South Mountain is hosting the perfect pre-Valentine’s activity to share with your plant enthusiast lover or friend. Enjoy a
Looking to have fun while sweating and learning valuable safety skills? At EVKM Self Defense & Fitness, located in Tempe, you and your date can learn how to punch and kick while practicing how to handle yourself in potentially scary situations. EVKM teaches the art of Krav Maga, which was developed by the Israeli military, and is a popular activity for couples to learn together. No need to be intimidated to jump right in, there are beginner-only classes that are perfect for an action packed date night together that might one day save your life. Visit evkmselfdefense. com for more info. Visit the Titanic Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition takes you on a journey back in time to experience the legend of the Titanic. The galleries in this fascinating exhibition feature real artifacts recovered from the ocean floor, 120 of which have never been seen in Arizona, along with reconstructions of the ship’s interior and personal stories of the passengers and crew. Learn the real story of how one of the greatest engineering marvels became the
Local comedian Anwar Newton hosts an evening of movie, TV and music references that will test everyone’s pop culture IQ at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA). Drop some knowledge on the SMoCA team to win prizes and become trivia champions. Attendees’ first drink is on the museum. Visit smoca.org to learn more, including specific dates and times. Michelle Talsma Everson is a freelance writer, editor and PR pro. A graduate of NAU, she’s been writing for Valley publications for more than a decade. You can find out more at mteverson.com. FEATURE STORY
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Christmas Celebration Dec. 22 at Community Church of Hope, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2019-photos. 28
OUT & ABOUT
Lerma with husband Bobby and daughter Elliot. Photo by Job deLange.
For Miryam Lerma, democracy is not a spectator sport
he cream tends to rise to the top in most situations. One area where this is a rarity is politics. The cream, in the political world, is often in the background, working behind the scenes to help people get elected, keep them honest, and look out for the rest of us in the process. For people in Phoenix, one such person who is back there, looking out for us, is Miryam Lerma, who recently founded For State’s Sake, an organization built upon the principle that one voice, even ours, can help make our state a better place. Born in Holland, Lerma moved to Phoenix, Arizona with her mother at the age of 3 in 1980. After attending Richard C. Simis and Meadows schools in the Madison District, she graduated from Central High School and then got her bachelor’s degree in Education from Arizona State University. During the summers, Lerma would return to Amsterdam, where her father lived, and spend her holiday with her family in Holland, which has given her a unique perspective on how the world works. It wasn’t
until 2018 that she became a United States citizen, but her desire to make our community stronger came well before she was able to vote. In addition to Lerma being an incredible advocate for everyone (literally) in the state between For State’s Sake and her work with Save Our Schools Arizona, she spent her early career teaching in the Washington Elementary School District. She is also married to husband Bobby Lerma, a mortgage advisor and drummer in The Father Figures (full disclosure: Bobby is my bandmate), and the duo have a daughter, Elliot, who is in seventh grade. Lerma and her family live in central Phoenix near 12th Street and Glendale Ave., in Legislative District 28 where Lerma serves as executive secretary for the district board.
Miryam Lerma and daughter Elliot.
By Tom Reardon
We caught up with Lerma to talk about getting involved with local politics, how we can do our part in the voting the process, and the importance of educating ourselves on the issues, as well as a few other things. Here’s what she had to say: FEATURE STORY
Echo: Thanks so much for taking some to talk with us. You’re a busy woman. Have you always been interested in politics? Lerma: No, never. I’ve been trying to backtrack in my mind, you know, “When did this begin?” and I’ve pinpointed that I started being involved with the PTO at Elliot’s school (Madison Heights) when she was in kindergarten. During that time at her elementary school, I was president of the PTO for three years and it really was eye opening to see some of the inner workings of a school from a parent perspective. Did you have to run in an election to be PTO President? Did that get your political life going? Well, there is an election, but unfortunately, as I’m sure we’ll get into not enough people get involved in these types of arenas. And so, there was no election, it was a no contest as there was no other candidates. That happened three years in a row. Typically, you do it two years in a row. There are bylaws that we abide by, but there was literally no one else to do it. That must’ve been an eye-opening experience. What did you take away from it? I discovered through this process that I wasn’t interested (in politics prior) because I didn’t know that I had skin in the game. I didn’t understand the connection between politics and my life and the things that affect me. So that was the huge eye-opening discovery for this process of just becoming involved was to understand that this is affecting me, and I need to pay attention. What has motivated you to do something about that idea of having skin in the game? I would say getting more involved and seeing different perspectives and it blossomed out from there. If you think of the PTO as a small nucleus in the center, then if you look outside in the next rung, you have the school board. I started getting interested and asking, “What does the school board do and what are they up to?” And then, if you branch out from there, you’ve got the leaders in your legislative district. I started to see how things develop and how they are being decided within the school about teachers, about classes, about students, and, obviously, about the budget. I started to see there was a connection and it kept going out further and out further. I started to realize that our state leaders and elected officials have a lot to do with everything that’s going on right here in my backyard. Not only at my child’s school, but also, in everything else in the community. Things like affordable housing and water management and all the things that are on my heart, they really have to do with what’s happening right here in my own state by the people that we have elected to represent our values. I think a lot of people overlook that. So, if someone wanted to get more involved, what advice would you give them? FEATURE STORY
Lerma manning an info table with Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoﬀman.
Well, first and foremost, democracy is not a spectator sport, so, I would definitely suggest starting like I did and start in your own backyard. Check out the PTO and school boards in your own area if you have children, and even if you don’t, you live in a school district and you can go attend a school board meeting and just hear what’s going on. I mean, it affects us all. Whether or not you have children, the future is in the hands of these children and it does matter what the school board is deciding for our kids.
the vote and your daily life.
I would say to join some (political) groups on social media. Figure out who your legislators are, for sure, and find out what legislative district you live, who represents you, and go to their website. Read about them, read articles, Google them, just find out what their values are and how they’ve been representing you and see if that lines up with how you want to be represented.
If you don’t want to support a candidate, there are also causes that you can support. For instance, the outlaw dirty money campaign is going on right now. You could work to gather signatures for that or other things, such as other initiatives that are trying to get on the ballot. If you’re passionate about a topic and it’s something that’s trying to get onto the ballot, those things are important, too. So, it’s not just a person you have to support, but it could be a cause or a movement. Get out and talk to people. It’s one conversation at a time. That’s what get things done.
What do you do when you find out that you don’t quite see eye-to-eye with a candidate or someone that is representing you? When you don’t see eye to eye with a candidate, it’s an opportunity to discuss it with them. Make an appointment, call their office, or send them an email to discuss the issues. If that candidate does get elected, you continue to stay engaged and hold them accountable. Also, Arizona has an awesome online tool called Request to Speak, RTS, that allows you to give our lawmakers feedback on bills. It is a bit of a misnomer, as you do not actually have to “speak”. You can give a thumbs up or thumbs down and leave comments on bills. You can find out more information on forstatessake.com. Tell us more about For State’s Sake. It’s a website where people can go to get information about local political issues and the importance of local voting. I’ve made a T-shirt that I designed to be a conversation starter that has state issues on it (t-shirts are available on the site). I hope this will get people discussing and acknowledging the issues that we can affect right here in Arizona that affect our daily lives while connecting
We haven’t had an official launch, but I do have an event coming up that Irene’s Tap Room (1227 E. Northern Avenue, in Phoenix) is hosting on Valentine’s day, which is also Arizona’s birthday. We are promoting it as love Arizona by voting local or, “Love Arizona = Voting Local.” There will be several speakers including legislator Kelly Butler from District 28. That’s awesome. What else can people do to get involved?
