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PLUS:

11 pup-friendly patios just in time for spring

Gayborhood Flavors Meet two new LGBTQ-owned businesses that are diversifying the Valley’s culinary landscape LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT | VOL. 29, #6 | ISSUE 702 | MARCH 2018 | COMPLIMENTARY


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Divorce, Child Custody, Prenuptial Agreements

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inside this issue Issue 702 | Vol. 29, #6 | March 2018

features NEWS 8

Letter From The Editor

12 News Briefs 14 Datebook PREVIEWS AND REVIEWS 50 At The Box Office 54 Opening Nights 60 Recordings 64 Between The Covers

Photo by Fernando Hernández.

COMMUNITY

24

66 All Over The Map 68 Talking Bodies

Phoenix Coqui LGBTQ-owned and operated Puerto Rican food truck adds Latin fl avor, cultural diversity as well as a safe space to Phoenix nightlife.

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Meet The OGs Local trio endows Original Gravity with innovation, seasonal fl avors and a fresh perspective. Bonus: Echo got a one-onone with head chef Carly Bielecki.

ON THE COVER Juan Alberto Ayala (left) and Alexis Carbajal of Phoenix Coqui are serving up Puerto Rican flavor to the Gayborhood. Photo by Kevin Holmes, DigitalWire360.

PLUS:

11 pup-friendly patios just in time for spring

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Gayborhood Flavors Meet two new LGBTQ-owned businesses that are diversifying the Valley’s culinary landscape LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT | VOL. 29, #6 | ISSUE 702 | MARCH 2018 | COMPLIMENTARY

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The Community Crown Phoenix Pride is proud to introduce you to the 20 contestants vying for the titles of Miss and Mr. Phoenix Pride 2018.

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The Fiercest Films of the Fest Hans Pedersen returns from Sundance with a sneak peek at upcoming movies with LGBTQ themes.

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 Photo by Bill Gemill.

Your Community, Your Voice Make your nominations the 2018 Echo Readers’ Choice Awards presented by Smirnoff, in all 28 categories, by Feb. 23 echomag.com/noms-2018

Saddle Up The 33rd annual Arizona Gay Rodeo, a weekend of competition and entertainment, rides into town Feb. 16-18. echomag.com/agra-2018

find out what’s going on in the gayborhood. 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 by nightfuse.com.

Play Big Jen Welter made NFL history when she was hired as a coach for the Arizona Cardinals, now she’s sharing her story. echomag.com/play-big

online now

marketing-solutions

Hit Me With Your Best Shot For all the Out & About photos in this issue – and more – visit Echo’s online photo gallery. echomag.com/2018-photos

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LETTER FROM THE editor By KJ Philp

I

f 80-degree temperatures are making their annual debut in the weather forecast and your calendar is suddenly filling up with engagements of every flavor, chances are that #Gaypril2018 is upon us.

Find out more, including details on some of their most-popular dishes as well as where to find them set up each week, in “Phoenix Coqui” on page 24.

As you may remember, “Gaypril” is our term of endearment for the glorious whirlwind of events that descend on the Valley each spring – starting with our coverage of the Arizona Gay Rodeo and concluding with our announcement of the 2018 Readers’ Choice Award winners in the May issue.

It’s been nearly a year since Holly Knudsen, Michelle Bocchino and Natasha Turra opened the doors to Original Gravity, a restaurant and bar that’s quickly becoming know for curating the best of American beer, wine and sake, complemented with head chef Carly Bielecki’s familiar but frisky takes on traditional bar offerings.

This year, we kicked off the season early with the Phoenix Pride media launch party Feb. 8, and you can find all the details on the 2018 festival and parade in News Briefs of page 12. Then we hit one•n•ten’s Fresh Brunch Feb. 11, and we invite you to meet this year’s award winners at echomag.com/fresh-2018 and check out the photos on page 16. Up next, of course, is the 33rd annual Arizona Gay Rodeo, which rides into town Feb. 16-18 at Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds. For the schedule of events, turn to Datebook on page 14 and for our coverage of this year’s festivities, visit echomag.com/agra-2018. Once again, Team Echo will be participating in the annual Melrose Street Fair, which takes place along Seventh Avenue (from Indian School Road to Campbell Avenue) March 3. So be on the lookout for our photographers and come by our booth to say hi from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. And this leads us right into this issue’s theme: Gayborhood Flavors. You may have noticed a new food truck popping up along Seventh Avenue throughout the past year or so (we sure did), and we set out to find out more about No. 1 Puerto Rican food truck in Arizona. We’re excited to introduce you to Alexis Carbajal and Juan Alberto Ayala, the partners and entrepreneurs behind this operation.

8

That’s not the only new LGBTQowned business in central Phoenix.

These four woman serve up all the details, just in time to invite you to their first annniversary celebration, in “Original Gravity” on page 28. Because we couldn’t possibly cover Gaypril and dining without including our four-legged friends, we’ve also rounded up 11 of the Valley’s most dogfriendly patios in “Must Love Dogs” on page 32. Now, back to eventing. If you haven’t already marked your calendars for the 2018 Phoenix Pride Pageant, honoring Miss and Mister Phoenix Pride 2017 Eva Angelica Stratton and Kristofer V. Lee, you most certainly will want to do so after meeting this year’s contestants in “The Community Crown” on page 38. Best of luck to all 20 of you, we can’t wait to see you take the stage! This is really just a teaser of what’s to come in the months ahead. To stay up to date with all the spring happenings, find us on social media and stay tuned to our online Commmunity Calendar at echomag.com/community-calendar. Happy Gaypril!

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

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LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT PUBLISHER: Bill Orovan ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Bill Gemmill EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR: KJ Philp CONTRIBUTORS: Anthony Costello Alison Bailin Batz James Fanizza Tamara Juarez Laura Latzko Liz Massey Tia Norris

Hans Pedersen Seth Reines Julio C. Reyna Terri Schlichenmeyer Rachel Verbits Nikole Tower Megan Wadding

ART DEPARTMENT PHOTOGRAPHY: Stephanie Anne Donoghue, L.J. Garcia, Fernando Hernández and nightfuse.com. ADVERTISING DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING: Ashlee James ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Gregg Edelman Rosanna Portugal-Miles NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE: Rivendell Media, 212-242-6863

ECHO READERSHIP: 50,000 SUBSCRIPTIONS: $29/year ACE PUBLISHING, INC. MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 16630

Phoenix, AZ 85011-6630 PHONE: 602-266-0550 EMAIL: manager@echomag.com Copyright © 2016 • ISSN #1045-2346

MEMBER:

Echo Magazine is published by ACE Publishing, Inc. Echo is a registered trademark of ACE Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Written permission must be obtained in advance for partial or complete reproduction of any advertising material contained therein. Opinions expressed therein are not necessarily those of the publisher or staff. ACE Publishing, Inc. does not assume responsibility for claims by its advertisers or advice columnists. Publication of a name, photograph of an individual or organization in articles, advertisements or listings is not to be construed as an indication of the sexual orientation, unless such orientation is specifically stated. Manuscripts or other materials submitted remain the property of ACE Publishing, Inc.


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and the vital HIV programs they offer.”

news briefs

Aunt Rita’s announces partner agencies, new grant for 2018 The named agencies and the services funded by Aunt Rita’s are:

• Groups HIV Testing & Counseling HIV Women’s Support Group HIV

• Bill Holt Clinic at Phoenix Children’s Hospital

• Testing & Counseling LGBTQ Youth HIV Empowerment HIV Recovery and Housing Syringe Access Program

• HIV Care Directions

• HIV Housing and Employment HIV Integrated Testing Program Homeless HIV Empowerment

• Chicanos Por La Causa • Ebony House • Maricopa Integrated Health System • Native Health • one•n•ten • Phoenix Shanti • Shot in the Dark • Southwest Behavioral Health • Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS • Terros Health • Youth HIV Behavioral Health HIV Case Management HIV Support

These agencies provide critical HIV services in Maricopa County, and collectively form the network of local AIDS Service Organizations that deliver services to help our community effectively end the HIV epidemic. “Providing financial support to these organizations, and bringing the HIV service and patient community together, are the founding principles behind Aunt Rita’s Foundation,” said Glen Spencer, Aunt Rita’s executive director. “We are privileged to support these outstanding organizations

Phoenix Pride reveals 2018 festival headliners, parade grand marshal At a public and media event, held Feb. 8 at BS West in Scottsdale, Phoenix Pride revealed a series of key announcements for the 2018 Phoenix Pride Festival, April 7-8 at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix, and 2018 Phoenix Pride Parade, April 8 in downtown Phoenix. The announcements were made by the organization’s board president Mark Leeper, executive director Mike Fornelli and representatives of the 2018 Phoenix Pride Festival’s presenting partners – Bud Light, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Volkswagen North Scottsdale – and 2018 Phoenix Pride Parade presenting partner Bank of America. This year’s theme, “United We Stand, Equality for All,” represents both the strength of the unified community and the continued quest for equity – not only for the LGBTQ community, but for all people, regardless of background.

Main Stage headlining performers will include internationally recognized artists Berlin featuring Terri Nunn and Bebe Rexha, along with Valley native and “American Idol” finalist David Hernandez, Billboard Magazine Top Three Dance Artist of the Decade Kristine W. and Grammy-winning singer Thelma Houston. The grand marshal for the 2018 Phoenix Pride Parade is Valley native and veteran NBA basketball referee Bill Kennedy, whose impressive career has been marked by anti-gay slurs on the court from players and coaches, alike. Kennedy made headlines when, in 2009, he ejected Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers following the coach’s anti-gay remarks directed at the referee during a game. For more information on Phoenix Pride, visit phoenixpride.org.

The festival’s Bud Light 12

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Source: Phoenix Pride.

Aunt Rita’s Foundation also announced its new Impact Grant funding opportunity in Arizona to support the State Health Department’s goal to achieve the 90-9090-0 benchmarks by 2020. This initiative seeks to have 90 percent of all HIV-positive Arizonans tested, 90 percent of all HIV tested individuals retained in medical care and taking life-saving antiretroviral medications and 90 percent of patients taking these medications to have an undetectable viral load. It is now accepted that persons living with HIV that have an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus to others. This fact is better known as U=U, or undetectable equals untransmittable. The final benchmark goal is to have 0 percent stigma and discrimination about HIV. The impact grant will be awarded to the statewide AIDS service agency that submits the most compelling and innovative grant application to help achieve these ambitious statewide goals. For more information, visit auntritas.org or call 602-882-8675 Source: Aunt Rita’s Foundation.

First bipartisan bill introduced to update AZ’s nondiscrimination statute On Feb. 6, bipartisan legislators introduced HB 2586, which would extend Arizona’s current nondiscrimination protections to gay and transgender Arizonans in employment, housing and public accommodations. This is the first time an LGBTQ inclusive nondiscrimination bill has had bipartisan support at the Arizona Legislature. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Daniel Hernandez (D, LD 2), and co-sponsored by Rep. César Chávez (D, LD 29), Rep. Tony Navarette (D, LD 30), and Sen. Kate Brophy McGee (R, LD 28). “Inclusion is not just good for LGBTQ Arizonans, but for all Arizonans,” Rep. Hernandez said. “Being inclusive contributes to our economic sustainability and our ability to attract and retain top talent and business. It also happens to be the right thing to.” Currently, five municipalities have ordinances that ban discrimination based on

sexual orientation and gender identity. However, Arizona has no statewide laws that protect gay and transgender individuals. “The principles of nondiscrimination are rooted in core conservative values of fairness, equality, and opportunity,” Sen. Brophy McGee said. “If we want to live in a state that grows by attracting the very best talent, has a strong economy, is a vibrant place to live, then we must be for business to everyone.” The business community is strongly in favor of the legislation. More than 2,600 businesses in Arizona have voiced their support for LGBTQ inclusive nondiscrimination by signing the UNITY Pledge. Further, 88 percent of Arizona’s top 50 employers include sexual orientation and gender identity in their nondiscrimination policies. For more information, visit onecommunity.co. Source: ONE Community. news


datebook

Feb. 16-18

Feb. 17

Feb. 18

The 33rd annual Arizona Gay Rodeo, a weekend of competition and entertainment, will take place at the Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds, 7611 S. 29th Ave., Laveen, Ariz. (See story at echomag.com/agra-2018.)

9 a.m. Mandatory new rodeo contestant meeting 10 a.m. VIP Party Buses* begin departing Charlie’s to rodeo (every 30 minutes)

2 p.m. Entertainment and dancing begins

agra-phx.com The 33rd annual Arizona Gay Rodeo’s Weeeknd Schedule

1 p.m. Grand entry

8 p.m. Awards presentation

2 p.m. Entertainment and dancing begins

*Tickets to the VIP Party Bus, which include roundtrip transportation between Charlie’s and Corona Ranch, rodeo admission, t-shirt, $10 in drink tickets and refreshments en route, are available for purchase at Charlie’s, 727 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix.

5 p.m. Country Idol Competition (continued)

Feb. 16

7 p.m. Country Idol Competition

5 p.m. VIP Party Buses* depart rodeo to Charlie’s (every 30 minutes until 9 p.m.)

