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CONTENTS JULY 5-18, 2018 | ISSUE 603


FEATURE: GAYBORHOODS 18: East Lake Street 22: East Town 24: Senior Living: Spirit on Lake


8 From the Editor 10 A Word in Edgewise 12 Lavender Lens


14 A Day In The Life: Justen Pohl 16 Arts: Spotlight


26 Leather Life


28 Books


30 Ride Review


34 Skirting The Issues


32 Community Connection 33 The Network




Page 18: Photo by Mike Hnida, Page 14: Photo by Sky Wild Photography, Page 22: Photo courtesy of Izzy's Ice Cream, Page 26: Photo by Steve Lenius.



East Town's Mill City Opera will host a production of the classic opera Carmen in July. Photo by Megan Clute Photography, Knoxville Opera

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Volume 24, Issue 603 • July 5-18

Editorial Managing Editor Chris Tarbox 612-436-4692 Editorial Assistants Linda Raines 612-436-4660, Kassidy Tarala Editor Emeritus Ethan Boatner Editorial Associate George Holdgrafer Contributors Ellen Krug, Steve Lenius, Jennifer Parello, Randy Stern, John Townsend, Bradley Traynor, Carla Waldemar

Advertising Sales & Advertising Director Barry Leavitt 612-436-4690 Senior Account Executive Suzanne Farrell 612-436-4699 Account Executives Josh Elmore 612-436-4697 Nathan Johnson 612-436-4695 Richard Kranz 612-436-4675 Advertising Associate: George Holdgrafer Sales & Event Administration: Linda Raines 612-436-4660 Casey Ubel 612-436-4660 Classifieds Suzanne Farrell 612-436-4699 National Sales Representatives Motivate Media 858-272-9023 NEMA 612-436-4698 Rivendell Media 212-242-6863

Creative Digital Director Mike Hnida 612-436-4679 Photographer Sophia Hantzes Lavender Studios Mike Hnida

Administration Publisher Lavender Media, Inc. President & CEO Stephen Rocheford 612-436-4665 Vice President & CC Pierre Tardif 612-436-4666 Chief Financial Officer Mary Lauer 612-436-4664 Distribution Manager/Administrative Assistant Casey Ubel 612-436-4660 Founders George Holdgrafer, Stephen Rocheford Inspiration Steven W. Anderson (1954-1994), Timothy J. Lee (1968-2002), Russell Berg (1957-2005), Kathryn Rocheford (1914-2006), Jonathan Halverson (1974-2010), Adam Houghtaling (1984-2012), Walker Pearce (1946-2013), Tim Campbell (1939-2015)

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Entire contents copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Publication of the name or photograph of any person, organization, or business in this magazine does not reflect upon one’s sexual orientation whatsoever. Lavender® Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising. This issue of Lavender® Magazine is available free of charge during the time period published on the cover. Pickup at one of our distribution sites is limited to one copy per person.


It’s A Beautiful Day In The Gayborhood With all this nice, warm weather we’re having, it’s high time to head outside and meet the neighbors! With a community as sprawling and wonderfully diverse as the Twin Cities, it’s a fine time to get to know some of the local neighborhoods boasting a wealth of GLBTfriendly locales in the area. Y’all may be catching your breath after Pride festivities, but the rainbow love is still there for you in the two special Gayborhoods we chronicle in this issue: the downtown hotspot haven known as East Town, and the Midtown Phillips/Powderhorn-adjacent stretch of East Lake Street. Both areas have a delightful selection of clubs, restaurants and shops that are all about supporting the rainbow community. On top of that, we reconnect with the Spirit on Lake independent

living community, and we look at a Day in the Life of Enticing Entertainment honcho Justen Pohl. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to meet the neighbors! Finally, on a more bittersweet note, after seven years of incredibly dedicated ser vice, Lavender editorial director Andy Lien will be saying goodbye to our publication. Andy has been rightfully received as a tremendous asset to our community in ser vice to Lavender Media, ser ving for many years as managing editor prior to my hiring, and I’ll say without any doubt that Andy is a true testament to the values of hard work, compassion and leadership. Andy was and is a fabulous mentor and friend to me, and I look for ward to seeing her blaze a trail in the next chapter of her professional life. Godspeed, Andy!

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Why Gay Pride? (Again) It’s that time when querulous voices ask, “Why do gays need a special Pride day/week/month/parade?” Standard retorts are generally permutations of, “When were you last attacked or bullied for being straight?” While not written as a specific answer to the question, Robert W. Fieseler’s recent, Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation, is a harrowing answer. The fire in question occurred the on the evening of June 24, 1973, destroying a gay nightclub and killing 32 individuals trapped in the secondfloor bar. Fieseler describes the Up Stairs as “a sanctuary for blue-collar gay men,” and home to local MCC (Metropolitan Community Church) members who met in the bar’s back room. It was arson; lighter fluid poured on the entryway, a tossed match. As horrific as Fieseler’s detailed accounting of the fire and charred corpses (three remained unidentified) is his description of the subsequent nonhandling of the story by press and politicians. The Times-Picayune—and press generally—wouldn’t print the word “homosexual.” The New York Times was the only out-of-state newspaper to assign a reporter to cover the story, while only the Times and the Washington Post referred to “ho-

mosexual” clientele, the Times quoting someone saying, “frequented by homosexuals.” New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu, Governor Edwin Edwards, and Archbishop Philip Hannan offered no word of condolence. Friends and family trying to locate kin were unwilling to leave names, while survivors mourned silently for fear of being outed. Some families wouldn’t claim bodies, some churches wouldn’t bury them. A priest at St. George’s Episcopalian Church held a small service and was immediately chastised by his superior. Not only were today’s counseling, PTSD awareness, and social recognition not available then, but there was a refusal to see the victims as human, that still existing, has diminished to a degree that would astonish the Up Stairs Lounge denizens. “Homosexuals” may still remain those for whom others will not bake a cake, but there is  now gay marriage and the possibilities of marriage, families, and a liberating openness in a large part of America. It’s not perfect, yet, by any means, but GLBTs have things to celebrate; lives and progress of which to be proud, and that’s sufficient reason for parades.

