(Photo courtesy Debbie Allen)
JANU A RY 28, 2022 • VO L UM E 06 • ISSUE 0 4 • AMERICA’ S LGBT Q NEW S SO U R C E • LO SAN G ELESB LAD E. C O M
WeHo working to shut down scam pop-up COVID testing sites Demand for COVID-19 testing in Los Angeles County has skyrocketed during the past several weeks. Sharply rising COVID-19 case counts and positivity rates coupled with the aftermath of holiday gatherings and travel has led to an unprecedented demand for testing. scammers tributing and setting-up fraudulent COVID-19 testing sites, some of which are requiring those seeking tests to pay a fee and/or provide a Social Security number. As a reminder, community members should not have any out-of-pocket costs for a COVID-19 test or be providing their Social Security number. Free testing options are available, and public and private medical insurance companies are required to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and treatment without charging any co-pays. The City’s Code Compliance Division is working in coor-
istered by Fulgent Genetics. Appointments are required. People interested in getting a test should pre-register for pointment. • Pick-Up COVID-19 Testing Kit Program – Los Angeles County Health Services has launched a program to increase and facilitate access to COVID-19 tests. The program allows residents to pick up a PCR test kit and return it at designated locations, which includes the COVID-19 West Hollywood testing site at Plummer Park. Results will covid19.lacounty.gov/la-county-pick-up-testing-kit-program. (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)
Community members who are concerned about illegitimate testing sites may reach out to the City by calling the Code Enforcement Hotline at 323-848-6516. free to anyone in LA County, regardless of health insurance or immigration status. If you are experiencing symptoms or if you may have been exposed to COVID-19, viscovid19.lacounty.gov/testing. www.ph.lacounty.gov/covidtests. COVID-19 test. For people who cannot get a test through a healthcare provider, free testing options include: • COVID-19 Testing at Plummer Park – Los Angeles County coordinates a testing site at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The testing site is open each week from Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. adjacent to the West Hollywood Community Center at Plummer Park in the South Parking Lot. Tests are admin-
tion Front Parking Lot – Free walk-up COVID-19 PCR and at 780 N. San Vicente Boulevard, on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Please note, this location is closed on holidays.) No appointment is necessary. Testing is available at no cost to anyone four-years-old or older and is available regardless of insurance or citizenship status. • Los Angeles County Testing Sites Across the Region – If you are unable to secure an appointment right away and need a test quickly, there are many testing sites regionally. • Free Shipped At-Home Tests – As part of a new federal program, every home in the nation is eligible to order four free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are free and orders
FROM STAFF REPORTS
250,000 COVID cases in 7 days in LA County The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released the latest data on COVID-19 Saturday that noted the County continues seeing high rates of transmission
Angelenos who were both vaccinated and boosted are 25 times less likely to end up in the ICU than unvaccinated people, according to the county health department.
the 291,000 cases reported for the previous 7 days. “While the small decreases in our daily cases numbers, hospitalizations and test positivity are hopeful signs that the spread of Omicron is declining, we will need to remain cautious these next few weeks while transmission remains at the highest levels we have ever seen,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health. “With an average
your body every chance possible to get better because that’s what getting yourself vaccinated and boosted will do,” Dr. Thomas Yadegar, medical director of the ICU at
ter an infected person during the week. Avoiding crowds, keeping distance, wearing a high-quality mask, and washing our hands add layers of protection that can help each father who was rushed to the emergency room last week, when he began struggling to breathe. Cabrera, who is not vaccinated and his condition has only gotten worse with pneumonia in both lungs “He keeps saying, ‘please keep take care of my son,’” his But he was able to send his brother a text message from his hospital bed in Sherman Oaks late Thursday. “I can’t breathe again,” the message read. “I really regret not getting my vaccine, if I life here and I wish I have gotten vaccinated.”
02 • JANUARY 28, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
About 90% of those deaths were among residents who became ill with COVID-19 Countywide, COVID-19 patients account for about 30% of those in the county’s intensive care units. “Let’s not fool ourselves by not recognizing the danger presented by the Omicron variant which is capable of spreading with lightning speed and causing serious illness among our most vulnerable residents,” L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said The family announced Christian Cabrera’s passing on an Instagram post on Satur“He touched so many people’s lives because was a very loving, kind, generous, caring person with a beautiful heart and soul,” the post read. “Christian was always the one to make people laugh and bring joy into a lot of peoples’ lives… He’s always there for his BRODY LEVESQUE
Calif. mother claims school manipulated child into changing gender identity
Fox News host LAURA INGRAHAM and Center for American HARMEET DHILLON with client JESSICA KONEN (Screenshot Fox News)
04 • JANUARY 28, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
GOP-led Council to repeal LGBTQ law in Pa. FROM STAFF REPORTS The council of the central Pennsylvania borough of Chambersburg will meet on Monday, Jan. 24 for a likely vote to repeal an ordinance passed last October that safeguards residents against discrimination based on their sexual orientation, ethnicity or gender identity. Opposition to the ordinance is led by newly installed borough
is redundant. He points out that
this election to be on council we think we got a mandate from the
ing that the ordinance can make someone do. The most they can hope for is that the committee request the two parties to sit down with a counselor or mediator and talk about it. Quite frankly there is nothing that compels them to.
