Creating Our Own Platforms Find out how Sister Indica and other LGBTQ community members are serving their niche audiences LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT | VOL. 29, #10 | ISSUE 706 | JULY 2018 | COMPLIMENTARY
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inside this issue Issue 706 | Vol. 29, #10 | July 2018
features NEWS 8
Letter From The Editor
12 News Briefs 14 Datebook 20 Find out how The Queer Agenda is redeﬁning drag 22 Tucson’s VAMP serves oneof-a-kind drag experience PREVIEWS AND REVIEWS 40 Without Reservations 42 At The Box Ofﬁce
46 Opening Nights 48 Between The Covers 26
“Joy Bomb” Meet Sister Indica, a rogue nun who’s served healing, honesty and human connection for 250 episodes.
“Let’s Have a Fefe” Drag duo Felicia Minor and Freddy Prinze Charming digital space becomes a platform for LGBTQ advocacy.
COMMUNITY 50 Not That You Asked 52 Talking Bodies 66 Lambda Directory
ON THE COVER Sister Indica and Dixon DuMay are among the local voices spilling the tea in this issue. Photo by Scotty Kirby.
Creating Our Own Platforms Find out how Sister Indica and other LGBTQ community members are serving their niche audiences LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT | VOL. 29, #10 | ISSUE 706 | JULY 2018 | COMPLIMENTARY
The Sound of Authenticity Local duo launches new podcast to convey nuances of the trans experience beyond the transition.
“Whiskey and Popcorn” Podcast co-hosts, Tuesday Mahrle and Kaely Monahan, transcend platforms and lend their voices to Echo’s pages.
inside this issue
echomag.com web exclusives PHOTO GALLERIES Did the Echo cameras catch you out and about at this month’s events? Find out at echomag.com/ gallery/2018-photos. COMMUNITY CALENDAR From pageants to advocacy, this is where the community goes to ﬁnd out what’s going on in the gayborhood. Accepted Echo’s bookworm Terri Schlichenmeyer reviews Pat Patterson’s account of How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE. echomag.com/accepted
Fruity Fashion Mikey Rox, of Paper Rox Scissors, handpicks nine fruit-inspired items for making your summer a little juicier. echomag.com/fruity-fashion
echomag.com/ community-calendar COMMUNITY DIRECTORY Looking for a local group to join? Have a group that’s seeking new members? Either way, this is the place to connect. echomag.com/ community-directory MARKETING SOLUTIONS Find out why Echo is the publication your future clients are already reading. echomag.com/
Photo courtesy of TLC.
Lucky (Season) 13 Arizona Broadway Theatre presents 100th production, Disney’s Mary Poppins, July 6-22 at the Herberger. echomag.com/abt-13
“Lost in Transition” Go behind the scenes of TLC’s new docuseries and meet the families sharing their trans experiences. echomag.com/lost-in-transition
LETTER FROM THE editor By KJ Philp
s June comes to a close, we find ourselves thrilled with the visibility that such events as Pride Night with our favorite professional sports teams offer our community and we’re, no doubt, decked out in Pride gear that our favorite retailer has offered as a nod to the festivities and celebrations that this month brings with it. But once July hits, is it back to business as usual? Will the sentiments and gestures of inclusivity, once again, fade? Or do these efforts by the mainstream equal strides toward full inclusion year after year? Only time will tell. But in the meantime, we’ve dedicated this issue to all the LGBTQ individuals who decided once upon a time that they weren’t going to wait for representation in their respective industries and created their own platforms to ensure their voices, their creative expression and the issues that are critical to them had a seat at the table. While our community has been doing this since it’s earliest days – and continues to do so in a capacity that’s impossible to cover in its entirety – this issue offers you a snapshot of just some of the community’s voices that have emerged to fill a void, offer a new perspective or create a dialogue that didn’t otherwise exist. We’re excited to lend our platform to a few others this issue and we invite you to get to know more about these individuals and their work in the pages ahead. First up, as you may have noticed on the cover, is Sister Indica who’s podcast “Joy Bomb” started out as platform to promote the events of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, but quickly turned into so much more. Meet the Valley transplant behind the one-nun show on page 26. From there, we’d like you to meet Dixon DuMay. Not only was he the perfect antagonist for our Daddy’s Day photo shoot, but he’s also a fixture in VAMP, the Tucson-based troupe that’s redefining the drag stage. We caught up with Dixon and the show’s creator Jenna DuMay on page 22.
On a similar note, we’ve teamed up with Echo Hall of Famer and the creator of ArizonaDrag.com Edward Castro for the first time to deliver a piece he wrote on The Queer Agenda, one of the newest drag show concepts to hit
the Valley. Edward interviewed Carnita Asada, the show’s director, and we have all the tea on page 21.
LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT PUBLISHER: Bill Orovan ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Bill Gemmill
Spoiler alert: This won’t be the last you hear from Edward in our pages, so be sure to check out our August issue to find out more of what our new partnership means for the Echo pages.
Next, we’re excited to spotlight a duo that’s turned their drag brands and digital media savvy into an ongoing conversation that knows no limits. Just as Felicia Minor and Freddy Prinze Charming wrapped season six of their podcast, Echo sat down with them to find out more about their show in “Let’s Have a Fefe” on page 32.
Anthony Costello Tamara Juarez Laura Latzko Edward Castro Tuesday Mahrle Liz Massey Kaely Monahan Devin Millington
Among the ranks of veteran storytellers and bold performers, we’re also celebrating a newcomer to the world of local media. With their newly launched podcast, “Transform: Beyond The Transition,” local transmen and subject matter experts Sam Garman and Michael Soto have turned a lack of conversation around the T in LGBTQ into a platform for discussion and education. Learn more about the space they’ve created and their goals for the show on page 36. Last, but definitely not least, I’m proud to finally announce the newest contributors to join Team Echo. Tuesday Mahrle and Kaely Monahan have been tag teaming red carpets, movie screenings and film festivals – then recapping their experiences via the podcast “Whiskey and Popcorn” – for more than a year now. When the opportunity to add their voices and perspectives to our pages presented itself, we said that’s a wrap! Not only will you hear from one or both of them each month in our “At The Box Office” film previews, we also have a proper introduction scripted for you on page 38. That’s all we could possibly fit into this issue, and through it we hope we’ve introduced you to a show you otherwise weren’t privy to or a conversation that you haven’t been able to engage in elsewhere. Because, after all, who’s going to create fiercely diverse new platforms for us besides us?
KJ Philp is the managing editor of Echo Magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com.
MANAGING EDITOR: KJ Philp CONTRIBUTORS: David-Elijah Nahmod Tia Norris Hans Pedersen Seth Reines Terri Schlichenmeyer Rachel Verbits Nikole Tower Megan Wadding
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AGRA Donates $30K to Local Charities The Arizona Gay Rodeo Association (AGRA) presented checks totaling $30 thousand to seven local charities May 20 at Charlie’s Phoenix. Throughout the year AGRA members and volunteers work to raise money and produce the annual Arizona Gay Rodeo. After the rodeo is over, members nominate and vote on how to disperse the donations. For 2018, $30,000 will be donated – almost doubling 2017’s donation of $17,325.
The donations were divided among the nominated charities as voted upon by the membership: Cactus Cities Softball League: $1,942.86 TIHAN (Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS network): $3,042.86 Casa de Cristo: $3,176.19 Phoenix Gay Flag Football League: $3,209.52 Community Church of Hope: $3,909.52 Joshua Tree Feeding Program: $6,576.19 PFLAG Phoenix: $8,142.86
ACLU Reaction to AZ Appeals Court Ruling in Discrimination Case The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled against a business claiming a First Amendment right to deny service to same-sex couples June 7 The case, Brush and Nib v. City of Phoenix, involves a calligraphy business that turned away same-sex couples who had wanted access to the same services the calligraphy business would provide to heterosexual couples. The business claimed that Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance compelled them to create messages in violation of their First Amendment right to free expression. Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU, had the following reaction: “The Arizona court today rightly ruled that businesses open to the public must be open to all and cannot discriminate against potential customers based on who they are: in this case, members of the LGBT community. Importantly, the Arizona court also applied the Supreme Court’s Monday decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop here, affirming once again the importance of laws protecting the dignity of LGBT people in the public marketplace. “We will continue to fight the dangerous notion that businesses have a constitutional right to discriminate in courts, in legislatures, and beyond. This decision in Arizona helps affirm that discrimination has no place in businesses open to the public, nor in our Constitution.” To read the full release, visit aclu.org/news/aclu-reaction-arizona-appealscourt-ruling-discrimination-case. Source: American Civil Liberties Union. 12
AGRA would like to thank all the rodeo volunteers, members, sponsors, contestants and board of directors who made the 2018 Arizona Gay Rodeo so successful and allowed it to donate $30,000 back into the community. For more information, visit agra-phx.com or contact Mark Boyd AGRA’s public relations director at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-717-8685 Source: Arizona Gay Rodeo Association.
Community Church of Hope to honor Stonewall anniversary
The Community Church of Hope, an LGBTQ spiritual community that welcomes all to join us as each one of us discovers her/his spiritual path in community, will begins a year-long 50th anniversary celebration of the Stonewall Inn riots that occurred on June 28, 1969. The New York riots kicked off a series of actions that have culminated in our celebration of Pride in America today. The church’s goal is to become a better educated congregation during this year long observance that we might be better informed about our history and use that knowledge to move forward in our future. The church will begin this important year in our history beginning July 1 with an interview by Rev. Andy Anderson at the 9 and 11 a.m. services with Bob Lewis, a Veteran of the Stonewall Inn riots, who will share his personal experiences of the event and share with us his observations of the LGBTQ community’s struggles throughout the years that followed this seminal event. A swim/dance party sponsored by the church will take place June 22 and feature music from its Rainbow anthems, picnic foods and games to
celebrate pride and community. A workshop, led by Rev. Patrick Stout, is being planned for the fall that will teach information on Gay History in America and serve as a reminder of the important individuals and events that have taken place in our community before and after the Stonewall Inn riots. Most events are free or a minimal donation is charged to cover food, etc. All are welcome to attend. As additional events are planned, they will be listed at communitychurchofhope.com. The Community Church of Hope is located at 4121 N. Seventh Ave. (main entrance on Sixth Drive), in Phoenix, and can be reached at 602-234-2180. Source: Community Church of Hope. news
datebook June 29
The Haüs x VAMP present Vander Von Odd, the winner of “Dragula” Season 1, beginning at 10 p.m. at The Flycatcher, 340 E. Sixth St., in Tucson. (See story, page 22.) flycatchertucson.com
The Queer Agenda presents The 4th of Ghouly, featuring “Dragula” Season 2 Winner Biqtch Puddin, beginning at 9 p.m. at Stacy’s @ Melrose, 4343 N. Seventh Ave., in Phoenix. (See story, page 20.)