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SUMMERTIME FINE (The SUNSET BALL) THU, JULY 12 FREE 6 PM–12 MIDNIGHT Music. Fashion. Fabness. Show off your brightest summer best at Vogue Night. No shade! All competitions are Open to All (OTA). Fatha Jazz Bordeaux presides over the evening, featuring DJ Matty Balenciaga on the beats. Later, burn up the dance floor with DJ BEARCAT.

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DAY OF THE TRANSGENDER CHILD MAY 19, 2018 Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Photo by Sophia Hantzes


Photo by Sophia Hantzes



8 AM - 1 PM Chicago Ave S. & 2nd Street S. 60+ local farmers and artisans located in between the Mill City Museum & the Guthrie Theater May through October*

4 PM - 8 PM 425 Portland Ave S. 20+ local vendors at The Commons park, across the street from U.S. Bank Stadium June through September*

Seasonal recipe inspo & demos •  Weekly groceries  •  Live music  •  Farm-to-table breakfast, lunch & dinner Free outdoor yoga  •  Kids' veggie tasting club  •  Special events!


Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Photo by Sophia Hantzes

100 S 5th St, Suite 2450, Minneapolis MN 55402 Photo by Sophia Hantzes


Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Photo by Sophia Hantzes

100 S 5th St, Suite 2450, Minneapolis MN 55402

Name: Justen Pohl Age: 34 Where did you grow up? Andover, MN Where do you live? The North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. Who do you live with? Just me. What is your occupation? Owner and Ringleader at Enticing Entertainment, When did you come out? When I was 16. How’d that go? Absolutely horrifying. I ended up coming out after a sermon at Bible Camp to my best friend who then wrote a letter to me expressing her love for me no matter what. Later that week, that letter went through the wash, where my parents found it and pieced it together. I was then put in conversion therapy at the church and disowned by my family. I ended up getting a girlfriend and prayed every night that God would make me straight. This led to extreme confusion and severe depression. At age 18, I had saved up enough money to purchase my first house where I got three of the most loving and accepting roommates. I was then able to come out yet again to a much more loving and accepting group of friends. Over the years, I have been extremely patient and have had time to forgive my family. I used to be so angry with how my parents reacted and treated me. They had no information about what is was to be gay and they just needed to be educated. As the years passed I grew confident and proud to be a gay man. This gave me confidence to slowly open the communication with my parents and slowly educate them. This was no easy task but was worth every moment. My dad has now attended Burning Man with me twice and my mother has attended multiple drag shows with me. My parents have grown so much, and despite the rough start, couldn’t be more happy with the end result. When do you wake up? 6:00 a.m. Phone alarm or old school alarm? I have my lights simulate a sunrise starting at 5:30 a.m. that ends up gracefully waking me up around 6 a.m. No alarms needed… not joking. What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Tell myself it’s going to be an amazing day. Breakfast? Always! Two full eggs and six egg whites, chicken sausage and broccoli slaw. Coffee? No coffee here. However, a good preworkout drink on the way out the door to the


JUSTEN POHL gym in the morning does the trick. How do you spend your commute? Whether I am riding my bike or in the car, there is ALWAYS music playing. If your job were like a yearbook, what would you be voted? Champion of Details. What inspires you? To inspire others. Traveling the world and experiencing different cultures. Do you eat your lunch while working or take a break? When you own your own business, you never have time for a break. Is your work space tidy or a hot mess? I’m a bit of an organizational freak. Everything has a place. What’s been your favorite job? Enticing Entertainment—owning and running a company like this has always been a dream now turned reality. Bridging the gap between artists and the corporate world has never been so rewarding. Providing performers/artists a platform to showcase their gifts with the world and be able to make a living off it. Who are your heroes? Larry Harvey, founder of Burning Man; Pink. Favorite weeknight meal: Go out, take out, or cook in? Meal prep every Sunday. Usually something pertaining to chicken, veggies and rice. Most embarrassing moment: Being called Justina Plow by Jesse Ventura when receiving the MN Peace Prize award. On a usual weeknight, you are doing what? Working, working, working. Bedtime: Sleep? What’s that? All depends on the week’s schedule. Sometimes I get three hours of sleep, and others I get six. Favorite weekend activity: Traveling the world with my boyfriend. What are you most proud of and why? The courage to start a company from scratch. Finding happiness and confidence in knowing anything is possible. Words of wisdom to share: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!! Photo by Sky Wild Photography







July 13-24 Mill City Museum Ruin Courtyard 704 S Second St., Minneapolis 612-875-5544 Georges Bizet’s Carmen is an opera that those who think they wouldn’t like opera will  go to see and find out they actually  love it. This beloved  opera comique, or comic opera,  set  in 19th century Spain, exposes the weaknesses of  the  jealous Don Jose. He  evades his military duties, as well as his fiancée, by falling for the woman who  rates perhaps as  the pre-eminent femme-fatale of all of opera: Carmen, the gypsy cigar factory worker. Mill City Opera’s production features Audrey Babcock in the title role and Adam Diegel as Don Jose. Fenlon Lamb directs. Music director Brian DeMaris describes the music, well known to millions who aren’t even familiar with opera: “Bizet’s score is intricate and complex in terms of rhythm and orchestral color and seamless in its support of the French libretto. But what stands out most that has helped make Carmen such a long-lasting hit is melody. The audience will recognize moment after moment of iconic operatic tunes from the ‘Habanera’ to ‘Toreador,’ all written in support of the drama of the story but standing alone as iconic melodies that have become synonymous with the operatic art form itself.”


