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OUT in the City 9.20.2012



OUT in the City 9.20.2012


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OUT in the City 9.20.2012



OUT in the City 9.20.2012

Out in the city

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OUT in the City 9.20.2012


It’s not just a conference, it’s a powerful organizing moment that feeds me and pushes me to build a broad movement for justice. Alfonso Wenker Minnesotans United for All Families

The largest annual gathering of activists, organizers and leaders in the LGBT movement

January 23–27, 2013 Hilton Atlanta Register by October 31 and get our early bird rate at

Celebrating 25 years of Creating Change

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Heart + Soul

City Life

A Loving Connection Different is The New Normal BY/ TODD HALEY


I believe that peace is in every step we take, a chance to cultivate a compassionate mind with every thought we produce. When my mind is in tune with my body, I’m at harmony with myself and others around me. Through feeling with my heart, I’m able to touch not only those who are in my life on a daily basis, but those I have just met, with much more clarity and depth.

Growing up I always knew that I was different. I was always able to color coordinate my outfits, I was (and still am) obsessed with Britney Spears, and I was always the wittiest one on the third grade playground. I was a very confident adolescent growing up. I had a you-can’t-make-fun-of-me-if-you’redressed-in-polyester attitude to the world. This is why it breaks my heart that the gay youth can’t always see how perfect they are, as they are. (Cue sappy ballad about inner strength.)

When I hug those I encounter, I say their name in my head over and over again. In that instant, they become real to me. Too many of us hug without feeling that person. We hug like it’s a handshake—meaningless, void, stale. When we embrace each other with purpose and meaning, that person comes alive for us. We are no longer embracing a ghost but a real and tangible spirit. A hug, to me, is an extension of who we are. Like our smile, it shows the world the greatness we are capable of creating and sharing. When I hug another person, it’s an offering of connecting my heart to theirs, an ultimate expression of my gratitude and acknowledgment. I honestly believe that human affection and loving kindness is a path to a much deeper connection, a developing relationship we are willing to create with the world in which we live. Where there is that open connection from one person to another, there is also a relation between the two energies. We no longer see what divides us as living, physical, and material human beings. Rather we see what unites us—a call to spiritual unity. So, the next time you reach out to and pull that person close to you, feel their warmth and open up your heart to theirs. See them, feel them—there’s so much that’s so right in that very moment with that very person. We have to have the courage to look at today with an open and active heart, and when we do, we learn to push away from the fears we had yesterday. We learn to dissolve the harsh attitudes and rejections of others and of ourselves. We welcome this day with a brighter, more elegant, more assessable and honest love, learning to let go and do away with the barriers that don’t allow us to connect more intimately with others. The power of physical contact and loving affection brings more than open minds, it ultimately allows room for a connection between hearts, a solid relationship between spirits, and an opportunity to see the cosmos more clearly through the eyes of someone completely different. You learn to accept love more passionately and you learn to understand the variations of love that others require as well. Always remember that a truly happy people devoted to the service of others never hold on to their equanimity. It’s passed around until every broken heart is healed and nourished. When you give away your ease of life to not only those you hold dear to your heart, but to those who are clearly struggling, you’re extending your most valuable asset, your loving kindness. An admissible heart is similar to an open door; let all who pass through you leave a better person, feel a perception of peace, and have an eagerness to share with the world their own sense contentment. This is changing the world, one soul at a time. Love forth!


OUT in the City 9.20.2012

Ryan Murphy’s The New Normal is the new deliciously funny show from NBC. You might know it as the one Utah banned this year. After watching it, I found myself pleased with how relatable the two main characters are. Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells are adorably ‘normal’ as a gay couple striving to have a baby. They aren’t like most gay characters we’ve seen on TV in that they’re actually affectionate. In the first two episodes, I’ve already seen them hold hands, lie in bed, and…gasp…kiss. (Gay people do kiss form time to time Utah.) As a gay man who would like to one day have enough kids to get a reality show like the Duggers, I have to say the whole “gays can parent too” thing really spoke to me. They had to make decisions that are all too real to those wanting kids. They had to make a choice of who will be the biological dad and who will be the surrogate mother, a story line that I had never seen on network TV. In the beginning of the show, we meet surrogate mother, Goldie, her daughter, and her bigoted grandmother Jane. Jane’s racist, homophobic, and all around close-minded. While she makes some horrible comments, I will say that I laughed the most at her character. Her character is so unapologetically nasty that it’s funny. I have a soft spot for mean old ladies though. What’s not so funny is that her character is real. No, not ‘this is based on a true story’ kind of real, but a ‘her character exists somewhere in the world’ real. It’s kind of awesome though how they show the prejudice that, sadly, exists. This isn’t some after school special talking about how we all need to be tolerant. This is in your face homophobia. I’m usually not one to get on a soapbox and preach. If I had it my way, this whole article would be about Nene Leaks, from the Atlanta Real Housewives (duh!), and how she’s tall, has amazing shoes, and is an all around national treasure (that last part might only apply to those in my apartment). It will not be ignored that she’s actually really funny on the show. Call it maturity, or whatever, but I think that this show is actually important. When you grow up different, you struggle with ‘normal.’ Things like having a spouse and kids seem like they’re out of your reach when you don’t have the role models. As you get older you realize that everyone is different, and that you define normal for you. It’s important to find people to relate to, and I think many people will find that with this show. With all that being said the The New Normal really is a great show. It’s funny, engaging, and has a ton of heart. As Goldie said, “Love is love.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself. The New Normal airs on NBC, Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c


City Life

How to be a Grown-up Homes Are Selling Faster, BY/ JULIA NEWMAN

I signed up for an Improv Comedy class, and yesterday was our first session. Perfecto. Dorks hanging out in a dimly-lit black box theatre getting to know each other, playing games, and dreaming about the spotlight—or dreading it, depending. Our first lesson was this: that in improv, there are no magic bullets or secrets of comedy that were going to be revealed. The only truth was this: we’ve already got exactly what we need. Okay, I added the ‘exactly,’ but that nails it in with a little more force. Improv isn’t about the “clever you” laughs. It’s about the guttural laughs, the laughs that the audience can’t help but burst into. They like to watch people mess up, get flustered, come up with are-you-kidding-me silliness. Right up my alley. A la Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn’t help but wonder if could I apply this to the rest of my life. And if not for everything, certainly my recovery could benefit from this lesson of acceptance, self-trust, and non-striving. I talk about this a lot, the idea that engaging in an activity can simply be one act of engagement. It doesn’t have to lead to anything—not success, not belonging, not even love. Just the pleasure of the doing is enough. Just the playing around on stage good for a laugh. If you’re truthful with your improv partners, you guys are gonna get some laughs. It’s that simple. So relax and stop trying to be funny! Who are these people we think we’re supposed to be? Among my friends, I will forever be known as The Disney Bubble Burster. Yes, I will splash around in a stream with you and sing Pocahontas’ “All the Colors of the Wind.” Yes, I will crawl around the lawn on warm summer nights and sing the theme prelude to The Lion King, complete with the big BUD-DUM at the end when the title stamps itself on screen just as baby Simba’s little tiger bum is held up over his kingdom of bowing Sahara dwellers. But, ultimately, I am the girl who wrote several term papers criticizing the way Disney has rewritten classic fairytales and warped them with patriarchal, oppressive portraits and examples of how women need to fundamentally change in order for men to fall in love with them. And, that the love of a man (no, no, a prince) is ShangriLa. Let’s discuss, right? I mean, F-you Disney. You totally brainwashed my six-year-old mind so now I’m hating on my life because I don’t have a throne, a king, or a dozen ball gowns. Where or where did I go wrong?


Home prices strengthened significantly in the second quarter of this year,and ninety-two percent of the major metro markets nationwide posted gains in home prices according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/ Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). They also reported that 73.8 percent of all new and existing homes sold are now affordable to families earning the national average median income of $65,000. “While interest rates and overall housing affordability remain very favorable on a historic basis, the decline in the latest HOI is a positive development because it is another signal that the housing recovery is starting to take root, and it lends needed confidence to prospective buyers and sellers who have been reluctant to move forward in the current marketplace,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg. Rising home prices are reason for cheer. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that the median existing single-family home price has risen in the 110 out of 147 metro statistical areas based on closing for the second quarter. When compared to the same period one year ago, the median home sales price increased 19%, or $38,000, and the number of home sales increased 5% . The median time a home was listed for sale in July was 69 days on the market, down 29.6 percent from 98 days in July 2011 according to NAR. One-third of homes purchased in July were on the market for less than a month. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, said there is a clear relationship between inventory supply and time on the market. “ As inventory has tightened homes have been selling more quickly.” The bottom line? The real estate market needs more inventory. Now is a great time to consider listing your home for sale.

This is what I’m getting at—stop trying to be the mother, the daughter, the friend, the girlfriend, the coworker you think others want you to be. Or that you think you should be. You are already exactly who you ought to be. Another amazing development in my quest to be a Grown Up is this column and my other contributions to OUT in the City. We are one kickass online community for the LGBT peeps of the world and their allies. We are dedicated to nonjudgement, self-acceptance, and communal-loving; a safe haven for those who struggle finding such places out in the world or even in their own families. So this scares me, oh I don’t know…a whole lot. I’m no journalist. How is this gonna work? I’ve never written anything but a blog and a whole bunch of fiction. What the hell do I have to say? Well, remember that Improv class? Ya know, where I learned that you already have all you need? Oh yeah. Relax and write from the heart. That’s what I plan on doing. So let’s start here. No matter what’s in front of you. No matter if you feel less than or unprepared. No matter if you feel scared or judged or anxious—you can do what’s in front of you today. You deserve to give yourself a shot. You deserve to try. And you don’t have to stop. Make mistakes! That’s what the audience wants, that’s when a window into compassion and connection opens. You can ask for help. If someone disparages you, move on to the next resource. We can do this. We can be Grown Up.