6-9 p.m. Rodeo Contestants Registration

Through March 18

Feb. 20 & 27

IGNITE Your Status invites the Phoenix LGBTQ community to tune in to its weekly Facebook Live broadcast, during which IGNITE Crew members and local celebrities will answer any submitted questions related to sex from 7:30 to 8:30. facebook.com/igniteyourstatus Feb. 23

Taste of Italy, Joshua Tree’s pasta dinner and a show fundraiser, will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at Pilgrim Hall, 214 E. Willetta St., Phoenix. jtfp.org Feb. 24

Human Rights Campaign Arizona persents its 14th annual gala, honoring Echo Hall of Fame inductees Joseph Burwell and Linda Elliott, will take place at 6 p.m. (VIP reception begins at 5 p.m.) at the Phoenix Sheraton Downtown Hotel, 340 N. Third St., Phoenix. hrc.org/local-issues/community/phoenix Feb. 24

Say What?! LGBTQIA+ Storytelling and Standup, a one of a kind, no-holes barred storytelling and comedy series featuring LGBTQIA+ performers sharing real-life stories, will take place at the Listening Room Phoenix, 4614 N. Seventh St., Phoenix. thelisteningroomphoenix.com/ events-home/say-what 14

10 a.m. Rodeo start time

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10 a.m. Rodeo start time Noon VIP Party Bus* from Charlie’s to Rodeo Noon 6 p.m. VIP Party Buses* depart rodeo to Charlie’s

facebook.com/charliesphx

March 3 & 4

The Boob Show, an uplifting, comedic musical celebrates women – and their breasts – through song, will take the stage on select dates at Phoenix Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Road, in Phoenix. (See story, page 54.)

The Arizona Entertainer of the Year 2018 pageant, honoring National EOY King Romeo White, Mr. AZ EOY Matt Finish and AZ EOY FI Isis D. Frost, will take place at 5 p.m. at AQUA Nightclub, 1730 E. McDowell Road, in Phoenix.

phoenixtheatre.com/boobshow

facebook.com/AZEOY/ March 18

March 3

The 16th annual Melrose Street Fair, presented by the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association will featuring live music, an artisan marketplace, food truck, a beer and margarita garden and vendors from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. along Seventh Avenue (between Indian School Road and Campbell Avenue).

The 2018 Phoenix Pride Pageant, honoring Miss and Mr. Phoenix Pride 2017 Kristofer V. Lee and Eva Angelica Stratton, will begin at 4 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Tempe, 2100 S. Priest Drive.

m7streetfair.com

phoenixpride.org/events/pageant-royalty Through April 1

March 3

Joshua Tree’s 30th anniversary Feed The Funny Bone Variety Show, featuring comedy, drag, live singing, will take place at The [SIC] Sense Theater, 1902 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix. jtfp.org March 3

The Miss Gay Melrose America Pageant, a prelim to Miss Gay Arizona America, will take place at The Rock, 4129 N. Seventh Avenue, Phoenix. mgma.brownpapertickets.com

The annual Arizona Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace, featuring vendors and entertainment, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the Festival Village, 12601 E. Highway 60, Gold Canyon, Ariz. arizona.renfestinfo.com mark our calendars

To have your event considered for Echo’s print and online calendars, submit your event details to echomag.com/ community-calendar. All submissions are subject to Echo’s discretion. events


OUT & ABOUT one•n•ten’s Fresh Brunch Feb. 11 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.

For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.

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OUT & ABOUT Phoenix Pride’s Public Media Launch Party Feb. 8 at BS West, Scottsdale. Photos by nightfuse.com.

For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.

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OUT & ABOUT Out At The Opera: Candide by Leonard Bernstein Feb. 3 at Symphony Hall, Phoenix. Photos by L.J. Garcia.

For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.

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Did the Echo cameras catch you out and about? Visit echomag.com/2017-photos to see more from the current issue.


OUT & ABOUT Women’s March To The Polls Jan. 21 at the State Capitol Building, Phoenix. Photos by L.J. Garcia.

For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.

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Juan Alberto Ayala (left) and Alexis Carbajal. Photo by Kevin Holmes, DigitalWire360.

Feature Story

Phoenix Coqui Puerto Rican food truck adds Latin flavor to Phoenix nightlife By Tamara Juarez

P

uerto Rico is widely known for its vibrant culture, delicious food and welcoming atmosphere, and it’s no coincidence that rico means rich and flavorful in Spanish. Phoenix Coqui, the latest addition to the Valley’s list of Latin food trucks, is making sure the people of Phoenix get a taste of the Island of Enchantment. Since its debut, June 10, 2017 (coincidentally LGBT Pride Month), this Phoenix Coqui has won the heart of Valley residents for its authenticity

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and diversity, and was quickly dubbed the number one Puerto Rican food truck in Arizona. However, Phoenix Coqui is more than just a business. It’s also a safe space for diverse communities, a story of love and the culmination of the lifelong dream of local entrepreneurs and partners Alexis Carbajal and Juan Alberto Ayala.

Love at First Bite The two met five years ago in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Carbajal stayed

during vacation. Ayala was Carbajal’s neighbor and introduced him to native cuisine, local traditions and the island’s most scenic destinations. “I moved to Puerto Rico and fell in love with just how beautiful everything was,” Carbajal said. “The culture, how warm everyone was and, of course, the food.” As the two men grew closer, they realized that they shared a similar dream of starting a small food business. Since Ayala was a child, he recalls admiring his grandparents’ Feature Story


Carne Frita con Arroz y Habichuelas, fried ground beef with white rice and red kidney bean stew.

the beach, but could certainly bring the food and give everyone a taste of what we love so much,” Carbajal said. “We combined some of our strengths to launch Phoenix Coqui.” The couple worked full time for two years to raise the money necessary to start their business, and last June Phoenix Coqui celebrated its grand opening, which attracted more than 300 people from across the Valley.

Serving Up Good Vibes on the Side

cooking and had a natural talent for the culinary arts of his own. With Ayala’s 15 years of experience in restaurant management and Carbajal’s nine years of working with start-up businesses, both men knew they had a unique opportunity to realize their collective dream. “Just as much as we wanted to develop a relationship, we also wanted to develop a business together,” Carbajal said. After one year of careful planning, the two moved to the U.S. with one clear goal: to create a business that allowed them to share Puerto Rico’s culture and food with others. “We had the idea of bringing the food that we love from Puerto Rico here, because we couldn’t bring the island, we couldn’t bring the people or Feature Story

The menu, by head chef Ayala, features authentic recipes of some of the island’s most popular dishes on both the food truck and the catering menus: pernil, slowroasted, marinated pork; arroz con gandules, seasoned rice with pigeon peas; pastelon, sweet plantains layered with ground beef and cheese; tostones, double-fried green plantain slices; Jibaritos de Pernil, fried plantain sandwich with roasted pork; empanadillas, fried turnover with ground beef, chicken or cheese; and San Juan flan, cream cheese custard topped with caramel. In addition to the food, customers are treated to a fun and inclusive – and mobile – atmosphere that welcomes people of all ethnic, racial and social backgrounds.

background – usually salsa, bachata, or reggaetón – the couple, as well as the other Phoenix Coqui employees, often share stories about their experiences in Puerto Rico and about the island’s most popular hot spots with curious customers. “We try to make it a fun and friendly environment, where people can walk away and not just leave with a good taste in their mouth from the food, but also feeling like [they’ve] just been adopted into a small Puerto Rican family,” Carbajal said.

Setting Up Shop in the Gayborhood The local LGBTQ community has played a significant part in the business’s success. Since its launch, Phoenix Coqui has partnered with such bars as The Rock, Boycott Bar and Charlie’s. It has also participated in annual LGBTQ events, such as Phoenix Pride’s Rainbows Festival. Being able to contribute to the vibrant nightlife of the Melrose district and within the LGBTQ community “is a pretty important part of our story,” Carbajal said. “We both identify as gay men who fell in love, and we have tried to be ourselves since the beginning. Empanadillas, fried turnover with ground beef, chicken or cheese.

“We really try to bring a sense of authenticity in true Puerto Rican fashion, so that means greeting people with a smile, as if they’re family,” Carbajal said. “You’ll notice that with a lot of our regulars, we love to give them a big ol’ hug and kiss them, because we feel like that’s the attention you would receive in Puerto Rico.” While music plays in the EchoMag.com

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Photos courtesy of Phoenix Coqui.

The people and local businesses that have opened their doors to let us sell our food have been a bridge of support for us, and they have encouraged us to move forward.” In Puerto Rico, the couple explained, it’s a tradition to end a night out in town with good food, so it’s not unusual to see groups of friends migrate from the gay bars to nearby food vendors or restaurants. By locating themselves outside of gayfriendly bars, Carbajal and Ayala hope to encourage a similar tradition, which allows people of different cultures, genders, races and sexual orientations to gather and enjoy great food together.

In the future, Carbajal and Ayala wish to establish a physical restaurant, add a greater variety of dishes to their menu, and continue to show their support for the LGBTQ community by getting involved in more events and helping others accomplish their own dreams. “It makes me happy that people in our community are seeing us as examples and inspiration to launch their own businesses,” Ayala said. “My advice to people who want to start their own business is do not be afraid to take the leap. Many times, fear paralyzes and we don’t know whether were going to succeed because we don’t take the risk.” Ayala and Carbajal expressed deep gratitude in the people and communities that helped make their dream come true, and they look forward to expanding their business and “familia” by sharing the best Puerto Rico has to offer.

Jibarito de Pernil, fried plantain sandwich with roasted pork. 26

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Connect with Phoenix Coqui For more on Phoenix Coqui, connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram using @phoenixcoqui. Call: 602-206-7520 Email: hello@phoenixcoqui.com Visit: phoenixcoqui.com Phoenix Coqui can be found at the following locations weekly: Charlie’s Seventh Avenue and Camelback Road 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Mondays Boycott Seventh and Glenrosa avenues 7 p.m.-midnight Thursdays The Rock Seventh Avenue and Indian School Road 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Fri & Sat

Tamara Juarez is a student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. During her spare time she loves to read, hike and make bad puns. Feature Story


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Feature Story

Left to right: Natasha Turra, Holly Knudsen and Michelle Bocchino, Original Gravity’s co-owners. Photos by Fernando Hernåndez.

Meet The OGs

Local trio endows Original Gravity with innovation, seasonal flavors and a fresh perspective By Liz Massey

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Feature Story


T

here is sometimes a misconception about what happens when a person, or a group of people, act on their “grand passion.” It isn’t always the case that this person becomes the best in the world at what he or she does; sometimes, the path to excellence lies in sharing what one loves with others in a fabulous new way.

started with the backgrounds of the three owners. Knudsen and Bocchino, in particular, come from a culinary family.

This is the approach that Original Gravity, a bar located at the northwest corner of 12th Street and Highland Avenue in central Phoenix, has chosen. Envisioned and launched by three local women, the establishment curates the best of American beer, wine and sake, and complements it with a menu full of familiar-but-frisky takes on traditional bar offerings.

Turra brought her passion for beer to the table, as a self-described “beer geek” and occasional home brewer. Although Bocchino and Knudsen both had some hospitality industry experience, all of them were working 9-to-5 jobs in other industries when they collectively made the decision to open Original Gravity.

“The gap we were trying to fill wasn’t in the brewery landscape, because we are not brewers,” explained Holly Knudsen, one of Original Gravity’s three co-owners. “We are craft beer lovers who want to feature as many local brews as possible. We wanted to bring an exceptional craft beer concept to the area, serving elevated bar food and wine-based cocktails that are unique.” After restyling their location to create what Knudsen calls a “modern, inviting and artsy” feel, Knudsen, joined by her sister Michelle Bocchino and their friend Natasha Turra, set about turning Original Gravity into a place where neighbors might run into each other, but where the topic of conversation could well be the unexpected food and drink, and not just the local gossip.

Collecting The Right Ingredients A popular bar, like a knock-yoursocks off entrée or a mind-blowing cocktail, doesn’t happen unless the right ingredients are part of the mix. In the case of Original Gravity (called “The OG” by frequent visitors), the establishment’s recipe for greatness

“Holly and I are sisters, and our grandmother was famous for her cooking, especially her pies, Christmas candy and pickles,” Bocchino explained. “We get our love of cooking from her … I guess you could say it’s in our genes.”

The next raw material for their enterprise was discovering a setting that was hungry for the type of place they wanted to open. They were able to secure a space in a two-story, L-shaped building originally designed by Bennie Gonzalez in 1963. All three women lived within two miles of the bar’s present location. The building had accumulated some lessthan-contemporary features over the years, so local design-build developer Bill Tonnenson was called in to give the space a facelift. “We actually fell in love with the building and space in 2015 when we signed our lease,” Knudsen said. “It went from 1980s eyesore to eye-popping with the renovation that Bill Tonnesen did ...The residents all watched and followed our progress and everyone has said what a big improvement it has been to the neighborhood.” When the renovations were complete, Original Gravity’s 1,750-square-foot space shed a nightmare of stucco for a modern, industrial feel. There are two patios – in front and in back – with the rear patio featuring wooden benches and tables and welcoming four-legged visitors along with their human owners. The interior sports a U-shaped bar and various high-top tables and seats. One wall is tiled in hundreds of beer logos from various brewers and is a popular photo-op spot (don’t believe us, see page 30.) And, yes, patrons can expect the two flat screens behind the bar to be set to all the big games. The women designed and participated in the build-out, providing much of the artwork, as well as the materials for the beer tile wall and a penny wall, which is located between the all-inclusive restrooms. They also helped repurpose several reclaimed bowling alley lanes into six table tops, some of which still have visible lane markers. And visitors rarely pass up the opportunity to turn the “Rocket Girls” interactive art piece into a Boomerang for Instagram.

