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Publisher's Note MICHAEL A. MONKS

I spent the July 4 holiday in one of my favorite places – northern Michigan , and for the first time managed to make it to Traverse City to take in their gay bar , SideTraxx . I drove into the city from Petoskey alone , and really just wanted to see what this place was like – a standalone gay bar , the only one for hundreds of miles . In my many years of vacationing Up North , I hadn ' t ever visited . That changed on Friday night as I walked in and found exactly what I had hoped – the sameness that I like about gay bars and clubs : mostly men of varying ages , familiar music , joyous attitude , and total freedom on the dance floor . I never tire of watching gay men dance . And I mean really dance . In a world gone mad , we still have dancing . SideTraxx could maybe use an upgrade to its interior , or maybe not . I still liked it , honestly . It was old - fashioned and people were still having a good time . By midnight it was packed and the black and white checkered dance floor was full , and thankfully there were even people my age still rocking it out . I sat alone for most of the night , watching and throwing back a couple of soft cocktails ( I had to drive back to Petoskey ) and amid the joy I was able to tap into the gratitude I felt for being a gay man . This year , The Fourth of July was just a month removed from the massacre at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando , and we all know what we felt and still feel about that . A numbness and a familiarity with the victims that rattles our core because we know it could have been any of us , at any of our clubs . I joined so many of you at Below Zero in downtown Cincinnati as we showed our support for our fallen brothers and sisters in Orlando , and I cried with you in a way that I am not sure I ever had before . But resilience and strength are traits that I so admire in gay people .

And still, we dance. SideTraxx opened its doors and we all funneled through it that Friday night and we danced and we drank and we laughed and we talked and we watched. We carried on. There is a new fear among many of my gay friends now that the United States has elected Donald Trump its President. I can’t help but to be a sunny, optimistic guy – it’s in my nature, and sometimes feels like a curse. But I understand the fear and my optimism is cautious. I do know this, however: the strength and resilience of gay people will carry us forward. Goodness knows we have been battle-tested and are battle-ready at a moment’s notice. We’ve always had to be. Perhaps the saddest part for those of us who supported Hillary Clinton, is that in a lot of ways, we were more comfortable than ever. At least, that’s how I felt, and I’m not immune to being naïve. However, whatever threats may lie ahead of us, we know what we are capable of standing up against and fighting for. And when the dust settles, as we know it always will, we will come out stronger on the other side. And whether it be in the streets of Cincinnati or on a small dance floor in northern Michigan...still we dance!

STAFF AwesomeCmag AwesomeCityMag AwesomeCityMag 1 AWESOME CITY


Dec 2016 holiday cooking

with will 18

pride comes to chillicothe 13

triple threat young, gay, and black in cincinnati


kevin feldman an accidental entrepreneur



I was a sophomore at Kent State University in 1968 . My generation believed that if only we gave peace a chance , the world would be a better place . We rebelled in our youthful counterculture with music , dress , and politics . It was our parents , the Greatest Generation , who had happily settled into suburbia , complete with cookie cutter homes and high speed concrete highways . They were a bore and we were the ones living in the Age of Aquarius . We knew better . At that time we thought that technology , instant communication , satellites , space travel and nuclear energy would deliver us to a life of ease without consequence . Cancer would be conquered , lifespans would increase , and a better life and world were at hand . In 1968 , we saw the height and depths of our humanity . From the tragic deaths of Robert Kennedy and Dr . Martin Luther King Jr . to the stellar photos of NASA ’ s lunar flyby . . . all while our young men were drafted to fight in the tragic Vietnam War . That year brought us the Chicago Democratic Convention Riots , an extension of the Vietnam War protests . Throughout it all , we still had hope . I ’ ve grown old now . It is the latter part of 2016 and it seems that technology didn ’ t solve our problems . We are more connected than ever , yet more isolated and lonely . The great promises of cheap and free energy vanished after the events that occurred at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl . Our health has declined with adult morbid obesity and rates of staggering childhood obesity with its traveling companion of diabetes . HIV is not cured but controlled . Our political system seems to have produced flawed candidates with an ever increasing polarized electorate . It gets better .


The new sad normal seems to be shootings at a gay bar, deaths of black men at the hands of police, deaths of police and endless memorials and vigils with sad goodbyes. High powered assault rifles in the hands of youth used to kill untold numbers in schools and movie houses across this nation. Our answer to this... LOVE WINS! These intervening years have shown me that it is easier to change the world through technology than with the human desire to destroy ourselves and the beauty of this world. Communication tools have, by and large, only allowed us to shout louder and longer at others who don’t share our views and those who we have never met. Love is love. The problems are the same and the challenges seem even greater. The world seems more complex and spins ever faster. Because I move a bit slower now, I drift back to the iconic song recorded by the Youngbloods: " If you hear the song I sing You will understand , listen You hold the key to love and fear All in your trembling hand Just one key unlocks them both It ' s there at your command Come on , people now Smile on your brother Everybody get together Try to love one another right now . ”