Will you ever run for office? No. I don’t have the stomach for it, or the heart. I find it all too heartbreaking, but I will continue to be as much as I can behind the scenes there. Every candidate has an enormous team of volunteers and committed people who work with them and for them and I will be that till the end. To learn more, visit forstatessake.com. Tom Reardon loves to write about people who are doing something to contribute to our community in a positive way. He also loves his family and family of friends, his pets, music, skateboarding, movies, good (and bad) TV, and working with children to build a better world. Tom’s favorite movie is Jaws, his favorite food is lasagna, and he loves to play music with his friends. He’s a busy guy, but never too busy to listen to what you have to say so tell him a story. ECHOMAG.COM
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Life after breakup, divorce, or the death of a spouse Finding your new groove when faced with adversity By Kimberly Blaker
oing through a breakup, divorce, or the death of a spouse isn’t easy. You’ve lost not only your lover but your confidant, cheerleader, activity partner, support system, and best friend. Such a loss can be devastating. As such, it’s only natural to grieve. In fact, allowing yourself to grieve is vital to your recovery. You’ll need time (and perhaps even professional help) to work through your denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance — the five stages of grief. But even as you work through this difficult period, you can begin building a happy, full life. Working toward moving on doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten the person you lost or your prior life. It simply means you recognize your emotional and physical well-being are dependent on getting back to a normal, positive life. Certainly, you’ll still experience some sadness and miss the person and life you’ve lost. Allow yourself to feel sad as often
as you need to. But, also look for at least one, if not multiple ways to uplift yourself each and every day. Taking time for personal growth is an excellent way to raise your spirits. So, focus some time and energy to self-discovery, becoming a more fabulous you, and finding new ways to enjoy life to its fullest. There’s no need to forget the person and life you lost. To the contrary, cherish those great memories. But build on them by enjoying new experiences and a newfound appreciation for all life has to offer. SELF DISCOVERY & THE PATH TO YOUR NEW HAPPY There are so many avenues to self-discovery. The truth is you might never even reach your final destination. That’s because selfdiscovery is really an ongoing process. As the seasons of your life come and go, you’ll
continually grow and change. The good news is, we live in a big, beautiful world that’s full of possibility, endless things to experience, and always new knowledge to be had. Let some of these ideas be a springboard to help you find your new groove. Job or Career. Do you like what you do for a living? Or do you wish you’d gone a different direction? This might be a good time to consider a job or career change. Explore what kinds of work would make you happy. Just bear in mind your emotional state and take time to think through the pros and cons of your choices. Then, once you’re in a better frame of mind, you’ll be ready to put your plan into action. Learn a new skill. It doesn’t have to be for career growth or change, although it could be. Learning a new skill offers lots of other benefits. In fact, it’s good for your brain. It FEATURE STORY
There are many books and workbooks available to help you along your journey to self-discovery. Check out some of these top-rated choices. Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel List Your Self: Listmaking as the Way to Self-Discovery by Ilene Segalove The Good Goodbye: How to Navigate Change and Loss in Life, Love, and Work by Gladys Ato This Time Next Year: 365 Days of Exploration by Cynthia Scher Something Gained: 7 Shifts to Be Stronger, Smarter & Happier After Divorce by Deb Purdy The Sun Still Rises: Surviving and Thriving after Grief and Loss by Shawn Doyle
The good news is, we live in a big, beautiful world that’s full of possibility, endless things to experience, and always new knowledge to be had. increases the speed at which you learn new skills, improves your performance on other tasks, and expands your knowledge. It also reduces your risk of dementia. Other benefits include making you more adaptable to change (such as you’re going through now), providing an additional outlet to stave off boredom, and making you a more interesting person. The great thing about learning a new skill is the multitude of choices to fit everyone’s interests. There are also numerous avenues for learning new skills today. Take an online class or go for a classroom setting. You can also buy or borrow books to learn on your own or read instructional articles online, watch YouTube videos, webinars, and more. Volunteer. This is another way to expand your skills while also making the world a better place. Volunteering is also beneficial to your emotional health. According to research, those who volunteer become happier, enjoy reduced stress, and gain self-esteem. It also increases your social connections. In turn, all these factors contribute to a healthier, longer life. New friends. Following a loss, making new friends is often imperative. If you’re like most people in a relationship, you spent most of your free time with your partner. As a result, you may have only a small pool of friends. So, get in touch with old friends and catch up. You might discover new things you have in common that help rekindle your friendship. Also, make new friends through work, classes, FEATURE STORY
at art. Check out some art museums and galleries. You might even want to pick up a book or take a class on art appreciation to understand art at a whole new level.
and volunteering. Meetup.com is another option. You’ll discover a plethora of different types and ages of groups. There’s truly something for everyone. Music. If you’re a music lover, you know what a mood-booster music can be. Yet, if you’re like most people, you’ve listened to the same few genres of music throughout your life. So, visit your library to explore different types of music, and check out a variety of CDs. Try multiple artists within each genre, since styles vary widely among any genre. You just might be surprised at the music you fall in love with and have been missing all your life. Beyond the more popular rock, rap, R&B, and country, there’s also folk, blues, jazz, and classical. Also, don’t skip over the world music section. You’ll find Irish/Celtic, flamingo, reggae, Latin, Zydeco, Afrobeat, and so much more. Movies & film. Everyone has their favorite movie genres. But maybe it’s time to give some of those other genres a chance. Also, look for independent movie theaters where you can catch indie and foreign films. You’ll often find award-winning flicks in these theaters that never make it into the mainstream. Art. This isn’t a world just for artists. Although you might discover you have a hidden talent you never realized. Think painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, printmaking, and so much more. The other option is the simple enjoyment of looking
Crafts. Hobbies offer a host of benefits in addition to the crafty things you can make, keep, and give. Crafting relieves stress and depression, provides challenge, prevents boredom, and can even generate additional income. Consider wood crafts, leatherwork, needlework, glassmaking, paper crafts, and countless other options. Travel. Whether you choose to explore your own state, other parts of the country, or the world, you’ll reap many benefits. Travel can be educational, enhances creativity, broadens your horizons, and best of all, it’s fun. You can travel by car, train, or plane. Make the most of your trips by doing research before you go so you hit the right weather and don’t waste your trip figuring out what to do and see. Food. Learn new cooking or baking skills on your own or by taking cooking classes. You might also take up a new pastime of cooking your favorite cuisine. If cooking isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy the delectable experience. Explore a broader variety of foods. Taste a wider range of fruits and vegetables and hit restaurants to try out cuisines you’ve never had before. Sports & Fitness. Make exercise a regular part of your routine. This is one of the most valuable things you can do for your physical and emotional health. Oh, but you don’t like the “E” word? Then consider a sport. There are so many to choose from, whether you like team sports or prefer going solo. Golf, volleyball, tennis, kickball, swimming, martial arts, and roller skating are just a few of your options. Kimberly Blaker is a freelance family writer. She also does blog and content writing for a variety of industries and is an expert in on page SEO. ECHOMAG.COM
Karina Manta (2nd from Left) from Cirque du Soleil’s AXEL, Gala scene.
Karina Manta is an inspiration for her generation The local LGBTQ figure skating star loves how her Cirque family embraces all relationships By Timothy Rawles. Photos Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil
ce skater Karina Manta is a 23-year-old Arizona LGBTQ role model even though she probably doesn’t embrace that title to its fullest yet.
Who can blame her, she has been busy traveling the world, first as a competitive skater for Team USA, then recently as a performer in Cirque du Soleil’s AXEL. She still struggles with the word retirement even though she walked away from the competitive world last year. Over the phone Karina’s voice is filled with such positive energy you can’t help but get caught up in the momentum. She’s honest and talks about everything from her life as a skater to being a queer sports star. Karina also has one of those grins you don’t have to see in order to know it’s there. 38
Even though she was born in Olympia, Washington, she is earnest when she says her hometown is Chandler, Arizona. At the age of four she moved there and a year later she went to a friend’s birthday party at the Polar Ice rink where her interest in skating began. Her mother was supportive but wanted Karina to practice rollerblading in order to perfect her balance. She used her cul-desac to train for an entire summer before her mother finally agreed to ice skating lessons. Her love of rhinestones and Swarovski crystals was born, “I liked the sparkly dresses,” she laughs. “My brothers played soccer,” Karina explains. “I come more from a soccer family and I tried soccer for one season and I was pretty good, but my parents asked me why I didn’t want
to keep doing it after that season and I was like ‘I don’t like the outfits.’ It was all about the fashion when I was into it with the sports.” When she started her figure skating career she was partnered with Jonathan Thompson, but has been working with Joseph Johnson since 2013. At 16 she moved to Colorado to train but remembers what it was like growing up in Chandler. People would tease her about ice skating in the desert but to her that was a perk since Arizona temperatures can get well into the triple digits in the summer. In 2018, while still in college, Karina came out publicly, which makes her the first Team USA female figure skater to do so. She explains that she identifies mostly as bisexual FEATURE STORY
but likes the term queer too. “It’s one of those things where I’ve gotten more,” she pauses to find the right words, “like I think at first I was kind of touchy about it. And I think when you’re realizing these things about yourself it’s hard to pick and choose. I think labels are important especially when you’re figuring out who you are and how you belong and you need words for yourself and that’s really important. But I like bi, I like queer — those are my two favorites.” Karina says she didn’t know any queer women in skating until she came out, then they started approaching her, “I think it was just sort of this ‘invisible’ community that I didn’t really know about. I felt sort of lonely for a while and nervous about it just because it wasn’t something I had seen before which can be pretty scary.” Although it’s changing, Arizona is a conservative state, and to a young queer woman not having role models can deter you from admitting your feelings or at least stop you from living as your authentic self. I asked her if where she grew up had any bearing on staying in the closet.