Feature Story

Surprises by the Plateful (and Pintful) Once the bar space had been designed and furnished, the trio of owners set out to design the menu. Knudsen is in charge of the food, kitchen and menu; Bocchino has overseen the development of the wine list and cocktails; and Turra has developed the beer strategy for Original Gravity and governs what comes out of the establishment’s 20 rotating beer taps. Original Gravity keeps its food menu modest in size, but not necessarily in scope. The scratch kitchen, helmed by head chef Carly Bielecki, offers signature selections for both vegetarians (try the Mushroom Po’Boy) and meat lovers (you’ll appreciate the Beef on Weck, composed of prime rib on a brioche bun) alike. The popular shared plates range from the pork belly cheesy fries and the OG Chef’s Board, a rotating selection of artisan cheeses and charcuterie with varying seasonal accompaniments, to the IPA-glazed bacon and the OG Poutine, a combination of french fries, Wisconsin white cheese curds and beef gravy. According to Bocchino, The OG’s unique wine/sake cocktails caught the attention of patrons, as had the legendary “secret sauce” that is served with fries and sandwiches like the Bee’s Knees Fried Chicken Sandwich. Beer lovers are kept on their toes with a mix of local, regional and national brews, including pours from breweries in Phoenix and Tucson. “We are lucky to have many quality brewers in our area, such as Wrenhouse, Tombstone, The Shop Beer Co., Huss and Helton,” she noted. “We’ve also tapped into the Tucson market which is huge. We’ve had a Ten55 collaboration on tap, EchoMag.com

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a Sentinel Peak, a Borderlands, and are working with other breweries down there to bring them up north.”

Original Gravity’s head chef Carly Bielecki shows off The OG Chef’s Board. Photo by Fernando Hernández.

A Place to Belong Knudsen estimated that 60 percent of Original Gravity’s customer base, mostly from the surrounding central Phoenix neighborhood, identifies as part of the LGBTQ community. However, although she and Turra identify as members of the LGBTQ community, she asserted that their goal for the bar was to provide a tasty, fun and interesting experience for everyone, without specifically reaching out to LGBTQ visitors. “We wouldn’t advertise ‘we are straight’ or ‘we are gay,’” Knudsen said. “We feel the importance lies in equality for all.” The owners acknowledged that the learning curve associated with starting a bar has been “eye-opening.” “There are a million factors and rotating puzzle pieces that you have to figure out,” Knudsen said. “We are constantly striving to bring in local activities, like tap takeovers, pub crawls, collaborations with other establishments, live music and so on.” While Knudsen, Bocchino and Turra may spend their days solving logistical puzzles at The OG, and may challenge themselves by setting out tempting menus to tantalize their customers, it appears likely that if they continue to share their love of unusual comestibles and beverages, they’ll remain on the right track. Bocchino concluded, “We’ve been told all of our lives that we should open a restaurant. ... How many times do you hear this stuff before you eventually say ‘Hey, maybe we should do this?’” The OG will celebrate its first anniversary on May 12 and everyone’s invited.

Original Gravity 4700 N. 12th St., #101, Phoenix Hours: 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Tues-Sun 602-583-7628 ogphx.com Connect with Original Gravity Facebook: @originalgravityphoenix Instagram: @ogphx Twitter: @ogphxaz

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 lizmassey68@gmail.com. 30

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Meet Chef Carly By KJ Philp

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efore Carly Bielecki took the helm as head chef at Original Gravity, the Chicago native studied under such acclaimed chefs as Jesse Williams and earned her knives in some wellrespected Chicago kitchens, including Mana Food Bar and Floriole Bakery. Bielecki initially brought her Midwestern perspective, as well as her talent for crafting fresh dishes out of quality ingredients, to the Valley two years ago as executive chef and director of catering for a popular Phoenix food truck, Frites Street. Bielecki, who has called Original Gravity home since last August, sat down with Echo to give us a closer look inside her scratch kitchen. Echo: How/when did you first realize that you were passionate about culinary arts?

Bielecki: To be honest, it kind of snuck up on me. I was in nursing school and working full time in assisted living. I would always cook (from scratch) for myself and friends, and people started suggesting I take it seriously. Both of my parents are wonderful home cooks and, from a very young age, my siblings and I were helping in the kitchen. Once I made the industry change it all came naturally, I’ve been cooking professionally for about seven years. Echo: How did this opportunity at Original Gravity come about? Bielecki: I’ve known Holly for about two years now through the LGBTQ community and at the beginning of the summer I decided to take some time off and do some catering with friends in Colorado. When I came back Holly, Feature Story


Michelle, Tosh and I met a few times to discuss the menu and where they wanted it to go, it’s been a great fit ever since. Echo:How would you describe The OG? Bielecki: Emphasis on local product – wine, beer, produce, Noble Bread, scratch kitchen, laid back and fun atmosphere [that’s] very comfortable and approachable (both the food and the environment). Echo: How would you explain the “scratch kitchen” concept to our readers? Bielecki: “From scratch,” simply put, means to do something without utilizing anything that has already been done. Every sauce, every season blend, every layer of each dish is done in house, no short cuts … taking the time and doing it right, that’s how the love gets in. Echo: How much of your time would you estimate goes into generating seasonal offerings or new dishes? What does that process look like at The OG? Bielecki: We offer specials every week, often showcasing seasonal ingredients in soups at lunch or highlighting old favorites, like our sliders, on Thursday nights. As far as testing new dishes, I initially do some testing myself and when the dish is where I like, it becomes kind of a free for all. Sometimes it’s just whoever is in the building at the time ranging from managers only to a bar full of guests. Echo: Same question regarding recommended pairings? Bielecki: I try to infuse our wine and beer into the cooking process as much as possible – this is especially highlighted in our carnitas tacos and IPA-glazed bacon (available on happy hour, too). We plan to do more with our pairings in the near future. Echo: How often does the permanent menu change? Bielecki: The menu is always evolving, that’s something that I value so much about working here. [The owners] really give me a lot of freedom and encourage me to always play around in the kitchen.

doing the cool new thing, but staying true to themselves. Echo: The Valley’s culinary landscape has really taken off in recent years, becoming widely known as a “foodie destination.” What excites you most about being a part of this movement? Bielecki: It’s always exciting to see an expansion in the culinary world. I love that people are supporting local – locally owned businesses, locally sourced ingredients, etc. Echo: What is one food you can’t live without (either on your plate, in your kitchen, or both)? What’s the most under used ingredient in your opinion? Bielecki: My answer to both is pickles. I’m obsessed with pickling everything and I’ve been playing with using different tea blends and even beer in pickling. One of my favorites is my chai spice pickled carrots. Echo: What’s your favorite menu item and beverage offering at The OG? Bielecki: Currently, my favorite menu item is either the Country Fried Portobello po’ boy or the Beef on Weck. The po’ boy is served on a French baguette with garlic aioli, pickled red onions, local tomatoes and greens. The Beef on Weck is our take on the Buffalo, New York, staple, with a caraway and smoked salt dusted bun, peppercorn crusted prime rib, horseradish aioli and crispy fried shallots, served with au jus for dipping. As far as drinks right now, I’m obsessed with West Meets East from High Water Brewing, it’s a a kiwi and kumquat sour ale aged in wine barrels – delicious! Echo: Do you have any chefs you idolize and/or would like to work with one day? Bielecki: Dominique Crenn, for so many reasons. I admire the kind of leader she is and I love what she stands for. She speaks her truth, she is compassionate, her kitchens seem so joyful and massively creative. It’s very inspiring. Echo: Where do you see yourself in five years? Bielecki: One thing I know for sure is I’ll still be creating and doing what I love to do every day.

Echo: As a member of the LGBTQ community, what’s unique about working for LGBTQ business owners?

Echo: Do you have any upcoming surprises for The OG that you can share with us at this time?

Bielecki: We stand for the same things. It’s an environment where we have an understanding of each other and have shared life experiences [and] culture.

Bielecki: I always have a trick up my sleeve, I’m looking forward to seeing what the local purveyors have – a lot of those seasonal items will effect the direction the menu takes.

Echo: What is your favorite trend that you’ve observed in the culinary scene recently? Bielecki: I don’t like trends. I like to see chefs doing their own thing and following their own path – not just Feature Story

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

DAILY HAPPY HOUR  WEEKEND BRUNCH  ISLAND STYLE EATS

HULASMODERNTIKI.COM PHOENIX • SCOTTSDALE EchoMag.com

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The Gorsky-Guerin squad – Mister Snow, Enzo, Walter James, Shelby and Sevannah – are ready to head our to brunch. Courtesy photo.

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Must Love Dogs 11 Valley restaurants where every hour is puppy hour By Alison Bailin Batz

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hether it’s brunch, happy hour or any other time of the day really, we know our readers love the opportunity to wine and dine al fresco – and so do our beloved fur babies. With spring in the air and our most loyal companions by our sides, we’ve rounded up the Valley’s most poochfriendly patios, many with special seats, treats and play places especially for your pet. From salty dogs to hot dogs, we’ve got you – and your four-legged friends – covered (quite literally on these shady patios). Here they are in no particular order …

O.H.S.O. Widely regarded as the most dogfriendly drinking/dining destinations in the Valley, each O.H.S.O. location offers designated areas for dogs and their pet parents to play, as well as a special dogfocused area called the “barking bar,” which features water bowls and housemade dog treats all day, every day. In

addition, charitable events are held monthly at each location to raise funds for local shelters. 4900 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix; 602-955-0358 15681 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale; 480948-3159 10810 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix; 602-9009003 | ohsobrewery.com

Hula’s Modern Tiki Hula’s Modern Tiki is best known as the Valley’s home for award-winning tropical drinks and from-scratch islandstyle eats. But, they also welcome dogs on their patio year-round, providing water bowls on request. Dog lovers especially love the ample misters while it’s still hot, and the warming fire pits for chilly nights, as do the dogs. 4700 N. Central Ave., Phoenix; 602-2658454 7213 E. First Ave., Scottsdale; 480-9704852 | hulasmoderntiki.com

Scramble - A Breakfast & Lunch Joint The fast casual breakfast and lunch hot spot is known for using local farmers and vendors boasts a spacious, dogfriendly patio with dedicated water bowls for each four-legged friend who visits in addition to LED TVs, free Wi-Fi and charging stations. 9832 N. Seventh St., Phoenix; 602-3742294 6590 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480-404-7264 | azscramble.com

Postino Since opening the doors of its first location in 2001, Postino has not only made its expansive patios open to pooches and their two-legged pals, the wait staff is always happy to provide water bowls (and sometimes little treats) to dogs while serving up their famous bruschetta boards and wine to the people. A bonus: each of Postino’s sister restaurants including Windsor, Federal Pizza and Joyride Taco House

Left to right: Koa enjoying an IPA at O.H.S.O.; Stella warming up by the fire at Hula’s Modern Tiki (original Phoenix location); and Ollie hiding from the puparazzi at Joyride Taco House.

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Left to right: Panda hanging out at Cafe Bink; Bentley and Mercedes eagerly awaiting their Dog Bowl at Farm & Craft; and Lola enjoying a Pooch-ini at Shake Shack.

also feature dog-friendly policies and patios. Six Valley locations; postinowinecafe.com

AZ88 Like Postinos, the bowls of doggy water flow freely (and actually are free, by the way) at AZ88. A bonus: the view of tempting lawn outside of the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts just steps away. 7353 Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale; 480994-5576 | az88.com

The Farm at South Mountain It only makes sense that The Farm – which started as an actual farm known for its pecan trees – would be all about animals! Each of the three restaurants on-site, including Morning Glory Café, Farm Kitchen and even Quiessence, make space for Spot. They even open their gorgeous Maya’s Garden (and Maya’s Farmers Market) to those who wish to stroll with their dogs while visiting. 6106 S. 32nd St., Phoenix; 602-276-6360 | thefarmatsouthmountain.com

Cafe Bink From its patio, Cafe Bink offers its amazing views of Carefree to humans and dogs alike. Upon request, they provide free water bowls – in customized sizes to fit your pooch – which pair perfectly with their extralong happy hour from 2 to 5 p.m. most days of the week. Bonus: Usually, resident pup, Panda, the manager’s dog and unofficial Cafe Bink mascot, is on the patio to keep your pooch company. 36889 N. Tom Darlington Drive, Carefree; 480-488-9796 | cafebink.com

Farm & Craft Farm & Craft not only offers healthy, sustainable food for humans; it also offers it for dogs. The menu actually features a “Dog Bowl,” which includes all-natural grilled chicken and healthy Feature Story

grains for your four-legged happy hour buddy. They also make sure the dogs are hydrated with refreshing ice water and free refills. 4302 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480-568-8980 | ilovefarmandcraft.com

Old Town Gringos The indoor-outdoor dining experience – which often includes live music – welcomes dogs onto its patio, always offering each its own water bowl and doggy treats by the handful. They even invite dogs to run up and down the wooden stairs between the patios for a little exercise. 4209 N. Craftsman Court, Scottsdale; 480-423-3800 | oldtowngringos.com

Shake Shack Not only does this burger joint boast a dog-friendly patio, each Shake Shack location has a “woof menu.” Options on the clever concept include the “Poochini,” a ShackBurger dog biscuit made with peanut butter sauce and vanilla custard (best for bigger dogs), and the “Bag O-Bones,” five ShackBurger dog biscuits from Bocce’s Bakery. 100 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix; 602903-3240 7014 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale; 480-270-8825 15030 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 180G1A, Scottsdale; 602-362-2020 | shakeshack.com

The Adobe Restaurant Located at the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club, this eatery’s golf course-facing patio is the ultimate spot to relax and unwind with furry friends. Complete with a misting system, comfortable seating and fire pits, The Adobe patio is extremely dog-friendly. Beyond water bowls, the venue offers dog-friendly menu items all day, including a Yappy Hour menu with eggs, chicken and even modified burgers for your pups. 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix; 602468-9160 | theadoberestaurant.com.

