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Whether you know Chris Mann from competing on The Voice, Broadway (he starred as the Phantom at the Center in 2015!) or his viral musical parodies, the Center favorite is back to open our 22/23 Cabaret Series!

Award-winning singer, songwriter, and actor Chris Mann October 20–22 • 7:30 pm scfta .org Segerstrom Center Presents
“One of the most talked-about companies nationwide.” Los Angeles Times Bodytraffic November 3 • 7:30 pm When you’re talking about Cloud Gate, magic is not too strong a word.” Time Out “ 13 Tongues Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan October 26 • 7:30 pm Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan is presented with lead support from: THE SEGERSTROM FOUNDATION. The Center's International Dance Series is made possible by the Audrey Steele Burnand Endowed Fund for International Dance and The Segerstrom Foundation Endowment for Great Performances scfta .org Segerstrom Center Presents


Jay S. Jones


ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Brad L. Hart brad@ragemonthly.com

EDITOR editor@ragemonthly.com

ART CONSULTANT art@ragemonthly.com


Ken Williams


Pride In Media


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jackie beat photo courtesy hulu


The North County Center showed up for the LGBTQ community before and during this pandemic. The weight of this year’s gala is more solemn, reflecting on The Center’s first decade of impact in northern San Diego County, where services and capacity have increased exponentially. The Center supports youth, seniors, the unhoused and those who survived violence, abuse and crimes. It also provides space for the LGBTQ community and a place to begin a journey of recovery, healing, empowerment and advocacy to protect and extend our civil rights.

Community members, allies and supporters are asked to join The Center on Saturday, October 8 in Oceanside for a community celebration. Ticket admission includes food and the main stage performances. Wine and beer can be purchased separately. ncresourcecenter.org


Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Models of Pride is the world’s largest free conference for LGBTQ youth and allies ages 24 and younger. The event will celebrate its 30th anniversary on Saturday, October 22, returning to its traditional all-day conference. It will include more than 100 workshops; a Resource, College and Job Fair; carnival games; and live entertainment. The conference also consists of the Parents and Professionals Institute, which offers family members, educators, professionals and other adult supporters of LGBTQ youth an unparalleled opportunity with others on a similar journey. The day will include dozens of tailored workshops, discussions, resources and exclusive programming. lalgbtcenter.org


“Come Get Serviced” and live the good life at The Church of Glam. Sun day afternoon will never be the same as iconic and legendary drag star Glitz Glam hosts a fun-packed new event for the queer community to come to find sanctuary in the fictional house of worship. After months in the making, The Church of Glam will open on Sunday, October 2 at Urban MO’s Bar & Grill, giving Hillcrest a celebration they will never forget. Music is the language of love. As such, music at The Church of Glam will be about divas and drag, playing iconic sounds from our favorite divas of the past, present, future and all things drag. The venue, designed as a church, will boast live performances from some of the biggest

Money raised will provide health and social services for the LGBTQ community and improve the lives of thousands of individuals and their families impacted by HIV in Orange County. Suppose you can’t attend the walk this year: You can still make a difference by making a donation to AIDS Walk Orange County or donating to a registered walker or team. radianthealthcenters.org

lgbtq community by brad hart
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Trans Latina will top the 36th annual Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival lineup from Tuesday, November 1 through Sunday, November 6 in downtown Palm Springs.

A highlight of Pride Week, the festival will celebrate and embrace the region’s diverse LGBTQ community.

Todrick Hall, the fiercely independent pop cultural phenomenon, will headline on Saturday and set the stage for a diverse group of queer performers in the festival lineup.

Conceptual artist and activist Nadya Tolokonnikova, the founding member of Pussy Riot, a global feminist protest-art movement, will be the headliner on Sunday. Pussy Riot stands for gender fluidity, inclusivity, matriarchy, love, laughter, decentralization, anarchy and anti-authoritarianism. Nadya, the lead member, was sentenced in 2012 to two years’ imprisonment in Russia following an anti-President Vladimir Putin performance.

Direct from Australia, singer, DJ, artist and proud queer community member Tanzer will also perform Saturday. Tanzer is known for her cinematic, high-glamour escapist works that are intensely powerful and darkly humorous.

The Truly Vodka Main Stage will open Friday night with Dash Radio’s Tropical Oasis featuring the community’s best-emerging talent. The Tropical Oasis features Los Angeles-based galactic dream pop artist Polartropica, who were recently crowned LA Weekly’s Best Indie Pop Band. With songs described as a gumbo of soul, funk, pop, and camp, Tolliver joins the lineup that includes Lucy and La Mer with their message of self-acceptance and positivity. Glass Battles, the West Hollywood-based electronic rock/ pop band with a grungy edge and an appearance by Sassy Ross and host Bella da Ball complete the Friday lineup.

Other highlighted acts include Filipino pop star and transgender icon Jake Zyrus and the award-winning indie rock trio BETTY Ballet Folklorico Proyecto Trans Latina, a group of six trans-identified women, will showcase their highly choreographed and colorful traditional Mexican Folklorico. In addition, the new Oscar’s Pride stage on Tahquitz Canyon Way will feature Keith George — The Boy George Experience, performances by Mimosa Men, Bitchiest Brunch and others.

“Pride Week is a time for our community to gather in celebration. This is our time to be seen, be heard, and empower those on a path of discovery,” said Ron deHarte, president and CEO of Greater Palm Springs Pride. “The Pride platform reflects the diversity in our community and serves as a demonstration of resistance. Resistance to discrimination, resistance to hatred, resistance to fear, and violence.”

The Festival will be free to attend. It is supported by Gateless Tickets, a great way to give back by donating to the local nonprofit Pride organization. Donations help keep Pride free and accessible to everyone. pspride.org


The colorful and festive Palm Springs Pride Parade will step off in the Uptown Design District on Sunday at 10 a.m. It will travel south through downtown, ending at the entrance to the Pride Festival. Spectators are encouraged to gather along the palm-lined streets to cheer and support local organizations, activists and themed floats along historic Palm Canyon Drive.

Four individuals and one national organization will serve as the Grand Marshals. Recognizing their achievements and community service, PFLAG has been named the National Grand Marshal. Rev Benita Ramsey is the 2022 Parade Grand Marshal. Willie Rhine has been honored as the Community Grand Marshal and Chef Andre’ Carthen is the Celebrity Grand Marshal.

This year’s Palm Springs Pride theme is Say Gay as a challenge to fight extremism at the ballot box this November.

“Say Gay is a theme, it’s a political statement, it’s a call to action. Mobilize your friends, family, neighbors and workplace to vote for politicians that stand up and fight for LGBTQ rights. Say Gay No to politicians taking away control of our bodies and silencing teachers from recognizing the existence of LGBTQ+ people to their students,” deHarte said. “In facing adversity and staring directly at the threats to our rights, we gather in protest and celebration. In doing so, we knock on the door of justice and fight for our freedom.”

community spotlight by scott leonard Todrick Hall, Pussy Riot, Tanzer, Polartropica, Jake Zyrus and Ballet Folklorico Proyecto
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The Ferris wheel, carnival games and cuddly farm animals have left Del Mar Fairgrounds. Summertime fun in the sun has turned dark and dreary as the grounds transform into Del Mar SCAREgrounds and you enter your worst nightmare, The Scream Zone. All your favorites are back, including Southern California’s original Haunted Hayride and the horrifying Hell-Billy Hootenanny. What’s new is The Passage, a labyrinth so confusing you will need all your senses to get out. Scaredy-cats can enter The Scream Zone compound at no charge if they want to wait for their children or hang with their friends. There are lots of things to do and see, including food vendors, photo opportunities and a Spirit Lounge bar. thescreamzone.com


Let’s creep it real. This Haunt Experience will blow your mind. Orange County’s scariest and most intense haunted house — known for pushing boundaries — returns to Fullerton. Experience outrageous rooms, shocking innovation and unique experi ences that have never been undertaken before in a haunt, including an epic 50-min ute add-on experience called The Field Trip. the17thdoor.com


Located on Willow Street between Orange and California, and adjacent to one another, Long Beach Municipal Cemetery and Sun nyside Cemetery are “home” to more than 20,000 deceased residents of the area. The tour takes place on Saturday, October 29,

from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features graveside presentations by professional and volunteer actors who relate the life and demise of a person lying in rest. Each year’s program features several stories — some are individu als who helped shape the city’s political past, and others are ordinary people whose tales remind us that rich or poor, famed or nearly forgotten, everyone has a story to tell. hslb.org/historical-cemetery-tour


