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November 6, 2013


SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED LGBT bars face cultural changes, but are far from being tapped out


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Serving the LGBT Community of the Rocky Mountains since 1976 3535 Walnut Street Denver, Colorado 80205 Phone: 303-477-4000 Fax: 303-325-2642 Email: Web: Facebook: Twitter: @OutFrontCO Out Front is published by Transformation Communications Group, LLC, a Colorado limited liability corporation and is a member of: Denver Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and Denver Drama Critics Circle. PHIL PRICE / Founder, 1954-1993 JERRY CUNNINGHAM / Publisher Email: J.C. MCDONALD / Vice President / Email: SARA DECKER / Director of Operations Email: JEFF JACKSON SWAIM / Chief Strategist Email:

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NOVEMBER 6, 2013



How bars brought us together


Reach Editor Matthew Pizzuti by email at matt@outfront, or by phone at 303-477-4000 ext. 712.



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Love it or not, lesbian and gay bars created our modern-day culture as we know it. From the time the first gay-friendly establishments popped up until the explosion of the Internet, bars were the dominant, and sometimes only, spots where it was safe for LGBT people to come out, let loose and find love and connection (anonymously if necessary), whether or not you already knew anybody you might bump into there. Activists and academia have their places when it comes to LGBT terminology and political goals, but our most foundational and universal connections to each other — to being LGBT — exist where we relax and have fun. The lesbian and gay bars are our first place we go to check out the scene in a new city, to narrow down our own niche in the community, to find new friends and relationships, introduce straight acquaintances to a big part of our lives, and often to have our very first tastes of what’s out there when we come out. In many cases bars have been the meeting places and even the driving force behind our activism: what’s often called the birth of the modern LGBT movement, the Stonewall Riots, are named for the New York City gay bar where that uprising took place. The first LGBT newspapers were called “bar rags,” distributed there, and that story includes Out Front. So many things about our culture — our drag shows, our subscenes and cliques, our slang, our gayborhoods, our favorite music — came from our bars and nightclubs. Decades ago that was all common knowledge. But even with more LGBT visibility outside bars today, it still makes sense. Regardless of sexual orientation, Americans of all stripes spend time in bars. By day we work, pay bills, and have families and home lives looking increasingly like anybody else’s. That place where we’re different, where we exist as a culture and hang out with people who “get” us, is the club or pub we go at night. Some shake their heads that our community is most active in scenes that are often associated with casual hookups, and always associated with drinking; it’s good that now they exist alongside alternative types of gatherings for LGBT people of all values and preferences. But being LGBT has historically come FOCUS

with a lot of internalized anxiety, and even today we all experienced some of that when we were “new” to being out — a drink or two can offer a helpful kick. It’s far from the worst thing we ever used for that! With so much influence over our social identities and lives, LGBT bar owners and managers have sometimes been looked to as political leaders — at times surprised to find themselves under similar public scrutiny, and always with a hand to play in the ways we gather and how we categorize ourselves into age or interest sub-groups. As a teenager, my first jaunt into a wider “gay scene” was at a Denver bar and club called the Fox Hole, where a $5 cover on special Thursday 16+ youth nights during the summer got you in for dancing and free refills of (alcohol-free) soda. Our circle was based on who went there: each week we carpooled or met in the gravelpaved parking lot to rally the group and introduce our straight female friends to our world, a loosely-bonded group of friends until college years pulled us apart. That was 2003, and ten years later Denver’s closest comparison is Thursday nights at Tracks, where the throngs of young people — far more representative and diverse than my own generation’s — have grown exponentially. Denver’s bar scene, from Aqua to X Bar, can take heart that the crowd now coming of age is bigger than any we’ve seen here before. So while online networking sites, school organizations for LGBT youth, an increasing number of daytime social groups and a general rising tide of acceptance are all expanding social opportunities into other realms, I don’t think LGBT bars are going away any time soon. I’m glad. It’s a good thing when communities have special places — physical places — where culture and connection can thrive and evolve, and influence is not based on being politically inclined. For many of us, LGBT nightlife is still what brings us to each other, meeting people we don’t come across anywhere else, but should. Whether you’re a regular barfly or it’s not your scene, I recommend stopping by once in a while to catch up.


Charles Broshous is an avid photographer whose snapshots have appeared in the Grand Junction Free Press and Denver Daily News, and here in Out Front for nearly three years now. Dive in front of Charles’ camera at LGBT bars and events around Colorado to be featured in Out Front’s regular “ On the Scene” galleries, or spot yourself or your friends in print on pages 30 and 31 and online at

Ashley Trego has been worshiping at the church of Bacchus for more than 15 years and is of the firm belief that all water should be turned in to wine for access in kitchen faucets the world over. An Out Front contributor for travel stories and mixology tips, she enjoys reading softcore pornography, collecting pez dispensers, and baking for friends and family. Find her tour of Paonia, Colorado on page 39 or more of her articles online at


Healthcare providers that ‘get it’ By Jeff Lubsen

Y HAS YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER EVER ASSUMED YOU WERE STRAIGHT? Have you ever been asked to get an HIV test prior to disclosing your sexual history? Perhaps your psychotherapist couldn’t relate to you after coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning? These are all forms of sexual or gender identity–based microaggressions, subtle negative attitudes and behaviors that make healthcare experiences less inviting for sexual and gender minorities. As a result, many LGBTQ individuals avoid the healthcare system altogether, missing out on important screenings, treatment and support that good healthcare can provide. I grew up in rural Iowa and figured out I was gay at age 14. I had come to respect my healthcare provider and believed that I could turn to him for support while navigating the challenges of growing up gay in a homophobic culture. Unfortunately my expectations were met

with judgment and disdain. I was told being gay meant I would be doomed to a life of misery, disease and loneliness. This was devastating to a young teenager. I remember feeling so isolated and alone, as there were few others in my community who would “get it,” let alone provide an affirming gesture of support during my struggle to fit in. Years later I eventually became a healthcare provider myself. I was optimistic times would change and that providers could be that source of affirming support I had so desperately needed decades ago. Times have indeed improved, yet I am still surprised by the number of stories I hear describing recent

encounters with healthcare providers who are heterosexist at best and homophobic at worst. Many of us in the healthcare industry realize that sexual and gender minorities continue to be overlooked and often systematically erased from the healthcare community. This is why a group of us decided to form an alliance of medical and mental healthcare providers who are LGBT-affirming. The organization is called the Healthcare Guild. We are a Colorado-based non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to improving healthcare services for sexual and gender minorities. Our website,, is a clearinghouse of health-related



resources for LGBTQ individuals and their families. We are currently building a network of providers listed on our website who are dedicated to supporting and advocating for the healthcare needs of sexual and gender minorities. Our service is free of charge and the website is a great way to find a provider who “gets it.” All healthcare providers should be culturally competent and sensitive to the needs of their patients. No one should have to settle for anything less. The Guild would like to hear about your experiences with providers, whether positive or negative. If you also need help finding the right provider for your needs we can help. You can contact us from the website or send an email to organizer@

Jeff Lubsen is the organizer of the Healthcare Guild and is a Denverbased psychotherapist working in private practice at Denver Psychotherapy, LLC.

NOVEMBER 6, 2013



Matthew Shepard Foundation turns 15 By Mike Yost w THE MATTHEW SHEPARD FOUNDATION commemorated 15 years of advocacy this October with Denver’s 12th Bear to Make a Difference Gala, an annual fundraiser that started in 2001 in a local gay bar. “It was on the second floor of JR’s where the pool tables were,” said founder Judy Shepard. “The drag queens got together and had local celebrities decorate teddy bears, and then we auctioned the teddy bears. We raised about $5,000.” Judy and her husband, Dennis Shepard, founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation (MSF) in 1998 after their son, 21 year-old Matthew Shepard, was brutally beaten and tied to a fence in a field near Laramie, Wyoming. Matthew’s death from those injuries sparked a national dialogue on LGBT hate crimes in America. The fundraiser has grown since its humble beginnings as hundreds of celebrities and political leaders have donated autographed teddy bears for silent auction, including Al Gore, Lady Gaga,

Margaret Cho, Melissa Etheridge, and at this year’s conference the event brought in longtime Denver news personality and meteorologist Mike Nelson, and former Star Trek actor George Takei. This year’s gala drew hundreds of supporters, friends, and family members to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, raising more than $40,000 in auction items alone. “It’s really fun because the people who come are so loyal to us and kind,” Shepard said. “The evening feels sort of like a family reunion.” In 2009, Judy Shepard stood next to President Obama as he signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. It by Charles Broshous took more than a decade of advocacy work to pass the hate crimes legislation — Shepard said the recent progress in LGBT rights is due largely to President Obama and his administration. “I think people felt they weren’t really allowed to speak out in favor of gay rights because the political atmosphere was so negative,” she said. “It took someone of personal strength, conviction,

Michael Madsen Your Denver Real Estate LGBT Specialist




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and political power for us to move forward in gay rights not just us in the movement, but with American citizens.” The MSF continues its outreach with Matthew’s Place, a website for LGBTQ youth who are looking for resources, support, and a place to share their stories with other youth. Jake Stallman, a 17-year-old high school junior from a small town in Iowa, writes for the site. “It all started a year ago when my mom got a phone call saying these kids were going to kill me,” he said. Stallman’s mother reached out to MSF, and Stallman began writing about his experiences at Matthew’s Place. His personal stories connected with other LGBTQ youth. “I got a lot of good feedback. If you told me a year ago I would be in Denver, Colorado, I’d probably laugh. I had just faced a death threat.” Stallman, who be- came the first male cheerleader in his high school this year, was acknowledged at the gala with the Spirit of Matthew Award. “I didn’t know true fear until those boys called wanting to kill me,” he told the crowd. “I lay in bed, crying, because I was so scared to walk out of my house, fearing that someone was going to shoot me.” “I made a secret promise that night to live for Matthew,” Stallman added. “I want to help change, educate, and erase hate.”