Desert Dominion presents Dudes in Dresses, featuring Benaddiction, Jeena Doucure, Miss Jai, Isis D. Frost, Purity L’Chaste, DJ Jenna DuMay and more, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at 3843 E. 37th St. in Tucson.
The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation invites you to SAAF STARZ!, a turnabout fundraiser for the Southern Arizona nonprofit that’s hosted by Jenna DuMay, beginning at 6 p.m. at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., in Tucson. saaf.org June 23
Phoenix Pride’s annual Pride Awards Reception, celebrating and honoring our community, will take place at the Raceway Track at Penske Racing Museum, 7125 E Chauncey Lane, in Phoenix. phoenixpride.org June 28
The Womack Cocktail Lounge presents A Throwback to Apollo’s, an evening of karaoke and familiar faces, beginning at 7 p.m. at 5749 N. Seventh St., in Phoenix. bit.ly/2ymL4q3 June 29
HER App presents Ice Paradise, its Phoenix Summer Launch Party from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Stacy’s @ Melrose, 4343 N. Seventh Ave., in Phoenix. bit.ly/2HZ4KA7 June 29
The Arizona Diamondbacks will host the San Francisco Giants as a part of the team’s 2018 Pride Night, an LGBT Pride Month observance, which kicks off at 6:40 p.m. at Chase Field, 401 E. Jefferson St., in Phoenix. mlb.com/dbacks/ tickets/specials/pride-night June 30
ONE Community and the Phoenix Business Journal presents Point of Pride, its second annual LGBTQ business summit, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at ASU’s Beus Center for Law and Society, 111 E. Taylor St., in Phoenix. onecommunity.co June 28
The Arizona Democratic Party cordially invites you to an LGBTQ Equality Happy Hour, to learn what the Party is doing to fight for equality in 2018, from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Clarendon Hotel, 401 W. Clarendon Ave., in Phoenix. bit.ly/2JLXvB2 14
home for the past 12 years, before Kobalt re-open later this summer in a new suite within in Park Central Mall, 3110 N. Central Ave. Suite 125, in Phoenix. kobaltbarphoenix.com July 1
Bianca Del Rio, winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 6 brings her hilariously hateful comedy tour, Blame It On Bianca, to the Orpheum Theatre, 203 W. Adams St., in Phoenix. bit.ly/2LYlTMD July 5, 19, 21, 25 & 30
Throughout the month of July, the Phoenix Mercury will face off against the Connecticut Sun, the Las Vegas Aces, the Minnesota Lynx, the Chicago Sky and the Seattle Storm (respectively) at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 E. Jefferson St., in Phoenix. phoenixmercury.com July 6
The 2018 Diamond Crystal Awards, presented by ArizonaDrag.com and honoring the best of drag in Arizona, will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at The Rock, 4129 N. Seventh Ave., in Phoenix. IGNITE Your Status presents One Hot Minute, its fourth annual National HIV Testing Day Event, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Stacy’s @ Melrose, 4343 N. 7th Ave., in Phoenix. igniteyourstatus.org June 30
You’re invited to Last Call at Kobalt Bar, a final farewell to the Echo Readers’ Choice Award-winning bar we’ve called
arizonadrag.com/diamond-crystalawards.html mark our calendars
To have your event considered for Echo’s print and online calendars, submit your event details to echomag.com/ community-calendar. All submissions are subject to Echo’s discretion. events
OUT & ABOUT The Fourth Annual LGBTQ Family & Friendship Picnic May 27 at Watson Lake, Prescott. Photos by KJ Philp.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2018-photos.
OUT & ABOUT Yuma Pride 2018 May 19 at the AllYuma Center. Photos by Bill Gemmill.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2018-photos.
OUT & ABOUT OUT @ The Ballet: Eroica May 18 at the Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2018-photos.
Would you like to cut your utility bills up to 30%? Well, an easy question to answer. Of course! But how do you do it? What is the cost? When does that cost convert to a payback? Here are several key things you can do to make drastic cuts on your energy cost as well as a few simple tips that add up to a little extra savings on top of that. First, off, we live in the desert and yes it is hot here. Once the 100 degree plus temperatures start, so does the hardest work from your AC unit along with that dreaded higher utility bill. If you have a flat roof home, make sure your roof is well foamed and re-coated every 5 to 6 years with a good reflective coating. Attic homes have more options for drastic energy cost cuts. Think about what your car feels like in the summer heat. It is 110 outside but up to 180 degrees in your car. Then you have to run the air full blast for a few minutes to cool it back down. Now, think of your home. Your attic is that car baking at up to 180 degrees with a literal oven on top of your ceiling. It continuously heats up your home and makes your AC run longer and harder. At Precision Air & Heating, our Home Performance division offers 3 fold approach to removing attic heat. First we add more insulation in your attic to spec up to an R-49 value. R-value is a measurement of thermal resistance and the ability for heat to transfer from one side of an object to another. A home after 10 years will lose up to 3 inches of insulation just by the nature of settling. That lowers the R-value which was probably still initially built with minimum standards. Next, we apply a radiant barrier solar reflective coating that deflects up to 80% of thermal penetration. Finally, the big key is adding in low profile, non-mechanical vents, that literally pull the hot air out the attic. It gives the same effect as cracking your car windows to allow the heat to escape. They are even painted to match the existing roof so you never even see them. Homeowners, can do 1, 2 or all 3 of these things to remove attic heat, but when all 3 are done, what was once a 180 degree attic is now maybe just a few degrees warmer than the inside temperature of the home so it makes a tremendous difference. I hear all the time from customers how it literally took hundreds off their monthly summer utility bills. It also works the same way in the winter keeping the heat in and the cold air out. Another smart recommendation is upgrading to a smart learning thermostat like the Nest. They learn your habits and will add a nice addition to your utility savings.
About the author:
Erik Bryan is the owner of Precision Air & Heating, the #1 ranked AC company in the state. Erik has been an HVAC contractor for more than 25 years serving the Valley. â€œMake the Precision Decisionâ€? and get a no cost estimate for Home Performances services.
Right to left: Rubye Moore, Dahli, Benaddiction and Carnita Asada. Photos by Rebyl Child.
The Queer Agenda New show pushes the definition of drag, celebrates creative expression By Edward Castro
n February, a new era of entertainment emerged in Phoenix’s drag scene with a new agenda.
This form of creative expression may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for nearly five months the drag monsters of The Queer Agenda have created a buzz that can’t be ignored. The Queer Agenda is a local component of a broader movement that goes away from typical definitions of drag, beauty and talent and gets back to embracing art in all forms. The show, which takes place every Tuesday night at Stacy’s @ Melrose, is unlike any staged entertainment you’ll find elsewhere. “The Queer Agenda is far from an agenda and more of place to escape, have fun and never feel judged or underappreciated for the person [performers] are and want to be,” said Carnita Asada, the show’s founder and director. “I have always said that the energy and mindset at the show is, ‘nobody is a stranger just friends we haven’t met yet.’” The show’s cast includes Asada, Benaddiction, Rubye Moore and Dahli. “The cast was the easiest part in creating The Queer Agenda,” Asada said. “I turned to Dahli last year and told him I was looking into creating a new show and I asked if he would be interested... Without skipping a beat, he said, yes. Benaddiction and I go way back to our club kid days at Forbidden, and Rubye is the glue that holds this show together.”
After, his experience filming “Queer of the Year,” in 2010 in Montreal, Asada returned to Phoenix inspired to create a platform that he observed the local drag scene was missing. “When I first started drag, back in 2009, most drag queens wanted me to fit a mold, be a pageant queen, told me not to do a song sung by a boy, turned their back when I got too creative and wouldn’t book me for their own individual reasons. I got tired of asking to perform or trying to get booked,” he recalled. “ … I noticed the queer culture in Canada, Chicago and Las Vegas [and] how dark, crazy, strange, beautiful and stunning these artists were. As those people I came into contact with remained on the forefront of my mind, I thought to myself, ‘I [have] to find a way to turn the drag scene of Phoenix upside down for those type of artists to be supported, allowed and embraced.’” And he has. In a city full drag shows, the vision for The Queer Agenda was to establish a platform for creative expression that does not currently exist. “There are so many [shows] on any given night that the need for another show is not the most important factor in the decision to create The Queer Agenda, Asada asserted. “If there was any need, it was the need for someone to believe in such a radical concept.” Asada approached Stacy Louis about his idea and the rest is queer history. “We ended up talking for a long time, shared intimate stories about those who couldn’t be with us who would have loved this show and teared up just
thinking about how proud they would be with how far we have come,” he recalled. There was one other individual Asada felt strongly about gaining approval from. “When we were going to start The Queer Agenda, I was nervous to ask Mike [Fornelli] if it was OK,” Asada said, adding that The Queer Agenda now takes place on the same night as BS West’s Stars Choice. “I was completely prepared for him to say no, and when he hugged me and he gave us... his blessing it really was a testament to his kind, loving character.” This was significant to the cast, most of whom were created on the Star’s Choice stage. “I want to acknowledge how Stars of Tomorrow gave me my start, and how amazing it [is at giving] a platform to new performers,” he said. “I have to give kudos to Mike and the gang at Stars for giving people that space … we are completely aware of how powerful that show is.” In the Valley’s drag landscape, the element that makes The Queer Agenda unique, according to Asada, is that there’s no gimmick. “We don’t need themes, we just feed off the energy of the audience and that’s what makes Tuesday the most unique,” he said. “We are a show that is very interactive with our audience. If we get boring or you are sick of us talking, you tip the DJ $5 and you can gong us and we have to move on to the next performer.” NEWS
OUT & ABOUT The Queer Agenda June 12 at Stacy’s @ Melrose, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2018-photos.