NOVEMBER 25 Sequel to Chronicles of a Boy Misunderstood

KEVIN FELDMAN AN ACCIDENTAL ENTREPRENEUR While planning my rendezvous with Kevin Feldman , I am hell - bent on getting him to meet me at one of the many new eateries in Northern Kentucky . Comeuppance , I think , for me only seeing him previously in Cincinnati establishments , including his own . I suggest we visit Cock & Bull , a bustling pub featuring English fare , 60 craft beers & frequent specials , and he quickly kills that idea . Frida , a whimsical setting with Frida Kahlo – inspired accents set for Mexican eats and mezcal cocktails ? Negative . We settle on one of Covington ' s newest eateries , Inspirado , an unfussy place to eat showcasing eclectic , area sourced New American cuisine and works by local artists . “ How have you been ? , ” I ask him after we meet and hug on Covington ' s Madison Avenue , hoping to get a dish of gossip before we head in to be seated . 5 AWESOME CITY

K. A. Simpson Bockfest, weekly Bengals celebrations and a wellpatronized drinking establishment... what’s next for Kevin Feldman? Well, it's complicated.

Life , ” he retorts simply . And with that , we head in . Some say Kevin Feldman is quite laid - back . Some would call Kevin gregarious and the life of the party . In a one - on - one setting , he ’ s simply Feldman , as his neighborhood bar patrons call him . We are seated next to the front window of Inspirado facing Madison Avenue , where three pair of couples sat together finishing their meal . “ Pinot Gris . ” I tell Chad , our waiter , when he asks for our desired drinks . “ An Old Fashioned , ” Kevin says . But in characteristic fashion , he changes his mind 30 seconds after the waiter disappears to the back . “ I really wanted a Sidecar . People have been mentioning Sidecars to me and I wanted to try it here . ” Looking around the small restaurant a few moments in vein , Kevin throws his hands up and says , “ Oh well . I ' ll get it for my next drink . ” Kevin is a serial entrepreneur and a homeowner in Covington , KY , where he shares a place with his dog , Skelton . But he didn ' t originally set out to be an entrepreneur . He told of how he became owner of the friendly neighborhood bar , Milton ' s , in Cincinnati ' s neighborhood of Mt . Auburn . “ I walked in one day , saw it was for sale and bought the place . ” . After a lengthy career in travel management for an agency based out of Philadelphia , Kevin was laid off during the dot com boom and like a Phoenix rising , Feldman thought that , with a foray into the bar business , his life may be resurrected . And in some way , it was . “


I was meeting someone there after an afternoon at Kings Island Amusement Park . ” Feldman said of the first time he walked into Milton ' s . “ A friend of mine suggested that we meet at this cute little bar in Mt . Auburn . ” And being gay wasn ' t a guarantee that Feldman wanted to own and operate a gay bar . “ I can ’ t exist only in the gay world . And I wanted my bar to be the same way . Back in the day , people would only make the circuit around town only in the gay world . I couldn ’ t do it . ” Feldman graduated from Newport Central Catholic High School , then called Newport Catholic High School in the early 80 ’ s . He went on to attend college in Northern Kentucky , Indiana and the United Kingdom and says that he did not come out of the closet until his 50th birthday just a few years ago . “ My family thought it would be a good idea to celebrate my 50 years of life with a birthday roast , ” he rolled his eyes , “ and my sister said to my sister - in - law . ‘ Honey , you may want to leave the kids at home . I don ’ t think that they should come to this one . ’ ” He jokes , of course . Feldman never really had a big coming out to his family . “ There was no big sparklers and no big hats or a parade , ” he remembers . “ Here you go gentleman , ” Chad comes back with our drinks . “ Can I start you guys off with an appetizer ? ” After taking a quick glance one more time over the menu , Feldman decided to tickle his taste buds with the cuban salad and I went with the beet salad . “ The hold in Newport when I was a teenager , ” Feldman went on to tell of his journey traversing the Cincinnati gay world of the 80 ’ s and the lack of gay establishments in Newport , “ was always the titty bars and the sleaze and the gambling and the 60 ’ s casino . All of the strip clubs and titty bars had just let go . When I was in high school they had just closed down Cinema X on Monmouth Street . ” “ Cinema X ? ” My eyes light up . “ Like a porn house ? ” “ Yeah , ” Feldman chuckles . “ It was a porn house . There were first run X - rated films and , oh my god , you should have seen the ads they ran in the newspaper . ” We noticed that the conservative looking couples were glancing over at our table . “ But fortunately , ” Feldman said , changing the subject quickly . “ I did not have that much trouble being a business owner because I was gay . It was more because I was a first time business owner and I was purchasing a business in OTR . " “

And Feldman seemed to have made the right choice in investing in OTR . Over - the Rhine , which was the center of the Cincinnati Riots of 2001 , has been transformed with new residents , a multitude of new eateries and drinkeries which have grabbed the area ’ s crime problem by the balls and allowed an influx of big spenders to come and frequent the area . And Kevin has been there , pushing for a the area ’ s progress , all along the way . “ No one has a bigger mouth than I do . ” he says . “ No one has been a bigger booster for progressive politicians , the streetcar , the right issues , It ' s like the Times Square of Cincinnati . The connections made . The people that feel comfortable and visit the bar are people that we want to do good in the neighborhood . Its organic , very grassroots . ” So what ' s in store for Feldman ? “ It ' s time to wind down . ” Feldman sighs . “ It ' s time to find a partner and it ' s time to live off some investments and find a warmer climate to live . ” “ What would you tell your 20 - year old self ? , ” I ask as Chad brings out our entrees . “ Screw religion . Don ' t worry about what anyone else thinks about you , drop a few pounds and live your F @ ! # & ing life ! ”