Karina with Joseph Johnson.
“It’s a good question because I didn’t meet — as far as I know, I’m sure I met lesbians — but I didn’t meet like any out lesbians or queer women in any capacity until I moved to Colorado Springs,” Karina said of her experience, adding that she met one of her best friends there who happened to have
two moms. “And it was like they were the first out lesbians in a relationship that I met in my entire life. It seems so weird now, but like I was almost 17 years old and I think the world’s changed a lot even in the past five years, which is beautiful. In Chandler, I mean when I was in high school, I remember marriage equality being like a huge debate topic. In my high school I maybe knew two — I went to Hamilton High School — I knew maybe like two or three students who were out. And I don’t think any of them were women.” Cirque du Soleil embraces their performers no matter how they identify so the only thing Karina has to worry about now is the demanding but ultimately gratifying routines that she and Joseph must accomplish in every performance. Although both are entertaining, the competitive world is a little different than the one for Cirque. She says some might think it’s an easier transition; it’ll be more relaxed physically. But it’s pretty intense. And their numbers are pretty challenging, it’s not like they stop skating cold turkey. They just push themselves in different ways. “It’s nice to not have the pressure, you know, when you’re competing to have maybe five chances in a year to show off what you have been working on, and in Cirque we have maybe a minimum of more than five shows a week. That’s a lot of fun to get to perform more often. That’s one of the best parts of being an athlete and being a performer and
an artist. It’s also an opportunity to have that moment with the crowd and show off what you’ve done so it’s really cool that I get the opportunity to do that every day.” Part of that cool factor is learning a completely different trick, or “element” as they call them, to incorporate into a performance. “Something really cool about Cirque is we have a number that is a flight number so a lot of the paired girls are in harnesses and we get to work in flight,” she says. “We have some elements where the boys will throw us into the air, we get to fly. That is an incredible thing to be able do on the ice that we would have never got to try out.” As for competitive sports, Karina isn’t sure if she will return once her contract is up at Cirque. That means she will be touring with the company for two years. She’s not counting her eggs before they hatch. “I mean we really don’t know where we’re going to be in five years. We kind of just take it one step at a time. And who knows? Maybe we’ll come back; it’s really to hard to say. We’ll say I’m competitively retired, but that just hard to say because I’m 23.” AXEL will be heading into Tucson this March. For Karina it’s a homecoming, but she’s not the same person she was when she left. She’s come out publicly in a historic move and has a part in one of the most successful circus companies in the world. Although she probably hasn’t fully realized she is an inspiration to the LGBTQ community, she’s getting there. “I got so excited to hear about your interview even,” she says. “It’s so nice to sort of be a part of that community in Arizona and help grow that space. It was muted when I was younger and I’m sure it was there it just that I wasn’t tuned into it yet.” Whether it’s at an ice rink in Chandler, or in a cul-de-sac on one of the hottest days in July, or even the Tucson Arena, Karina is coming home. Maybe a little different than when she left but that’s not what matters. “Arizona always feels like home,” she says. “I grew up there and like I said so many people that I’m close with live there. My brother lives there. A lot of my best friends live there and it will be nice to come back and kind of be.” Timothy Rawles is an award-winning journalist and California native who moved to Arizona with his husband and two children in 2019. He attended San Francisco State University many years ago and somehow managed to pass math and continue pursuing his journalism degree. His story is not as interesting as the people he writes about, but Timothy has discovered that everyone has one, and good or bad, they all share the same thing; heart.
Filming of Are You Worth A Rug Burn? Jan. 4 at The Rock, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2020-photos.
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Vecina’s incredible elote.
The exterior of Vecina, one of Arcadia’s newest restaurants.
Two drinks from Vecina’s craft cocktail menu. On the left is a Mi Amado and on the right an EL Santo.
Veni, Vidi, Vecina: Arcadia’s newest neighbor Story and photos by Jeff Kronenfeld
obert Frost once quipped that good fences make good neighbors. If the famous poet lived near chefs like James Fox and Eric Stone, he might have felt different. After all, what good is a wall against the scent of peppers slow roasting in mesquite smoke? Fox and Stone are the culinary brains behind Vecina, one of Arcadia’s hottest new restaurants. Whether you live next door or across the Valley, its inspired takes on Latin classics are worth the trek. Fox first thought of opening a restaurant as a student at Paradise Valley High School. His old friend Jamie Chapman, Stone and he would go on for hours about their dream. Fox and Stone both started working in kitchens. They each moved out of Arizona for a time. Fox lived in Mexico for a year. While there, he fell in love with that country’s culture and food. Eventually, he moved to New York City. Working in the Big Apple’s roughneck restaurant scene taught him to go that extra-mile to make a dish standout. Stone spent time working at restaurants in California. When 42
Fox and his wife recently returned home to the Valley, Stone approached them with an offer. He told them Kitchen 56 on Indian School and 56th street was closing. Stone asked if they would want to take over the space with a group of friends. They accepted and Vecina opened its doors in September of last year. The pair’s culinary philosophy is simple. The dishes they serve are anything but. Everything at Vecina — from a straightforward salsa to the most intricate elote — is filled with unexpected blends of ingredients and cooking styles from across Latin America, Asia and Europe. Fox estimates 85 to 90 percent of Vecina’s dishes have at least one item kissed by the mesquite wood-fueled flames of their Aztec Grill. The stainless-steel firebox allows for precise adjustments to radiant heat, conducted heat and high-velocity hot air. This moist warmth is perfect for slow cooking everything from chiles to fish filets. “It’s probably the best grill that I know of that you can purchase,” Fox said. Elote is a good example of how Vecina
uses the grill to create complex flavors. Their unique take on the Mexican street food classic crackles with at least a dozen discernable flavors. Fox loves the traditional style of a corn on the cob coated in butter, chile powder, cotija and served with mayonnaise. Still, Vecina’s chefs wanted to add their own interesting spin. They ended up making what I consider the Cadillac of corn. They start by roasting the husked corn on the Aztec. Then, the husk is peeled, and the corn grilled again. Next, they shave and mix the corn with a house-made whipped chorizo butter. No, the butter doesn’t have actual swine in it, and yes, it is as delectable as it sounds. A spice mix with over 20 ingredients is sprinkled on top, as well as six kinds of toasted chiles, cilantro and cotijas. It is served with a crema made of blended cilantro, garlic and lime juice. The sting of citrus balanced nicely with the milky warmth of the corn as my molars effortlessly ground it into polenta. If you are entertaining guests from out of town, this dish would be a great appetizer, DINING OUT
Vecina’s Duroc pork chop.