In those cases, that money goes to charity. And that’s just one way The Queer Agenda is doing the most. “Every week we are raising money and goods for things like [the] Pride Scholarship Fund, RipplePHX, Imperial Court’s school supply drive, one•n•ten, and I have a new performer fund that I have put my own money into,” Asada explained. “Also, we have lent our time, and voices to support individual causes like HIV awareness or helping families with medical bills.” Asada describes the show as for the community and by the community. “This show, just like any show, is only successful if you have people who come to, support and talk about the show,” he said. “I’m here to break barriers. I get to give other people a chance to see something on stage that they haven’t seen before and maybe insight some creativity for those people.” Since their February debut The Queer Agenda has already welcomed such drag legends such as Pandora DeStrange, Evah Destruction, Abhora and Disasterina from Season 2 of “Dragula” as well as other local favorites. Additionally, The Queer Agenda is up for a 2018 Diamond Crystal Award in the category of Show of the Year. Courtesy of arizonadrag.com. The Queer Agenda presents “The 4th of Ghouly” featuring “Dragula” Season 2 Winner Biqtch Puddin 9 p.m. July 3 Stacy’s @ Melrose 4343 N Seventh Ave, Phoenix facebook.com/azqueeragenda Edward Castro is an Echo Magazine Hall of Famer, the creator of ArizonaDrag.com, founder of the Diamond Crystal Awards and resident authority on all things drag. NEWS
Jenna and Dixon DuMay. Photos courtesy of VAMP.
you learn new music and see something you have never seen before. Echo: Is VAMP for all drag fans, or do you describe it a certain way when discussing the show’s identity? Jenna: If you love drag in its entirety you will love VAMP … I find there to be a difference in the gay/queer communities and VAMP definitely falls in the middle and marries the two together well. Echo: What do you say to people who don’t understand the non-illusionist performers of VAMP (i.e. cis-male performing as a cis-male)?
VAMP Tucson troupe serves one-of-a-kind drag experience By Staff
hat started out as Tucson’s horror-inspired drag concept in November 2015, has grown into a touring phenomenon that’s generating a diverse following throughout Arizona.
something way bigger and better than I expected. The vibe grew with the entertainers, and audiences growing themselves.
VAMP, created by Jenna DuMay, has evolved into an all-inclusive platform for performing. Which is how her go-goboy-turned-drag husband Dixon DuMay became involved.
Jenna: … I started drag in 2011, and drag is so different [today]. I was raised on hair, lashes, nails and a body was what defines drag. But I have realized that, ultimately, drag really is just anything that’s gender nonconforming.
Echo caught up with the DuMays to find out more about “Tucson’s punk, queer, glam, drag show,” and here’s what they had to say.
Jenna DuMay Echo: How do you define VAMP? Jenna: I can only really put it how someone said it to me, ‘A one of a kind experience, you will never see the same show twice’ … It has transformed into 22
Echo: How do you define drag?
Echo: What does the current cast bring to audiences that you don’t see in other shows?
Jenna: Drag is limitless so when you start saying ‘No’ you really stop doing drag. How my performers identify isn’t a concern. The concern is making everyone feel welcome and they are the crucial reason VAMP is what it is today … all drag is valid anyone who says otherwise is probably close to retiring anyway. Echo: Why are these performers important to VAMP’s identity? Jenna: These performers we are discussing are VAMP’s Identity. Without them we would loose the authenticity.
Dixon DuMay Echo: How do you describe Dixon’s style and persona? Dixon: Dixon is my outlet to not take life so serious. I’m not a wild or loud
Jenna: My current cast is different because of how diverse in background they [are] … people know my rule is that I want no Top 40. Which … everyone hated, but if you want to watch that style of drag, go somewhere that does it. I want you to come into a show where Miss Jai.
Connect with VAMP Facebook and Instagram: @vampdragshow Jenna DuMay: @Jennamayzing Dixon DuMay @blondehomobro
personality. I’m not a diva of a queen. I may get a little flirty, a little handsy, and I may take your wallet, but it’s all for fun. My style is a mix of go-go boy from the ’80s meets Forever 21 – fairly queer, fairly naked, glitter in several orifices … Echo: How do you define your style of drag? Dixon: I’ve struggled to explain to people what my drag is because there aren’t many male performers and I don’t want to take away from the work that drag kings do. So, I just say I’m an entertainer … Echo: How do you explain the nonillusionist performers of VAMP (i.e. cismale performing as a cis-male)? Dixon: I think that drag is, and should [continue] being, a counter-culture device. It was very against the norms to do drag not too long ago. Now drag is becoming mainstream and is being assimilated into, for a lack of a better term, heterosexual norm … Drag is so much more than that! It’s about creating change, disrupting the status quo, and questioning what reality is … Echo: Why are these performers important to VAMP’s identity? Dixon: Vamp only cares about one thing: can you be entertaining. When we say that we don’t care about gender or category of drag, we mean it. Having this spectrum of performers is important, otherwise we’re just like the 100 other shows … NEWS
Echo: Is VAMP for all drag fans, or do you describe it a certain way when discussing the show’s identity? Dixon: VAMP is not for everyone, and for different reasons. Sometimes we get a bit gory and messy. Sometimes we blur gender a bit too much and that can shake a person’s marbles a little bit too hard. Sometimes we shotgun a beer on stage and then spray it into the audience (Jenna) and sometimes we tackle triggering topics like rape, suicide or abuse …
Apple Q Bottoms.
Echo: Why is important to have platforms that celebrate broader/nontraditional expression of queerness? Dixon: For the children! Think of the children! But for real: My only hope is to gay it forward and hopefully make some young queerling feel a little less alone by giving a spectrum of artists and performers a space to give face …
The Haüs x VAMP present “Dragula” Season one winner Vander Von Odd 10 p.m. June 29 The Flycatcher 340 E. Sixth St., Tucson flycatchertucson.com
READ THE REST For Echo’s full interview with Jenna and Dixon DuMay, visit echomag.com/vamp. EchoMag.com
OUT & ABOUT Mr & Miss West Coast Continental 2018 Pageant June 10 at BS West, Scottsdale. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2018-photos.
Dixon DuMay of VAMP and Sister Indica spill the tea. Photo by Scotty Kirby.
“Joy Bomb” Meet Sister Indica, a rogue nun who’s served healing, honesty and human connection for 250 episodes By Laura Latzko
he following program contains strong language, a liberal bias, mind-boggling homosexuality, shade, frequent complaining, oversharing, sh*t talking, the occasional uplifting anecdote and all around verbal debauchery. All opinions expressed are that of our Supreme: the gorgeous and talented Sister Indica … Consider this your ‘trigger warning.’” With an introduction as colorful as her contour, Sister Indica teases fans with her signature sass and boisterous bluntness. The following program she’s referring to is “Joy Bomb with Sister Indica,” a weekly podcast that she’s produced and hosted for 13 seasons – 250 episodes to be exact. But don’t judge a book by its cover. While this one-nun show promises special guests, a little serving of tea and heap of holy humor week after week, “Joy Bomb” was actually created as an outlet to fulfill her desire to heal others, as well as herself, and to make deeper connections through her artistry. “The show has become all I wanted it to be and even MORE,” she shared via Facebook on the show’s three-year anniversary. “What started as a platform for me to promote events and my fellow Sisters has turned into a confessional where I share my deepest, darkest secrets and personality flaws in hopes of making others feel less alone. I don’t do ‘interviews,’ I have conversations and LORD HAVE MERCY, have I had some conversations on this show! I don’t make a dime, nor do I charge a penny ... but the support I’ve gotten is PRICELESS.”
Today, most episodes are centered around a special guest with whom Sister Indica exchanges stories about their work, their passions, their experiences and, in some cases, their pasts. “The more I have them on, the more walls get broken down,” she explained. “People will forget we are recording, and we’ll just be having a conversation … There is a certain vulnerability that comes when you tell your story publicly. I’ve gotten to know my guests well, and I really feel they are my friends, and I feel like my listeners get that too.” The show’s format, she explained, allows for her to get to know her guests, especially reoccurring ones, on a deeper level. Only a few topics, including her day job and her partner, are off limits. But anything else is fair game, including politics. “Being a Sister, just by the nature of it, is a political act … Every time you do anything that shakes up society’s balance of gender norms or gender roles, you are pissing people off … You’re making waves,” she said. “It is natural for me to be political.” In hopes of inspiring others, the podcaster often talks about adversity she faced throughout her childhood. “I overcame poverty. I overcame an alcoholic father. I overcame being bullied and tormented by redneck trash in Southern Michigan,” she shared. “I overcame all that, and I made something of myself … I want to impart that in what I do and want to encourage people to follow their passions.”
A No-Nunsense Show
Through these conversations, she manifested a new purpose for the show.
When the show launched, nearly four years ago while she was an active member of the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, she used it as a platform to promote the nonprofit’s events, to spotlight other Sisters and tell her own story in a confessional format.
“I felt [that] if someone else heard me talk about [these kind of experiences] in an open and honest manner, then maybe they would feel like they had someone who understood what they were going through and they would feel less alone,” she added.