Get ready for a stroll through the park that you’ll never forget. The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park is back with two haunts in one: the 3,500-square-foot eXperiment Maze and a mile-long terrifying outdoor trail through twisted pines and gnarled oaks. Feel your way through the fog of the upside-down world with Vecna breathing down your neck. Climb aboard the Ghoul Bus where a cloister of nuns shares the horrifying ride with you. Chainsaw-wielding zombie rodeo clowns will corner you in their corral preparing you for the slaughterhouse. CNN named The Haunted Trail on the top five best haunted attractions in America. True to its reputation, these haunts are not for children younger than 10 or the faint of heart. hauntedtrail.net


Looking for a little travel adventure? Here’s a world-class haunted car wash experienced with a haunted tunnel that you and loved ones will never forget, all from the comfort of your own vehicle. Now with two locations in Anaheim and Fontana, the Tunnel of Terror is a one-of-a-kind Halloween thrill. It’s a carefully curated experience with ghosts and ghouls popping up throughout the car wash and special effects providing a terrifying ambiance. Participants can also

expect unique surprises each night. tunnelofterroroc.com


Held at the OC Fair & Event Center, Boo Ha Ha will feature three hours of unlimited beer tastings from some of the nation’s top breweries, a strong focus on Oktoberfest and German-style lagers but will include West Coast favorites as well. There will be a costume contest and live performances from new wave legends Berlin with special guests The Mismiths. theboohaha.com


A word of warning, these accommodations are NOT the Holiday Inn, boo. The Haunted Hotel’s Disturbance returns to San Diego’s Mission Valley with new frights and musthave scares. Three of the creepiest haunts you’ve ever imagined experiencing with the 3-D Freak Fest, The Haunted Hotel, and the new Stars of the Silver SCREAM. And if that’s not enough to tingle your spine, there will be roaming characters, light shows, ax-throwing, a Virtual Reality area, laserball, glow wear, spirited libations, live entertain ment and DJs to bring the party to your haunting experience. hauntedhotel.com


Get ready for a howling adventure at Palm Desert’s Living Desert Zoo and Gardens’ annual Howl-O-Ween event. Visitors of all ages are invited to dress up in their favorite costume to enjoy a festive Halloween celebration, in addition to the everyday wonders of The Living Desert. A fang-tastic time will be had by all with activities includ ing trick-or-treating, animal connections and a comedy magician. livingdesert.org

by brad hart
halloween attractions
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Haunted Hayride, a Halloween staple in Los Angeles, is returning to the iconic Griffith Park, featuring fan-favorite attrac tions and reimagined mazes. Expect a return to Midnight Falls, a strange town that’s Halloween year-round, featuring spooktacular mazes including the Hayride, Trick or Treat, Midnight Mortuary and (S) Laughterhouse — a newly revamped maze for 2022. Monte Revolta, the self-appointed Mayor of Midnight Falls, will make a triumphant return with his highly antici pated nightly Town Square performances. losangeleshauntedhayride.com


Looking to get lost in all the spender of the Halloween season? Carlsbad’s “field of screams” is just the place for you. This adventure with have you twisting and turning through a cornfield loaded with your worst nightmares. The haunted corn maze is perfect for teenagers and adults, and is guaranteed to get your heart thumping. aguahedionda.org/field-of-screams


Shaq is taking over Long Beach . The first-ever Shaqtoberfest Halloween event is happening at the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach this October. The interactive experience will be the ultimate Halloween destination for trick-or-treating, ghoulish games, delicious treats, specialty libations, frightfully fun nighttime haunted trails and exciting live entertainment that encapsulates O’Neal’s playful personality. shaqtoberfest.com

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If you’ve visited Chicago during the last 40 years, you may have put in an appearance at the city’s premier gay bar, Sidetrack. I stopped by each summer between 1999 and 2003 while attending an annual conference. Until recently, however, I had no knowledge about the significant history behind Sidetrack and its two longtime owners who are now husbands.

Art Johnston and Pepe Peña, known locally as Art and Pep, are civil-rights leaders whose life and love has fueled LGBTQ equality in the heart of the country. As founders and owners of the iconic Sidetrack, they have helped foster movements and create community for four decades in Chicago’s queer enclave. Behind their business and historic activism exists a love unlike any other.

The Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) will screen Art and Pep — Mercedes Kane’s terrific, enlightening and inspiring documentary about this dynamic duo — the afternoon of Wednesday, October 19 at the Big Newport 6 cinema. Art and Pep themselves, who met 50 years ago and got married in 2011, are expected to attend. Tickets can be purchased at nbff2022.eventive.org.

Founded in 1999, NBFF has emerged as the largest international cinema event in coastal Southern California. It annually attracts over 56,000 attendees to Orange County. This year’s fest will run Thursday, October 13 through Thursday, October 20. Several new and acclaimed movies will be featured including Weird: The Al Yankovic Story starring Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe; and Glass Onion, a sequel to the hit murder-mystery Knives Out. Gay-themed films to be shown include My Policeman, with pop music sensation Harry Styles as the closeted title character; the great doc All Man: The International Male Story; and Make Me Famous, about radical painter Edward Brezinski. Several LGBTQ short films will also be screened.

The RAGE Monthly recently spoke with Art and Pep director Mercedes Kane in advance of NBFF. The longtime Chicago resident relocated one year ago to Atlanta, from where she was interviewed via Zoom. How or when did you first hear about Art and Pep?

So, [executive producer] Kevin Hauswirth and I worked together some times. He owns a marketing agency and they do a lot of nonprofit advocacy stuff. One day, we were having a meeting and he started talking about them because he’s known them for a really long time. He met Art because Kevin has five gay uncles, I think it is, and one of his uncles knew Art. Kevin started his early activism days in college recruiting fraternity brothers for some LGBTQ event, so his uncle was like, “You really need to meet Art Johnston; you know he’s like THE activist in Chicago.” So Kevin has been connected to him for 20-plus years. He was just telling me some stuff and I was like “This needs to be a film.” For one thing, the story of the LGBTQ movement is mostly told on the coasts, and I didn’t really realize the rich history that Chicago has. I lived in Chicago almost my whole life but you sort of take it for granted a little that it is such a progressive state and city and all of the rights that are there, and not realizing the people who championed for them. And then it’s their love story too. As a filmmaker, I’ve never seen a story about a 50-year romance between two men. When I met them, I was just blown away by their love. They take such good care of each other and the way they look at each other still is something to aspire to. I fell in love with them in that moment. I fell in love with their love.

You definitely see that in the film, especially in their wedding footage. It’s great that you can reveal that about them; it’s very touching. So what was the process, once you decided you were going to make this documentary? There’s so much vintage footage in the film. How much time did it take and how did you go about doing it?

The first step was getting them to sign on. They trusted Kevin because they knew him and I think we connected when we first met, but they have never been the type of people to really like let their private life be public. Art’s very public when it comes to activism and everything he’s done, and Pep is kind of the face at the bar, as you see in the film. But their relationship, their personal life, that was sort of like “uhhhh.” So I think it was just a matter of building their trust, that was the first step, and then we just kind of jumped into filming. We started shooting in November of 2019 and then COVID hit, and it was like “all right, we’ll just pack away our cameras and take a breath.” No one knew how long it would last. And then we realized very quickly that Sidetrack was this gay small business that was going through COVID and shutting down for the first time in their history, and they have 65 people on staff and people who come to the bar every single week. This shuttering of this community space that holds a lot of importance for a lot of people, so we

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started covering that. And then we started to see these parallels between the AIDS crisis and the COVID pandemic from this group of people who had gone through it; you know the similarities and the dissimilarities, and so we started exploring that as well. And then (as shown in the film), Art got really sick and that was totally unexpected and really scary. All of that was sort of a rollercoaster that we didn’t really expect.

In terms of the archival footage, it was surprising that — for a video bar — Sidetrack doesn’t have that much video of themselves, and I think part of that is that back in the ‘80s nobody was shooting photos or videos at gay bars. They had some stuff but then we started reaching out to a network and we got lucky because there’s a man, Rick Delaup, who made a film about Danny Sotomayor, who is the ACT UP activist who you see in the film. He had hundreds of hours of footage still from that, which was amazing. It was kind of like word of mouth, going through people’s personal archives and digging through what we could of Sidetrack. We also went through libraries and museum collections. It was quite intense but we got a lot.