The political makeup of the council changed with the November The ordinance, which extends protections against discrimination to gay, transgender or genderqueer people in employment, housing and public accommodations, was passed in October by the move,” said Alice Elia, a Democrat and the former Chambersburg
issue. This should be something we are all concerned about.”
Commission handles discrimination complaints from residents across the state.
(Photo courtesy Borough of Chambersburg)
Chambersburg succeeds in repealing the ordinance, it would mark The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is one of the 27 states in the nation that have no explicit statewide laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JANUARY 28, 2022 • 05
LGBTQ groups stop short of criticizing Sinema By CHRIS JOHNSON | email@example.com Despite an out bisexual being among two Democrats responsible for thwarting President Biden’s call to advance voting rights, LGBTQ groups that supported Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) stopped short of criticizing her directly for impeding legislation at the top of progressives’ wish lists. Although the change being sought was limited to voting rights legislation, the refusal from Sinema to change the tively put a stake in the heart of the legislative agenda for Democrats, including any possibility of enacting LGBTQ civThe Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading LGBTQ group, declined to identify Sinema by name in an organizational statement provided by a spokesperson via email in “The core of our democracy is the right to vote,” the statement says. “The United States Senate must act on legislation to protect that right now, including passage of federal voting rights and voting protection legislation. Without its essential safeguards guaranteeing that the voices of all voters — including LGBTQ+ Black, Brown and other minority voters — will be heard at the ballot box, we cannot ensure that any other right, even those currently enshrined in law, will be protected in the years to come.” The closest the statement comes to criticizing Sinema,
cus. In contrast to the relatively muted response from LGBTQ
Sinema for re-election over her position on voting rights. Sen. KYRSTEN SINEMA
who half-heartedly supported his father’s work. “History will not remember them kindly,” the younger cording to PBS News Hour. One exception to LGBTQ groups declining to criticize Sinema was the National LGBTQ Task Force, which said the reform. Kierra Johnson, executive director of the Task Force, known for being a supporter of so many pieces of progresand women’s civil and human rights.” “I want to see better and more, right?” Johnson said. “Yes, we should be working to build bridges across the
feel that it is necessary for the Senate to take whatever ac-
you supporting, and what is the pathway forward?” Johnson added Sinema “owes it to the people who have supported her over the years to come up with these alter-
The Human Rights Campaign endorsed Sinema in the past as a candidate for U.S. Senate and hosted her as a special guest for fundraising and promotional events. It should be noted, JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s senior vice presi-
Asked whether the Task Force has done any outreach to Sinema, Johnson said the organization is “in the process of trying to meet with her folks” and looking at ways to bring to her voices from LGBTQ movement community leaders.
Asked whether HRC’s position was informed by Winterwho they have worked for, we continue to believe that it is necessary for the Senate to take whatever actions are federal voting reform.”
that LGBTQ groups should criticize her for being obstructionist. One LGBTQ strategist, who agreed to talk on condition
“Portraying an LGBTQ woman as a gender and sexuality traitor shows a deep disrespect for our history,” the stratelies, vulnerable populations and LGBTQ rights is grounded in the belief that building large coalitions is how to best would be against a change in decades of Senate precedent that would prioritize hyper partisanship over persuasion.” Biden’s speech in Georgia may have been more of an attempt to excite the progressive base as opposed to making
limited to voting rights legislation — may have been dead
is a touch worse than Trump at this point in his presidency.
to change Senate rules, however, appeared to have new strength after Biden’s speech in Georgia making a plea for
in the past, declined to make any declarations about withholding an endorsement when asked by the Washington Blade.
and the restrictive voting law passed in that state. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, asked about
said the administration would continue to push for voting rights legislation. “I would say that the president’s view, as you heard him say yesterday, is that we’re going to continue to press to get this done moving forward,” Psaki said. “And that means
with itself, policy will inextricably be pushed from the middle towards the extremes,” adding that she doesn’t support that outcome and “Arizonans do not either.”
tical.” Psaki pointed out Biden ended up having the meeting
proposed alternatives to the current state of Senate rules,
“that’s evidence of his continued commitment to keep engaging.”