On occasion she would invite special guests to join her, but it wasn’t until somewhere between episodes 180 and 200 that this became a regular component of the show – and subsequently a key factor in the direction she would take it. Feature Story
Sisterhood to Hollywood While the podcaster hails from Detroit, and because the Motor City Sisters weren’t established until about three years ago, her journey with the Sisters began in 2008 with the San Diego Sisters
of Perpetual Indulgence. In the years since, she has worked with houses in San Diego, Los Angeles, South Florida and Phoenix – all places she has called home throughout the years. And, yes, she’ll be back in Detroit this summer to host the Motor City Sisters’ Black Veiling ceremony. Since submitting her resignation in August 2016, while serving with the South Florida Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, she’s taken on the identity of a rogue nun. “Not ‘rogue’ in the negative sense,” she shared on Facebook, “just unaffiliated with any specific chapter.” This, along with her podcast, has allowed her continue to promulgate universal joy and keep in touch with Sisters near and far. In fact, Sister Indica likens her podcast to her work with the Sisters. “It’s very similar in the sense that we put on this makeup and put on these outfits to go out and give back to people to make them feel better, to make them feel joy, to make them feel not guilty about life because society or religion told them they are a bad person,” said the self-described recovering Christian. “We’re trying to sit there and do this soul surgery, but what happens is in doing that, we’re healing ourselves.” Although, she’s not currently an active member of any particular chapter, Sister Indica has become increasingly involved with the Grand Canyon Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence since moving to the Valley in October 2016. “[When] I moved to Phoenix, I kept the habit hung up until February 2017, when I was finally invited to manifest for something. From then to now, I’ve manifested 17 times with the Phoenix girls,” she shared via Facebook. “How long will we stay in Phoenix? Who knows ... but being ‘rogue’ has allowed me to focus 100 percent on The Work. No politics. No business. Just the work.” In the meantime, she continues to do “the work” each week via her show.
The Bomb Squad Through her podcast, Sister Indica able to combine nearly a decade of “the work” (she became an “Aspirant-in-Waiting” at her first Sister meeting in 2008) with the EchoMag.com
connections established and nurtured in so many cities throughout her journey. While she’s been known to serve an array of guests up for audiences listening pleasure – including performance artists, drag queens and Sisters – there is a special designation for those who have become regulars, being featured on the show five times: The Bomb Squad. Easily the most notable Bomb Squad member is the podcaster’s longtime friend, Big Mel. Not only has Big Mel appeared on his show more than any other guest, but her next appearance will mark her 20th. Big Mel and Sister Indica have known each other since high school and shared many embarrassing memories on the podcast. “I think people like it when I play the
fool in the story, which I often do because I am a complete mess and disaster,” Sister Indica indicated. “By showing my vulnerability a bit, I think it makes people feel more comfortable.” According to Big Mel, who lives in the Big Apple, straying from the intended topics is quite common when these two get to talking – which only happens in-person about once a year. “Sometimes we’re having too great of a time we don’t get to everything,” Big Mel admitted to Echo. “We have such a great chemistry we can sometimes get off on a topic and great things can happen.” Over the years, Big Mel has generated positive reception from listeners become quite the fan favorite. “I never thought anyone gave a damn. I’m always surprised when someone’s a fan, because I’m not a fixture in the drag
Connect with “Joy Bomb with Sister Indica” Facebook: @sisterindica Twitter: @sisterindica YouTube: thesisterindica
community,” Big Mel said. “Sister Indica is my only connection into any of that, and the only reason I know about half of the things I know drag-related. I’m just a woman who lives in New York who has a lot of whacky interests.” One of their favorite moments from the show involved Big Mel reading a dramatic letter written by Sister Indica right after the two had a falling out several years ago. Along with more humorous memories, the special guest has shared personal stories about herself, such as her journey overcoming cancer. “I think I’m just really being me and bringing in topics that I’m interested in,” she said, adding that she would never have done a podcast if it weren’t for her longtime friend. “It’s definitely strengthened our friendship because we get an opportunity to discuss memories and moments lost in time,” Big Mel explained. “To be able to go back in time with the best friend and discuss all of these forgotten things that have left your brain is amazing. And the fact that we will have a lot to talk about, despite not being together physically, that’s an amazing takeaway.” Although “Joy Bomb” rarely features celebrity guests, Skarlet Starlet and Daniel Cox of the band LOVUR, parody singer Wendy Ho and Dr. Jen from Atomic Cosmetics and Xerion Skincare are among the past guests who’ve earned this designation. Local legends ranging from drag performers, including Dixon and Jenna DuMay (see “Vamp,” page 22), to members of the Grand Canyon Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – are increasingly becoming a consistent fixture of the show. But don’t take our word for it: Just tune in each week for the tea on events, pop culture, drag, self-improvement, politics and – sometimes – just everyday occurrences. “Thank you for being part of this with me,” Sister Indica signs off on a Facebook note. “Whether you’ve listened or you’ve been a guest ... thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! [Signed] Your homegurl for life.” Laura Latzko is a Phoenix-area freelance writer, originally from Michigan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English and communication studies from Hollins University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.
OUT & ABOUT Treasures for TIHAN 2018: In Living Color June 2 at the Tucson Marriott University Park. Photos courtesy of TIHAN.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2018-photos.
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Drag duo’s digital space becomes a platform for LGBTQ advocacy By Laura Latzko
he art of modern-day storytelling is a careful combination of interpersonal communication and, in most cases, a multimedia platform. Digital advances, such as YouTube and Facebook Live have allowed content generators to reaching wider audiences more effortlessly and engaging in real time has become the new norm. While most digital media consumers adapt to such innovations with the intention of staying in closer contact with friends and family, others are using them to connect marginalized or geographically separated like-minded individuals – and the results have been increasingly valuable for advocacy and visibility. Among the individuals blazing this trail for digital community, is drag king Freddy Prinze Charming and drag queen Felicia Minor who have been documenting their stories and life experiences through their show “Let’s Have a Fefe,” since December 2012. These co-hosts are no stranger to a stage – Minor is a former Miss Gay Supernova USofA Newcomer and Charming is a former Mister Phoenix Pride and Mister Arizona USofA MI Classic Emeritus – but their show platform is much different.
Co-hosts with the Mostess Each Wednesday evening, Minor invites the world into her drag room for an intimate conversation with her and 32
Charming. From there, the hosts tackle a wide range of topics, including larger political and social issues, sex and lifestyle tips, happenings in their own lives, offbeat news and local people and events. “We try to keep it very diversified, so [there’s] not just one thing we’re going after,” Minor said. “It’s for everybody. Even though it’s a drag queen and a drag king posting it, it’s still about everyday issues and conversations.” For Minor, providing a space for others to engage and have their voices heard was important from the beginning. “I don’t really do it for the views or the popularity,” she said. “I do it to be a voice in the community and be one of the spokes in the wheel.” Although the show didn’t start out necessarily intended as a space for LGBTQ advocacy, it has taken on that responsibility over the years, according to Charming, who added that hot-button topics related to politics, civil rights, intersectionality or trans issues tend to spark the most conversation.
other outlets to cover. “We’ve brought a lot of awareness, I think, while talking about trans issues, race issues, politics, and such. I think it’s a great way for our audience to not only be entertained, but informed, and maybe even educated,” he said. “Not all drag performers are shallow and vapid, and I think ‘Fefe’ demonstrates that. We don’t just talk about hair, or makeup, or ‘the T,’ We talk about real things that matter.”
Serving up Reali-tea “We didn’t go into [the show] waving a rainbow flag or anything. But over the years, it’s evolved into a platform where we can talk about things uncensored,” Charming said, whether it’s their day-to-day occurrences, personal accomplishments or a sentiment on a universal issue. “And we encourage our audience … to be able to talk about things as well.” From the start, Charming and Minor have also used the platform as an outlet for sharing details about their personal lives. “[Viewers] get to know us better than most performers,” Minor said. “Sometimes, you see [a performer] at the bar, and you go on and you never hear from them, or you see their social media posts … You don’t get to watch them talk about their opinions on day-to-day conversations.”
“We try find the middle ground where we will talk about [timely political issues], and yes we get heated …but it’s not every episode, and that’s not our end goal,” Charming said, adding that
Among topics discussed, Minor has shared her experiences as her father underwent cancer treatment. Charming has openly discussed his transition, even tuning in remotely post-op surgery.
Beyond politics, Charming said he finds the show to be a useful platform for discussing specifics that may be a little more taboo or uncomfortable for
“For me personally, being able to share my transition with that forum has been beneficial, not just for me but for other folks,” Charming said. Feature Story
Freddy Prinze Charming and Felicia Minor, co-hosts of “Let’s Have a Fefe,” will revel plans for the show’s seventh season later this summer. Photos courtesy of “Let’s Have a Fefe.”
Through the show, Minor said she has also become more educated on issues facing the trans community. “My best conversations have been about the trans community and the struggles for trans people. I’ve learned so much from [Charming],” she said. “In general, I was a late-bloomer gay. Learning more about the trans community has been a learning process. I’m still learning.”
An Interactive Experience Although the show is Valley based, many viewers tune in from other parts of the country. For some individuals, watching the show live is a regular part of their Wednesday nights. “As far as what we do and what we talk about, there’s really nothing in Phoenix that is like that,” Charming said. “We do it because we enjoy it. We do it because we have our regulars that watch us, and we do it because people keep asking us to do it.” Each episode, viewers are encouraged to ask questions and contribute show ideas. Often, the hosts will mention or joke around with regular viewers. “Webcasts and vlogs are a great way to feel connected to like-minded folks,” Charming added. “You can often find answers to questions, or even connect with other viewers.” As part of his “Just the Tip” segment, Charming discusses lifestyle and sexrelated topics., including fetishes, adult toys, safety and consent in BDSM and subcultures within and beyond the LGBTQ community. “Twenty years ago, if you were a queer individual looking for other like-minded queer individuals, you were limited in Feature Story
your options,” he said. “Your identity may not have fit in whatever box your local support group put you in. But, you stuck with it, because it was harder to get out there and find what you were looking for. Now, if you’re looking for other queer, trans, pansexual, leather daddy, bearded queens like yourself, all you have to do is hop online!”