Oh my gosh, that is dedication on your part. So how long was the process in all? It sounds like a couple of years

It was a few years, and through a pandemic! But you know the interesting

thing about the COVID thing was that it really brought us closer together with Art and Pep, because we basically bubbled up with them. And even going through that with Pep when Art was ill was a horrible experience but such a bonding experience. We would bring food over to Pep’s house or he would come over and eat dinner and just be emotional. It kind of forced us into that space in a really beautiful way. I consider them like family now, and I have two kids who consider them a third set of grandparents. Ah nice, that’s awesome! I assume Art and Pep have seen the finished film. What’s been their reaction? Were they happy with it?

Yeah, they loved it. It’s always such a nerve-wracking moment but I think, especially because we got close, I really felt this responsibility to making a film that honored them and their story and was accurate. I think they were surprised at how far-reaching the story ended up going. They were so happy that other activists that they worked with are in it and that Danny was included. I think they were really pleasantly surprised about that. It’s funny because they were really hesitant to let us like in bed with them and I kept saying the importance of that. I was like, “You know, if this was a film about a man and woman we would have these intimate moments with them. If we don’t have them in this film, that’s going to look purposeful in its own way and I don’t want to make that (potentially negative) statement. I want this to show who you really are as a couple and these moments are important to that.” And so they finally let us in, and then Art said, “The best thing we ever did was let you in bed with us!” (laugh)

That’s great! Now, is the Newport Beach screening going to be its premiere, or West Coast premiere?

No, it actually premiered at Outfest in July, in LA. We were all there and it was pretty amazing. It got a really good response and we had actually two reviews. One gave it 3½ stars and the other listed Art and Pep as No. 2 among the 21 best films at Outfest. That was great. What led you to become a filmmaker or documentarian? What’s your story?

What a great question. I got my undergrad in broadcast journalism and then played around in a few different communication fields, and then I ended up going back to get my MFA in independent filmmaking a decade ago now. I really love telling stories. I love real people’s stories, and not necessarily famous people but people who are doing their actual work in communities that matters and makes far-reaching change but don’t always get the spotlight for it. I have a passion for that and I really enjoy it. I’m actually getting another MFA right now in narrative nonfiction writing, so I’m also playing around with writing but it’s a really similar method of storytelling. The hope is to either have a publishable manuscript at the end of it or some long-form stories that will be published with articles. Wow, that’s cool. Is there anything else you want people to know?

People ask me often what I want people to take away from [Art and Pep] and I think it’s a couple things, one of which is just to learn about the history of the fight [for equality] and who was leading the charge, and that the work is still not done. It will never be done, and I think that’s such an important part. And then also the importance and power of love, because it’s really Art and Pep’s love story that to me is the backbone that gave them the strength to do all the work that they did and build this community around them. newportbeachfilmfest.com

OCTOBER 2022 | @theragemonthly 21

Another inspiring LGBTQ true-life story will be celebrated during this month’s San Diego International Film Festival (SDIFF), to be held Wednes day, October 19 through Sunday, October 23. The Inspection is based on writer-director Elegance Bratton’s experience as a young gay man who enlisted in the Marines during the tense “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era. It stars out actor Jeremy Pope (Emmy-nominated for his role in Netflix’s Hollywood) in the lead role opposite Gabrielle Union as his homophobic mother Inez, with Bokeem Woodbine and Raúl Castillo (who played Richie in HBO’s Looking) as his drill sergeants.

Bratton made a splash a few years ago with his award-winning documen tary Pier Kids. He said of The Inspection, his narrative feature debut: “This movie is completely authentic when it comes to the desires, fears and, ultimately, the primary goal of the main character.” The surrounding narratives are inspired by circumstances he witnessed while in training almost 20 years ago.

“I made this movie first and foremost to heal myself from things I had been through. And I think the one thing that was most damaging to me is the idea that somehow by being gay and Black, I was basically a social pariah,” Bratton said. “The world had nothing to gain from me so, therefore, I didn’t matter; I didn’t exist. Then I joined the Marines and learned that I’m important because of my ability to protect the person to my left and right. And I felt like that lesson — that you’re only as important as your ability to protect others — was really restorative for me. It gave me a purpose in life.”

The Inspection will have its West Coast premiere on Friday, October 21 The acclaimed Belgian film Close — about two teenage boys who have their friendship questioned — is another LGBTQ-themed feature that will be screened during the fest.


The three founders of an exclusive lesbian sex app may be shattering the start-up world’s glass ceilings, but the pressures of success have begun to threaten the integrity of their friendship — and worse, their brand. A very funny short but with a serious edge.

Gender Outlaw, A Bodysurfing Story (USA, San Diego premiere)

A beautifully shot documentary that navigates the tumultuous waters that Tyler Wilde, a transgender bodysurfer, and teacher, has had to move through in his search for big surf, his true self and his chosen family.

Queer Parivaar (UK, San Diego premiere)

Directed by Shiva Raichandani — a multidisciplinary, non-binary artist — this is a big, queer, colorful Bollywood mini-musical centered around a not-sotraditional wedding. A lovely and lovable short.

Roads Not Taken (Austria, world premiere)

Longtime friends Liz and Rachel run into each other in their hometown coffee shop. Having been out of touch for years, their unexpected meeting catches them both off-guard and soon turns emotional as old wounds are ripped open and buried desires resurface.

SWIM (UK, West Coast premiere)

A chance encounter at a swimming pool offers the possibility of a beautiful relationship between sexy guys Sid and Luke. But could it all be shattered when Sid decides to just be himself? This short should resonate with virtually all gay, bi or queer viewers.

Requiem (UK, North American premiere)

Set in 1605, against the backdrop of the witch trials. It’s a coming-of-age story that follows Evelyn as she engages in a game of cat and mouse against her father, Minister Gilbert, in order to be with Mary, the woman she loves. Requiem will screen as part of the festival’s Student Showcase. sdfilmfest.com

film spotlight by chris carpenter

palm springs social scene by bella da ball


Where have the past 2+ years gone? What a time of ups and downs, change, concerns and new directions, to say the least.

Salute to all who worked so diligently including, but not limited to, health-care professionals, emergency personnel, law enforcement, and all those who gave that extra something and who worked together and continue to fight the fight on so many fronts.

I’m thrilled to be back sharing the Palm Springs area social highlights. The season is all abuzz!

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and a special event, Bullying: A Community Symposium, will be on Saturday, October 1 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The city’s Human Rights Commission will host this free forum and discussion.


Vanity Halston’s Drag Star Challenge will begin on Sunday, October 2 at One Eleven Bar. Ten queens over 10 weeks with no eliminations, vying for over $2,000 in cash and prizes with a grand prize of $1,111.


Palm Springs Vintage Market will be on Sundays, October 2, November 6 and December 4 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center at the Camelot Theater. This seasonal boutique flea market offers vintage items, food, entertainment and free parking.


Not Your Mama’s Chicken Ranch Charity Show (with Dani Blue, Anita Rose, Valentine, Reba, Summer Eve, emcee Steven and Keisha D) and Pretty in Pink, custom bra auction, benefitting Desert Cancer Foundation, will be Wednesday, October 5 at The Roost Lounge. The Debby Holiday dinner show will be Sunday, October 9 and features Gennine Francis Jackson and DJ Galaxy. theroostcc.om

Singing With the Desert Stars, benefitting the Desert Ensemble Theatre’s education program, will be Friday, October 7 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. Six all-star coaches (Jeff Barnett, Darci Daniels, Patrick Evans, Charles Herrera, Lizzie Schmelling, Leslie Tinnaro) will perform and mentor six contestants (Winston Gieseke, Charles Huff, Shay Moraga, Jeffrey Norman, Christine Tringali Nunes, Joe Zakowski) in performing a song. The audience will select the winner. Jerome Elliott Moskowitz will host, and music director will be Constance Gordy. desertensembletheatre.org

First Friday Art Walk, a free art experience in Cathedral City, will open for the season on Friday, October 7 in the Perez Road Art District. It’s a selfguided tour with 15 artists and their working studios. discovercathedralcity.com

Wine & Dine Around the World, a wine-tasting event featuring over 300 wines from nine countries, paired with regional hors d’oeuvres, will be on Friday, October 7 at the Palm Springs Air Museum. The event is a culmination of Wine Down Wednesdays, supporting 18 valley nonprofits. markerbroadcasting.com

The second annual Palm Springs International Down Syndrome Film Festival will run from Friday, October 7 through Sunday, October 9 at the Mary Pickford Theatre in D’Place, presented by the Filmmakers’ Gallery. dplaceentertainment.com

photo by lani garfield
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Jewels will host Bingo on Saturday,October 8 at Wilma & Frieda, Palm Springs. Meet and greet with Lynette Carolla and Stefanie Wilder-Taylor. wilmafrieda. com