Dear Mother Goose , My girlfriend and I have been in a relationship for two weeks . I am about to begin my sophomore year at UC and this is my first gay relationship . How do I talk to my girlfriend about getting a sex toy ? Toy - Bound , 20 Mother Goose Says : Dear Toy , Relax . Mother Goose enjoys " toys " as do her " boys . " A new relationship , particularly a " first " relationship of any kind or description is both exciting and stressful . Deep breath - all good relationships are based on communication around personal and sexual needs . Now , you have a number of choices : buy a toy that you would like and introduce it in a positive way during sex play , or alternatively outside the bedroom in a private discussion . Talk about your sexual history . A word of advice , ( I know this first hand ) : clean toys are happy toys , and if you use " electronic " devices make sure they are cleaned and turned off afterwards . I ' d stress that using a toy makes your sexual experience more pleasurable , and ask what helps your partner reach that sweet moment ! All the best !


Dear Mother Goose , I am a male bartender and bisexual , and have been dating a guy for nearly four months now . For the past several weeks I ' ve been having very strong feelings for my fellow female bartender and this weekend we hooked up . She has feelings for me as well but we can ' t date because of workplace rules . Is it worth breaking up my relationship for a person I can ' t even be with ? Bartender In Love , 32 Mother Goose Says : Dear Bartender , I make the foolish assumption that your guy friend knows you are bi - sexual and that you occasionally hook up with women ? I ask that because if everyone is open to a friendship outside work , then I think maybe you are not violating any bar policy whatsoever . Ma Goose isn ' t so sure the issue here is the " bar policy " but about open communication with the male partner . I know there is an old expression , " don ' t mix your meat with your potatoes . " My hunch , at best , is the tavern is trying to avoid drama generated by " sexual harassment " or their patrons not getting the service they deserve . Besides , we all know , don ' t we , if someone is in a relationship - and the patrons know it - the tips decline , a negative for you and a negative for the bar . Net , keep the relationship of any nature out of the workplace and the rest is your business . Just be honest with your partners ! I hope that helps !

Dear Mother Goose , My boyfriend and I have been in a monogamous relationship together for 5 years . Recently , I created a profile on one of those hookup sites but have never hooked up . I have " partnered " and " just chatting " splattered all over my profile . Of course my boyfriend found out that I had a profile , and now he is threatening to break up with me because he thinks I am cheating on him . Is he right ? What should I do ? - Grindr ’ d 42 Mother Goose Says : Dear G . , There is an old saying : Where there is smoke , there is fire . Sure , there are plenty of profiles all over the G ' s ( Grindr , Growlr , etc . ) that say " coupled , partnered , friends only , here to check it out . " Of course , Mother Goose is on those sites and I have to admit , if everyone was as " coupled " as they claim - I would think that they wouldn ’ t need to be on those sites at all . Ma Goose feels that your lack of direct communication with your boyfriend is where you got stuck . Seems like you should get off the internet and get a dialogue going . Are you bored with the relationship ? Do you think you missed something these 5 years . If you care for this guy , then you need a heart to heart or a counselor . Trust . AWESOME CITY 8

Dear Mother Goose, I know I’m good looking… but when I see a woman that I am attracted to, I begin to get a little self conscience about my curves. And if she is nice to me and flirts I think she is doing it because she feels sorry for me because I am "big-boned." Do attractive women have insecurities like me? -Mirror Envy, 27 Mother Goose Says: Dear Mirror, You make me go to that place where my own issues of "lookism” comes boiling up. What is good looking? On one hand you say you are attractive then you say you are "big-boned" and have concerns about "curves." As a full-figured "Goose" I have those doubts as well. Actually, my hunch is that most of us have issues with our bodies in this day and age. Honestly, I don't think it is about attractiveness but rather about insecurities with your own skin. I know the pressure of "lookism" but when it gets in the way of having a good old fashioned flirt, its time to do some self inventory. I'd say other than counseling, I have discovered the YMCA. Oh, not because it has transformed me into a picture of my youth, but I'm reminded daily how lucky I am to not limp, be in a chair, etc. My hour a day there has changed my whole perspective on it. Good luck. *Mother Goose is not a licensed shrink, therapist, doctor and only offers her advice after some 50 years of dating experience.