Be Our Guest In its own way, Charming said the show has become part of the current storytelling movement – in large part due to the wide variety of guests who also serve as storytellers within their respective episodes. When booking guests, Minor said individuals who can contribute something important and relevant to the conversation is a top consideration. “I look for people who can offer more than, ‘[I] just want to be on the show,’” she said. “I don’t want to book you just because you’re pretty. I want to book you because you have a reason to be there.” In the past, the two have hosted special guests such as author Adam Martinez, Mystique Summers from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Aneesh from Live 101.5’s “The Morning Mess,” local body painter Brandon McGill, transgender veteran Carla Lewis and country singer Drake Jensen. In some cases, guests – including Empress XI Sophia Sinclair – have taken on co-hosting duties when one of the hosts can’t be there. “We’re always looking for guests,” Charming said. “If you, or someone you know, would make a good guest, shoot us a message.” The pair wrapped the show’s sixth
season May 23 and they’re already crowdsourcing ideas for concepts, topics and guests to fill the season ahead, which will be approximately 30 episodes (weeks) in length.
Gig Life While drag isn’t at the forefront of many of the episodes, the stage is where the co-hosts met and serves as the foundation of their friendship and their brand. Through their drag experiences in the local community, Minor and Charming developed a strong friendship and a natural chemistry which makes their on-show banter seamless. “We always had a pretty good chemistry from go. In my minimal interactions with her at the time, we always had a good rapport, and we always got along really well,” Charming said. “Now, with the chemistry that we have, if one of us does something, it’s almost better if we both do it, in terms of hosting, because we feed off each other.” They often perform together at local shows and events, and Minor is a regular in Spotlight, Charming’s variety show at The Cash Nightclub and Lounge, which is also where the pair hosts Truth or Dare Drag Bingo together on Thursday nights. For more information on “Let’s Have a Fefe,” including details on the upcoming season 7 premiere, visit facebook.com/ letshaveafefe. For past episodes, visit youtube.com/user/letshaveafefetv. Laura Latzko is a Phoenix-area freelance writer, originally from Michigan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English and communication studies from Hollins University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. EchoMag.com
OUT & ABOUT Off the Record Live: OUT in Sports May 14 at Stand Up Live, Phoenix. Photos by Devin Millington.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2018-photos.
OUT & ABOUT Phoenix Mercury vs. Chicago Sky June 8 at Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix. Photos by L.J. Garcia.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2018-photos.
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The Sound of Authenticity New podcast conveys nuances of the trans experience beyond the transition By Liz Massey
ometimes, the most surprising successes in the media world come when their creators take the expectations about a topic and turn them on their heads. Such is the case with “Transform: Beyond the Transition,” a new podcast on issues related to gender identity created by local trans men Sam Garman and Michael Soto. “We both believe that [our physical] transition is the least interesting part about ourselves,” Garman said. “Also, we’re not doctors, so we’re not experts.” Rather than focus on the physical or psychological process of gender transition, the podcast, currently in its first season, focuses on everything that follows – from navigating acceptance or rejection by family and answering the many questions posed by potential allies to the many layers of masculine or feminine identity and issues around intersectionality. Fueled by a desire to create the show that neither man could find already in existence, the podcast aims to connect with a wide audience and assist many in better
understanding trans people and their gifts to the world.
Transitioning from fans to a brand Transform Pod was birthed from a deep love and appreciation of the power of podcasting to change lives. Garman, who was raised in a religious family and attended private schools that prioritized indoctrination over education, said it was such podcasts such as “Stuff You Missed In History Class” and “Sawbones” that helped him fill in gaps in his education. “Podcasts gave me access to the history I hadn’t been exposed to,” he asserted, adding that he’s also sought out podcasts that helped him better appreciate his identity as a trans man, but couldn’t seem to find them. “As I was coming out, I thought that there must be a transgender podcast, but I couldn’t find any that navigated the complexities of gender,” he said. “Friends would tell me, ‘you need to do that podcast.’”
His aspirations to find a podcast on trans topics received a shot in the arm when he met Michael Soto, a media consultant for nonprofits, businesses and individuals, at a holiday party hosted by mutual friends. The two quickly realized they shared a passion for podcasts and the power of independent media. “It started as a ‘wouldn’t it be cool if …’ conversation, not a plan,” Garman said. “But we realized it was cool, and talked about it again at a dinner later. It was not long after that that we had a plan.” For Soto, the podcast reflected the lessons learned in his work about the power of podcasts, independent video, blogs and other types of media produced outside of a corporate/ professional environment to change lives. “We’ve had publications since the movement started,” Soto said, “and that’s been a great resource, although there was the introduction of professional pressures as the movement matured. Podcasts are so approachable. You can do a lo-fidelity version with your smartphone. It’s a truly democratic medium.”
Building a show for everyone Democracy, and the idea of benefits for a broad range of listeners, permeates the production of Transform Pod. According to Soto and Garman, the Feature Story
Michael Soto (left) and Sam Garman. Photo courtesy of “Transform: Beyond the Tranisiton.”
Connect with “Transform: Beyond the Transition” Facebook: @TransformPod Streaming: transformpod.podbean.com
“Stories are what make an identity less scary” helped him size up his own biases and privilege and take action without asking black people for help.
show provides information for trans persons just beginning their journey, who often cannot be out, answers the many questions that family and friends have as a trans person comes out and begins the actual transition process, and helps would-be allies with practical tools that will provide real support to the trans persons in their lives. The show offers recurring segments, including one called “Ask The Trans Guys,” in which the duo fields questions submitted via the show’s social media challenges. A heavy emphasis of the podcast is ally-focused outreach and taking the burden off of trans people to educate and encourage insight among cisgender allies about their privilege in the area of gender identity. Garman noted that he had gained a similar wisdom when he listened to Buzzfeed’s podcast “Another Round.” He said that, as a white parent of black children, he had learned much from the show’s hosts, African American women Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu, about race, culture and gender. The podcast
“[The show] gives me an opportunity to sit down on conversations that I wouldn’t otherwise have access to as a white person, which allows me to take the initiative on learning about the impacts of racism for myself,” Garman said, adding that it inspired him to use this model for a trans-focused platform. “Transform Pod gives folks some of the same opportunity to hear the stories and experiences and learn about issues happening for the trans community.” Garman and Soto have released more than half of the 11 episodes they have planned for their first season. Guests have included Kendahl Lyn and Elle Murtagh speaking on the non-binary experience; transwomen Catherine and Samantha speaking on feminism and femininity; and trans man Shane Maxwell on masculinity. They have also produced several episodes where the two of them discuss issues including their own coming out stories and what it means to “out” a trans person. According to Soto, the episodes are crafted to run 30 to 45 minutes in length, because it allows listeners to consume the show in a single sitting. “After that [limit of 45 minutes], something always interrupts,” he said.
Episodes currently available for Transform Pod contain a heavy educational component, but its creators note that the ultimate aim of the show is to advance social justice for trans people. “Stories are what make an identity less scary,” Soto asserted. “People can get past labels and biases and see people as human beings.” The show has drawn listeners from as far away as Ukraine, but Garman and Soto are also pleased with the impact with local listeners and those close to them personally. Soto’s father posed the first question on the show and has become active in promoting new episodes. Garman noted that a friend who said they listened to the show has begun showing up in some new ways as a trans ally, something he attributes to the friend’s listening to the show. Another benefit the two say the show has provided is that it is an efficient way to pull the Valley’s disparate queer community closer to one another. “Phoenix has a higher per-capita LGBTQ community than Washington, D.C., Los Angeles or New York City, but we’re so spread out, the community feels small,” Soto asserted. “But that’s the value of our podcast. We live in this community, and we interview people from this community. So, we are able to connect people to the Valley’s trans community, as well as the larger LGBTQ community.” “Transform: Beyond the Transition” podcast is available on all podcast platforms and players. Liz Massey has been involved in LGBTQ community-building activities in Kansas City and the Valley of the Sun, and is a former managing editor of Echo Magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.
“Whiskey and Popcorn” Podcast co-hosts transcend platforms and lend their voices to Echo’s pages By Laura Latzko
Tuesday Mahrle (left) and Kaely Monahan. Photo courtesy of “Whiskey and Popcorn.”
helma and Louise, Bonnie and Clyde, vodka and soda, Jay and Silent Bob, Batman and Robin, peanut butter and jelly, Hall and Oats. The greatest duos of all time can exist independently of each other, but totally shouldn't. According to ranker.com, these are combinations and famous duos whose whole value is greater than the sum of their parts. To that list, Echo Magazine is proud to add “Whiskey and Popcorn,” a podcast dedicated to all things film, and co-hosted by another dynamic duo: Tuesday Mahrle and Kaely Monahan, who we like to think of as our very own Siskel and Ebert. Since April 2017, the Phoenix Film Festival to be exact, Mahrle and Monahan have been reviewing the latest films coming to theaters, discussing movie trends, sharing 38
their experiences at festivals and screening events – occasionally have a drink while doing so (for more on the podcast’s name, visit echomag.com/ wiskey-and-popcorn). So, when an opportunity to bring them onboard as Echo’s newest contributing film correspondents, we didn’t have to think twice.
Character Context In the world of film critics, Mahrle and Monahan stand out as two opinionated female voices in a male-dominated industry. “I feel that does a disservice to people who enjoy critical reviews because if you’re only hearing from straight white men, that can be a problem,” Monahan explained. “They may rip something apart that we like, and that has happened … I think it’s important to have our voices heard.