The 16th annual Paint El Paseo Pink, a walk to fight cancer and benefitting Desert Cancer Foundation, will be Saturday,October8. paintelpaseopink.com

Art of Alliance of Idyllwild will present the 24th annual ArtWalkandWineTasing on Saturday,October8. artinidyllwild.org

BeyondVanGogh, an immersive experience, will run through Sunday,November27 at the Forum at Empire Polo Club in Indio. It uses cutting-edge projection technology that showcases 300 of Van Gogh’s artworks over more than 30,000 square feet. vangoghpalmsprings.com

Jose Sarria Foundation Pop Up Museum will celebrate the 100th birthday of Jose Sarria, the drag performer and gay-rights advocate who many historians contend was the first openly gay person to campaign for public office in the U.S. It will be at the Welwood Murray Library in Palm Springs from Tuesday, October 11 through Wednesday, December 14. There will be displays of Jose’s personal items, screenings of the films Nelly Queen: The Life & Times of Jose Sarria, 50 Years of Fabulous and Queen of the Capital. Sarria was the founder of the Imperial Court system and was known as Empress José and the Widow Norton. josesarria.org

The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce will have star-installation ceremonies for Richard DeSantis on Sunday, October 11. The App Store for iPhone has an app that provides tour locations for 440 stars. Hard to believe it has been nine years since I received this fabulous star honor. Thanks to all involved. walkofthestars.com

Modernism Week October will be from Thursday, October 13 through Sunday, October 16, featur ing more than 50 events, tours, talks and parties throughout the area. The Palm Springs Modernism Fall Show will be at the Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday. Celebrate the architecture, art, music, fashion, attitude, lifestyle and food that makes Palm Springs the place to be. Check out home tours — House of Tomorrow (Elvis), The Chambers Residence, Frey House II, The Lautner Compound, Cavanaugh Adobe, Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms estate, Miles C. Bates Wave house and Sunnylands. I’m excited to again be hosting some double-deck bus tours. modernismweek.com

Celebrating the Hottest Cars in the Desert — Disco Inferno style will be the theme of the Great Autos Casual Concours 2022 at the Desert Princess Country Club, adjacent to the DoubleTree Hotel in Cathedral City on Saturday, October 15. Beneficiary will be the Oak Grove Sanctuary, transitional housing program for the LGBTQ community of foster youth transitioning to adulthood. greatautos. org and sanctuarypalmsprings.org

A new online show, The Palm Springs Baker, will premiere on Saturday, October 15. Chuck Swenson is the baker and host, and he will have guests (including yours truly, another Minnesota boy, on a future show) involved with creating goodies. Check to see if Chuck and I make a hot dish, bars, or what delicacy. thepalmspringsbaker.com

The city of Desert Hot Springs will present the Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival on Saturday, October 15 at the Desert Hot Springs Recreation Center. Free admis sion. Community altar, food carts, shopping, low-rider showcase, live music, entertainment. cityofDHS.org

Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine will present Drag Me to Giving Brunch on Sunday, October 16 at a private home, hosted by Rich ard Odell and Andrew Uris. Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles, the first LGBTQ mariachi in the world, will perform and I will emcee this lovely event once again. cvvim.org

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The annual Center Stage Gala for the LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert will be on Friday, October 21 at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Entertainment will include Jennifer Corday, out-and-proud lesbian singer/songwriter, and Brian Justin Crumm, queer singer/songwriter and former America’s Got Talent finalist. Honorees at the gala, with a theme of Together We Rise, will include Jeremy Hobbs of the Western Wind Foundation and Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. thecentercv.org

Palm Springs Leather Pride, Eruption, Meet ‘n Heat, will run from Thursday, October 27 through Sunday, October 29 at Hotel Zoso. Check out Tool Shed, the original leather and Levi bar in Palm Springs, for special Leather Pride weekend events. palmspringsleatherpride.org and pstoolshed.com

The fourth annual Boo2Bullying Boo Ball will take place on Friday, October 28 at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. The theme will be the Golden Age of Hollywood. Proceeds will benefit Boo2Bullying suicide prevention and school program. Actors and Palm Springs residents Jonathan Bennett and Jaymes Vaughan will host. boo2bullying.org

The annual DAP Health/Desert AIDS Walk will be on Saturday, October 29 at Ruth Hardy Park. It will follow a route through downtown Palm Springs. desertaidswalk.org

Check out the Halloween festivities at The Shops on El Paseo in Palm Desert, scheduled for Saturday, October 29.theshopsonelpaseo.com.

The fourth annual Tejano Music Fest will be on Saturday,October 29 at the new Community Amphitheater inCathedral City. Grammy Award-winning bands, includingRick Fuentes and the Brown Express, Hugo Guerrero,plus Tejano Highway 281, Chalito Zapata y Los Traviesosand Hector Gonzalez. Free admission and parking.tejanomusicfest.com

Hocker Productions will present Halloween on Arenas(between Indian Canyon and Calle Encilia) on Sunday,October 30 and will feature an afternoon tea dance,live music from 6 to10 p.m. and costume contest at 8p.m. Entertainment will include Ada Vox, Willie Gomez,Mikalah Gordon, David Hernandez, Pulp Vixen, Jesika vonRabbit, Probe 7, DJ Galaxy, DJ Lisa Pittman, and the Men ofCybersocket.com. Emcees will be Alexander Rodriguez andyours truly. halloweenpalmsprings.com

The sixth Cathedral City Halloween Spooktacular will be on Sunday afternoon, October 30. Trick or treat with40,000 pieces of candy, kids’ costume contest, police and fire exhibitions, and music. discovercathedralcity.com

The annual Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade will be onSunday, October 30 on El Paseo. The day will include aflyover by Palm Springs Air Museum warbirds, classic cars,floats, band and dance troupes, and golf carts decorated to the max. pdacc.org

The highly anticipated new Acrisure Arena — home of the Coachella Valley Firebirds hockey team in an 11,000-seat venue just off Interstate 10 at Cook Street — announced the first group of concerts to be held there. They include The Doobie Brothers, December 15; Grupo Firme, December 16; Maroon 5, December 31; Eagles Hotel California played beginning to end, plus greatest hits set, January 18. The arena has a job fair throughout October and plans to hire about 1,000. The Firebirds home opener will December 18. Upcoming special promotional events include Salute to Pride, January 7-8 (giveaways include Pride flag and Firebirds pride sticker). dcrisurearena.com

Rock The Plaza, a concert to save the historic Plaza Theatre, will be on Friday, November 11 and will feature Alice Cooper, Paul Rodgers, Bad Company; Josh Homme, Queens of the Stone Age; Oriantha, Spike Edney, Brian Ray and Matt Sorum. savetheplazatheatreps.org

The 36th Greater Palm Springs Pride celebration will rock downtown Palm Springs from Tuesday, November 1 through Sunday, November 6 with a huge slate of events, activities, entertainers and festivities. The theme will be SAY GAY! And we certainly will. pspride.org

Election Day is just around the corner. Don’t forget to vote. Let your voices be heard!

Happy Halloween! Happy Leather Pride! Happy Pride! Enjoy and celebrate safely

Send tips, news, comments to Bella da Ball at delicdivas@dc.rr.com
26 www.rage.lgbt | OCTOBER 2022


From the very first scary movie I watched, with the TV screen flickering like a candle inside of a jack-o’lantern, my lifelong love affair with horror began. The film in question was 1958’s The Blob, which my mom had me watch at 4 years old, as she was a huge fan of sci-fi and horror movies of the 1950s. Being a preschooler, I asked her if we could watch The Fudge Monster — as I called it — again as soon as it was over. I was smitten, like a kitten.

And from that point on, I sought out any and all monster-related offerings as a kid and gladly feasted my eyes on the number of frights that the 1980s cineplexes had to offer, whether they were good or bad. Yes, I paid to watch the craptastic C.H.U.D., but back then movies were a dollar on Tuesday nights at the local AMC. OK?

My taste for scares changed as I grew older, but my appetite for the genre remains insatiable. Luckily, there are always a wealth of movies and TV shows that fall into the category of being creepy AF! And with the gay holiday known as Halloween, there are sure to be some fun-size entertainment tricks and treats to gobble up, and they’re sugar free, so there’s that bonus. What’s heading our way for the witching season.


