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17 W. Vernon Ave., Unit 3 Phoenix, AZ 85003 (602) 750-1164 www.IONAZ.com ionarizona@me.com PUBLISHER / SALES / FOUNDER Jack M. Tesorero ...................... jacktesorero@me.com EDITOR Deon Brown ............................... ionazeditor@me.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Alex Campos ...................... ionazproduction@me.com COPY EDITOR ...................................... Austin Head PRODUCTION & ARTWORK SUBMISSIONS ionazproduction@me.com NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE Rivendell Media (212) 242-6863 PHOTOGRAPHERS: Franklin Diaz Scotty Kirby LeakedGlass Production RSVP Photography Fernando Hernandez Rafalogie Studio CONTRIBUTORS:

Addison DeWitt C. Edwards Ted Kirby

Peter Lora Paul Sanchez Miss Tiger

Published monthly by

1995-2020: 25 Years of Design and Creative Excellence Š 2020 JMT Designs, Inc.



All original artwork and photography for ION Arizona Magazine remain property of JMT Designs, Inc, and cannot be reproduced, altered, or sold without authorization and compensation. Limited usage rights can be purchased for a small fee. NOTE: The views expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the views of ION Arizona, its staff, or that of its parent company. Publication of the name or photograph of any person or organization within ION Arizona is not to be construed as any indication of the sexual orientation of such persons or organization. To our knowledge, all people photographed and published in ION Arizona are over the age of 18. Some photos were submitted by our readers. To our knowledge, they own the copyrights, and they have given us permission to reproduce them. If you see a picture that you own, please call us immediately and we will remove it from future publications. All copy, text, display, photos, and illustrations in the ads are published with the understanding that the advertisers are fully authorized, have secured proper written consent for the use of names, pictures, and testimonials of any living person, and that ION Arizona is not responsible for unlawful use of such content.


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Cactus Jack Giddie Up Cowboys and Cowgirls! I

t’s another fabulous month in the great Grand Canyon State. Grab a cowboy (or girl) and ride on over to the 35th Anniversary of the AGRA Rodeo. Once again, the rodeo returns to Corona (not the beer or the virus) Ranch in Laveen from February 15-16. Too far for that old steed? Then head on over to Charlie’s and get on their Bud Light shuttle all weekend. Lots of fun and surprises on board. See a Charlie’s bartender to reserve your seat. For more rodeo info go to AGRA-Phx.com. After the rodeo, ride off into the sunset and over to Tempe Beach Park for the Aunt Rita’s AIDS WALK 2020 on February 22. Here leave your horse at home and run or walk all while helping eliminate HIV/AIDS. Entertainment, vendors, food trucks and more all at a beautiful lakefront venue. For more info go to AIDSwalkAZ.org. Our friends at Phoenix Pride and the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (GPGLCC) are both celebrating their 40th anniversary’s with an epic party on February 29. Check out more info on this event and these organizations go to PhoenixPride.org and GPGLCC.org. 24

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Leap Year happens once every four years on February 29. But only once every 28 years it falls on a Saturday. Join ION Mobile and PhAGS (PHX Agenda for Gay Socialites group) at BS West’s “The Big Leap” party sponsored by Corona. This social group goes out and explores what this great state has to offer. See the ad on page 15. This issue features an interview with local singer/songwriter Benji “Benny Blessed” Solano, who’ll be performing on the outdoor stage at The Rock during the Melrose Street Fair on Saturday, March 7. Fenders and Friends gay car club will be running the Chester’s Classic Car Show at the fair. The ION Mobile booth will be there, so don’t forget to stop by for a free photo and grab some ION swag! Catch the Miss Gay Melrose America right after the fair starting at 6 p.m. There’s lots going on this month with plenty of pageants, plays, concerts, brunches, fundraisers, parties and more. Find out everything you need to know in this issue and download the new ION APP when you’re out exploring.

Jack M. Tesorero Urban Cowboy

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Benny Blessed makes music through his truth Text by: Deon Brown Photography by: Rafalogie Studios 26

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erforming as Benny Blessed, Benji Solano is a rising singer/songwriter based in Phoenix who’s ready to set his audiences on fire. Hailing from the Bronx in New York, Benji moved to the Valley 10 years ago when he decided, “I just had to get out of the mindset of New York.” He debuted his music on stage in November, 2019 at an event benefiting the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. Benji’s hot Italian and Puerto Rican heritage bubbles up the surface in his often sexually charged songs created with Latin beat and tempo to get his audience worked up. And often a little bit (well, okay, a lot) sweaty. His latest release, “Tell Me, Tell Me” is designed to start a fire down below you-know-where with lyrics like, “I can see your friend grew, baby let me say hello This sessions overdue, let me feel you down below, I can make your mind up, come baby open wide, Ready set, wind up , cause you’re out of time.” Tempted? You should be. You will be. “I’m a sexual person ... but not with everyone,” Benji laughingly admits. Despite his on-stage sensuality and bravado, Benji is cool and mildmannered. Using music as artistic expression brings out another facet of his personality: sensitivity.

“Music is very healing for me. It’s like therapy,” Benji explained. He was sexually, mentally, emotionally and physically abused by a family member at a young age. “I grew up feeling that I wasn’t worthy. I decided to turn the negative into a positive. My favorite part of performing is when people come to me and tell me, ‘I can relate to what you were saying. It’s like you wrote it for me.’” Writing was a gift Benji only shared with his mother who passed away from cancer in 2015. “My mother instilled a lot of morals and values in me,” he remembers. Three years ago, Benji suffered from depression; that’s when his mother came to him in a dream and told him to keep writing. “‘Always walk in your truth,’ my mother told me. I pray every day that gay people will have a mother like mine.” Now 42, Benji didn’t come out until he was 28-yearsold. “I had to wait until I felt comfortable in my own skin.” Benji credits his niece, Vicky Lyn, who pushed him to perform. She is also the engineer behind his music, putting it all together in her living room in the Bronx. “Recording my first song was very emotional for me. I didn’t know how I could do it, but I’m very much an overthinker, and since I wrote poetry when I was younger, my niece said, ‘Why don’t you just rap it? It’s got to come from you.’” February 2020 WWW.IONAZ.COM 27