OUT in the City 9.20.2012


Bits & Bytes

Bits & Bytes

BY/ ADAM W. HART Remember when Commodore 64, IBM and early model Macintosh computers were hot tech? Hardware meant heavy, and computers sat on desktops waiting for modems to dial up local bulletin boards. Things started to change, though. Al Gore spawned the Internet from his forehead, computers shrank, downloading porn became faster, laptops came along and computer users were free to enter daylight, blinking and squinting as they went. Now, tablets are making our lives more portable, moving much of bulky hardware needed for file storage off to the Cloud. Technology is developing at a fast rate, and companies like Apple, Amazon, Google–and yes, even Toys ‘R Us–are rolling out new devices to change how we use computers in our daily lives.

Apple Apple (, undoubtedly king of the hill through sheer sales, was rumored to be rolling out a ‘mini tablet’–a smaller version of the current iPad–during their September 12th iPhone 5 announcement. There was a mini rock concert from the Foo Fighters. (Members of the media joked that everyone buying an iPhone 5 would get a Foo Fighter.) No new iPad news, though, so Apple-heads will have to settle for the Retina display and 4G LTE capabilities in the current third-generation line. Spec-wise, the iPad 3– which measures 9.5 inches high by 7.31 inches wide, with a thickness of just 0.37 inches–weighs in at roughly 1.44 pounds. It’s powered by Apple’s A5x dual-core chip, though the just-announced A6 chip will soon be replacing it. Users have the option of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB iPad models, in a Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi/cellular combo. Available in white or black, the iPad 3 retails for $499-$829, depending upon memory storage and connectivity options. Rumor is that Apple will be waiting until October to roll out any new iPad developments, including that much whispered ‘mini tablet’.

Amazon Amazon ( just rolled out the Kindle Fire HD, measuring 7” and featuring a 1280x800 resolution screen, Dolby audio, new dual-core processors, and a dual-antenna Wi-Fi. (Amazon claims downloads and streaming will be 40% faster on the Kindle Fire HD, as compared to the iPad 3.) Throw in a new camera, integration with Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Yahoo!– as well as communication capabilities via Skype–and the Kindle Fire HD is a sleek, sexy update retailing at $199 for 16GB ($249 for 32GB).

10 OUT in the City 9.20.2012

What makes the Kindle Fire HD an attractive option is its seamless integration to a user’s Kindle account –giving access to Amazon’s staggering library of over 22 million movies, books, apps, and games. Amazon promises almost instantaneous loading of films/video content, and with the provided microHDMI, it’s easy to output that video to a TV. Users will be ‘locked in’ to getting the bulk of content through Amazon, but that might not be a bad thing. For one, if you find yourself buying a lot of books from Amazon each month, the Kindle Fire HD is a sexy way to read and do Facebook status updates or check e-mail. Throw in an Amazon Prime membership ($79 a year; free one-month trial), and not only will you get two-day shipping on your purchases– but you can also access thousands of movies, TV shows and books on that new Kindle Fire HD. (Amazon also offers apps that allow purchased content to also work on other devices, as well as gaming consoles and TVs.)

Google Google’s Nexus 7 ( is the tech company’s latest offering. Like the Kindle Fire HD, it measures 7” and has a 1280x800 display. Nexus 7 has content available through the Google Play store, allowing users to select from a library of 600,000 games and apps, as well as ‘millions’ of e-books and ‘thousands’ of movies and TV shows. Android-powered, the Nexus 7 is perhaps the closet competitor to the Kindle Fire HD. One exception is memory, as Google only offers 8GB or 16GB models – though both companies offer cloud storage to cut down on memory usage. The tablet includes a front-facing camera, microphone and speakers. Retailing for $199 for the 8GB model ($249 for 16GB), the Nexus 7 currently comes with a $25 Google Play credit. It may take a version upgrade or two, though, for Google to compete with the sexiness of the iPad 3 or Kindle Fire HD.

Toys ‘R Us Yes, Toys ‘R Us ( You read that correctly. If you want to retain status as ‘favorite’ uncle, aunt, brother, sister, mom or dad, it may pay to keep up with developments in tablets aimed at children. The Tabeo ($149.99 retail) is Toys ‘R Us’ attempt to draw in tech-savvy holiday shopping crowds. The tablet runs on Google’s Android platform, and it comes fully loaded with 50 game apps, including the popular Angry Birds. The retailer is also building an app store that will offer over 7,000 titles for the device, which ships October 21st. The 7” Tabeo will include a microphone, front-facing camera, and USB 2.0 interface, and will be compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux platforms for storage. The tablet ships with 4GB flash memory–but that can easily be expanded to 32GB with a SDHC-compatible micro SD slot. Tabeo will be competing against the Kurio 7 (Tech Source, www.kurioworld. com), the Lexibook (Lexibook Ltd.,, the Meep (Oregon Scientific,, and the LeapPad Explorer (LeapFrog Enterprises Inc.,–and the competition has already lowered prices to match the Tabeo. (The $99 LeapPad Explorer does not offer Internet connectivity.) Future for Tablets As tablets gain in popularity, overtaking laptops and desktop computers, each new generation of chips and processors will bring developments in form, function and usability in our lives. Heck, with the forthcoming Microsoft Surface ( - ‘coming soon’ and no pricing given, yet)– not to mention Google Glass (, Google’s tech-infused eyewear)–computing in general is evolving at a fast pace. Whichever tablet you choose, it’s a safe bet that within a year there will be a sleeker model available. At least for now you can turn your iPad into a Star Trek PADD ( The future looks bright indeed.



BY/ RACHEL HOCKETT In May I wrote about the troubling homophobic bullying incident instigated by Mitt. Romney back in 1965, when he was but a high school lad. My suggestion was that Romney’s inability, or unwillingness, to own up to his youthful misdeeds implies a lack of character befitting the leader of the free world. After all, most of us have done things as kids that we later regret, but some of us want to make amends. Now it’s September, and the Republican National Convention has nominated Mitt Romney for president of the United States. His acceptance speech earned the lowest positive rating since 1996, when polling about nomination speeches began. Romney’s speech was full of pretty promises and dire criticism of the last four years. He draped lofty notions over a room full of demons. He said, “I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began with an apology tour.� What he didn’t say is that Obama took office in the midst of the greatest recession this country had known since the Great Depression, the surplus President Clinton left having been squandered by successor Republican George W. Bush’s administration. President Obama took charge at a time of record deficits. He said, “Everywhere I go in America, there are monuments that list those who have given their lives for America. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a living. They lived and died under a single flag, fighting for a single purpose.� What he didn’t say is that he opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, nor did he once mention the men and women in our armed forces who are currently risking their lives in wars that were started not by President Obama, but by his Republican predecessor. He said, “[The America I lead] will uphold the constellation of rights that were endowed by our Creator and codified in our Constitution.� What he didn’t say is that he does not believe that those rights extend to the LGBT community. He said, “As president, I will protect the sanctity of life. I will honor the institution of marriage. And I will guarantee America’s first liberty: the freedom of religion.� What he didn’t say is the he supports a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and that he worships in a faith that was a major sponsor of the discriminatory Proposition 8 in California, nor did he mention the alarming frequency with which religion is used to justify homophobia and bigotry. Romney and his radically right-wing running mate, Ryan (say that juicy phrase ten times, fast) pose an enormous threat to the precarious progress we’ve made for LGBT rights and marriage equality under Obama. And we won’t even dwell here in Ryan’s land of lying. Suffice it to say that even the notably right-leaning, partisan Fox News called Ryan’s acceptance speech “dazzling, deceiving, and distracting.� In the spirit of fairness, let me add that this piece was written by a rare progressive voice on the network, Sally Kohn, but Fox News did give the air to her commentary about Ryan.

Romney has said, “When I am President, I will preserve the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and I will fight for a federal amendment defining marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.â€? The Human Rights Campaign has given his running mate, Paul Ryan, a zero percent rating for his thoroughly anti-LGBT stance. On September 6th, Barack Obama will accept the nomination of the Democratic Party for the second time. It is only if Obama is reĂŤlected that we can count on the following list of his administration’s accomplishments for LGBT Americans to remain intact: t4JHOFEUIF.BUUIFX4IFQBSEBOE+BNFT#ZSE+S)BUF$SJNFT1SFWFOUJPO Act, expanding federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by gender, sexual orientation or gender identity  t 4JHOFE UIF "òPSEBCMF $BSF "DU PG   B DPNQSFIFOTJWF PWFSIBVM of America’s healthcare system that will hold insurance companies accountable, lower health care costs, guarantee greater patient choice, and enhance the quality of care for all Americans; LGBT Americans are disproportionately uninsured, and this law will provide access to affordable coverage and protection from insurance companies that deny coverage for pre-existing conditions  t -JGUFE UIF EJTDSJNJOBUPSZ CBO PO FOUSZ UP UIF 6OJUFE 4UBUFT CBTFE PO HIV status. t 0SEFSFE UIF %FQBSUNFOU PG )FBMUI BOE )VNBO 4FSWJDFT UP HVBSBOUFF medical decision making and visitation rights to LGBT couples. t 4JHOFEJOUPMBXUIF%POU"TL %POU5FMM3FQFBM"DUPG t %JSFDUFE UIF %FQBSUNFOU PG +VTUJDF UP TUPQ EFGFOEJOH UIF %FGFOTF of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court and declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional. t &YQBOEFE UIF 'BNJMZ .FEJDBM -FBWF "DU UP FOTVSF UIBU -(#5 QBSFOUT and partners can take leave from work to care for their child, parent, or spouse—a right afforded to any other family. t 3FNPWFEBDPNNPOCBSSJFSUPTBGFIPVTJOHCZBEEJOHHFOEFSJEFOUJUZ and expression in the Fair Housing Act. t -FE B TVDDFTTGVM JOUFSOBUJPOBM FòPSU UP HBJO SFDPHOJUJPO PG -(#5 organizations at the United Nations. t 3FWFSTFE BO JOFYDVTBCMF 64 QPTJUJPO CZ TJHOJOH UIF 6OJUFE /BUJPOT Declaration on Gay Rights, which condemns violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity worldwide. t 4JHOFEUIF3ZBO8IJUF)*7"*%45SFBUNFOU&YUFOTJPO"DU t $IBOHFE4UBUF%FQBSUNFOUQPMJDZTPUIBUUSBOTHFOEFS"NFSJDBOTDBO more easily obtain passports that reflect their true gender and ensure that same-sex married couples can use their legally married name on official State Department documents. t #BOOFE KPC EJTDSJNJOBUJPO CBTFE PO HFOEFS JEFOUJUZ UISPVHIPVU UIF federal government. t &OEPSTFEUIF%PNFTUJD1BSUOFSTIJQ#FOFĂśUTBOE0CMJHBUJPOT"DUPG 2009 to provide full partnership benefits to federal employees. t 'PSNFEUIF*OUFSBHFODZ$PVODJMPO#VMMZJOH1SFWFOUJPOBOEDPOWFOFE the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and launched, a website with resources designed to assist bullied youth and their advocates—including specific information regarding LGBT bullying. t &MJNJOBUFE UIF EJTDSJNJOBUPSZ $FOTVT #VSFBV QPMJDZ UIBU LFQU -(#5 relationships from being counted, encouraging couples who consider themselves married to file that way and urging transgender Americans to identify their true gender.