Shudder’s four-part docuseries Queer for Fear: The History of Queer Horror takes a deep dive into the bloody waters of the horror genre, with examinations of its literary origins and queer authors like Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley. The doc also explores Hollywood’s depictions of things that go bump in the night, from the metaphoric monsters in the closet during the 1930s through modern-day chills, blood spills and all macabre points in-between.

The examination of films that feature our community in horror movies, coupled with the relationship between us and the scary movie genre, is produced by out writer/producer Bryan Fuller (Hannibal), which gives it street cred and is airing now on the streamer.

The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula: Titans, will be on Shudder beginning on October 25, with the 10-episode spin-off series featuring previous contes tants from the horror-inspired drag competition show, where the kreepy kweens strut their stuff on the dark side of the runway.

HBO Max’s Los Espookys is currently airing its second season. The show follows a group of friends who start a business that caters to producing spooky experiences for their clients and features queer comedians Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega, who also co-created the series. A quien vas llamar? Not Ghostbusters, but you better add Los Espookys to your phone’s contacts!

Two of late author Anne Rice’s works, Interview with the Vampire and Mayfair Witches, are being produced for AMC, with the former debuting on October 2 and the latter coming later this year

This version of Interview with the Vampire will differ from the 1994 film adaptation starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, in that it actually — heaven forfend — depicts the gay subtext that was in the original novel. This time around, Sam Reid plays the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, Jacob Anderson (Game of Thrones) portrays his very longtime companion Louis de Pointe du Lac.

Here’s the deets on Mayfair Witches. The series stars Alexandra Daddario and Harry Hamlin — say a la Lisa Rinna on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. In it — and faster than you can say “witch, please!” — neurosurgeon Dr. Rowan Fielding (Daddario) discovers she is the unlikely heir to a family of witches. As she grapples with her newfound powers, she must contend with a sinister presence that has haunted her family for generations. Who hasn’t been there before, am I riiiight? I call that scenario a typical Thursday.

Chucky is also back for a sophomore season on both SYFY and the USA Network. For a show about a killer doll, the inaugural season sure represented! There’s gay teen Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur) and his love interest Devon Evans (Björgvin Arnarson). Plus, this year will also reintroduce Chucky’s gender-fluid child Glen/Glenda into the mix and features a Bound reunion with Gina Gershon joining Jennifer Tilly onscreen for the first time since the 1996 lesbian thriller. Oh, and Tilly’s sister Meg (Psycho II) has been added to the cast — girl, where have you been hiding? October 5.

Hellraiser is Hulu’s new take on Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart novel and is not a remake of the 1987 horror classic. Rather, it’s a new story in the Hellraiser universe with Pinhead being played by trans actor Jamie Clayton, as well as two gay TV heartthrobs Brandon Flynn (Ratched) and Adam Faison (Everything’s Gonna Be Okay) in unspecified roles . . . maybe as Cenosucks, because they would know to watch their teeth and not Cenobite. Nudge, wink. October 7.

hollywood by tim parks
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What card-carrying homo doesn’t love a strong female character that has survived multiple attacks by a butcher knife wielding killer, spanning seven films and 44 years? It’s hard to type with one hand raised. With the possibly misleading title of Halloween Ends, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) takes on Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle) for a final showdown on Samhain. In theatres and on Peacock on October 14.

The Menu created by chef Ralph Fiennes for Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult, and other invitees on a remote island, is served with a side dish of shocking surprises. I mean, if the titular menu has Soylent Green as the main course, that’s kinda on you. November 18.

Timothée Chalamet reunites with his Call Me by Your Name director Luca Guadagnino for Bones & All. The tale of Maren (Taylor Russell) and Lee (Chalamet), two outsiders in love with each other, highlights their odyssey across Ronald Reagan’s America. Sounds normal enough, right? Well, the kicker is that they are cannibals and when Lee picks up a man, it insinuates that he’s bisexual or pansexual. Um, hello he could have just been hungry and wanted a Manwich! It’s more than a meal, after all. Also, this would have been a great project to reunite Guadagnino and Chalamet with disgraced actor — and alleged cannibal — Armie Hammer! November 23.


Ryan Murphy’s first project for the spooky season sees him sticking his finger in the Stephen King pie. He’s producing Netflix’s Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, based on the novella from If It Bleeds — not a sequel to Carrie — in which young Craig (It’s Jaeden Martell) befriends Mr. Harrigan (Donald Sutherland), who becomes unalive — that’s the PC term for dead. And when Craig slips the aforementioned phone inside the coffin, he’s able to communicate with his deceased friend. I wonder what the roaming fees for that type of call would be. October 5. Another Ryan Murphy project, following hot on the heels of the recently released Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix - which you should not watch anywhere close to mealtime— is American Horror Story: New York City.

The 11th season of the Fall TV tradition has Zachary Quinto set to return to the franchise for the first time since season two (Asylum). Former Scream Queens Billie Lourd and Emma Roberts are also slated to appear, as is comedy legend Sandra Bernhard, Broadway icons Joe Mantello and Patti LuPone and hunky gay actors Russell Tovey, Charlie Carver and Isaac Cole Powell. Here’s hoping a three-way is somehow worked into the plot, which is still under wraps. But, according to FX Chairman John Landgraf this season will differ from Season 10’s two-story approach with a singular storyline, adding: “It actually takes place in different timelines but it’s one subject, one story, with a beginning, middle and an end, like many of the prior stories.” Missing from this go-round is Sarah Paulson, who explained to Variety in August that she’s taking a break from the franchise, as she put it “let someone else scream and run and cry for a second. Other people can do that too!” Um, not as good as you, bish!

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Netflix’s Wendell & Wild features a demon duo (voiced by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key), who have literal Hell to pay in taking on their archnemesis Sister Helly (Angela Bassett), in a stop motion animated flick directed by Henry Selick (The Night Before Christmas). October 28.

The Munsters will be released in tandem on DVD and Netflix. Given that the trailer was kind of meh, save for Daniel Roebuck’s uncanny take on Grandpa, I’m taking a wait-and-see approach to the film adaptation of one of my favorite TV shows. And surprisingly for a gay man, I will not judge it until I lay my eyes on it. So there!

However, I’m relieved that director Rob Zombie didn’t turn Lily into a stripper, since she’s being played by his wife Sheri Moon Zombie, and that’s what he did for her turn as Michael Myers’s mom in his dreadful Halloween remake. But this PG-rated film looks at the Transylvania-set courtship between Lily and Herman Munster (Jeff Daniel Phillips) and will feature appearances by original cast members Butch Patrick and Pat Priest. September 27.

And a certain creepy, kooky, mysterious and ooky family is also slated to debut on Netflix with Tim Burton’s The Addams Family spin-off Wednesday It’s making it feel like 1964 all over again, because that’s when the original incarnations made their TV debuts. No, I didn’t watch them during their original run, only in reruns, and how dare you imply that I am older than 29! Rude!

Anyhoo, this incarnation has Wednesday (Jenna Ortega) attending Nevermore Academy to hone her psychic abilities and delve into a mystery that entangled her parents (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzman) there years before. The series also explores the mother/ daughter relationship between Morticia and Wednesday, and her torture of brother Pugsley (Isaac Ordonez). Ortega may have gotten some pointers on how to play the part from the penultimate Wednes day, Christina Ricci, who was added to the cast in an “undisclosed role.” November 23

Hocus Pocus 2 is the sequel to some movie from 1993 about three witch sisters. It had these actors Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and the one with three names, Sally Jessy Raphael — I think — all of whom are unfamiliar to gay audience. On opposite day!

Anyhoo, the Sanderson Sisters will again be running amuck, amuck, amuck in the follow-up to the Halloween cult classic on Disney+. When three teenage girls (Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo and Lilia Buck ingham) accidentally summon the sistas, they set about releasing “a new kind of havoc on Salem” before midnight on the most spooktacular night of the year. September 30.

Two filmmakers that have the fright stuff — insert groan here — are Mike Flanagan and Guillermo del Toro, who are unleashing their brand of scare tactics on Netflix on October 7 and October 25, respectively.

Flanagan, the visionary writer/director behind The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor and Midnight Mass, uses Christopher Pike’s young adult novel The Midnight Club as the source material to weave new tales of terror, courtesy of a group of seven young adults who gather nightly in their hospice facility to try to scare the brown expletive out of each other. Meanwhile, del Toro flings the doors open on a Cabinet of Curiosities, an anthology series that will “challenge our traditional notions of horror,” will drop two new episodes nightly through October 28.


Oh, I almost forgot to include my two-syllable review for the missed opportunity that was Peacock’s They/Them . . . aw-ful! The premise of a killer stalking a gay conversion therapy camp had promise written all over it. But the, ahem, execution left something to be desired.

