EXECUTIVE EDITOR Peter Rayes
ART DIRECTOR Jeremy McElroy
GRAPHIC DESIGN Jesse Ball
COPY EDITOR Dana Haddrill
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Peter Rayes Tony Lowe
PHOTOGRAPHERS Ryan Boudreau Danya Charleston Murray Grondin Tony Lowe Peter Rayes
CONTRIBUTORS Alysha Calamia Jai Ferrick Dana Haddrill John LoProto Jason Misleh Joan Stevenson
WEB DEVELOPMENT PR Solutions, LLC
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or staff. No part of Flame Magazine, including stories, artwork, advertising, or photos may be reproduced in any form by anymeans without prior written consent from Flame, LLC. Flame Magazine is published monthly by Flame, LLC. FLame Magazine willl not accept advertising which is found to violate local, state or federal law. The presence of the name, likeness, photograph, or other representation of an organization, business, or person(s) in Flame Magazine is not an indication of sexual orientation. Copyright ÂŠ 2012. Flame, LLC
Contents Become Who You Are
Life According to Joan
Mexi Mike Detroitâ€™s Latin Legend
By John LoPorto
By Joan Stevenson
Interview by Chris Bansale Photos by Tony Lowe
In the DJ Booth with Julissa Veloz Interview by DJ Jace
Straight Girl Gay World 19 By Alysha Calamia
he ending of “Schindler’s List” is by far one of the most touching scenes in cinematic history, and it poses one of the more interesting questions of humanity: When does kindness and altruism reach its limit?
“We cannot save the world on our own, nor should we have to.”
Altruism is a very human tendency. It is arguably what makes us human, and it is our greatest characteristic. But altruism must have its limits: you cannot live your life for the sole purpose of disregarding your own personal desires for the needs of others. Of course, there are many brave souls that do just that. But for the majority of us, there is a point when we must say, “No, I need to think of myself first.” We all have been there in some form, and it is a difficult notion to even admit to ourselves. You cannot, for example, give every panhandler a dollar. You would starve yourself! You cannot volunteer consistently for 24 hours. You would die of exhaustion! Those ideas are simple; it becomes a matter of life or death. But what about the harder questions to comprehend? For example, in “Schindler’s List” Oskar Schindler regrets not selling his personal possessions in order to save more people. That is very selfish thing! He had the ability to save lives, yet he thought of himself first.
Of course we don’t think of Oskar Schindler as terrible person. In fact, he is an example of the good we can accomplish. We recognize there is a limit to the good one can do. More importantly, we recognize the innate tension between altruism and the needs of the self. There must come a point when you put yourself first. Even the most philanthropic need to eat, need to spend money, and need to rest. There is nothing wrong with this. The problem arises when we do not recognize this fact and expect the impossible from both others and ourselves. We need to realize the limits of kindness because we are finite people; we cannot save the world on our own, nor should we have to. The lesson we can all learn from Oskar Schindler is that we should help one another; the world needs more altruism. But we should also remember that we need, from time to time, to think of ourselves first. This is not to promote selfishness, but rather to alleviate guilt when we cannot, for various reasons, help everyone with everything. We should always do our best to be a good person, but remember you too are a human being with wants and desires that deserve attention.
a drink called the “Constant Buzz.” By noon the streets were teeming with people. Now, I have been to many festivals and seen many, many crowds, but there was something special about this bright, shiny mass of humanity mixing in the noonday sun.