Additional Spots for Spot* Bliss/ReBAR Brat Haus Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers (all locations) Duke’s Sports Bar EVO Fez Green and Nami (both locations) McFate Brewing Co. Ingo’s Tasty Food Kale & Clover Kelly’s at SouthBridge Luci’s at the Orchard Original Gravity Scottsdale Beer Company Sip Coffee & Beer House (all locations) Switch The Coronado The Gladly The Herb Box at Southbridge The Market by Jennifer Restaurant + Bar The Phoenix Ale Brewery Central Kitchen Third Space Two Brothers Tap House & Brewery *each offers outdoor space for pups as well as water dishes on request. Alison Bailin Batz has a lot to say … about everything … all of the time. She is a local public relations, event planning and issues management executive who writes about all things food, drink, travel, events, attractions and entertainment on the side (and then she gets her morning coffee). She can be reached at abailin@hmapr.com. EchoMag.com

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Your Community, Your Voice Make your nominations for the 2018 Echo Reader’s Choice Awards presented by Smirnoff

COMMUNITY

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DRAG


GAYBORHOOD BARS

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OUT & ABOUT

MUSIC Nominate your favorite in all 28 categories before Feb. 23 at echomag.com/noms-2018.


OUT & ABOUT Vamp Spooky Bitches Tour Jan. 25 at BS West, Scottsdale. Photos by nightfuse.com.

For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.

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The Community Crown Meet the 2018 Phoenix Pride Pageant contestants Courtesy of Phoenix Pride

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he Miss and Mister Phoenix Pride Pageant is a communit y event suppor ted by local communit y organizations and numerous female and male illusionist s. A s a recipient of the title Miss or Mister Phoenix Pride, the winner s will become the faces of the Phoenix Pride organization during their reign. Par t of their duties as titleholder s is to promote pride in our communit y, state and countr y, por tray role model qualities with integrit y and dignit y at all times and raise awareness of the Phoenix Pride Schol ar ship Program. Source: Phoenix Pride. The 2018 Miss and Mister Phoenix Pride Pageant will take place at 4 p.m. March 18 (doors open at 3 p.m.) at The DoubleTree by Hilton Tempe’s Fiesta Ballroom, 2100 S. Priest Drive, in Tempe. For tickets, visit phoenixpride.org/events/ pageant-royalty/miss-mister-phoenix-gay-pride. But first, let’s meet this year’s contestants.

Javier Flores, Mr. Arizona Drag 2018 Originally from Santa Ana, Calif., Javier Flores has been performing on stage for about two years. Being part of Phoenix Pride has been a wonderful experience that he credits with giving him the strength, courage and confidence he now possesses.

Kristofer V. Lee, Mister Phoenix Pride 2017 Eva Angelica Stratton, Miss Phoenix Pride 2017 Mister and Miss Phoenix Pride 2017 Kristofer V. Lee and Eva Angelica Stratton are proud to introduce the 20 contestants vying for the titles of Mister and Miss Phoenix Pride 2018. 38

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Roman Holiday, Mr. Imperial Pride 2018 Roman Holiday began dancing and performing at age 13 and has since performed in Arizona, California and New York. Roman has previously captured the titles of Mr. Apollos, Mr. Twisted Peacock, and he is grateful for this journey with the Phoenix Pride organization. feature story


Carrington Hall-Dubois, Mr. BS West 2018

DJ Image, Mr. Charlie’s 2018

Carrington Hall-Dubois (aka Daniel Eckstrom) is no stranger to the community as he has been the promoter for the awardwinning Miss Gay Arizona America pageant for 11 years. His passion for the community, education and fundraising is what led him on the journey to the title of Mr. Phoenix Pride.

DJ Image (aka Miguel Rodriguez) is a member of the Men of Charlie’s, a nonprofit organization, and is one of Charlie’s house DJs. This is his first time competing for the title of Mr. Phoenix Pride. He would like to thank Charlie’s, as well as his team that has helped him bring his package together for his first competition.

Ish, Mr. Karamba 2018

J Krawford, Mr. Krazzy Latinos 2018

Ish has been performing since 2010 and has captured various titles, including Mr. Arizona Entertainer of the Year 2015, Mr. Gay West Coast USofA 2012 and Mr. Gay Arizona USofA 2011. Ish is excited to be part of the Phoenix Pride organization and sends the other contestants best wishes!

J Krawford (Andres Jesus Avila) has been performing in the community as a male entertainer for five years. Thus far, he is Arizona’s only biological male live singer. This is his third year competing for the title of Mr. Phoenix Pride and he want to wish all contestants the best of luck.

Cruz Daniels, Mr. Club Volt 2018

Blake Riley, Mr. Stacy’s 2018

When Cruz (aka Robbie Fields) is not working at one•n•ten, you can find him on the dance floor. Cruz has trained in dance since the age of 8, and holds various titles, including Mr. Rocky Mountain Shining Star 2017. He is excited to join the Phoenix Pride team and work with everyone involved.

Blake Riley (aka Cameron Foley) is a 25-year-old performer originally from Los Angeles. He’s been performing for about two years and Mr. Stacy’s Pride 2018 is the first title he has achieved. He’s very honored to be the first Mr. Stacy’s and very excited to begin his Phoenix Pride journey.

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Valentina Knowles, Miss Arizona Drag 2018

Mya McKenzie, Miss BS West 2018

Valentina loves her community and her heritage – and loves combining the two to bring you spicy Latina drag. Phoenix has given her family, friends and a platform to not only entertain, but to actually make a difference in both the LGBTQ and Latin communities.

Mya a native of Arizona has been an active member in pageants and fundraising since 2006. To her, being Miss Phoenix Pride 2018 would be an amazing honor and opportunity to represent and be a voice for our community during one of the most volatile times in our country.

Alexus Montoya, Miss Imperial Pride 2018

Aubrey Ghalichi, Miss Karamba 2018

After working to bring the leather and drag communities closer together her first year as a titleholder, Alexus is taking her second shot at becoming the next Miss Phoenix Pride. Alexus donates her time to “IGNITE Your Status” and was named Lady of the Imperial Court of Arizona’s Reign XII.

Aubrey considers herself a glamorous and fashionable queen who is a perfectionist when it comes to being on stage. She’s humble, down-to-earth, she loves makeup and makes all her own costumes. She’s very involved in the community and is always ready to help in any way possible.

Charmaine Honeywell, Miss Kobalt 2018

Naomi Glam DeMornay, Miss Club Volt 2018

Charmaine’s very active in the community and she’s very excited to be back in the Phoenix Pride Pageant system representing Kobalt. She is also part of the Imperial Court of Arizona and she loves to help whenever she can with other organizations.

Naomi Glam DeMornay hold the titles of Miss Karambas Drag Diva 2017 and Miss Cash 2017 and is excited to be running for the title of Miss Phoenix Pride. She can’t wait to help the LGBTQ community and support the Phoenix Pride Scholarship Program.

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Sassy C. Diaz, Miss Charlie’s 2018

Vicky C. Summers, Miss Rock 2018

A performer in the Phoenix community for four years, Sassy C. Diaz has earned the titles of Miss Arizona Renaissance Newcomer Femme and Miss Arizona USofA Diva. She is very excited and honored to now be a part of the Phoenix Pride family.

Originally from Flagstaff, Vicky C. Summers has been living in the Valley for the past year. With four years of drag experience, she is extremely excited to be a part of Phoenix Pride.

Lisa St. Laurent, Miss Cruisin’ 7th 2018

Carolina de la Borbolla, Miss Krazzy Latinos 2018

Lisa St. Laurent is a MAC Cosmetics makeup artist by day and performer by night. Described as avid trans rights activist and a pageant girl at heart, Lisa relocated to Phoenix from Las Vegas, where she earned the titles of Miss Vegas Pride 2015, Miss West Coast Continental 2014 and Elite 2015 (to name a few).

Originally from Cananea, Sonora, Carolina started performing in 1990 and went on to win Sonora’s Miss Universo Gay in 1997. She hopes to unify the community and achieve the goals of Phoenix Pride by working with her colleagues as a team.

Rubye Moore, Miss Supreme Pride 2018

FranZia Grande, Miss Stacy’s 2018

Rubye Moore is recognized in the community for her alternative makeup looks, gender-fluid fashion choices and conceptual performances. She looks forward to bringing diversity and unconventionality to the Phoenix Pride class of 2018 as she represents Miss Supreme Pride.

FranZia (aka Anthony Honeywell) is a 26-year-old plussized beauty who prides herself in having the perseverance to make a difference, the empowerment to stand up for what is right and the patience to know that what she is doing now will make a difference in someone’s future.

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Looking for a job? Browse our classifieds for LGBTQ-friendly postings. Have a property to rent? Post a free classified with us to reach our readers! Visit echomag.com/classifieds for more information. 42

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Same Sex Marriage Shouldn’t Mean Same Old Lawyers

Introducing Audra E. Petrolle Family Law Attorney

Marriage laws have changed. But some family law attorneys can still be stuck in ancient ways. Not Audra Petrolle, a new addition to Arizona’s largest woman-owned law firm. Whether you’re heading into a marriage, getting out of one, adopting or planning your family’s estate and assets, try the state’s most innovative law firm. It, and Audra, are definitely not the same old thing.

RoseLawGroup.com 7144 E Stetson Drive, Suite 300, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 | 480.505.3936 | info@roselawgroup.com Asset Protection/Estate Planning • Class Action • Corporate • Cyberbullying • DUI • Elder Care • Elections • Employment • Equine • Family/Parenting Rights Government Relations/Lobbying • Homeowners Associations • Intellectual Property • Internet Fraud • Land Use • Litigation • Medical Marijuana • Online Defamation/ Cyber-Reputation Management • Real Estate Transactions • Renewable Energy • Special Needs Planning • Tax • Water/Environmental • Zoning


OUT & ABOUT Sunday Brunch Feb. 4 at Los Diablos, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.

For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.

OUT & ABOUT Desperado LGBT Film Festival Opening Reception Feb. 9 at Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix. Photos by Bill Gemmill.

For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.

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The BEST independent films from around the world, celebrities, parties, workshops and more!

Jane Alexander

Keely Shaye Brosnan & Pierce Brosnan

Richard Dreyfuss

February 24 - March 4, 2018 www.SedonaFilmFestival.org 928.282.1177


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The Fiercest Films of the Fest

Lizzie.

Sundance offers a sneak peek at upcoming movies with LGBTQ themes By Hans Pedersen

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very year the Sundance Film Festival viewers get to explore films that will hit the distribution pipeline in the coming months. From theatrical releases, to titles that pop up on HBO, Netflix or Amazon, the projects at the festival give LGBTQ audiences a glimpse into the future of our community’s visibility on-screen. This year 123 feature-length films screened in Park City, Salt Lake City, and other Utah cities from Jan. 18 to 28 as part of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. This, by no means, is a comprehensive list of LGBTQ-themed offerings showcased this year. It is,

however, our list seven stand-out movies (in no particular order) that will be coming to screens or streaming platforms near you. Lizzie The chilling indie Lizzie is a fresh take on the story that inspired the schoolyard chant, “Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks.” It’s a New England-style Merchant Ivory film punctuated with moments of grindhouse gore. Based on the infamous 1892 murders of the Borden family, director Craig William Macneill shares this female-centered story of how Lizzie (Chloë Sevigny) and the new family

maid, Bridget (Kristen Stewart), are both victimized in different ways by Lizzie’s scheming father, Andrew Borden (Jamey Sheridan). Subjugated by a patriarchy that has relegated her to “old maid” status, fiercely independent 32-year-old Lizzie learns her father and stepmother are secretly planning to send her away to an institution, ostensibly to treat her seizures. It’s also no secret in the home that Andrew creeps up to Bridget’s room at night, sexually assaulting her. You can sense the claustrophobia surrounding Bridget and Lizzie, kindred spirits who become lovers as they turn to each other for comfort. Elegantly shot with camerawork that envelops the women in the windows and framework of the suffocating home, the film contains such slumbering shots that often last a bit too long. But Macneill makes it easy for viewers to sympathize with their desire to escape their misogynistic cage. Fact-based, with hypothetical narratives woven throughout, Lizzie is expected to hit theaters later this year. The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Mised

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A coming-of-age tale that won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize in the Dramatic category at Sundance 2018, The Miseducation of Cameron Post is set in the 1990s and based on the novel by Emily M. Danforth. Directed by Desiree Akhavan, who helmed the Sundance hit Appropriate Behavior, this sensitive and inspired story focuses on a teenager named Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) whose religious aunt sends her to a so-called gay conversion therapy center after she’s caught messing around with the prom queen in the back seat of a car. Feature Story


A Kid Like

Jake.