The scariest part was the teens all singing Pink’s “F**kin’ Perfect.” Chill ing! However, I do applaud the casting of all LGBTQ actors as the campers. I really wanted it to be good, as I have lamented for years about the lack of gay characters in horror movies. Alas, it wasn’t. Boo!

Until next time, that’s all the news that’s fit to print.

Tim Parks has been a freelance writer for 21 years, a columnist for 16 years, and part of Team Rage since 2009. He is the award-winning author of The Scheme of Things, available on Amazon.com

30 www.rage.lgbt | OCTOBER 2022



San Diego Music Theatre is currently staging the musical Little Shop of Horrors, penned by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, through Sunday, October 30. The musical premiered off-off Broadway in 1982, then moved to

theatre spotlight by tom andrew Audrey & Seymour (Lena Ceja & Ramiro Garcia Jr. Photos by Julie Licari Photography)
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The show focuses on Seymour, a flower shop nerd, whose life is in the dumps just like everyone else in the town. He prays for a way to get out of there, and that’s exactly what happens. Well, sort of.

One day while walking around town, he finds a sort of Venus fly trap that appears out of nowhere. He brings it back to the shop to nurse it back to health, but no matter what he tries — plant food, water, pot ash — nothing seems to perk up the little fella. But one day, he pricks his finger on a rose stem, and blood wells up. As he tries to stop the bleeding, he notices the plant begin to perk up. It looks like the plant is asking Seymour to feed it the blood on his finger. So, he does. What happens after that? See the show and find out.

In San Diego Music Theatre’s production, the role of Audrey is being played by Selena Ceja, who is hearing impaired. Ceja has been performing for years so she’s been able to adapt and practice, adjusting to whatever role she plays.

Ceja is also no stranger to San Diego Music Theatre audiences.

“Prior to Little Shop I was fortunate to get to do two professional productions of In The Heights,” Ceja said. “One in 2020 at the historic California Theater of the Arts as Nina Rosario and again in 2022 as Daniela at the San Diego Musical Theater. However, before any of my paid endeavors, I started at a wonderfully supportive community theatre in Chino my senior year of high school, where I received much of my mentorship and landed some of my favorite roles to date such as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, Maria in West Side Story, and Sophie Sheridan in Mamma Mia. Aside from my theatre experience, I have no formal training but have fully driven myself to be the best I can be through online resources, so so much practice, and my dad’s perfectly pitched ears.”

Ceja also credits the cast, crew and company for being so supportive during this production. She makes it clear that her career is very important to her and she’s willing to do what it

takes to further her craft.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have an amazing team of directors and castmates,” Ceja said. “[They] have ensured I always felt accommodated and comfortable by removing masks when directing me, providing visual cues for verbal cues I couldn’t hear, and heavily enunciating at every turn for me. A lot of it is the work I do to prepare. After I finished my last show back in February of 2020, I took a two-year hiatus to adjust and address the difficulty I had begun having with my hearing. Throughout this period, I went back to square one and taught myself to sing all over again, utilizing recording tools, pitch tools and metronomes to support my precision. As most of what I do is based off muscle memory, I always try to come as entirely prepared with my material as possible to make it easier for me to work and plug myself in.”

Little Shop of Horrors was written 40 years ago, which is a little bit before Ceja’s time. However, it has become a popular show for all kinds of theatres across the globe giving thousands of actors the chance to play these characters that are still well-known today.

“I had actually heard the soundtrack first,” Ceja said. “Back in early 2015, ‘Suddenly Seymour’ broke me into the show, and I took a whole deep dive from there. I’ve definitely seen the movie, now over a dozen times, and simply adore Elle Greene and what she brought to Audrey. I mean, it’s iconic, and wonderful to see the wide range of people this character speaks to.”

Audrey has been one of those roles that so many people have to play. All of the characters in the show are like that, but Audrey connects with the audience immediately because she is frail, abused and degraded yet she still finds a way to put a smile on her face. She dreams of a better place that she, and hopefully Seymour, will go to — although it’s a wish she keeps to herself.

“Audrey is truly a selfless and beautifully kind character despite the circumstances

she finds herself surrounded by,” Ceja said. “That’s really what I’ve always admired about her. However, I was particularly moved by the familiar circumstance and behavioral patterns I had been surrounded by my whole life being up on a screen/stage: poverty, alcoholism, DV (these grand-scale issues like domestic violence that are always glossed over) were what drew me in the most. There’s such a bold conversation under this campy musical that isn’t really ever seriously addressed and that’s what brought Audrey to my list of dream roles. I deeply understood her lack of familial stability and self-love, and all her presented trauma responses. I wanted more than anything to take that and add to the honest representa tion, and seriousness, of what she’s pulled through. As a feminist, I wanted to exemplify her strength and as an actor, I wanted nothing more than to give her depth.”

The music from Little Shop has been a favorite for many musical theatre actors to audition with, sing at open mics or in concerts. Just when you think the show is going to be all laughs and gore, the composers toss in beautiful melodies and songs that give the show balance and draw you in even further, so you really care about these characters who just want a better life.

“I love this soundtrack so much,” Ceja said. “I would say ‘Meek Shall Inherit’ and ‘Somewhere That’s Green’ are my top favorites. ‘Somewhere That’s Green’ has definitely grown on me immensely as I’ve gotten the chance to savor it through my own experiences. ‘Meek’ on the other hand STAYS on repeat in my head, that top harmony is SO good. My favorite scene has to be the scene between Orin and Seymour before’ Now (It’s Just the Gas)’ through that whole song. I’ve always loved watching the contrast in the type of men they are empha sized through this interaction.”

Catch Selena Ceja as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at the San Diego Music theatre, 4650 Mercury St. in San Diego. sdmt.org or 858.560.5740
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San Diego Opera will present the world premiere of Gabriela Lena Frank’s El último sueño de Frida y Diego (The Last Dream of Frida and Diego) on Saturday, October 29 at the San Diego Civic Theatre. Additional performances will be on November 1, 4 and 6.

El ultimó sueño de Frida y Diego is the first opera by Frank, the Grammy Award-winning composer. The libretto was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz. These performances will star soprano Guadalupe Paz as Frida, last heard locally as Mercedes in 2019’s Carmen. She is joined by baritone Alfredo Daza as Diego, soprano Maria Katzarava as Catrina, and countertenor Key’mon Murrah as Leonardo, all making their San Diego Opera debuts.

The new opera is a fictional story exploring the lives of Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, who have inspired generations of artists. During the celebration of Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), surrounded by candles and the fragrance of marigolds, the great muralist Diego Rivera longs to see his deceased wife once more. Catrina, the keeper of the souls, approaches Frida in the afterlife and explains that Diego desperately needs his beloved wife as the end of his life approaches. For only 24 hours, Frida and Diego will relive their tumultuous love through their paintings and will embrace the passion they shared.

“Frida Kahlo has been a hero since my girlhood,” Frank said. “Before I could read, I found her in the pages of an art book in my mother’s home library, the only woman in a multi-volume set of ‘great artists.’ My mother pointed out how Frida was small, brown and creative like us; moreover, of thick brow, disabled and a daughter of both Europe and Latin America like me. Images in her paintings danced in my dreams for years. Now with my first opera with librettist Nilo Cruz, it has been a privilege to lose myself in this fantastical story exploring Frida’s tumultuous love affair, even beyond life itself, with Mexican painter Diego Rivera against the vibrant backdrop of the Day of the Dead. I am grateful.” sdopera.org


With a single phrase, you can give up your country. With a single signature, you can tear a family apart. With a single word, you can learn to transform. Latino Theater Company will present the West Coast premiere of (Un)Documents written and performed by Jesús I. Valles and directed by Rudy Ramirez. Performances will take place from Friday, October 14 through Sunday, November 20 at The Los Angeles Theatre Center in downtown L.A.

(Un)Documents is the lyrical tale of Valles’s journey across both sides of a river with two names, moving between languages to find their place in a nation that demands sacrifice at the altar of citizenship. In doing so, they create a new kind of documentation written with anger, fierce love and the knowledge that what makes us human can never be captured on a government questionnaire.

Currently based in Providence, Rhode Island, Valles immigrated to the U.S with their family at age 9. Their multiple award-winning solo work was adapted from a series of 20 poems they wrote following their brother’s deportation in a workplace raid — poems about their brother, citizenship, identity and the LGBTQ community.