Benny Blessed “I want to be able to travel and perform for the gay community as a positive influence. I came from nothing. Statistically I should not be where I am in life.” A lot of people helped make things happen. “I wouldn’t be able to do this with out a great team—my niece Vicky Lyn, Espressa Grande, Jeremiah and Cruz Daniels, and my choreographer Judam Jackson,” Benji said. “And lastly and most importantly, all the support from my family and friends.” A positive attitude and drive keeps Benji on the right track. “I’m very big on energy and a proper mindset; 2018 was a emotional roller coaster for me while 2019 was a year of learning and growth experience. We’re all in charge of everything in life—good or bad. It’s a blessing to wake up every day.” Benny Blessed will be performing at Charlie’s Phoenix on February 29, and again on the outdoor stage at The Rock on March 7, at the Melrose Street Fair. His music is available on Soundcloud. Follow him on Instagram @Benny_Blessed78

events Renaissance Festival Hear ye, lads and lasses! Kings and especially all you queens! Come to the Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace every weekend from February 8-March 29. Hoist a cup o’ grog, grab a turkey leg and party like it’s 1499! We’ll see you in the Eastern hinterlands of the kingdom past Gold Canyon. For directions and info visit RenFestInfo.com on your modern computers.

35th AGRA Rodeo Ki-yi-yippee, yippee YAY! Saddle up the old cayuse, pardners! THe AGRA Rodeo is comin’ to town! Join in the ropin’, ridin’, wranglin’ and spectatin’ February 14-16 at the Corona Ranch Rodeo Grounds, 7611 S. 29th Ave. at Baseline Rd. in Laveen. For tickets and schedule AGRA-Phx.com. Make Charlie’s your stompin’ ground all weekend long for even more celebratin’! Ad p 9-10

Gay Bowling Phoenix Hosts PRIT GayBowlingPhoenix will be hosting over a hundred LGBTQ and Allied Bowlers and their guests from all over the nation for the Phoenix Regional Invitational Tournament (PRIT) February 14 - 16. This is the 37th year for this tournament.  PRIT is an IGBO (International Gay Bowling Organization) partner tournament and USBC (United States Bowling Congress) sanctioned tournament. Held at Let it Roll Bowling Center. See ad on page 6.


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AIDS Walk Arizona & 5K Aunt Rita wants you! Put on your sneakers and get ready to walk (or run) to raise money to fund HIV/AIDS awareness in the Phoenix community. Saturday, February 22. Registration starts at 3 p.m. at Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Pkwy. at Mill Ave. To register, donate visit AIDSwalkArizona.org

The Big Leap at BS West You’ve been waiting for this party for a lifetime. Okay, well, for four years. Join DJ Jesse Jaxx, who might recognize from such great films as The Manny, Home Delivery and the tender drama, Foot Action. This party is hosted by PHAGS, the PHoenix Agenda for Gay Socialites. See you on Saturday, February 29 at BS West, 7125 E. 57th Ave. in Scottsdale. See ad on p. 15

FEBUARY 2020 ION EVENTS DATE EVENT LOCATION Sundays Kenny Thames The Bunkhouse Sundays Poolside BBQ The FLEX Spa 8-29 Renaissance Festival 8 AGRA Royalty Competition Charlie’s 9 1n10 Fresh Brunch Marriott Desert Ridge 13 Mini-Rodeo Charlie’s 14-16 AGRA Rodeo Corona Ranch 15 Red Party Karamba 15 Imperial Ct. Underwear Auction The Anvil 16 Carnaval Latino Karamba 21-22 Customer Appreciation Party Dick’s Cabaret 22 Black Out Party The Anvil 22 AIDS Walk Arizona Tempe Beach Park 29 Masquerade Ball Karamba 29 The Big Leap Party BS West 29 SAAF Out Brunch Marriott Univ. Park MARCH 1 Sunday Off Central

CITY Phoenix Phoenix Gold Canyon Phoenix Phoenix Phoenix Laveen Phoenix Phoenix Phoenix Phoenix Phoenix Tempe Phoenix Scottsdale Tucson Midtown Phoenix

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drag Miss Gay Melrose America 2019 Get ready! This preliminary pageant and one you won’t want to miss! Nevaeh McKenzie and Savannah Stevens, former Miss Gay Arizona America titleholders will honor Espressa Grande, Miss Gay Melrose America 2019. Piper M’Shay will wow the audience along with RPDR alumnae Ginger Minj. The excitement is killing us! We’ll see you there on March 7 at the Marriott Residence Inn Courtyard, 132 S. Central Ave. in Phoenix. For more info and tix visit MissGayMelroseAmerica.com







Soju & Valorie Kardashian



The Rock

Rock Bottom with Benaddiction



The Rock

Sherry Vine




The Strip Factor - Piper M’Shay & Adriana Galliano




Claudia’s Karaoke Cabaret “Sing with the Queen”




Diamond in Fuego with Diamond Dallas




Karamba Girls Show with Mileena Dallas & Fernanda Vargas




Gigi DeMilo Show




Pipin’ Hot Thursdays with Piper M’Shay

2nd & 4th Fri


The Rock

Coco’s Charm School



Cruisin’ 7th

TGIF (Thank Grande Its Friday) with Espressa Grande




The Boys & The Booze With Diamond Dallas & The Sinful Studs



The Rock

Special Event Rotating Drag Shows




New Times Best Drag Show Freaky Fridays with Celia Putty



BS West

Elements - The Valley’s Top Drag Entertainers



Cruisin’ 7th

Lady Christian’s Lady & the Tramps

2nd Sat



Brunch After Dark Hosted by Navaeh McKenzie



The Rock

The Barbra Seville Show




Saturday Under the Stars With Claudia B and Pussy LeHoot

3rd Sun



Bliss Blush Drag Brunch Hosted by Barbra Seville




Pussy LeHoot & Friends




Latin Explosion With Adriana Galliano




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concerts GayC/DC

Finally! An all gay tribute band true to the music of the Australian heavy metal band AC/DC ... but with a lotta sassy (and sissy) glam thrown in to make it extraqueer. Take the Highway to Hell over to 730 N. Mill Ave. in Tempe at the Marquee Theatre on Saturday, February 15. For tickets 480-839-0707 or go to LuckyManOnline.com. Find out more about them on GayCDCofficial.com