I like the podcast format, too. You’re hearing the passion, the disgust, the uncertainty in our voices.” Monahan brings her experience as a straight cisgender movie buff and Mahrle brings her LGBTQ savvy from her pansexual point of view to the show as the duo delve into issues of race, sexuality, class and gender. Most importantly, both critics agree, is their ability to remain aware and upfront about where they stand within the larger discussion. “I have to be aware of my biases. I have to be aware of the way I look at that film, and I try to bring that to the review,” Monahan said. “We also recognize the importance of these films and that they need to be talked about.” Mahrle only discusses being pansexual on occasion, usually when reviewing LGBTQ films. She said thus Feature Story
far, LGBTQ audiences have responded positively to the diversity of the films discussed. “I’ve had people within the [LGBTQ] umbrella say it’s nice to see the variation and for the most part, it doesn’t come up, unless we are at Desperado [Film Festival],” Mahrle said. Additionally, the two podcasters often go into greater details about the story, acting, shooting techniques, music, special effects and larger societal issues brought up by the film. “We really try to look at films from the full perspective. ‘Was I entertained?’ Short and sweet. It could have been a dumb story and maybe the acting wasn’t great, but was I entertained, yes or no? And then we can delve into it a little bit more, depending on what the film merits,” Monahan said.
Casting the Co-Stars Before starting the podcast (which originally launched in 2014 as “Popcorn Fan Film Reviews”), Monahan, a radio journalist, already had experience doing film reviews and she currently serves as the vice president of the Phoenix Critics Circle. Although Mahrle’s attended the Sundance Film Festival for the past eight
years, and brings a print journalism background to the podcast, actually being on-air was a new experience for her. “How people listen to music all day and they’re obsessed with music, that’s how I am with movies,” Mahrle said. “I was always opinionated about [movies] but really putting that into a podcast is such a different beast completely.” From casually watching and discussing films together and talking about them to attending their first Sundance Film Festival together, the partnership between Mahrle and Monahan has evolved naturally. And, over time, the two have developed an on-air rapport with each other. “It’s a lot of fun to go back and forth and to hear [Mahrle] do her voice. Her NPR voice,” Monahan said. The co-hosts invite listeners to interact with them on social media and to bring their opinions to the conversation. “I can handle some, ‘No, you guys are completely wrong.’ Now, tell me why,” Mahrle said, opening the door for a broader discussion on any of their shows. Ultimately, however, the duo is looking forward to bringing their voices
Connect with “Whiskey and Popcorn”
Instagram: @whiskeynpopcorn Facebook: @whiskeyandpopcorn Twitter: @whiskeypopcorn Soundcloud: @whiskeyandpopcorn
and perspectives to the pages of Echo. My ultimate goal is to continue to write and hone my skill since I truly enjoy writing .... [and film] is my happiness,” Mahrle said. “I want to bring different viewpoints and insights into the publication [and] try to write for those of marginalized audiences.” For more from Mahrle and Monahan, turn to “At The Box Office” on page 42, as this duo promises deliver a “heads-up on upcoming movies, especially if someone in our LGBTQ family is featured, directs, or produces the film” each issue. To learn more about the podcast, and listen to past installments, visit soundcloud.com/whiskeyandpopcorn. Laura Latzko is a Phoenix-area freelance writer, originally from Michigan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English and communication studies from Hollins University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.
OUT & ABOUT After Hours with Phoenix Theatre Ambassadors Board Jun 9 at Phoenix Theatre. Photos by nightfuse.com.
For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/2018-photos.
updated on the bar’s Facebook page (facebook.com/mckenzie.midtown).
Since my first visit was on a Sunday, it seemed only appropriate that I start this experience with a visit to the Bloody Mary bar (remember Roscoes’?), which turned out to be one of the best Bloody Mary’s I’ve had in a long time, thanks to the perfect blend of spice, sweet tomato flavor and a generous pour of vodka (unfortunately not pictured due to my own excitement). Just in time for summer, McKenzie’s has introduced a frozen Jameson ginger ale and a fresh watermelon vodka slush – both exceptional inventions by a staff that never shies away from trying something new (don’t believe us, ask about the shotski).
Story and photos by Rachel Verbits
f there’s one thing we know for certain, our readers love community bars. Whether it’s somewhere you go for family, food, drinks or drag queens, these establishments are as much a part of Arizona’s LGBTQ history as the people and the progress we’ve made together. But change is inevitable. And just as Amsterdam has become Grand Central Coffee Company, Apollo’s has become The Womack and a portion of the 307 Lounge has become The Dressing Room, so too has Roscoes On 7th become McKenzie’s Midtown Tavern. After 20-some years as a sporty haven for boys and beers, Roscoes closed its doors last July. The space reopened in November as PHX Sports Grill, a mainstream sports bar, which was short lived. And, with hardly any fanfare, McKenzie’s Midtown Tavern showed up as the new kid on the block – the southeast corner of Seventh Street and Minnezona Avenue, to be exact. New owner Ryan McKenzie and his team have poured their hearts, souls and – subsequently, a new life – into the unmistakable building. The first thing anyone who ever visited this space before will notice is the brighter vibe – both inside and out. New paint, complete with murals of the business
name and its signature pop of orange make the unassuming white brick building easy to spot from the street. When we walked inside, I was pleasantly surprised to find a bright, lively bar that felt like a contemporary neighborhood hangout. Upon entering, we went to seat ourselves and realized that one side of the tavern houses darts and a pool table. The other side is home to their full bar, with tables throughout. Strategically placed TVs ensured that we’d have a great view of any of the games that were on, no matter where we sat. The building’s renovations may look new to regulars, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the people that bring McKenzie’s to life. We were surrounded by lively groups of friends enjoying Sunday Funday (we even spotted a former Roscoes employee enjoying a cocktail at the bar and a massive rainbow darts trophy). So, it wasn’t a surprise to see the bartenders greet new visitors like regulars, and regulars like friends. McKenzie’s is quickly becoming known for its happy hour, which already earned them a nomination in Phoenix’s Magazine’s “Best Happy Hour” category. Happy hour pricing is 3 to 7 p.m. and all day long for those who ride their bike in. Daily specials vary but are frequently
Along with whatever cocktail you can dream up, the tavern offers the most popular domestic and imported beers on draft and in bottles, as well as such seasonal brews as Leinenkugel Summer Shandy and Papago Orange Blossom. You’ll also find favorites from number of local breweries, including Four Peaks, Huss Brewing Company and Two Brothers Artisan Brewing, available – score! Expect a pretty standard selection of bar fare to accompany your beverages. Shareable starters include breaded mozzarella bites, fried mac ‘n’ cheese bites, fried pickles, hummus and veggies, chicken fingers, onion rings and quesadillas – all available with your choice of sauce. But don’t make your decision before checking out the tot & fries menu. Totchos or dirty fries are a basket of either topped with white queso sauce. Order either of these “loaded” and they come with ranch beans, pico de gallo, green onion, jalapeno and sour cream on top. But why stop there when you can add grilled chicken, ground beef or green chili pork for another $2. Honestly, we didn’t know where to begin, so I asked our server for a recommendation. Without hesitation, she insisted we try the loaded totchos with green chili pork added. (Pictured without
Left to right: Barbecue Bonesless Wings, Honey Hot Bone-in Wings and Totchos.
McKenzie’s Midtown Tavern 4531 N. Seventh St. Hours: 3 p.m.- 1 a.m. Mon-Thurs 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Fri 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Sat-Sun mckenziesmidtown.com
Hummus and veggies and veggie burger with onion rings.
cheese, pork and the sour cream.) The tots were hot, crispy and served as a perfect foundation for a mountain of fixins’. In conclusion: add the pork. Don’t think about it, just do it. These totchos definitely toe the line of overindulgence, but a cheat worth trying. Best worked off by a bike ride home. McKenzie’s takes the traditional finger food to the next level with their signature jumbo bone-in wings that are twice as messy, but twice as delicious. We customized our wings with honey hot sauce on our bone-in selection (order of five) and BBQ sauce on the boneless wings (order of eight), which, were surprisingly served “naked” style with no breading at all – a welcome discovery after the mound of totchos. My only disappointment was, as firsttime customers, realizing there were two different types of bone-in wings available: the typical-size wings as well as the signature option. While I was in no way disappointed with the tender and juicy wings that arrived at our table, I was initially confused, having seen a neighboring table with what looked like a literal handful of the delicious meat. Just a tip, should you follow in our footsteps: make sure you specify which bone-in wings you want. The kitchen at McKenzie’s offers takes a no-frills approach on an assortment of build-you-own entrees. The menu offers burgers, grilled cheese and salad options
Rachel Verbits is a published writer and a selfproclaimed foodie who spends her time exploring all the amazing eats Arizona has to offer.
in an uncomplicated and straightforward format. While both burger and grilled cheese offerings come with your choice of brioche buns or sourdough, your choice of America, pepper jack, cheddar/jack, Swiss or bleu (burger only), that’s where the similarities end. For the burger types, there’s beef, turkey, chicken breast or veggie burger options. And for the grilled cheese peeps, there’s bacon, ham, fried egg, grilled chicken, or green chili pork available to kick your sandwich up a notch. The secret, however, is to ask about customization you’re curious about. For example, guacamole is available on the burger menu but does not come standard on the totchos. And I’m sure they’d be happy to throw one of their savory veggie burger patties on top of a grilled cheese or salad for you – just ask!
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If you’re looking for a cold drink and an unpretentious burger, without all the hassle of firing up the grill this summer, McKenzie’s is an easy-going neighborhood option – and not just for dinner … On our visit, we discovered the tavern is expected to roll out lunch specials and extend business hours for lunch accordingly sometime in July. The owner’s excitement about smoking new meats and developing new parings is contagious, and we’ll be back on a future lunch break! Chicken and beef burgers.
DAILY HAPPY HOUR WEEKEND BRUNCH ISLAND STYLE EATS
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at the box office
By Tuesday Mahrle
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot In theaters July 13 | R | 113 minutes | Comedy, Drama
Whitney In theaters July 6 | NR | 120 minutes | Documentary, Biography
Quoted as always being a friend of the community, many close to Whitney Houston admitted her lesbianism was “an open secret” posthumously. Local drag queens lip-synced to her greatest hits, but how much do we know of the music icon? In Whitney, fans are introduced to never-before-seen archival footage, interviews with friends and colleagues, never-heard audio recordings and a return to her unhealthy marriage to Bobby Brown. From early family life to her ultimate demise from drug addiction, the documentary portrays her trials and tribulations onstage, backstage and at home.