“I learned early on what some people are able to do or unable to do, all based on a few pieces of paper and, you know, some holograms on some plastic,” Valles said. “(Un)Documents asks the audience to rethink how they watch and talk about migrant com munities, queer people of color, and systems of oppression. And to ask questions of themselves and those in positions of power.”

(Un)Documents premiered at The Vortex in 2018 as part of FuturX: A New Festival of Latinx Performance, winning three B. Iden Payne awards, including for original script, lead actor and direction. It was presented as part of the 2019 OutsiderFest artists’ showcase and at the Latinx Theatre Common’s Sin Fronteras Festival. That spring, it returned to The Vortex for a two-week encore, receiving five nominations from the Austin Critics Table Association, including the Mark David Cohen “Best New Play” award. In 2021, it was a featured performance at the 2021 ATHE conference and also streamed live by Latino Theater Company as part of RE:Encuentro 2021, a virtual, national Latinx theater festival featuring 16 companies and performers from across the U.S. in digital residence at The Los Angeles Theatre Center. latinotheaterco.org

theatre by jay jones
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“An artist’s responsibility is to reflect the times.” Following the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, Nina Simone shifted her talents to activism, creating some of our most powerful civil-rights anthems. Described as “riveting, relevant and oh so real” by Broadway World, this deeply personal play with music imagines how the iconic chanteuse forged her true calling. And gave voice to countless other Black women fighting to overcome stereotypes and racism. Nina Simone: Four Women includes her most impactful songs, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” “Go Limp” and “Mississippi Goddam.” The play will run Sunday, October 2 through Sunday, October 23 at South Coast Repertory (SRC) in Costa Mesa.

Nina Simone: Four Women premiered in March 2016 at the Park Square Theatre. Earlier this year, it played at Arizona Theatre Company. And yet, playwright Christina Ham continues to revisit, revise and rewrite a work she called “the hardest play I’ve ever written.”

According to a recent interview with South Coast Repertory’s Brian Robin, Ham is rewriting the last 41 pages of her work going into this new production. Ham said it is the first time she’s undergone this level of rewriting on the fly and she said 90% of the context is different than it was five years ago. It remains labor of love.

“This play is an outlier in the realization of what it means to actually create a new play and bring it to life,” Ham said. “It’s really afforded me the opportunity in terms of production and seeing a play in my hometown, where I can attend rehearsals. This allows me to do the most revisions . . . I really cherish the process. I cherish rewriting. I cherish cutting. I’m not one of those people who is necessarily satisfied with what I have when I’m done.”

“Our goal is to restore the original goals of this story, so going forward, the SCR production and script is the gold standard in terms of what this show looks like and what it’s actually about.” scr.org

Charles Blondeau will present the West Coast premiere of an exuberant, offBroadway screwball comedy inspired by an actual event. Written and directed by David Goldyn, Daddy Issues will open on Friday, October 14, for a five-week run through Sunday, November 13 at the Complex in Hollywood.

Mr. and Mrs. Moscowitz are in denial about their son’s gay life, disapprove of his career choice, and question his flair for decoration. To get his family to stop kvetching, Donald needs a son. So with the help of his ballsy best friend Henrietta and rising drag queen Levi, Donald hires the 10-year-old kid from downstairs. What could go wrong?

“This play was inspired by a real-life incident I had with my own overbearing parents,” Goldyn said. “All the characters are based on real people. Although many of the most outrageous lines may sound like they belong in a sitcom, they actually came straight out of the mouths of my mother, father and grandma.”

Daddy Issues starts out slow, picks up steam, and then snowballs into hilarious farce. It enjoyed a sold-out run at off-Broadway’s Theatre at St Clements. In the West Coast premiere, James Seifert will star as Donald, a gay “everyman” who can only react to all the craziness going on around him. Donald’s homophobic father, Sid, will be played by Jonathan Fishman, while Pamela Shaw will perform as Marion, Donald’s funny, somewhat screwy mother who loves to quote Reader’s Digest. Noa Lev–Ari and Josh Nadler will play his best friends, zaftig Henrietta and drag queen-by-night Levi. Rounding out the cast will be Sherry Michaels as Grandma, Hannah Battersby as Donald’s downstairs neighbor, and Thomas Dominick DeBone and Solly Werner, who share the role of precocious 10-year-old Johnny Walker. daddyissuestheplay.com

Pride Night on October 15 is an evening of live theatre, music and socializing, in honor of the legacy of Nina Simone. The event begins on SCR’s Terrace with a performance by Debbie Ebert.
theatre by jay jones
36 www.rage.lgbt | OCTOBER 2022


Drag superstars Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova’s first U.S. tour together, Trixie And Katya Live, will stop by YouTube Theatre in Los Angeles Wednesday, October 12. The show is a parody of classic female road trip comedies from the 1990s to today. “After over a year of living on your small screens, we are pulling out all of the stops on this live show,” Mattel said. “You can expect spectacular musical numbers, a dazzling set, and impeccable timing from two of the most talented women in the world. Do I smell a Tony?” trixieandkatya.com

Golden Girls Insider Show will be staged on Thursday, October 13, at Oscar’s in downtown Palm Springs. Dan Watt (Bea Arthur’s personal assistant), Richard Weaver (Estelle Getty’s personal assistant) and Art Harding (the Golden Emmy-winning makeup artist) will present an evening of funny and touching stories, favorite show clips, various props and unique Golden Girls memorabilia, including the famous wedding dress. An audience Q&A session will follow the show. oscarspalmsprings.com Gay rapper Lil Nas X is on tour supporting his debut album Montero The North American leg of the Long Live Montero Tour will come to YouTube Theater in Los Angeles on Tuesday, October 18. longlive montero.com

An Orange County favorite will return by popular demand from Thursday, October 20 through Saturday, October 22. Awardwinning singer, songwriter and actor Chris Mann will be back at Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa for three hilarious vocal perfor mances. In 2020, Mann’s uproarious music parodies took the Internet by storm as videos like “My Corona” and “Hello (From the Inside)” garnered 300 million views and made viewers across the globe laugh when we needed it most. scfta.org

On the heels of a major Las Vegas engagement announcement, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Adam Lambert will continue the Halloween excitement, bringing his spectacularly spooky extrava ganza The Witch Hunt down the Southern California coast for a limited run this month. Lambert will kick things off on Saturday, October 22 in Rancho Mirage, followed by his hometown of San Diego on Sunday, October 23, before wrapping up in Hollywood on Sunday, October 30, at the famed Hollywood Palladium. adamlambert.net Genderqueer singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist King Princess, in celebration of her new album, has embarked on The Hold On Baby Tour. Catch King Princess on Wednesday and Thursday, October 26 and 27 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in LA or Sunday, October 30 in San Diego at SOMA. kingprincessmusic.com

On Wednesday, November 2, San Diego Symphony will welcome the Finnish pop sensation Rajaton to San Diego for their Rady Shell debut in Dancing Queen: A Tribute to ABBA. Known as one of the world’s top six-voice a cappella ensembles, Rajaton will perform ABBA’s top hits with the orchestra. theshell.org

The music of John Williams has transported us beyond our imagination, to new worlds, through heart-pounding adventures. Be there Friday and Saturday, November 4 and 5, as the Pacific Symphony, led by Principal Pops Conductor Laureate Richard Kaufman, will perform your John Williams favorites: Superman, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars The force will be with you for this 90th birthday celebration of cinema’s symphonic master. pacificsymphony.org

king princess
38 www.rage.lgbt | OCTOBER 2022


If Iceage is a band that doesn’t put a chill in your heart and a fire in your thoughts, get out of that pre-hysteria rage and check these unheard of gems from these musical punks and pundits of expression. Don’t say “Why! I’ve never heard of Iceage before!” Just listen, realize how rad these guys are, and crank it. No, it’s not a case of rediscovering your youth but having an open musical mind to two-sided lyrics and slamming guitars of quality. That’s all. The youth and scope of the band led by lead singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, who hails from beautiful Copenhagen is a sonic trip through the rebellious, yet humanistic qualities found within the songwriting. Released on the Mexican Summer label, the tracks are all unheard of until this collection and truly add to the legacy of Iceage’s previous works. To quote Elias, he calls the non-LP cuts “Misfit children.” Right now, I’m listen ing to the band’s remake of the classic Abner Jay song, “My Mule.” Can’t stop smiling at their rendition while “I’m Ready to Make a Baby” is so twisted that even the band knows that theory isn’t going to procreate by any means. Yes, Iceage was on COVID lockdown too and the proof is so righteously expressed on “Lockdown Blues.” All I can say is, “Thank goodness, this stunning and enjoyable collection has been unlocked. Available now