Puff, Puff, Pass …
his past weekend I was witness to an explosion of culture, a melting pot of humanity. An annual rite of spring here in the metro Detroit area … well, Ann Arbor really. A "coming out" if you will. I'm talking about Hash Bash, that festival of peace, love, and the right to smoke some herb. Hash Bash originally started as a result of political activist and poet John Sinclair being arrested for possession after giving an undercover narc two joints. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1969 and his subsequent imprisonment led to much outcry and protest. In 1971, there was a huge rally and concert with many musical artists, including Stevie Wonder and John Lennon, and political activists such as Abbie Hoffman and Bobby Seale showing their support. Three days after the rally, John Sinclair was released when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the state's marijuana laws were unconstitutional. The students on the University of Michigan campus threw an impromptu celebration festival, a mass smoke down, and this became Hash Bash which is held annually on the U of M campus on the first Saturday in April. For years I have heard about the Bash. At first from overhearing adults' conversations, then when I got older from my peers who had attended. What I heard is that it was a free-for-all: Oh yeah! It all goes down at the Bash! Singing and dancing and smoking in the streets! This is what I was curious to see. This year the date happened to fall at my birthday, so I was invited to go with a group of friends who try to attend every year. We got there around 10 a.m. to make sure we had a comfortable spot to hang. There is a bar/restaurant called Dominick's right there on campus and they open their balcony patio at 11 a.m. so we had a great view of all the action. It's a great place, by the way; I recommend
They were all walks of life: old and young (some, I fear, were definitely too young), poor and the well-to-do, white, black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, lesbian, gay, straight, bi, trans – even Obi Wan Kenobi and SpongeBob stopped by. (No kidding, there were people there dressed like that!) Pretty, scantily-clad girls; hot shirtless boys; old school hippies all in tie-dye and sandals; new school hipsters all Starbucks and iPhones. If you're looking for a place to people watch, you can't get any better than this. Everything was mellow; there wasn't a bad vibe for miles. There was peace and harmony. Everyone was there to have a good time. All races, creeds, and colors united by their love of the green and the freedom to smoke openly. Wow, you would have thought this was Amsterdam and not Michigan! Harold and Kumar would have pitched a tent and stayed for days! Now some of my friends smoke, and I admit to occasionally indulging, but some of these people were definitely experts. If smoking was an Olympic event, there would be some real medal-winners here. I think Bob Marley himself would have raised an eyebrow at the size and shape of some of the joints I saw. Last year, my friends were actually lucky enough to meet and smoke with Tommy Chong! No such luck this year, but the Jerry Garcia sightings were numerous. Since Michigan is a medical marijuana state, it was good to see that the dispensaries were out in full force to promote their shops, as was a popular long-standing head shop. The only food vendor? Kettle Corn. And believe me, they were cleaning up BIG time! Occasionally, my gaze drifted across the street toward an impromptu self-expression circle. It was better than TV. It started off with a bunch of skater bois each taking turns doing a trick to show off how bad ass their skills were. (They all sucked.) Later, that gave way to a hacky sack circle. (They all sucked, too.) Much later, this gave way to a young man dancing with a glitter encrusted hula hoop. (He wasn't bad.) I saw a dog whose owner had painted him with the American flag. I saw a sweet little old hippie lady who was dressed as what could only be described as “The Weed Fairy” handing out green beads. The one thing I was looking forward to, aside from soaking up the atmosphere, was the music. I was waiting to hear the music. I just knew there would be some great bands here. I figured there would be some
modern rock, of course, but I was definitely counting on some old school rock. You know, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, or maybe some reggae grooves. I can't tell you who any of the bands were. All I can tell you is that there was more than one, and they all were God awful. The whole string of bands was like listening to someone who's slightly intoxicated try to put a cogent sentence together i.e., nothing made sense. I have NO idea what was going on and I don't think the organizers did either. I must admit that it really bothered me – so much so that I think I annoyed my fellow Bashers by periodically voicing my dislike. I guess as an entertainer I'm always into the music side of things, but I thought if any event should have great bands, it should be Hash Bash. Maybe the organizers thought that stoners would be too stoned to care about the music? (Well, to some extent that was true. There were some who were so high that they wouldn't have noticed.) But most were standing around waiting for some jams. We did not get them. It felt like you were waiting for the sucky warm-up band to get done so you can get to the main event you came to see – except in this case the main event NEVER happened. It almost put me off entirely. The only glimmer of hope was that in between they played some Pink Floyd on the sound system, but at very low volume. Other than that, it was a very pleasant afternoon. After lunch and a few Constant Buzzes (I lost count. I'm telling you, it's a GREAT drink!), we decided it was time to leave this lovely, peaceful potpourri of beautiful people and head on home to let the party continue without us. All in all, I had a great time! It was a nice way to spend my birthday. Over the clouds of smoke wafting through the early spring air, all walks of life came together for a few hours of joyful communion. In light of all we as a nation have to deal with lately, it was nice to see people letting go of their troubles, smiling, being friendly to each other, and happy – if only for a few hours. If smoking a little green is all it takes for everyone to get along, then I say LEGALIZE IT!!! Joan Stevenson is an entertainer in the metro Detroit area. Find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter HYPERLINK "https://twitter.com/lady_j_8"@Lady_J_8 #theworldaccordingtojoan on Tumblr HYPERLINK "http://houseofwonderandchaos.tumblr. com/"http://houseofwonderandchaos.tumblr. com/, and on Reverbnation HYPERLINK "http://reverbnation.com/joanstevenson"http:// reverbnation.com/joanstevenson