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OUT in the City 9.20.2012 11

Blood + Sweat + Tears


Hey, Out in the City readers! Let me introduce myself with a smile and pass along my passion for health and fitness. My name is Shawnee Harkins and I am a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Sports Nutritionist. I love my “work.” However “working” as a personal trainer has never made me feel like I was punching a time card. Fitness has always been a part of my life, so I found it quite natural to step up and help people through the teaching and performance of fitness. I love making human connections and enjoy building relationships and making people smile from within Along with training clients and all the awesome opportunities I’ve experienced in the fitness industry, writing is another passion. So having the opportunity to write about fitness is the perfect combination! As your fitness expert, my intention is to share my knowledge as well as valuable and up-to-date health and fitness information so you can empower yourself to take action for your own well-being. And I call that living a harmonious and balanced lifestyle. In this month’s issue, I want to focus on obesity in the LGBT youth community. It’s not every day that a teenager “comes out of the closet” with a fully supportive home environment. But when they do I call this courageous. Obesity is now an epidemic in our country. So what are we to do? And how are we to help our vulnerable young LGBT community? As an optimist, I’d like to think our community can step in and be the change our LGBT youth needs. I had the honor of appearing on a series of The Dr. Phil Show called “The Ultimate Weight Loss Race.” The series was inspired by Dr. Phil’s book The Ultimate Weight Loss Solution. The goal of this segment was to help America get healthy and fit. I was responsible for the success or failure of Lauren and Joe Ragone, 21-year-old twins from Manhattan, New York. These two had a struggle because they weren’t just two young kids looking to drop a few pounds by leaning on their metabolism to give them the edge. Their battle was more complicated than that. Their story involved a volatile sibling relationship with a lot of pent up anger living within both of them. Lauren and Joe were significantly overweight and bullied each other. They were in denial about their lack of communication. I honored their courage in bringing their battle up publicly and knew this would be no easy task, but I made it my mission to go the distance. This meant pushing my personal training skills to the max on camera and behind the scenes 24 hours a day, constantly training Joe and Lauren to work as a team. But it was the journey and the process of seeing twins change— their minds, their hearts, then finally their physiques—while executing my training philosophy that made all of the sweat and tears worth it.

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When I help people make lifestyle changes, I first get into their minds, then into their hearts. As they transfer their trust into me, their bodies will start to shape themselves quite naturally. Joe, Lauren, and I worked hard as a team to achieve permanent results through struggles, tears, habit changes, joy, glory, gym workouts, swim workouts, running in the sand down to crawling in the sand. Finally, Joe and Lauren believed in themselves enough, and the root of confidence began to grow. I was truly challenged as a fitness professional, and it was a great learning experience. Devyn, a teenager from Kentucky, saw Joe and Lauren’s transition on the show, but she waited years before sharing her personal story with me and messaging me on Facebook to ask for help. Devyn first developed a heavy depression due to her father’s death. Her self- esteem was completely gone, then she found a special group of mentors, and started to build her own type of family that could guide her through her fears. She has also struggled with self-image and confidence, as she often felt alone, even though she had the responsibility of taking care of her brother. This sweet girl was often bullied because she wasn’t feminine enough for her peers and looked like a jock. Due to the constant harassment and even assaults, Devyn developed insomnia and a constant feeling of stress. Thankfully, her mother—who was supportive when Devyn came out to her—also supported her in leaving school to obtain her GED. Devyn has built her own support through the LGBT community on the Internet, as she has no LGBT peers that she knows of in her neighborhood. Despite this online community, Devyn continues to feel judged and pushed around if she runs into her old classmates, so she sticks to the Internet and taking care of her youngest brother, so her mom can work. Devyn was raised Catholic, so she was constantly told her homosexuality was a sin, which the neighborhood kids reinforced. She often feared the next time she would be at the wrong place at the wrong time, bullied by them. Devyn had a short stint of running away, but she had nowhere to go except to crash on a friend’s couch for a few nights before going back home to reason with her mom. Devyn admits living in a rural area of Kentucky makes it hard to eat organic food. It is more expensive than the cheaper, processed food found on every corner. She stopped caring about her health and ate whatever was easiest and cheapest, which led to her obesity. I asked Devyn what she knew about proper nutrition and found she sensed what was healthier by watching her bodybuilder father, who taught her by example. Before his death, she modeled his eating habits. Unfortunately, when he died, so did her will to nourish her body with healthy substances. To challenge her even further, Devyn is a vegan. She skips breakfast and is allergic to dairy. As for fast food, Devyn tries to order salads but admits it’s a struggle because her family is always on the road for soccer practices and games for her younger brother. She prides herself on drinking ten glasses of water daily. Thank God! All of these bad habits have led to a sad, sweet girl in a very unhealthy body. When interviewing Devyn on the phone, my heart went out to her because of her bravery in sharing her story. She wants to rise above this depression, sadness, and pain and move onto a renewed life, free of confusion. The LGBT community can help her turn her life around. Proper nutrition and exercise are needed to sculpt the physique you are looking for, but when I asked Devyn what she did for exercise, her response made me sigh deeply as I paced my office wanting more for her. Devyn is responsible for taking care of her eight-year-old brother while her mom is at work, so it is really hard for her to have some exercise time. She goes for walks here and there but has not been physically active since age ten. She loves soccer and would like to play more of it if she had the time. There is a lack of activity caused by little to no personal time for Devyn, including no real solid weight loss plan and continued depression that sneaks up around the corner. So, we have a young girl who has been putting on weight for seven years with lack of motivation to change until recently. Devyn is now ready to take charge

CLICK HERE to read more

City Life


BY/ SEAN EADS Maybe it was because of the audacious price ($5.99 for an 8.5 ounce bottle), the heroic ribbon and medal that adorned the bottle, or just the literary reference, but when I first discovered Thomas Hardy Ale six years ago, I knew something momentous had occurred. It wasn’t exactly like getting a first glimpse of your soul mate and knowing you’ve found The One, but it was close. So began my first relationship with a beer. Sure, for the price I had to take a second job to afford spending some quality time with my new honey, but it was worth it. Then, tragedy struck. In 2008, the beer’s brewer, O’Hanlon, discontinued the line. Inconsolable at learning the reason for the empty slot on the shelf, I sobbed and shuffled away, mortified to be back on the beer dating scene again. I had many a fling, to be sure. Carouses with several Plain Jane domestics; a one night stand with a Japanese import; heavy petting with more Germans than I can count. All is fair game in love and lager, but each time, something ineffable was missing. Then came my out-of-the-blue, what-the-hell-whynot blind date with Gulden Draak. I was at a great Denver bar called The Cheeky Monk, which styles itself as a Belgian beer specialty joint. I was looking down their extensive list, checking out all the action, when my gaze landed on this cutie and got curious. “Wise choice,” the bartender said, and got me the hook up

Wise choice indeed. I’ve been off the market ever since. Let’s talk a little bit about what makes Gulden Draak so damn fine. The name translates as Golden Dragon, which to my mind is a phrase better suited to some Chinese takeout place (Gulden Draak actually goes very well with Chinese takeout, by the way. Hell, it goes well with everything). Dragons aside, what you’ve really got here is liquid Fig Newton, if Fig Newtons could get you drunk off your ass. At 10.5% alcohol content, that’s not hard to do. In fact, I start feeling pleasant after about four swigs. On the fifth swig, I put on a hat like Frosty the Snowman. By the sixth, I’m giggling and making references to Tranya in a creepy voice, just to annoy anyone within earshot. If you find Gulden Draak on the menu, you know you’re in a restaurant or bar that’s a cut above average. It’s probably going to cost you about $10; however, you can find it a bit cheaper in many large liquor stores. Much like my initial fascination for Thomas Hardy Ale, the bottle captivated me right away. It is exquisitely shaped and frosted a beautiful, rich white that recalls purity and wholesomeness, like a milk bottle from the 1950s. A black wraparound label trimmed with gold adds nobility, and red lettering a note of danger. The one problem spot is the dragon emblem itself. It’s sort of a mechanical-looking dragon, with what looks to be a stick coming out of its mouth. What is that supposed to be—a tongue? Flame? Depending on how drunk I am when I examine the label, that dragon either looks like it’s getting its tonsils examined, or else it is projectile vomiting. Projectile vomiting dragons would have made Reign of Fire a much better movie. But enough digression. Let’s get to the taste. Earlier I called Gulden Draak a liquid Fig Newton, but this beer is a lot more sophisticated—and better— than that. Gulden Draak is the sort of beer Willy Wonka would produce if his chocolate factory had a brewery. Its coloring is very dark, but it’s not heavy like a stout. Beer drinking is best done in company, and Gulden Draak can really jazz up a gathering of friends. People I’ve shared this beer with seem to find a cornucopia of flavors, but I feel the dominant notes are caramel and candied sugar. This is a beer you can enjoy during any part of your meal, but it sure makes for a sweet reward if you save it for the end. It isn’t a coincidence that people are quick to compare Gulden Draak to a glass of port. Practically a dessert unto itself, the only problem with ordering Gulden Draak at the end of a night of dining out is the alcohol content, which may keep you stuck at the table a little bit longer than you’d like if you happen to be driving home. And since you’re going to be sticking around for a while, you might as well go ahead

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BIOGRAPHY Simon O’Mahony, originally from Dublin, Ireland, graduated with a degree in Business and Marketing. Simon moved to Denver in 2000 and now calls the Mile High City his home. Simon was recruited by Sage Hospitality and joined the organization as a Corporate Recruiter in 2006. In 2009, Simon was promoted into the role of Talent Acquisition Manager for Sage Hospitality and Sage Restaurant Group. In 2009 he was the recipient of the Sage Innovation Award as a result of his use of social media networking to enhance the recruiting process. When he is not recruiting, (Recruiters are always working!) Simon enjoys Colorado’s beautiful outdoors. He also has a passion for photography and has travelled around the country and to Europe capturing images of the world as he sees it through his eyes. Simon has photographed several Denver events and parties over the past year. Most recently Simon combined his passion for the camera with another passion, the Matthew Shepard Foundation and started the “Erase Hate Photo Campaign” which has received media attention not only here in Colorado but nationwide.