CAVP reveals innovative antiviolence programs at fundraiser By Mike Yost

THE COLORADO ANTI-VIOLENCE PROGRAM ROLLED OUT A PREVIEW OF A NEW DOCUMENTARY AND A PLAN FOR A CREATIVE NEW PROGRAM HELPING VICTIMS OF ANTI-LGBT VIOLENCE HEAL THROUGH ART AT ITS OCT. 22 FUNDRAISER, CELEBRATING 27 YEARS OF LGBTQ ADVOCACY. The third annual Rooting Down, Rising Up was a sold-out event at the Auraria campus featuring a sneak peek at Rainbow Warriors, the film produced by CAVP. Rainbow Warriors spotlights five members of CAVP — all of whom are LGBT youth of color or two-spirit people of color — sharing their personal stories of hope and finding support after attempting suicide. “We wanted to create a documentary that highlighted the ways that youth are surviving,” said Eleanor Dewey, director of youth organizing and the co-executive director of CAVP. “So it’s not just a sad, tragic documentary, but something to give other young people tools and tips. These are the ways that young people have survived and found healing and support in their own lives — and this is how you can create that in your life, too.” The strategic plan introduced at the event takes a three-year timeline that includes expanding services for those who have endured anti-LGBT hostility, “and not just providing crisis management and getting people resources when they need it the most but thinking about the ways we can create survivor programming that goes more in depth in healing and preventing violence,” Dewey said. Earlier this year, CAVP launched their action research project, a survey for Colorado youth covering topics such as sexuality, strategies on how to build safe communities, and how youth deal with acrimony. “The number one response when asked about finding healing and support after experiencing violence was talking to friends for support,” said Dewey. “And the number two response was making art, writing music, or doing some-

thing creative. We’ve structured our program to match that.” The program includes, for example, a printing workshop beginning Nov. 7 where youth will be able to print their messages on posters, t-shirts, and other pieces of art. “It’s a transformative process for the individual — finding their story — and it’s also a tool for education and outreach,” Dewey said. The Turnhalle Ballroom at Auraria’s Tivoli student center was packed with students, professors, political leaders, and local activists supporting CAVP’s work. “I think that the work CAVP does is unique in the LGBT community,” said Jon Ferguson, who works as a facilitator with the Denver PFLAG chapter and has partnered with CAVP education programs in local high schools. “They are working for nonviolence first, but what I see is that CAVP is a place where young people who are working on gender expression feel at home, are safe, and find a lot of support. I think that that’s an incredible, valuable thing.” Eneri Rodriquez, a faculty member at Metropolitan State University of Denver who teaches women’s studies, invited several of her students to the event. “I’ve been a long-time supporter of CAVP,” she said. “I’m LGBT identified and also a survivor, so for me, the work of CAVP is personal.” Rooting Down, Rising Up raised more than $13,500 and go put towards reaching more communities outside the Denver Metro Area. “We’re really looking how to strategically use our time and resources to support groups in more rural areas of Colorado that don’t have the same kind of resources the city does,” Dewey said. OUTFRONTONLINE.COM


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One Colorado report: LGBT people of color more likely to work full time, yet earn less on average ADVOCATES SEEK BETTER DATA, COALITION-BUILDING, TO SOLVE ARRAY OF REVEALED DISPARITIES By Mike Yost UNVEILING A REPORT SUGGESTING LGBT PEOPLE OF COLOR FACE MANY DISPROPORTIONATE CHALLENGES IN COLORADO, STATEWIDE LGBT ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION ONE COLORADO IS CALLING FOR BETTER DATA COLLECTION AND EDUCATION ALONG WITH RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN COMMUNITIES TO UNDERSTAND AND ADDRESS WHAT’S DRIVING THE DISPARITIES. The One Colorado report, Facing Barriers: Experiences of LGBT People of Color in Colorado, released in October, assessed data collected from needs assessments and health surveys of approximately 5,900 LGBT respondents in 2010 and 2011, with almost 13 percent identifying themselves as LGBT people of color. The report revealed that among respondents, LGBT people of color come out younger, are more often religious or spiritual, more frequently single, more likely to work full time but have lower annual average incomes, and report higher rates of a broad range of challenges known to impact the LGBT community as a whole. “The idea here is that we know for LGBT people of color there are unique challenges,” said Jon Monteith, Communications Director at One Colorado. “We wanted to highlight those struggles. I think the obvious question is, what are we going to do about this? What can we do as a community to take action?” One Colorado has already gathered a coalition of organizations including the Two Spirit National Cultural Exchange, Inc., the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLORR), the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization (CLARO), and the National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People. 10

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Part of the coalition’s plan is education and training programs for the LGBT community itself. “One of the things that’s missing is awareness about the way racism plays out within the LGBT community,” said Daniel Ramos, One Colorado’s director of organizing and alliance building. He said the next steps will entail “talking about these disparities and the way that they impact the lived experiences of LGBT people of color, and engaging LGBT white folk in becoming allies to increase the community in the work that we’re doing all across the state.” One Colorado’s report called for identifying and combating “microaggresions,” a term for subtle and often subconscious forms of discrimination played out in daily interactions. “Some of that subtlety plays out in healthcare,” Monteith said. “It affects both LGBT people of color and white LGBT people. It would be as simple as having a medical form that you’re filling out where there’s no option to reflect your relationship status.” Ramos said microaggressions occur within the LGBT community itself — in “the jokes and comments that we make that are stereotypes about specific groups, whether it’s people of color, people with disabilities, or people based on their sexual orientation.” An example of a microagression that affects the LGBT community as a whole, Ramos said, “would be when people say ‘that’s so gay,’ when they really don’t mean gay in its most literal sense. That’s a subtle form of discrimination.” Of those surveyed, 1 out of 20 LGBT people of color reported experiencing harassment on the street daily or multiple times per day — four times the rate of white LGBT people facing the same frequency of harassment. Additionally, 9.3 percent of LGBT students of color FOCUS

have endured anti-LGBT harassment daily or multiple times per day in the year before they took the survey, compared to 5.1 percent of white LGBT people. Monteith said one of the most striking findings of the survey was difficulty in the heath care system. “You have similar numbers of LGBT people of color and white LGBT people reporting they fear being treated differently by their provider,” Monteith said, “but there is a significantly higher number of LGBT people of color (6 percent) who report they have been refused treatment on account of being LGBT.” Disparities are also found in schools, Ramos noted. “LGBT students of color are more harshly disciplined when both race and sexual orientation play a factor in the disciplinary procedure of a student,” he said. “They tend to be suspended and expelled at higher rates.” Continuing into adulthood, challenges appear to include financial stability for some LGBT people of color raising families — University of California Law School think tank The Williams Institute reported that 32 percent of children raised by AfricanAmerican or Latino same-sex couples across the nation live in poverty. However, according to the One Colorado report, more LGBT people of color work full-time — 72 percent compared to 64 percent of white LGBT survey respondents, placing emphasis on disparities in paychecks. “Looking at people in Colorado,” Ramos said, “I think it’s in line with some of the national data looking at how race, sexual orientation, and gender play into wage discrimination and pay gaps.” A likely factor in those disparities is that 43 percent of Colorado LGBT people of color reported employment discrimination or harassment, and 20 percent reported facing housing discrimination, as


opposed to only 9 percent of white LGBT people. While 56 percent of white LGBT people surveyed were homeowners, only 34 percent of LGBT people of color were, another potential risk factor for financial hardship over time. Other disparities include an increased number of incidents of harassment from police officers or other civil servants, higher rates of experiencing physical abuse, and higher rates of homophobia in places of worship. In addition to educating the LGBT community at large about the issues, the coalition will begin working to gather more detailed statistics on the community’s experiences. One of the shortfalls of the previous surveys, One Colorado admitted, was the lack detailed and specific breakdowns of the data, resulting in the some ethnic groups being lumped together into combined categories in the report. “One of our goals for the next year is doing another needs assessment of our community to really delve into gathering better data that represents how diverse the LGBT community is here,” Monteith said. Future surveys will also include comprehensive non-English translations so that those who write or speak more easily in other languages are fully represented in the findings. “We want to identify and engage more folks so that there are better samples sizes,” said Ramos, “so that we’re really learning what some of those unique challenges and experiences are as we continue to develop our work in improving the lives of LGBT people in Colorado.”

r Read One Colorado’s full report online at


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As mainstream venues become more accepting, will there still be a need for gay bars to stay LGBT-focused?

Pieter Tolsma is program coordinator of Denver PIQUE, a sexual health and social support program for gay/bi men in Denver.

Keo Frazier is a local entrepreneurial and business leader, and the fearless founder of KEOS Marketing Group.

PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE – SO THE ANSWER IS YES. There will always be a need. Acceptance by society does not help find you a special person for your life; it doesn’t even guarantee you a hook-up. In an LGBT establishment, you generally know the sexual preference of the clientele, and you generally know their interests based on the characteristics of the venue. You don’t have to worry about hitting on a straight metrosexual the way you would at a place like the Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, or Denver Zoo — all of which exude a gay-friendly atmosphere, but where we cannot easily identify the LGBT among the patrons. There needs to be a magnet — whether for type (leather, lipstick, bear, drag, twink) or in general — there needs to be a place that provides a comfortable, safe locale where LGBT can gather and share and get to know one another and perhaps go on from there. How could I ever go to one of the hotel bars in downtown Denver and expect to meet and easily identify a gay patron? Even if the entire nation were to become “more accepting,” I would still want and need a safety net in which to explore social interactivity with other gay men. Gay venues provide that opportunity. George Gramer, Jr.

THE IDEA OF DISCRIMINATION AND SEPARATE BUT EQUAL NEEDS TO END AND THE GROUPS TO END IT ARE THE ONES MOST DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. It seems grand, but in fact it is simple: it is a simple notion of us no longer identifying each other by our gender roles and outward appearance. Gay establishments, straight establishments, green people, blue people — enough already! Aren’t you tired of trying to guess whether you can enter a place or not while holding hands with your lover or best friend? Aren’t you tired of wondering if you can behave a certain way because someone else might be watching? I am. I am exhausted with the notion that different is bad. I am exasperated that we do not celebrate each other. I am disappointed that we still haven’t learned to judge the content of one’s character first. All establishments should be open, accepting. All people should be loving, giving. Where does that begin? With you, me, us. We will never ever progress with this notion of separate but equal lingering in the background. I suppose I am challenging you as gay, straight, green and blue to choose to be better, choose to celebrate differences and choose to be open. This means that we all can go anywhere at any time and behave as we choose. I accept this challenge, do you? Keo Frazier

Pieter Tolsma

I HAD A COLLEAGUE COME TO ME ONCE AND BEMOAN THE DEATH OF THE GAY BAR. He said there was a time when one would never have seen a women, lesbian or otherwise, in a gay bar and if a straight man came inside it was only because he was “str8,” straightacting only, or otherwise not ready to accept his desire for other men. This colleague was angry and disappointed at the Denver gay bar scene and said he would not go out anymore because of it. Bring on the death of that gay bar. Any sort of establishment that cuts along the lines of what my coworker wanted is no place that I care to ever attend and must be one of the first things to go before equality can be achieved. If the LGBT community wants acceptance it must give acceptance and that means throwing the doors open and letting everyone inside. I believe there will always be a place where minority individuals gather when they want to share their special challenges. There is nothing wrong with that. When this place turns its shoulder on the communities that try to participate and revel in their identity and flavor, there is a problem. We need to love ourselves and our community identity and that means sharing it. If that means our bars are popular for everyone, it means we did a good job.