Innings Festival

If you like music and major league baseball, this is for you. (What on earth do they have in common?) Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, and the (ugh) Dave Matthews Band are part of the lineup on February 29-March 1 at Tempe Beach Park on Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Pkwy. For more info and tix go to InningsFestival.com

M3F Music Festival

Sofi Tukker, Bon Iver, Stick Figure, Lany, Rüfüs du Sol, The Growlers, Crooked Colors, and so many other bands who are so cool that you probably never even heard of them. Maybe. Catch you at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, March 6-8 at Hance Park, 1200 N. 1st St. in downtown Phoenix. For tix go to M3FFest.com

FEBUARY 2020 ION CONCERT CALENDAR DATE ARTIST LOCATION 1 Hayley Kiyoko The Van Buren - Phoenix 1 Kygo Phx Open Birds Nest 7 Dashboard Confessional The Van Buren 7-8 Ladysmith Black Mambazo MIM 14 Renee Fleming Mesa Arts Center 15 GayC/DC - Gay Tribute to AC/DC Marquee Theatre - Tempe 15 Sarah McLachlan Arizona Federal Theatre - Phoenix 16 Frankie Valli ASU Gammage - Tempe 21 Totally 80s Live The Van Buren - Phoenix Innings Festival Tempe Beach Park MARCH 6-8 M3F Music Festival Hance Park - Phoenix 7 I Love the 90s Celebrity Theatre - Phoenix

PHONE 800-745-3000 800-745-3000 480-478-6000 480-839-0707 800-745-3000 480-965-3434 800-745-3000 29-3/1 InningsFestival.com M3FFest.com 602-267-1600

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“What I See”

David Hernandez and Effie Passero form a dynamic power duo.


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avid Hernandez, a Phoenix native, and Effie Passero are no strangers to the spotlight. Both competed as finalists on American Idol (David in 2008 & Effie in 2018) and went on to make music and tour the world. David has performed at President Obama’s inauguration, USO tours, and recently completed his third studio album “Kingdom: The Mixtape.” Effie recently sang on Barbra Streisand’s album, as well as the theme “Together We Will Rise” for Suze Orman’s “Women and Money” podcast, plus a song placement with Starbucks. Both singers recently returned from a residency in Puerto Vallarta where they performed ten sold out shows with their band, 2nd Hour.  The idea for a duet came about when Effie sent David a song she had written about her friends who were going through a divorce. David listened and immediately called asking if he could put his spin on it by rewriting the second verse. “I just started crying when I heard it,” David explains, “We’ve all been in toxic relationships, so I could relate.” What came next was nothing shy of pure magic. The collaborative effort shared by David and Effie yielded their heartfelt power ballad “What I See” using only piano, vocals, and violin. 

The music video shoot came shortly after the recording, and—like the song— is raw, simplistic, and powerful. What you might not know is that David codirected the music video together with his boyfriend, Derek Caldera. “We both have an eye for what we wanted with the production. Originally, this music video was going to be in black in white, but color gave it so much more texture. It was hard work, but it was worth it to get what we get exactly what we wanted.” Marrying the song together with the video was an organically engineered piece of heaven. “I’d heard the song about a million times, and I was so tired of it, but seeing it come together visually made me fall in love with the song all over again. When you put a visual to something you’ve written or co-written, it adds a whole new, and totally different dimension to it,” David said. The response for David and Effie’s collaboration are overwhelming. “We’re planning on working on an EP. We’ve been sitting on this project for a year. We blend so well together, and I actually like Effie as a human being, which makes a huge difference,” David laughs. “I’d love to have something ready mid-year, even if it’s only three out of five songs. I really want to create a music video for each song we release,” he added.

“The song is about human connectivity and expressing the drift in the relationship that people don’t know “What I See” how to articulate. It was surreal to see is available something that we created together be on all digital brought to life visually,” said Effie. The platforms. The recently released song and music music video is video have been met with a positive available responses, garnering thousands of views on YouTube.  on YouTube. The duo hope that people can relate to the song and don’t feel so Instagram: alone knowing that others have— @2ndHourDuo, or are currently—going through @DHernandezMusic, @EffiePassero something similar. 

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stage Tempest DuJour: God Dress America

A night of drag plus a lesson on bizarre, historical fashion trends written and performed by Arizona’s sartorial treasure of haute couture, Tempest DuJour. So bust out your farthingales and your best codpieces on February 6 & 7 and we’ll see you at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. in Tucson. Tix available at ArizonaTheatre.org or call 520-622-2823

The Wolves

Six Saturday mornings in the lives of an all-girl soccer team discussing everything from genocide to menstrual cycles to drugs to boys to literature as they deal with love, loss, and identity in ways that real teenagers do. Stray Cat Theatre, February 7-22 at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Pkwy in Tempe. Get your tix at StrayCatTheatre.org or call 480-350-2822

Jeff Lewis

The duck-lipped, OCD real estate queenpin from Bravo’s “Flipping Out” for 11 seasons, star of “Interior Therapy” and co-host of “Property Envy” brings the craziness and unfiltered banter from his popular SIRIUS radio show to the Phoenix on Thursday, February 20 when takes the stage at StandUp Live at CitiScape, 1 E. Washington St. in Phoenix. For tix go to StandUpLive.com or call 480-719-6100

FEBUARY 2020 ION THEATER +STANDUP DATE 6-7 7-8 7-22 7-23 7-23 13-3/1 14-16 20 21-23 22 thru 23 26-4/5 28-3/15 thru 3/22

EVENT COMPANY Tempest DuJour: God Dress America AZ Theatre Co. - Tucson Animal Scorpius Dance Theatre - Phx The Wolves Stray Cat Theatre - Tempe Princess & the Pea Valley Youth Theatre - Phx Trouble in Mind Black Theatre Troupe - Phx Master Harold & the Boys AZ Theatre Co. - Phx Andrew Dice Clay CB Live - Phoenix Jeff Lewis StandUp Live - Phoenix Beautiful: Carole King ASU Gammage - Tempe Bill Maher Arizona Federal Theatre - Phx ¡Americano! Phoenix Theatre Sondheim on Sondheim Phoenix Theatre Shrek: the musical Mesa Encore Theatre La Cage aux Folles AZ B’way Theatre - Peoria