White Rabbit.

Skillfully demonstrating how goodintentioned people can be so hateful, Akhavan balances humor with the pain of growing up amid intolerance. In this acclaimed film, the staff at the Christianbased clinic, called God’s Promise, utilize disturbing and often ridiculous methods in a futile attempt to change Cameron’s sexual orientation, but she remains true to herself. As she bonds with other victims of homophobia, Cameron learns the importance of creating our own connections when our biological families fail us. White Rabbit One of the more unique Sundance standouts is White Rabbit, which was featured in the NEXT category for smaller-budget indies. Comedian Vivian Bang stars as Sophia, a Korean-born Los Angeles performance artist who shares her work with the public in supermarkets, fast food shops or the park. Armed with a microphone, a portable speaker and a brand-new persona, she launches into performances which pose questions about the LA riots that decimated Korean grocery stores 25 years ago.

and Greg Wheeler (Claire Danes and Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory”) who disagree on the best way to raise their 4-year-old gender-nonconforming son, Jake. With kindergarten about to start, the family is having a rough time covering the tuition bill. And Jake’s preference for dolls and pink tutus seems like a way to help the toddler earn a scholarship, given the school’s drive for diversity. While Greg exudes a cool, placid attitude about their sweet child’s development, Alex begins to worry they are permitting their four-year-old’s gender to be defined too early. As they disagree on the best way to raise Jake, the conflict starts to undermine their marriage until it explodes in this movie’s final act.

Director Silas Howard (Transparent, This Is Us) delivers a set of complex characters in this fascinating film, which co-stars Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, and was adapted by Daniel Pearl from his off-Broadway play. Believer The HBO documentary Believer, starring Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds, who grew up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is an incredible documentary that deserves to gain visibility in the coming year. A straight, married man, Reynolds began to realize the Mormon teachings that he promulgated as a young person contributed to the skyrocketing suicide rate of LGBTQ youth in Utah, which the

Believer.

She’s an artist on a quest to make herself heard authentically, but her YouTube videos showing her plunking her face into plates of food seem to get little traction. But after wrapping up one of her odd jobs to help make ends meet, Sophia finds a romantic connection with another woman and starts stalking her on social media. Based on Bang’s performance art, this unconventional tale, written and directed by Darryl Wein, centers around the search for love and meaning amid ethnocentric attitudes. A Kid Like Jake The groundbreaking drama A Kid Like Jake is about two Brooklyn parents, Alex Feature Story

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doc shows has nearly tripled in the past decade. The popular singer grapples with his faith as he attempts to find common ground between the Mormon Church and the LGBTQ community. He joins forces with gay singer Tyler Glenn from Neon Trees, and the film chronicles their attempts to launch the LoveLoud concert in Provo, Utah, for the Mormon and LGBTQ communities. Interspersed with community members’ stories about the shame, depression and suicidal feelings spawned by LDS teachings, Believer is nonetheless a truly uplifting project. The impact of the LoveLoud movement on Utah is inspiring, while the doublespeak from the LDS church, as documented in the film, proves how much more work remains to find common ground. Directed by Don Argott, Believer, airs on HBO this summer.

Won’t Y ou

Be My N

eighbor?

Gay folks pop up in places you might not always expect; after all, we are everywhere, part of every facet of life. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom) brough his latest project, a documentary about Fred Rogers entitled Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, to this year’s festival. Animated sequences are peppered between archival footage and interviews with the TV host’s wife, Joanne Rogers, and gay actor François Clemmons, who appeared on the legendary PBS children’s series “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” as Officer Clemmons.

The doc reveals how nearly five decades ago, Mr. Rogers taught tolerance and acceptance and, in once specific scenario, broke down racial barriers by having the two men put their feet in a wading pool together, sending a clear message to closedminded opponents of integrated pools.

gay bar is surprising. Of course, we learn from this touching doc that the compassionate host comes to accept Clemmons just the way he is. Expect lots of acclaim for this doc, airing in early June on PBS.

Yet we also learn our idols are not perfect: Mr. Rogers’ obstructionist reaction when he learned the actor was spotted at a Greenwich Village

Additionally, gay actor Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding) does double-duty on both sides of the camera, writing and directing the inspired Sundance biopic The Happy Prince as he plays esteemed author and playwright Oscar Wilde.

e. The Happy Princ

The Happy Prince

The non-chronological story glosses over Wilde’s conviction for gay sex, instead focusing on his final years in France following his fall from grace — a period encompassing some of his most profound writing and most intimate experiences. The woozy, dream-like narrative dramatizes his relationships with two different men, and with Constance (Emily Watson), his estranged wife, while showing how the impoverished purveyor of wit found humor in it all, and contyinued to relentlessly seek love and creative outlets in whatever taverns and alleyways still welcomed him, despite the oppression he faced. For more information on these titles and more, visit sundance.org.

Hans Pedersen is a freelance writer based in Phoenix. 48

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Feature Story


Out@SMoCA: Dan Savage Thu, Apr 5 I 7 p.m. I $35 (Members $30) Best known for his political and social commentary as well as his honest approach to sex, love and relationships, writer, TV personality and activist Dan Savage joins us to discuss his frank approach to social commentary and activism. Presented in partnership with the City of Scottsdale Office of Diversity, Scottsdale Human Relations Committee and media partner Echo Magazine.

SMoCA.org I 7374 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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at the box office

By James Fanizza

Lean On Pete In Theaters March 30 | R | 61 Minutes | Adventure, Drama

Red Sparrow In Theaters March 2 | R | Mystery, Thriller

Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) faces a bleak and uncertain future after she suffers an injury that ends her career. She soon turns to Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people to use their minds and bodies as weapons. Egorova emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow after completing the sadistic training process and, as she comes to terms with her new abilities, Dominika meets a CIA agent who tries to convince her that he is the only person she can trust. Directed by Francis Lawrence (the Hunger Games trilogy) and written by Eric Singer and Justin Haythe, Red Sparrow features a stellar ensemble cast that includes Joel Edgerton, Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling and Mary-Louise Parker. What more could you want in a spring thriller?

Lean On Pete follows the story of Charley (Charlie Plummer), a homeless teen in Oregon who befriends a failing racehorse. Together, they set off on a difficult journey across America to find his only known relative, who once lived 1,000 miles away in Wyoming. From acclaimed filmmaker Andrew Haigh (Weekend, 45 Years, Looking), and based on the beloved novel by Willy Vlautin, this film is a deeply moving story about love, loneliness, family and friendship, told through the unique lens of one boy’s connection to a very special animal. Lean On Pete also stars Chloë Savigny and Steve Buscemi.

Unsane In Theaters March 23 | R | Horror, Thriller

Love, Simon In Theaters March 16 | PG-13 | 109 Minutes | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) it’s a little more complicated. He hasn’t told his family or friends that he’s gay, and he doesn’t know the identity of the anonymous classmate that he’s fallen for online. On top of all that, a school bully is threatening to out him. At the surface, this may seem like another coming out of the closet movie, but it’s actually a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story (based on the book by Becky Arbatalli) about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love. Plus, this is the first teen movie released by a major studio to feature a gay character in the lead, so please support it! Directed by Greg Berlanti, Love, Simon co-stars Katherine Langford, Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel. 50

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A young woman (Claire Foy, The Crown) is involuntarily committed to a mental institution where she faces her greatest fear – but is it real or is it a product of her delusion? Following in the footsteps of Tangerine, this psychological thriller was shot entirely in secret on an iPhone, which seems hard to believe. But that’s not part of the conceit, director by Steven Soderbergh maintains. Unsane, which premiered at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival in February, co-stars Jay Pharoah (“Saturday Night Live”), Juno Temple (Atonement) and Amy Irving (Carrie and Traffic). James Fanizza is a proudly queer filmmaker, writer and recent Valley transplant. He can be reached at @jamesfanizza on Instagram and Twitter.

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Get the latest. Whenever, wherever.

Feature Story

Left to right: Natasha Turra, Holly Knudsen and Michelle Bocchino, Original Gravity’s co-owners. Photos by Fernando Hernández.

Meet The OGs

Local trio endows Original Gravity with innovation, seasonal flavors and a fresh perspective By Liz Massey

T

here is sometimes a misconception about what happens when a person, or a group of people, act on their “grand passion.” It isn’t always the case that this person becomes the best in the world at what he or she does; sometimes, the path to excellence lies in sharing what one loves with others in a fabulous new way.

started with the backgrounds of the three owners. Knudsen and Bocchino, in particular, come from a culinary family.

This is the approach that Original Gravity, a bar located at the northwest corner of 12th Street and Highland Avenue in central Phoenix, has chosen. Envisioned and launched by three local women, the establishment curates the best of American beer, wine and sake, and complements it with a menu full of familiar-but-frisky takes on traditional bar offerings.

Turra brought her passion for beer to the table, as a self-described “beer geek” and occasional home brewer. Although Bocchino and Knudsen both had some hospitality industry experience, all of them were working 9-to-5 jobs in other industries when they collectively made the decision to open Original Gravity.

“The gap we were trying to fill wasn’t in the brewery landscape, because we are not brewers,” explained Holly Knudsen, one of Original Gravity’s three co-owners. “We are craft beer lovers who want to feature as many local brews as possible. We wanted to bring an exceptional craft beer concept to the area, serving elevated bar food and wine-based cocktails that are unique.” After restyling their location to create what Knudsen calls a “modern, inviting and artsy” feel, Knudsen, joined by her sister Michelle Bocchino and their friend Natasha Turra, set about turning Original Gravity into a place where neighbors might run into each other, but where the topic of conversation could well be the unexpected food and drink, and not just the local gossip.

Collecting The Right Ingredients A popular bar, like a knock-yoursocks off entrée or a mind-blowing cocktail, doesn’t happen unless the right ingredients are part of the mix. In the case of Original Gravity (called “The OG” by frequent visitors), the establishment’s recipe for greatness

“Holly and I are sisters, and our grandmother was famous for her cooking, especially her pies, Christmas candy and pickles,” Bocchino explained. “We get our love of cooking from her … I guess you could say it’s in our genes.”

The next raw material for their enterprise was discovering a setting that was hungry for the type of place they wanted to open. They were able to secure a space in a two-story, L-shaped building originally designed by Bennie Gonzalez in 1963.

Surprises by the Plateful (and Pintful)

All three women lived within two miles of the bar’s present location. The building had accumulated some lessthan-contemporary features over the years, so local design-build developer Bill Tonnenson was called in to give the space a facelift.

Once the bar space had been designed and furnished, the trio of owners set out to design the menu. Knudsen is in charge of the food, kitchen and menu; Bocchino has overseen the development of the wine list and cocktails; and Turra has developed the beer strategy for Original Gravity and governs what comes out of the establishment’s 20 rotating beer taps.

“We actually fell in love with the building and space in 2015 when we signed our lease,” Knudsen said. “It went from 1980s eyesore to eye-popping with the renovation that Bill Tonnesen did ...The residents all watched and followed our progress and everyone has said what a big improvement it has been to the neighborhood.”

Original Gravity keeps its food menu modest in size, but not necessarily in scope. The scratch kitchen, helmed by head chef Carly Bielecki, offers signature selections for both vegetarians (try the Mushroom Po’Boy) and meat lovers (you’ll appreciate the Beef on Weck, composed of prime rib on a brioche bun) alike. The popular shared plates range from the pork belly cheesy fries and the OG Chef’s Board, a rotating selection of artisan cheeses and charcuterie with varying seasonal accompaniments, to the IPA-glazed bacon and the OG Poutine, a combination of french fries, Wisconsin white cheese curds and beef gravy.

When the renovations were complete, Original Gravity’s 1,750-square-foot space shed a nightmare of stucco for a modern, industrial feel. There are two patios – in front and in back – with the rear patio featuring wooden benches and tables and welcoming four-legged visitors along with their human owners. The interior sports a U-shaped bar and various high-top tables and seats. One wall is tiled in hundreds of beer logos from various brewers and is a popular photo-op spot (don’t believe us, see page 30.) And, yes, patrons can expect the two flat screens behind the bar to be set to all the big games.

PLUS:

According to Bocchino, The OG’s 11 pup-friendly patios unique wine/sake cocktails caught the attention of patrons, as hadjust the in time for spring legendary “secret sauce” that is served with fries and sandwiches like the Bee’s Knees Fried Chicken Sandwich. Beer lovers are kept on their toes with a mix of local, regional and national brews, including pours from breweries in Phoenix and Tucson.