July 13 and 14 Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Concert Series 501 W 78th St., Chanhassen 952-934-1525 Lori Dokken is a local legend  of  lounge music performance. Some of us, myself included, used  to listen to her upstairs at the Gay ’90s. She truly bonded the community just as much as some higher profile gay folks more commonly known nowadays, not to mention she  has always had great musical taste. Because of her talent and her taste,  Dokken has always magnetized other great talent to perform with her.  Therefore, it’s no wonder that she has assembled some fabulous vocalists for her concert series gig at the Chanhassen Fireside Theatre space: Debbie Duncan, Judi Vinar, Rachel Holder Hennig, and Patty Peterson. You’ll  hear tunes  originally sung by luminaries like Aretha Franklin, Judy Garland, and Christina Aguilera, among others. Dokken tells us that  “in looking at the

important theme is one of conspiracy. With what’s been revealed about our elected officials in the past two years, theories that were once absurd and unrealistic now seem frighteningly plausible. A government turning on its own people has been happening for decades, centuries, around the world and now that it’s starting to happen here, being complicit in that—or even aiding it—is something we’re having to negotiate on a daily basis.” Ultimately, “(in) this play, characters must choose between assisting what could be a monstrous act and destroying their own lives. The question of sacrifice does surface a bit in its later stages—how much we’re willing to personally lose to help someone else we don’t currently and will never know.”

LORING PARK ART FESTIVAL AND THE APOLLO MALE CHORUS Carmen. Photo by Megan Clute Photography, Knoxville Opera

inspiration for this, I have been keyed into showing off the vocals of the songs, more so than doing ‘cover’ versions. Some will be more acoustically delivered and some will have much fatter vocal harmonies than their originals. The diversity within the group of artists that will be presenting the music on these evenings is wide, and each will add their own special flavor and spice to the renditions that we end up bringing to the stage. There will be a lot of experiential ‘seasoning.’”


Through July 29 Gremlin Theatre 550 Vandalia St., St. Paul 1-888-71-TICKETS Ideation, a comedy by Aaron Loeb that satirizes groupthink, has garnered acclaim in New York and Chicago and makes its area premiere at the Gremlin. Director Brian Balcom points out that “while Ideation is first and foremost an entertainment, it does have two strong themes underneath. The first is the question of what it means to destroy a life and the different ways we’re affected by it. Is it worse to learn about a plane crash on the other side of the world or to watch a co-worker’s life slowly ruined by a long and messy divorce? Why does our distance from certain acts or events make it easier to digest human destruction?” He continues, “The second and more

July 28-29 Loring Park, at 15th St. and Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis Home art pieces from 140 local and national artists will be seen and be available at the 19th annual Loring Park Art Festival: jewelry, printmaking, glass, fiber, photography, clay, painting,drawing, sculpture, woodworking and mixed media. One of the featured artists is Anne Hoffman, whose business, as she relates, “developed from a passion for feeding and watching birds for over 50 years, and my artistic skills and talents in working with stained glass. Creating functional bird feeders that are truly a work of art is a challenge; the challenge is not the size, but designing works that are functional for the birds and hold up to the weather, especially in Minnesota. I enjoy the three-dimensional projects, and using glass in a way that most artists don’t think of is fun for me. The process is to combine functionality and strength with the beauty of glass and copper. I created all of the designs myself then cut all of the glass and copper for the bird feeders by hand and solder with leadfree solder. Colors of glass are selected that complement each other, yet make an artistic statement in a garden.” On the afternoon of the second day, the Apollo Male Chorus performs. Director Aaron Humble shares, “Apollo is pleased to be singing at the Loring Park Art Festival this summer. Our program will be drawn primarily from our most recent concert, Ticket to Ride, where the audience had the chance to shape the course of our travel as we went from destination to destination. Featuring songs from


Ireland (“Danny Boy”) and the UK (“Down Among Dead Men”), Western and South Africa, and of course, the United States (“America the Beautiful”), the program promises to be as eclectic and beautiful as the visual art featured at the festival. As we begin our 124th season, the Apollo Male Chorus is thrilled to be thriving in such a culturally rich city.”


Ongoing Minnesota History Center 345 Kellogg Blvd. W, St. Paul 651-259-3000 Do you know that Minnesota has the largest Somali population in the U.S.? It follows with the state’s history of refugee acceptance going back to the 19th century: primary examples include Scandinavians and  freed black people who left the South after emancipation. In the late 20th century, Hmong refugees came to St. Paul, and in recent decades, Minnesota has been a magnet for those fleeing war and social destabilization of Somalia. The Minnesota History Center, in partner-

Somalis + Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Somali Museum of Minnesota

ship with the Somali Museum of Minnesota, has installed immersive settings, artifacts, photos and first-hand accounts of Somali immigrants. Osman Ali, director of the Somali Museum of Minnesota, says, “Many Somali people, especially youth, don’t know about

their past because of the hardships they have faced fleeing the civil war. Seeing themselves in this exhibit will help them learn about their past, but also help them know that they belong here in Minnesota, a place they consider their second home.”