“There’s no need for me to restate my long-standing sup-
The LGBTQ community, as with any issue, isn’t uniform in thinking Sinema should be obligated to have a certain
06 • JANUARY 28, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
ty will of course be a primary consideration for whether she receives our endorsement. That board vote would take Imse added as a U.S. senator Sinema is not currently up to hold her seat for another four years. and is not on an active ballot,” Imse said. “We last endorsed
Fla. House committee passes ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill ‘We are a normal, healthy part of society and we will not be erased’ By BRODY LEVESQUE
A Republican-majority Florida House Education & Employment Committee passed HB 1557, the Parental Rights in Education bill, colloquially referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill advancing the measure to the full House. HB 1557 and its companion Senate bill SB 1834, would ban classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, erasing LGBTQ identity, history, and culture — as well as LGBTQ students themselves. The bill also has provisions that appear to undermine LGBTQ support in
BRANDON WOLF (L) speaking with Florida Gov. RON DESANTIS (R) at the Pulse memorial in 2019. Wolf criticized DeSantis over the state’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. (Photo courtesy of Wolf)
LGBTQ-identifying students to their parents without their consent. sues or people in classes at school had 23% lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt in the the closet by policing their identity and silencing important discussions about the issues they
In an email to the Blade, Brandon J. Wolf, press secretary for Equality Florida noted, “Gov. DeSantis’ march toward his own personal surveillance state continues. Today, the Don’t Say Gay bill, a piece of legislation to erase discussion of LGBTQ people from schools in Florida, are your neighbors, family members, and friends. We are a normal, healthy part of society and we will not be erased.” Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the bill.
than 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. 85% of transgender and nonbinary youth — and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66%) — say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health. at school, 56% of transgender and nonbinary youth said it made them feel angry, 47% felt
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JANUARY 28, 2022 • 07
Lesbian couple murdered, dismembered in Mexico
Authorities in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez last Sunday found the dismembered bodies of a lesbian couple along a local highway. The dismembered body parts of Julissa Ramírez and Nohemí Medina Martínez were found in plastic bags that had been placed along the Juárez-El Porvenir Highway.
their existence through heteronormative discourse,” life free of violence in which they exercise all their rights, in addition to living without fear or fear of rejection and aggressions that can unfortunately escalate to hate crimes.”
women lived in El Paso, Texas, which is across the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juárez. Authorities said relatives last spoke with Ramírez and Medina on Saturday afternoon. A source in Ciudad Juárez with whom the Blade spoke Members of Comité de la Diversidad Sexual de Chihuahua, an LGBTQ rights group in the state of Chihuahua in which Ciudad Juárez is located, and Chihuahua Gov. María Eugenia Campos Galván are among those who have expressed outrage over the women’s murders. Comité de la Diversidad Sexual de Chihuahua on Wednesday also urged local and state authorities to investigate whether the murder was a hate crime.
nine women who have been reported killed in Ciudad Juárez since the beginning of the year. Personas de las Diversidades Afectivo Sexuales, an LGBTQ rights group in Ciudad Juárez, and feminist organizations on Thursday organized a protest during which participants demanded local, state and federal authorities do more to end to violence against women in the city. The press release that announced the demonstraJULISSA RAMÍREZ
NOHEMÍ MEDINA MARTÍNEZ
Blade contributor nominated for GLAAD Media Award
(Photo via Facebook)
Nohemí and Yulissa, a lesbian couple who was found in Juárez-Porvenir Highway,” it reads. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Botswana to abide by decriminalization ruling Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Monday said his government will abide by a ruling that decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations in his country.
A Blade contributor who wrote about his time in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody has been nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. GLAAD last week announced it nominated Yariel Valdés González in the Outstanding Print Article cate-
of the Botswana Penal Code that criminalized homosexuality. The Botswana government appealed the High Court ruling. The Botswana Court of Ap-
published last July. Valdés, 31, on March 27, 2019, asked for asylum in YARIEL VALDÉS GONZÁLEZ
(Blade photo by Michael Key) journalist in Cuba. Judge Timothy Cole in September 2019 granted Valdés asylum, but ICE appealed his decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Valdés remained in ICE custody until March 4, 2020. Valdés currently lives in Wilton Manors, Fla., with his boyfriend. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), a Batswana LGBTQ rights group that challenged the criminalization law with the support of the Southern Africa Litigation Center, to meet with GABIBO members, according to Agence France-Presse. Botswana remains one of only a handful of countries that have decriminalized homosexuality. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Global Equality Caucus hires former El Salvador Assembly candidate based on sexual orientation and gender identity has hired a gay man who ran for the El Salvador National Assembly last year. ty Caucus’ work throughout Latin America. Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Peru. Two events that are scheduled to take place in Mexico City in April the region. 08 • JANUARY 28, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
the threats from anti-rights groups that can during a recent interview in the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador. Ortiz, who is a member of Nuestro Tiempo, a new Salvadoran political party, received 10,615 votes when he ran for National Assembly in ly gay man elected to the country’s legislative body if he had won. MICHAEL K. LAVERS ERICK IVÁN ORTIZ (Photo courtesy Iván Ortiz)
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Trans ban repeal anniversary meaningless without fed’l voter protection By LENE MEES DE TRICHT, ALBI BRUNZELL & ESTI LAMONACA
Esti Lamonaca (they/them)
Lene Mees de Tricht (she/her)
Albi Brunzell (they/them)
10 • JANUARY 28, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
is a Yale graduate and participant in National Geographic’s ‘Gender Revolution’ documentary. He also is a member of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @isaacamend.