The women designed and participated in the build-out, providing much of the artwork, as well as the materials for the beer tile wall and a penny wall, which is located between the all-inclusive restrooms. They also helped repurpose several reclaimed bowling alley lanes into six table tops, some of which still have visible lane markers. And visitors rarely pass up the opportunity to turn the “Rocket Girls” interactive art piece into a Boomerang for Instagram. 28

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Feature Story

Feature Story

“We are lucky to have many quality brewers in our area, such as Wrenhouse, Tombstone, The Shop Beer Co., Huss and Helton,” she noted. “We’ve also tapped into the Tucson market which is huge. We’ve had a Ten55 collaboration on tap,

PLUS:

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11 pup-friendly patios just in time for spring

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Gayborhood Flavors Meet two new LGBTQ-owned businesses that are diversifying the Valley’s culinary landscape

Gayborhood Flavors Meet two new LGBTQ-owned businesses that are diversifying the Valley’s culinary landscape

LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT | VOL. 29, #6 | ISSUE 702 | MARCH 2018 | COMPLIMENTARY

LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT | VOL. 29, #6 | ISSUE 702 | MARCH 2018 | COMPLIMENTARY

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material. (For more on Bohmler, visit echomag.com/riders-of-the-purplesage.) Later in 2014, Bannow performed an hour-long version of The Boob Show at Actor’s Theatre, recruiting Bohmler as her co-writer.

Opening Nights

“I love working with Sally Jo,” Bohmler said. “Not only is she a really compelling actress, she is a very funny and sensitive comedian. I also like that the show is a nonlinear tale that addresses judgement [and] perception, and enters an absurdist world where any kind of story telling can happen.” In 2015, Hormel Festival of New Plays and Musicals, Phoenix Theatre’s annual series of staged readings of works in progress, presented a two-act version of The Boob Show. The next year, Bannow and Bohmler were invited back for a second round of development and – to the team’s delight – Phoenix Theatre’s artistic director Michael Bernard came on board as director. “Michael Barnard has been a terrific guide and dramaturge in this process,” Bohmler said. “He has directed three other shows of mine, so we are in very fine hands.”

Creator and star of new musical offers a glimpse at its 15-year journey to the stage By Seth Reines

T

here is no funnier, more inventive actress in Phoenix than Sally Jo Bannow. For years, she has delighted audiences with her insightful, comedic performances at Phoenix Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Actor’s Theatre and many more. Now, she has taken on the most challenging role of her career as playwright/composer/star of The Boob Show, a musical journey that walks audiences through various perceptions of breasts. “I have written many songs, but The Boob Show is my first musical,” she explained. “I never imagined when I started out as an actor that my writing would be in the forefront.”

Described by Bannow as “funny, poignant and thought-provoking,” The Boob Show is “about perception and its effects and, ultimately, about finding your way to selfacceptance.” According to Bannow, the show came about in 2003, shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I had a 3-year-old son and was suddenly facing my mortality,” she recalled. Until this experience, Bannow said she had never given a lot of thought to her breasts and was happy with them. “The first breast surgeon I went to was a woman,” she said. “I thought I’d feel safer 54

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with a woman doctor. She sat down with me, glanced at my chart, and said, ‘Hey! You’re gonna get a free Scottsdale boob job outta this!’ Then she took me across the hall to the plastic surgeon she worked with. After studying my chest, he said, ‘If you went a little bigger, you’d be perfect!’ I was in a health crisis and was suddenly confronted with the reality of what breasts are in society.” From there, Bannow began noticing all kinds of perceptions and opinions that are laid on the appearance of that particular part of a woman’s anatomy. “My coping mechanism is always to create art … [so] I began writing songs,” she said. “The first song I wrote for the show was a tribute to the women who came before me, which I wrote while I was undergoing chemotherapy. The comedy songs came shortly after. Now we have the gamut of songs from ridiculously comedic to deeply thought-provoking.” Throughout the next decade, Bannow continued writing and, in 2013, introduced some of her The Boob Show characters and songs at Space 55 in a 15-minute performance piece called “What Are You Looking At?” A year later, she performed a 45-minute version for Herberger Theater Center’s Lunch Time Theatre series. At this point, Bannow asked longtime friend and local composer Craig Bohmler to arrange her

When asked what has The Boob Show has taught her, Bannow replied that saying “yes” might just be the way to live. “In improv, we learn to say yes,” she explained. “I started writing plays because Phoenix Theatre’s Robbie Harper called me one day and asked me if I’d like to write for their 24-hour play festival. I had never done it before, but I said yes. Because of that, Kim Porter of Space 55 saw my work and asked me to perform something at her theatre. I didn’t have a thing prepared, but I said yes. Judy Rollings at the Herberger asked if I had something for their Lunchtime Theatre. I did not. I said yes, because I knew I could. It goes on. The journey of The Boob Show is one big chain made up of yes.” In terms of how her show speaks to the LGBTQ community, Bannow said, “the show says that everyone should be qualified by their heart, actions and the love and kindness they show to themselves and others. It’s tricky territory when we judge someone by a certain aspect of his or her self.” An appropriate response, since 15 years of Bannow’s work culminated with a Valentine’s Day opening. The Boob Show Through March 18 Phoenix Theatre 100 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix phoenixtheatre.com/boobshow 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


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Lines in the Dust

BTT’s regional premiere tackles inequality in education By Seth Reines

I

ntegration, racial privilege and injustice in our educational system ignite Black Theatre Troupe’s regional premiere of Lines in the Dust, which takes the stage at The Helen Mason Performing Arts Center through Feb. 25. The production’s creator, Obie Award-winning actress and playwright Nikkole Salter, entered the professional scene with her co-authorship of and co-performance (with Danai Gurira) in the Pulitzer Prize-nominated play In the Continuum (ITC), a work that put a face on the devastating impact of AIDS in Africa and America. As a result, ITC won an OBIE Award, the NY Outer Critics Circle’s Award for Best New American Play and the Global Tolerance Award from the Friends of the United Nations. Today, amid an emerging acting/ writing career, Salter serves as the executive director of The Continuum Project, Inc., a nonprofit organization she founded to create innovative artistic programming for community empowerment and enrichment – a mission that’s right inline with Lines in the Dust. Set in 2010 New Jersey, Lines in the Dust tells the story of Denitra, a working class mother who loses the charter school lottery for her daughter, as she fights to escape their impoverished inner city school and give her daughter the education she deserves. Nikkole Salter as Lady McBeth. Photo courtesy of Maryland Theatre Guild.

Set over a half-century after Brown v. The Board of Education, Lines in the Dust questions how far we’ve come and, more importantly, where we go from here. Salter has written, “We as a nation collectively continue to demonstrate that we believe in our hearts that some people are better than others; some people are inherently more capable than others; some people, based on where they live, are more valuable and more worthy of our investment than others. Nowhere does this make itself more apparent than in our system of public education.” This made the selection of Lines in the Dust for Black Theatre Troup’s 2017-2018 season easy for artistic director David Hemphill. “The ongoing dialogue regarding the educational system in the U.S. is continuously in the news,” he said. “We knew that, as we approach the anniversary of the monumental Brown v. Board of Education decision we have to wonder are things really better regarding the education of underserved communities in the country.” The State of Arizona, Hemphill added, is particularly challenged in terms of its educational system. “We felt that the questions posed in this show are a reflection of those questions the country is asking regarding education,” he said. “We knew that this could be an important story in the sense that it can initiate an important dialogue.” Hemphill is confident that this production will spark conversations, adding that the message here is to the entire community. “The most important statement this play makes is that the efforts to ensure an equally effective education for all groups is still dependent upon all of us remaining vigilant and active in the fight for equality within our school districts and our communities,” he said. According to Pamela Fields, the production’s director, it is Salter’s prowess as a storyteller that makes her writing so powerful, quoteing the excerpt, “In my opinion education is the most important part of the American Dream … one thing that equalizes opportunity,” as an example.

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Racquel McKenzie as Denitra (left) and Lillie Richardson as Beverly. Photo by Laura Durant.

“In Line in the Dust she has used this as the centerpiece of the play’s conflict and created a theatrical discussion of the disparity in education opportunities between the “Haves” and “Have-nots” ... and what needs to be both confronted and changed,” Fields explained. “But, she has managed to do this without presenting a lecture on the subject.” Salter has cleverly set the play in during the Obama presidency, Fields continued, so the action is just enough removed from the present day to offer unspoken comparisons between “then” and “now.” “… with her passion fully engaged, she has created a world where the political is personal … and vice-versa,” Fields said. Because she believes that every audience member brings their own experience to fill in the gaps of the character’s experiences, Fields is reluctant to anticipate what this production to say to audience. “That being said, of course I want the audience to be entertained,” she said. “This play will also provoke thought and discussion about the inequities of educational opportunities in the U.S. We hope our audiences are moved emotionally, too, as we see these vibrant characters struggle with recognizable modern-day issues. Ultimately, Fields hopes audiences will leave feeling a touch of optimism and with a sense of empowerment as well.

Lines in the Dust Through Feb. 25 The Helen Mason Performing Arts Center 1333 E. Washington St., Phoenix blacktheatretroupe.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


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recordings By Julio C. Reyna

the situation she faced with her previous bandmates. The album is mostly just here in the sense that it is so carefully executed that no room for mistake was given. It plays out as a passable first effort, but one that is almost completely void of an actual personality. Still, what she lacks in vocal ability she quickly makes up for with her ability to perfectly fill each song with emotion.

Camila Cabello Camila Epic |

Coming from a public falling out with Fifth Harmony, two failed singles and a string of delays, it is no surprise that the original working title for this album was The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving. But the release of “Havana” late last summer – and the mass success it achieved – helped ultimately steered the visual and sonic direction of Camila Cabello’s self titled debut. The second single, “Never Be The Same,” starts the album off. The track, touted to be much more grand than the peaks it actually reaches, finds itself somewhere between the all too common mumbling and whisper vocals and the notes that are just not possible for Cabello to hit. It is one of the rare moments on the album in which she strays from the latin-lite trappings that dominate the tracklist. The guitar lead “All These Years” makes no attempt to conceal that it’s equal parts Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself.” The moments that stand out, and by that I mean work for her, are when she almost lets her personality and some sass come through. “She Loves Control” is a caution to any potential suitors about a woman who does not need anyone, but also knows the trail of heartbreak she’s left behind. “Real Friends” could have easily gone the route of a petty take down, but is instead a self-aware nod to 60

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group’s sonic versatility. “Sahara Love” is an foray into ’80s pop sensibilities and “Always” is a practically acoustic piano-led track. Richard Bedford and his ever-haunting vocals make multiple appearances – “Northern Soul,” “Bittersweet & Blue” and “Happiness Amplified” – the latter of which plays in familiar fashion, the verse slowly builds into a grand chorus and the music drops, creating a sense of elation. It is a song that teases the intensity of the group’s live performances. It’s hard to not picture their hands in the air, lights hitting to each beat and confetti filling the sky. As a whole, Common Ground manages to both take listeners on on emotional journey and also creates a safe space for anyone willing to join them on the adventure. In a world the seems divided all too often, this is a reminder that everyone ultimately yerns for the same things. Above & Beyond always had that mission in mind and their ability to cohesively and consistently achieve this is deserving of the almost cultlike following they have.

Above & Beyond Common Ground Anjunabeats |

Above & Beyond returns with their fourth album, Common Ground, an effort that finds the group navigating post-party emotional ups and downs. While the project feels comfortable, thanks to new collaborations with artists featured in previous work, it also finds the group in a space where the focus is less electronic and more instrument oriented. The album begins with “The Inconsistency Principle,” an instrumental track that is ambient, uplifting and perfectly leads into the single, “My Own Hymn.” The song features Zoe Johnston the first of her three appearances throughout the album. As any of fan of the group can attest, the pairing of her beautiful and mesmerizing vocals against the pulsating synthesizer never fails to create a sense of awe. While the track relies on familiarity, the other two collaborations with the singer reveal the

Justin Timberlake Man of the Woods RCA |

“Look closer, through the trees, do you see it?” Jessica Biel asks at the end of album opener, “Filthy.” After multiple voice-overs, questionable sexual innuendos and 66 long minutes, one would be hard pressed to find an music


answer in Man Of The Woods. With visuals and press releases that touted this project as a return to Justin Timberlake’s Tennessee roots, this album is badly in need of a compass. The confusion here is not that he is trying to evolve sonically, because it is really not a stretch from previous work. It’s a Neptunes/Pharrellheavy set with Timbaland and Danja sprinkled throughout. Any addition of folksy or country sounding tinges seem like a complete afterthought. But without these touches, the album could double as Justified 2.0. Perhaps, for someone who has spent the entirety of his career taking from other artists and claiming pop innovation, it was only a matter of time before he borrowed from his own catalogue. For example, both “Say Something,” a duet with country singer Chris Stapleton, and “Supplies,” a sad attempt at Migos, show the sheer desperation of trying to court as many audiences as possible. And both fail due their blatant inauthenticity (the latter ultimately being the most disjointing aspect of the entire album). There is never a point when the persona or messages he’s proclaimed he’s conveying are even remotely believable. Ultimaltly, Timberlake’s fifth studio album begs the question: Was the direction and branding a result of a long afternoon of Pinterest searches for such things as “woods,” “rural” and “Flannel” (which is an actual song title here). The album plays out like a pinboard that never serves any real purpose. The tracks are low-rent versions of songs Timberlake and company have previously released sold under the thin veneer of modern Americana. Julio C. Reyna is a music festival nomad who is finally getting paid for his quick wit, signature snark and musical prowess. He can be reached at @wholeeoh on Instagram. music

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Photos by Matt Duboff.