Neighborhood Guide: East Lake Street BY KASSIDY TARALA Photos by Mike Hnida

Longfellow Grill

Between Minnehaha Avenue and Lake Street Bridge lies a paradise for the common foodie. From Blue Moon Coffee Cafe to Longfellow Grill, my stomach’s growling just thinking about it. Whether you’re new to town or just looking for something new to explore, check out our East Lake Street Neighborhood Guide for great recommendations.

lunch, dinner, cocktails daily sat & sun brunch northeast mpls on the river 2124 marshall st 612-789-0333

Gayborhoods Merlins Rest Pub

I think the pub is my new favorite place to rest. Check out Merlins Rest Pub on Lake Street for some delicious food, cocktails, and whiskey and scotch tastings. Not only does Merlins Rest Pub offer single malt scotch, but they have tastings the first Thursday of every month so scotch enthusiasts can unite over a glass or two. Lunch and dinner are available every day with brunch on the weekends. There’s even a Kilt and Corset night every Friday. ‘Nuff said. 3601 E Lake St., Minneapolis

Blue Moon Coffee Cafe

Coffee from all over the world is a good enough reason to check out Blue Moon Coffee Cafe, but pastries, sandwiches, tea, soda, and games? Yes, please! Head over to Blue Moon Coffee Cafe, owned Blue Moon Coffee Cafe by community member Lisa Berg, for a quick bite to eat, a caffeine fix, or just to check out their latest art display. Blue Moon is also a longtime drop-off spot for Webster Farm Organics, so if you’re in the mood for some fresh veggies, be sure to stop by every Thursday through September! 3822 E Lake St., Minneapolis

Hi-Lo Diner

Chicken and gravy and… a donut? Call me crazy, but Hi-Lo Diner knows how to make it work. Stop in Hi-Lo Diner for what will surely be an unforgettable meal. Hi-Lo also offers brunch beverages such as mimosas and bloodys, as well as boozy and delicious ice cream cocktails. From their famous hi-tops—sweet or savory donuts—to their droolworthy breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, you’ll be planning your next trip before you even pay the bill. 4020 E Lake St., Minneapolis

Sonora Grill

A Midtown Global Market native, Sonora Grill brings exactly what the culinary scene needs on East Lake Street. With Spanish and Latin American cuisine, Sonora Grill will bring just the right amount of spice to your life. Sonora offers a wide variety of margaritas and cocktails, as well as a plethora of tequila choices. Try their bocadillos, nachos, or paella. 3300 E Lake St., Minneapolis

Sonora Grill

Forage Modern Workshop

With so many restaurants to choose from on East Lake Street, you’ll surely find yourself dining out quite a bit. But what about those nights you don’t want to leave home? Design the perfect kitchen with all the necessities from Forage Modern Workshop. From pottery and glassware to towels and placemats, Forage Modern Workshop will have everything you need to turn your kitchen into your own modern restaurant. 4023 E Lake St., Minneapolis

Dogwood Cafe

Right next door to Forage Modern Workshop, Dogwood Cafe is the perfect spot to grab a coffee while you stroll through the unique trinkets next door. Grab an iced lavender vanilla latte to beat the heat and get the kick of energy you’re craving. 4021 E Lake St., Minneapolis

Longfellow Grill

You’ll want to come hungry for this one. Swing by Longfellow Grill for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all of the above! From waffles and pancakes to pierogies and stroganoff, Longfellow Grill will feed any and all appetites. With cozy outdoor seating, the Longfellow Grill is the perfect spot to enjoy the numbered summer days. 2990 W River Pkwy., Minneapolis Urban Forage Winery & Cider House

Urban Forage Winery & Cider House

Wine AND hard cider? My wallet is saying no, but my heart is screaming yes! Check out the Urban Forage Winery & Cider House for cider and wine made from the freshest ingredients. Urban Forage features four ciders on tap: one dry cider, one semisweet cider, and two rotating tap, and they host winery tours and tastings every Sunday. Seriously, they pick their own apples, pears, cherries, apricots, and more. 3016 E Lake St., Minneapolis

Bungalow Club

If you’re craving some delicious Italian food, the Bungalow Club is where you’ll want to go. Handmade pasta by Bungalow Club’s chef Andrew Kraft paired with classic cocktails and wine, you’ll be on a cuisine adventure and, trust me, you’ll never want it to end. The presentation may seem laid back, but the Bungalow Club is always buzzing, so make sure to reserve a table post haste. Hi-Lo Diner

4300 E Lake St., Minneapolis

Neighborhood Guide: East Town

Mill City Farmers Market. Photo by Mike Krivit Photography, Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis


One of the greatest spots for a bite to eat or a night out on the town is East Town in downtown Minneapolis. Based on how much money I’ve spent and how many carbs I’ve consumed there, I wouldn’t object if it changed its name to “Eat Town.” Check out the East Town Neighborhood Guide for a list of great spots to hang out and chow down. has exactly what you need to “get your inner viking on.” 601 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis


If you’re looking for somewhere new to try for dinner, or scoping out a pre-theater meal, consider trying Sanctuary in East Town. With delicious seafood options, great appetizers to share, and—my personal favorite part—dessert, Sanctuary is the perfect spot for a date night, celebration, or get-together with friends. And with a third of the menu changing every other month, expect some real versatility from Sanctuary. 903 Washington Ave. S, Suite 150


Feel like a Thai goddess the second you step foot into Sawatdee. With gold leaf ceilings and glass etchings, Sawatdee is just as beautiful as it is tasty. Sawatdee offers catering and spaces for private events, as well as excellent Happy Hour deals from 3 to 6 p.m. If you’re looking for a oneof-a-kind pad thai dinner or just a quick lunch to-go, Sawatdee is the perfect spot.