It is no secret that Americans hold their politicians in contempt
ADDRESS 8237 Blackburn Avenue Ste. 201, Los Angeles, CA 90048 PHONE 310-230-5266 E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org INTERNET losangelesblade.com PUBLISHED BY Los Angeles Blade, LLC PUBLISHER TROY MASTERS email@example.com 310-230-5266 x8080 (o), 917-406-1619 (c) SALES & MARKETING SALES EXECUTIVE CHRIS WILMORE firstname.lastname@example.org 310-230-5266 x9461 NATIONAL ADVERTISING RIVENDELL MEDIA email@example.com, 212-242-6863 MARKETING DIRECTOR STEPHEN RUTGERS firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-747-2077 x8077 EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTING WRITER KAREN OCAMB email@example.com NATIONAL EDITOR KEVIN NAFF firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-747-2077 x8088 EDITOR AT LARGE BRODY LEVESQUE California CONTRIBUTORS MICHAEL K. LAVERS, TINASHE CHINGARANDE, ERNESTO VALLE, YARIEL VALDÉS GONZALEZ, PARKER PURIFOY, CHRISTOPHER KANE, AUSTIN MENDOZA, JOHN PAUL KING, JOEY DIGUGLIELMO, CHRIS
the worst sin to have
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12 • JANUARY 28, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
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Best of LGBTQ LA 2022 By ROB WATSON
BEST DRAG QUEEN: RHEA LITRÉ BEST DRAG KING: PRINZE VALENTINO
EDITOR’S CHOICE: LANDON CIDER
(Courtesy of Prinze Valentino via Facebook)
EDITOR’S CHOICE: JASMINE MASTERS
BEST LA-BASED DRAG RACE CONTESTANT (SO FAR): GOTTMIK
(Courtesy of Rhea Litre)
(Courtesy of Redline DTLA)
EDITOR’S CHOICE: SHANGELA
(Courtesy of Beaches)
BEST DRAG SHOW: ELOTERIA AT REDLINE
EDITOR’S CHOICE: MAKEOUT MONDAYZ AT ROCCO’S CONTINUES ON PAGE 16 14 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JANUARY 28, 2022
Congregation Kol Ami is honored to be named “Best House of Worship” for this year’s Best of LGBTQ LA Awards!
Thank You! WINNER! We would like to thank the Jewish, Interfaith, West Hollywood, and LGBTQ+ communities for your continued support! Connect with us for our wide array of online programs, classes, and prayer services at kol-ami.org Rabbi Denise L. Eger and Rabbi Ross Z. Levy Are looking forward to seeing everyone at our home on La Brea! 1200 N La Brea Ave, West Hollywood, 90038 | KOL-AMI.ORG | @KolAmiweho | (323) 606-0996
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14
Best Bartender: cesar Morales at BeacHes
Best Happy Hour: rocco’s tavern WeHo
Beaches has become a gathering place for the social media creator and dorsed Cesar as a “super sweet and friendly” bartender who provides the very best in the hospitality Beaches has
Best of LGBTQ LA 2022 Rocco’s Happy Hour is set in a sexy cocktail lounge. Rocco’s provides with lots of outdoor space. Friendliness is a brand trademark, and LA Blade readers seem to agree (especially those who like to start dinking early.)
The Beaches motto: ‘Be wild and free and look good doing it.’ Located in the heart of West Hollywood, Beaches is a strong, conceptually driven and fashionable LGBTQ+ focused hybrid restaurant and lounge.
Editor’s choicE: BEachEs
Best neigHBorHood Bar: aBBey and cHapel
bars and VIP seating areas where guests can take a breather, have a cocktail or enjoy our one-of-a-kind California Cuban Cuisine. Enthusiastic patrons won’t be able to resist the pull of the energy on the main room equipped
“The bartenders are amazing, very friendly and conversational!” The Chapel is the gay dance club in the heart of WeHo, the sister venue of The Abbey. LA Blade readers have declared it the best of Los Angeles’ most popular gay nightclubs. Go and
Editor’s choicE: Eric Lutz at rocco’s
Best dJ: kiMBer cHronic
mous supporter of the community with numerous fundraisers, the founding of the Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing project and supporting numerous LGBTQ organizations.
Editor’s choicE: hamBurgEr mary’s
(Los Angeles Blade photo)
Best outdoor dining/drinking: rocco’s Launched in May 2019, Rocco’s is known as a popular LGBTQ bar, winning the LA Blade Best Happy Hour for 2022. Two years ago, Rocco’s won the Best Neighborhood
singer, songwriter, and music producer. She is known for working closely with the LGBTQIA+ community through her transgender activism. Named a “Hero of ing journey that began in the gritty heart ing her vision to life “of creating an arsenal of music that is married with visual themes of addiction, lust, and ferocity.”