PHONE 520-622-2823 602-254-2151 480-350-2TCA 602-253-8188 x 1 602-258-8129 602-256-6995 602-910-5161 602-719-6100 480-965-3434 800-745-3000 602-254-2151 602-254-2151 480-664-6500 621-776-8400

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Ewan McGregor

Birds of Prey

Fantasy Island

(and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Starring: Michael Peña, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell

Starring: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez,

Gird your loins! It’s the eight superhero picture as part of the DC Extended Universe and a follow-up spinoff to the 2016 movie Suicide Squad and produced by star Margot Robbie (I, Tonya). The trailers are confusing but sure look exciting. Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn (Robbie) left her boyfriend, the Joker. A former psychiatrist who became a vigilante, she’s since become a punk rock-style vigilante. But maybe you knew that. Enter Roman Sionis, a crime lord known as Black Mask (McGregor, Moulin Rouge), who places a hit on a young girl. Harley joins forces with Dinah Lance/Black Canary, Helena Bertinelli/ Huntress, and Renee Montoya to protect the kid and take Sionis down. A bit apocalyptic with glimmers of A Clockwork Orange, this R-rated Girl Gang film features lots of things blowing up sky high accompanied by deafening noises. Opens February 7

Freaks & Fantasies

The 1970’s brought us a lot of TV shows—many produced by Aaron Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210, Dynasty, Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat and more.) Fantasy Island featured the dashing Mr. Roarke played by the dashing Ricardo Montalban who granted the misguided wishes of his island resort’s guests often played by aging Hollywood stars. Valuable lessons were learned by all in these morality tales. Blumhouse, the producer of Get Out and Halloween, reinvents the “The Monkey’s Paw” type story of what happens when dreams come true for the big screen. In what looks like a combination of Love Island, Big Brother, Naked and Afraid and Real World with a little bit of soft core porn and Hostel-like horror thrown in, sexy guests like Melanie (Hale, Pretty Little Liars, Riverdale) and Randall (Stowell, Dolphin Tale franchise) find out their what happens when their dreams turn into nightmares as they struggle to get off the island. Opens February 14 February 2020 WWW.IONAZ.COM 55


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Aural Fixation

by Peter Lora PeterWasTheWolf@Gmail.com

Mura Masa

Halsey Manic

If an artist is lucky (and financially backed) they could invest in a Max Martin, SIA or Justin Tranter to pen the hits they’ll bank on from obscurity to Super Bowl stage. Halsey is not in the echelon or of the taste to work with any of those names, often looking left-field for opportunities to break out. Manic is a collection casting the widest and wildest net to date for the pop ingenue. Gen Z has dropped the idea of genre and that seems to be where the Manic-ness comes into play. “You Should Be Sad” sounds like a Gwen Stefani take on country, her twang is better on “Finally//Beautiful Stranger.” She succeeds with the “Strawberry Fields” sound of “Dominic’s Interlude” and “I HATE EVERYBODY.” Halsey resurrects the early aughts sound of Avril Lavigne on “3am.” It works somehow. When she evokes Alanis Morrisette on an interlude it quickly turns into a Neo-Lilith Fair/non-binary anthem. The message is appreciated; the song, forgettable. “Without Me” feels nondescript in our current pop landscape. The sophisticated direction of her BTS collaboration “SUGA’s Interlude” feels like the smartest choice. The album is reminiscent of P!nk’s perfectly executed rebrand after her debut, but unfortunately for Halsey, she might remain Missundazstood. Available Now

R.Y.C. Artist and producer Mura Masa made a name for himself with his self-titled 2017 release teaming him with indie pop’s elite Charli XCX and Christine & the Queens, among others. R.Y.C. (Raw Youth Collage) is a nostalgia obsessed love letter for a generation raised in the golden age of gaming, television and meme culture. “Teenage Headache Dreams,” “Deal Wiv It” are right on the edge of “What’s next?” or better yet, “What’s back in vogue?” He perfectly frames indie ‘It Girl’ Clairo with “I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again,” an electroclash banger that might be the best release of the year so far. Available Now Mitski

THE DL SONGS TO DOWNLOAD ARTIST - SONG Mitski – “Cop Car” Sam Sparro – “Eye 2 Eye” Empress Of – “Call Me” Moses Sumney – “Polly” Bullion – “Hula” Soko – “Being Sade is Not a Crime” Banoffee – “Count on You” Magdalena Bay – “How to Get Physical” 070 Shake – “Guilty Conscience” Sofia Kourtesis – “Sarita Colonia” February 2020 WWW.IONAZ.COM 59


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viewing You’re Gonna Hate This AJ & the Queen Starring: RuPaul, Izzy G, and a cast of thousands Intergenerational movies like Bad Bascomb (1946), Paper Moon (1973) Karate Kid (1984), St. Vincent (2014), Harold and Maude (1971) and just about every Shirley Temple movie ever made are nothing new. RuPaul Charles pushes his empire on and beyond in his never ending quest to take over the Ru-niverse with this wobbly series. What could’ve been a cute story with a wiggy twist told in 90 minutes takes 10 very long episodes here. Together with Michael Patrick King (writer, director, producer of Sex and the City), Mama Ru nicks bits from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar and Thelma and Louise for this serial about Robert Lincoln Lee (RuPaul), as drag queen “Ruby Red” whose humpy lover steals all her coin. Robert takes his show on

the road to recoup his losses with street urchin stowaway AJ (Izzy G) in tow. Predictably, the duo learns heartwarming lessons along the way. RuPaul’s mantra, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna learn to love anybody else?” plus the aphorism about chosen family vs. blood kin are incorporated— heavily, if you’ve ever seen the unscripted “reality” show RuPaul’s Drag Race. Gone are the Vaseline coated lenses of RPDR. Ru strikes a win against ageism with an unflinching camera showing the 59-year-old star’s creases and lines. The most shining moments come from the Super Model of the World’s jaw-dropping performances captured on film for the first time in years, proving the old gal still has what it takes. Hands down. The best. Ever. Expect some cringworthy writing (“This is my life. You can’t just put cat ears on it and make everything better.”) but occasional zingers come through (“Cher is not White. Cher is everything!”). Bratty AJ fails to win points as precocious because she’s so obnoxious. Looking beyond the feathers and sequins, and this show is basically queer Hallmark Channel-style fodder. Available now on Netflix February 2020 WWW.IONAZ.COM 63