This film debuted at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has been abuzz ever since. Director Gus Van Sant, with a powerhouse cast of stars (Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Jack Black) makes an existential, emotional and uplifting film. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot begins with John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix), who after an all-night bender, decides to get behind the wheel and ultimately ends up a quadriplegic. After he reluctantly enters Alcoholics Anonymous, he finds his unlikely sponsor (Jonah Hill) and an unearthed skill for drawing. Based on a true story and autobiography, John must accept his new life through humor and the healing power of art.
Mama Mia! Here We Go Again In theaters July 20 | PG-13 | Musical, Comedy
Skyscraper In theaters July 13 | PG-13 | Action, Thriller
FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and United States war veteran Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) relocates to the tallest and safest skyscraper in Hong Kong with his family. Tasked with assessing the safety of the virtual city, he is quickly framed for a massive fire engulfing the skyscraper. Now, as a wanted man on the run, he must clear his name, find those responsible and save his wife, Sara (Neve Campbell), and two children before the fire takes over. Playing off The Towering Inferno, this is sure to be a hit in the U.S. and China. 42
Here we go ... again! The sequel to the musical and 2008 film Mamma Mia! brings back our favorite stars, only 10 years later. This time, it’s Sophie’s (Amanda Seyfried) turn to be pregnant on the Greek Island of Kalokairi. The storyline travels back and forth in time between Donna’s (Meryl Streep) first trip to the island and the formation of her romantic relationships and returns to present day as Sophie struggles with her own pregnancy. Sophie learns more about her mother and how she bravely raised a child on her own. But the best part of the sequel? Cher visits the storyline as grandma Ruby Sheridan.
Tuesday Mahrle is a film critic and co-host of “Whiskey and Popcorn,” a Phoenix-based movie podcast. MOVIES
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New film follows Imagine Dragons frontman’s mission to unite LGBTQ Mormons By Hans Pedersen
ith suicide among Utah’s LGBTQ teenagers climbing at an alarming rate, Believer follows Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds as he takes on a new mission to explore how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members. Directed by Don Argott (DeLorean, Batman & Bill, The Art of the Steal), the HBO documentary sketches out the singer’s early years as a faithful Mormon and, following his marriage to actress Aja Volkman, his dawning realization that his church’s doctrine is flawed. Reynolds laments how his activities with the Mormon Church, and its emphasis on shame, helped contribute to the oppression of others, especially young Mormons impacted by homophobia. As he recognizes that homophobic church doctrine is alienating LGBTQ members, and driving many toward depression and suicide, Reynolds is overcome by grief and guilt. Subsequently, the singer makes it his mission to show support for LGBTQ youth and, ultimately, try to change the Mormon church’s nonsensical idea that following one’s heart or expressing same-sex love is somehow shameful. In the documentary, Reynolds reaches out to fellow musician and openly gay Mormon Tyler Glenn, frontman of the music group Neon Trees. Glenn candidly discusses his own depression in a way that may help save lives and let folks know that nobody is alone. As scenes unfold, Reynolds asks Glenn to co-host a concert designed to show unconditional love and support to the LGBTQ community, and they attempt to bring their idea for the LoveLoud Festival to fruition. And they soon find themselves heading for a collision with the elders of the Mormon Church. Reynolds publicly asks for the Mormon Church’s seal of approval for the huge LGBTQ concert being planned, and scenes with the phone calls, tense meetings and radio spots follow. Next, finding a suitable Utah venue becomes a challenge. Obstacles abound for the promoters, and they face the possibility of the event not happening at all. 44
Sadly, one of the festival organizers is hit by tragic news of suicide in his own family, and it’s a stark reminder about the importance of battling this pervasive epidemic. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among teenagers, and many people, like Reynolds, say messages of shame spread by churches are far too prevalent in society. Argott supplements these events with Reynolds’ interviews with others, including family members of a gay teen who took his own life, underscoring the pain such a devastating act causes. Audiences also hear from gay youth who have been targets of discrimination and were empowered to become outspoken activists, and also from Mormons who were excommunicated for throwing their support behind LGBTQ causes. Hearing such stories puts Reynolds’ efforts in a greater context as he devotes his energy to a musical solution to the widespread problem. And certainly, the singer is not naive, as he knows the concert is not the entire solution to the problem. But – spoiler alert – through his tireless dedication, Reynolds actually managed to open the door to discussion. The most jaw-dropping development in the film is the church’s final reaction to the event: The Mormon Church decides not to oppose the concert, opening the way for a massive crowd of LGBTQ Mormons to attend the sold-out event. Their statement, reads in part, “We applaud the LoveLoud Festival for LGBT youth’s aim to bring people together to address teen safety and to express love and respect for all of God’s children.” The now-annual event is a noble one that will hopefully a build a bridge between the Mormon Church and the LGBTQ teenagers who are still victims of widespread, systemic oppression and homophobia. Indeed, “it’s baby steps” as Reynolds says.
The singer does say he remains committed to his Mormon faith, despite its ideological flaws and moral blind spots. And those who dismiss him as an outsider to the LGBTQ community may be underestimating the alliances that are needed to squelch discrimination. The story captured in Argott’s 102-minute documentary is a testament to the importance of love and support, and a reminder that we need our straight allies to win the battle against bigotry. Scenes from that uplifting LoveLoud festival will likely melt your heart, and the song “Believer,” with its crescendo of music rising amid a shower of sparks in concert footage, helps fuel this film’s empowering finale. The 2018 LoveLoud Festival will take place July 28 at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. This year’s goal is to raise $1 million for LGBTQ charities. For more information, visit loveloudfest.com.
If you or someone you know is feeling depressed or having thoughts of suicide, reach out for help or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386. Hans Pedersen is a freelance writer based in Phoenix. MOVIES
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Scottsdale Musical Theater Company announces summer production’s star-studded cast By Seth Reines history, charting No. 1 on Billboard for 10 straight weeks and selling in excess of four million albums. In 2008, “You Light Up My Life” was ranked No. 7 in Billboard’s 50th anniversary all-time top-charting songs. In 2013, Boone released her 13th studio album, a new take on the songs and experiences of Las Vegas in the ’60s entitled, Swing This. The accompanying show, which premiered at New York’s Carlyle Hotel in March of that year, featured memories and stories from Debby’s formative years, when her father Pat Boone was headlining at the Sands and Sahara hotels.
o a musical theatre devotee, nothing is more exciting than the first strains of a Broadway overture played by a live orchestra. And no musical theatre company in the Valley rocks a bigger orchestra than Scottsdale Musical Theater Company (SMTC). Arizona Broadway Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre and the touring shows at Gammage and the Orpheum all use live pits, but none the size of SMTC. Another benchmark of the company’s productions that the orchestra of 25 or more musicians plays the original Broadway orchestrations. “Featuring this level of talent has never happened within the Phoenix theater community before,” said SMTC’s executive producer David Hock. “We use national tour sets and costumes and have a live 25 [plus] piece orchestra. And being able to have the beautiful stateof-the-art venue at Tempe Center for the Arts truly just makes our productions very special.” SMTC, according to its website, prides itself on presenting affordable large-scale productions of famous Broadway musicals in their entire original versions, adding that “all of our shows feature well-known guest stars from TV, film and Broadway, professional sets and costumes, great local talent and a full live
orchestra so that these shows can be heard and appreciated as they were originally meant to be.” Now in its eighth season, the SMT just announced the headliners for their upcoming production of the classic musical 42nd Street, playing Tempe Center for the Arts July 6-15. The show will star TV’s Charles Shaughnessy as Director Julian Marsh, the role originally created on Broadway by Jerry Orbach in 1980 and revived by Tom Wopat in 2001. For eight years, Shaughnessy was Shane Donovan on TV’s “Days of Our Lives,” winning three Soap Opera Digest Awards. From 1993 to 1999, he was Max Sheffield, opposite Fran Drescher, in CBS’s “The Nanny.” The son of the principal writer of “Upstairs, Downstairs,” Brit Shaughnessy’s stage appearances include Urinetown on Broadway, Pasadena Playhouse’s Orson’s Shadow and favorites Camelot, My Fair Lady and Spamalot! Shaughnessy’s costar in 42nd Street will be Debby Boone, three-time Grammy Award-winning recording icon. Boone, who starred in a 19811982 National Tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, will play Broadway diva Dorothy Brock, the role that won Christine Ebersole a Tony in 2001. In 1977, Debby Boone earned instant fame when “You Light Up My Life” became one of the biggest pop hits in
Broadway performer Eloise Kropp (Dames at Sea, On the Town, Cats) will play Anytime Annie and choreograph this SMTC’s production. In addition to producing Golden-Age musicals, SMTC also presents intimate cabaret-style events at Tempe Center for the Arts, featuring some of the Valley’s best local talent. “There’s really nothing like this kind of cabaret performance in Phoenix, not to the extent that it exists in New York, San Francisco Chicago or some other big cities,” said Hector Coris, SMTC associate producer, marketing director and cabaret performer. In April, SMTC revived Coris’ heartwarming musical revue That Irving Berlin Thing – the first original revue created by SMTC – and has several other historicallybased musical revues in the making. For more information on Scottsdale Musical Theater’s 2018-2019 season, visit scottsdalemusicaltheater.com.
42nd Street July 6-15 Tempe Center for the Arts 700 W. Rio Salado, Temp 602-909-4215 firstname.lastname@example.org M. Seth Reines is an award-winning theater buff who has directed more than 500 productions nationally for stage and television, and formerly served as head of Roosevelt University’s musical theatre program. Theater
David C. Atkins Aug. 31, 1940 – Oct. 18, 2017
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David C. Atkins was born to Floyd and Alice Atkins in Willimantic, Conn. David graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1960. He went on to a career as a realtor, working at Blue Ribbon Realty, then Realty Executives and ﬁnally at Home Smart, and he advertised with the Gay Real Estate Alliance in Echo Magazine for many years. David is survived by his brother, Adrian, of Storrs, Conn., and his dog, Ty.