Image courtesy of eagleBOLTbar


Located in the heart of East Town, eagleBOLTbar is the perfect location for a night out with friends. A favorite neighborhood bar and a gay nightclub, eagleBOLTbar—celebrating its 20th anniversary this year—has it all, including a newly remodeled outdoor patio. RuPaul’s Drag Race viewings, Bear Nights, and even a Show Tunes night? Whether you’re looking for something new on tap, something fun like karaoke or bingo, or some simple bar food and cocktails, eagleBOLTbar is a must. 515 Washington Ave. S, Minneapolis

1010 Washington Wine and Spirits

Wine, beer, and liquor? We’ve hit the East Town jackpot. Stop by the Mill City neighborhood’s 1010 Washington Wine and Spirits—formerly Sorella Liquor—to check out the latest and greatest libations. Sip with friends at one of their wine tastings, learn more about the world’s top wine country, and grab a bottle or two to take home. 1010 Washington Ave., Minneapolis

Erik the Red Bar

A Barbarian bar with Nordic BBQ and a stone’s throw from U.S. Bank Stadium, Erik the Red Bar is the perfect spot for all Vikings fans. Whether you’re a fan of the sport or the Barbarians themselves, you’ll have a good time at Erik the Red Bar. From burgers to brunch, Erik the Red Bar

607 Washington Ave. S, Minneapolis

Izzy’s Ice Cream Erik the Red Bar. Photo courtesy of Erik Forsberg

Grumpy’s Bar and Grill

One jukebox, two rooms, three pool tables—Grumpy’s Bar and Grill has more than enough to keep you entertained… and full. Whether you’re out for a quick beer, wine, or cocktail or looking for a full-service menu—such as wings, tots, taco salads, Coney dogs, and all kinds of chicken sandwiches—you’ll find it at Grumpy’s Bar and Grill. Special events include movie nights, trivia, comedians, bingo, karaoke and brunch.

You scream, I scream, we all scream for Izzy! If you’re taking a stroll around Gold Medal Park or Stone Arch Bridge, there’s no better way to cool off than with an ice cream cone from Izzy’s Ice Cream. Located right next to the park, Izzy’s offers a modern take on the classic ice cream shop, with delectable flavors ranging from Bananas Foster and Mango Sorbet to Raspberry Cheesecake and Green Tea Oreo. With different flavors offered daily, Izzy’s always has something new for all ice cream lovers. 1100 Second St. S, Minneapolis

1111 Washington Ave. S, Minneapolis

Mill City Farmers Market

Swing by the Mill City Farmers Market every Saturday or Tuesday for fresh produce, delicious pastries and coffee, and great views. Everything is grown locally, so you get a chance to meet some of Minnesota’s finest farmers. The Farmers Market runs until October, so hit them up for all your sustainable produce needs. 704 S Second St., Minneapolis

Izzy's Ice Cream. Photo by Catherine Cuddy



Image courtesy of Spirit on Lake

Since it opened in 2013, Spirit on Lake has provided affordable housing options for a number of residents. From seniors and GLBT community members to East African immigrants and families, Spirit on Lake continues to house a rather diverse group of individuals that breathes youthfulness, originality, and acceptance into the spirit of the lake. According to president and managing partner of Premier Management, Richard Hutsell, Spirit on Lake is continuing to serve minority communities. Currently, two-thirds of Spirit on Lake residents are seniors while one-third are East African immigrants, Hutsell says.

He says the property looks so attractive to these demographics because it is located in a very safe and accepting area, and the property itself is welcoming to all residents regardless of sexuality, income, background, or any other factors. “It’s a very beautiful, safe, and culturally sensitive management team, and the neighbors are just as welcoming,” Hutsell says. Because Spirit on Lake is an independent living complex, residents are responsible for administering their own activities. Though independent living isn’t feasible for all seniors, Spirit on Lake is a great location for seniors who are looking to live in a more communal space but still have their own space and independent lifestyle. Hutsell says Spirit on Lake’s safety, location, and acceptance of all residents make it an ideal location for GLBT seniors because this demographic is unique in that it faces prejudices in regards to age, and also sexuality and gender. At Spirit on Lake, every part of residents’ identities is accepted by the management, other residents, and neighbors throughout the area.


For residents who are interested in reading, the Quatrefoil Library leases space from Spirit on Lake—but it isn’t just any typical library. Quatrefoil Library serves the GLBT community by providing a welcoming atmosphere where GLBT individuals can create community, culture, and camaraderie through literature and media. Since Spirit on Lake had a relationship with Quatrefoil Library since its first days, the library’s presence is strong at Spirit on Lake, which creates a welcoming atmosphere for GLBT community members or residents who are just looking for a quiet place to read. “We lease space to the Quatrefoil Library because they were such integral partners with us from the onset of our property,” Hutsell says. Spirit on Lake offers its residents community spaces, a fitness center, outdoor patio and green space, and many safety precautions to ensure comfort for all residents. Spirit on Lake also has a variety of floor plans to meet the needs of all of its residents. With a variety of one bedroom/ one bathroom floor plans, two bedroom/two bathroom, and two bedroom/two bathroom shared, there are a number of layouts for each type of floor plan, including handicap accessible. Residents must apply and qualify for low income housing options. Spirit on Lake is a great location for low income residents and anyone looking for a welcoming, diverse community that allows all residents to truly be themselves. For more information about Spirit on Lake, visit their website at or call 612-724-3029.