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FEB 13-16






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“Cares of the past are behind Nowhere to go, but I’ll find Just where the trail will wind Drifting along with the tumblin’ tumbleweeds” Saddle up! You’ll find the finest cowboys and cowgirls from all over the country here in Phoenix celebrating 35 years of the Arizona Gay Rodeo. You won’t want to miss the pole bending, bronco busting, steer roping, bull riding and more. Plus, there’s entertainment, dancing, vendors, a fine selection of vittles at the chuckwagon and more. The AGRA is non-profit organization who donated over $32,000 to local LGBT charities last year. Remember, Charlie’s is your homestead. They’ll have party buses to shuttle you to the rodeo and back. You won’t want to miss their Mini-Rodeo on February 13 or the Royalty Competition on February 8. See their ad on p. 11. It all happens February 14-16 at the Corona Ranch, 7611 S. 29th Ave. at Baseline Rd. in Laveen, Arizona

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Charlie’s Undie Monday (W)

Karamba Carnaval Latino

Stacy’s @ Melrose Karaoke (W)

Bar 1 Karaoke (W)

Bar 1 Karaoke (W)

BS West Industry Night (W)

Cruisin’ 7th Sunday Extravaganza (W)

Karamba Back to the 90’s Night

Cruisin 7th Cruisin Play Mates (W)


Corona Ranch AGRA

Karamba Red Party

The Rock Sherry Vine BS West The Big Leap

The Rock Rock Bottom

29 Plazma Freaky Friday (W)

Aunt Ritas AIDS Walk Phx

The Rock Barbra Seville Show (W)



The Anvil AML Club Night

Charlie’s AGRA Royalty Competition



febuary 2020

BS West Formal Male Review (W)

OZ Drag Bingo Night (W)


Charlie’s Pipin’ Hot Thursdays (W)

Charlie’s Loteria Night (W)


Dick’s Cabaret Customer Appreciation

House of Comedy Zainab Johnson

Corona Ranch AGRA

Cruisin 7th TGIF (W)

OZ Drag Bingo Night (W)



The Anvil APAH Pup Night


Bar 1 Two for One (W)

Dick’s Cabaret WTF Wednesday (W)


Charlie’s Mini Rodeo


Cruisin 7th Cruisin Play Mates (W)



Bliss/ Rebar Taco Tuesday Trivia (W)

Charlie’s Undie Monday (W)


OZ Bar Pocker (W)

Bar 1 Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras


Bar 1 Karaoke (W)

Bliss/ Rebar Taco Tuesday Trivia (W)


OZ Bar Pocker (W)

Charlie’s Karaoke (W)

Charlie’s Sunday Funday (W)


Stacy’s @ Melrose Karaoke (W)

Charlie’s Sunday Funday (W)


Stacy’s @ Melrose Karaoke (W)

Corona Ranch AGRA

BS West Industry Night (W)

The Rock Late Nite Snax


Cruisin’ 7th Tia’s Teasers (W)

One.n.Ten Fresh Brunch


The Rock Bearracuda

Bar 1 Two for One (W)

Dick’s Cabaret WTF Wednesday (W)

Bar 1 Karaoke (W)

Cruisin’ 7th Tia’s Teasers (W)

OZ Bar Bingo (W)


Roosevelt Row First Fridays (M)



BS West Formal Male Review (W)



Charlie’s Loteria Night (W)



Bliss/ Rebar Taco Tuesday Trivia (W)



Stacy’s @ Melrose Karaoke (W)