whether they are snobby coastal types or Midwest cornhuskers. My dining companion and I returned from a trip to the beaches of Mexico only two days before our visit to Vecina. While south of the border, we consumed many meals of Sonoran style ceviche. Thus, we were somewhat reluctant to order it at Vecina. How could it possibly compare to something we ate literally on the sands of the Sea of Cortez? Our fears proved unwarranted. The restaurant’s ceviche proved as unique and enjoyable as their elote. Instead of finely chopped bits of shrimp and fish, it consists of hardy chunks of hiramasa, yellowtail kingfish. It’s flown in fresh from Australia where it is sustainably farmed. This is soaked in lime juice for an hour and a half before being piled on a plate with pineapple, sliced red onions, and some seasoning. A little lake of coconut leche de tiegre is poured around the small mountain of fruity fish. The sauce’s blend of ginger heat, limey acid, creamy coconut and even a little umami kick is what really sold me on this dish. I closed my eyes with each bite and was transported back to that placid beach in fleeting moments. We also tried the Faroe Island Salmon Tacos. It was a color coordinated thing of beauty like an Arizona sunset. The pink salmon complemented the red hued citrus and the golden glow of the Aji Amarillo aioli. The lightly toasted flour tortilla was doughy and soft, almost like lavash bred. Each bite oozed with juices. I have seen some complaints about the larger size of the fish in this dish and the ceviche, but with such high-quality product, it be a shame to mince it. I enjoyed the hardy fish filets. Each taco was a tiny world of flavors. My fellow diner agreed, practically inhaling hers. Last but not least was the Grilled Duroc Pork Chop. Like the tacos, its presentation was top notch. There were spiraling green dollops, a bone aggressively jutting up and the charred, yet glowing exterior of the pork chop itself. I felt the primal carnivorous instinct ignited even before the first bite. My testosterone spiked with each hunk of meat candy. The deeply smoke crusted skin and sprinkling of chicharrons DINING OUT
Vecina’s Faroe Island salmon tacos.
added a nice texture to the tender flesh. The cocktail menu was curated by Miguel Mora, who like the pair of chefs is also a co-owner of Vecina. He burns Palo Santo wood before opening the bar to cleanse the space’s energy. It is a small but strong roster of cocktails, beer and wine, in spite of the mixed drinks seeming a tad overpriced. The happy hour menu is somewhat more affordable, but the house margaritas are still 10 dollars a pop. That said, I had the rum based El Santo and it was excellent. It came in a cute clay cup crowned with a laurel of fresh mint. My friend had a Mi Amado. The drink’s neon lavender color looked like something you could picture Harrison Ford swigging in Blade Runner. This one is very Instagram friendly. It proved a little too sweet for my friend, who ordered an El Santo for the next round.
HULA’S HIGH STREET Opening January 2020
TIKI DRINKS ISLAND EATS WEEKEND BRUNCH phoenix 5114 n. 7th st. scottsdale 7213 e. 1st ave. high street 5450 e. high st. #101 hulasmoderntiki.com
Vecina means neighbor in Spanish. The restaurant seems dedicated to being a good one. The staff were friendly and helpful. The Latin music was pleasant and not overpoweringly too loud. We counted three separate Shakira songs during our visit. The food was exceptional. Be sure to make reservations in advance. The one complaint I have other than the cost of cocktails is how tightly packed some part of the restaurant’s sections are. At first, we were seated at a row of tables so close together it felt like a discount airline cabin. I was practically rubbing elbows with a guy who appeared to be waiting nervously for a blind date. The staff allowed us to relocate to the high tables beside the east windows, but our original one was far too close for comfort. Maybe that old poet was right about good neighbors and good fences after all. Jeff Kronenfeld is an independent journalist based out of Phoenix, Arizona. His writing has been featured in Java Magazine, the Arts Beacon, PHXSUX, and the Phoenix Jewish News, where he received the Simon Rockower Award for excellence in news reporting from the American Jewish Press Association. Links to his previously published work are available at www.jeffkronenfeld.com. ECHOMAG.COM
Yanni Burton’s love and music is “Worth It” By Timothy Rawles, photos by Karl Giant
anni Burton could be a pop mega-star if he wanted to be even if his niche market straddles the line between dance club disco and piano infused ballads. What makes him different though are his cool, gentle vocals that don’t hide behind an industrial beat, but rather bloom within the hook, gaining more feeling as the song plays out, if only because the lyrics take up the emotional slack. This Julliard-trained Australian-born singer may have given us the best dance club song of last year with “Worth It,” but again not being mainstream, less people heard it than should have. I was, however, lucky enough to treat my air pods to it and immediately found myself hitting replay more than a few times. Although creating music is important to Yanni, he doesn’t limit himself . He does several creative things in his life, composing radio-ready music is only one of them. He seems content in knowing that his music takes up space on a streaming service rather than at the top of a list in Billboard Magazine. He has the voice and the looks to be a pop pin-up, or a gay idol, but his creative landscape is filled with much more than being something like a one-hit maestro. “I think maybe when I was a little younger I probably had that, but I found things that I enjoy and I want to be able to do a lot of different things and they all kind of level out,” he says in a subtle accent. I talked to Yanni just before he was getting on a plane back to the United States. He was in London for a little rest and relaxation. Of course, he says there was a little business sprinkled in throughout his trip, something you can’t avoid when you’re Yanni Burton. He grew up on a farm in Adelaide, Australia, and before we got down to discussing his music and his recent wedding engagement, I wanted to ask how he was feeling about the country-wide fires that have been devastating his homeland. He’s been in the United States for many years now and feels a little disjoined from Australia, but that doesn’t mean the impact of destruction hasn’t affected him, especially since the flames are edging close to his family. “It just doesn’t seem real, but my father has a farm in rural New South Wales and they’re 45 minutes away from the biggest fire so it’s scary and upsetting,” he says. “I do feel a little helpless not being there.” He welcomes a bit of relief knowing that rain has recently fallen on the region to calm things down a bit, but, he says, ”it’s not even the hot, hot, hot season yet. Late January, late Feb’ is when it gets crazy.”
He likens the climate to, of all places, Phoenix after a visit he made many years ago, “Weather-wise and culture-wise yeah it’s very similar. It’s bizarre.” ENTERTAINMENT
Traversing the pall of the conversation, I turn my attention to something more upbeat, his music career and the song “Worth It”. It’s a very low-key dance song as I mentioned before, but it definitely has all the trappings of a Billboard Dance hit even if its only lifespan might be several rotations at a gay dance club. The video for the song, however, takes a hard left turn in its narrative. Whereas the tune is a ballad for trusting someone and letting yourself fall in love, the video, while still about love, is about the toxic kind. In creating the visual tale for “Worth It,” director Tiger Darrow created a story that follows two young men: one, a smitten lad (Yanni) willing to do anything for his shady love interest (Kevin Reed), even home invasion.
Palmer. Unlike the character in the “Worth It” video, Jordan is a positive influence who throws his support behind Yanni in everything he does. In fact, Jordan was the driving force behind the musician’s motivation to make more music. “We met seven years ago actually,” in a bar, Jordan says. “And he’s probably the main reason I pursued singing and songwriting. My relationship before was not great and I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do and when we started dating he was just like, ‘yeah, you should be doing this, like your music’s great, get out there.’ He would come to all my gigs and he really gave me that confidence to pursue this career.”
“He’s obviously pressuring me into doing these things that I’m not comfortable with,” says Yanni of the video’s antagonist. “So, we just played with that idea and had it turn around on itself. So, you get two kinds of products out of it. You have this song you can listen to by itself then you see it with the music video and you get a different take.”
That confidence has also led to an engagement. The couple plan on getting married this coming August in Scotland. Yanni says it’s a place where both families can come and relax for three nights and four days. As for kids, it’s definitely in the cards. “Kids in New York and managing careers is very difficult. But yeah, family is very important to Jordan and me. It’s something in the horizon. We want to be out of a onebedroom apartment.”
Yanni loves the idea of interpretation, “when you get multiple angles it becomes even more fun for people to analyze it, put their own spin on it.”
The new year is bringing some new things to the artist. His day job, as he calls it, is as a production director and manager for a small arts company.
His videos are always artistic. The one for another of his songs, “Awake,” was more of a single-shoe dance concept video, while yet another, “End Up Missing,” was shot in Joshua Tree amid a freak cold snap.
Along with new remixes of his song “Mess Around,” he has another song and video coming out in the next month or two, it all depends on when the final edit is finished. He is just going to keep plugging away, “It’s like the most I’ve ever released and working with these artists, both musicians and writing and also with creative and visual people it’s just been an eye-opening experience, a privilege to bring a bunch of minds together and create something that we didn’t even think was possible.”