Iowa native George Gramer, Jr. is the president of the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans.

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NOVEMBER 6, 2013



Those beautiful, grey rainy days

Robyn Vie-Carpenter Photo by Flor Blake

Traditions often arise from things you did out of routine or necessity growing up. You probably don’t think about them much when you’re young — it’s just the way life was in your family. Eventually, your perspective changes, and things you took for granted develop a completely new meaning.

Take, for example, rainy days. When you’re a kid, rainy days are the death of a weekend. You only get two days of uninterrupted play, so rain puts a real damper (pun intended) on freeze tag, or walking to your friend Rhonda’s house to listen to music and talk about high school crapola. They’re a drag. On rainy days in my family, my mother, my sister and I used to get comfy in the family room, light a fire in the fireplace and watch black-and-white movies. Let it be a Saturday, or even better, a Sunday, and we would be content to while away the hours immersed in films with titles like Bringing Up Baby, Arsenic and Old Lace or The Philadelphia Story (Yes, Cary Grant was big in our house). Movies with pithy lines like, "You see, well, insanity runs in my family…it practically gallops,” were the perfect entertainment on a quiet, grey, rainy Sunday afternoon. While my mother, sister and I were low-key, my brother and father were much more dynamic. They could always come up with something else to do in the other room. Those days were restful and filled with laughter. Even when my father and brother were engaged in some activity, it felt cozy to have everyone home at the same time. It’s that irreplaceable familial feeling. I think that’s how it becomes a tradition — it feels good, so you want to repeat it as often as possible. Time being ever fleeting, now I’ll get text messages from my mother saying “it’s a black and white movie day.” Wherever I am, I’ll know that the weather has gotten chilly in Colorado and she wants to light a fire. It’s

been years since we’ve gotten to do it. We’re a bit scattered. That’s what growing up does. The older we get the more we look back fondly on days and traditions like that. It’s why Nick at Nite exists. It’s the premise behind the movie Pleasantville. We don’t remember what was going on with our grades, the finances, who was dating whom — all of those details are lost to time. What we remember is how we felt sitting on the couch, laughing at the idea of an heiress and her pet leopard named Baby, with the rain trickling down the windows and my mother’s chicken soup in the crockpot. Those kinds of fond memories are what makes us want to start traditions when we grow up to have families of our own. We want to feel that love and recreate it. These days, with the freedom to go wherever the wind takes me and with friends scattered around the country, I can easily avoid dreary weather. There’s always sunshine somewhere, always something to do and always someone ready to let me come visit. Yet I find myself wistfully looking forward to a grey day with nothing I have to do, and sense a desire to smell a fire burning — to keep me on the couch watching Netflix with my wusband. She’s not my mother or sister, but she’s family all the same, and we keep the tradition alive. Now I’m the one cooking the soup. Robyn Vie- Carpenter is a social columnist on the local and national LGBT community. r See more of Robyn’s columns online at or find her on Twitter@ TheLesSocialite.

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NOVEMBER 6, 2013




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felt obligated to tell about my recent HIV diagnosis, and I’d saved Mike for last because deep down I felt like I had contracted the virus from him. Mike and I had fooled around a few times before. We never talked about HIV status; I didn’t think it would be necessary because we were using protection. During our most recent encounter I felt the Scott McGlothlen condom break inside me. He didn’t seem to notice it except for maybe a new rush of sensitivity which then made him ejaculate before I had time to say anything. The room was dark. He slid the rubber off and flushed it — neither of us could actually see if it had broken. But about six weeks later, I went through that hellish seroconversion flu. “I wanted to meet with you today to ask you if you knew your HIV status,” I said. He looked puzzled. “I’m HIV negative. Why do you ask?” My heart sank. I couldn’t think of any other risky situation that could explain my diagnosis. Like a lot of newly-diagnosed people, I felt that not knowing how it happened could be emotionally torturous. And besides, I liked Mike. So in a way I would have liked it if I could have contracted this from him instead of some random jackass. “Because I just found out that I’m HIV positive,” I said with my head down. I still felt a lot of shame. He put his arm around me, saying things would be okay. After purging a bit about my fears, I confessed I’d believed I’d contracted HIV from him. Mike asked how that could have even been possible so I explained the broken condom thing. “How come you didn’t tell me when it happened?” he asked, frustrated. “I don’t know,” I said. “I was totally confused and in denial about it.” Mike started to get panicky. “Scott,” he started to lose his breath. “I lied to you. I am HIV positive. I am so sorry.” He continued to apologize and explain himself. “I just can’t let anyone know about my status. I thought being safe would have been enough. I never wanted to be responsible for someone else getting this. This was my biggest fear.” I could have pinned Mike as the bad guy for not disclosing and lying about it later, but in this moment I saw a man before me, anguished and broken by his own fears. I wasn’t sure that any of the rest of us were all that different. It wasn’t the moment for placing blame. Instead of lashing out against Mike’s mistakes I decided to take responsibility for my own. I was the only one who knew about the broken condom and could have spoken up and given him the opportunity to tell me about his status so I could have gotten Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) treatment. But I didn’t. And that wasn’t Perhaps as humans who Mike’s fault. are messy and fallible, we For many of us it’s easier to play are all just trying our best the victim than it is to take responsito desperately navigate bility. Yet after having gone through HIV, nothing about life felt black and these shades of grey. white anymore. Perhaps as humans who are messy and fallible, we are all just trying our best to desperately navigate these shades of grey. So while most people would have gotten furious, I had never felt more connected to another human being in my whole life. Mike cancelled his plans for the rest of the evening so we could bond in our newfound chaos. As night came upon us, we laughed and cried together while ordering take-out and pondering about the mayhem of life. Without a need for anger or blame, the only forgiveness either of us needed was for ourselves.


Scott McGlothlen is a cultural columnist on life as a HIV-positive gay man. r See more of Scott’s columns online at or contact him at OUTFRONTONLINE.COM


NOVEMBER 6, 2013




SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED LGBT bars face cultural changes, but are far from being tapped out By Nic Garcia • Photos by Evan Semon

e It’s a familiar scene: as barbacks flip on the lights, Donna Summer’s classic “Last Dance” belts from the speakers throughout the Country Western bar at 900 E. Colfax. Security ushers patrons on the patio inside as they take the last puffs of their Pall Mall’s and guzzle the last of their 32 ounce pitchers of Bud Light. Those hoping to get in one more spin on the dance floor, like one woman from Montana, are reluctant the night has come to an end and they parade around the hardwood as if it was just the beginning of the evening. Those hoping to get lucky take one more stop on the sidewalk outside. Bands of friends make plans for breakfast. “Pete’s?” “The Denver Dinner?” They jump in their cars or cabs, others walk. Inside, Drew Gardiner, Adam Poppens and more than a dozen other employees are cleaning up the remnants of Friday night. They wash glasses, pick up bottles. Another crew will sweep, mop, disinfect as the sun rises. The next afternoon I find Charlie’s General Manager John Nelms on the patio. It’s a warm October afternoon, the bar is offering a $5 beer bust. The crowd is a mix of off duty employees, regulars, a few pockets

of friends. One appears to be celebrating a birthday. Others, just daydrinking in Denver. Nelms and I find a spot inside away from the Saturday congregation. Business is good, he tells me. It’s an observation repeated from a half-dozen gay bar managers and owners, but one I hadn’t been expecting given the rapid cultural changes in the LGBT community, especially for a skeptic like me. Within the last five years Denver’s gay and lesbian culture hasn’t seen this much cultural upheaval since the AIDS epidemic when a generation of leaders and community members died. The city has rapidly become more accessible and inclusive, and now the most unabashed same-sex couples can hold hands walking through Larimer Square and have dinner in Wash Park as they can in the traditional safe haven of Capitol Hill. New mobile apps with geolocation services allow gay men the ability to find one another for dates and relationships without ever leaving the couch. And as our community and political fight matures — from gay liberation in the 1970s to full marriage equality in the 2010s — more gay men and lesbians are finding themselves farther away from the gayborhood and in suburbs raising families.



Charlie’s 1:45 a.m. • Saturday, Oct. 19

NOVEMBER 6, 2013

There was time when all you The most basic role of a gay bar has always been its ability to foster had to do to make money as a gay a safe place for the LGBT commu- bar was open your door, Nelms nity. In the days before civil unions said. But these days “you have to and Grindr it was the only place work harder.” Throughout our conversation men and women of the community could gather and know there was Nelms seems as much in transition safety in numbers — and if they as his business model. He goes back found someone to share an evening and forth between discussing all the with or just make a new friend, all good the community has done for itself and the City of Denver to get to the better. As the world outside the dimly this point — some of those changes lit gay bars of the Mile High City were even born out of Charlie’s, evolves, the question bears asking: including the election of Denver what are bar owners and managers Mayor Federico Pena, the lobbying doing inside to keep the kegs flowing for a police precinct in the Capitol as usual? Hill neighborhood, and having a “Our community has fought hard seat at the table of a number of for equality and that has changed civic associations like Capitol Hill the way gay bars do business,” United Neighborhoods — and wresNelms said. “It’s tling with how good socially, but he’ll continue to As the world outside challenging for employee his staff the dimly lit gay bars business. We have of 24. of the Mile High City to stay on our toes “It will be the evolves, the question and keep thinking survival of the fitoutside the box.” test and smartest,” bears asking: what As evidence, he says. But if the are bar owners and Nelms rattles off managers doing inside community — and a series of steps by extension Charto keep the kegs Charlie’s has taken lie’s — can survive flowing as usual? including summer the AIDS epidemic pool parties, new — the time period staff and a new monthly Sunday night his business saw the biggest drop party, Flesh, a male review show in in business, he says — Charlie’s can vein of the movie Magic Mike. survive anything. “I’ve seen more


death in my life than some people who go to war.” As Nelms puts it: “No matter how gay it gets in the straight world, we still need an outlet. When (my customers) walk through the doors they know it’s safe here. It’s natural.” Since Charlie’s opened in 1981 in its original location on far East Colfax, its owners and managers have played a part in opening two other bars — Miss C’s, which has since closed, and the R&R, which is still open. The establishment has born the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association and, in part, the International Gay Rodeo Association. Hundreds of thousands of gay men and women have line danced and two-stepped across the only dance floor in a nearly 1,000-mile radius that was built just for them. The legacies and memories are too many to count. I ask Nelms, who himself has seen three or four generations of customers, if there will always be a need for gay bars. “I hope so.”