Editor’s choicE: dJ morNiNgstar
an inclusive space with LGBTQ décor that celebrates LGBTQ pride and history. The LA Blade’s readers chose Rocco’s as having the best outdoor dining due to its continued
Best restaurant: Bottega louie
Editor’s choicE: La BohEmE
Best BruncH: santolina At Santolina, each dish on ry. The cuisine is a unique fusion of Tel Aviv meets California. Chefs Michael Teich and Burt Bakman infuse vibrant herbs into a health conscious (Courtesy of Bottega Louie)
named as Best Brunch 2022.
Editor’s choicE: hamBurgEr mary’s
(Courtesy of Kimber Chronic via Facebook)
Bottega Louie adds this year’s LA Blade Best Restaurant 2022 to their long list of awards. The restaurant, which seemed to tease us mid-construction for centuries, boasts sweet and savory gourmet dishes, and valet parking. “They make ordinary es one happy patron. LA Blade readers agree. It’s very likely the best place in Los Angeles to see and be seen. Hit the patio after you faint over the desserts.
Editor’s choicE: Night+markEt
(Courtesy of Santolina)
CONTINUES ON PAGE 18 16 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JANUARY 28, 2022
DanceForLife A DA N C E FE S TI VA L TO FI G H T H I V/A I DS A N D COV I D -1 9
Complexions Contemporary Ballet Jacob Jonas Company Lula Washington Dance Theater Luminario Ballet Lyrik Cruz Dance Ballet Red Body Traffic BENEFICIARIES
The AMAAD Institute St. John’s Community Health Stories: The AIDS Monument Tickets at http://bit.ly/DFL-2022
Saturday February 12, 2022 Nate Holden Performing Arts Center 4718 W. Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90016
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16
Best of LGBTQ LA 2022 BEST COFFEE SHOP: ALFRED COFFEE MELROSE PLACE Stylish yet whimsical cofjuice, plus salads, sandwiches, and pastries.
BEST HOUSE OF WORSHIP: KOL AMI In 2019 and 2021, Congregation Kol Ami won the award for Best House of Worship. In 2020 it won Editor’s Choice, and now wins the award again for the Best House of Worship this year. Kol Ami is an important leader in the Jewish, LGBTQ, and West Hollywood communities since its founding in 1992. Rabbi Denise L. Egers broke barriers to create a more inclusive Reform movement that has resulted in more LGBTQ inclusion at synagogues worldwide. (1200 N La Brea Ave, West Hollywood)
EDITOR’S CHOICE: METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH
EDITOR’S CHOICE: STARBUCKS
MOST COMMITTED ACTIVIST: JOSE RAMOS BEST RADIO OR TV STATION: KTLA This year, KTLA partnered with the Los Angeles LGBT Center and aired the “Love in Action” telethon hosted by Cher Calvin and Jai Rodriguez. The telethon supported the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The telethon has raised several million dollars and featured a host of LGBTQ celebrities and allies. LA Blade readers sent back the appreciation to KTLA by naming them the best station in LA.
EDITOR’S CHOICE: KCET PBS
BEST CANNABIS BUSINESS: MED MEN a smile and good energy at the front door. Customer service was excellent - they asked what I liked, then swiftly showed me options and pricing and I was out the door in less think I found my new dispensary. Thanks MedMen.” LA Blade readers obviously agree.
HIV activist, leader, founder and president of Impulse Group, AHF National Director of Sales, triathlete and former General Manager at Target North Hollywood.” An activist since he was 14 years old, Jose launched Impulse from his kitchen table in 2009. Of the name for the group, Jose explained to WEHO Times, “The name came because we felt that there was this very short time when we are about to have sex, that we may have the impulse to use protection or not; to ask questions about sexual health or not. It’s a split second when you make a decision about your health. Knowing that there is that urge, that impulse to act on your desires, we thought that that split second. We wanted to empower gay men to make the best decision.” LA Blade readers salute his commitment to our community.
EDITOR’S CHOICE: QUEEN VICTORIA ORTEGA
EDITOR’S CHOICE: CANNABIS CAFÉ
FAVORITE PUBLIC OFFICIAL: ROBERT GARCIA
BEST LGBTQ-OWNED BUSINESS: OUT OF THE CLOSET THRIFT STORE
Garcia celebrated his 44th birthday on Dec. 2 and is a gay Latino originally from Peru. First elected to the city council in April 2009 to much fanfare as the Coun-
When you shop at Out of the Closet, 96 cents of every dollar goes back into HIV care and services. The chain is owned and operated by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charity that provides medical, preventive, and educational resources for patients. “All of the proceeds go toward AIDS research. Love the cause and the workers were great,” observes one patron. LA Blade readers see it similarly.
gay person of color. He became Long
EDITOR’S CHOICE: THE ABBEY
BEST LGBTQ SOCIAL GROUP: IMPULSE GROUP LA Winning this category for the second year in a row, Impulse Group LA was founded in 2009 by Jose Ramos. ed to building a stronger and healthier community for gay men. Hosting more across the globe, Impulse seeks to create a brave space to engage, support, and connect our community.