CONTACT SIMON AT: /// /// /// ///


Feature Artist: Simon J O’Mahony

The Love and Support of a Strange Hand, Washington, DC Reflections of Pride

Miss Flowers

Feature Artist: Simon J O’Mahony

Dublin Bay, Ireland

Feature Artist: Simon J O’Mahony


Feature Artist: Simon J O’Mahony

24 OUT in the City 9.20.2012


Despite what you might think, In Between Men is not a new Facebook relationship status. It’s a new web comedy-drama series poised to hit the big time. Nominated for four Indie Soap awards, In Between Men was created by Quincy Morris, who came up with the idea after a bad breakup of his own. By: Jerry L.Wheeler


ccording to its website, In Between Men “follows four friends in NYC who live ‘in between’ a gay world whose cliches they don’t relate to and a straight world they don’t belong to. They are successful, professional men not defined by their sexuality. Through wild adventures, racy storylines, joys and pains, underscored by the pulse of New York City, In Between Men examines the relationships the men have between each other, their lovers and the greater community.” Starring Nick Matthews, Ben Pamies, Chase Coleman, and Max Rhyser as the four friends, the series is finding its footing with soap fans. In fact, three out of four of its stars came from the world of daytime serials. How is this series different from daytime sudsers?

“Well, for one, the budget,” says Nick Matthews, who plays the protagonist, Dalton Fuller, an event-planning entrepreneur. “Working on a soap backed by a major network means that everything runs like clockwork. You come in for fittings, wear designer clothes, have your own dressing room, etc. Very different experience working on IBM because even though the budget isn’t as large, it’s much more collaborative and creates an atmosphere where the actor does have says in their choices.” Chase Coleman, who breathes life into Southern doctor Dane Sullivan, also likes the slower pace. “Soaps are more run and gun and hurry hurry hurry compared to a television focused series. IBM is very high quality and in order to get quality and good performances, I feel that time needs to be taken so as to not forget any of the details.” Ben Pamies, who swaggers as Dalton’s best friend and former fashion model Benjamin Reed, also notes the quick pace of daytime soaps. “It was valuable to have the set experience on soaps because the style and quick pace in getting the shots are very

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similar. I think the short answer is that the soaps seem carried more by the drama in the story where as the In Between Men is driven by the development in the characters.” The common element between those characters is, of course, the fact that the four principals are gay. In what many people call the “post-gay” present where homosexuality is being slowly accepted, does “playing gay” help or hurt a developing actor’s career?

form or fashion, and that’s due to their nurturing, caring, and most of all just what makes them tick on the inside. It’s important to understand the pathology of a character and to understand WHY they’d decide to do a particular action. The character being gay comes from what makes them tick and their pathology. Then, as an actor, I can understand why he (or she) is going to make certain decisions and have different reactions to different situations and other characters.”

Chase Coleman looks upon it as just another role. “I’ve played gay characters in other roles as well in different projects, and forming a character who happens to be gay is just like forming any other character I play. They are humans that have a different set of principles, values, and roots that make them who they are. Everyone is different in some

Nick Matthews agrees. “I don’t think about it,” he states. “It’s a role like any other. If I thought about what I should or shouldn’t take based on people’s perceptions, I’d have a lot less opportunities to act.” Ben Pamies couldn’t agree more. “Well, I believe the writing gives opportunity to find real truth, and if we can collectively breathe real life into the integrity of the writing,

Feature “I was out on the corner of E. 4th and Second Avenue,” he says, “in front of the Bank of America in my underwear, no shirt, and cowboy boots working on an obscure theater piece from the 60s. We were performing approximately 8 shows in a night because they were formatted as tours, each piece lasting about 8-10 minutes. At some point, someone from another building above started throwing eggs at us. My poor scene partner got hit on the back of her head and we had to keep going with dried egg in her hair. I know show business is tough, but I knew street theater wasn’t my thing.”

II think playing a gay man has potential to catapult my career on the legs of what I think is brilliant idea for a show.” Although In Between Men is, indeed, just a show, how close a fit are the characters to the actors? In what way do they see themselves as similar or different from the men they play? Nick Matthews sees a great deal of himself in his character. “I can best describe Dalton as being a magnified

me...I look just like him :). There is certainly a lot I can connect with, but I feel less is more when it comes to revealing characteristics about myself outside of work.” “I can relate to Dane in that he is sensitive and has security issues with the powerful person he really is,” says Chase Coleman. “I’ve dealt with struggles like that growing up and becoming the man I am throughout my life.”

“ I’ve dealt with struggles like that growing up and becoming

the man I am throughout my life.”

version of myself, but only my best traits. We share ambition, drive, sophistication and strong opinions about life and our career. However, Dalton doesn’t really play. He’s very serious and opinionated, maybe to a fault, and takes his role of pack leader in his group of friends very seriously—whereas I am much more playful, maybe to a fault, and take more risks personally and professionally.”

Acting is certainly a struggle and actors are often called upon to take jobs somewhat outside the range of normal in order to pay the bills. Nick Matthews recalls one of those experiences.“I used to do a lot of ‘street theater’ performances with a renowned avant-garde groups. I thought and still think the cause behind their work is good and thought-provoking.

Ben Pamies also finds something of himself in Benjamin Reed. “Benjamin Reed is a leader with a confidence that’s turned up to ten, an insatiable sexual appetite, and an irresistible look, swagger, and charm. And

However they do not make “shows” they create “experiences.” In other words, there isn’t always a main throughline. maybe not even a fleshed out character or a stage or anything that you train for in school.”

But In Between Men is hardly street theatre—it’s a very positive experience according to its four principal players. “I feel an energy from everyone involved at every level and it stems from a passionate commitment to sharing this amazing perspective,” says Ben Pamies. Chase Coleman adds, “LOVE the show, LOVE the cast, LOVE the crew, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE who we have leading the helm. I have no regrets whatsoever with deciding to work on this project, and I hope that we just keep going higher and higher with it as we move toward the future.” Also buoyed by the show’s success, Nick Matthews has the last word. “I love working on the show. My friendships with my castmates are some of the strongest bonds I have formed while being in New York. Quincy has become one of my best friends. Jennifer [Gelper] is…Well she is so much to me: my director, my teacher, my mentor, I can’t imagine not having them in my life now.”

How can you get In Between Men in your life? Well, the first season is now available on iTunes, so check them out at If you like what you see, there’s more where that came from.

OUT in the City 9.20.2012 27

OUR CONTRIBUTORS LYNETTE ELLIOTT/PRESIDENT/ FOUNDER With a background in business administration, management and organizational development, Lynette Elliott brings a wealth of experience to her position as President of Diverse City Deals, Inc dba OUT in the city. Prior to this project, Elliott worked for several news organizations, including Out Front Colorado, Denver Business Journal and The Rocky Mountain News. In addition, she mentored several nonprofits and organized a few events, raising money for local and national nonprofits. Elliott’s business experience includes sales, customer relations, marketing, training, and business administration. Honored with PFLAG’s “Behind the Curtain” and Denver Chamber of Commerce’s “Best Business Practices” awards, Elliott is a visible and award winning professional. Lynette’s unique vision manifests itself in OUT in the city. As a college student at both California Polytechnic State University and at Fresno State University, she acquired the knowledge and skills to start a business at the end of her junior year. She turned and sold it only a year after graduation. Her career has taken her from Los Angeles to New York City before settling in Denver Colorado over 15 years ago. Throughout her career and work for the LGBT community, she always heard our voice and felt we could really become involved if we only had a platform. OUT in the city is her dream - and our opportunity.

JERRY L. WHEELER/MANAGING EDITOR Editor of OUT in the city Magazine, Jerry L. Wheeler has published numerous short stories, interviews, articles and essays. He is the editor of the Lambda Literary Award finalist Tented: Gay Erotic Tales from Under the Big Top (Lethe Press, 2010) as well as Riding the Rails: Locomotive Lust and Carnal Cabooses, The Dirty Diner: Gay Erotica on the Menu, the forthcoming Tricks of the Trade: Magical Gay Erotica (all Bold Strokes Books), and author of Strawberries and Other Erotic Fruits (Lethe Press, 2012). A graduate of the University of Colorado School of Journalism, Jerry L. Wheeler lives, works and writes in Denver CO, where he misspends time in fleeting encounters with men best described as trashy. Some on work release programs. Despite this, he has co-founded (with fellow author William Holden) the accomplished book review blog Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews ( and is working on a novel. Please feel free to contact him at Out in the city, Out in Print, or his website, Furry men with tats and shady backgrounds please step to the front of the line.