Int’l. Mr. Leather Weekend Turns 40 In 1979, the first International Mr. Leather (IML) contest was held in Chicago. About 400 attendees watched twelve contestants compete. Now, fast-forward four decades. In 2018, during Memorial Day weekend and again in Chicago, the IML weekend celebrated its 40th anniversary. An estimated 18,000 people attended the weekend, and two separate competitions drew 75 contestants. The International Mr. Leather contest was the largest ever, with 71 contestants, while the 26th annual International Mr. Bootblack (IMBB) contest had four contestants. Minnesota was represented in this year’s IML contest by Sir Randy Ingram-Lile, Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2018, and Buster, Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2018. Both Minnesota contestants were named Top 20 semifinalists. A large Minnesota and midwestern presence also was seen among both weekend attendees and volunteers. Both the IML and IMBB contests saw significant changes this year. In a move to increase parity between the two contests, the name of the event henceforth will be the IML Weekend, and the event will include two contests: IML and IMBB. Other changes involve introducing bootblack contestants alongside IML contestants, and including bootblack contestants in many of the weekend’s behind-the-scenes contestant events and gatherings. The IMBB contest gained a new coordinator (Jeremy Morris, from Des Moines, Iowa) and a new logo designed by Twin Cities–based designer and photographer Andrew Bertke. This year’s IML weekend was the first since the passing of Chuck Renslow, IML’s legendary founder. A respectful display at the IML Leather Market featured documents and artifacts from Renslow’s life. Throughout the weekend, Renslow’s traditional speaking opportunities were handled by Jon Krongaard, President of International Mr. Leather. During the weekend, Krongaard detailed Renslow’s final legacy to the leather community: the IML weekend will continue under the ownership of the Renslow Charitable Trust and will become a fixed and direct funding source for the Leather Archives & Museum. This year’s IML weekend was the most international ever, with contestants from 14 countries in North and South America, Europe and the Middle East. Fully, 25 percent of this year’s contestants were from outside the United States.

Left to right: IML first runner-up, Sandro Cossero, Mister Leather Belgium 2017; the new International Mr. Leather 2018, James Lee, Mr. Kentucky Leather 2017; the New International Mr. Bootblack 2018, Lucky Rebel, Mr. Oregon State Leather 2016; and IML second runner-up, Stephan Ferris, Mr. Friendly San Francisco 2018.

For the first time, contestant announcements and questions throughout the weekend were translated into the eight languages spoken by the contestants. All official contest events were held at the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University. The host hotel, and site of the Bootblack competition and Leather Market, was the Congress Plaza. Thursday evening’s opening ceremonies and contestant introduction were unusual in that the audience joined the contestants on the stage of the theater. Audience members were seated in chairs facing the auditorium, giving them a contestant’s-eye view of the huge and magnificent space. Friday evening’s Flashback event, held at the host hotel, took the place of the titleholder roasts of previous years. Outgoing titleholders Ralph Bruneau, International Mr. Leather 2017, and Ryan “Pawlish” Garner-Carpenter, International Mr. Bootblack 2017, had a chance to hear and share stories from their title year. Ryan Coit, Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2017 and Twin Cities– based photographer, was one of the speakers who offered reminiscences at Flashback. On Saturday afternoon, the Titans of the Midwest presented four Kink U educational ses-

Buster, Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2018, shown during the Speech portion of the IML contest

sions, including “Photographing the Community,” a panel discussion featuring photographers Bertke and Coit along with Carmelle La Sirena, Bayard Matty and D.S. Trumbull, who also moderated the discussion.


Sir Randy Ingram-Lile, Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2018, shown during the Speech portion of the IML contest.

Saturday evening’s Pecs and Personality Physique Prejudging portion of the contest saw not one but two contestants perform acrobatic backflips across the stage. (One of the backflippers, a choreographer, would become the new IML titleholder the next evening.) Sunday evening’s contest and show was filled with many memorable moments. Outgoing IML 2017 titleholder Ralph Bruneau sang his farewell (“Remember Me,” originally sung by Diana Ross) in a lavishly produced music video. Another touching video presentation was “The Legacy of Chuck Renslow,” which was preceded by almost every member of the IML organization being brought to the stage. For the evening’s third special presentation, fourteen previous IML titleholders (including David Kloss, who won the first IML contest 40 years ago in 1979), were brought onstage as a prelude to “40 Years of IML,” a video presentation with photos, video and audio of all 39 past IML titleholders. The winners of the Bootblack contest were announced about halfway through Sunday evening’s contest and show: second runner-up for IMBB, Sir William, 2017 Colorado Bootblack; first runner-up for IMBB (also winner of the Brotherhood Award), Pup Roke, from Cincinnati, Ohio; and the new International Mr. Bootblack, Lucky Rebel, Mr. Oregon State Leather 2016. At the end of the evening, the IML contest results were announced: second runner-up for IML, Stephan Ferris, Mr. Friendly San Francisco 2018; first runner-up for IML, Sandro Cossero, Mr. Leather Belgium 2017; and the new International Mr. Leather, James Lee, Mr. Kentucky Leather 2017. The audience greeted the announcement of Lee as the new IML with loud and joyful pandemonium. So many people were screaming and jumping up and down with excitement that I could feel the floor of the theater shake. And somewhere, Chuck Renslow was watching and smiling in approval.


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Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation Robert W. Fieseler Liveright $26.95 32 gay individuals perished in the New Orleans Up Stairs Lounge fire, their existence ignored. Fieseler succeeds in humanizing these “homosexuals,” a humanity almost lost June 12, 1973. On at least four occasions, one Roger Dale Nunez confessed, but was never charged. He took his own life the following year. Fieseler offers many other examples of the dilatory handling of the case, and the public’s shocking disinterest in the deaths. Homosexuality was a crime. Politicians and priests offered no comfort or condolence; a small Episcopal service brought swift retribution. Families wouldn’t claim kin, churches refused burials, mourning survivors feared being outed. But later that year, homosexuality was struck from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fieseler’s dense text is rich with names, dates, and interviews. A sad, angering, hopeful read. Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition Julia Kaye Andrews McMeel $14.99 A collection of Kaye’s webcomic Up and Out strips, Super Late Bloomer is a visual diary, confessional, revealing memoir of what it is to become oneself. This book follows her first early days of transition, detailing the social, emotional, and psychological effects of hormone replacement therapy. The pesky pronoun problems, the ups and downs of seeing oneself change—For better? For worse?—and learning to accept not just what one sees, but what one is. This deceptively simple book is a good beginning for the non-trans person wondering “Wha?” and for the transgender person considering what to do or taking the first steps. A relief and a blessing to know one is not alone, Kaye is a worthy companion with whom to share the journey.