The Wrangler 4:45 p.m. • Saturday, Oct. 19

e After my conversation with John Nelms, I visit with The Wrangler’s General Manager Phil Newland. He started at The Wrangler in 2005 as a bartender. At the time, it was his

second job. He was a teacher Monday through Friday. But in December of last year he left the classroom for the adult playground that is the bar at 17th Avenue and Logan. When I first met Newland earlier this year he said his mission was to “take back the night.” And the fruit of his labor is panning out, he says, but not without the challenge of Scruff and Growlr, mobile apps that connect his customer base when they’re not at the Uptown establishment. “The business has changed, that just being open isn’t good enough.” Events, not drink specials, are driving the business, Newland said. “We have to give our customers a reason to get off the couch.” So, there’s poker on Mondays, free pool on Tuesdays and trivia on Wednesdays. The weekends feature different themes and dance parties. Newland and I are sitting in the back bar, which is traditionally closed during the day. It’s undergoing a remodel. Newland said part of his formula is to put more money back into the business and keep true to his brand while expanding his base — a thin line to walk. “I want a classy place. Muscular, classy. Industrial, but not cold,” he said, describing his bar’s brand. The Wrangler’s business has been a bit of a rollercoaster, but nevertheless trending up. Coupled with smart

budget decisions, profit remains Fostering community is just one good. The Wrangler has been able of the reasons Newland has taken to keep prices flat — the last major a leadership role in the recently reprice increase was three years ago formed Colorado GLBT Tavern As— and continues sociation, formerly to employee 43 known as the Jr.’s was for the people. Fifteen are Tavern Guild. professionals. The full time. The Associaleather crowd cruised And while tion, made of more at The Triangle. Drag Newland is shoulthan a dozen of dering the financial Denver’s LGBT queens dominated well being of his bars including X the stage at BJ’s. company, includBar, Broadway’s But all three are gone ing how to continue and Hamburger now, closed upon to provide health managements’ request. Mary’s, is planning insurance for his citywide events employees, he also and at least one sees the question of the future of gay fundraiser for the recent victim of a bars at much higher level. hate crime, Jared Olson. “If the community wants to stay “We, as a bar community, are funded, they’ll have to continue to smart,” he said. “But keeping a bar support gay bars,” he said. open is so much more than just Newland speaks frankly: his slinging a good drink. Denver is establishment has donated con- growing and changing faster than siderable capital to nonprofits like the city can handle.” the Denver Gay and Lesbian Flag And the association is hoping to Football League, the Rush Rugby stay ahead of the pace. team and various LGBT softball “The gay bars aren’t going to go leagues and most recently sponsored away, but our role is going to shift,” a lesbian couple to participate at the Newland said. International Gay Rodeo in Dallas. To what exactly? Newland isn’t And that’s just the head off the beer. sure. But he’s committed to the cause. Each Sunday The Wrangler donates a “There’s nothing like walking into significant portion of its beer bust to a bar and knowing 99 percent of the nonprofits like the Alexander Foun- men there are gay. This is where dation, the Rocky Mountain Rain- your family comes.” beaus and Mile High Freedom Band. e Continued on next page



NOVEMBER 6, 2013


Boyztown 12:35 a.m. • Saturday, Oct. 19

e Just as Sophie Harlow is getting a birthday lap dance from one of the hunky dancers, Nic Redavid, a friend from Fort Collins, walks through the front door at Boyztown. He, his fiancée and friends were supposed to see Pink in concert. The pop singer might have canceled on Denver, but Redavid and Co. didn’t. “The atmosphere in Denver is more of a production,” Redavid said, comparing the metropolitan scene to that of his rural college town. “I feel more judged in Denver.” Not that it ever stopped him from tearing up either town in his early 20s. (He’s on a first name basis with the bartender at Boyztown.) I first met Redavid when we were both 21. We shared the same social circle along the Front Range. Now approaching 30, Redavid is spending more time in Fort Collins. “Fort Collins is becoming more accepting,” he said. “Society is changing. We don’t need to segregate ourselves anymore. They’re getting used to seeing me and Adam together.” Earlier in the evening, Boyztown proprietor Randy Long took a deep breath before we began chatting. “I see it,” he said, discussing the sea change in attitudes toward the LGBT community and the potential impact on his business and that of his colleagues. But the tide hasn’t come in all the way. “We can pass all the laws we want, but we can’t pass laws to change people’s minds.” He cites an article he found online about major brands that have donated to anti-LGBT causes and are far from inclusive in their own corporate policies. He, too, references the recent Denver man who was a victim of a hate crime during the Labor Day Weekend. “He was leaving a straight establishment,” Long emphasizes. Of all the managers and owners I interviewed, Long is the most stead-

fast and sure of his business. While he concedes a little ground, he believes most of the gay bars which have closed in the past decade have either been due to poor management or due to the natural order of business. “Sometimes we try to make our business model more complicated,” Long said. His recipe is the same today as it was when he opened in 2005: a safe, welcoming and respectful place for all walks of life. “Gay bars will always be around,” he said. “We might have the freedom to go where we want, but not the freedom to act gay.” Inside I meet a tourist from Austin, Texas. He won’t share his real name because he’s in the “public eye.” But it’s his eyes that won’t stop looking at the man ripping his clothes off on stage. “When you do this, here (at a gay bar), it’s for real. Online is bullshit.”

Li’l Devils 10:45 p.m. • Friday, Oct. 18

e Tony Fleith, owner and manager of Li’l Devils, is behind the bar fixing cocktails when I arrive. One of Denver’s newest gay bars, it opened in the South Broadway space vacated by The Barker Lounge, another gay bar that relocated to Santa Fe Drive, Dec. 28, 2012. Fleith is no stranger to the bar business — gay or straight. He has a following 20 years in making. He’s tended bar at some of the aforementioned establishments, in LoDo and at hotels across the city. “I don’t know if there is enough of the right type of gay bar,” Fleith said. Like many of the other managers I spoke with, Fleith is trying to figure out the right formula. But for now, he’s seeing success in what he calls an upscale neighborhood bar. “We’re heading in the right direction,” he said. Knowledgeable bartenders, a

Black Crown 18

NOVEMBER 6, 2013


Boyztown “The scene is changing,” Conerly friendly staff and an open atmosphere is part of Fleith’s business. said. “It’s more accepting, there’s And while Fleith hopes to capi- more mixing.” He’s talking about gays and talize on his location — south of Downtown and north of Interstate straights co-mingling, as much as he is talking about sub25 — he’s also open identities of the exto considering his pansive LGBT combar, and other gay “The gay bars munity inhabiting bars, as destina(of the past) ran their the same space. tions rather than course. Those bars did There are fewer regular haunts. not provide what the niche gay bars then “The gay bars (of gay community wants. before, he said. the past) ran their Only a decade course. Those bars We have to give the gay person a reason ago the city’s social did not provide to come back.” scene was divided what the gay comamong bars for munity wants. We particular types have to give the gay of men and women based on aesperson a reason to come back.” Li’l Devils served both functions thetic and personal tastes. Jr.’s was this evening — convenience and for the professionals. The leather destination — for Ben Slingsby, crowd cruised at The Triangle. Drag who lives near the Tech Center. He queens dominated the stage at BJ’s. and a friend stopped in for a drink But all three are gone now, closed upon managements’ request. after a visit to a haunted house. As for Rodriguez, who has spent more time traveling the world Black Crown than he has in Denver, there aren’t 10:05 p.m. • Friday, Oct. 18 enough options to exercise his social e Less than 24 hours earlier, skills. He believes as Denver continBlack Crown patrons Drew Conerly ues to grow — its becoming one of and Yulio Rodriguez had been the most popular cities among milsurrounded by men in revealing lennials — there will be a greater jock straps and the most fashion- demand for trendy gay bars. “I’d like to see another bar able underwear of the day at The Eagle for underwear night. Tonight similar to X Bar,” he said in his partthey’re surrounded by an equally Cuban, part-British accent. striking — yet startlingly different — ambiance. Owned and operated Blush & Blu by Mark Cameron, a fixture in gay 9:33 p.m. • Friday, Oct. 18 Denver’s social scene for decades, Black Crown is not your grand- e As far as location goes, there was father’s piano bar. Right at home only one option for Miriam Hegler’s among shops in the South Broadway to celebrate her birthday: the bar District, Black Crown serves a clien- at Colfax Avenue and Franklin. tele equal parts gay, straight and Blush & Blu was the only option, antique collector. not because there is no other bar Conerly and Rodriguez are there that specializes in accommodating for a friend’s going away party. In lesbians in Denver, but because for another room is a jazz band. Sitting Hegler and her partner Adriana next to the ensemble is a pair of Feil, Blush is their “Cheers.” transgender women. Upstairs a “I’m most comfortable here,” party of eight — we assume het- Hegler tells me as Feil fawns over erosexual — is celebrating a gothic the last minute details of the party. birthday fit for a zombie. e Continued on Page 20



NOVEMBER 6, 2013


Blush & Blu While most weekdays Hegler and Feil can be found closer to their home at a Denver University neighborhood bar for happy hour, for special events they want to celebrate with family on what they’d consider friendlier territory. “We feel fine at The (Wash Park) Tavern, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt out of place, but…” Hegler said, there’s still another level of ease at an LGBT establishment. There certainly isn’t a shortage of comfort Friday night at Blush. Every seat at the bar is taken, in a second room, where karaoke is about to start, a group of women shoot pool. But the scene is a far cry from the days of The Wave, a now-closed bar once owned Jody Bouffard, the entrepreneur behind Blush. The Wave owned Wednesdays. The dance club featured a $3 cover with $1 wells all night. Tonight, Bouffard slips out from behind the bar, darts outside to mingle with some customers smoking outside, then back inside to pick up glasses and greet customers. For Bouffard, this has been business as usual for her entire adult life. She first started as a barback at the Elle when she 19. Since 1996 she has either worked at or owned bars for the LGBT community. She’s seen them come and she’s seen them go — including her own. (Bouffard said she and her partner at the time closed The Wave for personal reasons.) And in almost every instance an LGBT bar has closed, it’s been replaced by straight establishments. While there is no denying Bouffard’s business prowess, her recent strategy is to allow the community of women who support her business to build their space. All of her regular offerings, including yoga, karaoke, an open mic night and an improvisation comedy show, came from recommendations from her customers. 20

NOVEMBER 6, 2013

“Things have changed since I’ve been here,” she said. But one thing hasn’t: “If the community doesn’t support LGBT bars, they will shut down and the space will be sold to a straight person and it will be a straight place.” Bouffard is certain her future is as bright as the lit candles on Hegler’s birthday cake. “I plan on having this bar for the next 10 to 15 years,” she said.