And that’s how it goes with Yanni. His music is not, or at least his songs are not part of an immediate collective. It’s an ever-evolving catalog, one that he fills with individually nurtured works that are only ready when he’s happy with them. “I think where I’m at, I really enjoy doing a single at a time because I can fully immerse myself into just one song, one project, produce a track and work with a director or an artist to kind of give it another layer, give a visual component to it,” he says. “And then I can just spend all my time on that one song. And I think financially if you are focusing on one product you give it your heart and soul and push it a little more and give that baby more love rather than a whole album at the same time which I mean I would love to do but I think just where I’m at right now, my career, for me, I get more enjoyment on a per project basis and also time, because I have a day job. I can spend a little more love on it and move on to the next track.” However, after is all is said and done, Yanni does have a backlog of unreleased songs, he says about 10, “I just don’t want to put them out there. I want to like give them the little love they deserve and do it gradually.” Speaking of love, Yanni has found it in the form of a southern boy named Jordan
What it all comes down to for Yanni is the love of the work and you can clearly hear that in his songs. From the lyrics to the composition, the handsome man from Australia with a great voice is only putting things out there that come from a very special place. And as sporadic as that might seem, his works still follow one important rule. “As long as you put heart and soul into it and you believe in what you’re doing I think that’s the biggest thing,” he says. Timothy Rawles is an award-winning journalist and California native who moved to Arizona with his husband and two children in 2019. He attended San Francisco State University many years ago and somehow managed to pass math and continue pursuing his journalism degree. His story is not as interesting as the people he writes about, but Timothy has discovered that everyone has one, and good or bad, they all share the same thing; heart. ECHOMAG.COM
AT THE BOX OFFICE
Four films in theaters this month By Tuesday Mahrle
Birds Of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn In theaters February 7 | Rated R | Action, Adventure, Crime
In the eighth installment of the DC Extended Universe, Birds of Prey follows Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) as she recovers from a split from her villainous mentor, The Joker. In her new life, she finds that an up-and-coming kingpin in Gotham, Roman Sionis, has his eyes set on a young, innocent girl to take under his wing. Harley joins forces with The Black Canary, The Huntress, and Renee Montoya as the unlikely foursome set out to take down Roman.
The Lodge In theaters February 20 | Rated R | 100 Minutes | Drama, Horror, Thriller
A stepmother-to-be wants to connect with her new stepchildren as they vacation in a remote village lodge. When the three become snowed in, the new stepmother, Grace, begins to be haunted by her dark past. From the directors of Goodnight Mommy, watch as the children unravel Grace’s tortured background and try to survive until the snow melts.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire In theaters February 14 | Rated R | 121 Minutes | Drama, Romance
A female painter is commissioned to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman in the late 18th century. The catch: the bride-to-be isn’t to know about it. The young French painter spends the day befriending the young bride in order to paint her at night when she’s alone. Each stroke of the brush resembles the final days of a woman’s freedom before being betrothed.
Burden In theaters February 28 | Rated R | 129 Minutes | Drama
Garrett Hedlund delivers an amazing performance as the Grand Dragon and Forest Whitaker as Reverend Kennedy in this drama about civil unrest in the South. When a museum celebrating the efforts of Ku Klux Klan opens in a South Carolina town, Reverend Kennedy tries to prevent racial upheaval. The congregation is further stirred when the reverend decides to shelter and protect the head of the KKK. Torn between race and religion, the reverend must decide right from wrong and who to protect — enemy or community. Tuesday Mahrle is a film critic and host of “Whiskey and Popcorn,” a Phoenixbased movie podcast. 46
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Join us for the Phoenix Chamber Music Festival all-star salute to Beethoven. As the world salutes the genius of Ludwig van Beethoven on his 250th birthday, Festival Artistic Director David Shifrin delivers the ultimate tribute: a six concert series treating you not only to Beethoven’s finest creations, but also presenting those composers who influenced Beethoven, and those he influenced in return. Artists include David Shifrin, Dover and Escher Quartets, Ida Kavafian, Anne-Marie McDermott, Steven Tenenbom, Peter Wiley, and more. It’s a musical experience you won’t find anywhere else! 2020 festival
Janet’s House [SOLD OUT] Desert Botanical Garden ASU Kerr Cultural Center Musical Instrument Museum Central United Methodist Church Private Home in Surprise
Monday, February 17, 6:00 pm Tuesday, February 18, 6:00 pm Thursday, February 20, 7:30 pm Friday, February 21, 7:30 pm Saturday, February 22, 7:30 pm Sunday, February 23, 4:00 pm
Information and tickets at PhoenixChamberMusicSociety.org or (602) 252-0095
Phoenix Chamber Music Society ECHOMAG.COM
R to L: Davide from Cirque du Soleilâ€™s OVO and his partner, Davide.
Love in balance at the circus By Timothy Rawles
ome self-proclaimed aesthetes may not find the circus an apt venue for fine art, but even they can appreciate all the flashy details and visual style that goes into it, especially something as vibrant as any one of the glossy Cirque du Soleil brands. But for Devin De Bianchi the circus wasn’t just a place to go for a night of entertainment, it was his life. He grew up in a traditional one, performing with his family for many years until the talent scouts came calling from Cirque du Soleil’s OVO, a high-energy production coming to Phoenix in late February. Unlike the old-fashioned Italian circus, he was used to, OVO pushed the 26-year-old’s limits from body to mind. As a gay man, his new role would also open communications with his family especially after he’d told them he found the love of his life. He might argue that the love of his life is the circus. After all his family was always there and if the stories are true, a welltraveled troupe is an extension of that. He wasn’t sure where he fit in, he thought it was gymnastics, but his parents weren’t convinced. “At the age of eight and nine they say that maybe I would be better as a hand balancer instead of other things,” Devin says in perfect English, but heavy Italian accent. “So, I said, yeah why not? I like hand balancing. And then I started specializing myself in that profession. Then at the age of 10, I started performing for six minutes in front of an audience for the first time.” From there Devin says he had many jobs. Whether it was with his family or working for other shows or on board a luxury ocean liner. Cirque du Soleil was just a pipe dream because he was lacking in self-confidence even though his friends kept pushing him to audition and praised his gifts. “I always told them, oh it’s very hard to enter, it’s very difficult and I don’t think I have that potential to be an artist for Cirque du Soleil,” he says, expressing that his career was fine at the time and if they never called it wasn’t the end of the world. “And then one day I was going to bed and checked my email box as I do every night and then I see like an email from a talent scout of Cirque du Soleil which was saying, ‘oh we saw your video, we are really interested to put you in the cast we need in the show OVO, to replace an artist.’ And I was like sure.” He sent them videos of his work, but he didn’t hear back right away. “After two days they said can you send me something more about you?” The scouts liked what they saw, he says, and asked him to do an online casting which is basically a video audition through email.