The Rock The Beatdown












DIRTY DADDY DANCERS 10pm HH $3 well/dom $2.50 pint 1-8pm

WILD MEN of the WEST 7:30pm HH $3 well/dom $2.50 pint 1-8pm

BEER BUST $3 Pitchers All Day HH $3 well/dom $2.50 pint 1-8pm

Bar 1

HH 10am-7pm

$2.75 Domestic Bottles 7pm-9pm

$1.50 Bud Light Drafts $2.75 Canned Beers ALL DAY

HH $2 OFF Well/Beer/ Select Apps/Wine/Prem.Spirits

Brunch Specials 10a-3p $12 Bubbly $6 Bloodys/Sangria

$12 Bubbly, $6 Bloodys 10a-3p 1/2 OFF Cock. 2-7pm KARAOKE 9p

Elements Show 10:30pm $5 Tito’s Handmade Vodka All Night

2-4-1 Go-Go Dancers, øExtended Patios VIP

Sunday Funday KARAOKE 10p $2 doms - $3 Marys & Mimosas

2-4-1 8am-2pm HH 2pm-8pm $2.50 Miller Products 8pm-cl

2-4-1 8am-2pm HH 2pm-8pm $2.50 Bud Products 8pm-cl

FryBread w/ Joe Jackson 12p-9p JAZZ w/ Kenny Thames 7:30pm

$3 Pitch/2-4-1 Well-Dom 2-7pm $1 Draft 7pm-9pm $5 Crown 9-12a

$3 Pitch/2-4-1 Well/Dom 2-7pm $1 Well 7-9pm $3 D. Eddy 10-12a

Super Happy Hour 4-7pm $3.50 Pitch, Lg Isld, AMF’s Open-Cl

HH $2.75 Well/Dom 6am-8pm Espressa Grande 10:30pm

Dirty Daddy Dancers 4:30pm Lady Christian 10:30pm

HH $2.75 Well/Dom 6am-4pm TS Dancers 10:30pm

2-4-1 VIP & 50% off Cover 7-10pm

Off the Hook Tons of Prizes & Giveaways

2-4-1 Cover, Wristbands & VIP Dances

HH 3:30-6:30pm & 11pm-Close $2 OFF Apps / Well / Wine / Beer

$5 & $6 Big Brunch Drinks 10a-3p HH 3:30-6:30p & 11p-close

$5 & $6 Big Brunch Drinks 10a-3p HH 3:30-6:30p & 11p-close

Happy Hour Drink Specials 10:30am -6pm

Happy Hour Drink Specials 10am-6pm

Vaquero Fridays 9-11pm Reverse Happy Hour $3 Drinks

Top 40 Saturdays 9-11pm Reverse Happy Hour $3 Drinks

Top 40 Sundays Ruby Show $3 Pitchers Beer Bust

Oz Bar

$3 Well/Dom 6a-7p $6 Call ALL DAY KARAOKE 9pm POKER 7pm

$3 Well/Dom 6a-7p $6 Call ALL DAY KARAOKE 9pm-Cl

$3 Well/Dom 6a-7p $6 Call ALL DAY Bingo 1p


$3 Well & Dom Until 8pm $4 3 Olives & $3 Fireball Shots

HH $3 Well/Dom Btl/Drft 12/8pm All Male Revue 10pm

Football Sunday 7p $3.50 Dom Pitch, Mimosas & Bloody Marys

HH 2-4-1 Well & Dom 2-8pm KARAOKE 9pm Drag Show 10p

2-4-1 11a-7p KARAOKE 9p Barbra Seville Show10p

HH 2-4-1 Well & Dom. 11am-cl Drag Show 10p

HH 4-8pm $2.50 Rolling Rock $4.50 Pinnacle Flavors 8pm-Cl

HH 4-8pm $2.50 Rolling Rock $4.50 Firball 8pm-Cl

$2 Rolling Rock & Well open -7pm 7-10pm $2.50 Wells & Rolling Rock

$4 Absolute Vodka/ shots ReverseHH 9pm - Midnight

$7 Sake Bombers ReverseHH 9pm - Midnight

$3 Mimosas $4 Bloody Marys $7 Sake Bombers 11am - 5pm


BS West Bunkhouse Charlie’s Cruisin’ 7th

Dick’s Cabaret FEZ Hula’s


The Rock Stacy’s Wok’N’Roll




Live Music on the Patio Tom Walbank 7p DJ Dirtyverbs 10p

Free Dance Party 10pm DJs Sid the Kid, BOBFelix & More!

Flawless Fridays with China Collins

Saturday Night Starrletts with Janee Starr




Hot Club of Tucson 10:30pm Club KARAOKE 10pm 2-4-1 9p-Close KARAOKE



Beards, boxers & Briefs $1 OFF HH $3 well/dom $2.50 pint 1-8pm

$2 Miller High Life & well vodka cocktails 8pm-close

2-4-1 WELL 8pm-close HH $3 well/dom $2.50 pint 1-8pm

KARAOKE 9pm HH $3 well/dom $2.50 pint 1-8pm

$1.50 Bud Light Drafts, $5.25 Martinis 7pm- Close

KARAOKE 9pm $3 well, dom bottle & drft

$6 Huge Long Islands

2-4-1 U-Call-It 10am-2am (except shots & pitchers) $4 Bellinis

HH ALL DAY $2 OFF Well/Beer/ Select Apps/Wine/Prem.Spirits

$3 OFF Taco Platters $6 Big Margaritas

20% OFF ENTIRE BILL (excludes discounted items)

$20 Any wine bottle $15 Any wine bottle w/ food purchase

HH Drink Specials

College Night 2 for 1 Go-Go Dancers - VIP

Thirst Trap w/ Men of BS $4 Heineken / $6 Absolut & Jager

2-4-1 8am-2pm HH 2pm-8pm Pool Tournament 9pm

2-4-1 8am-2pm HH 2pm-8pm Dart League 7:30pm

2-4-1 8am-2pm HH 2pm-8pm KARAOKE 9pm $3.75 L.I.

2-4-1 8am-2pm HH 2pm-8pm Undies/Leather night $1 Off

Underwear Party 8pm-Cl 50% off w/ your Pants Off $3 Jack

2-4-1 Open to Close KARAOKE 8:00pm

$5 Ketel One/Malibu $3.50 Dom Pitch $3 1800 Tequila 8pm-Close

2-4-1 All Cocktails & Beer Open-Close

HH $2.75 Well/Dom 6am-8pm TS Dancers 10:30pm

HH $2.75 Well/Dom 6am-8pm

Wasted Wednedays HH $2.75 Well/Dom ALL DAY

HH $2.75 Well/Dom 6am-8pm Wild Men of the West 10:30pm

Amateur Night Starts at 10pm

WTF Wednedays $5 Cover and almost everything else!