In America , there are segments of our population that have been discriminated against just because of who we are . More specifically , because we are young , gay , and black . If you are a member of any one of these groups , you have a very unique story to tell . But how is it when you are a member of all three ? This past summer , social media once again usurped traditional media outlets and served as first notice to the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille , two black men fatally shot by police officers . It was on July 5 when the former of the two was shot several times at close range while held down on the ground by two white Baton Rouge Police Officers . The next day , the latter was fatally shot by a police officer in Falcon Heights , Minnesota . The posts on social media documented , in real time , how a chance encounter with a police officer could end a life . Would this have happened if the two men were white ? The question is an echo of the words of Minnesota Govenor Mark Dayton . He asked a very similar question at a news conference the day following Castille ’ s murder . Spurring from those events , what began as a peaceful protest in Dallas , ended with a lone sniper wounding seven innocent protesters and killing five police officers , who were only there to afford those protesters the freedom to speak their minds . To many , it ’ s still hard to imagine how these three occurrences of gun violence could happen in

K.A. Simpson

living young, gay & black

TRIPLE THREAT in cincinnati

a country that has come so far . head again to become a national issue with the 2014 Did we not learn our lesson killing of Michael Brown , an with Rodney King ? King was violently beaten by Los Angeles unarmed Black teenager , by a Police officers following a high - police officer in Ferguson , Missouri . speed car chase on March 3 , 1991 . Despite the incident being Cincinnati has its own tale to filmed , showing the brutal tell as well . beating , three of the four officers involved were acquitted Harken back to Cincinnati ’ s of all charges , serving as a very own civil unrest which catalyst for the 1992 Los snapped up the nation ’ s Angeles Riots , in which 55 attention in 2001 . This was the people were killed and over year when the 15th young black 2 , 000 were injured . man , since 1995 was gunned The recent shootings of black down by Cincinnati police officers . Quickly after the civil men at the hands of police unrest subsided , the Cincinnati officers seem to be a part of Police Department ( CPD ) , some gruesome loop of law prompted by a lawsuit by the enforcement gone amok . For ACLU , adopted a Collaborative the black community , even after the Rodney King incident , Agreement which spelled out the threat of police abuse has how the CPD should follow a simply become a part of life ; a community - focused approach towards policing ; dramatically life lesson reserved for Black changing past policies and how males only . Yet this grievous new recruits are trained . reality reared its venomous AWESOME CITY 10

Fast forward to 2015 where University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing fatally shot Sam DuBose , a black motorist during a July 19 , off - campus traffic stop because of a missing license tag . The officer claimed he was forced to fire his weapon after almost being run over by DuBose ’ s car but due to body camera video contradicting the officer ’ s report , Tensing was indicted on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges , which ended with a hung jury . And with this past summer ' s shootings , we find ourselves , once again , trying to understand how misconceptions and misunderstandings could lead to multiple deaths and a nation saddled with grief . The Washington Post ' s database that tracks the number of individuals killed by police officers , just in 2016 , shows that Philando Castile , the individual who was shot while reaching for his registration to carry a firearm as instructed by the arresting officer , at the time was one of at least 505 people who have been shot and killed by an on - duty police officer . Police officers are the backbone of our community and there is no doubt that those who serve in this role have an exceedingly difficult and highly honorable job . Their split - second decisions could dictate whether a woman isn ' t murdered , a child isn ' t abducted , an elderly resident ’ s property isn ' t vandalized , or a lone gunman isn ' t allowed to commits mass murder . We want police officers in our society and we want them to protect and serve . But because of the aforementioned and the fact that we grant these officers the right to ‘ Protect and Serve ’ , it ' s very rare for police officers to be held accountable in a court of law when they abuse our trust . According to the same Washington Post database , of the thousands of cases brought 11 AWESOME CITY

against police officers since 2005 , only 54 officers have been criminally charged . And every time a police officer shoots a person , especially a black male , we still face the possibility of falling into the same cycle we have seen over the last few months ; additional senseless killings , mass community outpouring of love , and a resurgence of community dialogue .

In early 2010 , Stop AIDS , a former Cincinnati non profit organization , hosted ‘ The Reggie Williams Exhibit ’ , a multimedia exhibit honoring the life and legacy of World AIDS activist , and Cincinnati native , Reggie Williams who was the co - founder and executive director of the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention . Williams passed away in 1999 from

“I t's not as easy for a Bl ack man to be gay than any other communi ty/cul ture.  Ci nci nnati  i s al ready pretty conservati ve,  so unfortunatel y, many of the Bl ack gay men stay cl oseted to protect themsel ves,  thei r j obs,  everythi ng that they have worked for whi l e i n that cl oset. ”    ­JP Carter­Nel son complications of AIDS, but

The sad truth is that , the Black community has long since pointed out the presence of police brutality and the fact that wide sweeping reform was needed . Another truth is that reform will not actually happen on a large scale until the ugliness of police brutality hits America in the heart . Right now , to most of America , police brutality is still seen as a “ Your Problem ” issue . We have to call it what it actually is … . an “ Our Problem ” issue . And we need to make sure that America realizes this before a white suburbanite is mistakenly killed … for that seems to be the only thing that will grab the nation ’ s attention and bring an end to police brutality . After the publishing of a 2012 Gallup study , where it was found that 4 . 6 percent of Black Americans identified as being gay , which is higher than the rates of whites ( 3 . 2 ) , Latinos ( 4 . 0 ) , and Asians ( 4 . 3 ) , it ' s apparent that an honest conversation among the Black community regarding sexual orientation is needed .