Detroitâ€™s Latin Legend
Interview by Christopher Bansale Photographs by Tony Lowe
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Muy Caliente”? Well, I think, it being the month of May and with Cinco de Mayo just around the corner the name "Mexi Mike" pops into my head. Mexi Mike's first debut on the stage Gigis Café for his birthday bash. This spiraled into a journey making him not only one of the sexiest Latino dancers in Detroit, but also making him a feature at Legends of 2012 in Windsor, Ontario. Now, even though he works it from time to time on stage making sure each and every show is hot and exciting, this Saginaw native's true greatest moments are with the ones he loves. Being that Mexi is a good friend to many he also is very active in the community working closely with not only Detroit Latin@z , a group of empowered LGBT allied leaders representing and supporting Detroit, but also events at Affirmations, the LGBT support center in Downtown Ferndale. Having Mexi as a friend has been one of the most liberating experiences in my life today. Wise upon his years, the guidance he gives to me and most his friends are what keep our friendships so tight knit. A representation of love, humor, and loyalty to his peers, he is a true icon in the community. Chris: If you had the chance to perform with an entertainer of your choice, WHO would it be and WHY? Mexi Mike: Jennifer Lopez. She’s an amazing singer and because I feel that we both have a lot in common. She’s a performer and I love to perform as well. Plus we both have our Latina sides that we are both very proud of. C: What do you think is this community’s biggest obstacle, if any? How can we overcome it? MM: I think that this community’s biggest obstacle is that we let our differences individually get in the way of our ultimate goals of growing together in the community. I feel that we can overcome our differences and grow stronger by having more of an open mind and understanding by taking the time to get to know each other better before making premature assumptions before knowing what others are about. Also we need to show LOVE not HATE by just being the best people that we can be and treat others how we would want to be treated. C: What would you say is your life motto? MM: “Always be respectful of others and to keep friends and family as close as possible.” Those values are what I consider to be a rich and plentiful way of life. C: As a Latino, do you often face the stereo-type of being a Latin lover? MM: Yes I do face that stereo-type ha-ha. Me being a dancer and Latino that puts me in the position to be viewed as somewhat of a sexual icon.
C: So the word on the street is you’re a big ol’ bottom? MM: Ha ha only on days that end with a Y. Actually I’m much diversified in that area. Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don’t. To be completely honest, being a gay guy usually requires work from both ends to have a healthy, yet FUN sex life. C: What is your ideal man? MM: Someone that is loving, passionate, funny, and dependable. Somebody that knows that you’re having a bad day and never gives up on trying to making my day better. Also, someone that is passionate is just as important because it’s just someone that you can connect with deeply and feel complete comfort and love with. Someone that is funny when it is needed is also a good factor for a man, especially for the days I just need a good laugh, or even just to lighten the mood at the right time. C: What do you think is going to be the most memorable fashion trend of 2012? MM: The color mint green because a wise woman (Lady GayGay) once told me before she married the night that it was going to be big in fashion this spring . Simply because she’s an influential fashion icon that has set so many trends over the year, whether it be risqué or something simple, so therefore she would be a credible source. C: What do you do for a living? MM: I am currently a project/ operations manager for a design build firm located in Sterling Heights, Mi. My job consists of working with many entrepreneurs and business owners, manage job costs, a little bit of supervision here and there, I play many roles in the business, it varies from day to day. C: Who’s the most influential person in your life? MM: I would have to say my grandma. She’s a leader. A leader to me and the whole family. She’s always teaching me the things I need to know in life whether it be the small things or valuable lessons that needed to be learned. I look up to her because her life isn’t measured by money or success, but by being a blessing to our family. She has a much fulfilled life without all the material things, which in turn inspires and influences not only me but my family as well. C: What is your biggest pet peeve? What really gets under your skin? MM: When you’re on a date with someone and they’re on their phone the entire time. It absolutely drive me nuts because I feel when you’re hanging out with someone you’re trying to get to know, you’re attention should be on them. It’s like a slap in the face. RUDE! lol You can catch Mexi Mike see regularly Mondays and Fridays at GiGi's Gay Bar in Detroit and at Stud Sundays at Liberty Bar in Pontiac.