Devin was sent a choreography routine from Cirque which he had to learn and record. He learned it in two days and hit reply. He worried about what they thought, “I was really stressing and everything,” until he got the call he had been waiting for his whole professional life, he got the job. But there was a catch. He had met his partner Davide, and not only would the news change Devin’s life it would most certainly change Davide’s. And this would be the second time Devin would talk to his parents about being gay. The first time was in his youth while he was still performing in the traditional circus. His family was a close one, there was no hatred or judgment. Like all good families they took care of each other; however, there was a closet and it wasn’t until the age of 16, after falling in love with another guy, did Devin venture out of it. It was a scary move. “After that my parents were like, for a few weeks they were kind of, not angry with me, not disappointed with me, but they just need to realize the situation.” He gave them space to do that. The position was a bit uncomfortable at the time because of some of the people they were working with. His mother and father thought about it and told him they loved him. His mother had a favor to ask though out of regard to his gentle father. They asked Devin to hide it for a while, “because my father is really not a strong person and he’s a really cute, cute father I have,” he says. “And my mother tell me out of respect for your father, can you do your stuff but not telling everybody right now because people can go to your father and kid him like, oh your son is gay and then your father is not strong enough to answer to these bad people.” For the next few years Devin honored that request. But as people do, they talk, and since the handsome performer was not seen mingling with any girls romantically the rumors started. He decided to quit hiding after he made a trip to Rome in 2016, where he met his fiancé Davide. Davide was working in clothing stores in Rome. Devin was there for a performance. Up until that time dating wasn’t really a part of Devin’s life only because those he was interested in were skeptical of his travel schedule. They told him they weren’t interested in someone who moved a lot. “I was like, ‘okay.’ One day I will meet the right one, it will be when this person would like to follow my kind of lifestyle because I don’t want to change my lifestyle for somebody.” It was soon after he made this promise that he met Davide, who surprisingly liked what
Devin did for work. So much so Devin taught him how to perform aerial art using straps. But there was still that phone call he had to make to his parents to tell them he wasn’t hiding anymore, even to protect his dad. He told them that he really loved Davide and wanted to live in Italy with him and the circus. He wanted people to see the real Devin. His parents agreed. Although they lived in two different houses for a while, Devin and Davide were together. “So, after that it was no problem and people were seeing me.” Ultimately, he says the circus is big — but at the same time, small community. “So, if a gay comes out everybody knows already. So, me at that point I was one of the ones who had courage to say, I’m gay and I’m living in circus.” Eventually, people praised Devin for his courage, they let him know it. They didn’t focus on his relationship with Davide, but who he is as a person, as an artist. Overall, OVO is the story of diversity and acceptance too. Taking place in the insect world where the egg of a foreigner is introduced into a traditional community. The show is about movement more than dancing and as a hand balancer, Devin takes on the role of the ever-present dragonfly. Through it all, Devin can see some similarities in the tale he tells on stage every night. His life may not be that of a ladybug or cricket or any of the other colorful insects he performs next to, but he is certain the narrative is relatable to all. “It’s quite the story that can be for everybody, not just for me personally, like the diversity between people, right?” he asks. “And always celebrate love no matter from who you came from or for who you are, celebrating love between people, the same love. That’s a bit of the story of the show — kind of.” Cirque du Soleil’s OVO runs February 20-23 at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Visit cirquedusoleil.com for tickets and information. Timothy Rawles is an award-winning journalist and California native who moved to Arizona with his husband and two children in 2019. He attended San Francisco State University many years ago and somehow managed to pass math and continue pursuing his journalism degree. His story is not as interesting as the people he writes about, but Timothy has discovered that everyone has one, and good or bad, they all share the same thing; heart. ECHOMAG.COM
t’s early in the new decade, so I thought I’d change things up a bit. This month, I’m going to look at singles that have recently come out and give you thoughts on them, for better and/or worse. Most people don’t listen to full records anymore, anyway, so it’s time to add a new wrinkle. So, without further ado …
By Tom Reardon
Justin Bieber — “Yummy”
More like yucky! I am just not down with the Bieber. “Yeah, you got that yum-my, yum-my, yummy, yummy” will just never be a compelling lyric. For example, what is “Yummy” about the person or people in question? Do they taste good? Are they attractive? I need to know if I am going to feel anything but repulsed by this song. Yep, fuck this song and the frosted-tip horse it rode in on.
instrumentation happening by Bombay Bicycle Club and it will stick with you, but so does the extra 10 pounds you gained over the holidays from all that fudge.
Rat Boy — “Victim Of A System”
definite rocker with some great guitar work and drumming. The whole package is quite nice.
Howard Jones — “The One To Love You (The Lifelike mix)”
T.S.O.L. — “Ghost Train”
Released by local label, Slope Records, T.S.O.L’s “Ghost Train” sounds so much like love child of ‘80s new wave/alternative kings Simple Minds and Psychedelic Furs that I would swear the two bands fornicated beneath a Billy Idol poster. Got a visual on that yet? Anyway, while it’s not anywhere close to as powerful as their early ‘80s punk rock fury, “Ghost Train” is actually a really fun listen and shows that the boys from Long Beach were listening to more than just punk in the old days.
Bombay Bicycle Club — “I Can Hardly Speak” So much better than Bieber and that is not saying a whole lot. This tired indie-pop kind of lays there inviting you to climb on board and maybe rub something against it, but you know, deep down, it doesn’t care if you’re there or not. There is some cool 50
Surprisingly catchy, this song was not at all what I expected when I saw the name of the band. Got to love that Spotify new music list for throwing on something that gets the toes tapping a bit. Definitely not my usual cup of tea, but I didn’t hate it and will probably listen a few more times, as well as see what else these kids got. I’m assuming they are kids. Maybe not. Maybe Rat Boy is half-rat, half-manchild, and is coming to take over the world. Catchy stuff. And now that I’ve looked him up, seems like a wonderful NYC boy who likes to rock out while cranking out pop gems. Good on you, Rat Boy, good on you.
Foo Fighters — “Winnebago” This is the first track off a new Foo Fighters EP and I like it. I forget that the whole concept of Foo Fighters was pretty cool at first. Dave Grohl was in one of my all-time favorite bands, Nirvana. When he started Foo Fighters, it was certainly exciting to see what he could do on his own. Of course, we know now that he’s an incredibly talented songwriter and an engaging front man who seems to also have no problem putting his money where his mouth is in supporting other musicians, as well. “Winnebago” is a
I think I’ve openly declared my love for Howard Jones a few times in the last year and here I will do so again. While I cannot put my finger on exactly why this is, I love pretty much everything the polite, older Englishman does. This mix of “The One To Love You” is danceable ‘80s Britpop at its finest. Timeless, really, as old folks like me are easily transported by Jones’ fine voice and rhythms to our days of dancing at Tommy’s and Hot Bods before we were 21, taking in the sights and sounds and smells of adolescent angst mixed with hormone (and Strawberry Hill wine) fueled desire. Tom Reardon loves to write about people who are doing something to contribute to our community in a positive way. He also loves his family and family of friends, his pets, music, skateboarding, movies, good (and bad) TV, and working with children to build a better world. Tom’s favorite movie is Jaws, his favorite food is lasagna, and he loves to play music with his friends. He’s a busy guy, but never too busy to listen to what you have to say so tell him a story. ENTERTAINMENT
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Your “Alternative” Dental Office PRESS RELEASE In 1936 Victor H. Green published "The Green Book", at the time a life changing publication for the negro community. It allowed members of that community to visit merchants, hotels, restaurants et al without worrying about discrimination. THE APP from LGBTQ.one will do the same in 2020 and beyond for the LGBTQ community. When David and Charlie went into a bakery in Denver Colorado in 2012 to order a wedding cake, they didn’t know they would end up in a court battle with the baker. In February 2019, Anna and Amanda tried to arrange a wedding photographer and ended up on the six o’clock news. Sometimes it seems like we are still living in the dark ages. But now there is a light, now there is THEAPP! We have the technology that will allow us to live our lives peacefully and do business within a community that is kind, tolerant and accepting. THEAPP from LGBTQ.one is a revolution in inclusive geo-social commerce. Dedicated to only those businesses that prefer to do business with the LGBTQ community, THEAPP will guide you to the things you want and need day to day. From Cakes to Photographers, from Dress Makers to Hair Stylists, or maybe just a safe and accepting gathering place, whatever locations and/or services you seek, THEAPP will find it for you and assure that it is a friendly and safe experience. THEAPP from LGBTQ.one has you covered, whatever you are looking for.
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Looking for someone? THEAPP has a very special feature. Whether it is a brief chat, a meet up for coffee or a long-term relationship you are looking for, THEAPP has the power to bring together people of like interests in an effective, safe and logical way. Similar to the way an entertainment guide alerts you of nearby business’s and deals offered, even when you are traveling, THEAPP keeps a lookout in a circle around you and notifies you when it detects another LGBTQ THEAPP user nearby. You can define the size of the area you want to monitor. You can filter your interests so THEAPP will notify you only if other persons of like interests are in your area. You can send a greeting, start a conversation, text and even video chat. You can turn the feature on when you are in the mood or off when business calls or the time is not right. Going out on the town or visiting a new city? Turn on THEAPP and go boldly where those of like minds go. Back to work the next day. Turn it off, and no signals are sent. THEAPP is vendor supported so, it’s free. NO CARD is ever required, to enter or to join our basic service. Participation is completely FREE! Stop in and look around any time. We do verify an email address just to prevent spamming.
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BETWEEN THE COVERS
Best Books of 2019 By Terri Schlichenmeyer
ike the saying goes: so many books, so little time. Here are the can’t-miss, shouldn’t-skip books of 2019.