his memory lives on through his exhibit. As part of the event, a showing of Marlon Riggs' film, Tongues Untied was presented and discussed. In the film, Riggs depicts the black male image as varied, defying the static definition that had permeated American society. His examination of black manhood in America was one of the first examples of black male homosexuality in academia, setting a standard for its study. When it originally aired in 1985 Tongues Untied was controversial, and because it aired on PBS, it garnered additional criticism for how public and charitable funds were used in the broadcast. It wasn't just the depiction of black men loving one another that made this film controversial, but the fact that it had never been portrayed in such a candid and honest way. At the

When the film was released , the nation was just “ For me , " says Jonah , a young man I beginning to discus homosexuality candidly interviewed for this article , , " Being a young , amid the AIDS epidemic gripping the county . So gay , Black man in Cincinnati has been an when this film portrayed the hyper - masculine interesting journey to say the least . The Black male image through a gay - tinted lense , LGBT community has its standards the wholesome American psyche went into concerning what ' s acceptable for a gay anaphylactic shock ; the true Black gay male male . The Black community has its image being so far displaced from the gay standards concerning what ' s acceptable White culture which America still had yet to and expected of a Black man . But being understand . both , I ' ve often come to realize there are conflicting unwritten rules . Over time , I Not only did this documentary cause a fold in thought I had found a happy medium that the way that America viewed homosexuality , it keeps unsolicited opinions and hurtful also helped Black men , who identified as being criticism at bay while still being true gay , cope with their own societal displacement . enough to who I am so that I didn ' t feel Not being able to completely integrate into the like I was compromising my individuality . Black community due to their homosexuality Though still very discreet and sometimes and not being able to completely assimilate closeted , I found an appropriate balance into the gay society because of its White that I and most others around me seemed construct . to be comfortable with . " The fact that the Black male here in As Jonah explains , this dichotomy and the the United States has isolative nature of being gay AND Black been subjected to gives more evidence to the fact that the racism , classism , and Black gay male experience is one that is oppression only serves very unique . up evidence that the gay Black male is a new form of segregate . In 2008 , President Obama called out the omnipotence of homophobia in the Black community by “Yeah, it's been difficult. Growing up in a Black saying , “ If we are honest with ourselves , family where religion and Black history was the we ’ ll acknowledge backbone of our tradition. I had to stay in the that our own community has not closet and code switch between friends and those always been as true to who accepted me or acted like me and those who the King ’ s vision of a condemned any of my gay­like behaviors. It was beloved community . We have scorned our like being oppressed in an already oppressed gay brothers and population, and I couldn't breathe... I couldn't live.” sisters instead of embracing them . ”                          ­JP Carter­Nelson More evidence can be found when CNN anchor , Don Lemon , publicly announced his homosexuality in the book Transparent and said , “ It ’ s quite different for an African - American male . Being gay is about the worst thing you can be in Black culture . ”


K.A. Simpson

PRIDE COMES TO CHILLICOTHE Remember when the only conceivable way to find support as a gay person was to hit up the big city , which is one of the reasons why Ohio cities like Cincinnati , Columbus or Cleveland have been havens for the small town gay , bursting to express themselves ? That was then . Even though the world has become smaller with the advancement of the Internet , there are still pockets of our country that does not celebrate or embrace the gay community . So you can imaging how tough it is to be gay in a small town , but there is one young man who is bucking the trend . In doing so , he found that he wasn ' t alone and that there is a whole gay world in his small Ohio town . I was able to sit down with Northern Kentucky native , Travis Brown . Though born in Covington , KY , he has lived most of his life in the small Ohio town of Chillicothe . He is attempting to continue his city ' s efforts to bring equality to the heartland of America . KA : Tell me about your efforts to bring a PRIDE celebration to Chillicothe . TB : Pride isn ’ t about going to a metropolitan city where there will be more gays and more stuff to do . To me , PRIDE is about providing a sense of community to those who may feel outcast by advocating political and social causes such as love and acceptance in places where its needed , such as Chillicothe . Instead of being another person in a crowd , I would rather be one of the first to contribute to make a difference and start something in hopes that one day Chillicothe PRIDE could provide for this community so that no one flees to bigger places because they do not feel accepted . Chillicothe PRIDE has been a small gathering of about 50 people for the past 3 years in the form of a PRIDE walk that began after I graduated from Union - Scioto High School in 2012 . Now , I attend Ohio University - Chillicothe and am the president of my school ’ s LGBTQ student organization ( United ) and had great feedback when I announced that I would be hosting this year ’ s PRIDE . 13 AWESOME CITY