EDITOR’S CHOICE: AIDS LIFECYCLE
18 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JANUARY 28, 2022
of the vote Garcia has deep ties to the Democratic Party’s leadership. In the 2020 campaign he was a prominent surrogate for Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign, later becoming a strong supporter of President Joe Biden. During the course of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic the mayor has acted in concert with California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s measures including masking mandates and the push to get Californians vaccinated. The pandemic tragically impacted Garcia directly when in summer of 2020, he lost his mother, Gaby O’Donnell, and stepfather, Greg O’Donnell, to COVID. His mother was a medical assistant who immigrated from Peru
EDITOR’S CHOICE: LINDSAY HORVATH CONTINUES ON PAGE 20
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Best of LGBTQ LA 2022
most LgBtQ-frienDLy city: west hoLLywooD
Best LocaL Pro sPorts team: the DoDgers The Los Angeles Dodgers franchise wins for a second year in a row. With six World Series championships and 23 National League pennants since its beginnings in Brooklyn in 1890, The Dodgers are committed to a tradition of pride and excellence. The Dodgers are dedicated to supporting a culture of winning baseball, providing a ence at Dodger Stadium, and (Courtesy of the LA Dodgers) building a strong partnership with the community. With the highest cumulative fan attendance in Major League Baseball history and a record of breaking barriers, the Dodgers are one of the most cherished sports franchises in the world.
(Courtesy City of West Hollywood)
For the third year in a row, West Hollywood has won the award for the Most LGBTQ-Friendly rants, unparalleled nightlife and shopping, and world-renowned events.” The inclusive city, one of America’s best run cities according to some, has multiple LGBTQ bars, restaurants, and nightlife and it’s no surprise that the LA Blade readers continue to choose West Hollywood as the Most LGBT-Friendly City.
Editor’s choicE: paLM springs
Best saLon sPa: shorty’s BarBershoP
Editor’s choicE: thE LakErs
Barber Shop has won the Best Salon/Spa Award for the fourth year in a row. With amazing products and great haircuts, Shorty’s is a local favorite.
Best reaL estate firm: oPPenheim grouP Made famous by the reality show, Selling Sunset, the Group is a professional real estate brokerage serving buyers and sellers of luxury propange County. The brokerage is comprised of a close group of talented Realtors, led by the
heim Group if it was not for the
products, all of them are ethically created and nev(Shorty’s Barbershop via Facebook) er tested on animals. LA Blade readers continue to sing Shorty’s praises, “When you walk out with some merch (the styling putty and soy paste are customer favorites), you can feel good about that, too. Besides the perfect cut, Shorty’s also puts a premium on (Courtesy of the Oppenheim Group)
search the history of the properties, have knowledge on the area of the property/rooms and work hard to sell a property. Now looking forward to the next season where we can see more beautiful homes. Well done Brett, Jason and team!”
Editor’s choicE: coMpass
Angeles, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.”
Editor’s choicE: oLE hEnriksEn facE/Body spa
Best car DeaLershiP: honDa of hoLLywooD Honda of Hollywood exudes excitement to help its Los Angeles clients. “We take the time to explore the features that are important to you and -
Best aLLy: DeBBie aLLen Debbie Allen received one of the 2021 Kennedy Center Honors and is receiving the 2021 Governor’s Award at the Emmys. She can now add LA Blade’s Best Ally 2022 to her award shelf. Allen -
Editor’s choicE: congrEssMan adaM schiff 20 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JANUARY 28, 2022
one happy reviewer. LA Blade readers have test driven them into being the Best Car Dealership of 2022.