Ingénue Redux

k.d. lang celebrates career milestone with anniversary tour By Megan Wadding

I

n celebration of her Grammy Award-winning debut album’s 25th anniversary, k.d. lang kicked off her Ingénue Redux Tour Feb. 8 in Seattle. The tour serves as a follow-up to her most-recent release: a remastered anniversary edition of Ingénue via Nonesuch Records. The two-disc album also features eight previously unreleased live performances from

lang’s 1993 “MTV Unplugged” episode, recorded in New York City’s famed Ed Sullivan Theater. As part of her 19-city North American tour, Lang will take the stage at the Chandler Center for the Arts March 8 for a performance that will include the songs from Ingénue, including her hit, “Constant Craving” as well as hits from her 2004 album Hymns of the 49th Parallel. Echo Magazine caught up with lang to find out what it’s been like to perform the album after 25 years and what her Arizona fans can expect from here show. Here’s what she had to say … Echo: How have your musical inspirations have changed throughout the past 25 years? Who are some of your current favorite singers/musicians? lang: Not much has changed in the past 25 years. I’m just a little bit older. My relationship to music is still the same … I’m kind of getting back to the jazz a little bit, so I wouldn’t necessarily say I have any favorites. But there are always a lot of great musicians to listen to. I’m really big

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into the Courtney Barnett/Kirk Vile combo. Echo: How do you feel your fan-base has changed over the years? Do you get a lot of lifelong fans at your shows? lang: Yeah, I’ve had a nice relationship [with] loyal fans, people who lived with … and have a relationship with Ingénue, and there’s a few now-youngsters too. That’s nice too. Echo: You came out just after Ingénue was released. What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as a part of the musical landscape and also part of the LGBTQ community simultaniously? lang: Things have changed a lot. I can’t really speak [to] how things have changed [in] terms of the community because it is changing so fast and I only have one perspective … 25 years ago, I was kind of out there on the bow of the ship … one of the few people out there opening up the doors. I mean, certainly, always historically [there were] a lot of people out there doing it. I am just a part of it. But at that time in pop music, there was a lot of Music


pressure, a lot of inquiries. Obviously, I talked about it and I am still talking about it right at this moment, so it’s been at the forefront of my career. It was almost all-encompassing. It’s interesting for me to try to navigate peoples’ attention back to my music while also honoring my position as an LGBTQ spokesperson. I am certainly proud of the changes made, but there is still a ways to go. It’s been a wonderful experience for me. I have nothing but pride and appreciation. Echo: What is something that you would tell your younger self? lang: I probably wouldn’t say anything. I think, in life, that doesn’t do you much good. I think you really just have to follow your heart and really honor who you are. I just think you have to be really in touch with yourself and you have to know whether it’s time for you to come out or time for you say something, or be an activist … [or] not be an activist. Really, I just think you have to be passionate and follow your heart. Echo: What’s it like performing your hits from Ingénue 25 years later? What can long-time fans expect from your performances on your tour? lang: We are playing the album Ingénue in its entirety, in sequence,

right off the top of the show. It is quite a musical show. I’m very proud of that and I’m proud of how the songs hold out. I love performing this record. It’s very musical for me as a vocalist to get into it … for the most part all of my experiences with the tour so far, [have] been that the audience has a good relationship with the record. So they’re familiar and they have their own relationship with it and it brings up memories. It’s very nice. It’s musical and fun and deep at the same time for me. Echo: Are you doing anything personally to celebrate this 25th year milestone, besides this tour? lang: [Laughs] No! You mean like drinking champagne every night? No. Echo: Do you ever stay after to meet with the fans or sign autographs at all? lang: I think there are some VIP packages, which I’ve never done before and we’re doing that this year. But it’s usually is pretty fast-paced. The tour, in particular, is pretty fast-paced … Echo: What are you up to in between gigs? Any other projects you’re working on? lang: No, I have not been working on anything. I’ve been living my life. I’ve been really milking my time with my

mom, who is 94, so I’m spending a lot of time with her … a lot of family time and personal time. Echo: I know you must’ve been to Arizona before on previous tours... any specific memories or anything in particular you’re looking forward to doing or seeing while you’re here? lang: I always love playing in Arizona. I love the [Phoenix] area, I love the weather, of course, but the audience is always great and I’ve had really good shows there. I have great memories of Phoenix. For more on k.d. lang, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using @kdlang or visit kdlang.com.

k.d. lang Ingénue Redux - 25th Anniversary Tour 7:30 p.m. March 8 Chandler Center for the Arts 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler chandlercenter.org Megan Wadding is a freelance writer and travel addict with a degree in journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @MeganWadding.

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between the covers

Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies By Terri Schlichenmeyer

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ust like in the movies, you’d planned to grow old together. You’d be the couple everyone smiled at: two wrinkled beings, holding hands, fussing good-naturedly at one another. Still in love, like the movies, ‘til death do you part until – as in the new memoir Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello – someone changes the script. When Michael spotted Christopher “Kit” Cowan at a New York event for gay athletes, it was lust at first sight. Standing 6-foot-something, bespectacled Kit was geeky-sexy – just Michael’s type – and, although they kissed and kissed some more that night, their first date was neardisastrous. They were different in so many ways: aesthetics, family, childhoods and personalities. Michael thought Kit had amazing style; Kit could barely get past Michael’s Smurf collection. As time passed, they told one another “olive juice,” (which looks like “I love you” when whispered), and adopted a cat, endearing nicknames and coupleslanguage. Kit helped Michael overcome his bullied past; Michael learned not to wake Kit too early. They moved in together, conquered relationship

crises, then moved out together and sought counseling. They wanted things to work. This was for the long-term but, just over a decade into their relationship, there were more challenges to weather: having endured bowel problems for some time, Kit was diagnosed with a fist-sized, cancerous invader in his rectum, yet there was hope. They’d heard neuroendocrine tumors were rare, but responded to treatment. Their third second-opinion doctor told them otherwise: Kit had a year to live. How do you advocate for an ailing loved one? Michael, a writer and TV critic who’d lost his beloved mother to cancer, learned to be fierce on Kit’s behalf.

Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello. Atria, 2017 | $26.

How do you make every minute count? After being told he was going to die, Kit married Michael in a City Hall ceremony that came perilously close to not happening. It was followed by a memorable honeymoon, and chemotherapy. How do you watch someone you love suffer? How do you say goodbye? Of course, you know how this book ends. It’s right there in the title, so you’re probably not surprised. The first thing you’ll want to know, though – especially if you’re prone to cry – is that Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies is not a book that will leave you howling. Although Ausiello jumps right in with humor on page 1 of his story – a sassy,

Michael Ausiello.

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snarky kind of funny that’s endearing because it’s not mean-spirited – and that carries throughout. That’s not to mitigate the sadness or seriousness of what happens here, however: the humor sometimes feels thin, as though Ausiello is protecting his readers from the full brunt of the horror of watching someone fade away. There’s an attempted lighthearted approach here, but you’ll see through it and know better. In his last pages, gift-like, Ausiello leaves readers with a perfect movie image despite that Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies lives up to its title. Yes, you will cry. No, you shouldn’t pass on it. And that’s a wrap. books


Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Y

ou look sharp today. This morning, you dressed with determination, putting confidence on your body in order to put it in your mind. You chose your outfit deliberately but, as in the new book Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity by C. Riley Snorton, there may be reason for a different direction. When the Cornell University Library recently assembled a display of “queer and trans performance” items, there was a singular piece of paper that caught Snorton’s eye: it was a French postcard depicting two black “transvestite” performers, possibly in a minstrel show or at a cakewalk, which was likewise a popular form of entertainment, circa 1900. The library called it a “rare” piece, but Snorton shows that African American history is rife with examples of transgender identities. During the Civil War, for example, archives indicate that many slaves, particularly women, dressed in men’s clothing in order to be seen as male and to avoid bondage. Even Harriet Tubman disguised herself as a man to deter arrest. Ellen and William Craft took it a bit further when Ellen dressed as a man, and her husband as

her manservant, in order for both to escape slavery. Black sex trade workers sometimes dressed as women, often to great mocking and even greater scandal. One was nicknamed “The ManMonster,” a frightening 1836 moniker for Peter Sewally, also known as Mary Jones. Nearly a century later, Lucy Hicks Anderson, a madam, became “the first transgendered black to be legally tried and convicted … for impersonating a woman,” and was sent to prison for it. And while some wish to keep their cross-dressing in private, others don’t mind becoming famous: Snorton cites national media sources for bringing forward the stories of Ava Betty Brown and Annie Lee Grant, both featured in Ebony and Jet magazines, the latter photographed in clothing for men and for women. Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity by C. Riley Snorton. Black on Both Sides falters right from its very subchapter: large parts of the book are about people who temporarily dressed in clothing associated with those of another gender in order to escape situations, not because they were transgender. Here, it’s also about a white man who performed gynecological operations on enslaved women without anesthesia; they, and a Black cisgender friend of trans murder victim Brandon Teena’s, are included with the thinnest of connections.

C. Riley Snorton.

books

Even comprehending this book is a challenge: single sentences, which are written in language that may test the most scholarly of readers, can often be measured in inches on a page; readers might also quibble with issues of definition, particularly

University of Minnesota Press, 2017 | $24.95.

“transgender” versus “cross-dressing.” Snorton refers to both in this book, but doesn’t seem to make very strong distinctions between the two. To the good, the research done here is stellar. There’s a wide variety of case studies and interesting stories in this book – much more than readers might expect there’d be – but whether they’re accessible is quite another matter. Overall, Black on Both Sides offers an educational look back, but is a tough read missing some important distinctions. 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. EchoMag.com

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ALL OVER THE MAP

Thriving On Chaos By Liz Massey

D

oes anyone remember life before the 2016 presidential election? I’m not sure I do any more. Events for me can be pigeonholed into “before the election” and “after the election.” In the world of “after,” social media firefights continue to get uglier, even on relatively innocuous posts; LGBTQ equality in America no longer seems inevitable; and for the first time in my adult life, I am truly fearful about our collective future. It was awesome to see hundreds of thousands of people take part in the Women’s March in January 2017, as well as in other “resistance actions” since that time. Dozens of groups have organized here in the Valley and are poised to paint Arizona blue in 2018 – or at least a legislative shade that is closer to purple. However, this influx of newbie activist energy hasn’t come without a cost. There have been some organizational missteps and some unpleasant infighting, which I believe is the inevitable outcome of having a lot of fired-up folks running around who carry little or no historical context of previous reform movements. However, the downside to the “everyone is an activist” trend that worries me the most is the hopelessness that I see flare up occasionally when our opponents “win” the battle of the day, or when we realize how swiftly our current strategies to counter the actions of the Trump Administration could get wiped off the map. Because this is a conflict that has placed our entire nation’s wellbeing at stake, it’s critical that we don’t let our opponents wear us down and wait us out. Cultivating a sense of hope is one of our key survival strategies. Simply put, we have to be able to commit to this struggle and be ready to do

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whatever it takes to win, for as long as it takes to win.

But many are taking action in spite of the uncertainty.

Veteran LGBTQ activists are well prepared for our current struggle, but this fight is dramatically different in certain ways from anything we’ve ever faced as a movement:

• Ground yourself with routine and ritual.

1. This administration is demonstrating unparalleled levels of corruption and greed. 2. The assault on marginalized persons (including those in our community) is completely pervasive and continuous. 3. Everyone on the other side is acting to please an “audience of one.” Many times in the past year, I’ve compared our current political circumstances with being in a knifefight in an elevator with a madman. There is no time for strategy, no time to ponder what we’re doing. All we can do is react, react, react ... or risk losing everything. I spent a lot of 2017 pondering how to constructively cope with this ongoing chaos. I found some answers in an unexpected place – the book Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance by Jonathan Fields. The author, who gave up his law practice to open a yoga studio in New York on the day before 9/11, doesn’t just address economic or vocational uncertainty in his writings. He also provides readers with hints that can be useful when participating in a long-term political struggle: • Uncertainty is unavoidable, yet we are hard-wired to avoid it. So it’s OK to feel uncomfortable. • Everyone else impacted by uncertainty is scared too.