KA : Who would you say was the most influential person in your life while you were growing up ? TB : My mom has been the most influential person in my life by far . She would and has always supported me with any decision I have made in my life . If I wanted to continue to play soccer , even though we were the worst team in the league , she would sign me up and watch me play ( miserably ) year after year . If I wanted to try new styles and be in with each new trend , she ’ d be there through all of the good and bad phases I went through . To even today , when she walked beside her shirtless rainbowed - out son , parading the streets with nothing to hide . She has influenced me to be proud of who I am , no matter what it may be or entail , and that I should love myself and be the best person I can . KA : When you were growing up , do you recall hearing stories or jokes about homosexuals ? TB : During middle school , I attended a Catholic school in Covington , Ky where they preached that homosexuality is an abomination . At a young age , this can be detrimental to the development of figuring out who you are and can have a tremendous negative impact on one ’ s entire outlook on life KA : . Have you experienced discrimination for being gay ? TB : Growing up in a smaller town ( Chillicothe ) , you could experience discrimination often . I ’ ve endured several accounts of bullying however ; nothing has kept me from growing stronger . Coming out at a younger age , which was in 8th grade , I started figuring out who I was in this world and quickly became aware of who I was not . I didn ’ t want to be their stereotype and I fought for many years against it . I was determined to not be labeled as “ the gay guy ” but to be only known as me , all of me . I wanted to be Travis Brown , the guy that was always on the honor roll , that played varsity sports , that was voted prom king , that was friendly to everyone , and who just so happened to be gay . I didn ’ t want that to be my identifier , just another trait to me . KA : What do you think are some challenges facing gay people where you live ? TB : Challenges facing LGBTQ persons could be acceptance and tolerance . Many find themselves absent of this in this rural area and flee to bigger cities such as Columbus and Cincinnati in search of this . * Photographs provided by Jackie Pierce of Jaxx Photography



With another football season rolling into Cincinnati this Fall , there is another team worthy of your attention and they have been working at it since the Summer . On a muggy , late August morning earlier this year , the Queen City Pigs flag football team convened for a scrimmage on the Withrow High School Football Field . They are the Cincinnati GLBT Gay Flag Football League ’ s all - star travel team . The entire Cincinnati league boasts just over 40 members who , together , are made up of 4 teams , each with about 11 members , plus drop - ins from time to time . If that August practice was more frenetic than usual , it was because the Pigs are hell - bent on making a good showing when they travel to compete on the national level . The team , just finishing up its first season of play , is set to begin its 2017 season on a positive note . Unlike most football teams and leagues , the Pigs play during the summer , bringing the sport to a football - craving community a few months early . “ It fills the summer , ” player Eric Hilson said . “ Everybody misses football throughout the summer . ” Hilson , who played his high school football career at Schroeder High School in Cincinnati , is one of the league ' s organizers and is an active player . “ I ’ m excited to bring gay flag football to Cincinnati and show how gays can turn up ! , ” Hilson laughed . Closing out its first year of play in 2016 , the league was able to gather gay , straight , lesbian and transgender players from across the region to one of the many football fields in the area , dawn a ring of flags around their waists and attack the gridiron . In its 2017 season , the league is set to play eight regular - season games , plus a few games away on the national scene . The just - over a dozen players who make up the Queen City Pigs have been practicing once a week since August . ( Cont . on page 17 ) 15 AWESOME CITY

It ’ s going to be a very community - oriented team , where anyone and everyone is welcomed . ” Comments J . P . Carter - Nelson , another one of the league ' s organizers . The newly formed GLBT Flag Football League here in Cincinnati plans to make its league an annual event , adding to the many gay - centric sports leagues already boasting strong support , like volleyball , bowling and softball . Jahmar Daniels , a Cincinnati realtor and another of the league ’ s organizers says , “ We are striving to compete at the highest level , and to do that , we want to prepare well beforehand . Just working out a few times at the gym is not enough to succeed in an actual game . ” During the season , each of the league ' s 4 teams schedules their own weekly practices and a separate weekly practice for the dozen or so players chosen to play for the traveling team which competes quarterly in different cities in the United States against teams from around the country . Just this past summer , the league ' s traveling team went to Chicago to play in the National Gay Football League ’ s Pride Bowl where they debuted the team ’ s prowess on the national scene . “

But it ' s more than winning that gets these players out there every week . Many players say the experience of playing on a gay team provides a safe place to play a sport that they love ; a new place to find acceptance and a way to share community . “ I enjoyed the experience , " Nick Robertson said of his experience traveling with the team to Washington , DC the first weekend of October , the second time the team competed nationally . “ It ' s a place where I can be myself . And especially being able to travel to new cities with people like me . . . that ' s what I love about playing and it ' s another place where I can feel community . ” Many believe in the Cincinnati league so much that that they traveled from as far as Florida and Washington State to help Cincinnati compete at October ' s Gay Bowl in Washington , DC . Andrew Velasquez , a business owner in Orlando , Florida , Jamere Parson , a registered nurse in Washington , DC , and Brain Hawker from Washington State all added to Cincinnati ' s entourage during tournament play in D . C . this past October . Just on the heels of playing in D . C , , the Pigs are one of about 40 teams from 19 U . S . cities , plus Toronto , that have competed in national championships of a gay flag football league , with many more cities in the process of following in the Pigs ’ footsteps to form their own leagues .



Though he’s not formally trained as a pastry chef, like his study of music, research and practice are essential; he has expanded his repertoire more toward pastries, desserts and breads.


The Cincinnati Opera Chorus helped me to name these , as they were the FAVORITE cookies that I took to rehearsal in the 2016 season ! They are chocolaty , savory and caramely !