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bios KAT HANEY/VICE PRESIDENT Kat Haney, former collegiate lacrosse coach and even former corporate executive, now works as a full time professional skydiver. She currently represents LiquidSky Sports and Velocity Sports Equipment while touring the United States. She also Load Organizes at Skydive Chicago and other events throughout the country. Kat is a USPA Coach, USPA AFF Instructor and FAA Senior Rigger. When not in the sky, her focus is on Out in the city, interviewing people, covering events, and, of course, travel. Her interest in being part of an all-inclusive website for the LGBT community springs from the need she witnessed during her seasonal relocations to different skydiving drop zones. Based predominantly out of Chicago, Southern California and Colorado, Kat wanted “a single site which allows the entire community to plug into our own global source - one stop.” The result is

CRISTIÁN OCHOA/CREATIVE DIRECTOR Cristian is a Colorado native, though his family is originally from Mexico. He was born on Friday the 13th, making him the human equivalent of a lucky penny. He studied at the Art Institute of Colorado and graduated with a degree in Graphic Design. Cristian received several Merit awards during his studies and upon graduation he received the Art Institutes prestigious Portfolio Excellence Award. In addition to his award-winning design work, Cristian is very active in his community, giving back through church volunteer work. His favorite event is the annual Diabetes Expo and Run, at which he volunteers every year with his family. Frida Kahlo’s work inspires him to no end. Cristian also enjoys drawing, painting, and photography in his spare time.

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OUR CONTRIBUTORS EUGENE EBNER/MEDIA DIRECTOR Eugene Ebner has been performing, writing, recording/producing exciting new music projects, special events and Radio/TV projects for audiences across the world. Eugene earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Arizona and received musical training in Salzburg Austria. Ebner thrives on mastering a wide spectrum of vocal styles ranging from Broadway to dramatic ballads. His mission in life; to be an extraordinary role model for all people by uniting one community at a time internationally through respect, love and music. He has danced on stage with Legend Diana Ross numerous times, has performed in Washington DC in front of the Capitol as ‘Wonder Woman’ and has sung the National Anthem 3 times at the Colorado Rockies Game. Eugene has co-founded and hosted such radio shows as Diversity Now Radio and International Artist Debut Radio with James Armstrong. Currently Eugene is writing and recording original music with numerous up and

coming producers and recently released ‘Always Meant to Be -Amir Marcus Remix’ which is available online. Eugene is thrilled to collaborate with OUT in the City and unite all communities by encouraging others to share their voice and make a difference through the power of media.

JULIA NEWMAN/CONTRIBUTING WRITER Julia Newman is the one and only blogger at Feed Me Daily (feedmedaily., a blog about the chaos of her emotional eating and how picking up the pieces helped her create an authentic life. She studied Psychology and Women’s Studies at Vassar College and Creative Writing at the Harvard Extension School. Her life experience through the trials of anorexia and binge eating disorder is the fuel for her inspired writing. She believes that supportive, online communities have saved her life. She is an ally of anyone and everyone looking to find his or her true path. Her writing inspires ideas about identity and self-worth; honesty and self-love. But far from being made of ooey-gooey, self-love cotton candy, Julia possesses a sharp sense of humor and sarcastic outlook on life. Having worked everywhere from the Tribeca set of Lena Dunham’s (of HBO’s Girls) feature film Tiny Furniture to the trailer park set of Beasts of the Southern Wild – not to mention the checkout line at Borders Books and The Salem National Maritime Historic Site (think fake witches and tourist traps mixed with old men dressed as the crew of 1776 three-masted ships…she has pictures of both) – Julia has racked up some adventure tales. ‘How to Be a Grown Up’ is Julia’s bi-monthly humor column that skirts the edges of being an advice column to boot. It was ten years ago that Julia withdrew from Vassar College because of the progression of her anorexia. Seven years ago she finally moved out of her parents’ home and discovered she’d forgotten shampoo and didn’t have a bed. It may seem that this past decade has somehow failed to mature her. It hasn’t.

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bios TODD HALEY/CONTRIBUTING WRITER It didn’t happen by chance, nor within the first year. I made sure that I promised myself that a true, lasting happiness wouldn’t fall from the stars overnight. It took me over 30 years to have this realization. I had to, with all my aptitude, realize that other’s happiness was equal to that of my own. I gave unerringly to the benefit of others, and while they perceived themselves as failures, I saw heroes, titans, men, women, and children of greatness. I’m an LGBTQ activist, a feminist, a fitness and spiritual wellness instructor, and a Free-Thinker. My philosophy lies in the goodness I see in others. Where others had bled themselves to the point of spiritual death, I ushered in a new ideology; one that was all inclusive, without the metaphysical aftertaste. While I follow a path of Universal Compassion, I also had to make room for those who saw, through the lens of individuality, a personal perspective of thinking. I am loyal, I am me; a believer in you, your life’s journey...I am Todd.”

SHAWNEE HARKINS/CONTRIBUTING WRITER Shawnee Harkins came from the humblest of beginnings in Dallas, Texas before moving away at the age of seventeen. Wanting to find a place where Shawnee’s true self could surface, California was the natural choice. Adjustment to California did not come without some major obstacles and sacrifice, including an almost fatal car and rollerblading collision at age 18 that molded Shawnee into the person she is today. Shawnee fell in love with fitness training during her recovery and decided to make this her career. After gaining significant experience during her employment at Gold’s Gym, Shawnee took her skills and business sense to the streets by opening her own private studio Toned Fitness. As a Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer, Shawnee has trained countless celebrities such as Criminal Minds star, Kirsten Vangsness, The Ultimate Weight Loss Race contestants from The Dr. Phil Show, top movie and television producers, writers and anyone else ready for a healthy lifestyle change. Shawnee is also the creator and Executive Producer of three hit web series: Empower Me in 6 Weeks, Fit in The Streets, and Fat to Fab. Additionally, Shawnee mentors young fitness and seasoned professionals and has added Massage Therapy to her practice, obtaining her education through California Healing Arts College in Los Angeles, Cal. Shawnee’s true intention is to touch, move and inspire others to take action for their well-being so they may experience a harmonious and balanced lifestyle. She continues to make it her mission to spread the importance of her training philosophy, “mind-heart-physical body.”

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OUR CONTRIBUTORS RACHEL HOCKETT/CONTRIBUTING WRITER Rachel Hockett is the founder of the Equality Mantra on Facebook, and a regular contributor to about issues of LGBT rights and marriage equality. She is co-founding artistic director of the Homecoming Players in Ithaca, New York, which focuses on the intersection of theater and social justice, and the director of an editorial service for publishers and writers. A member of the first class of women at Yale, Rachel has served as secretary of the Class of 1973 since 2004, and is also active on the Alumni Schools Committee. She is the author of the 2012 novel Driving in the Rain, and an as-yet unpublished double-murder mystery.

ALEX C. DEMBICKI/CONTRIBUTING WRITER Alex C. Dembicki is a Creative Writing major at CU Denver and the Box Office Manager for Curious Theatre Company. He takes pride in his unhealthy passion for horror movies, loud alternative music, salty food, and for his staunch refusal to bend to the will of vegetarianism.

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bios SEAN EADS/CONTRIBUTING WRITER The Designated Drinkers are Sean Eads and Darren Buford; the former, a writer and reference librarian in Arvada, the latter, a magazine editor. Both happy to indulge in frequent libations. Check out Sean’s new novel, The Survivors, coming out this October from Lethe Press (it will help keep him in beer money).

ADAM W. HART/CONTRIBUTING WRITER Obsessed with all things tech/geek/sci-fi–is the owner of Buzz Evolution (, a boutique PR/marketing/social media firm. Hart is also the publisher/editor of Apparatus Magazine (www., an online literary magazine publishing poetry and flash fiction from around the world. (Apparatus Magazine is currently undergoing website/format changes and will be re-launching soon.)

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OUR CONTRIBUTORS ERICA COBB/CONTRIBUTING WRITER Erica Cobb was introduced to Denver in 2009 as “The Girl Power” during morning radio drive after starting her career on the airwaves and televisions of her hometown, Chicago. Since landing in Denver, Erica has made an immediate connection with the gay community, earning OutFront Colorado’s “OUTstanding Local Radio personality” in February of 2010 and appearing as OutFront’s Cover Girl for their Straight Allies Issue in May of the same year. Erica created and promoted Summer Glam: a PRIDE Party, whose idea came from a simple concept—give the people what they want; they wanted Deborah, we got Deborah!” Cobb says this is the first event of many that she hopes to create for Denver’s LGBT community. “This is a loyal and growing demographic that deserves to be catered to,” she adds. “I hope I’m adding another dimension to the great things that already exist!” Aside from Erica’s work with the community, she has lent her support, appeared at and emceed many LGBT events. She can be found all over Denver. Cobb is the In-Arena host for the Denver Nuggets, an entertainment contributor for 9News and a gossip blogger for her website A self-proclaimed social media monster, you can find her on Twitter or Facebook

SDYNEY BALDWIN/CONTRIBUTING WRITER Syd Baldwin was born in Yuma, AZ, but grew up in San Diego, CA. She was somewhat of a weird child with a deep love of animals. Syd was always bringing home mangy looking creatures, including possums, and had to be treated for ringworm more than a few times. In high school, Syd was the only “out” kid and was constantly fighting the entire water polo team. During this time, she also became active in the third wave feminist Riot Grrrl movement, and she is still heavily influenced by it today. Syd attended Antioch College in Ohio, majoring first in visual art, then women’s studies, and then finally settling on preveterinary biological science. Like many good liberal arts college attendees, she did not graduate. Instead, she travelled the country and parts of Europe. It was in Berlin, Germany where she finally settled down and married her wife, Jules, in 2009. In 2010, Syd and Jules moved back to San Diego, where they live with their Boston Terrier, Gertie, and Pug, Moritz. Syd now works a string of odd jobs, surfs, makes art and videos, is politically active in the LGBT community, and wears real pants as little as possible.