Staying grounded is especially important in the current environment, with so many conflicting versions of “the truth” being presented. • Lean on the hive mind. Drop the rugged individualism at the door – our efforts are multiplied when we act together in a focused way. • Control your attention. This is the complement to grounding with routine. Fields calls it “attentional training” and suggests it could be active (trail running) or more reflective (mindfulness meditation). The benefits of being able to shift your attention at will are obvious in a struggle laden with so much emotional conflict. I want to believe that during 2018, the resistance will gain the upper hand in our struggle to restore democratic norms to our country. But, however things go, the LGBTQ community must keep fighting, for ourselves as well as for all of the marginalized groups with whom we have a natural solidarity. Failure – or worse, giving up – is not an option. The certainty I can carry forward into this election year is that I believe in the civic foundations that make America a democracy, and that I will embrace the chaos I see today as an adventurous prelude to a restored nation in the future. 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 lizmassey68@gmail.com. COMMUNITY


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Talking Bodies

Being Fit vs. Appearing Fit By Tia Norris

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think it’s fair to say we all want that #fitlife, especially with the warm(er) weather as well as Gaypril on the way. Whether it’s pool season yet or not, everyone would choose to look fit over not looking fit, if they could have it with a snap of their fingers. OK, the vast majority of us would. If you’ve met me, or have been reading my articles, you know that I live, sleep, eat and breathe fitness; it’s my heart and soul. That being said, I’m here to tell you that the concept of “fitness” is oftentimes tragically misunderstood. Before you get too aggressive with your goal for pool season, let’s dive a bit deeper into what fitness means on the inside versus what it looks like on the outside, and common misconceptions around this concept. 1. Beware of the cultural pitfalls and misleading information around fitness. Most of the bodies you see in the media are probably not real, they just look very convincing. As a trainer, who also moonlights as a photographer and Photoshop wizard, I’m telling you that it is incredibly easy to alter pictures in materially misleading ways. Once you know the tricks of the trade, the imposters are easily spotted. But that’s not what this is about. The point is: to the untrained eye, it can be devastatingly defeating to see such impossible standards. It seems as though the cultural pressure to look a certain way, to look perfect, has spread all the way from runway models to fitness novices with the help of smartphone apps. The truth is that we fitness models look that cut, and that lean for only a couple days at a time. That’s it! In many cases, months or even close to a year of training, dieting and programming all go into looking like that for ONE day. Let that sink in for a second. Day to day, I am less cut, less tan and much flatter muscularly than what you see in some of my pictures. That’s just the nature of the beast. So, when you have a bad day on the scale, in the mirror or in any other scenario, remember that we’re all human and that the most legitimate photos you’re comparing yourself against were from someone’s very best 68

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day. That should help to keep things in perspective. 2. Most people want the results, without actually doing the work. Fitness is not six pack abs, it’s not superficial, it is not temporary and it’s not an isolated phase in your life. Further, fitness is not something you do for someone else, do to spite someone else or even to impress someone else. Fitness is confidence, toughness, dedication, coordination, power, balance, speed, strength (both literally and figuratively) and persistence in the face of all obstacles. This includes control over your attitude, your mood, your sleep, your schedule, your diet and other aspects of your life. This means getting that workout in when you least feel like it. It’s not easy, and it’s definitely a grind that has good and bad days. You must show up and keep working on the days you’re tired, stressed, rushed, defeated, doubtful, afraid and so on. The days you actually have to overcome something instead of just checking your workout off your to-do list are the days you have the greatest opportunity to really make progress, push your body and see the most improvement. 3. Fitness is really an internal mindset. The external physique is the fringe benefit. I’ve said this time and time again, and it might sound strange coming from such an aesthetic-focused trainer, but you are not your body. Your body is a tool, it’s a means to an end, to express your internal mindset, belief system, discipline and dedication to your workout program. Your physique will come and go. Your strength will come

“Fitness is not six pack abs, it’s not superficial, it is not temporary and it’s not an isolated phase in your life ... fitness is not something you do for someone else, do to spite someone else or even to impress someone else.” – Tia Norris

and go. Your abilities will wax and wane depending on what you’re training for at the time. The outside will, and should, be always changing, but the inside is what we’re really after here. Good trainers want to train you to believe in yourself when sh*t gets hard. We want to train you to be resilient in the face of injury, obstacles and other setbacks. We want you to set ambitious goals and shoot for the moon because you can get there with smart programming and relentless will (do yourself a favor and ditch the crash diets and the photo editing software). So, as you make your spring preparations for swimsuit season, try focusing on developing a sterling, unshakeable internal character and the muscles will come along the way, this I promise you. 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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OUT & ABOUT Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th Grand Opening Jan. 18 at 526 N. Fourth Ave., Tucson. Photos by Stephanie Anne Donoghue.

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Don’t miss an issue all NEW year! PLUS: QU

Meet this year’s scholarship recipients

The Wedding Issue Find out what local experts and Valley newlyweds have to say about planning your perfect big day

IGNITE Your Status Find out how one outreach project is working to promote sexual health and eliminate the stigma around HIV

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OUT & ABOUT Vinyl Voices Echo Magazine Takeover Jan. 30 at The Coronado, Phoenix. Photos by nightfuse.com.

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THE GAYBORHOOD

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KARAMBA NIGHTCLUB

1724 E. McDowell Road

602-254-0231

D, E

15 15

KOBALT

3110 N. Central Ave., Ste. 125

602-264-5307

MF, E, N

16 16

LOS DIABLOS

1028 E. Indian School Road

602-795-7881

MF, R, N

17 17

NU TOWNE SALOON

5002 E. Van Buren St.

602-267-9959

M, N, L

18 18

OFF CHUTE TOO

4115 N. Seventh Ave

602-274-1429

M, A

19 19

OZ BAR

1804 W. Bethany Home Road

602-242-5114

MF, N

20 20

PLAZMA

1560 E. Osborn Road

602-266-0477

MF, N, E

21 21

ROYAL VILLA INN

4312 N. 12th St.

602-266-6883

M, AO

22 23

STACY’S @ MELROSE

4343 N. Seventh Ave.

602-264-1700

MF, D, N

23 24

THE CASH NIGHTCLUB & LOUNGE

2140 E. McDowell Road

602-244-9943

F, C, D

25 24

THE CHUTE

1440 E. Indian School Road

602-234-1654

M, AO

26 25

THE ROCK

4129 N. Seventh Ave.

602-248-8559

M, N, E

MAP CODES: A M F MF

Adult Retail & Entertainment Mostly Males Mostly Females Mixed Male/Female

LOCAL BUSNESSES

N R D C

Neighborhood Bar Full Restaurant Dance Club Country Dancing

L E G AO

Leather/Bears Entertainment (Karaoke, Drag) Go-Go Dancers Accommodations/Other

EchoMag.com | MARCH 2018 EchoMag.com | | FEBRUARY EchoMag.com OCTOBER 2015

77 61 93


bar specials

OUT & ABOUT

M 7 p.m. Darts with Acxell

The Imperial Court of Arizona’s Red & Wild Strawberry Social

T Latin Night with Diego

Jan. 13 at The Rock, Phoenix.

W 9 p.m. Karaoke

Photos by nightfuse.com.

BUNKHOUSE S $1 drafts & HH prices all day & night

T Underwear night: $1 off all drinks if in skivvies! GoGo dancers 9p.m.

F 8 p.m.-close: $2.50 Miller family products. 4 & 6 p.m.: Free-to-join poker

S 8 p.m.-close: $2.50 Bud family products

CHARLIE’S S Super HH 4-7 p.m., $3 pitchers; $3 Long Islands open to close

M 2-8 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestic bottles, $3 pitchers; 8 p.m.-close, 1/2 off drinks for wearing underwear, $3 Jack Daniels

T 2-8 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestic bottles, $3 pitchers; 2-4-1 cocktails & beer 8 p.m.close

W 2-8 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestic bottles, $3 pitchers; $3 Three Olives vodka, 8 p.m.close

T 2-8 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestic bottles, $3 pitchers; 2-4-1 drinks open-close

F 2-7 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestics, $3 pitchers; HH 7-9 p.m.; $1 well & domestics, $1 drafts 10 p.m.- midnight

S Noon-7 p.m. 2-4-1 well & domestics; HH 7-9 p.m.; $1 well & domestics, $3 Absolut & Bacardi 10 p.m.-midnight

STACY’S @ MELROSE S $1.50 Rolling Rock pints & well drinks until 10 p.m.

M Karaoke, 9 p.m.-close; HH & $3 charity shots ALL DAY

T HH, 4-8 p.m.; $1 draft pint, $3 charity shots, $4 Mojitos & Caipirinhas ALL DAY; live DJ

W 2-4-1 ALL DAY; $3 charity shots ALL DAY; live DJ, top 40 & dance

T HH & $1.50 draft pint, 4-8 p.m.; $1.50 draft pint & wells, 8 p.m.-midnight; live DJ, top 40 & dance, 8 p.m.-close

F HH, 4-8 p.m.; $3 charity shots ALL DAY; $2 Kamikaze shots ALL DAY; live DJ, top 40 & dance, 8 p.m.-close

S HH, 4-8 p.m.; $3 charity shots ALL DAY; $2 Kamikaze shots ALL DAY; live DJ, top 40 & dance, 8 p.m.-close 78

MARCH 2018

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EchoMag.com

For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.


OUT & ABOUT Tucson Pride Tour Jan. 14 at The Hut, Tucson. Photos by Stephanie Anne Donoghue.

For more Echo photos visit echomag.com/gallery.

EchoMag.com

|

MARCH 2018

79


Bringing the Social Element to #GayPhoenix #GayTucson #GayAZ

@ILoveGayPhoenix www.ILoveGayAZ.com

80

MARCH 2018

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EchoMag.com


We want to go home with you!

Pick us up at one of our 400 locations! Find out where: echomag.com/pick-us-up

EchoMag.com

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MARCH 2018

81


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

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

AUTO SERVICES Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair 13

67

BAR & CLUBS Bunkhouse Charlie’s Phoenix Stacy’s @ Melrose

69 71

ADULT ENTERTAINMENT/ RETAIL Flex Spas Phoenix 81 Pleasure World 61 The Chute 80 AIR CONDITIONING & HEATING Valdez Refrigeration

BEVERAGES Smirnoff

27

COUNSELING SERVICES Stonewall Institute 59 Valley Hospital 51

71

APARTMENTS Broadstone Arts District Dolce Villagio Apartments East and West Apartments El Cortez Apartments Muse Inspired Urban Living The Curve at Melrose

77 9 75, 76, 77

DENTISTS My Dentist Open Wide Dental

69

DISPENSARY The Mint Dispensary

51 70 49

EDUCATION Maricopa County Community College District

55 11

ASSISTED LIVING Bridgewater Phoenix Midtown - Solterra Senior Living 59

EVENTS Arizona Broadway Theatre Chamber Rainbow Golf Classic Kirby Girls Melrose Street Festival Out at SMoCA Scottsdale Center For the Arts Sedona Film Festival

ATTORNEYS Jackson White-Attorneys At Law 53 Phillips Law Group 15 Rose Law Group 43 Tyler Allen Law Firm 5

61 2 10

67

55 58 37 4 49 84 45

FINANCIAL SERVICES JW Advisors Inc.

70

FUNERAL SERVICES Abel Funeral Services

83

HOME SERVICES ADD/WES Roofing Desert King Windows Co., Inc. Lyons Roofing Metro Cleaning Rainbow Bug Tilton Electric INSURANCE Benefits Arizona Edward Vasquez, Allstate MARKETING 850zip.com nightfuse live Pink Bananna Media

facebook.com/echomagazine twitter.com: @echomagaz Instagram: @echomagazineaz Linkedin: Echo Magazine 82

MARCH 2018

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53 67 42 70 67 61 3 69 57 80

57

REALTORS Andre Gomez, Coldwell Banker Residential 63 Arizona Gay Realtors Alliance 3 Berney Streed, Re/Max Excalibur 71 Bradley B. Brauer, HomeSmart 3 Chip-Charles Kurutza, Valley Executives Real Estate 59 David Oesterle, ReMax 3 Fred Delgado Team, Keller Williams 3 Jan Dahl, HomeSmart 3 Matthew Hoedt, Realty One 3 Nicholas Yale, Brokers Hub Realty 3 Shawn Hertzog, West USA 3 RELIGIOUS GROUPS Community Church of Hope70

MORTGAGES Jeremy Schachter, Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Kim Chartier, Caliber Home Loans

59

PHARMACY CVS Specialty Pharmacy Fairmont Pharmacy

61 63

3

REAL ESTATE Encue - Family Development Homes 27

Join the conversation with #EchoMagAZ.

70

Monticeto - Greenstreet Communities

RESTAURANTS China Chili Hula’s Modern Tiki Original Wineburger

31 31 31

RETAIL Off Chute Too

79

RETIREMENT PLANNING Calvin Goetz, Strategy Financial Group 3 SALONS Exodus Hair Studio Salon 24

70 71

WELLNESS FitPro, LLC-Tia Norris 70 Gilead Truvada 20-22 IGNITE 73 JWW Fitness 70 Southwest Center for HIV/ 17 AIDS Willo Medi Spa 71 lambda directory


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March @ The Center

The TEN Tenors: Wish You Were Here Wed, February 28 Thu, March 1

Parsons Dance Fri, March 9

Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band Sat, March 31

Yamato Sat, March 3

Mark Cortale Presents Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Featuring Seth Rudetsky as Pianist and Host

Kristin Chenoweth Sat, March 17

scottsdale arts festival

March 9–11, 2018

Reserve your seats today! ScottsdalePerformingArts.org | 480-499-TKTS (8587) | 7380 E. Second St.

Echo Magazine - Arizona LGBTQ Lifestyle - March 2018  

Echo Magazine – Arizona's leading media outlet dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in news, views and entertainment. March 2018 Issue....

Echo Magazine - Arizona LGBTQ Lifestyle - March 2018  

Echo Magazine – Arizona's leading media outlet dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in news, views and entertainment. March 2018 Issue....