Tracks 8:38 p.m. • Thursday, Oct. 24

e As routine as last call at Charlie’s, you can set your clock to 8:45 p.m., Thursday, when teenagers begin to line up in front of Tracks for what us older folks call “milk and cookie night.” (The official name of the event is “Superstar.”) Until recently, Tracks was the only LGBT bar in Denver that hosted an all-ages night. Two years ago, the Sunday Climax Party at Vinyl opened its doors to those between the ages of 18 and 20, and this past summer X Bar followed suit. While the kids may encroach the adult table Sundays at the latter, they run the show Thursday nights at the prior. The first in line this particular Thursday are Chelsey Stack and Danielle Blaskovics, both 20, and the freshly minted 21-year-old Erin Weigang. As if they needed a reason to go out, Stack just ended a threeyear relationship. “We come here almost every Thursday,” Weigang said. The trio is from Fort Collins. “It’s nice to come here and just be accepted,” Blaskovics, who is bisexual, said. “To be honest, I had never seen a transsexual before I came here. There is much variety. I could never see this much variety on Facebook.” Or at The Church, another Denver nightclub that hosts an all ages party, Blaskovics said. COVER STORY

“I brag about this place,” Blaskov- Austin Brown, 18. Oellermann is ics jumps up and down as security bisexual, Bienhart and Brown are guards behind her make the final straight. All three are from transpreparations for the evening. plants from Billings, Mont. Erik Arredondo, the general As I speak with them, a security manager of Tracks and the Exdo employee walks by to check their IDs Event Center, has plenty to brag and marks the tops of their hands about himself. Over the last year, with gigantic Xs to denote their Tracks has seen a steady increase in underage status. business. It’s 20-nothing guys like OellerBut the uptick isn’t necessarily at- mann that had me worried most tributed to just the LGBT community. about the future of gay bars. The “Gay bars aren’t as gay anymore,” post-millennial generation, those Arredondo said. Since about 2008, born after 2000, has grown up never Tracks has gone from being open not knowing the Internet, mobile just two nights a week to hosting phones and have come of age twice, various events all weekend, and in first as closeted teenagers and then some instances, weeknights, which as out men and women, in an era of attract all walks of life. social media and mobile apps like “We’re trying to be more interac- Grindr, Jacked and Hornet — apps tive,” Arrendondo said. Oellermann confesses to using while That includes everything from at Tracks. viewing parties of RuPaul’s Drag Just as I was about to lose all faith Race with a companion drag compe- in the societal structure gay bars tition to leveraging the very technol- have created and sustained for more ogy (social media) that is a drain on than four decades, I realize what Ollthe hospitality business. In the last ermann is telling me is that the adult three years alone Tracks has inde- playground has provided him somependently launched or partnered thing neither an app nor a straight with promoters to host parties from bar will ever be able to provide him First Fridays, the largest monthly or any other LGBT person: a chance lesbian party in the nation; Bearra- to discover himself. cuda, an evening “In Billings, I for the bear and was very protec“Things have changed otter community tive of what others since I’ve been here,” and their admirers; knew about me,” she said. But one thing and Roll, in which Ollermann said. hasn’t: “If the commuthe Exdo Event “The people who nity doesn’t support Center is transneed to know formed into a giant (about my sexuLGBT bars, they will disco roller rink. ality) know. And shut down and the “Tracks is no none of them are space will be sold to a longer just an esin Billings. Tracks straight person and it tablishment, but will be a straight place.” gave me a fresh a personality,” he start. Coming here said. “We have to made me more actake the creative component to a cepting of myself. The friends I’ve whole new level. Competition is ev- met here have made it a lot better erywhere. It’s the couch, it’s the res- experience it.” taurant down the street. We have to And while it’s disheartening to be much bigger. We have to turn this know teens like Ollermann are yet to be able to discover their identity place into Disneyland every night.” Also in line for the ride this anywhere and nowhere like Billings, Thursday night are Luke Oeller- Mont. — I’ll drink to them at any gay mann, 20, Mike Dienhart, 19, and bar where they are free to do so.


Li’l Devils



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Full steam ahead to Parallel 17

Little Dragon 1305 Krameria Street, G Denver • 303-322-2128

By Jeffrey Steen

I make it a point not to dine at has-beens or would-bes. And while you can say Mary Nguyen at Parallel 17 has been around the culinary block a few times, her 20-year-old concept is still anchored at the glowing corner of 17th and Franklin. That is to say, she’s never been a would-be and she’ll never be a has-been. Since the early aughts, Nguyen’s beloved Parallel 17 has dished up an enticing blend of French and Vietnamese meal after meal — and there’s nothing slowing her down. It makes sense, really. First of all, there aren’t hoards of high-end Vietnamese restaurants scattered throughout the city, so she’s tapped into a bit of a niche. Second, her location is ideal — far enough away from downtown to offer parking without hassle, and tied in enough to Uptown energy to offer her own pulse. The restaurant itself isn’t sprawling, but it doesn’t need to be. Brick-lined walls stretch up to soaring ceilings where upside-down umbrellas dangle with an odd mix of white chile sculptures. Down below, two-tops and four-tops dot the dining room with a sleek bar tucked along the back wall. It’s not pretentious; it’s just charactered. It’s not crowded; just cozy. Fortunately for me, I happened by shortly after the fall menu had been unveiled — a cheeky and fun-loving exploration of what it really means to cross classic French with traditional Vietnamese cooking. What’s best is the three-course prix-fixe treat — an eminently reasonable $35 indulgence (+$15 for wine pairings). If you come with a date or a friend, consider getting two — it gives you the chance to try a hefty portion of the menu in one meal, provided you don’t mind sharing. Highlights for this foodie: Tuna Taro Tacos with buttery ahi tucked inside a pappadamthin crusty shell, followed nobly by the Quinoa Salad with goat cheese fritters and tangy apricot purée. It was finished with some seri-

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ous pomp and circumstance: the best curry I have ever eaten. So many are runny or pastethick; too spicy or bland; too little or too much. But with the meaty chunks of vegetables and a sticky bed of rice, this curry took me to the moon. If your taste buds aren’t that adventurous, travel to the French side of Parallel 17 and relish the Sausage-Stuffed Quail. What’s not to like about meat stuffed with meat? Perhaps one of the finest treats of the evening came in the afterglow, otherwise known as dessert. Picture it: a billowing ball of flowing Cotton Candy, a martini glass brimming with Nutella Mousse, a threesome of crackling Banana Spring Rolls, a ramekin of Coconut Bread Pudding, and a dollop of melt-on-yourtongue Dulce de Leche Ice Cream. How much of that is Vietnamese and how much is French, you ask? Well, give Mary a bit of creative leeway, would you? Banana Spring Rolls — Cotton Candy flavored with lemongrass — Coconut Bread Pudding. They touch on traditional flavors, while at the same time reminding us that the Vietnamese are not often wont to dive into saccharine treats after a meal. That’s pretty much an American thing. And that’s what makes Parallel 17 Mary’s pride and joy and not just some Vietnamese stop out in the suburbs. It’s inventive, brave, and masterful. Incidentally, it’s also what’s kept it alive and delicious for almost 20 years — with no end in sight.

The drink program at Parallel 17 is much like the food menu, a rich conglomeration of standards and adventure — stretching from the long-loved Lycheetini to the Sake Cavetini. The latter sports, among other ingredients, basil seed caviar (which you should probably Google). It’s been given nods on TV for its ingenuity and uniqueness, so it’s definitely worth a try. Supposing you’d rather have kick in your drink and less adventure, then be sure to order the Spicy Hanoi — brimming with house-infused jalapeño tequila and the added kick of lime. For my palate, I was pleased as punch with the whisky-based Uptown. It goes beautifully with bread pudding, don’t you know.


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By Kristin Ziegler

Sept. 6 - Nov. 9 5501 Arapahoe Ave. • Boulder r

We can play modest. We can knock our knees together in our Lululemon yoga pants and coyly twiddle our Vibram-ed toes into the ground. “Well, we’re not New Yorkers,” we can humbly say. We’ll point to our value of nature and leisure. We love nothing more than a good beer, a good time and being amongst a good friend. Because we’re so friendly! It must be all of that sun. But let’s be real — Coloradans are a fiercely prideful people.