Thirsty Thursday $5 off Cover w/ ION AZ Ad

$5.55 BIG Margaritas ALL DAY HH 3:30-6:30p & 11p-close

$5.55 Classic Martinis ALL DAY HH 3:30-6:30p & 11p-close

$2 OFF Glasses of wine 50% OFF Bottles of wine

$5.55 BIG Signature Cocktails G Spot / O Spot / B Spot/ A Spot

Mysterdy Mondays $5 Mystery Cocktail/Shot

2 N’ 2 2 apps & 2 cocktails $25

All Night Happy Hour Regular Happy Hour all Night

Facebook/Twitter Special Text “Hulas” to 90210 after 6pm

Cumbia Night $3 Pitchers Karamba Girls Show

Urban Thursdays - Gigi DeMilo Show $3 Pitcher $3 Drinks

1/2 Priced Well and Beer

KARAOKE 9pm $3 Drinks / $3 Pitchers



$3 Well/Dom 6a-7p $6 Call ALL DAY Trivia Night 8pm

$3 Well/Dom 6a-7p $6 Call ALL DAY Poker 7pm

$3 Well/Dom 6a-7p $6 Call ALL DAY DRAG BINGO 8pm Poker 7pm

$3 Well/Dom 6a-7p $6 Call ALL DAY KARAOKE 7pm POKER 7pm

HH 2-4-1 4-8pm $2 Well & $3 Domestic

HH 2-4-1 4-8pm $2 Well & $3 Domestic 9pm-Close

2-4-1 4-8pm Sinful Studs 9pm-Mid

HH 2-4-1 ALL DAY Beautiful Losers Comedy SHow

HH 2-4-1 Well & Dom 2-8pm KARAOKE 9pm

HH 2-4-1 Well & Dom 2-8pm

HH 2-4-1 Well & Dom 2-8pm Underwear Night

HH 2-4-1 Well & Dom 2-8pm Drag Show 10p

KARAOKE 9pm-Close HH All Day & $2.50 Rolling Rock

HH All Day $5 Martinis All Day & $3 Rolling Rock

2-4-1 4pm-Midnight Happy Hours Midnight- Close

HH ALL DAY Thursdays Only 2-4-1 from All Other Bars

$3 Bud Light/ Kilt Lifter/ Fries $5 Half dozen wings

2 Spring Rolls for $1

$4 Well Drinks Till 9pm

$4 U Call It Shots till 9pm $4 Green Tea Shots



90s House Party 10pm w/ DJ Sid the Kid 90¢ PBR Br

3-4-1 Well Drinks 8p-Close KARAOKE

Geeks Who Drink Trivia Night 8pm


Tequila & Mexican Beer ALL DAY



Live Music

Salvador Duran 7pm OPTI CLUB Dance Party 10pm

Viva La Diva Show with Diva

2-4-1 All Day Go Go Boys 11pm





WWW.IONAZ.COM February 2020



1. Anvil

2424 E. Thomas Rd.

(602) 334-1462

2. Bar 1

3702 N. 16th St.

(602) 266-9001

3. Bliss/ReBar

901 N. 4th St.

(602) 795-1792

4. Boycott Bar

4301 N 7th Ave.

(602) 515-3667

5. BS West

7125 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale

(480) 945-9028

6. Bunkhouse

4428 N 7th Ave.

(602) 200-9154

7. Caravan Taphouse

4835 N 15th Ave

(602) 274-7756

8. The Cash

1730 E McDowell Rd.

9. Charlie’s

727 W. Camelback Rd.

(602) 265-0224

10. Cruisn’ 7th

3702 N. 7th St.

(602) 212-9888

11. Dick’s Cabaret

3432 E. Illini Rd.

(602) 274-DICK

12. FEZ

105 W. Portland St

(602) 287-8700

13. Flex Spas Phoenix

1517 S. Black Canyon Hwy.

(602) 271-9011

14. Hula’s Modern Tiki

5114 N 7th St.

(602) 265-8454

15. Karamba

1724 E. McDowell Rd.

(602) 254-0231

16. Kobalt

3110 N Central Ave. Park Central (602) 264-5307

17. Los Diablos

1028 E Indian School Rd.

18. NuTowne Saloon

5002 E Van Buren St.

(602) 253-0689


(602) 795-7881 (602) 267-9959

19. OZ Bar

1804 W. Bethany Home Rd.

20. Plazma

1560 E Osborn Rd.


21. The Rock

4129 N. 7th Ave.

22. Stacy’s @ Melrose

4343 N 7th Ave.

24. IBTs

(602) 266-0477


(602) 248-8559

TUCSON Address 23. Hotel Congress

(602) 242-5114

(602) 264-1700 Phone


311 E Congress St., Tucson

(520) 622-8848


616 N 4th Ave, Tucson

(520) 882-3053 February 2020 WWW.IONAZ.COM 79


WWW.IONAZ.COM February 2020

your favorite bitch Dear Favorite Bitch,



Babies, it’s that time of year again. For some, it’s a night of passion. For others, it’s a morning-after-sale on markdown candy. And for these folks … it’s a bit of both! Break out the conversation hearts and take a moment to savor the latest installment of Favorite Bitch®!        Dear Miss Tiger, Please don’t laugh, but I have to admit something. Miss Tiger, I’m in love with my eleven inch dildo. No man ever has and no man will ever satisfy me the way that my toy does. Should I change my way of thinking? — Marcos Dear If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It … But Can The Same Thing Be Said About Your High Mileage Bussie??? NEXT!    Hi Tiger, My husband promised to take me to a beautiful dinner for Valentine’s Day this year. That same night we were making love and he called me “Robbie” — that’s his ex’s name! Should I get a divorce?   — Patrick Dear I Think You Should Get On Prep And Get A Good Attorney ‘Cuz You Ain’t The Only One Gettin’ Shot By That Cupid’s Arrow, NEXT!  

Need your advice. I’ve always had this fantasy of a man putting chocolate covered cherries in my bum and eating them out. Thoughts?   — Gabriel      Dear Hopefully That’s The Only Brown Stuff He Encounters While Bobbin’ for Some Damn Cella’s, NEXT! Dear Miss Tiger, My FWB pissed me off. I was alone and needed the D. I text him and asked if he could bring it. He said no. Should I give him the boot? — Jamal Dear Looks Like YOU Got The Boot … Thinkin’ You Could Order His Eggplant Like Uber Eats And Get Away With It, NEXT! Hey there Tiger, Is it petty that my feelings got hurt because my boyfriend only spent 99 cents on my Valentine’s Day card? Dear Looks Like The Price Of That Card Has More Value Than What You Place On Your Relationship, And on that note … HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY Y’ALL ! 

The Miss Tiger Show Every Tuesday at 6 p.m. MST Live on MissTiger.com Advice Columnist • Radio Personality ... and everyone’s #FAVORITEBITCH Website: MissTiger.com   Instagram/Twitter:  @MissTiger   Advice: Tiger@MissTiger.com  February 2020 WWW.IONAZ.COM 81


WWW.IONAZ.COM February 2020

slings & arrows by Addison DeWitt

de comidas calidad at The Rock on Saturday nights. How I’d love to stuff those hottie hermosos in one of their empanadillas and gobble them up hasta pronto! (E)


“ lamour gal Mia Inez Adams (whom I not so secretly suspect doesn’t like me just because I made a snarky remark about Oprah Winfrey at the former Prince Harry’s Royal Wedding ... I mean, I wasn’t at the wedding—Oprah was—I watched it on the color TV, though, but I love her anyway. Mia, that is. Oprah, not quite as much.) Anyway, Mia celebrated her birthday by performing with Barbra Seville and others at The Rock (C). Mia squeezed the newly suave, svelte ‘n’ super soigné superfan Angel Jimenez who drove all the way from Chandler just to see her. (D) Now that’s dedication! Now, would Oprah drive that far? Would she? It’s a fair question.