The Fleur de Sel Murders Jean-Luc Bannalec Minotaur $24.99 Bannelec’s latest finds Commissaire Dupin in the Guérande, an idyllic peninsula on France’s Atlantic coast, home of the famed salt marshes. He anticipates a restful vacation and an opportunity, at journalist friend Lilou Breval’s request, to look for “suspicious blue plastic barrels.” Arrived at the designated salt flat, Dupin, pinned down by gunfire, sprawls flat in the mud. “Vacation” plunges into intrigue, murder, and an uneasy alliance with Sylvaine Rose, official investigator for the Guérande, and less than pleased with Dupin’s presence. Bannalec (pseudonym for the German author) skillfully blends the bare bones of the case with the lure of this near-mythical coastal area and its hard-nosed international business that exports the famous fleur de sel worldwide. One learns a lot about salt—and human nature. Unbound: Transgender Men and the Remaking of Identity Arlene Stein Pantheon Books $27.95 Humans connect through story, from images in the Lascaux caves, on down through Homer. Arlene Stein uses story to explore a new generation of transgender men through words of interviewees seeking to redefine and live their personal identities. They meet in a plastic surgery clinic in a strip mall in South Florida, whence Stein follows them—and their families—from pre-op, to surgery, to recovery and beyond. Ben, Lucas, Parker, and Nadia all were there to undergo “chest masculinization”, though Nadia is not planning to transition. Her position is an example of the many differing motivations Stein uncovers for any given individual seeking to remake their identity. Written specifically for general readers, Ubound offers actual words from the broad spectrum of transmasculinity evident in America today.

Ottessa Moshfegh reads from her new novel My Year of Rest and Relaxation

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2018 Lexus LC 500 Did you know that the Lexus LC 500 was once a concept car that made the rounds of the auto show circuit some few years ago? Given the track record of concept cars, they usually display the imagination of the design team. These expressions of the dreams of designers and engineers are usually sneak peeks of potential new products or a design language to be seen on production vehicles across the range. Still, no one would expect a concept car to be put into production with almost 100 percent of its design and engineering intact. There would be a change here, a part swap there. What you saw on the LF-LC concept back in 2012 has been transformed into the grand touring 2+2 coupe you see today. Lexus really does not need a flagship coupe in its lineup, not when SUVs and crossovers are ruling the market. What they saw in the RC coupe and the F Performance version—the RC F—was that Lexus can make coupes that evoke and provoke emotion and thought. Lexus also knew that this would be a niche product for a specific demographic, where they would look at more expensive grand touring coupes, such as the Maserati Gran Turismo and the Aston Martin DB11. It puts Lexus in a unique position to pull out all the stops on the LC coupe. You have two choices for almost the same money—the LC 500 with its V8 engine, or the LC 500h with a V6 engine combined with a new version of the Lexus Hybrid System. We chose the V8 for our review. Our reasons will become clear as you read further. The design is stunning. How the concept translated into a production model is still something to behold. It looks like a concept car, but there are tangible items all around. The door handles are new to Lexus, as they pop out once you unlock the car. The front end offers multiple shapes and angles to challenge the eye. The entire light cluster is in several parts, including the small three-bulb LED headlamp units. The hood is long, as you would expect from a grand tourer. The roofline is low… the taillights are amazing… the shapes continue all around.


And who doesn’t love those massive chromed 21-inch wheels? The eyes are treated to something exotic. Yet, it is somewhat familiar. The badge is where the familiarity starts. If you remove the badge from your field of vision, then you have something truly special and extraordinary. You have something befitting of its target audience. Equally exotic and luxurious is the 2+2 cabin. The LC 500 offered a leather-Alcantara upholstered interior that is just exquisite. The front seats alone are deeply bolstered, beautifully cushioned, and downright comfortable. Rear seat room is purely a suggestion, as they might accommodate up to an average-sized person in a pinch. The superb instrument panel offers familiar Lexus elements: the sliding dial/TFT instrument binnacle, the wide infotainment screen, the touchpad controller, and a few switches here and there. However, the steering wheel controls are new to Lexus as is the relocation of the drive mode controller to the side of the instrument binnacle. Even the gear lever has changed to a drive-by-wire design that came from the Lexus CT. However, this one is much better executed with an actual leather-wrapped gear lever instead of a toggle. One thing to note is that the trunk is very small—5.4 cubic feet that is shallow in depth. You can work around these items if you’re traveling solo or with someone else. The back seat can be used for duffel bags without any hard plastic. You don’t want to ruin the leather-Alcantara upholstery in the back if you can help it. This tester came with the 13-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound audio system. The infotainment system offers many options, some through the latest version of the Entune smartphone app, which can connect your Pandora, iHeartRadio, and other streaming accounts, while interfacing with traffic, gas, and other information to your LC 500. Otherwise, there are plenty of other connection and entertainment options available, including an in-car navigation system with Entune’s Destination Assist. What motivates this grand tourer is a 5.0-liter V8 engine with 471 horsepower on tap. It delivers the goods with a resounding exhaust note and superb acceleration. A 10-speed automatic transmission sends all of this power to the rear wheels. For fuel consumption, we averaged 23.0 MPG. In all, this is a great and powerful driveline. With most Lexus models, you do have a choice of drive modes to dial up the driving experience of your choice in the 2018 Lexus