Editor’s choicE: MErcEdEs BEvErLy hiLLs
CONTINUES ON PAGE 22
Best non-proFit: ariadne Getty Foundation
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Best of LGBTQ LA 2022 Best doctor/MedicaL proVider: aids HeaLtHcare Foundation cLinics
Editor’s choicE: los angElEs lgBt cEntEr (Courtesy of the Ariadne Getty Foundation)
Best Fitness or Workout spot: La Fitness
Editor’s choicE: Equinox Editor’s choicE: ProjEct angEl food, Equality california (tiE)
Best HoMe FurnisHinGs: LiVinG spaces -
Best pet Business or Vet: LaureL pet HospitaL
Editor’s choicE: rEstoration hardWarE -
Most LGBt-FriendLy WorkpLace: Los anGeLes LGBt center
Editor’s choicE: Wag (Laurel Pet Hospital via Facebook)
Best Grocery/superMarket: trader Joe’s -
(Los Angeles LGBT Center via Facebook)
Editor’s choicE: city of WEst hollyWood 22 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JANUARY 28, 2022
Editor’s choicE: Pavillions
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Best of LGBTQ LA 2022 BEST MUSEUM OR ART GALLERY: GETTY CENTER
EDITOR’S CHOICE: LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART (LACMA)
(Courtesy of the Getty Center)
BEST A&E VENUE: HOLLYWOOD BOWL Last year the Hollywood
been the premier destination Beatles to Yo-Yo Ma under the
EDITOR’S CHOICE: GREEK THEATER (County of Los Angeles)
BEST HOTEL: LE PARC
BEST OUTSIDE LA GETAWAY: PALM SPRINGS (Le Parc via Facebook)
Palm Springs is so interested in attracting the LGBTQ community that its Visiting Greater Palm Springs website calls out the communi-
The Le Parc Suite Hoboutique hotel in West phisticated suites and a Le Parc Suite Hotel’s embraces the local arts community and memori-
EDITOR’S CHOICE: SOFITEL BEVERLY HILLS 24 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JANUARY 28, 2022
EDITOR’S CHOICE: LAS VEGAS
CONTINUES ON PAGE 26
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Best of LGBTQ LA 2022
Best LGBtQ event: OutFest Each year since 1979, Outfestival in Los Angeles, held during LA’s Pride season and -
Best streaminG PrOGram PerFOrmance: Ben aLdridGe
festival. Today, it is one of Los Anevents, even hosting events across the country. It has garnered the attention of tures and Sciences and even helped open the new Acadelive and in person event, Outfest Legacy Awards Gala in
sionals the opportunity to discover their voice, provide the pathways to the visibility
(Courtesy of BritBox)
Editor’s choicE: EwAn McGrEGor- hALston (nEtFLix)
Best streaminG service: amazOn
of the public, and assure that their legacy will live on for Outfest strives to increase LGBTQIA+ visibility, strengthen understanding and create -
Editor’s choicE: dtLA ProudoutFEst
Best indie streaminG service: Brit BOx
2019 tops the list. The list includes 2019’s
Editor’s choicE: rEvry
26 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JANUARY 28, 2022
At 15, restored ‘Shortbus’ is still a movie ahead of its time By JOHN PAUL KING When it debuted in 2006, John Cameron Mitchell’s “Shortbus” – which this month receives a special 15th anniversary re-release in the form of a sumptuous new 4K restoration – was described by Variety as being “unquestionably the most sexually graphic American narrative feature ever made outside the realm of the porn industry.” ited videotaped submissions from wouldbe cast members – whether they were trained actors or not – who were open to the experience of performing in sexually explicit material, then collaborated with the chosen players over a two-anda-half-year process of improvisational workshops to create the story and script.
we haven’t quite reached a cultural place where the freewheeling and permissive sexuality it depicts has been fully embraced by all, many of the then-arcane sexual concepts it danger they once did in the mainstream cultural imagination. More importantly, the attitude of sex-positivity it champions has become far more widespread in our modern world, thanks in no small part to the increased visibility and acceptance of “non-traditional” sexual practices in popular media. There’s also an unexpected – indeed, almost eerie – resonance to be found in the crises with which its characters resignedly grapple. This is particularly notable in the sitive portrayal of his mental health struggles provides the emotional heart of the movie), but any of the characters could hausted world of 2022 and seem just as much at home. For all that looming heaviness in the air, though, “Shortbus” remains as refreshingly upbeat and unexpectedly joyful as it was 15 years ago – and that’s not just because of the sex. Mitchell, in talking about sarily seek to be erotic.”
the cast had already developed a level of emotional and physical intimacy that allowed them to deliver unprecedented authenticity. Almost all the sex scenes were un-simulated – and indeed, according to Mitchell, all but one of the many orgasms garner a lot of attention 15 years ago for its bold approach to onscreen sex, conconsidered a taboo in the mainstream. What’s surprising is that it generated relatively little outrage or backlash from the conservative crowd. There were detrac-
were exploring sexual frankness again, gretted the fact that most of the new ones were so grim and humorless. Sex seemed just as connected to negativity as it was for, say,
PAUL DAWSON and PJ DEBOY in ‘Shortbus.’
decry it as “pornography,” and it was banned in some foreign markets with draconian censorship laws regarding sexual content; nevertheless, thanks to Mitchell’s established reputation as an artist and the enthusiastic response it received at the Cannes Film Festival, the movie managed a reasonably widespread release across major markets in the United States without raising too many eyebrows, meeting with a mostly favorable response from both critics and audiences – at least the audiences who weren’t too squeamish to go and see it. Those who did quickly found themselves drawn into the lives of a collection of young Yin Lee), a sex therapist who has never had an orgasm, and her attentive but increasingly ex-hustler boyfriend who are looking to open up their relationship to others, and Caleb dominatrix frustrated over her inability to make emotional connections. Along with other sexual pilgrims of the New York underground scene, they come together at Shortbus, a weekly “salon” dedicated to art, music, politics, and polysexual carnality. At the time of its initial release, “Shortbus” felt for many – perhaps even most – like a glimpse into another world, an erotic utopia where sexual freedom and experimentation were not only “normal” but incorporated into a holistic view of life and used as a valid avenue for achieving personal growth. Seen today, what strikes the viewer most is just how far ahead of its time Mitchell’s purposefully transgressive movie really was. Though 28 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JANUARY 28, 2022
(Photo courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories)
military environment where sex was the scariest thing imaginable, which, of course, made would be sexually frank, thought-provoking, and, if possible, funny.” True to that goal, “Shortbus” feels for most of its running time like a light-hearted romp. sense of humor to the movie that pervades even when they’re not onscreen, and the colin a young potential hook-up that he was “once the mayor of New York City” – provide a constant stream of memorable comedic moments throughout. There’s even an overtly farcical sequence involving a remote-control orgasmic egg, which would not seem at all out of place in a 1960s screwball comedy from Blake Edwards. Still, to downplay the sexiness of “Shortbus” would be to ignore its most enduring legacy. cluding extended scenes of three-ways, orgies, rimming, cunnilingus, fellatio, self-sucking,
sometimes sex itself gets a bad name. To some today, any kind of sex on screen is exploitation… Let’s not let our need for safety and justice boomerang us back to our default and mysteries of our lives. No need to panic. “Let’s just lie back and think of each other.”