“You excite me. Beyond my power to explain. Yours is the art to start my heart a bubbling like champagne.” That sentiment in a musical titled Tonight and Every Night performed by screen star goddess Rita Hayworth, daughter of a Spanish father, embody the sex appeal, talent, strength and bravado in the history of Latin and Hispanic people presented on film. Author Luis I. Reyes has put his heart, intense passion and intelligent writing into a stunning cavalcade of the history of these performers individually and as a culture. All the shifts in the movie industry are presented clearly over the decades but the spotlight is given to the talent and remarkable gifts presented on screen. From Jennifer Lopez to Carmen Miranda or the likes of Gilbert Roland or Antonio Banderas and numerous others including Spanish directors of note, Viva Hollywood is truly a fiesta of the finest. Available now

rage recommends by bill biss

The British and international music star died at 52 years old on Christmas 2016. George Michael has received the royal treatment from Sony Music for this excep tionally fine box set of his master work, Older, initially released in 1996 and re-released on September 30. It is hailed as his finest album. Remember the adage from TV’s American Bandstand? “It’s got a good beat and I can dance to it.” Michael produced, arranged and wrote Older. The album is a seriously lyrical study into his emotional core as a gay man and pop superstar. It takes an under

standing to delve into each song and read the lyrics to comprehend his frame of mind and philosophy at that time. Sure, the hits flew up the charts with songs such as “Fast Love, Pt. 1,” “Spinning the Wheel” and “Jesus to a Child,” thus creating a phenomenon of success. Yet, his true brilliance lies exposed in the scope of feelings presented with his lyrics and arrangements throughout the entire production of Older.

When spinning this disc for the first time in 1996, I didn’t read the small print and that includes the lyrics. George Michael had a

solid way with enunciation, which is clearly lacking in some regards these days. How ever, in 2022 I noticed one notation from him that added new relevance and meaning to his arrangements. On the last page of text of the CD booklet is “This album is dedicated to Antônio Carlos Jobim, who changed the way I listened to music.” Jobim was a true musical genius of Brazilian music. I can almost hear Michael saying after completing the album, “It’s bloody amazing. I’ve truly outdone myself!” Sway this way to the wonder of rediscovering Older. Available now

George Michael
OCTOBER 2022 | @theragemonthly 41




Not every drag show on TV needs to be about a competition. Hulu’s upcoming Huluween Dragstravaganza special is fired up and ready to deliver some pure drag entertainment from start to finish. The premise, according to the trailer, follows All-Stars Monet X Change and Ginger Minj as they land themselves trapped in a television. Their only way out is to host a special joined by other A-listers like Manila Luzon, Monique Heart, Jujubee, Selene Luna, Lady Bunny and Jackie Beat.

Beat, who also serves as a writer on the show alongside gay comedian Justin Martindale and Trace Slobotkin, spoke with The RAGE Monthly to fill us in on what to expect.

“I am absolutely thrilled to not only be starring in it with all these young kids and Lady Bunny, but I actually helped write it,” Beat said. “People are already freaking out over the trailer, so you can imagine how fun the actual special is. Just when you think it can’t get any better, they announce that Kesha is the special guest performer, and she turned it out.”

Gathering a cast of well-known queens whose schedules also lined up for filming was a challenge, especially with how popular the art of drag has become for viewers at home.

“As writers, we’re not really in charge of who’s going to be in it,” Beat said. “I definitely had some input because I felt sort of like I was the ‘drag liaison’ or ‘drag creative consultant,’ and they were really great about admitting that they don’t know the world of drag as much as someone who’s done it for three decades. I’m glad they asked my opinion on so many things, including the casting.”

The cast represents the diversity that drag has become nowadays and shines a light on some of the most popular kings and queens in the industry.

“There’s something for everyone. If you hate Lady Bunny, then I’m there. If you find Manila Luzon annoying, look over at Monet,” Beat said.

With the rising popularity of drag entertainment, the Hulu executives wanted to make sure that the show focused more on the queens singing, dancing, being funny, doing sketches

and being goofy. “So that’s what we gave them,” Beat said. “Also, drag plus Halloween is a match made in . . . heaven? Maybe for Halloween we’ll say it’s a match made in hell.”

Outside of the Huluween special, Beat’s also recently premiered a new comedy show on OutTV titled Dr. Jackie Unlicensed Psychotherapist. That show also serves A-listers including Katya, Alaska Thunderfuck, Ben de la Creme, Elvira, and Margaret Cho. It premiered on OutTV in September with episodes running weekly through October 24.

As for the Dragstravaganza special that Beat helped mastermind, Hulu subscribers can stream that when it drops on Saturday, October 1 (which means if you are reading this at any time — go!)

And, in parting advice from Beat, as she says to new queens, “Drag is thankless and hard work. It’s exhausting and there are no guarantees, so you shouldn’t do it. If you’re meant to do it, you’ll ignore everything I just said. And that goes for anything and everything.” hulu.com

stream queen by andrew j stillman
44 www.rage.lgbt | OCTOBER 2022
photo courtesy hulu
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officially the spooky season. As such, it seems totally appropriate to chat about things that scare the hell out of me. I don’t know about you, but it’s not so much goblins and witches that have me tightening my deadbolt every night and hiding under the covers . . . it’s gay dating.

What’s more terrifying than Michael Myers, Ghostface and Freddy Krueger all combined? Trying to find a single, reasonable, monogamous man who’s not a piece of shit in Southern California. May God — or Britney, Madonna, Gaga — be with you.

Let’s be optimistic for a change, though. Say you do meet a decent guy, at a bar, online or however the hell people connect these days, and he’s not a total scrumbag. First, good on you; you just discovered Bigfoot. However, sooner or later, a C word (no, not my favorite C word, a different C word) is going to present itself: compromise.

We all have that list, don’t we? That “must have” list of what we want in a life partner. At a certain point, though, we have to face reality. We either have to determine what on that list is negotiable or risk being alone forever. I mean, what are the chances of finding someone with everything on the list? In this day and age, is it even smart to have a detailed list?

Come to think of it, maybe it’s time to light a match and set fire to the list. Here’s that beautiful albeit nagging optimism, rising back to the surface. When we meet the right man, will a list even matter? Should it matter? Sure, a few qualities are important, dare I even say, necessary. However, many qualities, especially the superficial ones, likely need to go by the wayside.

After all, times are tough! Charles Dickens had it right when he wrote, “It was the worst of times.” He, too, must have been searching for gay love. (As for the other half of that quote, the one that addresses the “best of times,” well, I don’t know her.)

Again, once more for those in the back, or for those considering leaving their current boyfriend in hopes of locating a better one: It’s hard to find an adequate mate. Oftentimes, I think “having a pulse” should be the only requirement.

Deal breakers are interesting notions to consider, and I can’t help but wonder: How important are deal breakers in a relationship? Should some deal breakers be flexible? More specifically, should some deal breakers be broken?

Deal breakers are different for everyone. I used to think that monogamy was a universal staple. You know, no lying or cheating or lusting after other men. That’s no longer the case, thanks to open relationships, thruples, poly-whatever, and amateur porn stars taking over Twitter. (Hey, it wouldn’t be my column if I wasn’t beating you over the head with my personal views.)

Anyway, after asking around, I learned that there are common deal breakers among numerous individuals, most notably: no drugs (remember, weed isn’t a drug but a lifeline), no cigarettes, no Trump fans (do these people honestly exist?), and no Crocs. That last one is just a dealbreaker of my own. They may be comfortable for the feet, but they are extremely painful on the eyes.

Those examples all seem kind of standard. The situation turns complicated when we enter a gray area. For instance, say you have a dog, and you let that dog sleep in bed with you. What happens if that’s a dealbreaker for your new beau? What if he believes a dog should have its own bed on the floor? Do you fold and kick poor Louie down to the ground? Do you tell Mr. Uptight to get over it or sleep on the couch? Or do the two of you just never sleep in the same bed?

Deal breakers come in all shapes and sizes. The takeaway is that one too many deal breakers will undoubtedly lead to a breakup — or, as alluded to above, dying alone.

Look, when we’re back on the market and start dating, we know what we want — at least, we should know or have a pretty strong idea — i.e. hookup, casual encounter, relationship, etc. Beyond that, perhaps it could be beneficial to be a little less rigid, a little more open-minded. I’m not suggesting giving up or changing morals or values but simply stating that we need to get over ourselves. The results may be surprising . . . even rewarding.

millennial matters by cutter slagle
46 www.rage.lgbt | OCTOBER 2022
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