white party MAY 28TH
16920 W Warren Ave Detroit, Mi
ulissa is a close friend of mine. We’ve known each other for a few years now. While I was planning Motor City Pride, we had a little chat and I’m excited to say that she’ll be joining us in the festivities.
Julissa! Â So Â good Â to Â talk Â to Â you Â again. Â I Â gotta Â pick Â your Â brain Â for Â a Â minute Â here. Â I Â think Â most Â people Â know Â you Â from Â your Â days Â on Â â€œAmerican Â Idol.â€? Â Â I Â donâ€™t Â think Â we Â need Â to Â talk Â about Â that Â for Â six Â hours, Â but Â I Â do Â have Â one Â question: Â What Â is Â life Â like Â on Â â€œAmerican Â Idolâ€??
minimum Â age. Â From Â age Â 10 Â to Â 15, Â I Â was Â clas-Â different Â languages. Â I Â got Â super Â freakin' Â bored Â and Â decided Â to Â do Â some Â R&B Â and Â pop Â music. Â The Â rest Â is Â history. You Â grew Â up Â in Â New Â Jersey. Â Where Â do Â you Â live Â now Â and Â do Â you Â like Â it?
AHHH! Â NOT Â AGAIN! Â Haha! Â Just Â kidding. Â â€œAmerican Â Idolâ€? Â was Â an Â eye-Âopener Â for Â me Â in Â regards Â to Â how Â crazy Â the Â music Â industry Â really Â is. Â I Â had Â cameras Â shoved Â in Â my Â face Â 24/7 Â â€“ Â even Â when Â I Â was Â sleeping, Â which Â I Â barely Â got Â to Â do. Â It Â tested Â me Â and Â my Â ambition. Â After Â being Â cut Â due Â to Â laryngitis, Â I Â got Â some Â serious Â freakin' Â make Â it Â by Â my Â own Â merit Â in Â my Â own Â way.
DIIIIRRRYYY Â JERRRZZ!!!!! Â I Â actually Â donâ€™t Â really Â live Â anywhere Â now. Â I Â travel Â so Â much Â that Â I Â just Â kinda Â have Â my Â stuff Â and Â a Â bed Â in Â a Â room Â and Â I Â crash Â there Â every Â once Â in Â a Â while Â to Â spend Â some Â time Â with Â my Â family. Â I Â like Â traveling Â a Â lot; Â I Â get Â to Â meet Â so Â many Â different Â characters Â and Â people Â who Â support Â my Â music, Â although Â being Â away Â from Â my Â family Â sucks Â major Â balls Â â€“ Â especially Â the Â food Â aspect.
Itâ€™s Â got Â to Â be Â a Â huge Â learning Â experience Â to Â go Â from Â where Â you Â were, Â to Â â€œAmerican Â Idol,â€? Â to Â where Â you Â are Â now. Â Â What Â did Â you Â learn Â about Â life, Â music, Â and Â the Â people Â in Â the Â business?
Talk Â to Â me Â about Â your Â latest Â tour. Â Youâ€™re Â about Â to Â do Â a Â shit Â ton Â of Â pride Â festivals. Â Â Are Â you Â excited? Â Why Â do Â you Â like Â working Â with Â the Â gay Â community?
Life: Â If Â you Â donâ€™t Â lose Â 80 Â percent Â of Â your Â sleep, Â energy, Â and Â sanity Â to Â get Â to Â your Â dream, Â youâ€™re Â not Â working Â hard Â enough.