A fascinating tale of Paris and literature in early 20th century
If you love books and sexual freedom you’ll adore ‘The Paris Bookseller’ By KATHI WOLFE
In LGBTQ bars, men dance with men and women kiss women. In artistic neighborhoods, straight people dine and drink with their queer friends. Queer couples and throuples are among the leaders of the avant-garde. Yet, there’s some repression. Books are banned. You might think such goings-on can only be found in a present-day gayborhood or cultural hotspot. But, this isn’t just a 21-century tableau. It was the scene a century ago in Paris where queer and hetero artists and writers, flirting, dancing, making art, drinking, dining and partying together, created some of the most acclaimed writing of the 20th century. At the center of it all was Sylvia Beach and her bookshop Shakespeare and Company. “The Paris Bookseller,” a new novel by Kerri Maher, brings us into the creative, diverting world of Paris from 1917 to 1936. Many titans of modernist art and literature thrived there (often before they were famous) – from Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas to Ernest Hemingway to Ezra Pound to Andre Gide to Paul Valery to James Joyce. Some were French. Others were American, British, Irish, or Canadian expats. Sylvia Beach, a bookish American lesbian, who loved Paris, writers, books, and especially, her bookshop, was the friend, librarian, sometimes publisher, hand-holder – den mother – of this community. Maher has given readers a fab work of historical fiction. Much has been written about Joyce, Stein, Hemingway and their gang. But comparatively little has been written about Beach, who lived from 1887 to 1962. Beach lived openly for years with her lover and business partner Adrienne Monnier, and published Joyce’s groundbreaking novel “Ulysses,” which had run into censorship. “The Bookseller” is a fascinating tale of the dayto-day life of Shakespeare and Company, the cultural hub, that nurtured the post-World War I generation of writers and artists. Told from Beach’s point of view, the novel brings us inside Beach’s solar plexus as she delights in cafes and literary readings; strokes Joyce’s cranky ego and, later, with Monnier, faces the economic
hardships of the Depression. Beach was born in Baltimore. Her father was a Presbyterian minister and her mother supported women’s suffrage. Beach had two sisters – Holly and Cyprian, an actress who was also a lesbian. In 1901, Beach moved with her family to Paris when her father was appointed assistant minister of the American Church in Paris. She lived in Princeton, N.J., for a time when her father was a minister there. She then lived in Spain and worked for the Red Cross’ Balkan Commission of the Red Cross. As a volunteer in World War I, she did arduous farm work in Touraine, France. But Paris had captured Beach’s heart. “Nothing compared to Paris,” Beach thought on her return to the City of Light, “not knocking on doors with Cyprian and Holly and Mother for the National Woman’s Party in New York; not her first longedfor kiss with her classmate Gemma Bradford; not winning the praise of her favorite teachers.” If you like novels that make your heart pound with tension every nano-sec, “The Paris Bookseller” may not be the book for you. There are no severed heads. Gertrude Stein takes a few digs at Beach. There’s some snark. Monnier and Beach privately refer to Joyce as the “crooked Jesus” because he can be so annoying. But no knives are taken out. Yet, “The Paris Bookseller” in its cozy, elegant way has more than its share of drama. It feels relatable to today – when increasing numbers of books are being banned. Because being gay has been decriminalized in France since the French Revolution, LGBTQ people could live openly in post World War I Paris. Yet there was a backlash against this freedom. “Ulysses” was banned because it was thought to be obscene. Against this backdrop, a century ago, on Feb. 2, 1922, Beach published “Ulysses.” Maher deftly engulfs us in the exaltation, joy, pain, and financial difficulties that Beach endured in dealing with Joyce and publishing his masterpiece. If you love Paris, cafes, books, difficult geniuses, sexual freedom and censorship battles, you’ll adore “The Paris Bookseller.”
30 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JANUARY 28, 2022
‘The Paris Bookseller’
By Kerri Maher c.2022, Berkley | $26 | 336 pages