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bios JOSHUA HUNT/CONTRIBUTING WRITER Joshua Hunt, CEO and founder of TRELORA realty, promised himself as a young boy being raised in a single parent home that he would achieve great success in life. Although his life was not much different than many children living in near poverty conditions with a single mom, his story of triumph is. After reaching financial success in his early twenties, earning more money than most people do their entire working careers, Joshua realized that “success” comes in many different packages—very seldom being money. He began searching for a path of authenticity, truth, and happiness. In his quest for this reality, he interviewed hundreds of people in various walks of life; from the homeless to coffee shop baristas; from CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies to foster children, and he embraced his own self-discovery along the way. Upon finding his personal truth through ongoing research and difficult life lessons, Joshua returned to the professional industry he knows best. In October of 2011, he founded TRELORA realty, a flat-fee real estate company poised to save consumers millions of dollars. Through the innovative anomaly of TRELORA, Joshua is eager to revolutionize the way we do real estate in America, first in Colorado, and then extending consumer savings throughout the country. Joshua is supported by a loving family that includes six amazing children, some biological and some adopted, he is raising with his life-long friend Ambyr. With the daily choice to live a positive life along with his commitment to living in curiosity, Joshua strives to never judge anyone he encounters and instead aspires to capture the essence of an authentic, joy-filled life.

NICHOLAS T. PAGE/CONTRIBUTING WRITER Nicholas Page is a graduate of Loyola Marymount with a degree in Theater Arts. He is a freelance writer as well as playwright living in Dallas. He has a great dane named Penny and a cat named Squishy who rules his life. He likes to consider himself an expert on all things pop culture and TV. He likes naps, coffee, and being a part-time vegetarian.

OUT in the City 9.20.2012 35

Remembering Matt. Denver Gay Mens Chorus at St. Johns Cathedral

A New Chicago

Feature Artist: Simon J O’Mahony

OUT in the city wants to congratulate the

w o b n i Ra


Monday Sept 3, 2012 The Rainbow Skydivers broke the World Record Gay Way with 15 people at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa IL. This years rainbow boogie was sponsored by Skydive Chicago and GRAB Magazine.  CONGRATS Everyone! Photos by Kat Haney

38 OUT in the City 9.20.2012

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OUT in the City 9.20.2012 39 (DWHU\

1209 E 9th Ave, Denver, CO 80218 -‐ 720-‐362-‐3692


hen it comes to the performing arts in the Mile-High city, theatre lovers are fortunate to have several options available to them. Ranging from small improv theatres like Bovine Metropolis to the massive, multi-venue Denver Center for the Performing Arts, there’s a little something for everyone. But of all the choices out there, Curious Theatre Company may very well be one of Denver’s best kept secrets in contemporary, professional theatre. Residing in a beautiful 19th-century church located in the heart of Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood, Curious Theatre Company was founded by a group of artists who met 14 years ago while mounting Tony Kushner’s Angels in America (produced by Hunger Artists). Founder and current Producing Artistic Director, Chip Walton, along with other founding company members, decided to start their own professional theatre company whose purpose was to “engage the community in important

40 OUT in the City 9.20.2012

contemporary issues through provocative modern theatre.” Basically, if you’re itching for some good old fashioned Shakespeare or the latest Broadway musical, you’ll want to look somewhere else. So what does “provocative modern theatre” mean? Essentially, this means that we strive to bring audiences material from the cutting edge. Our intention is to push the envelope and engage people, surprise them, and keep them thinking (and talking) about what they’ve seen on our stage. When we observe people hotly debating a play’s subject matter during intermission or after the show, we know that we’ve succeeded in our mission. We want our patrons to leave our productions moved enough to feel compelled to spread the word. And they do. Walton and company have been able to successfully achieve this directive, in part, by fostering relationships with new and emerging playwrights, and by choosing to produce only daring, contemporary theatrical works. We take pride in being a champion for plays which many other theatre companies would never afford

the time of day. Because of this, our seasons are comprised primarily of regional premieres, but occasionally include some exciting world premieres. One of the unique ways that we are able to discover budding talent is through Curious New Voices. Now in its ninth year, this program is specifically designed for young playwrights between the ages of 15 and 21. Led by Curious co-founder and artistic company member, Dee Covington, Curious New Voices offers these young writers an intensive workshop in which they explore and develop their voices in a professional theatrical environment. The goal is to allow these up-and-coming writers a forum for creative expression that is bold, imaginative while expanding their understanding of what is possible as an artist in today’s changing world. Curious Theatre Company launched its inaugural, single-production season in 1998 with American playwright Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive. As subsequent seasons gradually grew until they blossomed into our current five-play season structure, we also developed from

Feature: City Life a general admission house where seating was acquired on a first-come first-seated basis, into our current model that is based on reserved seating.

its attention to detail, and surprisingly seductive in its artifice, this play cleverly poses the age-old question: “is the grass truly greener on the other side?”

Now in our 15th Season, Curious offers theatre-goers five adventurous regional premieres. The season launched on September 1st to a sold-out performance of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz. Directed by Walton and co-produced by Theatreworks, this boisterous and wickedly funny play examines how we view ethnic stereotypes through the medium of professional wrestling. Playing now through October 13, this production is, without a doubt, quintessential Curious fare.

The Brothers Size (March 9 – April 13, 2013) is a taut, rhythmic and playful drama about two brothers who walk the line between law and liberty. Bringing together the Louisiana bayou and West African mythology, The Brothers Size promises to be an exciting, hot-blooded, and music-filled drama written by one of the country’s most exciting new playwrights, Tarell Alvin McCraney.

Our second production will be Time Stands Still (November 3 – December 15, 2012) by Donald Margulies, an intimate, character-focused drama about a couple at a crossroads. This play was a huge success at Manhattan Theatre Club before it

Season 15 will conclude with our much-anticipated production of Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage (April 27 – June 8, 2013). God of Carnage examines how an innocent playground altercation between two boys hilariously begins to mirror the differences between the children’s parents. Winner of the 2009 Tony Award for Best Play, Reza’s brilliant

transferred to Broadway, where it received two Tony Nominations, including Best New Play.

contemporary comedy of manners is already filling our seats – FAST!

Opening in January, Maple and Vine (January 12 – February 23, 2013), by Jordan Harrison, follows a modern-day couple hopelessly stuck in a modernday rut who discover a way out of their modern-day troubles by moving into a planned community that is perpetually located in the year 1955. Hilarious in

Over the course of our relatively short history in Denver’s theatrical scene, Curious Theatre’s fresh and edgy productions have thrilled audiences and critics alike, garnering numerous awards each season, including Denver Post Ovation Awards, Henry Awards, and the

Best of Westword. Season 15 promises to deliver the award-winning goods, and is sure to bring the house down. So the next time you find yourself looking to put a little culture in your life, remember Denver’s best-kept little secret on Acoma Street. You’ll be glad that you did.

Curious Theatre is located at 1080 Acoma Street in Denver. Tickets are available now by calling 303-623-0524 or online at Performances are Thursdays – Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm

OUT in the City 9.20.2012 41

The Battle  of   the  Reality   Show  Judges’   Table


When American Idol began to lose its luster many critics speculated that the era of popular reality talent TV was now over. But then the likes of shows with similar formulas such as America’s Got Talent, The Voice, Duets and X Factor began to pop up, and they had legs and millions of viewers. Now multimillion dollar contracts and the most iconic names in the entertainment industry have breathed new life into these talent competitions with each show attempting to out do the other. Which begs the question who has the best talent behind the judges’ table on reality competition shows this television season? NBC’s America’s Got Talent had some revamping to do after saying good-bye to the embattled David Hasselhoff and Piers Morgan. The show decided to introduce the controversial Howard Stern to sit next to Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel. With the comedic Nick Cannon as master of ceremonies, does the cast of season seven’s America’s Got Talent get your vote as best reality talent show judging ensemble? NBC’s The Voice brought its third season in with four familiar faces in the rotating chairs. Their motto seems to follow the “if it ain’t broke” logic as Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green all returned to compete against each other like brother and sister. Does this formula of using judges and mentors who are performers themselves with Carson Daly holding it together win you over? Speaking of judges and mentors who have their own professional music careers to give them industry cred, what about newcomer Duets? ABC seemed to be taking

a page from The Voice but going a step farther by having their judges John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke and Jennifer Nettles actually perform with the amateur contestants. While the framework remained the same, this new element may have given the viewing audience proof that the judges “still got it!” Super cute Quddus hosted this newcomer. Did they leave you with a lasting impression? Now we’ve entered X Factor territory. After the blood bath at the judges’ table and hosting position they experienced after one less than stellar season, does this new judges’ table make the cut? Britney Spears and Demi Lovato joined Simon Cowell and LA Reid for season two and now everyone’s talking about who will be the glue to tie this team together as host. With Nick Jonas, Khloe Kardashian and Kevin McHale all being called frontrunners for the gig, who do you think would be the best fit and would that addition be enough to make the X Factor team your favorite? Finally, we circle back to where it all began with the mess that has been made of the American Idol judges’ table. No doubt the consummate host, Ryan Seacrest, isn’t going anywhere for the twelfth season, but everyone else has! Now we have Miss Mariah Carey at the judges’ table with a lot of speculation and confusion. Will Randy Jackson be there too, or will he be behind the scenes? Will Nicki Minaj join? Is there anything to the Enrique Iglesias, Keith Urban talk? What will it take to restore faith in this flagship show? Can it ever rise to the top again and win your heart? Of all of these star-studded casts, who has created the chemistry to win you over? Who gets your vote? by Erica Cobb

42 OUT in the City 9.20.2012




Who Wins

Your Vote?

OUT in the City 9.20.2012 43

Jeff D: A Spicy Kind of Funny )`3`UL[[L,SSPV[[ 44 OUT in the City 9.20.2012

Feature: City Life



Jeff D: I think so. I was always able to make my friends and family laugh, but I certainly wasn’t the class clown. Wasn’t remotely cool enough to be the class clown.

had been a part of a comedy improv/sketch troupe in Lake Charles, LA that was wellreceived and successful. When I moved back to Lake Charles a year later, the woman who owned the club we performed in (a hard talking Italian from Brooklyn) strong-armed me into trying stand-up. “Bring your friends, I’ll make pizza, you’re funny, it’s not hard, just shut up and do it!” I began doing my own shows there monthly and it grew from there.