HELL Â YEAH! Â Iâ€™m Â SUPER Â stoked Â to Â be Â ac-Â cepted Â by Â the Â gay Â community. Â I Â have Â the Â utmost Â respect Â and Â admiration Â for Â my Â boys Â and Â girls, Â and Â they Â love Â and Â embrace Â me Â and Â my Â music Â with Â open Â arms, Â which Â is Â a Â HUGE Â DEAL. Â As Â soon Â as Â I Â walk Â through Â the Â door Â at Â a Â gay Â venue, Â I Â feel Â the Â love. Â Plus, Â I Â consistently Â and Â that Â if Â they Â werenâ€™t Â gay Â they Â would Â do Â me. Â Compliments Â all Â around. Â Itâ€™s Â win-Âwin. Â Love Â it.
Music: Â Iâ€™ll Â be Â damned Â if Â I Â have Â to Â sing Â other Â peopleâ€™s Â songs. Â I Â write Â my Â own Â music. People Â in Â the Â business: Â Itâ€™s Â a Â business. Â The Â people Â are Â focused Â on Â your Â earning Â potential, Â not Â your Â talent. Â Itâ€™s Â a Â very Â underwhelming Â and Â harsh Â reality. Â I Â had Â to Â learn Â to Â play Â both Â roles Â â€“ Â the Â decision Â maker Â AND Â the Â artist Â â€“ Â all Â to Â make Â a Â buck. Let's Â talk Â about Â your Â life. Â You Â started Â sing-Â get Â into Â that, Â and Â what Â type Â of Â music Â did Â you Â sing? YEAH! Â Well, Â my Â family Â was Â hella Â broke, Â so Â if Â we Â wanted Â to Â do Â any Â extracurricular Â activities, Â they Â either Â had Â to Â be Â free Â or Â by Â scholarship. Â I Â started Â singing Â like Â most Â people Â do: Â singing Â along Â with Â the Â radio. Â My Â parents Â realized Â that Â I Â wasnâ€™t Â atrocious, Â so Â by Â the Â age Â of Â 10 Â I Â had Â auditioned Â for Â a Â scholarship Â program Â at Â the Â Neward Â School Â of Â the Â Arts. Â I Â was Â allowed Â in Â two Â years Â before Â the Â mandatory Â twelve-Âyear Â
What Â type Â of Â music Â do Â you Â really Â want Â to Â get Â into? Â Youâ€™re Â pretty Â well-Âknown Â in Â the Â dance Â world Â with Â a Â handful Â of Â Billboard Â hits. Â How Â does Â that Â feel? Well, Â people Â know Â me Â as Â the Â rebellious Â bad Â ass Â that Â does Â tons Â of Â crazy Â shit Â â€“ Â which Â is Â mostly Â true. Â Iâ€™m Â not Â really Â good Â at Â writing Â sappy Â music, Â so Â I Â will Â most Â likely Â continue Â to Â write Â and Â produce Â edgy Â pop Â music Â with Â a Â rock Â edge. Â I Â really Â fucking Â love Â Pink Â and Â see Â myself Â going Â more Â that Â route Â in Â the Â future Â â€“ Â but Â my Â own Â way, Â of Â course. Whatâ€™s Â the Â next Â single? Well, Â I Â have Â 18 Â records Â coming Â out Â this Â year. Â The Â next Â one Â is Â a Â damn Â toss-Âup. Â I Â wrote Â a Â
fantastic Â festival Â song Â called Â â€œOverloadâ€? Â which Â will Â most Â likely Â be Â the Â next Â hit Â unless Â I Â write Â another Â before Â that. Â Iâ€™ll Â keep Â you Â posted! Now Â it's Â time Â to Â get Â serious. Â I Â know Â youâ€™ve Â been Â an Â activist Â for Â gay Â rights Â in Â the Â past. Â Â Tell Â me Â about Â that. As Â I Â said Â previously, Â I Â admire Â and Â respect Â the Â gay Â community. Â It Â takes Â a Â lot Â of Â fucking Â balls Â to Â get Â ignorance Â spat Â at Â you Â from Â left Â and Â right Â and Â still Â rise Â above Â and Â push Â for Â equal-Â ity. Â I Â have Â lent Â my Â talent Â as Â an Â entertainer Â many Â times Â to Â raise Â money Â for Â the Â community Â and Â will Â continue Â to Â do Â so Â until Â that Â bullshit Â ends. Â Sorry, Â I Â curse Â a Â lot Â when Â Iâ€™m Â pissed. Do Â you Â think Â weâ€™ll Â ever Â see Â a Â day Â when Â weâ€™ll Â have Â equality Â for Â all Â in Â the Â country? Honestly, Â total Â equality? Â No. Â As Â a Â society Â we Â have Â so Â many Â preconceived Â notions Â about Â people Â of Â different Â races, Â genders, Â sexual Â pref-Â erencesâ€Ś Â and Â to Â completely Â eliminate Â all Â of Â