Fiction If the subject of death can be taken lightly, there’s no better way than in How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper. It’s the story of a man who works in London as a finder:
when someone dies, the people in his office are tasked with locating the survivors of the deceased. That’s not the funny part; the humor comes in a blurted statement that literally takes on a life of its own, and the lengths the man goes to perpetuate it. Clever, witty, perfect. Lovers of Mark Twain’s adventure books
will relish This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger, the story of two boys who run away from an Indian Training School in 1932, and they head down the Mississippi to escape the adults who want them back. Lush, exciting, and irresistible, this novel will fill a good evening or two. What can you say about a book that starts
off with an attempted suicide? That’s Talk to Me by John Kenney, and that’s what happens after a TV newscaster insults a temporary worker and because of it, his life falls completely apart. Media folks will particularly enjoy this story, but if you’re a news junkie or a hardline TV watcher, you’ll love it, too. If you’ve already seen the movie about Harriet Tubman, then you know the kind of treat you’re in for when you read The Tubman Command by Elizabeth Cobbs. Taking one small event from Tubman’s life, this novel blows it up big and makes it exciting, while reminding readers that Tubman was a woman, first and foremost. For readers who need a novel that means something, this is it. (Tip: get it in an audiobook, for the full effect). And, last but not least in the fiction category, American Pop by Snowden Wright is a sweeping, multigenerational novel about a family whose patriarch creates a drink sensation. When he passes the business down
to his scheming children, interesting — and heart-wrenching — things begin to happen. Non-Fiction For political animals and those who are tired of politics as usual, Palm Beach, Mar-A-Lago, and the Rise of America’s Xanadu by Les Standiford is a book to read. It’s a biography of a place and the people who made it, and it’s also a history of us, our need to explore, our adventurous spirit, and our forever fascination with celebrities. You don’t have to have visited Las Vegas, nor do you have to remember the Rat Pack to enjoy Elvis in Vegas by Richard Zoglin. Sure, it helps, but loving glitz, glamour, entertainers, and scandal is really all you need to want this book. It’s not cheating to put together Bitten by Kris Newby and Mosquito by Timothy C. Winegard in one Best Of list, because they really belong side-by-side on your shelf.
Newby’s book is about all the things that can bite you and maybe kill you. Winegard’s book is about one thing that bites and kills more humans than any other creature. How can you resist books like those? And then there’s The League of Wives by Heath Hardage Lee, a book about the wives of the men who served in Vietnam and were captured, and what these brave women did for themselves, their husbands, and others to bring their men home. If you remember the war — or if you didn’t — you owe it to yourself to read this hidden history. Children’s Books It’s going to be hard to decide if the story in Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o is the better part of the book, or if the illustrations by Vashti Harrison are the better reason to have it. Either way, this beautiful book is about a little girl who learns to come to terms with the tone of her skin in a way that’s magical. Story or illustrations? Both. Kids ages 7-12 will love the slightly-creepy story of friendship in The Afterwards by A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Emily Gravett. It’s the story of a girl who finds a garden in which things that are dead, aren’t quite dead. When she discovers her best friend in the garden, she must make a hard, hard decision. Bonus: borrow it back for a wonderful reminder of childhood friendships. And rounding out the Best of Children’s Books for 2019 is Fraternity by Alexandra Robbins, who takes a look at college fraternities and some young men who joined them. It’s an eye-opener for teens who are heading to college soon, and it’ll give parents something to think about and discuss. 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.
Four toxic fitness relationships to break up with now By Tia Norris
ometimes, in the pursuit of getting healthier, people can pick up some dangerously unhealthy relationships along the way. From obsessive tracking, to varying degrees of self-sabotage, and yo-yo exercising or dieting, almost everyone I work with accidentally acquires one of these toxic relationships with diet and fitness in time. The keys to change are: first, recognizing the problems as actual problems; and second, committing to better behaviors and thought patterns going forward. Here are four of the most toxic fitness relationships I see, and how to break up with them forever. 1. Obsessive weighing, or playing the numbers game at all I have a saying as a trainer: “If you play the numbers game, you’ll never win.” Read this twice: the scale is a second tier, or even third tier, assessment of progress within fitness. Too many people place a tragic amount of emphasis on the number of the scale; when, this number is not only extremely variable but it also doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to transformation. Here are some things that greatly affect small variances in your daily weight: caloric intake, sleep, stress, sodium, water retention, hormones, activity level, weather conditions, altitude conditions, bowel movements, and so much more. Your weight will fluctuate naturally every day according to this long list of contributors, making the scale weight a somewhat unreliable measurement! Moreover, don’t neglect the fact that as you get stronger and fitter, you’ll be building muscle along the way. Most often, clients like the way they look with more muscle and less body fat — and most often, that physical transformation does not translate into much loss, if any at all. Let go of the scale and instead focus on progress pictures, strength
achievements, energy levels, clothes fitting differently, and other positive measurements. 2. Perfectionism and the elusive, invisible standard Too often, people begin a fitness journey with goals that are far too aggressive, and those that will take a long time to fully achieve; but, alongside their aggressive goals, they assign a ridiculously short time frame to achieve those goals. They think they should already have it; they think they should already be further along, faster, stronger, bigger, smaller, fitter; and then they criticize themselves so unduly harshly for not hitting the goals, albeit unfounded goals from the start. Beware the perfectionistic thinking patterns; seek out a coach or an expert who can help you to set realistic goals, and then be patient with yourself. Getting fit, and strong, and lean, and fast, takes a long time! Settle in for the long haul and set your expectations accordingly … it’ll save you a lot of stress and heartbreak down the road. 3. Senseless comparison to others Expanding on #2 above, for the love of God: stop comparing yourself to others. They are on their own journey, at their own stages, with their own strengths and weaknesses and struggles that you most likely aren’t taking into account. You don’t need to be as fit, as strong, as lean, as fast, or as whatever as those around you — all you need to do is be the best that you can be at any given time. Ask yourself: are you doing your very best on your program at this moment? Do you devote as much time as needed to your exercise? Do you make time for recovery, mental health, massages, and other self-care? Do you maximize your efforts on meal planning, tracking, clean supplements, and efficient timing? If you aren’t doing your best, then
find ways to get to your best. If you are doing your best, then you can’t possibly be further than you are at this point — accept that and let the rest of the comparisons GO. 4. Extreme fad diets, calorie slashes, cleanses, and other quick fixes I can’t possibly roll my eyes any harder at people who believe that this shit actually works, long term. Sure, these extreme measures will shock your body into submission for a short while, but of course, they’re not sustainable, period! Accept the fact that changing your physique takes a long time … and if you can truly wrap your mind around that, then ask yourself if the sharp calorie cuts and all-juice diets will really last for months or years at a time — all of them will fail the test of sustainability, therefore making them poor strategies for real, lifestyle-type of adaptations. Any diet that eliminates an entire macronutrient will not work. Any diet that drops your calories below what you need to technically metabolically survive (your BMR; look this up) will not work. Any diet that has you not eating much, will not work. Small changes over long periods of time are the best bets! Most of these toxic relationships can be solved easily, on principles: be patient, be kind to yourself, and focus solely on yourself. Cut through the BS of the diet industry, supplement marketing, and false promises … put in the work, over and over, to see the results. Break up with these toxic behaviors, and make smarter plans to truly get healthy from the inside, out this year! Tia Norris is the president and head trainer at FitPro, LLC, a local fitness company. Find out more at fitprollc.com. HEALTH & FITNESS
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NOT THAT YOU ASKED
Why gays great till they gotta be great? By Buddy Early
ast month a coworker made a racist comment to me.
I almost referred to it here as a joke, but although he intended it to illicit laughter, it certainly wasn’t funny. He knew it was inappropriate, as evidenced by the way he leaned in and said it rather quietly. Aside from being completely disgusted that he would assume I’m fine hearing racist “jokes,” I’m equally disappointed in myself for tolerating it. You see, while I gave him an unmistakable disapproving look, I let loose a tiny chuckle.