OITC: What was the best gig you ever performed?

OITC: How do you come up with material for your show?

Jeff D: The first opportunity I had to be paid as a headliner was in a town called Mandeville, Louisiana—not a place known for it’s open minded constituency. I was so nervous and afraid of how they were going to react to me. The show went great and I came to the realization that rednecks love me, too—and that’s okay.

Jeff D: I’m not sure. It just comes to me. I write down little ideas, little things I say in conversation, in little notebooks and on napkins and such. Sometimes it develops into a bit. Sometimes it just makes me look schizophrenic. Life is funny—you just have to be open to seeing it and knowing when it’s something that will resonate with other people.

Jeff D: A hot mess. OITC: Were you always funny?

OITC: What would you be doing if you weren’t a comedian? Jeff D: I was a full-time Reading and English teacher in inner city New Orleans for two years, and it was the hardest, most eye-opening experience of my life. I still work with kids part-time teaching them theatre, but I would probably go back to doing it full-time if I weren’t on this path. I miss the victories OITC: How did comedy start for you? Jeff D: Before moving to Dallas in 1998, I

OTIC: What’s your favorite one-liner? Jeff D: I’m not an alcoholic, I’m a drunk. Alcoholics go to meetings. OITC: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? Jeff D: Never blame the audience. OITC: What’s your favorite piece of advice? Jeff D: I worked for a video store in high school, and the woman who owned it told

me, “Never, in a professional setting, tell people to have a good night. Always say have a good evening. When you say have a good night, it makes them think about sex.” I have NO idea what she was talking about, but it’s stuck with me. OITC: Who’s your favorite comedian? Jeff D: Can’t just do one. Bill Cosby was a huge influence for me, and Lenny Bruce because he’s the reason I can say what I say on stage. I love Margaret Cho, and Katt WIlliams is really funny. Louis C.K. is one of the smartest out there. OITC: What are your two biggest pet peeves? Jeff D: 1) People who drive like they’re the only and most important people on the road, and 2) People who ignore leash laws. I mean, hello—have you never seen an episode of Judge Judy?  OITC: What’s your idea of the perfect date? Jeff D: Any and everything I do with my boyfriend, Carlo. Except for the anything and everything I do that makes him mad. But how could you get mad at someone as funny as Jeff D? We’ll have to ask Carlo about that next interview. Until then, be sure to catch Jeff D when he comes through your town.

OUT in the City 9.20.2012 45

Chalk Art

Feature Artist: Simon J O’Mahony

The Hydrangea

Calm in the City. St.Stephens Green, Dublin, Ireland

Feature Artist: Simon J O’Mahony


50 OUT in the City 9.20.2012

OITC: There is definitely a lot of stuff going on in your life right now. What has been the biggest thing, the biggest shock, to come out of doing the show?

KENTUCKY TOMBOY Vogue’s September issue is on the stands, New York’s Fashion Week is in full swing and fall is here, redirecting our attention to everything fashion. For the lovers of androgynous looks, a new source is in the works. Up and coming designer, 27-year-old Alicia Hardesty is filling a void in the industry with her new line, Original Tomboy. Designed for women, OTB targets a niche hungry for well-tailored clothing that speaks to their aesthetic; a collection capable of “redefining what it means to dress like a girl.” The attraction to Original Tomboy comes from its story and the authenticity of its origination.

The openly gay designer first gained momentum through Kickstarter, a platform to generate funding for new businesses and creative ventures ( With a goal of $5,000 to create samples for OTB, Alicia posted a video telling her story and vision for Original Tomboy ( She took that $5,323.00 momentum and her OTB samples to the casting calls of Project Runway, landing a spot on the tenth season of Lifetime’s Emmynominated reality series. OUT in the City got a chance to talk with Alicia about Project Runway, Original Tomboy, and her journey to create a lifestyle brand “ from one original tomboy to the next.” 

Alicia: Well, you know, it’s different seeing myself everywhere. Like all this stuff on Tumbler and all this other stuff, and like how excited people get about you based on nothing, really. Like they know nothing about me. I mean there’s a lot online, obviously. There’s questionnaires and there’s videos and they see me on the show, but people get really excited. They love when you reach out to them and when you interact with your fans and stuff like that. And people recognizing me from the show, that’s probably the biggest difference. OITC: Has it been fun? Alicia: It’s fun for me. I mean, I get stopped all the time to talk about my hair. So I am used to getting stopped by random people, but this time it’s like “Hey, you look like that girl on Project Runway.” Or, I get the reaction “Hey god, you’re that girl on Project Runway.” But I mean, I have fun with it. I have fun talking to people.  OITC: We know to expect your line in the fall and winter of this year. Where are you in that process? Alicia: Right now I am in the process of production basically, which is always fun. It’s a lot to handle. I’ve been working on pulling funds together for production. I’ve got some family that is helping me out to get it started. I’ve got a sales team that has taken on a line, and they’re really excited about it. They kind of split the collection up into Fall and Spring and we’re going to add a few more pieces in later for spring. But the Fall Collection, it’s just, it’s really tight, small, and you know they’re going to

OUT in the City 9.20.2012 51

ALICIA HARDEST Y 52 OUT in the City 9.20.2012

OUT in the City 9.20.2012 53

OITC: That would be huge!

Runway the whole night…but it was really cool. Like I haven’t seen most of these, all of these people really, since high school. I mean, I look totally different and I probably, I’m still the same person, but I’m just different. I look different. I probably sound different and act different, so it was fun.

Alicia: But yeah, that’s kind of where it’s at. The look book and line sheets are making their way around, and I’m working on my end at getting these styles produced. It’s crunch time and it’s almost show time for Original Tomboy, so there’s a lot of behind the scenes work right now.

OITC - Wow, that would be totally overwhelming! (We both laugh) All right, you have the five weeks with these people, and obviously the pressure from the time limits on the challenges—if you took away one lesson, what is that lesson you are taking away from doing the show?

OITC: How often are you going back to Kentucky to reconnect? How do you keep that part of you? It’s clear it is influencing you a lot and is something you hold dear to your heart.

Alicia: Well, for me I think the biggest lesson is to just, you know, go with your gut. And when you have a gut feeling about something, when there’s something that’s not sitting well with you, just do what you got to do to fix it and then move forward. And keep an open mind. Even though everything is always about you getting judged, even off the show, you know everything you produce gets judged in and out. I think throughout all of that, I kind try to forget about all that and really do what you came to do. 

focus on the west coast right now as far as boutiques and stores it will go into. They have stores that are already interested and they want it. And there is talk of Fred Segal also, so that would be huge.

Alicia: Well, I don’t go back as much as I would like to. I go back a couple times a year, usually around the summertime and around Christmas. I just went back. I just got back from Kentucky actually. I was there for a week. I hung out with family. I saw all kinds of people I hadn’t seen in while. I had a high school reunion and I went out on a boat, and all kinds of stuff going on.

OITC: Before the conception of this line, where did you see your career path tak-

menswear. I started out in the industry doing menswear, and I came out to LA and I got more into other categories— you know, all contemporary stuff, but mostly menswear. I’ve dabbled in womenswear here and there but nothing like what I’m doing. But that’s always been my drive—getting myself into a position to do my own thing. I mean, it’s cool working for all these other people, but it just wasn’t doing it for me. I never found a position or a label or anything that I could wholeheartedly put myself behind. It never happened for me. I think it would be cool to do collaborations with other designers or other lines, but that’s always been my driving force. Just getting myself out there and, you know, being able to design what I think the industry needs. OITC: I read online a profile where you listed what you would be doing if you weren’t designing. You said a traveler, photographer, drummer, and florist. So if you were a traveler, where would you go? A photographer, what or who would you shoot? A drummer? I thought it was a guitar you had at home? And what is your favorite flower?  Alicia: There are tons of places I want to go, but while I was doing the show, someone mentioned to me Brighton, England. They said I would fit in there. It’s a really cool vibe, and it’s near the water and the people there are really cool. So, I’ve been thinking about that place recently. That’s somewhere that I really, really want to go. OITC: As a photographer, what’s your subject?

OITC: How was the high school reunion after being on the show?

ing you? What journey was your creative drive taking you on at that time?

Alicia: Oh my god, I took a lot of pictures and all people talked about was Project

Alicia: I’ve always worked for other companies, and I’ve mostly done

54 OUT in the City 9.20.2012

Alicia: I’d probably be a nature photographer. I like to capture, just stuff that’s not studio stuff. I would be out and about. I like capturing different angles, different perspectives, and you know, catching the light in a certain way or catching something that looks different from what it normally looks like.

Feature OITC: Next one is drummer, but I noticed you have a guitar not a drum set.   Alicia: (laughs) Actually, I don’t even play the guitar, but I love, love, love, love playing the drums. I haven’t played the drums in a while, like a full-on drum set. I would sit in my room at my dad’s and just play for hours. I don’t even know what it sounded like, but I just, I learned myself. I learned by ear, but I just loved the action of actual drum playing. It’s like so cool to me. It’s so fun! I’m always tapping my fingers on everything. I drive everybody nuts. I’m always tapping on something. Eventually I’m going to have another set.   OITC: Favorite flower? Alicia: My favorite flower is the orchid. Love orchids. I think I like arranging flowers. It sounds crazy, but just going to florist and pulling things that just look interesting together and it’s always something that they wouldn’t pick. They bring something different to the space. You set them down on a table, and it’s like the room changes. 

I’ve gotten really into moonshine. I love moonshine. OITC: It’s everywhere now because of that show everyone is talking about. Alicia: Moonshiners, yeah. I love that stuff. I brought some back from Kentucky with me. Yeah, it’s good stuff. Like, apple pie moonshine—if you can ever get your hands on that—is amazing!

OITC: A lot of people are excited for this line, especially with the challenge of finding clothes of this genre that fit women properly. What do we have to look forward to from Original Tomboy in the future?

up. From what can be seen of the Original Tomboy collection for Fall, a serious need in the fashion industry is being filled. Let’s hope to see her lines and collections evolve and maintain their edge for some time to come.