From Paris to Broadway

Nov. 9 Boettcher Concert Hall • 1000 14th St. Denver • r


Nov. 7 - Nov. 17 10075 Commons Street, Lone Tree CO. 80124 Lone Tree • r


Nov. 15 - Dec. 29 2450 W Main St. • Littleton r


NOVEMBER 6, 2013


We have all of the best of the best in our but the musical handles its story with a sense beloved state. Our food scene is so rad, even our of humor and humanity that is undeniably brilfast food blows it out of the water. Chipotle burri- liant. So brilliant, the show swept the 2011 Tony tos? You’re welcome, rest of America! Our Denver Awards with nine wins and would go on to score Art Museum can score the most coveted touring a Grammy. That award-winning genius and flair that marked the original exhibitions in the world and Broadway production is give visitors vertigo at the certainly not missing from same time. Can your art muThe Book of Mormon shows at seum literally knock somethe current touring version, the Buell Theatre at The Denone out? Speaking of art, which is running in Denver ver Center for the Performing what other international until November 24. Arts through Nov. 24, Tues. airport has a gigantic, anaThe touring cast is eerily through Sun. at 7:30 p.m. and tomically correct, demonic, perfect. The Mormon mis2 p.m. on Sat. and Sun. Find murderous (devil pony litersionaries cast all appear to more information about the ally has a criminal record) be hardly out of their teens, blue stallion sculpture outan accuracy even the origishow or purchase tickets onside of its airport? nal performance did not get line at With The Book of Morquite right (with all due remon, the hottest musical spect to Andrew Rannells, of to hit the Broadway stage in years, Colorado has course). Real LDS missionaries are about 19 upon something else to boast about. embarking on their two year missions. They are The Book of Mormon is the brainchild of Den- young, bright-eyed, naive and overzealous, and ver’s own Matt Stone and Trey Parker (South the fresh-faced cast captures and exaggerates this Park, Cannibal! The Musical) and Avenue Q’s com- with a perfect dose of kitschy Stepford suburban poser and lyricist, Robert Lopez (who is not from realness. Leads Nic Rouleau and A.J. Holmes have Colorado, but brilliant enough to be an honor- voices as big as the show’s hype, while Holmes ary resident). The musical tells the story of two and Pierce Cassedy (a missionary whose true missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of mission is to repress his homosexuality) are sideLatter-Day Saints who are sent to conflict-ridden splitting and ab-toning funny. Syesha Mercado, Uganda, to be greeted by hostile and jaded locals the musical’s leading lady, belts out beautifully, and disillusioned and failing fellow missionaries. and Christopher Shyer stands out as sadistic war The Mormons struggle to bring hope into the lives lord General Butt F*cking Naked. of the Ugandan people, who are suffering grueSongs like “Hasa Diga Eebowai” and “I Believe” some violence, AIDS, poverty and forced female will likely be stuck in your head (and soundtrack circumcisions, while retaining their own faith in your dreams) for days, but that’s not all that leaves the church and their sunny, relentlessly optimis- The Book of Mormon unforgettable. From start to tic spirits (the only weapon with which a Mormon finish, the performance packs in so much humor missionary comes equipped). Yet, the missionar- and heart – it is everything that makes a musical ies manage and hilarity ensues. right. It’s smart. But of course it is; The Book of Yes, it’s funny. Very funny. Mormon was produced of Coloradan minds. The subject matter may be sensitive in nature, Colo-mrads, beam with pride. OUTFRONTONLINE.COM


NOVEMBER 6, 2013



COMING EVENTS Evermore Theatrical adaptation of Edgar Alan Poe’s works




Opening of the two-week 36th

Stars Denver Film Festival with events on screens throughout the Denver area

More than 200 films from around the world, including premieres, tributes, awards, parties, celebrity appearances and more make up the largest film gathering in the Rocky Mountain Region with more than 55,000 attendees. Events continue through Sunday, Nov. 17 r more info online at

'Tailor Swift' Listen to Taylor Swift while your pants are hemmed


8 Fri

@ THE BYERS–EVANS HOUSE MUSEUM 1310 BANNOCK ST. It’s October 1849. Edgar Allan Poe has recently died and his literary executor is compiling Poe’s works for posthumous publication. Memories of Poe’s final years full of love, hate, loss, and literature are played out and Poe’s best-known tales and poems are woven into the dialogue. Plays through Nov. 16, Fri/Sat at 6 p.m., Sun. at 6 p.m. r  303-620-4933 for tickets or more info online at


Hip hop classics performed on harp


15 Fri


So You Think You Can Dance tour


12 Tue

@ 1ST BANK CENTER 11450 BROOMFIELD LANE IN BROOMFIELD • 8 P.M. tickets $38.50 to $58.50 r more info online at

Boulder PrideFest


23 Sat

Enjoy art and cocktails at the event, admission $5. r more info online at





Enjoy art and cocktails at the event, admission $5. r more info online at

FIND MORE Find more upcoming Colorado events or add your own online at 26

NOVEMBER 6, 2013



headliners God-Des & She


Learn speaking and leadership skills in a supportive, friendly LGBT club. Meeting begins at 6:15 p.m. with free parking next door at the thrift store.

With Boulder’s September Pride event postponed due to catastrophic flooding, the revamped Boulder PrideFest takes place at the Boulder Theater from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a performance by the Tah Tahs and other special guests, vendors and a special after-party hosted by DJ Tatiana.

r more info online at

r more info online at



NOVEMBER 6, 2013



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and Fridays. Wednesdays: Drag Wednesdays with 2-for-1 beers, $3 rum, and vodka specials, $2 drafts Fridays: Go-Go Fridays with $2 rum and vodka specials, $2 drafts, $5 Jose Cuervo, $15 beer buckets and $5 Jager shots e Hamburger Mary’s – HOURS OF OPERATION: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Thursday through Saturday. Visit website for specials. e Li’l Devils – Wednesdays: $4 22 ounces tanks of your choice. Sundays: Trivia Night. Compete for free drinks and bar tabs, starting at 7:30 p.m., $3 Smirnoff. e Tracks – Thursdays: Superstar Night, 18 + dance party; Cover: 18-20 $10, 21+ $5 after 10 p.m. Saturdays: Elevated Saturdays; 2-for-1 drinks between 9 p.m. -10 p.m.; No cover before 10 p.m. e Wrangler – Wednesdays: Geeks who Drink Pub Trivia 8 p.m., $2 house vodka, Bud and Coors pints Saturdays: $3 Svedka 2nd Saturday SWEET, 5th Saturday RETRO SWEET! Sundays: $8 Legendary Beer Bust (4-8 p.m.) e X Bar – Monday–Saturday: BOGO happy hour 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday: $5 lemonade buckets all day FOR TWITTER UPDATES AND INTERACTIVE MAP GO TO OFCNOW. CO/BTAB





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NOVEMBER 6, 2013



e Bear to Make a Difference DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS x photos by Charles Broshous The Matthew Shepard Foundation’s annual Bear to Make a Difference Gala was held in the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on October 12th. This years gala and celebrity teddy bear auction were held on the 15th anniversary of Matthew’s death. The Foundation honored actor George Takei with the “Making a Difference” Award for his longstanding and strongly visible advocacy for LGBT rights. Seventeen year old Jake Stallman received the “Spirit of Matthew” Award. Despite his struggles with coming out, Jake has worked hard to overcome homophobia and make the world a better place for LGBTQ youth. 7 News Chief Meterologist Mike Nelson and his wife Cindy received the “Essential Piece” Award for their long time support of the Foundation and their work to erase hate.


NOVEMBER 6, 2013



Oct. 12


e Favorite Firefighter Contest THE WRANGLER x

Oct. 12

photos by Charles Broshous Where there is smoke, there’s fire. Or in this case firefighters! The Wrangler was smoking on October 12th during their first ever “Favorite Firefighter Contest”. Models from the 2014 Colorado Firefighter Calendar competed for the title “Favorite Firefighter” by answering a series of thought provoking questions and then strutting their stuff across the stage. The audience voted for their favorite firefighter with cold, hard cash. The models then returned on October 13 to sell their calendars during Beer Bust. The votes collected by firefighters during the contest and proceeds from the sale of calendars benefit the Children’s Hospital Colorado Burn Center and other burn centers around the state. Calendars are available for $20 online at



NOVEMBER 6, 2013



Oy vey, the puppets are gay? Puppets. I love them. I am not sure why. Perhaps it’s because they are stuffed animals that come to life. Stuffed animals just lay there, boring as can be. But a puppet will make you laugh, make you cry, make you protest in Israel for the puppets to come out of the closet already. But I’m getting ahead of myself. If I had not become a drag queen, I’d probably be a puppeteer. As a little kid, I built my very own puppet theater out of scraps of plywood and lumber I “salvaged” from the nearby subdivision houses under construction. And, of course, by salvage I mean stole. But the ends justified the means — I was making art. I hauled that painted stage to the little girl’s house next door. Her birthday was the occasion and her parents actually hired me to put on a puppet show for the party, my first paid theater gig. When my dad found out that I was playing with puppets to entertain little girls, that stage went right into the trash. I


NOVEMBER 6, 2013

might as well have been playing with dolls, which I kind of was. So ended my career as a puppet master. But I had a taste of the stage, which got me to where I am today. I’ve always been a huge fan of Sesame Street. I only watch it for the Muppets, screw the education. I could not get enough of Big Bird, Kermit and the Cookie Monster. When Kermit sang “It Ain’t Easy Being Green” in the first Muppet movie, I cried. Deep down I could relate to the life of a puppet. Puppets live on the fringe. They get picked on and bullied. They are secondclass citizens to the flesh and blood protagonists. Puppets are flamboyant, wild and crazy. They don’t obey the rules and are the misfits of the stuffed animal world. Recently, Israeli gay activists have been up in arms over a pair of puppets created by the Israel Electric Company to promote electrical safety. Shek and Teka are a pair of male Hebrew speaking puppets who live in the same house, and even share a bedroom. Their names translate into


Nuclia Waste

“Plug” and “Socket,” so it’s no surprise that rumors have abounded for years that they are gay. They are the Bert and Ernie of the Holy Land. The latest commercial has the pair fawning over a new baby in the house. Teka congratulates Sheka on the birth of his new child. But there is no mom in sight. Later they are seen with the baby, sitting on a park bench together. Could this be the start of a puppet gayby family? Check it out online and you can decide: The Hebrew gay activists want the puppets to come out of the closet


and disclose their sexuality. I don’t know why they are getting their Jewish undergarments in a challah twist. I can definitely answer the question about the puppets’ sexual orientations: yes, they are gay. All puppets are gay. Bert and Ernie are gay, though Bert is in denial. Kermit has been running from Miss Piggy all these years because he is gay… and she is a big aggressive porcine bull dyke. Mr. Snuffleupagus is gay. Big Bird is gay. The Dancing Bear from Captain Kangaroo is gay, even Mr. Moose. And how gay is Tickle Me Elmo? I can’t think of a single puppet who isn’t gay. So the next time you see a puppet on the street, run up and give them a hug. They are kindred spirits. They deserve our respect and our support. It’s time to put the P into GLBPT. Nuclia Waste, the triple-nipple drag queen of comedy, is Out Front’s radioactive cultural columnist. r See more columns at or contact her through her website at


NOVEMBER 6, 2013



‘Next Top Model’ Azmarie: ‘Always give back’ By Robyn Vie-Carpenter

I had the pleasure of meeting AzMarie (or Ashley Marie Livingston) — charming, obviously attractive and down to earth — this summer during EDEN Pride Events in San Francisco. Google her name and you get one of two things, either something about her appearance on America’s Next Top Model and her unconfirmed relationship with Raven-Symone. We talked about what it means to be an out, androgynous, lesbian model, who her role models have been, coming out to her gay father when she was young and what she sees for her future.