LC 500. Comfort offers the softest suspension setting, but Eco will add more efficient transmission gearing for better economy. On the other end of the spectrum, Sport S will adapt shifting for better performance and control, while Sport S+ adds heavier steering weight and firmer suspension dampening. Normal is right in the middle of these extremes. You can customize steering suspension and transmission settings for your own kind of driving. Regardless of setting, the ride quality is very good. While it softens most of the bumps and road imperfections in the softer settings, it continues to be as smooth as it can be, even in the firmer setting. Handling is also superb all around. Cornering is solid with nominal roll and lean through the curves. The LC 500 knows it is a grand touring coupe instead of a track day superstar, thus the overall feel of the suspension befits its role perfectly. Steering feel is also good. On-center feel is solid, more so in Sport S+ mode. The turning radius is good, thanks to the addition of Active Rear Steering helping to tighten turns even further. The brakes are also solid, with sizable rotors front and rear. Stopping power is good in normal and panic situations. When you get an LC 500, you expect to have a lot of safety and driver’s assistance features on board. Standard on the LC 500 is an all-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Automatic Braking, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, and Lane Keep Assist. Available through the Convenience Package is Intuitive Parking Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Through

your smartphone is a series of Enform Remote apps, including one that monitors the LC 500 and sends mobile alerts if a preset mileage and speed limits were exceeded. To get an LC 500, pricing starts at $92,000. Our tester came with a sticker price of $105,060. The LC 500h starts from $96,510. As a grand touring coupe, the 2018 Lexus LC 500 is a great car. It drives superbly and delivers the goods at every turn. Not to mention, it is one of the sharpest looking cars we ever worked with. Every time we drove it, we had people looking at it and loving what they saw. We love the luxurious atmosphere inside, too! But, is this car for you? If you appreciate superb engineering, design, performance, and driving dynamics, and this fits within your lifestyle, it will be as rewarding as we found it to be.













Canary In A Coal Mine

A couple months ago, I spoke at a national conference for government clerks and finance officers in a mid-Atlantic coastal city. My topic was Gray Area Thinking®, a training on human inclusivity and on how to be welcoming to all humans, not simply trans or gay, lesbian or bi folks. I’ve given this training more than 300 times across North America to consistently wonderful reviews. Because the conference organizers hadn’t disclosed my transgender status in their promo for the training session, and because I had people from all parts of the U.S. in the room, I included in my introductory remarks this: “I’m aware that in our country today some people object to transgender people on religious or other grounds. I can’t imagine anything more difficult than sitting in a room for two hours listening to someone you object to. Thus, if you feel the need to leave the room, it’s okay with me; I won’t judge you. On the other hand, it would be great if you stayed since you might gain perspective and learn that really, I’m like you, just trying to survive the Human Condition.” (I know that some reading the above just winced—why in the world would I give an intolerant person an out? The answer: it never works to force something down another person’s throat. I’d much rather have in the room only people who are interested in becoming more inclusive, rather than people who resent me and the training.) Following my remarks, I looked around to see if anyone got up to leave, but all the 70 or so people in the room stayed seated. Good enough, I thought, and went forward with the training.

However, fifteen minutes in, I saw a person leave the room by a side door. A second person quickly followed. Seeing this hurt my heart but I didn’t let it show. Eventually, I completed the training and heard from several attendees how my words and inclusivity concepts touched them. I later talked to the conference organizer, who reported that she had spoken to the two people who had left my session. One person advised that yes, their religious beliefs prevented them from accepting transgender people. The second person thought I was forcing “transgenderism” on listeners. Again, hearing this really hurt. The conference organizer, though, was unfazed. “Ellie,” she said, “Some at this conference are from itty bitty towns where being different in any aspect is a problem.” I’ve encountered other instances where people have objected to me as a speaker or trainer simply because I’m trans. Several reviews from a training I did last fall in a small Iowa city included “God doesn’t make mistakes” and referenced me as “him” and “he.” Because of that experience, I started including the statement that I made at the clerk and finance officers conference. I share the above for a couple reasons. First—and this is most important—nearly everyone in that room two months ago was good with me, a trans person who doesn’t pass entirely (due to the incongruity between my appearance and voice), as someone to teach about human inclusivity. This has been the case time and again: people are consistently open to me as an authentic “teacher”; for many, I’m the first openly trans person they’ve ever

met. As we go forward in the months ahead, please remember that way more people are accepting of those who are “other” compared to the folks who aren’t accepting. My second reason for relating all of this is that I may be a sort of canary in the coal mine. The Supreme Court’s recent wedding cake-baker ruling gives a preview of a possible showdown between various religious sects and GLBT people. Other things that the federal government is doing—like appointing religious “liaisons” in each executive branch agency to report on how the government infringes on religious liberty—also point to how religion will be used as a weapon against our community. Thus, I may be a canary in this sense: if more people start bolting from or boycotting my trainings, it may signal that religious intolerance is taking hold. On the other hand, if all I experience through hundreds of talks (I’ve given more than 100 talks or trainings so far in 2018) are a few intolerant people here or there, well then maybe things won’t be as bad as one might fear. Regardless, I will continue to do this work, wherever and in whatever forum it takes me. Even with those who object to me, I’ll show kindness and compassion. That is right to do and just maybe, they will see me for who I am. A human. Just like they are. Ellen (Ellie) Krug is the author of Getting to Ellen: A Memoir about Love, Honesty and Gender Change (2013). She speaks and trains on diversity and inclusion topics; visit where you can also sign up for her newsletter, The Ripple. She welcomes your comments at ellenkrugwriter@gmail. com.

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Lavender Magazine 603  


Lavender Magazine 603