Alicia: I have a lot of plans. Once I get Original Tomboy going and the first few collections, I want to start a kid’s line that’s based on the same concept. I also want to start a line, it’s still contemporary, but it’s more kind of modern and contemporary than Original Tomboy, and it’s a little more dressy. Because that stuff is hard to find, and it drives me crazy. OITC: You say in your Original Tomboy handbook to engage your vices with pride. What’s your favorite vice? Alicia: My favorite vice is probably liquor, like a good drink. Like I love,

That sums it up as much as anything else could from a true original tomboy. Straight to the heart of the moment, it does not get more raw than moonshine. Finally off the show after episode eight, this designer is only getting warmed

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OUT in the City 9.20.2012 55

Feature Artist: Simon J O’Mahony

Men of Steel


an interview with Neil Meron and Craig Zadan By Gregg Shapiro

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “drink your juice, Shelby”? Sally Field fussing over Julia Roberts as M’Lynn and Shelby, respectively, in the 1989 Southern comedic tearjerker Steel Magnolias? The new remake, airing on Oct. 7, 2012 on Lifetime, unobtrusively updates the story and features a stellar cast of African-­American actresses assuming the leads. This version of Steel Magnolias is as much about sisterhood as it is about sistahood. Queen Latifah, who has developed into a natural actress, gives the performance of her career. Robert Harling’s original play is treated with respect in Sally Robinson’s screenplay and doesn’t shy away from the gay content, including Clairee’s story about her gay nephew, “accent lighting” and gay men’s names. I spoke with Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, gay executive producers of Steel Magnolias, and recently named as recipients of the Visionary Award from the Outfest Legacy Project, about the remake.


Photo Credit: Eric Liebowitz

Queen Latifah stars as “M’Lynn”

Gregg Shapiro: How did the idea of remaking Steel Magnolias with an African-American cast come about? Neil Meron: A while back, maybe two years or so, Craig and I were talking about things that we wanted to do. Where are the great roles for women? Our conversation naturally went to Steel Magnolias. I thought the only way that we could really tackle Steel Magnolias, which was so brilliantly done originally, was if we were able to bring something new to it. We felt that to do something new to it would be to bring together this remarkable group of actors. That, to us, justified why we should proceed with the project.  So, it’s relatively new and it comes out of our love for great actors and for pieces that showcase these great actors and will hopefully we’ll touch a lot of people. Craig Zadan: We know Robert Harling, who wrote the original play and the original screenplay for the first movie. Robert said it was always his fantasy to have Steel Magnolias done, again, with an all black cast and set it at a black town in the South. GS:  So would you say there were no concerns about remaking such

an iconic movie? NM: You only remake a movie if you have something new to say, if you can maybe broaden the universality of it. We felt that by hiring the actors that we did, we had something new 60 OUT in the City 9.20.2012

to say and we enhanced what was already a great piece. CZ: It’s very important to us that Robert Harling, who created it, did not say to us “oh, please don’t do it.” He was more than encouraging and excited and thrilled to see an all black version of it and thought it was a great idea and really wanted us to do it. Once you have the endorsement of the person who created the play and the original movie and those characters and that story, based on his own life, I think that’s more endorsement than you get most of the time. We felt very comfortable going ahead and doing a new version of this and we’re not competing with the original version, there’s nothing wrong with them living and coexisting in the same universe. It’s the same with Broadway theatre. There are things called revivals. Just because Gypsy was done with Ethel Merman originally, look how many Gypsys have been done on Broadway with so many brilliant stars and look how it’s gotten acclaim and raves for each production for different reasons.  There are certain times when you have a classic that there’s no reason not to try it a different way.

GS: Queen Latifah, who plays M’Lynn (the role originated on screen by Sally Field), gives an amazing performance, the kind that has Emmy and Golden Globe written all over it. What influence did having worked with her in the

past have on you when casting Steel Magnolias? NM: It seemed like a perfect match. I think that a lot of the success due to projects is how well you cast them.  It seemed that she had the strength and dignity and acting chops to really anchor this new production of Steel Magnolias and redefine it.  So you start with Queen Latifah and build everything around her. CZ: We also had the most magnificent experience working with her on Chicago and Hairspray. We felt they were two of the best films she’s ever done and that we’ve ever done and we thought we’d love to have the experience a third time together as a team.  So, when this came around, it seemed like a natural to involve her.  She said yes immediately because she understood how passionate we were about doing the piece and about her being in it.  By the way, what you said earlier, we think that she’s a wonderful actress and we’ve seen her give wonderful performances in the past, but I think that nothing that she’s done can prepare the audience for the depth of the acting performances that she gives in Steel Magnolias.

GS: In addition to Queen Latifah, you also worked with Phylicia Rashad, who plays Clairee in Steel Magnolias on A Raisin in the Sun. Can you please say something about working with the same performers on more than one


Photo Credit: Eric Liebowitz

OUT in the Cityas 9.20.2012 Phylicia Rashad stars “Clairee”


62 OUT the City 9.20.2012 AlfreinWoodard stars as “Ouiser”


Photo Credit: Eric Liebowitz

OUT in the Cityas9.20.2012 Adepero Oduye stars “Annelle” 63

64 OUT in the City 9.20.2012 Condola Rashad stars as “Shelby”


Photo Credit: Eric Liebowitz

OUT in the City 9.20.2012 65 Jill Scott stars as “Truvy”

project, as you also did with Brandy on Cinderella and Double Platinum?

We’re very lucky because they’re incredibly talented.

NM: Brandy also did Drop Dead Diva for us. We love to work with the same actors over and over again because you have a shorthand, you know they can deliver, it’s more like a family. If you look at a lot of our work, we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of repeat visitors.  One of

GS: Aside from the familiar faces, Steel Magnolias also stars two younger actresses, Adepero Oduye and Condola Rashad, Phylicia’s daughter. Can you say something about the rewards and challenges of casting young talent?

the great joys is being able to have friends who are incredibly talented that enjoy working with one another and it’s a wonderful environment to be in and it just spreads throughout the whole production. CZ: We do it a lot. We did three movies with Judy Davis - Serving in Silence, followed by Judy Garland, followed by The Reagans.  And Victor Garber… NM: It’s ridiculous how many times we’ve worked with him. CZ: He’s been in more of our movies than just about anyone. NM: We’ve produced several T.V. movies with Barbra Streisand.  We’ve worked together with Whoopi Goldberg on numerous occasions. GS: That speaks very highly of you guys that people do keep coming back, that’s great. NM: Yeah, they come back. 66 OUT in the City 9.20.2012

NM: I think part of the satisfaction of being a producer is being able to introduce new talent. Craig and I spotted Condola in a Broadway show, Stick Fly, that Kenny Leon directed. She’s the only person that we wanted to play Shelby. Our passion bled through to everybody. She didn’t audition, she was just cast on our passing for her and we’ve been proven correct.  Adepero, we knew about from Pariah, of course. But she auditioned and her audition was so spectacular and special that we knew she needed to be in the movie.  So again, it’s satisfying to have our starry, incredibly gifted, talented people who can deliver and redefine them as actors, but at the same time it’s incredibly satisfying to have the ability to put

new people into the mix and introduce them and have them become part of the extended family. GS: Prior to big screen successes such as Chicago and Hairspray, the majority of your production work, in addition to Steel Magnolias, was related to TV projects. Would it be fair to say that you have a preference for TV and if so why? CZ: I think that we don’t have a preference for anything.  I think we made it our goal to work in the theater, because we work on Broadway, and to work on television in TV movies, mini-series, series and features.  We wanted to be in every single medium, we didn’t want to be excluded from any and we are able to go from one to the other.  We might produce a feature film then go right to a television show.  Then from television we might go into producing a Broadway show – just keep going from medium to medium. The reason for that is that it allows you to flex different muscles.  There is no such thing as similarity between making a feature film and a TV series.  There is no similarity. There is no similarity between producing a Broadway show and

producing a TV movie or mini-series. They’re all such radically different skills as a producer, so we love the idea of being able to go from one to another and never get bored, never get tired, never get cynical, never feel like we’ve done that a million times. It keeps us fresh and it keeps us curious and it keeps us interested. GS: A number of your projects, including Serving in Silence, What Makes a Family, Wedding Wars, It’s All Relative, and most recently Smash, to name a few, have dealt with gay subject matter or prominently featured gay characters. How important is that to you as gay men? NM: Oh, it’s incredibly important because you like to have your work reflect parts of who you are. So in terms of that being representative of who we are as gay men, I think it’s incredibly important and necessary and kind of imperative. CZ: I think, also, what we’ve learned is the power of entertainment.  You can stand on a soap box and give speeches all you want.  A lot of people find speechifying is a turn off and they

push away – they don’t absorb what you have to say. However, when you do pieces such as Serving in Silence, Wedding Wars, What Makes a Family, Smash or Drop Dead Diva – when you do those pieces and entertain the audience, you go into their living rooms and you’re welcomed in by entertaining them. While they’re being entertained, they’re also learning so much and experiencing so much that they’re not even aware of that’s subconscious.  So a lot of it is using the medium of entertainment to make certain points. Wedding Wars is a good example because we were the first people ever to make a movie about gay marriage. We decided to do it as a romantic comedy.  We decided that would be the best way to approach it because it was so fun and so entertaining and so charming. Any audience watching it would have a wonderful time seeing that movie without even realizing that we’re trying to get a point across about gay marriage. By the end of the movie you can’t help but feel like “wow, what’s the big deal about why they don’t allow gay people to get married.”

GS: What is next for both of you, Neil and Craig? CZ: (The 2013) Academy Awards. NM: And season two of Smash. And I’m doing a mini-series for the History channel as well. It is a new take on Bonnie and Clyde.

Meron and Zadan’s Steel Magnolias will air 10/7/12 on Lifetime TV. For further information, visit


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OUT in the City 9.20.2012


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OUT in the city magazine includes conversations about health and fashion, to articles on entertainment and technology, reporting the latest...

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