NOVEMBER 6, 2013

ROBYN VIE-CARPENTER: How how long have you been out? AZMARIE: Well, I’m 26, about to be 27 and I came out when I was 14. That’s awesome! You’re from a generation that seems to have the freedom to come out much younger. It’s been worked on for such a long time (by people before us) for people my age to be like, you don’t like it, what’re you going to do? I mean, my dad, he’s openly gay, and he would speak to me about what it was like before — what it was like with his parents and how he could never really discuss (his sexual orientation) because of what their generation was like. I was very strong about it when I was younger and I’ve very strong about it now. Your sexuality shouldn’t be detrimental to your life. Do you feel as though it’s easier to accept you because you are living an authentic life? You were very open about your sexuality on Top Model. Exactly. I mean I have other family members that are out. So, I wasn’t saying it to be (defiant). I was saying it so you knew, it was affirmed, you didn’t have to question it and then I can keep doing my thing. You don’t have to ask me later. Does it get in the way of getting modeling work? As far as the modeling industry, they know what they want. I’ve had my ups and downs with it. I’ve traveled. I’ve been across the country. I didn’t understand why agencies didn’t want to pick me. And then I got into that thing that I was being so authentic that they didn’t know what to do. They didn’t know what clients to sell me to. The biggest thing that happened for me was [with] Beth Ann Hardison (legendary influencer in fashion, particularly for models of color). She said, don’t take no for an answer. And I said, I don’t because I believe in myself. Let me send you my pictures. She took a look at my pictures and 20 minutes later, she called back to tell me to book a flight and come to New York that Monday. She set up meetings for me with all of the agencies and said if I don’t get people to pay attention in the country, then go out of the country. (This is common, particularly for models of color. The American market is notorious for having very narrow parameters for success in the industry. Most models of color are well received in other countries, particularly in London and Paris.) SOCIAL


So what you did you do? I did everything I could. I sold my car. And I went to London for a year. It was a different experience. They embraced me like no other. I knew what it was to be received by people that wanted you. They knew what to do with me — that was the biggest change for me. Now I understand why everyone goes overseas, gets big and then comes back. What happened when you came back to the States? The acceptance was there. I was able to walk into agencies and choose who was going to accurately represent me. What are your plans? With all of the things that I’ve experienced, I want to work more with youth so they have someone to look up to. The biggest thing that I think about is in everything I do, always give back. Modeling isn’t financially secure enough. After playing Melanie Griffiths girlfriend on the Logo series DTLA, I got more attention, so now I’m working on my music. My music is always positive. I like to kind of put a message in there, mostly on love/life experiences. Just trying to get people to see they need to be about something. Are we going to be hearing about an album coming out soon? I don’t want to come out as an artist in the United States right now — I would like to come out in London. I mean, [although] I’ll be going with modeling there, I think my music will be received better there. I’m reading a lot and taking business classes, so that I can learn to handle my business. How do you find inspiration? I find that I create meaning in things that other people don’t find meaningful. I create new meaning for things. I like it. Changing people’s perspective is powerful. Who are your musical role models? I love Patty La Belle. I love Anita Baker. All of the music I listen to is all about love. It is the most universal message that anyone can listen to, by any artist, even rappers. [My music] will still have a modern sound. I learned from my parents about using the N-bomb in music. They said, we like what you’re saying, we just need you not to say it like that. Say whatever else you need to say, but don’t say that. I know as an artist you have to say some things that you have to say. I also know you have to pay attention to your message.

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Rise of the man bun By Kelsey Lindsey IN AN UNUSUALLY BAD CASE OF WRITER’S BLOCK, I RECENTLY ASKED MY FRIEND LIVING IN BROOKLYN FOR ANY BEAUTY TRENDS HE HAS BEEN SPOTTING ON THE STREET. He responded right away: “Man buns. They’re everywhere here.” Two seconds later, another text: “Like everywhere.” A quick Google search and his declaration was confirmed. The man bun has landed on the heads of creative types from Brooklyn to Chicago, perhaps inspired by the resurgence of the female topknot in fashion circles around the country. I even seem to be getting to the party late: The New York Times ran an article profiling this rising trend almost two years ago. Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah sports one, as well as celebrities from Orlando Bloom to Brad Pitt. There’s a BuzzFeed article dedicated solely to educating fans about Leo’s topknot, and a helpful how-to for the man bun virgin. The more I looked at pictures and pictures of men sporting this tiny knob, the more I understood its attraction. Portraying a sense of calm and free being, it was still groomed enough to be pulled together. It was manly. This manly association is not completely random: For centuries men have sported the top bun in some form. Samurai warriors are most often featured with their hair styled high, and Sikh men have 36

NOVEMBER 6, 2013



long tied their hair in a bun under their turbans. Pirates and warriors and Bikram-loving Boulderites: It seems like this trend knows no end. I asked my friend if the topknot transcended into the gay community in Brooklyn. His simple answer: “I already told you. They’re everywhere.” Now I felt silly. Hearing about a new style and trend, I instinctively felt the need to label it: Hipster or preppy; corporate or artsy; and even, I’m ashamed to admit it, gay or straight. While I could associate it with one identifier in the first two categories (I have a hard time picturing a man bun flying in a business meeting of Ivy League prepsters), the sexual identity of the hairstyle remained elusive. I took this as a good sign. While I was trying to place this trend within a limited boundary, it transcends any sexual identification — it’s not “gay” or “straight.” Going further, this might be a sign that the past way of identifying anything as “gay” or “straight,” or “masculine” or “effeminate,” is obsolete. While there may always be a culture surrounding the two, perhaps society is slowly evolving and blending them together. And while the man bun may come and go, I hope this increasing tolerance is one development that never fades away. Kelsey Lindsey is Out Front’s beauty columnist writing from an affirming perspective on being your best you. r See more beauty columns at or contact Kelsey at

From the June 17, 1988 issue of Out Front

BAC K I N T H E DAY Original printed article THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT HOW CHEAP EVERYTHING WAS IN THE 1980S THAT MAKES YOU WANT TO GO BACK IN TIME. Just 99 cents for a gallon of gas, $100,000 for a new home, and federal debt of only $2 trillion. Check out the prices of the drink specials — $20 was enough to keep you good and drunk for a week. Those were the days. Some of the establishments listed in this Out Front Bar Tab page from 1988 might look familiar; others have been lost to time. The listings included as much of the bars’ personalities that could possibly be crammed into three inches of print space: What is a “Splash Dancer?” One bar offered an “aerobics fitness class” (evoking an awesome montage to Olivia Newton John’s Physical)? And “clogging lessons?” Gay bars aren’t just places to drink enough to enjoy making bad life decisions — they’re hubs of acceptance and activities where gay people could go make friends and lovers alike. And for generations there were very few alternative places LGBT people could really be themselves — they were, and maybe to some extent still are, the backbone of the community. Are gay bars facing a need for reinvention with the increase of LGBT acceptance in other venues, or will our community always need special places that are truly ours? The answer is open, but one thing is true: they were the place where the community as we know it was born.

Back in MY day...

Got a story, memory or reflection to share from way back when? To share yours, email with your query or 250-500 word story using “back in my day” in the subject line.



NOVEMBER 6, 2013



2013 Nissan Sentra SL

2014 Kia Forte EX

Compact cars have come a long way By Jonathan McGrew Y REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU RODE IN A COMPACT CAR? Mine was in the early ‘90s when I road in a Hyundai Excel that was only a few years old. The door handle didn’t work on the driver’s side, the paint was peeling and it sounded like it wouldn’t make it to our luncheon. Today, compact cars are no longer equated to the terms “econobox” or “piece of [insert your favorite expletive]”. Compact cars can be sporty, luxurious and even roomy while still able to maneuver the busy urban landscape. Two compacts we recently looked at are the redesigned 2013 Nissan Sentra SL and 2014 Kia Forte EX. Both test models represent the upper range, including leather seats, navigation, heated seats and more. But one is reserved and one has more flare. I couldn’t help but notice how far compact cars have come since the 1980s. Let’s get the pricing out of the way — our 2013 Nissan Sentra SL tipped the scales at a tested price of $22,400. Our 2014 Kia Forte EX was, surprisingly, a little more expensive at $25,515. You might be thinking that these are pricey for compact cars, but that’s part of how the market has changed. Now you don’t have to go big to get a car loaded with features. The Nissan Sentra SL sports a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine putting out 130-hp while delivering 30/39 mpg city/hwy — and is the only engine available. The Kia Forte EX has two engine options: a more economical 1.8-liter 148-hp 38

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four-cylinder and a 2.0-liter 173-hp four-cylinder engine. Our test car had the latter, which accounts for some of the increase in price over the Sentra. It will also see a lesser mpg rating at 24/36 mpg city/hwy. These two cars are both in the same class as compacts, but they approach it from very different angles. The Sentra SL is like a good pair of practical shoes. It isn’t flashy and will get you up to speed and down the road with leather, heated seats, navigation and the class-leading CVT transmission (it doesn’t shift from gear to gear). It’s smooth, but not sporty. The Forte EX focuses on a younger generation with a more aggressive design, brighter colors like Abyss blue and the premium package which adds heated front and rear seats, ventilated or cooled driver seat, memory driver seat and a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual mode (they call it Sportmatic). The Sentra has strong points other than speed and features. For 2013, Nissan focused on its usability and passenger comfort with 0.2 inches more cargo room than that of the Kia and also has 1.5 inches more rear legroom. However, you will want to note rear headroom and front and rear hiproom are less in the Sentra. So which one do you choose? I was drawn to the luxury and hightech features of the Forte — sportier on the road yet boasting room and comfort. The Nissan Sentra SL will find a good home for those looking for something more reserved, and with a smoother and quieter driving experience.