I have always — and especially since November 2016 — touted myself as a person who will call out racists and racism whenever I encounter them or it. So why, in this scenario, did I make a split-second decision to let it slide and offer tacit approval of his comment? Perhaps it was because up until this moment I really liked this coworker; I was hurt when I found out the kind of person he is. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for such a confrontation at this particular time. The best I can do is promise myself that the next time I won’t let this opportunity pass. I have forgiven myself. But what has been weighing on my mind more than my cowardice is this coworker’s comfortability with telling me a racist joke. This person knows I’m gay, and he knows that … well, that’s all someone really needs to know in order to assume I am not cool with bigotry. I’m not naïve; I know that gay people do not all share the same politics and values. I know our community includes liberals, moderates and conservatives. Many of 56
us care about our fellow humans … and some others are current members of the Republican Party. (I couldn’t resist.) But if there are things we all should be on the same page regarding, it’s bigotry and bias in all forms. I’ve been an out gay man for almost 25 years now and, if I do say so myself, have been an active, contributing, wellconnected member of this community. During that time, I have, unfortunately, witnessed deplorable behavior from gay men and lesbians. I’ve seen people of color excluded, derided, and segregated. I’ve witnessed both blatant and subtle displays of racism in some of our community’s watering holes. And I’ve overheard more racial slurs and “jokes” like the one my coworker told than I care to remember. It’s shameful and embarrassing for our community. There are a good number of gay men and women who would be outraged the second marriage equality is put on the chopping block, adoption rights for gay couples threatened, or employment discrimination codified. On those occasions they leap into action as Super Social Justice Warrior. But that’s where it stops for them. They’re peculiarly quiet when the topic is black men being stopped by police for no reason — and then shot by police for no reason. They remain silent when Hispanic parents are separated from their young children at border camps. They keep their mouths shut when a Muslim individual is escorted off a plane because
one of the passengers got scared. But two queens get bad service at a restaurant and there is hell to pay! All of this is what went through my head after I tolerated my coworker’s racist comment. I kept thinking “How could this person not know that I don’t approve of that?” I wanted to return to him and say “You know I’m gay, right? So why did you feel comfortable saying something racist in front of me?” But after a bit of contemplation I realized: he didn’t assume I’m anti-racism because there are plenty of racist gay people. I can fault him for his racism, but I can’t fault him for his assumption about me — or lack of assumption. That fault lies with my community. He told me his lame racist joke because he figured, gay or not, I was a good old American racist like him. In January, I celebrated two decades of being a writer for this magazine. I’ve witnessed a lot of wonderful things; gay people have won our equal rights and protections in almost every arena. My wish for this next decade is that we understand that other communities’ existence is being threatened in numerous ways. My wish is that our racist coworkers will automatically know we are a people who are not racist. I think it should be a given. Buddy Early grew up in Tempe and has been involved in various communities across the Valley since. He is a former managing editor of both Echo Magazine and Compete Magazine. COMMUNITY
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Donald “Duane” McNutt
August 31, 1956 — November 22, 2019 It is with great sadness that the family of Donald Duane McNutt, 63, announces his sudden passing on Nov. 22, 2019 at HonorHealth Scottsdale Shea Hospital following numerous health issues. Donald (Duane) was born in Huron, S. Dakota on Aug. 31, 1956 to Francis R. and Patricia McNutt (Katterich). He was the youngest of three children graduating from Watertown High School in Wisconsin. Duane began his career as an electrician in Wisconsin before moving to Phoenix. His parents Pat and Francis preceded him in death. While an electrician by trade, he was a Jack of all Trades and a Master of Many.
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His family and friends knew him as the Class Clown, who loved to party, truth be told he was highly intelligent. He was a loving and caring man who enjoyed being at home. However, he could easily be persuaded to take a vacation or go on a cruise. Duane will forever be remembered fondly and lovingly by his family and countless friends he made through life. A service in memory and celebration of Duane's life will be held at a later date. Duane is survived by his brother Ron, sister Donna McNutt and the Holten Family. May you rest in pain-free peace. Love and miss you, your life partner Roy P. Holten. ECHOMAG.COM
PHOENIX BARS 18
21 4 24
23 19 2
1 13 22
10 *MAP IS NOT DRAWN TO SCALE
2424 E. Thomas Road
M, D, L
3702 N. Sixteenth St.
M, E, N
901 N. Fourth St.
MF, N, R
4301 N. Seventh Ave.
MF, D, E
7125 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale
MF, D, E
4428 N. Seventh Ave.
M, L, N
CARAVAN TAP ROOM CLOSED
4835 N. Fifteenth Ave.
MF, E, N
727 W. Camelback Road
M, E, D
3702 N. Seventh St.
M, E, N
3432 E. Illini St.
105 W. Portland St.
FLEX SPAS PHOENIX
1517 S. Black Canyon Highway
1724 E. McDowell Road
3110 N. Central Ave., Ste. 175
MF, E, N
1028 E. Indian School Road
MF, N, R
NU TOWNE SALOON
5002 E. Van Buren St.
M, L, N
OFF CHUTE TOO
4115 N. Seventh Ave.
1804 W. Bethany Home Road
1560 E. Osborn Road
MF, E, N
ROYAL VILLA INN
4312 N. Twelfth St.
STACY’S @ MELROSE
4343 N. Seventh Ave.
MF, D, N
THE CASH NIGHTCLUB AND LOUNGE
1730 E. McDowell Road
F, D, N
1440 E. Indian School Road
4129 N. Seventh Ave.
MF, E, N
2601 ON CENTRAL
2601 N. Central Ave.
MF, E, R
MAP CODES: M F MF
Mostly Males Mostly Females Mixed Male/Female
A Adult Retail & Accomodations D Dance Club E Entertainment (Karaoke, Drag)
L N R
Leather/Bears Neighborhood Bar Restaurant
Mr. & Ms. Phoenix Leather Contest
Jan. 4 at Embassy Suites Hotel, Phoenix. Photos by Gregg Edelman.
BUNKHOUSE S HH and $1 Drafts all day. Indian Fry Bread M T W T F S
with Joe Jackson Thames 12 p.m. - 9 p.m., Live Jazz with Kenny Thames 7:30 - 10 2-4-1 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., HH 2 - 8 p.m., Pool tournament 9 p.m. 2-4-1 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., HH 2 - 8 p.m. 2-4-1 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., HH 2 - 8 p.m., Karaoke 9 p.m.-close 2-4-1 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., HH 2 - 8 p.m., Underwear/Gear night $1 off drinks if in gear or underwear 8-close, WMW dancers 10-12 2-4-1 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., HH 2 - 8 p.m. $2.50 Miller 8- close 2-4-1 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., HH 2 - 8 p.m., $2.50 Bud 8 - close
CHARLIE’S S Super HH 4 - 7 p.m., $3 pitchers; $3 Long
Islands open - 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 2 - 8 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestic bottles, $3 pitchers; 2-4-1 cocktails & beer 8 p.m - close 2 -8 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestic bottles, $3 pitchers; $3 Three Olives vodka, 8 p.m. close 2 - 8 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestic bottles, $3 pitchers; 2-4-1 drinks open - close 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 Noon - 7 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestics; HH 7 - 9 p.m.; $1 well & domestics, $3 Absolut & Bacardi 10 p.m. - midnight
STACY’S @ MELROSE S $2 Wells, RR & BL Drafts, 2-7; $3 Bud Light
M T W T F S
Bottles, 2-Close; $3.50 Fireball shots, 7-Close; Happy Hours & $5.00 Absolut cocktails, 10-Close Happy Hours & $3 RR & Bud Lt Draft, 4-Close; $3.50 Fireball, 8-Close Happy Hours, $4 Margaritas, $3 RR & Bud Lt Draft, 4-Close; Taco Tuesday, $1 Street Taco 2-4-1 all day, No Shots, 4-Midnight; Happy Hours, Midnight-close; 2-4-1 Chits good all night Happy Hours, 4-close; We Accept 2-4-1’s from Other Bars, 4-close Happy Hours 4-8.; $3.00 RR & Bud Lt Draft,4-Close; $5.00 Deep Eddy flavors & Fireball, 8-Close Happy Hours 4-8; $3.00 Rolling Rock & Bud Light Draft,4-Close; $5.00 Deep Eddy flavors & Fireball, 8-Close FEBRUARY 2020
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2019-photos OUT & ABOUT
Call Jeffrey today to find out about his personal approach to limiting your tax burden. If you owe the IRS or have unfilled tax returns I am authorized by the US Treasury to help you negotiate a settlement option you can afford, sometimes for less than you owe. Have you been charged a penalty? Let me see If I can eliminate it, and have the money refunded to you.
New Yearâ€™s Eve
Dec. 31 at Bunkhouse, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2019-photos.
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35, 51 51
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Echo Magazine – 2020 marks our 31th year! Arizona's leading media outlet dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in news, views and entert...
Published on Jan 12, 2020
Echo Magazine – 2020 marks our 31th year! Arizona's leading media outlet dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in news, views and entert...