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between the covers
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir By Terri Schlichenmeyer
ou can’t look any longer. Whatever it is, it’s just too painful, too scary, so you hide your eyes and pretend that nothing’s happening. You can’t look any longer, so you don’t… but after awhile, you notice it again. That’s when you realize that you saw all along. That’s when, as in the new book When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele, you realize that you never really could look away. Growing up as the third child in a family of four, Patrisse Khan-Cullors lived with her mother and siblings in a “multiracial” neighborhood near Sherman Oaks, California. The two places were “less than a mile” apart but, due to social, financial and racial divides, they were separated by oceans, in KhanCullors’ mind. Despite the fact that her mother worked all day and into the night, Khan-Cullors was reared in a loving atmosphere. The man who raised her wasn’t always around, but she adored When They Call You a Terrorist author Asha Bandele. Photo by Michael Hnatov Photography.
him; after she learned, at age 12, that he wasn’t her biological father, her birth-father and his family became present on a regular basis. Absent an adult, Khan-Cullors’ eldest brother acted as “man” of the house. This all complicated her young life, but she enjoyed this expanded, supportive family. Khan-Cullors says that she was 12 years old, the first time she was arrested. By then, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by she’d witnessed Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele, with a foreword by Angela her brothers Davis. St. Martin’s Press, 2017 | $24.99. being questioned by police for just You’ll want to stand, even though hanging out with friends. She started truly noticing her surroundings. Khan-Cullors (with Bandele) doesn’t tell stories here that haven’t already Not long afterward, her father was been told before. Indeed, many authors imprisoned on drug charges, and she have shared similar tales of poverty, lost touch with much of his family. Then affluent white friends, outrage, prison her older brother was imprisoned for attempted burglary and was diagnosed and sadness. The shelves are full of with a mental health disorder, and Khansuch books – but this one is different Cullors came to understand that she was because Khan-Cullors gives her story queer. She began to earnestly question an urgent hear-me-now outrage. That things in her life. “done playing” feeling is what readers may come away with – a feeling that At 16, she became an “organizer’ and an activist. She doubled down on it after underscores Khan-Cullors’ activism. her brother was arrested and called And that’s what this book is about: a “terrorist” for yelling at a woman. it’s a rallying cry wrapped in a memoir She was driven to act when, following tied in a call to legal action of whatever the death of Trayvon Martin and the sort. And so, if you’re ready, When They acquittal of George Zimmerman, she Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter sent out a message to her friends. Memoir is worth a longer look. #BlackLivesMatter. “I write,” she says, “I hope it impacts more than we can ever imagine.” And, of course, it did, and it will. Once you’re finished with When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir you’ll want to stand up, too.
Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm, lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 13,000 books. She’s been reading since age 3 and, to this day, she never goes anywhere without a book. books
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Not That You Asked
The most groundbreaking thing you’ll read in the next five minutes By Buddy Early
arlier this year I saw an advertisement for the movie Love, Simon, and it struck me very odd that the poster included the word “Groundbreaking.” And then I read critics’ reviews that called it “important” and “pioneering.” This story about a high school senior who comes out and searches for an online love did not really strike me as any of those things, honestly. During my years as editor of this magazine, I met plenty of teenagers who were out at their schools—inner city schools, too—and visited several gay-straight alliances at campuses around the Valley. Teenage same-sex couples on Mill Avenue were holding hands. One of my interns back in the day when PlanetOut personals were still popular even told me about being out to classmates growing up. A 2018 movie that explores this topic, I thought, had been outpaced by real life. I mean, kids are out these days … right? Maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part. Maybe I just assumed the climate had changed everywhere, for everyone, since I was in high school during the heyday of John Hughes films. I spent so much time creating clever excuses for not going to the homecoming dance, or prom, or MORP—that’s prom backwards, because we had to invent ways for it to be OK for girls to ask out guys—that I cringe thinking about it now. For the record, I never had to stay home to take care of my wheelchairbound mother who fell while hiking Devils Canyon; and I had not previously committed to volunteering to teach hiphop dance to suburban middle schoolers. Yes, I made those things up. I suppressed my true self by regularly commenting on girls’ butts, making sure others would hear me. (Meanwhile, I was secretly imagining that same butt actually belonged to future Tea Party hero Scott Baio because the heart wants what it wants.) I was so far in the closet I was the only person at Tempe High who didn’t know my best friend was supergay. “That’s just the way he is,” I told people. I don’t even know what I meant by that comment. Was I helping?
So, 30 years later the notion of an out teen, as in Love, Simon, certainly cannot be groundbreaking, can it? This chasm between my memories of the 1980s and my expectations for today’s youth illustrates something very important about our community: we don’t know each other very well. At my physical age (which, admittedly, is different than my mental age and maturity level), I see the world differently than another gay male 20-30 years my junior. Issues surrounding age gaps in our community have always been prominent, as young people struggle to be respected and older folks struggle to be appreciated. When you boil it down, however, aren’t we all searching for the same things? I’m certainly willing to acquiesce to the reality that I can learn something from young people, perhaps even have my eyes opened by them. But I will insist that young people try to learn something from me in return. For example, I still have a difficult time accepting all the new terms. I settled on the acronym LGBT many years ago. But the extra letters always being added seem superfluous and confusing and, given my expanding gray matter, easy to forget. Likewise, a young person could spend 90 minutes, using flow charts and a video tutorial from Alex Trebek to explain “nonbinary,” and I’m still likely to respond with “But what does nonbinary mean?” And even Ruth Bader Ginsburg
could make the case for why my gay male friends and I shouldn’t call each other “she,” but we won’t stop. None of this is to suggest people my age and older are exempt from learning. Instead of simply scoffing at someone who identifies as “genderqueer,” try to learn a little bit about what that means. Spoiler alert: you don’t have to do anything with the term except acknowledge it. Rather than dismissing someone’s sermon about the vitality of intersectionality, realize it exists with the goal of progress. When you begin to judge a young person’s lifestyle, politics and choices, remember that when you were their age there was someone else doing the same to you. And you didn’t like it. Perhaps the best advice I can give to young and old gay people alike is the same I offer to heterosexual folks: everything is not for you to understand, but an open mind is required. No matter your age, you can always benefit by being open to other ways of thinking. Case in point: the first version of this column included a Helen Keller joke, but I edited it out. See, I’m growing. 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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Three Summer Bod Hacks for Everyone By Tia Norris
rizona is heating up and so are the annual festivities summer promises – all the obvious excuses to show a little extra skin and to talk about the inevitable seasonal focus on our bodies. Each summer, many of us pay much more attention (in some cases, shortterm attention) to our physiques and how they’ve changed to either fit or not fit our expectations. If you haven’t started working on your idea of a summer bod, I hate to break this news: You can’t pull magic out of your hat at the 11th hour. However, you can equip yourself with a solid game plan on how to maximize what you’ve got and whatever work you’re putting in to reach your personal goals. Here are my three most valuable summer bod hacks that will help you really make a splash, own those pool selfies or at least be comfortable in your own skin this season. Water, water, water! Literally no one drinks enough water, when they first come through my doors. Usually people are short by 50 to 75 ounces per day! The key phrase is this: The more water you drink, the less you retain. And the less water you drink, the more you retain. Yes, you read that right. If you drink less, your body will hold onto and retain more water. And let me tell you, water retention looks good on absolutely no one. This means that if you drank the recommended amount of water for about a week (and I recommend about 100 ounces per day), you could lose 1 to 2 percent of your body weight – just by drinking more.
That’s stupid simple! Now, be aware that you will obviously be hitting the bathroom more often in the beginning. Get through it, keep drinking, keep peeing, and watch that water weight melt away! Carbs aren’t always bad. When it comes to carbs, you just need to know how to use them. While it is true that most people don’t need big carbohydrate intake, it is not true that carbs make you gain weight. It is only a caloric surplus that will make you gain weight. Remember that! Carbohydrates themselves aren’t bad … what makes them “bad” for most people is that most people aren’t nearly active enough to really utilize the carbohydrates that they’re eating. When I was bodybuilding, a high carbohydrate intake on the regular just didn’t work for me as far as staying lean, since the activity of weightlifting didn’t consume many carbohydrates as fuel. However, now that I’m doing Ironman, I honestly can’t get enough carbohydrates. The punchline is, if you’re doing long bouts of cardio, you probably need a lot of carbs depending on what your program is exactly – and they won’t make you hold extra weight. However, if you’re largely sedentary and/or weightlifting-based, then moderate or low-carb diets might keep you leaner for now. Add a fitness pregame to your party plans. Let me just preface with the fact that alcohol does nothing good for your fitness. Alcohol is empty calories that
add no nutritional value, and alcohol will directly block your ability to recover from workouts. Keeping this all in mind, I know there are going to be special occasions where you will want to party all day and night. And, when that’s the case, there are things you can do to hack the system and minimize the damage that alcohol can have on your fitness. First, get a hard workout the day of the event. Get it in early, and really give it hell; this will set up your metabolism to burn, baby, burn, all day. Second, limit your carbohydrate and fat intake as close to zero throughout the day as possible; this includes post workout. Try to stick to straight protein as much as you can. Third, when you drink, try to keep the drinks as simple as possible; mixers, frozen drinks, and other cocktails ingredients can be calorie bombs where – let’s be real – if you’re goal is to get drunk, just drink something simple and get there faster. And don’t forget your 100 ounces of water! Remember, nothing will take the place of good, hard, consistent diet and exercise in order to maximize the potential of your physique. But this summer, make sure to stay hydrated, carb up or down appropriately, and have the right strategies to keep yourself looking and feeling good all season … because in Arizona, summer is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
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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Echo Magazine – Arizona's leading media outlet dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in news, views and entertainment. July 2018 Issue....
Published on Jun 19, 2018
Echo Magazine – Arizona's leading media outlet dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in news, views and entertainment. July 2018 Issue....