WET : - 2 sticks of butter , softened - 1 / 4 C shortening - 1 T water - 1 1 / 2 C granulated sugar - 1 / 2 Cup dark light brown sugar - 2 large eggs , room temperature - 2 t vanilla extract DRY : - 3 C all purpose flour - 1 t baking soda - 1 / 4 C baking cocoa - 1 / 2 C dark chocolate baking cocoa ( you can use 3 / 4 cup of either OR this mixture ) - One 12oz . package of salted caramel / butterscotch chips ( c . 2 cups ) - Topping of course kosher / sea salt


Preheat oven 350 ° Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper , In a bowl , whisk together . flour , baking soda and cocoa and set aside . - In a separate bowl or with stand mixer and paddle attachment , cream butter , shortening , water and sugars , add vanilla and eggs one at a time , combining before each addition . - Mix 1 / 4 cup at a time of dry into wet mixture until well combined . - Fold in the chips . - With small ice cream scooper , scoop even sized balls out onto parchment lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart . - Roll in palm of hand for a smooth finish once baked . - Bake for 9 - 11 minutes . - Once out of the oven , top with pinch of salt . - Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack . -

Though today , he is a trained opera singer and actor living in Cincinnati , Ohio , Will Reed was raised in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains in the one traffic light farm town of New Market , Tennessee . He spent his formative years working with his parents to build their home , tend the farm and generally expand a sense of responsibility and an over - developed work ethic . After finishing both a Bachelor and Masters degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance at the University of Cincinnati ’ s College - Conservatory of Music ( CCM ) , Will found himself in the job of scheduling manager for CCM . This job took him out of performing for a while , but all along , his love for cooking remained . He started a Youtube Channel where he demonstrates simple recipes ; through the years and his experience , these recipes have gotten more advanced and tastier ☺ ! Knowing that he had the skills of an entertainer and amateur baker , Will has applied for several reality shows and his products were desirable enough to pass him through to advanced rounds of castings . He even got to the final round of casting for the American Baking Competition on CBS . His denial was much more of a catapult than a deterrent . He started exploration of more advanced recipes and gaining the confidence to put his own twists on them . WILL BAKE 4 FOOD is Will ’ s next adventure in teaching , learning , entertaining and baking !



Though the title makes me sound like a valley girl , I ’ m FAR from it , basically . I have NEVER liked pumpkin pie . I tried a twist on the flavors a few years back , and once I made this cheesecake , it became the requested dessert that I bring to Thanksgiving gatherings ! ! Recently , I ’ ve revamped the topping and crust a little bit to make a beautiful Pumpkin “ Spice ” Cheesecake !


CRUST : - 12 oz . GENERIC gingersnap cookies - 2 T brown sugar , packed - 6 T salted butter , melted - Pinch of Kosher Salt CHEESECAKE : - 3 ( 8 oz . ) packages of Cream Cheese , room temp - 15 oz . can of pure pumpkin puree ( if watery , drained . ) - 3 Large Eggs , plus 1 yolk - ¼ C of Sour Cream , room temp - 1 ½ C of granulated sugar - ½ t cinnamon - ¼ t fresh ground nutmeg - - ¼ t allspice - ¼ t cumin ( this is my secret ingredient that gives a little “ smokiness ” to the flavor . ) - 2 T All - purpose flour - 1 t pure vanilla extract Stabilized Whipped Cream TOPPING : - 1 t unflavored Gelatin - 4 t cold water - 1 C heavy whipping Cream ( the more fat the better ) - ¼ C sifted Confectioner ’ s Sugar Other stuff that you ’ ll need : - Food Processor OR rolling pin - 9 inch Spring Form Pan - 11inch cake plate OR Aluminum Foil - Large enough pan to hold water and 11 inch cake plate - Stand / hand mixer - Piping Bag - Standard star tip



Make sure that the spring form pan is fitted with the bottom bevel upward; Prepare the Spring Form Pan with doubled Aluminum foil wrap to cover the outside making it watertight. If using a 11 inch cake plate, no need to do this part. For Crust: -In a food processor, grind the gingersnaps into a fine meal. It will take SEVERAL pulses. The generic ginger snaps aren’t as hard and will pulverize MUCH easier. -Mix together with brown sugar, salt and add melted butter. Press into the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan and then chill for 30 minutes in the fridge. -Place reservoir with about ½ inch of water for water bath into oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. For Filling: Beat the cream cheese until smooth on a low speed. Add pumpkin puree of eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and spices. Add Flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined on a low speed. Pour into chilled crust. If using, place pan into 11 inch cake pan. If watertight with aluminum foil, go ahead and place into water bath in oven for 1 hour. DO NOT open the oven! I mean, you can, but it may crack your cheesecake. Ovens vary, SO, when 50 minutes has passed, check the cake to see if there is about a 3-4 inch circle in the center that is a little jiggly and the sides are puffed up. Turn the oven off and crack the door for about an hour to let the cake start cool. Then, remove and cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

For Whipped Topping : Stick the bold of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment into the freezer . Prepare Piping bag with star tip ; set aside . In a Shallow pan or small pot , put cold water and then sprinkle the gelatin over top and let stand for about 4 minutes . Place over low heat , while stirring constantly , let it melt and dissolve . Remove from heat and let it cool . Pull cold bowl and whisk out of the freezer , whisk heavy cream and sifted sugar together until thick . Put mixer on “ stir ” and pour the gelatin mixture slowly into the bowl . Turn the mixer up to high and beat until stiff . Spoon the whipped cream into the prepared piping bag and decorate !