Watching drag sure works up an appetite! Got the late night munchies? Those gorgeous guapos de gourmet Juan Alberto Ayala and Alexis Carbajal of Phoenix Coquí are always cookin’ up mighty fine vittles from Puerto Rico in their camíon 84

WWW.IONAZ.COM February 2020

The Imperial Margarine Court of the Sovereign Empire of Arizona (say, do the folks in Washington DC know about this rogue kingdom?) celebrated royal subjects past and present who make a difference at the Legends Honors event staged by the Most Honorable Marquis & Marquessa (it should be “Marquise,” incidentally) Edward Castro and Barbra Seville. (F) By the way, are all you folks listed in Debrett’s Peerage, the official handbook listing and ranking of noble nabobs? Do you have any land entitlements? Seriously, I applaud those recognized and the


him! We caught up with him and found this notso-desperate housewife pulling weeds—all by himself—turning a time killer into a time thriller! (I) How does he turn something dreary into something cheery? “Beyoncé in the ear, and a plug in the rear,” is his advice. (You could always just hire a gardener, too. That’s my advice.)

court for all they do. (G) The marvelous pin-curled vixen and veteran of the Phoenix stage, Miss Devina Ross kibbutzed with Arizona’s Empress I, the legendary Julie Craig, (H) who was not at ex-Prince Harry’s Royal Wedding, either, like Oprah was, I hasten to point out.



Eddie “Navi Ho” George, Abbess and President of the Grand Canyon Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (My! These organizations have such long names!), chatted with Té Titla, Miss Apache Diva & Supreme Pride, along with Ian Austin, Mr. Southwest Two Spirit. Now that’s what I call a “pow-wow WOW!” (I)


Fabulosities Quinton Jenkins cozied up with Regina Wells (J) to talk about the crowns, coronets, tiaras, diadems and other jewels of the royal rapscallions of the Court. By the way, or those sparkly trinkets you all wear insured?

Finally, Valentine’s Day is here! Send all your Valentine’s, nudies and dick pix to me in care of ION Arizona magazine and you will get a big surprise!



Letters, letters! I get letters! Readers keep asking me, “What’s Geno Oberlander-Johnson up to?” You just can’t get enough of February 2020 WWW.IONAZ.COM 85



alentine’s Day spurs things around you all month long. Mars stimulates everyone— even stubborn Capricorns. Act upon your feelings. All of ‘em. Mercury retrograde starts Feb. 17, but don’t freak out: it brings added inspiration and creativity, so put all of that to work for you. ¶ It’s not a popularity contest out there—well, that’s not true. It kind of is. Still, you’ll notice that you’re in demand with a wide variety of people in many different circles. ¶ When the Sun conjuncts Neptune on Feb. 11 expect some freaky magic to happen, so open your eyes and your senses. ¶ Feb. 27: Mercury conjuncts Venus and you’ll declare your love. Get frisky! Do something frivolous. ARIES Mar. 21 - Apr. 20 Plan on doing some spelunking into your vast caverns of emotions. Shine a light on all your “feelings,” some you’d forgotten about. Look around and get romantic, even if it’s with yourself. (But it won’t be. Trust.) TAURUS April. 21 - May 20 You’re more determined and motivated than ever! Pay no never mind to critical people. Your emotions change frequently, but do you care? Hell, no! Gosh, you’re sexy! GEMINI May 21 - June 21 It’s a turbulent time. Avoid conflict. Stay calm. Buy something luxurious for yourself at the end of the month. You might be gettin’ yo’ freak’ on soon and bring sexy back! CANCER June 22 - July 22 Good fortune comes your way, but is it something you really want? Someone asks you to showcase your talents. And, henny, you got plenty of talent to showcase. LEO July 23 - Aug. 22 Circumstances test your patience, because, well, some of your friends are idiots. Others will eventually see things your way because you really are right. Is love in the air? Or maybe lust? Maybe a little bit of both? 86

WWW.IONAZ.COM February 2020

VIRGO Aug. 23 - Sep. 22 Money. Travel. A promotion. A new car (maybe). Your new ideas lead to a big accomplishment you’ve been striving for. Everyone wants to be you—and you’re not even Miranda Priestly. Close, but not quite. LIBRA Sep. 23 - Oct. 22 Relax. Work will always be there waiting for you. Indulge in a few more pleasures than usual, but don’t get crazy. Don’t let your emotions (or your libido or booze) cloud your judgment or go overboard. SCORPIO Oct. 23 - Nov.23 Take time to catch your breath. Your charm and savoir-faire attracts others to you. If you’re single you can expect a steamy romance. Don’t let it get in the way of a project that needs attention. SAGITTARIUS Nov. 23 - Dec. 23 A lust for adventure and knowledge fuels your schedule more than usual. Your experiences increase. What kind of “experiences”? Honesty is the name of the game; it stings, but gets you laid. CAPRICORN Dec. 23 - Jan. 20 Push negativity away. You are bendy and adaptable. Your body language says everything—you can’t hide it. Your sensitivity makes you look vulnerable and sexy. AQUARIUS Jan. 21 - Feb. 19 It’s all about the experience, baby. Everything comes together: work, love, art, love, intellect, and love. Or maybe just mind-blowing sex. Your birthday brings an astonishing idea to fruition. You’ll know it when it comes to you. Hint: it involves nudity. And maybe some chocolate. PISCES Feb. 20 - Mar. 20 Strike a balance between professional and emotional issues. Encourage others to help you get what you want. Force them, if necessary. With a whip. Your birthday will be full of sizzle if you don’t repress your emotions. Probably because of that whip.

Profile for ION Arizona

ION Arizona #224  

The February Issue of ION Arizona Magazine Featuring The Arizona Gay Rodeo Association, David Hernandez And Effie Passero's New Single "What...

ION Arizona #224  

The February Issue of ION Arizona Magazine Featuring The Arizona Gay Rodeo Association, David Hernandez And Effie Passero's New Single "What...