Paonia, the Western Slope’s well-kept secret

by Cobun Keegan

By Ashley Trego Surrounded by lush greenery with a mild climate and pleasant disposition, the picturesque town of Paonia, Colorado — in a broad fertile valley between the Grand Mesa and Gunnison National Forest and a 1.5-hour drive from Glenwood Springs down State Highway 133 — is truly one of the of Colorado’s best kept secrets, so shhh! When most people hear the name Paonia, the typical response is huh? Or, that’s where they grow the really good weed, right? (That happens to be true, but I digress). This covert little town on the Western Slope is an unknown to many people, including many longtime Colorado residents, but once discovered, the love affair is instantaneous and unavoidable. Whether your poison is wine and beer tasting, awesome local fare, hiking, camping, stretching it out with some yoga, or even kicking some ass at a remote-control yacht race, Paonia oozes charm and small town flavor of the likes rarely seen since Opie ruled the streets of Mayberry. To spend a day in this quaint little haven is to allow oneself to be enveloped in pleasantry and positively palpable delight for the senses. And gastronomically speaking, Paonia packs a healthy punch. A day of fun in P-Town might begin at the Backcountry Coffee shop (which moonlights as a wine and tapas bar) where sleepy-eyed people meet to mingle and chat over steamy java and freshly baked pastries. Once jacked up on caffeine, a short walk to the Galaxy Bike Shop offers a chance to rent a bicycle built for two—or one, depending on your preference, and a cruise out for some wine tasting at the centrally-located wineries of the area. If visiting in summertime, the heat and the liquor will inevitably kick in come early after-

noon and a swim at Paonia’s River Park may be just the ticket. After a cool off perhaps it’s time for a picnic, either riverside at the Black Bridge winery or at the town park (renowned for being one of the most awesome parks in the county). Other activities might include browsing in the art galleries, a visit to the Ollie’s ice cream parlor, checking out what’s happening at the Blue Sage Center for the Performing Arts, checking out a book to read at the local library, river rafting, the shooting range, a mini manipedi, a massage, or even a visit to Desert Weyr farm where Ken and Oogie raise Black Welsh Mountain Sheep (which happen to be super cute and fluffy and freaking delicious). When the clock strikes 4 p.m., and providing it’s not Monday, a pint of local downtown micro-brew at Revolution Brewery is in order before meandering out to find food at one of the town’s local eateries. A few places for dinner, depending on what you’re craving, are the Flying Fork Café for Italian/fusion cuisine, the Fresh & Wyld Farmhouse (also a lovely B&B) for wonderful local and seasonal dishes, the Living Farm Café, a new addition to the local food scene that offers local, fresh ingredients in their dishes. Of course, one mustn’t forget Sol Margarita, where diners will enjoy an extensive menu of authentic Mexican dishes and really un-beatable service. These are just some of the activities visitors can enjoy before retiring to one of the town’s hospitalities, which include but are not limited to hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfasts, private rental cabins and rooms and even teepees. Paonia is a place where people from all walks of life come to meet and mingle and be. It is a place where quality always rules over quantity and where enjoying ones day is a way of life. If you’ve never been there, my friend, the time has come. OUTFRONTONLINE.COM


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‘Gay sex 101’ for straight guys and lesbians

More of a good thing


By Berlin Sylvestre

Shanna Katz

FOR NEARLY ALL OF MY LIFE, MEN HAVE COMPRISED THE MAJORITY OF MY FRIENDS: GAY, STRAIGHT, BISEXUAL AND (BELIEVE IT OR NOT) ASEXUAL. I’ve been everything from the tomboy BFF who’ll play hacky sack in the park with you for three “straight” hours (heh), to the beard you bring home at Christmas so your parents won’t ask why you don’t have a girlfriend. Yet my gay guy friends and my straight guy friends tend to be separate groups — we don’t all hang out together. I brought that up to one of my straight guy buddies and he said, “Why? Do you think I’m gonna ask offensive questions?” I flatly rejected that idea and was met promptly with: “I might have some questions, actually.” Naturally, I armed myself with his questions and ventured out to a coffee shop in Midtown, where my favorite gay duo (Steve and Owen) sipped, laughed and answered with gusto. Here’s what transpired: Why do gay guys identify as top or bottom? Why wouldn’t they just be both?

 STEVE: Many of us actually do like both! We call this preference “versatile” or “switch.” Some guys may prefer to top or bottom exclusively, it just depends. There’s also a social stigma to being a bottom in some circles, so that can affect people. Some guys will claim to be total tops when in reality, you get them in the bedroom and it’s all about the booty — theirs! OWEN: I really like the rush of being dominated, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy giving. Having an orgasm while getting topped is incredible! Stimulate that prostate and I can [have an orgasm] without the physical release. 
If a top finds himself falling in love with a guy only to learn that the guy is also a top, would the match be off? O: There are couples that are top/top and bottom/bottom. A couple we know are both tops, so they have oral sex all the time. They also have really sensual moments with each other. When they want that little something extra that a bottom provides, they look together for a willing addition who’s up for a threesome. 

 S: Generally, if there’s an emotional connection, you’ll figure out something. I think most gay guys are at least partially versatile. There is also some truth to guys who identify as tops being more attracted to those who identify as bottoms and vice versa. 44

NOVEMBER 6, 2013


Are top/bottoming preferences indicators of other personality traits? For example, if a guy is a bottom, is he submissive/passive in general?

 O: This is only partly true. On one hand, you can often see a correlation between passive/active personalities and their sexual specifics, but that doesn’t mean everyone fits this stereotype. I have a buddy who’s a really gruff, masculine biker. I played with him a while back and I thought for sure he was a top from his demeanor, but when we got to fooling around, he laid down and wanted me to treat him quote “like a [b-word]!” S: I remember him! Yeah, profiling guys based on their sexual preference is not an exact science. Google the term ‘power bottom’ for an eyeopener. Are there gay guys who don’t like anal play? S: Yes, plenty. Some stick to just oral sex and some stick to their particular fetishes. O: For the first six months, we didn’t do any anal and neither of us felt at a loss. We took our time and enjoyed everything about one another except that. Even now we don’t do that very much. S: Gay sex is a lot more than penetration. Anal sex is just a small portion of the entire sexual experience. And anyway, relationships always involve compromise. ARE THERE OTHER TYPES OF GAYS APART FROM TWINKS AND BEARS? BEAR: A larger, hairy gay man. TWINK: A slim, hairless, young gay man. CHASER: Someone who is not a bear, but is sexually interested in bears. CHUB: Someone with a little extra weight who may or may not be hairy. CUB: A younger bear with a smaller frame, typically.


Dear Ready to Propose, We generally have to mix things up in our sex lives to keep them interesting and fulfilling. Adding something new and different shouldn’t be that big of a deal of couples; we change our wardrobes season to season, so why not mix up our sex lives too? Yet we tend to buy into this notion that if sex isn’t absolutely perfect and incredibly satisfying each and every time, there is something wrong with us or our partner, and avoid talking about how it could be better. This means that you need to give your partner lots of positive feedback while suggesting a new addition. Make sure they know how much you enjoy being together, both in the relationship sense and in the sexual sense. Establish that you are happy and you just want to try new things. Ask if there are things your partner would like to try too (sex goes both ways — they might have a suggestion of something they’ve wanted to bring up for years, but have been equally afraid of hurting your feelings). If your partner shuts down your idea, ask what they don’t like about it and if they have a different suggestion. Always put feelings first and validate your partner’s responses — but it sounds like you should feel free to move forward with putting your idea on the table, as long as you remind your partner why you are there and care in the first place. Best of luck,

OTTER: A slender, muscular guy with body hair.


FOX: A slender man with some body hair who is involved in bear culture.

Shanna Katz, M.Ed, ACS is a boardcertified sexologist, sexuality educator and author who believes in open source, accessible sexuality education. r See more columns at sexpert or for more info on teaching adults to optimize their sex lives visit Send Shanna a question for her column at shanna@

DADDY BEAR: An older bear. PANDA BEAR: The rare Asian bear. POLAR BEAR: A bear with white hair. POCKET BEAR: A short bear. WOLF: A muscular bear. OUTFRONTONLINE.COM


Mom’s advice for hooking up available. Grow a set and be an Always say please and thank you. honorable person. Many times the This could include “Please show people who complain about how I’M A “STEREOTYPICAL GAY GUY” IN A FEW me your dick” and “Thank you for lame the gay world can be are the WAYS, INCLUDING THAT I LOVE MY MOTHER taking it easy on my ass.” You can same ones playing games, cancelVERY MUCH AND TRUST HER WISDOM ON also ask the person to please give ling plans or disappearing after a MANY TOPICS. But most of our mothers didn’t an appropriate advance warning if really good chat. Be true to who you teach us the rules, regulations, expectations he is going to cancel a date due to are and not to whatever game you and methods regarding hooking up. Hopefully unforeseen circumstances (not bethink you should be playing. we were raised with a strong sense of right cause he’s found someone he conIf you don’t have anything nice and wrong — so why does it seem at times that siders better-looking, more hung to say, don’t say anything. I know gay men take all those fantastic life lessons, or who can offer that special outit’s easier to say than to do, but restomp them into the ground, piss on them and of-town-random-sex experience). Brent Heinze member that being a gossip queen You may also want to thank him walk away? Unfortunately, many in our technology-rich for looking like his online picture, being a great makes you seem like a negative, grumpy person culture forget the importance of kindness, re- conversationalist or making your eyes roll back who will most likely talk a bunch of crap about your friends behind their backs. spect, and integrity — they’re the people who in your head. Don’t cry over spilled milk. When someWhen you’re wrong, say you’re sorry and don’t follow through with plans, treat us badly mean it. None of us enjoy being wrong, but we thing crappy happens to us, it’s important to and waste our time. Take a few minutes and think about what all sometimes mess up or hurt someone’s feel- learn from the experience, move on, and try ings. It can be difficult not to fall into the same pitfall again. Unfortuyour Mamma would to swallow pride and nately, tragic situations and people happen to tell you about the Most of our mothers didn’t teach us apologize, but accept- all of us, and life needs to go on. Getting caught importance of being the rules, regulations, expectations and ing accountability is a up in the past only keeps us from living for a good person when methods regarding hooking up. today and setting up an amazing future. sign of maturity. cruising. I don’t care Just because everyif your intention is to find partners for a walk around the park, din- one else is doing it doesn’t mean you have to. It Brent Heinze, LPC, is a licensed professional ner date, or an intense sweaty romp where you doesn’t matter if your perception is that every- counselor. r Get more HeinzeSight online at end up covered in spunk: it all comes from the one online sets up eight dates for the same time or send him a question for his and will cancel whenever a better one becomes column at same principles. By Brent Heinze



NOVEMBER 6, 2013


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Nov. 6 :: The Gay Bar  
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