These cakes are by far the fondest memory from my childhood / early adulthood . I remember stacks and stacks of these cake layers sitting around the kitchen when my mom and grandmother were baking and preparing them . The best part about this process is that they were giving them as gifts ; after my grandmother had passed , my mom and I continued this tradition through college , and I gave them as gifts to my college professors ! AND they are better the longer they sit . Making ahead during a busy holiday season , makes this cake so sweet : D ! !

INGREDIENTS Filling between layers : - 1 46 oz jar of applesauce - 2 t cinnamon * - 2 t allspice * - 1 ½ C of sugar * - 4 tart apples ( granny smith / golden delicious ) , pealed , halved , cored , cut in about - ¼ inch thick from top to bottom - ½ C of water - 2 T brown sugar - 1 t cinnamon * - 1 t allspice * - ½ t ground nutmeg * * Amounts will vary to taste preferences


Caramel Sauce : - 1 C granulated Sugar - 6 T salted butter , room temp and cubed - ½ C heavy whipping cream Other stuff you ’ ll need : - Large Pot for cooking the applesauce - Splatter screen - Large bowl for mixing - 2 - 4 9 inch round cake pans - Cooking spray for pans - Heat resistant whisk - Jar and lid for storing remaining caramel sauce - Kitchen Scale ( optional ) - FLAT cake plate / serving plate Cake Layers : - 3 C Self - rising flour - 1 1 / 2 C sugar - 3 large eggs - 1 t pure vanilla extract - 1 t cinnamon - 1 t lemon extract ( optional )

Applesauce filling : In the large stockpot , empty the entire apple sauce jar stir and put over medium low heat to cook out the water . You ’ ll need to stir about every 15 minutes or so , this is the LONGEST active part of the process . It ’ ll take about 2 - 2 1 / 2 hours to get it to the right consistency ( if you ’ re crunched for time , you can use store bought apple butter . . . ) Put it on the back burner while you prep your cake dough . After all of the water is cooked out ( if the entire mixture is pulled to the side of the pot , it will stay “ put ” without spreading over the bottom ) , mix in sugar and spices and simmer for about 15 minutes ( taste to make sure it has enough sugar for your taste buds ) ; remove from heat and cool . This cooks to about ½ the original jar . This mixture will have some left over that you can put back into the applesauce jar to put on biscuits / toast as apple butter ☺ . It ’ ll store for about a week in the fridge .



In a large bowl, sift and whisk together flour (components for selfrising if needed), sugar and cinnamon. Measure out the shortening and with a knife, while turning the bowl, cut in the shortening to the flour mixture. The mixture will look like small pebbles when the shortening is combined adequately. Make a well in the center and add all of the wet ingredients: eggs, vanilla and lemon. Use a wooden spoon to get the mixture almost together and then using your hands, finish bringing the mixture into a big ball. Weigh and depending on your amount, divide into 4 even size balls. Place balls back into mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 2 hours to overnight. (We used to make batches at night and then cook the next day to prevent a LONG day making 5 or 6 batches at a time). After about 1 ½ hours, turn your oven to 350°F. Prep your pans with cooking spray and take each ball putting them in the center and with your fingers push the dough around the outside, around the outside, around the outside in an even layer on the bottom of the cake pan. This is the FUN part! Bake for about 12-15 minutes (dark pans cook faster). When the cake is brown and is starting to pull from the sides of the cake pan, she’s done! Let set in pan for about 10 minutes in the pan and then invert to remove and completely cool. They will be a little pliable, so be gentle not to snap them in half . . . If one breaks, put it on the bottom of the cake ☺!

CARAMEL SAUCE In a heavy bottomed sauce pot , put sugar and put on medium - low heat . If you go to hot , the sugar will burn . . . Stir or whisk until the sugar clumps and then melts ( about 10 minutes ) . It will turn an amber color , just be careful not to burn it . Once to the amber color , pull of the heat and stir in butter . It will boil up , so be careful . Then add the heavy whipping cream stirring constantly to keep from burning . Put it in your glass jar and let cool completely . Store in the fridge , covered , for up to 2 weeks .

ASSEMBLY! APPLE SLICE LAYER Okay you have all of your components ,

Peel and slice apples in half . Cut out core from either side . Lay apple flat side down and cut from top to bottom into ¼ inch slices . Put into slices into a heavy bottomed pot with ½ cup of water and spices and cook , mixing occasionally , on medium heat just until tender , about 15 minutes . There will still be a little water , but most of it will cook away . Remove from heat and drain water off . The slices should be pliable . Place in a bowl to cool completely before assembly .

cooked and cooled . Place one layer on your flat serving tray , spread an even layer of apple sauce ( about a ¼ C ) , arrange apple slices in a circle around outside edge , like a clock with the core cut out facing in ; inside that circle , add an inside circle . Repeat these steps 2 more times . Place the final layer on the top uncovered with applesauce or apples . Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for a few days ( up to 5 ) . Immediately before serving , warm up the caramel sauce in microwave for about 20 sec . and drizzle along the edge and on top . Once the drizzle is on , use a cake plate to cover if needed . 22 AWESOME CITY

Awesome City Holiday Issue '16