them Â without Â brainwashing Â the Â entire Â human Â race Â would Â be Â impossible. Â I Â know Â personally Â purple, Â magenta, Â or Â like Â Stacy Â or Â Bob. Â If Â you Â treat Â me Â right Â and Â respect Â me, Â Iâ€™m Â here Â for Â you. Â Sadly, Â my Â perspective Â on Â people Â â€œdiffer-Â entâ€? Â than Â me Â is Â not Â the Â general Â consensus Â of Â our Â society. What Â steps Â do Â you Â think Â we Â could Â take Â to Â try Â and Â make Â it Â happen? Education. Â Educate Â ignorant Â people Â on Â how Â we Â arenâ€™t Â different. Â We Â are Â skin, Â bones, Â and Â blood, Â just Â like Â they Â are. Â Just Â because Â you Â were Â born Â to Â like Â Michael Â instead Â of Â Michelle Â doesnâ€™t Â mean Â you Â are Â any Â less Â of Â a Â person Â or Â have Â any Â less Â rights Â than Â the Â person Â next Â to Â you. Â People Â who Â arenâ€™t Â around Â the Â gay Â com-Â munity Â like Â to Â live Â and Â make Â judgments Â off Â of Â what Â others Â tell Â them, Â which Â is Â completely Â irrelevant Â and, Â most Â of Â the Â time, Â incorrect. Â Why Â not Â educate Â them Â and Â remove Â the Â lies Â and Â taboo Â from Â being Â gay? Â If Â people Â could Â see Â the Â hostility Â and Â blind Â hate Â that Â the Â gay Â com-Â munity Â sees Â daily, Â they Â wouldnâ€™t Â be Â so Â damn Â quick Â to Â judge. Â They Â would Â admire Â the Â gays Â as Â much Â as Â I Â do.
o far, the most important thing I’ve learned during my 21 years on this earth is to love yourself. I’m quoting RuPaul here, but home girl has a point: “If you don’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love anybody else?” Couldn’t have said it better myself! First and foremost, being human, insecurity sucks. I’m not saying I’m perfect; that’s physically impossible – unless you’re in a box that says “Barbie.” Everyone has flaws, we wouldn’t be human without them. I not only want to write this column in order to share my stories and make you laugh, I want to inspire you and inspire anyone else who is willing to read my column. Having confidence and knowing who you are is the best way to represent yourself. Overall, having a positive outlook on life is something everyone should strive for. I want people to realize that they are beautiful, different, and loved just the way they are. We’re all here for reasons that can’t be explained to us, and we have to take every day as an opportunity. Whether that opportunity is to rise above or fail, it’s all about growing as a person. I will be truthful to you and admit that I do need to practice what I preach, but with girls like RuPaul running around, it’s hard not to catch the positivity bug! I realize that you must have a story. We all do. To whatever depth your story goes, don’t you think it’s time to start celebrating it? Celebrate your life, who you are, where you came from, and what you love to do! Just know that you’re on this planet for a reason, so embrace it! If you have a passion, follow it. If you have something to say, say it! It’s time to start celebrating here, now and together. Can you tell I was raised by hippie parents? Haha, I’m proud of it though. My mother taught me to treat others with respect and give everyone a chance. The gay culture inspires me so much; that’s where all of this inspiration comes from. So thank you, for always inspiring and always fighting. You give little straight girls like me a speck of hope when we fall down. With Motor City Pride about a month away, I thought this column would come out at a great time. Be proud of what you have overcome and SHOW US YOUR PRIDE! Come meet me and the rest of the Flame Magazine team at Pride! I would love to meet all of you and hear your stories ... if you’re willing to share.